Tuesday, September 28, 2010

18 months



Our little Cora turned 18 months old yesterday. (I'm always a day late and a dollar short.) I'm continually amazed at how quickly time flies. She is growing up so fast. When I drop her off at Wee School she gets so excited and waves and says "bye, bye." She likes to try to do absolutely EVERYTHING the big kids do. Some of the things I love about Cora...

1. The way she says Mommy.
2. Her big, beautiful smile.
3. Her little "yoga" pose.
4. The way she squats down to see something closer.
5. Her new affection for her blanket.
6. The way she wants me to wrap her up in her blanket.
7. Her excitement over her "paci."
8. How she loves shoes.
9. The way she'll turn around and back up to sit in my lap (or anyone's) when I'm on the floor.
10. The way she runs.
11. The way she sings "opera."
12. The way she puckers her lips to give us kisses.
13. The way she says, "mwah" when she gives a kiss.
14. The way she runs to the door, yelling "Daddy" when Kelvin gets home.
15. The way she puts her arms up for me to pick her up.
16. Her huge appetite.
17. Her excitement about taking her vitamins.
18. The constant discoveries she makes every day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I don't get it

The other day I was driving through the Kroger parking lot (I know, I'm there a lot.) I noticed an ambulance, and the parking lot is always crowed, so I was trying to be careful, driving slowly and watching for people and cars. Just then, from my right side a young guy comes jogging in front of me, holding his extremely long shorts that are so big they are hanging off his rear end, and I can see his underwear. I don't get it. How is that comfortable? I mean, pants that are so big they hang off your backside couldn't be comfortable. What if the guy needs both hands? Do his pants fall off? I really don't care to see guys' underwear. What is the big deal about wearing pants that cover your buttocks?! So anyway, I'm watching as this young kid trots across the parking lot, continuing to drive slowly. Just then an older woman starts to cross in front of me from in front of the ambulance. I guess I wasn't traveling slowly enough through the parking lot for her liking, because she threw up her hands in frustration, gave me a very sour look, and shot me the bird! I got flipped off by a grandma! How wrong is that?! I don't get it! Just add it to the list. There are tons of things in this life which baffle my pea-sized brain.

On a happier note, Cora continues to amaze us with her genius. She copies absolutely everything the big kids do. She wants to be in the big fat middle of the action. The other day Luke was doing one of his infamous arm/leg farts. Cora laughed, and the next thing I know, she is trying to do one too! I have to say, as wrong as it sounds, it was pretty cute. I'll have to try and get a video one of these days.

The weekly menus are coming along well. I just haven't made the time to post them. We had some yummy stuff last week such as Creamy Herbed Chicken with Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes and Warm Pasta Salad with Arugula. We also had Greek Pita Pizzas one night...yum-o! All of those recipes came from my Six O'Clock Scramble Recipe Subscription and were 30 minutes or less to prepare. I love it! I've gotta get my brain in gear for the menu this week. I'm thinking cereal for dinner sounds good at this point.

As I type Cora is climbing up in my lap tickling me. She's saying, "tickle, tickle, tickle," as she tries to tickle me. What started off sweet ended up pretty brutal with nails in my arms and hair pulling. Oh well, she's still cute!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Amen

The past week or so Luke has been working with Cora on praying. The other day, the three of us were at Kroger and he asks her to repeat what he says.

Luke: Cora, say, "Dear"
Cora: Dee
Luke: "God"
Cora: Dah
Luke: "thank you"
Cora: Taychu
Luke: "for"
Cora: poh
Luke: "this"
Cora: dees
Luke: "day."
Cora: day.
Mommy: "Amen."
Cora: Aaaman

Enough to melt your heart. Lately, any time our family is praying aloud, she reaches out to hold the nearest hand...so sweet. I wish I could freeze moments like these.

She mimicks everything. She has found her own little scream. I guess I should probably work on not using such a loud voice or yelling so much...

Oh be careful little eyes what you see...
Be careful little ears what you hear...
Be careful little feet where you walk...
Be careful little mouth what you say...
Be careful little hands, what you touch...
For the Father up above is looking down in love.


And the little almost 18 month old is watching every move and listening to every word and tone.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

all the children of the world

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world,
Red, brown, yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world
...


I just wish so many of them didn't have to suffer so. May they feel His love tonight. Pray for a very sick little girl at Texas Children's Hospital to whose mom Emma's Hugs gave a parking chip. Her kidneys are beginning to fail. Her mom told me the doctors don't have much hope, but her faith is strong. I told her to hold tight to her faith. It's hard to think that sometimes the answer may be that a child will be totally healed not here with his or her parents, but rather with his/her Maker. I guess the faith lies in believing that God can absolutely perform a miracle healing here on Earth, but that either way, Jesus loves the precious children more than we can, and He will take care of them and us better than we can. Also pray for Colton and Emma. They are both very sick, one with a brain tumor they are trying to remove completely, the other with all kinds of terrible symptoms which have not been diagnosed yet.

These are some of His precious little children having fun at "pasta night" at Grammy & Papa's House


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I don't know what to write

So, it's been a week since I last posted something, and I've tried to figure out something new to post, but nothing is coming to me. As a momma who has lost a child, I am going through peaks and valleys. I have read other mothers' stories on blogs, and this weekend I finished reading my first book written by a mother who lost a child. We've received many books, and I'm sure they are in a safe place, but I can't seem to remember what I've done with most of them, nor have I felt like reading any until the other day. Angie Smith's book, I Will Carry You...The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy is just what I needed at this moment in time. I cried most of the way through the book, which was a good thing. Sometimes, I don't feel like I have the time to cry like I need to...life is too busy around here, and we don't even have TV! As Angie put it, we are "women who [are] often just going through the motions of normalcy, partly for our children and partly for ourselves. I began to realize that this was going to be a part of my new life because the world has a way of going on all around you even when you are in the depths of sorrow that belie its pace and fervor." I have had a hard time penning my thoughts, even trying to figure out my feelings and thinking of words to describe them. It was good reading someone's thoughts that so meshed with mine...some sort of validation, I guess.

Tomorrow (which is now today) Kelvin and I are going to a luncheon for a company in Houston who is spotlighting different charities, encouraging their employees to give. What an honor that they would choose Emma's Hugs as one of those charities to spotlight! As I was preparing something to say, I realized I was very thankful that Kelvin was able to clear his schedule and go with me, because I wouldn't be able to speak about anything regarding Emma or Emma's Hugs without crying bawling. I don't think a sobbing, grieving momma is what the company had in mind when they asked for a representative from our charity to say a few words about our organization. As I was researching the right words to pen for such a presentation, I came across a website that listed the description of Emma's disease, and the tears started flowing..."In the Early Infantile variant of NCL (also called INCL or Santavuori-Haltia), probands appear normal at birth, but early visual loss leading to complete retinal blindness by the age of 2 years is the first indicator of the disease; by 3 years of age a vegetative state is reached and by 4 years isoelectric encephalograms confirm brain death." Not exactly what any parent wants to read about his/her daughter. Sweet, sweet baby girl, I am so sorry. We have to find a cure for this dreadful disease so that other precious babies given this diagnosis will have the hope of life.

I've heard others say grief comes in waves. I believe that to be true, very true. And sometimes, the waves hit really hard and knock me off my feet, leaving me struggling to find the ground beneath me, arms flailing, coughing and spewing the salty water that keeps crashing in my face, burning my eyes, and stinging my skin. When I was driving down the road today, for some reason my mind wandered to the day, hour, and minute Emma took her last breath. I remember walking out of our bedroom and seeing Carleigh. We asked her to come into our room and told her what had happened. I can't remember what it was Carleigh was so concerned about now, but she was so upset that she had not been able to do something for Emma. Her little body just collapsed in our arms and she began to sob. As I recalled these events tears began to stream down my face and my body began to shake. I couldn't cry though, because I was headed to the presentation for Emma's Hugs, and I didn't take my make-up with me! Lesson learned...always take make-up to important meetings. You never know when a sobbing attack may come.

So, the book Angie Smith wrote about her journey through grieving the loss of their baby, Audrey spoke to my soul. I loved the reminder that God never backs down. She writes...
He never backs down,though, and I am grateful for that love. It is the love of a Father who Himself is well acquainted with sorrow. It is the love of a Father who has lost His Son. He understands the ranting and door-slamming. The emptiness that wraps around me when I think of my sweet Audrey [Emma]. He knows. And He only has one request. Bring it to Me, Angie [Christy]. Every time the anger roars in your heart. Bring it to Me. Every time you feel like nobody hears you. Bring it to Me. When you think it isn't fair. When you think it isn't true. When you can't think at all. Bring it to My feet, and I will make an altar from your suffering.


Isn't that something? She also writes, "As a Christian, I know that I am called to glorify the Lord no matter the circumstance, but that doesn't mean it's going to make sense." That's the hard part, for me anyway. She also says we have to make a choice. "Either we will go through life as bitter servants, or we will make Him famous with our love. I want Him to be famous." I do too. Right now, if I'm honest though, I'm pretty darn bitter. Time...in time.

Well, for not knowing what to write, I sure wrote a lot, huh? I will close for now. Here is a final thought or two from Angie...
To hurt so deeply is a sign that we live in a fallen world, not that we serve a small God.

To love Him in spite of our pain is a gift He freely gives to those who will accept it.

Daily I must remind myself that He is not threatened by my doubt nearly as much as He is glorified by my faith. We are vessels of hope, you and I, made in the image of Jesus, breathing in this world as we yearn for Him.


"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1

We're getting back into the swing of things around here. The school routine is almost old hat now. The kids go to bed earlier, we all get up earlier, the bus comes and goes. I take Luke and Cora to school, then pick them back up in what seems like just a few minutes. I will be doing more work while all the kids are in school beginning next week. I had a little stomach bug hit me Monday. Thankfully, I was only really down a day, but I didn't want to chance getting anyone in the medical center sick, so I stayed home this week. In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, our charity, Emma's Hugs, raises money so we can give away parking chips to patients in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. That is what I do. I randomly pick a hospital, with which we have established a relationship, and I go and give out chips to the patients' families who are there long term, mostly the NICU, PICU, and cancer and transplant patients since they are there for months at a time. It is a blessing, but if I'm honest, I will have to tell you it is emotionally draining. It breaks my heart to see so many suffering. There are children and adults alike suffering with cancer and other diseases or disorders that I can't even begin to wrap my mind around. I wish I could offer them more. I wish I could promise them healing, but I can't. I can only do my part.

I've had a hard time today. I've fussed with my eldest, gotten frustrated with my son, and thought a lot about the one who is missing...Emma. I have felt down, or like I'm drowning, or like the world is closing in around me. It didn't dawn on me until just a few minutes ago when I was putting our baby (although not such a baby any more) to bed, that today is September 1. I have said the date, written the date, and looked at the 1 on my watch several times today, but only now did I realize that today marks seven months since my precious little girl took her last breath. I'm so glad I was there. I was there when she breathed her first breath. I held her and cuddled her. I watched her tummy go up and down, her chest rise and fall. And I was there when she breathed her last. I brushed her cheek, sang to her, and told her it was okay. She was struggling so to let go, each breath so labored. Then she was gone, and I wished she wasn't. Of course I didn't want her to suffer anymore. Of course I know she is in a better place. Of course I know all of the rational things I should think and say, but the truth is, there is nothing rational about having to tell your little girl that it's okay to take her last breath, that Mommy and Daddy will be okay, and that she should let go. Nothing at all. There's nothing rational about having to wish she were here. Now. Well. Just a few weeks ago, Luke asked me if it was normal for children to die before their parents. I told him no, it wasn't normal at all and reminded him that Emma had a disease that made her body stop working. He remembered then and seemed to be comforted by that response. I hope he was. I was not. I think one really is the loneliest number.
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