Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rockstars and such.

It has recently been brought to my attention that, two years ago, on this very blog, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I wrote the following in my post:

"I took all the twenties and kissed them good-bye tonight...tucked them away in boxes with all their sweet memories and sorrows...

...and once the twenties were safely stored and a proper farewell was said, I brought out the new box. I can't see in it yet, but I can tell just by the outside that there is beauty inside. Sorrow too...yes, I'm sure. But there is in every box, and this one seems to come with more coping skills. More growth. More experiences. More challenges. More love.
I can't wait."


Little did I know...behind the flaps of that mysterious box was, indeed, love.



Quite prophetic, really.

I'm almost ready to cut my hospital bracelet off...almost. It's just that it's the last physical link to this entire experience and I still think about it like crazy...the shock still, I guess, and I'm wanting this thought process to die down because it is consuming.

The Power of the Mind.
It's amazing what control we really do have over our thoughts and what tactics we use to control it. Like, seriously, envisioning myself as a rockstar really makes me think I am one. And I tell myself every day I am going to rock this day out. Even when I want to cry and stay in bed. It becomes such a challenge to myself to see exactly what I am capable of and usually, the more down & out I feel, the more I rock it out. And that doesn't just pertain to this whole D.S. thing. It's all the crap in life...just rock it out.

My sister says picture a person who models what you're going through exactly how you'd want a role model to show it. Then become that person.

And that, I try to do.

With all that said, this blog has been the most necessary form of therapy for me and while I have had questionable views on various forms of socialization in the Internet before, I shan't any longer. I may not update my Facebook status every two hours with what I'm eating or where I'm going, but I will give credit where credit is due...and that is the pure good in human kind and the soul balm you all have been in your comments and e-mails...even phone calls from 'strangers'. I have come to 'know' so many of you and have been slowly healed by the photos and stories you have sent.

Do I read all the comments? You betcha. Every one of them. Often in the middle of the night from my phone while I am nursing the wee babe, but I have read them. And they are so incredibly touching. There's just so many good people who really do care about others who are hurting. And so many good mamas and daddies out there who are all striving for the same thing. Who love their babies and want to suck every bit of popsicle juice out of this Lifecicle.

And who knows...the Facebook updates may come...

Kelle Hampton is going to the bathroom. Kelle Hampton is nursing her baby. Kelle Hampton is laughing because updating in third person is really funny.

I actually forgot, for a minute, what I used to write about on here because I've been using this as total therapy lately. I'm beginning to bore myself. We'll get back to funny, random, beautiful moments eventually. And, for God's sake, I'll turn the sappy music to something more fun soon, but there's so many clicks still being made to the birth story post and Play that Funky Music, White Boy doesn't really jive with that kind of seriousness.

Needless to say, I'm craving that propeling force of Moving-on.

And let me make a tangent here for a moment to clarify the Holland thing. To all the beautiful Dutch readers, I would LOVE to visit Holland someday and my slander of wooden shoes was only referencing one of my crazy analogies brought on by this poem, a poem I actually think is beautiful...just a bit skewed as it likens having a special needs child to traveling to Holland as opposed to Italy. The only thing I have a problem with is the ending...that special needs' parents will always grieve never getting to Italy...to which I say...GO THERE! No one said it was an imprisonment to one particular place. Perhaps it may take a little more effort to get there, but never say never.

In other news...

Our puzzle has been complete these past couple days because our much-loved Daddy is here, filling all the empties we've had while he's been away.



And we've been talking a lot lately about how our family is fueled by togetherness, and I've needed that so much more lately...because nothing is more important than family. And, I guess the absence of that feeling has fueled it even more and caused us to dig deeper into what life is really about and what goals we will make efforts to strive toward. With us, it always leads to each other. To our kids. And to the little moments we make with them...moments that carve deeper impressions than money ever can.





I love our daddy.

This weekend was again somewhat chilly for Southwest Florida standards, so we cozied up inside enjoying cozy things like homemade lemon poppyseed scones (okay, I lied. They weren't homemade. They were these from Cost Plus, but, with a smattering of butter, they were amazing), and long afternoon naps.



Nella is getting amazing with her neck muscles...something that's apparently delayed with D.S. A little tummy time and the girl becomes a freaking rocking horse, froggy legs all hoisted behind her and that precious little head just a stretchin'. That's because she's a rockstar, you know.



And Miss Lainey. Her head cold gives her the cutest stuffy voice, but it comes at the expense of a very runny nose which, if you're not watching, gets wiped on couch arms, dish towels and, um...Nella's clothes. But she's still a rockstar too.





And she hasn't left Brett's side since he's been home.




And, perhaps this is the world's most boring post...because I'm beating a dead horse here...but I had a bit more emotional blah-blah I had to spew before I get over the hump to more thought-out posts.

I did promise a few F.A.Q.'s. though.

A: Where do you get the knits?



My mom has made a lot of them and then people found out I'm in love with homemade baby knits, so they've bought them for me for gifts. But I have, over the course of taking newborn photos and obsessively scouring Etsy shops while pregnant, stocked up.

Some favorite Etsy shops:

Huggabeans
The Bee's Nest
Wanderlust Creations

B. Lainey's Clothes

I get a lot from the coolest consignment shop here in Naples, Once Upon a Child, which is totally stocked with fantastic finds.
And then Baby Gap, Children's Place, Costco (yes, Costco) and wherever else we might happen to find something on sale.

C. What does Brett do?

He sells software.

D. How do you find time to do everything?

I don't. I can only juggle so many balls and, while I choose to keep one up, another falls. And when I pick that one up, another falls. And so on. However, I always make time for babies. For snuggling them, loving them, holding them...even if it's while I'm doing something else.

Which brings me to bed time. The girls are jammied and ready and all the balls get dropped at this time of night while I cherish my favorite task of all. Inhaling their goodness...their littleness...and the opportunity of moments I can never get back years to come.

My littles await.





Tell Facebook Kelle Hampton is loving her girls.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Passport to Italy

I would have posted sooner, but I've been running in wooden shoes the last couple days. Cannot get out of Holland, and my in-a-funk posts are just not cool. I'll spare you. Needless to say, this here totally blows. Like painful blisters.


But, as I told Heidi in my ten-minute tyrade on the phone this morning, there is no law that says I can't get out of Holland and if the planes out are halted and I want to go to Italy, I'll take these damn wooden shoes, smash them into splinters and use the wood to build a dingy on which I will paddle through the English Channel, so help me God, with Nella and Lainey strapped to my back until I land in Italy. And I will eat gelato and take pictures of the Roman Cathedrals and, by Golly, I will write the map of Italian tourism if I so choose.

End of tyrade. (standing ovation anyone?)


Well, hello there little tourist.

'Tis with this passion I paddled out of Holland this morning and albeit a crazy day already (try shaving a leg with one hand while shaking a bouncy seat with the other...bloody cut-up ankles to say the least), I'm beginning to smell spaghetti and what's that I hear? ...ah, Pavarotti. Ain't no one gunna tell me I'm banished to Holland. Nuh-uh.

And I asked myself what exactly would push me out of Dutch-town?

So, I began to make this little mental list of all the spontaneous things I've done over the years that make me happy...even if they are menial tasks like sipping a cup of hot tea in a real teacup or painting my nails a super sexy red.



And I, in a moment of bad decision making, chose the latter first. Needless to say, two seconds after spanning all ten fingers out in a moment of "damn, they look good" admiration for my manicure, I realized I'm a mom of two kids and Lainey's begging me to peel the foil off her yogurt cup and Nella's crying for her swaddle to be tightened and, well...three smudges and two polish remover-soaked cotton swabs later, my hands are...redless.

Minor setback. In fact my manicure failure only fueled my fire. I became the crazed tourist, madly making my way to Italy. Don't get me wrong...I'm content with Holland, really. Windmills save energy and all, but, Dude, don't tell me I can't go to Italy. 'Cuz now you ticked me off and I'm just gunna prove you wrong.

So, I went mad today. I took a bath with both my girls.




The Return of the Pouty Lip



I cleaned the house, I rearranged. I took a half hour to sit on the couch and look at our wedding album until I was crying happy tears and remembering just how awesome that day was (I've decided heaven is just going to be one big rewind of our wedding day...except our babies are with us too). I dug through my closet and found my favorite tweed linen pants I bought before I was pregnant and...voila, they fit. I curled my hair, curled my lashes, and then curled my lips into a big fat pout and told my mirror self convincingly that I was fabulous and bound for Italy. I took pictures and journaled and caught up on some editing. I read books to Lainey and sang songs to Nella. I listened to Ingrid Michaelson and pretended I was on stage with her...and I sang really loud...to outdo her, you know. I changed the sheets and sprayed forget-me-not linen spray to remind Brett when he comes home from Atlanta tonight that I indeed forgot him not. I texted him that he, just by being he, makes me so entirely happy. I read Lainey the story of when she was born...and made it through without crying. I did a cartwheel in the front lawn just to say I did and then watched Lainey as she attempted to copy me with the cutest up-legged crooked tumble.

...and somewhere between slipping on my linen pants and watching my little gymnast do a tumble, I heard the pilot...

...Welcome to Italy.

Booyah.

And now that I know I beat the odds and went to Italy and can go there anytime I please, I'm fine to settle back into the comforts of Holland.

And, for the record, look what shoes I'm wearing today...



See what those soles are made of? That's right. Wood, my friends. If I'm wearin' wood shoes, I'm gunna style 'em up and do it my way.

...and a few pics...





Reading Books to Little Sister in the Morning...



Playing Hide-and-go-Seek with friends...





Happy Friday.

P.S. I will answer some F.A.Q.'s in next post re: baby knits and such.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Setback.

Today was one of those days.
Where wacked-out hormones blend with exhaustion, the tail-end of sickness and an incredibly emotional month to brew this lovely shade of gray.

I knew these setbacks would come. And I cried. And slept. And struggled to be patient and hide my pain from my little blonde free-spirit who wanted to read books and water flowers.



I dreaded Nella's afternoon doctor appointment today because I thought the onslaught of info would begin...the hardships, the differences, the therapy, the scary things I didn't want to hear.



I cried on the phone with my sister on the way there. And then Lainey fell asleep in the car and I forgot the stroller and I couldn't bear waking up her tired little soul for her little sister's appointment. So, I schlepped her sleeping body over my shoulder, twisting uncomfortably to keep her head from falling and balancing a diaper bag and carseat with 7 pounds and 4 ounces of baby in the other arm. And then I walked through a parking lot, breathing heavy and chanting to the rhythm of my jeweled sandals hitting the pavement...I'm a rockstar. I'm a rockstar. I'm a rockstar.

In the midst of my pain and sadness in life, my sarcasm often brews. I usually don't mean what I say, but I say it because it feels good and the wit it takes to concoct something halfway funny and caustic distracts the part of my brain that feels pain. And because I'm sad, I usually don't feel guilty for biting satire.

Which is why I didn't feel bad when I said "F#@! Holland" today or "I hate wooden shoes."

My sister always says exactly the right thing when I call her crying. She knows when to cry with me and she knows when I need to stop. Today, my Obi Won had good things to say.

"The very first line in The Road Less Traveled," she told me, "says...

...Life is Difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

Oh, the truth.

And, though I may have cursed wooden shoes and Holland, I came to the realization that, in any parenting situation, there are a thousand Holland situations. And a thousand Italys too. (Warning: Going into far-fetched Analogy Zone. Hang on.) And there's air traffic control monitoring this constant stream of flights, for any given child, that take off and land in both the beautiful expected and the unknown lands where we must search for beauty. Perfectly "normal" children with 46 chromosomes take their parents to Holland. When girls grow up and tell their moms they aren't having children, thus crushing grandchild dreams. When boys choose art over football and disappoint their fathers. When children move away and don't come home for Christmas. When girls become teenagers and slam doors and call their mothers b-words.

And who says Nella will never take me to Italy? I feel like she already has...when she's breathing heavy on my chest at night and the weight of her tightly-jammied body sinks right into my soul and I smile thinking, "this is just like Lainey." When she takes her first steps someday. When she says 'mama' or 'I love you' or reads her first book out loud.

It's just a mess of flights and destinations for every child...some good, some bad...but that's parenthood. Period.

Our doctor appointment ended up going beautifully. Not daunting or scary at all. I smiled and told Dr. Foley it didn't seem any different than Lainey's one month appointment. Sure, we talked about steps ahead, but they don't scare me. And we are fortunate to have a pediatrician who delivers all this information happily...like a mom...like someone who cares but knows that deep down inside, we just want to love her and enjoy her. It felt like Italy.




Thank you, Laura Weber for our new hat! We love our hats!

Setbacks come and go, and we move on. Because Life is difficult...but I'm accepting that and already...it doesn't seem so bad.

On days like these, I get excited to go to sleep at night...to snuggle between the girls, feel the weight of newborn on my chest and know that tomorrow is a perfectly blank slate. We can walk to the lake, have a tea party in the yard, paint and color and bake. Tomorrow, it will be Italy.


(Thank you to the person who so kindly sent this beautiful hat we received today for our bunny. Wish we knew who it was from!)







And, for the record, I still hate wooden shoes.
...but I love tulips.




...and her birth announcement:









~k

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Enjoying the Small Things

I have laryngitis. Really bad. To the point where I open my mouth to speak and, despite all my laborious efforts to will some sound--any sound--to disperse, nothing comes out but for a weak, breathy whisper.

And I love to talk...I savor my words. So, it has been quite an experience these past couple days to sit quietly, saving the very few bursts of audible screeches I still have energy to emit for only the most important of communication opportunities...like ordering a beer. Or, okay... saying I love you to the babies. But a good experience because, when you cannot, for obvious reasons, spend energy on outputting, you instead enjoy the ride of input. Taking in the sounds around me and expressing myself through other senses--and a few breathy whispers--rather than the occasionally obnoxious loud-ish-ness my character renders itself to.

And the challenge has presented itself beautifully with managing a two-year-old as I am finding it alternately rewarding at the presentation of fits and such to just go hold her...pick her up and squish her close...distract her with hugs and tickles and purposeful silence as opposed to the verbal onslaught that so often follows. So, the lack of voice has been a bit of a blessing, I suppose...and that's not just some far-fetched attempt to make lemonade of vocacally-challenged lemons. Promise.

So with all that said (but not really because I have no voice to say)...
a good, old-fashioned, it's-about-time "Enjoying the Small Things" post. For new readers, it is a post dedicated to the spontaneous proclamation of love for random happies, based on my fifteen-year-old tattered copy of this book:



Enjoying...

* The Welcome Home worthy of a perfect, Olympic 10. I saw the imaginary score cards. I heard the clapping. In fact, it wasn't so imaginary as the poster we made and the little cutie holding it gathered a small crowd of onlookers who I think assumed the daddy was a returning soldier. I'm sure they were disappointed when they saw a suit rather than the camo they were expecting.

We, however, were not disappointed but tearfully enthused rather at the reminder that we love this man very much and his presence in our family is essential ( :o) for our functioning.





Their bond is, in a word...magic, and I am beginning to wonder if perhaps this girl has a bit of extra chromosome too...one with all sorts of magnetic daddy genes.





I breathe a bit differently when he's here...relief for the little missing piece in my puzzle that has been found.







And I know it's a bit cliche to write *big sigh* in a blog post, but... *big sigh.*


Enjoying...

* Our Neighborhood Lemonade Stand this weekend. The one Heidi and I stayed up until one in the morning to prepare for. The one we thought our kids would never forget. The one we tied a hundred gingham ribbons to homemade scones and brownies and cookies for...to reap...less than desirable expectations. Because our community garage sale turned out to be a surprising bomb this year. And our kids wandered away from the few customers they had just to dig through garage sale crap that used to be theirs and cry because they didn't want it sold. And the ice melted and bees got trapped in the lemonade (thanks to the customer that pointed that out) and we gave away more than we sold.











We may not have raised a ton of money for Haiti (okay $60, but I think my dad gave $30 of it), but we did find a lot of really old food encrusted in a high chair we embarassingly sold to some lady.

And despite the fact that we were more prepared for the lemonade stand and less prepared for the garage sale, thus probably the neighborhood joke as we, last-minute, dragged a bunch of meaningless junk out to the driveway and slapped price stickers on it as people were arriving, we did use the garage sale as a great opportunity to sit in the driveway with friends, sip coffee, kiss babies, and laugh while we, um...ignored customers.



Enjoying...

* Watching the daddy love his babies. When I was introduced to Brett for the first time six or so years ago, the first thing I saw was how he loved his boys. And I knew it then. I was smitten.





The man is simply the most amazing father ever. Enough said.

Enjoying...

* Our perfectly wonderful Sunday morning.

Arriving early to the beach and meandering along shell paths, chasing sandpipers and seagulls, tracing shadows, collecting shells, and digging our toes into cold sand on the first warm and sunny morning in quite some time. And completing our Sunday beach stroll with coffee and donuts at DD with Papa and Gary.

(all collage pics taken with phone!)




(and Lainey would have been in this photo had she not been completely distraught over sandy pantlegs)

And finally, Enjoying...

* The Return of Isle of Capri.

It was almost surreal arriving there today. A bit strange and healing all at once. How many times I've walked this beach all big-bellied, collecting shells for the baby, dreaming of my girls on this shore. And there we sat today, Nella burrowed under thin blankets and Lainey, all grins and bikinied ruffles piling pails of sand into castle heaps. I panicked for a moment, thinking I'd have to think of something to say as our friends at the Fish House came to adore our new one. And came they did, but then I remembered I have laryngitis. Screw it...I couldn't tell them if I wanted to. So I smiled...and took in the congratulations.

And, oh...my firstborn. With no voice to distract me, I just took her in today...every bit of her happiness. I love everything about this little soul. Her independence and free spirit that is perfectly balanced with this need for love and security.







She loves her "Eye-oh-Cup-pea." And I love my first-born. Very much.





Definitely, our beachy Sunday was a happy one indeed.





And finally, Enjoying...

* Her smiles. They are many and they are magic.





~k