Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our New Normal

I can finally say that the last few days have been good. Emily and I have been busy…lots of outings and loads of fun!

On Saturday we were supposed to go to the new outdoor waterpark at our YMCA. But the weather was cold and we were not willing to chance chilly water and chilly weather. So that was a bust. But I tried out a new babysitter that evening and that went very well! Sue and I made plans to go to the Melting Pot and have dinner. She and I have talked about doing this for a while and I had a coupon for FREE chocolate. It does not get any better than that…we had a fabulous time! We ate, talked, ate some more, talked and had a great time.

On Sunday, we went to church and then headed to the Strawberry Festival in Virginia Beach. For those who do not live here, imagine a county fair with a HUGE emphasis on Strawberries. These are two of my favorite things!! Emily remembers the pony rides from last year and high-tailed it to the ponies. Our friends, Shannon, Brian and Jackson, met us there for a bit. I forgot my camera at home but luckily Shannon brought hers. She graciously offered for me to keep it through the day and document our fun at the festival. After we parted ways, Emily wanted to see the military exhibit. She played on a coast guard boat, sat in a hum-vee, checked out the tent and decided it was time to move on. But I did get a cute picture of her sitting in the hum-vee. We then headed back down the street, because Emily was adamant about getting her face painted. She got to pet a rooster. The man that was holding the rooster had a friend on his shoulder as well. I looked over and found a ladybug hanging out there. I love my Nat moments and this was one of them. Although she was not with us, I felt like she paid a visit. We met Elmo, rode a few rides, won a bear, and then found the face-painting. She had a hard decision…get a ladybug or a butterfly. Both are her favorites, reminding her of Natalie. She has a lot of focus on Natalie and her grief and it came out Sunday. But, ultimately, she chose the butterfly. She looked beautiful and enjoyed it the rest of the day. We left shortly after this, but not before picking up some strawberry lemonade and a seedless watermelon that is now chilling in my fridge. This was a good day.

Monday we headed to Colonial Williamsburg. Some good friends from Florida (I met Jenna in high school) were coming down from Northern Virginia and invited us to meet them there for the day. I quickly accepted and we went north. First, Emily and I stopped by the outlet mall to check out the deals. Then we went to Pierce’s BBQ to have lunch with our friends. Another family who we are becoming friends with came down with Jenna, James and Cailyn and we were able to visit more and get to know them better. Then we began our tour of Colonial Williamsburg. This past weekend, military were offered free admission. We got there about 3pm so we did not get to see much, but our visit was refreshing. Emily and Cailyn are close in age and getting to know each other better. It was another good day.

Tuesday was less hectic. Sarah had to go back to the vet for a checkup on her sinus infection. Who knew that dogs got sinus infections?!? But she is doing much better. We then came home for a nap, went grocery shopping and then headed to swim lessons. Emily is doing great with her lessons. She is much more confident with her swimming. Will she go in without me? Not yet…I am not that ready. But we are making it through this one lesson, one day, at a time. Then, she wanted to go outside to the water park. The water was cold but she when in anyway. Of course, that meant that mom had to as well. Oh my…It was so cold!! We lasted about 45 minutes and then headed home for dinner. She is now excited about getting to go back.

Today, we went to Busch Gardens. Our friends, Maria, Anna and Julia invited us to go. Emily had a great time!! We rode all the rides she was tall enough to go on. And she really enjoyed them. It was overcast and a bit chilly so there were no lines! The girls were even able to ride a few rides 3 times in a row. It was a bit disappointing that they were not allowed on a few of the bigger rides because their heads touched the line on the stick but did not pass it. They seemed to recover from that with a bit of face-painting. Emily's new favorite…come home with a butterfly on her face. There was not a ladybug option this time so the decision was easy. This time it covered her whole face. And she was a happy girl. We made it home without incident and Em even went to bed at a normal time and I have had a few moments to enjoy some quiet.

As for me….exactly 7 months ago as I am typing this, Natalie’s lung collapsed and her brain herniated. For us, this was when we lost her. I came across some pictures this morning of our girl in the hospital and I was able to look at them without falling apart. Yes, I was sad. Yes, I wished it had been different. But I was able to look at those pictures, see my beautiful baby girl, remember her amazing personality and know that I will be with her one day. I thought of many things, like how different she looked between Sunday day and Monday morning. The difference confirmed for me what I already knew. We made the right choices for Natalie. She was a different baby between the two days. She looked so different. And it confirmed for me the piece that I seem to waiver on. Did we make the right choices? Was it the right time? Should we have waited longer? Would that have been best? Should we have done things differently? Nope…we made the right choices at the right times for our girl. We made sure her care was perfect and she was without pain. We gave her every chance we could. And we gave her back when she needed to go home. I hate that part…it hurts. But the wonder does not anymore. We did it right. I know that I have made a few good decisions as her parent. I will carry that for a long time.

Alie is doing well. She seems to be growing, kicking and sleeping in normal baby patterns. This is comforting to me. I worry that all is ok with her. And it feels like it is. So I am going with it.

That is all for now…we are adjusting to our new normal without school, ballet (her recital is June 1st), and bible study. We are trying to keep busy. It is hard on the days that we don’t have much going on. We both seem to miss Nat even more. And we talk about it, cuddle to get those hugs that we want, and work through it together. We are taking it one day at a time.

Good night all,
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, especially our angel baby Natalie, and Alie

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