Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Back & Ahead

Tomorrow is the very last day of 2014.  It is unbelievable how quickly 365 days can pass in our busy lives.  I find myself flying through life, barely able to remember what I did the day before.  I love doing a year-end post because it makes me actually stop and think about all that blessings I have been given this year, but also see how I have come through the difficulties.  The blessings are wonderful and sweeten life just that much more, but looking back on the not-so-good things, in a way, is a blessing too.  It means that I have come through a storm.  I have a new perspective, perhaps a more sympathetic heart and often a renewed faith.

What's great for our family is that this lil' blog also serves as my scrapbook for each year.  This is amazing for me, as the thought of even crafting up one year in a scrapbook sounds absolutely miserable to my non-crafty self.  So here's my clifnotes version of 2014 in review.

In January, we endured insanely freezing temperatures, feet of snow and managed to sell our house.  I briefly escaped winter in February, flying solo with Elena while seven months pregnant to visit my parents in Arizona.  I survived it and was able to thaw out in the sun for a week.  On March 1st, we found ourselves new residents of the 'burbs and began settling into our newly remodeled home.  This promptly sent me into panic mode having less than two months before baby #2 arrived.  In April we died over the cuteness of watching Elena ride her horse in hippotherapy, savored our last moments as a family of three and celebrated the biggest moment of our year!  Our 9lb 7oz Calvin Merrick arrived on April 26th!  May, I don't remember.  I had a newborn, a three year old, a busy schedule and little sleep.  June brought slower schedules, a little more sleep but painful reminders as we watched Cal grow and develop, remembering the short time we had with the old Elena.  In July, we received another great boost from Elena's doctor in Pittsburgh, celebrated her three years of life and my thirtieth birthday.  August was a happy one.  We traveled to Charlevoix, Michigan then turned around and flew to Amelia Island, Florida for vacation with Chad's family.  And somewhere in between Chad and I celebrated our five years of marriage and Elena's first day of preschool.  We giggled our way through September, watching Cal lose his "scowl" and start to develop his sweet little personality.  In October the temperatures begin to dip and so did our hearts.  I spent the month stressing over Elena's looming surgery and all the preparations that came with traveling half way across the country for it.  November began celebrating our beloved Ronald McDonald House and a perfectly timed "calm-before-the-storm" getaway to Arizona.  This, of course, was followed by Elena's hip surgery and lots of stressful days and nights.  And finally, December.  It's been the hardest month this year.  It has challenged me as a Mom, a wife and as a human being.  It's been rough and I'm so looking forward to a new month and a new year.

Whew.  It all seems so compact and tidy, but I know otherwise.  It's life.  It's messy, complicated, emotional, blessed, beautiful and happy.  Most of all, it's temporary.  Every difficulty, every tear, every high and every low will pass.  It's definitely not always quick and easy but I know the sun always come back out.

As for the new year, my resolution for 2015, is to savor each day I am gifted, reflect more and to attempt to keep the chaos of it all from consuming me.  I want to give thanks more than I complain and cry happy tears more than sad.  I want to be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend.  I want to be a better Emmalee.  And more realistically, (ha!) I want to write more.  Writing is very cathartic for me.  I hope to journal more for myself and blog more for all you who are so supportive of our family.

I hope each of you has had more highs this year than lows and that 2015 will bring the same!  Thank you for continuing to love and support our family...we love you all!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas & Birthdays

With all the exhaustion that was December, we were able to muster enough energy to have a wonderful Christmas celebration.  It was a whirlwind but we shared a great time with family!  We were able to enjoy being at home and were spared of most travel thankfully.

The day after Christmas was Cal's eight month birthday.  Time really is flying by.  I'm going to be planning a first birthday party before I know it!  For now, he is keeping us all on our toes.  He is moving all over the place.  He can get up on all fours and move, but he really prefers the army crawl as it's most effective for him.  Just yesterday I watched him crawl then move himself into a sitting position, a new move for him!  He had just been able to lay on his side and prop, not fully sit.  He is literally changing every day.  Eating is still a favorite for him.  He seems to be getting his "pincher" grip down and is able to pick up some foods and feed himself.  He's still not that comfortable with different textures yet though.

I've started to notice him noticing us when we leave the room.  He'll pout or shriek (a favorite noise of his to make) whenever we leave the room he's in.  Speaking of shrieking, he loves to see just how loud (and high-pitched) he can make his voice.  It's pretty effective and he, of course, thinks it's hilarious.

Cal is proudly sporting six teeth.  He got all four uppers pretty much all at once.  Just like his big sis though, he could care less about teething.  We barely noticed he was getting any until we could see the whites poking through his gums.  Both kids must have my pain tolerance, not Chad's :)

He's really such a happy kid.  He brings so much energy and happy smiles into our house.  He and Elena make a hilarious team and we love watching them interact.  What sweet little babies I have!

As for the other birthday in our house, Chad celebrated the big 3-6 yesterday.  Although the Hoosiers lost, albeit in overtime, he said it was still a good birthday!  Thanks to Gramma & Grampa Frey, we actually got to go out.  It was nice to have a date night and celebrate my handsome husband!

For now the celebrations are over!  That is until our wild New Year's Eve...ha!  Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas with their families!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Writer's Block

I'm not quite sure if it's being tired, not getting enough rest or the exhaustion, but one of these has been responsible for my zombie-like behavior of late.  Yeah, so Elena is still not sleeping.  And life this month has been insanely crazy.  Add in a dash of Chad traveling what seems like every day this month and a pinch of not getting out of the house with a post-surgery toddler, and you have misery.

Ok, I may be a little dramatic but I think December has been one of the most challenging months I've had in a really, really, really long time.  It's usually just a tough week here or a bad couple of days there, but the whole month has left me drained.  Merry Christmas?

Elena, thankfully, has recovered from those awful muscle spasms she had been having only to suffer from something 100x worse (well, in my opinion anyway)....only sleeping with Mom and Dad.  Unfortunately for us, there is no medication for re-teaching your child to independently sleep.  I mean co-sleeping is the antithesis of every thing I believe in as a parent.  I'm a sleeper.  I want my kids to be sleepers.  And when my kid doesn't want to sleep unless I'm squeezed in her twin bed with her or she's nestled (metal brace and all) between Chad and me (and Pete), it is misery.  I get it, she's three and she's been through a traumatic surgery and she got to sleep with us while traveling to and from New Jersey.  Not to mention we would come running in to calm her down in the couple weeks after her surgery, but she is milking it now.  Our nights are pretty brutal.  All of this makes for long, tough days.  I think I'm due for a month long vacation from life.

The exhaustion has left little time for anything else at this point.  I'm left unable to sort out my emotions or have any time for introspection...two things that I actually do quite frequently.  I need to purge my feelings either through writing or crying!  Either way, I'm too tired.  I'd say I have a bad case of writer's block.  I hate wishing time away, but I'm praying every day that this phase of Elena's horrible nights will pass quickly.

Ugh.  Being a parent is really hard.  Tonight I'm going to drain a glass of wine, go to bed (before Elena can wake back up) and dream of my early 20's.  Goodnight ya'll, this was all my brain could muster.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Arizona Vacay

This spring, we had planned a family vacation to Arizona.  When Elena's surgery got moved up, we were debating on whether or not to cancel.  Though it made things a bit more chaotic, we were so glad we went.

We scored a deal with the Westin (and had to listen to an hour presentation on time shares of course!) to stay at their beautiful Kierland Resort in Scottsdale for four days.  Then, we had planned to spend three more days with my parents, but cut it a little short because of New Jersey.  It all worked out and we had a blast.  My parents kept Elena and Calvin the first three days, which gave us some time to spend with our dear friends who flew down from Seattle for a few days.  We had SO much fun!  

My parents brought the kids back to the resort where we spent another day and half enjoying some pool time with Elena and Cal.  We checked out on Wednesday morning and headed to my parents for the day.  While the Westin was beautiful, I have to say the service was far better at my parents :)  My Mom flew back with us on Thursday.

We had one day to unpack, do laundry and repack, then took off Saturday for New Jersey.  It was a whirlwind, but gave us some great time together as a family, and gave Chad and me a nice little break from parental duties!  

I'm ready for another vacation :)

 Laney & Grampa Frey

Out for a walk at the Kierland

 Gramma & Cal at the pool

 Family bed :)

Moms night out!  

Chad & Adam

Thanks to Gramma & Grampa for watching the kids so we could have a vacation on our vacation!  And thanks to the Corson's who brought the fun!  We had a blast!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

7 Months

Cal is seven months old!  Well, ten days ago....ok, so I'm a little behind.

I'm finding myself wishing I could capture every single moment and hold it forever.  He is SO fun.  I can't even begin to share how much he has enriched our lives.  Elena included.  I think she finds him just as funny as we do.  Everything is new, exciting and happy.

Let's see, this month (like every month) has brought changes.  Cal is sitting really well all by himself.  He's still loving food and has started grunting (must be a guy thing) when he's eating.  It's pretty funny.  He loves to squeal as loud as he possibly can and thinks it's even better when you squeal back.  He's not quite crawling yet, but he has the army crawl down pat.  Cal definitely gets where he needs to go!  We love to watch him roll all over to get that toy or better yet, Pete's tags.  Speaking of, he has really been into Pete this month.  He watches him wherever he goes and always want to grab his ears or his dog tags.  Pete, for once, is actually a good dog and lets Cal do whatever to him.

Cal's up on all fours a lot, rocking back and forth.  He'll get his knees to move but hasn't quite figured out how to move his arms without falling on his face.  It's so fun to see his little wheels turning as he attempts a new move.  He has a "pose", too.  He'll roll over onto his side, cross his ankles and lay one arm on top of his legs.  It definitely makes him look like he's posing for Mr. December 2014.  It never fails to make us laugh!  

Cal is working on new sounds.  He has accomplished "das", "bas", "ohs", "ahs" and "ooos".  This is in addition to high pitched screams and grunts, of course.  Sounds like he is quite the caveman :)  Elena loves when he "talks".  They get a little back and forth banter going sometimes and Chad and I about die over the cuteness.  A lot of times, Elena will just roll with giggles at him.  I can't blame her, we do most the time too.  It has been so fun to watch how he entertains her.  I can only imagine what these two will be like together...makes my heart happy.

He had quite the adventures this month!  He took his first trip to Arizona (which I'll post about later), stayed with Grandma when we took Elena to New Jersey, and had his first Thanksgiving.  He is such a good boy.  When we were in New Jersey t was my first time away from him for an extended period.    It made it so much easier to know he was in good hands so we could focus on Elena, though it looked like he had aged ten years when we came home!

Our little guy continues to be an enormous blessing in our lives.  It's crazy to think that seven months ago, we were so unsure how he would fit into our lives and our routine, let alone how he would be with Elena.  He truly is God-sent.  He fits so perfectly into our little family that I can't even remember how we functioned without him.  

 The "Pose"

 All three of my boys!

 7 Months Old!

 Sneak peek of his 6 month pics...more to come!

My Mom pulled some pictures of me as a baby to confirm that the chipmunk cheeks were indeed an inherited Frey trait :)  I had hoped for a mini-Chad, but it appears Cal may be a mini-Mom!

Friday, December 5, 2014

What Day Is It?

Ok.  I'm sorry.  I've been meaning to post on the blog for dayssss now.  But, I can't remember what day it is.  It has been a very tough two weeks, way tougher than I had anticipated.  It has fully proved my theory that it's best to anticipate the absolute worst, then be pleasantly surprised by how well it turns out.  In this case, I had in my mind that we would all get through surgery easy peasy and then bounce back in no time at all.  WRONG!!

I'll start with the positive.  Elena's really is doing great.  Her incision is healing nicely.  Her days are pretty pleasant, boring, but she's content.  Moving her around is getting easier and less painful for her.  She's been off pain meds for over a week.  She's done really great in the few therapy sessions she's had and has been tolerating lots of stretching.  The best part, we're starting to see the real Elena again.

The tough part....we're not sleeping.  Not like...I-have-a-newborn sleeping and I'm up every 2-3 hours feeding him.  Like, sleeping a total of two hours at night.... non-consecutively..... for days on end.....with a hysterical three year old....who can't communicate what's wrong.....and is miserable from about 11:30pm to 5:30am.  Chad and I have been barely functioning.

Desperate yesterday, we called her surgeon and our friend Lara, at the Jackson Center.  In short, we determined that Elena's probably suffering from muscle spasms and the worst reflux she's probably ever had.  That, turns out, is about the worst combo EVER.  Poor baby.  We're praying that medication can help her relax enough at night to get some sleep.  Last night was a smidge better (with the meds), but we all still need way more rest.

So, that's that.  And about all my brain can get out right now.  I'm way behind on posts and have some catching up to do.  I'll get back to you!

For now, here's some pictures of our girl:

Here's Elena yesterday upright, in her brace, laughing at her brother.

All bundled up for the Zionsville Christmas parade

With her BFFs Brennley, Hudson and Amelia at the Christmas parade