Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boo at the Zoo and Trunk or Treat

So far we've had two opportunities for Eli to experience trick-or-treating and let me tell you.... it didn't take very long for him to catch on!

Last weekend we were able to go to "Boo at the Zoo" here in Knoxville. The whole White clan came out and we spent the whole day out at the zoo. After a morning and afternoon full of walking around the grounds and seeing every animal (for the 5th? 6th? time... it never gets old for this little boy!), Eli was exhausted!

We ended up leaving the Zoo to grab dinner and Eli got his second wind, then we returned to the Zoo for some evening fun! We ended up forgetting both our camera and his costume, but that didn't stop us from having a great time!
There were booths set up all throughout the grounds with volunteers handing out candy! Eli would get so excited when he'd see the next booth, yelling out "MORE TREATS!!!" and taking off running! It was such a fun time!

We finished out the evening with a carousel ride - I never get tired of seeing this boy soaking up and loving life.

This weekend we were able to participate in Trunk or Treat at Laurel Church of Christ. This time Eli actually got to wear his costume! What could be more fitting for our boy?? He was the cutest zookeeper I've ever seen!

This time around Eli knew exactly what to do to get his treats! Except often after he was already given candy he'd stand there like a "little begger" (as Daniel put it) holding his pumpkin out for more! It was too funny! Although it was cold and wet we still had a fun time! Here are some pictures of our zookeeper getting his treats:

Happy Halloween from Eli the Zookeeper!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet baby Jude

Well... we have a name! Oh, and in case you didn't know I am pregnant once again and due next month.

I have been very hesitant to post much about this pregnancy on my blog.... fear, cold feet, not getting my "hopes" up.... call it what you want. Although I have kept quiet on the subject, this pregnancy has been very special to me and I've held it close to my heart. Even Daniel has had to fight to get me to open up about it, often getting one word responses or deflections.

This pregnancy has been a huge silent challenge for me. Wrestling with the demons of Finley's pregnancy, hitting milestones that I was never able to reach with her, entering into ultrasounds with a pit in my stomach.

When I reached the "safe zone", I still didn't feel safe. I was given no relief.
Most new moms are giddy about finding out the gender of their little one and seeing their babies via ultrasound, but I was terrified of seeing something wrong. I plastered a smile on my face and let my heart race as the wand was placed on my pregnant belly. I even skipped out on a couple... fearful.

At each appointment we have been given great, positive news. He is perfect; but I can't help but think in the back of my mind "He gives and He takes away". I have been praying that our newest miracle will be born into this world screaming his lungs out, making up for the silence of his sister's birth.

Now here we are less than a month away from our son's arrival and I am starting to become hopeful and excited, anxious to hold him and kiss his cheeks. Anxious to hear him cry! Anxious to see big brother Eli in action.

Lord willing, Jude Lawrence will be here on November 9th!
Until then, I am praying for peace and longing for the day that I can set my eyes on him! I love you sweet baby Jude!

  jude: "praise; thanks"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering Our Children

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.
Your sun shall no longer go down,
Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;
For the Lord will be your everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning shall be ended."
[Isaiah 60:19-20]

Many people don't know it, but October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. A full month to recognize a loss that so many grieve silently.

Until a few weeks ago I didn't know about this designated month nor did I know about the annual mid-month candle lighting ceremony. Even the month designated for "awareness" seems so silent.

It makes sense though, at least to me. What can you say or do for a parent who loses a child? What kind of response should there be? How do you talk about it or recognize it or grieve out loud? It's uncomfortable and it's tremendously sad. It is incomprehensible for those who experience it, just as it is incomprehensible for those who are witness to it. 

No one is supposed to lose their child. Yet we live in a fallen world. Tragedies happen... just not to me, right? Wrong.

The days, weeks and months after Finley's birth were such a confusing time.  
I don't remember the full two weeks or so after we came home from the hospital. I remember being wheeled out down the back hallways of the hospital so that we didn't encounter unwanted stares or sad eyes, I remember pulling away from the hospital clinging to my stuffed animal, I remember getting home and collapsing onto the bed with Daniel and learning what it truly meant to "weep". Then... nothing. It sounds like an exaggerated literary scenario, but it's not.

The meals came, the cards came, flowers came, the emails, the letters for Finley. 
Friends, family, even strangers tried to comfort me and ease the endless waves of grief. The kindness, sympathy, and love was overwhelming and appreciated and NEEDED. Unfortunately, it didn't touch my mourning.

It took a while for me to finally quiet my spirit and lift my eyes to the only one who could provide relief. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." [Romans 8:18]

You see, even as a mother who lost her child, I don't know the answers. I don't know what you can say or do for a parent who loses a child. I don't know what kind of response there should be. I don't know how we should begin to talk about it, or recognize it, or grieve out loud.

What I do know is that our children were here. They were with us. Their lives were of value. They need to be remembered. 
I ache for her to be remembered. She was my daughter; she is my daughter.

Please take this day to remember them. Remember our children. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Festivities at Oakes Farm

What a fun day! We spent Saturday out at Oakes Farm - about a 30 minute drive from our home and located in the beautiful Knoxville countryside! We were so excited to take Eli pumpkin picking at this fun age, but there was so much more to do too than just finding our perfect pumpkins!

We told Eli in the car that there would be goats there, so of course the whole car ride he was asking about the goats! The boy loves his animals!

We arrived right when the farm opened so we were able to enjoy a lot of the activities before the crowds arrived! We brought a picnic lunch and took our time enjoying the beautiful fall weather out "on the farm". Needless to say, Eli had a blast!

Here are some pictures from our day:

 The bumpy slides! This was Eli's first time going down by himself, pretty funny!

 Daddy is a pretty good sport about doing all of the fun activities with Eli! I think he may enjoy it just as much as our toddler, which is so fun to watch from the sidelines! This was a fun little tractor course and Eli's legs were too short to ride on his own!

This was a little hay maze and play area. It took some coaxing to get Eli to finally go through the tunnel, but of course he loved it after he finally worked up the nerve to go through!

Then he kept saying "C'mon, Daddy! C'mon!!", so of course Daddy obliged! I still don't know how he fit through there! Eli was so thrilled though!

Then we finally made it over to the goats! To our surprise, they had a whole little mini-petting zoo! Perfect for our animal lover! We saw goats, miniature horses, chickens, bunnies, and sheep.

The bouncy house and the bouncing pillow were hands down Eli's favorite things!! He kept saying "More jumps, mom!!"! He did not want to leave or stop jumping. He could have stayed in the bouncy house all day if we let him!

These were two other fun activities - a rope pull to climb the "mountain" and people-sized hamster wheels!

Finally headed to go pick some pumpkins! Eli loved sitting right behind the tractor, he thought it was so cool!

Although I normally opt for the REAL pumpkin patches (you know, vines and all), this "fake" one was still huge and really great to explore!

After an exhausting (in a GREAT way!) day we tried to get a "nice" picture of Eli next to the pumpkin set up that they had going on, which resulted in this:

Didn't you know that Pumpkins are just big orange balls waiting to be thrown!! Luckily this one was in the mix...

Happy Fall from Eli!