Monday, December 23, 2013

Hope and Love are All Around Us...

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year.

Our family Christmas party.

I am the youngest of five children... and among us, there are 21 grandchildren (including Darcy) and two "grandchildren-in-law."  We are all very close and seeing our children love each other is the best feeling in the world.  My oldest brother, Tom (Gavin and Hope's Godfather!) and his wife Jen hosted all of us for the afternoon and dinner.  But before the party, we had a special visitor at our house!  My sister, Meg, and her family wanted a private visit so they could meet Hope before the chaos of the party.  It meant so much to me to have them here - and that they went out of their way to make this special visit.  Hope - wearing her very first "outfit" for the party - loved her Aunt Meg instantly.
And Uncle Greg, who is a total mush for babies, got choked up when Hope opened her eyes and looked right at him.  "I know what you're thinking," he said.  "You've been waiting to meet your Uncle Greg your WHOLE life."

After he got his baby fix, he spent a lot of time playing with Brian - who was thrilled to tell him how to play his made up Star Wars/Pirate/Angry Birds game.
The real trip for me was watching my oldest niece, Emily - here with her husband, Josh - hold Hope.  I actually see a resemblance between Emily as an infant and Hope.  I'll have to dig up the photo.
Right before we left for the party, Hope had a wardrobe malfunction (She peed all over it which is quite a common occurrence!  This NEVER happened with my TWO BOYS!!  Go figure!)  Everyone was anxious to meet and hold Hope.  My niece, Julia, was one!
There were shades of sadness at the party - the same shade that follows me regardless of the day or occasion - as there were two people that were missed very much.  My Dad and Gavin.  This is our second Christmas without my Dad - and our first without Gavin.  But we were also plus one an angel with the addition of Hope.  It's tough to balance the emotions sometimes!

Here is Granny with all of her grandchildren...
Tom and Jen with Meghan, Julia, Tommy, Aidan, Jack and Isabella
Meg and Greg with Emily and Josh, Dan and Miranda, Hannah and David
Mike and Lisa with Jack, Lindsay, Mark and Sean
Bean and Jim with Shannon, Brendan and Claire
Our new normal...
It was such a lovely day.  And I was exhausted by the time we got home.  I'm not sure I can be responsible for anything I said in any conversation - I feel like I was incoherent much of the day.  I'm pretty tired.  I just had a baby - did you hear?  Brian had a BLAST with his cousins and has been talking about it non-stop ever since.

The next morning, Brian wanted to immediately play with the toys he received from Granny, his cousin pollyanna and his Aunts and Uncles.  We all sat on the kitchen floor with our breakfast - even Hope in her bouncy seat - and played "Don't Wake Daddy" - a gift from Uncle Mike and Aunt Lisa.  It was really fun!  Yeah, I really don't know why we sat on the floor and not at the kitchen table.  I just had a baby - did I mention that?  I'm a little out of it.  In my defense, a kitchen floor picnic was kind of fun.
We spent the rest of the day playing with every single gift - a preview of Christmas day - and recovering from the party.

The next couple days are going to be challenging for our little family.  First Christmas without Gavin.  First Christmas with Hope.  Granny will be here with us for a couple days, which will absolutely THRILL Brian.  We've all made a pact to focus our energies on Brian and not let ourselves sink into despair over what we've lost.  It's undeniable that we've gained so much as a family - despite our huge losses - and we are determined to keep that in the forefront this Christmas.
Hope and Love are all around us.

*** Exciting news!!  Hope graduated from "weight checks" at the pediatrician this morning!!  This past Friday, she weighed 6lbs, 2oz.  Today (Monday) she weighed 6lbs, 12oz!  Our hard work has paid off.  Brian and I celebrated with a doughnut after her appointment. ***


  1. Love your posts, and love the photos. Beautiful!!

  2. Just wonderful. I can only imagine the emotional rollercoaster the holidays sets off. Love to you all and just let it all happen, this crazy ride called life. You have a gorgeous family and extended family

  3. I love your posts. You have to be one of the most kind and positive people out there in the world. Your babies are blessed to have you and so is your family. Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that tomorrow and Wednesday are gentle on your heart.

  4. Merry Christmas Kate. Best wishes for a wonderful 2014. I hope you can catch up on some sleep. It is a wonderful thing when the babies switch to feeding every 4 hours. Fingers crossed that Hope is ready for that soon.

  5. I come from "big" (sort of) families on both sides -- my mom is the baby of 5 (her middle sister died at age 4) and my dad is the middle of 5. My maternal grandparents had 11 grandchildren (most of whom are 5-14 years OLDER than my brother and me) and my paternal grandparents had 12 grandchildren (my brother and I are right in the middle of the group age-wise). I can't tell you what a blessing it is to have a huge group of cousins, whether with a huge age difference or not. I know many of my "second cousins" because my cousins were having children when I was in high school and college. And my other cousins and I are all having children around the same time. What joy! :)

  6. Sometimes I see Brian in Hope, and sometimes I see Gavin. She is so very lovely...precious to you all this Christmas.

  7. The love Brian has for Hope makes me weepy!

  8. Happy Christmas to all your family, including your angels.

  9. HOPE is just SO BEAUTIFUL! Daddy seems to happy to have a little girl too and Brian looks like he adores his baby sister! Merry Christmas!
    "Beacause someone we LOVE is in Heaven; there's a little bit of Heaven in our House."

  10. Loved seeing the photos of all of your siblings. It's obvious you're surrounded by love!

  11. Great job mama with all the feedings to get Hope's weight up so she doesn't need anymore weight checks! Merry Christmas!


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