Thursday, June 27, 2013

Beach Ready

Dear Em,
You come from a line of beachbums. You inherited your love of the beach from me, as I did from my mom. Some of my favorite beach moments are our impromptu ones, but now I try to be prepared for even the spontaneous visit (after many car trips from the beach being wet & sandy & you typically in my clothes). I keep a beach bag in my car for such visits.

What's in our beach bag?
- 2 Towels: One adult sized & one for a little love.
- 2 Bathing suits: One for you & one for me.
- Changes of clothes: A terry cloth pullover & pants for you & a pullover with sweatpants for me.
- Sunglasses: I actually keep a pair for you & a pair for me in my purse.
- Sunscreen: This is great for the beach but also other impromptu outdoor adventures.
- Beach Pail & Shovel
- Shell Collector: Your favorite beach activity is to gather shells, & I found a great bag made from recycled sailboat sails that you can use for just that.
- Waterproof Bag: We had been using plastic Ziploc bags but recently found a great bag at a camping store we can store our phones, keys, & cameras in to keep them from getting wet & sandy.
- Your swimmer: This is more for spontaneous trips to the pool than the beach, but it's still helpful to have.

Of course if we know we're hading to the beach, we also throw a whole bag of beach toys, a few beach chairs, & your boogie board in the car before heading out on our beach adventure. But we have just as much fun during our surprise visits when we have nothing but each other & what's in our beach bag.

I love you so, my little beachbum,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Convos With My 3 Year Old (Part One)

Dear Em,
There's a series of YouTube videos called Convos With My 2 Year Old. They're absolutely hilarious & absolutely relatable for people who interact with small children. Your Daddy & I frequently have conversations with you that would fit right in with the series. Here is one of my recent favorite Convos With My 3 Year Old.

(This conversation that went on while you were sitting on the toilet)
Emma: Mommy, Daddy & Papa have golf clubs. Why don't I have golf clubs? I need golf clubs.
Me: I think we should wait until you're a little bit bigger before we get you golf clubs.
Emma: (very offended) I am big! I'm not little anymore. You just called me a baby. That's not nice.
Me: Actually, I didn't call you a baby.
Emma: Well, you called me that when I was a baby.
Me: You're right. But you were a baby when I called you a baby
Emma: I'm not a baby. I'm a big girl.
Me: That is true, but I think we should wait to get you golf clubs until you are a little taller.
Emma: I AM getting taller. I grow a little more everyday. I'm going to keep growing.
Me: That is true, but I still think we should wait.
Emma: Hey, can you wipe my bum?
Me: If you're a big girl, don't you think big girls can wipe their own bums?
Emma: Well, I'm big enough for golf clubs, but I'm still not big enough to wipe my own bum.


I love you so,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

snuggles & a phone call

Dear Em,
Now that it's summer, you seem to be on a wonderful summer schedule. This morning you slept late. You slept so late that Daddy had already left for work before you had woken up. You climbed into bed with me, I thought for some snuggles & girl talk.

"Mommy, where's Daddy?" you asked. "He already left for work," I replied. "Oh, then you're going to have to turn the TV on today." I was puzzled by what you meant for a moment, but then I realized. On a typical morning (at the crack of dawn), you climb into our bed. Daddy & I are basically sleep walking (without the walking) as I pull you up & snuggle you in & Daddy turns on the cartoons. I guess you think that only Daddy can turn on the TV in our bedroom.

"You'll need the remote," you told me matter of factly. You crawled over to Daddy's side of the bed, grabbed the remote off his bedside table, & put the remote in my lap. I decided to play along. I told you I didn't know how to turn the TV on & that we needed help from Daddy. "Let me try," you said confidently. You held the remote in the air & pressed almost every button. Still, the TV wouldn't turn on. You looked a little defeated & maybe even a little worried that there would be no TV ever again (or at least until Daddy returns).

So, you did what I have done so many times when I have a question about electronics or home improvements. You called your Daddy. You barely gave Daddy a moment to answer the phone before you quickly told him about our TV conundrum. I could feel Daddy smiling as you explained to him your dire problem. He laughed as he gave you instructions on how to use the remote to turn the TV on.

Someday soon you'll probably know how to turn the TV on by yourself. You'll probably get up all on your own. But today we got snuggles & a phone call. I can't explain how much it meant to me this morning. It gave us the smiles we needed to start the day. You have a way of doing that.

I love you so,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

the missing puzzle piece

Dear Em,
My favorite part about traveling to North Carolina is watching you interact with my family. We only get to visit a couple times a year, & it makes my heart happy to glimpse the special moments you have with each one of them. I come from a family of wise guys. Most of us have a sense of sarcasm that has been passed down through generations. My mom has always been more sensitive, but after being with my dad for over 30 years & raising us kids, she's developed a devious side too. You, my child, fit right in.

At the young age of 3, you already know how to dish it out. I like that, for the most part, you can take it too. I smile as I watch the epic water fights you have with my mom, remembering family water fights of my own growing up. I laughed as you wrapped yourself around Uncle Jared's legs, refusing to let go until he agreed to come to the beach with us.

The best was watching you try to push Papi in the pool. He was sitting on the diving board as he cleaned the sides. You got that determined & devious look in your eyes, with your lips pressed firmly together. I knew you were up to no good. We all laughed as we watched you casually walk over to Papi & turn on him. You pushed with all your might, trying to get him off the diving board & into the chilly water. You pushed & pushed & pushed to no avail. Give it a few years though. Someday you'll be able to get him in. You'll be able to hold your own, & then we better all watch out.

It's amazing for me to watch you with my family, because you just fit. You're like a piece to the puzzle that we didn't even realize was missing until there was you. For better or for worse you are an intricate part of our crazy amazing family. Sometimes that's going to get you into trouble. Sometimes there are going to be fights (like during family board game night), but there's also going to be a lot of fun & a lot of love. There's absolutely no denying that you're one of us. I truly love that, & hope you'll always wear that like a badge of honor.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

family photos without members of your family & the frizzball factor

Dear Em,
Remember the post where I overviewed how to take forced family fun pictures? There will be times when you follow all of those imperative steps & things still don't work out as planned. That was pretty much the case this year, & there was nothing we cold do about it.

We had a location planned (Arlie Gardens). We had a color scheme planned (everyone wear beach colors to go with Nonnie's family room). We had a time (9:00am, which I was sure everyone would hate me for, but I wanted to start before it got too hot). We had our family. I had two cameras & a tripod on standby. I had our photo plan down, but then our plan went out the window.

Our first setback was losing part of our family. Sadly, we lost Aunt Jennie & Uncle Nick to an awful case of poison ivy. It was understandable that they didn't want to take part in a photo session when they had poison ivy going up their faces. That may have been a good time to just cancel this year's family photos, but we my mom & I were still determined to go with the rest of the plan.

Then tropical storm Andrea hit. I started changing my original vision of of our portraits to include umbrellas & fun family moments splashing in puddles. The less sane part of my brain thought, "this could still work, right?"  Lucky for us, Andrea blew through before our family photo day. Unlucky for us, it left behind a humid stickiness that was not conducive to me having a good hair day (and really, it all comes down to what my hair looks like, right?). The frizzball factor was compounded by not making my originally planned start time. We were late, & it got hot- sweaty hot.

We ended up ditching our originally planned spot for an easier & closer location (at this point we were crunched for time). I had this. I could still make this work. I pretended I had bigger photo challenges than losing part of the family, heat, humidity, & my frizzball hair design. I put everyone in their places, waited for everyone to ask if we were done yet (before I had even taken the first photo), set up my camera...wait, what the FRICK was going on with my camera?! Apparently, the humidity was causing the inside of my camera to fog up (I don't know the technical wording so I'll just be really professional & say the inside of my camera). We waited for it to clear up & for frizz to further set in my hair. And then I just couldn't wait anymore (& by that I mean the angry mob my family would've strangled me if I waited any longer). It's a good thing I bring along two cameras. I brought out the one that was going to give us less quality photos, but at least it was working.

In summary, it wasn't the most successful family photo shoot, but we got a few good shots.

We can photoshop Aunt Jennie & Uncle Nick into this one, right?
I was really into the peaking out from behind trees thing this year...

I love the shots I got of my parents. Can you see the ducks in the pond?

By the end my hair was officially a frizzball & you were super flushed & absolutely over family photos, but Daddy looks great, right?

We may not have gotten the perfect family photo, but with a little photoshop & Aunt Jennie & Uncle Nick having a photo shoot of their own, Nonnie will still have family pictures for her Christmas card this year. Plus, 2013 just wouldn't have been complete without forced family fun photos, right?

I love you so,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

fourteen years

Dear Em,
My youngest brother was born when I was 14 years old. For some, it would have been difficult to relate to a sibling who was 14 years younger, but your uncle Jared and I were the best of buds. When he was a baby, I rocked him to sleep & sang to him at night. As he grew, I taught him things like how to make a fishie face & how to say I love you in German (picturing him running around saying "ich liebe dich" still makes my heart happy).

There may have been a time when I taught him that if he sat very still & absolutely quietly on a specific pillow with a certain pair of fuzzy yellow footie pajamas on (fondly referred to as his ducky pajamas), he could lay eggs. It was absolutely adorable until my mom reached into the refrigerator for some eggs to cook, & your uncle Jared cried because those were his eggs. I got into a little bit of trouble for being the egg laying teacher.

When anyone else reached for your uncle Jared, he would exclaim "No! I'm Julie's!" There were times when people thought he was my son. Your Nonnie would actually slip sometimes & say, "do you know what your son did" instead of "do you know what your brother did."

And then I went to college, a six hour drive away, when your uncle Jared was four. My mom told me that he cried some nights & exclaimed, "I hate college!" It was hard. It's not the same being part of a family when you're not there for the day to day, when your day to day life is not intertwined with the day to day life of your family. You miss a lot (especially since I started college before free long distance cell phones & skype). I missed your uncle Jared's first day of kindergarten, when he first rode a bike, most of his soccer games, school assemblies, his first day of middle school, school banquets, his first day of high school, track meets, the day he got his drivers permit, ROTC functions, the day he got his license, & prom. I missed bad days & good days. I tried to be apart of as much as I could during visits, but it doesn't replace everything I couldn't be there for. We made sure we were there this June. I was not going to miss cheering for him as he walked across his high school graduation stage (& cheering for my parents who saw five kids through high school graduation- we didn't always make it so easy for them).

That boy sticking out his tongue is your uncle Jared.

I missed a lot, & I don't know him as well as I did when he was four, but I know your uncle Jared is amazing. He's so empathetic, kind, generous, funny, & naturally smart. I think he's actually the smartest one out of all of us siblings. Now, 14 years later, it's your uncle Jared who is going off to college. I'm so incredibly proud of him & everything he's become. I'm also really excited for him. I know he can do amazing things.

There's a lot more distance that separates us, & I don't think we'll ever have the day to day again, but I hope your uncle Jared & I can always be buds. I feel so fortunate to call him my brother & your uncle. I'm looking forward to seeing the places he goes, the things he accomplishes, & the life he leads.

I love you so,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Recap 2013

Dear Em,
You are so fortunate to have such amazing men in your life, especially your Daddy, Papa, & Papi. They love & adore you, protect & play with you. There is such an abundance of love, & I will always cherish how lucky we are to have such amazing role models in your life. It was so fun to celebrate them this weekend. There was so much sweetness watching you with each of them this weekend. You were certainly a Daddy's, Papa's, & Papi's girl.

We started our celebration on Saturday with a round of mini golf with Daddy, Nonnie, Papa, & Grandma at Mulligan's Island. We had gotten Papa a set of golf clubs & thought that a game of mini-golf was a great way to get him warmed up for the real deal. After a week of rain, we lucked out with a gorgeous day.

You haven't mini-golfed in almost two years, & you were excited. "But Daddy, I thought only grown-ups get to play golf," you asked him with wide-eyes, knowing that Daddy's golf outings don't typically include you. We explained to you that mini-golf can be for mini-people too, & you were happy to hear that. Daddy tried to show you good form, but mostly you just wanted to use your putter like it was a pool cue or a broom. While it took you multiple tries to get your ball into each hole, you were very proud of your new-found golf skills. We're lucky that you don't get too competitive & offered to help all of us by finishing our putts as well as your own.

On Sunday morning, you brought Daddy breakfast in bed: a homemade egg sandwich from Dunkin Donuts & an iced coffee. I think you were slightly confused about which holiday we were celebrating when you grabbed all of your Christmas books from your bedroom & read them to Daddy. You told us that Santa was a good guy & so was Daddy, which I think is about as good of a compliment you can get from a three year old.

In the afternoon we headed to a family birthday party. It was a BBQ pirate party in the backyard of a house that is right on the water. Papa & Daddy took you out on a Paddle boat. It made my heart so happy to watch three generations laugh & spin in circles in the water (they let you steer). Later you made up your own song & performed it for Papa. It was all about how cute Papa is, how he is higher than the ceiling (I guess when you're three, grown-ups seem unusually tall), & how he is your best friend. When it comes to presents, making up & performing a song about someone is pretty high up there on the "Best Presents Ever" list. I think you even topped the golf clubs we got him.

Although Papi was far away in Norht Carolina, we still got to spend time with him Sunday night via skype. You gave him multiple dance "performances" that made him laugh & smile. He beamed with every unstable twirl you performed & every kiss you blew him. It was so nice to be able to spend time with him & celebrate him even though we weren't able to actually be in the same state.

It was a really special weekend celebrating three of the most special men I know...& one pretty special three year old girl.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

this one time your aunt was a tropical storm

Dear Em,
Now that everything has settled down a bit, I can start recapping our fun trip to North Carolina. It was the perfect mix of relaxation & the beach, time with family & date nights for Daddy & I. It was hot, but I wasn't complaining about the abundance of sunshine. And then it seemed like something was going to threaten our outside plans: a visit from Andrea coming up from Florida.

I wasn't really paying attention to the weather reports. I always just kind of assume that North Carolina is going to be hot & sunny. Even when it's rainy at Nonnie & Papi's house, the sun still seems to be shining at the beach. But then I got a text from (your future uncle) Lowell telling us Andrea (who lives in Florida) was coming home.

Unfortunately, it wasn't actually your aunt Andrea. Instead it was tropical storm Andrea coming up the coast, making the weather predictions a little messy. So what did we do? We did what any true Rhode Islander would do. We headed to the beach to check out the waves.

You know the little ponds/ large puddles that are sometimes formed on the beach. There's something kind of magical about them, especially when you're little & the waves in the ocean are big. In the midst of the tumultuous waves, there you were with your little friends playing in the sand, trying to catch tiny fish, running through the water, & boogie boarding.

When you look back at our vacations in North Carolina, I hope you love these pictures of you & your friends boogie boarding as much as I loved watching you on that day. You were all truly making the best of what was around, & it put such a smile in my heart.

The next day was pretty rainy, & we did spend most of it indoors, but it added some relaxation to what sometimes can be a packed vacation schedule. We took time to read, watch movies, & do a little windy shopping. Throwing a tropical storm into our vacation actually made for a lot of fun. I guess the storm kinda takes after your aunt Andrea after all.

I love you so,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

the same but different

Dear Em,
It was kind of weird going on vacation the week before you had surgery. On the one hand it kept my mind off what was ahead & we were glad you enjoyed a full week in the pool & ocean (after this surgery, you have to go a week without submerging your head in water). The thought of what was ahead would creep into my mind without warning, & I would struggle to push the thoughts to the back of my head & just enjoy the week. My mind just kept saying "something could go wrong...very wrong."

I tried to tell myself it wasn't a big deal. We had already gone through the process of getting tubes in your ears. Yes, this time it was a little more involved. This time your adenoids would also be removed, but everyone makes that procedure sound absolutely common. At least that's what I kept telling myself.

Our trip helped with one thing: sleep. We returned from our trip late the night before your procedure. Once I fell asleep that night, I slept soundly until waking up (which was probably 30 minutes later than I should have). I rushed around the house getting ready. You didn't even ask for food or drink. We had prepared you for not being able to have anything that morning. I told you that popsicles would be waiting for you at the end of your appointment, & you seemed just fine about it. I didn't have breakfast either. It was a solidarity thing. If you couldn't eat, I wouldn't eat either.

We were running late. Nonnie came with us this time, & she loaded you into the car while I speed brushed my teeth. We all got into the car & realized we had forgotten Lamby in the house. I literally sprinted into the house to get her & bring her back to you in the car. It was close, but we just made our appointment time. I checked in & filled out the needed paperwork. This time they gave you your hospital bracelet at check-in. I once again struck by the kindness of the staff at the ENT Center of Rhode Island. The receptionist gave you multiple pages of stickers to decorate your ID bracelet with. She never rushed you as you looked through each page of options, & it put a smile on your face to be able to decorate your bracelet with the decided upon pink heart stickers. Then the receptionist pointed us to the waiting rooms, letting us know that the Disney channel was on in one & channel 10 in the other (it really is the little things they do sometimes that make a big difference).

After we watched a few minutes of the Disney Channel your name was called, & we went back to the familiar room that was divided into sections with curtains. We were veterans of this place. I knew there they would get your vitals, we would change your clothes, & I would talk to the doctors before heading to the operating room. I think it started to seem familiar to you too. Just like last time, this is where you started to whimper. You refused to put on the hospital gown, hat, & socks. You had worked with us up until then, but this was the last straw for you. Asking you to take off your flowy & fashionable dress & replace it with a drab hospital gown (not even in one of your favorite colors), for you, it was just too much.

Maybe it was actually that you were understanding what was ahead too, but it was the clothing you refused. I told you the gown was to protect your clothes from getting popsicle on them later on. You didn't really budge. I showed you the clothing I would be putting on as well. You didn't care. I promised you we could watch Lilo & Stitch 2 (your new favorite movie), & you finally agreed (while whimpering) to put the new clothes on. The have portable DVD players & movies & TV shows for the kids to watch while waiting, & I had come prepared this time with a case of all your favorite movies. I was proud of myself. I had this.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk to us, & that's when it sunk in that this experience was going to be different than our last. He let me know that this time you would be under anesthesia for longer & would need an IV & breathing tube. I wasn't really prepared for that. You also had two surgeons instead of one (one of them repaired a slit in your left earlobe while the other put in tubes & removed adenoids), & I talked to them both. They told me this time it was going to take about an hour. An hour?! Last time it was barely fifteen minutes, & each second felt like a very painful eternity. How was I going to survive an hour?

You were checked out. You would look up when someone tried to talk to you, give them an evil eye, & go back to watching your movie. I felt like you were saying, "listen, I'm playing along. I'm wearing this awful outfit, but I don't have to like it." At least you were crying.

Then it was time. The same Lynne as last time came to escort us to the operating room. I didn't look at the sign on the door this time. I didn't need my knees to go weak when I saw it. When the doors opened, I found the chair next to the operating table, & already knew that chair was for me. I sat in the chair without being guided to it this time, & held you & Lamby in my lap. The doctor read off your name on your bracelet & the chart & announced what the procedures would be.

Then they brought out the mask. This time it didn't smell like cherries. It was over your face, but I could smell it in my nostrils & again feared I would pass out. I couldn't see your face, but I nuzzled my face into the back of your head & gave you kisses. We talked about your favorite songs & the RedSox. They told me your eyes were getting heavy, & I knew soon I would have to let you go. I helped them place you on the operating table, & they reminded me to give you one last kiss (it's really so kind that they do that).

I didn't realize I was crying until then. I felt the tears tumbling out of my eyes & tried to blink them back. The nurse who escorted me out turned to me and said, "You did a really great job. Did you see how calm she was through that whole experience? That was because of you & the fact you were able to keep it together & not fall apart in front of her. It's much harder for the kids when the parents fall apart. You did a really great job." I will always remember her kindness. I was ready to fall apart. I was ready to absolutely fall apart in helplessness. Those few kind words let me know that I had made a difference for you, & that made a big difference for me.

I walked quickly to find the bathroom, locked the door behind me, & let myself fall apart there. Just for a moment. Then I joined your Nonnie in the waiting room. She tried to distract me with magazines & pictures of home decor. I felt restless. It's true what they say about once you have a child, your heart forever lives outside your body. My heart was in the operating room. I kept turning my head to look for the face of your surgeons, jealous of the other parents who breathed a sigh of relief as their names were called. It did take the whole hour, but finally both surgeons had come out to talk to me. They both said everything had gone well. Now I just had to wait for them to call me to join you in recovery, & those moments of waiting dragged on the slowest. I knew you needed me & I needed you.

As we walked toward the double doors, I heard crying & coughing. I briefly thought, "that can't be Emma. She wasn't coughing or crying last time." It was in the recovery room that the reality of the difference between last time & this time set in. Your eyes were closed, but it was you crying & coughing & thrashing around. Your hand was wrapped up in bandages. Your face was swollen & red welts covered it. A nurse was holding your hands down to keep you from pulling at your ear. "What is wrong with her hand,"I asked in a panic referring to the bandage on it. "Oh, it's just a little blood from rubbing her nose," the nurse told me. It didn't really answer my question of why there was a bandage on it, but then I realized there was a IV coming out of it. I didn't know what to do. This was not how you looked the last time. I buried my face in your hair, blinked back tears, & told you I was there & I loved you. Still you thrashed around.

They told me I could hold you in a moment. They were waiting for a chair to open up for us to sit in, but I didn't need a chair. I scooped you up into my arms & you buried your cheek into my chest. You were mine, & you needed your Mommy. You cried & rubbed your nose into my chest. I sang you some of your favorite songs: Sweet Caroline, Brown Eyed Girl, & Hakuna Matata. A chair opened up, & they escorted us to it. I continued to sing to you & began to feel you calm in my arms. A nurse came by & asked me to keep doing exactly what I was doing. Soon you were sleeping in my arms.

That's when something totally unexpected happened. I started to feel myself black out. When I first felt the dizziness after looking at your stitches, I just tried to take deep breaths hoping it would go away. Then my vision started to go back. "Hey Mom, I'm going to pass out. Do you think you could ask someone for some apple juice?" My poor mom was already panicked from seeing you. I had told her you would be out of it, but I couldn't prepare her for how you looked. This was totally different from last time. My mom asked the nurse for some juice & thinking it was for you, the nurse asked us to wait a moment so she could check your vitals first.

Then the nurse looked at my face. I guess all the color had drained from it. All of a sudden I had everyone rushing around me. There were nurses getting me apple juice & cookies, lifting up my feet, checking my blood pressure & heart rate, & getting me a ice pack. I felt so ridiculous. They should have been rushing around you. I was so embarrassed & annoyed with my body. My blood pressure had dropped dangerously low, & a nurse monitored me until it went back up. "Did you eat breakfast this morning," one nurse asked me. I explained that I didn't feel right eating if you couldn't. The nurse shook her head at me. "That explains it. This happens to at least one mom every week. You have to eat. How can you be there for her if you don't?" So much for solidarity.

"Are you too warm with her in your arms," one of the nurses asked me. I started to panic. There was no way they were going to take you out of my arms. I would die before I let them do that. I told her I was fine & soon I was. Everything started to settle down. My blood pressure returned to a normal range, & you slept nuzzled into my chest. They all went back to monitoring you instead of me (except for your Nonnie who monitored us both...poor Nonnie).

This time it was procedure to spend an hour & a half in recovery instead of thirty minutes. When I first heard this, I thought it would be a waste of time. You bounced back so quickly last time. Within five minutes you were asking for posicles. I soon realized we would need every moment of the hour & a half this time around...maybe more. You snored as you slept in my arms, & rubbed your nose back & forth across my chest. I think you would have burrowed yourself inside of me if you could have. We asked you if you wanted a popsicle or juice & you shook your head. I asked you if you wanted to watch a movie, & you shook your head. When you finally agreed to a popsicle, you took only a couple bites before refusing it again.

As you slept in my arms we noticed more the burst blood vessels all over your face. Your face was so swollen, & you had what looked like raspberry birthmarks in a few spots surrounding your hair line. We were assured again & again that it was normal. You had been coughing fiercely right after the procedures & sometimes that will cause the blood vessels to burst. The swelling in your face they attributed to the IV that was still filling you with fluid. I worried over every little thing that looked out of place while we let you sleep in my arms for more than a half hour.

Before they would let you leave, you had to show us you could walk to the bathroom & go potty. This was a bigger challenge than I originally thought it would be. You didn't want to be anywhere except cuddled into my chest. Anytime we asked you to try, you whimpered & I didn't have the heart to force the matter. Thank goodness for the nurses at the ENT Center who are stronger than myself. One of them gently but firmly helped you out of my arms & put your feet on the floor. We held your hands as we walked you to the bathroom & let you go potty.

You perked up with the promise of Dels. Once we promised you that, you were ready to get dressed & leave You told all the nurses that you were going to get Dels when we left. You were happy to discard the hospital gown, & put your dress back on. After one final vital check, I held you in my arms & we walked out together.

We picked up your prescriptions from the pharmacy. You'll need ear drops twice a day, antibiotics twice a day, ointment for the stitches on your ear throughout the day, & tylenol for the pain. The recovery is more involved this time around, & you're clearly in more pain.

After some Dels for you & some food for Nonnie & I, we headed home. We put your favorite movie on in my room, & the three of us got into bed to watch it. I soon felt my eyelids get heavy. You, on the other hand, were ready to play & jump & climb & dance. And just like that, things felt normal again.

You're not completely recovered yet, but I can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the truly hard part (for you & for me) is over. As much as we are so very thankful for the kindness & superb care you we received at the ENT Center, I hope no one takes offense when I say I hope we never have to return. Let's hope the second time is the charm & we head into our future ear infection free.

I love you so,

Monday, June 10, 2013

getting tubes...again

Dear Em,
It was what I had expected to hear. If I was being truly honest, it was even what we had wanted to hear. Still, when I heard it, it felt like a smack across the face.

"We gave it the old college try, but I think we need to consider tubes. It's time to also think about having the adenoids removed too."

The doctor said tubes & adenoids, but the only words I heard in my head were surgery & anesthesia.

This wasn't exactly new to us. After six ear infections & six round of antibiotics in six months, you had tubes put in last year (you can read about our experience here, here, & here). It was the most terrifying experience I've ever had to go through (My heart aches for the children & families of truly sick children...I can't imagine having to face the hospital & watching a child in pain everyday). It was also what was best for you. We knew it had been the right thing to do when after such a battle with ear infections & pain, you were yourself again. You were ear infection free, & you were our sweet little Emma again.

And then you weren't. The first ear infection started this past December. You suffered through Christmas & your birthday. You've had to be a warrior ever since. You've experienced 4 more ear infections since then (& I think you may have another right now). Worse than that, we've learned that your poor little ears have been clogged since at least December. We saw multiple doctors & tried allergy meds & nasal spray. The ear infections continued.

Which is what brought us back to the ENT to hear those words.

Today is the day you go to get get tubes & have your adenoids removed. I know it's the best thing & the right thing for you, but the right thing couldn't be more scary to me. I know I won't breathe...won't truly breathe...from the time I bring you into the operating room until the moment you're back in my arms. I'll be saying prayers for you & the operating team until the moment I know you're safe.

I love you so,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Air mattress days

Dear Em,
My best friend Jayme & I have had some really amazing adventures. The parties that we have gone to together have been fun & a little wild. But I can definitely say our lazy times have been some of our favorites.

Back in college Jayme & I had lunch with a bunch of our friends every Friday. Since we were done with classes, after lunch Jayme & I would go back to her room, turn on the TV & take a nap (I miss those Fridays) until the rest of our friends finished their classes & joined us for Friday night fun. The days following our parties were typically lazy days. We would blow up an air mattress, lay it in front of the couch, & spend the day napping & watching movies.

Lazy days became a little harder to come by once we had kids, mostly because you don't typically allow for naps or laziness. So, imagine my surprise & absolute contentedness when you & T let us indulge in a lazy day during our Ohio trip. Sure, my napping only occurred at the same time as yours, the movies we watched were much more kid friendly than our college days, & the house became a toy disaster. Still, it was a perfect lazy day.

It was so nice to be able to continue our tradition & share it with our littles.

I love you so,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Dear Em,
This is what a chaotic & fun-filled day at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens with a teething one year old & no-nap three year old looks like (tears & tantrums not pictured).

This is what the ride home looks like.

I guarantee the moms were more exhausted than the kids. Since the moms didn't get to pass out on the way home (we were driving), we made up for it by spending the next day at the spa (without the teething one year old & no-nap three year old). Everybody wins!

I love you so,
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