A lot has happened over the weekend! Let me catch you up....
Much to my shock, we surpassed one hundred thousand facebook followers on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook page.
Even Hope can't believe it.
To "celebrate" - I'm going to post one hundred thousand photos of my children in this post. Just kidding - there are only thirty three. And three videos.
But more on that Facebook page thing later. Here's what went down in the Leong house this weekend.
A (pretend) fire broke out and Brian came to the rescue.
He was the fire chief and I was his "assistant fire person." This was serious business so please stop laughing over there. Yes, you. I can hear you from here.
Even Hope got in on the action...
Big news: Hope had her first swing ride in her big brother, Gavin's, swing!
If you remember, this is the swing that Brian would ask me to push while we were out there on the two other swings. He thought "angel Gavin" might want to swing with us. I'm sure he was right. And now our little angel, Hope, can enjoy it, too!
Here she is before dinner swinging again. But this time she lost her hat... and her pants. Hey - that's sometimes how it goes.
It was a gorgeous weekend for playing outside - and Brian did just that! He had SO much fun on his new Radio Flyer Ziggle that he got for his "half birthday!"
Hope continued to practice her crawling (she's getting there!). I decided to lay down this gorgeous blanket as motivation - and was so moved by her response. This blanket was made for me by a total stranger who reads this journal. She gave it to me on my first Mother's Day without him, just one month after he died. Brian has LOVED this blanket so much - and he had so much fun giving Hope her first tour of all the photos. "This was me and Gavin in matching pajamas. And this is me and Gavin in our fire hats. I put that on his head just like I put the hat on your head, Hopi! Oh and this is me kissing Gavin. And this is me as a baby with Gavin." Hope has been moving herself around from photo to photo, squealing and "talking" to each one. It's just... the best.
Last week, we conquered Yams! Hope got the expected little rash on her bum-bum that goes with the territory when we start solids (at least for us) - but it didn't seem to bother her as much as it bothered me (it's gone already). This week - BANANAS! Brian couldn't WAIT to go to the store to buy them. Then he couldn't wait to see if she liked them.
Did she? Take a look...
Then he couldn't wait to feed her.
Hope is really enjoying eating solids! I'm still breastfeeding 99% of the time. I am only feeding her once a day - and it's not even a substitute for a breastfeeding session. We're taking baby steps. But boy - she loves to eat. She instinctively opens her mouth wide and looks like a little (ravenous) baby bird - it's so cute. She also constantly wants to grab the spoon. This little one may be feeding herself before we know it!
Back to the hundred thousand + Facebook followers. I really mean it - it blows my mind. Before you think I'm fishing for compliments (I'm not - so please refrain from any!!), hear me out...
I had no real desire - or even a reason that I could think of - to start a Facebook page. I have been writing about my family since Gavin was a baby - January 26, 2008 was when it began on CaringBridge. Gavin was three days shy of being four months old. Not long after I started writing the CaringBridge posts (mainly to keep my family and friends updated on Gavin), I realized my writing was helping me. And it was forcing me to keep a journal of all of Gavin's accomplishments, struggles, milestones, illnesses, weights - all of it. It was also a place where I could post photo after photo after photo - because, let's face it, I'm a little obsessed with taking pictures.
To this day - I write for the same reasons. No other.
Along the way I suppose you could have put me in a category of "special needs bloggers" and that would have been fine. I wrote a lot about the different things we did for Gavin... therapies, alternative treatments, etc... and many people benefitted from learning from us. (And I benefitted greatly from learning from other people's blogs and experiences!) I developed what I guess you could call a "following" - I think people were really drawn to Gavin (and then Brian when he came along!) and loved following their progress together.
But then came that fateful day in April.
Suddenly I had reader after reader after reader - it was unbelievable and overwhelming. I wrote a whole post about how much of it made me uncomfortable called "The Myth of My Amazingness" which you can read HERE.
I guess you could say that I "used" this blog and the readership to do a lot of good for a lot of people. With your help, I was able to raise a lot of money (just by putting it out there for anyone who wanted to contribute!) the first year after Gavin died. But now, for the most part, I'm done... and back to posting about our little life. Little things might crop up here and there - but it won't be anything that I take on personally. A lot of people have asked if I'll set up a foundation to continue raising money in Gavin's memory. To that I say... no. For me - my "foundation" is my family and I want them to have all of my time. I think the best thing I can do in Gavin's memory is to do a good job parenting his siblings. That is enough for me to focus on.
Anyway - I'm rambling. What I'm trying to say (I think) is this. I randomly decided to create the Chasing Rainbows Facebook page on March 10th, 2013. That turned out to be exactly - to the day - one month before Gavin's emergency room incident which led to his death.
There are no coincidences. If I've learned anything in 44 years, it's that.
I am still the same Mom who writes about her children and first swing rides and birthday celebrations and school. I still write about heart crushing sadness when we all miss Gavin... or bad days with my arthritis... or when I throw boxes in the garage and curse the Heavens. I'm still the Mom who writes about alternative therapies and treatments in the hopes of helping someone else who likes to try new things with their child. I continue to post excessive amounts of photos (can you blame me? LOL!) I'm still the same Mom who doesn't have the cleanest house... eats a lot of Chinese food takeout with her husband for dinner... forgets to send birthday cards... writes run on sentences... and overuses exclamation marks. (Totally!!) Yet you still continue to come...
One month before he died.
I suppose he knew that we all needed each other.
So, in honor of all of that - here is an excessive amount of photos of our dear Hope. She was 29 weeks on Saturday! If you're wondering why I count weeks - no reason. It's been my "thing" since Gavin was a baby. I take pictures and celebrate each week until they are one... and each month until they are two! Why not!? It's fun. And it gives me an excuse to show off some of the pretty clothes hanging in her closet. Like this gorgeous dress from our friends, Gar Bo and Allison!
Thank you, as always, for caring about our little family. And thank you for remembering Gavin.