I am going to attempt to catch up by posting rather long, picture-filled posts because I'm ready to move forward with 2015, but I need to finish 2014 first. So forgive these rather long picture posts if they don't appeal to you.

My parents visited us a few weeks after Felicity was born. They came at separate times because they knew I needed the help. I ended up with double mastitis the week before my mom flew in. I can tell you that mastitis was the worst postpartum symptom I have ever had--well, not including postpartum depression. It tore through my body like it had a mission to destroy it, and it nearly did. By the time I saw the doctor, my skin was nearly too hot to touch, and I hardly had any strength left. They ordered me a prescription that ultimately gave me a yeast infection and thrush, but it did provide a bit of relief until my mom arrived.

My mom was my saving grace the week she came. She cleaned my house, held Felicity when she screamed, played all sorts of games and puzzles with girls, and took the older girls for individual date nights. She even watched the kids two different nights to let Tim and I go on dates to finish Christmas shopping. I cried when I dropped her off at the airport. I cried for me, my girls and all the other women in the world who live a far distance from their mamas. Moms are the best!

My dad arrived the next night close to midnight. I was so happy to see him and was excited to do so many things with him but had to postpone all fun events to next year because Tim ended up with appendicitis on Sunday morning. I cannot tell you how grateful I was that my dad had arrived just in time to watch Mya, V and Elle while I drove like crazy to get Tim to the hospital. I stayed nearly all day with Tim while my dad played with the girls at home. I called him once and mentioned I was almost out of diapers and without even knowing which hospital I was at, he drove around until he found my car and brought me extra diapers for Felicity. My dad is amazing. He didn't care that his entire trip revolved around getting me to and from the hospital or helping walk the dog a million times a day since Tim wasn't able to do so, and that's generally his chore. He found ways to make the girls feel special, and he sat with me one night upstairs talking about nothing just to calm my rather troubled spirits. I honestly couldn't believe how unlucky we were in the health department, but he helped me see how lucky we really were that we had constant help.

He was right. Dads are usually right. I'm not sure why it takes us so long to appreciate our parents. As children we recognize our need for them. As adolescents we feel they are just trying to get in our way or spoil our fun. As young adults we begin to realize how much they do for us when we sit alone without a cooked meal at our first college apartment. But as an adult, and especially as a parent, we really understand the depth of our parents' love. Both my parents have full-time jobs that prevent them from popping over a lot, but they would do just about anything to be with me if I needed them. My parents are the kind of people that make the world better for other people. They serve without being asked. They smile and say a kind word to that stranger passing by. And they continue to parent me in such a way that I hope their good legacy will live on through me.

Thank you dad and mom for everything you did during your stay a few weeks back. And thank you for everything you always do. Tim and I realize how lucky we are to have you in our lives. I love you to the moon and back.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley