Thursday, September 27, 2012


 Life is flying by.  Grace seems to be growing up literally right before my eyes.  When she plays with big kids like her cousins, I swear she ages by a few years each time.  She will say things that has me flashing forward to teenage years.  Oh Lord, let them be easy! (smile)
I've been feeling good.  We are having meals made my me, our days are planned, we are playing together again.  I even am branching out with two and letting them paint and get messy.  Don't laugh.  Painting and messy activities have not been my pick when I was pregnant so this is big.
In the car the other night Grace and I were talking about Ella.  She didn't get to see her so it's not really so tangible for her.  She just wants to know when we'll have another!  She used to include Ella in her prayers at night.  That's stopped and it makes me so sad.  I can't and won't force her to remember her in a certain way but I want Ella to always be in our lives.
I told Grace that Ella loved her and it lit her face up!  She said "yeah Mom, I could make her jump and move in your belly. I was so good at that."  Oh, that moment was just want I needed.  Yes, Grace could make Ella move.  It was so good of the Lord to remind me of that memory of my two girls together.
The hurt is still there.  I believe it always will be.  The tears still come, although less often, at random times. It may be a memory, a song, or something I'm reading.  But times like this with my kids, times when I'm feeling "normal" and doing "normal" things are helping.
Today I am thankful for life.  I'm thankful for these two treasures.  I'm thankful for painting and getting messy and the fact that my rugs are dirty and our clothes have stains. I wouldn't trade that for anything. It means that I have these two precious souls to play with and take care of.  Thank you Lord!

Monday, September 24, 2012

TWO times TWO

 We had a second birthday party for Graham the week after his birthday.  When our kids are little we just invite our friends over (some have kids and some don't) and then have a cookout.  
 It was drizzly out but that didn't stop the kids from having a blast!  Shane put up an easy up and we all had a great time!

 Graham lit up when everyone started singing to him!  Seriously, like he couldn't get enough.
 He also loved blowing out his candles!  So his mama lit them and let him do it again.
 Except I moved the candles closer to him and when he leaned over to blow them out his mouth touched the candle.  It didn't really hurt him but it definitely startled him.  Oops!

We are so blessed with fantastic friends who love us and love our kids.  It was a great night to celebrate Graham.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brown County

Hang on everyone.  I usually pick 3 or 4 pictures to put on a post but I couldn't pick for this one so it's filled with photos from our fun day.

If you haven't been to Nashville (Indiana), GO!  It's a great town and so beautiful this time of the year.  The leaves haven't really started turning yet but everyone has begun decorating for fall!  The kids LOVE this big stuffed dog at one of the stores.
Ok, so these stores may not be really kid friendly.  We spent a lot of time keeping Graham from touching things.  He has developed this habit of just dropping when he doesn't get his way.  Here he did it because we told him "no".  I took a picture before I went and scooped him up!

This is is for your Grandma Shirley!
This is in front of the Artist Colony Inn.  I think I'd like to make this a tradition to get their pictures here. 

ha!  Shane bent down to get a drink and then Sis wanted one too!
Back at camp, Gracie was helping Shane and she found a caterpillar.  She was so excited!  The day before she had a grasshopper friend.  I love that she likes bugs. :)
Brother kept getting a little too close with the magnifying glass.  Poor bug almost got squished countless times!
And time with Daddy in the chuck wagon!  You can hear Grace squealing all the way down the road when she rides with Shane.

Counting my blessings today-

  • a walk in the woods by myself
  • making it up "suicide hill" with NO stops!  That's huge people.  This hill is killer. :)
  • talking with Gracie about Ella.  It was sad, but definitely a gift.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end"
Ecclesiastes 3:11

It's Thursday again!  We have had a great week.  A visit to the Children's Museum yesterday, a visit coming with Grandma Shirley tomorrow.  Today chicken soup is simmering, laundry is started. Gracie and I are playing "camping" and Graham is playing trains.  

Today I am thankful for:
  • Grace- I'm so thankful for God's grace.  Every day. (and for my daughter- Grace, ha!)
  • Smiles.  I love my kids smiles.  They are really the best
  • Cool fall mornings.  It's making me want to bust out the soup and pumpkin recipes. yum!
  • And I totally realize this is trivial, but I am thankful for the duvet on our bed.  It's heavy enough to feel so good on a cool morning.  But it makes it so hard to get out of bed!!
What are you thankful for today?  I am so glad I've been doing this.  I also text my 3 girls in Michigan every night (or there abouts!) and share the 3 things I'm thankful for.  It is so important to find God's gifts in each day.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weekend catch up

 Dinner last week with some amazing ladies.  Have I mentioned how great all my friends are?
 A fun Saturday with friends. 
 If there is Thomas the Train, Graham is happy.
 And a date night!  We had fun going to a fundraiser with Shane's friends.  I wore heels for the first time in, oh, years.  That may be the last time too.  Seriously! By the end of the night I was hobbling around and even leaning on Shane in the parking lot.  Those puppies came off in the car!  My feet need, like my friend Marah says, conditioning. But I say, do they really?  Or do I just need flats? :)

This little guy was so tired.  Look at that face.  Love him.
And here's a shout out to Camp Lakewood!  We love our camps!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

(photo credit Marah )

Today my youngest would have been 10 weeks old.  Today I should have been talking about how much sleep I am getting, if any, and what kind of baby she is, fussy, or not. I should have been more frazzled leaving the house, with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and newborn.  

Instead I spent about 10 minutes or so crying my eyes out in a bathroom with a group of women outside.  (the ugly cry, you know the kind...)  I have had a great few weeks but I could tell in the past few days that a good cry was needed.  So I cried, called a friend, then picked myself up and moved on.

And I am still ok.

A friend told me that my blotchy red face is like war wounds and to wear them proudly.  Another friend brought me juice and let me cry.  Another came in and waited till I was ready, then walked out with me.

I think that today, besides, just needing to cry, it just hit me a bit.  The injustice of this.  I want my baby.  I want her with me.  I want to have to figure out where I'm going to nurse and when she'll be ready to eat again.  I want my house to be a wreck because I'm barely functioning because she's up all night.  

My husband, if here were here right now, would tell me- "Babe, it's not about you."  That's a line we use often in our house.  It can be because it's about another person's special day, or because it's about our family as a whole, or because it's about the bigger picture God has for us.

And it's true.  It's not about me.  I'm sad and I know that's ok  I know that it was perfectly fine for me to cry today.  And I ended up having a great morning.  But there is so much more to this story.  It's not about my selfish desires of wanting Ella in my arms.  She was created for a purpose and God's plan for her was and is bigger than I'll ever know.  It's about giving Him the glory and praise and knowing that He has a plan for us.  I don't understand it, and that's ok too.  I'm glad I don't have to understand it all and make sense of everything.  I'm glad I don't orchestrate my own life. I'd much rather leave it in the hands of the One who does have it all laid out.

I started a new album of Scripture today.  One of the verses in it is a favorite of mine

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future"
Jeremiah 29:11

So today I'm giving thanks, even in the hard-
  • God's plan for my life and that I can rest in knowing he knows my future and will give me hope
  • ladies who love me and will laugh and cry with me
  • my babies' names around my neck
  • a lunch picnic with Gracie and Graham
  • watching clouds on our backs
  • God's reminder that I'm not in this alone.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways declares the Lord
Isaiah 55:8

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


 I'm too far behind to keep you all updated on all the fun we're having. :)  So here are some favorites.

Isn't she beautiful?  I know I'm biased, but I love this spunky little girl.

 Swimming at Dale Hollow over Labor Day.  
 My birthday.  We went down to the lake.  
 Learning how to use my new camera (thanks to Marah for the lesson!)  Movie night.  Popcorn, fudge, and the movie Cars.  
 Graham did a great job overseeing packing the van.
 Daddy makes us the best breakfasts when we are camping (well, all the time really, but these were just as great!)
 My man knows how to pack a van.  There was even room for five people in here!
Happy Wednesday from us!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday is here...

 This is for you Uncle Shawn.  :)  Still trying to get that "framer"
 Here is my model as I learn my new camera.  She doesn't care to sit still for me too often.
 And my birthday boy!  We celebrated his special day last week and are having a campfire tonight to celebrate again (because who doesn't love extended celebrations?)
 I love my family.

Today I am thankful for
-the three people in the pictures above.
-a great week full of progress and plans
-Friday. Enough said

It's funny how things ebb and flow.  I'm a bit weepy and sad this afternoon, but God is good and my husband's listening ear has been my comfort.  That and the smores I'm going to eat tonight.  ha!

Set your minds on things above not earthly things
Colossians 3:2

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


We are back after a great weekend with friends.  We took a few days and went to Tennessee to Dale Hollow and had a great time swimming, relaxing, and just enjoying our friends and our kids.  Both Shane and I said that we really didn't think about anything back home which was nice.  For me personally, I thought about Ella often (I do love talking about her, so it was nice to share a bit of her birth story with our friends) but it wasn't filled with sadness or pain.  Just... thoughts... Last week I was gifted another beautiful necklace, this one with my kids names on it.  I put it on each day and loved seeing all three of their names on it.  I thought of Ella when I would talk and share stories.  Much of what I have to share seems to be "before Ella" or "after we had Ella".

One thing I realized is that speaking Ella's name and sharing about her is not hurting quite as bad.  It's beginning to feel more normal.  Going out and doing "normal" things isn't quite so painful.  I've been emailing a bit with a mama I met from a blog (of course!).  Her son died 6 months ago.  What connected me to her blog was that she wrote a post and said that she had lost track of counting the weeks.  I am still counting Thursdays, but reading that she had stopped counting was good for me.  In an email she wrote to me she said she doesn't have many "bad" days anymore and that she is in a much better place.  I kind of feel like in the last week or so I've been able to see the healing taking place in my heart. I can see that "better place" she is talking about.  Part of me likes that very much, but I also will admit that part of me is sad about that, like leaving the heavy grief behind is leaving a part of her.  Now I know that's not true and that God doesn't give us guilt like that to carry around so when I think that, I try to focus on what God has given me.

God works in interesting ways.  I am a big reader. I love to read blogs (ha! That's a funny understatement!) and books of all kinds.  I have always been a reader and you could always know I was reading at least one book, most often more than one.  Since I've had Ella, I haven't been able to pick up a book.  I have a number of them waiting on my kindle and a stack in my bedroom.  I've got magazines piling up as well.  I've been online and have read through many blogs, but I have found myself searching and reading ones that have a focus of grief or loss or encouragement after a loved one dying.  But not books.  I just haven't had the energy or desire to read.  I bought Angie Smith's I will Carry You for my kindle right after Ella was born and started it and immediately closed it.  It was too soon.  It has been a bit odd for me but I figured I'd start reading when I felt better.

This weekend.  This past weekend I read a book.

That may not seem like much to you.  But it is a big deal to me.  I realized I was due to borrow from the kindle lending library again so I browsed the titles and picked one that looked good.  And I read it. From start to finish in two days. (in the middle of being friendly with our hosts, and taking care of my kids and swimming and such, but every free minute- I read)  The book itself was not extraordinary.  I probably wouldn't recommend it to you, but it being able to read it was a milestone for me.  I read this post by Angie Smith last night.  I realized that  God is mending my heart and filling it with his love and his strength. Reading a book, just for fun was a sign of that healing.

 I still miss Ella so much and I still hurt, sometimes deeply, but I know I will be ok.  I'll start to have more good days than bad and I will continue to be able to talk about Ella with joy.  He will do as He's always done for me, when I let Him.  He takes the parts of my life that are hurting, and messed up and He lovingly "mends" me back together.  Then when I'm on the other side of the hurt, I realize how He's done it again for me.  What an awesome God we serve.  That's my prayer, that I'll keep healing and growing closer to God, giving him credit and glory for Ella's life.
If you haven't read anything by Angie Smith, go and do it.  She writes so well and is easy to read.  She and her husband have a daughter in heaven, Audrey.  In fact, the necklace my girls so thoughtfully gave me is a Lisa Leonard, designed by Angie and is called The Audrey.  It has a heart on one side and my kids names on the other.  It's made a bit heavier and meant that way so I'll feel it close to my heart.

I wrote this post and linked up to Angie's blog in celebration of her book Mending releasing. It can be purchased here or here.