Ode to Molly

Doggy Cuddles
Festive Pups
Today we said good-bye to our lovely dog, Molly. She just turned nine in July and yet it feels like she was only with us for such a short time.

Yesterday Molly wasn’t acting like herself. I was vacuuming the house and as a rule she generally avoids me when I am associating with that machine. So it wasn’t until I almost walked right into a big pile of vomit that I realized I hadn’t seen much of her all day. She was laying downstairs and wasn’t following my every move like normal. But it wasn’t until we gave her dinner and she took two bites, looked at us, and went to go lay down again that we REALLY knew something was the matter. Anyone who knows a labrador retriever knows that labs don’t mess around when it comes to food. Period. So we kept an eye on her and said if she wasn’t better in the morning I would take her to the vet.

Morning came and she still wouldn’t eat. So I had Sim help me load her up (she wouldn’t even jump into the back of the car) and I took her to the vet. They said her weight was fine, she didn’t have a temp, but her heart rate was pretty rapid so they wanted to run some blood work. Based on the levels, all signs pointed to a liver infection. They gave her a shot of some strong antibiotics and sent me home with some meds. I was to keep an eye on her, feed her small, bland meals (chicken and rice) when the meds kicked in and she got her appetite back. They said if she got worse, to come back. So we let the vets office with a sigh of relief and optimism in our hearts.
At the vet
So when I returned home from running a few errands and picking up Ana from school to find Molly still laying in the same spot I left her, in a puddle of her own urine, I knew things were worse. I cleaned her up and tried to get her to drink some water. She just stared at me. It was the first time she refused to drink and it was the first time I got really scared. Her breathing was labored and her eyes were darting back and forth. I told Sim I needed him to take her back to the vet. NOW. Molly wouldn’t even lift her head and Sim had to carry her to the back of the Jeep. When he got to the vet she said “Oh my! That’s much worse than earlier! What happened, Molly?” So they took her in for an X-ray to see what was going on. Sim called me a little while later and said I need to bring the girls to say good-bye to Molly. They found a tumor in her heart and it was filling her all organs with blood. The only thing they could do was make her comfortable until we could get there to say good-bye. On the way to the vet I had to explain to the girls that we were going to see Molly for the last time because she was very sick and the vet was going to take her pain away by helping her go to sleep forever. Ana was very upset and said she didn’t want to say good-bye to her friend. Through sobs from the back seat she told me, “Mom, I changed my mind. I don’t want any toys for Christmas. I just want Molly to be ok.” I had to hold back my own tears as I explained that sometimes people and animals don’t get better, no matter how much we wish for it. All we could do was tell her how much we love her and remember all the happiness she brought to our family.
Saying good-bye to Molly
We all huddled around Molly and she spent her final moments being petted, cuddled, and told what an amazing dog she was. She was an important part of her family and she will be greatly missed.

Molly Bateman
July, 10 2003-December 21, 2012

A Letter: Twenty-Five Months

Dear Hadley,

Last week you turned twenty-five months old. You have only been two for a little over a month and I feel like you have it mastered. I would never say you are “terrible” as the two’s are often described, but I certainly understand why some people do. You wear your feelings on your sleeve and we are constantly riding an emotional roller coaster that quickly goes from complete happiness to utter devastation, then rounds the corner to stubbornness sprinkled with rage and eases gently back to blissful content. In fact just the other day you were throwing a sitcom-esque fit and stomping your feet in anger. You were shouting, “Too tiny! TOO TINY!” When I asked you what was too tiny, you looked at me in disbelief and said, “ME!”


As you want to express your new-found independence, more and more we are finding ourselves at a battle of wills as you want to “do it by myself” and I want you to, say, hold my hand to safely cross the street (shocking, I know). I understand that you want to show me what a big girl you are, and when it’s safe (and we have the extra 20 minutes required for you to actually put your pants on by yourself) I am more than happy to let you.

Mini Artist

Playing with Clay

You are also not afraid to tell it like it is. Kids don’t have a censor button like adults (thank goodness because you wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining!) and so if you think it, then you say it. I will be flipping through the radio stations and you will tell me, “No like it.” over and over until I find one that you actually enjoy (like your father, you are quite fond of Christmas music). But I can forget about singing along because whenever I do you are quick to tell me, “No singin’ Mama. I no like it.”

Puzzle Time

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all struggles and emotional outbursts. In fact you have become our family cheerleader. You are always clapping and telling us what a good job we are doing. Last week we were driving to playgroup when you suddenly started clapping and shouting, “Yeah!” Thinking you were just realizing where we were going I said, “Do you recognize where we are?” You paused and looked at me with a confused expression and said, “No.” So I asked why you were clapping and you got all excited again and said, “Good driving, Mama! Yeah!”

Wrapped up in the tree skirt

You are also incredibly sweet and polite. You are always trying to hug your friends or hold hands as you walk along together. You also have amazing manners for a two-year-old. You are always saying “p’ease” and “t’ank you.” And while I think is to be expected from most kiddos your age, you are the only child I know that says, “T’ank you, Mama. T’ank you.” when I simply change your diaper.

Craft Time

There are so many things you say that just crack me up.  You have recently started referring to Ana as “Sissy-Poo” and while I have no idea where this came from, I simply cannot help but smile when I hear it. You have also adopted Ana’s nickname for your dad and when you are being extra sweet (or want something), you refer to him as “Daddy-o.” (I’ll try not to be offended that you don’t have a pet name for me, but simply oscillate between Mama and Mom.)


Hadley, you are such a wonderful little girl. I just love to be around you and I marvel each day at how quickly you are growing into such a little lady. When you aren’t click-clacking around the house in tiny dress-up high heels you can often be found “doctoring” your baby dolls. You are so nurturing and kind that I can’t help but graviate towards you. Thank you for being amazing, perfect, and most importantly, mine!

Mama Snuggles

All my love,


A Letter: Six Years

Dear Ana,
On Sunday you turned six years old. Six. Like it now takes TWO HANDS to show how old you are. Not that you use your hands to show people your age (in fact, you haven’t done that in years), but it’s the principle of the matter. Six is a big deal, just like you.
Simply stunning
Enjoying the view
More tulips

We were able to celebrate your birthday ON your actual birthday this year. It’s was an amazing day and that was in no smart part due to the fact that you planned it yourself. Sure, I helped with the execution, but every aspect of the party was because you decided it should be so. I asked you what you wanted to do for your party and without any hesitation you said you wanted an art party. This is a great representation of you because you LOVE art. At any given time our house either looks like an art studio or an art gallery. So you said you wanted to have a party at My Masterpiece Art Studio (I was totally on board because this meant the art could happen somewhere other than in my house!) and you promptly started listing off all your friends you wanted to invite. It was a great balance of friends from your class, old friends from preschool, and your tried-and-true playgroup friends. Then you proceeded to tell me your vision for the food (Pizza. Easy peasy.) and cake. You had an elaborate plan for a cake, covered in fondant, that looked like an artist palette. Since we were going to be having quite a few kids at the party, we decided to make the cake as well as cupcakes (which also looked like artist palettes but instead of fondant they were white chocolate candy melts with M&Ms for paint blobs). The party was a smashing success and everyone in attendance had a great time. You sure know how to plan a party, sis!
Making the cupcake toppers
Artist Palette Cupcakes
My little artist
Ana's Birthday Cake

You started kindergarten this year and it has been wonderful. I’m still a little in shock that you are in school all day, every day, but you handled it like a champ. You love your teacher, your friends, and everything about your new school. You even handled the transition to a uniform better than I expected. Since you are my little fashionista, I thought you would feel restricted, faced with conformity, but I think it really simplifies things and eliminates a lot of social/peer pressure. I know it definitely makes picking out your clothes in the morning a much faster process! You recently finished the first trimester of school and brought home your first report card. You got mostly all M’s and pluses (which sounds like a bad thing, but it’s really quite fabulous) and your teacher had only glowing things to say about you, pointing out that you are “very responsible and a great role model for [your] peers.” I couldn’t be more proud of you if I tried.
St. Pius Student
Her own hook
Waiting on the rug

Just before school started you also started playing soccer for Milltown United. You were very excited to finally be able to play soccer “outside” (you had only ever played in a gym) and your Dad was one of the coaches. It was so much fun to see you running around with your friends and being a part of a team. It took a few games, but once you started actually paying attention to the game (instead of talking to your friends or playing with your hair) you were quite good and would generally score a goal or two per game. You were always quick to remind me that it wasn’t about scoring goals but about having a good time. And you certainly did that.
Soccer girl
Kicking the ball
Ready to play!
Silly soccer start

It’s not really news anymore that you are a big sister, but it needs to be mentioned that you take your role as “Big Sister” very seriously. You and Hadley are quite the pair. I am constantly catching you two playing together or cuddled up somewhere. As Hadley gets bigger, the two of you just seem to get closer and closer. You are always showing her how to do things, helping her out, and glowing with pride when she learns something you taught her. A few days ago you had your Carols and Cookies Christmas performance at school and Hadley kept squealing with delight and clapping loudly throughout the songs (and not strictly at the end of songs, as is customary) but instead of getting embarrassed for something your little sister was doing, you were genuinely delighted. You could see that she was proud of you and you took it for all it was worth.
Bateman Beauty Show
Sister snuggles
Reading together

One of your big accomplishments/milestones this year was that you learned to ride a bike without training wheels. Santa brought you a bike a couple years ago and you were happy to cruise along with the training wheels but as soon as we took them off to help you learn to ride with two wheels, you quickly lost interest and preferred to zip along on your scooter. Finally we encouraged you to try again and as soon as you hopped on, something just clicked and you were off! It was awesome watching the delight on your face as you cruised around (and around and around!) our cul-de-sac. We could hardly keep you off of your bike and it quickly became one of our new favorite family activities!
Ana learned to ride a bike!
(We quickly realized we needed to get you a bigger bike.)
Riding with Style

It seems the older you get, the braver you get as well. You aren’t afraid to try new things or step outside of your comfort zone. You are becoming quite the little thrill seeker and I love getting to accompany you on these exciting new adventures. Over the summer we took a trip to Utah and in an attempt to make it more of a fun vacation, we visited Park City. When we got there, you and I decided to try out the Alpine Slide. As the one operating the controls (the brake), my goal was to get us safely down the mountain in one piece (and not traumatize you in the process) but you kept shouting, “Faster, Mama!” and “This is AWESOME!!”

Fire Station tour

Alpine Slide time
Rock climber

We aren’t the only ones who think you are pretty special. This year you were invited by our friends Nick and Krissy to be a flower girl in their wedding. You’ve been a flower girl before (twice, in fact) so I shouldn’t have been surprised that you did a wonderful job. You were a model flower girl: smiling sweetly for all the photos, perfectly sprinkling rose petals down the aisle, and even helping with the other (much younger) flower girl by showing her the ropes and setting a good example of proper flower girl behavior.Pretty Flower Girl

You are also showing signs of maturity and demonstrating how responsible you are. You have had your eye on an American Girl doll for quite some time. We told you that if you saved up enough money, we would take you up to Seattle to pick one out. The day finally came when we decided to take you to our credit union to count up the contents of your piggy bank. Thinking you’d have a hard time hitting the rather steep price tag of the AG doll, we decided you had been so responsible to save your money and working hard doing extra chores around the house that we would split the cost with you. Well, it turns out we underestimated you! You had enough money to buy the doll and then some. But we stuck to our deal and decided to put the rest of the money you had saved in the bank in a savings account we opened just for you.Her life savings

On our next trip to Seattle, we drove a little north to the nearest American Girl Doll store so you could pick out the doll of your dreams. You decided on a My American Girl doll that looked just like you (light skin, layered red hair, and brown eyes). You immediately named her Alice and she has been your prized possession constant companion ever since.
Picking out her doll
Ana's American Girl, Alice
Tea Party
Ana and Alice
Matching Set
The dynamic duo

Another big thing we did this year was grow out your bangs. I know it’s not a complicated thing, growing hair, but it was a test of patience… for both of us. There were many times when I was cursing your bangs and I just wanted to grab some scissors but you held strong. You made the choice to grow out your bangs and you stuck with it. I was very impressed. And you look simply amazing. Though I am a little concerned with how much older you look without bangs. I mean it’s a little ridiculous, no?
Confetti!Mmm. Cupcakes!

As I mentioned earlier, you are quite the artist, but I also have to add that you have amazing handwriting. You have been working really hard on sounding out words on your own (instead of always asking us how to spell things) and I just love finding little notes from you scattered around the house. For your birthday one of your friends gave you a journal and the other night you stuck it into your new sequin-covered purse and took it with us to Zoo Lights. While we were waiting for a school choir to get ready to perform you sat down off to the side and pulled out your journal to jot down your thoughts. Right then and there I got a nice glimpse of what you are going to be like as a teenager.
Letter to Santa
Writing in her journal

Not that I would expect anything else, but you are becoming quite the little mini me. You are always helping me out and wanting to be involved in everything I do. You are natural leader and are always trying to take charge and help any way you can. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this aspect of your personality. There isn’t anything I do that isn’t better with you by my side. Mama's little helper

Found my pumpkin!

With any strong personality, there is bound to be a certain level of sass that comes with it. And you certainly have that! I’ll never forget the first time you came home from school and knew something that not only did I not teach you, but that I did not know (it was probably something you learned in Spanish class. Languages were never my thing). It was like your whole world flipped upside down. There was something YOU KNEW THAT YOUR MOTHER DIDN’T. (Shocking, I know.) You walked around all smug for at least an hour raving about how you were smarter than me. I’ve raised you to be strong, confident, and proud of yourself… and it was bound to come back to bite me in the butt eventually!

Blowing in the wind
My little beauty

Fairy wings

Well, my sweet girl, it has been another wonderful year with you. I have truly enjoyed watching you grow, change, learn, and discover. You are such an amazing friend, daughter, and sister. We are all truly blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for all you are and all that you do. I love you.

Tea date with Mama
Ana and Mama
All my love,