Dear Adam,

It's been two years since I held you in my hospital room for the first and last time, and cried onto your lifeless little body. My whole soul ached in that moment, and it still aches with your loss, my sweet little baby boy. There hasn't been a day in the two years since saying goodbye to you, that I haven't thought of you. 

Oh, how I wish I could hold you again, and kiss those sweet cheeks, and tell you how much I love you and miss you.

This morning, Vaughn said to Dad: "It's Adam's birthday! I was talking to him this morning. I was looking up to the ceiling and talking to him. He wasn't in the ceiling, he was in Heaven." It made me happy to think of you looking down on your family, and loving and caring for us. 

I looked through our pictures of you this morning. Surrounding the pictures of you, there are so many pictures of family-- both before you arrived, and after we lost you. 

My mind went back to the long hard weeks before you were here, and I remembered the hours and hours that my parents spent helping my family-- taking care of the boys, taking care of me, taking care of our home. They were there in the hospital room and were able to hold you, and cry with us. They helped plan your memorial service, arrange your beautiful grave site, and all the things that we were unable to do.

I remembered Blake and Sally and Scott and Heidi who came to Las Vegas right after it happened, and took my boys camping, and visited me in the hospital. I remember my Mom, Sally and Heidi coming with me to the funeral home, and sitting next to me while I got to see your body for the last time and say goodbye. It was the hardest part for me.

I remember coming home from the hospital, and the unconditional love that Vaughn, Mason and Rick gave to me. The love hearts that Vaughn kept making for me, that I taped all over the wall. The hundreds of hugs and cuddles that mason gave to me. The tears that Rick shared with me, the small little sweet services he gave to me. 

I remembered Craig and Rebecca flying from Texas for the memorial service and to be with us. 

I remember the beautiful locket that John and Kim gave me with your picture inside.

I remember my entire family and close friends surrounding me at the service, and the beautiful musical numbers sung, and the beautiful talks given. I remember feeling loved and warm and grateful.

I have pictures of Paul and Beth's family coming to visit the month after, and our visit to the canyon. Both of them playing with my kids in the grass. I remember how the love from my sweet brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephews and the warm sunshine made me feel so happy.

Looking at those pictures were a reminder to me that although there were very hard moments, and hard memories, there are innumerable moments and memories that fill me with happiness-- moments before your loss, and moments that will continue the rest of my life. It was a reminder to me that there is nothing more important in this world than family. They are eternal. They live on. I am blessed with the dearest family, both immediate, and extended. Both here on earth, and beyond my view.

Right now, your little brother, baby Conrad sits jumping and cooing in his jumper. I want to spend this day, cherishing my family, and giving my all to them. I want to remember you, my sweet baby, and with all the wishing and wanting and longing for you, I want to also remember the joy surrounding your loss, and be grateful for what I do have. 

I love you so much. I will always love you. I will always miss you. I hope you can feel my love today.



Fall Afternoon

It's fall here in Vegas. Yesterday and today it has been raining and so very cozy. Rain is so rare here, that I love the days that we can curl up and enjoy some storms.

Last week we gathered up a couple of our favorite friends and went a little ways into Red Rock Canyon to Spring Mountain Ranch. We had fun playing in the leaves, painting some pictures and exploring.

It was a beautiful afternoon-- golden and warm and fun. I love living so close to such beautiful places. I love having fun friends who will come play with us in our favorite places. I love where I live.

Dear Conrad,

You are three-and-a-half months old.
You are squishy, and smiley, and cuddly, and so so very sweet.
You happily stay right next to me in the wrap most of the day
and at night you curl right into the space next to me and sleep.
You are just starting to laugh and are so ticklish on your legs and belly and arms.
You hate taking a pacifier and make the most disgusted face when I try to give you one. 
Sometimes you even gag.
You love chewing on your fingers and hands, and are just starting to grab at things to put in your mouth.
You are a champion nurser and haven't given me any problems even in the beginning.
You think your two older brothers are the most interesting thing in the world,
and they think you are the most interesting thing in the world.
They often fight about who gets to hold you and who got the most smiles out of you.
They laugh at every funny sound you make and love it if I have you pretend to punch and kick them.
You love it when I sing to you and read you stories.
You like to sing with me sometimes, and are starting to get talkative.
We love it when you talk to us.
You don't like it when Dad tries to hold you and you are tired and hungry.
You are fascinated by his glasses and love to stare at them.
When you are lying down you kick your legs and arms like crazy.
You open your eyes so big in any new situation and look really scared, which always makes us laugh.
You have brought us so much joy by coming to our home.
Every single one of us adores you.
Every time you smile at me, my whole soul lights up.
You are my baby. My blessing. My sweet Conrad Craig.
I love you so much little boy.
More than I will ever be able to explain in words.



Ideas on Parenting

This morning I ran across an old journal that I had written in exactly a year ago. I've never been a consistent journal-writer (I've never been a very consistent anything-er for that matter), but I do love when I run across things that I've scratched out and tucked away in the past. They make me smile, and remember what I was thinking about at the time.

This entry wasn't so much of a journal entry, but instead was more of a list. I remember that I was thinking at the time, how I love how my ideas about parenting are always changing and shifting depending on the stages that my children and I are in, and our own unique strengths and talents. I remember looking at the beautiful quilt on our bed, and thinking how much parenting is like a big beautiful quilt. We take these little scraps of ideas-- ideas from our own childhood, ideas from trial and error, ideas from watching others, and try to work them in.  Hopefully looking back on our relationship with our children through their lives, we will see a beautiful patch-work quilt. I remember thinking that I wanted to save some of my ideas about parenting along the way, so that I would remember where the different pieces came from.

So here is my list from 2012, "My Ideas for Parenting":

-- Music is one of the best ways to show love and compassion even before children are born-- use it as much as possible-- sing to them-- light a candle and sing them to sleep-- rock them and sing when they are sad-- make up a song that talks about how much you love them and hum it when you want to express that love.
Singing and music are like reading-- you need lots of exposure to it in order to love, appreciate and become fluent in it. Music can serve a person their whole life-- use to to teach-- play the classics-- get a CD player for their room-- dance and let them internalize the rhythm.

-- Simplify your space as much as possible. Get rid of toys and watch how it changes the way they play. Buy good art supplies, sturdy building materials and some dress-ups. If you do have toys, make sure they are open-ended. Kids really don't need much-- sticks, boxes, rope, dirt.

-- Let them play outside in a natural environment as much as possible. It is the best kind of play and engages all their senses and encourages physical activity, coordination and strength. Plus they get some sunshine.
--Play games with them-- let them make up their own games and play with them-- let them have uninterrupted imaginative play and try to keep it going and keep them engaged in it.
-- Work is play for young kids as well. Let them work beside you while they still want to.

-- Read everyday to them. Visit the library every week. Let them choose their own books. If you start early and pick great books, your kids will love reading. Tell them stories about yourself and about them.

And that was my little list of my ideas at that moment about parenting. It really hasn't changed much in a year. But I can't wait to hear what my future self thinks about parenting when they are teenagers. :-)

Loves from Vegas.


Quiet Saturday

I've been away from this space for too long. For hours I've been wanting to write, but every time I sit down I find something to distract me-- Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs and laundry.

I don't know why I'm resisting my blog so much lately. Maybe because I've been away so long, it's hard to know where to start.

The house is quiet right now-- just the soft warm whirl of the dryer finishing its last load. Rick took the boys to REI and the comic book store, and probably out to lunch too. I was folding clothes in the boys room, and I looked at the beds they made themselves this morning. Mason had his puppy laid on top of his slightly crumpled quilt, with his blue blanket laid carefully on top of his puppy. It was so cute it almost made me want to cry. I love their little rumpled beds that they make and show me with such pride. I love that they take care of their little treasures with such love and care. They are the best little boys.

The other day Mason came up to me and held on to both of my hands while looking at me with his big brown eyes, his eyebrows raised high (my signal that he's trying to tell me something really important to him). He said "Mom do you know what my favorite color is?" "What?" I asked him trying to match his excitement. He said "Red and blue, and the color of your eyes." Goodness. What a sweet boy. He tells me and shows me all the time that he loves me.

Vaughn does too, but he has his own cute ways of showing it. A couple of weeks ago, he gave me a necklace that he had been working hard to make and surprise me with. It was made with beads from his treasure box (he loves those beads), and peppermint dental floss. He gave me the necklace proudly and said "Here Mom! I made you this necklace! And it's even your favorite flavor, so if you get hungry you can chew on it!" (He knows I love peppermint). It made me laugh. He's so cute and sweet.

We just got back yesterday from a week in Utah. It was so nice spending time with family and seeing some friends. My nieces and nephews are so cute, and my boys have so much fun playing with them. We had fun going to parks, going to a climbing gym (Vaughn did an awesome job climbing some really high walls to the top), and doing a fun Mommy and me Zumba class (We all loved it!).

It's nice to be back home though with Rick. He's been working so hard this year getting our family prepared for emergencies. Each month we have laid out what we will work on that month, so that by the end of the year we will have a good system in place for emergencies and preparedness. He's been so great about sticking with our plan, and I love how much time and effort he's putting into it. This month our focus was to get 72 hour kits ready for all of us. We came home with all of our supplies laid out, and nice new packs for each of us. We put them all together, and today he's making information cards for all of us so we'll be all prepared. He's a great Dad and husband.

The biggest news and change that is happening in our family, is that we are expecting a new baby boy in August. We are so excited for another baby to come to our family. We are going to name him Conrad, but we haven't figured out a middle name yet. So far in the ultrasounds I have had, he is a very active and crazy baby. He jumps and jumps around like my uterus is a trampoline. In my first ultrasound with him, me, the doctor, and the ultrasound tech in the room laughed and laughed at him. I've never seen a baby move the way he was moving. I feel him on a regular basis now, several times a day and night. I already love our crazy baby so much.

I must say goodbye for now, but hopefully I'll be back soon. I want to post my Grandma's laundry advice that I took detailed notes of while I was staying with her this week (I am determined to have my laundry smell as sweet, feel as soft, and look as clean as my Grandma's laundry!). Rick and I took a trip to Hawaii last month that I need to document. We camped on the beach, and it was wonderful!