8.06.2014

One

Dear Conrad,

I just laid you down after rocking and singing you to sleep on your first birthday. We have had a fun, full day celebrating the day you were born.

When you first woke up this morning I sang you the Happy Birthday song, and you smiled the whole time. It wasn't long until Vaughn and Mason woke up and joined us, so excited to celebrate your birthday. 




You played with your brothers in the morning and had hootenanny for breakfast (one of your favorites!). After getting you down for your morning nap we got the house all decorated for your birthday party. Vaughn and Mason worked so hard making decorations and setting things up.




They made tinfoil stars that they hung from the ceiling, snowflakes that they hung on the walls, and a poster just for you (in Seahawks colors, because you are one of their biggest fans!). They helped blow up tons of balloons that they put all over the room. 

I wish I could have captured your face when you woke up and saw the room. You stared in awe for a moment and then broke out in the hugest smile and started pointing at the stars and balloons. As soon as we started calling them stars you started repeating the word and kept saying "star! Star!" all day long. You were so excited.


We invited the Shumways for your party. We ate a yummy lunch and cake and played games. We played "pass the ball to Conrad" where we all sat and passed you the ball and clapped for you. We played "See who can build the tallest tower before Conrad knocks it over" where we all sat in a circle building with blocks, and you excitedly went from tower to tower crashing them down. We played with our parachute flinging balloons into the air, and a few times even you (but not very high). You loved playing with your family and friends! 





After your second nap and Dad getting home from work, we had a yummy dinner, then went to play at the park and get frozen yogurt. 


You loved playing in the grass, playing ball with Dad and the boys, and eating rocks (and then frozen yogurt later). :-)

Conrad, I've loved thinking about you today and how special you are to me, and that day one year ago when I finally had you in my arms. We wanted you so badly for our family. The year before we found out we were pregnant was such a hard one. We were dealing with the heartache and grief of your older brother Adam passing away, and before getting pregnant with you I had several miscarriages. I didn't know if that longing for another baby would ever stop. 

There was still that sliver of hope in my heart though. That some day, if it was right for our family, we would have you. 

And here you are. You are so bright and beautiful, and happy. You smile and wave and say hi to the world and people around you. I believe that even though you are still just a baby, that you care deeply about the people around you and how they are feeling. 

You are so smart and already say so many words and communicate with us so easily. You love books and reading your favorite stories. You busily and happily explore the world around you, and play with your brothers.

You are the cutest, sweetest boy, and we feel so lucky— so blessed to have you in our family. 

I love you so much little Conrad Craig. Thank you for all the smiles and happiness you bring to me. I love you so so so so much.

Love always,
Mom


1.03.2014

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.

Love,
Mom





11.22.2013

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.

Love,
Mom
xoxo




5.26.2013

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
-- 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.

Space
-- 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.

Play
-- 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.

Books
-- 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.