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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat!

We were so excited for Halloween this year. We decorated the house (it looked so much more fun in the dark) and we got the kiddos all dressed up and headed out to trick or treat with some friends! Jack was insane about it and was really bossy telling everyone where to go. Owen slept through most of it. Oh the candy we have in this house right now . . .

Bye Bye Batman and Robin!

We have had a fun Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Festivities

We have had so many fun Halloween activities this week! I swear I feel like Halloween is lasting forever this year . . . good thing it is my favorite holiday!







Friday, October 28, 2011

Remembering Four Years and An Angel

Four years ago we watched as our sweet baby Gavin returned to Heaven. Heaven received another Angel that day and we were left with empty arms - but with hearts full of love and the knowledge that we will be together again. It is so interesting as I reflect on that day - I remember the difficulty and the grief but now I mostly remember the peace and serenity. It was as if the whole world stopped for our little family and we were given a glimpse into Heaven and the way it would feel there. Never in my life had I ever - nor have I since - felt peace and sacredness like that night four years ago. The mercy and the blessings abounded. The earthly grief hit hard. We knew the road ahead of us would be difficult. And it was. But now - four years down that difficult road - I can look back on that night with a heavy but peaceful heart and remember that experience with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for peace and calmness. Gratitude for a Heavenly Father who knew we would trust Him and gratitude for a Savior who knows every ache and pain, every tear, fear and ounce on loneliness. Who walked with me constantly. And the spirit of a sweet son who often reminds me that he is not so far away and that this is only a time and a season and that in the end, if we are faithful, we will be together again. I love Gavin. I love my Savior and I love a Heavenly Father who has given me an experience that has changed my life forever.

Families ARE forever.

I know it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lyrics to Beautiful Heartbreak by Hilary Weeks

I had it all mapped out in front of me

Knew just where I wanted to go

But life decided to change my plans

And I found a mountain in the middle of my road.

I knew there was no way to move it

So I searched for a way around Broken-hearted,

I started climbing

And at the top I found

Every fear, every doubt, all the pain I went through

Was the price that I paid to see this view

And now that I'm here I would never trade

The grace that I feel and the face that I find

Through the bittersweet tears and the sleepless nights

I used to pray He'd take it all away

But instead it became a beautiful heartbreak.

I never dreamed my heart would make it

I thought about turning around

But Heaven has shown me miracles

I never would have seen from the ground

Now I take the rain with the sunshine

Cuz there's one thing that I know

He picks up the pieces along each broken road.

Every fear, every doubt, all the pain I went through

Was the price that I paid to see this view

And now that I'm here I would never trade

The grace that I feel and the face that I find

Through the bittersweet tears and the sleepless nights

I used to pray He'd take it all away

But instead it became a beautiful heartbreak.

Beautiful Heartbreak

Article : Notes From a Dragon Mom

One of my very best friends sent me this article this morning from the New York Times. She warned me that it would make me cry - and I give you the same heads up now.

It reiterates every lesson I learned from my time with Gavin as a mother. Love your children. Nothing else matters except for your love. I pray I can remember that . . . always.


Emily Rapp is the author of “Poster Child: A Memoir,” and a professor of creative writing at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
Santa Fe, N.M.

MY son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow. His eyes are bright and focused. Ronan means “little seal” in Irish and it suits him.
I want to stop here, before the dreadful hitch: my son is 18 months old and will likely die before his third birthday. Ronan was born with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder. He is slowly regressing into a vegetative state. He’ll become paralyzed, experience seizures, lose all of his senses before he dies. There is no treatment and no cure.
How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit?
Depressing? Sure. But not without wisdom, not without a profound understanding of the human experience or without hard-won lessons, forged through grief and helplessness and deeply committed love about how to be not just a mother or a father but how to be human.
Parenting advice is, by its nature, future-directed. I know. I read all the parenting magazines. During my pregnancy, I devoured every parenting guide I could find. My husband and I thought about a lot of questions they raised: will breast-feeding enhance his brain function? Will music class improve his cognitive skills? Will the right preschool help him get into the right college? I made lists. I planned and plotted and hoped. Future, future, future.
We never thought about how we might parent a child for whom there is no future. The prenatal test I took for Tay-Sachs was negative; our genetic counselor didn’t think I needed the test, since I’m not Jewish and Tay-Sachs is thought to be a greater risk among Ashkenazi Jews. Being somewhat obsessive about such matters, I had it done anyway, twice. Both times the results were negative.
Our parenting plans, our lists, the advice I read before Ronan’s birth make little sense now. No matter what we do for Ronan — choose organic or non-organic food; cloth diapers or disposable; attachment parenting or sleep training — he will die. All the decisions that once mattered so much, don’t.
All parents want their children to prosper, to matter. We enroll our children in music class or take them to Mommy and Me swim class because we hope they will manifest some fabulous talent that will set them — and therefore us, the proud parents — apart. Traditional parenting naturally presumes a future where the child outlives the parent and ideally becomes successful, perhaps even achieves something spectacular. Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is only the latest handbook for parents hoping to guide their children along this path. It’s animated by the idea that good, careful investments in your children will pay off in the form of happy endings, rich futures.
But I have abandoned the future, and with it any visions of Ronan’s scoring a perfect SAT or sprinting across a stage with a Harvard diploma in his hand. We’re not waiting for Ronan to make us proud. We don’t expect future returns on our investment. We’ve chucked the graphs of developmental milestones and we avoid parenting magazines at the pediatrician’s office. Ronan has given us a terrible freedom from expectations, a magical world where there are no goals, no prizes to win, no outcomes to monitor, discuss, compare.
But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and ... healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition.
Ronan won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say “Mama,” and I will never be a tiger mom. The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity. We will not launch our children into a bright and promising future, but see them into early graves. We will prepare to lose them and then, impossibly, to live on after that gutting loss. This requires a new ferocity, a new way of thinking, a new animal. We are dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell. Our experiences have taught us how to parent for the here and now, for the sake of parenting, for the humanity implicit in the act itself, though this runs counter to traditional wisdom and advice.
NOBODY asks dragon parents for advice; we’re too scary. Our grief is primal and unwieldy and embarrassing. The certainties that most parents face are irrelevant to us, and frankly, kind of silly. Our narratives are grisly, the stakes impossibly high. Conversations about which seizure medication is most effective or how to feed children who have trouble swallowing are tantamount to breathing fire at a dinner party or on the playground. Like Dr. Spock suddenly possessed by Al Gore, we offer inconvenient truths and foretell disaster.
And there’s this: parents who, particularly in this country, are expected to be superhuman, to raise children who outpace all their peers, don’t want to see what we see. The long truth about their children, about themselves: that none of it is forever.
I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. I would take my chances on a stripped battlefield with a sling and a rock à la David and Goliath if it would make a difference. But it won’t. I can roar all I want about the unfairness of this ridiculous disease, but the facts remain. What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.
But today Ronan is alive and his breath smells like sweet rice. I can see my reflection in his greenish-gold eyes. I am a reflection of him and not the other way around, and this is, I believe, as it should be. This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Need A Laugh?

Jack is our household entertainment around here. Here are a few funny things he has said/done lately that I don't want to forget!

- he calls nipples his "nickles"

- Jack walked into the kitchen the other day naked from the waist down holding his diaper with a disgusted look on his face. He then said, "Change my diaper mom! This is huge wet." (Time to potty train . . . I know . . .)

- When Jack woke up one morning he told Jason, "This leg is cool and this other leg is AWESOME!:

- When Jason put Jack's new shoes on him, Jack asked, "Dad, my new shoes will make me fly?"

- Jack insisted I call him David all day. When I asked him what Jason's name was for the day he said, "Ummmm . . . Grandma Scrotum."

- When I put Jack in time out, he stood in the corner with his hands on the wall singing "I Am A Child of God" at the top of his lungs.

Yeah. I have a regular entertainer on my hands!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Murder Mystery Dinner

Last night we had a Murder Mystery Dinner at our house with some friends. It was so much fun and so funny to see everyone go all out with their costumes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Owen Is Eight Months Old

At Eight Months Owen:

is 19 3/4 pounds

is 27 inches

army crawls (especially when food is the motivation)

goes from laying to sitting on his own

loves to fee himself Puffs

is soooo happy and laughs all the time

sleeps through the night

loves to steal Jack's sippy cups

had his first tooth come in on 10/11/2011 with the other on the way

loves his swing (even though he is getting too big for it)

laughs hysterically at Jack when Jack is doing something naughty

went to Disneyland for the first time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"I Need To Check My Computer"

Ummm . . . when your kid tells you he needs to "check his computer" is that a reflection of what he must hear everyday?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Owen Is Crawling!

Owen crawled for the first time today!

I even managed the impossible and caught it on video!

Go Baby Go!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


To me, Disneyland truly is the happiest place on earth. I feel like I have been waiting for years to take my kids there and for them to have fun memories of Disneyland like I do.

We were able to go with my mom, dad, James, Lauren and Becca to Disneyland this weekend. SO much fun!

Jack loved MOST of the rides. The ones in the dark were scary to him and Small World just about sent him over the edged (check out the photo of him in the boat later on in this post). However, he loved the atmosphere and seeing so many of his favorite characters. Cinderella even blew him a kiss as she walked by!

And Owen . . . well Owen belly laughed and grinned from ear to ear the whole time. He was absolutley perfect!

This has been such a great trip. I didn't want it to end!

(I apologize for all the photos - but this is how I keep my family's journal . . . so here it goes!)

(Jack couldn't take Small World anymore . . . )

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel - and this was the nightlight in our room!

And we are on our way home . . .