Wednesday, July 06, 2016

July 7, 2016
07/07/06. It’s that date in my head, like 9/11 or something else memorable and traumatic that just kinda hangs out there.
While it’s the date that our son Jacob was born and died on, the weeks in advance of that are always heavy in my heart as well.
We had tried for years to get pregnant and have a child. We started when I was 35, because I didn’t want to be a 40-year-old new mother – but of course that’s exactly how it went down.
But the goodness of Nora’s birth didn’t come before three other early miscarriages in 2002-2005, and before Jacob on July 7, 2006, in the 6th month of pregnancy.
My pregnancy with Jacob began as a surprise, and we got past the 12-week mark where we had an ultrasound with a baby and a heartbeat in it, so we thought we were good. As Jon, our NP at the OB/GYN clinic in Denver told us, “Once you get to 12 weeks, you’re pretty much having a baby.”   
But “pretty much” didn’t happen for us.  I was worried about his growth early on, and I had that intuition was right on. We found out we were going to lose him shortly after our 20 week ultrasound, when the discovery was made of his severe Spina Bifida, his three-chambered heart, clubbed feet, underdeveloped limbs, and 2-vessel umbilical cord, “all signs of a chromosomal abnormality”, the newly-out-of-med-school OB/GYN doctor told me, who didn’t have a clue how to break bad news.
Jacob’s ultimate sentence of a diagnosis Trisomy 18, would come to be what would be the cause of all those problems, and his ultimate demise. You see, you don’t know anyone with Trisomy 18 because it is “Incompatible with Life.”  Another term I would learn to understand in our meeting with the geneticist at the perinatologist’s office.
On July 5, late in the day, we went to the hospital in Lafayette, Colorado, to induce labor. I labored for 30 hours, into the wee hours of July 7, before I would finally give birth to our stillborn son. We held him for hours, and the nurses never pushed us to leave. We took a few pictures, and cried a lot.
I will never forget the kindness of the nurses, who stayed with us and helped Brian and me in ways beyond measure to get through those darkest hours of our lives.  My sister Jill came to be with us, along with my Mom and a friend from Denver, and Shiela baptized Jacob shortly after he was born.
As grieving parents who didn’t get to take her baby from the hospital, the nurses provided us  with a pillow that held some items from his birth, including a blanket we held him in, and a plaster cast of his little clubbed feet.
We have his ashes in a tiny heart-shaped silver urn that sits in a blue velvet box with his name on it, that the wonderful people at the funeral home provided for us.
We grieved. Oh God, how we grieved. I wanted to die, that’s how much it hurt.  But in the depths of that despair, I also knew I had to move forward, if not for any reason than Jacob wouldn’t want my life to fall apart because of his loss. Those thoughts were all that got me through.
As those of you who know us well, and for that long, our lives have changed so drastically since then.
Six months later, in a cliché of a Denver snowstorm, a pool game at Ziggy’s in West Denver and a few too many beers, we would end up pregnant with our daughter Nora, who would show up a little early, but in every other way perfect 8 months later.  Brian and I both love her with the kind of ferocity and care you only have when you can’t take parenthood for granted.
This day marks 10 years since the loss of our son Jacob. I held him in my arms, cried what felt like a lifetime’s worth of tears in the months and years that followed. I had dreams of him, and I still do. We talk. He tells me he’s okay and that he loves me.
Tears can still stream down my face when I think of those days. How much my life changed because of our struggles.
And while I can dwell on the sadness, I can also dwell on the path it’s taken me. I have become a nurse, and meet women in pregnancy crises on occasion in the ER where I work. I have reassured them, told them it’s okay to be heartbroken, and offered what support I can, and encouraged them to talk about their losses and join support groups and other places to express their pain. I had one patient I had helped a few months earlier, return with a family member one day, and throw her arms around me and hug me and tell me how much her life had changed because I had validated her feelings of loss, and tell me about the help she was getting. The woman was barely recognizable because the weight was lifted.
I don’t like to think that I had to suffer so much to become someone who could offer that kind of help, but I also know my losses changed me on a molecular level. It deepened many relationships, and showed me the flaws in others, and I’ve accepted all of it as best I can.
I resist strongly the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” In fact, I prefer to think that my suffering is random, just as everyone else’s is. It’s not a product of being a bad person, or being a good person who “didn’t deserve that.”  Instead, I look at the inner strength I was pre-wired with and developed more fully as a result of my losses, and bask in the friendships and relationships that have stood the test of that difficult and deeply emotional time.
And as I sit on the Coast tomorrow night, I will take Jacob’s ashes with me, and hold them in my hand, and just tell him I love him, miss him, and wish he could be there with me.
Thanks to everyone who has been there.
Thanks to everyone who is here with us now.
Jules 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's Been Too Long!

I suspended my blog a few years ago, partly because of a lack of time with nursing school, but also because I had someone who, despite not knowing me personally, took it upon herself to be a troll on my blog. 

While I'm never shocked that people get a little offended at my outspokenness (because I get it, not everyone agrees with me, especially if you're a rabid Republican Obama hater), the experience was a bit of a surprise to find someone go to such lengths to create fake names and e-mail addresses so they could troll my blog, as well as a private board that I belonged to. It took time to figure it out, but I did. I am quite capable of doing a little internet sleuthing, and I know *exactly* who is/was responsible. 

Suffice to say, time has passed, and I honestly don't care what anyone thinks, and if they still get access to me, or take the time to read these words, they will know who they are, and this will be the extent of the information they get about what I know. I deleted them from the board we belonged to when I came to own it, and shut down this blog so she couldn't see my thoughts or have access to me through comments. 

As time passed, I realized that I cannot in any way let myself be intimidated by bullies, because I have through my recent life experience, finally figure out what bullies are about....and I never really got it until I experienced it within my own family as an adult. When you're a kid like I was, in a family of five, you get pushed around by older siblings, physically and mentally, but that's "normal". 

But when you get older, and someone starts pushing you around, and you look at them and say "stop" -- both literally and figuratively -- and they fail to, well...let's just say it is also an eye-opener. 

When you're a kid, you hear adults talk about how bullies are full of blustering and scariness, and that their bully behavior is based on a lack of self esteem. But I didn't get it until it really played itself out for me as an adult, when I was old enough and wise enough to see it for what it was. There is a great battle that goes on when your family goes into turmoil. Some of it is outside forces -- like a cheating spouse or family member -- some of it is a battle from within, realizing that you are being pulled in two directions, and that you have a choice to make, and that choice of self-preservation involves distancing yourself from people and things that you once held dear.

But even though what happened was earth-shattering to me, it has also been incredibly freeing. There was a time when loyalty to my family meant only one thing, and that was not questioning those above me. 

Now, I know, that questioning others and expecting answers (whether I get them or not) is not only my right, but my responsibility as a human being. 

More details perhaps, later. 

Suffice to say, I am back. If you are my friend on Facebook you can e-mail me there. 

Thank you in advance for reading! I will start to blog again, hopefully somewhere near daily. 

                                                                       --- Jules 



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Things She Pretends To Be In A Day...

Oh my goodness. Miss Nora pretends to be everything from SUPER Grover with the full on costume, to a simple Jessie from Toy Story because, she says, "I have the hat, Mom!" Miss Nora has such an amazing imagination. One that makes her a princess most days, and so many other characters. So often on the way home, she'll tell me what we're going to pretend to be as we leave school and start to drive.
I think the most wonderful thing about this age is her ability to see joy and imagination in every little thing. And, she's begun to READ. I got a few books on my Kindle Fire for her, and tonight we laid in bed and read the story of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, and she and I would alternate pages, and aside from big words like "ministers" or "attendance", she could read them all. Brian gets the credit for the reading, really...he's worked with her a lot to make it fun, and has done an amazing job. What fun this age is!

A Moment In Time

This is a moment in time. Not one that would mean much to most, even those close to me at first glance, but it was truly transformational. This is the moment when I received my "pin" as an RN. From a favorite instructor no less. My exam is tomorrow. I've studied a fair amount, but have tried to listen to the wisdom of the nurses who've gone before me who insist that I know what I know, and that I'll somehow be able to use my powers to deduce the right answers. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

One More Coast Pic

I had such a good time with my family last weekend, I wanted to share a few more pictures for the fossil record, and just say again how gorgeous and fun our day was at the Coast.
I just started my internship at a local hospital, and I'm almost finished with Nursing school. This weekend has been slow as Miss Nora has caught some bug that makes her fight it off with a 102.5* fever, which is fine as long as you give her Tylenol and Advil around the clock. But all is well.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Old Places, New Faces

We are at Cannon Beach, one of my very favoritist of favorite places on Earth. Miss Nora is so happy, and we had so much fun.

I haven't been here in ages. The history of this place is long and storied for me.

Suffice to say, to bring my girl, my dear husband, and myself to this lovely place and enjoy the day was nothing short of pure heaven.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Look What's Cookin', or, Valentine's Day, The Cinquetennial

Valentine's Day always freaks me out a little bit.

I've been married 12 years this year, so it's not that I'm newly single.

Maybe it's just that I haven't forgotten a few doozies that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Like some spectacular breakups...

...and some spectacular days that were pretty darn newsworthy if my life were printed in a newspaper, which thankfully for all of us it's not.

But there was a day five years ago today, after I'd had four of my five miscarriages, including losing my baby boy Jacob the year before...The Valentine's day in the midst of that winter of 2007 in Denver where we had something like 75 inches of snow and 7 back to back to back to back snowstorms, where the snow behind Carl's Italian place on West 38th Street in Denver was so deep that I plowed my Subaru into the snowbank to make a little room for us to park the car, and break the big news.


I had to tell my husband that I was pregnant.

Again.

Nothing so far had gone well for us in the baby-making department. In fact, we'd pretty much been abyssmal failures at what seemed so easy for everyone else around us.

But you know, good accidents happen sometimes, and I called my husband up and asked him what he'd like to do for dinner that Valentine's Day evening, he said we could go to Carl's, and so we did.

I thought, as I pulled the Subaru into the snowbank, that I would tell him outside in the car, so if he was going to cry or freak out (like I had been all day) that he could do it in privacy, and then we could decide about going in.

In the past with our first pregnancy or two, I'd done something cute to tell him the news, with the expectation that the pregnancy would go well.

Well, when you're pregnant for the fifth time, and you have no living children, the conversation starts more like this:

"Uh, honey? There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just say it. I took a pregnancy test this morning and it was positive."

Silence.

He takes my hand. Starts saying really strange things like "It'll be ok honey. We'll get through this too."

Silence.

Prolonged silence.

Then he says:

"It's mine this time, right?"

And we dissolve into laughter, and of course I punch him.

Then he says "I was just trying to lighten things up a bit!"

It worked, and I punch him in the arm again.

"Yes," I say. "This time it is!"


Little did we know that in the next 7 months, I'd be laid off from my job...by the end of the year we'd move to Oregon, and sell our house in Denver (in that order). That I'd be hospitalized for five weeks with placenta previa, and our darling Nora girl would be born healthy and fine, even if she was a bit early.

Happy Valentine's Day to my bestest of the best friend, husband, companion and love of my life. He rides the waves that life tosses towards us and is that eternal voice inside my head that tells me "It's going to be OK".

I love you Bri.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy New Year!

Miss Nora and I took the train up to our in-laws house in the Seattle area, then got to see two of my brothers and Mom up in Bellingham too.

We had a very nice 5-week break from school...well, I took two of it off from school. The past three weeks since Christmas, I've spent at least a few hours a day getting ready for next term of school.

I'll be done in the spring, and am looking forward to it!

There will be a day when I can blog more.

Miss Nora is talking like a regular 4-year-old now, asking lots of "why's" and showing me what she knows. She'll ask if she can help and proudly tell me when "I can do it by myself!"

She can do 48-piece puzzles by herself, recently wrote her own name by herself, and is learning to read!



Nora has a cousin who plays in the University of Oregon marching band, so we watched the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the parade that went before it, and saw her cousin. Nora was so taken with the whole thing, she made a "band hat" for herself and Bestema, and marched around the house with her kazoo and harmonica. She then asked if she could take her stuff to school, and we gathered all her musical instruments (she has many maracas and other little things to play) and she led a marching band at school.

That's about it from here! I haven't forgotten my blog, just haven't had a chance to do much with it, but we'll do it again soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cute Picture Of The Day

I LOVE this pictuer of Miss Nora. The combination of so many things, including her penchant to wear this Brasilian soccer shirt whenever the mood strikes her, her adorable smile, and the fact that I see a little of myself in the sparkle in her eyes these days, all add up to this picture being sorta special to me.

She is such a joy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm 4! No Pokes!

There are times when I sincerely wonder "WHO TOLD YOU THAT?!?" when I talk to my kid.

I like to joke about blaming the schools, but this time I think I blame her grandma. Or maybe her father.

But it wasn't me.

Nora has all her immunizations.


I just wanted to make sure she was up to date, but Nora informed me "I don't have any pokes today, Mom!"

How do you tell your kid you might get a shot today?

You say "Well, we'll see..."

And then your kid says "NO pokes today Mom!" with greater authority...

And then you launch into a story about immunizations and why they're important. Then you think about the CDC and why immunizations ARE important. And about all your friends that may or may not feel about it like you do, and how it's even become a political topic, and how your nursing training so far has done nothing but show that the benefits outweigh the risks A Bazillion:1, but you're being trained to support the decisions of whatever parent you come into contact with who decides otherwise for their child.

So yeah.

No pokes today.

Miss Nora came in at 43 inches tall. 36.5 lbs. That's the 97th percentile for height and 63rd for weight.

And she took her first eye test.

And she sees (and is as tall as) a 5-year-old.

And she got to tell her doctor "I'm FOUR!"

My little string bean is four.

FOUR!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Girl is FOUR!

Miss Nora is four years old today! I LOVE this picture because my Mom (aka Bestema) called right before 9 a.m. (Nora was born at 9) and sang Happy Birthday into the phone.

This was Miss Nora's expression as she listened!

We took her to the zoo today -- it was pretty wet out there, but we had fun anyway. I could see my breath today -- it was that cold at 11 a.m., and then it's supposed to be 85 on Tuesday! Weird!
Anyway, Nora told every zoo employee she came in contact with (the ticket seller, the ticket taker, the lunch ordering guy, the gal who brought our lunch, and the info booth volunteer) that it was her Birthday and she is FOUR!
It really is fabulous being four, and it's just as fabulous if not moreso -- watching her BE four.

When we got home we opened a few presents -- her Auntie Laura in Denver sent a couple of great Amelia Bedlia books (both have been read already), and we gave her a couple of little presents -- an Abby Cadabby plush doll and a Muppet Movie (she loves musicals).
Later this next weekend, we're having a family party in Seattle for Miss Nora's grandparents, aunts and uncles to gather, but we also had a little thing at her school that was a big hit.

Turns out if you show up at a preschool with pizza, cupcakes, balloons and funny hats, you are The Best Parents Ever.
Yesterday we gave her her bicycle (since we had rain in the forecast today) and she was thrilled to have a Buzz Lightyear bicycle -- and rode around and around with Daddy not far behind!

A few turns around the block and she asked Daddy "When can I ride my bike to school?"

Uh, in about 10 years.

Or whenever Mom dies.

Whichever comes first.

OK, I will live and let her go sooner. Just not for a while...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 In Oregon - The 10-Year Memorial

This week has been a long one. That kind of thing that just sort of hangs out there...waiting to be given its due attention, but one you want to avoid.

Like any anniversary of something sad, for me anyway, I find myself wondering why I might be a little sadder than usual, or why I avoid a spot on the calendar. For me, the entire month of June is often lost in me wondering why I feel a little down...then July 7, the date my son Jacob was stillborn, rolls right around with the fireworks that come with it the week before, and with the flash bang of an M-80, it all comes back to me.

It's just that realization of "Oh. Yeah."

I've been pretty fastidious about avoiding another viewing of the Trade Center's plane crashes and subsequent toppling from 9/11/01. I honestly can see it so clearly in my head, I have absolutely no need to see it on television.

Ever again.

But then today came. And my friend Jenny was in labor and had her twins today, and 9/11 got saved from its depressing date to a happy one, and I found myself suddenly willing and able, in the light and happiness of new life today -- to be able to go and walk among the thousands of flags flying in Riverfront Park in Salem, Oregon.

I knew no one personally who died on 9/11, at least not that I know of.

I had several friends and family of friends who died that day. One of them was Fred Cox, my friend Kristen's friend from Arizona, who had recently moved to New York and talked his way into a job in Tower 2 at the World Trade Center.

I blogged about Fred 5 years ago as part of the anniversary of 9/11 project 5 years into it, and interviewed many friends and loved ones of Fred. So today I went looking for his name, and there it was.

It's funny how you don't know someone personally, but in some small but profound way you think of them here and there. His mantra of "Do what you love, love what you do" has stuck with me over the past few years as I've recreated a new career for myself in nursing.

I almost missed the flag pavillion that was put up in the park just due to my wanting to avoid 9/11 up til today. But as I returned home from dinner with a friend in McMinnville, I was on the bridge into Salem, and the bright lights made me move a lane over and head into the park, which had several people still milling about.

These flags are MUCH taller than they appear -- maybe 7 or 8 feet in height -- and you can easily walk among them. They stretch for many many acres of the large city park, and just getting to it and getting the feel for all the names, all the lives they represent, and then you start thinking of all the lives impacted by their death and if you can't at least get a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, I'd question your humanity.

I saw in there several memorials left by previous visitors, including this picture and a simple "Uncle Paul". Others were more ornate, with a small poem or a batch of flowers.

I search for some meaning in what happened 10 years ago. I look at the toll it's taken on our country, both financially and emotionally, and I won't even "go there" about the political part.

The amazing thing that I took away from today though, has been a bit of watching news snippets of the acts of individual bravery -- of a woman who ran TO the WTC and started hauling people out of the buildings. Of all the stories of people reaching out to each other, whether they were homeless people or first responders.

I hope everyone takes a minute to recognize just how precious and short life can end up being, and take the time to love their families especially, but to reach out to those who need it and give that little bit more.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Day I Became A Duck

My sister-in-law Julie has season tickets to the Oregon Ducks, since she couldn't make it, and she knew I'm about to head back into a busy school year, she gave me the tickets.

We tried to find a sitter, but we couldn't...then Nora was all sick last night so it was just as well that Brian stay home with Miss Nora...and I took my friend Stephanie from school instead.

We had a perfect timing in getting out of town, navigating crazy traffic to Eugene, and then getting through park-n-ride stuff to the stadium itself.


It was super hot (upper 90s) and we had a top of the endzone view of the stadium. What was nice is a VERY good breeze kept blowing, and I took the water fan with me, and we just chug-a-lugged Gatorade and water to stay cool.

The best part was a 69-20 win over Nevada. Nothing makes you bond with those around you like high-fiving more and more people around you as the game goes on!

I went to the University of Washington for my Bachelor's Degree...and it was funny to go to Oregon, even though my Dad was a Duck. The guys behind me were talking about the Pac 10 (now Pac12 as of this year) and I mentioned being from Washington, and he said "Well, thanks for wearing green!"

No problem.

Don't get me wrong. I won't be rooting for the Ducks over Washington...but I did thoroughly enjoy my day in Eugene and seeing the excitement of a large crowd, and being part of a great game!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Old Things That Hang Around

We have made so many trips to the zoo in the past few years with Miss Nora, that I just noticed that I still have the "zoo list" that has been posted on a kitchen cabinet for a long time!

It still has "dipes/wipes" as something to take with us.

It's funny how now that she's completely potty trained, we can leave the house with nothing at all but maybe a beverage or perhaps a small pack of wipes in case we want the convenience of an easy cleanup.

How fast it goes!

Friday, September 02, 2011

My Girl Nora The Explorer

Last night we went over to my brother's house to have a dinner with my niece Hannah who's headed off to college in Chicago...

My Mom went and got Nora early in the afternoon, and she spent some time at their house before we came over for dinner.

During dinner, Hannah told us that while she was Skyping with her boyfriend Rudy in Guatemala, that Nora and her were on the webcam together, so she said to say "Ola", and Nora says "I SPEAK SPANISH!" and then proceeds to say "FELIZ COMPLEANOS!"
Then today, we went to the Science Factory in Eugene, and we met a family with a little girl who speaks both English and Spanish. I sat on the bench with her Dad, who is also bilingual, and we started talking about our kids. He's also an older Dad, and it was just a hoot to hear Nora and the little girl talk to each other. Nora said "OLA! I SPEAK SPANISH!" Fortunately for everyone, the little 6-year-old said "HI! I SPEAK ENGLISH!"

It was absolutely a bilingual laugh riot.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

5 Years, My Darling Boy.

I spent the day working at the hospital doing my work experience summer thing for nursing school.

I got to float to the intermediate care unit with my nurse, and help some very sick patients. I even had one tell me he loved me today. It was cute and funny, considering his age and sense of humor, but hey, I did save his bacon when his BP took a dive, so I guess I did earn it.

Today is 5 years since Jacob's birth and loss. (For those of you who haven't been around that long, my son Jacob was diagnosed with a fatal diagnosis of Trisomy 18 in my 20th week of pregnancy with him. He was stillborn at 22 weeks after 30 hours of labor at a hospital in Colorado, where we lived at the time). Considering this was after 3 miscarriages, to say the loss was devastating would be stating it pretty accurately.

As much as I didn't really want to work today, I thought it was a fitting tribute to my boy that all the progress in the past 5 years helped me build towards a new career that could help others.

My experience with Jacob and his loss, while not the only thing that made me a nurse, certainly gave me some knowledge and compassion towards people that I wouldn't have if I hadn't gone to that hospital and dealt with the incredibly kind nurses who saw me through what was arguably the hardest thing I've ever been through. Along with the losses, the weeks I spent in the hospital with Nora was what really taught me that I could be a nurse, as I was in there for five weeks (with placenta previa), and actually got to see what nurses do, and realized I could do it too.

And yet, those nurses at the hospital in Colorado, who assured me through 30 hours of labor that I would get through this, that we were ok, that everything we were doing was the right thing to do under the circumstances...they really saved me in those days.

I know now as I assure a patient through a procedure as I did today, to take someone's hand and look in their eyes and tell them I'm sorry it hurts (even if I'm not causing the pain), that just showing them the compassion that I actually care about them -- THAT is a large part of what nursing is all about. It amazes me how sometimes nursing gets to be so technical that people forget the connection part.

Really, just a few moments of caring and showing that you're thinking about what's going on with them and that you want to alleviate their suffering -- goes far in helping a patient feel confident in who you are and that you're not just a med dispenser.

So after my 12 hour shift, Miss Nora hugged me extra tight tonight, and I spent a little time with her before putting her down. We sang The Beatles "I Will" song together at the top of our lungs, and the part where I sing

"And when at last I find you,
Your song will fill the air,
Sing it loud so I can hear you,
Make it easy to be near you.

For the things you do, endear you to me,
Oh you know I Will.
I WILL!"

And as I sang the "make it easy to be near you" she swooped in for a kiss.

A good day.

Love you son. You know I always will, and even when I move on, it's because I do it in large part as a tribute to you.

--- Mom.

Monday, June 13, 2011

LUPINES

Oregon's summer has been abyssmal so far. ABYSSMAL.

HORRIFIC.

RIDICULOUS.
I have low standards for this state. I expect it to rain from mid-September THROUGH April, without end. But by May, we're supposed to get a break.
And there has been little, if any, break. Instead it's been rain, rain, and more rain. And lots of what I call "psycho weather days" where it starts one way, is predicted to be another, and turns out to be something else entirely.
I don't like to complain about the weather. I was, after, all, raised in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life, even if I wasn't born here. But really...this is just kinda stupid.
Nora says funny things in the car. If she sees sunny skies she'll say "we can play outside today!" and if she doesn't, she says "we'll play in the gym today!"

Then sometimes she groans a bit and says: "Another gym day, Mom..."

To which I say "Welcome to Oregon, kid..."
I got through my first year of nursing school this past week (another post to come)... and with it came some time off, and today, a bit of good weather.

And today came a few nice days with the Lupines, who were planted with the other wildflowers last year when our tree fell down.

AND, today, for the first time, Miss Nora saw me taking a picture and said "Take a picture of me Mom?"

Who says no to that!?!?

Not me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another First: The First School Thing.

Miss Nora, so proud to be with her Bestema, is dressed and ready for her first school event.

I don't know about you, but I was doing fine up til the day of Nora's first school thing.

About a month ago, in amongst the various things that come home from school or arrive in the mail, was a note for us to come to the Spring Program, including the kindergarten graduation.
But the day of Nora's first school event came, and suddenly I found myself all choked up about it.

My kid was going to stand up in front of everyone and sing with her class...and I was going to be that dorky parent in the crowd, choking back the tears.

OK, well, I wasn't choking. The good news is, I actually just wiped away a few and didn't embarrass myself or anyone else, but considering what they sang first, I think I did pretty well.

When Nora got up on stage with her little classmates, the first song they sang was "You Are My Sunshine."

That was the VERY FIRST SONG I sang her out loud in the NICU when she was just HOURS OLD.
So yeah, I think I did pretty well not just busting out into open sobs...

She sang loud and well, along with her class, and I discovered that maybe that night wasn't the night to have her wear a dress with no leggings underneath, as she pulled her dress up so the whole church could see her underpants...but fortunately teacher Erin pulled it down and Nora didn't go for an encore.
...Nora was so proud to have sung so well. Bestema did the right thing by encouraging her to sing out loud "for Bestema".

Aunt Julia, who doesn't miss anyone's debut, made it too.

And I snuck into the 3rd row in the front where Nora could see me, so she knew where one friendly face was in the crowd.


Believe me, as a parent to one very borderline over-loved child, there is NOTHING more gratifying than that look on your baby's face when she picks you out in a crowd, smiles and then rejoins her group because she knows you're there.



...And afterwards, we all had pie.

Thank you Miss Nora, for being ours. Every day is a new day with you, and watching you sing and play and hug your friends and teachers tells me you're happy, and you bring happiness to others besides me.

The world is better with you in it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"When Two Vowels Go Walking...The First One Does The Talking"

My little sweet pea.

Nora's just about 4 months shy of her 4th birthday now, if you can believe that.

I know I can't...

She loves her school, she loves life...and as it turns out, her ABCs.

I've been working with her on Starfall.com, an awesome website that helps teach children to read.

I read somewhere it was originally set up by the parents of a son who has autism, and that it helped him learn how to sound out words when other methods failed.

It's been amazing to watch Miss Nora as she learns her letters and the sounds they make.


Tonight is Brian and my anniversary and we had a very long day today -- I had an exam this morning (my last one for the term, before the final), and then an afternoon seminar.

We decided to go to Applebees for dinner -- a favorite spot for us as they have great deals on dinner for two, and Nora gets taken care of with a good kiddie menu.

While we were waiting for dinner, I wrote "I love Nora" on a napkin, as Brian was talking about working on letters and words with Nora, and I turned it towards her and said "What does this say?" and she said "LOVE!" and then I said "What else does this say?" and she said "NORA! That's ME!"

We also spelled out some other words, like CAT and MOM, and she got those right too. A few others as we started to sound them out, she followed.

It is truly amazing to see your little one start to read and sound things out. I tucked the napkin away, and she looked at me like she wasn't sure what I was doing, and I just said "Sorry kid, but that's going into the fossil record."

Someday, we'll cover what fossils are...

My little girl isn't a baby or even a toddler anymore.

She says "I do it, Mom!" or "I do it by my own!" when she wants to do something by herself.

We went to the shoe store afterwards and she tried on several pairs of summer sandals and picked one becuase they were "just like Mommy's" and when Brian tried to bring out a navy blue pair, she very clearly said "Those are for boys, Dad."

She chose Hello Kitty accessories and cute sandals, and said "Thank you Daddy" at the end of the night.

Such a sweet pea.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

March for Marx Brother #6, Wait. March for BABIES!

Miss Nora and I got ourselves dressed up and headed out for the March for Babies this morning!

I joined my friend Patti, her sister, and a couple of nurses from the hospital, and we walked around Bush Park, at which point we split up.

I had to study more today, so I didn't have time to do the full 10K, so we did the 3K part around the park.
Nora and I then went to the park's playgrounds and played a little before heading home.
It was a great day, and I raised $500 from so many people who were kind enough to donate.

Thanks again to all of you who chipped in!

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