Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh oh oh oh oh.....

How often do you get to watch someone's dreams come true? How often do you get to live their dream with them? I was able to do this with my sister. We have had our ups and downs over the past 32 years- but we are closer now than I think we have ever been. We have lived through tragedy and become closer because of it. We have parented along side one another and argued and come together because of it! One thing we have never done is gone out - hung out- had a drink.

Until Now
Tuesday night we had tickets to the New kids. Many years of my life revolved around the new kids- because Sis loved them. She loved Donnie and had him plastered floor to ceiling on her walls, her bed sheets, blankets, clothes and even the strap of her esprit bag had buttons all over it. She followed them around town found them at Kings Island and was an ever faithful fan. When they came back a few years ago the love was still there. Donnie Wahlburg can make her heart flutter and her cheeks redden like nothing else. She has been to recent concerts- but not like this one.

This one she won the ultimate VIP tickets - meet and greet before hand and the most amazing seats I have ever seen! 

We were able to meet the guys and she was able to meet her beloved- Donnie. 
She was so excited and nervous she could barely stand it and when it was our turn to walk behind the curtain - we both said hello and hugged Jordan and Danny and then he was there- I stopped to tell Donnie how my sister had loved him for 25 years - to which he looked over to her and mockingly nodded his head and made the little "talk too much" motion with his hand- not the first or the last person to feel that way;) then sis had her chance to walk up to him laughing and smiling. She was so happy. She squeezed him and patted his belly while she stood there for the picture. He called her by her name "he said Julie!!!" And said I love you when she walked away- she stopped at Joe on her way out who told her he was "offended" with a smile.I stood by Jon who was about as sweet and genuine as anyone I have ever met.

That was a great experience- and then we saw our seats.

We were so close she had her hands on the stage the whole time.

 The show was amazing and we screamed along at the top of our lungs with every song- old and new.

We were eye to eye with the guys on more than one occasion and even though they are in their 40's they can still move!

So the heat in the venue was near unbearable- the guy who was in charge of the stage gave us a leftover bottle of water - never opened and meant for Jeff from 98 degrees. 
We were so close we felt like we were apart of the show. It was an amazing experience and I was so happy to be able to see this with Sis. 

Even though a few of her 90's NKOTB counterparts said by had put their time in and I came In for the big one! 

Meeting and hugging Donnie- being VIP- these are the amazing things we will remember together. So the after party was a bust- we will concentrate on the positives and amazing things we experienced together! I have to admit even after standing and sweating for two hours if someone offered us the chance again I would take it in a heartbeat. I am a bigger fan now than I was before.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Three years ago today.....

It became official.  Everything having to do with the worrying, the county and the fear was gone.  He was official.  He was officially ours.  Now looking back it never felt any other way, but having the fear be over was amazing.  I have forgotten Gotcha day in the past few years.  It has come and gone and we haven't made a big deal of it.  But now, thanks to the Disney channel and "Jesse" it is the coolest thing in the world that our family has a gotcha day- just like "Zuri".  With Wyatt we have always felt like a family.  He had 6 months in our home, in our family before it was official.  Even though we "gotcha"ed him in December it was "official" on June 25, 2010.  

So today we will celebrate! We got a cookie cake and we are going swimming at grandma's with his friends and family.  He even gets to share Gotcha day with his new "big baby girl" - Zahara.  She will be officially adopted this afternoon. 

So Happy Gotcha Day Wyatt!

You have taught us more in the past 3 years about love and parenting than we ever imagined we could learn.  You are smart and funny and ornery and crazy.  You bring out the best (and sometimes the worst:) in those around you and have filled a huge spot in our hearts and in our home.  Looking back we know we can get to this place again...since all you keep asking for is a brother with Corly hair like yours....Mommy is working on it buddy.  Mommy is working on it. 

Here is the video Uncle Brian made- a little of our Journey

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Syd the kid

Today is a very special day.  Today Syd turns 4.  It is hard to believe she is 4 years old now.  It is hard to imagine life before her.  I am so thankful for the relationship I have with her and how she has helped me to move forward.  Being born into a family who was still struck with such grief only 6 weeks after losing Connor.  She had some big shoes to fill. She has not only filled them, but overflowed them.  She has brought joy and orneriness from the moment we met her.  At 4 years old she is gutsy one minute and scared to death of a fly the next.  She will hug you and love you and smack you in the same breath.  She is smart and funny and finally one of my sister's kids who has a fun little speech "twang". I am so lucky to have such an awesome little person in my life- and even more lucky to have her in a daily dose!  As I looked back at a blog I wrote 2 years ago I realized I said much of what I feel about her I am going to post a few of my favorite pics and the link back to that post.

Happy Birthday Syd The Kid~

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

4 years

Sometimes when you hear someone's story and realize what they have been through you might ask, Where was God? I have to admit that before I was able to be a part of one of these stories I felt the same way.  But now, 4 years later, looking back on one little man's story I know God was always there.
Today Aidric aka "bug" turns 4.  When his belly Mom was pregnant with him, chances are she would have never had prenatal care.  But, she was incarcerated shortly after she became pregnant- which means Aidric had full prenatal care.  If she hadn't been incarcerated and had the prenatal care they would have probably never found his defect, PUV, which can be fatal.  Because of the testing and finding out that he had this defect he was delivered 4 weeks early.  He had surgery to repair his valves and spent the first month of his life in the NICU at Columbus Children's.  In his time there although he did not have any family to see him God provided nurses that loved him like their own.  This is when we came in.  Only a few months after losing Connor.  A few weeks after our home study was official. The first phone call we got.  It wasn't even from our social worker, but from the assessor who did our homestudy.  She knew this baby was for us.  Tj wasn't so sure.  He was scared. I was scared- but I knew we needed him.  So, the next week we spent 3 days traveling back and forth to take the steps to get him out of the NICU.  Three days of training, feeding and necessary paperwork.  The night we brought him home was a bittersweet night.  Having a baby boy- not the one I had given birth to- yet a baby who did not have a mama to care for him.  Here we were in this situation neither of us had chosen and God seemed to know we needed each other.  We loved this boy from the moment we met him.  He taught our family even more about love, about trust and about dedication.  In the 3 weeks he was with us.  He was ours.  Then the time came for the appointments at Children's.  The testing- the awful results about kidney failure and cathing every three hours.  The scary statistics and the opposite of all we were planning on hearing.  This was a point when I thought - where is God!? But then, when the thoughts settled and we talked and prayed and realized that we were not able to be the best family for bug.  Then I received the phone call that they had found a family.  A mother in nursing school, who was comfortable and capable of things I couldn't bring myself to live through so soon after Connor.  Within a week he was with his new family.  His forever family.  A family who has become like a little extension of our family.  In 4 years God has seen this little guy through some major hurtles and sent him onto the paths to get him where he is today.  Where he belongs- home.  He is a smart, strong willed, sensitive little thing.  He loves choo choos and playing outside and has even been able to start swimming.  He has had the medical care and the love to help heal his kidneys to a wonderful place and he is thriving medically, socially and as a little kid in general! I am so blessed to have him be a part of my life.  To know that this little one who helped my heart heal has ended up right where God had meant him to be all along.  Happy Birthday Bug-

Friday, June 7, 2013

Perfectly New-

In the grief community there is a camaraderie that comes with the pain.  A feeling of immediate connection when you know someone has lived through what you have lived through.  When you lose a baby you don't get to feel that connection with other moms at school, no little league teams, no playdates- this is what we have.  A few words, a few pictures and a feeling of pride when we are able to "share" our babies. 
Recently I have become a part of a a group of parents from Ohio who are local leaders for a film coming out called Return to Zero.  It is about a stillbirth and the life of the parents following it.  There are not any movies out there about things like this.  This is the one that all of us in the baby loss community are hoping will break the silence and the stigma that comes along with loss, especially the loss of a newborn. 

In this new group on facebook I shared a picture of Connor.  It is one of my favorite pictures.  It was on the prayer cards at his funeral. It is framed larger than life in my family room.  It is a gift from our dear friend Tricia and the amazing time she spent volunteering for NILMDTS.  In all of the times I have stared at this picture. In all of the times I have shared this picture I realized I have never shared the story behind it. 

When I was pregnant with Connor my mother in law bought me a bracelet.  It was a silver charm bracelet with three little profiles with names on them.  Anna, Emma and Connor.  I wore the bracelet everyday from Christmas until April.  I loved to see the names of my babies and I was so happy to be able to see Connor's name before he was born.  Days before I was to be induced I looked down at my bracelet and I saw Emma and Anna - scratched up from wear, but Connor was gone.  I was immediately a mess.  I knew this was a "sign".  I was sick with worry and sick with sadness that I had lost it.  Much like the superhero he is, TJ saved the day and as soon as I told him it was gone he went to Things Remembered and had another one made.  He was able to replace the little Connor charm by the time I went to the hospital.  The day that Connor was born, Tricia was there to take pictures.  I will never forget the way she was in that room.  She was calm, cool and in control.  She loved our baby like she loves on all of the babies in her presence.  She took pictures of our family and friends and then she saw my bracelet.  She asked if she could use it for a picture and of course I said yes.  She placed it in his hands - and that is the photo I cherish.  As she took it TJ realized that if I hadn't lost the original, if we hadn't replaced it with a brand new one, the photo would have never turned out so well.  The old one was scratched and faded and this one was perfectly new- just like Connor.