Happy Birthday, Elliott!

Elliott is TWO!!!

cake

I swear it seems like just a short moment ago that Ashley came through the house asking for a pimento cheese sandwich. “Ashley,” I asked blatantly, “are you pregnant?”

“No way!” she responded and continued to add that she always eats pimento cheese sandwiches.

My response was simple. “Ashley, no you do not. A) You always said it tasted weird on bread and only ate a few crackers with pimento cheese. B) I am your mother and know these things. C) You are pregnant!”

Days later, with the father pacing in front of my door, my daughter told me that I was going to be a grandmother again!

A few scares in the beginning of the pregnancy gave way to a relatively easy and seemingly quick pregnancy. Before I knew it, I was holding this beautiful baby in my arms for the first time!

EJ birth

I could not imagine a more perfect way to start out the new year in 2016!

Then, things got hard. Then, they got harder. It seemed that this perfect little man was going to have a rough way to go starting soon after his birth. But he just kept smiling through it!

Now, all healed up and home with his mommy by his side, he smiles:

mommy

He smiled and he overcame and he developed into the strongest person that I know! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING stops him. I don’t believe that anything ever will! In two short years, he has faced things that would shatter most but yet, here he is, a happy, healthy, loving two-year-old who is ready to take on the world (as long as the world has candy, trains, and his big sister!)

big sister

Whatever the world has in store for him, I have no doubt that he will smile his way through it and come out stronger, kinder, and unstoppable!

Happy Birthday, Elliott James!

“Gigi”

Daily Prompt: Elastic

While sifting through today’s posts on the daily prompt, I anticipated finding some humorous approaches. I mean, really, elastic? How many different ways can people talk about the beautiful material that lets our pants fit a little better? The wonder that is sweatpants? The bands that allow us to “fix” our hair by tossing it up in a ponytail? How can this prompt bring about really meaningful blogs?

Boy, was I wrong! I read a blog that encouraged people to stretch outside of their comfort zones and then one that said we can bounce back from negative emotions. I then found a somewhat short but humorous lyric that talks about the way we become saggier after so much stretching! After yesterdays assertion that I finally decided to turn 40, this one hit a bit closer to home! But, you know, I am proud of my lines and “sags.” I have stretched and endured. I have been challenged and overcame. I mean, this entire blog is based on the moments that have made us reevaluate our own perspectives on life. This entire site is founded on our elasticity!

Children can bounce back from things much easier than adults. Children have such beautiful perspectives on life. I suppose, if I had one wish, it would be to be as elastic as a child. However, I would not trade my  smudges for the world!

Thank you to everyone who helped me to see the beauty of today’s prompt. Keep it up! You inspire me!

Be elastic today and everyday!

“Gigi”

And just like that, I am 40

Yesterday, I was 29 years old. I cannot remember a time in my life that I was older or younger than 29. It has just always been my age and I never considered changing it. I mean, it is MY age so I should be able to call it whatever I want, right? You really should see the look on people’s faces when I would say that I am 29 with four grandchildren and 3 adult children! Ha! I sure had them all fooled, didn’t I?

But, you know, I really have no idea why I felt the need to say 29. I don’t really remember anything spectacular happening during my real time spent as a 29-year-old. It was just another year. I am not embarrassed by my achievements or my experiences that I have had. I am proud to have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. In short, I am pretty proud of my 40 years on this earth and look forward to many more ahead.

Why do we feel the need to hide behind socially constructed labels? When did aging becoming something to be ashamed of rather than something to elicit respect? And what on earth made us so obsessed with being in our 20s? I mean, really, the 20s are hard! I watch my own children trying to figure out the world around them. I would not voluntarily experience that decade over and over again! Forty is nice. I am

Forty is nice. I am comfortable with where I am in my life. I have an excellent job that allows me to work from home. I have a beautiful family. I have known loss and therefore I have learned to appreciate. I am healthy, active, and educated. Life is good. Forty is good!

So, with that stated, today I aged 11 years! Today, I proudly entered the 40s club!

Cheers!

“Gigi”

Yes, You Will Always be a Princess! Happy Birthday, Clarabelle!

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First and foremost, guys, isn’t she beautiful?

I mean, yes, she is physically the epitome of beauty (perhaps a little biased here) but, if you have read any of our “Toddler Talks”  then you know she is beautiful from somewhere within. She has the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child as well as the eyes of someone who could easily have been shattered by the adult world but chose to not let this smudge on her life define her. She is the inspiration that I hope everyone takes from the CPS stories that we tell because, yes, they stole her, tried to remove her concept of family, and tried to teach her that the world is an ugly place, but she refuses to hold on to those lessons. She turned three on 9/13/2017 but, today, since we had been evacuated for Hurricane Irma, we celebrated her birthday at home with family. Today, we celebrated the ability to do so!

You see, last year, we celebrated at the local bowling alley under the watchful eye of her foster parents. Granted, we were there. We brought the cake and the food. Her mom, Ashley, had carefully ironed on the patch of the number 2 onto her birthday outfit. We brought gifts. We brought love. We brought a birthday to remember (but we try to forget). Her face looked a bit sadder than usual. Her demeanor, by this point, was slowly slipping away. Her awareness of what was going on in her world was taking over her innocence.

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Of course, she is home now. She is no longer monitored for her actions. We are no longer monitored in our ability to love her. She can now smile! AND SHE DOES!!!!!happy.jpg

Clarice Isabelle (AKA her “Princess Name”) was born on 9/13/2014 with eyes wide open and ready to take on the world. In her three short years, she has endured more than most people will in a lifetime. And yet, she lights up the room with a love for life that we could all stand to learn from. Just as royalty, she may be a little spoiled (oops) but she sees the world for what it is….a place that needs more love and laughter. And, just like a true princess, she does her part to make this a reality. So, yes, Clarabelle, you will always be a princess. You will always have the wisdom that comes from hardships and the heart to make a difference. You will always be Clarabelle!

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.

May you always be strong but never again have to prove it!

“Gigi”