December 20, 2011

Deck the Halls

This year, as I mentioned, I haven't been super jolly about the holidays. I am trying to see every situation through my babies' eyes. I am sure they would love those twinkling lights and pretty colors. So, like everything else, I did it for them. And, I do love to decorate, afterall. :)

In an effort to boost our spirits, Hubby and I went to cut down our Christmas tree! We didn't truck all the way to the mountains, but we did make to a somewhat hillier (is that a word?) part of the state. It was so worth it and I believe next year we will have to go into the mountains to cut down our next one.

This Christmas tree farm was just that, a farm. In the middle of nowhere. And, there were goats, chickens and a gigantic pig who scared the daylights out of Sadie. Poor thing. It was hilarious, though. Here are a few snapshots from our little adventure, pig included.



 Here we are before we picked out our tree. Sadie is still distraught from the pig scare.

We were there on the second day the farm had opened for Christmas tree sales, so there were SO many trees! Let me tell you, they are all huge and beautiful. It made me feel shame for not coming to pick out our own each year before this one. You also lose perspective as to what is "big" and what is "small". I, of course, gravitated towards the Rockefeller massive tree larger ones, but seeing as we don't live in Times Square, I'm glad we didn't go with my gut on the first tree. It would not have fit inside our home. Instead, we found such a beauty, and this buddy is not only tall, but rotund, if you will. It also barely fits in our house, and we could not put a topper on it because it touches the ceiling. And, we love it.



This just makes my heart melt. It was given to me by such a special friend who knows has now managed to create the most beautiful, perfect gifts, both of which we cherish. The first one, an incredibly moving painting of Sadie looking up at a crystal blue sky with two blue balloons, with an E and M written on them. This is so special to us and will grace our home and in the future Michael and Eli's younger siblings' room, as a constant reminder of their love and presence in our family.






This hand-painted ornament, perfectly captured our house in the winter, decorations included. Do you see the two blue balloons soaring above? This is so special and precious to us. Words just do not do it justice. Love.

Just for fun, here are some other ways we have decked the halls of our humble abode this year.


The angel with this quote belong right next to our stockings. So glad I found this.



























Hope you enjoyed this little holiday tour of our home. I would love to know what you're doing to make yours merry and bright this year!

December 18, 2011

Thoughts

Hey Friends,

I am still here! I mentioned before that the holidays weigh heavy on our hearts this year. We feel the void in our lives deeply everyday, though the feeling seems heightened during this time of year. My heart aches for all those missing a loved one right now.  I read a blog called Katie's Keepers and she has inspired me so much. Katie lost her sweet baby girl, Reese, two years ago, and has been writing about her journey through life ever since. Reading her story, struggles and triumphs has helped me through some of my most difficult days. Today she wrote:

"Every holiday that passes I think about two years ago and how thankful I am it's not that time. The pain of losing a child will always be evident and deep, but thankfully not as raw. That's His grace. "

These are our first holidays without our sweet boys. The pain is still raw. I can look forward, with hope, to a time when it will not be that way. Is it possibe? It's hard for me to imagine. But, I have to believe that hope and grace will shine through.

Eli and Michael continue to impact our lives and the lives of those around us every.single.day. They are so precious and my heart grows and grows with love for them each minute, sometimes I feel it might burst. Their spirits are always with us, and I am very thankful for that. Katie also wrote something else that describes how I feel about our boys. "So much of her is still around and yet the part I want most - her physical presence - isn't."

So, hug your loved ones tight this season. Tell them you love them and cherish every minute you have with them. Hug those who have lost a loved one, too. Say a prayer for the children watching down on their aching parents. The ones who won't sit on santa's lap this year, whose eyes won't widen at the sight of a lit Christmas tree. The ones who aren't sleeping peacefully in their cribs, but are safe in Heaven. Say a prayer for peace, strength and hope for those families wishing painfully that those angels were with them on Earth.

December 5, 2011

Straight to my Heart

Tonight, I was going to blog about Christmas decorations. I went around and snapped pictures of all of our festive decor and our Clark Griswold tree. I will get to that post soon. Instead, I found myself immersed in a project I had put off for some time. See, my sister did something unbelievably thoughtful and touching just days after we lost Elijah and Michael. She gathered the words of encouragement of all of our closest friends and family who could not {but wished they could} be with us. She put together this board, which I showed in my post about reminders.
I completely fell apart when I walked in the door and saw this board. I read all of the heartfelt and loving messages, and they meant so much to me at the time, and still do. But, I was still in shock. My mind, body and heart were numb and while I kept this board out for months, I couldn't go back and read the messages.

That brings me to tonight. I wanted to, and have wanted to for some time, put these sweet hearts into a scrapbook so I could keep it, gain inspiration from it, just know that it's there, I don't know. I just knew I wanted to preserve it some how. Tonight, I read back through the messages again. Cue the waterworks, please. Why I thought I'd be able to simply glance at them and put them into the scrapbook without any trouble, I don't know. Obviously that didn't happen. I'm glad I read them. Now, six months later, I am not only touched by the words, but I am encouraged by them.

So many of our family and friends couldn't find the words to say, so they included a verse, quote or saying to encourage us. I wanted to share just a few that were particularly touching.


They say there is a reason
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason
Will change the way I feel.
For no one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles.
No one knows how many times
We have broken down and cried.
I want to tell you something
So there won't be any doubt
You're so wonderful to think of
But so hard to be without.

A child, born or unborn is a magical creature, a love that is born and not found. They are the true essence of everything that is good and divine. You need not hold a child in your arms to want to protect them. You need not look at them to know you love them. And you need not birthed them to feel the loss when they are gone. In life we have a certain order. We are born,we grow, our parents die and our children grow. When that order is upset, our world comes crashing down. Cry, mourn your loss. You have lost something dear, you have lost a child. Something no mother should have to endure but sometimes must. You will love this child as you would any child you bear that grows to adulthood and you will cry for the times you were never able to experience with them. Tell your children, as they rest in peace, that you love them, that you will see them and hold them one day. That you miss them each and every day that passes and will never forget them. Do not blame yourself for this loss. It is not your fault and when the time comes and you birth a child, tell them of their siblings. Each year that passes the pain will subside but do not feel bad for stopping at any moment and shedding a tear for the children you have lost.


You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "If I lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along." ...You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

"and if you are really wise--you will know enough to look around for love. It will be there, standing right on the hinge, holding it's arms to you. If you are wise, whoever you are, you will let go, fall against that love, and be held."

If I haven't said it lately, thank you for continuing to encourage us, support us and keep us in your prayers, without which I don't know where we would be. Please please please keep them coming. I promise, we always need them and appreciate them. I may not always know what to say, either, but know that we are so grateful for you-all of you. In so many ways, we are blessed.


November 27, 2011

The Importance of Being Thankful

Hi Friends,

It's been a little while, hasn't it? I'm sorry. There are days when I want to write, but just can't find the words. The days surrounding our first real holiday without our boys were difficult.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. We spent ours with family, doing a little shopping, some cooking, lots of catching up, and of course, eating.

This Thanksgiving was still different for us. I usually get so excited about the holidays. I love the decorations, the change of seasons, the hustle and bustle, and the spirit and joy that fills the air. This year, however, I haven't truthfully been looking forward to them. My excitement is muted by my heartache. I will be the first to admit that I didn't always see how one could feel sad during the holidays, but now I do. I guess that just goes to show what a joyful life I have been blessed with. Now, admittedly, I just want to get through them. Isn't that terrible? I've never been this way. It's just where we are, and that's okay.

With all of that said, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the blessings we have. I count my blessing every single day, but Thanksgiving is an especially good time to reflect on them. Even with ALL of our pain this year, I have so much to be thankful for:


I am thankful for Elijah Thomas and Michael David, the greatest blessings of my life.

I am thankful for my husband, who is my solid rock, my best friend, and my soul mate.

I am thankful for my family, without their support we would not be standing.

I am thankful for my friends, their understanding, their support, and their patience with their friend who can't seem to find her spark yet.

I am thankful for sweet Sadie and her ability to make me smile on days I didn't think I would.

I am thankful for sunny days, sweet dreams, and lazy Saturdays.

I am thankful for God's constant love and understanding through good days and bad. I am thankful for the strength He has given me.

I am thankful for my job, and the opportunity to work with such fantastic ladies.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach and know such amazing kiddos.

I am thankful for my husband's job, even though I may whine and complain when he's away on business trips.

I am thankful we have our home, and a chance to put down roots for our family.

I am thankful for the clothes on our backs and food on our plates.

I am thankful for all of the luxuries we do not need yet we still have.

I am thankful for you, sweet blog friends. You may know me personally, or you may be a stranger across the country, but you have taken it upon yourself to follow along with us on our journey through grief and parenthood. You have prayed for us, thought about us, encouraged us, and shared our story. What remarkable, special people you are.

It's important to give thanks, no matter what you're going through in life. It is important to be thankful not only during the happy times, but also during the sad. There is always something to be thankful for.

November 14, 2011

Hope Floats

"Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will."



I am in complete awe. I have tried, but I simply cannot find the words so I will just show pictures. Thank you all so much for touching our lives, lifting our spirits and honoring our boys. It means more to us than you will ever know.









I know Elijah and Michael are smiling down on us always. They, too, can feel your constant love and prayers.

From the bottom of our hearts,
 
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