Hudson’s Birth Story & His 1st and 2nd Month Time Capsules

April 27, 2017-3

Here I am at a Starbucks in June.

It’s strangely quiet in here due to a busted sound system and as I type, the only sound is the click of my keys and the occasional whir from the barista making a frappacino for the next drive-thru customer.

In other words, it is pretty much silent and, therefore, music to my ears.

You see, I just left a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment filled with noisy window air conditioners, three tiny people (all of whom were screaming at some point in the last half hour), two dogs, and a husband watching MTV’s “The Challenge:  Champs vs. Pros” on full-blast.

Silence is golden.

I’m here to write.  As fast as my little fingers can type before Starbucks closes at 9:30 and I have to re-enter the noise.

There was a time when silence was awful.  It was the sound of grief, of losing a child, of an empty home and empty arms.

Now, I crave silence.  The moments of quiet where I can recharge my frazzled self and regroup.

I used to feel guilty about that.  About needing a break from the little miracles that were bestowed upon us after Callie died.  I had prayed and longed for children more than anything.  What I wouldn’t have given to have that chaos in my life.

But after my third rainbow baby, our sweet little Hudson, that guilt is gone.

As a ‘seasoned’ mom, I know now that guilt has absolutely no place in my life.  That grief-filled silence only made more room in my world for the noise.  It grew my patience, super-charged my batteries, and prepped me to embrace the hot little messes that were to come.

BUT

 

I’m human, nothing more.  And so, I need quiet now.  And I am grateful for both the noise that means I am so blessed with children and also the peaceful moments that I need like air to fill me back up and make me the mom I aspire to be.

I say this all as a preface to the introduction of our sweet Hudson to this little blog.  I had the best of plans and intentions.  I wanted to write poignant words about his birth and his first month, and now his second, just like I’d done for his big sisters before him.

But it didn’t really go like that.

Instead, it’s been very noisy.  Both literally and figuratively.

Hudson’s birth story is a simple, yet still sweet one.  Nothing dramatic or crazy.  He came on the date he was scheduled to come (despite my desperate wish that he would come early to ease my discomfort) and gave us absolutely no trouble during his birth.  Although he was breech like his big sister, Lila, the entire pregnancy, Hudson surprised us right before he was born during his c-section when the doctor let us know that he had flipped head down at some point since the last sonogram a week or two prior.

April 25, 2017-6April 25, 2017-4April 25, 2017-21April 25, 2017-22When they pulled him from the womb, he cried right away.  A sweet little cry that definitely sounded more ‘boy’ than his sisters had.  (Isn’t that funny how boys can sound different even from birth?)  He was 7 lb, 7 oz., a lucky birthweight and our biggest baby so far.  His sisters got to meet him soon after birth and were a little shy/freaked out about it but soon grew to absolutely dote on him.  We were so lucky to have our favorite nurse, Cindy, there once more for the birth of our last little rainbow.  It is crazy to me that the ONLY times we have seen her have been on our very worst and very best days of our lives.

That first day and a half were pretty magical and special.  They were filled with a calm, sweet peace that I think was heaven sent from our guardian angel.

And then day two struck.

And boy did Hudson let us have it.  He cried and cried and cried some more.  Second day syndrome, the nurses called it.  That time when babies want MILK and moms haven’t gotten any in yet and so babies are PISSED OFF about it.

Yeah, Hudson was hangry as hell for about 24 hours and we barely made it through that little spell with our sanity.

Days 3-7 were back to being pretty nice.  Big sisters, Charlotte and Lila, gave us some trouble as they adjusted to the new baby but all-in-all everything was all good and we couldn’t believe that we had a little baby BOY to call our very own.

So of course, we had to go and mess with that nice little thing we had going.

I don’t want to bore people with the ins and outs of the big fat pickle we got ourselves into (and I’ve shared a lot about it on social media already), but the short story is that after house hunting for a single family home for several years, we were going to take a little break for a bit after Hudson was born…  until we saw a house we thought could be THE ONE.

We went under contract on “THE ONE”, sold our townhouse, only to find later that the new home was not what it seemed and we decided to walk away after an alarming inspection that couldn’t be resolved with the seller.  I cannot tell you how stressful it was to be recovering from a c-section, attempting to calm a suddenly very fussy newborn baby, trying to keep a home clean with three kids and two big hairy dogs, having to pack up and leave the house all the time to show the home, and then to pack it all up and move, not knowing where we were going next!  To top it off, it was the end of the school year which is the busiest time for John so it was stress, on top of stress, on top of stress. There were a lot more micro-dramas that occurred (including a pipe leak!), but I have already mentally moved on and do not want to even go there ever again. Eventually we decided to purchase a new construction home (ready in October!) and we have now settled in to an apartment (a little bitty one!!) temporarily until it is complete.

The chaos that all of this created filled every moment with noisy turmoil and very nearly drove me right over the edge.  I was frazzled and worn completely down, fighting to stay positive in the middle of so much yuck.  John and I bumped heads and were grumpy with each other and I didn’t love the mom I was being to the kids.  There was no down time, no regrouping, nothing but pushing forward, putting out fire after fire.

I hate admitting to all of these feelings after the birth of our sweet little Hudson, but that’s what I was doing… just getting by.  Day by day, minute by minute.

I had a completely different, very glossy version of this post written because I felt a little guilty writing about this time in our lives in an honest way.  I don’t want Hudson to think I was unhappy about having him.  That couldn’t be further from the truth!!  But, as he will learn one day, being a parent is hard and sometimes babies are colicky and sometimes you try your hardest to make the best decisions for your family and things don’t go like you planned.  And you just have to get through it the best you can.  In the end, I erased the glossy version and started over because it want to remember this just the way it is, even if it isn’t picture perfect.

God has a plan for us, I just know it.  I questioned what and WHY, WHY, WHY many times, but I do know there is a plan.  I read on the internet once (so of course it’s true!) that cardinals are signs from lost loved ones in heaven.  I can’t tell you how many times I saw cardinals at different moments along this journey and I truly believe it was Callie checking in and showing us our path (even though it wasn’t a fun one).  Right up until the last moments in our townhouse…

…I had spent the day cleaning it out with my mom and Hudson wrapped tightly to my chest.  At some point while I mopped our empty living room I realized how quiet it was and stopped.  The enormity of the fact that we were leaving this place, our first home, finally hit.  Those walls had seen our happiest and worst moments.  We crossed the threshold as a married couple, brought home a second puppy, and happily built a nursery for Callie in our earliest years there.  When we came home without her, we closed the door to her room and sobbed.  Slowly, I learned the way that light spilled in loudly into some rooms and softly into others as I studied photography under that roof, healing my grieving heart.  Shortly after that, our home was filled with cries of newborn Charlotte, and then Lila, and so very recently, Hudson, whose nursery we had *just* finished.  Those walls had heard so much.  Laughter.  Weeping.  And everything in between.

And there I was, in the center of that quiet home, mopping it up for someone else.  A new family, that would make new memories there.  A tear or two slipped down my cheek, but then the moment was gone, because I knew that one of the greatest lessons God had been trying to teach John and I through this all is that “home” has very little to do with your physical surroundings and shelter and much more to do with the people inside of it.

As we drove away that afternoon, I turned back to take one more picture of our family in front of that red door.  At the end of the street, there in one of the small, scrubby trees that the builders plopped in front of the townhouses in our neighborhood, was a bright, red cardinal.

And wouldn’t you know it…

..the cardinal flew from tree to tree, following us up the street until we got to our house and then flew away.

It wasn’t our house anymore.  Our “home” was right there in the bodies of the squiggly, noisy family of crazy people sitting on the front stoop trying to take one last selfie.

IMG_3449Hudson, buddy, I’m so sorry that your birth story is all tangled up with this stuff but that’s just how it is.  I wanted to write you the fairy tale version, but if there is one thing you need to know about your mommy, it is that I can never be anything but real with you.  You will hate that I think sometimes (maybe lots of times), but I hope that you also love it too.  If you read this one day, I want you to know that the best part of this crazy time in our lives was you.  Even though you fussed and cried and kept us up at night, it was you.  And would I do it all over again?

Yes, without reservation.  Because of you and because good things are in store for us, cutie pie.  This is just the crazy beginning to something crazy wonderful.  I thank God for you and your sisters and Daddy and our doggies and all the noise you bring to my life.

So, with all of that being said, I will end this with a few nuggets about your first and second months and I promise that from here on out, I will do my very best to do your time capsules on time.  (Just help me out with that by giving your mommy some nice long naps every once in awhile, ok bud?)

May 25, 2017-3.jpgHudson’s One Month Time Capsule:

We can’t forget that, this month:

  • We called you our little ‘squeaky wheel’ because every time you eat, you make a squeaky noise VERY LOUDLY.  The doctors say you have something called laryngomalacia, which is completely harmless and will go away with time.  It is certainly hard to be inconspicuous while nursing you!  One day you won’t make this little squeak anymore and we will be sad that you have grown up so much!
  • Sorry to tell you bud, but this month you got your first zits.  (or so we thought!)
  • You LOVE to be held and rocked and one of your favorite things to do is to be worn in a carrier by mommy.
  • You had your first coo and smile on May 22nd!  You have no idea how much joy you brought your tired mommy on that day!  You have given us sweet smiles, with the hint of cute dimples, every day since then (in between all the fussing! What’s that all about?!?)
  • Your sisters love you so much and each took their first turns holding you in this first month.

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June 25, 2017-2Hudson’s Two Month Time Capsule:

  • Uh-oh, turns out that baby acne was actually a very severe case of facial seborrhea (cradle cap).  Your rash got kind of scary looking for a little while and mommy worried and worried about you.  To treat it, we rubbed coconut oil on your face in circles every night.  You smelled like a little macaroon!  It cleared up significantly after that but we are still at it!IMG_3352
  • It was during this month that we packed up your sweet nursery and moved into the apartment.  Now that we are here, we are having a great time and we are finally getting to settle down and focus on fun things.  I know you won’t remember this place, but I think your mommy and daddy will look back fondly at it one day!2017_06_Cornely_81.jpg
  • Every night around 5:30, you have a ‘witching hour’ where you like to cry and give Mommy and Daddy a hard time for no good reason.  Most of the time, Daddy will walk you around the apartment until you settle down.June 22, 2017.jpg
  • You love your swing, hate the car, and like sucking on a paci but have trouble keeping it in your cute little mouth sometimes.
  • The smiles continued this month!  We love ‘talking’ with you with your sweet coos.  You smile especially big when we sing to you.June 25, 2017
  • The biggest smiles come for your big sisters though.  Lila loves to talk about you and Charlotte smothers you with love (almost literally).  When she tries to make you smile, her voice goes up about 200 octaves and turns syrupy sweet!

Hudson, we love you to the moon and back.  We can’t wait to see what your third month has in store for you!

 

 

 

 

Lila Faith: Two Years Old!

March 23, 2017-11Oh Lila, how we love you!

I’m a bit late writing this post for your birthday, but I’m squeaking it in just before your big sister’s birthday and then, next week, the birth of your little brother.  You are such a sweet little caregiver…always carrying around a baby doll and telling us if it cries or needs a new diaper.  You can say your little brother’s name and give my belly sweet kisses.  We have no doubt that you will be an amazing big sister!

Watching you grow and change over the past few months has been so incredibly fun!  You walk, run, jump (“I bounce!”), and love to play hide-and-seek.  Your vocabulary is absolutely amazing and you continue to surprise us with new words every day.  Up until this point, you have been a very laid back little girl but lately….”whoa buddy” (you say that all the time p.s.)!!  You have been full of opinions and ideas and they don’t always line up with Mommy and Daddy’s.  But you wouldn’t be a true two-year-old without those kinds of moments.

Daddy and I made a list of things we want to remember about all the things we love so much about you right now.  We hope you read it back one day and can see how very special and loved you are!

Lila Faith at Two:

  • You love music and singing.  Your favorite songs are “I Got This Feeling (Sunshine In my Pocket)” by Justin Timberlake (which you call “Pock”), “Let it Go” from Frozen, and “Fireball” by Pitbull.
  • You recently started enjoying sitting down for a movie now and then and you love Tangled and Moana and Finding Dory (which you call “Nemo Dory”)
  • Your favorite toys are blocks, Barbies, baby dolls, the trampoline, and anything that you can use your amazing imagination with!  You love to play pretend 🙂
  •   Some of our favorite things you say:  “Watch this!”, “Okay” (in alllll kinds of different voices), “hide & seek”, and “Sorry!”  These sound like pretty normal things to say, but you do them in a very funny and unique way.  Ask us to try and show you how one day!  We are so impressed that you can put together sentences that are pretty long.  It’s so fun knowing what is on your mind now that you can tell us all about it.
  • You are SO smart and can count to 10, know all of your colors, and sign language for tons of different animals- you can say them all now, but just a few months ago you signed them!
  • Your cheeks are still so round and yummy.  We kiss them every day!
  • Sucking your thumb and twirling your hair are still your favorite ways to chill.
  • Your favorite color is PURPLE!
  • Your latest  obsession is sunglasses and you never leave home without them….often times we even find you wearing them indoors!
  • You love to dress yourself!  You also like to undress yourself too!  Sometimes we find you doing really funny things with your clothing (like putting pants on your head!) that makes us laugh.

Lila, we love you SO much and are so very proud of you!  Happy 2nd birthday sweetie pie!

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

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A Letter to Callie on her 5th Birthday in Heaven

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Dear Callie,

Happy birthday sweetie!  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I will never, ever forget the day you were born.  There are a lot of things that I wish I could change about that day and the next, but I know now that God had a different plan for you and I have come to respect that even if I cannot understand it.

We will be making you a cake today and sending you a balloon again (do you get those?) and will sing you “Happy Birthday”.  We promise to do an act of kindness in your name today.  How do you celebrate in Heaven?  I bet it is better than anything I can imagine.

Today, you would have been five here on Earth.  There is something so special about that age.  I would give absolutely ANYTHING to know what you would look like as a sweet little five year old.  When your little sister, Lila, was born, I thought that you girls resembled each other a little bit.  Maybe her face as she grows will give me a hint of yours.  Charlotte looked so different than you, but you share a bond that I don’t even understand.  Even though she is only three, she knows about you and talks about you in a way that makes me 100% sure that you are with her.

You are with all of us.

In my every action and in your daddy’s.

In every breath your sisters (and soon-to-be-born brother) take.

You are with us.

Callie, please know that you are loved and remembered.  I hold you in my heart and send you daily hugs and kisses.  Each night as I go to bed, I always lay on my left side because I see you better that way when I close my eyes.  I see you the way I did 5 years ago, nose-to-nose on your hospital bed.  I can’t fall asleep any other way.

Thank you for sending me little signs lately to bring me comfort.  I wish that it didn’t have to be that way…it should be me comforting you!  But I do appreciate and treasure each gift you have given us and hope with every fiber of my being that I make you proud and that you can feel my love all the way up there in heaven.

We miss you and love you so much!

With all my heart,

Mommy

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Let’s Make Inauguration Day (1/20) a Random Acts of Kindness Day, Shall We?

january-18-2017-2It’s January, once again.

Five years ago on January 27th, our first daughter, Callie was born.  And five years ago on January 28th, she died.

Fast forward to the present and as you can probably see, things here on the blog have been pretty quiet.   I assure you that my life has been anything but quiet.  I never made it blog-official that…guess what?  We are having another baby!  A boy!  (He is our third rainbow to be due in April- fun fact!)  I also didn’t tell you that I took a break from teaching this year to stay home with the girls and focus on photography.  I haven’t written here about any of our ups, downs, and in-betweens.  In fact, I haven’t written (at least here) in 9 months!

Because by the grace of God, I’m busy.

The luckiest kind of busy there is.  I’m a mom.

A mom to two healthy little girls and a little boy on the way.

But I’m also an angel’s mom.  And sometimes I feel really badly that I haven’t sat down lately to use this space in the way that I originally intended- to share my love for her and to share her story so that it may impact others.  Does Callie know that through all the busy, hustle-bustle, that she is still there?  In my mind, in my heart, echoed in my actions?  I hope so.

I also know that it’s ok.  My writing is at its best when I’m feeling it, when my words are bursting out of my heart and have to be heard.  And usually, that’s also when I’m feeling pain and heartbreak.  So, it’s ok- it’s actually a good thing.  My moments of pain and heartbreak are still there- just quicker, faster- and the next thing you know, someone needs a snack.  (Doesn’t someone ALWAYS need a snack?!?)  So it’s a good thing that I haven’t written in a while… it means my heart and arms are full.

But… January.

The memories, the pain… it all bubbles up to the surface again.  Just right there, quivering and shaking right below my skin, like an overfilled balloon, stretched to its breaking point.  The slightest of things can poke holes in my fragile January shell and let the pain escape in jagged bursts that takes my breath away.  The feeling leaves, and my balloon fills back up again, but inevitably something else happens and I pop all over again.

This is how January goes.

I wanted to write today for myself, to have a little relief from the build up.  But I also wanted to ask a favor.

Every year, John and I wear yellow on Callie’s days -her birthday, Jan. 27th and her angel day, the 28th- and we always invite others who feel so moved to join in.  We also like to do random acts of kindness during that time period too (Kindness for Callie) and we love hearing from other people about the nice things you do for others.  It means the world to know that her little life can impact the world in such a meaningful way.

But this year, I thought that maybe we could move it up just a little bit.

Zero percent of me would like to engage in a political discussion, but I do think that we can ALL agree that no matter what you believe in or who you stand behind, that this last election was pretty ugly.  I really can’t think of many aspects of it that showed off the BEST parts of our country.

So let’s make up for that now.

On our nation’s Inauguration Day- January 20th-, I’d love it if you would join me in doing some random acts of kindness (and wearing LOTS of yellow!!) to show the kind of love that our country is really all about.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off a new presidential term than to spread love, kindness, and smiles.  For one day, it would be really awesome to not see a nation divided- red and blue.  How about a country, joined together….in yellow!

My sweet friend and I will be delivering the signature smiley cookies (pictured above) that I give to all of my photography clients to a local women’s shelter on the 20th.

What will you do?

Feel free to spread the word.  🙂

Lila Faith: One Year Old Time Capsule!!!

March 24, 2016

 

I just went back and reread this post from when we first announced that we were expecting Lila.

Ouch.

I have tears in my eyes thinking back on how much I struggled emotionally at the beginning of her pregnancy.  I feel so GUILTY!  If I could go back in time, I would show myself a video of this infinitely sweet little girl sucking her thumb (with one finger always hooked over top!) and laughing at the silly noises I make.  Back then, I couldn’t see past the next day.  I couldn’t imagine what could be.  Even if I had tried to imagine, I would not have been able to dream up such an amazing baby.  Everyone told me that even though it felt like there would not be enough space in my heart for another baby, to just wait.  “You’ll see!” they said.

They were right.  

I look into those big brown eyes and feel such a strong love that it is breathtaking.  She leans into me, sucks her thumb, and I brush her soft, sweet hair out of her eyes, and kiss the top of her fluffy little head.  She melts me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever share the words of these blog posts with my girls.  I’ve written so candidly that I’m afraid that they won’t understand.  That they will question my love for them.

But it is *because* of my love for them that I write.

One day, many years from now, Lila might be feeling that same anxiety, the same fears about opening up her heart another time for another child.  Wondering if she has what it takes.

And I’ll be there to say, “Yes, you do.”

And I’ll be right.

(Aren’t moms always right?)

March 09, 2016-2

March 09, 2016

 

Lila’s 12 Month Time Capsule (photos very randomly thrown in here! haha)

-Lila’s ‘talking’ has begun to sound very much like that Swedish Chef muppet.  I cannot duplicate it and it’s 100% adorable.

-Although Lila has not started walking (or standing!) yet, she absolutely LOVES climbing stairs.  She gets really excited to go up the stairs right next to her big sis.  I’m not worried about her lack of walking.  She has proven time and again that she will do things when she is good and ready to.  And I am in NO RUSH to be chasing her around as she gets into everything.

March 23, 2016-2

March 23, 2016

-Usually, Lila is very even-keeled but lately she has started to show a bit of a jealous streak.  If mommy is holding Charlotte, she wants to be held too!  I feel like a rock star, but Daddy feels kind of left out.  I know it won’t be long before they hate my guts and worship him instead so I am enjoying it for now.

March 19, 2016

-I love watching Lila delicately use her fingers to grasp small objects.  She really has a knack for fine motor activities!

March 22, 2016

 

-Lila’s new obsession is her banana tooth brush given to her by a dear, sweet friend in a basket full of yellow sunshiny things.  She screams and cries when we try to take it away.

March 12, 2016

-As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Lila’s thumb sucking really tugs at my heartstrings.  It’s such a sweet act and I love snuggling with her when she sucks on her sweet little thumb.  The only downside for now is that she gets a pretty gnarly drool rash from constantly spreading slobber all over her chin, lips, and nose.  Also, since she HATES having her nails clipped, she can often be found with little scratches on her nose as a result of the little finger hook she does while thumb sucking.March 02, 2016

-Lila had her first Easter this month.  She got bath toys, baby food, and sippy cups from the Easter Bunny and looked so sweet all dressed up for church and Easter brunch!

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-On Lila’s first birthday (March 23rd), we went to visit the cherry blossoms in DC and had an idyllic kind of day, playing outside and taking in the sights.  Later that day, we had a cake smash for her.  Let me tell you, this girl WENT TO TOWN!  We were sure she was going to be sick from eating so much cake, but she handled it just fine and was very mad at us from taking the (pulverized, smashed to bits) cake away from her at the end.

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-Finally, we celebrated her birthday that weekend with a small family/friends party with a ladybug theme.  It was super sweet and we all had a great time 🙂  (Side note: although I am a professional photographer I am comically bad at taking party photos when it is my own family.  I always feel really weird getting my huge camera out and feel like it gets in the way!  I would much rather just sit back and enjoy the party.  I need to start hiring someone!!)

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I feel a little bad that I am posting this sooooo late, but both of the girls (along with the rest of life!) have kept us pretty busy lately.  That’s the way it goes sometimes!

Kisses to my sweet baby girl in honor of her first birthday!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Lilas first year

 

Lila Faith: 11 Month Time Capsule

I am almost a week behind posting this which makes me sad because that means Lila is already one week closer to her first birthday!  I’m excited for her big day, but feeling very nostalgic.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were anxiously awaiting her arrival.  She has grown up so fast and is such a joy!

February 24, 2016

For the first time, Lila didn’t lay still for her monthly photo.  I was actually thrilled!  She’s always been so laid back and just chilled out for her photos so it was fun to see her be active and playful 🙂  I love this one!

Things for Lila’s time capsule:

-Lila loves to move!  She crawls anywhere and everywhere and pulls up easily to stand now.  She loves exploring- especially in the play kitchen.  Banging spoons inside of pots is her favorite pasttime.

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-These cheeks.  Period.

February 02, 2016

-“Daddy” is an official word for her now.  Lila is a daddy’s girl and says his name whenever she sees him or hears him from a distance.

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-Her first Valentine’s Day was filled with love!  The ‘lovebird’ brought her red pouches of baby food and a cute shirt to match her big sis.

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-Lila is now officially in 12 month clothing!  She has really caught up in size and is getting bigger every minute.

 

Playing dress up with big sis

Playing dress up with big sis

-She has a mouthful of teeth and her fave foods right now are deli turkey, avocado, and BANANAS.  She might be part-monkey.

January 25, 2016-3

-When she is sleepy, she does this crazy thing where she flings herself backwards forcefully- you have to really watch her or else she will fling herself right out of your arms.  Fun times.  😉

February 03, 2016-2

-Lila was sick this past month with some high fevers.  She is normally to busy watching everyone else to snuggle, so although we didn’t want her to be sick, we did enjoy the cuddles while they lasted.

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-She loves sticking her tongue out and making all kinds of babbly, fun noises with it.January 31, 2016-3

 

We love this little girl so much!  Her first birthday will be here before we know it!

Callie’s 4th Birthday in Heaven: Nothing Gold Can Stay

January 27, 2016-2

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost
How we wish you could have stayed, but we are so grateful for the short time you were here.  Look at all that has bloomed because of you, sweet girl.
Happy 4th birthday sweetie.  We have candles ready.
We love you.  We miss you so much Callie!

January 27, 2016