Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve sat down long enough to think about blogging, and now that I’m here, I can hear Natalie starting to move around in her crib. (She’s taking a REALLY late afternoon nap today!) Since my minutes are numbered, I figured a few snapshots would have to serve as a quick reflection of our summer. I suppose with October right around the corner, I’ll be posting some fall photos soon, too!
We did lots of other things too… like going to the neighborhood park, playing in the fountains at the splash pad, hanging out with neighbor friends, and just enjoying our time together as a family. Three months goes by so fast, but I’m so thankful to have those months every summer to spend time with the two people who fill my heart with more love than I ever could’ve dreamed possible.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
My little Peanut,
It’s been months since I’ve sat down to write to you, but not for lack of desire- simply because you keep us on our toes at all times that there have not been many spare moments for me to sit here and write. You are a busy little bee, and your energetic spirit and silly disposition make every minute with you an adventure.
You are almost 16 months old; a true toddler in every sense of the word. You have mastered walking, and are now getting faster and faster that I’d almost say you’re a runner, too. You bounce and dance all over; you test the limits constantly (as I sit here, you are playing in Buddy’s food and water dish, which is an absolute no-no, yet there you are. I could stop you, but I’m quite curious as to how long you’ll spend playing there and how big of a mess you will make…. and listening to you giggle is too sweet a sound to stop you. But shhh- don’t tell Daddy I let you get away with this!)
We found a keyboard at a garage sale, and you quickly figured out how to make it play songs. You dance to music on the keyboard, on the radio, and especially on YouTube. Your face lights up with delight when you hear the beginning notes to a Raffi song, and you instantly start twirling and bouncing to the music. (I think your Dad likes it just as much as you do!)
We got a membership to the MN Zoo and have taken lots of trips to see the animals. The first time we were there, you saw the fish tank and made a fish face; and you’ve been charming everyone with that ever since.
Your other “tricks” include holding up one finger when someone asks how old you are; identifying body parts when asked about your head, nose, eyes, ears, belly button, and toes; signing the following words- eat, more, all done, milk, and more recently, “book”; folding your hands to pray before meals and at bedtime. You’re into all sorts of things now, like carrying around bags and purses, putting (anyone’s) shoes on, trying to buckle things, pushing/pulling anything with a handle, climbing on anything you can (especially little chairs, ladders, and your picnic table!).
September is right around the corner, which means back to school and back to daycare. The summers are an amazing chance for the three of us to spend some quality time together, and we have made the most of these last three months, with trips to the zoo, the pool, the splash pad, the park, bike rides, walks around the neighborhood, a trip to Portland to see Aunt Doni and a trip to Huntsville to see Grama. You’ve been back to daycare three times in the last three weeks, to get reacquainted with your friends and to give me and dad a chance to work in our classrooms. It’s been a little tough, but you seem to be doing a little better. I wish you understood the depth of our love for you so that you would know and remember that every time I drop you off at daycare, I think about you all day long and I will always come back and pick you up. We are so lucky to have the summers at home together; not every family gets that. It’s just another reason I feel so blessed.
I love you to the moon and back, sweet girl.
P.S. If you’re wondering, the dog-food episode did not end well. I should’ve stopped you right away. You dumped out all of Buddy’s water onto the kitchen floor, then you began taking handfuls of his food and throwing it across the floor, too. You made quite the mess! Before attempting to clean up, I put you and Buddy out on the deck, and then I was able to clean up pretty quick! You weren’t too thrilled with watching from the outside looking in, but before I knew it, you were on top of the picnic table, looking out into the yard. Silly girl.)
This morning, I awoke to the sound of Natalie laughing. She and Jeff were downstairs playing, and I briefly thought about going back to sleep, but her laughter is one of the sweetest sounds, and I wanted to go downstairs to see her!
Natalie loves to be outside, and our deck is shaded in the morning, so Jeff and I have been having our coffee on the deck these last couple of days. As Natalie walked all over, pushing chairs, going in and out the sliding door, laughing and running, it stuck me again how blessed we are to live this life together.
After I laid her down for her morning nap, I came back out here on the deck to enjoy the stillness and quiet of the morning. I think I might start every day this summer out here, coffee in hand, thanking God for all we’ve been given.
What are you thankful for this morning?
Three and a half days til summer break! This has been a long year, but a good one. I’m always sad to say goodbye to the kids at the end of the year, but this is such a time of celebration, too. These little ones came in with eager faces and happy hearts, and I can only hope I am sending them on to second grade in the same condition, only so much smarter!
Friday will be a day to say goodbye, but today was a day to say HELLO to a whole new group of little darlings! My school decided to change things up a bit, and we announced next year’s teachers today. All the kids had 20-30 minutes with their new teacher, and that gave us a chance to meet the new kiddos coming up. WOW what cuties!!! I can already tell next year is going to be a great year!
*ClassRules found here
Life throws us curveballs. Sometimes, you’re totally not expecting it, but then you get some big news. You react to that news one way, and then weeks later, find out that it’s not going to happen anyway. And then you wish with all your heart for that big news to still be happening.
Sometimes in life, you think you’ve gone through something horrible; only to be faced with the same thing again later. Only the second time is not any easier, just because you’ve been through it once before (as many people, myself included- at first, thought it would be.)
Sometimes, you have to cling to the loves in your life- your family- to be strong for you when you don’t want to be. It’s those people, your family (and your closest friends that you consider your family), that understand the hurt and the heartache. Even if you don’t want to talk about the tough stuff, knowing that you’re with someone who understands where you’ve been is enough.
This past winter, we found out we were expecting again, but in March, only weeks later, when we went in for a routine checkup, we were devastated to find out that our teeny baby no longer had a heartbeat. Our second miscarriage.
It’s been a couple of months since all of this happened. Life doesn’t stop just because you go through hard situations. We grow when we’re faced with trials. It brings us together and makes our marriage stronger, makes us lean on God even more and trust that all things will work together for His good. There is not a day that goes by that one of us forgets our many blessings. We are constantly turning to each other and saying, “We are so lucky; so blessed.” We’ve been given many great things; sweet Natalie is a constant reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for.
On the day we found out about the miscarriage, I sat down and journaled everything I was thinking. It has taken me some time to be ready to make this public. I didn’t want a lot of sympathy or kind words; sometimes that makes it harder. But every time I sit down at the computer and feel ready to write, I just keep coming back to this.
*written March 14
This is the day that I woke up happy and excited.
This is the day that I was supposed to meet an amazing friend for lunch.
This is the day that I went in for a ten-week check up with my doctor.
This is the day that I learned we have to say goodbye to our unborn baby.
This is the day that I will remember my whole life. It’s one of those defining moments that you know will be with you always.
This is the day that I will look back on with sadness, confusion, and anger. Why are we going through this again? Why did everything seem to be going great, and then suddenly the baby has no heartbeat? What did I do wrong?
This is the day that I will forever remember as feeling overcome by guilt. What if we had been super excited about this pregnancy from the moment we first found out rather than worrying? What if we hadn’t been scared? What if we hadn’t questioned our ability to raise two young children? What if I hadn’t selfishly thought that I wasn’t ready to be pregnant again?
This is the day that I had to make some decisions. In 2009 when we had the first miscarriage, we found out about it on December 23rd at a doctor appointment. The purpose was to do an ultrasound to see how far along I was and confirm a due date. But there was no heartbeat. On December 28th, I went into the hospital for the d&c. It was winter; I remember getting home and laying on the couch, curtains drawn, lights off. I wanted nothing except my husband by my side. I wanted to stay inside, in the dark, and away from the world. I wanted to bury my pain and not have to face the people around me.
This is the day that I realized I am strong. I am a mother to a beautiful baby girl. I can’t, nor do I want, to lock myself in my house. As I sat in the doctor’s office today, I listened. I was silent, holding my breath, waiting to hear this new baby’s heartbeat. But there was none. Natalie was with me, in her stroller. We waited in one of the rooms for the ultrasound. We weren’t supposed to have one today, but the doctor wanted to get me in because we couldn’t hear the heartbeat. I was scared, I was confused. But I was still a mom, and I still had a sweet girl with me who can cheer me up in a way no one in this world can. After the ultrasound confirmed no heartbeat, our friend and nurse came in to offer some comfort. Then she left, and the doctor left. And it was just me and Natalie. And I cried as I held my sweet baby girl. And in that moment, I knew that I could not hide from the pain. I knew that I wanted to and needed to cry. I knew that I needed to see Jeff, and that I needed the comfort of his embrace. I knew that we would be okay, because we are a family, and we are happy.
This is the day that I considered the future of our family. Will we remain just us three (+ Buddy!)? Could I face this devastation again? At first, I thought no. I was tempted to talk to my doctor about it today before I left the office. I was ready to tell Jeff that I couldn’t bare the thought of experiencing all of this for a third time.
This is the day that I knew I couldn’t give up. Jeff and I, though surprised with this pregnancy, were excited about it. We had talked about how great it would be for the kids to be so close in age. They’d grow up fighting, sure, as siblings do. But the closeness in age gave me hope that Natalie and the baby would grow up to have the kind of relationships that Jeff and I have with our siblings. And I knew, as I considered those things, that I want Natalie to have a sibling. I’m just not ready to give up on that yet.
This is the day that I am grateful for the faith we have in the Lord. Faith does not explain things. It does not make pain and sorrow go away. It does not mean that bad things won’t happen. But having faith gives us hope and peace that we are not alone. Faith is how I know that “all things work together for good.” I can’t see the reasons now; I may never. I’ve spent all day looking for the silver lining and talking to Jeff about the things that we have to be happy about, despite the situation. Faith is how I know that even during the times that I feel lost, confused, overcome by guilt, and full of sadness; faith is how I know that we will get through it.
This is the day that I will go to bed knowing that tomorrow is going to be an emotional day. Tomorrow morning, we will go to the hospital. By noon tomorrow, I will be home again. I will probably want to curl up for a while. I will probably want to bury myself under a blanket, snuggling up right next to Jeff. I will not want to talk for a while. I remember the emotions that go along with this. The questions you have for yourself: What if I had done this differently? What if I hadn’t had those thoughts? What if we had been more grateful? What if? I remember those feelings. They are hard. Tomorrow will be hard.
But today. Today is the day that I am going through the cycle of emotions. It is not the only day; it is not the only time. I am strong; but I will have moments of sadness. Today is a day for crying; a day for mourning a loss; a day for rejoicing in our blessings;a day for loving the life we’ve been given. Today is just like any other day.*
Weeks later, we received a call saying that my doctor had ordered testing after the miscarriage. We found out that our sweet baby was a daughter. In my heart, I know I have two little girls. I get the amazing privilege of holding and rocking one every night, of laughing with her every day; and the other sweet little girl, I will meet in heaven.
Yes, I know it’s been FOREVER since we last met. Okay, not forever. But it felt like it, didn’t it? Sometimes, things happen, life gets messy and crazy and busy, and once things settle down, then you find yourself with a couple of spare moments here and there.
But don’t worry! Summer is fast approaching, and if you know anything about
people with super powers teachers, then you know that they enjoy summer every bit as much as their students, because they finally get to rejuvenate, relax, and remember why they love teaching so much. And summer brings something that is so precious: time! So hopefully we can get caught up here pretty soon.
In the meantime, I’m sure you’ve missed seeing my darling sweetie pie. (I bet you’re wondering if I’m talking about Mr. Sweetie Pie or baby girl Sweetie Pie- right?!) So just in case you wanted to see both, I’ve got that covered.
Okay, here’s one more….
My amazing husband graduated with his Masters from St. Mary’s this May! Congratulations, sweetie! I am so proud of you!!!
I could have titled this differently. I believe all women carry inside them the potential to love unconditionally, to live selflessly for someone else, to put your own needs aside for the sake of someone you love.
But I’ve seen this lived out in two of the most amazing, strong, and yes, southern women I know. Both of my grandmothers have lived years of their lives taking care of their husbands when they were ill.
My Grama (mom’s mom) took care of my papa for years as Alzheimers took over his body, his mind, and eventually, his life. Grama did everything she could to make sure he was comfortable, fed, and happy. I remember journaling during one visit with Grama and Papa. I noticed that Grama carefully counted out all Papa’s pills for the week and put them in his pill holder, and made sure he took every medication he needed on time. I remember writing about how beautiful it was to witness her love for him; to see her care for him when he couldn’t remember to care for himself. Grama cooked for him, anything he wanted, to make sure he was well-fed. She would sit next to him every day; he in his recliner watching tv, her right next to him. When he was down to his last days, Grama knew he’d want to spend those last days in his own home, and she made that happen. She was by his side when he took his last breath.
Over the last several years, Granny (dad’s mom), has taken care of my grandad (we call him Grumpy) as cancer took over his body. Granny is one of the most dedicated and loyal women I know. Her faith is what guides her and gives her strength. Her love for her husband is so evident in all that she does. She catered to him, cooked for him, made him comfortable, drove him anywhere he wanted to go. She drove him miles and miles to different cancer centers and cancer doctors. She took him to the ER in the middle of the night when his pain is uncontrollable. She would visit him every minute she could during visiting hours, because he is her husband; her love. When faced with the unimaginable, Granny had her faith to guide her. In Grumpy’s last moments, Granny was there, holding his hand, praying for him, loving him.
To care for someone in their weakest moments, when they are sick and uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant, but to carry on because of your love for them; these women are so selfless, so loving, so generous. What an amazing example of unconditional love.
Both my Papa and my Grumpy were hardworking men who did all they could to provide for their families. They loved wholeheartedly, they cared about their wives and their families. Throughout their lives, they had their wives’ love and strength to lean upon. I have seen the strength of two women who love with their whole heart, and I will always have the story of the love my grandparents shared to guide me.
To my Grama and Granny: Though you may not realize it, when I look at you, I see a beautiful woman who knows what it means to show someone you love them. I see years of wisdom written on your faces, I see selfless love lived out through your life. I see in you a woman that I hope I can one day be. Thank you for being the strong, amazing woman that you are. Thank you for showing the rest of the family what it means to love with your whole heart, and to not let go of a promise you made to your spouse to be by their side in sickness and in health. You are amazing women, and I am blessed to have you as role models in my life. I love you both so much.
**This was written when my grandfather (“Grumpy”) was in the hospital during his last days with us.**