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Maggie 11 months

April 6, 2018

My Dear Maggie

My Dear Maggie Pie,

I just can not believe it you are less then one month away from turning 1 year old. Over the past 11 months you have grown into a very fun, loving, silly, smart, beautiful, and very sassy little girl. And while I didn’t know it was at all possible, as each day passes my love for you grows more and more.

Months ago it seems you said your first words. And yes Mama was on the short list. But it wasn’t a word you used often, or really at all. It was really just a word you used when you were upset with me. The only time you really said it was when you grunted it or when you yelled it at me when I wasn’t moving fast enough. But over the past few days it has been so nice to hear Mama come out of…

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Maggie 9 Months Portraits

February 15, 2018

Dear Maggie,

Wow a lot has happened in this past month. You are so much fun to be around. You just love your brother with all of your heart. Just yesterday we were at the Ash Wednesday service at church and while we waited to have the ashes put on our foreheads you started pulling Wyatt’s hair and laughing out loud. I won’t lie the service made me think I was in a circus at times. You were throwing toys on the floor as we handed them to you. You were turning around and saying hi to my friend Allen behind us. You figured out that there was an echo when I took you out of the service towards the end. And you just kept yelling things to hear the echo. But the cutest thing you did was when any music came on you started clapping and sometimes singing along. You even had some sort of clapping thing going on with Emma as she sat next to you. You are just so much fun to be around.

You still love the cats, you have stopped grabbing their fur. But instead you tend to hit them, but you are trying to pet them. The only problem the kitties are having now is you can catch them. They walk away and you crawl and chase after them, often all over the house. You also love to read books. But we have to make sure they are your books. Because you have this thing with paper. You have this radar and as soon as you see it, or I feel “sense” it you are right on top of it. And it immediately goes into your mouth. I don’t know why you love to eat paper so much. But it has become a daily thing that I have to pull paper out of your mouth. Even though we have done our best to hide it or make sure it is put away at all times.

You absolutely love Elmo and Sesame Street. As soon as the show is on, no matter where you are you will find a way to see the tv and watch Elmo. Everytime Sesame Street is on and they start singing a song, you sit up and start clapping. And your claps make noise. I have never known a baby to clap and make clapping sounds like you do. It just makes me smile.

As for milestones you are pulling yourself up on everything to stand. You are even starting to try and stand with out anyone or anything around you. You are crawling all over the place. Sometimes you are standing on your own for 10 or more seconds. You are finally showing signs of starting to sleep better at night. You are only waking up once a night. You are getting really good at feeding yourself. So you have decided that you are the only one that can feed you. You won’t take any food from me or anyone else, only when you feed yourself.

Your new favorite thing to do is to Skype or FaceTime with people. And anytime anyone is talking on the phone and you are around, we have to put it on speaker phone so you can hear or talk too. You don’t like being left out of phone conversations. Your other favorite thing to do is to wait at the storm front door as soon as we open it waiting for Wyatt to come home. You start to get excited as soon as you hear and see the bus. You and Wyatt love to play together in the ball pit in our living room. You get so excited and throw the balls all around with Wyatt. Wyatt is still the one who can get the most smiles and laughs out of you. In fact a lot of the smiles in these pictures are because Wyatt was willing to help after he got home from school. As much as you love him, I can tell he loves you. I can’t wait for the days and months to come as you two grow closer together, and as we grow stronger as a family. We love you so so much.

Love,

Mom

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Maya: Love can heal cancer

February 10, 2018

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I know none of you would ever tell me that I am one to be at a loss for words, but honestly I am. There is just so much going through my head right now to say, but I just don’t know where to start. What I would like to share with you in this post isn’t what I normally share. So I will start with what is most important. If you read nothing more then this and stop, please do this one thing for her. Say a prayer, good thoughts, happy healing vibes, whatever you want to call it. And to whomever you want to pray it, or tell it or say it. Send love. I truly believe that the greatest gift we have as the human race is love. The Bible says “and these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I quote the Bible here not to encourage walls to be brought up and boxes to be formed around certain beliefs, but instead to encourage the opposite: inclusion. Love. So if you read only this, please, I beg you, send love.

If I have learned anything from Maya in the few years I have known her, it is that: Love. Yes, it’s just four letters, but when you put them together they can mend hearts, move mountains, and heal cancer. A few weeks ago I got a call from my best friend Angie that her daughter Maya was diagnosed with leukemia. I am not going to go into the details here, but I will say that with this diagnosis came some scheduled vacations in the children’s hospital, and some vigorous treatments. In those first days of visiting her I expected to walk into a room filled with anything but faith and hope, but I was wrong. Walking into the room the first thing I was greeted with was hope, and faith built on not just any rock, but a concrete foundation. Worry isn’t for warriors. I was met with words like “Our God is faithful, the devil is a liar, weapons formed against me shall not prosper, for I walk in favor everywhere I go.” And Love. Love was everywhere. While I was there, not long after I arrived Maya asked me what I told her little buddy Wyatt about why I was visiting her in the hospital. I told her that I just told Wyatt that she was sick and would need to be in the hospital for a little to get the bad stuff out of her blood that was making her not feel so great. I mean can you honestly imagine that? She was worried about him. My son. She was sick and just told that she was going to be in the hospital for a while, and she was worried about what I told Wyatt. Not wanting him to be scared or upset. Love.

She has always been so amazing with Wyatt. Ever since the day he was born she was there for him. And now that he is older (6). The two of them, no matter how much time has passed since they have seen each other, they get along like brother and sister. Maya is like his adopted big sister. And let me tell you Wyatt can be whiny, and demanding. And on the ride over come up with a list a mile long of what he wants to do with her and her brother in his head. And if you bring a 5/6 year old over to a teenager’s house with expectations like that, usually you are up for issues. But other than a few brother/ sister like arguments and frustrations, they would play all day together. And he would leave, unwillingly, but eventually leave with a smile on his face. And pass out from exhaustion as I pulled the car out of the driveway. Love.

In all the years I have known Maya, she has always been one of the strongest and most loving people I have ever known. So I know she will get through this. But for one of the most loving and caring people I have ever known in my life, say a prayer today, tonight, whenever. Send good thoughts, happy healing vibes. And please send love. Because those four letters can mend hearts, move mountains, and heal cancer. Love,

Jen

I have also attached the link to their gofundme account. Please donate to them if you can. This is going to be a long process, and anything you are able to contribute will help. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. And please share this with everyone you can. Keep the love spreading and sharing. Together we can surround Maya, and her family with love.

https://www.gofundme.com/maya-shapiro

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Aunt Abbey & Uncle Abdul with Maggie & Wyatt: Sneak peek

January 12, 2018

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My Babies: Wyatt and Maggie

December 29, 2017

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My Babies

Wow, my babies. They are the best. Yes we have sibling fights, sort of. Where Maggie takes Wyatt’s markers, or eats his drawing. But for the most part it is all just love. He loves her, and she loves him. He was her second word, but always her first love. He’s the only one who can make her smile when she bumps her head or life’s got her frustrated. In the 8 months they have been together he has taught her so so much. The most important thing he has taught her has been to laugh in the face of fear. And for the first few months of her life he taught her to love being scared. Now if you jump out and scare her, or yell boo she laughs.
Besides all of that nothing warms a mom’s heart more then to watch her kids curled up in bed reading a book together. Tonight Wyatt read the Storybots dinosaur/ T-rex book to Maggie while she sat next to him in his bed. Both were ready for bed and in their jammies. And as I sat there watching, my heart melted there for a moment. As Wyatt read the book and turned the pages, something on one of the pages made her laugh. It was so sweet. As she reached for the book my sweet moment was interrupted by Wyatt pulling the book to the other side of him away from Maggie, fearing that she would grab it, rip it, and then most likely eat the piece she had ripped off. Reassuring him that everything was fine and he needed to relax, he continued to read the book. As his dad, Josh, laid down next to him, Micky, one of our cats, came up to Josh to be pet. Wyatt’s beautiful reading was again halted. Instead of reading he began to whine “Micky never comes to me to get pet.” Josh explained “because you tackle him and don’t let him go.” Wyatt paused, still upset, began to compose himself. But having to agree with Josh that he does do that. Then he continued to read the book until finish.
I have come to learn that is how it works with two kids. You have to remind yourself of the sweet moments when they are so so hard to find at times. With my two I really can’t complain much. The arguments and frustrations are rare. It is almost always beautiful. The only time it gets a little bad is when everyone is tired. But bedtime always seems to still, in the midst of all of the cranky tiredness, have some of the most beautiful moments.
Growing up I had an older brother, we were less then two years apart. And we were very close. I may have thought we were closer than he may have seen it from his perspective. But with us growing up it was more of a 50/50 ratio. 50% of the time it was good and 50% of the time it was not so good. And of course those percentages changed based on what stage of life we were in. Now that we are grown up it’s more of a 99%/1% ratio. I can only think of one time in our adult lives where my brother and I were not on speaking terms. And truthfully I think it only lasted a few days. We are so close that it was really painful for us to be mad at each other. And while I can remember the pain I felt from us being angry at each other, I can not remember for the life of me what the fight was about. Maybe he can I don’t know. He always did have a better memory than me.
Either way I really hope Wyatt and Maggie have some struggles, because I am sure it will bring them closer. But I always hope they both know the other loves them with all of their heart. Because I know no matter what they always will. For now though I love seeing them grow up together. Because it’s beautiful. They are two peas in a pod.
Maggie may you never grow tired of waking up to your brother reading to you from the chair next to your crib or bed. Wyatt, may you never grow tired of reading to your sister. May you both never tire of teaching each other new things, and may you never grow tired of listening. May you both never stop teaching each other to laugh at fear. And never fear to laugh. May you never take for granted the arms that wrap you up in love, and may you always wrap your arms around the ones you love. May you always grant each other forgiveness, but may you never forget to set aside your pride and know your faults. For one with out the other is emptiness. May you never forget goodnights and I love you’s, and although its important said, know its always true. And may you always love with your heart wide open. And Wyatt never forget that for at least a year you always said you wanted Maggie to be your wife one day. (Someday I am sure I will remind you of that.)
 Maggie and Wyatt, I love you both so so much, more then my heart is even able to love you, that is how much I love each of you. I love you both the same, yet in so many different ways. You are both my heart. And in my heart you both will always be. I love you to the moon and back, and a million more trips. I love you -Mom

East Timor: Not my normal blog post

December 17, 2017

Dear Wyatt

This isn’t my normal blog post, but my son is anything but normal when it comes to some things, so I figured it was appropriate for his blog.

Wyatt and I have been reading this book, Junior Genius Guides: Maps and Geography by Ken Jennings, as we go to bed each night. I’m usually the one that pushes for a more “story” kind of book as opposed to facts. But I really am starting to like this book. Tonight we ended with the activity called first and last. It’s where you name a place: City, state, country, continent, ocean, mountain, landmark. And then the next person has to name one that starts with what yours ended with. And if you can’t you’re out.

As we named places I thought about what the book said earlier in the chapter. That National Geographic surveyed college aged Americans only 70% could find the…

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Maggie 7 month portraits

December 17, 2017

My Dear Maggie

Maggie,

As I look down at your sleeping face all I can think about is how blessed I am to have you in my life. Your perfect little nose, your lips pursed together as if the bottle was still in your mouth, your plump cheeks that everyone always talks about how they want to just kiss them all over, your eye lids closed just right not too tight but just enough, resting each on the other. You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are a gift from God. You make our family perfect, and whole.

Your heart is beautiful. Everyday I see you and your brother interacting together and the love you have for each other and I just know our family is whole. The way he comes over to give you a kiss when you cry or bump your head and only his kisses make you all better again…

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