Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another October 19th

I still feel badly that Peyton's birthday is shared with the anniversary of Autumn's death. But there really is no getting around it. It wasn't planned - it just is. And the Lord knew what He was doing.

I had a good cry on the night of the 18th. Mourning the little girl who never became part of our family - gone before I knew her. I let myself remember not only her death - but life before she died. Both bring tears.

... and yet - my life is full of contentment. My girls bring me such joy.

Peyton is the walking, talking, jumping, rhyming, running definition of life.
Tenley is mischievous, glowing, affectionate and clever.

I wonder what our family would be like if they really were our second and third child.
I wonder what Autumn would look like now. What she would sound like. So many unknowns. Sometimes, when Peyton is particularly amusing (you know, when your child does something you just shake your head in wonderment at and think, "How did you become like this?") I find myself pausing and thinking about the little life which just vanished from mine. Those moments are still challenging.

I wish we didn't have to plan a graveyard visit and balloon release tomorrow. But I wouldn't trade it. Sharing that experience with Peyton and Tenley is our family's way of marking Autumn's life. She is the reason for so many things.

A journey to the graveyard on October 21st is our life. For better or worse, this is the family we've been given. The history we've lived and the future we have hope for. We are who we are by the grace and purpose of God. That's really good to cling to when my heart threatens to break again.

I miss Autumn. But I have peace.

I love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living -
these three girls
my babies will be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

So - we kinda had a baby...

Back in November of last year.

- Really? C'mon.
I know I've been sporadic - but it hasn't been that long.

But anyway, google has updated a bunch of options to keep blogs fresh and interesting!
Since I was adding a pair of legs (above), I thought, "Why not?" :)

As for current events: Harvest, again. Funny how that happens every year about this time. The girls and I have managed to visit a few of Kurt's (so far) 11 in a row. They're working hard to get all 28 quarters off. We've been so thankful for the good weather... the longer it holds, the faster the crops come off.

I cannot believe our baby is 10-and-a-half months old. That means only one-and-a-half more months of maternity leave. :( Trying to get all that quality mommy one-on-two time in while there are no other demands.

Okay - it is suppertime - and the kids are both howling. Talk to you soon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Daddy Tells the BEST Stories

... a warm and sunny afternoon in our sun porch after a trip to the library made for the perfect opportunity to tell the riveting tale of 'Piggy Pie'...
I'm not sure whose expressions I enjoy more: the girl's or Kurt's! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

About Fear

It's funny how things come up.

I'm surfing facebook - linking, linking, linking... and all of a sudden I find a link of a family whose baby boy died last month.

He was 10-and-a-half months old. One and a half months beyond where Tenley is.

It's like a literal fist in the stomach. The way the emotion hits, I mean.
The worst of it is that reading about and feeling that family's pain isn't so foreign. The horror of a life-changing discovery... and the same emotions of "This cannot be happening." run though me as I picture the moment she found her dead child.

I can even imagine what it would be like to call the police... family... friends. How to share the unthinkable...

And so - initially - I just cry. For that mom who writes, "I checked 10 times each night. And that night he just looked like he was sleeping peacefully - but he was gone." For the little boy who is so bright and beautiful in the pictures. For his big brother who is now an only child again.

But in the middle of that grief comes a new one emotion.
One I fight with all my being 'cause it's a bad one.

The fear can be overwhelming.
Ahhhh... why sugar coat it?
It is overwhelming. If it wasn't normal to be this way, Jesus wouldn't have had to tell his children how to fight it.

I had to make a hard choice.
Close facebook. Breathe. Be still. Do not run to their room. Pray.

My children are the Lord's gift to me. I have no guarantees. I know His plans for me are good. All the days of my life are leading me to the moment I will fall at His feet with tears and cry "It was all worth it!" I know this will happen. So I must fight to believe it in this fearful moment.

I ask His protection of my little ones as they sleep. To keep their heart's beating - lungs breathing... and all the while I know it could happen to me. My sweet baby girl could die of SIDS.

But my purpose is not to prepare myself for the worst.

It's to prepare myself for whatever He has for me.
I've lived one "worst-case-scenario".
There was no preparing - no planning in the world that could have lessened the sting of that heartbreak.

But Jesus held me. And I know that He still is. And still will. And will never let me go.

After reminding myself of these things, I did - of course! - go check on her.

She startled and gave an annoyed cry at my prodding.
I opened a window to cool it down. I made sure she wasn't over-bundled - and that the fan was blowing on her every once in a while.
I watched her chest rise and fall.
I loved those little baby lip movements and hand twitches.
Her soft spiky hair after her bath... her perfect round little belly stuck up in the air as she stretched her legs out.
I thought about the way her smile lights up the room. How quick she is to giggle, to give affection and be playful...
I cherish everything about that child. I love her so much my heart breaks.

Perhaps - I won't be so grumpy when that same little baby wants to eat 3 times tonight.
Or when she gets angry that I would dare put her back in her own bed.
Or when she wakes up her sister who bellows, "TENLEY!! YOU'RE TOO LOUD FOR MEEEE!" and chaos and confusion reign in our house between the hours of 2 and 5 am...


I'm thinking that maybe the heartache and fear of tonight have accomplished something that needed to be done.
I am reminded of where I've been. I am reminded of the grace that has been shown to me. And I'm reminded of how much I love being a mommy - with all it's ups and downs and sleep deprivation. I remember what it took me to get here: to get them.

I remember how I longed for my arms to be full after Autumn was gone... and how God has given each of my arms a daughter to cuddle.

I have confidence for the future because of my past. Because of what He's already done.

Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The last three weeks have been a blur:
- camping with Kurt's folks at Struthers Lake
- both girls getting sick on the SAME night at the lake.
- the recovery process... which included both Kurt and I dealing with being sick, too.
- Kurt's cousin's wedding July16th.
- Our power going off late the evening of July 18th - and staying off until July 20th around 8 pm! (seriously!)
- several days in the city leading up to my little brother's wedding and Peyton's first flower-girl experience! :)
- at the end of the day, she was thrilled to sing "You are my Sunshine" in front of 200 people to her very newest Auntie... Ashley Podhordeski! Congratulations and well wishes to the happy couple as they are honeymooning in the Dominican as I type. :)
Anyway - as the week starts we're in recovery mode.
We've also got a few other things on our plate are taking time and attention. But that's life, right? :)

More updates soon! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Superstore Incident

AND a VERY happy Canada Day to you! :)


So Peyton's power of speech continues to grow by leaps and bounds. She rarely has trouble expressing exactly what she wants us to know. And I've gotten quite used to knowing what she's saying in pretty much every situation.

We were in line at Superstore on Thursday. She was in the first cart (Kurt's) and I was behind with the second and Tenley. She was kinda being "punchy" (our family word for bratty - but not as harsh-sounding, right?) a few minutes before - but seemed momentarily content. She was transfixed on the cashier - a middle-aged woman who was calmly pushing the items over the scanner and toward Kurt who was packing like a madman at the end of the conveyer belt.

I was distracted from my bored perusal of the Soap Opera magazines by Peyton's voice announcing, "She's fat. Fat, fat, fat! Wow! She's so fat!"

To say I was shocked would be an understatement.

"Peyton!" I said sternly, "WHO are you talking about?" (note to other mom's out there who may be potentially embarrassed by their child's total lack of guile - for pity's sake! if the clarification is going to be brutal - don't ask publicly!)

"That lady, mommy." she said.
POINTING at the cashier.
"She's fat!"

The cashier glanced up at me in time to see my horrified expression. As I looked back at her with a mortified apology written all over my face, she simply shrugged and looked down.

"I'm SO sorry. I don't know what she's talking about! You are not fat!" I gasped.

Then, looking at Peyton, I said in my MOST stern voice, "Peyton Grace Elaine. That is not something you say about or to people. It is unkind. Do you understand?"

She was first puzzled, and then sullen and irritated looking as she replied, "Okay, Mommy. I understand."

I probably apologized at least 3 more times - and also reassured the cashier that I would be discussing some things with my daughter later. She - to her immense credit - was very easy-going and said to me, "You know what? Don't worry about it. Really. I just roll with the punches."

Augh! My daughter punched someone with her MOUTH!

And seriously? (My pride reared it's ugly head.) If my TWO year old is saying that kind of stuff in public, WHERE are people going to think she got it from? From her mother, that's who! I'm going to be thought of as one of those moms who bad-mouths other people in front of my kids. No! No! No! NOOOOO!

-- Now, it is important to note that the cashier really wasn't fat - I wasn't just being politically correct and horrified at the child saying something I myself was secretly thinking. Not that she would be allowed to say such a thing even if the person were heavy!

It's also important to note that we don't use that word in our house at all unless we're talking about something on the edge of a piece of bacon. If you ask Peyton why mommy goes on the treadmill or works out, she'll reply, "To be healthy!"

I've never said a word in front of my girls about wanting to lose weight, or being/feeling 'fat', and we don't even own a scale. It helps that I don't think that way about myself. Besides, they'll figure out the world's standard of thin = beauty soon enough - poor things. But I don't want their insecurities to ever be justified by something they see their own mother pursuing/thinking/obsessing about.

Maybe I'll post on this someday - because I've put a lot of thought into it especially having daughters. But not today! :) )

Kurt, meanwhile, was so busy packing he was totally oblivious to the entire interaction.
When we rolled up beside each other outside before we headed to the truck, I asked him to stop so we could talk.

"Ask our daughter what she just said to the cashier." I said with a frown.

He looked at me, and then down at Peyton's innocent face staring back at him.
"What did you say, Peyton?" he asked.

"Nothing." she replied simply.

"That's not true, Peyton!" said an indignant mommy. To Kurt, I blurted, "She told the cashier she was fat!"

"What???" said Kurt.
I was glad to see his horror justifying my own.
"Peyton! Why would you say she was fat?"

"I didn't say that!" she replied with a frown.

Taking a big, dramatic breath, she pronounced with great gusto, "Fats. She was really fats."

We stared at her for a series of heartbeats before I replied, "Fast? You were saying she was fast?"

"Yeah!" she replied with a huge grin and her hands passing sideways mimicking a cashier's slide down the conveyer belt. "She was so fatsT!"

Her tongue literally poked from between her teeth to click out the previously missing - and all-important - 'T'.

Oh, the sweet, sweet clarification of an extra consonant.

You better believe I turned my cart around - Tenley and all - and walked right back into that store. Hey, I'm a woman too - and if some little kid looked at me and announced authoritatively that I was fat, it wouldn't matter HOW good I felt about myself. There would be some damage.

When she looked up and noticed me I said, "Just so you know: when we asked our daughter why she said that she clarified that she thought you were very fast at moving the groceries. Not fat."

She paused while looking at me, and then literally laughed out loud. With a big grin, she told me, "Well, that made my day. You're so sweet to come back and tell me!"

I'm not really sure there is a lesson to be learned here. Perhaps something about listening to your kid before you judge them. Perhaps about not letting pride take over...
I dunno. Regardless. We've had a good laugh over it. :) Thought you might as well...

But blogger is having some trouble - so I'd better post this fats!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Family Pictures (by Julie Cortens)

I know I've been woefully negligent in the blogosphere lately.
Life is just happening at such a quick pace I can barely keep up myself - let alone sit down and type it out. :)

But just to let you know that we're here and still well - some pictures taken last Sunday by our talented friend, Julie Cortens of Julie Cortens Photography - tell the story. Be sure to look at it in slideshow format if you can - the music is perfect! :)

If you're looking for someone creative and fun to take some shots of you or your family, I encourage you to check out her website.

Pretty much anyone who reads this blog knows what Nana's name is - but if you don't (or can't remember) just leave a comment with your email and I'll send it your way. :)

Please let me know what you think - 'cause I have to pick a few favorites! At least the new header for the blog is already taken care of. (lol!)

You can see the slideshow here.