Ladies Lunes: The Befores and the Afters.

10/28/2013 04:08:00 AM
So I haven't written a Ladies Lunes (Ladies "Monday" in Español) since September 2nd. Seven days before my Mom died.

Some of these photo are from, "Before." Everything seems so much sweeter then... Easier. I look back at these photos and my heart aches for those days.

Still, it's time.

After more than several weeks it was time to pick up my camera again and start recording my life, our life, again. She's gone. I'm still here. They are still here.

I'm still battling with strange feelings of loyalty. It's hard to want to be happy when you still cry, out of the blue, more often than not. It's hard to laugh when I want to feel loyal to her by not enjoying life too much.

Still, it was time.

So, here are some Befores. And some Afters.

Life is so many things, isn't it?


My sweet Vivienne is 2.5 years old and she eats cupcakes v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y. Which is strange, because there's very little that this child does slowly.

Then there's this one. This photo was taken after swim class and her hair was wet and she was thrilled that I had put sprinkles on her cupcake.

That face.


Rainy days are the best. They're perfect for swinging.

She dresses herself.

It's funny. Literally, every photo I look at, I immediately catalog as "Before" or "After." This is a Before. We sold our couch in a hot second and were waiting for our new couch to be delivered from the importer. Hence: a carpet picnic.

Water is fun.

Lila is here to guide Vivi.
I'm not sure if Vivi is cool with that, but it's the way it is.

P.S. Vivi's also wearing 12 month swim bottoms.

That smile. My baby is growing up.

Action shot.

Serious Vivi.

This is my sweet husband and my two ladies. Notice weirdo-Vivi's face. She's always moving.

Craig took the girls to dinner on Sunday, September 8th... I called my Mom for the last time ever while they were gone. I got off the phone when they got home. "The girls and Craig are back. I'll call you later, Mom. Love you. Bye."


I love that face.

I took these pictures the morning my Mom died.

I know that sounds morbid. But I'm sorry. I'll forever look at these photos and smile.

Vivi woke up before Lila and wanted to wear the Burger King crown that she had gotten the night before on her date night with Daddy.

And after they were dressed, they were excited about wearing their new shoes to school.


And these are the Afters.

I made myself pick up the camera a couple of weeks ago and I've been trying to make myself do it everyday.

They were very methodically filling plastic cups.

Please notice that they're all the same level.

Also, please notice that Vivi's hair is finally growing.

And her boots.


That is the face that Lila is giving me each and every time I take her picture.

It's the, "I'm over this but I like you so I'm going to be polite" face.

Bless her little polite heart. :)

One of the things I love about this child is her spirit.

Very little slows this child down.


She felt this was an ideal outfit to wear to Home Depot with her Daddy.

Brown eyed little lady. Who allegedly looks just like me.

In her mind, she is breaking no fashion rules.


She's my child.

Vivienne has taken to her babies in a way that Lila never did. She adores them. They're very, very real to her.

Lila, on the other hand, would rather color, paint and ... organize her crayons.

Atta girl.

I love this picture because Lila got dressed this day and said, "Do you like my outfit? I look like you. I'm a Mommy."

Jean shorts? Check.
Orange shirt? Check.

I love her.

They're a team.

I love the smile on Lila's face here.

When they play it's so obvious that they're the only two in this world. I love hearing them go back and forth between Spanish and English.

"Mira, Lila!"

"Ven, Vivi!"

But then there are these moments, too.

When they both just slip away and do their own thing... it never lasts too long... they always end up needing one another. I hope it stays that way forever.

So I've introduced, "Rich, creamy Ovaltine" to my girls.

Um, they love it.


The other day before school, I walk out into the family room and I see this.



For no reason.

Of course I grabbed my camera.

I specifically like this one.

Be still my heart.

No I mean, really, there are my hearts. Sitting with one another. Leaning on one another.


And then BOOM!

Back to real life.

I think that Lila just gets me. She just gets it.

I'll be having a particularly hard minute and that child will show up, put her hand on me and say, "You know? I love you."


So we went to a Halloween party on Saturday.

It was like 800 degrees. (Ok, about 80.)

Lila was a "fairy butterfly princess" and Vivi was a "buho". (An owl.)

It is nearly impossible to EVER have Vivi stand still.

I love this one. Lila is slightly annoyed yet still trying to look butterfly-fairy-ish and Vivi is being slightly annoying.

I'm laughing.

...And... Lila came around...

My sweet little buho.

 Look! She's standing still!


So the party was lovely. Lila immediately got to painting a pumpkin.

Lila's pumpkin.

Please notice the pretzel she added to the stem.

Then Vivienne painted her pumpkin.

While wearing that hat.

In the 80 degree weather.

I asked her several times, "Wanna take your hat off?"

"NO. I'm a buho."

I get it.

Lila drawing, left.

Vivienne's pumpkin, right.

Lila participated in the costume contest. (Vivi opted out.)

And then it was time for the piñata.

Because there's always a piñata...


Lila surveying the scene chaos. (OR we could just give away candy bangs so that the kids aren't taught to STEP ON OTHERS in order to get MORE for themselves.)


Lila collected candy for the buho who was a little too nervous to get candy herself... (Rightly so.)

I'm just so proud of my Lila Ross.

She goes to this party and she's quiet... quietly going from station to station without saying more than 20 words. She participates... silently.

An outsider would think that she wasn't enjoying herself...

Then on the way home she says, "That was the best party EVER."

Ah, my introvert.

I get it. Now. I understand her. It's taken four years, but I get it.

The excitement, the joy, it may be quiet... it may be bubbling under the surface... but it's there. It always is.

A behind-shot of the buho.

Those legs.

And then on Sunday afternoon the ladies felt that it was that time of year.

They called in the leg warmers.


I love them.

Yes, Lila wrote, "Lila... WOW"


And, on Sunday night, Lila wrote her first-ever thank you note to her swim teacher.

I'm proud.


Life is different. But life is better than ok. It's just different.

I thank God for these ladies. For that husband.

I thank God for the Befores and the Afters.


One day at a time.



  1. Beautiful post. I am so glad you are back to taking pictures.

    (The pictures of the night before and day of….gave me chills. So quickly our lives can change. At least you had that evening before to talk to your mom with no interruptions.)

    Love these pictures!

    The pictures of them hugging and then holding hands on the couch. My heart melted. I think literally. That picture is pure love and friendship between them.

    The costume pictures….freak’n FANTASTIC!!! I mean, one second I am nearing tears reading your words and looking at pictures of the girls that are so sweet and then I see these pictures in their costumes and I am IN tears because they are hilarious. Love those two.

    And by the way, there is no allegedly about it…Vivi looks just like you!

  2. i LOVEDDDDD all of these cute photos. they are adorable. the buho, the princess, the new shoes, the introvert and the one that won't stand still, them embracing. i loved it. and my heart has waves of heaviness for you, my friend. i'm not in your shoes, but i love you and continue to think of you and carry you in my heart and thoughts. Love, Miss.

  3. Beautiful pictures. From what I've read about your mom, I know she would want you to enjoy every moment of life. For yourself, C, your girls, and for your mom. And know that she's enjoying it with you, just in a different way.

  4. My heart is full for you. I love all of the pictures and especially the ones of the girls sitting on the couch holding hands. Those are the moments to tuck away and treasure in your heart always. Love you always!

  5. I'm so glad you picked up your camera again. These are fantastic. The before and the after. It all matters.

    I love you. I'm cheering you on.


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