Friday, November 20, 2015

Christmas memories

This week, three and a half years after we said hello and goodbye to Ella, a friend sent me a small package.  Inside was a note that said "remembering your precious child with you this holiday season" And there, wrapped in tissue paper, was a small wooden Christmas ornament with Ella's name and birth date burned into it.   I wanted to sit down right were I was and just stare at this piece with her name on it.  This gift was precious to me for so many reasons.  First, there are very few times I will ever get to see Ella's name in print.  She won't have her name on coloring pictures or school work.  I won't be filling out doctors forms or even signing her name on birthday cards.  But when I do see her name written down, it always give me pause.  It reminds me- she was here, even if for just the blink of an eye.

Second, I love that I have friends who are so sweet and kind to think of me.  We didn't just go through the horrible grief and shock of her death.  Three years seems so short yet so long.  It gives me comfort to know that others remember her too and she has not been "forgotten". 

Lastly, I am so thankful that because of this gift and a few others I have bought or made, Ella has a place in our Christmas celebrations.  She has four ornaments that proudly go on our tree every year.  My kids smile and oh and ah, when I pull them out and each asks to put them on the tree "in a special place mom!".  So far decorating our tree each year has been a time where I stop and let a few tears go thinking of the little one who isn't here with us.  But I am proud to honor her and proud to think of her as I look at her ornaments nestled in with the ones for my children here with me now.  I am grateful that she is not forgotten. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

August birthdays.

In October?why not! 
I had a great day with my family and then we moved on to...
Our FIVE year old! 

Monday, September 14, 2015


While we were camping in Michigan we shared some fun news with our family. Can you guess what it is?
We are going to have a baby! Grace and Graham are over the moon excited and Gav is happy as always.  
The Hartmans are going to grow by one more next March.  We are thanking the Lord for this blessing and cannot wait.  :)

Sand Pudding

on our bucket list of things to do this summer was make sand pudding!  It's so so yummy and looks fun in a pail. 
to be honest, I could eat way too much of this stuff.  It's addicting.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Camp Life

We love living at a camp.  We love walking around and exploring

Monday, August 17, 2015


I love this pic.  Look at Gav's hand on his Grandpa's knee.  So sweet. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Dear Ella,

My sweet girl, you are celebrating your third birthday in heaven!  While you are there, we are celebrating you here.  We are camping as a family and we will be thinking of you the whole weekend.

I can hardly believe three years have passed.  I have spent so much time thinking of you this past week and reliving your birth.  God knew exactly the plan for your birthday and it was so peaceful. Holding you was one of the best gifts I have ever been given.  Hearing you cry was another.  I am grateful that your grandparents were able to meet you!  That was special. There are not many people in this world that got to meet you and I'm so glad that they were able to see your sweet face up close and personal.

I've been thinking of what you would be like at 3, Ella.  You'd be talking up a storm and I know there would be dress up clothes all over the house.  You'd do everything you could to keep up with Grace and Graham.  I know that because I see Gav doing it and he's not even two! I love imagining your curls in the summer humidity.  There is nothing sweeter than a stick up pony tail, sprouting hair, on a little girl.

Oh my little one, I miss you so.  Most days we are great and happy.  We talk about you with a smile on our face.  But some days are so hard and I just wish you were here, getting crumbs all over and needing your face wiped or hands washed.  I wish you could know how funny Grace is, how silly Graham is and how sweet Gavin is.  I wish I could see your face light up when your Daddy gets home from work and you run to him.  I wish I could hear your jabbering in the back seat.  I know that wasn't the Lord's plan for your life, but it sure was what I was hoping for.

I love you so very much baby girl.  I will never stop loving you like a mama loves her little ones.  I hope that in heaven you get a special birthday celebration and that you have so much fun.  You are my sunshine, always and forever.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Easter catch up

We met my family in North Webster a few weeks after Easter.  It was a short but fun trip!

Family Kickball- a first!!
and we snuck some friend time in too!  :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


You know the thing about grief?  You can't read a book about it and then say "oh, well, that's exactly how it's going to be for me." What fits for one person does not match the feelings and thoughts of another.  Grief is simply defined as "deep sorrow especially caused from someone's death" There is no perfect description other than this- Grief looks so different at different times and for different people.

Most associate the word "grief" with immediate loss or heartache.  When someone is "grieving" it's a heavy sadness. When you a are grieving the loss of a loved one it's heavy and painful and deep.  It's been almost 3 years since we had Ella.   The first year after we had Ella, I think I grieved very deeply.  I felt like I was in a dark place and hurt so much.  But now that we are three years out, what is grief?  What does it look like?  People may think that I am done grieving.  That I have "gotten over the loss of Ella" (side note: please don't ever say that to someone who has lost a loved one).  I am most certainly not "over" losing her.  I do not feel the heavy ring of sadness around my neck like I did but I still grieve.  It's not every day and it's not the kind that keeps me in bed all day long.  My days are full.  They are filled with my family, Shane, three littles running around, making meals, laundry, teaching, and life.  We are happy.  We love to talk about Ella and often with smiles on our face.

But then there are days... days when Shane and I are talking about plans and events and something comes up about Ella or her birthday and just like that I'm crying.  I look at Shane whose eyes are filled and we "know". We get it.  We take a second, cry, and then continue our planning.  There are days when I am listening to the radio and a song comes on that just hits me and I'm sobbing in the car one minute and then pulling into the store and just like that I'm wiping my eyes and getting the cart and thinking about my shopping list. There are days when I am getting dressed and it hits me so hard and deeply that all I can do is crawl in bed and let it out.  Those times usually surprise me.  I don't expect them.  It's not a specific event or thing always that triggers those feelings.  Sadness comes in spurts and can be overpowering one second and slip away the next.

There are times when I feel like I should be sadder.  Telling an acquaintance about my family and it comes up that we had a baby who lived for two hours and .....  crickets.  The person is so sad and does not know what to say and I smile and say "do you have a pen I can borrow to fill this paper out?"  I am not sad to talk about her.  I am not sad to tell the events of her birth.  I can even say "it was awful and the worst thing ever but we are still here and God is good" and not cry.

And even one time, a bit of a change on grief.  I was running an errand... hopped in the car and the radio was on.  It was a song we sang at Ella's memorial.  I have always, always thought of her when I hear that song and while I love the praise it gives the Lord, I still, most often than not, have to turn it off and have never really been able to sing it.  On this day I got in the car and was happy and feeling carefree and light and started humming it and thought to myself... why do I love this song? Oh yes.  That's why.  My baby.  Then there immediate sadness that for a second I forgot- life goes on... just like that....

I wonder what grief looks like years after a heartache like losing a child.  I asked this question amongst some baby loss mamas and was encouraged that it's just as I thought.  Easy many days, and hard on some.  Flowing up quickly they dying down and sometimes long suffering.  I am so thankful that the dark clouds of mourning are not still with me.  I will never end grieving Ella and the waves of sadness I feel randomly that sometimes surprise me are normal.  It kind of changes as years pass.  The sadness becomes more for the expectation of what was to be and isn't.  A preschool graduation.  T-ball.  Birthday parties.  Siblings giggling....  things that can seem so normal can stop you in your tracks.  We expected things to be one way and they most certainly are not what we were wanting.  Another friend shared how her child is woven into the tapestry of her life just like her other living children and sometimes one child comes to the forefront more than others, but all of them are always there interlaced among each other. I like that.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Shane and I were able to attend a homeschool conference in Ohio in April.  It was HUGE and amazing and filled with tons of knowledge, people, and things to buy.  :)  Shane was incredibly busy at the time and probably shouldn't have gone but I'm so glad he did.  Having his support in this journey of teaching the kids means everything.  Not to mention I like being with him. ;)
Downtown Cincinnati is nice.  We enjoyed walking around. 

We ate some great food and also found a Graeter's ice cream.  YUM!
It was good to be with Shane at the sessions.  We went to a lot of parenting ones and it confirmed some of the things we are doing with our kids and also encouraged and challenged us to do some other things.  

And look who I ran into?  This gal.  A long time ago, two single girls lived in Haiti in a tiny apartment dreaming of places to go and things to cook, playing rook every weekend.  I love this friend.  She is gold.  It doesn't matter that it's been years and years.  We didn't get a lot of time to chat but even just the hug from her was worth it. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Playing in the trees.

Shane had a great idea to build the kids a play house.  He's so so busy so I really didn't know when it would happen but he made it work!  With the help of his mom he got most of this part done in a weekend! 
I love these next pictures...  my kids.  Playing in the woods in their jams.  Love. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Children's Museum

We went to the Indy Children's Museum a while back with our friends.  I met Shiloh last year and we just clicked.  We joke (kinda- ha!) that we are each other's only friends.  I love her and her family.  
Look at this ham.  He had a great day. 
Rescuebots and Transformers.  the boys were in heaven.  Grace too!
I took Gav to the littles land.  He liked the water area but would not put his hands in! 
He literally just walked back and forth back and forth around the water. 
Be a movie producer and an actor!
This was the green screen area.  I love it!
Can you see how they were on camera! 
It's hard work having fun. 
See these?  They are "brown Es"  When we were there and eating lunch Shiloh asked the kids of they wanted Brown Es (brownies!)  The look on their face was the best when she pulled them out!!