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!