A Look Back at 2014: Part 1

Well to say 2014 was a busy year is an incredible understatement.

We searched for and found our first home.

Cedella started at People’s Church Preschool.

Isora managed to blow us all away with her ability to fall asleep nearly anywhere.

We traveled to Chicago and to the Cottage up north.

After waiting until we were moved and settled in our new home, we got pregnant.

And lost our sweet baby 14 weeks later.

Then we had 7 Christmas celebrations and our home became the Toys R Us graveyard.

It was eventful. Such a great way to begin the year and such a shitty way to end it. So much sadness. And it seemed to be all around us. So many people sick, hurting, suffering and losing loved ones.

In effort to counteract such sadness and to welcome the hope and promise of the year ahead let’s look at some pictures. Cause pictures always make me feel better. And if you don’t already you really should follow me on Instagram @mrseyebrowz. Because I post there way more frequently than here. Also…pictures of Iz sleeping in all manner of weird spots and positions on a regular basis.

WARNING: LOOOOOOTTTTTTSSSSS of pictures ahead. Like 30. So I’m splitting this post up into two parts. Enjoy!! 

JANUARY – This little spitfire sassy pants turned 4 years old and started her new school. She amazes us more every day she’s on this planet. And ::gasp:: she will be 5 in a mere 9 days. I’m gonna need some Kleenex. ASAP.

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And one of the most amazing things about this year? Watching these two grow even closer together. It’s the best.

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FEBRUARY – Me and my girl Kasey decided to throw an all-out Frozen birthday bash for all of our kiddos. It was AWESOME. Here’s Cedella Elsa with Kennedy Elsa and Lexi Elsa.

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And dozens of our favorite friends.

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Cedella had TWO hot dates for Valentine’s. Grandma Becky took her to her first Broadway theater show, Beauty and the Beast.

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And Michael took her to the Daddy Daughter Dance.

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We all got good gifts this Valentine’s. Check out those flowers for me and My Little Ponies for the girls.

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MARCH – I can’t even. They’re holding hands. And El rocked those silly glasses for days!

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Birthday celebration with Grandma Rose! How lucky is Isora to share a bday with her Great Grandma. So. Lucky.

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We had a big old St. Patty’s birthday bash for all our friends at our home. It was crazy and chaotic and FUN!

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And then this happened. March 22nd. We found our Dream Home. Loved it the second we walked in.

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APRIL: Our dear sweet furry baby Kira had to be put to sleep. I’m choking up just looking at this picture. We miss her so much.

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Yep. It snowed in April. It’s Michigan. It does that.

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Cedella in that hat.

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And Isora with these headphones on. Such hipster kids.

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MAY: We got the keys and moved into our new home!! So we bought the biggest bed we could find at IKEA. It is Heaven.

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Keys to our Kingdom.

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First morning cup of coffee in our new home.

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First night we slept in our new home. Once we slept here that first night, we never slept at the old house again. It was just Home.

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JUNE: This one day we ran around Detroit with TeTe, hitting up Eastern Market, Belle Isle and the Heidelberg Project.

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Then we watched my BABY sister graduate from High School. Yep that’s Kylara. She’s 19 now. I’m so old…

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And the best part about June? Our besties moved into a new home in the same city. As if they weren’t already, these four girls are now totally inseparable.

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And while she has always passed out wherever she happened to be, we started noticing Isora sleeping in the craziest places in the new house.

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July through December coming tomorrow!! Want more? Never want to miss an update? SUBSCRIBE ———> over there, at the very top of the page just below ‘Contact Me’. Enter your email address to receive all the latest Babies & Bacon updates right to your inbox. 

Happy 4th Birthday Cedella

It seems like only yesterday I was a new wife, a sprout taking root and growing deep inside of me. Then one cold, bleak day in January the time had come. My baby, my first child, was ready to come into the world.

And yesterday Cedella turned four. Four. Years. Old.

So in our tradition (which I think I forgot to do last year…oops) here is my letter to my dear daughter on her birthday.

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Dear Cedella,

Happy 4th Birthday!! I can’t believe you are 4 today. It feels like yesterday that you were born and made me a mommy. And now here you are. Four years old. So independent and full of opinions, ideas and words. So many words. This year has been a truly incredible year for watching you turn from a toddler to a big kid.

When you turned three suddenly things you liked to do as a baby were no longer any fun. You wanted more freedom to make your own choices. To do things on your own. To be away from us more. In some ways it was sad to me, you becoming your own individual, because it meant you needed me less and less, but in other ways it has been thrilling to watch your personality and individuality progress.

Last year you were still at home with me everyday. You and me were so busy teaching Izzie how to walk and talk. I remember how proud you were when she took her first steps. You are such a proud and fierce big sister, Isora’s biggest champion. You encourage her and help her learn things each and every day. You have turned into another Mommy, reminding her of the rules, hands on your hips, in a perfect imitation of me. Watching you two playing together was one of the highlights of this past year to me. And though you occasionally get in each other’s way or hurt one another, you always make it right, which I hope you two continue to do throughout your lives. Though you may not believe it at four years old, your sister is your best friend in the world, the one you share all of your thoughts and favorite things with. I am so proud at how much you two love one another.

And while your relationship with your sister grew, so did your relationship with many others. You have grown so close with your Jiddo and Teta this year. Your weekly sleepovers are something you all look forward too. Knowing that you are growing up with your Jiddo, and that you trust him so deeply, is so important. I don’t know all of what you will learn from him over the years, but it is incredible that you have the opportunity to spend so much time with him.

There have been so many parties and gatherings with our family this year that has brought you even closer to your Grandma Linda, Grandma Becky and your Great Grandparents. And there is your special bond with your TeTe, you two even have your own handshake. When you told me the other day that you really wanted to go have a sleepover at TeTe’s in your own room, it made my heart smile. I’m so glad you love TeTe as much as I do. You became very close with cousin Izzat when he came to visit this fall and I know how much you love playing and spending time with your cousin Mila.

We have been so lucky the past year to have so many wonderful family vacations. Trips that you won’t soon forget about. Remember going to visit Uncle Erik in Cape Cod? We got a chance to stay with him and his Moms and Aunt Sara and Uncle Leo and the twins. We had such a fun time, and I know you really enjoyed it. You saw the ocean for the first time in your life and wondered why it was so big. I don’t think you’ll ever forget helping Uncle Erik cook the lobsters, and cracking them open when it was time to eat. Surprisingly you weren’t disturbed or upset by it, you even tried some lobster meat (after it was dipped in butter). And though there were some struggles for Mom and Dad during the trip, we were so thankful for how cooperative and enthusiastic you were about all of the adventures we had.

This year was also the first time we all went up to the cottage as one big family. Usually it’s just Grandma and TeTe and Auntie Kylara that go to the cottage. But this year Jiddo, Teta and Uncle André came too. You and Jiddo drove in the car together singing the “Cottage” song over and over again. It goes something like “Cottage, cottage, we’re going to the cottage”. It was one of the best weekends we’ve ever had as a family. We spent all day by the beach, then all night eating food and sitting at the campfire. Spending all those days together, the Sims and the Mansours, reminded me of Mom & Dad’s wedding weekend, one of the happiest in our lives. Surrounded by family, relaxing, eating, laughing and making memories.

We even got to take a family trip to Chicago to stay with Uncle André for a few days. It was so much fun. We even got to see your friends Nia and Imani at the Children’s Museum on the day we arrived. You were amazed at riding in tax cabs and going on the L train. There were so many new adventures that weekend but my favorite memory of you was on the day we were going home, we buzzed over to State Street so I could do some shopping. We were walking along a crowded street and there was a drummer on the corner. We stopped for a moment to listen to him play and you started dancing. You were twisting and turning and throwing your hands into the air and back to your hips. It was wild and free and perfectly spontaneous. So delightfully in the moment. Those seconds are etched in my memory as a reminder to be mindful. To let the music take over once in a while. To always, no matter where you are, or who’s watching, to dance. Life is short Monk, always dance.

It must be your inherently free spirit that has brought on your expressive personal style but I have never known a child to be so attuned to fashion and clothing. Except for myself of course 😉 Grandma Linda always said what I pain I was to get dressed in the morning, because I always wanted to wear something specific that I couldn’t find in my dirty room. Grandma never had patience for shopping or clothes and never really cared much about them. But I did. And now you do. Is fashion sense a genetic trait? Either way you’ve got the Clothing Bug. And this year’s obsessions and trends have been hard to keep up with to say the least.

First you stopped wearing jeans. They were too uncomfortable and not cool and you wanted nothing to do with them. Then you refused to wear shorts and could only wear dresses or skirts. The next phase moved to dresses with leggings or tights only. Then you wore your BFF Anna’s Belle costume day in and day out for two weeks straight. Finally you decided that every single outfit needed a tutu and that dresses wear only acceptable with a tutu bottom OR if they were twirly skirts on the bottom. It has been exasperating but entertaining. It’s hard to know what you are going to want to wear next, but you are so independent in picking out your own outfits and accessories. And now it’s all about Princess dresses and ‘high tips’ (your word for high heels). I couldn’t have kept you away from turning into a Princess if I tried.

One of your favorite things to say when I tell you something doesn’t match or look right together is that “You’re silly Mom. I don’t care if I match. I want to be colorful”. It took me a while to accept this. I have this issue with needing you girls to be presentable and put together particularly when we go out in public. And yet I try to encourage you to be yourself and express yourself and celebrate being weird and different. I was attempting to squash that creativity and expression. But I don’t anymore. What you pick is what you pick. Your clothes are your expression in so many ways, what makes you stand out, and I want you to always know that however you choose to express yourself is cool with me.

Except when it comes to expressing yourself with bad words. Of which we have both had a lot of this year! I know I have a terrible habit of saying cuss words and bad things. One of my involuntarily favorite phrases of disbelief is “Shut up!” which I have taught you we don’t say in our house. You have been very good in reminding me that it isn’t a nice thing to say. And when you and your sister played a spirited game of “When I Say Shit, You Say Fuck” we all cracked up, and you knew you weren’t supposed to do it, but we all had a good laugh. Thankfully you two haven’t played that game again and you often remind Iz that she shouldn’t say certain words that are for adults only.

What’s interesting about you is what a great listener you are, when you feel like listening. You have an ear for phrases and memorize dialogue from movies with ease. I think you watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes enough times to have memorized them. From Charlie Brown you started saying so many mature phrases, that you may not have fully understood but we’ve had some interesting conversations about what they all mean. Some of your favorites? “Never fall in love with a musician”. “I made a total fool of myself” “You can talk to the moon but the sun won’t listen”. “I was not made for winter” All so mature. All so crazy to hear coming out of your mouth.

It never ceases to amaze me how many conversations I have with you about tough subjects like death and love and hate and respect. Such deep topics. And you are truly thoughtful and interested in talking about these things. I have always felt that you were wise beyond your years. Something about the intensity of your eyes and the furrow of your brow when you concentrate is truly the hallmark of being an Old Soul. I remember talking to you about Grandpa Robert, and getting sad and crying a bit, because you really seemed to understand that my Dad was gone but that part of him was still with me . And months later, you found a book at the library about building and engineering and you said “This is like what Grandpa Robert did. I want to read this book” and then you touched my hand softly cause you knew it would make me feel something. I was floored that you had paid attention and remembered all those things I told you about my Dad. And that you, at 3 1/2 years old, could be so incredibly empathetic and compassionate.

This year we started something new at Christmas time that I really hope will last all of your life. TeTe started working full-time at the MATTS homeless shelter. One time we went there to visit her and drop off some baby items they needed. And you went right in the day room and started playing with the toys and the other kids there. And when it was time to go you talked to people and said hello and goodbyes and were genuinely sweet. When we were back in the car we had a talk about how some people don’t have homes or toys or even clothes of their own. And you got it. When we got home you wanted to take so many of your toys and give them to the “shelter kids”. And then we went shopping for all the kids to buy one brand new thing for each child. You were amazing picking out what you thought each kid would enjoy. Kids you had never met but still wanted to help. Kids that you never stop reminding me, are just like you. “They’re just kids like me Mom” you tell me. And though at 4 years old you may not realize the differences in class and opportunity that society places upon us, you do understand that they are indeed just kids like you. Somehow, particularly when I’m least expecting it, you are always teaching me something.

Like teaching me just how resilient you are, and how hungry you are for new and interesting adventures. Last January you started gymnastics class and swimming class. Every gymnastics class you tried something new and became a better listener and stronger leader. And swimming? Well always knew you were a little fish by how much you swam around inside of me. You were so brave jumping into the water for the first time and going straight under. You were nervous sometimes but you always tried again. These days you’ve progressed at a Junior 2 and you can swim half the length of the pool by yourself and you’re learning the back stroke. You seriously never cease to amaze me.

Last September you started a new journey when you went to preschool for the first time. And though it affected me in such a painful way, I felt like you were taking one giant leap away from me, you were affected in such a positive way. You started to learn so many new things, and become such a silly and outgoing person. You developed quick and lasting friendships with Kennedy, Chase and Lexie and Miss Jessica and her daughter Penelope. It was such a wonderful experience for you, and you started to blossom. And though that preschool is over and you don’t get to see those friends as much, I am so glad that was your first chance to see what school is like in a comfortable and safe space.

You just started People’s Church preschool with Anna and Olivia and so many new friends. You are learning and progressing so much every single school day, from letters and numbers to art and nature. I can hardly stop you long enough to get a kiss before you run off to play. And though I know in my heart we will always be connected, each time you run away from me to join your friends I know that you grow up just a little more and it breaks off a little piece of the heart I wear on my sleeve with your name on it.

Nothing breaks my heart more than when we argue. Your Dad and me can become so frustrated when we feel you aren’t listening or aren’t cooperating with what we’ve asked of you. To me that has been the hardest behavior problem we have had with you. Sometimes it’s because you’re distracted and busy doing something else, sometimes it’s as simple as you not wanting to do whatever it is we ask you to do, and other times, well, I just don’t understand. Hopefully the poor listening is only a phase, a developmental speed bump, because I know one thing…I know you hear me. I know you listen to me. I know you know our rules. I know you trust me to protect you and guide you and teach you. Please always remember that we work better together as a family, as a team, then we do alone. Me, Dad and Isora, we will always be your team, we will always have your back, we will always protect you. Sure we all have our own opinions and ways of doing things, but when we pit ourselves against each other? That’s when we all lose. And I’m not going to lose you. No way. No how.

When I said to you the other day that you’ll never know how much I love you until you have kids of your own you said “I don’t think I’m gonna have kids Mom”. And I told you that was your choice and you could make that choice when you’re an adult. You said “It sounds really sad to be a Mom”. Sure I talk about my heart breaking a little, or crying as I watch you try new things and grow up. But for every second of heart ache there are five million seconds of complete and utter bliss and love. For every tear I’ve cried out of frustration or sadness I have smiled a thousand smiles of pride and acceptance. So yes, being a Mom can sometimes be sad. But being your Mom is so completely and totally worth it.

Your special words cannot even begin to fully encompass your personality and strengths, but they’re beautiful. And perfect.

“You are kind. You are smart. You are important. And one day you’re going to change the world” Never have truer words been ascribed to a person.

We love you to the moon and back my dear, sweet, Cedella Michelle,

Mom (& Daddy too)

 

 

Week in My Life 2013: Monday

It’s that time of year again! The time in which the lovely Melissa at Adventuroo and MomComm delivers a torturous yet rewarding weekly meme all about capturing one week in my family’s life.

It’s intimidating and exhausting but looking back each year at how our family worked at that moment. At the things we did, the places we went, the things we ate, what we said, what we looked like. It’s priceless.

So without further ado (and already late at that) here’s Monday…

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Over the weekend we drove to Canada for our cousin Kifah’s wedding (more on that and tons of pictures next week), so we arrived home at around 10pm on Sunday night. Since they had been in the car for about six hours and took late naps, we battled the kids to get them to bed. Izzie finally passed out around 11:30 and Cedella around midnight.

Needless to say we were all exhausted on Monday morning and had done no prep for the next morning. And being a Monday morning it was a school morning. ::forehead slap::

So when I rumbled awake at 8:15 I was in a panic. No one else was awake. And there was only 45 minutes until school started. NOT a great start to the day.

I jostled Cedella out of bed and she picked out some clothes, surprisingly without much issue.

But by the time it came to brushing hair and teeth and washing her hands…melt. down.

In the midst of fighting with her to wash her hands she woke up Izzie who was hysterical with her need for Mama Milk.

No time for that I put Iz in bed with Michael and rushed Ella downstairs to have breakfast. And it was already 8:45.

Yea. That’s not enough time for a picky, distracted eater to eat.

Suddenly I felt a million times sorry to my own mom for all the times she dealt with me being up late on school mornings. And for not being prepared. And for fighting with her about what to wear. And for never eating breakfast.

I made a cup of coffee for the road. Poured a glass of juice in a sippy and a bag of cheerios for Ella. Threw some semi-healthy food into her lunch box and attempted to get out of the house.

Only it was pouring rain.

And someone wouldn’t put on her rain boots.

Cause why on earth wear rain boots when it’s raining?

So pink ballet flats were agreed upon. In which she promptly fell down and got her leggings and socks all wet.

We quickly changed her pants and I picked her up and swept her into the car.

It was 9:01. It takes 15 minutes to get there on a good day. Sigh. We were late. But Ella was happy to be back at school.

After such a crazy morning it was time for a little yummy breakfast. So I grabbed Dunkin Donuts and headed home. We ate sammys and donuts and drank copious amounts of coffee. Well, I drank coffee. Izzie slammed a donut then had some Mama Milk and all was right in the world.

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Izzie got a chance to watch some Sesame Street while I checked emails, Facebook and edited some photos from the weekend. As usual, Kira is never far away from a child that may be eating. She’s the best vacuum dog ever.

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After Sesame Street we got in the car to go pick up this little beauty from my friend Meghan who was kind enough to order for me. I’ve been stalking Scottish-made Oscha wraps for a while. And now it is mine!! ::maniacal laugh::

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And then we headed to the complete opposite side of town to pick up Cedella from school. I tried in vain to keep Isora awake so she could actually play at Play for a change. But of course, even screaming ‘Signing Time’ songs at the top of my lungs, was not enough to keep my over exhausted kid awake. So I put her in the mei tai and headed in to grab Cedella. Could her little sleepy face be any cuter?

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I was pleasantly surprised to see my girls Cindy and Laura and their little ones there playing. And Cindy was kind enough to let me hold her sweet baby boy Atlee for a while. He made my ovaries a bit achey, not gonna lie, I need a baby boy in my home.

While I chatted with the ladies, Izzie woke up and played a bit. It was getting close to 1 and I finally got both girls to the lobby and eventually got both of their shoes on and finally got them both out to the car. And as we drove into downtown East Lansing Ella insisted on going to visit her Daddy at work. So we stopped in for lunch.

Yep. A picnic in a liquor store. Nothing like it!

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Don’t you wish you had beer cases for climbing blocks?

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Once we wrangled them into the car Cedella fell asleep on the ride home. So I popped her into her bed. Izzie was wide awake. So I popped her in my Romeo. Yea, that’s the name of this wrap. Romeo. Isn’t he dreamy?

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Even got some kisses from my little lady before she finally fell asleep.

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Nearly three hours later (I know! Three hour nap?! Oh shit.) Cedella woke up and she was surly. Izzie woke up as soon as she heard her sister whining.

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While the girls played and watched some ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ I cleaned up this mess from unpacking the car the night before…

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On the menu? Butternut squash soup and smoked sausage. Can you say fall is here?

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World’s Cutest Kitchen Helpers…

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Izzie even snagged Daddy into her favorite past time. Checking out all the pictures on the fridge. She loves seeing all the faces and saying everyone’s names. It makes Michael nuts, but he does it every time, cause he knows she loves it so.

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Since it had been a long and kind of stressful day we decided a cocktail was in order…Caramel Apple Cider. Ummmm. Yum.

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Finally, and a little late to accommodate for late naps, it was bedtime. We got the girls in jammies, got clothes ready for tomorrow morning, picked out and read four books (one for each year of their ages).

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And that’s when the proverbial wheels came off the train. Cedella was simply not tired. And in my exhaustion I didn’t even remember to get out the melatonin pills. There was a lot of shouting and arguing and punishment and overall it was just a disaster. Everytime I nearly got Isora to sleep Cedella would shout and wake her up.

She actually ended up telling Michael to “go away, I don’t want you in my room” and “I don’t like you Daddy” and “leave me alone”. It was awful. Poor Michael. He was just trying in vain to keep her in her bed and trying to be calm and maintain some order. My heart broke for him hearing those things coming out of her mouth.

After explaining to her that she hurt her Dad’s feelings and that I couldn’t stay awake any more I left her in her room and went to bed. It was 11:30. And guess who squeezed her way onto my bed about five mintues later? Um, yea. No real rest for the weary, right?

Be sure to keep a look out every day this week for more Week in My Life fun!! And check out Adventuroo’s link-up for more WIML goodness.