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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jason's 30th Birthday Surprise

Today my adorable husband turned 30 years old. I knew I had to do something fantastic for his birthday, so I spent lots of time thinking about what he would enjoy. I knew a weekend getaway would be right up his alley this year. We haven't left Jack over night yet - so I decided it was time. I set everything up with my mom to have Jack stay with her and organized all the gatherings for a weekend away.
I surprised him when he got home from work Friday night with these root beer bottles that had clues to what we were doing for the weekend. He had no idea we were leaving town. I had his bag packed and ready to go.
So, we headed off to Cedar City for dinner at Lupitas (a favorite college restaurant of ours) and then a night at the cabin. Our friends Scott and Amber met us up at the cabin Friday night and we had a super fun time with them hanging out til 3 am and then being able to sleep in til 10:30!

Here is the birthday boy. Never ceases to find a moment to make me laugh.
And I bought his cake from the Cupcakery. Red Velvet with cream cheese filling. YUM!

Happy Birthday my Jason! I know 30 is going to be a good year. You are a wonderful husband, father and best friend. I love you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Walk In The Park

The days have been SO gorgeous lately here in Vegas. We have been taking advantage of the perfect weather and have spent LOTS of time at the park. Jack loves walking around, finding rocks, digging in the sand, swinging and of course the slides.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Craft Night

My friend Holly and I found this blog with adorable crafts and thought we HAD to try this one.

We had a fun evening being "crafty" and laughing. Jason said it was just like listening to us eight years ago in college. I can't wait for the next craft night to roll around!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cabinet Update

We are still hard at work staining, glazing, painting and sanding our cabinets. I am really loving the way it is all coming together. Who knew it was such a big project?! Hopefull in the next week or two it will be all done!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Grief Observed - Round Two

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis was our book club read this month. I have read this book before and even posted about it just months after Gavin passed away. It was amazing to re-read this book. When I read it in December 2007 I highlighted the passages that stood out to me. This time - a little over two years later - I went back and highlighted the points that stood out to me NOW. Many were the same, but even more were different.

It is important to note when beginning this book that C.S. Lewis was a highly spiritual man who believed in a higher being. I am unaware of his religious affiliation, however, he is often quoted at church and in other religious settings because of his faith.

The forward of this book by Madeleine L'Engle makes an important observation, ". . . each experience of grief is unique, but there are always certain basic similarities . . ." How true! Not only is each individuals grief unique since each loss is different - but even in my own experience I find that my grief is different day to day - yet there is always that similar-ness as well.

While this book is not a "feel good" read or an easy read, it reminds us that journaling is important. According to L'Engle "What we work out in our journals we don't take out on family and friends." This is C.S. Lewis' journal of grief from the loss of his wife to cancer. You can see his raw emotion of his anger, questioning God, sadness, loneliness and finally acceptance. There is nothing that he sugar coats or makes light of. He is angry at God for not being the "good and kind God" he expected. Maybe this is why I relate to this book. Even with the belief and faith I have - sometimes emotions are raw and a burden to carry without being spoken. I love that Lewis finds reprieve in his journaling. Journaling gives us permission to say all the things we "shouldn't" say. "We can admit our doubts, our own angers and anguishes and to know they are part of the soul's growth," says L'Engle.

During this second reading, I found that when I previously read this book I was angry. I was mad that God had taken my beautiful boy. I was angry that God wasn't fitting into the mold I had created for him. After all, I had been taught that if I made good choices, good things would happen to me and I would be happy. What a false thought! It's not about "right" begetting "good" it is about making right choices to give you the knowledge to work through the difficult parts of life and not loosing sight of the big picture. It is about being in a place spiritually where you can accept His will - even if it breaks your heart.

As I have come to a more accepting and peaceful place with the death of our baby Gavin - I have found that grief comes in less frequent waves, but they are no less painful. Lewis says, "Grief is like a bomber circling round and dropping its bombs each time the circle brings it overhead." While the bombs of grief come less often then they did two years ago - they still stop me dead in my tracks and for those moments and I am paralyzed that something like this happened to ME.

We always think, "Things like that won't happen to me." We go around with a false idea that "these things" happen to other people and not ourselves. Lewis says it so well, "Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination. If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came."

My experience with grief has opened my eyes to the sorrow of others. While I am not perfect at mourning with those that mourn - I am trying. I know that feeling of emptiness and I know the feeling of progressive healing.

At one point in the book Lewis writes, " If [sorrows] are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't." How true! I know there is a God and I know that Gavin has been one of the most enlightening blessings in my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. In the midst of that initial grief, sorrow, shock and exhaustion I was angry with my circumstances. However, now - two years later - I can relate to what he concludes the book with, "How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back! She said not to me but to the chaplain, 'I am at peace with God.' "

I too, am at peace with God. It has taken a long time to be able to accept Gavin's loss. And while the bombs of grief are dropped on my heart from time to time I have found peace and healing. My heart always aches from missing my sweet baby boy, but I am at peace with God and with Gavin's plan. How fortunate I was to have three months to hold an angel and to be his mother. I know Gavin was at peace when he returned to our Heavenly Father and I know there were many there waiting with open arms to welcome him home.

I also know that someday he will run back into my arms and we can be together again. That is a day I anxiously await - but for now, I am loving this life that I have been given and I have gratitude for the many blessing I have. I am grateful for the knowledge of eternal families and the blessings of comfort I find through that knowledge.

(I hope that this book doesn't bum out all the book club girls. I know many of us have experienced grief in one form or another. This book has so much depth for discussion.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


So often the word "unexpected" has such a negative connotation. We often hear of unfortunate unexpected events. Rarely do I associate that word with a positive view. Trust me, we have had our fair share of unexpected events in our life, but this morning as I watch Jason walk out the door to go to work I thought to myself, "He is so unexpected."
Let me explain.
Jason and I met when we were young. I mean YOUNG. We met when I was 18 and he was 21. We met at college and began dating shortly after we met. It was so unexpected.
Then, six months later we were engaged. Even more unexpected.
Four months later when I was 19 and he was 22 we were married.
All of this was unexpected to me. I never pictured myself married THAT young. And even though we were young - marriage has totally worked for us. Jason is my unexpected joy. I never imagined it could be THIS good. I mean, I am crazy about this guy. He stole my heart and has brought me happiness, laughter, and blessings too numerous to count. I was so amazed at the wonderful father Jason was to Gavin.
Another unexpected turn in our life.
Jason's diligence, sacrifice, hard work, love and support helped both Gavin and myself through those three months the the NICU. Jason's kindness, understanding and patience helped me through the grief that followed after Gavin passed away. Neither of us pictured life that way - but that was our road we were given. Looking back it was so unexpected, yet so amazing.
And even more unexpected was Jason's love for our next son Jack. I love the picture below. Jason looks like he is in awe of this little newborn. I can see the gratitude in his eyes.
Gratitude for the unexpected. A healthy, happy and lively little boy.
So unexpected after the previous road we were on.
Jason has so much love for Jack. I always knew Jason would be a wonderful father, but he has exceeded my expectations with the way he loves both of our boys.
So unexpected.

Life can bring so many wonderful "unexpected" events. My biggest unexpected event is the presence of a wonderful husband, father to my boys, and best friend. He loves me in the midst of my craziness, in the joys of life and in my deepest, darkest hour of despair. He is the person I turn to for everything. He "gets" me with all my imperfections. I love him like I can't explain. I never imagined I would find a guy like him, but I did.

So unexpected.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kitchen Cabinet Update

Here is my kitchen.
It's it more like a circus tent right now.
I am SO happy with the way it is coming along!
We are in the painting phase.
And I don't have a stove.
Or an oven.
Or a microwave.
Or a dishwasher.
Or a sink.
Now I have an excuse not to cook!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jack Is On The Move!

Well, it's official. This last week Jack started walking without any help. He is all over the place walking from couch to couch and wall to wall. Of course, if he wants to get somewhere quick he crawls. I just can't believe my baby is a walking maniac!
I so grateful for every milestone I watch Jack hit with success.
SO grateful.

Monday, February 15, 2010

M's Baptism

This weekend we made a really, really quick trip to Salt Lake City for my sweet niece M's baptism. She was just darling and so excited for her special day. I was so happy watching her make this important decision. I love M to pieces and I am grateful that Gavin and Jack have such wonderful cousins to look up to. We love you M!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A First Sentence?

Yesterday I laid Jack down for his morning nap. He held on to this little red ball the whole time I rocked him. I put him to bed with it. Then I hear screaming and this . . . "MAMAMAMAMAMA BAWWWW!" I walk in to find him standing on his tip toes in his crib reaching as far as he can over the side. The ball was on the ground. I picked it up for him, handed it to him and he laid down and went right to sleep. Perhaps I am over analyzing, but I am pretty sure that was his first semi-sentence!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day Gavin!

Since the weather has been so overcast and rainy (not complaining about the rain - I love it) I haven't had a chance to decorate for Valentine's Day for Gavin. Decorating for holidays makes me feel like I can still do something for him. I love taking Jack over and letting him play with the little toys and decorations I take for Gavin.
(I am sure Gavin would have been a very good sharer.) :)
Yesterday my mom met me at the cemetery and we set up his little Valentine's Day mailbox and other decorations. I still ache that I have to mother (if you can call it that) Gavin this way. I wish I could be a "normal" mom to him. However, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude that I am his mother and that I was given the privilege to have both Gavin and Jack as my boys.
Happy Valentine's Day my little bug.
My heart belongs to my three boys this Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Projects Big and Projects Small

We have started a million projects these last few weeks. We spent the weekend trying to catch up. Here are a few . . .
We decided we wanted to refinish our kitchen cabinets. Our friend has been helping Jason build an extension on the top of the cupboards and refinish them. Here are a few pictures from the building phase. Hopefully this week we will be painting and glazing to give them an antique look. I will post the finished look when they are done.
We added beadboard to all the edges of the cabinets as well. Crown molding will be added to the very top at the end.

We spent a romantic *ha ha* Friday night sanding the cabinets.

And then an even MORE romantic Saturday *ha ha ha* deglazing and deep cleaning.

I did get a few Valentine's Day decorations made during the weekend too with some of the extra wood left over from the cabinets.

And last, but not least, we got Jack's play room put together. Now, on to decorating the playroom . . .

Saturday, February 6, 2010

You Just Don't Forget These Things

I have been in a bit of a slump lately. Another wave of grief. I don't know why. It just comes and goes. Well, it never really goes - there is always a part of my soul that is sad - but more than not, I can find more happiness than pain. Except these past three days. My heart aches. It's not like a can't-get-of-bed-stab-in-the-gut pain. It's more like a cloud just hanging over me - reminding me of sad, desperate and lonely times.

Today Jason and I drove past the cemetery. (I have been anxiously awaiting decorating for Valentine's Day for Gavin. We have a mailbox that we leave Valentines in for him. However, the weather has not been cooperative as of late.) As we drove past I saw the dreaded blue tent. The one that signifies a painful day for a mother and father and other family members. Every time I see that blue tent set up in the children's section I can't help but think about how this will be one of the worst days of their lives with pain filled days to follow. I pray that those families may be blessed with comfort and peace during those trying times.

As I watched the family standing in the pouring rain over a small two foot grave I felt zapped back in time. I remember that day like it was yesterday and at the same I time I feel like it was a different lifetime. Jason compares it to his mission in Argentina. He says, "You know it happened. It changed your life. But now life is nothing like THAT life and you are forever a changed person."
I remember choosing the spot where Gavin would be laid to rest. I don't know why we picked the spot we did that October morning. I just remember wanting to choose it and leave. I remember the funeral assistant staking the ground like it was a piece of property with a small white flag. Why did I have to choose a place for my son's body? I wished he could be home with me. At that time I was so exhausted and over ridden with grief - I don't remember much but it isn't quite something I can forget either. You just don't forget those feelings. Perhaps the motions of that day. But never the feeling of that day.
The other night, one of my best friends was at my house looking at Gavin's book. She looked up at me and said, "This just isn't something you ever get over." How true. And it felt so good to have someone recognize that this pain lasts forever. The memories of picking out a burial plot may blur in my mind - perhaps that is a method of self preservation - but the ache still lingers. Because it is real.

The pain is real because Gavin was real. He was not a figment of my imagination. I held him. I bathed him. I sang to him and rocked him. I changed his diaper, trach and g-tube. We made decisions to fight for him. We made decisions to let him go. Most of all we loved him. He may have only been here on the earth for three short months, but he was real. Just as real as any other child. And even though he is gone. I still know he is real. He is a beautiful boy with the spirit of a giant. His presence testifies to me that life exists beyond this earth. I know that we will be together again. And that day will be great. It will be real.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jack Is Feeling Reminiscent Today

This morning I found Jack like this . . . He was trying to play with his jungle floor mat from his earlier days.
Guess he missed these times . . . (taken April 2009)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts Of "R"

Today my thoughts have been with "M" and "S". They know who they are. Today it has been six years since their baby boy "R" returned to our Heavenly Father. Technically, they are Jason's friends from high school. Now they are mine too.
In the time of my greatest grief M was there by my side. She emailed me pretty much daily through that first year after Gavin passed away. She reached out to me because she knew the grief so well. She had lived it years before I had. She let me vent, she let me be angry, she let me cry and she helped me find hope. She understood the pain that only a mother who has buried a child could understand. She never judged me for the feelings I had and she never condemned me for the things I said. She was loving, kind, compassionate and supportive. A rock when my world was spinning out of control. She is truly one of my nearest and dearest friends.
So today, I have thought about her sweet R all day. Days like this - I find I have so much love for these precious babies. We love you R. Your momma and daddy are wonderful people. You are a blessing to all of us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jack's TV Remote

Today I yelled at Jack.
It was the millionth time he did this.
Hitting the TV remote control on the tile floor.
It went something like, "JACK! KNOCK IT OFF!"
He looked at me with those great big blue eyes and did this . . .

Apparently he thought he could change my channel or volume.
It didn't work.
I couldn't help but laugh a little.
I took it away.
He went ballistic for about 45 minutes.
Stupid remote control.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Serious Hair Cut

Last week I took Jack to see his Aunt Lauren at her hair salon for a haircut. He is just so darling sitting in the salon chair! I told her I wanted it really short. I mean, we are having to cut his hair every three weeks or so right now. Lauren did a fantastic job! Jack looks like a little boy now and not quite so baby-like! My baby is growing up!