Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Celebrating Life

I hope you will not think this is too morbid or weird, but I wanted to post a few pictures from our visit to the cemetery yesterday.

Most of our family has not yet seen the stone in place as it took many months to take care of all the details. Each night when we would put Robbie to bed, Bob would stand over him with his hand on his back and pray for him. Robbie's eyes would be wide open but he would lie there very still and listen. Bob prayed that Robbie would be a mighty warrior. He will tell you that he's not sure why he prayed that specifically, but that he felt led to. We believe our Robbie is being used even now as a mighty warrior in heaven and on earth. We hope his story is touching others and reminding them that Jesus is real. He is good and sufficient!

It's hard to read, but above the cross it says: A Mighty Warrior

When we were faced with selecting a burial place for our nearly 20-month-old son only 6 days after he passed away, we had no clue what we were doing. Has anyone ever thought through that decision or took notice of the "nice" cemeteries in the area just in case. Probably not. We had only lived here for 2 1/2 years and were not that familiar with the area. So one of my husband's colleagues recommended a cemetery. Bob and I drove there early Monday morning and were guided across the snow-covered grounds. They showed us the spot, explained the fees, and then took us in to sign the paperwork. I looked at Bob and just told him I couldn't do it. Something about the place seemed so creepy. It was a very old cemetery (I mean hundreds of years old) and had very large monuments throughout the hilly grounds. I just couldn't imagine myself going there with my family. So, we decided to drive around and see what other options there were. We found another cemetery which was relatively new. It is a large, flat area with only flat monuments and basically looks like a park. This was important to us because we knew we would be taking our other children there and didn't want it to be a morbid or creepy place. And I think we made the right decision.

Yesterday, we took Eveley and went to visit Robbie's site. We want her to know that we do not go there because that is where Robbie is. Robbie is in heaven, alive and free. But we go there to remember him and talk about him. We are learning how to do all of this as we go. It's not something they teach in school.

It was a beautiful day yesterday for us to celebrate Robbie's birthday. Eveley loved being free to run around and she especially loved "smelling" all of the flowers!

We sure did miss our Bear (that is what we often called Robbie)!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Robbie!

Three years ago today, our sweet Robbie was born.

He was due on the 21st and, since this was my first baby, I expected him to be here no later than the 21st. Bob and I walked 5 miles on the due date expecting my water to break any second. It didn't.

Early in the morning (around 2 a.m.) five days later, I rolled out of the bed in intense pain. Okay. This has to be it. Everyone says: "You'll know a contraction when you have one." They were right. This was it. I began watching the clock and they were coming every 10 minutes. A few hours later they were about 7 minutes apart so I called my doctor. She said to go ahead to the hospital (I think I may have told her they were 5 minutes apart. Did I mention I am a very impatient person!). I woke Bob up and told him the situation. He said, "Okay. Let me shower and pack." Now, remind you, I had been telling him to pack for 2 weeks. But that's another post.

On our way to the hospital, I was gripping the door handle. This was pain. And I did not like it. Bob asked if it would be okay if he pulled through Hardee's to get a biscuit. I won't repeat my response to him, but he didn't get a biscuit.

My labor was very intense. It lasted a lot longer than I expected. But, at 6:28 p.m. on May 26, 2005, Robert Emmet the 3rd was born. He was beautiful. Big eyes wide open from the start. He weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 21 inches long.

During most of my pregnancy, Bob sang the "ABC song" to my tummy. When Robbie was born, he was screaming. Bob held him and began singing the song to him. Robbie immediately calmed down as he recognized his daddy. This could also be a major contributing factor to Robbie learning his ABCs so early.

We had struggles at first as any new family does. He wasn't a quick learner when it came to nursing or sleeping. But I don't even really remember that part. He was perfect. I remember talking about him and how much I loved him. That word seemed to take on a whole new meaning. When I said it, I could feel the love deep down in my soul. I just loved him.

I know people have wondered how we would celebrate Robbie's birthday. They ask whether it will be a difficult or depressing day. It's hard to explain. But in all honesty, we feel the same today as any other day. There is barely a minute that goes by any day without thinking of Robbie. He is constantly at the forefront of our minds. We miss our Robbie, terribly, every day. But today, along with thinking of and remembering Robbie, we are also celebrating him.

No, he isn't here to blow out the 3 candles on his cake. But we celebrate the three years that Robbie has been a part of our lives. We thank God for giving us Robbie and entrusting him to us, even for a short time. And we look forward with eager anticipation to our promised reunion!

Throughout the week, I am planning to post how we have celebrated Robbie's past birthdays. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Our dear friends are moving this week. We knew it was coming. Now, it's here.

I guess that's what happens when you live in a transient city. So many people come here for graduate or post-grad work, residencies, fellowships, only to leave 3 or 4 years later.

And so the story goes with our friends Bob & Bridget. I remember the first time we met them. They walked into our Sunday School class at church. They were both doctors doing their residencies. Bridget was pregnant. So was I. She was having her first, a boy. So was I. Her husband was Bob. So was mine (different Bob, of course). Her Bob had gray hair. So did mine!

We chatted for a few minutes and, when we left, I told my husband, "I think we could be really good friends." I just knew.

A few weeks later, we invited them over for dinner. And that was the beginning.

We soon had our boys. Robbie was born the end of May and Parker was born the end of July. The boys were great friends from the beginning. (Parker - left; Robbie - right)

We celebrated Easter together. Robbie was already walking and seemed to taunt Parker about it!

and birthdays

(Robbie, Zach, Parker)

They both had a love for Elmo.

And Bridget and I soon learned that we were expecting again. Eveley was born mid-April and little Robert Graham was born the end of May, the day before Robbie's birthday.

Eveley loves Parker and Graham, and I must say that they seem to be smitten with her. Hmmm.... We'll have to see where that goes!

Bob, Bridget, Parker & Graham -- you all will be missed tremendously! We started our families together, and you stood by us during the most difficult of times. Your family is forever etched on our hearts. We love ya!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Showers of Messes

Have you ever felt like your life was one big mess? You recognize it and want to change it, but there's no time or energy left to do so! Phew! That's how I've felt these past few weeks.

I am one who likes to be in control of her life. I like to plan and accomplish things. I make lists and mark things off as they are completed. But lately, my lists have been enormous, my days too short, my energy non-existent, my motivation dwindling, and my life...one big mess!

Our lives have obviously changed over the past few years. I thought I had it all figured out. Go to law school. Check. Meet Prince Charming. Check. Graduate and have a fairytale wedding. Check. Start a family. Check. Live happily ever after. Chhh.... Whoa. Wait a minute.

I have realized that I am not in control of my life. That is scary in some respects. And, in others, that is liberating! I would much prefer my all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, gracious, merciful, and kind Abba Father to be in charge.

So, I am taking the time today to count my many messes...I mean blessings and be thankful!

Eveley got into my post-it notes while I was on a conference call for work (while wearing bloomers on her head).

Eveley's Room!

Eveley found the Wheat Thins

Robbie found the cheez-its!

Thank you, Lord for my precious messes. Phew. I feel better!

Friday, May 16, 2008

On the Catwalk!

My little Eveley is nearly 13 months. I can hardly believe how much she's grown up. She's a lovely little girl, and I don't want to forget any of it.

A few weeks ago, I babysat the 3 peanuts so Mr. and Mrs. Peanut could have a night out. In return, I got the coveted photography services of Mrs. Peanut! Last night, we took Eveley Joy for her first "official" photo shoot. She did great and was not too much of a diva. She only requested there be dirt to play in, rocks to chew on, and a bottle for the drive home. We complied!

Here are some of my favorites to whet your appetite. There will be many more to come.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

What a wonderful day set aside to celebrate our mothers and the joys of being a mother.

There is no right or wrong gift for Mother's Day. It's the thoughtful gesture that matters, right?! My mom got her share of handmade, misspelled cards; bath bubbles from the Dollar Tree; coupon books which never seemed to get honored; and miscellaneous kitchen gadgets. I'm sure those are still her favorites! I think my husband breaks into a cold panic as Mother's Day approaches. Another Hallmark-created excuse for buying gifts, and I'm not his mother anyway, he sighs.

Well, here is my theory on that. Mother's Day is a time set aside to honor and thank those who have mothered us through this life. And I am not my husband's mother! But, as parents, we are responsible for setting the tone of our homes and teaching our children how to honor and express their love and appreciation for others. So, I do think it is important for the dad to set an example for the children and show them how to honor their mother on this special day. Of course, ditto on Father's Day!

My husband did a wonderful job making me feel special on this Mother's Day. We went to a lovely lunch at a nearby country club, and Eveley was on her best behavior (her Mother's Day gift to me).

We had the most delicious food ever and TONS of it. (I am laying on the couch trying to recover as I'm typing this!) There was a chef-manned salad bar where he would mix your reqested ingredients in a parmesan cheese wheel. I had mixed greens, strawberries, goat cheese and a balsamic dressing. It was yummy!! Then, we had rich, creamy risotto, asparagus and hollondaise, spring potato and onion hash, shrimp, tamari noodles, rosemary foccacia, beef tenderloin, handmade pasta with fresh mozzarella, basil carrots, and a full cheese bar and dessert bar -- not to mention all the food I didn't taste. Can I get an Amen?! It was heavenly.

I am very blessed by my mother and the enormous impact she has had, and continues to have, on my life. I am also blessed to be a mother. In September 2004, I found out I was going to be a mother. Robbie arrived in May 2005 and I could not believe how much I loved him.

My mom watches on as I become a mom!

Robbie, less than 24 hours old, holding his mama's and daddy's fingers

It was an inexplicable feeling -- strong, pure, honest, sacrificial, unconditional and awesome love. I still feel it! When I found out I was pregnant with Eveley, I said, as most moms do, "Will I be able to love her as much? Do I have more love left in me?" And, the answer was yes! Once again, I stood in awe of the strong, deep love I felt for my sweet Eveley Joy.

Amazed at another miracle.

Here we are again -- expecting another child and feeling our hearts swell to make room for more love!

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Drumroll please.....

Okay. So, I drop a little hint as to why my blogging has slowed down and you guys go nuts! And, yes, some of you smarty pants have guessed it!

Eveley is walking. She has been taking steps here and there for a few months. But the day after her birthday, she gained her confidence and took off. Our world is forever changed!

Well...okay, so that's not the reason. Just trying to add some drama and show off her adorable linen dress with matching jacket.

The real reason: I am pregnant! Bob and I are pleased to announce that we have been blessed with another pregnancy. And we are very excited!

And, what does that have to do with blogging? Well, let's just say I've not been feeling well for the past few weeks. Actually, let's just say I've been feeling TERRIBLE these past few weeks. I cannot believe the exhaustion factor. I have never been one to nap -- never. I can't do it. There's too much to do and a nap is just a waste of time. Until Now. Now, I regularly try to nap while Eveley is taking her afternoon nap. And if it's not possible, I lay on the floor and let her crawl on me and think that we're having fun "floor time" together.

I have made many new friends over the past year. And one mentioned that she was excited to see me pregnant. Well, let me assure you - it is not a pleasant sight. I am tall. But, unfortunately, I am not one of those tall girls with a long, lean torso who just gets a little belly. Instead, I have a very short torso. So my big belly starts right under my ever-growing boobs and I just look fat! So, prepare yourselves.

That said, it is all worth it -- the nausea, 24-7 tinkling, extra pounds, stretch marks, back aches, acne, discomfort, exhaustion, cravings, moodiness, and pain! I can't wait!!