Thursday, December 19, 2013

And so it begins...

A year has past.
We had a beautiful ceremony in remembrance. 365 balloons released. Many tears and sadness. Lots of laughter and love. 365 balloons. Over 300 books to donated. Cookies. Cupcakes. Cake.
But now life "starts" without you.
No first year bubble of friends and family protecting my heart.
I am supposed to be okay after a year. I am supposed to "move on" and be strong now. I know better. I know you are permentantly a part of me. There is a piece of my heart missing in the shape of you.
I am scared. I don't want to go on the rest of my life without you in it.
I don't want to celebrate  holidays while your body lays in the cold earth. I long to be with you in heaven. I long to have all of us together.
I miss my mom so much too.
Everyday is so lonely without a mom but the holidays highlight the void.
I wish so desperately you both could be with us.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Facts vs. Reality

Fact: Most one year olds have developed their language skills enough to say 1-3 word phrases.
Reality: Silence.

Fact: Most babies walk around their first birthday.
Reality: Stillness.

Fact: Most one year old's personalities have developed and start favoring specific toys and activities.
Reality: No toys. No activities.

Fact: Most one year old have develop their taste palate and have food preferences.
Reality: No messy spaghetti dinners.

Fact: Eye color is permanent by the first year of age.
Reality: We will never know your eye color.

Fact: Most one year old changed their parents lives.
Reality: You have changed our lives...and the lives of countless others.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Celebrations and confusion...

Today was a bittersweet day. The kids and I went around running errands for the big celebration on the 29th for Claudie's celebration. There are few things more confusing and hard than looking at first party décor for a baby that won't actually be at the first party.

Amelie, "Here is an elephant piñata!"
Henry, "No, Amelie. Claudette isn't here to hit it!"

And on and on their confused little conversations went.
It was confusing to me too.
Do I get the first year tiara and put in on her grave?
Do I buy things that say 1st year? Or will that be too weird?
Oh there is an underpad for the highchair. Genius. Easy cake clean up. {Pick it up to put in cart}
Oh wait. We won't need that.

I know it is celebration of the her life, but I am just so used to planning BIG parties for my kiddos first birthday wherein they actually get to be in attendance. It's really hard not being able to do this and instead think of things that "make sense" for a party for an one year old who won't actually be there.

No cake splattered over her face and hair. No loud laughter as she figures out the cake is for her. No gifts being ripped open. No pictures being taken. No gummy grins.
Big sister Amelie's first birthday cupcake...

No instead, I plan a celebration of her memory and legacy. And it has been BIG. Yesterday, someone asked how Claudie died. I said, "She died of an enlarged heart. Fitting huh?"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

{My Birthday}

Anyone who has kids knows your birthday isn't really about you anymore.

Convo in the van on the way to school this am:
"Kids, you know what I would really like for my birthday? You to clean up your room!"
Henry, "Can we talk about my birthday now, cuz I have some ideas!"
Me, "Your birthday was in August. It's not your turn."
Henry, "OK, Amelie let's talk about what you want for your birthday."
Amelie proceeds to loudly discuss her wishes for her birthday (which was 2 weeks ago).
Henry, "OK, now it is my turn!"

Woe, is me.

Poor mommy syndrome. Never about her. But this year I am glad it isn't about me b/c I wanted to spend the day doing 33 Kisses for Claudie .

It started out pretty bummy b/c my first stop was Hobby Lobby to purchase a Christmas tree for a friend. Somewhere between the Halloween and Christmas décor  I'll be Home for Christmas came blaring thru the speakers. I lost it. I mean L.O.S.T. it! I realized my daughter would not be home with me this Christmas and it was more than I can bare. After hiding in the back of the frame department and a quick text from my husband, I was able to refocus. It was still an emotional day but turned out to be one of the best I could have asked for.

Goals: 1. Make EVERYONE I see today happier than when I first saw them.
            2. Do 33 random acts of kindness (one for each year of my life)
            3. CELEBRATE life.
OK! Kids dropped off at school and I am armed with Kisses for Claudie cards (and some birthday money) so let's get this party started!


A tree with a $10 Hobby Lobby gift card for a friend re-covering from open-heart surgery. Our unit has "adopted" her family and the tree will filled with cash and other gift cards and goodies.


 One of the gifts for those who have been a light in a dark time for me. I can't show them all b/c chances are this blog will be posted b/f they get them.

 A waiter got a nice 50%+ gratuity at lunch...and NO it wasn't because she complemented me on my elephant necklace and said she loved elephants!

 Another $20 for THE AMAZING Salvation Army. Wish I had a $100 to give!

10 Books for the book drive!! (check the blog post Let's Book It for more details)

  Did you know it was buy one get one free day at Starbucks?? Soo I purchased a coffee order for the lady behind me...and

...6 more coffees for the preK teachers at Amelie's school.(I can't count the's mine!)

oh and I...
  ...Gave the barista a nice tip. The barista was so impressed with the project (before she knew about her personal tip) that she personally asked for 50 cards to hand out to the cars behind me!!! Talk about pay it forward!!

The teachers were pretty stoked:

It was on to pick up my other kiddo and go to a book fair. I saw this sign on the way in and so thought this would be a great way to help out...
...but they already had sold out! Good for your "charidy" kiddos!
Instead I was able to purchase two books for friends:
...and Henry and Amelie each wanted to get a book for the babies too!
The little girl checking out in front of me didn't understand tax and didn't have enough moola, so I covered tax so she would get her book too.
When I got home I was able to show the new hat and scarf I got for Henry! Making people happier than when I first saw them. CHECK!
 Pretty sure I can't count this as one of the 33 acts however, since keeping your child warm on 19 degree days should be a random act of kindness in my humble opinion. 
I was even able to throw in some celebration of life in there!
Cuz these crazies treated me to dinner!

On the way from dinner...
We unloaded a roll of quarters in 4 car-washing stations since it is supposed to be warm tomorrow and left a card with each one.

Over it was super easy to contribute in 33 ways and I wish I had more time to do more. But I was able to at least try to make each person I encounter a bit happier than how I found them. Whether it was a simple smile or a grand gesture, acts of kindness made a difference.

I think I will do this every year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What I am thankful for...

Should I do it?

Should I jump on the bandwagon of gratitude and post 30 days of what I am thankful for?

I mean I am already doing 30 random acts of kindness for the Kisses for Claudie Project. But maybe I should write what I am grateful for too.

2. Your brother
3.Your sister
4.Your twin siblings
5. Our home
6. Extended family
7. Our church family
8. Friends
9. A job
10... uh let's see 20 more to go.

Truth is the list could go on and on. And I could use all kinds of poetic terms to describe the above. But really everything I have and everything I am this last year has been define by YOU.

YES! I am thankful for you little girl. 

I am thankful because you have refined what loves means.
I am thankful for the pain I have endured because without it I would still be dim to the suffering of others.
I am thankful the lessons learned. The mistakes encountered and the trials overcome.
But most of all I am just thankful for you! Because your LIFE was and ALWAYS will be a good thing in this world! 

So it's pretty fitting your birthday falls so close to Thanksgiving, because you make my heart bubble over with gratitude.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

{Tis the Season}

The clock has struck midnight on Halloween and we are all quickly bombarded with the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays.

November has always been my favorite month. Despite it's beauty, it also happens to be my birth month.


But this November is very different.
This month marks our what would be our daughter's first birthday...Black Friday.
The anniversary of the day we found out she died...Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving! Yes the day of gratitude. One of my favorite holidays. Good food. Family. Warmth. The commencement of the Christmas.


So how do I handle the holidays this year? I know enough by now to not know how I will feeling. So I have tried to kindly tell everyone I will not be committing to any celebrations, even for my birthday.

That went over like a lead balloon and I am already committed to several things. So how does one protect one's heart when everyone else is celebrating? I honestly don't know what to answer that. I do know that you must be true to yourself and honest with others or else all hell breaks loose on another yet to be determined occasion...usually a very inopportune occasion.

I wish I could blink and make all the memories of what last year stay hopeful and happy. But they are tainted now. 

Last year at this time I was waddling my big old belly from bed to couch. Trying to take advantage of time with the older children as baby was soon to make her appearance. Oh, to go back in time and have that expectant joy.

Now as each leaf falls it is another reminder of the impending "D-day".   Every sight. Every smell. Every sound. All reminders of her absence.

It is all enough to make me want to hide under the covers til January 2.  And while I don't know if I will pull myself out of bed as the Macy's Day floats roll down the streets of NYC, I do know that I am thankful for ALL my children, living or not...and that is something to be CELEBRATED!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let's BOOK it!!!

As most of you know we are doing a book drive in lieu of gifts for Claudie's 1st Birthday Celebration and Balloon Release. Each book will constitute a "kiss" for Claudie so hopefully we can reach our 365 GOAL!

We love this idea because we loved sitting in the big yellow chair reading to our littles (even Claudie in my belly) and we want other parents to create such memories for their littles!


Each book will go directly to a NICU baby/family. You are more than welcome to write something kind in the front or "in memory of" a loved one you might have lost.

These books will be used as a bonding experience for the parents and babies since most of the time the are unable to be held.

If you would like to donate a book, you may either bring them to the Birthday Celebration and Balloon Release or we are more than willing to pick them up if you are local. For our out-of-towners that want to donate a book send me a message and I will find the easiest way to get them from you.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

You have each helped ease the pain of last year for us.We hope to see everyone at the celebration and balloon release!

If you would like to attend the celebration you may RSVP here:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Big Sister is 4!

Your big sister turns four tomorrow!! Can you believe it?

I so wish you were here to celebrate with us. Today she picked lots of flowers for you!
She is always picking flowers (weeds) for you.

You guys would be so cute together. 

She has this silly little voice and always saying witty and crazy little quips. Like Friday I swerved to the other side of street to avoid a trash truck and she said, "It's like we are in London, mom!" That's Amelie always transporting herself into a dream land.

She is tiny and gets held a lot still which we love because it is nice to have a little one we can snuggle on.

She adores LIFE. She loves BIG. She laughs LOUD!
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Happy Birthday Amelie Cecile! Life is BRIGHTER with you in it!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On Losing LIVING Loved Ones

I excepted to be grief struck at the loss of the twins, my mom, and my daughter. I expected there to be many lonely days without them. But I NEVER NEVER expected to lose LIVING friends and even family members with their death.

It shocked me to my core when it first happened. I thought I was just imagining things. Then there were the friends who deleted me from FB. I realized that people don't like to open their FB page every morning and hear from "debbie-downer" as one friend put it before she deleted and blocked me. I realized I put myself and my emotions out there openly and sometimes that will get a backlash. But I guess what I don't completely understand is why the backlash to begin with?

I am the common denominator in all these situations so it has to be something to do with me right? I have a rather bold personality and have not been shy about how I am feeling most days. However, believe it or not I do hold back on a lot of occasions and times that are kept for me and my heart.

I have also heard from people that it has nothing to do with  "my losses" they have always disliked me. I can respect that. There are people in this world I don't get along with either. But I have known these people most of life. Why now the hateful comments and actions behind my back and some to my face? Am I just now noticing it? Am I too emotional to put up with silly stuff and it becomes something bigger?

I really believe it has more to do than with just me however. I have also seen my more shy, grieving friends feel the surprising backlash from their friends after losing their loved ones. Many people have had difficulties with relationship that before this were seamless. I have noticed the same in my own experiences.

Perhaps, why these people are hurting others that are hurting is because they have been there too and it brings up a prickle in their hearts they have long since tried to suppress. A grief that the mere presence of us brings it to the surface and they can't take it so they have to drive us away in the quickest way possible.

I am not sure really. I am just thinking through it all. I do know that as unexpected as losing loved ones to death was, it is much more shocking that I continue to lose loved ones that are living. It is lonely at times. Very lonely.

(I am sure a bunch of you just read this and said, "um, I have been there for her!" And YOU HAVE! I know I have a wonderful support system. But just as losing a baby isn't replaced with having another baby, losing a living loved one isn't replaced by having lots more that are there for you.) 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Looking down...

It has hit me many times over the last five years or so I have done the opposite of what my mantra "upward and onward" is. 
Instead I have looked downward and backward. 

Why you ask? Well, because there often seems to be little voices down there tugging at my leg. And believe me those little voices speak the truth. Deep, raw (and LOUD) truth. 
I have found on more occasions than I have given the little ones in my life credit for, my children have been the voice of reason and more importantly the voice of God.  

There was one occasion mere days after I got home from delivering Claudie that Amelie, who had just turned three at the time, crawled up in my lap and said, "Don't cry mommy. We will see Claudie soon." Simple right? But what truth. We WILL see Claudie SOON! I didn't even know that she even knew Claudie had died at that point. And what struck me so deeply and SHE believed IT! I knew she did because I saw it in her big brown eyes. No one had told her. She just knew.
Big brother Henry constant words of wisdom and his courage through everything is something we could all learn from too. He is honest about his sadness but he has NEVER for a second doubted that he would see his sister again. He also continually gives his hopeless-at-times mommy HOPE. Saying things like, "We will have a baby again one day, okay mom?" 

But perhaps the littlest little that has taught me so much is Claudette herself. I have learned to live more, love more and have been inspired by her on more occasions that I can count. 


Psalm 8:2 NIV
From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I don't want to let go!

This weekend we had a memorial service for you and your twin siblings and all the babies that have left too soon.

Mommy read you the letter I read to you on the day of your funeral, Letter from Mommy.

It was a beautiful afternoon full of love, music and sweet remembrances.

After we added your name to the tree (sorry mommy wrote it upside down)...

...we all walked over to open area after the ceremony and proceeded to release our balloons.

Off they went...
Up Up...
...and away

As we watched most of the balloons go off into the sky, I noticed a certain little 5 year old brother holding on to his still...

What's going on buddy? I ask. 
"I don't want to let go!"

Oh brother Henry I don't want to let go either!

He looked up at me with his big hazel eyes and asked, "Is this all we get?"
I am pretty sure he was bummed because he thought that made we were going up with the balloons or there was not hot air balloon ride included with the balloon release or something of the sort. But for whatever reason he felt it, I felt exactly the same! 
This is ALL we get???? As I said in my letter to you. I want to know you at 2. At 10. At 20.
So your big brother let go of his balloon (ever so unwillingly) and proceeded to lay on the ground and cry. EXACTLY what I wanted to do at that point.
But we got up and looked to the sky and off your balloon floated to you in the heavens. It's a poor replacement for having you here, but it is all we got...
for now!
 See ya soon! 
Love, Mommy

Friday, October 11, 2013

Be Kind! (I need YOU on this one)

So most of you know probably know about the Kisses for Claudie Project by now. But in case you didn't you can click here to find out about the details.

The gist of it is that we will do 365 Random Acts of Kindness in the first year of her life to pass on the love we would have given Claudie in the first year of her life. We call each act a "Kiss" (because the hardest part of not having her here is not being able to kiss her chubby cheeks everyday) and each act is recorded on her FB page, instagram, twitter, or messaged directly to me from the blog.

With November coming up a lot of you like to post about what you are grateful for on FB each day in November. What better way to show your gratitude than giving back. So I thought of just a few of you committed to do a kind act each day thru the month of November we could reach our goal easy, peasy!

The acts can be as easy as smiling at a stranger. But the MUST BE RECORDED! Why? Because kindness breeds kindness and the whole point of the project do what Claudie inspired us to do: 

Pictures or videos are a plus, but just a quick note about the act is absolutely great!

And I have great news! We already have one volunteer: ME! I turn 33 on the 16th of November and plan on spending my day doing 33 kind acts. Yes, I know 3 more than necessary, but I like extra credit points.

....AND everyone who participates receives this lovely shirt:

So who is with me??!?! You? Your kiddos?

If you are interested please respond below on the blog or feel free to drop me an email