I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oh how he makes my heart sing!!

One of my first gifts as a new mom

Styling his new hat that he sweet-talked Grandma in to buying.  (It really WAS a good purchase!!)

Oh how this boy makes my heart sing!!
New Mom
You have been blessed by the unfolding of a greater plan with a new life.  May love guide you every day, and remind you that the bond you have found is everlasting.

I've always loved the gift I received when I opened this mug from a friend of mine.
Yes, it brought with it that newly aching "bitter-sweet".  Though, the saying fits for each of my children.  
I am bonded to EACH of my children, and that bond truly is everlasting! 

I still drink from that mug, as many times I feel very much like a New Mom.
New with each new year and new "personality-reaching" of my son, and exploring who he is.
And some times I wonder if I have any idea what I am doing, or if I am doing things well enough for him.
In those moments of self-doubt I look at that mug and read the back of it, and I look at my sweet boy's face and I think to myself "we are forever bonded together, and no matter what life brings...I will never stop loving you!  As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be!"

Every day I have those mommy-guilt moments.  
While rushing to get dinner made, or my house tidied up, or laundry done...and I see my son playing by himself or watching a movie alone...my heart rips in to a million pieces.
A)  I see those moments and my heart breaks knowing he was not meant to be alone
B)  In those moments I loathe the fact that I just have to do what I am doing 
C)  I know children need to know how to entertain themselves
D)  I can't beat myself up EVERY SINGLE TIME something needs to be done

I get those moments where I wonder if Evan will one day realize just how very much I love him.  Not that I'm just telling him over and over (and over and over) my love for him.
I wonder if his life is full enough by what we do together.
I wonder if he will grow to feel like life was just missing something...or should I say, someone.

And then I realize that the enemy wants to make me doubt myself, and question more than I should.  He makes me want to live with this never-ending fear of not filling Evan's life enough.  To make me live in torment by what we could not control and fix.
To take away my time with Evan by filling time with doubt and fears.

This is what I know...
I love my son more than my own life.
I will always stop what I am doing to look my son in the eye as he recites his favorite part from his Batman Movie.
The cleaning can wait one hour.
Supper will get made.  There is peanut butter and bread to tie us over if supper is delayed.
I might not be able to spend every single minute entertaining Evan, but I will soak up the time we do spend together.  
I will do my best to stop beating myself up, so that I CAN truly enjoy each day with Evan.
I am okay with hearing Evan reply "You already said that to me mom" when I tell him a zillion times a day how much I love him, and how proud I am of who he is.
I will never stop hugging my son.
I will take the time to play Lego games with Evan.
I will not let the perfectionist in me cringe and take over when Evan is helping me bake banana bread and the ingredients go flying out of the bowl as he stirs.
I lay in bed with him those extra moments when he says "but we JUST started snuggling mommy!"
I will embrace those moments of frustration I may feel as he tests boundaries and "attitudes", and I will help to guide him through to understand what is (and is not) acceptable behavior.  

But I will NOT doubt his love for me.
And I will NOT doubt my love for him, and that I am doing the very best I know how.
I will accept that I will fail time to time.
I will have to get that dinner in the oven on time.
I will have to take moments to clean our home.
I will have to watch Evan entertain himself while I do these things.
But I will stop beating myself up.
I will stop thinking I am not enough for him.

I will look in to that precious little face, feel our everlasting bond...and hear the song that my heart sings every time I look at him!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hanging my head. Now, to lift it back up!

Love this girl!!
It's strange...you get a sad diagnosis of someone you love (even a pet), and it changes things.  Yet it also helps you realize other things.

Since Bailey's bone cancer diagnosis she was prescribed a pain medication that is obviously doing it's job, because it is like nothing is wrong with my girl any more!!  She barely limps!  We've been going for walks, and enjoying the sun when it shines.
And it makes it tricky not to think "maybe the vet was wrong?!  Maybe they interpreted the X-ray wrong?  Maybe there was something wrong with the machine?"  
Good grief...I was misdiagnosed when I was in grade 12!!  I was told I didn't have a broken wrist, and for the next three months I walked around in pain with a tensor bandage.  Then I went to MY doctor who did another X-ray and I get a phone call from her saying "Just exactly WHO said you didn't have a broken wrist??  It IS broken, but now it is too late to re-set it!"  Physio it was for me.
So...it CAN happen!!

However, I know.  I know I'm just in my denial stage.  

Yesterday I started to think a bit more clearly though.  
I realized something that I am not too proud of.
I have put more emotion and love in to my sweet Fur-Girl than I have...God.

I realized that I associate Bailey to my healing and my comforting than I do my own God.

Maybe because I can see Bailey looking in to my eyes.  Maybe because I can feel her head on my lap when my tears are pouring.  Maybe because she is physically present, and I can cling on to her when I feel like I am going to break.

I felt my head begin to hang in shame when I realized it is GOD who I should be putting my everything in to.  It is His word I should be running to in times of fear, sadness, loneliness.  It is HIS arms I should be wrapping myself in.  I should be surrounding myself with His presence.  

I always THINK that I do that...but I don't.

I started hearing myself saying "I don't know how I'm going to face the future without Bailey.  I don't know how I'm going to say good bye.  I don't know what I'll do without her to comfort me."

Oh my.  

Yes, I adore my Bailey girl.  I believe God placed her (like many other people) in my life for a reason.  We almost didn't buy Bailey...twice, as a puppy.  And yet we did.  She almost didn't survive her puppy life...but we are crazy enough to pour money in to our pets to try to save them.  And she survived.  She has been a good friend.  

But she shouldn't be higher on my comforter's list than God.  And I put her there.

I guess many times I felt betrayed by God.  Like He didn't hear me.  Like He wouldn't help me.  And I pushed Him away, and clung on to my dog.

I placed her higher.

I don't want to say good bye to my Bailey, but it will happen.
I won't have her to cling to.  I won't have her to lick my tears away.  I won't have her head on my lap to comfort me and let me know things will be okay.

But I have a God who wants to love me sooooo much more.  To comfort me endlessly.  To wipe away my tears.  To wrap His arms around my heart.
A God who will never leave me.

It's moments, even odd ones like this, where we realize how easy it can be to push God away because maybe He doesn't seem tangible in the physical sense.  Yet...He is there!  It is us who silence Him.  It is us who push Him away.  And then we wonder why we can't hear Him.

My bible sits, unopened.
His loving words are right there.
His guidance and encouragement and teachings are RIGHT THERE.
And I keep my bible closed because I feel like it hurts too much not to be able to understand certain "why's" in life.  I excuse myself by saying I don't WANT to be confused and upset with God, and certain passages do just that to me.  Instead of trying harder to learn, and be taught.  I sit, stubborn.
And then I wonder why.

February 13th a friend of my parents passed away from cancer.
February 14th my mom's brother passed away from cancer.
Just over a week ago, another family friend passed away from cancer.

Cancer, cancer, cancer.  

And now my dog has bone cancer.

I'm tired of cancer.

I'm also finding that these situations are creating great anxiety in me.
I'm feeling anxious about loved ones health.  
I worry about my son and my husband.
I worry about my family.

I know I am not to worry and not to fear.  And I really have to work on this, because I know how well worry and I get along (dripping in sarcasm).

So I will refocus, and remember this:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid".  John 14:27

Friday, March 14, 2014

The beginning of good bye to my dearest friend...

Some sunny snuggles after receiving my fur-girl's news

My best friend ever!

Still always making sure I'M ok!

How do you begin to say good bye to another part of our your life?!

My sweet Bailey has been limping off and on for a while now.  
I had hoped it would just be arthritis, or making a sprained muscle/joint.
Yet, deep inside...I had another feeling...

The vet began her examination.  Checking range of motion...perfect.  And then starting to work her way down Bailey's legs and joints.  And on the leg she has been favoring...there it was.  The yelp.  And Bailey never yelps unless she is truly sore.  She never shows signs of discomfort, because she is always so busy being so darn happy and loving.
Bailey has never EVER shown a grumpy bone in her body EVER.  

For all my girl has ever been through due to poor breeding issues, and the many times she endured painful treatments...she never stopped loving and being the most beautifully tempered dog I've ever known.

The vet hoped that where she showed the sign of discomfort would be good news.  She hoped it would be related to the joint and possibly arthritis.  But I agreed to an X-ray to be sure.

The vet tech brought Bailey back, who was so stressed and just crammed right up to my side.

The vet came back in...and I knew.  And there it was...the line I hate hearing more than ANYTHING in this world:  "I'm so sorry, it's not the news I had hoped to tell you."

And I knew.  This was the beginning of good bye.  My girl has bone cancer.

And I haven't been able to stop crying since.  

I know many people think, "oh who cares?!  It is just a dog!"

Well, this dog is more than that.

This dog NEVER left my side for WEEKS and months after my first miscarriage.  She laid on my lap while I was frozen to my couch day and night.  She licked my tears that wouldn't end.  She would look in to my eyes like she knew my pain, and all she wanted to do was take it away.

When I ended up the hospital for 5 weeks after PROM with Zac...she stuck to me like glue when I got to come home for my 5 hour daily passes.  And when I came home without either of my sons...one still fighting in NICU, the other passed to heaven...my sweet Bailey once again took her post by my side.

She watched over Evan like he was a piece of glass.  She loved him, and would walk so nicely beside my and the stroller.  Almost like SHE was the proud momma!!

She has comforted me through negative embryo transfers.  She has comforted me through our last miscarriage.  She has laid by my side and rested her head on my lap, and just brings me such comfort and peace.  She has helped me through so many moments of anxiety and frustrations.  

Her eyes.  I swear they see right in to me.  And I swear it's like I can see her understanding.

She has been the silliest clown and has made me laugh.  She has been the greatest walking companion.  She is just...the greatest.

If you are not a dog lover, or pet owner and just think this is ridiculous...I feel sad that you don't know this kind of unwavering companionship and true meaning of devotion and love.

Last night I said to my husband "all I can think about is how very much I just want to go on one more boat ride with her!"  She loves being on the boat with us when we are fishing or just enjoying a ride.

Last year we bought a camper, and took her and Nash (our other boxer) with us to the lake a few times.  And she loved it.  And I loved having them with us.  And I want that again.

I want to take her for a walk at the river dog park when trees are starting to bloom.  She is the best walker with me there.  She never leaves my view.  Just walks along side me.

The saddest part is...likely none of these three hopes are going to happen.

The vet told me that usually once an animal starts showing signs of pain, this type of cancer has typically already spread to the lungs.

She went through all the possible treatments.  None of which we will subject Bailey to.
She is over 10 years old.  
She has been through enough procedures.  And treatment wouldn't extend her life much more than 6 months anyhow.
We refuse to have her final part of her life one of pain and discomfort from surgeries and treatments that may have no affect at all.

So we have decided to provide her pain relief with medication.  And just take it one day at a time.
The vet estimated that without treatment for the cancer she may have about 4 months.  But that is the guess.  All we can do is monitor.
The hart thing I realized today...she showed signs of pain a while ago now when she would get bumped by Nash.  So...I really don't know if 4 months would even be accurate.  
But again...one day at a time.  

I hate the looming "when".  I hate planning a good bye.  I hate thinking about how it will be without her.  And who is going to be my comfort pal, and my snuggle buddy, and my confidant.  

I hate the reality of losing her.  And losing such a connection to the most major part of my life.  I know that sounds dramatic...but I tie her to my infertility journey, losses, Evan's life, and an ended journey of hoping for another child.
Without her...it just feels like so much has come to an end with her.

But I am so so so grateful to her for so much love.  For her friendship.  For the way she managed to bring me out of such sadness.  And I will never allow her to suffer.  When I see that it is more than she deserves...I will find the strength to say good bye.

When we had to put our first boxer Tag down, I wasn't able to go with my husband because it was literally the middle of the night and Evan was asleep.
I was able to have my final memory of my sweet Tag a happy one...watching him so excited to go for a truck ride.

But with Bailey...because she has been with me through so much...I owe it to her to be with her to the end.  And I can't imagine it any other way.  It will break my heart.  But I need to be with her to hold her and snuggle her and thank her as she falls to her eternal slumber.

Man, I hate this.  

I hate good bye.

So for now, we will take each day one at a time...and will watch her.  
Today I went and bought her a cozy new blanket...just for her.
I let her have a chicken finger (it's not like it will hurt her now!).
I've washed the dogs pillows, and they are both happily sleeping side by side.

She has always slept on our bed...but she will definitely be at my side during the night now.

I wish the weather would get a bit more sunny and warm so that I can take her for a walk, just her and I.

I adore having a dog in the family.  But this is the part that makes it so hard.

She isn't just a dog.  

She is our family.  

And I am going to miss my best friend so very much.

I love you Bailey.  And I thank you for being more human than any actual human I know.  Thank you for never leaving my side, and for your unwavering devotion and love.

I am going to spoil you rotten these days/weeks, whatever time we have left!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

He's 5!!

Evan's Batman Cake!

Zac's Cake
Batman theme this year
Silly birthday fun with family and friends!

Blowing out the candles!
He is FIVE!!!!  Where is the time going!  

What a great day celebrating this precious little boy!  And remembering Zac as well!

This year it was Batman.  And bowling!  
How fun to watch 6 kids bowling and giggling and just enjoying each other.

It is always a tricky time for me.  And of course, I can't do one cake without the other.  It was fun to create one that Evan wanted, and add a little extra fun with Zac's cake!

Five years ago these precious little boys entered our lives, and changed us drastically.  We've marveled every day of Evan's life, and have missed our sweet Zac growing beside his brother.

These little miracles who brought us such joy, and heart breaking pain.

Two little lives who impacted us in two very different ways.

Though, I am forever grateful.  I am grateful for the months I carried these sweet boys within me.  I am grateful for the strength they created in me during very scary days.  I am thankful for the few short days we had to know Zac and touch him and speak to him, and ultimately to hold him as he drifted to heaven.
I am strengthened by the fighting spirit Evan showed in NICU.
I am blessed to watch the boy he is growing in to.
I am honored to be his mommy.

Five years ago these precious boys entered this world one minute apart, and will forever live apart until heaven joins us all together once more.

I celebrate the boy you are, my sweet Evan.
I cherish every breathing moment we have together.
I love you more than you will ever know.

And my sweet Zac...you are with me always.  Forever in my thoughts and heart.  And every March 6th, you are celebrated with your brother.  We love you, and we miss you.

Every year I watch as Evan blows out his birthday candles, and I see Zac's sitting on the counter.  I wonder...what would it have been like to watch both of our sons blowing their candles out on their cakes...side by side.

There is joy.  How could there not be joy in watching how far Evan has come!  
There is joy in remembering Zac's eyes, and touch.
There is joy in knowing how full our hearts are with love for our boys.

What a fun day we had indeed!  
What fun we had celebrating together.

And how grateful we will forever be.

We love you!!

Evan...we are so so so proud of you!  So very proud indeed! 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dear Me...past, present and future.

Dear Me of the past...

Thank you for using all the experiences you went through to fight to become who you were going to need become.
Thank you for not giving in during some of the most difficult times of your younger years.
Thank you for being stubborn and strong willed, because now I see how much you needed those characteristics.
Thank you for realizing you were better than what you were allowing in your life.  And that you DESERVED better than who you were settling for in your life.  I realize through your teen/dating years, just to have someone show interest was flattering, and some times your choices in a dating partner weren't always the best.  So, thank you for coming around and realizing that!  We ended up with someone pretty darn fantastic!
Thank you for not feeling that there was no hope in life when hurtful words and actions were directed at you (even though those words and actions cut deep and left wounds...and at those moments felt more true than anything you ever knew).
Thank you, body, for not shutting down when I was abusing you to become what the world said was beautiful (and what I once believed).  I am sorry for the way I harmed you.  But thank you for your strength during the path to my healing.
Thank you for the laughter and good memories!

Dear Me of the present...

Oh my, what a road we have been on.  
Thank you for your continued strength to fight for your life, your family and for holding on for all you have.
Thank you for finding peace with God, and for the peace you strive to find in yourself and WITH yourself.
Thank you for working on self forgiveness and love.
Thank you for the continued stubborn and strong willed personality...but that it has softened in many areas as healing has continued.

Stop doubting yourself so much.  Stop beating yourself up!  Stop living in moments that you had no control over, and could not change.  Stop blaming yourself.  Stop thinking you aren't good enough in the eyes of others.  All that matters is that you are MORE than enough for God, and your sweet family.  Who cares that you don't fit a size 2 pair of jeans and don't have ripples of abs in a bikini in place of the wave of "love belly" that shows where you carried your sons.  
YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH!  UNIQUELY YOU.  Believe that.  Some day...truly believe that!
We have been working on our health, you and I.  And lately it has taken a turn for the positive.  Keep at it!!
Thank you for not fearing to speak the names of your babies.  For never letting anyone make you feel you should shut their LIVES and memories in a closet box.  Keep speaking them!  Each are a piece of your life and your family!  
Memories will always be tucked in your heart.  They are your memories to treasure.  No one can take those away.  Keep them safe.  

Dear Me of the future...

Keep fighting for life, family, love...hope.
Keep working on building that treasured marriage you have been blessed with.
Keep building that relationship with God nice and tight.  As we know all too well...it can be far too easy to question Him when difficult times happen.  Build this relationship stronger and stronger.
That little boy who is growing up far too fast?  I know I don't even need to tell you how much you want to hold on to every single second together with him.  Build him up daily.  Encourage, guide, strengthen and love him endlessly every single day.  Days can be far too short.  Hold his hand in as long as he will let you.  Hug him tight, even when he wants to wiggle away.  Kiss his cheek even though he may wipe it off.  Love him, no matter what.  Tell him EVERY day how proud you are of him.
Lets keep working diligently on our health.  I want to be around for a long time.  I want to watch all life unfolds for our family.
Know that you are loved, and it is okay to finally love yourself in return.  
Be proud of yourself.  You have been through many battles, and you are alive.  I don't know what battles may still be ahead...but fight them.  Fight them with passion...and win.
Me of the future...I hope I help you to arrive at someone we are at peace with.
Love the life we have walked.
Give yourself a break when you need it.
Be a woman that your husband and son look at and say "thank you for who you are, and all you are".
Never waste a moment.  

And look lovingly back and say "I'm proud of you".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Define yourself. A letter to Evan...

I often journal to Evan.  Not as much as I used to.  I think before it was just a matter of telling him what was happening every single day.  And I started to realize as he got older that the mundane events of the day wouldn't matter so much for him to read back on.  It started to dawn on me, that although I still write about some mundane daily events, I wanted to start writing to him about things that I really hope and pray for his life and his future.  Today I found myself compelled to write this to Evan:

Today I want to tell you this:
Define yourself.
Find the person in you that God created you to become.
Grow THAT person.
Trust your heart.  Trust God.  Seek His wisdom and guidance in your life.  Trust His love for you.
When you catch yourself trying to be like someone else, ask yourself if that is who you truly are.  Are you happy?  Are you proud?
If the answer is no, then that is not who God made you.

You don't need to be like anyone but YOU!
You were created unique, unlike ANY other.

It's good to learn from others.  It is good to see positive qualities in others that we can bring in to our own lives.  That is okay!
BUT, when they are negative qualities and actions...FLEE from that!  Learn how you do not want to be in those moments, and use that to strengthen who you know you are.

I pray you surround yourself with strong, encouraging, positive and Godly friends.  People who build you up and bring out your best.

I pray you find strength in yourself.  
Certainty in who YOU are.
That you remain gentle, loving, thoughtful, tender, funny and kind.

I pray your ears and heart will block unkind words and actions.
I pray a mean spirited person would never shake your gentle heart.
That you will never doubt yourself.

Mommy and daddy are here to encourage you and to guide you.  To love you and support you.  To build you up and strengthen you.
We won't always have the answers.
We may not always be able to soothe a future broken heart.
But we promise to do our very best, and to walk beside you through these times.

I pray that you NEVER EVER feel less than the amazing person you are!
Uniquely you!!

Define yourself, Evan.  
Find YOU and never doubt yourself.
For you, my boy, are amazing!

I love you!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baby Steps...

It begins with baby steps, right?

Moving forward that is.

As I began the agonizing process of going through Evan's clothes to see just what I could part with, I had a stack of his wee tiny clothes.  Preemie clothes.  All in a stack on my glider chair ottoman.
These ones I just can NOT part with.  And that's just fine.
Oh who am I kidding??  I didn't part with TONS of his clothes.  
As I pulled out each article I could see the moment he wore that item.  I could smell the moment.
And some were just too treasured to part with at this time.
Bit by bit. 
But my heart can't handle letting go of everything all at once!

I caught a glimpse of Evan in the background of these clothes used for his tiny less than 5lb body.  

I saw my almost 5 year old little boy behind that stack of clothes.

And my heart exploded.  For many reasons.  
The biggest reason...my little wonder out grew each of these clothes and many, many more!

He has grown.  He has thrived.  He has matured.  He has become this amazing little boy who loves life.  He is smart.  He is exploring his talents.  He is big in to drawing detailed pictures and also TAKING pictures with my old camera.  I can NOT wait for warmer weather when we can go out together and take photograph walks!

I love to watch his mind work.  

I love watching him put in to actions those thoughts.
I love his sensitivity.
I love his young wisdom.
I love his innocent faith and trust.

I just plain old LOVE this boy of ours!  
And I am beyond grateful.

He is teaching me to look ahead with optimism and faith.
He restores my hope and faith daily.

And I love, love, LOVE how prayer has become so second nature to him!!

Last night I hurt my back.  And straight away Evan says "mommy, I am going to pray to Jesus to heal your back right now!"  And he did.  Just like that, prayer was the first step to me getting better.

Then this morning at 5am I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard a whisper "mommy, I had a bad dream!"  So in to bed he happily crawled (a rare occurrence indeed!  He loves his bed and his space!).  As he laid beside me he simply said "mommy, I didn't like that dream.  You need to pray for me.  NOW!"
And so we did.
I'm glad this is becoming so central in his life.

He loves praise and worship music.

He does NOT like TV shows with cartoon monsters with sharp teeth and claws and red eyes.
I love how he knows what makes him uncomfortable, and senses what isn't right for him.

I feel a touch of pride.
I feel like we are doing an okay job as parents.
Teaching.  Guiding.  Learning from example (okay...sometimes that one can shoot me in the foot.  Lets just say Evan and I have a LOT of the same characteristics...learned solely by mommy.  **blush**)
But all in all, I think we are doing a good job.

Every day I wonder if I am being a good enough mom.  If I'm teaching him the right things.  If I'm guiding him in the way I pray he grows.

And most days I feel pleased.
We all have off days, right!?!  4+ years old and *ehem* 38+ years old.

But today, I am moved to tears as I listen to Evan sing my praise, and tell me how awesome I am, and how much he loves me.  And how proud he is of me (that one especially joked me up!).  

Moving forward has been a scary and even sad thought for me in some ways.  But watching our precious son growing and maturing in to the young boy that he is becoming just overwhelms my heart with joy.

I may not understand the path God has brought us on.  I may have been quite angry about a lot of it.  I may have had moments of screaming towards the heavens.

But right now...I'm shouting and screaming praises of thanks and gratitude.

Whatever comes next...
well, I'll take it in baby steps!