Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Letter

I am in the process (yes, it is a process for me) of sending out our annual Christmas cards.  I put my address book away after I did thank you cards for Darby Grace and I am unable to locate it - still.  I can only imagine that there is a reason for this (besides my desk is covered in a foot and a half of clutter.) 

Some of the Christmas cards we receive come complete with an updated briefing of what has gone on for a family in the past year.  Others, like ours, are just photos.  Others yet are simple holiday greetings reminding us of friends near and far. 

I always loved receiving the Christmas letters.  Of course, in today's technologically connected world, an old fashioned letter seems outdated.  Don't you think?  With all of the social media that we're constantly in tune with, we know the goings on of those around us.  At least we think we do. 

If I had to write a summary letter of our 2013, it would kind of go like this. 

Our 2013
Just like that, another year is almost over.  Seems almost as quickly as we started 2013, 2014 is looking us in the face. 
In 2013, we saw plenty of action in our family.  In the first month of the year, we witnessed the devastating destructiveness of fire as my sister and her family lost everything they owned when their house burned to the ground.  We witnessed the power of the social media and our family, friends and community as wave after wave of donations came in for their family.  We saw, with renewed eyes, how community bands together in times of trouble. 
In early winter, too, we had a few different foster puppies, including Holiday - the not so much Boxer mix.  Throughout the year, we've worked with a rescue group, Joe Joe's Place, to raise awareness and funds for animal rescue.  

We spent the winter and the spring gearing up for Jonah's playing baseball, Ella learning how to play tennis and Piper playing her first ever year of softball.   We also spent time gathering our Minnie Mouse themed clothes, blankets and other baby items for the addition of Darby Grace, who was due in early May.  
In 2013, we learned about placental abruption, stillbirth, pre-eclampsia and how to plan a funeral.  We said goodbye to our little girl, our kids' baby sister.  We again saw the strength of our family, friends and community with so many sending meals for our heartbroken family, making donations to our pre-eclampsia walk and sending donations to our church in little Darby's memory.   We witnessed, with humbleness, the doctors, dumbfounded by our loss explain how fragile pregnancy, life and death really are. 
Tim & I visited Disney World twice, once in the spring with our fabulous friends for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and once in the fall with our family to visit during the Halloween season.  We took our annual vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in July.  We had a fabulous week and our annual family photo shoot with local photographers and friends, Kate and Daniel Pullen
Fall of 2013, had our littlest Piper entering kindergarten, Jonah and Ella are both in the our town's middle school.  It also brought travel fall ball for Jonah and the girls playing rec soccer.  It was a crazy schedule but the kids had a great time playing their sports.  We saw their improvement at each and every game and practice. We also learned in the fall that we're expecting another child in the spring. 
It seems that we'll have a busy spring, if we have all the kids playing sports again like they did in 2013.  I think we'll try to take it a little easier than we did this year though.  We'll sit back and try to enjoy and relax during this pregnancy.  Our newest addition, another son, has an estimated arrival window in May, 2014. 
 During this Christmas season and into the new year, our family wishes you health, happiness, love and knowing God's grace. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Day - December 2013

While snow in NJ isn't unusual, snow in early December is not common.  Today is the second day in three days we're experiencing snow.  On Sunday, forecasters in our area called for a "dusting to an inch" of snow.  No one was concerned.  This is what we got:

  In our town, we received about 8-10 inches of snow, depending on where you measured.  Yesterday, local forecasters apologized profusely for getting it wrong.

They proceeded to forecast another storm for today.  4-6 inches of snow to accumulate while we'd be in school and at work.  All of the schools in the region took the warning pretty seriously since there were many accidents on Sunday from people being caught off guard; schools around the area called the first snow day of the year.  This morning, all of our local new stations and even Good Morning America were preempted by local weather reporters out in the snow.  While the roads may be slippery, it's now 1 o'clock and the forecast has changed.  The new forecast is 1-3" of snow in our area.  Again, our weather forecasters failed us.  Wonder what they will say this time?  Another sorry?  (Maybe because I am posting this, the storm will increase in intensity and dump another 10 inches on my complaining behind.)

The kids will now be in school until June 20, 2014.  They are having fun today and we are home safe, but I believe there will be major bellyaching come June when everyone has had it with school, teachers included.

Hope you are safe, wherever you are.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day of Remembrance and Reflection

Last night, our son, who is in 7th grade, had two social studies homework assignments.  One was to talk to us, his parents, about what we were doing and thinking when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place.  The other was to watch President Obama talk about what action the US will or will not take against Syria, who is using chemical weapons against it's own people.

Do you remember where you were on 9/11/2001?  What you were doing, what you were thinking?  I was home on maternity leave.  Our son was six weeks old.  I was watching Good Morning America when they interrupted their programming to give word that "something" had happened to one of the world trade centers.  They weren't quite clear on exactly what had happened but we watched it unfold together.  Me and my friends on GMA. 

I called my husband.  I called my mom.  I called anyone who would listen at that point to see if they saw what happened.  I hugged my infant son even tighter than usual.  We found out that one of our friends - my sister in law's sister - who is an airline attendant was on a flight, out of Newark, bound for California.  How scary!  It was hours before she was able to contact her family to let them know she was okay.  She, however, was stuck in CA for a bit until the air travel restriction was lifted. 

I remember being tuned in to the television at all times for the next few days - they were still finding survivors in the rubbles.  I remember the pleading families who had loved ones who couldn't be found.  I remember the waves of emergency personnel from all over the country flooding into New York City.  I remember what a sad time it was for our nation. 

Although we are 12 years from when this tragedy occurred, our hearts are still hurting from the day.   We still have memorials being designed and installed to honor the men and women who not only lost their lives as a direct impact of the 9/11 attacks but to honor service men and women and police as well.  My husband's company, Beechwood Landscape, was an integral part of a local 9/11 memorial.  Beechwood Landscape Fallen Hereos Memorial in Shamong, NJ  No matter how many years have passed, it was a wonderful ribbon cutting ceremony for this memorial - no one in this small community forgets.   

9/11/2001 - a day that will live in our hearts forever.  I will never forget. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I think

that this is going to take longer than I thought.  Longer to pull myself together, longer to accept the fact that there will never be any answers for why God let this happen to our family. 

Darby should be posing for a photo today for my scrapbook with one of those funny "Five Months Old" stickers on her chest, giggling for us.  All I can think is thank goodness I couldn't decide on ordering ones with her name on them or with a different princess picture for each month.  What would I have done if I had to get rid of those too? Thank goodness I am indecisive. 

Today we spent the morning at the soccer fields.  First with Sweetart's "munchkin" group then with Twink's 5th and 6th grade team.  We were initially late because the girls in our house decided to have meltdowns about a few different things and we just couldn't get out of the door.  Then Sweetart fell and skinned her knee when we were not even 5 yards from the van.  We were one of the last families to get our uniform.  We missed the introduction which told us who the "red" coach was for the day and where she was practicing.  We followed the chaos a little bit until I saw a group of "reds" moving towards the left of the fields.  We parked our butts by the fence so that we could watch the entire practice.

A woman with a little boy in a stroller parked about 10 feet from me.  I couldn't even look at her and   I certainly couldn't look at the baby in the stroller.  How much longer is this going to happen?  It took me until after the entire practice was over  to look at the woman in her face.  I knew her!!  I felt so rude, so betrayed by my own emotions.  All I could say was "how's it going" when we walked by her leaving. 

It never occurred to me that munchkin soccer would have so many babies.  How we are at the "old" end of the age spectrum for munchkins.  Sweetart is our youngest one playing sports.  I drag the older kids with me to her practice.  There are families who are still young and their munchkin might be their oldest ... and they bring the babies with them.  How am I going to get through this season? 

On a happier note, Sweetart almost gave up 3/4 into the practice but she sucked it up and played the rest of the time so that she could get her snack afterwards.  (That's my girl!)  And Twink's team tied - 2-2.  Last night, the Boy's travel baseball team won their game by one.   It's all good.  I just need to embrace that goodness today.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Almost a year - what a change

It's been almost a year since I last posted.  I remember exactly why I stopped posting - and I regret it more than you can even imagine. 

Seems around the 1st week in September, I found myself pregnant.  At 39.  While I am happily married with three other kidlets, an unexpected pregnancy took me by complete surprise.  You see, I was on the pill.  I became the .01% of women who become pregnant while taking the pill. 

It took me a while to come to terms with another baby coming but I was happy - we did all kinds of testing to ensure she was healthy.  (Get that?  We found out we were having another girl - which worked out perfectly since our new house only had enough bedrooms for the three children we had - Sweetart could share her room with the new beebster.)  I was once again diagnosed with gestational diabetes, very early on.  I was able to keep it in check by eating healthy. 

Our expected due date was my Poppop's birthday, May 15, 2013.  One day after my 40th birthday.  All systems were go.  All was going well ...

until the fated day ... April 7, 2013.  Darby Grace was born into this world a sleeping angel at 35 weeks gestation.   Her (my) placenta had abrupted - I bled internally, no outward signs of any problems.  Until we got to the hospital and the doctor couldn't find her little teeny heartbeat.  Tim and I were - still are - devastated. 

It is my hope that by starting my blog back up, I can make some kind of sense of this heartache.  Have a place to vent and find my new normal.  I thought it was hard to wrap my head around bringing a new baby home; I have found that it is even harder, much harder, to wrap my head around the fact that our new baby is in Heaven.