Thursday, December 29, 2011

A first and a second

This Christmas was very bittersweet.  It was our first Christmas with Miss Amelia and our second one without Eli.  This one seemed a little more difficult than last Christmas for some reason.  It seemed we were all fighting a cold so I am sure that contributed to my state of mind.  Amelia really didn't get the whole Christmas concept this year.  She had fun rolling around in the paper torn from every one's gifts.  She was more than a little snotty and not feeling too well. She has since really enjoyed playing with all of her loot though and her mommy has enjoyed playing dress up with all of her new clothes. Jay, Cooper and Lucie Rose all really enjoyed themselves and were all sad to see Christmas day come to an end. 
I guess the worst for me was early Christmas morning after Santa left.  Jamie and I were making sure everything was ready for the kiddos and I was taking some last minute pictures.  My eyes wandered to where all of the stockings were hung.  Instead of five stockings hanging as usual, there was just one...Eli's.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I felt like we had left him out and that hurt. I wanted to run and take that one stocking down.  I wanted to fill it up just like his brother's and sister's stockings.  I hate that there is nothing I can do for him.  I HATE it.  It was 2:00 or 2:30 when we went to bed and I had to have a good cry.  It had been a while since I've had one of those.  It is almost as if that set the tone for the rest of the day.  I was really hoping the hustle and bustle of the day would take my mind away from all of those sad thoughts.  I am so blessed to have four children here with me to lessen the sting of missing him, but sometimes it really does get the best of me. I can't predict when it will hit and what will trigger it.  Who new that that one little stocking would send me into a tail spin? It was just the sight of it hanging there all alone.  I couldn't stand it and eventually had to empty the other stockings and hang them back up. 
Sorry for the vent, I just needed to write it out and get it off of my chest.

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas morning.

Yes his hair is a hot mess! 

Yep, Papa and Nitney got them a hunting rifle. 

Look who's starting to crawl! 

Much love,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shoutin' From the Mountain Top

I made a huge mistake before I went to bed last night.  I read comments people were making about the Duggar's decision to share pictures of their precious baby girl Jubilee.  I went to bed angry and hurt by some of those words. Truth be told, I'm still a little angry this morning.  Have people gotten so far lost that they could be so hurtful?  I'll admit, I am not a huge Duggar fan.  I used to love to watch their show and was just fascinated by them, until I read their first book.  What I do not do, is harbor any ill will towards those people.  They do not do things the way I would but I do not have to live their life.  I have to live mine.  What I do think is that God has given these people a unique opportunity to share Him.  He has equipped them with what He feels they need to be witnesses for Him.  By the same token, He has taken care of and provided for that family because they have been obedient to His call.
Yesterday, this family said a final goodbye to the baby that God gave them but for a brief time.  As part of their celebration of life, they shared some very precious and tasteful pictures of a precious life.  Now...they are being ridiculed and criticized for even having these pictures taken.  As I read these mean and hurtful comments, I wondered who said the same about the pictures we hold near and dear of Eli. Even if those thoughts were not shared with us, how many thought them?  Honestly, I couldn't imagine not having those pictures today.
It is so hard to understand just how much those pictures mean to a bereaved parent unless you have firsthand experience.  For Jay, Cooper, Lucie Rose and even Amelia, I have boxes and files upon files of pictures of them.  I have memories of daily occurrences.  For Eli, I have one shelf of things in my closet and one file of pictures.  I have so little to remember of him and Michelle Duggar has even less of Jubilee. 
I think back to the day Eli was born and the little bit of time we shared with him.  I can sum my memories up in so few words.  Some of the most vivid memories are the most devastating.  I remember when Dr. K told me he had to put me to sleep for an emergency c-section.  My first response was a very emphatic NO! I was digging my heals in and very much prepared to refuse to sign any paperwork for that.  I knew I would miss his arrival and would be groggy due to anesthesia and that just was not an option for me.  Really, the only way I even relented and agreed to this is because I was promised that pictures would be taken so I could somehow still be a part of his arrival.  Those pictures never got taken and to this day that is one huge regret I have.  I have one picture of my son alive.  One...and all that you can see in that one picture are his legs and arms from a pretty far distance.  It was taken through the nursery window and a crack in the blinds that some special, wonderful nurse so thoughtfully "forgot" to fix.  He is surrounded by doctors and nurses.  That is it.  Just that one picture.  No lifetime of photographs.  Not a day, week, month, year or 10 years of pictures.  Just this one.

So I have pictures of my baby boy after he died.  They are more precious to me than any silver or gold or anything I could have. My photographer, sweet Lisa...I can not imagine how nervous and out of her comfort zone she was that day.  This was her first time ever photographing an infant and it's family in this situation.  You would have never known that though.  She was a pro.  I have made a precious, wonderful new friend because of her kindness and compassion and well... because she is just an all around terrific person.

I am so glad for the Duggars that they have those pictures of sweet baby Jubilee to help remember her by.  This is such a tragic and heartbreaking...gut wrenching time for this family.  Thank God there was someone to give them the gift of beautiful pictures.  I can not say enough good things about all of the  photographers who volunteer their time to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  These are some wonderfully, special people.

I am so heartbroken for this family that they are walking this very difficult and lonely path.  I am doubly heartbroken that hurtfulness, mean spiritedness, and ignorance will undoubtedly cause more pain to a family that needs peace and love to help them navigate through the valley of death.

Sending peace, love, and many prayers to this family in their time of grief.

Much love,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why we do what we do?

I do not go to his grave for him.  I do not decorated it for him.  There is nothing I can do for him.  It is all taken care of for me.  He rests comfortably in the arms of Jesus.  I do it for me and for Jamie and for his brothers and sisters.  I do it for me because I need to.  I needed him to need me and aside from sustaining his little body for 32 weeks, he didn't really need me.  I need to honor him and show him the ways I love him.  I suspect the motivation is similar for Jamie, although, I can  not truly answer for him.  I do it to keep his memory alive for his brothers and show them that no matter where they are I will always remember and love and care for show them that you may leave my home but you will NEVER leave my heart or mind.  I do it because there were things I wanted him to have but was never allowed to provide.  I do it because without something there, it is the coldest place on earth and I want it to be warm.  I want him to be warm and I am afraid he is not. I know that is irrational, really I do...

I simply do it because it is just what you do when you have a child there...Well not really there, because he is not there.  I know that.  We went this weekend and put out his little blue tree.  We bought a new ornament to go on his tree and when we got it out to put it on...It was broken.  Really???? It was in about three pieces. Really???? I wrapped it up in tissue paper thought it would be safe.  Not sure right now if I am just going to try and fix that one or go and get a knew one.  Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures of his decorations.

Much love,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feeling Snow Flakey!!!

I've jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and really love it.  There are so many great ideas of things I want to try.  I saw this.

So, I decided that when we were having a Pinterest kind of day we would give this project a shot.  Wednesday was that day for us.  We did this.

We really had a great time making snowflakes. When all was said and done, we had a blizzard in our little schoolroom.  A mess for sure! That's alright for messes clean. Although, I am still picking up little pieces of paper off of the floor.

I figured there were lots of lessons to be learned from making snowflakes.  So, we took our entire school day Wednesday and made these lovely little snowflakes.  We talked about shapes.  Triangles mostly...The types of triangles.  There were bible and character lessons to be learned from making them.  My most favorite moment is when Cooper was working on his first snowflake and was getting so frustrated.  He was about ready to throw in the fact he had proclaimed he was done...when Lucie Rose walked up to see his snowflake and said, "Wow, Cooper that is soooo pretty! That is the best snowflake I ever saw." 
Cooper just grinned from ear to ear and kept on working and making more snowflakes.  Along the way, throughout the day, we talked about how each snowflake was unique from the other.  We talked about how God created us all different also.  We listened to music about snowflakes. I intended to write poems but we never got around it.  I spent the rest of the day hanging those little boogers. We learned how to follow directions (something I am not always good at).  With each snowflake we made, we got more and more confident and we got better with the process.  It was fun.  The kiddos got bored long before I did.  I guess that is why I got stuck hanging them. 

We also made Thanksgiving themed table toppers for my mom's restaurant with ideas from Pinterest and I'm such a bad mama that I forgot to take pictures.  We made trivia games for each decoration.  I had to sneak in a little learning someway that last week before Thanksgiving.  Just call me slick!

Getting ready for Christmas around here.  What about you?  Are you all ready or are you just beginning?  I think I am somewhere in the middle of those two.  Yet, I am exhausted as if I should be done with everything.  Everyday had been a coffee day around my house lately.

Much love,