08-31-18 The First Week!!

It is a strange sensation to see everyone’s back to school pictures, and know that our kids aren’t among them. We have successfully completed our first week of homeschooling. The curriculum that we use actually works on a four day schedule, leaving the fifth day open for catch up or outdoor exploring. We took our day off yesterday, so we finished up today.

We got a late start today and ended up doing our schooling this afternoon. I love the flexibility that we have. Today they learned about earthworms, worked on their handwriting, did some math, art, learned about Vikings, read a story about pilgrims, and they did their first science experiment.

It was the first day we had Baby E in our classroom, so that was a bit challenging but I’m hoping we get into a rhythm with him there soon.

The kids enjoyed their science experiment the most. We filled two glasses half full with water. In one of them we added ten heaping teaspoons of salt and stirred it well. Then we placed eggs in each cup and recorded the results. I loved watching the kids’ eyes light up when one egg sank and the other floated.

After school we went to the pool and hung out until it closed. Tim joined us there and it was a very happy evening of playing way too many rounds of Marco Polo.

All in all I call it a very successful week and I can’t wait to see what next week brings!

08-29-18 The Scars

I caught a glimpse of my bare stomach the other day as I was changing my clothes and it occurred to me that I never look at it. The thought caught me off guard but I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had actually looked at my entire body.

It didn’t take me long to realize why. My scars were gone.

Not my huge C-section scar. No, that one remains in all of its crooked glory, boldly proclaiming the story of my children’s births.

But my Hazel scars are gone. The three small incisions that tell the story of her death have been erased from my skin and that I can’t bear to see.

There are days when I let my mind wander to Hazel. What color would her eyes have been? Her hair? What would have been her first words? Would she be walking by now? In my mind I’ll always wonder and I’ll forever miss her.

Pregnancy loss isn’t talked about much. It’s a topic whispered over a lunch between intimidate friends. It isn’t shouted from the rooftops and it isn’t published for an audience.

Most of the time it is suffered alone, quietly and because of that we can’t help women (and men) with their grief, and we can’t reassure them of the value of their loss. No matter how brief a life, no matter how short an acquaintance, no matter the passage of time, each one is intrinsically valuable.

Every baby matters.

I never held her, but through her death I met God on different terms. I gave Him permission to guide my grief, to not bottle my pain and pretend it didn’t happen while it ate away at me, but to let Him use it in whatever way he saw fit. I wish I had her in my arms, but since that never happened, I am grateful for a God that met me where I was, carried my broken pieces, and drew me closer to Him.

When I think of her now, it isn’t all sadness and when I look at my stomach I wish there were scars… Because Hazel mattered.

08-28-18 The man in the auto shop…

As we drove down the driveway on our way to church on Sunday morning, Tim suddenly stopped the van. It was clear there was something wrong with it. A quick check confirmed that we had a flat tire. We had returned a U-Haul truck the night before and on our way back home the low tire pressure indicator had come on. Tim had filled the tire with air, but by Sunday morning, apparently it was completely flat. We didn’t want to miss church, so we hopped in Tim’s car and ended up walking into service shortly before the sermon. That afternoon, Tim took off the flat tire and installed the spare. There was a nail lodged in the tire, courtesy of our trip to the U-Haul center.

Tim dropped the tire off last night at a local auto repair shop and they called him this morning to let him know the tire was ready. After we finished our schoolwork, I loaded the kids up in the van to pick up the tire and get it installed.

As we sat in the waiting room the kids did really well. They had each brought along a toy and were entertaining themselves quietly in their chairs. After a little while of waiting, an employee came up and asked me if he could give the kids some toys and something to color. I said ok and he disappeared behind the desk, returning with some Goodyear blimp erasers and some coloring pages.

What struck me about this man was that he went out of his way to show us kindness. He sought us out and went above and beyond to make sure we were happy and comfortable during our wait. He made my kids smile and he turned what could have been a boring visit to an auto repair shop, into something fun and memorable for my kids. It was a small gesture, but it came so naturally to him, and it made all the difference to our afternoon.

People like this are rare gems, often overlooked by a society that values self promotion. So to the kind man at the repair shop, thank you. You earned our respect and some brand new customers!


08-27-18 The First Day!!


Yesterday, C and I stood in the checkout line at Staples that ran the total length of the store. We had a few last minute school supplies to pick up, and apparently so did everyone else. With at least 60 people in front of us, I was worried we would be there for an hour, but thankfully the line moved quickly. I have been gathering the supplies for schooling for the past few weeks. I’ve worked on my lesson plans. This morning we had our first day.

I’m not sure who was the most nervous, but I’m pretty sure that it was me! Even though I have wanted to do this for years, the thought of actually following through seemed pretty intimidating as today drew near. I tossed and turned all of last night.

We had a few rough patches this morning, probably from waking up so early, but once we actually started our classes it went so smoothly. I was impressed at how well the kids worked together, and they did great when I had to focus on just one of them. The curriculum that we are using eases you into the school year, so we don’t start off with all the subjects right off the bat. With that being said, we didn’t spend much more than 20 minutes on each subject and we were done in well under three hours. (Baby E went with my mom to work today, so that certainly helped to make it an easier experience!)

The kids seemed to really enjoy their time in ‘school.’ They asked many questions and participated in every activity. I know that some days will be easier than others when it comes to getting schoolwork done, but I am incredibly grateful that today went so well!


08-26-18 My Best Girl


Dear C,

I’m not sure if you will remember it when you are older or not, but this evening we had a birthday party for you. It was daddy, me, Big E, Baby E, Naona, GP, and Aunt Julie. After grace, and while we were eating our food (It was frozen waffles, by the way, because that is what you requested,) we went around the table and each said three things that we like about you. It’s a game we have played now and then throughout your life, but it has been awhile, and I thought tonight would be a good night to do it, after all you are growing up fast. There were a variety of answers. Big E mentioned how much he likes your cuddles and sharing a room with you so he doesn’t sleep alone. Baby E’s three things all centered around how much he liked the way you decorated your cake, (which he couldn’t take his eyes off of all evening!)

Many other different aspects about you were mentioned. Things like- how beautiful you are, your sense of humor, your creativity, your love of dancing, how smart you are, and the joy you bring to our lives. We didn’t do this game to puff you up or to give you a big head. Here’s the reason…

You are growing up and as much as I want time to stand still, to freeze you at this moment, it marches on and so will we. There will be moments when people will let you down. Someone will say something or do something, whether intentional or not, that will wound you. You will have moments of loneliness and fear. It’s part of life. In those moments I want you to remember how much you are loved, and I pray that our love for you, and the teaching in our home will point you to the one who loves you even more.

Your worth is in being an intrinsically valuable child of God. Christ died on the cross for your sins, not because you were good, but because He is. You accepted Christ into your life when you were five, and my prayer for you is that you will live a life captivated by His story, that He will continually draw you closer to Himself, and that you recognize your significance in Him. Let Jesus be the one who guides you. May His words be written on your heart. May His face be what you seek. Then, no matter what life sends your way, you will meet it with the grace and dignity that only He can provide.

I love you sweet bug!



08-25-18 A night long ago…

This was me, eight years ago tonight.

I remember the night that I found out I was pregnant with C. With trembling hands I handed the positive pregnancy test to Tim. His eyes lit up with joy, and while I was very excited, I was also terrified.

However by the time this photo was taken I had endured an incredibly hot summer, I was a week over due, and the anxiety from early on in my pregnancy was replaced with the sheer desire for it to be over.

When I went into labor later that night and headed to the hospital, we arrived there expecting everything to go smoothly. Hours later when her heart rate kept dropping and they couldn’t get it up, they wheeled me in for an emergency C-section. I prayed for her to live.

When I finally heard her cry, tears steamed down my face. God had given us a daughter.

And tonight for the last time, I cuddled with my seven year old girl. Tomorrow she will be eight!

08-23-18 It’s ok to be sad…


New chore- pulling weeds

The kids in our neighborhood went back to school today, and I informed the kids that we are starting homeschooling on Monday. To be honest, I’m beginning to get the first day of school jitters. It’s amazing to me that we are finally at this point, the situation we prayed for- for me to be home and for the kids to be homeschooled.

This morning we had a playdate with another homeschooling family and the kids had a really great time. I have enjoyed seeing them make friends and find their place here. Even Baby E finally warmed up to them, and by the time we were ready to leave, he was begging to stay. I love how resilient children are and how quickly they can make friends.

Overall the children seem very happy here. There are moments when they say they miss their friends, or they miss their school- and I tell them that I miss my friends too and that moving is hard and it’s okay to be sad sometimes. But then they turn around and talk about all the things they love about being here and that they get to see us more and be with us more, and before you know it they are smiling again. 🙂

08-22-18 Cuddles

Today was the last week day that the pool would be open all day, so we spent most of the afternoon there. We got home this evening past bedtime, scarfed down our dinner and started to wind down. C asked to cuddle with me and within moments she was snoring softly, while laying on top of me on the couch.

This Sunday my sweet girl will turn eight. Moments like tonight are becoming fleeting as she gets bigger and older. Nothing can prepare you for how fast it happens, I know I’m not ready. ❤️❤️