Friday, September 25, 2009

The Big Girl Journey: Siennalee

We got a new carseat for Siennalee this week.  It's safe to say that Mommie was perhaps even more excited than Daughter. 

What a cute seat!

Siennalee tried it out right away.

This much fun must be shared - her babies lined up for their turn in the new chair.

Pink Giraffe especially liked the seat.

Everybody had to be in on the picture.

She had fun discovering the various features of the new carseat - such as the hidden cup/snack holders.

And the adorable tiny princesses on the seat cover!

 Okay, so maybe Daughter is just as excited as Mommie.  :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bringing Coffee Back

September 11, 2009

In my ongoing pursuit to regain normalcy, I’ve returned to the comforting (and energizing) arms of coffee. I forewent my beloved morning cuppa joe when I was pregnant (and will again with the next pregnancies) not only to avoid the daily dose of caffeine early in pregnancy, but also because the warm, bracing caresses of the black brew frankly turned my delicate morning-sickened tummy.

But now, I’m bringing coffee back. Methodically. I’m doing half-caf (non-coffee drinkers read: half decaffeinated, half caffeinated), which should work out well in case I begin to feel any anxiety – which can be exacerbated by too much caffeine.

My first cup was dismal. Too weak. And as every serious coffee drinker knows, a weak cup is pretty much a little worse than no cup at all. So out it went. Yup. Down the drain.

The next cup was fairly strong (albeit still too weak for the likes of my sis-in-law Anne), so it stayed. I put a bit more cream and sugar in, and – ahhhh – just right.

Welcome back, coffee.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Haircut!

September 12th

It was time.  I had stubbornly put it off, hoping for a thick, glossy growth spurt - but, alas, it was time.  My little girl's hair was growing, but somehow it was becoming more wispy and feather-like in appearance, rather than the shiny, honey-colored locks I knew it could be.  The last straw was in the doctor's office when I happened to overhear a little boy refer to my sweet daughter as "him."  Suddenly I saw with new eyes how much her shaggy, uneven hair had begun to resemble a mullet beneath the cute little flowered hat she was wearing.  I was finally driven to admit it:  It's time, Jessica, it's time.  So we took her in for professional help.  Precision Cuts, to be precise. 

Daddy was home so we all got to go together!

The Before Shot:  The Shaggy Feather Mullet.

We were very happy to have Daddy with us.

 What's more fun than getting your hair cut in an off-road vehicle, I ask you?

 Other than being a little more serious than usual, Siennalee did great.

She totally cooperated with the strange lady with the scissors.  Wouldn't you?

They had movies there for the kids to watch, so while she got her hair done, Siennalee was treated to one of her newest favorite movies - Cinderella.

She even let the lady blow dry her hair!

I was feeling really good at this point.

All my fears of a little-boy-bowl-cut had fled.

Cute little bob cut.

The After Shot:  Our cute little girl with a girlie 'do!

*happy mommy sigh*

She even got a pink balloon for being such a big girl (although I suspect they give these to the criers and screamers, too, but I didn't tell her that).

Siennalee is so proud of her new haircut.  We brush it and put bows in it and she'll parade around and show it off.  It's precious.  Little girls are so much fun.  I highly recommend them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2 Corinthians 4:8,9

September 11, 2009

I’m not an optimist by nature. That’s my mom’s gift. My pessimistic father used to call her “Pollyanna” – but while he used this as more of somewhat affectionate insult, if there is such a thing, I saw – between the two of them – that for all my mom’s pie-in-the-sky talk and outlook and my father’s doom-and-gloom-til-you-die, I saw that she was always the stronger one.

I’m always bemused by the old question “Is the glass half empty or half full?” I find it unsatisfactory. From your response, “Oh, the glass is ____” your optimistic/pessimistic nature is supposed to be revealed. I need more from the question. For instance, how did the glass start out? Was it empty and then filled halfway? Or was the glass full and somebody came ‘round and drank half of it down? These are the questions I need answered before I can find out the answer.

But lately, I feel as though somebody has drunk my glass down. Sadly, Jason and I just suffered the loss of our little unborn baby, which now makes for two miscarriages in a row. It’s unthinkable. It’s shocking. I can still hardly absorb it. This little being was planned, rejoiced over, and utterly wanted from the moment we thought of him, from the moment we knew of his conception. My glass was full. Then the moment of loss.

I’m not an optimist by nature, but I’ve learned from necessity that God gave us the choice and ability to make life more than what we were given by nature. So I learned to stretch myself beyond who I am and add buoyancy to my spirit; to my mind. The waters of our world can go black and treacherous so quickly. If we want to drown – we certainly will.

Loss is black water. It sucks you down. Blocks out all light. Steals your breath and feeling. It buries you. Even when you’ve been through something like this before, the loss of what you were happily anticipating is still always proportionate to the loss of the relationship and intimacy denied – a child is gone. The rooms of the house of grief are familiar, but you still must go through them all anew before you can reach the end with a healthy heart.

So I move through these echoing rooms, knowing that almost at any moment, the realization of what I’ve lost – my baby no longer with me, my husband denied another child, my daughter not having that anticipated baby brother or sister – can suddenly wash over me and swamp me. And I’m pulled down into the black water.

That’s where I am right now. It’s 3 am. Jason is in Klamath Falls, Siennalee is sleeping sweetly. I awoke to a noise – which a bit of prowling revealed as nothing – and came back to bed to find sleep gone. And naturally, rather than searching for sleep, my mind goes to the places it ought not to go. Profound sadness. Grief. Great yawning unknown future. I feel a tug and the waters are lapping around my throat. I fight it, I want sleep, but instead the waters are pulled over my head and I feel them rushing by as my buoyancy fails and I’m sucked down to blackness.

It’s terrible down here.

Sometimes I have to cry. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes when I start to cry, I can’t stop.

I can’t describe it.

I can’t hide from it.

The loss is so great – I am not equal to it.

It shakes me to the core.

But I can’t stay here. I’ve learned to not stay here.

I invested a lot into allowing God to teach me to rise above what’s around me. I’ve practiced this a lot. So I fill myself with what’s lighter than the heavy waters around me. I repeat promises God gave to us, I remember Who God is, I know what He’s done for us, I sing songs that tell of His goodness and faithfulness. And I feel my spirit begin to expand against the cold, pressing darkness.

I’m not alone in these waters – God hasn’t abandoned me. He’s right here – He grieves with me over this loss. After all, He is the Author of Life. He gave me the desire to have a family. He knit my children together in my womb. Though I will not know two of them in this life, He does know them as He formed their little bodies, creating them for life. This loss was not His perfect plan. He designed us for a perfect world which, unfortunately, we no longer have. Bad things happen now. We get sick. We die. Things happen that He did not plan for us. It can be a crappy, crappy world. But yet, He tells us to take heart – though in this world we will have troubles, He has overcome the world. There can be life beyond the loss. And there’s always light above the dark waters.

I’m not a pessimist by nature, but I know that even with all of God’s promises and all the songs I can sing, this grief will not be dispelled quickly, nor does one blog post effectively cover the entirety of such a disappointment, such a loss, the black waters of grief, and the rising above. It’s a process. The tears don’t just end, there’s no quick happy ending. The sadness does not just dissipate. Like our physical bodies, there’s still a healing process. The broken places must be bound up to heal, they must be cared for and cradled, and then strength must slowly be brought back. I wish I could heal up tonight. Be all better and back to normal tomorrow. I wish these tears would dry up and the pain in my heart would quiet. I wish this hadn’t happened at all.

Optimism isn’t in my nature. I’ve had to fight for it. I continue to fight for it. I know that even through these dark times, there’s life – and life more abundantly – on the other side. The promises of God are not voided by hard times, this I know even though my feelings tell me differently.

It’s time for me to sleep again. In a few hours, Siennalee will wake rested – fully expecting the same of her mommy. Jason will be home tomorrow night – or tonight now, I should say. And life goes on.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not abandoned;
Struck down, but not destroyed.
                                          2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lost and Found

It's been a bumpy year, I'll admit it.  Since my blog sabbatical began in May (this is what I'm terming the previous silent months :) ), there have been some big changes in our family.  The first was Jason getting a very well deserved promotion, the second was the substantial move that the promotion would require.  These were big changes. 

We moved fast.  Jason began his new position, located in Klamath Falls, and I went down with him to secure a suitable geobachelor pad.  He then began the new schedule of working in Klamath Falls during the week and each Friday driving back (3 hours, 40 minutes) to our home in Albany to spend the weekend with us.   Our beloved home was put on the market (where it continues to wait for that perfect buyer). 

Siennalee and I have settled into a weekly routine together; it's sweet and tasking at the same time - I'll readily admit that there are very good reasons God had daddies come home at the end of the days.  It's not easy being the sole local parent and dog owner and house owner as well as my other functions, but God continues to give us extra grace for now. 

Some days I feel lost in transition.  At any point, our home could sell and we could be boxing up our lives and moving the almost 4 hours south.  At any point, I could be saying goodbye to friends I've worked so hard to make here in Albany and heading to city unknown to start all over again.  Then there's the other side - endless weeks without Jason and Daddy stretch on before us.  Either way, it's daunting. It's easy to feel lost.

But that's where my own power of choice shines through the murky darkness of feelings.  Every day God is faithful to provide opportunities for me to stretch myself beyond the scary unknown and focus on what's here in front of me.  Every day I'm able to choose what to find in today.  Friendship, value, new life, milestones, giggles.  Felicity.  I can find it all.  Even with a future that feels a little lost, I can find all that I need in today, if I choose.