Monday, December 28, 2015

Comfort & Joy

Comfort and joy were hard to come by this year, however I did catch tiny glimpses of both.  

In reminiscing with family, in long hugs, in the kids' pure excitement, in chocolate chip meringue cookies.  
And in giving...even when our hearts were hurting.

It was there.

All of these things and much more are just glimpses of the promise that life will go on.  My Dad will live on in us.  

And we will have comfort and joy in abundance again.

To add to our mental reel of memories...a few things that kept us going this holiday season:
Caroling.  Singing their little Christmas hearts out :)
Celebrating the birth of a King.

The boys' vision for their fort coming to life.

And then Christmas came...

Max's three gifts.
wooden castle + dragon puppet, science experiments for my self-proclaimed "scientist" and a fireworks launcher.
Sullivan's three gifts.
Joinks and a marble run for my guy who loves building anything and everything and a wooden parking garage.

Fletcher's three gifts.
A sleeping bag for my little fox, magnetic truck/blocks and a classic carousel.
Milo's three gifts.
A moose rocker for "milo the moose", a spinning top and classic See & Say.

Max - Explorer book, more "knights + dragons" for his castle, boat in a bottle
Sully - Royals book, wooden ship puzzle, helicopter transformer
Fletcher - alphabet book, take apart vehicles, road tape
Milo - Peek a Boo card set and Dada book written by our favorite, Jimmy Fallon.  I also threw in a few old baby toys I had in the basement...he didn't notice ;)
Our group gift to the boys seems so basic, but its something they all love - COLORING!  I bought them a giant roll of paper since we always run out and made them little individual coloring boxes.  I included stamps and homemade crayons in each box.
Also, the book "I love you the purplest" is about a mom of boys (one even named Max!) and how she loves them equally, but differently.  Plus people who know me well know that my favorite, favorite color ever is this book spoke to me on many levels :)
We had to wake these sleepy heads up!

 Merry, Murray Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A fragile adventure

Life is a fragile adventure.  
I've faced one of my worst nightmares and I'm still here.  Surviving the blow.  It's shocking how quickly things in life can be taken from you.  So fragile we all are.

Now that the raw pain of my Dad's passing has subsided (its transformed into more of a dull ache), I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the person he was.  He was just easy to be around...laid back, welcoming and nonjudgmental. And he was a blast.  He lived big and we always wanted to be near him. Oh, how I adored him.  

Although we didn't get the quantity of years we wanted, we definitely got quality in the years we had.

Jennifer and I were just talking about one of the more recent (pre-illness) conversations we had with him.  He said to us "I'd do anything in the world for you, baby girls. Anything."  Jenni and I just laughed and said "We know, Dad..."  Because he was always professing his love like that.  Both sweet and dramatic :)  We knew and felt the depth of his love for us always.

The unconditional, boundless love my Dad gave me made my heart what it is today - big and open and strong.  It's because of his love that my heart is able to hold this profound grief without breaking into a million tiny pieces that could never be put back together again.  I will hold this loss in my heart always.  I will make room for it to live among the love and happy memories and hope and pride that also reside within it.

His life may not be on earth anymore but his love will never leave me.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Milo // 3 Months

As we celebrate your 3 month milestone, Milo, I must admit my heart is heavy with worry about your Boobo.  He's been in the hospital since the week after Fletcher's birthday.  Although these updates are supposed to be about YOU, I cannot write this post to you without acknowledging this very difficult time for our family.
You and Boobo just days before he was admitted to the hospital for ARDS.
You've been accompanying me to the hospital to cheer him up.  Your sweet smile has brought him joy and I've been so happy to be able to contribute something, anything, when we all feel very helpless.  When he's awake I put you on his lap so he can watch you smile and coo.  You're oblivious to the machines and tubes that surround us.  There's so much love in your squishy little bundle of roundness.  I have to believe there's healing power in that.  Love is the best medicine.   

Your Boobo is the coolest, most kind-hearted, generous, toughest, hilarious, loving guy you could ever hope to have on your side.  His life experiences/stories have kept me entertained and in awe for as long as I've been alive.  I can't wait for him to get better so you can find out for yourself how lucky we are to have him in our lives.
You and Boobo on Halloween.
In the meantime, we're trying to keep things as normal as possible around here.  Including keeping up with my moment-capturing...  
Happy 3 months, little guy.  Life continues to happen all around hard and as beautiful as that is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fletcher's "Be Brave" 2nd Birthday

Fletcher turned TWO last week!  And he's been singing happy birthday to himself ever since.  I love this fun and feisty age.  I'll take the "2's" over the "3's" any day, but my little fox is certainly pushing it lately;)  
His favorites are:
- Annoying his brothers.  If he can get them riled up enough to yell and chase him out of the room, he has succeeded.  The more irritated they get the more high-pitched his giggles are.  He's becoming a master of annoyance and destruction.
- Zooboomafoo.  Anyone know this '90s show?  Thanks to Netflix, Fletch is hooked.  It's old school Kratt Brothers that features different wild animals during each episode and a weird talking lemur.  He wakes up talking about it. On the up(?) side...he FINALLY decided he's cool with watching TV.  What a relief ;)
- The ROYALS!  He still say's "Go Royals!" in exchange for "goodbye" whenever we leave a store, restaurant, school, etc.
- Daddy.  This kiddo LOVES his Dad.  He loves me too, but Billy is definitely his favorite.  Which is fine...because the other three are total momma's boys.

We threw a "Be Brave" birthday party at The Vintage House this past weekend.  I had this vision of tribal decor...feathers, arrows, etc...because his name means "arrow maker".  Kind of random, but it's just something that's always stuck in my mind.  
I included some Bob Dylan lyrics on the back of the invitation because he loves the fast version of this song.  He will dance to it from beginning to end.  Plus I can't think of any lyrics more fitting for a birthday than Forever Young.
Dear Fletcher, I hope the lyrics of this song always ring true for you.  I'll forever keep the image of you bouncing and shaking to the music in my heart.  And you running to the record player when the song ended, repeating "more, more, more!"
Forever Young
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Be brave and be strong
May you stay forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation 
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful 
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.
- Bob Dylan

The kids decorated mini bow & arrows that I made out of popcicle sticks and fishing wire.
Party favors - tambourines!
We collected many warm hats, gloves, etc for the Children's Mercy Mitten Drive.
Here are a few from his actually birthday November 12th.  We opened presents at home and had dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant which he calls "Chips & Dip".
He got a stuffed lemur and a safari truck so he can play Zaboomafoo.  And a harmonica to play along with Bob Dylan :)
Happy birthday, dear Fletcher!
Make a wish, my love.