Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I posted anything. And here's the reason:

Gavin Lewis
born 6/26/14
7:03 am
7 lbs 3 oz
19 inches

3 days old


1 week old

He is a nice combination of his brother's good looks. He's got looooong skinny feet, long arms, and huge hands. He is already sleeping 4+ hours a time every night all night long. He is greatly loved by his big brothers!! We are all so glad our sweet baby is here (and Mommy doesn't even have to take medicine any more to not be sick). 

Monday, January 13, 2014

When Mommy Has to Say Goodbye

The other night my husband watched a movie trailer; a movie that has been a huge hit in box offices this month. It is the story of a soldier who ends up being the sole survivor of his group. That preview made me cry, possibly thanks to crazy hormones...but I just kept thinking about all those babies who didn't return home to their mommies. And I cried. I cried for all those mommies who lost their babies that day. You see, I've come to the conclusion that no mommy should every have to say a final goodbye to her baby.

Just over 5 years ago we lost our first baby at what should have been 1/4 of the way through the pregnancy. It was Christmas time. Especially in church and in songs we heard a lot about the miracle of Christ's birth. In my grief all I could think was that it wasn't fair that Mary got to have her baby, and I didn't get to have mine. It was a rough Christmas. Shortly after Christmas I was listening to a song (at the insistence of some family members) about a soldier who didn't return home to his mother. Several of us were in tears. One mother in the room mentioned how hard it was to hear that song while having a son over-seas, not military related. And another cut in that it was even harder to have a son who had served in the military. I wanted to scream at them both. The one line of the song I remember talked about memories and pictures being all that was left to remember her child by. At least they HAD memories to remember their child by. I suppose grief is sometimes narrow-minded - I hadn't come to the realization yet that no mommy every wants to say that final goodbye to her baby.

A little over a year later a Marine from my hometown was killed in Afghanistan. I hadn't met him before, but knew his parents. I remember the moment the realization hit. Another mommy had had to say goodbye to her baby. My son was not yet 5 months old at the time and I remember going into his room and watching him sleep with tears streaming down my face. This time I wasn't crying for myself. I was crying for another mommy who had to say that final goodbye to her baby. He may have been in his 20s, but most moms will agree that their children are always their babies, no matter how old they are.

In the past 4 years I've met a lot of mothers who have had to say goodbye to their children. And I realize, even more strongly now, that no mommy ever wants to have to say goodbye to their baby. All of our experiences are different, and there's really no way to say what experience is hardest; a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a little one who couldn't live without machines, a tragic accident, cancer, war....and so many, many other things that take lives. Sometimes the mommy has passed on before the child, and I'm certain there are a great many reunions in heaven. But sometimes a mommy is required to stay on earth without her baby. And it just isn't fair. There are a lot of things in life that aren't "fair" and never will be. Today I'm specifically writing about one unfair thing that is especially close to my heart.

We never know how long we might get. It may be just a few days or weeks, it may be months or years, but ultimately, we never feel it is enough time. We feel cheated, I imagine, no matter how much time we have. Personally, I have only experienced one type of loss, that of a child we never got to see. And I know there are people out there who think a loss that early shouldn't matter that much, but it does to me. I picture her as a 5 year old with blond hair and blue eyes. She is sweet and kind and a perfect child who I have never argued with or been frustrated with. Perhaps they are silly daydreams. But she is real to me. And I fully believe that someday we will get to have her as part of our family. She inspires me and helps me to help other families who are having to say that final goodbye to their tiny babies as well. There are still hard days, days when my heart feels like it's been ripped out of my chest and I can barely breath and I don't know how I can go on missing my baby so much. But there are so many good days now. I often feel especially close to my sweet angel when I have a chance to visit with other angels though volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

Sometimes I come home from a visit with an angel and I cry and cry. But I no longer only just cry for myself. I've been able to let go of the hurt I feel knowing other mommies got to hold their little ones, even for just a little while. It truly doesn't hurt me any more. I still wish my baby was here, but I know that just because I didn't get to hold my baby doesn't make my experience any harder or easier than these other mommies face. Having to say goodbye to your baby is a hard thing...no matter the circumstances.

And other mommies can, and do, understand this grief. Mary, the mother of Christ, can understand my hurt over losing my baby. The mother of the Marine from my home town can understand my heartache. There are mothers all over the world who have said goodbye to their babies, and they can all understand that grief. And of course, Christ understands better than anyone. How grateful I am for his sacrifice that he might be able to truly know each heartache we suffer. I don't know how it works, but I believe it does. I keep this picture to remind that even if I can't be holding my baby today, Christ is taking good care of her.
In the Arms of His Love - Del Parson

Someday we will all be together again, and what glorious reunions await in heaven for all those mothers and babies. I imagine it will be a truly beautiful day.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review

2013 was a good and very busy year for us! If you want the short Facebook version - you can click HERE. But I thought I should probably type one out too, since I missed updating for both the boys birthdays this year.

2013 firsts:
First house bought (May)
First surgery - Emmett's tubes (June)
First dog - Lola (June)
First bike stolen - Sam's (April)
First stolen bike found - Sam's (September)
First promotion - Sam (August)
First Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep session - Stacy (April)
First Primary program with a participating child - Caleb (November)
First Utah Baby - scheduled to arrive July 2, 2014

Updates on us:
Emmett:

Turned 2 November 30th and suddenly started talking a whole lot more. Now his sentences include "Peese Mama, chocolate?" and "Wing da wosie bah dow fass" (Ring around the rosies, fall down, fast) and other things that sometimes need a lot of translation on our parts. He likes to say big words like "rototiller," "helicopter" and "chocolate" and he doesn't like leaving out syllables, but it does take patience on the part of the listener to wait for him to finish his big words. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment this year is that he finally sleeps through the night! Took tubes, a move, and putting him in a bed (all in about 6 weeks) but he now sleeps well through the night in his own bed! He has also taken up a love of dancing and music and singing Primary songs since his birthday. He still likes to climb on things but doesn't end up falling off them quite as much as he used to. He loves to follow Caleb around and do everything "brudder" does. He loves to eat food (except tortillas) and often finishes his brother's left overs. He has turned into quite the ham and loves to make people laugh by doing silly things. He also laughs very loudly when he thinks he's funny or someone else is laughing, even if he doesn't get why. He loves to say "hi" to everyone he sees in the store, and sometimes in the cars next to us at lights. He gets disappointed if they don't say hi back though. One of his newest favorite things is the movie The Sound of Music.

This is Emmett's counting face - it's hilarious!


Caleb:

Turned 4 October 10th. He's been loving Sunbeams and insists he needs to take his scriptures to church with him every Sunday. He still loves getting dressed up for church - especially wearing a tie. He is still a chatter-box and some days talks almost constantly. As he grows up his conversations have become deeper. Some of our recent conversations have included: Satan, the main bad guy who wants other people to make bad choices, why killing Satan isn't the way to get rid of that particular bad guy, and what things make Satan happy and Jesus sad; Weddings, and how you move out of your parents house when you get married; Commandments; Bing Crosby - the best Christmas singer; and many conversations including the characters of The Sound of Music - his favorite movie. He got the DVD for SoM for his birthday and it was a big hit. I think in Caleb's mind the people in SoM are as real to him as his extended family and friends. "So Mom, if you are 16 you can drive a car, right? Can Liesl drive a car, Mom?" "Do you know what Little Gretel likes? Bunny rabbits! It's her favorite thing!" Perhaps his biggest accomplishment this year is getting up to bear his testimony in Sacrament Meeting in October. Daddy helped him and it was a sweet moment! He has been practicing to do it again, though last time he practiced he said, "Joseph Smith went to pray to Heavenly Father about which church to destroy....and Heavenly Father told him to destroy them all." He is not too shy about getting up in front of people and when it was his turn to give his part for the Primary program he said it as fast as he could before anyone could help him, and he had a huge grin on his face the whole time. He loves playing with and taking care of his little brother and is excited about being a big brother again. This year for Christmas he wanted "a blanket with cheese on it - not real cheese, just pictures of cheese." He decided Emmett needed one too. They got blankets with animals on them instead. He has a great imagination!



Sam:
Hit his year mark of working for Lifetime in August. He got a promotion, a raise, and a title to go with his job. Perhaps his biggest work accomplishment this year is a patent for a piece on a kayak. The job pays for the patent and all necessary work that way, but Sam's name gets to be on the paperwork. He went kayaking numerous times and sometimes would come home nearly complaining about falling in the river for his job. I don't have much sympathy those days. I can see his smug grin under the complaining, it really is a great job for him and he loves it. We rarely go a week without hearing about how wonderful Sam's voice is in our ward. He's sung several times and is asked to read quotes and 4 page articles in Sunday School. He teaches Elder's Quorum and is on the building cleaning management crew. He tried his hand at fixing sprinklers this summer and found something he really enjoys (and so do the boys - Dad lets them play in the mud while he works). He is loving having a large yard, fruit trees, and a dog (Lola). He spent a great week in the Wind Rivers with his parents and sister and brother-in-law in August. He enjoyed a work sponsored fishing from a kayak tournament this summer. He really does love kayaking! Lately he's been spending a lot of time taking care of the rest of us and the house when he comes home from work. He is pretty much super man and even got our jetted tub working today!

Stacy:
I finally got my application approved for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep in April. It was a long process, but mostly just a bit tricky getting my pictures ready for their specific requirements. Since April I've logged 12 sessions - one a twin session, and I went on one more shoot with another photographer for my first time around - so a total 14 babies for me this year. It was so wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. It is nice to feel like I have found a helpful service, but also sad every time a baby doesn't get to stay on this earth. I also got a closet up and going for angel clothes, Lily's Angel Closet. And it has been quite the project. It is a closet filled with love and every time I open it up I can feel all the love people have put into these outfits, blankets, and other accessories just spilling out. It truly is a beautiful thing! Since November I have been putting all my energy into our July 2014 baby. It has been some of the hardest work I've ever done and a lot of other things (almost everything) has been neglected because of this work. This year my Christmas wish was to have a few days of not feeling quite so awful and I got that! New Years has been rough, but Christmas was wonderful. At 14 weeks today I am really hoping for more good days coming up! I have been serving in Nursery at church and I am trying to really love it. I got a chance to play my flute for the Christmas program and may have made my own mark in the ward - apparently they have several people who play the violin, but none who play the flute.


Family picture in our back yard - a photographer friend of mine came and took pictures for us - so excited to have such neat backdrops in our own yard!


All in all, 2013 was a good year for us and we're really excited about 2014 coming up, especially a baby coming in July!

Friday, September 20, 2013

E does the blogging - 21 months


In the past few months I have turned into quite the chatter box. Mom figures I was just waiting to say things until I could really say them well. On the day Mom took my pictures I said my name for the first time. Mom and Brother were so excited and tried and tried to get me to say it again - but I wasn't interested. I've also recently learned, "prickly" "train" "airplane" "truck" "story" "pants" bike" "flower" "outside" "buckle" "go away" "please water" "sorry" "help" and a whole lot of other words too. I will even attempt to say anything Mom asks me to, like "friend" at the store yesterday.

Brother taught me a great trick of saying "hi" to everyone we see - especially at stores. Mom says we make a lot of people's day when we say hi to them. I am certainly not shy when it comes to saying "hi" as long as I do it myself. If Mom has to prompt me to say hi then I get really shy.

I love fruit! Right now we have apples, pears, and grapes in our back yard and I sample each of them nearly every day. I am just the right size to fit under the support structure for the grapes. I have surprised Mom several times by walking out from underneath the grapes when she didn't know I was under there. I can hide completely in the grapes and then I can eat as many as I want. I really love eating grapes! Every day when we got outside I ask Mom for an apple. She quickly found if she didn't give me a good apple I'd just eat the rotting ones off the ground. So now I get an apple a day - and it seems to be keeping the doctor away. I haven't had to go to the doctor since I got tubes in my ears in June.

I am very motivated to keep up with my big brother. I love to follow him around and do everything he does. If he sits down to put his shoes on I sit down so I'm in the exact same position to try to put my own shoes on. I really love shoes, too. I know which shoes match up and which person they belong to. I sometimes hand people their shoes in matching pairs when I'm ready to leave. 


Since I got tubes and moved into a bed I've been sleeping a lot better at night, though I often fall asleep just inside the door and sleep on the floor all night long. But I rarely get up in the middle of the night any more.

Climbing is my favorite game. I love to open the dishwasher and climb on the door. If the stools are down I push them around the kitchen and get into whatever has previously been out of my reach. One day I even set the timer off on the stove. It really scared me and I haven't tried that again. 

I love reading books, especially the books that just have pictures and the words to what they are. I pull one out and tell Mom everything I know in that book, then I have her tell me all the things I don't know. Then we start all over again. My favorite things to find are dogs and cats, because they also make noises which are fun to make.

Monday, July 15, 2013

E Does the Blogging - 18 months

Ok - so my update is a month late - but the picture is about right. There is just so much to do these days! Who has time for typing on the computer when there is a whole world to explore? I love exploring. I climb on everything and even when I fall it doesn't stop me from climbing or trying to climb on anything else. In the few weeks we've owned a bunk bed I've already learned how to climb up and down the ladder by myself. Mom always says I have no fear. I love water and heights and dogs and strangers...I'm not scared of anything - except being taken away from my mom and dad. A couple weeks ago (6/24/13) I got tubes in my ears. The anesthesiologist took me from my mom and dad and I was not happy. Other than that the tubes haven't bothered me much at all. The hardest part was not eating before we went to the doctor's office at 7:30 in the morning. By then I've already been up for a couple hours, you know - and a guy sure gets hungry when there's so much to explore at 6 am!

I love living in my new house. I love playing in the yard - especially the front yard. I'm not allowed to be out there by myself, but I sure try to be. I really love playing in the sprinklers. I always scrunch my shoulders when the water hits me - but I keep going back for more. I also love to play in dirt and mud. I have ruined several outfits since we moved with mud. We got a dog a couple weeks back and I sure do love Lola. She often licks me right in the face and I always shudder but go back to her for more. I love dogs! Every time I see her outside I holler "DOG!" and I start saying "woof" over and over. I have also learned to say "meow" and I always tip my head to the side when I say it.

My vocabulary has exploded over the last month or two. My favorite things to say are "uh-oh" "stuck" "Cay-ba" (Caleb) "Ouchy" "shoe on" "shoe off" "wite" (light) "bonk" "car" "no" "tanks" (thanks) "Bye! 'ove you!"

I love food. Watermelon may be my all time favorite though. The other day Mom gave Caleb a plate of watermelon and I reached over, grabbed a piece, and stuck it in my mouth - amid protests from my older brother. Mom handed me my own plate of watermelon a few seconds later and I spit out the piece of watermelon I swiped from Caleb, put it back on his plate, and went to work on my own plate of watermelon. I sure do love watermelon! I am not a fan of bread and I nearly refuse to eat tortillas. But other than that I'll eat anything. I love emptying the cupboards and getting into anything I think I might get away with if no one is looking.

Sleeping, especially at night, is not my favorite thing. Since I've been moved into a big bed I can now get out whenever I want. I often end up snuggling with Dad (Mom always takes me back to my bed - she doesn't believe in snuggling and sleeping at the same time). Sometimes I have night terrors and lately when that happens I end up running around my room or the house and screaming in the middle of the night. Usually when it happens once then it happens multiple times that night and then doesn't happen for a couple weeks. I almost always wake up about 5:30 - no matter how late I went to bed or how many times I was up in the night. I have to be that early bird! Lately though Dad just snuggles me back to sleep for an hour if he can.

I love doing anything Caleb does. If he lays on the floor - so do I. If he poses for a picture - so do I. My big brother is my best friend and we always do everything together - except he isn't fearless like I am so I am often the one to lead out in making trouble. I love carrying my blanky (Bay) around and chewing on it. Mom says that's gross - but she can't convince me!

I have been learning to sing and dance. Most of my singing is incomprehensible to everyone but me - but Mom says she can sometimes tell what song I'm trying to sing. Zip-a-dee-do-dah is one that I love to sing that's easy to hear what I'm trying to sing.

I suppose that is enough of an update for now. I have cupboards to unload, you know. "Bye! 'ove you!"