Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting on the last day of 2010

2010 has been QUITE a year! The last couple of months, in particular, have been a whirlwind, so as I sit here sick and sleep-deprived at home on New Year's Eve 2010, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on this year.


It's best to focus on our blessings, so that's where I'll start.

2010 was the year that Jackson Joseph McBride joined our family! What an enormous joy & blessing he has been and will continue to be. I love you Jackson. 2010 was also the year that Noah turned two years old. I love you so very much, sweet Noah Michael. I always have and that will never change! My biggest blessings of the year are my boys: Michael, Noah, & Jackson.

Other blessings & happy memories of 2010:

-Michael- Although we are total opposites, he is my rock. He was my rock when my mom had cancer, and ever since. He is an incredible husband and father. I love that man.

-My dad dressing up as Elmo for Noah's 2nd birthday party. What an incredible Grampa!

-The great snow of 2010. Watching Noah explore the snow, and seeing the lake and trees completely covered in white powder was simply grande!

-How Noah reaches his hands out to me and says, "Hold you." (Which means that he wants me to hold him.)

-Dancing with Noah. Watching him dive into life!

-Grammie giving Noah his first (& 2nd) haircut. I was a nervous wreck but she was so patient and kind throughout it all!

-Hearing Jackson's heartbeat for the first time. Feeling him move for the first time.
-Swimming in the pool with Daddy, the Carliles, Grammie, & Paw Paw
-Fishing with the Carlile Clan
-Noah's hair
-The beautiful views from our home that Michael built.
-Watching Noah really enjoy trick-or-treating.
-Taking walks around the lake.
-My family. My dad is incredible. I adore him. He is my hero. My sisters. Memories of my mother.
-Visiting with Mary Beth at the Cancer Institute. SUCH therapy.
-Watching Noah be so sweet with Jackson. Watching him "grow" as a big brother. Witnessing him put a pacifier in Jackson's mouth because Jackson couldn't hold it. The way every time Noah sees Jackson, he says, "There's baby Jackson!"
-Rebekah & Brian keeping Noah for a few days while Jackson was born was one of the biggest blessings of the year for sure. Only Rebekah understood how hard it would be, and she literally took the weight of the world off my shoulders. BIG BLESSING!
-On the subject of Rebekah---Another huge blessing of 2010 is how much closer I became to my dear sister-in-law. Actually, "in-law," does not apply to her. I've always loved her, but I became so much more connected with her in 2010. She is my sister, my friend, a soft place I can fall when I need. A voice of empathy, compassion, warmth, and strength. 2010 was the year that I began to better understand, appreciate, connect with, and completely fall in love with Rebekah.

-Watching my dad baptize Jackson, who wore the same baptismal gown that my great grandmother made. The same gown I wore. The same gown Noah wore. A definite highlight.

-Having all our family at Jackson's baptism---standing up with us- was such an emotional and memorabe experience.

-Watching Noah & Michael ride around the lake on the "tractor" (the John Deer lawnmower). Everybody in the neighborhood knows who they are and their little ritual. It's so cute!

-Getting Noah enrolled in Oak Tree Academy. It was the PERFECT timing, and we have had the best experience there. It was a God thing. I have no doubt.

-Being blessed to have Grammie come stay with us for a week when Jackson was born. When God takes away angels, he also puts angels back in our lives.

-Having Rose Bailey come into our lives. It may sound silly to some, but she has been there & documented so many precious moments this year...of Noah, our family, Jackson's birth...she's more like an extended family member than a photographer.
-Watching Brian play Santa. Priceless.
-Having a dream delivery of Jackson Joseph McBride. I feared that because my pregnancy was so difficult, delivery might be as well. It couldn't have gone more smoothly. AND my boy is just perfect!

-Feeling that my family is COMPLETE! I love ALL my boys!


-Being pregnant- Yes, it's a LITERAL bump, but this was a TOUGH pregnancy. I had EVERY symptom/side effect and was in so much pain through it all. I LOVE my baby, but I DON'T like being pregnant...well, I loved feeling the baby move. But the rest, I could totally pass on.
-Not running while pregnant. Total bummer.
-Deaths of my cousin Beth, Helen, & Grace- all to cancer
-Potty training
-Mary Beth moved. Stacy is moving to Georgia. Boo.
-Struggle to manage family/work/house
-Lots of difficulty healing after Jackson was born (but he was worth it!)
-The McDonald's incident. I didn't write about it, but it involved me trying to spend extra time with Noah while Michael took Jackson to get his PKU checked. Noah had a severe meltdown, pooped in his pants in the playground which then required me to go up 2 stories and drag him down...screaming...poop was all over him...then me...I had no wipes or anything...I wasn't at all healed from giving birth...and I had to literally restrain Noah outside of McDonalds and felt like a total failure. THAT, my friends----was the LOW POINT of 2010! Luckily, when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up!
-Jackson's tummy troubles at several weeks old. Listening to him cry and hurt was agonizing. I'm glad we were able to get that under control. It was heartbreaking.
-The adjustment from one child to two. Honestly, the adjustment from 0 kids to 1 was much easier than from 1 to 2 kids. I couldn't have anticipated that, and I don't think I'd believe it if I wasn't living it right now! I'm thankful for my family of 4, but it has had its growing pains.
-Having to concede that my house will NOT be clean/organized the way I want it with a toddler and an infant. Believe it or not, that's actually a tough one for me.
-Trying to find TIME! Time for family! Time to exercise! Time with Michael! Time for Noah! Time for Jackson! Me time (What's that?!) Time to clean! Time to do the daily stuff of life. Oh yeah---TIME for FUN! Struggling to have time and balancing it all is probably the biggest bump so far. Something to continue to learn about & improve upon in 2011. We are all a work in progress.

So, yes, 2010 did have ups & downs, but there were clearly more UPS than downs! I'm excited and hopeful that 2011 will be another great year! I want to remain mindful that "having everything perfect" isn't nearly as important as staying connected with those that I love...and making sure that they know how deeply I love them. If you're reading this, know that you are loved! Goodbye 2010! Welcome 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Precious Boys

When I was pregnant with Jackson, Rebekah & Brian told me that in the beginning, it would be very hard but they'd be great friends as they got older. As I recall, Brian's exact words were something like, "At first, when they're both so young, you'll be asking yourself, what the hell was I thinking, but after that they become best buddies and it's awesome." Looking at these pictures makes me believe they are right.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Morning 2010

Christmas Morning 2010- When we woke up, I was shocked that Noah was almost oblivious to the huge pile of presents under the tree. He knew Santa was coming, but still hadn't put it all together what exactly that meant...initially. It was funny. We had to almost push Noah to open his stocking, but after he got started, he caught on quickly. I need to write this down, because it won't be this way for long----Noah would patiently open a present, and then just want to open it and play with the toy. He completely ignored the rest of the presents. The one toy was enough. I know the day will soon come when he will open a present, and then rush to open another and another. I am thankful that this Christmas of 2010, Noah was very thankful of all the gifts he received, and he truly savored each one! Jackson pretty much watched the action from his chair, until he fell asleep. Not too exciting when you're only 7 weeks old! It actually worked out well, though, because we could give Noah the extra attention on this special Christmas morning.

Santa visits Noah & Jackson

For several weeks, I've been talking to Michael about taking the boys to see Santa. Being the OCD paranoid person that he is, Michael kept putting it off, not wanting to expose the boys to germs. I'm that way, too, but not to the extent that I won't take my kids to see Santa! Anyway, sure luck had it, our boys have been sick the past 2 weeks. So we never got to sit on Santa's lap. We DID get to have Uncle Brian here as Santa, which was special, though. So when Michael got home, I told him that I was sad that our boys missed sitting with Santa. He said, "I know what you're going to say already." And he was right. I wanted Michael to dress up as Santa and come visit the house. He wasn't thrilled about it, but he played along. It was funny. When the doorbell rang, and I said, "I wonder who it is," Noah said, "Maybe it's Santa!" Sure enough, it was! Santa brought Noah a Mickey Mouse book and the boys got to sit on Santa's lap. Jackson was already sick and beyond tired when Santa arrived, so he wasn't too fond of sitting with Santa! But, at least we didn't just skip it! See, Jackson? See Noah? See how much your Mommy TRIES to make special memories for you both? No, it doesn't always work as I envision, but I try because I love you both so very much. You too, Daddy Santa. Thanks for humoring your wife of almost 13 years. I love you all dearly.

Noah helping Jackson

We have had a rough several weeks. First Jackson was battling tummy problems. We went back & forth to the pediatrician trying to figure that out. Then Noah got the scariest virus I've ever seen. Then Daddy got it. The house has been chaos. My workouts that were going so well, basically got thrown out the door, and I've been living off ice cream, take-out, and Christmas leftovers...not working out---which does NOT do me any good. Then this past Monday, Jackson and I were BACK at the pediatrician because HE & I have the virus AND Jackson has an ear infection. No one has slept. It has been rough. I actually put Jackson down yesterday to go to the restroom, and as soon as I got in the other room, he started crying. Shortly after, he stopped. I came running back in the room to witness the sweetest thing I think I've ever seen...or at least seen in a long time....Noah was holding Jackson's pacifier in his mouth for him. You see, Jackson loves his paci, but he can't quite keep it in his mouth yet. When Noah saw that his baby brother, who was already sick, was crying because he couldn't hold his paci, Noah held it for him. I wasn't watching or in the room. It was an act of kindness done solely out of love for his brother. Bless you sweet Noah. It made Mommy's heart very happy, and was just what I needed.

Jackson at 8 weeks old

Sweet Baby Jackson is now 8 weeks old! Although his tummy is better, poor baby is SICK---Mommy too! We got the virus Noah & Daddy had and Jackson also has a right ear infection...on Amoxicillin at only 8 weeks old. Poor thing. He has been sneezing a lot (as you can see from the picture) , and has the eye infection Noah had, which requires eye drops several times per day. Sweet little honey has been a trooper. And I must say that Noah has been SOOOOO sweet to his younger brother! He says, "Awwww, Baby Jackson is sick. There there. Will fix it. I saw-we Baby Jackson." Being a mom can be tough...especially when the house is sick for 2 weeks in a row. But then there are moments like this that melt your heart. How ever did we live without him?!?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010~ Noah & Michael were sick this year, so we had a quiet Christmas at home. Well, I don't know about the quiet part. Noah got lots of Thomas the train toys, puzzles, games, books, and a bicycle! He had so much fun opening his presents. Jackson got plenty of Mylicon in his stocking, diapers, clothes, and some toys. It was our 1st Christmas as a family of four! Merry Christmas. My biggest blessings are Michael, Noah, & Jackson!

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010- Once again, the Christmas curse struck our house...sickness! We have missed EVERY Christmas Eve service & morning with our extended family since Noah was born. Michael had to work Christmas Eve day, so it was a long day since Noah was sick, and I feared Jackson was getting sick. But, the show must go on, so we put on our Santa hats, and chose to be merry. As tradition, we opened one present on Chrismas Eve. Noah was very excited that Santa was coming and had fun despite his illness. Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas cards 2010

These are our Christmas cards for 2010. I couldn't decide on which one I liked better, so I made two. I intended to send the card with the yearly timeline to my family in Michigan, as they are less familiar with our day-to-day events. And I was going to send the square card with my favorite picture of Noah & Jackson to my closer friends/family. As it turned out, I only got a few cards sent! Oh well, we have an infant and have a terrible virus at our house, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it. So, if you're reading this and you didn't get a card, consider this your virtual Christmas card! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

7 weel old Jackson

This is my darling Jackson at 7 weeks old today. What a honey this one is!! As you can see, he is lifting his head VERY well, and is starting to smile more! Brother Noah & Daddy are terribly sick this week with a virus, and Jackson has been such a good baby! I'm happy to report that his tummy problems have been improving day by day & he is much happier! Mommy too!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Family Christmas 2010

Our family- Christmas 2010

Cancer Institute Sip & See

My friends at the Cancer Institute invited Jackson & I for a sip & see. Sandy Campbell did a beautiful job organizing it and making it as easy as possible on me. Jackson was perfect and made me proud! Everyone loved holding & looking at my precious little guy! I will say, though, it felt a little weird being in that room celebrating....without my friend Mary Beth. Oh, how I miss all our talks we used to have in this very room!