Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin time

This year our garden produced EIGHT pumpkins! After sharing some with friends and family, this is what we did with the rest.  These foam stickers were a hit! The kids loved decorating their pumpkins and could do it very independently. So fun.

David was fascinated with decorating his pumpkin.

Lucy was so pleased with her creation.

David carried his pumpkin all over and was so sad when he couldn't take it to bed with him. When Marc came home he showed it to him and would say, "Ok put it on." Just as I said as I would hand him a new sticker.

Our good friends Heidi and Yvette came over that night to make cookies and carve pumpkins with us.

David was fascinated by the whole carving idea. After Heidi carved this one, he brought me his pumpkin with the stickers on it and said, "Open it."

Even little Vivi was a part of the action. Happy Harvest!

Monday, October 24, 2011

To remember . . .

Lately I have discovered that my mind has been both a dear friend and terrible enemy. I am so thankful for the moments my mind can so vividly recall the moments of sweet Jonah running through my kitchen or playing with David. David always loved to see Jonah. He couldn't resist patting him on top of the head. They had this "game" they'd play where Jonah would make a mess and David would clean it up. All the while David would say, "Clean-up!" while Jonah happily made more and more messes completely oblivious to David's desires to be tidy. I treasure the sweet memories I have of watching Julie lovingly mother Jonah. She was always so aware of his every need. I remember giving Jonah his first hair cut and he kept turning to see what I was doing. Julie was quick to point out that because his hearing aid was off, he probably couldn't tell what was happening to him until I physically touched him. She knew him so well. It was beautiful to see. These thoughts bring me great joy.

And at the same time, I find myself getting so frustrated with my memory. I do not like that I keep having to have this conversation with my mind. It goes something like this: I recall that Jonah passed away and then I have this desperate thought, "No, no it must have all just been a bad dream." Then I must AGAIN remind myself that it wasn't just a dream and I have to validate my thoughts with all the things that have occurred (The ER room, the funeral, visiting with Julie, etc) to lay enough proof for my mind to accept that this really did happen and my poor friend is facing every mother's worst nightmare. It is an emotion I have never before experienced. 
We were told that it takes the brain a full year to comprehend death especially when it is someone you are close to. In a lot of ways this makes sense. I can see how this is your mind's way of helping you deal with something so extreme that if we were capable of understanding it all at once, it would probably be far too much to bear. So in that regard, I thank my mind for easing me in to this understanding. I would imagine when all is said and done, I will be grateful for the TIME it is taking me to travel this road of grief and understanding. I would like to think I will eventually even understand and appreciate my brain for acting in the way it has. For now, I do not fully understand it.

I do know this. I know that I am grateful for nights with little sleep because they are the result of moments I could share with my babies. I know I would rather have the time to play with my two-year-old than the time to take a nap. I know that dear friends are one of the greatest blessings we're given on this earth. I know that I live a charmed life and I need to do a better job at showing my gratitude for it.  I know that life is really really hard. And yet it is through life's trials that we get the opportunity to learn who we really are, who and how we really love and what it means to feel all of the emotions God has blessed us with.

And for all this that I know; I am grateful. I am grateful for the mind that lets me know. The mind that lets me remember the sweetness and shelters me from the sadness. And a brain that lets me know I don't have to know it all. That for now, it's ok to wonder, "Why?" and to be confused. Because above everything else that I know; I know God lives. I trust that He knows. And I know I am His child and it's ok to be confused. He will lead me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Grotto

One of our favorite family hikes is The Grotto by Payson Lake.

Even with the kids walking on their own, we still get to a cool destination in about 15-20 minutes.

Here it is! (David was still with us, he was just having too much fun playing with the rocks)

Can you see Lucy?

Heading down looking for caterpillars and enjoying the beauty of the changing leaves. Gorgeous!

Lucy's way of helping Vivian:

Only a big sister would realize that all her little sister really needed was a computer!

I love . . .

Mornings like this. I hope Lucy & David will continually be friends. Hearing them laugh together melts my heart.

One of . . .

The best purchases we've ever made. All of our babies love to swing. Now if we could just find a place to hang up another two somewhere . . .

Thursday, October 20, 2011

5 months of sweetness

How can it possibly be five months since sweet Vivian entered our lives? That smile says it all, she is the definition of joy and we are so thankful to have her in our family.

This little lady loves to go on walks and hikes. She has spent a good number of hours hanging out in that baby carrier. The bjorn is a given tool that will make her happy (accompanied with walking once it's on of course). She is a happy little hiker and can rarely resist the urge to take a little snooze once she's in there. Oh, she melts my heart!

She is growing well and seems to be cutting teeth?!? Thank goodness for her Sophie the giraffe, she loves that thing. She is currently on her third cold (poor third child). The other two resulted in ear infections so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this one will not have the same result. She is very talkative (I swear she says "hi" all the time and last night I think she said, "Dad").  She thinks Lucy is just about the coolest thing around (David is starting to be pretty neat too). I love to see her flap her arms and kick her legs when she sees me. She makes this "stop everything and coo" movement that is reserved just for me and I love it. I can't resist picking her up when I walk past her and she gives me her best smile and love in her eyes. She has got my number and I am just fine with that. We love you Vivi!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkinland take 4

Our fourth pilgrimage to Pumpkinland went down like this: David thought everything was great. He liked the larger sized pumpkins the most and really enjoyed the lights in the "spook alley"

This little lady was super. She was happy to be held the whole time and shook her little hands and feet with excitement with each new thing she saw and as she watched her brother and sister running all around.

The Steed Men sure are amazing Daddies!

Exploring the outskirts of the corn maze.

We got to go with some of our favorite people: Aunt Jayna, Uncle Ryan, Eliza and Norah!

We have a picture with our family here when Lucy was the one in the bjorn, one with David in the bjorn and now it's Vivian's turn! We are so blessed.

Lucy is such a sweetheart. She had so much fun running and playing with Eliza & David and she was great to hold Vivian for pictures.

Oh sweet little Vivian, how you brighten our days!

Lucy being the scarecrow.

We decided to take these little pumpkins home with us!

David thought being surrounded by pumpkins was incredible. He kept saying, "Pumpkin! Big pumpkin!"

This makes me smile.

And so does this.

Came home with the cutest pumpkin from the patch.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today . . .

We went to Sam's Club to pick up some medicine. While we were waiting, I got the kids a hot dog (yes, you read that right) and then we watched Lion King in the tv section while they ate their hot dogs. When we walked out, it was a beautiful day so we walked over to a stream and fed the birds the buns from the hot dogs. It was wonderful.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lucy: Forty-Seven Months

Dear Lucy-

Recently your friend Jonah passed away. He was only 14 months old. As touchingly documented by Mom, we as your parents have learned some important lessons. As I mentioned to your brother, I will be writing you a monthly letter as well.

Here are some things I've noticed about you during the past month:

  1. You have a beautiful smile. I love how your entire face lights up when you laugh and you show all your pretty teeth. I am grateful that you have lots of opportunities to smile, and I hope you always will. Now if I could only get you to smile that way when I take your picture.
  2. You have a knack for figuring out technology. It's not a problem now for Mom or me to ask you to set up the iPad, start a DVD or VHS, or navigate the PBSKids website using a trackpad. As we speak you are playing a matching game on the iPad.
  3. You've learned to push the swing. This has been a critical lesson in cause and effect. Indeed, I think you are realizing that cause-effect relationships apply in other areas of life as well. This is a lesson I hope you never forget, especially as life gets more complicated.
  4. You love your sister. You frequently stop whatever you are doing and want to get her attention. You call her "chubs," "boop," and other variations of those nicknames. You are often the first one to notice when she wakes from her naps. Sometimes when Vivian is fussy, you are the one we turn to to help calm her down. I'm excited to see how this sisterhood bond develops over the years.
  5. You are an extrovert. You like to have the attention of others, and you're verbal enough to be interesting to adults. For example, the other day you wanted to talk to someone about inertia and simple levers. Who wouldn't want to hear about those things from an almost-four-year-old?
  6. You love to move. Dance class is a favorite activity, and you are certain to show me what you learned in your most recent class. Last night, we put on some kid's music and danced throughout the house. You absolutely loved it!
When I talk with your sisters, I remind them of something that I think every girl should believe about themselves. I say it to them every time, with the hopes that it will become a part of their belief system. I'll expound upon it a little this time, but in the future will sign off in the typical fashion I use with your sisters.

Remember that you are a good girl. Remember that you are beautiful on the inside. Remember that you are pretty on the outside. Remember that you are smart.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And a child shall teach them . . .

Last Thursday my dear friend was at our home with her sweet son, Jonah. While they were here, Jonah choked on a fruit snack and died. It was tragic, it was awful, and it was very very painful to watch my friend have to go through this. Despite all of that, I am so grateful God put me in the place I needed to be so that I could be there for my friend in her most difficult moment.

It has been just under a week since sweet Jonah left this earth. A lot of tears have been shed, many sleepless nights have been endured, and many moments of comfort and healing have been embraced.

I want to take a moment to try to share some of my thoughts on what this little 14 month old boy (along with his mother) have taught me.

-Life is precious: We had been canning spaghetti sauce and I needed to go pick up Lucy from dance class (literally a 5 minute task). In the time I was gone, the accident occurred.

-There is a power in sisterhood: Although I came home to a tragic scene of an ambulance, firetruck, cop cars and all my neighbors standing in MY front yard, the memory I have in my heart is that of sisterhood. Sisterhood because one friend was there holding my dear friend Julie while two other sisters were holding my children and yet another sister was running down the street to see how she could help. These sweet sisters looked at me as the ambulance was pulling away (I had been out of my car at this point maybe 60 seconds) and they said, "Go be with her. We have your babies. GO". And I went.

-God comforts us even when we may not want to hear what He has to tell us. I prayed like I have NEVER prayed before that God would heal Jonah. Each time I prayed, it felt so empty and I just kept thinking I had to pray harder. As the moments went on, I realized this was God helping me accept what was going to happen.

-God is in the details of our lives: There were so many tender mercies that occurred throughout this event. One that stands out, was that a blanket (that was not there when I left) was laying on the porch for Julie to place my Vivian on so she could care for her son. Oh if we could only see the many angels that must surround us.

-Our baptismal covenant to mourn with those who mourn is so real and so needed. Do we fully comprehend it's value? Are we too quick to jump to the comfort and lifting of burdens? Mourning with those who mourn is vital.

-Take TIME for those you love: That morning as we made spaghetti sauce, Jonah came running in to see what was making the nose coming from the blender. I scooped him up so he could have a look. Oh how I treasure this moment.  I am committed to having many more moments like these with my children. I want to be continually caught up in the wonderment of my childrens' lives.

-In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see. I had to pick my car up from the shop the next day and everyone in there was just so happy and fine. I literally had to stop myself from turning to them and saying, "Did you know Jonah died?" Oh how we must be patient with one another.

-When all is said and done, life is about relationships:I am so thankful Julie and I have made the time to be in the details of each other's life. I love her. I love her husband. I love her Jonah.  She is my sister.

-There is power in the resurrection: After this occurred I kept wondering how I would even begin to explain this to my children. How will I teach Lucy about death? The thought made my mind spin. Then my sweet husband reminded me, we will teach them this by accompanying our  lessons with insights on the resurrection. Oh how this put my mind at ease.

The aching is still so real. The pain is still very strong. The heartache and loss is incomprehensible. It is a difficult time. And the knowledge and insights are incredible. And most importantly, the love I have in my heart for my children, my husband, and for Julie and her sweet family has grown to a level I did not before comprehend.