Saturday, December 2, 2017

Life Goes On

 I have to admit that Christie's passing still seems surreal, I'm not sure I will ever get used to it.  But  we found ourselves back in the throes of reality before we knew it.

Lil' Ballerina

Lily started dance after Labor Day and Thursday has become one of my favorite days of the week! I love seeing her in her dance clothes and she loves it SO much!

It even worked out one week that we were able to grab an early dinner at one of our favorite places - just the two of us!

So Long Summer

The warm weather has stuck around so it seemed like summer was here to stay. You won't hear me complaining about it though. Lily has been very particular about her clothes for at least a year now.  Her taste consists of dresses, dresses that "go out" when she spins. They can have only girly colors, no black or blue (I'm not sure how I got that black leotard on her in the picture above). So basically, the tackier, the better. And she absolutely does NOT like to wear pants or long sleeves - those are for boys. I have been forced to fight this battle over the last few weeks but I am thankful for extended nice weather!

Just the other day Lily tried to convince me to fill her little pool because summer had come back. It didn't take long for her to realize it wasn't quite that warm ;)

Krazy Kids

We have gone through a few transitions over the last few months. Lily started asking to do things and "take Cora to Grammie's". So we had our dinner date as well as a movie date and I worked on making Cora's nap time a time to do big girl activities and after a few weeks things were back to normal. Cora on the other hand, she is such a stinker. She gets so upset - she throws things, including herself on the ground. Sometimes I can't help but laugh but I try to ignore it and it's only escalated to her to being put in her crib (as the pediatrician suggested) one time. She loves Lily but she doesn't like her to touch her. I think this probably came from Lily carrying her around when she was younger which didn't look very comfortable. So basically, they are siblings; they love each other most of the time with a few sticky moments in between.

"Mommy, where's your phone? I need to take a picture of Cora. She is so cute!"- Lily
Later I looked through my phone and realized this is what she was doing! Ahhh! 


Parenthood has changed me in many ways, one of them being my feelings about Halloween. Now that I can dress my children up in adorable costumes, it has become one of my favorite holidays! And as always Grammie came through in the costume department. Lily initially said she wanted to be a butterfly (BORING!) but after talking a bit she decided coordinating her costume with Cora's would be fun. She decided on Little Bo Peep. She was so excited about it when people would ask what she was going to be she would say "Little Bo Peep", then jump up and down yelling, "and Cora is going to be my lost sheep!". And were they ever cute! Surely, we won't be able to top this next year!

See! Lily touching Cora = Cora screaming

Cora is probably whining and pushing here.

The last few years we have gone trick-or-treating with our friends and this year, without knowing it, our costumes kind of went together. If Little Bo Peep's lost sheep was lagging behind then she turned into a pilgrim with her native american friend!

Lily Turns 4!

My baby isn't a baby anymore. We've been saying it for a while, but now it's official. I set my alarm the morning of her birthday so I could inflate balloons to fill her room but I set it for the wrong day so I wasn't able to get them finished before she woke up. (I always thought I would be the type of mom that woke up early, before my kids but I am NOT. Cora will sleep 12-15 hours and Lily usually isn't an early riser and if they sleep, I sleep!) So while she was in the potty I filled the living room.

She celebrated with Grandma Christie

We had birthday breakfast!

 Grammie came over for our annual Thanksgiving pie making marathon. Lily loves to bake and pies are one of her favorites!

We finished the day with a big celebration with all of the Stier cousins at Camp Christie!

Lily got a Hatchimal. We knew nothing about them but all of the kids went crazy over that thing!


Another successful Thanksgiving with the Stier's! There was an obvious and major void in our day but we managed to make it through relatively emotionally unscathed due to the chaos that ensues when we are all together. Papa Jon came through again this year with a magic show and face painting. I wish I had more pictures to share but nobody had time for that!

We did another balloon release for Grandma Christie just before dinner. We talk about her all the time and I am realizing everyday how important that will be in keeping her memory alive for our small children. She will always be a part of everything we do!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Continuing a Legacy

On October 16th our lives changed. After a week in the hospital with pneumonia, Christie took a turn for the worst and the doctors delivered the horrible news -- this was it, her body was failing and her days were numbered. For those of you that don't know the whole story; yes she was sick, yes it was a terminal disease but no one saw this coming. Many people live with ALS for years. And while she diagnosed 8 months ago, doctors guesses she had been battling for years. But still, the end was not in sight. Jenny had come to visit the week before, they traveled to Greenville to witness the birth of Shelly's baby.

Christie was not a sit-still type of person. She was always on the run. Literally, running everywhere she went. ALS is not an easy pill for anyone to swallow but for such a vibrate, lively person -- it was almost too much to imagine. From the get-go she made clear the things she would be willing to except and the things she wouldn't. That is the thing with this horrific disease, you have no time line, everyone is different. You never know when you are going to lose a skill that the rest of us take for granted. In her final days, Christie wanted to be home. She wanted her grandchildren and family around her. But when you are the type of person that has touched the lives of so many you get more than that -- you are also surrounded by friends. I am still amazed at the number of people that came to visit in those last few days. I loved hearing their stories of how she touched them and changed their lives.

With such a large family it was interesting for me to watch the different ways in which people grieve. Pat is not one to wear his emotions on his sleeve, much like his mom. Its funny though, I think sometimes people associate being non-emotional with being unkind or intensive but the two of them are far from those things. The opposite actually! They would do anything for anyone and their top priority is making sure everyone is having a good time. I recently wanted to write a post about what a wonderful father my girls have. Thinking about what I wanted to say makes me want to thank Christie even more. There is so much of her in him. He is who he is because of her -- the father, the husband, the friend, the brother; and that is what makes me (and everyone else) love him.

Pat channeled his grief physically. When we arrived at the Stier's Saturday morning, after Christie came home. Pat took his chainsaw and headed into the woods. I didn't ask questions I just let him do his thing. After a while he recruited Rob and the two of them spent hours creating a fire pit. Recently, Jon had some trees cleared to showcase a giant, beautiful oak (I think) so he and Christie could sit on the porch with a nice view just beyond the pool. They created a place for us to gather. Pat found bricks from a fort he had when he was young and cut pieces of downed trees to make a path and circle around the pit. He lined the path with candles and we all spent Saturday night around the fire, singing and dancing and crying and having fun. I think there are some people that would find the chaos and laughter around the house that weekend slightly odd. But not if you knew Christie, that is what she wanted. The kids sang and danced for her. We all talked and told stories and laughed. And of course, we cried.

Late Sunday night Jenny's family arrived. I had gone home but Pat was still there working. I am so very thankful that he was there that night. He sat in the room with the girls and a few of his sisters and his dad as they sang to Christie. They chose her favorites, starting with 'Puff the Magic Dragon' and moving on to 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', that was when Pat headed home. He said those moments were "magical" and when we got the news the next morning that she had passed, Pat felt peace. Being there, knowing she was hearing those children sing to her, feeling all of the love in the room; it took him back to his childhood. It brought back all of the wonderful memories his mom made with their family. That's how he wanted to remember her. Christie Stier had changed over the last year and that was hard for him to watch. Knowing that she is no longer suffering brings us tremendous peace. Sometimes so much that the thought of tears are nowhere in sight. Then other times, seemingly out of nowhere, I feel my face get hot and my eyes start burning -- I cannot contain my sorrow. Living life without her around is going to be tough but I am SO glad to have the privileged of being a part of her family and now moving forward as a part of her legacy.

Pat spent tireless hours after her passing working with the pros to create a beautiful path and fire pit, "Camp Christie". A place that we can all come together to laugh and play, reminisce and reflect. On Sunday, when the dust settled it served as a meeting place for the family.

Jenny and I were talking the other day and she remembered how much Christie loved to have her kids home. She didn't care if they laid on the couch all day, left their stuff everywhere, didn't clean up after themselves, she just wanted them around. She wasn't a mom that ever seemed to want a break -- she didn't like "goo goo" and she would often announce that the "kitchen is closed" but she never seemed to mind chaos as long as everyone was together. She would travel hours to clean her kids homes or buy a certain type of clothing or food she knew they would like. She was a giving person, giving most fully to her family.

To my other mother, the women who wore a fanny pack  because it is the most convenient thing in the world and didn't give one thought to what anyone else was thinking. May we all be like you, more carefree and loving, less judgmental and vain. Thank you for bringing some of my best friends into this world!

Cora going for a fanny pack ride with a "lolly"!

Pat and Shelly!