Saddened Heart.

Tonight was a pretty easy evening of getting the kiddos to bed but Annora was extremely tired so she was acting a bit “silly.” Ben and I got slightly frustrated with her (she gets slap happy) which in turn caused us to be on edge with each other a bit. We shut her door and stomped downstairs to “work” a bit.

I went downstairs to work on writing this blog (about a totally different topic) and I remembered one of my friends reaching out to me earlier today to tell me some pretty difficult news. She had found out that an acquaintance of ours had recently had a miscarriage and had to give birth to her 3.5 pound baby boy, Jack. My heart was heavy as I sat down…dreading to click on her Facebook profile page to see what had happened. I wasn’t prepared to hear her story, see the beautiful birthing pictures and sit in sadness crying for this mother, her family and what she is going through emotionally right now. It was, however, reassuring to see her faith pour out in her posts.

My heart was and is aching and heavy. Her pain is truly greater than any pain I can comprehend. Her transparency of what she is going through is beautiful and I feel like the support she is getting far exceeds what she imagined. Being a mommy of 2 little girls myself, I can’t imagine the inner struggle she is experiencing…the hope that all of this was a bad dream that will go away when she wakes up tomorrow morning. 

I know that she is not alone in what has happened to her (it is evident with the support she is getting on her page). I know that there are many women who have gone through something similar. I would never undermine the loss of a child…I simply cannot imagine!

You know…it put things into perspective for me…like BIG TIME! Yeah Annora was a bit slap happy and it annoyed Ben and I because it was a bit past bedtime, BUT both of our girls are our most prized possession in this world. We are blessed beyond comprehension! I may talk about the struggles with hypotonia both of my girls have, or the trouble with table manners in our household but those “issues” seem minuscule at the moment. For now, I plan to hold my babies a bit tighter, love on them until they can’t stand it one second more, and appreciate and cherish the gift God has given us. Ben and I are unbelievably blessed and I’m ashamed to say we take that for granted all too often.

 

girls running

My Loves…

Manners are Served! Table Time Quarrels

It’s that FRUSTRATING time for every parent…dinner time! I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time stopping to just BREATHE at the dinner table. Annora sings at the top of her lungs with all of her heart, Delise throws food on the floor if she doesn’t like what’s being served and Mommy and Daddy just want peace and quiet after a long day! The only “easy” part (and I say that loosely) to mealtime is our prayer. It seems to be the one time where everyone can STOP and just sit for the 1-2 minutes we take to thank God for all He has provided for us.

Can anyone else relate? I am guessing we are not the only family with table time quarrels.

Rhythm and Rhyme Time!

Toddler obstacle courses??? YES PLEASE!!!

If it weren’t socially awkward to run my way through a toddler obstacle course, I would have done so yesterday! My girls had SOOO MUCH FUN interacting with other kids and joining in on the festivities of make-believe car washes, bean bag tosses, dancing, puppet shows, bubbles and obstacle courses! Our 45 minutes was jam-packed with gross motor fantasticness (I know I just made my own word up…it was “word making” worthy)!

All the fun aside, I submerge my girls in gross motor rich environments for a much deeper reason. Both of my girls were born with Hypotonia (low muscle tone) that makes them appear like Gumby (OOBER flexible). They contort themselves this way and that. To the naked eye, it is cool and neat to see them that flexible. To Mommy and Daddy, it has been a series of interventions and environmental exposure to teach them motor planning and gross motor awareness.

“Someday”

Have you ever read this book?

"Someday" by Alison Meghee & Peter H. Reynolds

“Someday” by Alison Meghee & Peter H. Reynolds

I SERIOUSLY cry…maybe SOB…EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I read this book to the girls. In fact…it takes SUPER MOMMY STRENGTH to actually get through the whole book.

I read this book (among MANY) to the girls today and then we went on a wagon ride through the neighborhood, I turned around and thought about that book again.

The girls enjoying their ride...and Mommy too!

The girls enjoying their ride…and Mommy too!


“Someday” my girls will be too old to go on a wagon ride, too old to play in a sandbox, too old to swing on a swing set, too old to let me give them a bath and comb their wet hair so that it’s parted juuuussst right, too old to squeeze me around the neck soooooo tight they don’t want to let go and just lay their head on my shoulder, too old for me to be their entire world (along with Benny of course).

“Someday” I will be witnessing these things as a grandmother…seeing my daughters become mommies…and I can’t help but smile (and cry).

Why, right???!!!???

Because I am there every step of their little day…every day! I wipe their tears, I teach them right from wrong, I play Barbies for the 2 millionth time, I act out every Disney princess movie to the absolute best of my ability, I see my girls grow before my eyes, I get to sit at the lunch table and talk about who they want to be when they get older, and who God is to their little minds! Today…the discussion at lunch was the meaning of “Amen!” We got out the trusted iPhone and did a little research. I know the meaning and can probably explain in Annora’s terms, but this was a moment for investigation and discovery. Have you ever just allowed your child to come to their own conclusion based on their own research? It is beautiful! A simple YouTube video did a nice job explaining, a cartoon illustration was next followed by my verbalization of Webster’s dictionary definition. When all was said and done, Annora simply said…”So it means truly?”

Of course my response was, “What a great word to describe Amen!”

Even though it was straight from the dictionary that I read aloud to her, she now believes she came up with that word on her own…and believe me, she will remember it! 

This life is FAST. I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life…I absolutely do. BUT…there is no replacement for time…none! Choose how you spend your time and spend it WISELY. Once it’s gone…it is GONE!

Annora hopped out to eat her snack at the neighbors awesome tree...and I went with it...why not right!?!

Annora hopped out to eat her snack at the neighbors awesome tree…and I went with it…why not right!?!

“Me” Time…What’s That?

Whoever said leaving your family for “me” time could be easy…is CLEARLY not being honest!

Oh my, oh my…I am leaving my babies and hubby for 5 days for a trip I earned through being a Beachbody coach. The planning process started about 3 weeks ago and now that the time is here…I am stressing even more. I don’t believe it is so much the fact that I am leaving them for 5 days…but more around the fact that there is more time spent in planning around the kiddos and their day than time actually spent on my own itinerary.

Nap time schedules, meal time, what the kiddos will eat for their meals, who has them while Ben is working, who will take them overnight so that they don’t have to wake up at 5 AM for church, who will take Annora to ballet class, who will babysit Delise while Ben does his Daddy/ daughter date night with Annora, etc., etc…PHEW! My head is spinning just typing it!

Without a doubt I needed some guidance. I started researching different sites that are helpful when planning a trip away from the kids. I found this one in particular to be helpful:

http://www.parents.com/parenting/work/how-to-prepare-kids-when-parents-travel-for-work/

Anywhere from how to say your goodbyes to creating a schedule that will work for the caretaker while your gone were all covered! From that site, I was able to create a good timeline for family watching our kids, I bought the girls a gift from me that they can open after I am gone, we will be face timing each other daily, I have a concrete plan as to what will be going on each and every day, and I feel more calm in the midst of chaos. All in all, it was a win and I’m glad I didn’t just try to “wing it.”

Myrtle Beach…here I come!

Annora is ready to go on the trip with me...tiara and all!

Annora is ready to go on the trip with me…tiara and all!

Mommy’s Day Bliss…

Well…I don’t know about you, but my Mother’s Day started out with quite a BANG! Delise, my 20 month old, woke up with a high temperature that immediately made me go into panic mode. She was sick and I was supposed to teach the Kids’ Ministry at church this morning…Ahhh…I was perplexed. I obviously couldn’t expose her to other little ones…What to do? I had a 45 minute drive and time was ticking…

I did what any other desperate mommy would do…I called MY MOMMY! Haha…

Poor feverish baby girl! Poor feverish baby girl!

More Than a Mommy

It’s cold and rainy outside and I’m in the house with the girls…waiting for the spring air and warmth to shine through the grey. It amazes me how both of my girls (Annora-4 years old and Delise-20 months old) can play and have fun when the rain is streaming down the windows and the house is dim with light.  They have not a care in the world and can turn any old beat up box into a baby doll bassinet and a huge oversized pillow pal into a car that is crashing through the streets. At what age do we lose that creative, careless nature?!? I pray they always have that creative ability and drive in them.

As a stay at home mommy I am so thankful to my hubby, Ben, who finds it one of the most important “jobs” someone can do. He works as a pastor for NorthRock Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His schedule changes quite frequently so it can be hard to determine a solid schedule. That being said, some days are longer than others but the one on one time I get with each girl along with witnessing all of the “firsts” far outweighs those long days. When days tend to get long and I am feeling like bedtime can’t come soon enough, I get my Toledo Parent magazine out and start circling/highlighting all of the fun things we would like to do throughout the month. I love to be busy and keep the girls active. The balance between playing at home with mommy, independent play and getting out in the community can be a lot to juggle at times but can also be very fun to plan out.

Let me give you a little background on my family. Ben and I have been married for 5.5 years and in that time have had 2 daughters, Annora and Delise. The girls are 2.5 years apart. Annora is a performer and will act out any musical if she is given the chance. She holds a captive audience (mommy and daddy). She loves life to the fullest and is your happy child with an inner beauty that is God-given. When she was 9 months old, she started having seizure-like outbursts. She underwent several tests to determine why. We were referred to geneticists, specialists, etc. to determine what was going on. Thank goodness for BCMH! After a LONG road they diagnosed her with Sandifer Syndrome (a BAD case of GERD). She was placed on a medicine that seemed to take care of the issue. Soon after her diagnosis, we were referred to Help Me Grow (HMG), an early intervention program that supports families of developmentally delayed or disabled children with resources and services to help them reach their goals. It was with that referral that we determined our little 9.5 month old was suffering from hypotonia (low muscle tone). Through the help of HMG, Annora is now symptom free and lives like any other happy little girl.

Two and half years later our second daughter was born. She looks so much like her sister but couldn’t be more opposite. Delise is our daring and adventurous one. She has a heart of gold but doesn’t let just anyone see that side of her. She is guarded and you have to earn her trust. She is a daddy’s girl with a bit of a temper that will make your head spin at times. Her spitfire personality is going to take her so far in life…Ben and I have no doubts. At a very young age, she too was diagnosed with hypotonia. It was such a blow. I could handle our first with her setbacks but when our second was diagnosed, it really hit home. It wasn’t until a dear friend shed some light that I came to accept both girls had the same diagnosis. She said, “Mary, God made them that way. Annora now has one of the closest people to her to lean on and go through this with.” That statement will never leave me and brought such peace to my heart.

Ben and I struggle just like any married couple with young kids. We rarely spend time with just each other and time is never on our side. We work around nap times, bed times, meal times, etc. What can we say…life is BUSY! One day, we will wish life was this busy. For now, I can sit here and love the fact that my house is never clean (tidy and clean are 2 ENTIRELY different concepts), I can’t go to the bathroom by myself without someone banging on the door or shoving their little chubby fingers underneath it, and appreciate that we just can’t be out past 6:30pm ANY NIGHT. I hear this stage of life goes way faster than you wish so I am choosing to embrace the now. I am asking you to embrace the now with me.

So…this is me and my crazy life! Welcome to my blog and I am excited to go on this journey together!

rainy-day-zee-helmick