Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trace's Birthday and Mother's Day

We celebrated Trace's birthday last weekend. My mom came for a short visit so she could visit the cemetery and spend time with all her grandbabies. It was nice that she could spend some time with my family while I was busy with an all morning rehearsal for my final Central Iowa Wind Ensemble concert of the season. It was a busy weekend and I was thankful for that- it certainly eliminates me sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I am always thankful for the amazing gift I was given to create music with would think by now I would totally be sick of music but it always challenges and surprises me. A little part of me dies inside when students (or their parents-they are sure influential) quit band because it is too hard or too much of a commitment. You reap the rewards of hard work for a lifetime and I think that is not something people really understand these days. 

Anyway, rant over. :o) 

Trace's actual birthday was on a nice, cool Tuesday. I took the afternoon off work to take Michael to his 6 year old well child visit (slightly late...I had called to double check on a lead test the school nurse said he needed and that we found out he had done as a one year old but they also told me I hadn't been in for his 6 year old-gah!). Since I had to take a half day, we also made a stop at the cemetery for a picnic lunch with Scott. It was nice just to sit by his headstone and enjoy the beautiful plantings and trees around. Usually we picnic at the park nearby and I enjoyed doing it at the cemetery- maybe it will become a new tradition. We also did a balloon release (to send to Trace in heaven) and left some super cool balloons at his headstone that I am sure any five year old boy would like. Michael asked, "are we having a super hero birthday for Trace?" when he saw the balloons I picked out. Of course we were! He has been so thoughtful lately about Trace and I know he is trying to wrap his head and heart around it as he gains knowledge about the world around him. 

I am also doubling up on Mother's day in this post since for me Trace's birthday and Mother's day seem to go hand in hand. We actually had a very nice Mother's day. I went to church with Michael and the message was so, so special and quite a tear jerker. It was just what I needed. I am so thankful for all four of my babies! 

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and getting stressed out about laundry, keeping the toys picked up, and getting dinner on the table. All these things have become exponentially hard for me now since the girls are at the age they are at. I am thankful for motherhood and the duty I have to provide a safe and happy home for my family. I have to remind myself there are plenty of hours in the day and I think I am finally getting used to getting less sleep every night (and the reality that I will never ever be caught up). 

Scott took me out to dinner and to see Book of Mormon downtown for Mother's day. It was really nice and unexpected! He even arranged the babysitter! It was a nice treat! 

The days are ticking down to summer and I need to get my head and heart in the right place to make it a great summer. Michael is so excited and think that summer is going to last for "three years!". I remember so fondly those childhood memories where summer really did seem to stretch on forever and now as an adult it is gone in the blink of an eye. I am working on my summer fun list and hopefully we will be visiting our favorites and trying some new things and I promise to share them all with you! Enjoy the rest of May! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trace's Birthday

Today is Trace's birthday in heaven. He would have been five years old today. This is definitely a day each year that is one of the best days and also one of the worst days for me. It is the best day because it was the day Trace was part of our family. It was the day when all the months of anticipation came to a head, when we got to meet our beautiful baby boy who would be the best little brother. But it is also the worst because even trying to remember the happy times is so, so painful. I try not to dwell on it a lot but it really is unfair. It is so, so unfair. I try not to feel sorry for myself but I just hate that it happened. I hope someday it will all become clear and we can't wait to be reunited in heaven. 

2011 07 16_0146_edited-1

My feelings about Trace and his death are constantly evolving, especially now as the girls are growing and are the age Michael was when Trace was born. I try not to think of the what ifs but it is hard sometimes. Could you even imagine having two girls and two boys? We would be the perfect family. As silly as it sounds, I loved having my two boys...I always wanted to dress them alike and I loved having them in my double stroller, pushing them around so strangers could stop and comment on how cute they were. I often think of that now when I am out and about with my cute girls and remind myself that I have been here before- just with two sweet boys. 

2011 07 14_0085

The five years since Trace has been born has seemed like a day and also one hundred days. Those dark days and weeks after he died seem like decades. I hate what grief does to the sense of time and the way it ages you. I feel older, and I feel like I look older. I think some of it is just losing that sense that nothing bad will ever happen to innocence and naivety lost. 

2011 07 11_0023_edited-1

I was going to spend a few minutes this morning looking through my photos to find a good photo of Trace to use and I ended up looking through all the photos. It was a cathartic reminder that yes, he was here, he was part of our family, he was happy and we loved him. 

We were so busy in his first few months of life. I wonder now what the heck I was thinking but we took that baby all over the place. The zoo, tailgating, farmers market, park, swimming pool, playground, walks, hikes, state fair, county fair, apple orchard...I mean, what the heck? Was I a crazy person? I still am not sure but by golly, Trace was here and jumped right in as a member of our family. He was such a good baby.  

2011 08 19_0841_edited-1DSC_00702011 08 19_0828_edited-12011 08 21_1073_edited-12011 09 09_1357

I know I am not supposed to play favorites, but I do think Trace was so cute and would have been the sweetest little boy. He always look bald but really his hair was very light blonde- it would have been lighter than Michaels, I am sure. 

2011 09 19_15612011 09 24_19062011 09 28_2157_edited-12011 10 05_2261_edited-12011 09 20_15142011 09 03_1314_edited-1

What a sweet little Cyclone fan- this photo now looks like an antique because of the new endzone. Time marches on! 

2011 10 05_2289_edited-1

It is strange to see old photos of myself...I feel like that was old me and now I am this me. 


If I knew then when I knew now, I would not have done anything differently. We are so thankful Trace is part of our family. I can't wait until the girls are old enough to understand more about their special big brother. Happy birthday in heaven, Trace! We love you! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

April Flowers

At the end of April, the crabapple trees were in full bloom!

I have learned that while they are extremely beautiful, they are also very fleeting and we need to enjoy it while they last! 


I had seen a thing on facebook (or maybe even in the newspaper?) that the trees would be blooming over the weekend at Brenton arboretum in Dallas Center. So I loaded the kids up and we headed out for a fun morning of exploring! 


We enjoyed visiting Brenton arboretum and will be back this summer for sure! It wasn't too far from our house and was so beautiful. I unfortunately forgot my real camera at school over the weekend and all I had to take photos with was my iphone. :o( I am really disappointed in myself but hopefully some of the beauty still comes through! 



We also found this super fun playground at the arboretum that was only sticks and dirt. Amazing, right? It was super fun and the kids had so much fun exploring. We'll be back for sure (and be sure to wear old clothes!). 




The next day our trees at home really popped and they were beautiful!! I told Michael that we better go outside right after church to enjoy them because it seems like they are only at their peak for one day (usually until it rains which I think actually happened later that evening). I'm glad we took the time just to play under them, examine their blossoms and smell their flowers. 









We are definitely not winning points for most coordinated family photos - I mean, the girls are still in their pajamas for heavens sake- but I'll take it! 


These trees are so silly and I always remember how fickle I was when I said I wanted both colors when we picked them out at the tree farm. They have really become part of our family's story...always blooming in the spring (sometimes around Trace's birthday) and giving us hope that God doesn't give up on his promises. These trees are little and insignificant in the grand scheme of things but I always look forward to their blooming and I'm glad their beauty can be part of the backdrop of our life. So happy little trees, thanks for blooming every spring, bringing a smile to my face, and giving me hope! 

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