30 December 2011
06 December 2011
The rocking chair in Greyson's room is pushed into the South-West corner of his room. Every time I nurse/rock him to sleep, I stand up, cradling him in my arms as his head nestles into the crook of my neck. I always love that feeling. His warm breath against my skin.
16 October 2011
A friend of mine just let me know of a cool site where you can order personalized cards for loss. It’s called Lost For Words Cards. I’m not sure how I missed this, but I’m glad I’ve found it! It’s another amazing venture from Carly Marie Dudley and Franchesca Cox. Lost For Words specializes in cards for pregnancy loss, infant loss and infertility. Go check it out and share with your friends.
Below are their categories of cards.
Anniversaries and Birthdays
Baby’s Due Date
Birthday Cards To Children In Heaven
Celebration Of Life
Certificates of Life
Friendship Between Babylost Parents
General Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Gravely Ill Babies and Children
Hospital Memory Boxes
Newborn Babies (After a Loss)
NICU and Premature Babies
NICU Nurse Day (Septemer 15th)
October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness NEW!
Pregnancy After Loss
Termination of Pregnancy
The Loss of a Daughter
The Loss of a Grandchild
The Loss of Multiple Children
The Loss of a Nephew
The Loss of a Niece
The Loss of a Son
The Loss of One Twin
24 September 2011
This is a bit convoluted, so sorry in advance...I just wanted to get it out before life gets loud and I forget my thoughts.
There's a huge part of me that still screams out "give me back my daughter(s)!" As a parent, I think that's normal and expected. It's natural to never want to see your child suffer or be taken before you. We've all heard that "A parent should never have to bury their child". In our hearts and in our minds, the order is backwards. I miss my girls. I desperately want to be in their presence. Look into their eyes, feel their skin, hear their laughter. But tonight at Riv, I was also reminded how selfish I am when I'm angry at God for the suffering I've had to endure.
And I say this with a caveat. I think it's normal and OK (totally OK) to be mad at God after a loss. Christian or not, being mad at God is OK. It's all a process. I also totally believe that even in your anger, He's standing there, holding you through your pain. But tonight, I was reminded that in all things, God is great. And that He uses all people, all circumstances, for His greater good. I never meant to be selfish in my loss. I never really though of it that way. And I know that in my circumstance, maybe it's OK to be a little selfish. My child died. I can be selfish...but at the same time, being selfish will only push me further away for Christ. And really, what good it that?
I've always wanted to think that we lost our girls for a reason. That their brief life wasn't all in vain. Wasn't all by chance. Wasn't all just a turn of the cards. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that in the first place. As if life is just a crap shoot. As if we're all here stumbling around, created by chance, living for nothing, and dying only to rot away. I can't see it.
So, when Jorai passed, I "knew" or at least wanted to think, that her brief life meant something. That I had to lose her for my life to touch someone...change something. And though losing Selah, shook my foundation, there was still this hope that her death had purpose. Her life and imprint on my heart, had purpose.
Tonight's message reminded me that their lives, our loss, our pain, all has a purpose. I can't rejoice in my loss. I can't thank God for my suffering. I'm no where near that nor do I think I'll ever be that person. I want my babies back. I have no problem confessing that. Selfishly, it sucks. I'm mad. I cry out, "Why me, Lord?". But I also embrace that their lives had meaning and that I hold fast to that knowledge. I hold fast that through their short but meaningful lives, God shines and He'll use their lives, their story, my loss, our sorrow, for His goodness. His glory. I know for a non-believer this may be too much...it may be wacko. I was there once. I would have spent 1 minute reading this and then wrote it off as crazy talk...but my heart has changed and for me, this is the only thing that makes sense.
Tonight, the band played Never Let Go. Not sure who wrote it...but it just really rang true tonight.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathI know I've talked about this before, but when we lost Jorai, as devastated as I was, I knew in my heart that God was near and that though her loss sucks and I was full of sorrow and sadness, there was a reason. But when we lost Selah, my faith was rocked. I was torn. I was crushed. I was selfishly pissed and wanted to curse God. Well, I did curse God to tell you the truth. But I knew God remained by my side. Waiting for me to accept the love He wanted to show me.
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back, I know you are near
I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear
Whom then shall I fear
Oh no You never let go through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me
And I can see the light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to the struggles
But until that day comes, we'll live to know You here on the Earth
And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear
Whom then shall I fear
You keep on loving and you never let go
And i can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
and there will be and end to the struggles
but until that day comes
Still I will praise you
Still I will praise you.
"Oh no You never let go through the calm and through the stormTonight I was reminded that it's not about me. Whether my girls were taken from me for a reason or they just passed because of something doctors couldn't find, it doesn't matter. God will use my suffering to help others. I may not know who and when He'll help others, but He will. And I'm also reminded that no matter what hell on earth I go through, He never let's me go. He's there, holding me through the pain. And for that I rejoice.
Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me"
To You be the glory. I'm still sad. I still mourn. I still cry out at times. But to you God, be the glory.
31 July 2011
OK...have to preface twice today...
First, I know some of you who follow my blog aren't believers in Christ and so I'm warning you that this post is about Heaven and children. I understand if you don't want to continue, but I must say, that although in my faith, I have always believed that I would see my girls again, this passage made my heart leap for joy.
Second, this is a story I can't authenticate. It's from "Heaven is For Real" and is about a nearly 4 year old that was all but dead after a ruptured appendix that wasn't found for 5 days. Months later and then over a course months, he continued to tell his parents snippets of his time in Heaven. I am a skeptic. A huge one. I like proof of everything. I have a hard time believing stories. But while reading this story, I believe it. I can't tell you why, I just do.
Colton was the little boy who 'visited' Heaven. His parents, Todd and Sonja, have 2 living children. In between their daughter and son, they miscarried. Here's a passage from the book.
...I heard Conton's footsteps padding up the hallway and caught a glimpse of him circling the couch, where he planted himself directly in front of Sonja. "Mommy, I have two sisters," Colton said. .... Sonja looked up from her paperwork and shook her head slightly. "No, you have your sister Cassie, and...do you mean your cousin, Traci?" "No." Colton clipped off the word adamantly. "I have two sisters. You had a baby die in your tummy, didn't you?I don't know why reading this made my day. This is a story from one family's brush with death and the after-life. It could be true, it could be all made up. I don't know. But thinking that Jorai and Selah may have been adopted by God and can't wait for Steve and I to get to Heaven, warms my heart. And I just needed to share.
At that moment, time stopped in the Burpo household, and Sonja's eye's grew wide. ... "Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?" Sonja said. "She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy."
... I knew what my wife had to be feeling. Losing that baby was the most painful event in her life. We had explained it to Cassie; she was older. But we hadn't told Colton, judging the topic a bit beyond a four-year-old's capacity to understand. ...
"It's OK Mommy." he said. "She's OK. God adopted her". Sonja slid off the couch and knelt down infront of Colton so that she could look him in the eyes. "Don't you mean Jesus adopted her?" she said. "No Mommy, His Dad did!"
"Sonja focused on Colton and I could hear the effort it took to steady her voice. "So what did she look like?" "She looked a lot like Cassie." Colton said. "She is just a little bit smaller and she has dark hair".
...Now Colton went on without prompting. "In Heaven, this little girl ran up to me, and she wouldn't stop hugging me," he said in a tone that clearly indicated he didn't enjoy all this hugging from a girl. "Maybe she was just happy that someone from her family was there." Sonja offered. "Girls hug. When we're happy, we hug." Colton didn't seem convinced.
Sonja's eyes lit up and asked "What was her name? What was the little girls name?" "She doesn't have a name. You guys didn't name her." How did he know that? "You're right Colton, we didn't even know she was a she." Sonja said.
Then Colton said something that still rings in my ears: "Yeah, she said she just couldn't wait for you and Daddy to get to Heaven."
26 July 2011
Let me preface!!! Whatever helps mend your heart or remember your child, I think you should go with! This is solely my opinion and my opinion alone. Please don't take offense!
When you have a living child after a loss, there are a ton of people who call this your rainbow baby. I've always hated the term. It made no sense to me. In my mind and heart, my living child is no more a rainbow, as the child I lost is a cherub or butterfly for that matter. And though a ton of folks in the babyloss community like to call the child they lost an angel, for me, it's just plain silly. Angels are warriors of God, not sweet, precious children who die all too soon.
Well, over 4 years after losing Jorai, I finally came across a poem of what an "Angel Baby" is, and though I still kind of hate the term, I absolutely LOVE the meaning.
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."The beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm" A living child does not replace the child you lost. The happiness and joy you may feel in the presence of your living child, does not diminish the sorrow and longing for the child you've lost.
"Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.". OK, so I'm not sure about the color or energy part...but hope. I'm all about hope. Darkness still surrounds me at times. Sorrow still envelops, but now there's more hope, more love, more joy more...in a way...future.
Anyway, just thought I'd share. I thought the poem was beautiful.
16 July 2011
Being a mom whom has endured loss is as much of a blessing at times, as it is a horrible every day reminder of darkness. Obviously, the bleakness of loss is a no brainer. Loss sucks. Plain ad simple. When it happens, it leaves this gaping hole within your soul that you feel will forever be there, aching and searing with pain. And in a way it is. It's always there. The difference is that instead of searing constantly, times of reprieve come and then more come until you're left with a hole...still always a hole...but instead of only feeling the pain, the bleakness...you start to feel love again, laughter again. You start to see light and hope. You loath death, but hold onto hope for life. You see, I miss my daughters every day. There's not one day that passes that I don't think of them. Not one. And though I miss them and long for them to be here, with their brothers, I am (as much as I can be) OK that they're waiting for me in Heaven. Of course some days are easier than others, but for the most part, my heart doesn't sear. My belly doesn't ache. My heart just isn't whole and with that, I'm missing them.
But then a day like today comes. Where I hear of a friends sister who has just delivered a baby, silently. That hole, sears again. More so with anger than from loss. Of course my heart aches for another family's loss. I know their pain too well. I know the devastation, the want to tear out my failing belly. It's a horrid feeling. But more so, just angered. And I no longer know who to even be angry at. I'm just angry. It's senseless. It's undeserving. It's a random draw of the cards. It just happens. It's a fluke. But how can death be a fluke. When it devastates so many, how can it be a fluke? And why does it persist? I'll never have the answers to these questions, nor will my anger even help anyone. But still. I'm angry and my heart sears for families going through this pain.
So what about the blessing? The blessing is two fold for me. First, I get to honor my daughters everyday with my loss site and I get to keep their memory alive as I, hopefully, help others grieve in whatever way they need to grieve. But also, I get to be the person that can help in a situation where so many have no idea what to do, where to go. For some reason, my daughters were taken from me and I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, their life had purpose. And maybe their purpose was to prepare me, devastate me, break me and mold me back into what I could then be used for. To help. To help those going through a devastating loss.
I was reminded of that today, as my pain and my anger returned for another woman who has held her baby for the last time. Who was kissed her head and touched her skin. Who has smelled her hair and held her hand. All for the last time. I ache for your loss. My heart sears for your own pain. My body trembles with anger that another woman has to endure this loss. You are supported. You are loved. And you are being prayed for. Fervently.
15 July 2011
I've been spending countless hours over the past few days going through all of my blog posts to copy and paste the ones about our losses, remembrances and healings from losing our daughters. It's been a daunting task and my eyes are going buggy...and I still have nearly a full year to go! Oye. But it's been cool. Cool and heart breaking. It's hard going back. Reading where I was while in the depths. But cool to read some of the posts again...or really, reading them for the first time. So many times, I would write something to get it out, but never go back to actually read it. So it's been, in a way, healing going back. Back in June of 2008, right after Asher was born, I wrote the below post. This is something I still struggle with, or at least think about often. So here I am, re-posting a blog. But it just really struck me tonight, and I felt the need to share.
25 June 2008
have you ever thought about the scripture in jeremiah that says "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world." God spoke those words to jeremiah, but do they reflect on all of us? did He really know all of us before we were born? does He really have plans for us all? if so, why does He take babies away before they're born. if He knows them, why create them in the womb only to take them away before they're born?
i know these are questions i'll never hear the answer to until i get to ask the Man Himself...i'm just curious. did he know Jorai? did he know Jayden and Charlie? did he have plans for them? steve likes to think that maybe He takes the babies that He wants to stay pure, untouched by this fallen world. that explanation makes me feel warm and fuzzy. to think that Jorai will never be tainted by this world...but then does that mean that He cares more for Jorai than He does for Asher? i know He doesn't...i'm just thinking out loud...why take one child after creating them perfectly, only to give another? is it just that Jorai and asher have different roles in His ultimate plan? do they simply have different marks to make on this world?
i can't wait to find out just what this scripture means...how did He know me? was i a spirit before He created me in my mother's womb? or did He just have the thought of me...what His plans are for me...
anyway, just wondering if you had any thoughts.
I've been reading The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch. It's a collection of essays about Lynch's life as a funeral director in Milford Michigan. It's a bit hard to get through. He's a self proclaimed poet and is incredibly wordy and in my opinion, tries to fluff himself with larger than life words and descriptions...but if you can push through the fluff, the meat of what he's saying is beautiful.
I just finished reading his chapter on children's death and was struck by how he so correctly describes the devastation of loss when he himself has never personally been there. Here's an excerpt:
..."The fathers, used to protecting and paying, felt helpless. The mothers seemed to carry a pain in their innards that made them appear breakable. The overwhelming message on their faces was that nothing mattered anymore, nothing."
.... "When we bury the old, we bury the known past, the past we imagine sometimes better than what it was, but the past all the same, portion of which we inhabited. Memory is the overwhelming theme, the eventual comfort.
When we bury infants, we bury the future, unwieldy and unknown, full of promise and possibilities, outcomes punctuated by our rosy hopes. The grief has no borders, no limits, no know ends, and the little infant graves that edge the corners and fencerows of every cemetery are never quite big enough to contain that grief. Some sadnesses are permanent. Dead babies do not give us memories. They give us dreams."
Some of my favorite things that Asher says tight now:
- "My baby brother likes me!".
- "All myself Mama, All my self!". When he does something all by himself.
- "YAY!!!" Clap, clap, clap!
- "Mama! Owl says it's OK to wake up!". Proudly showing me his new wake up owl, glowing green.
- "Fire fire" Fire fighter.
- "Cuddle me Mama".
- "Tickle me Mama. I like being tickled!".
- "Lemnaid" Lemonade
- "I no feel happy." "I feel happy now!"
- "Bye, bye buddies.".
- "up, up, up!" For anything high or going up in the air.
- "potty out of my nemis?".... When ever we ask him to go potty, since he doesn't like to go BM on the potty, he just has to make sure is the other potty we're asking for...potty out of his penis.
- Poxil (popsicle)
- "mmmm! Me like that Mama. Me like it".
- And lately when he wants me to sing to him, though he still loves his G. Popper song (Johnny popper (John Deere)) he's been wanting me to sing to him about "lemnaid". Too funny. So I have to come up with a song about how yummy it is and how to make it by plucking the lemons off the tree, adding sugar and water and stir, stir, stir...and oh how yummy it is and how it tickles my tongue.
Life as we know it, for Jorai and for Selah, has ended. There's this stillness to the air when we say their names. As if their existence is encased in a bubble. They will forever be here on earth, still. Their life stands still, as babies. All too small. Tiny fingers, tiny toes. Chests without rise and fall. Skin too delicate for the outside. Cold. Pictures hang to prove that they existed. That they were apart of our family. That their brothers have sisters...that they have brothers.
I've been thinking lately about how blessed we are. To have two amazing sons. To watch them grow and to feel their touch and smell their skin. To be able to teach them and learn from them. To watch them grow and to see them make a difference in this world.
I've been thinking about how wonderful it was to see Asher change from this helpless little baby to a strapping 3 year old who is already trying to make us laugh and is showing more and more personality every day. I've been thinking about what a joy it is to simply be around Greyson. How joyful he is. How laid back. How I feel him radiating love for me and Steve but mostly for his brother. Watching him light up in the presence of Asher is astounding. It's beautiful.
I am blessed. Though I also feel ripped off. Losing both Jorai and Selah brought us both Asher and Greyson. Without losing them, neither Asher or Greyson would be with us today. And I can't imagine my life without them. They make our family complete. In saying that, it's so hard to know that on this earth, I will never know my daughters. I will never see their personalities or hear their laughs or cries. Touch their skin or smell their hair.
It's such a hard realization to grasp. Knowing I had two children whom I never truly met. Knowing I have two children who though are waiting for us in Heaven, we'll never meet or laugh with or cry with until our days are through here on earth. Their pictures hang on our walls. The same pictures. Asher's and Greyson's change, as they change. Yet Jorai and Selah's will forever on earth, be the same.
Some days that gets to me. Some days I long once again to hold them. Just for a brief time. Just one more time. Kiss their skin. Feel it's softness. Smell their hair. Marvel at them. Just one more time.
Tonight as Asher was excitingly telling me all about seeing the digger and g. popper (tractor) at Riv and watching Greyson watch his older brother with such a sense of awe and wonder, I couldn't help but think of Jorai and of Selah. I couldn't help but think what they may be like. What their personalities would have been. What their laughter would sound like and if Selah would look at Jorai as Greyson does to Asher.
I'll never know. Not here on earth. And I'm OK with that. Our life, our losses, have brought Asher and Greyson into this world. God gave us our sons. For whatever reason, our daughters needed to leave and our sons were able to stay. And our sons are amazing and bring me a joy I will never be able to describe. But there will forever be a wonderment I feel for my daughters. A what if. And no matter how much my heart over flows with love for my sons, it will forever ache for my daughters.
Greyson is only 5 months and I already have baby ache. I've been pregnant or nursing for the past 4 1/2 straight years. My body needs a break and I now we're done. We have to be with our track record. I just can't go through another loss. I can't go through another pregnancy. But knowing all of this, makes watching Greyson grow up, so bittersweet.
Knowing I will never feel the rush of peeing on a silly stick and seeing 2 lines appear (well, probably not!). Knowing I will never feel another child growing within me. Knowing I'll never get to go through another birth, which in my opinion is the coolest thing ever. I'll never hold another one of my children in their infancy. I'll never be able to watch them grow as only a mother can. The smells, the bond that only a mother and infant have, the every thing. I'll never have that. I know I should let it go as I've been so blessed to have 2 living children when so many of my friends are struggling to conceive or continue to lose their children...but I just can't brush it off. The finality is truly bumming me out.
I look forward to Greyson getting bigger and being able to really play with Asher. Being able to see that and be apart of it, is so exciting. I see Asher's friends, who are brothers, playing together and it's so cool to watch. I see the neighbor brothers playing together and it just brings me such joy, knowing that Greyson and Asher will have that some day...but to be honest, as crazy as it sounds...I want another child.
It's not going to happen. We're done. Surgery is in the cards. No more kids. No more risks. No more still babies. None. It can't be. But even though I know all of this, the ache still pangs. There's still knocking at the door.
Once the boys are bigger, I keep thinking that fostering babies may be cool. But I don't know. I'm not sure I could do it. I'm not sure I could bond and then release them. And I'm not sure, after my losses, I could be O.K. giving them back if the situation wasn't the best for them. Oh boy, I don't know. I don't know where this post is going. I just needed a place to mentally vomit.
I want another baby...someday! Not now!!! I want to be pregnant and feel all the joy. I want to birth a daughter who is screaming. But I know all of this will never happen. Can never happen. I need to put it all to rest. I need to embrace that my childbearing days are over. Maybe I need to get my doula certification soon so I can at least be a part of other peoples pregnancies and deliveries!
Put it to rest Kim, put it to rest!
04 July 2011
30 June 2011
In an attempt not to waste any mama milk, I decided to fill Asher's nap bottle (yes, he still gets a bottle for nap and night...don't judge!) with some left over breast milk. I figured it hasn't been all that long since he nursed, and he nursed for so long that he probably wouldn't care. So I filled it and gave it to him and turned around to get Greyson...from in his room I hear a whine then a "Mama, wass this? Wass milk is this? Wass bottle? Me no like this bottle!" I tried to explain to him how special that milk was and how much he used to like that kind of milk. I told him it was nursing milk and so good for him. "No Mama, no like this bottle! Me like different bottle." Of course all said in his perfect little whine.
So, down the stairs I go, watch the precious milk cascade down the drain and watch the cow milk take it's place. boo. As soon as I gave the new bottle to Asher he exclaimed "I like this bottle Mama!" "Me like this milk!". boo boo! I was going to sneak it into his cereal this morning but decided to give it to him at his nap...maybe I should have poured it over his cereal. My son's growing up. And I know it's exciting, but it's also so sad!
28 June 2011
I feel as if I'm in a whirlwind! What a difference life has been, going from 1 living child to two. Wowza! I'm exhausted. truly exhausted. Emotionally as well as physically, but I love nearly every moment! Yes, there are times I want to run screaming, but I love my boys. And what a joy it's been seeing the differences in them and watching the awestruck in Greyson's eyes every time he watches his big brother. It's so cool. I can already see the love between them. Asher still is completely in love with his little brother as well. I love seeing that.
Asher keeps talking about his baby sister. It's weird. I'm sure he's just confused as we talk to him about his older and younger sisters, but it's weird hearing him talk about his baby sister. Just hearing the word sister sends chills down my spine. He was so young when we lost Selah. Though he knew something happened, he never really got it. And though he sees pictures of his sisters and we celebrate their life, I know that his little 3 year old brain, can't comprehend the loss of his sisters. But still, when he asks about his baby sister, though I know he means his baby brother, it twinges a bit.
Asher is amazing. He's really testing his boundaries and can be a tough nugget to be around at times, he is so witty and hilarious, within minutes he's making me laugh. His speech and knowledge has sky rocketed in the past few months. The things he comes up with or knows the answer to, amazes me. And some of his statements crack me up every time he says them...
- "I no no...I no no Mama." = I don't know.
- "I no feel happy."
- "I feel happy now!"
- "fire fire" = fire fighter
- "guys" = for any play person
- "I like that show!"
- "Me do it", "me on it"....
- "Bad boy gun" = any gun
- When ever we pass a J. Popper (tractor), any construction vehicle or a motorcycle Asher says "me on it?" "No Asher, those don't belong to us and they're for big big boys" "Papa's a big big boy. Papa on it.".
- When ever I don't let him do something he says "Papa let me help."
- "All myself Mama, all myself"
- "Baby brother likes me."
Steve and I...we're well. Tired and stretched, but well. Our loss site is up and running and I've noticed some traffic on it. I need to fix a few things, add a few pages and 'pretty' it up a bit, but for the most part, I'm happy with it. It brings me joy to know that it's being used. I've even seen it mentioned on a babycenter post. So I know people are finding it which is cool! I'm still struggling with my losses. It's easier to live day to day without my girls, but at the same time, their absents is deafening and there's not one day that goes by without me thinking of them. It's hard. I can't imagine losing a child whom I actually got to spend time with. It has to be a devastation that aches all the more. For me, I ache to see my girls faces, hear their laughter and feel their warmth...while at the same time, I feel guilty for feeling that because if I hadn't have lost Jorai, I wouldn't have Asher. If I hadn't lost Selah, I wouldn't have had Greyson. It's such a catch 22. Whatever that means.
All in all, we're going swimmingly. We have two healthy and happy and boisterous boys. Steve and I are both healthy. We feel as if we're really reaching out and maybe making a difference in peoples lives through our loss site, which is what I've wanted ever since we lost Jorai. We are now in a life group which we love and have grown close with the other two couples. And yeah...all is good.
Here's a comparison of my two boys. Both taken nearly at the same age, 3/4ish months in the same outfit. It's so crazy to see how different they look. And Asher was so much larger. The crazy thing is that he's actually nearly 4 weeks older than Greyson and he still looks bigger! It's so fun to watch them grow. I love it. Being a mom to them is worth all the loss and tears. What a joy they are in my life. What a complete joy.
I've come to the realization that I'm physically unable to make a 'pretty' cake or pie...and that's OK, because what they lack in beauty, they surpass in taste. I've had to embrace it! I have to admit, I'm a pretty good baker. I don't know how I became one. I probably got it from my mom because she rocks in the baking department, but she can make things look wonderful. I'm the kind of baker where you look at my creation and think "wow...this is going to suck!", but then you taste it and are pleasantly surprised. Case in point, Asher's birthday cake. I had such grand plans to make an awesome drum major hat cake, but it just didn't work out. It was cute and all, but in no way what I thought it would be. And though the cake was seriously the best cake I've ever made, it was incredibly hard to ice. Even when I put a crumb coat on it. I made some chocolate instrument molds that I used to cover up some mistakes, and those turned out super yummy too.
If you need a fairly easy chocolate cake recipe, look no further. This is by far the best chocolate cake I've ever had.
Source: the vast world wide web
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup milk
1 cup HOT coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease and flour your cake pan(s) (2 round, or 1 sheet) (or line cupcake tins~I made both).
3. Add all dry ingredients (except sugar) to a bowl and whisk to combine.
4. In mixer, add sugar and oil and mix to combine.
5. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.
6. Slowly add milk, coffee and vanilla extract.
7. Add dry ingredients in increments with mixer on low speed.
8. Add sour cream and stir to combine. (I used Greek yogurt)
***this batter is super thin. don't worry!!!***
9. Pour into cake pans and transfer to oven.
10. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I topped both the cake and cup-cakes with cream-cheese frosting, though the next time I may just use a fresh whipped cream. The cake is super rich and moist and really doesn't need a heavy frosting, though the cream cheese frosting was yum.
Jorai would have been 4 years old today. I can't believe it's been four years since I met her and held her and told her how much I loved her. Four years ago my life changed forever in so many ways. I'll never be the same.
Each year, we celebrate her brief life on the anniversary of her birth. Yet birth to me has always meant life and she never had one outside of me. I still try to wrap my mind around all of it but come up with nothing. How do you celebrate a birthday for someone who never lived on earth? But how can you not as well? How could I ignore my daughters life? It's such a dichotomy.
So, today my sweet baby girl would have been four. I miss her like mad. I wish I could see her face, her eyes, her smile. I wish I could hear her laugh, her little voice. I wish I could feel her skin, her embrace. I wish, I wish...
Happy birthday sweet baby girl. I miss you, we miss you. I love you, we love you. Wish you were here my love. We'll celebrate your life with cupcakes and candles. Sending big, big hugs up to heaven for you.
My dear, sweet boy,
You are such a joy in my life. You test me every single day...but you are a joy. You bring so much laughter to my heart and you have the biggest heart of anyone I know. You are so young, yet I see the love you have for your Mama, Papa and brother already. You are a comedian and musician and I just want you to know how much I love you and admire your light. You are going to grow into an amazing boy and then young man and then man. And it will be an honor to watch you grow and learn and love.
You are obsessed with marching bands. Every day, all day, you march around with a stick pretending you're the drum major or play your 'horn' or drum as you walk around the house. You raise your legs into a high kick march and shout as the MSU band does on game day. You ask to watch the MSU band march into the stadium on youtube, day after day after day. And you sing the fight-song all day long. You also sing it if we pass a football stadium. It's pretty funny.
You don't understand personal space and I find it endearing and annoying at the same time. You want to love on people and hug them and lean against them at all times. Your friends don't understand, and I know you feel bad when they push you away. You aggressively love on me, Papa and Greyson to the point of hurting us, but in your mind, you're just showing us how much you love us. You have recently started to give "big hugs" which is an Asher style bear hug. Your strength is pretty crazy!! But I still can't get enough of them...even though they hurt a bit!
You love your little brother. You truly love him. And it melts my heart. Though you think he's indestructible and it scares me, your love for him is undeniable. You love to hold him and cuddle with him. You cry if he can't share your story/song time before bed. You want to be the one to wake him and carry him to the car. You're an amazing big brother Asher. It will be an honor to watch you teach, love, protect and defend your little brother in the future. You guys are going to be quite a pair.
Greyson loves you so. He watches you whenever you're around. Once he notices you, no one else matters and he just smiles his big toothless grin and watches you. It's so fun to watch, my child. I can tell that he already looks up to you.
You are polite and sassy in the same sentence. You're sensitive and brutish at the same time. You're 100% boy with no qualms about dressing up with the girls. In fact your favorite accessory at your friends houses are princess high heeled shoes! You're smart and silly and a ham. And well, I just love you to pieces. I just wanted you to know that. You are a challenge and a joy to raise and I love every single ounce of you. You're a blessing. Truly a blessing.
love you Mama.
07 April 2011
I've wanted a new necklace for a while now and with the arrival of Greyson and Mother's day coming up, I think I need to make my request to the hubs. The problem is that I can't make up my mind! Wanna help a girl out? Which do you think it cooler?
or this one...Oh, and I want this too!
It's been awhile since I last posted, so I thought I needed to at least let people know I'm OK.
Greyson's arrival into our family has been a huge change to our lives. A wonderfully beautiful change, but one that's been exhausting! I keep wanting to load pictures or post Greyson's birth story. But It's not going to happen tonight or any night soon probably.
Greyson's a gem. He's so fun. He beautiful and every time I look at him, I think of Jorai which has been wonderful. His eyes are her eyes. Of course I only see her when his eyes are closed, but it's amazing. He's a super chill baby. He eats and sleeps and still, that's it. He's only awake for usually around 15-30 minutes at a time. In his wakeful periods, he just smiles and coo's away. It's a joy watching him. Now...between the hours of 6pm-10pm all he wants to do is nurse. Well, suck really. Which can be painful. We're working on finding other ways to calm him which will be wonderful, but for now, I sit a ton and nurse. But I have to admit, I still love nursing. I love his smiles and warmth and just every thing. He's wonderfully amazing.
Asher...wow. Asher is really starting to crack me up. He's talking a ton so his personality is shining through more. Yesterday when I went up to get him from his nap he said '3 nem-em-nems'. We give him M&M's for potty rewards so I asked 'M&M's? Why do you get 3 M&M's?' He quickly replied 'HUG!' and wrapped his arms around my neck saying again 'Big hug!'. Too funny. He now is trying to get M&M's for hugs. Silly boy! Today as we were outside talking to neighbors, Asher walked into the garage, grabbed the recycle bin and walked it down to the curb. The kid is seriously cracking me up.
He's amazing with Greyson. A bit like a bull in a candy shop, but all in all he's such a little helper and lover it's wonderful. He even wants to share his special Mama alone time before nap with Greyson. The other day he cried because Greyson was sleeping and he wanted to share story time with him. He's an amazing big brother and it's been such a joy watching him love on Greyson.
Steve and I are exhausted. Mentally and physically. It's been taxing. We barely talk, to tell you the truth. By the time both children are asleep, we just sit there, exhausted, enjoying the silence. It's sad! But I also know that it's only for a short time. I know we'll start finding our way in our new life. Greyson will start sleeping longer stints and there will come a day where he'll be on a schedule and possibly even start taking a bottle. Oh, what a wonderful day that will be! And maybe, some day soon, I'll actually be able to clean the house! Sorry to all of you who have come through our doors in the past few weeks! Wowza!!
So that's our life update. The kids are absolutely amazing and the adults are exhausted but blissfully happy.
I think we've arrived at the very terrible two's. Or maybe it's an attention thing since Greyson has joined our family...I don't know. I just know that we have an extremely loving, brilliant, funny, amazing, beautiful and very much loved little boy, who seems to turn into a monster quite often, on our hands.
So here's Asher's problem. He's not listening. Not at all. he won't answer us or do as we say unless we end our question with, 'Please answer us or you'll go into time out.', 'Come here now, or you'll go into your room.', 'clean up your toys or you'll lose your guitar for the rest of the day.', 'You have two choices, either go to the potty or sit in time-out'...over and over and over again. All day long. It's a constant battle a constant fight.
I friend told me once to pick my battles and let them be few. And I'm trying to hold fast to that, but at the same time, I feel we're in a phase of constant teaching and if I let him make a mess and walk away from it, not only do I trip and get angry, but then the next day he does the same thing. Or if I let him talk snarkey to me, or not answer me...It always ends up biting me in the butt the next day.
Steve and I are sitting down this weekend to finally discuss our 'house rules' so that we can write them down and place them on the door so all four of us know the rules...well obviously Greyson won't know them...but at least he'll be able to grow up knowing them! And then we're going to make consequences for the actions...time-out, quiet time in room, loss of privileges/toys, and/or early bed time.
Here's my (and Steve's too) problem...for the most part, I think we handle discipling well. But there are time where we don't. For example, today for lunch, Asher kept trying to get out of his seat because he didn't want to eat what I had given him. Steve, after a long morning and then constantly trying to get through to Asher to sit down to eat, blew up when Asher stood up and accidentally knocked his pasta all over the floor. Now yes, he made a mess and it was frustrating, but Steve yelled at him for an accident, which made Asher feel bad. Then as I was trying to get Asher ready for nap, we went in to the bathroom to go potty, which he went pee, but we're still having poo issues and though I know he had to go, he wouldn't sit on the potty to try. I was talking to him and asking him to tell me why it was so scary for him to go potty and he wouldn't answer me. I was not raising my voice or badgering him, I just wanted to know why he didn't want to try. But, he would just look at me and dance or try to walk away. I was getting angry because I just wanted an answer from him and he wouldn't talk to me. So I told him to sit in the corner for timeout for not answering my questions. When I shut the door, he started banging on and kicking the door. This has been an issue the past few days that I never had lost my cool on...but I had, had it with his behavior when he didn't get his way. So, I quickly opened the door and I unfortunately slammed the doorknob into his forehead. It was a shining motherly moment.
So now, I'm sitting here feeling bad. Rather horrible. In the past hour Asher got yelled at for an accident, though it stemmed from not listening and following directions, and got a doorknob slammed into his head for throwing a temper tantrum, though it stemmed from not answering questions. And now he's in bed. Sleeping. Probably having nightmares about his crappy parents and how scary they can be. This truly makes me feel horrible.
But what do you do? How do you calm down and diffuse the situation? Do you walk away and let them realize that they control you? That they can choose to do what they want and listen when they want? How do you react all day, every day in love and never let the anger and frustration bubble over. I know I need to be hard some times and soft others but how do you choose and how do you handle your own frustration? I know kids who have been disciplined too hard and I know kids who have never been disciplined or spoken to in a authoritative manner and you can tell they're a handful. You can tell that they run the house.
I want my boys to be brought up in the most loving household. I don't want them to fear me. I don't want them to think that all I do is yell or discipline, but I also want them to grown up knowing that this world doesn't revolve around them. I want them to know respect and show respect. I want them to be thoughtful, caring, helpful children who listen and follow the 'rules'. But how do I get there and I guess, how much can I expect out of a nearly three year old?
Am I expecting too much out of my toddler? Maybe he doesn't understand fully yet. Maybe I'm asking him question he can't find answers to and I'm getting angry at him for something he can't control. I know he can pick up his toys and finish his meal when asked, but maybe I'm expecting all too much out of a three year old. I don't know. Can three year olds understand that they need to look where they're walking so they don't stomp of their baby brother's head? Or are boys just clueless at this age? How many times do I have to tell Asher not to squeeze Greyson's face with all of his strength, or show him how much it hurts when I do it to him? Will he ever remember not to do it? Is he doing it to get attention? How do I stop it?
I watch Super Nanny some days and think, 'Man, how did that kid end up to be such a punk?'...but then I think, 'wow...that could be us in a few years.'. I mean, I hope not...but if I ignore some of Asher's behaviors, if I can't correct him now...he could be one of those kids on the show. And for the most part, Asher is a great kid! It's just his listening skills and following directions stink some times!
Sorry for going on and on and on...Here are my questions...
- Am I expecting too much from him?
- How do you discipline your children? and I'm not looking for corporal punishments here. I'm not against spanking, but it doesn't work for Asher and I already have a hard time controlling my own temper sometimes and I'd never want to hit my child out of my own frustration and with my own aggression.
- What do you discipline for and what do you let slide?
- How do you stay consistent?
- For those of you with children who 'passionately love' on their younger siblings, how do you get through their thick skulls that although you appreciate how much they love their brother/sister, that they have to be gentle?
Let me preface. I love my life. I love my boys. I feel super blessed and I wouldn't change a bit of my little slice of world...minus the loss of my girls.
Wow. What a reality check life has been the past few weeks. Asher is doing awesome with Greyson. There's very little jealousy and the little that there is, is actually directed towards Steve. Which is surprising to me. And Greyson, is a dream child. He has some fussy periods and lately has been gassy, so at times can be really fussy...but for the most part, he's super easy. And he usually only wakes up once, maybe twice a night.
But there are things that are stressing me. Things that I'm blowing up about. Little things. I feel stretched. I feel needed...all. the. time. I feel like I have NO time to myself. Which in saying that I feel incredibly selfish. But that's how I feel so I'm embracing it. I feel as if someone's always touching me or sucking from me, rubbing their snot on me, hitting me, scratching me...I feel like if I'm not holding or reading to or washing or rocking or comforting a wee boy, I'm cleaning the house or folding laundry or washing laundry or making dinner or cleaning up dinner or breakfast or lunch...My day so far was waking with a 3 week old fussing, so I nursed him, then changed him. I undressed and dressed him and then Asher came running up to 'help' and I had to watch him as well and scold him for not listening to my continued attempts to ask him to stop twirling in the curtains, and then I got about 1 minute when Asher ran downstairs to take Greyson into the bathroom so I could go...then it was back into Asher's room, with baby, to get clothes out for Asher. Then downstairs to nurse baby again and then snuggle with Asher and take him to the potty and then dress Asher and quick log onto Facebook to check on a friend who had surgery last night. Then I nursed Greyson again, put drops in his eyes and nursed him again, during that time Asher and Steve left to go sledding. Once Greyson fell asleep, I was able to quick eat breakfast myself and then I started to pick up the living room which has been destroyed for the past week. That lasted about 30 minutes when Greyson woke and I nursed him again. I then continued cleaning and then made lunch for Asher. Asher got home, I took him to the potty, gave him lunch and then took him upstairs to put him down for his nap. In which he decided to 'snuggle with Mama's big squishy belly' by pushing into me as hard as he could. Though I tried to tell him to stop, he chose differently and I blew. Why? Because I feel as if I'm going crazy. I put him to bed, which he chose not to be in, and then I went downstairs to nurse Greyson. When I was done with that I went back upstairs to put Asher back down when he decided to yell, scream and bang the walls at me. I blew, slammed the door and took a shower. Unfortunately the shower couldn't even relax me because my bathroom shares a wall with Asher's room so I heard him screaming and pounding the walls the entire time. When I got out of the shower, I went back in to his room, took him to the potty and somehow managed to get him back into bed with little fighting. Now I'm back downstairs in semi-quiet as Steve rocks Greyson giving me a little piece of time. So for 6 straight hours so far today, I have been going non-stop. From household duties to caring for a newborn and nurturing and disciplining a toddler.
And the hardest part? The same time that I feel exhausted and overwhelmed and stressed, I feel guilty. Guilty that I have two beautiful and healthy living children while friends of mine have nothing but ashes and graves. Guilt that I wished and dreamed for my children and now these thoughts and feelings make me feel ungrateful.
I know it has a lot to do with emotions and life changes and hormonal changes...but it's so hard. Hard to find the strength to deal with an, at times, unruly toddler. Hard to find the few brief moments of the day to enjoy silence and no one touching me...needing me. Hard to not get angry with a little boy who's testing me at every turn. Hard to enjoy each moment when all I want is 10 minutes to myself...again, a pang of guilt.
Wow. Motherhood is hard. I know this is the hard part. The needy part. I also know that soon, I will be missing these moments. I'll miss how much my boys need me. How much they come to me and want me to be close. Some days it's just so hard. I hate not enjoying every moment with my children. It makes me feel like a failure or ungrateful. As if I was given these two amazing blessings and I'm not embracing this gift with every ounce that I have.
I know with every thing I have that this is all a lie. I know that my children mean every thing to me. And I also know that it's hard and there will always be times where I feel like a failure, but man is it hard. It's hard feeling like a failure or that you're ungrateful.
Motherhood has been the most fulfilling wonderful journey I've ever known. But with it, it's also been the most guilt ridden. I think I need to find a balance. A balance between giving my children every thing I have, while at the same time, remembering that I need quiet, alone time as well. Which is hard when you demand nurse, but in a few months, when things taper off...things will normalize a little bit more. I just have to remember that quote I hate so much... 'this too shall pass'...
My dear boys, I love you so much. You are my world. I love snuggling and playing with you. I love both teaching you and learning from you. You both are wonderful and bring me so much joy and happiness. Please remember this when I blow up over little things. I'm sorry I yell some times. Never doubt my love for you.
On February 2, 2011...Groundhogs Day...and during the 2011 'blizzard', our son was born into the world screaming! And what a sound it was. As I looked up at Steve, I saw his tears streaming down. And what a sight that was! Tears of joy, instead of tears of pain.
It was a long, cytotec and pitocin laden labor and from 4m - 11:30am I had hard contractions lasting 40-60 seconds coming every minute 1/2 - two minutes...but I can't complain. I had breaks and those nearly 2 minutes of quiet were bliss...but after 7 1/2 hours of hard contractions, I was exhausted and when it came time to push, I had a hard time finding the energy. But I found it...somewhere. And after 20 minutes of pushing, Greyson Levi was born. All 9 pounds, 22 inches of him.
He's perfect. Beautiful and strong. It's crazy really. After four short hours of easy peasy labor, Asher was born a spitfire. From the get go, he was a spitfire. He was a wonderful baby. An easy baby. But he was a spitfire. After eighteen hours of hard labor with Greyson, he was born this little peaceful, quiet, sleepy baby. He has wakeful times, but on most days, he'll only be awake for an hour...if we're lucky, maybe two...every day. He sleeps and eats and sleeps and poops and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.
Greyson has a strong look. He looks dignified. He's perfect. Steve and I kept wondering who he looks like. He of course looks like his big brother in parts, but there's something about him that we couldn't pinpoint. His nose, his lips, his cheeks and the long wrinkle below his eyes and above his cheeks. Who's are those? Where did they come from? And then a friend of mine commented on my facebook page on how much he looks like Jorai. WOW! How right she was! He's a spitting image of his big sister. How cool is that?!?! I love it!
Asher has been wonderful. Seriously wonderful. There's been no jealousy issues. I thought we'd have major issues with breastfeeding but the first time I sat down to nurse Greyson, Asher looked at me, looked down at Greyson and said 'Mama! Baby Greyson nursing!'. Every time the baby cries Asher says 'Mama, nurse Greyson'. Asher's super protective of his little brother. I love it. He loves to 'help' me change Greyson, dress and wash him. He loves to 'snuggle baby' and kiss him and he lays belly down and places his head upon Greyson's belly. It's so cute. I love it. In fact yesterday as Asher was 'snuggling with Mama's BIG smooshy belly'...yeah that felt good...he said 'Baby Greyson downstairs, Mama stomach empty...Another baby...Baby Judah!'. So yeah, Asher loves his baby brother so much, after only a week, he wants another...too bad it's NOT going to happen! HA!
So anyway, I'm please to welcome our new son Greyson Levi. And so happy to say that every thing is going surprisingly well! Asher is the doting big brother and I'm so proud of him, And Greyson is wonderful. I'm in love with my family. And blissfully joyful.
Two Fridays ago, when I originally had the induction talk with my doc, who was the one originally pushing for it, I was really apprehensive. I was stuck between two scares. One, that my child will flip back into breech position in the week + that I would wait to go into natural labor...and two, having a medicated, rushed labor that was never in 'my plans'. But after a ton of thought and a full week of major apprehension and worry that the baby would flip back into the breech position, I knew that being induced on Friday/Saturday was the best decision for us.
Now that my induction isn't even scheduled until Tuesday @ 4pm, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it. Tuesday @ 4pm is only three days until my due date. So is it even worth it? 3 days? I mean, it would be horrible if the babe flipped within those three days, but what's the possibility of that? I'm assuming the baby is super engaged by this point, so would he flip?
Having an non-medicated, non-induced delivery was my plan all along. I would prefer it, both for me and the baby. But then I think...what if. What if the baby flips...what if the cord gets too tight and what if...I'm not going there... So I just don't know. Should I go through with the induction? Or should I cancel it and let this child come in his time? It's such a hard decision. And I know in the big scheme of things, this shouldn't be so hard. It shouldn't make me so apprehensive...but it does. Oye!
Hopefully this babe will just come before Tuesday so I don't have to make this decision!
Cuteness will follow this post. I've just realized that I haven't updated my Picasa photo page since May...so I'm going to try to get updated tonight. Here we go....
Wow. I just realized how long it's been since I've updated my blog. Wowza!
So let's see...Asher is amazing. He is growing so fast and talking a ton and making us laugh every day. He has successfully potty trained himself, with our help of course, and we're oh, so proud. He still wears a diaper for naps and night, but many times he wakes dry. He hasn't poo'd on the potty yet, but I'm just so proud that he's in big boy undies all day that I really don't care.
He's huge. He's a whopping 43 pounds and yet I can feel and see his spine and 6-pack! His waist is really looking thin, yet he has to wear all 4t clothes at 2 1/2! I was able to keep him in 3t pants up until a few weeks ago but now, I've had to pack them all away. He's growing through clothes so fast it's ridiculous!
He loves to help me cook and help Steve wash the dishes. He also likes to 'help' with any home improvement or fix-it project. It's so much fun watching him grown and learn and copy our actions...a bit scary too...but cool.
New baby...still nameless. We still like Judah and Grayson and just yesterday threw in Nicolai. Naming a boy is so hard! He's a big boy, go figure! Well, at least that's what the ultrasound says. A week ago, he was measuring in at 7 1/2 pounds already. Asher was born at 7'11''. His head and limbs were measuring a little over a week ahead. His belly? His belly measured 39 weeks 4 days! I was around 36 at the time! Scary!
I'm super uncomfortable. More so than with any other child. It's hard to sit, stand, lay, walk, play with Asher...you name it. I've been seeing my chiropractor and got a massage, but it's still there. Plus the babe is pushing out a ton, to the point where it's painful. I'm trying not to complain, because I feel so blessed to be pregnant and I want to enjoy each and every moment, but I'm ready. Really ready.
Tomorrow I'll be 37 weeks. 3 more weeks left, if I go on time. I can't believe I've made it this far. I can't believe I still feel movement and that I may actually leave the hospital one last time with a living child in my arms. It all feels so alien to me. I mean, I've done it before, but it's not the norm for me. I still freak out. I freaked out last night and almost made a mad dash to the ER, but after using my trusty doppler and monitoring the heartbeat for a bit, I knew things were OK and I let go of the anxiety.
Steve and I are doing well, but tired. Real tired. Trying to get ready for the new baby while at the same time taking care of a toddler has been hard. And with my pregnancy, I'm just really tired! I know we need to get out and enjoy each other, but to tell you the truth, I'd rather sleep! How sad.
So wow...that's an update in a nutshell. I'll try to update more later.