Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spoon Adventures

That last one is my favorite. Those big brown puppy-dog eyes could melt any girl's heart, especially his Mama's. This kid has some mad spoon skills. It's crazy. He's been eating with a spoon for a couple of months now and he l-o-v-e-s it. His favorite is applesauce. I love his new skill too because a) it frees me up during mealtime and b) even though he makes a BIG mess, he looks so darn cute doing it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Several people tell me that they want to help me walk through this difficult time, but they don't know how. Or they just "can't relate". {And I'm so thankful, in a way, if you CAN'T!} So, perhaps glimpsing grief will help you understand better what someone might go through. Maybe that is part of Olivia's legacy: to teach us all how to be better comforters. Here is today's glimpse:

I have a hard time 'being happy for you'.

That's a pretty standard response when you hear about something wonderful that is happening to someone else, right? You say, "OH! I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!" For me, some days I have a hard time being happy for myself, period, let alone being happy for someone else. It's not that I would wish something terrible on someone, it's not like that at all. Maybe it's jealousy? I'm not quite sure. I feel like I could say, "Well. I praise God for that happening in your life." But, happy? Um, notsomuch.

I realize that life goes on for other people. What you should know, is that sometimes for me, it feels like life is standing still. Like I'm just spinning my wheels. Some things you just might choose not tell me, like getting a promotion or meeting someone-like-Mr.-Wonderful. For the really important things, it's a matter of timing. If I'm seeming sullen and somber or crying, that probably isn't the best time to tell me that you've just bought your dream house or that *gulp* you're pregnant. To not say anything might not be the best route for these BIG things because when I show up at your door and a stranger answers and says you don't live there anymore, believe me, I'll figure out that you've moved. I'm just smart like that. If you're a blogger, well, timing is a non-issue, really. I'll read it when I read it. If I don't comment, please know that I probably just don't have the right words.

Having new babies is probably the most difficult, painful pill to swallow of all. On the one hand, I am so thankful that your baby is healthy and that your lives have been changed in such a wonderful way. On the other hand, that baby is yours and I just can't help but think, "That should be me." I don't know how I will handle this when it happens. I would hate to plop big salty tears all over your newborn and have my grief as an intruder on your "happy" moment. God, help me.

I hope this all doesn't sound to me-centered. That's not my intention at all. I truly believe in mourning with those who are mourning and rejoicing with those who are rejoicing. It's just that..... rejoicing while you are mourning is kinda difficult. One day, I'm sure I will be able to say it again and really mean it....

...I am happy for you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Father's Day Note

Dear Rick,

This probably seems like your typical Father's Day post, where the wives all shamelessly brag on their wonderful husbands, and, in a way, it probably is. But to me, this feels like more than your typical Father's Day. In the weeks since our journey with Olivia began, you have become so much more to me and mean so much more to me now than ever. I think walking through the valley of the shadow of death together has brought a depth to our relationship that nothing else could have. There is no one else that I would've rather had with me in the ultrasound room that day when we got the news that would radically change our lives. I will forever have the beautiful picture of Olivia's head cradled in your hands on the day she was born. The time that you heard me crying in the shower and came in fully clothed to hold me while I wept.......there are no words.

You have loved me as much as any man could and I am honored that God chose you to be the father of our children. Some of my favorite times together are watching the games of 'attack the Dad'. I know those memories are something our children will cherish as well. I can see how much our kids love you by the way they act when they are with you. And although I am secretly a little jealous when they scream, "DADDY'S HOME!!" when you come through the door, I wouldn't have it any other way. You are my ambassador of kwan, man. {LOL}

I am beyond thankful for you~

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hope: An Intro

After reading Nancy Guthrie's Holding Onto Hope, I decided to order The One Year Book of Hope. And Oh, I am so glad I did! I am already hearing the things that I need to and I'm only on day two! The words are so penetrating to my heart that I can't help but share them with you. One year seems like a long time. The longest 'devotional' that I will have ever committed to. I am confident though, that I will come out on the other side with my broken heart bound up and with a sweet intimacy with Jesus unlike any I have experienced thus far.

What touched me from the introduction was one word: manna. After losing her daughter Hope, Nancy's sister-in-law left a message taped to her mirror, "Don't forget the Manna." Nancy explains how the Israelites, while wandering in the wilderness, needed a fresh supply of it daily to sustain them and how we need that same daily sustenance from God. Especially during this time of grief {my personal wilderness}, I feel like I need His strength, compassion, & care, now more than ever. These words especially spoke to me:

I discovered that nothing else really satisfies or soothes our suffering except the Word of God. Revenge, ritual, and retreat are all short-term solutions that bring no lasting comfort.

I am desperate for that comfort she speaks of & know that it will come only from one place: the truth of His word. So today, I'm not forgetting my manna.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Work in Progress

Huh? Where am I? Did I end up at the right blog?

Don't worry -- I just decided to redecorate. How're things looking? Everything showing up properly? After staying up waaaaay too late, I had to just quit where I was at & decide to call it a 'work in progress'.

Just like me. wink

P.S. Yep. I designed everything myself...custom background, header, new fonts and buttons for the sidebar. Everything. It was great therapy, actually.

****UPDATE****: See my comment in the comments section for more details on my new design!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Remembering Her Birthday: 05/14/09

Dear Olivia,

One month gone by and I miss you terribly. I wish I were still enjoying your little kicks and tumbles, instead of visiting your grave today. Mommy loves you so, so much and is still broken-hearted about not having you here. I can't wait for the day when I get to see you again in your new beautiful body to match your sweet little spirit. Love you, dear daughter.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


Sienna inspired the title of this post. She asked today what 'tidbits' are, then practiced using the word. Mama's definition was pretty close. So, here, little girl, is your official definition:

tid*bit: –noun
1. a delicate bit or morsel of food.
2. a choice or pleasing bit of anything, as news or gossip

This post will mostly be the second one, although I don't know how pleasing, with a little bit of the first one mixed in. So here they are, in no particular order, pieces of my life.


A few weeks ago, Tatiana was running on the treadmill, while her dad was biking next to her. I think she likes to do that so that her & dad can have some special time together. She told me that after her 'workout', she went over to the corner of the basement and stood next to the bassinet. The one that Olivia would have used. She told me that made her really sad. Seven-year olds grieve too. That nearly broke my heart.


I am reading lots of books. Devouring them actually. I am so not a book reader. I love cookbooks, does that count? I loooooove magazines, but novels, notsomuch. I needed a diversion after Olivia's diagnosis, so I started reading. So far I've polished off four Sophie Kinsella books, Holding Onto Hope, one Yada Yada Prayer book, and Waiting with Gabriel. Guess I'm just that much closer to meeting my 2009 goal.


I went to Target the other day to pick-up some bigger sized onesies for Sebastian. To most people, this seems like a relatively easy task, except for the fact that they are located in the baby aisle with lots of other baby items for soon to be born little babies. I nearly broke down crying. Why can't they just keep them with the Men's undershirts?


My sister-in-law {might as well just refer to her as my sister for that matter} sent me an email a little while back about her tears for Olivia. The thing that sticks out the most (and makes me smile even now at her preparedness} is how she described that she had already mentally arranged her mini-van seating chart for where all the carseats would go when she would watch all my kids. Just reminds me that I'm not the only person who had plans for Olivia that would never see them come true.


It's just so cruel that a Mama's milk has to come in when there is no baby to drink it. Didn't my boobs get the memo? It's almost like my body's own way of weeping. The leaking is just a constant reminder that Olivia's not here. So cruel.


I went to pick-up the book Waiting with Gabriel at the library the other day. It's another family's personal story about their adverse prenatal diagnosis & how they too prepared to say Hello & Goodbye to their son, all in the same breath. I was trembling as I approached the desk to ask for it, as it was on special hold. Would the librarian notice the title? Would she ask why I was checking out the book? She didn't. I left with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.


I fell in love with a scone recipe from Julia Child for buttermilk scones. I add orange zest & dried cranberries and have made them about a half-a-dozen times in the last few weeks. Could that have anything to do with the few pounds I've gained? Speaking of Julia Child, I can't wait to see the movie coming out called Julie & Julia. Right up my alley. The other recipes I've savored just recently have been this Key Lime Pie & Iced Coffee. Another 2009 goal that I'm closer to completing.


As Sienna's karate class was ending today and the next one was beginning, the waiting area filled up with babies. Seriously. There were two baby girls, one baby boy and a toddler girl, all seemingly looking at me. I thought I would stand up and scream. I didn't. But inside I did.


I don't sleep very well. Even with taking a sleeping pill, I just don't. I don't know if it's because I am so busy taking care of house, laundry, three children during the day that I don't have time to process or grieve, so it all starts slowly seeping out, then pouring out, at night? Because that's when I finally have time to sit down & catch up on the blog happenings that sometimes leave me in tears? At least I can be somewhat productive. Like scheduling my blog posts for 7:00 am, so that you won't know that it was really typed at 1:55 am, the morning of.

Off to search for zzzzzzzs~

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Why share?

Me again. But then, who did you expect?

I need to follow-up on my post the other day, but really wanted to make sure that my words didn't just get lost in the comments section. I want ya'll to know that I realize some of my thoughts are irrational. That they don't make sense. That they probably, at times, go against what my God has told or promised me. That sometimes those thoughts are in total conflict with each other. That sometimes I just plain don't know what to think or how to feel. And I'm so grateful that the collective 'You' are there to point me back to His word, just hear me out, or share your own story.

Most of the time our blogs are like better versions of our selves. They are our best foot forward. Kinda like a first date. Or a re-touched glossy magazine cover. We try to leave a good impression and, maybe for some people, a different impression of who we really are. I've always tried to keep it pretty real around here, yet for a girl who's used to writing about new recipes or craft ideas, some of these posts are just down-right scary to publish. Even with many of my earlier thoughts on Olivia's diagnosis, her death, the grief, I've kept it........nicer. No need to make anyone squirm at their computer desk. But recently, two things have happened: I've run out of energy to make my posts nice and pretty, just to make sure no one is uncomfortable reading them, and secondly, I don't think God wants me to.

Letting you in close enough to watch me try to make sense of it all or give you a glimpse of my aching heart isn't easy. It probably seems like a radical change from happy-go-lucky-suburban-homeschooling-mom to grief-stricken-brokenhearted-wrestling-with-God-mom. {Although much has changed, much of me has stayed the same & a lot of what has changed has done so for the better.} And even though some of what I write might seem totally foreign to you, I want to be transparent anyways. So that you have a glimpse into what I'm going through, if you're not familiar with this side of grief, in order to comfort someone else. So that if you are in that sad, painful place, you'll know you're not alone. That I am there. That He is there.

Judging from some of the more personal comments and private emails, I know this is how He wants me to continue. {For the record, it's not that I'm convinced that I am to blame. Just sharing that part of my process.} The journey isn't over. And so I'll continue to share it. Because even from that very first moment in the ultrasound room, I knew.

He chose me for this.

HE chose ME for THIS.

And I still believe it.

Monday, June 08, 2009


This will probably be a week of sharing a lot of my thoughts. The Good. The Bad. The Downright Ugly. They are starting to pile up. Here goes.

I blame myself.

For Olivia's trisomy and ultimately for her death. Even if that doesn't make sense.

It was two days before Thanksgiving when the pregnancy test read positive. I purchased the test, along with all the groceries needed for my Thanksgiving dinner for 20. Oh, how I wanted to just cancel Thanksgiving. Can we please just call all the guests & tell them not to come? I bawled. I locked myself in the bathroom. I didn't even tell Hubs what the test said. Guess the red eyes, blotchy face & hyperventilating when I got out of the bathroom gave it away. This pregnancy wasn't planned {not by me at least}; it wasn't even Sebastian's first birthday yet.

Fast forward...
The words no mother wants to hear, "Trisomy 18", "Incompatible with life", "Fifty-percent stillbirth rate". And so I blame myself. I deserve this suffering. If only I would've wanted Olivia from the very beginning, God wouldn't be punishing me this way. That is the biggest If Only. There are other smaller If Onlys too. If only I would've taken my prenatal vitamins. If only I wouldn't have said in the ultrasound room, "I don't want to raise a child that is severely disabled." If only I would've prayed harder. It must be my fault because I'm the Mama; she was inside of me. At least I could've carried her to full term so that I could meet her alive, face-to-face. But No. I couldn't even get that right.

I recently opened my journal & these are the words I wrote, nearly one year ago:

I do think, often, that suffering in my life is because I did something wrong or is a punishment from God. It's not too often that I associate suffering for doing good or what is right. I do believe that suffering strengthens my faith in the Lord. When times are extremely tough, I find myself praying more than usual. I don't think I have yet learned how to "embrace" suffering. I need to have a clearer mind now about the peace and purpose of suffering in my life.

One year and heaps of suffering later and part of me still believes that. And then I read parts of Job. And then I read 2 Chronicles 31:20-32:1. And then I read Ps. 103:10, "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities" and Romans 8:1-2 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death". And His Word tells me something different than what my sinful flesh {and Satan} wants me to believe.

So what does this mean for me now? That even if I did sin by not counting Olivia as an immediate blessing, that God does not punish me accordingly. It's still just so hard not to thnk that 'I got what I deserved'. Most of me knows that it really wasn't my fault. That there really wasn't anything I did wrong or could've done differently to change the outcome. It's easier when there's someone to blame though, don't ya think? Even if it's ourselves? Because the alternative, well........the alternative would be to wrestle with God about why He allowed this suffering to pass through His hand. The rest of my journal entry from nearly a year ago gives me a glimpse at the anwser:

"Testing and suffering are not our enemies. In fact, they may be our allies in producing in us the sweetness of the character of Christ and in deepening our dependence on Him."

Friday, June 05, 2009

18 Months of Spunky

I am a big 'ole grouch today. Besides that, I am so *exhausted* I can barely lift my limbs to move around. Those things aside, I couldn't miss the chance to share my thankfulness for my 18 months with Sebastian Judah, aka Spud. It was on December 5, 2007 that my first son was born.


And there he is today. My big brown-eyed, bottle lovin', chupy needin', blankie draggin', finger pointin', tantrum throwin', eczema sufferin', mischief makin', book readin', spoon feedin', cuddly clingin' little boy.

Once you have lost a child, you have a whole new perspective, love, and appreciation for the ones you do have. Oh, how my heart swells for this little fella!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

5-30-09: A Hard Day

I made it through Saturday {obviously}, which was Olivia's memorial service. A hard, but good day. I was a train-wreck on Friday night, but I decided to write out some thank you cards as therapy. It helped guide my heart from a woe-is-me attitude to one of gratefulness. In case you were unable to attend, I thought I share some of the small details of the day. I am so proud of how Olivia's program turned out. I love the photos I chose. The cover says:
Once upon a time, there was a hope. Hope of a new life, another daughter, a beloved sister, a precious granddaughter, an adored niece. A hope of beautiful memories to be made, a hope of a family of six, the hope of a sweet little girl. We named that hope.....Olivia.

Tatiana helped me pick out corsages for all the grandmothers and I bought one for each of my daughters as well. I lovingly presented each one, telling the person that it was so that everyone would know that they are Olivia's grandma or big sister. Just another way of trying to make the day 'special'.

I worked for hours on making two photo boards of some of our memories with Olivia. This was really healing for me. Weird, I know. I think it's that whole creative process thing. I have them sitting on my mantle for the time being & enjoy looking at them every night before I go to sleep.

We worshipped. We cried. We watched a beautiful slideshow set to the song 'Homesick' by Mercy Me. We were all touched by the beautiful song that I mentioned here, which was sung by my dear friend Stephanie. My husband gave the 'message', if you will, and shared much of our story. He's not much of an emotional guy, so when I say that he was having a hard time getting through it, you'll know how really difficult it was for him to share.

I knew I wouldn't have the strength to speak publicly, so I decided to write something included in the program. If you only knew how many drafts I went through before coming up with the end result; I was nearly driving myself crazy. Everything just seemed too....fake. Like I was only writing 'nice' things, so that no one would feel uncomfortable. I think what I wrote is heart-felt, yet honest:
That day in the ultrasound room was the worst day of my life. I will never forget the doctor's words, "There's a lot going on here....". The next few weeks were an agonizing roller coaster of hope & despair. I lived 'stuck' between praying for a miracle and planning for the probable. The hardest part was having the courage to love Olivia, even knowing that I would probably have to let her go. I thought my heart would break into a million pieces, but even so, this Mama just couldn't help to love her daughter fiercely. My constant prayer was for God's mercy, whatever tha might look like for me. He knew best & chose to take her Home on Mother's Day. I have never longed for Heaven like I do now, knowing that I will see Olivia again. Only Jesus makes that possible, so I will hold onto Him with all that I have until I see her again. Oh, how I love Olivia more than words could ever say.
I am so glad that I had the chance to thank and hug everyone who was there & had been a part of ours and Olivia's lives. {Since many of you are a part of our journey as well, I will fill you in on a little project I have for you in a upcoming post.} After the service, we enjoyed lots of sweets, drinks, and fellowship with our friends.

It was a really hard day.

Terrible, yet beautiful all at the same time.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

With the socks?

It must be around here somewhere. In the hall closet? Nope. Junk drawer? Uh-uh. Kids' overflowing toy box? No luck. Maybe it ended up where all the socks mysteriously go to when you put two in the washer but only one comes out in the dryer? Not a chance. What am I looking for?

My old life.

I know, though, that it is gone for good. Never to be seen again. I miss it though. And I am still adjusting to this new one, trying to at least feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel like I'm trying to put together a 5000 piece puzzle, except without the picture on the box as a reference. There is some frame here {I *always* put those straight-edged pieces together first}, but it seems like it will be a long time before I figure out what this new life is supposed to look like & how all the pieces will fit together.

There was a time when I just desperately wished I could've turned back the clock to a time when my life was less painful & complicated. I know, of course that that isn't possible, and besides, there is an appreciation and spiritual awareness to this new life that I'm living. I feel like there is a certain beauty to the different person that I've become {is it conceited to say that?} because of the sweet brokenness that Olivia has brought to my life. But at the same time, there are so many rough and broken edges to me that just feel so....unfamiliar. I apologize in advance if I accidentally hurt you with one of those jagged pieces of me. I really would never mean to. There have also been plenty of times, from our T18 diagnosis up until the present, that I wish the clock would just spin forward a year or so, but I know, yet again, that there would be so much that I would miss. So much that I need to go through, not just get over.

And so I'm just gonna stop looking for it, my old life. Hopefully, wherever it went, it has some nice, clean unmatched socks to keep it company.