Thursday, September 17, 2015

Learning after Loss

Looking back
I love "looking back" on Facebook at the pictures and posts from years past.  The other day the above picture popped up in my feed.  Five years after this photo was taken, I look at it and feel my heart drop.  I can still feel the sadness that I carried in my heart on that very day.  I can see my smile was forced and although I was glad to be surrounded by dear friends, I felt alone.

I was roughly 1.5 months pregnant with our honeymoon baby.  I knew the child in my stomach had been dealt a fatal prognosis.   I knew the chance of me carrying this baby to full term was less than 1%.  I knew that every second I carried this baby was 1 second closer to having to tell her good-bye.

A small number of people knew at the time what my husband and I were facing, I didn't want to deal with the woeful looks from friends and family.  Looking back, I wouldn't change that.  We needed the time both during and after to figure out how to move forward.  After we had said good-bye to our daughter and emptied the sea of tears our bodies held, we told some friends and family about her life and death.  For that support and love, I am so grateful.

Miscarrying a child is an indescribable pain.  A child we created, that was so loved and so wanted, never got the chance to breath in that first breath of air and look into the faces of parents that loved her more than anything. It knocked Scott and I off our feet with the hardest blow imaginable.

It's a misconception that having other children heals the loss of a baby.  Yes we wanted more children, but we also wanted the baby we lost.  Our hands grew full as we had our son and 2nd daughter, but there is always a place in our hearts, a place that holds just a little sadness for the daughter that isn't with us.

I don't question "why" we were dealt that hand anymore, because I think I understand.  Our daughter taught us about the fragility of life.  Without experiencing her death, I can honestly say I don't think I would value the time I have with my parents, my sister, my husband, and my living children, the way I do now.  I watch the sunset across our fields and I thank God for that moment.  I hear my daughter say "Mommy I awake!" and I thank God for that sound.  I stand at the door to my sons pre-school and see that blonde hair, those blue eyes, and that huge smile as he runs to jump in my arms, and I thank God for that boy.   So many small moments that are impactful, that make me want to fall to my knees and say even though I don't deserve all these blessings, I am so very thankful.

I never would have imagined my greatest teacher would be a daughter to frail for this life.  She helped create an unbreakable bond between Scott and I.  She made me a kinder person, a better mother.  She made me appreciate the littlest things in this life.  I will always wish she was there at our dinner table, helping complete our family, but I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to carry her and learn from her.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Then he turned 4

4 years old and so very loved
The way his blue eyes sparkle will stop you in your tracks.  The way his mouth turns up into a grin makes smiling contagious.  The way his blonde hair shimmers in the sun will make you think there's gold mixed in.  The amount of joy he has brought to our lives...indescribable.

 At Birth                       4 Years
6lbs 5.9oz                     36lbs
   19 inches                    34 inches

Newborn Baby P
He rolls out of bed around 6:45 and wants to cuddle for a few minutes before asking for breakfast.  I love the way his hair sticks up crazy and how he looks in his little truck jammies.  I hope he lets me dress him in matching top and pant jammies for another 4 years.  He wants cereal for breakfast, every morning.  His favorites are Special K and Life.  Throw in some fruit (any kind will do) and he's set for the morning.  

After breakfast he will dress himself in play shorts and t-shirt.  If we are going into town or he has school, I will "help" him pick out an outfit. His favorite color is red and he often gravitates to clothing with red in it, down to his underwear and socks.  He ALWAYS wants to have socks on.  If we are going outside and he wears flip flops, he will leave his socks by the front door and put them on the second we come in.  He struggles a little bit with buttons and he just got his first pair of lace shoes.  If anyone has tips for teaching children to tie shoes, I'm all ears!

Paisley wants to help with everything!  From making meals, to cleaning house or doing laundry, he always wants to help.  His chores include taking his clean clothes and putting them away, dusting baseboards, emptying the clothes hamper into the laundry room on laundry day, and recently he began taking his dirty plates/bowls/cup to the sink after mealtime.  

The phrase "he's all boy" is used at least once a day when describing our son.  If he's not pushing a truck, he's pretending to be a truck.  Sometimes I wonder if he thinks he is a truck.  Truck sounds were some of the first noises he ever made and he's now perfected them.  We can't pass a diesel burning truck without pointing out that he "smells diesel." Monster trucks are some of his favorite things followed closely behind by garbage trucks, fire trucks, and car transporter trucks.  

He likes watching cartoons and movies.  His favorite shows are Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.  Watching a show/movie is a treat that he gets if his behavior has been good.  He can get a little whiny if he doesn't get his way and sometimes he doesn't act as kind towards his sister as he should.  Those are the behavior issues we work on daily.  

His good behavior contains a lot of unprompted hugs, kisses, and compliments.  I love going through my day and having him come up behind me and hearing "I love you mommy."  He also frequently tell me I look nice, he likes my shirt/dress/etc., or that my hair looks pretty.  He learned to compliment from watching/listening to his daddy.  When his little sister isn't bugging him, he also gives her hugs, kisses and says "I love you little baby sister."  His heart is big and he picks up on the emotions of others quickly.  

He's 4!
Throughout the day he likes to snack on fruit and dried cranberries.  His favorite sweet treats are Nerds, fruit snacks, and fruit roll ups.  He still drinks whole milk throughout the day with water at night.  His favorite mid-day food is a lunch meat sandwich without cheese.  He isn't ultra picky, but sometimes he just isn't hungry.  

He's social to those closest to him but takes awhile to warm up to stranger.  His weekly schedule consists of story time at the library, 2 mornings of pre-school, and one music class a week.  He likes being busy and asks every morning "what are we doing today?"  

Playing outside is high on his list of favorites.  Throw in some mud puddles and he yells "this is the best day ever!"  He loves driving his battery powered jeep and swinging on the swing set.  He fearlessly rides his tricycle and I'm totally dragging my feet with getting him a bike.  He likes playing with the cat and running wild across the yard.  He begs his daddy to take him on the 4-wheeler and during the summer months the slip-n-slide was used weekly.  He turned into my little brown bear this summer, he gets that skin tone from his daddy.  This summer he has loved camping in our new camper and looks forward to much more camping this fall!

He's recently given up afternoon naps, much to my disappointment.  Right before he turned 4, we got rid of his toddler bed and moved him into a big boy loft bed.  His train table fits right under it and he thinks it's pretty cool to sleep way up high.  He picked out tractor sheets and continues to sleep with 4 stuffed animals and 2 special blankets each night.

He is a mommas boy until his daddy gets home from work, then he's all about daddy!  He loves to wrestle and he is one rough little boy.  He could wrestle for hours or at least until he wears his dad out.  His blonde hair gets sweaty and his face turns bright red as I watch my boys roll around on the floor.  Scott often remarks that the kid gets stronger and faster each day.  

His bedtime is around 8pm and after singing our nighttime song and saying prayers, he sneaks out of  bed 1 time (every night) to get "just 1 more kiss."  After that last kiss he curls up in bed and we don't see or hear from him until morning.

In the time I found out I was pregnant with this little boy to this very day, he has taught me more about life and love then anyone else.  The last 4 years have been fantastic and I can't wait to watch what the future holds for him.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Two-Rrific little Girl

Baby L
I remember looking at the ultrasound screen and knowing I was looking at our daughter before the ultrasound tech could say the words, "It's a girl!" I watched the itty bitty squiggly baby girl and felt excitement and fear.  Images of big bows, sassy attitudes, and spilled nail polish flashed through my brain.  Fast forward 2 years later....and all the images are true.  The fear I previously felt has turned to enjoyment, to pride, to immense love.  The little girl that scared me so much before she even weighed 1lb., has now turned 2.

Birth                              2 Years
7 lbs 5oz                       24 lbs (14%)
19.5 inches                   28 inches (9%)

This little doll rises and shines around 7am each and every day.  She'll start singing, talking to her stuffed dog or monkey, or she'll say "Mommy, I want out."  I look forward to hearing that sweet little voice because I know I'm about to be greeted with a smile from my little girl.  Her room still smells like a baby each morning when I first walk in.  Her body is so warm and soft as I scoop her up and plant a kiss on the top of her head.  I feel the weight of her getting heavier with each passing week.  Her fuzzy hair tickles my cheek as I hold her close.  She asks "Paisley awake?" and giggles if I tell her he is in the living room playing.  

She asks for breakfast almost as soon as she's rubbed the sleep from her eyes.  She wants oatmeal, every day.  Occasionally I'll make her eat something else (eggs, sausage, fruit, etc.) but she really just wants oatmeal.  

She loves playing with her brother more than anything.  If he's playing trucks, she'll find a truck and push it along behind him.  If he's looking at books, she'll snuggle up next to him and ask him to "read it."  He's her best friend and nemesis all rolled into one.  When he isn't letting her play with him, she finds a doll or animal to take care of.  She can frequently be seen pushing her little doll stroller around our house, carrying either a baby or stuffed puppy.  

If the word "snack" is mentioned, she'll race to her chair at the table, making sure she doesn't miss a bite!  Her favorite snacks are raisins, strawberries, and veggie straws.  She's able to climb in and out of her booster seat without assistance.  She drinks whole milk throughout the day and gets a cup of water at night.  She's a great eater and will try anything.  

She's a fearless little thing and will climb on or up anything she can get her hands on.  She loves riding on the tricycle, in the jeep, on the four wheeler, and encourages her daddy to "go faster" when he's driving the car. 

She's a very social little thing!!  Her weekly activities are story time at the library and Kindermusik.  She loves trips to the grocery and can be heard yelling "hi" to anyone in a 10ft radius.  Don't get to close to her though or she'll hide her eyes and go silent.   

Sometimes I think we should have named her Sassy.  She's learned a few phrases such as "I don't want to," and "No way Jose."  She uses them in the correct manner and it catches me off guard every time I ask her to help Paisley pick up toys and she responds "no way Jose!" Heaven forbid you accidentally call her Paisley....she'll call you out "I'm not Paisley! I'm Lila!"

Her crinkle face
Potty training finally came together the week she turned 2.  She stays dry during the day, napping, and during trips to town, but at night we still wear a diaper.   I don't see us giving up the overnight diaper for another few months.  In the morning she enjoys choosing between her Frozen and Hello Kitty panties.  As we are putting them on she says "Don't pee-pee or poopy in them!"   

She thinks she's a "big" girl, but understands she needs to "get bigger" before she can do the following; have earrings, paint her nails, chew gum, and drink coffee.  Yes, those are all things she has asked to do.  Scott and I are prolonging all of the above mentioned indefinitely.  She has also said she "wants hair like mommy and nana."

She's responsible for helping around the house and has her own set of chores.  She takes her clean clothes from the laundry room and puts them in her room.  She can't reach the drawers her clothes go in, so she puts them on the floor. She helps empty the dishwasher and puts the dishes on the counter.  She's been instructed not to touch knives, so she just does cups, bowls and plates.  She's also responsible for helping her brother put away toys at the end of the day.  She protests this task and often tries to sneak to her bedroom or hide behind the couch to avoid clean up time.  She's also responsible for getting her dirty clothes in a clothes bin and her shoes must be put away in her closet whenever she comes in from outside.  
I think this girl has her dad's skin tone because she turned into my little brown bear this summer.  Her skin got dark, her hair got lighter, and her hazel eyes sparkle.  

Vocally Lila says full blown sentences and communicates her needs and wants without issues.  Occasionally I see the hint of a tantrum brewing, but she's fairly easy to redirect and avoid a full on tantrum.  

She is a mommies girl until daddy comes home from work. She runs at him with her arms raised above her head and wants "Uppy!"  He can barely get his shoes off before she tells him to "wrestle" or "tickle" her.  When she grows tired of that she races to me to "save" her.  

Noon is nap time for our little bean.  She doesn't protest and goes down without a peep.  She sleeps for roughly 1 hr before yelling "Mommy, I'm all done."  I've never seen a kid so easy to get to sleep or so happy to wake up.  

Bedtime comes at 7pm and even if she's in the middle of playing, once we get on jammies, brush teeth and go potty, she goes down without protest.  We say our prayers and sing a bedtime song before lights go out.  She sleeps with 3 special blankets and her goggy (doggy) and stuffed monkey.  The last thing I hear her say is "Love you mostest mommy."

She's my sweet, snuggly, baby girl.  I love those moments she randomly gives me a kiss, hug, or says "I wuv you mommy."  She can't pronounce her "L's" which makes a lot of words sound extra cute.  She pronounces her name as "Yiya" and when she wants you to look at something, she yells "Yook!"  

Hello Kitty
Bubble Guppies
Our cat Edy
Bath Time
Riding in her stroller
Pulling my hair

Flip Flops
Being told "no"
Having sunscreen applied
Getting sprayed with the garden hose

Two years filled with all the sweetness a little girl can bring.  I can only imagine what the next 2+ years will be like having this sassy angel in our lives.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Table for 4

Just the 2 of Us
Prior to meeting Scott, I went through a phase of thinking I didn't want children (that was a result of being around undisciplined children).  Then I thought for awhile that I wanted a big family, 5 kids sounded just about right.  And then I met Scott.

My sister & I (sometime in the 80's)
Scott came from a family of 4 as did I.  As we talked about the future and marriage, the topic of children was a light conversation.  We both wanted kids, just a couple, but if for whatever reason kids weren't a part of our future together, we would be ok with that.  We didn't set a timeline or come to a conclusion about how many kids we wanted, we just agreed to let life happen.

Family of 4
Now we have our own little family of 4.  Scott has this perfect little replica of himself that he's taught about fuel injection and hydraulic pressure.  I have this perfect little replica of myself (as a blonde) that is sassy and sweet and will break more then a heart or two over the next 15 years.  The time came for a serious talk about kids.  Were we going to have more?  Did we feel like we wanted more?  We came to the same conclusion and decided....our family is complete.

My favorite people
Now don't get me wrong, there are times I see a pregnant belly and feel the pain of wanting to carry a baby "just one more time."  But the moment is fleeting and if I think about the heart burn, inability to sleep, and stresses both mentally and physically of carrying a child, I look at my children that live outside my womb and that moment passes.

Snuggling my baby boy
I think back to the moments when my children were squishy little babies....they mostly slept, lived entirely off nourishment provided them from my body, and sometimes were content only in my arms.  I loved those moments and would love to hold one of my tiny infants again...but the moments I have now are equally as precious.  I now get to hear both children say "I love you mommy" as I tuck them in bed.  I get to watch them grow and learn and become more independent.  I get to watch them explore the world and soak up new information like tiny sponges.  I wouldn't give up a moment of the "now" to relive a moment of the "past."

Snuggling my baby girl
As the kids get older, I look forward to them bringing friends to the house.  I want to look around my kitchen table and see the faces of their friends laughing and joining us for dinner.  Past that I look forward to meeting their significant others and welcoming them into our family.  And then way way way down the road I look forward to the addition of grandchildren.  But for now....we're happy asking for a table for 4.
Just the 4 of Us