Onwards and upwards!
I think the greatest gift of parenting is watching all of the kids play together. Noah is the best big brother and we are so grateful for the way he plays with Cecily and Cason. He's fallen in love with his little brother and he can't wait until he gets bigger so they can "really play"... He sings to him every morning and makes up funny dances to amuse him. He hops on the bed to give him cuddles and he always wants to be the first one in line for kisses. He thinks he is EVEN better than Luke & Ian's dog, Zulu. Yes, that's right boys... the baby is better than the puppy.
I say this a lot but Cason is the best present. He is a gift and he saves me on my hardest days. When he smiles he fills me with so much energy and love and hope and I see everything that is right about our family, our life and the crazy world we live in. I would be lying if I didn't mention that on some of my harder days it also stings a tiny bit... as I remember the days when I would pray for Cecily to smile at me, or to acknowledge me in some way... I wanted the give and take between parent and child that for so long was missing from our relationship. When Cason smiles I remember those days and I hurt for those parents that may never get to experience the pure joy of having a child beam at you for just being you. Cason beams at just about anyone - but heck...I'll pretend he saves all that love for me! He has the sweetest disposition... he is so calm and loving and did I mention calm? (yes, hard to believe he came from us!) I breathe him in daily and I love to sit with him on my knees and gaze at him. Like clock-work he is hitting his milestones. The difference is I appreciate EVERY one. I will never take for granted a baby rolling over, smiling, holding a rattle, tracking an object, making eye contact, cooing, laughing or showing affection. I enjoy every little thing he does and I don't love him more for doing it - I just appreciate it because I know how hard Cecily has fought for every one of those things. Cason is just pure heaven and he is my angel. I am pretty sure he was sent to our family for the amazing balance he has provided. I can't explain what he has done in four short months but I'm pretty sure he is not working alone...
And here's Cecily... she emptied out her cubby and decided to crawl in. Afterall - she's better than any of the toys that were previously in it! She looks so mature in this picture that I can't quite believe that is my baby staring back at me. She is beautiful (yes, you're not supposed to say that about your own child) but she is so much more than a pretty face. There are so many layers to Cecily. She is growing every day in so many ways. She is turning into our social butterfly... loving the interaction from school and from everyone she meets. Her progress can't be measured on a milestone chart or by any traditional measuring sticks. School is deficit based - so they look at what she is not doing... which can be frustrating and often an unwelcome reality check. We know they are there to help Cecily and we LOVE her school - but it can be hard to be told all the time that she is not doing this, that or the other. I often feel crazy because how I feel about Cecily and what she shows the outside world are two entirely different realities. It makes me wonder if I only see what I want to see - or if Cecily just knows we believe in her so she is free to display all the beauty she has to offer - the beauty that is not skin-deep but rather the light in her soul that radiates from her when she is happy. And when is she happiest? Anyone who knows Cecily knows this answer... when she is with her brothers. She loves Noah. He is her world. He is her protector and her play-mate and her wrestle-mania partner! And now she loves her baby, Cason. He is her baby. He laughed for the first time this week and Cecily's face lit up and her smile was so wide it was contagious. They sat giggling together. It is a memory that I will not soon forget. Cason did his happy feet kicking and when I got excited she copied him. They kicked and laughed and they were happy. Isn't that all we can ask for? Where is the darn happy meter at school, at therapy and at the Doctor's office? I think the world would be a lot better if there was a different measuring stick for our children. We need more play. We need less competition. We need more love. We need less criticism. We just need more brother and sister love in the world.
Onwards and upwards!
I survived my first week back to work. I say survived because it was not easy and I really just didn't feel like myself. On my first day back as I packed up my old cube and moved to a new location I found myself repeating over and over in my head... is this really happening? Am I already back?
Despite feeling incredibly busy on Day 1 - I took the time to hang my pictures back up so I could see the kiddos as I worked away. It helped... but not enough! I pinched myself several times as I trudged through thousands (yes, thousands) of unread email... My laptop crashed 3x, my new Android phone didn't get coverage in my new cube (but ironically worked on the other side of the building), and then the app required to get office mail on my phone wouldn't load. My new docking station didn't dock and I kept telling myself these were signs... weren't they? Was the universe telling me to go home? Brien assures me these are not signs and there is no choice in the matter so I should just suck it up... And so I will. One of my favorite quotes from my childhood still rings in my head when I face a situation that I hate:
"If you can't change something... change the way you think about it..."
So I will do my best because isn't that all we can do? Our very, very best. And I'm grateful to have some amazing co-workers who helped make the transition back into corporate life a little easier.
We are still without a nurse for Cecily. The saga continues... and I'm guessing it could be several weeks before we have someone hired and up and running. I am just ever so grateful to my folks for helping us once again weather the storm until we can get our childcare situation in order. I am just so supremely grateful for the YMCA... Noah is in love. He runs around the house singing camp songs, the YMCA song, and gets so excited about everything! Tomorrow he starts Superhero camp... I am just praying he does not tell his counselor that he wants to be Superhero Capt. Underpants... LOL... that is what he calls himself at home. He will get to make his own costume, his own superhero and then perform on Friday. Time will tell... but one thing I know for sure: he is happy!
Cason is equally delighted! He seems to have adjusted to Grammy and Grampy without missing a beat. As long as he is full he is happy go lucky! I am so grateful. I miss him terribly but when I come home he is happy to see me and life continues. His smiles are a mile wide and an oceand deep. His eyes twinkle and he is just truly an angel baby. I prayed for this baby and he came! Thank you! Prayers answered.
Cecily is another story. She is mad. She loves Grammy and Grampy but she is mad at me. After four months of non-stop Mommy... she does not understand why I'm leaving her and why I'm not around. It is at these times where I feel the painful guilt of being a working Mom. The irony is I am working for her! I am working to provide for her and to ensure she has everything she needs. I just wish she knew how much it rips my heart out to leave her every day (even though work is much EASIER than staying home!) I can honestly say that while my day job is far from easy - it is more relaxing than some of the chaos that comes on the bad days. (And lately, we've had a few bad days.) I just hope that once school starts that everything falls into place. The good news is I only work 9-4 Tues-Thurs... so in theory she is at school, then napping until I arrive home. I just hope things get better. Cecily is such a sweet, loving girl. She demands attention but then again she has always had it... so who can blame her for giving me the business!
Tomorrow is another day. I will remind myself the glass is half-full and hope for the best!
Onwards and upwards!
Hoot Hoot... this weekend we completed our 24th makeover which was actually 2 spaces - a bedroom and a play space. We love it! It is our first attempt at a sensory room... equipped with bubble light, ladder to hang sensory objects to touch and a custom made sensory wall board with beautiful things for Charley to touch.
Please check out her amazing story and the pictures of her beautiful owl retreat.
Onwards and upwards!
Cecily has made me a believer. I believe in the impossible and I believe having hope makes life worth living. Do you believe? I do. Our family does. We believe that love and nurturing and endless hugs and kisses can pretty much heal anything... and so we believe.
Cecily has hit her stride once again and we just find ourselves ever so grateful. After having a rough patch of unexplained tantrums and some regression here and there... we just stayed on track... beating the therapy drum... despite second-guessing whether a detour was in order.
We know life is not easy but we try and find the good in every day. We have a new appreciation for a "good" day. A good day to us is a day full of more smiles than tears, more laughter than cries and more hugs than hurts. It is a day when we are not racing to the "next thing..." but rather dwelling on the best thing - each other. It is a day when Cecily shines and shows the world that if you believe in her she will prove to everyone who is paying attention just how capable and smart she is! It is a day when I find Noah singing sweetly to Cason... This morning I found him cuddling Cason on my bed and singing this tune:
"Cason... Cason we love you... you make me and Cecccciilllyyyy so very happyyyy... Cason Cason we thing you're the best... you're so cute and you make me and Cecy so happyyyyyyy"
I tried for video but I was spotted and I didn't want to ruin the moment. It is hard-coded into my brain and the mental version is likely better than anything I could capture on film or video. I'm pretty sure if Cecily could sing she would agree with Noah's rendition. She signs baby boy every morning and she calls out for her baba or boby... her affectionate term for Cason. (She has mastered Noah so we can often hear her chanting his name...)
We've had a few good days lately and some wonderful days! I am so sad to be headed back to work next week. I love the gift of staying home and loving on the babies. I love everything about being a Mom and the thought of trying to balance work and the 3 little ones is admittedly stressing me out. But... I believe. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that if I work hard enough everything will fall into place. I have hope that my fairy godmother will wave her magic wand and perhaps one day I will get to stay home. For now... I believe that the best thing to do is not worry about the things we can't control but to focus on those that we can...enjoying the time we do have... believing in miracles... hoping the best for our kiddos and appreciating the good days.
Onwards and upwards!
This has been quite a week for Cecily's Closet. We are such a small organization but we are committed to helping make a difference for children with developmental disabilities in San Diego one family at a time.
Above is just one of MANY car loads that we recycled this week! We are more known for our room makeovers but the equipment recycling is our passion! When we came up with the idea for Cecily's Closet we wanted people in San Diego to simply: Give. Exchange. Recycle. and of course... Receive! We know there are garages all over the city full of gently used walkers, wheelchairs, gate trainers and more that children have outgrown but there is nowhere to send them... Well we are here to say we'll take 'em!
For two years we have struggled to get this program running. Ironically our room makeovers and accidental belly band program caught on like wild-fire... we scratched our heads and wondered what we were doing wrong! And finally... it feels we have this recycling program successfully launched with lots of love and support from donors all over the county.
Since April we've recycled so much great stuff - including wheelchairs, gate trainers, corner chairs, standers, car seats, swings, bicycle pedals, kid-karts, and developmentally focused toys! THANK YOU San Diego!
This week alone we helped a lovely little girl get a much needed gate trainer! We are so excited to be dusting off old equipment and getting it to families in need. Today we recycled 3 corner chairs, a bean-bag, bicycle pedals, games, toys, a swing and more! Tomorrow we will get three standers out to therapy units in need! And on Friday we are expecting even more goodies. We are getting such so quickly we have been using FaceBook as our primary method of communication. If you are reading this and have not seen the equipment I just spoke about on our web site you are correct... we post to FaceBook first and if it does not go that day we post to our site! If you have not liked us on FaceBook please do so you can get these important updates!
We are so excited about our progress! And this weekend we will complete our 24th makeover and get started on our 25th! We could never have done this without the amazing support of our unpaid volunteers and generous donors. Thank you for making a difference for children with special needs!
Onwards and upwards!
Summer school is here for Cecily and she is loving it! She is so excited to see her friends at school. I didn't realize how much she missed her friends until I told her she was going back to school. She was so happy! When I walked her into her classroom a few of her little friends greeted her with happy smiles and she was back in the saddle just like that. School is such a gift for Cecily and we are so excited to have our happy little angel back.
Today we had a tantrum free day! An entire day full of love and cuddles and school and fun and only one outburst and it was minor.
When Cecily got in the car today I asked her if she had a fun day at school. She smiled. I asked her to raise her hands if she had a great day and she quickly threw her arm in the air and smiled at me and her school nurse, Tara. It was precious!
After school she let me rock her to sleep...a treat! She NEVER lets me do this and I enjoyed every second. Noah was still at camp and Cason was sleeping so we just cuddled each other and rocked away in her room. I breathed in her sweet scent and held her so close. If that is not heaven I I had to wake her to take her to get Noah but she was happy to get Noah... and she said his name over and over. It is a joyous sound and Noah is so proud that she can say it clearly now.
Once everyone had their respective snack I decided to brave the park with all three kids and just pray that all went well. It did! Noah scooted around while Cecily and I chased him. (Cason was strapped to my chest and enjoyed his nap with not so much as a peep!). When we got home I asked if anyone would like to watch the monkey as a special treat so I could make dinner. Brien was working late (just walked in at 10:30pm...) and we had no nurse so I knew I needed to cheat with a 20 minute Curious George segment. I asked Noah and Cecily to say please. (They both signed it!) I asked them to raise their hands if they really want it. (They both did). Then I said sign I love you and give me kisses. (Yes, I'm greedy!) I got it from all of them on demand. Cecily loves Curious George and I am grateful. It gave me just enough time to cook my only dish... chicken... :) Cecily helped Noah by throwing chicken all over the floor (thank you!) and she tasted the veg and the chicken and ate at least ten plus bites of her favorite food group: ketchup! (Yes, she eats it like baby food and I am so excited to see her enjoy something!).
We then retreated to the playroom for lots and lots of books before I put the kids down to bed like little dominoes. First Cason. Then Cecily. Then Noah. Of course first down is first up so Cason and I are still hanging out but he will be back in bed soon! I enjoy my late night cuddles with him and he enjoys the attention. It is true what they say about the third... they just go along and I'm so lucky to have a very sweet, angel-like baby. Cason is a dream and we are forever grateful for the new joy in our life.
I just wanted to post a quick positive post. Cecily seems to have been saved by summer school. We love Sycamore Ridge and the lovely staff and caring nurses at the school.
Tomorrow we will build Cecily's new care... the Cozy Coupe. Every princess needs one!
Onwards and upwards!