Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Emma!

I couldn't let today go by without wishing my butterfly girl a happy birthday. It was twelve years ago that Emma came into this world and began her courageous fight to live. She fought for nine beautiful years and I am so grateful for each precious day I got to care for her. I miss her more than anyone could possibly understand but I know that she is in a place where life is not measured by minutes, hours, days, months, or years. She lives on in my heart and in eternity. On this day I remember her with smiles and tears. We will celebrate her life by enjoying this day together as a family, just as we would do if Emma were here with us. At some point in the day, I will wrap up in this special blanket made of Emma's clothes (it was made by my sister and her mother-in-law) and let myself feel whatever I feel.

If anyone wants to remember Emma on this special day, you can click on her picture on the right side of the blog and you will see a slideshow I made in her memory.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why not me?

I have been writing this post in my head for the past few days and here I am, finally alone with a computer, so I'll attempt to get it out of my head and onto this blog.

I don't know if any of you have ever been in a situation where you have found yourself asking the age old question, "Why me?", but I am going to be completely honest and admit that I have asked myself ,or God, this very question many times in my life.

Why am I the one in my family who carries this gene that caused Emma to be sick?
Why can't I have more children while people who don't want a child find themselves pregnant?
Why did my daughter have to die?
Why can't I stay in one place like other people?

These are just a few examples of my "Why me?" moments. There are many more, I know.

Lately, though, I have come to the realization that I should be saying "Why not me?". The world we live in is not fair. It is broken. Everyone has their situations that cause pain and conflict. It does seem that some people suffer more than their fair share. But, as I said, the world is not fair. Life is not just. If we could make the world a fair place, would we really want to?

If life was fair, would I have all of the good things I enjoy? Would I have a husband who loves me? Would I have three beautiful daughters? Would I have so many wonderful friends who support me? Would I have a safe, warm place to live? I don't know, but I'm afraid the answer might be no. You see, I don't deserve any of those good things. If life were fair, I would be losing out on alot.

I don't believe I deserve some of the bad things that have happened in my life. I certainly don't believe my daughter deserved to suffer so much. But if I got what I truly deserved, what would my life look like? I don't think I really want to know. I'm so glad the world isn't fair. I'm glad we don't get what we deserve. I'm glad there is grace, undeserved favor, given out by a loving God.

I have a friend whose three boys are all sick, two of them have lived past their life expectancy already. We were talking over lunch about how people ask her how she handles it and she said, "I don't have a choice. I just do it.". She knows that life isn't fair. She accepts that. She also knows that she has many undeserved blessings and she enjoys them.

I am learning that life isn't fair and when those things that I don't deserve, good or bad, come my way I have to say, "Why not me?", and just keep going. I know that in the end there will be justice. God will overcome this unfair world and I will win an eternal reward that I definitely don't deserve but is mine through God's grace. When that day comes I will be thinking, "Why me, God?" and I can picture Him holding out His arms to welcome me home and saying, "Why not you?"

Monday, September 22, 2008

100th Post!!

Well, it is Post 100 and I can't think of anything profound to say because it is late and I am tired so here are some pictures because I know that is what you want to see anyway!!

We had a good time camping although we are not really beach people. We prefer the mountains but it was fun to take Anna for the first time.
She wasn't too sure about the wind,
But she loved to put her feet in the water!!
As you can see, she was overwhelmed by the excitement of it all!

She kept getting herself stuck in between the bed and the canvas of the camper and thought it was so funny...
Helping Daddy cheat at Canasta!
This is a good hair day... you should see the bad!

This is Anna and our neighbor, Neely, just hanging out.
Swinging with one of their favorite people (who left us)...
She doesn't quite get the point of the exersaucer yet...

Two of my Girls!!

Allie and Fay!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Out of Here!!

Well, we are off to the beach for a long weekend of camping! We are very much in need of some time to relax and regroup. It has been stressful around here lately. Hopefully, this break will provide us with some new perspective and a new outlook on life.

I apologize for all of the moving around lately. I really wanted to get some privacy but I decided that just taking my last name out of the address would be helpful. I googled our last name and the word adoption and our blog was the first thing to come up. That freaked me out a little! I feel much better now. I'm sure I lost some of my readers in all of this moving, which was kind of the purpose. If you know anyone who knows us and has been following along, please feel free to pass our new address along.

I noticed that my next post will be my 100th post!! That's alot of posting! Hopefully, there will be some pictures of Anna's first trip to the beach. Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have been busy the past few days getting ready for a garage sale we are having at the church this weekend. A bunch of us are doing the Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. We are selling things we don’t use to make money to put toward our debt.

As I have been going through our stuff it has been hard to ignore the pile of things in the corner of my room. I have been avoiding going through that pile for a while now. In that pile are blankets, sleepers, stuffed animals, pictures, leg braces, a back brace, and many toys. These are the things that are left of my Emma. How do you take a life and pack it away in a box? How do you put it somewhere knowing that these things will never be used again, yet you just can’t let go of them? Among those things are two stuffed animals, an Elmo and a monkey, that Emma slept with every night and if you hold them to your face and breathe in deeply, you can smell her still. It is all I have left and to protect that smell I keep those animals sealed in a plastic bag. I take them out only when Allie or I need to be reminded, to feel her, to smell her. To reassure ourselves that she was real, she existed, she had a smell…

Dean’s cousin sent us an email this week that brought us some comfort. Here is part of what she said:
“I wanted to share a couple of stories with you. I hope you don’t mind, but I thought these were special…

First, a couple years ago when Lauryn was born you gave us some toys / baby items that were Emma’s. One of them is a yellow giraffe that says prayers. We have had them in her room since she was born and she plays with the giraffe every so often. Recently, she was in her crib and she said “Mommy, I want angel”. I had no idea what she was talking about so I pointed to a couple of different stuffed animals, and she said “No, Mommy” and pointed right to the giraffe. I don’t know how or when she decided on this, but the giraffe is now ”angel”. (She had never mentioned a name for the giraffe previously.)
This was about 2 weeks ago.
Then, a couple days later Lauryn and I were in the kitchen and I was getting her dinner ready. She was in her high chair and I was over by the stove. When I was facing the stove, I heard her say “Hold me, Angel, hold me!” I turned around and saw that she was looking up straight ahead (not at me) with her arms held in the air - outstretched as if she was wanting to be picked up. It was really something!
Then, later that week Lauryn and I took a walk around the block and she kept mentioning “angel”. I didn’t know exactly what she was saying, but she certainly was interested in Angel.

In any case, I thought these were special moments - especially since the first mention of Angel stemmed from Emma’s giraffe toy. I don’t know if any of these moments are connected to one another, but I feel as if they are. I was not sure how to share these stories but I thought they may bring some sort of comfort in knowing that there are reminders all around us of Emma, and they bring smiles to those of us who know her and miss her.”

Thank you, Erika, for sharing those stories with us. They mean more to us than you could ever know. They remind us that Emma is more than a pile in my room. Her life had value and meaning beyond what we even know. It means so much to hear people speak her name and tell us they miss her too. It is good to know that she is not forgotten. After reading that email I found the courage to start sorting through the pile and as I did, I realized that Emma could never be put in a box and I’m not going to try. I am going to keep those special things around us so that the things that Emma touched and loved will continue to be cherished and held. I want her life to be remembered with smiles and tears. I am learning that all the good things in life are mixed up with joy and sorrow. You can’t have one without the other.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I've moved!

This blog has been moved to

I've been wanting to move my blog for a while so I can use password protection for some of my posts. I will send the password to the ones who requested it and even some who didn't. I hope you all keep following along!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Changes on the way...

I have decided to make some changes to this blog. I considered closing it down but I enjoy writing and it gives me an outlet for my thoughts and feelings, so I am going to make it private instead. I'm not sure if I have any readers out there but if you do read this and would like to continue, please let me know through a comment or email so I can send you the password.

I am a private person by nature so the idea of having everything out there for the world to see always bothered me so now that the adoption is completed I think I will go with my instincts and keep it private. I hope you all understand!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

September Sadness

September used to be my favorite month of the year. Where I am from, September is the official start of fall. It is a time of new beginnings. It is when the air starts feeling like fall and you can literally smell it. It starts to get cooler. I used to love that time of the year.

Now, for many reasons, September is the hardest month of the year for me. First of all, it doesn't feel like fall. Ever. But I have learned to live with that for the most part.

Most of why I dislike September is because it is a reminder of the the two most defining times of my life. My daughter, Emma, was born in September almost twelve years ago. The day she was born was the day I was faced with the harsh reality that we live in a broken world and bad things happen to everyone. I knew that, of course. I had been taught that all of my life but I still never believed they would happen to me or the ones I love. When Emma was born I lost so much. I lost my dreams for her, for myself, for Allie. It took me years to accept what had happened.

I loved her with all of my heart but I was so full of hurt for her. I could not stand the pain she was in. Each time she was sick, each test she had to have, each needle they stuck in her tiny veins, each time they had to replace her feeding tube and she cried in pain; I felt that pain in my heart. I would have done anything to take her place. Even then, though, you get used to that life because it becomes all you know. It becomes a part of who you are. So, as the years passed, I took that life for granted.

It was in September, nine years later, that Emma left us. I had told her so many times when she was sick to please hold on. I had pleaded with God for her life. But somehow, that September, I knew it was time to let her go. I had seen her suffer for so long and her future was looking grim. I knew that the worst was yet to come so I told her it was okay to go. I told her that if her time came, it was okay to leave. I told her I would be okay. Two weeks later, she went.

Even though I knew it was her time and even though I knew she was in a better place, I felt lost and confused and angry. I wanted her back. I wanted to hold her in my arms, to hear her laugh, even cry. I wanted my baby back. I still want her back. Every single day.

I have a friend whose daughter died of the same thing Emma had and she told me that one of the worst anniversaries was the one in which Hailey had been gone the same amount of time she was here. I hadn't thought of that before and I think she is right. I still have six more years before that happens but I am already anticipating it with dread.

This year marks three years that Emma has been gone. It also marks six years that we have been at this church. Our friends here have known us without her just as long as they knew us with her. That doesn't seem right. I don't like to even think about that. I want to shout, "Don't forget her! Don't forget who we are!" I wonder if they feel her absence. I wonder if she changed their lives. I wonder if they remember me the way I was. I wonder what they see when they look at me now.

There are some people in our lives who never even knew her. Can they tell that part of me is missing? Will they ever truly know me? These are questions I think about. These are the things I am trying to figure out as I live this new life.

I guess that is why I sometimes long to go back to what I know. To the people who have always known me and loved me. I need to be reminded of all of the things that have made me who I am. The good and the bad.

September is hard. September is full of memories. September sneaks up on me every single year and I am never prepared for all of the emotions. You may want to stop reading this blog until October!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Two Months

Saturday was the two month anniversary of when Anna officially became a part of our family. It is so unreal to think of the past two months and all that has happened. It is a bit overwhelming, in a good way. Life has calmed down for the most part and we are getting into a schedule that fits our life.

Anna is doing great and growing and changing so quickly. Here are some of the changes we have seen:

She has become attached to the blanket her granddad Olson made her.
Her hair is growing, but it sticks straight up!
She got her first two teeth on the same day two weeks ago.
She is sitting up by herself.
She is scooting around, but not crawling yet.
She babbles and makes all kinds of noises.
She says "mama" and knows what she is saying! (My favorite on this list)
She is eating babyfood and actually enjoying it.
She had her first cheerio.
She has been sleeping through the night thanks to the pacifier.
She is still happy and very social.
She knows her family and recognizes all of our voices.
She knows her own name.
She loves to go outside on the swing.
She loves to go to Barnes and Noble!!
She is doing so much better in the car and seems to actually enjoy going places.
She loves to take a bath and splashes like crazy.

There is no way to list the ways her personality has blossomed and how she captivates the hearts of everyone she meets. Allie continues to cause the biggest smiles on her face.

We are enjoying every minute. I don't want to take any of this for granted. It is one of the biggest miracles I have ever seen and I am so grateful to be a part of it all. God is so good!

Here are some recent pictures: