Friday, May 24, 2013

Kisses for Claudie ***CONTEST****

OK for those of you who don't know we having a Kisses for Claudie contest for the kiddos!
The rules are simple: Any child (18 and under) who comes up with the most CREATIVE  random act of kindness by June 1st wins!!
Post your random act of kindness below or preferably on our
Remember creativity wins, so pics or videos are super helpful in deciding winners.
The judges will be YOU so check our FB page on June 1st!
Have no clue what the Kisses for Claudie project is? Click here

***Note parents there will be a prize but don't let you kiddos know. We want their hearts not their greed to grow:)

Dear Mom

I was given the task by my therapist of writing a letter to my mom.
I don't think it should be too hard after all I talk to her continually throughout every day.

But for some reason I am having  a hard time when forced to put "pen to paper". But here goes nothing:

Dear Mom,
I have now spent a year without you. Just typing that seems unfathomable. In same ways it was easier than I imagined, in most ways much worse.

Many say I am strong like you. But we know differently don't we? We know we push and shove down what needs to be said and done for ourselves because that is what we think we are supposed to do, so others might get what they need. Be the martyr for others, like we will earn some badge at the end of this race. We are strong in some ways, but when it comes down to it we are weak.
But, I am realizing mom you want more for me as I want more for my daughters.

I am mad at you mom. I feel like you took our Claudie in exchange for dad. I feel like you knew I could handle life without my child, but me and the others couldn't handle life without dad. I am not sure if it as black and white as this, but it is how I feel and even dad has voiced it.

But I know you are right mom. I know some how I will go on and make lemon out of lemonades and all that great junk but right now I am just too sad right now, ya know? I miss you!

I picked up the phone to call you again last night. My heart will not let you go, so often my mind forgets.

But I am realizing that even in your last moments as you told me in ways only we would understand you want more for me. You want me to take care of myself, in ways you could not and would not. I know you want me to be gentler and kinder than I have been. I know you want me to be passionate and happy, yet quite and reserved. I know you want me to love Christ as you did towards the end.
I want all those things too mom, but for now I am just sad.

I miss you. I miss my daughter. I miss my twins. I want so much to believe you are all in heaven having some joyous time awaiting my arrival, but I do not know what this moment is like for you. I feel you in the yellow butterflies and the 11:11 of the clock changes, but that is little and fleeting.

I feel cheated out of so much.

My children have been cheated out of so much.

But I want more them. I want ALL five of them to know their mother took great strides to not only care for others as you did, but for herself as you did not. I know you want this for me mom. Please help me do it! I am lost without out you.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I should probably write something today. Right? Anything. It is after all 365 days since we lost mom. Her "angelversary" (blah, yuck, gag...these are the words the come up after that word).

But I have nothing profound to say. I am empty without her. 

My mom isn't an angel or at least that is not who I remember of her. She was incredible, but she was not supernatural. Far from it. She had flaws, most of which we share.

Don't get me wrong I find great solace in the fact one day we will be re-united in heaven. But, I don't want to remember her as some heavenly being. I want to remember her as my...well as my mom.

...and she was a damn great one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Twenty-two going on twenty-three years of juvenile diabetes and not a single complication. Even endocrinologist can't belive how well my body has handled the destructive disease.

I take care of patients who have lost limb, organ, and life to it's power. But not me. Nope, my body is fully functioning...for me. For my children not so much. My diabetes took out it vegenence on the kids. How unfair of me to allow it to do so.

What I wouldn't do to take on the wrath of this disease on my body and spare my children.

I naively thought I had two healthy pregnancies, but perhaps I was so preoccupied with the joy of holding my plump babies, I never stopped to think how the affects of the disease put them both in the NICU for days with hypoglycemia. My OB always referred to my pregnancies as healthy deliveries and while my gut told me they weren't, I chose to believe all was well and continued to get pregnant, even after the loss of the twins.

Lots of people miscarry. I was just one of the millions of women who did, right? Maybe. Maybe not. And while the pregnancy with our twins wasn't planned, Claudie's was. In fact, it was almost forced. I wanted a baby! Losing the twins pushed me to the brink and I knew the only thing to heal me was another child. So for months we tried and were disappointed, thinking perhaps God had given us all we were to have.

Then after almost 9 months of failed test, a positive one. It was a sign.

All would be well.

But all was not well.

Mom died.

We found out this pregnancy was a daughter.

We would name her after mom.

All would be well.

But all was not well.

Our daughter died.

I know only ultimately God has the power to give life and take it away, but I played with fire. I didn't know I was playing with fire, but it embers were consuming my child. The embers that never touched me, consumed my Claudie.

I can barely breathe from the it's all-consuming guilt.

All is not well.

My daughter is dead and my hands are stained with her blood.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Today, I have done a lot but I feel lazy. Tired. Sleepy.

I went to sleep at 6:45pm last night. Feel asleep around 8pm and slept til 6am this morning. I felt refreshed this am, so I did an enormous amount of errands and catching up.

Then bam this afternoon it hit again. I can barely keep my eyes open. I can barely talk to the vet or answer Henry's question about how to spell Batman. All I can do is stare. I stare a lot. I am not really looking. Just staring. Staring off into the abyss. Hoping, that soon I will hear my alarm clock and it will all be over. It's a dream. No, a nightmare. A nightmare that has lasted too long.

I thought I was beginning to get out of my funk. I thought I was so strong. Coping so well. I spent the last year getting out of bed when I didn't want to, going to work when I rather lay in bed. Talking on the phone when I want to shut it off. Hiding behind the smile of social media. Busying myself with FB awareness pages and adoption fundraisers and anything and everything that would sidetrack me from the realities of the present.

But there is no way around it. Grief has made me lazy. Extremely lazy. I don't want to do ANYTHING not even fun activities. I debated lying about being sick and spending Mother's Day in bed, but I realized it would actually take more work and effort explaining to people why I didn't show up for the day's events. So I begrudgingly went. I sure hope next year is not as hard.

Today, I need a N.A.P. and my kids know it. I am grouchy. I am sad. I am mad. I want my twins. I want my daughter. I want my mom.

Yesterday, was the infant baptism of a sweet, chubby cheeked little girl at church. It came from nowhere and hit. I had to leave the church sobbing. I was so embarrassed that I had let my grief come through, especially at such an inopportune time. A friend noticed I had slipped out and followed me with tissues. She said something so simple, yet so profound, "it is good to cry."

Proportionately, I have cried little. It isn't that I am trying to hold back. It is just that if I open those gates, all will fall apart. And I am TOO LAZY for that to happen.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Motherless Mother's Day

I am getting stomach cramps just thinking about Sunday.

I am not sure which will be harder not having my mom to hold me or my baby to hold this Mother's Day, but I feel their weight equally right now.

It is too hard of a thought for me to bear. So hard in fact that even if I dip my toe into it's reality a bit I jump out of the water because of it's sharp coldness.

But there is no way around it. IT IS MY TRUTH. My mom is dead. My baby is dead. There I said it. It is what it is.

I could go on and on about the wonderful lessons I have been taught over the last year, but truth be told all that keeps flashing through my mind is the phone call from my sister stating the paramedics are taking mom to the closest hospital and we need to come now.
The rushed drive with my dad in the passenger seat in a five speed back to Kansas City. Killing the car a few times because I hadn't driven a manual transmission in years and then arriving to realize then and there this was it.
Holding the almost dead cellphone to my mom's ear so she could speak with all of her 8 children as she slipped in and out of consciousness. 
I witnessed firsthand how she loved us all equally yet differently.

Hearing her tell me I was a good mom. Telling her the baby growing in my belly was to be named after her.  
Smelling alcohol wipes from the ER, when we should have been smelling French bread and brisket.
The taste of diet cokes to keep us awake through travel arrangements for the siblings, when we should have been sipping on ice tea in the warm, windy Ottawa spring.
The sounds of her monitors beeping when we should have been listening to the latest funny story mom had to share.
Seeing my mother's gasp for air before intubation, when instead we should have been seeing her relax and enjoy HER DAY as we pampered her.
That was Mother's Day 2012.
I am not sure what Mother's Day 2013 holds in store for us.
I hope the anticipation is far worse than the actuality.
I miss you so much mom, but there is no rather place I would want my daughter to be this mother's day than with you if not with me.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Still Standing

Five months later and I am STILL STANDING ... at least today.

Today, I am preparing for an interview on loss and love in the food section of the Kansas City Star. Say It Out Loud right?  So today I am strong, but some days I would rather not stand.

Some days I would rather lay in bed all day.
Some days I would rather sit on the couch and loose myself in reality TV.

But today, five months to the day that I buried my daughter, I am still standing.

Yesterday not only was I standing, but I was RUNNING (kinda) in a 5K to honor our daughter called the Angel Day run. It was nothing of what I thought it would be since we got a snow storm and rain fall for days before. Instead it was more like the Warrior Dash through inches of mud and standing water and freezing temps. But then again life is never what I expect these days.


I never thought I would be running in an Angel Day run for my angel daughter.

I never thought the month of May would be a constant reminder of my mother's death.

I never thought Mother's Day itself who become a hurtful reminder of the three children that have preceded me in death.

I never thought I would have to be begging, borrowing, and stealing in order to fulfill our dream of having a big family via adoption.

But this is MY life now...and I am thankful that because of God's mercy I am STILL STANDING!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lost mommy. Found puppy.

So I am going to do what I always do when I get AND boy do I have something fun to blog about.

Her name is Miss Hattie Hope
(AKA Pickles if you ask Henry).

Dustin came up with the name, even though at first he wanted to call her an abbreviated version of her breed (Shitzu) and I decided to make her middle name Hope, since that is precisely what she has given me.

Why in the world would we get a puppy since we already have the sweetest dog? And a crazy life? And are trying to raise funds for a baby, not spend them on a dog?

Well, the truth is those are all really good questions. But as I laid feverish and sobbing in bed late Saturday evening, something made me go to Craigslist pet page and just look. She was the first picture I saw. I thought I might be crazy but I fell in love immediately. Dustin KNEW I was crazy (he has never doubted it since he met me).  We took the 3 hour round trip none-the-less with two (also sick) toddlers, a big black lab mix, a sick mommy and a cranky daddy just to get her.

Turns out it was a great decision for many reasons, not the least of which it has brought invaluable discussions about adoption and raising something as your own even if you didn't carry it as your own.

She is precious and perfect and cuddly just what this empty-armed momma needed about now. However, I will say it was a little hard when I realized the bedding I purchased for her was from the same the material the blanket that Claudette was buried in.

But the fact remains she is sweet and won over the hearts of so many already...and as she nibbles on my toes as I write this I ADORE HER MORE and MORE each second!

Here are some pictures and videos of her first week at home:

 Love at first sight.

 First bath..
Where's Waldo?
New bedding (yes identical material to Claudie's blanket)
First of many shenanigans I am sure Henry will get this little dog into...
But boy is he over the moon..

Can't you feel the love?

Faith is very protective and sweet...

Henry walking around the park with Hattie saying, "wanna pet my baby dog, Pickles?"

 Paparazzi frenzy at the 5K

Shopping with my gals...

 These flowers were a barter from the little British blonde in exchange for petting Hattie.

Need I say more? I mean look at that face!