I am a wife and mother. I married Travis the summer of 2007 and life really took off. We welcomed our first born, Adrian Reese, June of 2009. We welcomed our second born, Ainslee Ryan, October of 2010 and had a short time with her. She was taken from us in February 2011, just 3 months and 10 days old, from the silent killer called SIDS. 6 months after she passed away, we found out we were expecting our 3rd, due in April of 2012. Our rainbow baby is a girl, sweet Hadlee Hope. We're slowly picking up the pieces and learning how to fit grief and happiness into this crazy thing called life.
Well HELLO! Yes, I am still here. I come to my blog frequently to visit my previous posts and revisit all my many emotions that have been traveled through in the last 2 1/2 years. Things/life have been so incredibly busy. Work is insanely busy, church is so so busy, and the kids are busier than ever. But, they are doing great. Hadlee is now 15 months old and just had her 15 month well check. Adrian had his 4th birthday and we take him for his well check on Thursday. Hadlee is my little firecracker. I mean, seriously. She is something else. She has such a sweet nature, and is also hilarious. She loves her brother, and he loves her so much. Life has really taken off. At 15 months, Hadlee knows a lot of her body parts. She knows head, ears, nose, eyes, mouth, tummy, fingers and toes. She can say, no, up, more, Mama, Dada, Adrian, Ainslee, Cash, Ball, thank you, and my favorite..ELMO. The way she says it is just too much. The work Elmo takes on about 4 syllables. She's a true Texan. She's got 11 teeth and is currently cutting 6 more! She's a little piranna. She is miserable with all the teeth cutting though. She's getting 4 molars and her 2 fangs. Adrian is busy this summer with swimming lessons, baseball and soccer lessons. He is loving playing outside and getting wet any chance he can get. Travis has been busy with work and our family. And I have been so busy with work and church. I help to put on a retreat for women and it's surrounded arounding renewing your faith and renewing our parish. I attended this retreat in January and have now gone through formation since January where we are planning for another 41 women to go through in just 3 short weeks. I am so thankful for this group of women, the love they have shown, and the ability to comfort in times of my dark despair. I am able to be so raw with them and show them the ugliness of grief. In a few weeks, I will be opening my heart up publically to 41 strangers. (Actually one going through is my nanny which I am so excited for!) My nanny helps us one day a week and she is a great sound of mind for me. :) All in all, we've been busy. But it's a good busy. If I can just keep ahold of work, I'll be alright. We did take a trip this summer with both kiddos to Iowa for a family wedding and it was a lot of fun. It was interesting traveling by plane with two little ones. Adrian was great. Hadlee was a little opionionated, but I let her speak her peace. We babysat Adrian's pet gecko from his school for 3 weeks, Adrian got 3 fish for his birthday, and we sadly said goodbye to 3 fish. I'm not sure what happened, but they didn't make it. We're taking a fish break, enjoying the summer with each other, and loving watching our children grow. They do something every day that is new, something that makes us laugh, and teaches us to appreciate all we've been given. Tonight I was out on a run, and as I was headed back towards home, only about a quarter of a mile left, Somewhere over the rainbow came on my itunes. The sky was bright pink, I was running and a gust of wind caught my hair. For a moment, I felt like I was surrounded by Ainslee. I was calm, at peace, and thankful for that moment. I miss her like crazy.
This past Sunday, April 7th, we had Hadlee's birthday party. We had such a great time. I wasn't stressed like I typically am for birthday parties, everything came together beautifully! We had a bounce house, a huge cupcake sign in the front of our yard, balloon animals and face painting, and a table of candy! Oh, and not to mention the cutest birthday girl alive! Hadlee took a great nap right up until her party started at 1 and was all rested up for the festivities. She didn't get her face painted but she did take pictures (some of which she was not fond of), ate a piece of pizza, and enjoyed dainty bites of her smash cake. Hadlee is pretty attached to me and as long as she was on my hip, she was great. I wanted to have a beautiful fun-filled candy themed birthday party for our special little girl and it all turned out perfectly. Tomorrow is her actual birthday. We are starting off the day at 8:30 am with a mass for Ainslee. Hopefully we'll be able to have a great day celebrating our little girl. We are all a bit under the weather so I'm hoping these sniffles and runny noses don't hold us back! Below are a few pictures of Hadlee's special day...enjoy!!!
Today when I picked Adrian up from school, he got in the car and as we drove off I could hear him singing. "I am welcome here in God's house...Oh I love to be in God's family, I am growing up in God's house." I feel such pride hearing the love he has for Jesus and God. It makes me feel like I'm doing something right to have our Lord be part of his life at such a young age. When we first lost Ainslee and talked about her in the months and the first year to come, I would always try to say that Ainslee was with Jesus and God and that she was so happy in Heaven with them. I explained that Jesus had a lot of great work for Ainslee to do and that we would see all the good that would come of her life and being part of our family. Adrian's mind being the innocent 2 year old he was at the time immediately associated Ainslee being a baby, with the fact that Jesus must be a baby also. And He must be my baby at that! So, now I had Ainslee in Heaven and Jesus in Heaven. I thought it was so cute, but quickly let him know that Jesus wasn't my baby and although he once WAS a baby, He grew into a man. The conversation left off there and has evolved over Adrian as he grows up. Recently Adrian has been bringing books home on Tuesdays from school that are all about snakes. He loves getting a funny reaction from me about the snake books. I pretend they disgust me...which they really do! We were reading one evening before bedtime and in the book it talked about venomous snakes and the fact that some can kill a human. That lead to what are humans, is our dog Cash a human, etc. After we did a lesson on mammals, humans, animals, birds, bees....you get the picture, Adrian asked if Jesus died because he got bit by a snake. I had to chuckle inside, it was so cute. I told him that Jesus was a man and was forced to die on a cross for all of us humans so that we may live with Him one day in Heaven. Such a big concept for such a little guy. That seemed to suffice for the time being and bedtime went on as normal. Fast forward to the followind Sunday at church (this past Sunday), we were leaving and going to see Ainslee as we always do at the cemetery every Sunday. As we were driving, Adrian asks...."Did Ainslee die on the cross too?" I felt like I got hit in the stomach and had the breath taken from me. What an innocent question. I had no idea how to explain how she died. I was searching for words, ideas, anything to say the right thing to him and then told him that she simply stopped breathing. I told him it wasn't common so he wouldn't be scared of stopping breathing or the same thing happening to Hadlee. But, I told him that sometimes with babies, they are little and forget to keep breathing so Jesus comes and helps them to Heaven. That seemed to suffice and we enjoyed the rest of our day. This is one of those times I wish I didn't have to explain to my 3 year old in his pure innocence the way of life, the depths of grief, the finality of death. He is trying to understand it all at such a young age, when most 3 year olds are mainly concerned with which truck to play with. Granted he does have fun and is full of wonderful life experiences that are his blessings, but he does have a unique situation that he ponders often. Last night as I was putting him to bed, we read the story of Jesus on the cross and the hope of heaven from his children's bible since he had been questioning so much of it. Every night Adrian sleeps with his teradactile (sp) and his Ainslee bear. His Ainslee bear was sent to us when she passed away from a friend and inside it has a picture of Ainslee explaining where she went but reminding Adrian that she is so proud of her brother. Those 2 animals are close seconds to his Mommy and Daddy. He asked me last night if when he dies, if he can take teradactile and Ainslee bear....then retracted and said he'd leave them here for me and when I get to heaven with him I can bring them. I told him nobody is dying, we're going to be 90 years old when we die and it won't be by a snake bite or on a cross. :) I am so happy with our family and to watch this little boy grow up in God's house. That in itself is truly a blessing. I love you my sweet boy Adrian.
Our Hadlee was 10 months old yesterday. I can't believe she is 10 months. 10 months is so close to a year old, so close to walking and taking those first steps. I can't wait! Yesterday was also the day we buried our sweet Ainslee. It was a bittersweet day for me in remembering Ainslee, and celebrating Hadlee. Our Hadlee is so full of life and so sweet. She is busy as can be. Aside from sitting up and crawling all over our house, she is pulling up on everything too and starting to cruise a little bit. At 10 months, Hadlee is in a size 3 diaper and weighs 17 pounds 4 ounces. She is in 6-12 month clothes or 9 month clothes. She isn't too big at all. She still take 4 bottles a day, 3 breast milk during the day and 1 formula before bed at night. She has started to eat yogurt for some protein and last night at dinner at what we ate! She initially started out with her oatmeal mixed with sweet potatoes and then sat with me as I ate. She ended up eating some of my meatloaf, potatoes, broccoli and avocados and did great with it all. She's growing up fast. Sleeping wise she is sometimes sleeping 11-12 hours straight at night without any interruptions. Other nights she is waking up once and acting like she is wide awake. I think she just likes it if I'm in there with her and rocking her and then decides she just wants to stare at me. After 30 minutes of rocking, eyes wide open, and her playing with my face, I will lay her down. She may fuss for a minute but then realized it's still time to sleep. Hadlee loves her baths, she loves to play and smile, she loves puffs and mum mums, and she loves her Mommy. She is quite the clingy little thing. She loves to typically be in my arms 90% of the time. I do enjoy that. I like to be the person she feels so comfortable with. I need to share some updated picture of our sweet girl but my other computer that I typically use is on the fritz and I need to get it fixed so I can get my pictures uploaded. Hadlee is bringing us joy every day and I am having so much fun planning every detail of her party. Happy 10 months Hadlee Hope!
February 8th, 2013.....2 years. I can't believe our 2nd year is complete. The week leading up to February and to the 8th made me sick to my stomach in anticipation. I knew it was coming, and I knew there was no way to avoid it or sleep through it all. The night of February 7th I felt the sadness creep in and after putting the kiddos to bed, talked to Travis for a bit on the couch. I began saying how much I am missing out on Ainslee. I miss her being 2 years old. I think about what type of bedtime routine she would have and how she would wake up in the morning. Would she play for a bit in her crib or would she be in a toddler bed? Would she say "Momma" and I'd go to her rescue...would she want to immediately get on the couch with a sippy cup of milk and watch a show? Or would she want to get in bed with me to snuggle a bit and wake up slowly. Would she want breakfast right away or want to wait a bit and what would she want for breakfast. How would her voice sound and what would her smile look like. I hate not knowing. That made me so sad. That night I went to sleep wishing I'd wake up and it'd be a dream, knowing I couldn't be that lucky. The next morning, I woke up to the babbling of Hadlee and walked out to see Adrian on the couch with Daddy snuggling. I reminded Adrian what this day was and he was so excited, "It's Ainslee Day!!!!" He was so excited to celebrate the life of his sweet sister and I was glad to see his happiness in this moment. My goal was to celebrate her life, not dwell in her death. Even though February 8th will forever be a sad day, if I drowned in the grief and sadness, I won't be able to be the best person I can be. We went and got Ainslee flowers and balloons and first went to the cemetery. We let her balloons go to heaven, gave her flowers, and prayed as a family to have glimpses of happiness. We then headed off to the Fort Worth stock show. We had such a good time. I did have a moment of sadness out there thinking what if Ainslee is sad she's gone, and we're just off celebrating. I tried to push that out of my head and keep saying let's do fun things for Ainslee. We talked about her all day. We always talk about her as if she's physically here with us all the time and we are truly a family of 5. Adrian loved seeing all the animals, the big cows, the sheep, the pigs, the goats. Adrian just HAD to hold these baby goats but in order to hold a baby goat, you had to purchase a $12 picture. We of course said okay. So, he sat down and had one goat on his lap and another one standing right next to him. Just as the photographer took his picture, the goat thought his hair looked quite appetizing and decided to start eating it. Adrian got tickled with laughter as the goat enjoyed his hairy snack and the picture turned out priceless. My $12 laugh was a memorable one and I am so glad we have that funny memory. After all the animal fun, we went over to the carnival and ride area to have fun riding rides! I got to ride a roller coaster with Adrian and it was his first roller coaster ride. At the end of the day, we thought we'd buy Adrian his first pair of cowboy boots and they are adorable! I carried Hadlee most of the day in the baby bjorn in front of me and she seemed to really enjoy all the things there to look at. She took a little snooze in my arms and I found myself staring at her and finding such hope and healing in that moment. I remembered 2 years ago when we lost Ainslee holding her lifeless body in my arms, returning to a cold empty home, having to pump and wean myself of breastfeeding. Fast forward 2 years, I was looking down at Ainslee's little sister Hadlee and admiring how beautiful she was, alive and breathing in my arms. I was still breastfeeding and able to give Hadlee that milk. Travis and I really enjoyed our time as a family on this day that is sad. Through the sadness we were able to remember our sweet Ainslee girl. We talked about her. We loved on her. We celebrated her. We will always celebrate her. And she will always be a part of our family. Another year has gone by and I will say more healing has definitely taken place. We will always miss her and be sad she's not here. We'll always wonder. Travis and I were talking at dinner tonight...Hadlee was already in bed and Adrian was eating with us. We were discussing how Adrian and Hadlee will be 2 grades apart. If Ainslee were here, we'd have all three children in back to back grades. That means in high school we'd have a 10th grader, an 11th grader, and a 12th grader. Life would be wonderfully chaotic. I told Travis that we're always going to miss her and the what if's and how things should be. I guess it's come to a point where we have to accept some things here and there in order to allow this loss to be a part of our lives. Every day is still so different, but we are surely using this loss for good and allowing beautiful things to come of it. We are wonderfully blessed and for that, we are truly grateful. We love you and miss you Ainslee girl!
Yesterday we had Hadlee's 9 month well check. I can not believe her next well check is her 1 year. I can't believe we are getting to plan her birthday party! I am super excited about her party. It's such a great celebration of the life and healing that has come from our sweet girl. Her 9 month well check went great. She is 16 pounds 14 ounces, 12th%. The doctor would like to see her gain a little more weight. Her percentile last time with weight was 22nd so she's dropped a bit. She just doesn't love to sit still long enough to eat much and I can't force food. I give her bottles, still with breastmilk and a formula bottle before bed. She only takes 4 ounces a bottle. Then I offer her breakfast, lunch, and dinner with some Mum Mum goodness in between. She sometimes loves her meals, or sometimes refuses them. I feel a little pressure to make sure she's gaining a little more, but she looks super healthy. She has gotten a lot busier with crawling and wanting to stay active. She gets preoccupied easily when she's taking her bottle if someone is in the room or something catches her eye. She is in the 58th percentile for height, and 53rd for head circumfrance which are both on the same path she has been on. I discussed taking her off the alarm part of the angel care. There are so many false alarms and on the nights when we are all sleeping sound, it can bolt us out of bed in a hurry and disrupt a peaceful sleeping baby as well. So, we've decided at 9 months to take her off the alarm part. I do still have her on a video monitor on the angel carea and have the sound constantly on to hear any noises she's making. This is going to take a little getting used to and trusting. At 9 months old, Hadlee is so so busy and active. She is crawling all over the house now. She sits up, goes from sitting to crawling, pulls up on everything, and is a smiley baby. Right now she's cutting all four top teeth and a little miserable with that. I am still a pumping queen! I can't believe I've made it this long with pumping but I feel too selfish yet to just quit when I know how great it is for her. Especially for flu season, I feel it can hopefully help with any extra antibodies. For her meals, I am going to start offering her more "people food" to see if she takes to that a little more. Hadlee loves her baths, her dog Cash, her big brother, Mum Mums, and always wants her Mommy. She does love it when her Daddy comes home from work and gets upset if he doesn't pick her up right away. When she's wanting to snuggle with Mommy, she puts her head into my neck and her left arm down my shirt. Her sister used to do the same thing. It's so sweet and brings back sweet memories. Hadlee is in size 6-9 month clothing and jammies, size 2-3 diapers. She also loves her paci's. She is not the biggest fan on diaper changes which is always so much fun, especially when she's trying a crocodile death roll. Adrian would do the same thing when he was a baby. The weather in Texas has been so pleasantly nice lately and we've enjoyed our days playing outside and letting Hadlee ride in her new wagon and Adrian's old blue car. She seems to love being outside. I have to share this little moment from tonight. I just finished putting Hadlee down to sleep and I was feeding her her bottle and rocking her in the dark. I could see her eyes just staring at me and I just stared back and for a moment, I got lost in this little girl who all of a sudden looked so incredibly much like her older sister. It took me back to the nights I would rock Ainslee and see her gazing up at me. Hadlee looked so much like her that it actually took my breath away, and I don't have too many moments like that. It was a sweet reminder of how much I love my babies, how sweet Ainslee is, how healing Hadlee is, and how wonderfully blessed we are. We're in the home stretch for a year. I can't believe we've almost made it. I am so looking forward to the next few months. I am ready to get Ainslee's 2 year angelversary behind us. I dread this day and the days and weeks leading up to it. I'm ready to celebrate Easter with Hadlee and Adrian and put on the greatest celebration for Hadlee's birthday.
Sigh...if only, just for a moment. I'd give anything to just spend another minute with my little monchichi Ainslee. To look at her sweet little monkey face, her dark brown eyes, her sweet little mouth and watch it make all the Ainslee-like motions it would. I would feel her put her hand in my shirt as she always did, cuddled into the best part of my neck. I'd feel her sweet felt like hair against my chin and it'd smell the most perfect little smell. I miss her. More than I think. Sometimes I think I'm making it, and I suppose I am. While other times, I simply miss her. Sometimes I can go to a place where I imagine what my arms would feel like with the 3 month 10 day old Ainslee in my arms. And I imagine what it would feel like to have the 2 year 3 month old Ainslee arms wrapped around my body. I can almost imagine what that would feel like. I can almost see her olive skin and the velvetty feel. I can almost smell her sweet innocent breath. I imagine me rocking her to sleep tonight with her head against my chest, her arms around me, her mouth open just enough to be breathing into my neck. Oh how I miss that sweet angel baby of mine. Some days are okay. Other days are excruciating. Lately I've heard the new Pink song called Beam Me Up. I've always felt like it may be a good song and always feel a little tug when it comes on, but never slow down enough to actually listen to it. I got a text from my sister in law Carrie the other night telling me the song reminds her of me and Ainslee. So, I listened to it. I took the time to hear what it was trying to tell me. "There's a whole 'nother conversation going on
In a parallel universe.
Where nothing breaks and nothing hurts.
There's a waltz playing frozen in time
Blades of grass on tiny bare feet
I look at you and you're looking at me." Oh her tiny bare feet. What I would do to look at them, to count each and every little toe. To feel the innocense beneath her little feet, to wonder where they would one day take her. Only to have that dream crushed in time. "Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don't know what I'd say in it
I'd probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I'm tired of being a fighter,
I think, a minute's enough,
Just beam me up." I know I would just stare, taking in every little inch of her beautiful baby face. Happy just to be there wouldn't even come close to how I would feel next to her, holding her face. I can imagine my aged hands around her perfect cheeks and her elf-like ears, feeling heaven in the palm of my hands. Feeling lighter is so perfectly portrayed when it comes to be being a fighter. Every day is a fight whether it's visible to others or not. The fight is a hard one and it's not easy. Some days may be lighter, while the hardest of days feel like you're going to lose a fight. Being a fighter is exhausting. Wanting my child back is exhausting. But I would take all the exhausting and excruciating painful moments all over again, for only a minute with her face. I miss my little monkey. Being a grief stricken mother is difficult. But I would give anything to have a break from reality, even if it were 60 seconds, to feel the joy that Ainslee brought me. If only I could. Beam me up.
I love you my girl.