Thursday, February 23, 2012

Raising a Bookworm

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~Charles W. Eliot

At age 4 I learned to read. Not too much later, I fell in love with books.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have the worst memory... but I still remember the first time I really fell in love with books. It might have been first grade? My teacher took me aside and filled my backpack with books to take home. I couldn't get enough. It was then that I was introduced to Amelia Bedilia. She became a companion in my early childhood where all I knew or understood was moving from one home to the next. I could always find her and she would always make me laugh.

Throughout the years those companions have changed: Alice, Elizabeth, Anne, and the girls from Dear America. Waldo, who was a bit more difficult to find. Then Macy, Harry and Hermione, Julie, and Loni. Now Katniss and Peeta, Sarah, and Tally.

My love for reading is something I hope to pass on to Eli.
I want him to be one of the few who raises his hand when the teacher asks, "Who likes to read?"; like I did.
I want him to quickly hide his book and flashlight under the covers when I come to check on him at night, like I did.
I want him to buy a book at a bookstore and take in that new book smell with a smile, like I do.
I want his favorite books to be worn in and dogeared, his favorite passages underlined, and covers falling off, like mine are.
And yes I even want him to resort to his kindle when he just can't wait to get his hands on a new book, like I do!

He is only 17 months, but it makes me smile whenever he brings me a book, sits in my lap, and looks down waiting for me to open up to the first page.
One day he will sit down with some of my "old friends" and I hope they make him as happy as they have made me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Machine Day at McWane

This weekend Eli's cousins came to town! I don't think the way his face lights up when he sees them will EVER get old!

As soon as they arrived at our apartment Eli was ready to wrestle! The weekend consisted of wrestling, lots of hugs, wrestling, going to McWane, wrestling, eating lots of yummy food, wrestling, and.... oh, did I mention wrestling?? Eli is definitely starting to hold his own; it was funny to see him take Owen down! The boys were such good sports about Eli constantly climbing on top of them!

On Saturday we spent the day at the McWane! They had rigs, forklifts, firetrucks, and other "big machines" set up outside. The boys were able to get up close to them and even sit inside them - they thought it was great!

The rest of the museum was fun and exhausting as always! We only lost Owen ONCE, so it was a successful trip! The boys had fun exploring all of the exhibits!

It was both a fun and tiring whirlwind weekend for everyone! We wish we lived closer to family, but these visits will be special memories throughout the years!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our Growing Family

We have two children. Two. That fact will never be stated or acknowledged without enormous weight and meaning. It's been just over 3 months since we lost our baby girl... and just typing that sentence makes me grasp for breath, my stomach drops. Unfortunately and yet thankfully, life and time march on.

We recently received a letter in the mail from the President. It was addressed to Finley. I was pleased thinking it was a letter of condolences, something I could put in her scrapbook. Something besides her birth certificate and pictures that would acknowledge her LIFE. Instead it was a blunt reminder of something we will never have: our daughter. It was "Congratulations" and "Welcome to the World"; phrases that should have been.

After days of sitting on it and being angry and wanting justice or acknowledgement of our pain, strangely enough, I read this letter for the millionth time and saw a different message.

"Dear Finley, Welcome to the world! Your arrival is a cause for great celebration for your proud family"
Precious Finley, your arrival WAS a cause for great celebration for our family. We are PROUD to call you our daughter. We hang your picture PROUDLY in our home.

"Your birth speaks to the aspirations we hold as we look to a brighter future."
We aspire to be better parents because of you.
We aspire to hold each of our children in our arms and cherish their life more deeply because of you.
We aspire to be gentle and loving with our words and with our actions because of you.
We aspire to grow in our faith and purposefully live a life worthy of heaven because of you and our hopes to hold you in our arms again one day.
We aspire to LOVE better. Because of you.

"We hope your life is blessed with rich experiences, boundless opportunity, and love"
Your life here on earth was not blessed with rich experiences or boundless opportunity and it was not blessed with the dreams that I had for you either; laughing and dancing and spinning and falling over in fits of giggles with your brother, reading and snuggling with your daddy before bedtime, letting me brush your hair and hold you so tight, finding love and your place in this big, scary, amazing world we live in.

But your life here on earth WAS blessed with love. Love so deep that I remember the last time I felt you move. Love so deep that tears start falling before your name even reaches my lips. Love so deep that my heart swells when your brother grabs your stuffed elephant and kisses it; he still remembers the word sister. Love so deep that when we look at the stars together, I ache to know if I am making you proud. Your life was filled with love. There is no denying it.

At work yesterday I was rocking one of the new baby girls. One of the grandmothers who I hadn't seen since before Christmas break came to pick up her granddaughter. She looked at me, smiled, and said, "OH! You had your baby!" I didn't know what to say. I stumbled over my words and finally got out, "No, she's not ours... Our daughter passed away." My heart broke, just one more time. This was the first time I said it out loud.

We have two children. Two. One is on earth, one is in heaven. We love them both. They both make us proud. They both make us aspire to be better.
Hopefully soon that number will be three. And then maybe someday four....five....

We know that God is faithful. He has plans for us to prosper...plans to give us hope and a future. A bright future awaits us.