Monthly Archives: January 2013

Happy Birthday, “Sam”

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Happy Birthday, “Sam”

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January 26, 2012 was a holy day for me. A day where I held both life and death.

A day where I truly understood what life meant to me.

And a day where I truly understood death.

And while today I go about making craigslist deliveries, buying stamps, working out, fixing broken hairbows, cleaning bathrooms, cooking dinner, and all the other things Moms do on Saturdays if they’re lucky enough to have a dad home to help out, my heart grieves for my losses.

But, I also think about my gifts. I’ll take my 3 year old gift out with me today to teach her a few things about the post office. I’ll read on the couch with my 6 year old – actually, she’ll probably read to me. That’s two gifts right there.

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Because, while January 26th was the most awful day of my life (thus far), it grew something beautiful in my heart – a desire to count my gifts. And that day, the first gift I counted, was one I gave to God.

Happy Birthday, little Sam. Sesame Sam as we called you. Celebrate big. Because I don’t think anything Happy in Heaven is small.

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Working through emotions and washing out closet baseboards

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Working through emotions and washing out closet baseboards

Yeah. Most of my closet baseboards are clean now. It’s funny, I started deep cleaning/organizing my house from one side to the other. But now that I’m officially half way to being finished, the “other” side is looking rather terrible. It’s like a giant mudslide. As I work from one side of the house to the other, things slowly end up piling up on the other end. But despite the impending doom that seems to be upon the “other” side’s outside walls, there have been quite a few happy moments around here in the last few days….

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I’m learning that the best method is the one of sheer determination. So, I’ve taken everything out of one place and put it on a blanket in a central location. For instance – when I worked on the kitchen, I took everything out of the kitchen cabinets and put it all on a blanket on the kitchen table. Then, I put back everything I needed. Then, I dumped the blanket (and all that was left – I mean, really, who needs three 9×13 pyrex dishes??!) into my yardsale box.  Too bad I don’t have a photo of the mountain that was on my table. Whoever comes to my yard sale is gonna think they’ve hit the jackpot. From Pampered Chef cheese knives to microwave steamers, they’ll walk away with their $0.50 treasures, and I’ll think “Hee hee hee – they’re about to fill their kitchen with stuff a semi-professional caterer didn’t even use. Have fun finding a space for that.” :)

After I cleaned things out, before I put them back, I did a bit of cleaning. Under my fridge. Do you have any idea what happens under your fridge? I didn’t. Now I do. Never again will I let it go on and on for five years (yeah, that’s an admission). Here’s what it looked like.

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Then, I swept.

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Still gross. So I pulled out my wonder mop. Well, actually, it’s a Eureka Steam Mop. (Which, I must point out, is currently $49 – which is 38% off the regular price of $79 on amazon right now, with free shipping. So if you have hardwood/laminate floors, go get one.) But it’s wonderful. And it wonderfully works wonders with water while I work.

*Pauses briefly to bow to high school English teacher who loved aliteration*. :)

Basically it only uses water, plugs in, produces steam that’s so hot it not only cleans, but it also sanitizes. I didn’t even scrub this five years of neglect away. All I did was set that wonderful water worker wonder on top of sticky stuff and let the steam do it’s work.

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Awesome, right?  Then all I have to do is take one of the two washable pads that comes with it, throw it in the washer, and attach it right back when I’m finished.

And it’s so clean that, theoretically, you can eat off of it. I didn’t try. But if we ever have any bug visitors, at least now they won’t get sick taking away the crumbs from under my fridge. (Thankfully, we have a bug man – so, no worries, we don’t get bugs.) Now that you’re totally grossed out for the rest of the day, let’s move on…. :) 

I have a large open kitchen space. But not a lot of drawers. In fact, there are only two small drawers in my kitchen. One holds my silverware. The other is prime real estate. But so is some of my cabinets. And my 32 jars of spices were taking up too many of those cabinets. Yep. Thirty-two. And none of them are expired. Because I use them all all the time. Along with the 9 extracts. Nine.

So until I get my laundry room/pantry painted and fixed up just like I want it, this is my temporary solution. And it’s worked wonderfully. So worth my one drawer.

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So now, I’m on to the task I’ve been dreading – the girls’ clothes. I’m thinking they don’t need enough shirts to dress them for three weeks. Especially considering that they only wanna wear their three princess dresses anyway. So, I’m simplifying, de-cluttering, driving my husband crazy with the current disarray, etc. :) But in all of this, I’m keeping my mind busy, and for this week, and last, and the next, this is really good for me.

Meanwhile, back to my kids….

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Organizing and light-living.

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I’ve been keeping my mind and hands busy this week – organizing. After basically 14 months of a seemingly never ending cycle of physical fatigue that looked something like: morning sickness/recovery over and over, my poor house has been in a state of “barely surviving”. When we walk into the pantry to pull out a loaf of bread, and a pack of batteries, along with a stack of paper plates (that I had forgotten we even had) falls on our heads – we wonder how we found the loaf of bread to begin with.

Oh, it’s semi-clean, but definitely my cleaning and organizing from day to day has been in a very mere maintenance mode.  Enough to keep the bugs out and my kids clothes clean. Needing something mentally and physically exhausting, but not so challenging I couldn’t manage in my barely postpartum state, this seemed to be the trick. I’ve decided to put my eyeballs on every square inch of floor space (and the cubic space above it) and make it spotless. I’m about a third of the way through now. We’ll see if I finish before the end of the month.

I found a few new solutions to some storage problems I’ve been facing for five years.

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And I even snapped photos to show you. Because they just might make it to pinterest.

Oh, wait. I got the ideas from there. Nevermind.

But that’ll have to wait for later in the week.

Because I have more Kyle stuff to talk about. I know, I promised “not-so-teary-eyed” stuff. And this shouldn’t be. I just had to share, though.

This has been an interesting week – kind of a week between intense grief and grasping at normal. We started school again this week (Chloe, K5). Only another two weeks before we get to celebrate our “100 Day” in school. I can’t believe we’ve come this far after the year we’ve had. Chloe read several words out of our Bible this week – she was so excited about that! Now her children’s Bible has almost no interest to her. She’s doing so well. It seems she has wisdom and peace beyond her years – and has been such a comfort to us. Even during the Memorial service last weekend, she drew pictures on the programs we had printed for the guests.  If you look closely, you’ll see tears that she drew on our faces. She said these were “happy tears” though – because we “got to hold Kyle, and you were so happy you got to do that”.

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Kami, though, has been struggling a bit more emotionally, it seems. She doesn’t want to go anywhere without one of us with her. To which we are happy to oblige. I’ll take all the kid-loving I can take right now. She talks about her brother all the time. She wants to go to Heaven. She asks “Is the flower place (the cemetery) Heaven?”

Our family is a one-car family, and she knows that if she wants to go anywhere to do something, it has to be on one of our 2 car days a week. Sometimes she forgets what days are which, so she always runs to the window to check and see if our car is in the driveway (which means it’s a car day for us) or if it’s gone (which means dad has it at work).

She checked outside the other day for the car, and saw it, and said, “Mommy! I just wanna take our red car and drive over seven mountains so I can get all the way up to Heaven and see Baby Kyle. Let’s go right now, please.”

Then there was the time that she said, tearfully, “Mommy, I didn’t get to give Baby Kyle a goodbye kiss and a hug.”

She was looking through my Bible at church this morning and flipped to the back where the various maps of the Holy Land in ancient times are located. She pointed to the full color images and said, “Mommy? Is this Heaven? I think it is. See the blue? That’s just the sky. And Heaven is behind it.”

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Like Kami, Chris and I are trying to piece it all together in our minds, too. Sure, we’re surviving, kinda like our house. But we’ve never been closer. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. But we’re also still hurting in our own ways.

Remember those lights I talked about awhile ago? We’re still getting them. And some of them are really bright.

We’re hearing from strangers all over who are being impacted by our son’s life. Really?  I had no idea 20 ounces of baby could make such a difference. But he is. And every time we hear from another dear hurting mother, or an OB nurse in another part of the country who is sharing our story with her patients, or we get another card or gift from a reader in the mail…it just lifts our spirits so much. (And thank you cards are coming – I promise!)

But the biggest light this week was from my doctor – the really awesome one who gave us all those ultrasounds whenever we wanted. We stopped by to see him Friday, just to check in and take him some pumpkin muffins. (Which, were awesome, btw. Those will be in a new post this week too. Seriously – no crumbs, because they were so moist, easy, delicious, not-to-sweet – maybe they’ll make it on pinterest…)

Anyway, he watched our video and wanted to show it to some of his doctor friends at a big meeting he has next month. Basically, he’s noticing that all of his patients who choose to carry their difficult and rather “doomed” pregnancies to their natural progression seem to fare immensely better emotionally afterwards then those who choose to terminate. (Note: I’m not saying here that our choice was one that was easy to make, or even the one that is always right in a situation like ours. It was just how God led us after several days of agonizing and praying over our options. For many women, this choice isn’t presented as an option.) He wants to get other doctors on board with him to make the choice to carry the pregnancy to term an option to their grieving mothers. And he wants to use Kyle’s story to help him do that?

I thought about the babies that my sweet Kyle’s memorial fund might help save in the next 32 months in South America. And those that perhaps now mothers might choose to save – who, even in light of yet another “incompatible with life” diagnosis, might have the same or greater impact our son is having. And the mothers who have lost before me, but have finally allowed themselves to grieve, and in turn, heal. Because our son, here on earth at least, wasn’t.

And when I think about those things, my day gets a bit brighter. My God seems a bit bigger. And my heart grows a bit warmer and stronger.

“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” 

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~ Ecclesiastes 11:5

My last letter to Kyle – and a special gift for you.

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Dear Heavenly Father,

I just wanna tell you a couple of things about my little guy. You know everything there is to know about him – But I wanna still tell you anyway?

He loves sucking his thumb. I’m ok with that. I let my girls do that until they are around 4 or so. But you can let him do that as long as you want.

He loves kicking. I can only imagine how good he is at it now that both his legs will work well.

He was a snuggler. He’ll probably need a lot of hugs like his sister, Kami. He liked to smile, though, too. Whenever he ate. Another Kami-trait.

I have a lot of his milk in the freezer. I know You’ll make sure just the right tiny NICU baby receives it. I kinda hope it’s a boy that ends up with it.  And I hope his mama appreciates the love and warm tears that were sent with it. If my Kyle’s milk can keep another baby boy alive, though…Wow.

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I love stars. I show his sisters the stars all the time. Maybe, if You end up making any more, You could let him help You?

Can you just tell him we miss him? A lot. Kami’s pretty upset that she didn’t get to give him “a goodbye kiss and a hug”.  So she kisses her Kyle bear quite a bit.

I got a new nephew yesterday. He’s cute. Like his aunt, of course.  I think I’ll kiss him twice every time I see him. Once for him and once for my baby boy. I can’t wait to kiss them both.

We love our Kyle. And a lot of other people do too. But because of him, a lot of people love You more. I know we do. So thank you.

Tomorrow’s Tuesday. For 20 weeks, I saw my baby every Tuesday. I won’t see him on Tuesdays anymore. And that makes Tuesdays really hard days for me here.  But I know You’ll carry me through Tuesday. And Wednesday. And the other days. Like you have the last 220 days (and all the ones before that). Thank you for not putting me down.

I’m so thankful to you for those days. I’m so thankful I could write him letters every week.  And, if I could write him another letter, it would simply say…

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“Enjoy Heaven today, little guy. I know you’re well taken care of. And one day, I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to.  

I’ll see you again (not) soon (enough). Until then, know that I love you, and I always will. 

 XOXO,

Mom”

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Below is the video we showed at Kyle’s Memorial Service this weekend. May it be a blessing to you as it was to all of us in attendance on Saturday. I appreciate you all so very much – and in a way, couldn’t have done this journey without your support and prayers. I’ll be blogging again – about not-so-teary-eyed things – starting next Monday, but will be taking the week off. May God bless this video, and you.