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Monday, December 31, 2012

Rabbits, Santa and Pirates oh my


Calvin had his New Year performance at preschool this week.  He did a really good job and I'm always so amazed at the work his music teacher and teachers put into putting on a good show and I’m so thankful for that.  It will be fun memories he’ll have for years.




Performance is highly valued here, and every child had a few lines to say, some sang solos, some had lots of lines, definitely different than the short 15 minute preschool programs in the states, his was an hour long.  Micah got a bit restless at about the 40 minute mark.
playing a racing game around the Christmas tree


However as extravagant as it was, it had a very bizarre plot.  Sometimes things like that remind me that Calvin is growing up in a very different place than America.  This year his New Year performance included pirates slipping Santa something in his drink, which made him fall asleep so they could kidnap the snow queen, and then held her for ransom for presents and finally the pirates pulled swords and guns on Santa when they found out they were given fake candies.  In the end Santa prevailed over evil.  But there were a couple of suspenseful moments during the play I could tell Calvin was a little nervous about.






Here’s a few snippets from the show. Calvin was a part of the  rabbit Calvary soldier drumming line.  He made a very cute rabbit solider and took his drumming very seriously.
 




Of course he had a few lines to say too.  He did such a good job this year of saying them loudly and this year we didn't even have to work on them at home.



In case you didn’t believe me about the whole pirate thing.




Sunday, December 30, 2012

TWO and three months


TWO and three months

Well my little Micah man is two, which just happens to be his favorite number.  Actually it’s the only number he knows, but when asked how old he is, he’ll say it with passion.  I love it.

What a gift this little man is.  He certainly keeps us on our toes.  But oh my does he bring some good laughs.  I’m so thankful that I’ve got the opportunity to be his mom for the past 2 years (and three months).

It seems like my Micah stories are endless…..maybe because he’s just so curious, and quiet…and fast.

Snapshot @ Two……

Motor skills are your specialty.  We often call you our little jumping bean and I think bouncing houses were made for you.  You’re our budding alpinist; if you are determined enough no height will stop you.  Another favorite game you like to play is called; see how fast mommy can run to catch me.  Once eye contact has been made you’ll jump regardless of how close I am.  We’ve had some close ones but thankfully I’ve made it just in time.

You love to throw things; we’re working on finding the appropriate objects that may be thrown right now.  Although that time you threw your roast beef past Aunt Nat and hit your brother in the face during prayer time at dinner was classic.

You’re strong and one of your favorite games to play is to run from behind someone if they are sitting on the ground/bed and jump on their back and try to pull them to the floor.  You win that game a lot.  You also know how to hold onto a toy when someone else is trying to take it.  A skill necessary with local playmates.

You love playing with your brother’s little legos and your duplos.  You can spend hours building, building and building.  Usually cars or airplanes…. and those noises, you are great at sound effects.  When you are not building you usually are playing with your beloved tractors, trucks or cars.

Recently you’ve started becoming interested in art projects but I think it’s more about pointing at the fridge and showing me what you made often throughout the day.

You still take eating seriously.  You come to the table with a plan and there is no playing around. You know the routine.  Get in your chair, strap in, add your tray and fold your hands for prayer.  You love pizza, and any form of bread, you adore cheese, noodles and fruit.  You are hit and miss on your veggies and still will not take a drink of milk without spitting it out.  But oh how you love yogurt and I’m always amazed at how much you can eat.

You love to read and love to curl up on our laps and will keep bringing book after book. 

You still are a terrible sleeper, but thanks to blackout curtains you’ve learned to sleep until 7:00 a.m., well some days.  You are an active sleeper, and recently we’ve been woken up one too many times to a foot kicking our heads from little boy who’s slipped in bed with us, and decided that laying horizontally along our pillows is the best place to sleep.

You’ve finally started saying more words and are starting to use 3 word sentences.  Your memory is improving and almost daily you tell me “bird, shhhheeeeewwww, mama bye, bye.”  While pointing at the balcony and still remember the very traumatic event a few months ago when you went out on the balcony and a bird flew right past your ear and I had to face my own fears of birds and open the window for our little birdie friend to escape.

And last but not least those eyebrows….you can communicate so much with those things. 

I love those little brown eyes with curiosity glistening in them.  I love that we have to work a little to get a smile out of you.  Love how you get excited over tractors and trucks.  I love your requests to be held.  The snuggling and wrestling, the bear hugs, the passion you have for life.  I have a feeling this year is going to be a good one to help shape your character.  I pray daily for you to grow into a leader after God’s heart.

I love you Micah Man.  All 35#s of you.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The hard places


This was written after reading this piece.  This is my reality.......

There have been some really difficult things the past five months.  Initially there were many. 

Leaving the hospital with empty arms. 

Buying one outfit for Seth…the one we chose to bury him in.

Choosing a tiny coffin and not a baby bed

Getting Seth’s birth certificate with the words Infant Death stamped across it.

Receiving an autopsy report in the mail. 

The hospital bills, and insurance statements, delivered daily, could be equated to salt in a wound, making the pain throb more.

Those were all hard, very hard.

But recently it’s been the things that have snuck up on me that have been difficult.

Decorating the boys’ birthday cakes this year was so very difficult for me.  I cried through each one as I was reminded that I’ll never be able to see his Seth’s face light up at a sight of a birthday cake. 

As we got the boys ready for our fall party, I couldn’t help but wonder which super hero Seth would have loved.  I wondered how cute he would have looked in a miniature costume this year and that’s all I was left with…wondering…dreaming…missing him

Seeing little babies for the first time, those who Seth was supposed to grow up with… grieving more unrealized dreams I had for him.

Turning the calendar page again…marking another month without him.

My reality is that I sometimes cry when I do the mundane tasks, like washing laundry for only two little boys, some days when the baskets are empty I wish I had more, wish they were still overflowing, but they aren’t. 

There are days when I close my eyes and I replay every second I held Seth in my arms.  The words from Seth’s doctor saying there is nothing else they can do, pierce my heart a little more each time they are replayed. 

My reality is wishing I had just one more minute with him in my arms.  My reality is caring for two active boys beaming with life wanting to give them all of me and yet sorrow creeps in and brings Mommy to tears…again.  They’ve become accustomed to my tears. 

My reality is pondering heaven and not milestones.

The rustle of leaves is now beneath our feet.  We are walking uncharted territory as we head into the holiday season and that is really hard to get excited about.

It’s these little things that bring me back to reality and literally take my breath away.  I’m sure there will be many more, but for now I face each one head on.  I pray for the strength to endure them and that my eyes will be open to the gift that comes with each one.

This is my reality at 5 months without him.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 and 31


Day 30 Your Grief Tell the World
Thankful to share this as part of the Spoken Word Blog Round Up


Day 31 Sunset
I missed Seth as we soaked in this beautiful sunset at the sea this year.  But I’m sure the sights of heaven that Seth sees daily are far richer and far more beautiful.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Continuing to Capture Grief


Day 22 Place of Birth


Day 23 Seth’s Photo

Day 24 Siblings
This picture takes me back to a sweet time of our excitedness to add you to our family.

Day 25 Sweet Gifts
Shortly before I had our earth shaking ultrasound at 31 weeks and 5 days a friend of mine who was moving back to the states had given me some fabric that she thought I might enjoy.  I was so blessed because I really wanted to make something for Seth but just didn’t have any cute new fabric that would be his own.  She gave me some cute whale flannel fabric which I quickly transformed into new burp cloths just for Seth the day after they were in my possession.  I was thrilled to be able to sew something for him as I’ve loved creating things for each of my boys.

Fast forward to the day we said goodbye to Seth.  I was sad that we didn’t bring the blanket that my mom had made for him to the hospital, but the hospital staff found a blanket for us and it was the same fabric that my sweet friend had given me back home half way around the world.  It was such a sweet gift from the hand of God.  That print was my connection to Seth, even though my hands did not sew that blanket which I wrapped around him, it was his print.  Thank you Caitlin, a million times over.

Day 26 Seth’s Age


Day 27 Artwork
Shortly after we returned home a sweet friend gave me this framed picture.  I love that she used two of my favorite photos I have with Seth.  What I also love about is that a local friend of hers made it.
 

Day 28 Memory
Oh how I wish we would have recorded the two sweet cries we heard in the delivery room. They were an unexpected surprise and brought tears and relief to our worried hearts.  Seth was alive and we heard him cry.  I have felt that Seth gave it all he could to give both Marvin and I each one special gift, a cry.  We heard his voice.  Even though we did not record it digitally it is forever recorded in my mind.


Day 29 Music
Thankful that I have eternity to look forward to.
I cannot wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song.  It’s going to be beautiful.  Some days I’m jealous that Seth’s already enjoying it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bottling up some squeaky


This is my attempt at bottling up Calvin’s squeaky voice I love so much.

I know the days are coming to an end where he no longer says “Elegator” for elevator, or “I’ve changed my remind”, instead of I’ve changed my mind.  So I'm soaking them up and enjoying each and every one of them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Capturing Grief {week 3}


Day 15 Wave of light
Missing you Seth as I lit a candle beside a few things that remind me of you.

Day 16 Release
100 balloons floating to heaven. 

Day 17 Due Date
We spent some time with your knees.  What a gift.

Day 18 Family Portrait

Day 19 Project
A book filled with memories of you.

Day 20 Charity
When Seth died, the hospital gave us a box from Little Thunder.  These gifts are still some of the sweetest gifts we have received.  My heart’s desire is to be able to love others in the same way.  Pray for us as we investigate possibilities of giving gifts to those who lose babies in Nineveh.  My heart aches to be able to love on families here.

Day 21 Sacred Place
My newly acquired chair, I placed it in the space where Seth’s bed would have been in our room.  Sometimes it’s just comforting to sit in a place where I anticipated him being.  It’s a place where I meet with Jesus.  A place I often pour out my broken heart before our Father, a place where he is mending my broken heart.  That is sacred.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

weary


I did it.  I reached my goal.  Losing all the baby weight by 4 months postpartum.

It feels good to meet goals.  But what I didn’t expect was to feel unsatisfied and sad at this milestone.

It feels good to fit into the clothes in my closet.

But there is a part of me that just feels pain.

Like a little piece of Seth is gone.  That physical reminder that he was here is now gone.  I physically look the same, but I sure don’t feel the same. 

There are days I just long to hold him.  I wonder what our life would look like now juggling three preschoolers.  

Some days my arms feel heavy with the weight of emptiness.

Some days that crumples me to tears. 

A sweet teammate of ours gave us Tenth Avenue North’s album.

When I heard this song it was the words of my heart that day. 




The truth is my soul often times feels worn. Not in a scary suicidal way but just worn from the pain and heartache that is constantly with me.  Worn with the heaviness of walking this earth without a child, torn between the world I am living in and the one my heart longs for.

I love the part about wanting see Redemption win. I desperately want to see the Lord mend my torn heart.  Isn’t that the beauty in all of this?  That redemption does win.  Sometimes I just need a reminder that He has already won…eternity awaits us.

Until then I’ll always miss my baby.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Five


Calvin and I had a little chat on his birthday because I decided he’s not allowed to have any more birthdays.  He must remain five forever.  Apparently he thinks my request is a bit ridiculous.

But seriously how on earth did this boy turn 5 already?!?!

Since I can’t stop him from growing I’m going to enjoy these days and savor them.

Looking back over the past year here are a few things about my little Calvinator that I love.

·         The second your eyes are open you are talking and can talk all day long.
·         I love the impromptu songs that come out of your mouth along with some amazing dance moves.  I love how you sing your heart out to our Seeds of Faith CDs in the van.
·         You’re willing to do hard things.  Just watching you adjust to preschool and really thrive there was such a gift.  I’m so thankful that you are willing to learn a new language little man.  I know it’s not easy but you are doing amazing at it.
·         You have a love for learning and I’m praying we can nurture that into a little boy who is always hungry for knowledge.  You love doing school, particularly math and science.  You make me proud.
·         You’re creative and love any chance you get to draw, color, paint, cut, or make something.
·         You spend hours each day building with legos.
·         You love to read.
·         Love to save the world daily.
·         Love tromping around the great outdoors and collecting rocks, sticks, acorns, buckeyes and flowers.
·         You are a great helper cleaning the house and you love to dust and clean the windows, which I’m so grateful for.
·         You’ve started to ask some really good questions about God and already know so many verses from God’s word.
·         You’ve been willing to talk about hard subjects such as death and have had such a sweet perspective of heaven that has blessed me.
·         And yesterday you marveled that your shoes still fit you now that you are five.  Amazing.

Stop growing so quickly please.  I want to enjoy your little squeaky voice a bit longer.

Calvin.  I’m praying the Lord will grow your understanding of him this next year and that you will trust him and serve him the rest of your life.  I thank the Lord for using you to sharpen me.  You are such a gift and it’s a joy is to be your mom.

I love you Calvin.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Be

While we’ve had a few comments that really got under our skin, from day one I’ve prayed that I would be a grace giver in those times of insensitivity.  Especially as we returned back home to Nineveh, which honestly is where we have received the most.

So how do you comfort the brokenhearted?  Before Seth died I wondered the same thing.  How do I love on those who have lost a child while I still have mine.  It's a hard place to be.  Thankfully the word gives us some instruction.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn."  –Romans 12:15

So pull up alongside them, grieve with them, pray for them, and cry with them.  Acknowledge the life the Lord created in their child.  Acknowledge the preciousness of their life. 

Say their child’s name.  It's sweet to hear Seth's name.  I'm thankful when others do, it lets me know that he hasn’t been forgotten by our friends.

And simply say I’m sorry.

Be okay with silence. 
Be okay with tears and settle into the uncomfortableness of the death of a child. 
Because that’s just what it is…uncomfortable.

Don’t try to explain it away,
..it was God’s will
..it wasn’t meant to be
..it was for the better

Because it wasn’t.  We live in a fallen world; this wasn’t God’s original plan.

Just be there. 
Bring meals. 
Clean. 
Wash their dishes. 
Give thoughtful gifts.
Keep calling.  
Don't forget that they are still grieving several months...years down the road.  
Ask good questions that go beyond "How are you doing?"
Let them know you are praying for them.
Give them you.

Larry Boy and Trucks


This year we enjoyed another fun birthday party for the boys with some ex pat friends in our city.

I kept it simple this year.  I had lots of grand ideas but honestly this wasn’t the year for them.  (I'm learning to be a little more honest with my limits these days.)

Once his little friends arrived
We played veggie bowling
Then we had veggie races.


The little ones enjoyed the rice pit.


We went outside for to break the bad apple piƱata.





We prayed.

We ate.

Sang happy Birthday.

Twice.

Had Cake.



A few had green tongues and teeth.

Opened presents.

Our friends know our boys here well.
Legos, puzzles and imaginary play tools for Calvin
And trucks for Micah.

The bigger kids watched a movie while us grownups chatted.

Then sent we them home with a few party favors.


It was a fun day filled with lots of memories.
Thanks to all who made their party special.
Our boys were well loved.
And Celebrated.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Birthday Week


At the end of birthday week this year I thought about getting a shirt made that said “I survived birthday week 2012”

We had a few other elements this week that lengthened the to do list, but I wanted to make sure these boys in my life knew how special they were.

Happy Birthday Marvin
Marvin was up first.  Calvin did a great job making a sign for daddy.  And per Marvin’s request we kept it simple but of course had fried tacos and peanut butter pie.  We even got to introduce our new teammates to his birthday meal this year.

Happy Birthday Calvin
Calvin loves all the birthday attention.  So I when I heard he was up I quickly went to his room and gave him a big happy birthday hug.  It started the day out pretty special.  He had balloons on his chair and pumpkin muffins waiting for him in the kitchen along with one present.  Marvin said he walked into preschool  with his arm out, proudly sporting his new watch.





We took some birthday treats to school.  This year we brought little monster guys made up of a little packaged bear cake, a juice box and a sucker.


For lunch I rocked his world with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on presliced American bread.  Love how the simpliest things could mean so much to him.  Later in the afternoon we skyped with Grandpa and Grandpa S and opened a few presents from them.

The rest of the day he was busy building legos and coloring in his new coloring books.  Thank you so much he loved them.  (Micah also was busy playing with his new bus.  He's been filling it with anything and everything.)

Later we enjoyed Calvin’s requested dinner, quesadillas and cupcakes then opened the rest of his presents.  He’s been asking for roller skates for the past year, so he was thrilled.  A little while later we put a very happy five year old to bed.

Happy Birthday Micah
We enjoyed a low key day celebrating our little introvert.  After a good nap he enjoyed playing in the rice left over from his party.

Birthday meal: mac & cheese.

He got to skype with grandpa and grandma T.  Both boys opened their presents from them. Micah loved his new truck and has been very excited for the Thomas fruit snacks.

After a birthday bath we watched a new Boz DVD.  He was so excited.  Then it was off to bed. Where we heard them playing for a good hour before they fell asleep.  Light sabers in the dark are pretty cool apparently.

I’m so grateful to have them here to hug and squeeze, I have treasured that gift even more this year.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Capturing Grief {week 2}




Three rings worn daily as a physical reminder that I’m a mom to three boys.



My quiet time space



2 Corinthans 4:16-18

So thankful for our family and friends who surrounded after we lost Seth . 
Some even traveled a ways to be with us. 
Those who were unable to be with us in person have sent countless emails, gifts, and flowers. 
We are blessed.



I will forever be brought back to our time with Seth any time I hear the beeping hospital monitors.  Maybe someday they will not bring tears.



When Seth’s doctor told us they had done everything they could do.  We called Marvin’s parents who were keeping the boys.  We asked them to make the 3 hour drive to bring the boys back to Kansas City.  I needed to get my arms around my boys, I needed to have our family together.

I remember they were both very quiet and glued to each other.  They held each other’s hands as they walked, rarely left each other’s side, and were exceptionally sweet to each other.  At one point they even tackled each other with a huge bear hug.

I felt like it was a picture of a promise from the Lord.  That we were going to travel this road together as a family before the Lord.  It was scary entering a road full of unknowns, but I felt like a reminder that he’d hold our hand each step of the way. 


We are not alone on this road of losing a child.