My baby–isn’t so much a baby anymore.

It’s pretty custom to write a fresh blog post for the New Year.  But, this time it’s not about resolutions or solutions.  And, it’s not a trip down memory lane either.  I get tired of reading posts like that.  You know–posts that are full of optimism and hope for the New Year to bring new things.  Posts that ramble on about new goals and ideas.  Posts that reminisce on all the woes and triumphs of the past year.   Seriously though, how many goals do you attempt to achieve in one year and actually achieve them?  Okay, I’m guilty. I’ve written these types of posts.  We all have. But, this year I’m just not feelin’ it.   Don’t get me wrong–I did make a goal list and I’m very excited for 2016.  I’m just choosing not to share it this year, because I’m assuming you’ve read enough of these posts.

  
Maybe it’s because Cora (my youngest) turns 1 today,  and that’s what I want to write about.  The fact that my baby– isn’t so much a baby anymore.  And, it’s totally heartbreaking.   Insert 1,000 tear emoji’s. Sure she will always be my baby, because she is the youngest.   But now, she is a walking toddler.  A freakin’ one-year-old!

  
Each age comes with new responsibilities, stages, and developments.  And, with Cora turning one I’ve slowly entered into this world where my children are starting to fight.  Sibling rivalry has officially begun folks.  Uhh surprise! –Yeah, no.   It’s not fun.

And if you have kids you know how it goes:

Cora is holding a toy.

McKinley grabs the toy.

Cora starts flailing and screaming.  Technically a tantrum. (And not a cute one).  It’s the kind where you actually scrunch up the side of you lip, raise your eyebrows, and say, “Are you serious?”   Then you attempt to correct the situation.

“McKinley, you took that from your sister and she was playing with it.  Please give it back to her and when she is done you can have a turn.”

Boom. Fireworks.

McKinley starts stomping her foot with hand on hip.

My eye starts twitching.

Cora grabs toy from McKinley.

“Hey, that’s mine!” as she grabs back from Cora.

Eyes bulge. Teeth clench.

“If you guys cannot share, then the toy goes.”

Thankfully at this point I can still distract Cora—but with effort.

It’s obviously not all like that.  Now, when McKinley stubs her toe, or is crying about her newest and latest “boo-boo,” Cora toddles over to McKinley and repetitively pats her with both chubby little hands.   And smiles.  McKinley giggles. They hug.  Ah!  I live for these moments.  Every parent does.  Because, It’s better than gold.  It’s a calm and peace that rushes through your mind and body.   Where the world makes sense.  And you understand purpose.  And love simply permeates the room in a profound way.

  
“Cora say, “MA-MA,” come on you can do it!”   McKinley has become an amazing sister.  I think it’s a big milestone–developing that role and understanding what it means to be a sibling.  But, in a year, McKinley has owned it.  Cora cries and in a matter of minutes McKinley returns to the rescue with a teddy bear.

Another aweing thing about having a big One-year-old is that their personality emerges.   Cora is a sweetheart.  And that’s the best word to describe her.  She stumbles over to give my legs a hug while I cook dinner.  And is laid back enough to let me hold her in an Ergo carrier for hours.  She has gentle eyes. You look into them and see a softness. I recognize them, because my father had the same blue eyes.

  
Cheers to parenthood and Happy Birthday to our sweet Cora. We love you!

 ~g 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Forts & Cocoa!

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Date Night Idea

My hubby and I tried something new for date night.

{Don’t lose sight of adventure or get stuck in mundane routines.}

Months ago (and I’m just now getting around to posting about it) we traveled to  The Cincinnati Dinner Train!

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It was an awesome experience. We enjoyed a four course meal while traveling on a 3 hour train ride in downtown Cincinnati.  The 4 course meal began with a cheese spread and ended with a delicious chocolate pecan pie.  When you register for seats on the train they have you preorder your food (and you have a choice between 3 entrees and two deserts). I highly suggest the chicken and pecan pie.

We spent the bulk of our train ride answering and asking each other personal and meaningful questions.  I would recommend asking/answering these questions to any married couple or partnership looking to enhance and enrich their relationship.

Watch for  post: Marriage Questions for some of the questions.

 

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Monday Monologue: “Uh-Oh Meme”

Okay, McKinley is 18-months-old now.  We should probably talk about what that means.   And…more what that entails for Mama G (a.k.a me).  18-months is a big milestone.  The reason people say, “she is 17 months” or “She is 8-months now” is because infant’s cognitive and physical development is vastly different from month to month.

18 months.  McKinley’s next “well-visit” or check up at the doctor is now 6 months away, instead of 3 months.  It is developmentally when Telegraphic speech begins, symbolic thought, and the use of their emotions to manipulate (my personal favorite).   It’s important to mention here that every child is different and develops differently.

Telegraphic speech is when they start stringing words together.  For example, McKinley will say, “Uh-ohh Meme,”  “down there,” or “bye-bye Dada.”   And symbolic thought is when they will use language to think about their actions before performing them.  It’s a great age.  I look at McKinley and I start thinking, Oh man, you’re not my little baby anymore. You’re getting big.

It comes as no surprise to you that this age comes with new territory. Mainly: climbing on everything– throwing mini tantrums that half the time make no sense–hiding–well she thinks she hiding–bigger poop ordeals, bigger messes, and of course emotional manipulation.

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Last night McKinley screamed, because her hand was stuck in a jar. When I rushed to help, she pulled her hand out, and started laughing.   I most likely reinforce behavior like this, because I’ll shake my head and say, “Oh man McKinley, you got me!”
Although, I can’t say I’m 100% surprised. After all my father was a huge prankster.

Do you have any great moments or insane stories from this age?! Mine are starting to pile up!

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Backseat

I waited impatiently for the phone to ring. And when it finally did my mother’s somber voice didn’t prepare me.  Even when something is anticipatory it still comes as a f-cking shock.

My dad had gone in for an MRI of his brain. Everyone told us it was probably nothing. We expected his cognitive issues were because of adjustments in his medications.  I was driving to the grocery store during the time of his appointment.  And started thinking:   I need a sign. I don’t feel right. It’s gonna be okay.  It’s the medications. I dunno though, what if it’s not.  I just need a sign. Please God give me a sign.  The car in front of me brought me back to reality because they were driving 10 MPH under the speed limit.  I caught the license plate: DUEPRAY.  Oh my god, due pray, like do pray. I should be praying right now! I grabbed my rosary that hangs over my rear-view mirror and began reciting the Lords Prayer.  Then, a bird flew past my windshield.  A little bird in slow motion.  I’m  actually surprised I didn’t kill the bird… that’s how close it flew.

When I got home my phone finally rang.

“Well? What did they say?” I asked.  A PET scan a couple of months earlier showed no signs of anything.  We’re talking about cancer, there were no signs of cancer.

“It’s not good Georgia.” My mom was matter of fact.  She even said my name.

“Okay, what is it?”

“It’s in his brain,” she stated.

“No it’s not… wait are you kidding me?”

“No.”

“Are you JOKING me!?” I belted. I seriously couldn’t believe it.

“No, I’m not kidding you.  They found approximately 20 lesions or tumors in his brain,” her voice got soft and broke. I heard sniffles through the phone and could only imagine the amount of tears trickling down her face.

“Ohhhh f-ck.”  Then silence.  “Mom, are you driving?”

“No, not yet, we are walking out to the car.”

“Okay, well just drive home. I’ll call the siblings… I love you mom.”  Then, I hung up.

I was holding McKinley screaming out loud Oh God, Oh God! while sobbing and trying to call my sister and brother. I’m crying now. It’s everywhere in his brain. And time is running out. Precious time with my daddy. Precious time for McKinley with her Papa.

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This might sound strange, but in my mind I’ve always known my dad was going to die.   Duh, the life cycle.  It’s something we know to be fact, yet believe we are invincible.  When he first was diagnosed, the thought changed to- my dad is dying.  And now that his death is upon us, the thought has reverted back to: my dad is going to die.  Really Soon.  It’s not that I didn’t foresee the cancer spreading, I did.  Just not this quickly. I wasn’t ready.

How am I doing? Terrible.  I know it may be social protocol, but it’s really a strange question to ask.  In my opinion.  Different people have told me to be strong, but what does that really mean?  What is it to be weak during your father’s death? And, why is it a bad thing?  I understand they are words of encouragement and sympathy and it helps.  The truth is, I’m not sure I can be strong.  I only hope that someway somehow my father’s voice will ring loud inside me and the words and strength will flow effortlessly.

So, we are preparing for the end.  With hospice. An anticipatory grief (counseling term). A milestone. A really f-cking hard milestone.  Living with and caring for: a parent, a hero, a friend, teacher, and advocate, someone you look up to, depend on, and someone you love deeply. Your father.

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Early in the year, I did a post to raise money for LUNGevity Breathe Deep Newark for our team: The TERMINATORS.  We helped raise, with many others, $23,000 for research.  Thank you again for your help and kindness.  Here is a short movie I prepared of that day (May 11th) and the speech my father gave to everyone (they asked him to give a speech because he was the #1 individual fund-raiser and the only survivor in attendance) 

I wanted to let my readers know that things have been harder lately. Obviously. My father is really struggling. We are all struggling.  Skipping the details of what that means or entails, I’m spending more time caring for him. And so, this blog is something I currently cannot commit to doing as frequently as I was before.

I will continue to try to participate in “Monday Monologues” and “Wordless Wednesdays” capturing pictures of McKinley’s Milestones and family life.  Although, I’m not sure how frequent that will be.  My hours spent editing craft, recipe, and informational posts will most likely take a temporary backseat for now.  I apologize for that and I hope that you’ll remain an avid follower.

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