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Happy Half Birthday Zoe Bear!

One and a half today.  Insane.

I tried writing the post a different way at first–writing a letter to you, talking all about how things are here and what everyone is up to (yourself included).  But that was just too damn hard.  With so many changes it’s nearly impossible to imagine exactly how you would fit in.  Would we have kept the layout the same, with the downstairs master bedroom as the playroom and the tiny Jack and Jill room yours?  Would I be stressing about the deployment as much since I would have a 7, 5 and 2 year old instead of having to go through the birth and the first six months with a newborn alone? How would your being here effect things like going to the pool and beach?  (Although I have a feeling that wouldn’t change anything–I love the beach too much that I’d be more than willing to sacrifice your nap time to do it.  Sorry kid).  Would you have more of your brother’s personality, complete with the ability to play on your own, allowing me to have some sanity or would you be super needy like your sister? Millions and millions of what-ifs that are always there, but triggered even more so by the change of scenery.

In some ways being pregnant makes it easier.  Because if everything would’ve worked out with you, we never would have this baby.  To Jeff’s chagrin, we probably would have completely abstained from any kind of …. extracurricular activity …. once we knew about the possibility of a deployment just because there’s no way in hell I would want to risk even the slightest possibility of being pregnant while he was gone.  And I am so incredibly grateful to be pregnant after it taking so long and being so fearful that it wasn’t ever going to happen again that it helps to overshadow the insignificant detail of doing it alone.  But, because of the circumstances, in some ways it makes it harder…. if you were here with us then there would be no need to be pregnant.  Jeff wouldn’t have to miss out on the birth and the first six months.  (Not that the first six months are all that exciting.  But still).  And with the pregnancy progressing and the deployment looming that single “what if” is beginning to consume all positive thoughts.

It seems like I’ve been wallowing, but I really haven’t been.  This day, unsurprisingly, just brings all of the thoughts to the forefront.  Instead of just brushing away the questions, today I’m taking the time to actually think about how different everything should be (as much as I don’t want to.  And will probably try to stop doing as soon as I’m finished writing.  Because you know, denial/ignoring the issue is obviously the answer).  Compounded with how close to a move this is–and all of the change and loneliness just moving itself comes with–it’s extra hard.  That being said, this transition was still a million times easier than the last move.  I mean, I haven’t cried so that’s got to be progress.  Or, you know, unhealthy.  Potato, po-tah-to.  But I think that on your next big milestone I will be able to write that letter to you.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

In honor of your half birthday, I made you half of a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting.  Beautiful, isn’t it??  Seriously I should decorate cakes for a living.  People would totally pay for that. Typically your sister was full of tact as she proclaimed, “Um Mama?  Maybe I should help you decorate my cake.  So it doesn’t turn out so ….  …. …. …. mushy.”

But (as usual) I digress.  I just know that you’re not allergic to PB–along with hatred of the beach, that’s just not allowed in this household.  It may not look pretty (my MO), but it sure was delicious.  Happy half birthday Zoe Bear.  Love you, today and every day.

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Happy First Birthday Zoe Bear!

Before going to bed last night I told myself that today would be a positive day.  Zoe’s birthday is a joyous occasion–a day to celebrate her entrance into the world.  The 22nd is a day to mourn; the 14th a celebration.  Obviously I didn’t exactly feel the same way when I woke up this morning.  I vacillated between angry and depressed two dozen times between 7 and 830, going from crying to wanting to cursing everyone and everything, back to crying.

But you know what?  Today was actually a good day.  Tuesday is usually a non-gym day because Carter has music class in the morning and it’s nearly impossible to squeeze both in.  But last night I made the decision that as soon as C woke up we’d drive to the gym so I could get a quick but brutal 45 minutes on the elliptical in before heading straight to music class.  I knew I would need it.  The entire way there I cursed my decision–I should’ve just stayed at home in my pjs, preferably in bed, crying.  I even debated dropping Carter off at playcare and then hiding in the handicap bathroom upstairs at the gym and just crying for my 45 minutes instead (sadly, it wouldn’t be the first time I did something like that).  But I forced myself to exercise and it was the best decision I could’ve possibly made.  Climbing off of that machine, red-faced, out of breath, legs rubbery and sweaty (choosing to go an extra 10 minutes instead of showering–I’m sure the moms at music class really appreciated that decision) I never felt so good.  Those endorphins really did their job.  I was able to listen to my cool down song twice without crying.  After grabbing C, I climbed in the truck and listened to “Three Little Birds” on the way home without crying (but with C bitching the entire 3 minutes–“I want Carter songs.  I don’t want Mama songs.  I want Carter songs.  I don’t like this song.”).  I got through music class with the 5 week old baby right next to me without crying.  I got through pretty much the rest of the day without tears.

There were a ton of other things that got me through today besides the endorphins.  Like the amazing necklace my 323 moms got me.  It’s a purple butterfly with Zoe’s name and birthday inscribed on the back, along with three little birds to represent her song.  A wonderful heartfelt birthday card with personalized messages from each family was included.  Everyone’s texts and comments and messages letting me know they’re thinking of us today.  A friend from college is getting married in May and I spent naptime today making plans with two of my other college friends for a mini-reunion that weekend, child-free.  It’s the first time I’ve felt truly excited for something in a long time.  My bi-weekly chat with my Irish twin just happened to be today and we had a great talk.  The weather was gorgeous.  Lurch didn’t pee in the house, and if he popped then he ate it so at least I was never the wiser.  The kids were good (even if C was a complete asshole since he decided to not nap today).  My favorite Girl Scout cookies finally arrived, so I helped myself to a row of Tagalongs (merely because they’re amazing, not because of depression).  I made a delicious birthday cake for Zoe, even if it did turn out crumbly, lopsided and ridiculous looking.  We released a paper lantern in honor of Zoe’s birthday (which Jeff had the brilliant idea that instead of each of us releasing one, each year we should light the number of years she would be.  He’s so brilliant).  

It was a good day.  It was a fitting way to celebrate Zoe’s birthday.  No moping, no crying, no wallowing in self-pity or punching things–just cherishing the things we do have, the things that are going right.  It’s not the way that I thought today would go when I woke up this morning, but it’s the way I hope every February 14th is.

My favorite part of the day?  When we went outside to light the lantern and J saw a star in the sky.  She chanted, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.  Wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”  And instead of her usual wish to be a fairy or a princess, she wished that Zoe was still alive and celebrating her birthday with us instead of as an angel.

It’s moments like that.

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Happy half-birthday Zoe Bear! And yes Jeffrey, half birthdays are a thing on this house, no matter how much you try to deny them.

6 months. Wow does time fly. So much has changed since we lost you. The big things–a new home, a new state, a new car, new friends, new adventures. A ton of little things–your brother now talks just as much as your sister; J started first grade; a billion and one other things I can’t think of at the moment.

How are things up there? Have you started crawling yet? Both of your siblings were very late with all of their gross motor skills. I didn’t think either of them would crawl, that they’d skip right to walking instead since it was taking so long. Turned out they were just a bit late to the game, that’s all.

What makes you giggle? For J it was the sound of a zipper going up and down. Man, that used to crack her up! C loved (and still does) any funny noise we make. Nonsense words are his favorite. That and tickles. Tickles are an easy way to get a spectacular giggle out of both of them.

Are you happy? I don’t think you could possibly beat your brother on that one. Carter takes his Canadian roots very seriously and is the happiest, most laid back kid ever. Your sister on the other hand is…well…fun. Let’s go with fun. Are you a mix of the two? Are you a people-lover like your siblings were at your age? They definitely didn’t get that trait from your father 😉

Any teeth? I’m an awful mother and am unable to remember when either of your siblings started sprouting them. How dare I forget something so significant?! It’s recorded somewhere…I’m just too lazy to look. Especially since your brother and sister are actually playing very well together at the moment and I’m terrified that if I move they’ll notice me and the peace and quiet will stop.

Are you sleeping through the night yet? You would be if you were in this household, that’s for sure! Cry it out starts at 6 months here and doesn’t end til you know only to cry if you actually need something. Mama values her sleep. If you can’t get on board, then you get sold.

Please don’t tell me you hate riding in the car. I’m still traumatized by months and months and months of your brother screaming every time he was strapped in his car seat.

How about food? Found anything you enjoy yet? Your brother loves food so much that the very first time we put that spoon to his lips and he got his first taste of “people food” he started shaking like an alcoholic craving a drink and he hasn’t looked back. We made you half a birthday cake since today is your half birthday (even though your father doesn’t believe in half birthdays. Which is why I don’t think he should get a piece of your incredibly-messy-but-hopefully-very-delicious half birthday cake). But let’s be honest–I wouldn’t let you have a bite of it any way. No desserts til you turn 1! Both of your siblings destroyed their first birthday cakes at their photo shoots and are now sugar-holics. No idea where they get that one from 😉 And then you can follow in your brother’s footsteps and start screaming “WHOOPER!!! WHOOPER!!! WHOOOOPPPPERRRRRRR!!!!” the moment you’re strapped into the high chair for dinner. That phase lasted a good 3 months and I do not miss it one bit.

Hopefully someone is singing songs and reading books to you. Both your brother and sister love books and songs and can’t get enough of either. I’m a bit sick of princesses and trucks though, so hopefully your tastes are a bit more diverse.

The details don’t really matter though. What matters is that you’re happy and no longer suffering. Although I would give anything in the world to know every single detail of your personality, I never will. And it is what it is. Just know that we love you and we miss you. And although disastrous looking, your half birthday cake was absolutely delicious. Happy 6 months Zoe Bear!