Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Little Peanut is 2 1/2 And Time Keeps Flying By

Though I almost never blog anymore I am determined (I think) to at least keep up occasional posts on my kiddo and her growth. I love printing my blog memories and looking back on them and I'm kinda bummed that I haven't kept it up. I think that Instagram has become my new blog because, it's faster and easier. lol If you want to continue to keep up with our family please feel free to follow me on Instagram. My username is caseymartinez. Easy enough right.  I miss not being able to keep up with the blog community.

In light of the recent loss in my family I must also add that death has a powerful way of reminding us that we need to savor the time that we have with the people that we love.  Just because my little girl is only 2 doesn't mean that I have 60 years to watch her grow.  Life can change in an instant and it is so critical that we fight the urge to fall into the mundane and lose sight of the blessings that we have with us everyday.  Being a Mom is ridiculously exhausting and often monotonous but, ultimately the most rewarding journey in the world to me.  I thought I would have at least ten more years with my Gram.  I thought wrong.  I hope that no matter how much time I have here on Earth that my little girl knows how much she is loved and adored.  I hope we spend more moments having fun and laughing then cleaning a house and fighting...(though if you know me at all, you know how important a clean house is to my sanity...hmmmm...still, play first, clean later. lol). So I urge you...no matter what you are facing, soak up today as best as you can. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed for some reason, change it up and do something unexpected and fun.  Bundle the kids up on this cold day and go get everyone hot cocoa and sip it while you watch a new movie rental, snuggled up under a cozy blanket.  Life is so short.  Live it well!  

 Now back to the intended subject of this post...my little munchkin! Sweet Daisy Love is changing a little every day. Her super fine hair is finally getting longer, her face is thinning out (boo), her height is taking off, her sentences are getting longer and smarter and her personality is constantly evolving. One thing that hasn't changed is her spirit.  She is a passionate child! LOL  Love my daughter dearly and though she is wearing me ragged these days with her constant toddler tantrums she is also overflowing my heart with joy and laughter.  The hard days are all so worth it just to see her smile.
We are like 89% potty trained. She holds it all night and during naps, so long as I don't give her a big drink right before bed and she tells me whenever she needs to go again...for a while there she wouldn't and it was so frustrating. The only time we have issues is when she is with other people as she isn't as comfortable telling anyone other than me and my husband that she needs to go. Overall, she is doing great after A LOT of effort on my part...hahaha. I have kept her in pullups through out the majority of potty training because it has been so much less stressful for me. Less messes to clean up and less clothes, bedding and car seat covers to wash! She can pull her own pull up down now too which took a while for her to learn. This new skill has also helped prevent a lot of accidents which is great. I'm very proud of her!
She has gotten a good deal pickier with her food which has been a drag but, she also doesn't eat nearly as much anymore. She loves sandwiches with cheese, pickles, lettuce and meat. A girl after my own heart! She also loves strawberries, applesauce, bacon, yogurt, steak, cheese, crackers, humus, anything sweet, edamames, chili, tacos, waffles with cottage cheese and fruit, rice, pizza, vegetable spring rolls and so on. Her absolute favorite thing is a juice box or a juice sippy cup. She would drink juice all day long if I let her. She rarely wants to eat bananas, chicken nuggets, vegetables and round fruit...don't know why. She LOVES candy and I still give her a little candy reward for every successful potty.  We do not venture out to restaurants these days because the money is wasted on a bad time.  This kid cannot sit still long enough for the food to be delivered to our table.  I'd rather save our money for a date night and stick to fast food and take out with our toddler. ( Is that smile below cheesy or what!  I caught her giving me what appears to be an evil grin. hehe.  This kid has more expressions than I can count!)
Her vocabulary has just taken off. She talks in short but, full sentences and her memory is incredibly sharp. She is quoting shows and things she hears other people saying. She still babbles in a foreign language a lot too because I can tell she wants to be able to talk fast like Mommy and Daddy. I think we are going to have a heck of a chatter box on our hands as her vocabulary continues to grow...scratch that, I know we are going to have a chatter box and I'll need ear plugs:). lol She loves when people take the time to listen to her talk even if it is babbling.  She loves when people engage her and chat with her even if what she says isn't making sense....just pretend that you do. lol  I would say that getting that kind of conversational attention from people is her absolute favorite thing.  She loves performing sometimes and even though she gets a little embarrassed now and then, if everyone claps for her, it seems to give her the courage to sing another song or do another dance.  Little Miss Broadway or something perhaps.  I think she is more sensitive than she comes across but, as Mom I know.  I see it in her responses to things and in her eyes.  Momma always knows these things:).
She wears 3T now. I've noticed that 3T is actually getting a little small in some shirts and sweaters so I've begun getting 4T occasionally. Crazy!! She wears size 7 shoes and still has a good amount of room but, I know that won't last long. She loves to trudge around the house wearing my shoes and she enjoys going to the shoe store and playing with the shoes...but, not trying on the ones I want her to.  
We still sing Jesus Loves Me every night before bed and say our prayers at bedtime and at dinner.  Her dinner prayer is typically, "tank you Jesus for Granddad and Beach," or "GG and Lulu."  Basically she chooses two people and that is what she prays for.  It's quite adorable.  I am always trying to think of new ways to each Daisy about Jesus and how much He loves her.  Our example along with songs, her picture story bible and cartoons seem to teach best this age. 
She is a very animated little girl with a wide range of expressions and emotions. She has a full blown academy award winning actress inside her. Oh my. One minute she can be giggling her head off and the next she can be making a fake sad face, sighing and saying, "I so sad." Silly silly girl! She whines quite a bit these days and that is a new thing. It's wearing me out to say the least but, it's typical for this age. She is otherwise a very happy go lucky kid. Wakes up happy and goes to bed happy. I'd describe her as cheerful and silly. She is strong willed and a bit aggressive but, she can also blow me away with her sweetness.  I do not spank her often because it hasn't yet proved to be very productive with her personality but, I am not opposed to spanking for the record.  To each his own. 
She goes to bed around 8ish usually due to the fact that she takes such long naps. She naps from around 1-4 or 4:30 even. I never would have dreamed that my horrible sleeper would turn into an amazing sleeper. Thank you Jesus! She wakes up pretty consistently at 6:45 or 7 every morning regardless of what time she goes to bed. She is still in a crib and has never tried to climb out...ever. Crazy huh. I know that she is very ready for a big girl bed and in fact she is outgrowing the crib in her length but, truthfully I haven't been ready. I know that bed training can be a bit exhausting for some parents so I am trying to avoid doing it around the busy holiday season. I don't want to be any more tired than I already am right now. lol I will be getting her a bed very soon and hopefully giving her room a bit of a big girl update. I know she won't really care but, I'm pretty excited about it! Decorating for a little girl is so much fun.
Her favorite things to do these days...well, that's tough because she still has an incredibly short attention span for any activity. I can't get her to sit still with anything for more than about 1 minute, literally. She doesn't like to read books which makes me sad but, I'll keep trying I suppose. lol. She likes to color with markers, play with her babies, play with her My Little Ponys, have tea parties, cook food in her kitchen and ultimately do whatever I am doing. She loves getting into my make up, washing dishes, cooking with me, going through the drawers in my bathroom cabinet, helping Daddy in the garage and she still loves to "drive" in our cars after every outing. The park is finally keeping her interest more now which is AWESOME. She used to get so bored at the park after such a short visit and I wondered what was wrong with my child. lol She still enjoys taking baths and going on walks in her wagon. I love taking her to new places as she seems to like change and variety. Sometimes we pop in to a pet store just to kill 20 minutes.  She loves animals!! If we had a zoo nearby I would definitely get a pass and go regularly. 
Play dates have been a bit exhausting when they are in someone's home because me and the other mom end up spending the majority of the time being referee's and calming down angry children due to sharing issues. I prefer going to parks where the kids don't spend the entire time fighting. lol On the other hand, Daisy has been getting much more personal with a couple of her play date buddies. I love seeing her actually interacting all on her own. Most recently at a park play date she wanted to hold her friend's hand, shared her snacks on her own, went down the slide with her friend beside her and played really pleasantly for a good while. I've noticed that she clashes with some personalities and does so much better with others. Not sure if that is just this age or a sign of personalities at work even in a 2 year old! lol It's so wonderful when kids actually get along.  (Below: "wook mom, an airpwane!!!")
Daisy is quite independent and often prefers playing alone. I haven't yet seen her follow or take another child's lead. In some ways I wish she would but, then again if this is who she is then that is okay too. She can seem a bit bossy at times because of her leader like personality but, she is also willing to be pushed around by kids at times as well so I think it all balances out. She is a super high energy kid and could easily spend hours at a time bouncing on the couch or running laps around our house. I get tired just watching her. She is definitely just like her Daddy when it comes to her energy and spirit. I know God has great things in store for the passion inside her.  I look forward to seeing what things she directs her energy into as she gets older.  I can't wait to cheer her on wildly in all that she does.
She is not a super cuddly little girl. I've realized that she is not a big fan of giving people hugs and kisses when asked for them and she would rather be left to do her own thing. That is why I treasure her hugs and kisses so much when I get them, because when they are voluntary they are truly special. She is still a bit stand offish with most men. She takes time to warm up to people and seems to prefer when people give her space. 

She is a bit afraid of loud noises such as the vacuum, nail guns, dogs barking suddenly etc. and that is why she is covering her ears in the above picture.  A sudden loud noise made her jump up from the stool and cover her ears.  See the look on her face....scared.  I'm trying to gently teach her how to become comfortable with loud noises.  She will also not venture into any room in the house that has a light off or is too far away from where me or Daddy are.  I know these are really normal fears for a 2 year old so I am not worried but, I will document when these things change as I am rather curious if/when she will outgrow them myself. 

She loves to watch shows.  Her favorites these days are Backyardigans (again), Hareport, Timmy Time, Bo On the Go, Sam and the Fire Rescue, My Big Big Friend, My Little Pony, Open Season, Wild Cratts and some of our home movies....Madagascar is a favorite.  Sadly, she gets pretty bored of Sesame Street and most of the shows on PBS now...though Cat and the Hat can suck her in a bit still.

And that wraps up our 2.5 year update on Miss Daisy.  I can't emphasize enough how much I adore this little girl.  I find myself staring at her often and being blown away by the fact that she was once in my stomach.  How the heck has she gotten so big so fast?  She is talking now too...it's just crazy!  Her brown eyes melt my heart like butter...I don't want her to know that because she could use that against me in a few years. hehe.  She is a bundle of energy and a barrel of joy. 

Thank you Jesus for my little blessing and for every day that I get to be her Mommy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Remembering Her

 Grief goes up. Grief goes down. Grief goes all around.  That is starting to sound a lot like a page out of a Dr. Seuss book the more I repeat it. hehe Anyways, I'm sure this will be one of many blog posts about my Gram as I work through the different phases of grief. Writing has always been the easiest way for me to sort through what I feel. I'm so thankful for this outlet because I don't know if I would be able to heal without a place to lay my heaviness to rest. So, bear with me as I dig deep and honor the memory of one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.
 It's been a little over a week since my last living Grandparent; my Gram, Patricia Anne Marshall passed away very unexpectedly. She wasn't sick. She didn't die of old age and she was only in her 70's.  I think a lot of people assume that if a Grandparent dies that they passed on from an illness or old age.  That is how I always expected it to be with my Gram and since it wasn't it caught us all off guard.  It will take several months before the autopsy report is processed and in the meantime we will all have to find peace in the different ways that we need to find it. I'm shocked. I'm overwhelmed with emotion. I wasn't ready to say goodbye. I was sure we would have her with us for many more years. I just can't believe she is gone.  With each passing day the reality begins to sink in a little more but, the ache remains like a steady knot in my stomach.  At different times of each day I find myself saying softly to myself, "I miss you so much Gram."
My Gram was the only living Grandparent that I had in my life for several years and she is definitely the Grandparent that I've always felt the closest to. No other loss has cut me as deep or as hard as this one. I don't attach easily to people and it takes me a really long time to forge a powerful bond with someone. I've grieved for all of my Grandparents but, this loss is just different. The bond was stronger. The memories vast and wonderful. There is not a piece of my life that doesn't have a part of her in it.   She was involved in every special event in my life in some way. 
 I haven't gotten much sleep in the past several days and that is unusual for me.  I'm too restless.  I'm having strange dreams.  I see her face and hear her voice when I close my eyes and that is not a bad thing at all but, it makes it much harder to fall asleep. I hear her laugh in my ears and all the memories we shared flash repeatedly through my mind. I can't imagine entering this holiday season and not having our chief of holiday affairs here to celebrate with us for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Her house is home base for our family.  It's the oasis and retreat for every grandchild on a bad day.  We've all found peace while laying by her pool and gazing up at her towering palm trees as they swayed in the California breeze. Jazz music was often playing on her outdoor sound system.  Her vast collection of wind chimes would chime away in a wild but, somehow perfect harmony.  When you closed your eyes you genuinely felt like you were at a tropical resort. Gram's house is paradise.
 This is the house that I have spent nearly 26+ years of holidays at before moving to North Carolina and even some since I moved.  Every Easter she hosted an egg hunt for the grand kids and a brunch usually followed. We were always most excited about finding a blue egg because they held a $20 bill for each grandchild. Every Halloween she served her delicious chili with saltine crackers and let us pass out boat loads of candy at her door.  We usually ate a lot of it too but, she didn't need to know that.  Every Thanksgiving she hosted a feast fit for a King and I can promise you that no one on planet Earth makes mashed potatoes as delicious as my Gram.  Every Christmas Eve she hosted yet another beautiful dinner and after we had all eaten, she would pass out a wrapped gift to each grandchild.  We already knew more or less what was inside but, we still tore our present open with great anticipation.  The beloved Christmas Jammies!!
 We always wondered who would match and what colors we would each get.  Even this past Christmas my Gram (and Aunt Pam thank you auntie) made sure to mail not only me, but, my husband and my daughter Christmas jammies to match with the rest of our family back home.  I was 28 years old this last Christmas but, I still wanted those jammies so bad because I felt so far away from all of my family in California and when I got them in the mail my heart skipped a beat.  Those jammies brought me a little closer to the celebration that I was missing. She never seemed to grow weary of tradition.  She never grew weary of spoiling her grand kids. 
 For nearly 18 years all of the grand kids would spend the night at Gram's house on Christmas Eve and wait for Santa to fly over the house.  Christmas morning we would all bound down her creaky stairs to start shaking the oodles of presents with our names on them and guessing what might be inside.  She spoiled us rotten.  Let me emphasize that....she spoiled us ROTTEN.  Her generosity with her family knew no bounds.  She was the most giving person I've ever known.  
She wasn't just generous at Christmas time.  She was generous all the time.  She always found special ways to bless everyone around her.  She always made sure to have my favorite foods at her house when I visited.  She knew I didn't like traditional store bought birthday cakes so she surprised me with an old fashioned root beer float instead.  She always remembered to call on my birthday and was so sweet to mail a birthday card and check year after year.  Our birthdays were only a few days apart; hers being on April 10th and mine being on the 13th.  She loved to treat me to sushi when I visited and we would pig out on her back patio and make a huge mess together.  She got us beautiful dresses for Easter and colorful swim suits each Summer when we were kids.  Every Christmas she asked each of us for a Christmas list and she went out of her way to get us the majority of the things on our list.  She loved to take care of and spoil the people that she loved. 
Last night, I spent a little time jotting down the random things that come to mind when I think of my Gram and what she loved.  These are the things that represented who she was to me and quite possibly to many people: wind chimes, iris flowers, watering and gardening, rose bushes, feeding scrub jays on her patio, slippers, heated blankets, sparkling soda water, tanning, sunshine, naked (don't ask:), jazz music, warm days, being a nurse, jewelry, IZ and especially his Somewhere Over the Rainbow song, sarcasm, sushi, rainbows, strength, People Magazine, pasta salad, feisty, control oriented, crime shows and counselor to many.   

I have countless memories of swimming in her beautiful pool every Summer.  When the grand kids were little Gram would order pizzas or bring us push ups in the pool.  She would always heat our towels in the drier and have them ready for us when we got out.  She even heated towels for me and my girl friends this summer (2012) when we were in the jacuzzi late one night.  It seemed that I never got too old for Gram to spoil me.  This past June was very special because my little girl learned how to float and paddle for the first time in my Grandma's pool.  My Grandma was right beside me rooting my little girl on as she bravely tackled each step in the shallow end. I can still hear her cheers, "yeah, you go Daisy! There you go. Kick those legs."
Just like that, in the blink of an eye any one of us could be gone.  Death is hard for the living because we don't want to spend the rest of a life here on Earth without that person who has passed but, death also reminds us of the fragility of life.  It's probably never wise to assume that we are going to have all of our loved ones in our life until they are 90.  It's probably best to remember that every minute of every day is a gift and we should love more, forgive faster, fight less, play more, pray harder, dance often and laugh lots.  Make as many of your moments here on Earth count.  Live like every day could be your last and see how much more beautiful this life becomes. 

Gram, I miss you terribly.  It's hard to be in your home without your presence.  It's hard to imagine this upcoming holiday season without your festive celebrations.  It's hard to imagine not getting your cheerful comments on Facebook and Instagram anymore.  Life will never be the same without you in it but, I will cherish all of the fantastic memories.  I will remember what a strong woman you were through life's trials and I will strive to be strong also.  I'll love you forever.  I'll love you for always.  As long as I'm living my Gram you will be.