Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Solid(s?) As A Rock!

The last two weeks have been CRAZY busy. Without detailing every thing, suffice it to say that literally, NOTHING has been easy.

Well…smooching on my little Pudge Pop is always easy (and fun!), so I can’t say nothing has been easy.

Not much else, though.

So, long stor(ies) short…

  • · We got moved out of our house (with fewer tears than I thought…guess I’m still waiting for the major purge)…
  • · Said a million heartbreaking “See ya laters” (no good-byes)…
  • · Are fighting horrible summer colds (so far John is the only one run down, so pray that Luke and I somehow manage without catching it!)…
  • · Have taken Grandma’s house over (poor Grandma!)…
  • · Found out we won’t be moving into a house on base until November or December at the earliest (which is several months later than we anticipated, obviously)…
  • · Have scrambled to find a temporary apartment (and it’s been YEARS since I’ve filled out an application to live in an apartment. Sample questions? “Do you use illegal drugs? If yes, please explain.” Seriously????????? “Um, yes. On Fridays, I do crack and plan to use your apartment complex to produce meth in mass quantities.” Honestly!)…
  • · Have to figure out what of our stuff needs to be partially delivered until a house is available (and so much fun with box labels such as, ‘basement’, ‘Baby’s room’, and ‘kitchen’….who knows WHAT is in each box????)…
  • · Won’t get even that partially delivered stuff for another 2 weeks at that…
  • · Have learned that Luke is NOT fond of the spoon and/or much that accompanies it (although now with the infant feeder, he’s a little more amiable to the idea!)…
  • · Have been battling sleep issues with the poor boy…who can blame him????

Whew. It’s enough for me to just feel like throwing my arms in the air and having a massive hissy fit.

But that won’t make anything different, so…press on, right?

Like John said, “We’ve lived through worse.”

And we have.

Luke is doing SO much these days! ‘Scooter’ is really scooting along….mostly on his back, using his head and feet to inch him along backward. It’s hilarious. When put on his tummy, he is starting to scoot more, though, so I am pretty sure a full-fledged crawler is on his way into appearance soon!

I’ve introduced pears, apples and apple juice, and he’s iffy. Well, he loves the apple juice, but is working through the sippy cup issues—I LOVE the Beaba sippy---with the nipple. He just needs to learn how to tilt it back to use it! He gets really, really mad when he can’t get the juice and yet, hasn’t figured out just yet how to tilt it back! He’s working on it! The spoon is a totally different story, though…the other day, I didn’t even have anything on it and when he saw it, he could NOT turn his head fast enough!!! He wanted NOTHING to do with it…once he realizes how good the sweet stuff is, he relents a little, but still…not feeling solids too much these days! Of course, I write that only hours after he could NOT.GET.ENOUGH of the apples and pears through his mesh sucky. THAT is a huge hit!

He is a SOLID little boy! He’s 16 pounds now, which is still only the 30th%tile for weight, but man! He certainly is ‘dense’, as he has been described with regard to his weight and body composition several times in the last few weeks! We *know* he has knees and elbows, but we just can’t seem to find them due to the chub-a-lub that covers them! He has the sweetest little inverted knuckles and dimples on his elbows and his thighs are just delicioso!!!! One would never know that such an Itty Bitty Baby Kitty is such a Pudge Pop these days!!! I love, love, love it!

He is rolling over and moving around like a pro. ‘Scooter’ does the funniest thing—he lays on his back, arches it, uses his head and feet and scoots himself backward…it’s so hilarious how mobile he is that way!!! He is also trying a bit to crawl the ‘real’ way, and he inches like a little wormy-worm with the best of them. I think any day now he’ll be moving more and more purposefully and I’ll be in big trouble!!! He’s a guy on the move!!!

He’s also working on sitting. He’s pretty good at sitting for a little bit on his own, but still ends up slumping over and finding his toes. In honesty, that’s pretty darned cute too!!!

We visited “Uncle Kevin” and “Aunt Melissa” and had a great time in the pool! Luke is a natural in the water and his daddy (and I!) couldn’t be happier. I see swim lessons in his future and SOON!

He’s still not sleeping as soundly as I’d like—but heck, with teething (nothing broken through yet) and moving and NO schedule consistency whatsoever, I’d think all things considered, he’s doing ok. We’ve moved bedtime up a bit earlier, and that should hopefully help as well. Naps are still icky, though for the last two days, he took a morning nap that lasted ONE WHOLE HOUR. Yep!!! Each day, his first morning nap was an HOUR! Hooray!!! No idea of why, but I’m not knocking it and hope that the trend will continue!!!

I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. Today, Matthew would be 19 months old. How different my life would be. All this moving around and crazy scheduling with a mobile little boy…it’s hard to imagine and yet, I can’t help but do so. So many times a day, though my life is really full with such an amazing and precious baby brother, “What would have been?” crosses my mind.

It used to overshadow what IS.

It doesn’t do that so much any more, and I’m thankful…but that doesn’t mean that “What would have been?” hurts any less. It’s always there…just coexisting more competently with how life is. I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be…healing doesn’t mean healed, even though so many people think it does.

There’s healing every day.

Don’t think ‘healed’ will be until we all get to Heaven and I get to kiss my Matthew’s sweet cheeks.

Here are some pictures from the last two weeks. We’ve been BUSY!

Daddy and Luke hanging around as the house is packed....

Rockin the guitars for our sweet friend Bree!

Awesome visit with our Hannah's Prayer friend Tina...and her little miracle Grant!

Mommy's great friends Mike and Lorraine!!!

Our wonderful Dr. K...at the Waldorf Shady Grove Grand Opening!

It's good to be Luke!!!!
Daddy's sweet work friend Miss Amy!
Daddy put this mustache on...all the work friends thought it was hilarious!
LOVE THIS BOY! Some photo shoot faves....

MEOW!! Helllloooo, Baby Kitty!!!!

Father's Day
Our sweet friend Bert...he was the one who spoke to mommy and daddy as Matthew was passing away...his words and scripture reading were so special to us.

Our dear, dear friend Miss Connie! We miss, miss, miss her!!!!!!

"I LOVE pooltime!"

Visiting Granddad's resting place in Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Right Where I Am: Eighteen Months and 19 Days

So, I'm joining on a project over at Still Life With Circles...basically a 'recap' of where I am, this very minute, in my grief.

Eighteen months and nineteen days. 566 days. 80 weeks. 13,584 hours.

Every now and then, I still calculate.

Because I don't really count that way automatically anymore.

I used to. I used to be able to tell how many days, weeks, hours, minutes and seconds it had been since he'd died...and now, I find myself sometimes biting my cheek just a little bit when someone remembers him on the 28th before even *I* remember that it's another month.

Another month without him.

We drove away today. Leaving the house didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. It being empty doesn't even hurt as much as I thought. I still teared up in each room as I walked through with Luke and talk to him about what happened here and there, but overall, I'm handling leaving the house pretty well, I'd say.

It was the driving past the cemetery on our way out that got me.

Leaving his little body there. Still. Always. Forever.

That got me.

My sister and I were talking and she was trying to tell me that I shouldn't feel guilty. I told her I didn't.

And I don't. I do not feel guilt. (This time!)

I cannot control us moving. I cannot control him being gone. I cannot control much of anything. It's not guilt I feel.

It's aching. Longing, really. Just plain wistful and wishful thinking that things were different. That I knew what his smile was like. That I was able to look into his eyes. That he could hear my voice and know it was his mama, and that she loved him more than she'd ever dream she would.

I just wish it was different. I wish my heart didn't still hurt so much, but then there's no way that it couldn't really.

He is gone. My first-born is gone before I really even got to know him.

No guilt. Just longing.

That's where I find myself these days. Not feeling guilty that I adore and revolve my life around Luke. He deserves it. I'm his mother. I should.

Just wishing I'd been able to do that for Matthew as well. Accepting that I never will, and that's just not something that will change or that I can do anything about.

I'd not call this acceptance, per se, in the 'grief process' sort of way because I totally believe that tomorrow, I might feel completely different.

Heck, in 5 minutes, I might. That's just how grief is. Like one of those plastic poppers that you invert and then place on a flat surface---slowly, slowly, slowly it starts to move back into its original position and then--POP! It flies up into the air, out of control and in no particular direction.

But for now, this is where I am. Not feeling guilty. Not feeling raw. Not feeling responsible.

Just missing him.
Always missing him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home is Where The Marine Corps Sends Us....


I used to have a plaque that hung on our wall that echoed those sentiments (yes, during my Americana phase)...I believed it then, and for many, many, many years after.

Not so much now.

Nowhere we are stationed is home.

This earth is not my home.

A huge piece of my heart is where my Home is...and I just try and keep that in mind as we are ready to move back to North Carolina for awhile.

My Matthew is Home.

One day, we will be Home with him too.

Until then, I have to say that we are blessed to be loved by so many in both our 'homes' here in Maryland and in North Carolina. That always makes just about anything easier--to be loved, and supported and cared for.

Many people have told me that they will visit (or will continue to visit) Matthew's grave for us while we are in North Carolina. I cannot even express how much that means to us. I pray that anyone who does knows what a priceless gift they are giving to us in doing so, and any pictures or notes will brighten any day I have in North Carolina.

Our house is packed. The movers come tomorrow. We'll be vagabonds for the next month and a half. Everything that Luke does is prefaced by me with, "This is the last time you'll...blah, blah, blah in this house for a while, buddy," and I realize that chokes me up far more than it does him.

As I posted on Facebook the other day...I have a much easier time coming to grips with my things being packed up in order for me to continue to exist in the days ahead than I do packing Matthew's things up to be stored for the next two-three years because there's really no 'need' to have them in limited space.

His whole little life is basically summed up here...in this house, this area, this state. Who knew years ago when I decided to "Do Maryland" that my precious little boy's life would be summed up that way?

And yet...North Carolina, here we come! I loved North Carolina. I have so many good friends who are more like family down there, and I am so excited to share Luke with them as well.

It just hurts to leave the tangibles of Matthew behind...
They are precious to me.

Luke is just out of control with all the amazing things he is doing! He finally rolled all the way over from back to front (he does front to back at warp speed, continuously!) but we'd have never known had we not been watching him fight a nap on the video monitor (seriously, one of my FAVORITE things!). He is constantly reaching for everything he can, exploring face after face after face, putting anything (and I mean anything!) he can into his mouth and now reaches for us when he is in his glider or bouncy and we walk by and he wants us to pick him up! He is definitely becoming more determined in his needs and it's so funny!

Checking Brett's face out!!!

...and Miss Nia's....

He squeals! With utter delight, he squeals and squeals and squeals some more because he finds it so great! I love to hear him coo and squeal with just sheer joy. He LOVES having his toes and feet played with so much so that when you stop, he lifts his feet up in the air for you to continue. He is just now finding his toes and loves them.

"Play with my toes, daddy!!!!!"

Every time we put a warm cloth on his bottom when we are changing his diaper, he freezes and gets the most gigantic smile on his face...he literally acts like it's a wonderful spa treatment and his eyes just twinkle.

He is a happy, happy boy.

He was 15 lbs., 8 oz. and 25.75 inches the other day. That's 29th%tile for weight and 48th%tile for length. As predicted, long and lean for now. He is teething up a storm and get this--he has SIX teeth we can see that are working their way here!! SIX. His two upper front teeth are the ones that Dr. Sheth predicts will be here any day. There are 3 on the bottom back right and one on the bottom back left.

Yes. BOTTOM BACK! Dr. Sheth said that it certainly is early to see those, but that could happen. Just because they are at the surface and hard, though, does not mean they are about to erupt, and could be months. Hooray. Teething is so much fun.


I feel terrible for him, though he really isn't fussy at all. He just tries to stuff his fist as far down his mouth as he can...and puts everything else there too.

"Can I get my fingers back there any further?????"

Plus, sleeping is still hard for him, though I am working hard at getting naps under control and then hopefully using better napping for better night time sleep. Still hard to do with teething, moving, visiting and such, but we are working on it. He's good for at least one that's about 40 minutes around 9 and another that's about 30 minutes around noon. Then another around 35 minutes around 2 and another 20ish minutes around 5. He'd like to take another cat nap later, but I try not to let him and instead am trying to get him to bed a bit earlier. Tonight seemed like success.

There's no telling about tomorrow.

Sneaking in a nap...mommy couldn't stop this one!!!

We tried homemade organic brown rice. He was NOT a fan. My favorite part of it all? Him TOTALLY pushing his daddy's hand away every time John brought the spoon there. He is definitely interested in eating, but things he likes. He basically grabs his medicine syringe out of my hand and sticks it in his mouth and starts sucking away because he loves it. Pushes stuff he doesn't away. I think he's ready to try some more stuff in the next few weeks and I'm excited for him. I predict he'll love fruits --he has one heckuva sweet tooth!!

"What the heck is this stuff?

"Ummm...how about no more, 'K? Thanks."

I can't believe he's growing so fast.

The boy is still working on sitting by himself, though not as much as he likes to STAND!

Yeah, so check it out. He's standing. Leaning on the crib, but still...STANDING, for Pete's Sake!

"Yeah, mom...just so you know...this will be happening WAY sooner than you'd like!!!!"

Seriously, he is a mover, mover, mover and he just wants to STAND or have you stand with him...preferably moving around so he can take everything in. Everyone tells me you can really tell he's a thinker.

I think I'm in trouble when that thinking gets put to action!!!!

Cute, yes. Diabolical? Oh, yes!!!!

Here are some pictures from the week...it's been busy!!

Still LOVING his baths!!!! Now he reaches for the hand-held wand!

Yep...teethies for sure!!!

His new book. He LOVES those!!! Thanks to "Uncle Craig" and "Auntie Shelby"!

Oooohhhh....that's my foot!!!

You mean daddy will buy me a pony when I get bigger than Froggy????

Wait...what's a pony????

He was ALL about this precious little puppy!!! The puppy loved him back!!!

Yep...trying to put the puppy's nose in his mouth!

Luke and his expressions!!!!