Christy has grown to be, not only a sister to me, but also a good friend. She is also quite definitely the FUN Aunt! She is always full of adventure, creativity, and thoughtfulness. Vienne seriously loved her Aunty Christy. They were buds. I have sweet memories of Christy teaching Vienne to swim in the river...Christy teaching Vienne how to roast and enjoy her first marshmallow by a bonfire...Vienne and Christy putting temporary tattoos on each other...just to name a few.
We love Christy so so much. I swear, Mark has the most amazing siblings.
Here are a few photos of Vienne and Christy, together, through the years~
(Vienne age 19 months at Christmas)
(me, Christy, & V)
(swim lessons! - Vienne is 3 yrs old)
(Christy and her beautiful buff arms!)
(tattoos on bellies! This was the winter that Ivy was born, V is 3 1/2)
(the Lightning McQueen puzzle that Aunt Christy gave her that Christmas)
(a sweet video that Christy took on her phone for Grandpa Tom, while visiting us)
(going out for a ride on one of Grandpa's boats - last summer, age 4)
(Christy, Vienne, & Ivy at Elliott's 1st birthday last summer)
(the last time that Christy saw Vienne - at cousin Brynn's wedding just a few weeks before she passed away)
(a beautiful picture of these two)
WE LOVE YOU AUNT CHRISTY!!
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
I WISH VIENNE COULD SEND YOU A HUG AND A HAND PAINTED CARD LIKE SHE USED TO. :(
This is the video I have been watching over and over lately. Vienne is a little under 3 1/2. We were babysitting my mom's dog, Bob, for the week.
I watch and rewatch this one just for her tiny inflections and facial expressions. You probably wouldn't catch them if you didn't know her. But, there are two expressions or looks that were "very Vienne" and when watching them it triggers other memories of those expressions. I want every detail of her ingrained in my memory. I don't want to forget these darling little pieces of her.
The looks I am talking about come near the end of the video. The first is when she reaches for a new book and turns back to me with this look and says "he knows this one". It's that look with her eyes as she tilts her chin down. It was an "I know what I'm talking about" look...or "I'm serious or will convince you" look. The second look comes while she starts to read the Guess How Much I Love You book and glances at me, over her shoulder, with a half-eye flutter. I can't explain this look as much...but I know that she's doing it because she is aware that she is making up the words to this book and realizes that they don't really go with this book. The look is confidently saying something like "this is what this book says this time, Mom". Ivy does this look. I LOVE it.
And check out her hair! Didn't she have the most beautiful natural highlights? Geesh. I also love, near the very very end when she asks about her "Peek-a-boo" books and I say they are upstairs, she responds with "oh boy...great". It's just cute to me. Those little things. I will hold all of this in my heart forever. I miss her so badly it just hurts. Still. Always.
We just returned from a week-long vacation in our old home town of Cannon Beach. It has been our tradition, over the past few years, to spend the 4th of July in Cannon Beach with our friends there. We love the quaint small-town parade and we (I) love that fireworks are not allowed on the beach. CB is a bit of a quieter place on that night. (obviously, I am not a huge fireworks fan).
We have such wonderful memories of our time there, especially last year with Vienne. We stay in a darling cabin that is just 4 houses from one of our favorite spots on the beach, right next to Ecola creek which runs into the ocean. It is a quieter end of the beach and the creek is calm and a bit warmer than the ocean water. It is just perfect. It is also just a block off of the downtown area, so we never have to get in our cars.
Needless to say it was bittersweet to be there for this holiday tradition of ours...our first time without Vienne. She is what has always made our 4th of July times (or any event) fun. She brought the wonder and the enthusiasm. We went to the little town parade...but of course it was just not anywhere near the same without our little girl running to catch the candy, filling her bucket to the brim with goodies. This year, we just sat off to the sidelines and watched. It was mopey and overwhelming and really just not fun. But we wanted to "get our feet wet", so to say. This was the first time that we have spent a full week there...since living there. It was good to see old faces. It was good to take Ivy to the first park that her big sister got to play at in the first 2 years of her life. It was good to take Ivy to the Farmer's Market where I used to take Vienne and stock up on our weekly produce. It was good to take Ivy to the bakery that we frequented almost every single day when living there. It was good to let everyone see Ivy and get to know Vienne's beloved little sister.
As bittersweet as it was, I discovered that it was very good for us to take a vacation. I seriously needed "a break" from normal life. While we were away, it seemed that most of my anxiety just melted away. It was incredible. Ivy slept like a champ in her tight little pack 'n play - which, if you know us, was a huge anticipated stress. Just having Mark with us every day with no schedule or agenda was so so nice on my nerves. I don't lead a hectic life here, but the moment I returned home my anxiety resumed. :( I guess we just need to take more vacations. ;-)
Here are a slew of photos of years past as well as this year's experience ~
JULY 4TH, 2011
(Cannon Beach 4th of July Parade - Vienne, age 3)
(oh...the silly things in a small town parade!)
(The Lawn Chair Brigade. Yes. I'm serious.)
(a favorite place to perch. She is seriously intent on catching every detail.)
(I can't smile now, mom, I have to chase the candy)
(ok...so I'm noticing, now, that she doesn't look too happy in any of these pictures. Hmmm...maybe Vienne feels the same way about parades as I do. Booooring)
(see? Wow...grouchy...or actually looking tired)
(clapping with a frown...hahah...now I can't stop giggling at all her frowns. They are so rare. How did I not notice this?)
(aawww....there's the beautiful smile that we all know! Here she is having fun in Asher's backyard with our canine friend, Gaia, in the background. We always spend time hanging out with our dear friends, Kyle and Erin & boys, who live in Seaside)
(playing in the tent with Uncle Adam, Erin's brother and one of Mark's best friends.)
(they were serious buds)
(later, we ventured over to our other friends, Luke and Erin's, for a 4th of July backyard BBQ. Fun memories. This is Vienne with Adam again. They are so sweet together.)
(Uncle Adam chasing the kids...water fights and fun times)
(Vienne with her sword and Grayson with his water launcher)
(Jeff sword-fighting Miss V. Jeff is one of Mark's other very good friends.)
(and she's after him)
(sooo cute. Jeff and his family are dear friends of ours)
(oh,my sweet sword-wielding beloved Girl...why did you leave me??)
(Jeff getting attacked from all sides by the girls)
(look at that darling little tush)
(one of my all-time favorite photos of her.)
JULY 4TH, 2012
(I've posted these pics several times before, but I have to include them again here, because these were all taken over Vienne's last 4th of July with us. This collage of photos was taken on Cannon Beach. Vienne and I stole away for some alone Mama-Daughter date time. We went to our favorite candy shop, Bruce's Candy Kitchen, then took our candy to the beach to eat it and play. I miss my beautiful friend.)
(us. as it was meant to be)
(eating her candy)
(me and Ivy. Ivy's first time putting her toes in the sand. She was 6 months old)
(me and my lovely beach beauties)
(Mark and Ivy relaxing on the porch of our cabin - our favorite place to stay)
(back in the day when Ivy would nap in the carseat...and stay asleep! The blanket to protect her from the sun and the umbrella to protect her from the sandy wind)
(Cannon Beach Parade with Kyle and Erin and their boys, Asher and Elijah)
(there's that same parade scowl! haha...but, seriously, she really did have fun!)
(from middle to right: Vienne, Adam, Asher & Kyle, Erin, and me)
(after the parade, we ventured to the Miller's again for another fun BBQ - a tradition. Here, Adam looks like he is chasing the kiddos again.)
(the kids lined up, watching the dads set off fireworks)
(another absolute favorite video! Vienne is tickling Ivy with a pom pom from the parade. I LOVE her. Always holding her sister's hand or touching her...I can't stress enough how important that was to Vienne. It is evident in almost every single photo or video of the two of them. I love how she says "I wish I could get another pom pom for you and Mom" and I love how she says "Adios" at the end. I swear, she was always so thoughtful like that. I didn't realize how extremely rare she was. And, I have so many videos capturing this very quality of hers. Why did she have to be taken from us??)
JULY 4TH, 2013 - Our First Without Vienne
(Ivy sitting in the doorway to our darling little cabin - looking like a big girl.)
(photo courtesy of Molly Kerns - capturing us at the parade)
(me and Ivy sitting on the stairs, off to the side)
(letting Ivy play at the park where her sister first played...in the swings that Vienne first swung on)
(Ivy had to sniff and pick almost every flower she saw in town. That's a lot of flowers)
(then she decided to sit on the bush. She turned around, backed up, and sat her tush right down.)
(is this not one of the best photos ever???)
(we took Ivy to the Cannon Beach Farmer's Market and enjoyed eating the fresh berries and dancing to the music)
(our little beauty)
(a backyard bbq at Kyle and Erin's - some of our favorite friends gathered around. Seth and Lacey and boys drove out to spend the weekend, as well. Can you see Ivy tenderly snuggling on Mark's chest on the left?)
(our little path to the beach)
(umm...yes, I am biased...I make darling girls)
(off she goes)
(not afraid of the water)
(time to play)
(she spent a good 20-30 minutes collecting water in this little snack bowl and then walking it carefully over to her bucket and filling the bucket, bit by bit. A task that her sister would've accomplished in the exact same fashion.)
(filling the bucket)
And, I guess that's it. There are a few more photos that have yet to be sent to me and a video that I haven't been able to upload...but when I get that figured out I will be adding to this post.