"I'm very, very, happy" - Granny

Sunday, April 12, 2015

No matter how much she had, she gave more.

No matter how hurt she was, she loved more.

And then, she was gone.

May 19th, 1925 - March 30th, 2015 

I don't know how to deal with losing my granny, the person who shaped so much of who I am. I don't know how to cope with the decisions that had to be made that fell on my shoulders both before and after her passing. So I'm not. I'm not dealing or coping. I'm just focusing in on the next right thing I have to do and doing it.

But in waves I see her laying in the ICU asking for a Coke. I think of making that choice to stop aggressive treatments and let her have that Coke. I think of her surprised face when I tried to explain things to her as best as I could. The doctors who counseled me, the nurses who hugged me and told me I was doing the right thing, the eyes of my brothers, my nephews, my mother and father... the people I love most. Looking at me, to me, and trusting each step. And the fearful tears from all of us as we realized we had never known a day without her in it and now every day moving forward would never be the same.

Each morning she is missing from Addie's side at the breakfast table.

Every Thursday I have no one to bring lunch home to and every evening her spot on the couch is where Addie runs to... hoping, expecting, to see her there. When I get ready to shower at night I don't have to warn her in case she needs to use the bathroom first.

But I still hear her voice trying to sing the songs on Addie's shows she watches in the morning. I still want the smell of McDonalds, her most requested lunch, to linger in my car. I still gather my things at night and walk to her room before I shower.

My comfort is in her legacy - it's in my beautiful daughter spending almost every day for more than a year in her company. It's my two strong nephews who are becoming such incredible young men and who stood by my side through these hard moments. So many moments...

...but the one I treasure most? 

After the hard decisions were made and my friends gathered around her bedside with me to pray for her and stories were told and memories were shared...

...she woke up.

And with so much strength and passion she said...

"I'm very, very, happy". 

Well, Granny, if you are happy, I am too. 

Happy to have been blessed to be your granddaughter, happy you had the opportunity to meet my daughter and help me raise her. Happy to know you were loved by the people I love most. And I am so incredibly happy you were able to know that I am okay... able to finally see me happy and settled.

The world will never be the same because you were in it, and it will never be the same now that you are gone. 

That is a life well lived. 

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Team Cakes

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Addie...

Oh sweet girl, here we go again. Another surgery on your perfect baby blue eyes. My heart is broken. You've had two surgeries so far to replace the lenses in your eyes because of massive cataracts that were caught just in time. And now...

...on Wednesday April 1st we will wake up early and you'll ask for your breakfast and I'll tell you no, not yet. We will load up in the car with your Grandpa, Grandpa Dave and Nanny Carolyn. We will drive to the place you've been two times before. The people who love you will entertain you while I check you in. "Team Cakes" we call them. They are a mixture of family, friends, and fans who support you any time things get rough. You'll have even more friends and family all over the country and even the world who will be supporting you with thoughts and prayers too. The members of Team Cakes who can be in the waiting room will be there - we will take up half of the waiting room as usual - everyone shows up for you sweet girl. 

I'll carry you back and hold you tight as your nurse helps get you in your gown and we get ready for the eye drops. I'll restrain you through my own tears as you cry. And then I'll restrain you again as they hold the mask up to your face and you fight like hell before you drift off to sleep. It is so hard to watch but it is also inspiring. You are my fighter girl - it's why you are even here.

Never stop fighting.

I'll return to the waiting room and I'll hold it together long enough to say I need to use the bathroom. And then, as I always do, I'll finally be alone, and I'll weep - for everything you've been through, for everything you've yet to go through. I'll jump to my feet the moment I see your surgeon. I'll be there when you wake up, thrashing and angry. I'll see the pain in your face and I'll feel it and wish to God I could take it from you. I'll comfort you as best I can through something I can't begin to explain to you. We will be greeted by Team Cakes as we walk out of recovery and you'll be held and loved by everyone before I get you back into your car seat and drive you home. Grandpa will sit with you and hold your hand, I'll play Taylor Swift, and we will all try not to cry. 

We will take it easy, try some juice, cuddle, nap, and relax. Grandpa will stay with us and make sure we are okay. The next day it will be you and Mama and your great Granny. We will have visitors to help take care of us, it will be a better day. Then the next day Tutu will stay home and help Mama take care of you. This will be the day I might leave you for a few minutes to shower, Tutu will hold you when I can't. Mama needs a shower. 

Then, if you are feeling up to it, your Dada will come and pick you up Friday so Mama can have a night off. You two will cuddle, take it easy, and you'll keep Dada up all night because you have him wrapped around your little finger and I know he wouldn't have it any other way. You'll see your Mimi and your Papa and you'll be the happiest little girl with an eye patch ever. You smile through all your pain, you are so strong. 

Then you'll come home and we will sleep because the next day is Easter Sunday! Mama already got your Easter basket made and your dress picked out, we are ready to go. You'll be surrounded by more of Team Cakes and even though your eye will still hurt a little, you'll be able to do all the things you love and we'll have fun hunting eggs and playing outside. 

Monday we will stay home again, just to be safe. Lots of cuddles and lots of love. We might go to Mama's office to see if anything super important needs some attention and you'll charm the socks off of everyone. Tuesday, God willing, you'll go back to school and life will get back to our normal and Thursday we will visit your doctor for your post-op. 

Why is all of this happening?

Well you have strabismus in your left eye. You have hypertonia in your extremities but mostly on your left side, we think it's all connected. I could tell you big words like "perinatal hypoxic ischemic brain injury" but for today just know you are so incredibly unique and sometimes being unique means you have to fight a little harder. 

Never forget that, sweet girl, no matter what. You may always have to work harder but nothing is out of reach for you. Not one single damn thing. 

We are going to rock this surgery my darling girl. 

“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”  ― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry,

Be sure you connect with MLB on social media so you can be a part of Team Cakes!

#TeamCakes #MarvelousLoveBlog

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"Will you have your own?"

Monday, March 16, 2015

I already do. 

And to answer the slightly insensitive question...


Life is so uncertain. Today I am a mom to my OWN little girl. And one day perhaps she will have brothers and sisters. 

And no matter what little one's enter my life or how they enter it, if they need my love, they'll be my own. 


Settle: Why "don't settle" is possibly the biggest lie you've ever been told.

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Just promise me you won't settle" I heard, rather felt, him say. The words registered in my head but it was his eyes filled with tears that marked my heart.

Don't. Settle.

I turned the words over and over again in my head for days and I just couldn't see any truth in them at all. Why would moving forward ever be settling? Why would choosing to be every amazing thing I could be but in a different place with different people be less than in any way?

I think as a culture we are too easily swept up in this idea that there is some combination of things outside of our control that must align perfectly on a Thursday at 10pm in the middle of a rain storm when our hair is just right to allow us to be fully ourselves, to unlock every great thing within us.

And that idea is why we run around creating our own chaos.

The secret of a happy life is not found in bouncing around from place to place, job to job, or person to person. The secret is found in committing to allow yourself to be every good and beautiful thing you are right where you are and being damn thankful for the people who allow you to do just that.

The truth is that happiness is often found when we do, in fact, choose to settle. When we look around at where we are, who is next to us, what we are doing and we say "this is my one beautiful life and I am going to live the hell out of it right here, right now."

How do I know this, you might ask? Because I am well versed in doing all the wrong things and blaming all the wrong people. Take my advice and skip over some of the unnecessary and profoundly devastating consequences.

Is the job you have right now perfect? No. I am sure it's not. Maybe you could pour yourself into it a little more or find a part of it that reignites your passion for your career? Focus in on where you see your job taking you and start taking steps to get there. If it's a promotion or even another job you truly want make a plan and take those steps. But part of getting to the next promotion at your job is rocking the place you are in right now. Part of being ready to interview and move on to a new company is leaving behind a job where you left an impression.

Are their other (better, higher paying, more flexible) jobs you could have? Absolutely. Buy right now you don't. You have this one. Rock it.

Are you thrilled with the space you are in right now? Maybe not. Maybe you'd like to move somewhere warmer (If we get one more winter ANYTHING I am moving anywhere warmer than here). Or perhaps you are just not completely relaxed in the place you call home.

Stop complaining and buy a beautiful scarf and a can of paint.

But seriously... make the best of where you are right now. Find one thing you could do that would bring you one step closer to loving this space you are in, and do that next little thing. Maybe it is a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen or buying some warm snugly scarves, gloves, and hats at Target to get you through the NEVER ENDING winter feeling good. Just take that next little step.

Would you rather be somewhere else sometimes? I'm sure. But you are here. Be fully present wherever "here" is for you.

Is that person sitting next to you the man or woman of your dreams? Doubtful. Why? Because we don't dream in real life! We dream in a world with no laundry or late nights at the office; a world where big fights, ugly words, and nasty morning breath do not exist. But in this real world with it's not-so-dream-worthy bits and pieces is where you find the real people. The people who know what you look like when you wake up in the morning without a stitch of makeup but still want to wake up next to you every damn day. The people who don't leave your side when it gets hard (Or when you're puking. Everywhere. Sorry.) and instead pull up a chair and settle in next to you. So why don't you wake up tomorrow (literally and figuratively) and really chose to love the hell out of the real people in your life at this moment. Choose to love them every day moving forward and I bet you'll find out you are, in fact, living the closest thing to a fairy tale you can get without needing a singing snowman sidekick. Love is a choice. Choose it.

Could you be surrounded by different people right now? Yep. But guess what? They. Aren't. Here. So let's focus on the family, friends, and significant others who are. Go all in and commit yourself to them. You won't regret it.


...Settle yourself on in.

Settle in to this beautiful mess of a life that you are blessed to be living. Because life changes. Circumstances change. You will be the one constant you take with you wherever you go and whomever you go with.

Sit back, take a look around.

This. Is. Your. Life.

Stop looking for something outside of yourself, stop thinking a change of scenery or company is going to change anything. Settle completely in to where you've chosen to be and who you've chosen to be there with. Embrace every bit of the moment you are in right now.

I still remember the exact moment I chose to stop reliving the past, questioning the present, and wishing for the future. I settled on in. And guess what? I found my happy. It was right here all along, just waiting for me to show up and embrace it.

And when I finally allowed myself to settle all the big and little things I had been breaking myself in to pieces to have effortlessly came right to me.


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Little Bites: Big Deal

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It's slow going, but we are making progress. 

Addie is still in feeding therapy once a week and the issues we address are varied. Some are results from each other, and all combining into this perfect storm that makes food anything but fun sometimes... 

Sensory: Addie doesn't like to touch wet or slimy foods. Can't say I blame her. We do sensory play with things like play dough, noodles, whipped cream, etc... and also use the Z-Vibe. 

Immature bite/chew: It seems the things most kids just naturally learn Addie has to be taught. I have Chewy Tubes (still on red) to help work with biting down using her back teeth and a Z-Vibe to help teach her what to do with her tongue.

Tone: Addie has low tone in her mouth which makes chewing and biting more dense foods hard for her. Chewy Tubes and the Z-Vibe all help with this - and so does practice!

Gag reflex: As babies move from liquid to more solid foods their gag reflex moves back on their tongue... Addie's has not. When a piece of food gets on the middle/back portion of her tongue she has a "fear" response and tries to get rid of it by gagging or pushing it out of her mouth. The only remedy for this is to keep on trying and working through it. 

Fear: Addie is afraid of a lot of food. It's overwhelming sometimes and not a pleasant experience for her to eat. I have her iPad that she watches her show on (current favorite is Signing Times) and I focus on getting calories and nutrition to her through liquids in her straw cup (Thank you Isagenix!) and let solid foods and puree's be fun for her.


Loving new foods: It started with anything crunchy, moved to anything on a grilled or toasted sandwich, and now we are up to things like a cheese quesadillas! Meat is still hard but she has tried a hot dog and chicken nuggets with success. She will now try anything with confidence which is huge for her. It's been fun to try new foods and see how she takes to them - I've found some surprising winners! 

Crunching: She is learning to crunch her bites in the back and to keep on crunching. She used to take one bite and then use her tongue to mash and dissolve the food. There is something magical about the sound of multiple bites of crackers on the ride home from school. 

Independence: Addie is a pretty independent little thing and she doesn't like being fed. She's started having her snacks on her own and does much better when food is on her terms. I have no clue where she gets her sass from.

These were from her birthday lunch where she dipped fries in ketchup and ate them like a pro and finished half of a grilled cheese sandwich while enjoying her Shirley Temple drink...

...Little Big Things.

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