Currently, at 11 months

I haven’t tracked her growth and development enough, but life has been keeping pretty busy. I am just glad I am getting this one done! It’s true though, Hazel is 11 months old. You can now insert the following phrases into your mind, cause I am sure you are thinking them already:

“That can’t be right!”

“Already?”

“That was fast!”

And it’s all true….. super fast indeed.

Bless this sweet baby! We are glad she is ours, but I can say we would be even more thrilled to call her ours is she slept through the night. Just sayin’

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IMG_4379Currently, at her ripe ol’ age of 11 months, she is able to stand without holding on to anything, but I have yet to see her go from sitting to standing on her own. Hazel can also cruise and crawl her way into anything and everything. Earlier this month, Thomas sent me this picture with the words “The peace has ended”

Besides now having to block off the steps, we have also put a baby lock on the kitchen cabinet doors under the sink. We have to close the bathroom door or be sure the toilet lid is down, cause splashing in the water makes her happy, even if it is gross. If the dishwasher is open, or in the process of being open, she desires to be right in the middle of that action, reaching for a knife or rubbing her hands all over a ketchup covered plate. The other day, I was determined to unload the dishwasher while she was awake rather than asleep. I came up with a plan to turn on the TV for the very first time for just her, complete with a PBS kid cartoon. She was watching so diligently and was enthralled. I left the room, opened the dishwasher, and then Hazel jetted straight towards me. I closed it back up and turned the TV off, plan completely thwarted.

2015/01/img_4325.jpgShe finally loves something besides nursing. One of her favorite foods seems to be boiled eggs. I currently boil several at a time to use for a few days, and then I just cut up the whites into tiny pieces for her. As she eats them, you can hear her say “yum, yum yum….mmmmmm…yum yum….mmmmm.” She’s obviously a fan! Other goodies that she eats are applesauce pouches, yogurt drops, black beans, and oranges (she sucks the juice and then spits out what is left). She will try just about anything we are eating that I put in front of her. It was a long process it seems to get her to enjoy any sort of solid, but once she decided she was going to eat, she just took off!2015/01/img_4246.jpg

2015/01/img_4216.jpgAt 11 months, she has 1/2 of one tooth. I don’t honestly remember off hand when the boys got their first tooth or when they got the rest, but I am very certain it was sooner than this. Hazel is working to add three more to the count though, so soon enough they will push through a little. (you can see the one little white spot in the picture below)

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When it comes to her brothers, she is in love. They make her laugh by blowing her her belly. They read her books, track down her paci at bedtime and naptime, and generally just dote on her. We’re still working on the fact that they can’t leave anything out or she will destroy it, albeit unintentionally. We’ve had a Pokemon card or two meet their untimely demise due to this fact.

2015/01/img_4203.jpgOne of her favorite activities is to take stuff out of where they are. Markers out of the marker bin. Items out of her diaper bag. Her cloth diapers out of her diaper holder. Kleenex out of the box. You know, typical tasks for her age. (Important side note: we are extremely proud of her double crowns, which create a spiky mohawk in the back. We have Thomas to thank for this great phenomena. Fortunately, she is a girl, so her hair will one day grow long and this will become flat.) 2015/01/img_4353.jpg She also likes running with me. I am also thrilled that she will cooperate so nicely in the running stroller. It’s obviously way too cold to have her out much, but we had some unseasonably warm days and I took to the road with her. She was so peaceful, still, and quiet each time that I would have bet money that she was asleep. Turns out, she was just happy.

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Just the other day, she got to touch her first round of snow! We only went out for a second, mainly to just take the picture. THe snow was wet and cold and Hazel was less than thrilled with it. 2015/01/img_4336.jpgFortunately, Hazel will allow just about anyone to hold her or take care of her. I know that might alter soon as her development changes, but for now it is helpful. There might be a tear or two, but she quickly can be distracted so momma can run off to Bible study or to teach the youth at church. I’ve had a few friends watch her here and there, and they speak on how sweet and good she is when they watch her. I am grateful that is the case, cause it has allowed me and Thomas to take a date night or allowed me to complete a task kid free.

Next month, she’ll be a year, so I better savor these last few weeks before it’s official and she is an age that is not counted in months!2015/01/img_4163.jpg

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2015, A New Year to Find the Light

It’s 2015 folks! Crazy, right?

Turns out, it’s actually a whole 11 days into this new year, ELEVEN! How on earth did that happen already?

I can honestly say that these days have dragged on but also flown bye. It’s so weird to think such a drastic dichotomy can exist in a single day, but alas it does.

Day one of 2015, I spent a little over an hour crying on and off. We were on our way out of town to visit Thomas’s family to celebrate Christmas, which is a good thing, but my heart was so heavy. I kept fighting back tears while riding in the passenger seat, and when I couldn’t hold them in any longer and some began to fall, I completely took Thomas off guard.

Silently, he just grabbed my hand and held it for a little bit. Then, when the tears continued, he gently asked, “What’s wrong babe?”

“It’s the new year. It’s 2015. This is the first year where I won’t have any memories with my mom. She won’t be a part of anything we do this year.”

And there isn’t really anything to say back to that, so he just held my hand and let me cry. I was thankful the boys were behind me where they couldn’t see and that Hazel was asleep.

So that was day one of the year. After that, I began to take the majority lead of prepping my mom’s house to put on the market. At one point, my brother thought that he would want it, but after seeing what the market is like, noting it’s a house of large square footage and he has a solo state (read no wife, no kids), and his 100% travel job, he figured 2 acres wouldn’t be a good fit either. My other brother lives thousands of miles away, so he didn’t desire my mom’s house, and I just don’t have a heart that wants to live there……so selling the house it is.

That conclusion lead to about four solid days where I did absolutely nothing but clean out her house (more days have occurred and more exist, but these are the number where I did absolutely nothing else but clean out). I sat down only to nurse my baby and to drive junk to Goodwill. I did so much hauling out that I would load my three kids in the car and then add in more stuff for the dump or for giving away. It was maddening, exhausting, frustrating, lonely, and sad, but also a bit therapeutic, cause every item that left was a step in the direction of closure. Not the type of closure that means I forget my mom and move on, but the type of closure that means I no longer have to worry about a house that is full of stuff but empty of a person. She was a keeper of things, for better or worse.  I literally feel like many days I can’t take a full breath due to the burden that all her stuff puts on me. I kinda have lived in a place of anxiety over her cats, her plants, her mail, her HVAC system, her plumbing, etc. A vacant yet occupied house poses worry all on its own. Being rid of the house will also help me be rid of some of those pressures and strifes.

While walking this journey, I realize that not everyone grieves the same, and that is truly okay. For one of my brothers, the idea of keeping everything the exact same, museum style, is comforting. For another, breaking ties and not dealing  much at all seems to be the way of coping. It’s truly hard when 3 people are left to decide and all 3 have different opinions, hearts, lifestyles, and abilities.

Mostly, I just seek to be able to have my head out of water again. I consistently feel like I am drowning. It’s been an unimaginable year. 2012 wasn’t easy, combining a unexpected move, a miscarriage, two job changes, and Thomas entering grad school and beginning his own business. 2013 was worse, providing my wreck, two surgeries, two months of food through a straw and wired jaws, 6 months of no driving for me, financial gridlock from my loss of job due to my injuries, and my mom’s diagnosis and chemos. 2014 dealt much as well, with the adding of baby Hazel, two more surgeries for myself,  Thomas’s intense final months of grad school, mom’s radiations, chemos, hospitalizations, and the worse blow yet, her passing, which lead to a whole new set of challenges. I even left stuff out of that list folks. It’s incredible really, and not in the exciting type of way.

I keep a lot of this floating through my mind often. It’s just so much, and Thomas and I find ourselves saying often, “This can’t be life can it???” We’re ready for a nothing at all awful happened type of year, to say the least.

Then, today, I encountered two things that I think I will cling to in 2015. Oddly, one is a Rocky clip. That’s right, Rocky Balboa baby!

If you don’t actually watch it, let me just clue you in to these lines:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.

Well said, Rocky. Well said.

I just have to keep moving forward, cause that’s what I must do. I am better than that. As Rocky said, “if you let it…” so I am just not going to let it. I’ve been called to walk in Him, no matter how tired I get, even in the messes of life. It’s my faith journey. As put forth by writer Ann Lamott on Twitter:

Faith includes lots of mess, zits, bewilderment, cellulite, separation & limbo, & letting those be there until a little more light returns.

2015, a year for the light to return. I pray it happens.

Can I get an “Amen!”?