Our Trip to Arkansas

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Brielle with her Papa. Side note, Grandma is not dead, but her marker is ready and waiting for her. We’ve all found this to be a little odd and uncomfortable, Grandma especially so.

 

Our trip to Arkansas the weekend of January 9, was a very nice trip. It was a short trip, but David and I were so happy to spend that time with my family. Everyone was so kind to us. As a family we went to see Papa at the cemetery. David and I dressed Brielle up and we took her to see her Papa.

The last time I visited Papa I was telling him about his new great grand baby. Like I mentioned earlier, we would find out in a couple of weeks that she had anencephaly, but at that time I thought Brielle was healthy. I told him about my baby and the pregnancy so far. I told him how much I wish he were here to play with her and that I wish he could get to know my baby. I tried to stifle sobs as I wiped mud off his marker. It broke my heart to think of my baby never knowing my wonderful Papa. 

This visit was different. I wasn’t alone with him and we were all struggling with our own grief in that moment. I put Brielle down on the marker with him and David took a picture. His marker was clean from the recent rains and I found myself strangely happy and incredibly sad. It was very strange. Papa does know Brielle. They’re playing together and he’s probably spoiling her rotten. And it felt good to see them together, just like they are together now. I know without a doubt that he is making sure everything is just perfect for her.

What was sad about it all is that I just wanted to be with them. I didn’t want to imagine them in a moment, I wanted to be with them in a moment. As David and I walked back to the car I said, “I never thought I’d lose my daughter and my Papa within a year.” I felt defeated. And I accepted it. I’m without two of the people that loved me unconditionally. And I have to go on for the rest of my life with a little less love in my life. I can’t change that. But at least they have each other and they aren’t gone forever.

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Brielle is meeting her Papa!

Brielle’s Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

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Brielle is 34 weeks! Sunday we took Brielle to Guthrie Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze. It’s my favorite pumpkin farm because they have an amazing selection of pumpkins. Fall is one of my favorite seasons and I really wanted to share this time with Brielle. I’m very happy we’ve made it this far, that is definitely an answered prayer!

We met some friends from Chattanooga at the farm (I’ve left out images of them due to privacy). We hung out at the petting zoo. I told Brielle all about the sweet animals and we loved on just about all of them. I’d love to teach her how to ride horses and share that experience with her. At least we got to love on a sweet horse.

Then we went on a hayride out to the pumpkin patch. And then it was like an Easter egg hunt! I was on a mission to find unique colored pumpkins. The first pumpkin I found for Brielle was a blue grey pumpkin. That is her first pumpkin and it is small, just like sweet Brielle! I stomped around the patch looking for the perfect pumpkins for my little girl. David forbade me from bending over or lifting (I may have done it a couple of times and got some severe looks). So I’d find them and wait as he retrieved a few and then brought them back to the wagon. In addition to the blue grey pumpkin, I found a couple of peachy white pumpkins, a beautiful deep orange pumpkin, a bright yellow pumpkin, a bright green pumpkin, and a large light orange pumpkin. As we were getting back in the wagon I found a tiny cute striped gourd, so I grabbed that one (it was not heavy).

We bought some apple and pumpkin butter, I’m excited to try that with Brielle. I’ll need to try it with a pumpkin spice latte too and maybe a Halloween movie. Overall I think Brielle had fun! She stayed right on the edge of my tummy and did not burrow at all, which is what she does when she is happy. Sweet girl was able to have a fun fall experience!

I do want to add that I have a really great picture of David, but he doesn’t want me to share it. He doesn’t like me to post pictures of him.

Mexico Independence Day

Wednesday Dennis G. had a layover in Atlanta and came out to see me and Brielle. We had lunch at The Marietta Diner (very tasty!) and caught up on things going on back home in Texas. It was so great to see him. The last few times I’ve been in Texas I either haven’t seen him or I’ve only seen him for a couple of minutes, so it was very good to see him again. For those that don’t know, Dennis and Rene have been a part of my life for the past twenty years. I grew up with them and their boys and they feel more like family than family friends. Scott and I grew up playing in the New Mexico Rockies and beating each other up back home. Him and Robert were the brothers I never had and I love their family dearly. David is also extremely fond of Robert as well, Robert is a computer nerd just like David. David always says, “Oh, I like Robert, he’s a cool dude.” I guess that’s guy talk for he likes him?

Wednesday was also Mexico Independence Day. Again, for those that don’t know, I am a born and raised Texan and I took my fair share of Texas history. It grieves me that my children will not be Texans, really, it pains me. So, I’ve decided if they can’t be born Texan they can at least be raised Texan. Since Mexico’s independence from Spain is a big part of Texas’s own history I decided that I should educate David and Brielle about this day.

We went to Pappasito’s, which is about the only place in Atlanta with homemade tortillas, so of course we went there for dinner. Brielle loved her fajitas and onions! And she really liked the mariachi band too! She had a lot of fun and wiggled around quite a bit. When we came home, I read them the story of Father Hidalgo and we discussed Mexico’s independence from Spain. David was sad that Father Hidalgo’s life didn’t end well, he was surprised by that. Such is war and revolution. Overall, I think Brielle had a great day today! Even if it ended with the story of a man dying.

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Brielle’s Third Day in Savannah

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Monday, August 3. Well, the morning started out a bit rushed. David forgot to set his alarm. We agreed to meet downstairs and checkout at 10 AM and David woke us up at 9:30 AM. No rush.

We had breakfast at this good old country place. It had good southern country cooking, David’s favorite. Brielle found my bladder fascinating so naturally I felt like I had to tinkle every five seconds and that made it pretty difficult to walk. The joys of pregnancy. I ordered stuffed french toast with strawberries, Mom ordered a breakfast plate with bacon and eggs so that we could each split. Dad ordered a ton of food, as did David. By the time they had each made it about halfway through their meals they called it, “Challenge not accepted.” Which was probably best, because we had a lot of walking to do.

We went to St. John’s Cathedral next. I didn’t know how Mom and Dad would feel about cathedrals. Some people enjoy looking at old churches, other’s don’t. They liked it. Actually extremely impressed. I walked around a bit and then sat down up front and cradled Brielle. The organ was playing and it was beautiful inside the church. She loved it. Brielle moved more and was more alert than she had been the whole trip. She was peaceful and happy, if that makes sense. It made me so happy to feel her. I’ve never given much thought to cathedrals, but feeling her move, hearing the organ, and taking in the beauty of the cathedral was incredibly moving. And I found myself again saying, “Lord, please save my baby.” I flipped through their church books. As I opened the hymnal it opened to “Lovely Infant” and I couldn’t think of a better or more encouraging hymn to open up to. David came and sat down with me and we loved on Brielle and spoke softly to her. We love her so much. Mom came and sat down with us and Dad took action shots with his camera.

We left just as they were beginning another service. It had just started raining as we were leaving. An older man stopped Mom & Dad to do this cute thing where he makes flowers out of palm fronds. He “marries” you or renews your vows and you pay a small price for the flowers. David and I did that our first trip to Savannah. So we didn’t feel it was right to do it again. Maybe we should have? I’m now regretting not watching Mom and Dad get their flowers. I don’t think I could have handled any more emotion though. I was raw, so raw from the church and the thought of losing my sweet Brielle. Mom and Dad bought David and I a flower as well, so that was nice.

We headed to the Juliette Gordon Lowe house. That was a really interesting tour. I don’t think Brielle got much out of it, but the rest of us did. I didn’t expect much because I’ve never paid attention to the Girl Scouts. But this definitely piqued my interest. At the end, the tour guide told me I’d have to have Brielle become a little Girl Scout. I didn’t tell her Brielle had anencephaly. It’s a nice thought though. It’s nice to think of Brielle growing up.

We then went to the Harper Fowlkes House. That was a strange tour. The woman who had owned the house was quite a feminist and had a very interesting story, but she had donated it to the Society of Cincinnati. Which is a society only for men, who were officers in the Revolutionary War. I told Dad it was her way of rubbing this in their faces, they had to honor a woman’s history and legacy because she left them a huge historical home. If I’m right, that woman is smart. I like her. I don’t think it was as nice of a house as the Juliette Gordon Lowe, but it was still interesting.

I had to hang out back and sit for a while because my feet were just too swollen. I think that bothered the tour guide, but whatever. We then went to the car and headed to Blick’s Art Store. Dad and I were the most excited about this. I restocked on some Micron pens, looked around, bought a sketchbook, and a new eraser since my old one had gone bad. Dad and I had a lot of fun. And they had giant canvases. Dad asked if he could have a drawing table for his office now that Tessa had taken her old desk. Mom said yes, and now Dad’s in heaven.

We had lunch at this great place. It was some sort of cafe near SCAD and Blick’s. I was having really bad pains, I think Brielle was letting me know she’d had enough. So once we ate, we got in the car and headed back to Atlanta. I tried to find some houses that I love that are just outside of the squares, but I couldn’t find them. I was so disappointed.

The girls (our dog children) went crazy when they saw Mom and Dad. I haven’t seen Emmy that excited in years. She was SO happy to see her Grandma and Papa again. We talked for a bit, I had some popcorn, which Brielle and the girls enjoyed. Dad and Mom found it hilarious how fixated Emmy and Rosie were on the popcorn and how they would take turns getting their piece. It didn’t take long before we all went to bed. I snuggled Brielle, the girls, and David (family snuggles). And we went to bed.

Brielle’s Second Day in Savannah

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Sunday, August 2, was a very wet and rainy day!

When we met Mom downstairs, she said Dad had run off to the concierge lounge. When he came back he had pineapple for Brielle. He said, “I heard my grandbaby loves pineapple.” It meant so much to me that he went and got her favorite for her. I love my Daddy.

We started out the day by having breakfast at 700 Drayton Restaurant. Which was good, great fruit which Brielle loved! I had a quiche and a bowl of fruit, seriously amazing bowl of fruit. Brielle tolerated the quiche and then did a happy dance for the fruit.

We then waited for a while for the trolley tour, which we chose to do first while the rain was the worst. And so did everyone else. The trolley tour was really cool and Brielle loved it! She was moving about like crazy during it, I guess she found Savannah history fascinating? I took a couple of pictures of my favorite houses that we passed. We passed a tavern for pirates, the one that inspired the tavern in Treasure Island. A Ford Model T store. A regency era square, which I really liked since that is my favorite era and more interesting places.

We had lunch at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. It was really tasty! Brielle was very happy. I had a pita of some kind, that had lots of stuff Brielle liked on it. It was good for us to rest after walking around after the trolley tour. We then went back to the hotel and changed for our trip to Tybee.

Thankfully we got to Tybee as the storm from Tybee moved to Savannah, so we had a nice window of good weather. I was so excited to share this moment with Brielle. I am part fish, and love the water, so this was important to me for that reason. David just loves the beach, the ocean, the atmosphere, etc. so he was excited to share ocean air and seafood with Brielle.

I enjoyed coasting with the waves, and letting them take Brielle and I closer into shore. I had a really hard time feeling Brielle while we were in the ocean. I know that she didn’t dislike the ocean and “swimming,” because she never did her angry kicks or the, “I don’t like this” kicks. We think it probably felt similar to being in the womb anyways, but she may have very well been enjoying it. She’s still small and I don’t feel every little thing she does. Either way, we had fun. I spoke to Brielle quite a bit, as did David. We told her how much we love her, what the ocean was like, I told her about waves, and let her feel us float. I sang to her the lullaby I sing to her everyday. We rubbed on her and I found it hilarious that the baby fish found my ankles fascinating. So I told Brielle about the fishies. There were also quite a few jumping fish, so we shared that with her as well.

David and I got out and talked to Dad for a while, Mom went to put on her suit so that she could come swim with Brielle and I. Dad and David stayed on the beach and Mom and I went back in. The waves were starting to get rougher so we didn’t get to stay out as long. But Mom and I talked to Brielle some more, talked about what we wanted to do for the rest of the day and the next day. I told her there was no rush to get back to Atlanta, just we wanted to get back after or before evening traffic. So we decided to stay longer and spend some more time in Savannah. That was fine with me, Savannah is one of my favorite places and I wanted to show Brielle as much as possible.

We went back to the beach and I told Mom that we needed to write Brielle’s name in the sand. As I was telling her this, David said he has already done it. Sure enough he had written Brielle in the sand, and strangely an arrow pointing to the right. He didn’t know why he drew the arrow, he just said he was doodling. Okie dokie. Dad had already taken pictures of it too! So that was nice, especially since the storm was coming in. The wind was picking up and it was beginning to mist. None of us were hungry yet, so we drove around Tybee and looked at the beach houses. Mom and I really enjoy that. I think Brielle enjoyed the stillness and quiet. We managed to find our way to the lighthouse, so we got out and walked around it a bit. There was also a fort nearby. It said it was a hurricane safe zone, but it really didn’t look safe, or friendly.

We went to a seafood place that David found on TripAdvisor. That place had a ton of rules for the customers and the manager/owner was really awful to her employees. But the food was pretty good. Kind of a strange place. David and I ordered fresh calamari for Brielle, she liked it! It was really soft and not chewy at all. Since Brielle is very picky when it comes to fish, I ordered a filet and lobster. Two of her favorites. She was very hungry, so was a happy camper once I fed her. She may or may not have inherited the Wolford hangry gene (extreme anger and tantrums when hungry).

We went to Leopold’s (ice cream) later that evening. The line was out the door, it was so hard to choose what to get. I knew Brielle probably wouldn’t go for ice cream, but dangit, I wanted some. I ordered a hot fudge sundae for myself and a baby cup of birthday cake ice cream for Brielle. Seriously did not anticipate how big the hot fudge sundae was. Dad had a chocolate malt, Mom had an ice cream cone, and David ordered a banana split. He should have known he was in trouble when he was asked how many spoons he needed. That thing was a monstrosity of deliciousness. David said, “Challenge accepted.” He was regretting that later. Leopold’s was a really interesting place, the family history was interesting, and the ice cream was really great too. Brielle was quiet throughout the whole Leopold’s adventure. I think she was worn out and sleeping, it had been a big day for a little girl!

Brielle perked up once we got back to the hotel. I talked to her quite a bit and she was so happy and started reacting to what I was saying. I love it when she listens. Sometimes I feel crazy because it isn’t normal to connect with your baby that much and I think people must think I’m making this stuff up. But I’m not. She’s a very attentive baby. I’ll just take it as a blessing since I won’t have years to get to know her. She had so much fun listening to me talk to her. I sang to her some too and David came over and talked to her too. She just kept wiggling around.

When I got into bed she was still all over the place and having a blast, but it was time for bed. So I sang her, “I’ll Love You Forever,” wrapped my arms around my belly, and told her it was time to go to bed. After a few minutes she started to calm down. David prayed over her and us. And I said my usual daily prayer, “Lord, please save my baby.”