Sunday, July 31, 2011

Amazing Love Letter...

This was featured on Fox news a few days ago and as a result has been circulating around the internet. I was lucky enough to have it emailed to me and it literally had tears rolling down my cheeks. This is an authentic letter that was written by Major Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah during the Civil War. It is literally the most beautiful thing I have ever read in my life.

He starts the letter of feeling some dread and premonition that death may be around the corner for him. And he talks at great length about the conflict he has had in his head about how much he loves his wife and sons at home, but how much he loves his Country and the ideals it was founded on too. He grapples with the fact that his love for one, could cost him love for the other, and rob them of their future together and her happiness. But in the end, LIKE EVERY BRAVE SOLDIER who enters our military, he feels that it is a risk worth taking to protect his Country, and he felt a calling. You can read the entire letter here . But I am copying and pasting below the section of the letter that took my breath away and had tears rolling down my cheeks in Dunkin' Donuts this morning.

We should all aspire to love this much and BE loved this much. Enjoy. Grab a kleenex!

"Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us.

I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been!

How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours -- always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood.

Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters.

Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them.

O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children."


Major Ballou died about 2 weeks after writing this letter to Sarah.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Holding it together... barely :)

So tomorrow is the big day. My first baby is going to Kindergarten. I am not going to lie, I am feeling a little overwhelmed by it. I have been editing pictures of my trip to Boston and I keep staring at the pictures of my little niece Isabella. I remember Ella being that age like it was yesterday. And I definitely remember Jimmy and I thinking 2011 seemed so far away. And I am sure my sister Lisa and her husband Dave think Kindergarten is so far away for Isabella too. And yet here we are... already.

I have had the privilege to stay home with my baby and raise her these past 43/4 years. And although I have days that I hate, I have LOVED my time with her. I am having a hard time letting go and accepting that she will now officially spend more time with her peers and teachers at school during the week, then she will with us at home. Also Ryen is starting pre-school two days a week. And I can see her first day of Kindergarten right around the corner.

Today I took Ella for a special day with Mommy to celebrate her first day of school tomorrow. I surprised her with a makeover and photo shoot at Glamour shots. I also took her to lunch at Rainforest Cafe which is one of her favorite places. I had such an amazing time with her today. I took lots of photos and watched every shy smile that spread across her face :) She loved it! When it was over they played for me a slideshow of all the pics they took. The song "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" was playing and I could not believe how big she looked. And suddenly I was in tears. Like bad. The salesgirl grabbed my hand cause she felt sorry for me. This is the first time I have cried about Kindergarten starting and it was in a gosh darn Glamour Shots!??? I felt so stupid and embarrassed and apologized to the girl, explaining it was not so much the photos making me cry, but the fact that my girl was starting Kindergarten tomorrow and I am a little (well I guess a lot) emotional about it. She probably thought I was a psycho. ;)

Here is a sneak peak of the blog post that will be coming soon about our day at Glamour Shots. Wish me luck tomorrow as I am sure I will be disgracing my daughter by sobbing at the bus stop and at school. Better wear big sunglasses. :)

PS: right now I am thinking 2024 is so far away too and yet something tells me I will be at her High School Graduation saying it seemed like just yesterday she was starting Kindergarten and I was crying in a Glamour Shots :'( I love you Ella Bella.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brooke's House!

Our group of friends LOVE playdates at Brooke's house. Brooke Betty Crocker Wilbricht always has some baked goods popping out of the oven and a steaming hot pot of coffee with flavored creamers ready for us women when we arrive. We sit and talk and catch up around the kitchen table like The Golden Girls. Except we have screaming toddlers running all over the place. But they play wonderful usually and it is a relaxing and fun time for all (well was relaxing for the Moms of little ones until Brooke's kids outgrew the baby gate on the stairs... ha ha) Here are some pics I snapped on a random coffee morning at Brooke's. Not all the kids are present in these pics. Seems I was in the mood to love on my buddy Katelyn and bribe her with lollipops.

Seems my kids were in the mood to love on the chubbalicious Natalie :)

They even inspired Big Sister Samantha to get in on the action... ;)

But who can resist this face?

I know I can't!! That's me snuggling with her in the photo on the left. Before little Diva demanded some food ;)

Nothing like a naked baby in a sink :)

Coffee at Brooke's anyone??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bowling for Cupcakes

When we got back from Boston we had only two weeks to have some fun and get ready for Kindergarten. One of the things the girls and I did, was go Bowling at Brunswick. They insisted on tutus for the occasion :)

Afterwards we headed over to Top It cupcake bar so the girls could frost and decorate their own cupcakes.

I love days like these with my babies!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Snow Day at the Zoo

There are not many chances to have my kids see snow in this town, that don't involve a 3-5 hour car ride. But once a year the Phoenix Zoo on a hot July day brings in tons of "snow" for the kids to play in. Now I use the word "snow" loosely here cause it is really like having your kids playing in a slushy icee than it is snow like I grew up in. But they don't care cause they love every second of it.

Their favorite part is making snow balls and throwing them at the other kids and adults. Most people are ok with it, and encourage the kids to throw gently and never in the face. But sometimes you do get the unsupervised idiot who heaves an ice ball at your kids face. Usually an older kid who is a little overzealous. But I always look out for those kids and shuffle my kids to a new spot when one is around. My girls love to pelt me with the snow balls however.

And of course when Ryen is slipping or having a hard time making snow balls, or just getting a little shy or overwhelmed, her sissy is there to help her. :)

The only problem with the snow day at the zoo is that all that ice and snow on the ground makes the immediate VERY humid. And since a typical day in July is over 100 it doesn't take long before sweat is dripping down the back of your legs. But luckily we are already in bathing suits and right next door to the snow is a splash pad for cooling off and hosing off the mud that the melted snow gets on our shoes. :)

No East Coasters can say their kids get to play in snow in their bathing suits... ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Boston- The Lost Pics (saying goodbye to my siblings)

Ok so maybe these pics weren't lost per se. More like they were buried under a hundred and one things on my to do list. But I still want to put them on the blog to preserve the rest of our trip from last Summer on this blog for my girls. We spent our last couple days in Boston spending time with each of my siblings. I went to my brothers house for dinner to say goodbye to him, my sister in law Samara and my nephews Justin and Jake. (no camera with me so no pics) Then we went and spent a day swimming at my sister Lisa's house and said goodbye to her, my brother in law Dave, and my niece Isabella :) I definitely had my camera this day though.

Look how beautiful my niece is :) To think this was 7+ mos ago and she is so much bigger now.

The girls played well together as usual :)

Then we hit the water :)

Ella and Isabella were having fun in a double float. Ella was taking good care to make sure her baby cousin was safe in the water. (even though nervous Auntie Lisa was never more than a foot away- ha ha)

Next thing I know little Ryen grabs an empty float and just puts in on and leaps into the water! Awesome!!

She had a blast just motoring around the pool!

We had such a fun day and it was hard to say goodbye. To think Guiliana was still in Lisa's belly when I left... sigh. Can't wait to hold her for the first time. :)

The next day it was to the beach with my sister Lori and we took my niece Olivia and my nephew Justin. We had never been to this beach before and it was actually quite fun!

Yes that's more like it...

And there was this great dock the kids couldn't wait to jump off of.

My gorgeous bikini baby just strutted all around and "swam" on her belly

She loved the water but kept getting too close to the dock and going in over her head :) My little daredevil! So me and Auntie Lori had to keep reigning her in :)

Then the kids played and made some sand castles before it was time to leave for the day :)

What a great last day in Boston :)

The cool thing about waiting so long to blog these photos is the realization that if all goes well it will only be 4 mos or so before I am home with them again :) YAY! xo