"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Wrapped Up

So long! Farewell 2009!

This year brought happiness, anxiety, exhaustion, laughter, peace, hope and love.
I am grateful for all our experiences.
2009 it's been a one-of-a-kind year.
Let's try to make 2010 a little bit easier, huh?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Look Ma! No Hands!

This morning I heard a bunch of yelling coming from Jack's playroom. I ran to see what all the commotion was about and this is what I find . . .
Jack had climbed up his new Christmas slide and was yelling for me to come get him.
He refuses to slide down the slide - but apparently loves the climbing wall on the other side.
He was stuck at the top.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Inner Struggle Of The Name Game

It was clear that my last entry caused some emotional turbulence. A comment was left concerning our lack of including Gavin on our Christmas card. Yes, this was a conscious decision Jason and I made this year after much discussion and many tears. However, if you look closely you will see that we added a discrete "g" in the bottom left hand corner of the card. We did not forget him.

As a mother who has a child "here" and a child "there" I have this inner struggle whether or not to include Gavin's name on things such as Christmas cards, thank you notes, birthday cards, etc. It is something I think about every time I write our names on anything. Think about how many times you sign your family's name. EVERY TIME I do that I am in conflict whether or not to sign Gavin's name. I debate: If I sign his name, is that odd? unhealthy? morbid? If I don't sign his name, will people think I have forgotten him? will people still remember he is part of our family? will Gavin think he isn't an important part of our family? And each time I think about it, I am reminded of the loss and grief we still feel. It is not something I take lightly - it is pure heartache anyway you look at it.

It is painful, to say the least, to not write all of my childrens' names on our Christmas card. However, this Christmas card was a representation of 2009 for our family. And wish all I may that it could be different, Gavin was not physically present in our lives in 2009. That being said, Gavin is very much a part of our everyday life. We speak of him every day and there has yet to be a day where I haven't thought of him. His picture is up in our home, his stocking is still hanging above our fireplace and we visit him often at the cemetery.

Our decision to not list Gavin on our Christmas card was not out of neglect nor are we "over" the loss of Gavin in our lives. It was a decision made in reflection of the year 2009 for our family. And for many personal reasons - this was our decision for this year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Original 2009 Christmas Card

We had a Christmas card fiasco this year.
This was the original one, but it didn't make it out - a traditional Costco one did. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Go Buckeyes!

We love that Jack's Great Grandma Molly sends Ohio State Buckeye "gear" to us every year for Christmas. We will make sure to wear it on January 1st during the Rose Bowl when Ohio State takes on Oregon at the Rose Bowl!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Jack's First Christmas!

There isn't much to say about Jack's First Christmas . . . these pictures tell the story.
He loved it all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

And all through the house,
Jack was causing a ruckus . . .
. . . in new Christmas pajamas . . .
. . . waiting for Santa . . .
. . . and stealing the Big Guys cookies and milk!

Tonight I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and a bit of loneliness too. Waiting for Santa to fill Jack's stocking brought a bit of heartache for me tonight. How I wish he could fill Gavin's too. How I wish Jack could be sitting in these pictures with his beautiful older brother!
However, even in the moments of grief we found ourselves in tonight - our spirits are lifted and comforted. Jack is such a beautiful bright spot in our lives. He lights up our lives with joy and delight.
I know Jack didn't completely comprehend Christmas Eve tonight (or even at all!) but he sure felt the excitement in the air! He was a little animal crawling all over Jason's parents' house and entertaining his extended family with his dancing and clapping all night. He loved being the center of attention and receiving lots of hugs and kisses.
Jack makes me feel . . . jovial again.

Let It Snow!

We spent Christmas in Salt Lake City, UT with Jason's family this year. We traveled up in quite the snow storm which made a perfect day for sledding the next! Jack wasn't quite sure what to think of the snow or the sled, however we all had fun watching him discover this new environment!
Note the improvised snow gear.

Jack sledding with Uncle Craig

Monday, December 21, 2009

Understand God's Will

Today I was reading an online article about the Duggar Family. Okay - guilty admission here - I love watching their show on the TLC channel "18 Kids And Counting." Most of you probably know who they are . . . they are the family with 19 kids.
I think I first started watching this show out of curiosity. Perhaps I was a little judgmental too. Can they really care for all of them? Can they actually be good parents to 19 kids? Well, after watching the show this season, I would answer an emphatic YES to both of those questions. I really admire this family who lives completely debt free, takes their children to experience and accept new adventures and who has the patience of Job. I love watching their show - maybe one of my goals this year is to have the patience of Michelle Duggar (the mom). . . maybe.
Recently, a new child was born into the family very premature - weighing on 1 lb. 6 oz. I have always marveled at how many HEALTHY children they have. I can imagine that even with 18 other children - a parent must struggle and grieve watching even one suffer.
This is what the father said about their time with their new daughter, Josie and her struggles. . .
"God's will is what we would choose if we knew all the facts."
I love that. Love it. And will now strive to live by that more fully.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mortensen Christmas Dinner

Tonight we had our Christmas dinner with my family. It's our year to be with Jason's family for Christmas - so we celebrated a early with my family. Of course we had to cheat a little and have Jack open a few of his gifts. I guess grandparents,aunts and uncles are entitled to that.
And what would Christmas be without some new Ohio State Buckeye apparel?!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Dose Of Daily Entertainment

Look at this face!
Pure entertainment!
Jack sure is having a blast with his Aunt Trisha in town! He loves her so much and she gives him all the attention he needs. What a great combination!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Magical Forrest

Tonight we went to Opportunity Village's Magical Forrest. It started with a simple idea to visit Santa one more time to see if Jack would cooperate and soon it turned into a whole family outing! We have been lucky to have Jason's sister Trisha here in Vegas visiting for a bit so it was perfect timing to go see Santa again.

We had dinner at a great Greek Food restaurant . . . sigh . . . I miss Greece . . . and then it was off to a semi-Winter Wonderland here is Vegas!
Here are a few pictures from the night.

And of course the girls had to get a picture in front of Cinderella's carriage.
Me, Lauren, Becca and Trish

Round Two . . . Santa

Santa won again. Jack sat on his lap for about 10 seconds before the screaming began and the arms stretched out for mom to come get him. When I picked him up this time he had a death-grip hold around my neck until Santa was out of view. I think Santa will still be visiting Jack this year though . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Giddy Up!

Grandma Cindy and Aunt Becca picked up this ADORABLE cowboy hat at Janie and Jack this week. He will be wearing this Labor Day weekend at the Parowan Parade for sure!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Rainbow Baby

This weekend I was reading another angel mommy's blog. She was talking about her "Rainbow Baby." I had never heard this term before - but I choked up as I read the definition of a Rainbow Baby.
It is referring to the baby that is born after the passing of a child.

Jack is our Rainbow Baby.

And I have so much gratitude and appreciation for him. When I found out I was pregnant with Jack, Jason and I had so many worries. Would he be healthy? Would we be able to love him like we love Gavin? Would he understand our broken hearts? Would he feel like a replacement? Would he have animosity towards Gavin? Would he be obedient and faithful so we could all be together again with Gavin? Would he be angry at the repercussions of a broken hearted mother and father? Would he ever understand how much a parent loves a child?

So many questions and such a long nine months until his arrival. We sat on pins and needles those nine months - never really enjoying any part - just counting the days until we could watch him breathe.
See him.
Hear him.

Do I regret that? Yes and no. I wish I could have enjoyed his pregnancy more, however, any mother who has been through the loss of a child knows the agony and anxiety that accompanies the pregnancy after that loss.

Then January 14, 2009 came. He arrived healthy, happy, loud and breathing. Everything we asked for. In the midst of our storm we were given a beautiful rainbow. And I know it is one of the greatest tender mercies of my life.

Even though we still grieve - and some days it still feels overwhelming - I have this beautiful, lively, happy boy to remind me that there is beauty in the storm. Without my rain - I may not have seen my rainbow.
I am grateful for my crazy Jack.
He is the rainbow in my storm.


I love your laugh. I love your goofy four toothed grin. I love your energy and hyper-ness. I love how you exhaust me. I love how you crawl all over me. I love how you giggle when I put you in bed with your blanket. I love how you let me hold you before your afternoon nap. I love that you give me kisses. I love how you make me smile. I love how you help me find the beauty and joy in life.
I love you Jack Jack.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gavin's Christmas Tree

Sunday afternoon Jason and I set up Gavin's Christmas Tree in our bedroom. We have the perfect spot for this beautiful baby blue and silver tree which given to us the Christmas after Gavin passed away. I love this tree. I love laying in bed at night looking at the tree and all the symbolism it has for me. This year we didn't decorate it with all the ornaments - Jack is just too curious. :)
(Both this tree and the family tree are decorated about 3/4 of the way down. )
As I put the little lamb on the top of the tree I felt that same jab in my gut. The one that is always lurking around waiting for the moment to remind me what I am missing - what we have gone through - what should have been - the pain and the beauty of those three precious months with Gavin. The three months I spent in the presence of an angel and felt heaven so close.
Jason and I kinda chuckled as we set up the lamb and the lion by the tree. It fits our boys perfectly. The lamb is like Gavin - calm, peaceful, innocent and the lion is like Jack - full of energy, happiness and spunk. I just may be the luckiest mother ever to have two beautiful boys.

I am so grateful for these tangible memories of Gavin.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jack Is Eleven Months Old!

It is crazy to think that last December this boy was in my tummy kicking and punching and rolling around - causing all kind of havoc for me and my body. Well, eleven months later he is still kicking and punching and rolling around and doing so much more - thank goodness he has more room than he did last December!

This month Jack:
- has learned to climb the stairs without help (always supervised though)
- loves to play with other kids
- talks all the time (must be my child)
- loves to play the scaring game (he yells. we scream. he laughs)
- has taken a few steps on his own without holding onto anything
- crawls around the house yelling, "DADADADADA!" all day while Jason is at work
- cuddles with mom and dad (finally!) for about two minutes before he goes to bed
- when he gets mad he crawls around with his forehead pressed to the carpet in frustration
- scrunches up his nose and breathes really fast when he is all done eating
- has tried to crawl on top of his highchair to get over to the island in our kitchen (THAT was scary!)
- would rather feed himself than let us feed him - however, he still has me hold his bottle . . . or maybe that is ME wanting to hold his bottle (What? Is it that bad?! HA!)
- does a funny little arm-swinging dance when he hears music - even in church!

All in all, Jack is a pretty good kid. We have our moments where we want to pull each other's hair out but I am just crazy for this little guy who is so full of life and personality. I mean, who could resist this . . .

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Visit With Santa

Last week I took Jack to Jason's work's kiddie Christmas party. They had Santa come and everything!
This is how Jack's first encounter with Santa went . . .
Is it bad that I find this HILARIOUS?!
Sorry the photos are bad. They took photos for us there and I scanned them in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mortensen Family Photos

Photos taken by Brittany Ruils

Not a bad lookin' bunch, huh!?