Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekend Links 5/22/15

Branched out a little in my reading this week . . .

Witching Hour Chronicles  
On Lifting the Veil of Perfection 
How a weary mom can find hope

The Question - love her perspective on this 

Special Needs
Toothbrushing: making it easier 
All human, all the same
You don't outgrow Autism. . . what happens when help ends at age 21

Pictures from our week . . .

 Little diva. . . I could dedicate an entire post to this girl and her divalicious ways!

 While on the playground this week, Clara walked right in front of an older kid on the swings and thus busted up her lip really well. After some snuggles and an ice pack, she seemed to be in better spirits. Love my girl and her little swollen lip! 

 Camille and I enjoyed a leisurely morning at the park on Wednesday. 
We had the entire place to ourselves!

Thankful for this extra long, family and friend filled Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Savor What Is

Several weeks ago, well a few weeks before we lost Chance, I listed to a podcast by Shauna Neinquiest (which was hosted by Kat from Inspired to Action), author of the recently released (and popular!) book Savor. The theme of the podcast was how to savor life in the midst of the crazy.

A big takeaway for me at the time, and now even more impactful after losing Chance, is the question posed to Shauna and listeners? 

What prevents us from savoring our days? What prevents us from truly savoring our time with our family and littles? Shauna gives her answer . . .

The image of what it is SUPPOSED to be.

This resonates with me on so many levels.

Quoted from the podcast:

Parenting is such an invitation to love what is, and let go of what isn't. Parenting is so much about  responding to what IS and rolling with it, and it can be really frustrating if you're really stuck in your concept of what it should have been. (What your kids should have been like, what your marriage was supposed to look like, what your house was going to be, etc). If you can invest yourself deeply in what IS, instead of being so caught up in what you thought it should have been, that is a real recipe for living a very rich and very present life.

So what does this look like for me? 

Loving & fully embracing my daughters special needs, and redirecting my focus when I start to wander down the path of comparing her and her abilities to that of a typical child. Love what is. Invest myself deeply in what is. Let go of the "should have beens."

Loving & fully embracing our family of five, even though our family of five looks a little different than most. Love what is. Invest myself deeply in what is. And while I will never fully be able to let go of Chance, I cannot remain stuck in what should have been. Remaining in that place will only encourage a cycle of bitterness and disappointment. Forget him? Never. Yet I can respond to my pain and sadness by embracing what IS. . . my husband, my daughters here on earth, my family, my friends, and God's great love for me. 

Embrace the journey. Savor what is. . . 

I highly recommend listening to this podcast episode. Besides, podcasts makes any mundane task, such as that mound of dishes or laundry, a little more bearable. And if you're up for it and feeling a little insightful, share what this looks like for you. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekend Links 5/15/15

Most any reading that I am able to do right now is centered around miscarriage, grief and loss, hope and joy despite the pain, the process of healing, and finding a new normal.

Thus. . .

Doorways of Hope
Men lose babies too: How can we help them grieve?
Pouring Blessings On a Baby: What one inspiring woman did on the date that should have been her due date
Life Is Hard - "There is nothing that God cannot redeem. After all our struggles, toils, our doubt and fear, God extends His grace and redeems." Truth. 

 "I am calling you to trust me in deep darkness." From Jesus Today. 
I would say that is about right.

The scriptures that correlate with the above devotional. 

And a few pictures from our week. . .
 Even in my grief, my days are still filled with lots of typical highs and lows. 
Taking selfies with this girl is always a high. 

 Tantrums are are low. But in light of losing Chance, 
I can be thankful for these chaotic moments because, goodness, she is HERE. 
Frustrating and somewhat maddening?
Yes, without a doubt. I am still human after all. 
Yet, thanks to our son, my perspective has been made new. 

 When in the world did this girl turn 13? 

 Camille naturally needed a "moby wrap" for her baby. 
So her Nana made her one of course. 

 Didn't quite capture a picture of the baby doll tucked into her "moby wrap" bandana, 
but it was pretty hysterical. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Where pain and peace collide

I think there comes a point after any loss, trauma, or any life altering event, where both pain and peace take up residence in your heart. Where sadness is still a very real emotion, yet deep down there is peace and contentment. Where grief and sorrow still bring you to your knees, yet deep down there is comfort and hope. Opposite emotions living in one space. In one moment there are tears, and in the next the tears are replaced by an overwhelming sense of joy. A heart that is literally aching while at the same time feeling settled and calm. A constant longing for my son that translates into a constant longing for Jesus. This is my reality.

I read somewhere the idea that faith doesn't necessarily make our situations any less painful, but faith just keeps us from being swallowed or overtaken by our pain. I have to agree. There has not been one day since losing Chance where I haven't broken into tears. Yet even in the midst of my hurt God has given me an underlying sense of calm and overwhelming peace. I felt it the second I looked into my son's face, a moment I will never forget. I am so thankful for this balance God is gracing me with. I know in time the daily tears will cease. That one day as I crawl into bed I will stop and think back and realize no tears were shed that day. But in the meantime, he is continuing to remind me that he is strong enough and big enough and loving enough to keep moving me forward in faith and trust.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekend Links 5/8/15 & the anticipation of Mother's Day

A few links on this Mother's Day weekend. . .

A Mother's Day Letter to Grieving Moms
To My Fellow Loss Mom on the First Day of the "After" 
His peace is bigger
What I want you to know about losing a child 

If we are being honest, I am not too excited about celebrating this Sunday. Mother's Day is always a bittersweet day for me due to losing my biological mom, and add on top of that the fresh pain of losing Chance and well. . . you pretty much have the recipe for soaking the church pew with tears this Sunday.

But I know I will make it through. Because I love a God that is bigger than my pain, and this same God that is bigger, loves me more deeply than I can ever fathom loving my own children.

So I will force myself this Sunday, my first Mother's Day after losing my son, to focus on what the Lord has given me, and not what he has taken away. I will try with all my might to savor what is, and not what could have been. Tears may very well still come, and that is just ok.

I am beyond thankful for these two beauties. . . So blessed to be their mommy. . . Words cannot even describe how much I love them. . . I know all you mommy's out there feel the same about your own.

 Apparently she has been watching daddy read his paper. :)

Clara made this for me at school this week. 
Her teachers are so dear and knew the perfect adjective to make me smile. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Camille 15 months

Camille turned 15 months on April 14th! Goodness . . . time is flying! She is such a fun loving, hilarious, spunky little girl and we adore her so very much! Clearly the monthly updates after 12 months have gone out the window (#secondchildproblems), but since 15 months is marked by a pediatrician check up (at least for us), I thought I would do a little update here on the blog (copied this idea from you, Allison).

Weight = 24 pounds 4 ounces (84%)
Height = 31.75 inches (82%)
HC = 18.74 inches (91%)

A few things she loves at age 15 months:

She loves being outside. . .

She loves playing with her baby dolls. . . 

And playing "mommy" with a cell phone and baby. . . ha!

She loves her pacis. . . please note she is holding four and also has one in her mouth.

She loves playing with her sister! Seriously it is the cutest thing. 

She loves taking off her shoes in the car. . . 

And loves "using" a fork. . . (she is actually quite good, so guess I need to give her credit!)

She loves to help vacuum. . .

She loves to play in the fridge. . .

And then loves throwing an epic tantrum when said fridge needs to be closed. . .

And loves watching herself tantrum in front of our dining room mirror. . . 

She loves taking a bath. . .

She loves cheesing it up for the camera. . .

She doesn't necessarily love conking out in the car, but I love this picture so. . .

She loves wearing daddy's hat. . .

 And last but not least, little miss loves taking selfies with mommy. . .

Happy (very) belated 15 months, Camille! We can't imagine our days without you in them!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Clara 3 years

We celebrated Clara this past Saturday on her birthday, May 2nd! She is now a big three year old! We took advantage of the nice weather Saturday and enjoyed a party at home (what we do every year, ha!). The children were able to play outside, and the adults were able to enjoy some talk time in between managing said children.

A few (ok, a lot of) pictures from Clara's special day. . . in no particular order. . .

 Clara's class at school had a party for her on Friday, and made this cute banner with their handprints. Since as of Friday I had no decor ideas for the actual party, hanging the banner worked perfectly! Thanks cubs class! :)

We enjoyed party sandwich trays from Kroger, chips, fruit and boxed brownies.
You can pin that if you want. 

Party favors for the kids included baggies of goldfish and candy.
Again, feel free to pin that if you want. 

A fun-filled day for sure. . . We love you, Clara!! So thankful for you and these past three years! Cannot wait to see where God takes you this next year!

(And a huge thanks to my sweet mother in law, Debbie, for taking the majority of these photos!)

Clara's stats at age 3 (for my records):
Weight = 28 pounds 6.4 ounces (24%)
Height = 36 and 1/8th inches (25%)
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