Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Teaching Kids About Politics

I am certainly not a fan of shoving your candidate down the throat of anyone, even your children. I am a fan of teaching them why you support a candidate and how to be a good American regardless of what you believe in.

Halloween night my mom, Kaitlyn and I were in the car. We were driving down Jefferson Blvd when I noticed some guy taking the rather large McCain/Palin sign and flipping it over the fence it was hanging from so it was no longer visible.

To say I was livid would be an understatement. I had a lapse of Mommy judgment, rolled down a window, said my peace about Obama and showed off my favorite fingernail :P while screaming "You can't do that!"

I don't care WHO your candidate is. It is WRONG to take the voice from others. I've heard dozens of stories of people I know recently who have had their houses, cars, property vandalized only because of the politician they supported in this election, and it's happened on both sides.

On the way back down Jefferson Blvd., on Halloween Night, in the rain I got out of the car and flipped that heavy sign back over.

Had I of seen someone flipping an Obama sign I would have been equally as mad, although I doubt I would have taken the steps to correct it as I did with the McCain sign...

Anywho, Kaitlyn then asked why I don't like Obama and why I don't want him to be president.

The easiest of reasons to describe are redistribution and abortions. This night, I choose redistribution, something that we've been talking about since.

I described to her that after she is all done going door to door collecting candy, Obama for president would want to take all of her candy and divide it evenly with those who didn't go trick or treating. Kaitlyn didn't like that.

So, I've asked her very simply, if there was a little girl or boy who was so sick they couldn't go trick or treating, would you share your candy. "Of Course!" was the answer excitedly exclaimed. I asked her if it would be fair of me to tell her that she had to give her candy to them she said no, but when asked if she would make the decision to give her candy to those without and in need, she would in a heart beat.

I've learned that people are good at heart. They will do what needs to be done a whole lot better if done on their own rather than by force.

I've also learned that sometimes, if you put a slight twist or change on a thought, you can get a whole new perspective you may not have thought of.

I have respect and pride for all those that educate themselves on the issue and vote, regardless of what side of the aisle you're on, even if it means we cancel each other's vote out ;)

Since 1777, men and women have laid their lives on the line and fought for our freedom to cast our vote and let our opinions and our voices be heard. Is it really asking too much to read up on some issues and cast our votes?

Dusty and I excitedly filled out our Absentee ballots last week. There were a few debates on props, which brought new opinions, new thoughts and new points of views to the table, and there might be a "Denise Miller" write in for assemblymen because I didn't support either candidate and figured that "Denise Miller" gal would be the best gal for the job, but our votes have been cast.

And tomorrow, I will show my nearly 4 year old what her patriotic duty is all about, we will drop our votes, our voice, our thoughts and our opinion in the box to be counted.

Will you do the same?

Monday, October 27, 2008


I've been told over and over that it's completely natural to be angry with God during this time.

Truth be told, I'm not angry with God. I am angry though. I am angry with myself for letting this happen. I am angry that Matthew wasn't more of a priority for more people. Most of all, I'm angry with people that have absolutely no appreciation for the amazing gift they have been given by having a child.

The anger with myself is something that I have to deal with and I know part of the grieving process will allow me to one day be at peace with. I know that it will not be an easy journey and it will be a journey that will take time.

My anger with others in regards to Matthew is an anger that subsides a little bit each day. I know that I did all I could to bring Matthew into the lives other as frequently as possible. Some people were super, duper awesome and visited him as much as they could. As for the others, my anger melts into a bit of, I don't know, sadness for them. I know that so many think tomorrow is promised and owed to us. I know it's easy to put off until tomorrow or next week or next month or next year because in your wildest dreams, you don't think that the worse will happen to someone you know. And I am sure they have regrets. I am sure that they wish they would have done something different. But, again, I can't control or take responsibility for the actions of others.

My anger towards others is the type of anger that scares me. There is a tenant here with a little boy about 10-11 months old. He's as cute as can be, bright blue eyes and shiney blonde hair. His apartment is absolutely DISGUSTING. I mean, I wouldn't step foot in there. Today I saw him walking around with the kid in a diaper in one arm and a cigarette in his mouth. Seriously, how do you do that?? I see pregnant women all the time eating things they shouldn't, doing things they shouldn't and not seeming to care one bit about the life inside of them. I try not to judge, becaue I don't know them or their situation, but it's hard.

I know that I am anal retentive about a lot of things that may seem silly to other. I KNOW it. I know that it probably isn't healthy, but it's who I am and I love me. I'm ok with that. I am SUPER anal retentive when it comes to the health and well being of my children. I steer clear of everything that could cause damage to a baby. They say not to give honey or peanut butter until a child's one. I didn't even eat it while I was pregnant or nursing with Kaitlyn or Matthew. I stayed away from all nitrates, nitrites, caffiene, excessive amounts of sugar and made sure I ate from the whole food pyramid. I took my vitamins like they were life support. For me, being a mommy is super hard work and I try to make it even harder by giving myself this list of rules and regulations that I am not allowed to veer from.

With Matthew, I was even more strict than I was with Kaitlyn. He was my fragile little boy and I wanted the absolute best for him. I HATED pumping. Pumping is the worst feeling in the world and every day I wanted to give it up. But, I didn't. I got up every 2 hours during the night and made sure to pump every 1.5-2 hours during the day. I kept pumping even when Matthew came home. I wanted to be sure that I had an adequete supply and a good freezer stash in case my supply diminished like with Kaitlyn. I was more particular about what I ate and what I drank.

I would never, ever wish harm on a baby; regardless of how inept, unappreciative, naive, or disgusting their parent was. But, it seems awfully unfair and unjust to have him taken from me when I did everything I could to keep him healthy. I gave up so much and I did it with pleasure. I gave up trips to the mall, the store, and birthday parties with Kaitlyn so that I could stay home and keep Matthew safe and healthy in my arms.

Being a mom is hard work. It's tiring work. Being Matthew and Kaitlyn's mom left me exhausted, always hungry and stressed out at times. But, more than anything in the world, it made me happy. Sure it seemed like there weren't enough hours in the day, but there isn't anything I would trade for it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Steps in Happiness

When we start doing things for others we encounter in our lives, we are rewarded with the clear vision of the greatest riches in life.

One of the hardest things for some to do is release themselves from the stress of anger and hurt. But, when you are free of the anger and hurt, the sky is bluer, the laughs come easier and the smiles are ever present.

There was a point in my life where I would hold onto anger much like I would a happy memory, only not so happy. I would let it store up and fester, allowing it to breed and turn into something much more dramatic than necessary. Not anymore. I learned a while ago that life is so short and so incredibly precious and amazing that there is no reason to punish yourself with the hurt and the anger. There is someone who you can push it onto and who will resolve it from your system. All you have to do is ask Him.

I've never been too fond of organized religion. I suppose in a way, I have never been fond of others outlining what kind of relationship I can have with God. I have always found my relationship with God to be something personal and I have found that with more time that passes, it is something that grows stronger.

Having a relationship with someone you cannot see and cannot feel is not an easy thing. It is a relationship built on faith and trust. Two very hard things to build, especially when those who chose not to have that relationship, for whatever reason, seem to have a desire to tear it down bit by bit. We see it in the media, we see it in the evil of the world, it's everywhere you turn around.

Anyways, I have found that there are some very easy things you can do to have a happy, sunnier life, and I thought I would share them with you :)

* Release yourself of the pain and anger you have. The weight of the world will be lifted off your shoulders and you will feel free.

* Stay out of it. If there is drama around you, stay out of it. There is no benefit to it, it's an endless cycle that isn't worth the energy

* Cherish each and every moment you have, end every day as though it is your last

* Every Day do one nice thing for someone around you expecting nothing in return

* Every Day take 5 minutes for you

* Do not take any moment or any relationship in your life for granted

* Trust in God. Allow Him to carry any burdens for you

Today was a good day. Tomorrow promises to be better since Dusty will get home :) I am incredibly grateful for the Amazing Family and Incredible Friends I am blessed to have in my life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last Day to register!!

Don't forget to register.

I rarely get political here. I don't want to alienate any friends, and I don't like to talk politics among friends. I tend to get a bit passionate :P

This year I will be casting my vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Not necessarily because they are my ideal candidates. John McCain is pretty liberal for my general liking, but at least he and I share some ideologies.

I know this is unpopular to say, I know to many the following statement can only be made by someone who is ignorant, uneducated, racist, filled with fear and only wants America to go backwards. But, I'm going to say it anyways. I have absolutely no desire to have Obama as our president.

At the end of the day, I would love a woman as president, a person of Black, Asian, Mexican, Spanish, and on and on and on, decent, but I am not going to vote for someone just because they are different on the outside.

I am completely and totally against redistribution of wealth in America. I am against taking money from someone who has worked hard for it and giving it to someone who does not have as much money just to make everything equal. That is not opportunity, that is not the American Dream, that is a socialist ideology.

The American Dream is to be able to work hard in life, earn money and keep it. It is not to work hard, earn money and then give it to be forced to give it to someone else by the government.

Why in the world do we need SO much government interference?

Abortion. I can see the need for abortion. I can. It is not a choice I would or could ever make for myself, but for some it is a necessity to save the mother's life. In this society, abortion has become much more of a tool of birth control than a tool of saving a life.

I know that it is not realistic to overturn Roe V. Wade. But there is a need for reform. In cases of abortions to just prevent a birth, the woman should be more encouraged to consider adoption, the woman should have an ultrasound at least once prior to the procedure, the woman should be given a psychiatric evaluation prior to the abortion and then receive emotional help and support following the abortion.

I could never in good conscience vote for a man who would not want his child to be burdened with a baby because of a CHOICE she made. That is one of the most selfish things I have ever heard.

I could never in good conscience vote for a man who voted AGAINST The Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This is an act that allowed for medical treatment and intervention for those babies that survived a partial birth abortion. He voted against giving those babies pain medication, oxygen, treatment to have a chance and an opportunity at life. Instead, they are to be disposed of as though they are an unwanted tumor or growth.

I could never in good conscience vote for a man who is in favor of partial birth abortion. Babies are born every day at 24 weeks - 28 weeks and surviving. We saw them in the NICU fighting for their lives. How can anyone support killing a baby that can live on the outside just because their labor didn't start naturally?

I am not going to say Obama is a terrorist, but he shows some terrible judgment time and time again.

Let's start with Rev Wright. Rev Wright is a man who believes:

"Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."

"The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied."

And as also ran a church that believes in strengthening Black America, not America as a whole.

Then there is Bill Ayers, ACORN, his wife who is finally proud to be an American, Bernardine Dohrn and so many more.

I could completely dismiss just one affiliation as poor judgment, but consistent poor judgment is not something I want in a president.

I would point out his voting record, but it's lacking a lot of substance. Obama can't ever sit still and do is job, as soon as he obtains a political position, he starts campaigning for the next. He hasn't done his job for those that voted him into Senate. He has not represented them. He has not voted for them. He does not care enough.

I honestly believe Obama is too selfish to be a good president.

Even if Obama wins, I know that at the end of his socialist-like term, people will be eager for a much more conservative president.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sacramento Parent's magazine

In 1988 Congress decided that October would be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15 specifically is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Sacramento Parent Magazine (http://www.sacramentoparent.com/community.htm) is a local magazine that focuses on a lot of parent issues on a local level.

A month or so ago one of the writers contacted us regarding their October Issue. The magazine wanted to tackle some of the tougher parts of pregnancy and infant loss, some of the issues that are not often dealt with. They asked if we would assist them with an interview. We did.

Life After Loss
Coping with the death of a child

by Heidi Doerfert

Every parent has two nightmares – one is the fear that something will happen to you and you won't be there for your child; the other is that something terrible will happen to your child. Sadly, that other nightmare comes true for approximately 2,500 parents in the United States every year, parents who lose their babies to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Denise Miller, a 26-year-old mother from West Sacramento, is one of those parents.

Denise's daughter, Kaitlyn, has sunny blond hair and bright blue eyes. She is just shy of her fourth birthday when we meet. I watch Kaitlyn pluck a flower from a nearby bush and skip over to her mommy. Denise smiles as her daughter hands it to her. Denise's pregnancy with Kaitlyn was fairly easy, she says, aside from some morning sickness in her first trimester. With Matthew, it seemed things would go even more smoothly; she felt fine, even energetic. Then, at six months, her water broke.

She was diagnosed with preterm premature rupture of membranes, or pPROM. In most pPROM cases, women deliver in the first 72 hours to 12 days, but Denise was hospitalized for over nine weeks, only allowed to lie on her left side. She went into labor at 33 weeks, and her baby boy, who was breech, was delivered via C-section.

Matthew had typical preemie issues, including lung problems. After a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Matthew finally came home. Denise, her husband, Dusty, and big sister, Kaitlyn, were all ecstatic. Denise says Matthew nursed frequently, was gaining weight and doing well. "Being a preemie, he wanted to be held a lot," Denise remembers, something his parents were "more than happy" to do. Still, they were very careful not to expose him to germs. They avoided enclosed public places and even limited preschooler Kaitlyn to toe kisses.

On October 15, 2007, 10 week-old Matthew didn't wake up for his 2:30 a.m. feeding. Dusty tried to resuscitate him until the EMTs took over. Denise knew the situation was dire when they wouldn't let her ride in the ambulance. She followed in the sheriff's car while Dusty stayed behind to wait for Kaitlyn's grandparents to come over. The circumstances left Denise alone when she received the news of Matthew's death.

Despite their trauma, the Millers agreed to an optional SIDS research study. Just hours after Matthew's death, hospital staff came to their house and re-created how the baby slept. They took photos and even took samples of Denise's breast milk. "I was basically incoherent at this point," Denise recalls. "We were just going through the motions."

Denise and Dusty couldn't bear to go home after the loss. "We still had unopened baby gifts… It was just too much," says Denise. They stayed at her parents' house for two weeks. No further answers came from the researchers' efforts, leaving the Millers to puzzle over the SIDS diagnosis.

No Real ExplanationSIDS is the nation's leading cause of death for babies between 1 and 12 months old, with ninety percent of those cases occurring before 6 months, yet it remains somewhat of a medical mystery. Research (published in the November 2006 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association) has indicated that infants who die of SIDS may have abnormalities in a part of the brain that helps control heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, temperature, and arousal. Dr. Hannah Kinney, the study's senior author, believes that with further investigation, healthcare providers may one day be able to identify, prevent, and maybe even treat SIDS. Still, for families like the Millers, these findings offer little (if any) comfort, and a year after baby Matthew's death, the family still struggles with the fact that they have no real explanation for why their baby died. "We did everything right," says Denise. "And we still lost our son."

According to FirstCandle.org, an online support community for parents who have lost children to SIDS or stillbirth, it is very important that all those touched by a SIDS death understand that SIDS has no specific symptoms, that it occurs in the best of families and to the most capable, careful and loving parents.

Close to a year later, the raw emotion of her loss is still evident when Denise talks about it, yet her main concern now is Kaitlyn and how she is handling her own grieving process. "We didn't tell Kaitlyn her brother died for four days," says Denise with tears in her eyes. "Forever is a hard concept for a three-year-old."

Helping Kids CopeLyla Tyler, a Sacramento Marriage and Family Therapist, says children may experience the same five stages of grief that adults do (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), although not necessarily in the same order. "Young children don't understand the finality of death," explains Tyler. "They will have a really hard time with that concept. They may ask when their sibling will come back from heaven and those types of questions." Tyler encourages parents to use the term "die" and not vague terms like "gone away."

Some kids will even be scared that they, too, might die like their sibling; these children need reassurance. In a SIDS case, an appropriate explanation could be, "the baby died of something called SIDS. We don't know why it happens but it only happens to some babies."

Young children may also think they did something to cause the baby's death. It's typical for an older sibling to be jealous of a baby sister or brother, and if they wished for the baby to "go away" and then it actually happened, they could feel responsible. In this case, parents may see regression – potty accidents, acting like a baby, etc. The child may also want to become a baby again to replace the lost child for their parents.

Some children handle grief by escaping into play and pretending the baby is still alive. Others may keep it inside and not show a lot of emotion. There also may be aggression and acting out. Tyler says all of these behaviors are normal. "What you look for is if the child is moving on or if they are stuck. After six months to a year, have they gotten back to their normal play? Have the grief behaviors lessened in frequency and intensity?"

Denise says Kaitlyn used to be very outgoing and loved visiting family, but since the death of her baby brother, she has developed separation anxiety. Tyler says this is a normal response, but if it continues for several months, Mom and Dad must take a look at their own behavior. Parents who have lost one child may become very anxious and fearful of losing another child. With the Millers, Tyler would suggest that Kaitlyn go to Grandma's for a very short amount of time at first, gradually extending the length of her visits.

If parents are stuck in their own grief, a child will definitely pick up on that, Tyler notes. "Preschoolers depend upon their parents to regulate them and their mood. If they have a parent who is very depressed and having a hard time, it will be more difficult for the child." Depression in a young child will manifest itself in withdrawal, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and poor concentration. Tyler says art therapy, drawing pictures of what makes them sad, is very helpful. She also encourages parents to talk about the sibling, read to them from books about death that are written for young children, and help their child make a memory book about their brother or sister.

Social support groups also provide comfort and help to both parents and children. Denise believes talking about Matthew and keeping his memory alive is essential to her healing process. She found solace through online SIDS and pPROM support groups, and the family visits Matthew's grave on a weekly basis. Tyler notes that this can be a comforting exercise for some children, but stressful for others. She encourages parents to pay attention to their child's behavior at the cemetery. If they seem uncomfortable, it shouldn't be forced upon them. Our society is often uncomfortable talking about death. Family and friends may fear saying the wrong thing or be just as afraid of saying nothing. Tyler offers these tips for being a good listener: Don't make guesses as to why the child may have died or say things like, "Well, you can have more children" or, "I guess it wasn't meant to be." Instead, simply allow those who are grieving to talk about their loss as much as they need to, and offer specific support, such as bringing dinner over on a Friday night or helping fold laundry on Tuesday morning. As Denise notes, the pain lasts way beyond the week or two that everyone is gathered around after the funeral. "It doesn't get any easier with time," she says. "You just learn how to handle it better."


Sharing Parents' Annual Remembrance Ceremony:

"Heart Within My Heart"Sunday, October 123pm - 5pmMcKinley Park Rose GardenSacramento (corner of H St & 33rd St)

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Parents who have lost an infant (from the time of conception through early infancy) are encouraged to honor their children in a candle lighting ceremony, and to meet with other parents and Sharing Parents volunteers afterward. For more information, call 916-424-5150, email sharingparents@yahoo.com, or visit www.sharingparents.org.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Gift of a Vision

The other night, I walked into Kaitlyn's room and saw that she had fallen asleep on the floor. I was immediately saddened. Without thinking to or trying to, I could perfectly imagine Matthew there cuddling with her, asleep next to her. Not the 10 week old baby that we miss, but the 13 month old toddler we never got to meet. I could perfectly see every part of him. I could see them together, growing up together sharing all of their love.

I can see how much Kaitlyn loves Matthew each and every day. She loves him so much. She talks to him all the time. The other day she was talking to him and finished by saying/yelling (he can hear better in Heaven if she yells) "Okay Matthew, I'm going to Hang Up now, I love you, bye."

Kaitlyn continues to be a great big sister to him. She continues to love him and to share him with everyone she meets. She continues to do nice things to show him how much she loves him, she continues to talk to him and keep him a part of our family. My heart breaks for all of the wonderful joys that a big sister should get to enjoy for being so great. My heart breaks for the sadness she feels and does not yet understand.

I never really worried about dividing my time between Kaitlyn and Matthew. I knew from day 1 of my pregnancy that I loved them both with all that I have to give. When Matthew was here, it was fairly easy to give them both a lot of one on one time and a lot of family time. Kaitlyn loved having Matthew be a part of story time and Matthew was with us for every part of the day. I never felt torn.

Now that Matthew isn't physically here, I feel much more torn. There is the constant feeling of both sadness and joy, the feelings of pain and happiness, both the feelings of fear and pride. The constant thought that I wish there was 2 of me, 1 with Matthew and 1 with Kaitlyn. But, that can't be.

The best way to describe how I feel lately is to think of it as a storm. There is this big heavy cloud of sadness and once in a while, it will drift to the side, still there but allowing some sunlight in as well. Without any warning it can and does shift back directly over you. There are times when I feel at peace with Matthew's life and blessed that we had him as long as we did and that he is now with God. Then, there are times when he is missed so much it is physically painful.

Sometimes, out of nowhere it seems, I get the perfect vision of what Matthew would look like today. I like to think it's a gift, it's a gift to ease the pain until we are together again.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A year ago Today


A year ago today was such a happy day. Dusty and I got ready with Kaitlyn and headed to the NICU for the last time. We had the car seat base installed, a bag packed another bag for all of the things Matthew had at the NICU and the excitement that he would be home with us!

To say we were all excited to bring Matthew home to his own nursery and his own bed and our family is an understatement. It felt like it took forever to get there and was so exciting.

Dusty and I took a sleeping Kaitlyn into the required CPR class, practicing over and over with the thoughts that we would never need it. We were on the path now to a long, healthy and happy life with both of our children.

We had our papers signed off that the class was completed. We signed all of Matthew's discharge papers. We were given so much information, so many lists and so much hope from one of Matthew's greatest nurses. Daddy and Kaitlyn went to pull the car around and get the AC on. Matthew's car seat was installed. The nurse walked down with Matthew and I walked down with her.

Matthew came home at an actual age of 27 days and an adjusted age of about 37 weeks gestation. He came home nearly 3 weeks earlier than anyone thought he would. Matthew came home and ate and slept and made the absolute cutest noises in the entire world. The feeling of being able to hold him, cuddle him, kiss him, feed him, change him and be near him whenever he wanted and we wanted was amazing.

We learned Matthew hated his car seat and loved to cuddle. We learned how much Matthew loved to eat. We learned how strong the sibling bond was between Kaitlyn and Matthew. Our home grew, our hearts grew and our lives were finally regaining some normalcy.

We miss you Matthew.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We got Robbed :(

And not in a figurative, fun kind of way either. We seriously got robbed.

In December we had to move. We're kinda picky so we put everything we owned into a 10x30 storage unit. We've been staying with my parents while our belongings climbed to the roof of the storage unit. In March, we got a second unit for some miscellaneous things and things have been fine there.

On Thursday, we got a call that our lock was cut. We were thankful it was on the misc. unit and while everything was rummaged through, we couldn't tell if anything was missing.

Yesterday afternoon, we got a call that our big unit had the locks cut. She said it appeared nothing had been taken so we waited for Dusty to get off work and headed over there.

We opened it and immediately could tell it had been cleaned out. So far we've been able to notice the following missing:

Matthew's Crib. We're pretty sure it was destroyed since it was probably in the way of the good stuff. Dusty found a broken screw on the ground :(

All 3 computers, their monitors, and all accessories
a TV
Kaitlyn's Princess Jalopy Pedal Car
All of Kaitlyn's Barbies and Barbie Accessories
Kaitlyn's play kitchen
Our wedding Pictures
All our Albums
All of Dusty's autographed cards (rookie Barry Bonds, rookie Jordan, dozens of mint condition cards)
Our surround sound
Our rear projector
All of Kaitlyn's "sentimental" clothes
All of my clothes
My shoes, purses, belts

And a ton of other miscellaneous stuff.

I do not and will not ever understand how it is that someone can think it's ok just to take from another. It is absolutely disgusting. It is DISGUSTING to steal from another.

CSI was able to find a palm print so hopefully it will match something in their system. I have to go through our other unit now and see if anything is missing :(

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thank you to Everyone that Participated


Thank you so much to everyone who participated in today's balloon release for Matthew's birthday. It was amazing to see so many balloon soar and have so many people to celebrate such a short and wonderful life.

It was a beautiful day. Dusty and I got to the cemetery at about 9 and started decorating. We set up a table with pictures, put out the favors (bubbles with personalized tags, hershey kisses with personalized seals, and poems), and started in on the balloons. Dusty was a huge help and an absolute champ with the balloons!

We had beautiful cupcakes from Sweet Cakes and a lovely candle made in Old Sacramento. There was a great turn out! Thank you so much to all of our friends and family who ventured out in the heat, we had over 55 people out there. Kaitlyn was great at getting everyone together and counting for everyone to let go of their balloon. After yummy cupcakes, we started to pack things up, water the sod and head out. We made last minute lunch plans and ate delicious food at Hanger 17 with our closest family.

I should have most of the pictures within a week! Please send me the ones you took so I can share :) Thank you so much to everyone who has already shared their pictures! I didn't take any with my camera since I wanted to be an active participant :

I have plenty more bubbles if anyone would like me to send one :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

4 years ago today

In the hot August Sun, with sweat dripping from our bodies, in front of some of the most amazing and wonderful people in the world, Dusty and I, very quickly exchanged the vows that would bond us together for a lifetime.

Despite a few rumors, I didn't "make" Dusty marry me because I was pregnant ;P After 5 years and 3 months to the day of becomming an "official" couple, Dusty and I got married for the simpliest of reasons, we wanted to. We were in love and desired nothing more than to spend the rest of our days together.

While we have had more than our share of heartache and hard times, we've remained best friends who are happily married. We both have the same sense of humor and complete eachother.

If I went back in time today, knowing all that we would have endured over the past 4 years or even the past year, I would still go with Dusty to the prom. I have absolutely no doubt that we'll make it. I know that if we can "survive" what we have this past year and a half, we can easily surpass any challenges life throws at us.

To celebrate we went and saw Pineapple Express, very funny movie :P

Thanks to everyone for the Happy Anniversary Wishes :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Matthew's Birthday


Today ends the aniversary of Matthew's frist day here on this Earth with his family who loved him. It was the first of 70 days that we were blessed to hold him, kisss him and know him.

Today we went to the cemetery and put down new sod. It was a lot of work and I was very thankful to have Dusty there with me :) Thank you so much to everyone who went to the cemetery today to leave Matthew Birthday goodies. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the bubbles and balloon, thank you Auntie Christina and Uncle Brian for the bubbles and balloon, thank you to Hope for the pretty flowers and balloon and thank you to Beau for the pretty flowers and balloon, (thanks also to their mommy and daddy for taking them). Thank you to everyone for Matthew's birthday wishes, thoughts and prayers.

Happy Birthday Matthew!! There is absolutely nothing we wouldn't do or give to have you here with us to celebrate this special day. It's amazing to know that one year and 4 hours have passed since you came into our world in such a grand way and stole our hearts. We are so proud of you for being so strong and so brave during the time you were with us. You are the cutest and sweetest little boy we have ever saw and the joy and love you brought us could never be measured. While we unselfishly wish you were here, we know you are in an amazing world celebrating your special day. Our endless love is with you always.

You would have turned 1 today,

if you were still here.
Although you are so far away,
our hearts have kept you near.

Your time here was a blessing,
that we treasure every day.
We take every chance in expressing,
our undying love for you.

We send our love to you,
from all our hearts to yours.
Just think, a birthday spent in Heaven,
means you'll spend it with The Lord.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Actions over Words

We were driving home tonight when I let my mind wander a bit. I think in a sense I was working on coming to terms with something that has been boiling to the surface over the last few weeks and where I want some relationships to go.

The whos, whats and wheres are completely irrelevant. The reason for my revelation is something that I think will bring me peace of mind and that's what matters most.

I have always been the type to swoon over pretty words. To me, words are so incredibly powerful. I have always made sure to do as I say and mean as I do. When I say words, they are from my heart, they are filled with my innermost private thoughts and have a strong meaning.

It's a hard realization when you realize that not all people are made the same as you. I don't mean that in a necessarily cocky way as though I am in some way perfect, nor do I mean it in a negative connotation. I'm fully aware of my pitfalls and strive every day to repair and improve them as much as I can. Each day is a new strive towards perfection. I can assure you, I am incredibly sincere in all of my words.

I'm a Cancer. I am a sensitive soulful person. I know the strength in words and try so hard to use them in a
positive way. But, I also try to back up my words with actions, and I am sincere in those actions. I guess I've never really learned how to be insincere. I'm not good at it and I don't like to waste my time faking kindness or relationships. My smiles are real, my actions are real, my words are real.

But, I don't think all people are made the same. Not everyone has the same desires in life or the same way of thinking. And really, not everyone wants to be my bff, or have a close relationship with me. That's perfectly and 100% fine. I'm sure I irritate the heck out of some people. I can be overly bubbly, overly sensitive and sometimes I have childish revenge sequences play through my mind. Really, it doesn't bother me if I'm not loved by all of the people all of the time. What bothers me is the insincerity behind kind words. The words that cause me to swoon and think "everything is going to be ok."

I am learning though, words are not always worth swooning over. They can be amazing and needing and loved and appreciated, but they can also be very insincere. What I am learning is that the people that really matter. The people that I have learned really want to be close to me, close to us, close to our family back up their words with actions that reflect the same. The people that really matter prove the genuineness of their words with the earnestness
of their actions.

One of my biggest pitfalls is that I do too much for those that may not appreciate it. I have always lived by the "do unto others as you wish them to do unto you" and that isn't always good. When you constantly do nice actions towards some and never have the kindness to repay it, it gets old and hurtful. I think it goes to prove the insincerity of their words.

What I am working on now, for my own personal growth, is separating the words from the actions. I want the words to matter, I truly do, but I have to learn and realize that the actions prove the honesty of the words.

I am really proud of Kaitlyn. I think I learned tonight, that she has already learned that lesson. With her, it isn't about who buys her things, or who tells her nice things, to Kaitlyn, the actions and kindness is what touches her heart. I really do believe she is the one that taught me this lesson and I am grateful to her for it.

When all is said and done, actions back up your words, so be sure to be sincere. :)

*~*~*~*~ Just a note to answer any concerns. If you care enough to read, if you care enough to respond and you care enough to even give anything I say or think a second thought, I can promise your actions back up your words. If I talk to you on an even regular person, you answer my phone calls and respond to things I say, I can assure you, you rock and there are no worries ~*~*~*~*

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Year Ago...

By this time last year, we had learned that it can indeed happen to you.

A year and 5 days ago, we were the typical family with the typical problems. I was nearly 6 months pregnant, Kaitlyn was doing great and a normal, happy, healthy, smart 2 1/2 year old who liked to kiss my tummy at night, and Dusty had a cold. Our biggest problems were that I liked to go to bed super early and we still had to empty out the computer room to get Matthew's room ready. The pregnancy was pretty normal with just a couple of minimal problems, but I was gaining weight like a champ and so was he!

Last night was a familiar feeling. Around the same time as June 3, 2007, I woke up in a puddle. This time there was no question about it, my water couldn't have possibly of ruptured, my bladder is easily controllable and I had a preschooler sleeping with me after 32 ounces of gaterade before dinner!

A year and 2 days ago, that all changed to drastically and what seemed so innocently. I'll never forget the sense of urgency I felt when I woke up in a puddle of fluid. I of course freaked that it could be something serious, but convinced myself that I was just over exaggerating and really going to the hospital was just for peace of mind.

Even while we waited in Labor and Delivery, we joked, kidded around and I tried to get a little bit of rest because I was exhausted and the "leaking" had stopped I thought. Then, in literally an instant our life wasn't normal anymore.

All of a sudden we were part of 2% of pregnancies who have membranes rupture before 37 weeks. Of that 2%, most ruptures occur after 34 weeks.

Our outlook was grim, our doctor was blunt, and our options seemed few. We were told over and over again that we were just hanging out until I developed an infection and delivered. It would more than likely happen within the week.

I felt so sick, the magnesium sulfate was terrible, I couldn't eat and I was being poked, prodded and checked every couple hours for a sign of infection.

What was never discussed was the probability of infection not occuring. I understand why, within 24 hours, 50% of pprom pregnancies end in birth, within a week, 75% end in birth and within 12 days, 90% of those ruptured pregnancies end in birth. The thought that we held on for 9 weeks and 2 days is astounding, amazing, a true miracle.

It's amazing how much has changed in the year. Rather than cancelling plans for the summer, we're making as many as possible. Rather than planning how to juggle the needs and demands of a 10 month old (tomorrow) and a 3 1/2 year old we are instead facing the road of recovery for a grieving 3 1/2 year old and visiting the cemetery to visit a 10 month old.

Everything that happened a year ago still feels so surreal. It feels like a distant dream, a terrible dream. There are so many things that I am grateful for.

I am incredibly grateful that we made it 9 weeks and 2 days in the hospital. Even if it meant that I had to be stuck in a terrible bed around the clock watching the world go by around me while watching 4 channels on TV. Those 9 weeks and 2 days were 9 weeks and 2 days longer that I had with Matthew than any doctor or nurse gave me. I am grateful that Matthew was born with few premature hurdles to jump and that we did have 10 wonderful and memorable weeks with him.

I learned so much in that time. I learned more about my body, what it's capable of and what feels normal. I can feel where my ovaries are, know what's a cyst, what's normal and what's not. I learned what amazing family I have and what an amazing and capable, loving caring husband I have. Dusty spent EVERYNIGHT and the world's most uncomfortable bed, stretched his schedule in ways I don't think he could ever imagine and dropped everything to be there for me, Kaitlyn and Matthew.

A year ago, things were so perfect, it is amazing what an instant can do.

Kaitlyn's Anxiety

I know some people have noticed Kaitlyn having a slightly different personality lately, so why not address it all at once.

Kaitlyn is normally a VERY independent little girl. From the time she could say "me" and "do" or her own form of it, everything was a very stern "me do" Kaitlyn prefers to do everything on her own, like a big, big girl. She isn't shy, loves to play with everyone and in her opinion, hasn't eer met a stranger.

Over the past month or so, Kaitlyn has lost a lot of her independence. The first incident started at school. Kaitlyn LOVES school. I mean, her punishment for being bad was no school. All of her reports say how independent and "strong" she is. Even when she sliced open her ankle, she didn't cry, when Torrey pushed her off the bikes, she didn't cry, when kids take toys from her, she doesn't cry she just finds something else.

I went to pick her up from school and the teacher told me she had an "incident" where basically out of no where she started sobbing hysterically. She cried for 45 minutes before she could be calmed down. You have NO idea how livid I was that I wasn't called like say, 10 minutes into the crying when it is so out of character for her. Much of the crying, I was told was about her missing her brother, wanting him back, wondering why she can't have him back and basically dealing with the fairness in the world on a 3 year old level.

When it's so hard to explain or understand as an adult why others get to keep and enjoy their babies, we had to say good-bye to a very loved little boy at 10 weeks is hard. Watching your friends and cousins be big sisters and big brothers to little babies has been a lot harder on her than I thought it would be.

The next day, she didn't want to go to school. Since it's preschool, a year early than necessary, she's done with Speech Therapy I didn't push it. She went back a day or so later and did great.

In the meantime, Kaitlyn started having bad anxiety outside of school. I cannot leave her side for more than a minute. She cries hysterically that she'll miss me too much. It takes hours of talking up a place, promises of prizes, and a bit of coersion to get her to go even to her favorite places or with her favorite people.

The following week, she was so eager to go. It was her last week of school and she went on Tuesday. I explained to the teacher how bad her seperation anxiety had been outside of school, how emotional she had been and instructed them to call me at the first sign of tears.

Not even an hour later I got a call. She had been crying for about 45 minutes. The teacher left, a sub filled in and no one was instructed to call me. When I went to pick her up it was the most pitiful site. She was sitting at the arts and crafts table with all the kids who were having fun. She was sobbing hysterically still, her face was swollen and bright red and her face was covered in tears and snot :( We left.

That was the point where I kind of knew that she needed someone to talk to and someone to help far more experienced than I am. So, the phone calls began.

I took Kaitlyn to her last day of school and for the first 2 hours we were joined at the hip. For the last hour, she played, as long as I was in plain view. Gymnastics I had to practically force her to join her class, even though I was right there watching. She won't go to the gym play area or stay with anyone.

We've called 10 therapists. 7 are not accepting new patients, 1 does not accept children under 5 and 2 haven't called back. So, hopefully we'll find someone soon who will have some good advice, OR it will turn out to be a stage and she'll out grow it. I know a lot of it is being unable to express what she's feeling and wanting to be in a comfort zone.

If you know any good therapist in the Sacramento area that do talk to kids, don't hesitate to let me know :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Beauty In Pageants

I've been asked a time or two why we put Kaitlyn in pageants. Typically, the answer is really simple, she absolutely loves and adores them and begs for her chance to be on stage.

That is typically meant with skeptical looks. How in the world can a child know they want to do pageants as young as 1 and ask to do it without ever knowing what it is? I know the typically assumption is that I am living vicariously through my daughter, or I'm a loon.

There is so much beauty in pageants that I think goes unnoticed in today's society because of all the "bad" press given to pageants since Jon Benet Ramsey's death. The shows on MTV, E! and Little Miss Sunshine didn't exactly give pageants the positive light that they deserve.

First and foremost, pageants are a fantastic place for children (and adults) to make friends. Children are in a social environment and given the opportunity to further develop their manners and proper etiquette. I don't think I have met anyone yet that has been anything but friendly and kind. The children all cheer each other on and encourage them to do their best and then congratulate them after they get off of the stage. Children are given the opportunity to learn good sportsmanship regardless of winning or loosing. In today's age where we don't keep score at most children's games in fear of hurting someone's feelings, where else is that taught?

Pageants also encourage self confidence and poise. How many 2 and 3 year olds do you know that will eagerly jump to the stage in front of 50 or more people and belt out their favorite song or do their favorite dance? How many do you know would do that while shooing mom away before they hit the stage? I know Kaitlyn wouldn't if it wasn't for the experience so early. How many 9 and 10 year olds do you know would do it? How many pre-teens or teenagers? I've seen some amazingly talented kids and teens and I am pretty sure there is no way I could or would have done what they do at their age. I would have been terrified. Believe me, I have no intention of Kaitlyn being discovered on stage, I think few parents do, and I know it is unlikely she will want to pursue a career in Hollywood, however in today's world self confidence and the ability to put yourself out there to be judged and critiqued is an ability lacking in today's world. Those who can and do will and do go so much further in life.

Pageants are also a great family activity. Parents can help the child practice and rehearse, make or shop for the outfits, plan the perfect pictures and spend the day together rooting on their child and all of their accomplishments.

Many pageants today honor community service and good grades. Yet another incentive and encouragement to help shape our children into well rounded contributing members of society. Many pageants have group outings so the kids can really become friends.

Not all pageants are the same, there are so many different levels, types, and advantages to different pageants. They are not for everyone. Believe me, I was skeptical before Kaitlyn's first. I didn't see much positive in them, but seeing her grow and ignoring the sterotypes as I met some amazing parents definitely changed my perspective.

As a pageant mom, I do encourage people to try one with their kid. It's a lot of fun and a great family activity!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Glutton For Punishment

Kaitlyn and I were in Dusty’s car today driving when she told me she wanted to talk to Matthew. She asked if I would make it so she could see the clouds. She’s never asked to do this before, so I obliged and opened the sunroof, not to sure of what she was going to say.

I have always before told Kaitlyn that she could talk to Matthew anytime she wanted and he would always be able to hear her. Today, she told me that if she talked to the sky, past the clouds, he would be able to talk to her.

Kaitlyn started by excitedly saying "Hi Matthew!!" And then repeating it a couple more times, so obviously pleased with herself and the oppurtunity to talk to him. She then asked her first question "What are you doing up there Matthew?" To which she answered for him "playing with the other angel babies." Kaitlyn continued her conversation by telling Matthew that she loved him and missed him. She then made her request "You not be died no more, otay Matthew?" She repeated "otay Matthew?" 3 more times before telling him again that she loved him and blowing kisses towards the sunroof, passed the clouds and into the heavens above.

It nearly broke my heart.

In the same car ride, Kaitlyn fell asleep. Dreaming of her brother and all the fun he is having I’m sure. During that time, Dr. Laura was on. A woman called the show to discuss a problem in her life. She was the mother of 3 beautiful girls she said. Her youngest had past away and she felt as though she had died as well. She couldn’t get over the grief. Dr. Laura gave her some great advice, the same advice I give to myself everyday. Regardless of whether or not you want to do it, you have to do it. There is still someone else that depends on you and needs you and they deserve to have someone completely there.

I know it’s the truth. I know it’s something I remind myself of every day. Kaitlyn deserves the best chance of a happy normal childhood and life that we can possibly offer her. I know that she grieves too, I know that we are blessed to have her, and I know it is my responsibility as her mommy to show her all of the greatness in the world. But, most of the time it does feel really forced, it does feel as though I am just going through the motions because I am supposed to do that.

February was really hard emotionally. Matthew would have been 6 months old. I can so vividly remember everything about Kaitlyn when she was 6 months old and there were so many things that I looked forward to with Matthew at that age. Would he be sitting on his own? Would we be trying food? Would he be crawling? How much would be weigh? How would he and Kaitlyn get along?

When Dusty and I were going to the cemetery on Sunday, he commented that he couldn’t believe it had nearly been 5 months. I agree. It doesn’t seem like that much time could have possibly passed and at the same time it feels like eternities have gone by and time is just standing still.

5 months isn’t that long. Carter’s still carries a lot of Matthew’s clothes. Dusty and I both have the same favorite "Matthew" outfit that he wore. I loved it so much that after we got it in the NB size at the shower, I bought the 0-3 month size. It was simple, cozy and oh so cute. It was a baseball style long sleeve onesie in red and white stripes with red pants. So cute! I love that outfit. I’m glad we have two. One to keep whole and one for the quilt. I think the fact that the stores still carry it as this season reminds me of how recent his birth was. It is one of the main reasons I don’t step foot in the boy department anymore and rarely into baby stores period.

For the most part, I don’t ever think about the night Matthew passed. It’s too hard. But sometimes, a word or a thought or something in passing will bring back such vivid details that I want to scream, cry, puke, run and hide. I sometimes wonder if it’s because I’m a glutton for punishment or because my subconscience wants to remind me how hard we tried to save him, how much Dusty did to try and keep him with us.

I think in an effort to try and appear normal and try to give Kaitlyn a normal life, I sometimes allow myself into situations where I feel helpless and depressed. I know that I need to stop doing that. I know that I need to put my foot down, not give a damn what anyone else things and put me first. But, sometimes that is so much harder to do than to say. I hate the thought of dissapointing others. I hate the thought of being the "downer" or the "depressed" one. Although, in reality, right now that is my role and there isn’t anything wrong with that. I KNOW that I will never get over losing Matthew. I know that with all of my heart and I honestly have no intention of trying to do so. But, I also know, that I will get through losing him. I may not be the same person on the other side of this journey, but I know I will reach the other side.

There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t wish I could hold him and hug him and kiss him and tell him how much we love him. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t think about him and all that he meant and means to our family.

I also think I made a mistake in the first month or two of Matthew’s passing to be too vulnerable and not think about who I was saying what to. I’ve tried really hard since then to keep my guard up. I know that I’m in a very sensitive state and I don’t want to waste the energy and the vulnerability on someone that may not care. Does that make sense?

Tomorrow will be 5 months since we were able to hold Matthew and feel his warmth against our skin. How I wish things could be different, what I wouldn’t give.

Sorry this is such a jumbled mess. There is just so much going on in this little head of mine.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

God's Intention

Several days ago, I overheard something that has been replaying in my mind. I've been trying to figure out why the statement stayed with me and I realized it did one two levels, one was that I found it hurtful regardless of it's intention and the second was trying to figure out and understand if there is any truth to the statement.

One person was telling another, in an attempt to comfort them from bad dreams, that if you have faith, God does not let bad things to happen to you.

I earnestly believe that God is not a spiteful, vindictive person. I do not believe that God allows or encourages bad things to happen to anyone.

Every day, bad things happen to good people. I do not believe it is God that causes those things to happen to the good people. Instead, I do believe that God is there for those with faith to get them through the difficulties life throws at them.

Sometimes, as difficult as it may be to understand or how impossible it may be to cope with, bad things just happen. There isn't a rhyme or reason, and even if you try to analyze it or figure out a why until the hours turn into days and the days into weeks and the weeks into months, there isn't a reason.

Regardless of how much or how little faith you have, good and bad things will happen in your life. Even if you pray with all of your heart around the clock, you can still be given challenges in life that you never signed up for or asked for. It doesn't in any way reflect a person's faith or what type of person they are.

Sometimes, you can do everything right and things still turn out wrong.

Anyways, thanks for letting me think outloud. Sometimes it makes it a lot easier to figure out my own thoughts and emotions.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Those who live in glass houses should think twice

Late last week I was in a situation that has become all too familiar in today's world.

It's the same situation that every parent is in on one occasion or another.

It's funny, my New Year's resolution last year was to be less judgmental of others and less assumptive as to the situations that form the opinions of others. I think I've done a decent job of sticking to that resolution.

I find it almost hilarious when those who are so obviously uneducated on some subjects are the first to spring their opinion as fact instead of as the opinion it nearly is.

There have been many times in Kaitlyn's life where strangers have pointed out what we are doing "wrong" in raising Kaitlyn and all of the things we should do differently to ensure that she becomes a good person. Normally, I brush the comments off. The way I've always seen it is Kaitlyn is an amazing little girl. She's very well behaved, smart, loving, empathetic, outgoing and very caring. Obviously we must have lucked out and done something right. The times it almost bothers me is when the comments are made my those who have no children and and are no where near having children.

I had a woman today comment on my allowing Kaitlyn a second toy at the 99 cent store. Kaitlyn hadn't cried, fussed, misbehaved or whined once in the store. She was on her very best behavior. Normally, when she's good she can have 1 item from the store. And she's really good at getting her one thing. She'll put back toys, DVDs, books or whatever else when she finds the perfect item for the day. Today was an exception. She wanted 2 things. Lip whistles and Spiderman bouncing balls. She went as far as to offer to use her dollar for the second toy. I gave in to her persuasive and well spoken points. But, according to the young "lady" who had no children this was creating a spoiled brat. And of course, when she got around to having kids she "wasn't havin' no brats that talked her into nothin'" Real classy I tell ya. And really, how do you have an educational debate with someone who is in no way educated with what being a parent is, means or does. It is a debate between a person who is experienced and educated in being a parent against one who is ignorant, inexperienced and speaking only on unfounded opinions that really mean absolutely nothing in the real world.

There were many things I swore I wouldn't and would do when I had kids. As soon as you get pregnant, some of those things go flying out the window faster than a piano falling off a high rise building. The important things stick. The important things that shape who your child is become issues that you will have no problem fighting for.

Another issue that I do take some offense to is the assumption that Baby/child modeling is explotive to a child, when it couldn't be further from the truth. I've heard this same argument within the past week. I've heard the same crap over and over since Kaitlyn's first ad came out. I've heard everything from the perverted thoughts that would make you cringe, the accusations that I was somehow living vicariously through my daughter, to the ignorant thought that somehow, a toddler or baby can be forced to model for the parent's gain. Good Luck with trying to force a baby or toddler to model. Last I checked, you can't make them smile, be happy, play or enjoy having their pictures taken. Let me set the record straight on a few things. 1, a pedophile does not need a Mervyn's ad to look for a victim. They can just as easily find them at the local park, school, McDonald's or grocery store. Camera's are readily available everywhere and anywhere children are. Being in a magazine does not make you more of a "target" or something that becomes a pedofile's fantasy. 2. How in the world would I live vicariously through a 2 year old? I have nothing by joyous memories of my childhood and my only intention is to give Kaitlyn the same happy memories. 3, parents do not gain anything through their child's work. Laws (not to mention morals and ethics) make it possible for the child to keep everything that they earn. Kaitlyn's account is growing like a weed. I will be proud to hand it over to her when she turns 18 and say "Here you go, you earned it" and mean it. It won't be a handout, it won't be a silver spoon. It will be a nice chunk of hard earned cash :) Of course, mommy and daddy have worked hard for her to be able to work for it. The countless trips to San Fran, the driving at 5 AM for an 8 AM shoot, the photographs needed for headshots, the updating of all of the resumes.

If the world stopped judging nearly as much as it does, it would be a brighter place. Please do not assume that you know what I am thinking, feeling, planning or wanting just because it's how you think you would think, feel, plan or want in the same situation. Unless you have been in this exact position you could never understand an ounce of it.

At the end of the day and the end of this blog, my hopes are that people will stop judging as much. It really isn't that hard to keep our opinions to ourselves :) And really, you might feel better for it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Feeling kinda...

... blah

I don't know, it's a combination of so much. I am so tired and don't really have a lot of energy to do a whole lot.

This past weekend Kaitlyn went to the NES pageant in Visalia. She was crowned as Lifetime Grand Supreme Ambassador and had a blast. She watched her cousin Camaryn and her friends Kayla, Mackenzie, Victoria and Elizabeth compete. Kaitlyn was an absolute doll, I was really proud of her.

There was this great family there that was so incredibly nice and sweet. They brought Kaitlyn back way too much from Disneyland. I seriously thought I was going to cry. They brought her a Princess Mickey Ears hat, an autographed picture of Snow White and they did an autograph book with all of her favorite characters, complete with pictures.

Sunday we went to Hope's birthday party which was beautiful and festive. Kaitlyn had a lot of fun.

Kaitlyn went back to school Monday after being home sick for 2 weeks. She's so happy to be back. Today was her parent teacher conference. Turns out she's the social butterfly in the class. She's friends with everyone and never spends a moment alone. She's little Miss Popular evidently. To celebrate we went to the movies and saw Veggie Tales.

Matthew's autopsy report was finalized and today when I went to the coronor's to get Matthew's belongings that have finally been released we received our copy. Even though I haven't yet opened the bag of his things, I am glad to have them home and with us. The autopsy report is difficult to read, both emotionaly and in regards to terminology.

Tomorrow we will go to Disney Princesses on Ice to celebrate Valentine's Day!!

I hope everyone else is having a good week.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What I learned at the scrapbook store

Last week I ventured into a local scrapbook store. I was on a mission for blue scrapbook paper with white polka dots. After many stores, I finally located it, SCORE!

Quick plug for the awesome store: Scrapbook Station

The woman who owned the store was working and incredibly nice. She asked me what I was looking for, why, how long I lived in the area and all of that. She was a great conversationalist. In total, I spent over an hour in the store, purchasing 10 sheets of the same paper totalling $4.60.

During that time, we began discussing scrapbook projects I still have pending and all of the amazing things they have in their store. A digital dye cutter, a ton of papers and scrapbook albums customized with a picture.

We discussed the album I had done for Kaitlyn and the album I need to do for Kaitlyn. We also discussed the album I needed to do for our son.

Typically, I always mention Matthew's birth when discussing how many children I have. I don't always mention his passing. It isn't a matter of pretending like it didn't happen, rather it's deciding how much I want to invest in the particular person and whether or not I feel comfortable enough to put them into that position.

This woman had a grandson born almost exactly a month after Matthew. When it came time to discuss how the boys were doing, I let her know that our sweet Matthew was no longer with us and had gotten his wings a mere 10 weeks after taking his first breath.

She was a very compassionate woman and asked me how I have been able to go on. My answer was something that I knew, something I've thought of many times. I know that exactly what has gotten me through this. My beautiful and loving little girl, my devoted and amazing husband who is the love of my life. Other than that, I give all credit to my faith and the amazingly supportive group of friends and family that have completely and totally been there for me. Those who have been there the days, weeks and now months following Matthew's passing and funeral. Without those people, their shoulders to cry on, their kindness, and their support, who knows where I would be.

She said something to me that really touched me. She told me that I was blessed to have held an angel in my arms and to have had to pleasure of nuturing one of God's children before he was called back home.

While listening to the radio today, that came back to me. I was listening to Dr. Laura (Kaitlyn LOVES her and won't let me change the station, go figure) and a caller called in. She was a younger mom and she was upset that since having her baby 7 months ago she hasn't had much adult time and missed going out. Dr. Laura's response was that the time you have with your infant and toddler is the least selffish time you'll ever had. Our little ones demand so much from us. They take, take, take and give so very little.

I disagree. Yes, we gave, gave and gave to Matthew, but the rewards we had of his life were endless and plentiful. They are rewards and gifts that will keep us warm for a lifetime. What we got back from Matthew was far more wonderful and meaningful that anything I believe we could have given up.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Call

12 weeks and 6 days after Matthew's death, the same coroner who worked the night Matthew died called us. His report was being finalized and his belongings are now being released and we can finally pick them up.

We asked about the cause of death. He believes it is easily of natural causes. The pathologist agreed and ruled the death SIDS. Because we did co-sleep, the cause of death officially reads SIDS-Co-sleep. He believes that our sleeping had nothing to do with Matthew's death. It was not responsible for his passing and changing it more than likely would not have altered the outcome.

Unfortanetly, even doing everything "right" and reducing all of the risks of SIDS, you cannot eliminate the risk of SIDS and nothing in life is promised.

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about everything right now. I thought that I would be relieved with the findings of SIDS. I thought it would alleviate any guilt or sense of responisibility, but it hasn't. I'm sure that it's completely and totally normal. Only time it seems can ease any sense of self blame.

We did go to the cemetery this morning. We had a few more things to add to his Valentine's decorated site. It shimmers, shines and is beautiful. We only wish he was here to enjoy his first Valentine's Day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Moving Forward

There are times when there are so many emotions I feel at the same time, it's nearly impossible to put into words how I feel.

I think I'm reaching a point where I can be both happy and sad. I think I will always remain sad. There isn't any way around it, Matthew is gone and I miss him so much and that leaves me sad. I don't think I'll ever stop missing him, so I doubt I'll ever stop being sad. But, I am getting to the point where I can be happy at the same time.

I feel as though my heart dropped from my chest when Matthew died. It shattered all over the floor and as he left us, he took one of the biggest chunks and took it with him. The past 12 weeks and 6 days have been spent using super glue to put the pieces back together and try keep it still long enough for the glue to set. Friends and family are the reason it has been able to sit still long enough for the glue to hold. Even though it is set with the pieces remaining, there is still a large piece that is missing.

As time passes, I know that the glue will become more set and more sturdy. I also know that as time passes, as more magical and miraculous babies and people enter our lives, my heart will grow. While that piece will always be missing, and the size of the piece will always remain the same, the rest of my heart will continue to grow and continue to heal.

I know that my heart will always be sad for the loss of our Matthew and I know my arms will always ache to hold him just one more time, but I know that his time here was a magical blessing. We were so lucky to meet him, to hold him and to know him for the time we had.

I want to welcome the new babies making their ways into our families with warm arms, a warm heart and lots of love.

I think sometimes people forget that Kaitlyn has been through so much in the last 6 months. I think their expectations of her are much, much too high. She is a 3 year old who has experienced more in the past 6 months than many adults ever go through. She had her entire life turned upside down. I think she deserves to have parents who are happy with their life with her. I think she deserves to be surrounded by loving supportive people. I don't think it's fair to her to be anything but the best possible parents we can be to her.

So, no matter how hard some of the little things may be or how difficult the larger things are, I am going to push myself to move forward. For my sake, Dusty's sake and Kaitlyn's sake. I know Matthew will always be with me and I will always be with him. Who knows what the future will hold? Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

6 months

5 months ago today, Matthew was born. There are still so many times when it feels like it was all a dream and he was never here at all.

I am still terrified that I am going to forget things about him. I know I could never forget him, but there are times I worry that I will forget the way his skin felt, or the way he smelled or the way his hair felt or how his ears looked. So, I lay in bed at night going back and remembering the little details. Forcing myself to think about every aspect of him and every aspect of every memory I have of the time with him. Sometimes that is hard. The time in the NICU was such a blur, that there are only a few moments that stick out on their own.

There are still times, events and surroundings that are really hard for me. I don't know why I would think any differently though, it has only been 2 1/2 months since Matthew was taken from us. I hate going into the baby department, I seriously do. Which is terrible since I have a wonderful friend expecting a grandson that I really want to be able to shop for and a nephew that's due to arrive this spring. But to be honest, no matter how much I would like to want to, I don't have the desire to. It's depressing, it's sad and it reminds me even more of him not being here with us. He's only 5 months old and that is far too young to be out by himself.

I know that soon, the time of baby showers will be upon us. And really, I don't want to go. People can say what they want, assume that I'm being selfish, childish, immature, unfair, evil, hurtful or whatever else, but really I don't give a flying leap. I am so sick of people who have NO idea what I am going through, thinking or feeling, who don't care to ask judging any of my actions. It amazes me that people can so easily and quickly juding what they do not know.

I know in the end I will end up going. I know I'll be miserable, sitting there watching everyone. I know that a new birth is a joyous time and ocassion, I am greatly aware of this, but right now, it doesn't exactly invoke that in me. The thought of watching someone open gifts similar to what Dusty opened for Matthew (I didn't get to go to my baby shower since I was in the hospital) and with most of it never being used and being shoved into a bin to never be used, is just too much.

There are times when I feel a great deal of peace and understanding. When I almost feel like I could practice forgiveness and move on into the future with that said peace. But, there are times when I have so much anger, resentment and dissapointment in some that I feel like I could throw up. I know I need to work on that, and I try, but sometimes it's just really hard.

Every day I miss Matthew. I know I'm not alone in that. I know Dusty and Kaitlyn miss him as much as I do. Kaitlyn still cries for him and sobs for him and begs me to please bring him home. And that breaks my heart everytime. I know it's hardest for her when she's already tired or having a rough day, and I know that even at 3 she's able to grieve, be angry, upset and heartbroken.

Some days are so much harder than others. Some days I just want to crawl into a hole and cry. Some days I just want to travel back to the last day we had Matthew and just stay there for all of time. Some days aren't as hard. And there are things that trigger the sadness that are so unexpected. But, it isn't really anything I would expect anyone to understand unless they have been through it.

Before, we could go and sit in Matthew's room. Everything was just as it was when he died. It was just like how it was the last time he was in it. The jammies he wore before he died were still on the changing table, his favorite blanket was still in his car seat, everything of his was still there. Last weekend, we had to pack it all up. Kaitlyn gets to have his firetruck rocking chair. We were in there one night and she told us that Matthew said she could have it. Thank you so much for the sweet comments, e-mails and messages aknowledging how hard it was. I am so grateful for such amazing friends and support.

There are times where I enjoy going to the cemetery. It's usually beautifully decorated in Baby Land. The decorations on all the sites of babies and children who have left us remind me and show me that other parents have lost their much loved children and continue to go on with their lives and remember thier lost babies.

I know it's been a while since I've written. I had began to think that maybe someone was right, maybe I just write to hear what I want to hear and to be validated. But, I began thinking about it and really, that couldn't be farther from the truth. I write to collect and organize my thoughts. Even if no one comments, it still brings me a moment of two of peace. And really, I enjoy writing, even if I don't think it necessarily makes any sense to anyone else.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A New Year, A New Start

It will never cease to amaze me how much happened in the last, short 6 months. So much of my world changed. So much of what I knew changed. So much of who I was changed.

I think I have been forced to learn so many new things about myself. Both good and bad. With that knowledge, I can make realistic and necessary resolutions to ensure that I am a better person during the time I have left.

My first goal is to be more selfish. I know that sounds weird, believe me I do. But, I think I have a problem with always putting people ahead of me
and of my family. It isn't uncommon for me to put forth more effort into making other people happy as opposed to keeping me and my daughter happy and I know that isn't ok. So, my resolution is to start putting me and my family first. To put our happiness, sanity and serenity before all else. And I know it won't be easy and I know it sounds harsh but even if that is at the cost of the feelings of others, I think it would be best.

Secondly is my health. I wouldn't at all say I'm unhealthy, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't do more to take care of my body. I need to gain 20 pounds. I've always said it in the past and I've always tried as hard as I could to do so, but this year I'm going to try even harder. I'm also more determined to eat better foods and do more for my overall health. I only get one body, I might as well take care of it the best I know how.

I look back on 2007 with great joy and with great sorrow. The highs were so high and so amazing and the lows were so devastatingly low. We started out with some of the greatest news, we were having a baby, a son. A son to add to our family and to be a part of our family, to complete us. Everything about 2007 was going amazing until June. Even when my water broke, I was grateful that it wasn't worse. I was, we were, thrilled with Matthew's arrival. His birth was amazing and we were so blessed that he was as healthy as he was. Even during the NICU time, we were grateful with how well things progressed. We welcomed every milestone with eager hearts. Matthew's death was a strong, cold blow that I don't think I'll ever recover from and really, I'm ok with that. I don't expect to be the same and I know I can't be the same.

I am grateful for so much this year. I am grateful for amazing family, wonderful friends, new friendships that I only hope to grow, an amazing husband, an incredible daughter, an inspirational son, a roof over our heads and food in our tummies.

We hope you and your families have amazing and peaceful 2008s filled with nothing but wonder, magic and love.