Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Monday, December 31, 2012

Stockings

We were blessed to be able to spend Christmas and a few days after with family on both sides.  Leading up to Christmas, I wasn't sure how I would feel about things.  It was much harder than I thought it would be.  The weight of not having Solveig with us struck again as I imagined her trying to tug ornaments off of the tree or opening a present for the first time.  She would have been 10 months old this month, December 29th.  I didn't think I would care if there were no stocking hung by our fireplace with her name, but I did.  So I decided after we had already hung our other stockings to go ahead and order a stocking with her name embroidered on it.  I know she isn't here to receive gifts, but I would like to start a tradition of writing notes or letters to her and placing them in the stocking.  My hope was to do this tradition beginning this year, but it didn't happen...yet.  The stockings are still hung so I suppose we could go ahead with it, or we could wait.  Once that stocking came in the mail and I was able to hang it with the rest of our stockings, it felt right.

Solveig's stocking has two girls figure skating on a pond.  It took me awhile to decide which one I would choose for her, but that one seemed to fit.  I love to imagine the things that Solveig and her big sister Bug would've done together.  Since we love to skate here in the north land, I knew that the skating stocking was just right for our little girl.  Bug's stocking has an angel on it, holding a lamb.  When Bug was little, I used to think of her as God's precious little lamb.  But now, the picture on the stocking also makes me think of a big sister, holding her little sister in her arms.

It felt odd to not have our baby with us for one of our most special holiday times, but I know that where she is in Heaven there is way more rejoicing going on than there ever could be here on earth.  For she is living with the King of kings and Lord of lords...Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Her Christmas in Heaven must have been something spectacular.

And one day, we will join her again.  The Christmas celebrations of earth will fade into the past as we will live in the present.  Our hearts will burst with praise, and we will know no more pain or suffering.

That will be a glorious day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good News

Again, I find myself in a place of wondering why it has taken me so long to post on this blog.  This fall has been insanely busy for me, with wonderful things taking my time...teaching at home, teaching an online college class, singing in a Christmas opera, working on Solveig's boxes and so much more.  But there is one thing which I haven't been able to share until now.  I have waited and waited to share this very important detail because I just didn't feel it was the right time.  But now I feel it is time.

There is a new little baby growing inside of me and HE is doing very well!  I am now at 21+ weeks gestation and it is hard to believe that I'm over halfway to the optimal finish line.  To say this is an emotional journey is definitely the understatement of the year.  And yet there are moments where I find myself smiling, hoping and praying that maybe this precious boy will make it out of me alive.  He is such a blessing and we are immensely grateful for this new life.

This time around, I'm working with an incredible group of perinatologists - high risk obstetricians.  It feels so wonderful to be going to a different clinic, as much as I love my other doctors.  Because of how traumatic everything was with Solveig, and because I am considered high risk for many reasons, there is an element of needing to be working with this group.  The one thing that will remain the same is that I will deliver at the same hospital.  That for me has a level of comfort involved as I very well know that place and some of the people working there.  Even though we experienced such a difficult time in that hospital, we have also had moments of joy there and moments of hope.  That was the one home that Solveig had outside my body, even though she was already gone, so that is one thing that seems special.

Anyway, back to the doctors...the one who I am seeing is such a blessing.  She has been an amazing encouragement, and I feel like God handpicked her just for me.  I appreciate her sensitivity and her kindness, and her amazing attention to detail.  And the nurses are incredible.  All of them worked OB labor and delivery at the hospital for many years before ever taking a job in this clinic, so they are incredibly knowledgable, helpful and comforting.  I may enter that clinic with fright or anxiety at times, but I always leave with peace.  That is an amazing gift.

Solveig will always have a special place in our hearts.  We will always miss her and we will always love her and think of her.  Her little brother will never replace her or be a substitute for her.  He is however such a gift and blessing.  We already love him and I know that love will continue growing as this pregnancy goes on.

Your prayers for this new little man and for the rest of us are so greatly appreciated.  This journey is a challenge, but Lord willing, we may get to know this precious life here on earth in a few months. :)

My due date is at the end of April, but I will most likely be going earlier, depending on how things go.

Thanks for your continued support and prayer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

8 Months Later and The Ornament...

I can hardly believe that it has been a month since I last wrote on this blog.  Life has been very busy, to say the least, and blogging has fallen to the bottom of the priority list I guess! :)

This fall has me teaching 10 private voice students at home, teaching a music appreciation class online for a college, working on Solveig's boxes, studying and preparing an opera role - "The Mother" in Amahl And The Night Visitors, and oh yes...that's right...I'm a mom and a wife and those roles are very much a part of my days as well.  Lots of pots are bubbling and I'm trying to stir them all.  In some ways it is really good to be this busy, because it keeps my brain occupied.  And in some ways it feels overwhelming at times.  Nonetheless, I do feel that God has called me to all of these tasks and roles right now and I'm glad to have them on my plate.

When October 29th rolled around, I had planned to write about Solveig.  But I think it was then or shortly before or after that the massive hurricane/storm happened on the east coast and I just didn't feel like it was right to be writing about my life when many people were losing theirs and struggling to have electricity, food and a clean bed to sleep in.  That struggle continues for them and my heart goes out to them.  I'm praying for God to help all of those in need right now who have been affected by the storm.

So now, a few days later after the 8 month marker, here I am.  It has been 8 months since Solveig came and went, and I can hardly believe that so much time has already passed.  It really doesn't seem possible.  Our sweet girl is still very present in my mind, every day, throughout the day.  Different things make me think of her.  Some of those memories are good and some are really hard.  It is almost like there are tapes of her last days and moments that continue to replay in my mind, and my brain automatically presses the rewind button and the replay button...even though I don't necessarily want to be thinking about it all the time.  It's just there.  Maybe it would be more harmful for me to pretend that the thoughts weren't there - to turn them off, so to speak, and to later have to face the thoughts.  There's just no way that those memories can go unnoticed and hidden for too long before they will naturally come bursting forth like a volcano erupting.

I cry at the most random times.  There can be many days in a row where I don't cry and where I think I'm doing okay, and then something will trigger a memory and I will find myself in a puddle once again.  That's okay though.  I try to just let the tears wash over me, because I know that crying it out is a   much healthier way to deal with my grief than to try to shove it inside.  Besides, I just don't operate that way.  I have to get it all out there, if you know what I mean.

I spent the weekend at a voice teacher conference/student competition a little ways north of here.  It was sort of nice to get away from home and to spend time with my colleagues and friends in the field.  We all descended onto a beautiful college campus where this event has been held for many years now.  Each year at the school, there happens to be a fun little craft fair that always lands on the same weekend as our conference.  Two years ago was the first year that I went to the conference as a teacher and not as a student.  (I used to compete at this competition when I was in college and before I went to grad. school.)  Anyway, when I went two years ago and discovered the craft fair, I was directed by a friend of mine to go and see the beautiful hand painted glass ornaments that some sweet, older ladies create.  Immediately I knew I had found something very unique, and in my opinion, these ornaments are the best part of the craft show.  I met one of the ladies two years ago and asked her if she would please personalize two ornaments for my Bug and Buzz with their names and the years.  One is a dragonfly and I cannot remember right now what the other ornament is.  But the kids love them, and we have put them on our tree the last few years.

This year, I've been wanting to find a special ornament for my Solveig.  I remembered about the ornament ladies at the craft show and sought them out yesterday.  It was there that I met sweet Ingrid and shared with her my story...

"Hi, I bought two of your ornaments a few years ago for my children and they love them."

Ingrid replied, "oh wonderful!  They must be careful with the ornaments so that they don't break them."

"Yes indeed, " I said, "I try to make sure that they are very careful and that they just look at the ornaments and that they don't touch them."

And then, I tried to muster up the strength to ask her what I had been preparing to ask her for a few days..."do you ever paint angels?"

"Yes, I have painted angels before.  What kind of angel were you thinking about?" she said.

My face started to get red, and the tears started to pour out of my eyes.  I could barely speak, but I said, "we lost our baby girl 8 months ago to late term stillbirth...and I was hoping that you could paint me a little baby angel with dark brown hair...her name is Solveig Sofia...and she was born still on February 29, 2012."

Ingrid started to get tears in her eyes as well, and she replied, "yes, of course I can do that for you.  It might take me a little while, but just check back in a little bit."

I kept checking back with Ingrid to see the progress.  It was so incredible to watch this work of art happening before my very eyes.  Ingrid asked me at one point, "what color would you like her robe to be?"

"Pink...pale pink.." was all I could must out of my blubbering mouth.

Ingrid replied, "yes, that was exactly what I was thinking anyway, but I wanted to make sure to confirm it with you first."

A little while later, I came back and the ornament was complete.  She showed it to me to make sure that I would approve.  Of course I did.  It was the most amazing thing to me that someone would create this beautiful ornament to honor my daughter...and the likeness of the painting was so uncanny...there she was with her dark brown hair, not long yet, round face, brown eyes and pink rosy cheeks...just like me...and just like what I think she really would look like if she had life when she was born.  We never did get to see her eyes, so to see a representation of her with brown eyes was just awesome.  I'm sure that's what they would be, as her big brother and sister have brown eyes as well.

Ingrid then said, "This is a gift.  I want you to have this."

Stunned and taken aback, I said, "but Ingrid, I was going to pay you."

"No, no.  I want to give this to you," she replied.

I immediately reached out and gave her a hug and we shared tears.  Sweet Ingrid blessed me in such a deep way with that little glass ornament.  Solveig's name and birthdate also were painted on the ornament.  It is a most precious and unique keepsake that I will always treasure.  Soon I will try to post a picture of it.

God is good.  He shows up in special ways at times when I least expect it...and the ornament from Ingrid and her kindness and understanding to me are some of those special ways.  That goodness is some of what keeps me going each day.

Thank you Lord, for showing yourself to me and blessing me in my fragility.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rainbow Trees in Heaven

Precious Buzz has such insightful things to share with me.  Just now while we were eating lunch we were talking about hospitals.  He remembered the hospital where he met his baby sister, Solveig.  I was reminding him how he got to hold her and asked him if he was glad he got to hold her.  He said, "yes."

Then he said, "we didn't get an angel, we just got a baby."  (I think this might have been a thought from  a book that we were given about having an angel instead of a baby.)

We talked about this and I said, "well, our baby died and now she lives with the angels in Heaven.  So I guess she's kind of like an angel for us."

He said, "but I wonder it there are trees in Heaven."

I replied, "yes Honey, I bet there are lots of beautiful trees...and I imagine that they look much different than any of the trees that we see here on earth."

Buzz said with joy on his face, "the trees in Heaven are all different colors of the rainbow!"

I smiled too and said, "I bet they are Honey!  They are probably so gorgeous!  Are you excited to see them?"

"Yes," he simply replied.  And then he started singing a song about the trees and their many colors.

Oh he is such a gem, that kid.  I love his thoughts about Heaven, and I absolutely cherish the times that we can have these conversations.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Solveig's Boxes - How You Can Help!

This is the letter I just sent via email to family and friends.  I thought I should post it here as well.

Dear Friends & Family,


As you may or may not already know, I have taken on a volunteer project through United Hospital (with full support by my dear Erik!).  The project is to create 100 comfort boxes over the course of this next year for families who have lost babies due to miscarriage, stillbirth or early neonatal death.  Attached to this email is a list of all the items proposed to be a part of the boxes.  I recently put together my "sample" box for the hospital foundation who will approve the box before all 100 of the them can be made.

We received a box much like the ones we are putting together.  It was in our room before we delivered our Solveig Sofia in February.  We looked inside the box and we were so overwhelmed by the generosity of whoever had put this together for us and also overwhelmed that we were in a position to qualify for the need of such a box.  The items in that box helped us to be able to honor our Solveig, and to commemorate her life in the precious few hours that we had with her after she was born still.  

A few weeks after we lost Solveig, we began attending a support group at United for people like us who have lost babies.  The facilitator of the group is named Annette and she has been such a lifeline for us.  I asked Annette where the boxes came from and who had put them together.  She told me that the boxes were made by other people like us who had lost babies.  And she said that they were currently looking for a new person to fill the role for at least the next year.  She wondered if I might be interested.  Well of course I immediately knew that this was a great opportunity and also something that I felt incredibly drawn to.  I prayed about it and really felt God leading me to take on this job, and Erik said that he agreed it would be good for me and he was in full support of it.

So here I am!  I'm both excited and honored to be heading up this project in honor of our daughter and all the other little babies whose lives are so short lived.  As you will see when you look at the attached paper with the box contents, you will notice that to create 100 boxes there is quite a price tag totaling an estimated cost of around $6400.  I've done my best to get as many deals and donations as I can while trying to keep the contents very special, purposeful and of good quality.  The hospital foundation helps to support the project, and they have a specific fund just for this project.  Needless to say, that fund needs continued donations in order to continue on.  

If you feel led to help with this project, there are four ways you can do that:

1.  You can pray for the individuals/families who will be receiving the boxes...for comfort, strength, peace, encouragement, healing...

2.  You can pay me directly and I will put the money towards the items that I need to purchase for the boxes.  I won't have to ask the hospital to refund me for these funds which are donated towards me.  That is what I do otherwise - I purchase items and they will refund me.

3.  You can donate to the hospital foundation.  Here's the information for that - 

Make your check to - "United Hospital Foundation"
**Please make sure to include a post-it note indicating that you would like the money to go towards the "Olivia Fund." 

Address:
United Hospital Foundation
333 North Smith Avenue
St. Paul MN 55102

4.  You can give of your time and talents! :)  I need helpers to come over and help me with various projects related to the boxes as well as the packing of the boxes.  My MOPS group will be helping to pack probably at least 50 boxes in October!  And I have a group coming over from the hospital soon!  I also hope to have a box packing time just for family members.  But before those packing projects can happen, I need help with things like filling tiny soap bottles with lavender baby wash, filling pouches with rice mixed with essential oils to make comfort warmers, sewing the comfort warmer pouches, stringing beads to create bracelets, clamping and doing wire wrapping for the bracelets, etc...

If you are interested in helping me tangibly, please email me back and I will put your name into Evite so that I can send you a formal invitation for specific work nights/days.  Or if you are someone who can do the above mentioned sewing of pouches (think bean bag like form and the fabric is already cut) or someone who can do the bracelet clamping/wire wrapping, please let me know asap!

Thanks so much for your support in this effort.  We were so encouraged with the lemonade and cookie stand which we held recently to help raise money for this effort!  From two hours outside selling cookies and lemonade we brought in $164!!!  Then later that week we were given more money and the total went up to $280!  THANK YOU!!!!! :)

And thank you for your support and encouragement to our family following the loss of our little Solveig.  We sure miss her and wish that she could be with us on earth.  We really look forward to being reunited with her in Heaven.

If you haven't already seen it, I have been blogging our journey: http://singermamamelody.blogspot.com.

Thank you for considering this.

Sincerely,

Melody, Erik & kids

**Here's the contents list - the attachment that I sent with the email...fyi, the formatting is all goofy here and there is also a picture of Solveig that should be at the top of the paper.***

Items
Packed in a white photo storage box
*found at Michael’s Craft Stores, $1.66-2 each

Handprint/Footprint memory kit, White Crayola Model Magic & white ribbon
*$3-4 Michael’s or Joann

Willow Tree Angel memory box for hair clippings, hospital bracelet, baby cap, etc.
*provided at cost by Hallmark store; around $18 each

Book, Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Dr. Deborah Davis
*provided by Fulcrum publisher; 51% discount – around $9.95 each

Book, When A Child Dies: A Resource For Families
by Trina Charles & Heidi Ciepielinski
*provided for a price if $8.95 each + tax & shipping
*contact Trina Charles – 320-763-6317

Small teddy bear
*Around $5 - provided at discounted rate by Hallmark store

Soft, homemade flannel blanket
*some fabric and sewing time donated by Bundles of Love,
but may have to buy some fabric…

Soft, homemade flannel comfort warmer
with rice & essential oils inside
*each warmer should cost around $2
* Bulk Jasmine rice - $17.32 for 10 lbs?
*Lavender and rosemary or lavender and orange essential oils - donated
*flannel “beanbag” like pouch handsewn by volunteers – will match the corresponding
blanket for each box – some flannel donated also by Bundles of Love, but may need to purchase some
*to be used along with the blanket to help warm the baby – can be heated in the microwave to
release essential oils…can also use after baby is gone, along with the blanket and a stuffed bear for comfort

Mini-Bar of Handmade Goatmilk Soap, Lavender scented
*for the mom…same scent as the baby soap
*these are made and donated by my friend Keri
*http://www.etsy.com/shop/twentyseven27soap

Washcloth & small bottle of liquid lavender-scented baby bath soap
*washcloths from Babies R Us & Marshalls – about $32 total - $0.32 ea
*baby bath – Walmar t - $3.34 Walmart for 16 oz. – approximately 6 bottles needed to
divide into 1 oz. amounts = $20.04 total = $0.20 for each bottle
*travel size bath soap bottle – MidwestBottles.com - $0.25 each
*total for each bath soap/washcloth combo = $0.77 each

Small packet of facial tissues
*Target or Walmart – around $0.33 ea.

Handcrafted, beaded bracelet with footprint charm
*$5 each – beads purchased through jeweler friend…some portions donated by that friend.
*beading to be completed by us, friends & family and finishing touches donated time by jeweler friend. 

Journal & Pen
*journals found in dollar section at Michael’s and Target - $0.50 ea
*ballpoint pens – Target - $4 total – 100 pens - $0.25 each

CD- piano lullabies by John Albert Thomas – “Now I Sleep”
*50% off bereavement rate – total price = $7.50 – John Albert Thomas pays shipping

Estimated Cost Per Box = $64
50 boxes = $3,200 100 boxes = $6,400

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another Conversation About Heaven

This morning, my sweet boy and I had a beautiful conversation about Heaven.  It went something like this...

"Buzz, I will always love you.  Please remember that I will always love you."

Buzz said, "even when you die?  Will you still love me then?"

Mama replied, "yes Buzz, I believe that I will.  Because the Bible says that we will recognize our loved ones in Heaven.  So I will know you and I will still love you!"

He said, "but there won't be any toys in Heaven."

I said, "well I don't know for sure about that part.  Maybe there will be some toys.  But more importantly, we're going to be so in awe of Jesus that nothing else is going to matter.  Everything in Heaven will be amazing."

Buzz then inquired, "will there be food in Heaven?"

I said, "yes, Honey, there will be lots of food!  In the Bible it talks about having a feast in Heaven!"

He then said, "but the streets are made of gold and that will hurt!"

I replied after thinking for a moment, "you mean, if you fall down on the gold streets it might hurt?"

"Yes," he said, "it would hurt.  I fall down a lot and get hurt a lot."

"Well, I don't think it will hurt because nothing is supposed to hurt anymore in Heaven.  There will be no more tears, no more pain and no more suffering," I said.

Buzz looked at my face and saw some tears and began wiping them away.  He said, "you have a tear on your cheek."

"Yes Honey, I do have a tear.  I'm crying because I'm missing your sister Solveig right now.  But she is in Heaven and she is having a wonderful time there."  Then I asked, "do you miss her?"

In his sweet big brother voice he said, "yes, I miss her...so much."

Be still my sad heart...this brother has such an affection for the baby sister whose shell he didn't know for more than an hour.  What a gift that he still cares for her.  And I hope he always remembers her.  I think he will, simply by virtue of the fact that we talk about her and look at her photos often.

I told him, "I'm so sorry that you didn't get to grow up with her on earth.  But when we get to Heaven, we will see her again and that will be amazing."

I held that little man for the longest time and the tears continue to stream down my face as I type this.  My gratefulness for the two who remain in my arms here on earth is full today.  I love them with a depth I never knew to be humanly possible.  And I cherish our moments that we have.

Thank you Lord for the gift of life.  May we spend it wisely.

He was so proud to hold her and to be a big brother...he didn't even seem to mind that she was no longer with us in spirit and that her skin was turning purple...

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Hills Are Alive...


Ever since we lost Solveig almost six months ago, I've wanted to escape and flee the scene of my life for just a bit.  We love to travel and have been blessed with many different opportunities to do so throughout the years.  But that travel bug was really in me this spring, and I just could not wait to get out for a bit to breathe some different air and see some other scenery.

Gratefully, we were able to take a trip to Colorado and South Dakota and we just returned a week ago. I've been trying to catch up on life and that is why I haven't posted here in awhile.  I'm living my REAL life, I guess you could say.

We spent time in Aspen, Snowmass, Ft. Collins, Rapid City and just an overnight stop in Sioux Falls before we headed home.  Erik drove our van to Denver and met me and the kids at the airport!  We had enough points through something that we were able to get tickets for the three of us to fly to Denver - pretty great.  I'm so glad that we could do that, and the kids had so much fun flying!  For Bug, it was the first plane trip she remembers, as she was one the last time she flew.  And for Buzz, it was his first plan trip ever.  They thought it was awesome!  And I made sure to pack their backpacks full of fun things to keep them busy during the flight.  Sticker scene books are the WAY TO GO for kids ages 4 and 6!  They loved those and still play with them, a few weeks after the start of the trip.

We did some little hikes over the top of Aspen and Snowmass Mountains and in the surrounding area, through Rocky Mountain National Park, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park.  I even enjoyed singing a bit while we were hiking.  There were lots of little streams to wade in and the kids LOVED collecting rocks of all different shapes and sizes.  A gold mine was visited and toured and we also spent time panning for gold.  We ended up bringing home two tiny files filled with mostly water and a couple seedling sized pieces of gold.  It was fun to experience the thrill of the gold hunt!  We also went to the Woolly Mammoth dig site, had dinner and saw a show at a chuck wagon restaurant/theater, learned how to make an old fashioned cowboy rope, went on a boat tour of Grand Lake and so much more.  Many animals were seen, including TWO black bears in downtown Aspen, mountain goats, big horn sheep, three herds of buffalo, gazillions of prairie dogs, fish and yellow bellied marmots.  Those were all in the wild.  Then we drove through a wildlife park where we saw a LOT of different bears, walking right next to our van, and many other animals as well.  Good thing they keep those bears well fed!

While we were gone we had the opportunity to spend time with some very special people, including my voice teacher from grad. school and his sweet wife and son who have really become such dear friends, Erik's aunt and my special friend from high school and her adorable family - they're like family to me.  I'm so grateful that we could be with these loved ones.  It was food for my soul and I miss them all already.  Thank you dear friends for the time we could be together.  I so appreciated the times we could share as well as the wonderful conversations.

The one thing that was hard for me on the trip was that I kept thinking about Solveig and how she could have been with us.  There were of course babies everywhere, and I noticed all of them...especially the newborns or those who were almost six months old, like Solveig would be.  Sometimes it was very difficult, but I tried as much as I could to focus more on spending time with my living children and my husband and how we were still creating special memories together.

Here's a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

At Maroon Bells - near Aspen

On top of Aspen Mountain - we did a nature hike with a guide

Bug and Buzz at Maroon Bells

Me and Erik - Maroon Bells

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park


All in all, it was a good vacation and I'm so glad that we could go.  Our kids have become wonderful travelers and they really did a good job enduring long days of adventure...sometimes better than this mama! :)  They seemed to really get into hiking and finding treasures.  We look forward to more adventures as a family in the future.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

When We Found Out

One year ago today, August 2nd, 2011, we were on a family vacation driving through Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.  The first night we were staying in Escanaba, a place of childhood memories for me as I grew up going to Michigan every summer and we would often stay in that town en route.

In the middle of the night, probably 3am one year ago today, I took the test that told us we were expecting a baby...our Solveig.  I was ELATED and tried to contain my joy as I went back to our bed in the room we were sharing with our kids.  Quietly I whispered to Erik the good news.  I do recall a smile spreading across his face, as well as the directive to try to go back to sleep! :)  This news was such a blessing after having had two miscarriages in a row.  We were so hopeful to try again.

Carrying Solveig was an incredible gift and I'll always be so glad that I was able to have her inside of me, even though the outcome of her brief life wasn't as we would have hoped.  She is alive today...rejoicing in Heaven.

Lord, thank you for letting me carry Solveig for as long as I did.  That in itself was a miracle.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sweet Children...

We just took a little adventure to a feed and farm store to pick up straw for our garden to use as a weed preventative.  I wish I had thought of this much sooner in the season!  Sweet Erik has helped me with the weeding - he's a rockstar in my book.

On our way home from picking up the straw, I thought we should stop at the cemetery for a few minutes.

As we were standing by the grave, Buzz said, "did you ever see her again Mommy?"

I replied, "well, no honey, because she died.  Her body is no longer with us on earth, remember?"

He said, "Oh."

I could've gone on to remind him of how we will see her again in Heaven...that God gave me that lovely picture in a vision of seeing her playing and dancing...but I think he didn't need that explanation today.  And I just wasn't on the top of my game to remember to say it.  I wish I could see her again here.  I sure would love that, but it is not to be.

How we look forward to our reunion.

Meanwhile, there is gardening to be done, clothes to be washed on this lovely warm and bright sunny day, children to laugh and play with and an oven pancake to make for dinner in a few hours...

Thank you Lord, for this wonderful gift of life you have bestowed upon me...these beautiful children who are here...my special husband who is such a gem of a man...we are blessed beyond measure...may we remember that always, even in the midst of the grief journey.

**And thank you, all of you who responded and wrote such kind, encouraging words.  You blessed me so much with that.  And I so appreciate you and your prayers for our family.  Thank you.**

Below are some pictures of Erik with the kids on one of their recent sailing adventures.  Thanks to Grandpa for taking these!



I'm linking today with Tesha's Treasures!  Be sure to check out Tesha's blog and her encouraging words.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Speechless...

Someone named "anonymous" wrote something which I felt was very rude in the comments section on my blog tonight.  It talked about how it wasn't right for me to post pictures of my dead baby on the internet and how this must be harmful for my family to write a post like that.  Whoever you are, I didn't appreciate what you said and quite honestly it hurt.  This is my blog and it is my way to process my grief and the life of my daughter which was so brief.  Please respect that.  And know that I have gotten help, am getting help and will continue to get help as I feel led to do so.  And for the record...the pictures that we have of our daughter are very precious to us.  I have chosen to show a FEW of them online - the ones which I feel are okay to show.

Someday when you lose someone very close to you that you love, I think you will understand more fully just how deep grief goes and how it is not possible to just move on right away.  I'm doing my best to do just that and living my life fully.  You just don't always see that here through this venue, as this is a TINY glimpse into my everyday life.  But I WILL continue to blog here, and I will continue to share my thoughts and my feelings.  And if you don't want to read it or see it, well then maybe you shouldn't be reading my blog.

With all due respect...please consider very carefully next time what you choose to say in the comments section of my blog or someone else's blog who has gone through a loss...and filter what you choose to say to people like me when you are speaking face to face...


Sunday, July 29, 2012

5 Months Later...

It has been five months since Solveig came and went.  I think the depth of our loss is even greater now than it was then.  Babies and baby stuff abound around me...and many moments it is much easier to endure now than it used to be.  I see adorable baby girl sundresses at the store with the big red bullseye and everywhere else for that matter and everything in me wants to buy one...but then I am reminded that at this point there is no reason for that.  I miss her.  I miss my tiny little love and would love her to be in my arms once again.  Some days Heaven could not possibly come any sooner...and others I am grateful to yet be here.  So many reasons are present for me to stay right now, and I'm grateful for those reasons to live.  I think of her all the time still.  She is on my mind.  So if you are around me, please do not hesitate to ask me about Solveig.  Please don't hesitate to ask how I'm doing with our loss.  Please don't hesitate to say her name...because I love to hear her name.  I miss people saying her name.  And it's hard that now life is really moving on, yet we are not fully moving on nor are we ready to fully move on.  Please do not hurry us in our grief.  Please do not expect that we can not grieve any longer.  It is a lifelong process from what I hear.

We will not forget you, precious little angel Solveig Sofia.  We will never forget.  You are forever an important part of our family.

Your mama loves you sweet girl.  I know your eyes are bright and gazing upon our Savior and Lord Jesus...I can't wait to look there with you and to hold you in my arms again.





Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Time Back

Awhile back, I posted something on here about collecting outfits and blankets to bring to the hospital for other families like ours who would need them when they wouldn't have a chance to go out and get something special for their babies.  Some sweet friends responded saying that they would love to donate some things - thank you, dear ones.  I had the honor of picking up those items recently from these friends.  You will probably never know who it is, but you WILL be a huge blessing to some other families in need.  What a gift you have given them.  The nurses were so excited to see the outfits and blankets and had huge smiles on their faces when they received them. :)  In some small way, it must help them to be able to pass these items along to the families that they take care of.  Having been the recipients of some such items, I can honestly say that it blessed me so much to receive these kinds of things, knowing that someone else cared enough to give them to me.

The other night I brought this bag of gifts to the hospital as I was there to attend support group.  Afterwards, I told our facilitator "A" that some friends had donated these items and asked if she would please bring them to the maternity floor on my behalf.  She asked me if I'd like to go with her and deliver them myself.  I hadn't really considered that before, and wasn't sure if I'd be ready to face that part of the hospital just yet...but I quickly said yes, as it felt like the right thing to do.

Nerves welled up in me, just a little bit, but overall I wasn't as scared as I would've guessed I might be.  A walked with me and introduced me to the nurses...several of whom I recognized from my three deliveries in that hospital.  It felt okay to be back there.  I'm so glad that I did that.

Now I don't need to be afraid to go there again.  In some ways, that place is sacred for me...for it holds SO many memories, not just of Solveig, but also of Bug and Buzz and their deliveries and first moments of life...and moments where life was somewhat void.  There have been many special moments for our family inside those hospital walls.  Angels have been with me inside those walls.  The Lord has shown Himself to be mighty and real inside those walls, even in the midst of great pain...but also in the midst of immense joy.  And now I feel a mission to help others inside those walls...and to pray over them.  I often find myself asking God to help other families who are experiencing the pain of loss.  And I feel a new passion and ministry in helping these families. It will be interesting to see just how that progresses and changes over time.

And at some point, perhaps as we near Solveig's birthdate in February, I'd like to take Erik and go back and visit the room where we had her.  It was just a few paces away from where I stood the other night, but I wasn't ready to ask to see it.  I just want to make peace with that space and be okay with it.  I've heard that this can be a very healing thing to do.

If anyone else reading this would like to donate blankets and outfits let me know.  And if you're able to donate them in duplicates, this would be great...so that people can keep one if they choose to bury their baby in the other.

Also, I'll hopefully be putting something up here soon for people to donate to Solveig's Boxes - the project that I'm working on for the hospital.  I just need to figure out how to do that.  For those who live nearby, there may be some opportunities in the somewhat near future for need of help putting some items for the boxes together before the boxes can actually be assembled.  I'll be sure to let you know!  And I'd love it if you'd let me know if you're interested! :)  Things are really starting to shape up for the contents of the boxes after many trips to the craft stores that begin with M and J, and also many emails and phone calls.  It's very exciting, for sure.

I need to make sure and thank you again for all of your support and encouragement and prayer over these last few months.  We sure do feel it and know that we are loved, and it means so much. Know that I love it when you write back and leave comments - I read every one.  I just don't know how to respond within the comment space yet!  If anyone knows how to do that, would you let me know?

Blessings to you.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Musical Midnight

I started writing this last week and just couldn't finish...so I thought I'd finish it now.  I'm linking up with Tesha's Treasures today.  Blessings...
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For some reason, this week has been really tough.  I just feel "out of sorts," as it were and there are moments when it is hard to know how to conduct myself...whether that is in relation to family, friends or strangers.  There are times that I still feel like I'm living this separate existence where my mind is reeling with thoughts and processing things that other people probably aren't thinking about, and it's okay that they're thinking about their own things.  As one bereaved dad said in our support group meeting, "I don't think it's fair to drag other people into what I'm going through.  If they choose to go there with me, then that's great.  But I cannot force them to be there."  I thought that was quite profound and helpful for me at the time that I heard it several weeks ago...and it is still helpful today.

It seems that the mind gets whirling about around midnight in my little Melody World.  Sometimes I just want to turn Melody World off and get some rest, but sometimes I just cannot.  Sometimes when Melody World appears I choose to embrace it and choose to sort through my thoughts as best as I can.  But sometimes I finally realize that I cannot do this alone, and I must reach out to God and ask for His help and support.  Last night was one of those nights...

We had finally crashed into our bed around midnight, which is pretty common around here.  I'm sort of a night owl and Erik usually has a hard time settling before 11pm, as do I.  But some nights it's more like midnight when we go to sleep.  And last night it was.  I was so tired but just could not keep my eyes closed for more than a minute or two before thoughts and pictures would come to my mind.  I'm a very visual person, so when I see a picture I can usually remember it for a long time.  The picture that was in my mind last night and has been repeatedly in my mind for the last few weeks was that of my Solveig.  Her last ultrasound picture very clearly shows her umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck - a "nuchal cord."  I didn't notice this until just a few weeks ago when I started working on her scrapbook album and really began studying the ultrasound photos.  I did not see this cord at the time of the ultrasound, and it was not mentioned to me either.  It really has been something for me to try and sort this out...to forgive the situation and those involved and to not hold anything against them.  From all that I've been learning, even if cord is present in an ultrasound (which is VERY common), most physicians will not pursue further testing/monitoring if everything is looking well otherwise.  They  continue to do biophysical profiles and check for baby's heart rate and blood pressure to make sure everything is "normal."  Apparently Solveig's stats were within normal range that day...even though they were lower than they had been in previous ultrasounds.  I guess they weren't within a dangerous zone, so the physicians weren't alarmed.

The picture continued to be present in my mind, and all the sudden the Lord woke me up and started giving me a tune in my head and lyrics also.  I headed into our bathroom with a pad of paper and a pen and began writing out the lyrics.  Obviously since it was so late at night, I couldn't really sing the melody line and record it or play our piano...so that part will have to come later.  I do need to keep manuscript paper around my presence more often so that when these inspirations hit I'll have it with me.    The lyrics poured out and I believe I have the beginning at least of yet another song for Solveig.  It was so cathartic for me and I feel it really was yet another gift from God...a gift of music and song that He gave to me to help comfort me in my time of need.  He works in the most amazing ways.  I believe I may attempt to start composing the music for the now two sets of lyrics that I have, and perhaps may even someday compile these into a short song cycle in honor of my daughter.  I really would like to do that.  And if I could ever get up the gumption to perform the songs myself in recital, that would be most special.  If I'm not able to do it though, maybe I could ask a friend to sing them for me. :)

This current week has been better than the last.  I've been resting more soundly than I was, and that is good.  There are still some rough nights.  Exercise really does seem to help me to calm and settle in more.  Gee, I should remember that more often when I'm feeling antsy!

May the Lord be with you.  And remember, in your darkest hour you can call on Him and He WILL be there...I know...because He has been there for me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Hurt And The Healer

This song by Mercy Me has really been ministering to me lately.  Here's a music video of it.  I hope this works, and I hope it blesses your day.  There's also a link to Bart Millard speaking about the piece.






Tuesday Link Up

Today I'm linking up with my blog friend, Tesha.  Her post for today is one that I can relate to a bit and it is regarding becoming offended in the face of loss.  There really haven't been too many things that have yet offended me following the loss of our Solveig, but there certainly have been a few.  I think people sometimes say or do things (or don't do or say things I wish that they would) and they don't intend to hurt my feelings but they do.  I'm trying so hard to not take these issues personally, because I know that they are most likely not meant to be taken that way.  I'm praying for God to give me grace in my dealings with others, whether it's related to our loss or just in every day life.  We all need grace!  And we all need help to remember to choose kindness.  I'm NOT perfect in this way, believe me...but I long to be more whole in my spirit.  Only by God's grace can I extend grace to another.

Tesha wrote a great post about these types of things.  You can read about it here!  Thanks for sharing your honesty, Tesha.

If you're new to my blog, you can read more about the loss of our daughter Solveig Sofia by clicking on some of the labels or posts on the right hand sidebar.  Fancier blog layout hopefully to come in the future... :)




Monday, July 9, 2012

More Conversations With Kids

The family table is a great place to share conversations.  Sometimes the conversations are about very simple, surface like topics.  But there are times that the conversations dig much deeper.  Today at lunch,  we were talking about Solveig after the kids brought her up.  I love it when they bring her up...when ANYONE brings her up. :)  I like to think of her and to talk about her.

So today, Bug was talking about how she couldn't wait to see Solveig in Heaven and to see how much she had grown.  I said, "we don't know how big she'll be when we meet her in Heaven.  That will be interesting to find out."  Bug said, "I think she will have grown taller!"  Buzz said, "I want Solveig to gwow and gwow and gwow!" (he cannot say his r's right now at age 4 - it's really cute)

Then Buzz said, "but I don't know if Solveig will be in Heaven."

I thought about this.  And of course, after discussing this matter with lots of people now including our pastor, I know that the Bible does not say for sure if babies are in Heaven.  But when we met with our pastor He affirmed that it all comes down to remembering the character of God...that He is a loving, just and merciful God.  There are lots of scriptures from the Bible that speak of children being loved by Jesus...that "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these," etc.  So it seems to make sense to our earthly minds that babies ought to be there, since even though they are born with a sin nature they have not yet had a chance to commit an earthly sin.

But Buzz was puzzled by the idea that he didn't know for sure where his sister would be.

I reminded him that I believe without a doubt that our baby Solveig is there.  And I told him about how God had given me a vision awhile back about Solveig, dancing and playing on the streets of gold.  He smiled as he thought about that, and so did my Bug.  It makes me smile too.

Buzz pondered some things a bit more and then said, "we will have to take a car to Heaven."

I said, "What makes you think that?"

He said, "because I don't wanna have to walk vewy wong!!!" (translation - very long)

Bug replied, "you don't have to walk you silly goose!  Jesus lifts you up!"

This brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes...the image of Jesus lifting us to Heaven...the image of Him lifting my Solveig to Heaven...

I look forward to that day.  For now, I am here to keep being a mama to my sweet children and a wife to my precious Erik...roles that I love and I'm so grateful to have.

And I'll always be Solveig's mommy...always.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scrapbooking Sweet Solveig

Scrapbooking is one of my favorite things to do when I have time.  How I wish there was more time to work on scrapbooking!  It's one of those things that I have to create time for in order for it to happen.  So, I'm excited to say that I have a scrapbooking date in the near future with a few friends, including my CM consultant, Pam.  On that date, the plan is that I will come prepared with my Solveig pictures in hand, and I will leave with her scrapbook created in four hours.  I'll be doing a "power layout" plan and it will hopefully help things to go quickly and smoothly.  I'm going to use this book and these papers, in case you're interested.

A few nights ago, I realized in preparation for my scrapbooking date that I needed to get my photos in order and ready to go.  There were none printed, other than my ultrasound pictures, so I set to work going through all the photos which we and the nurses took of our daughter, and the ones that sweet Jen took.  As I looked through the mass of photos which I'm so grateful that we have, I found myself getting really weepy all over again, feeling like it was just yesterday that we had Solveig.  And it was okay.  It was good to see her and to remember her.  It was just hard to pick and choose the photos for ordering as there were many that looked similar.  So I ordered a whole bunch of them, knowing that it would almost be easier to sort through them in hand rather than on the computer.

Last night, I got together with my sweet friend Keri from high school.  She accompanied me on my journey to the photo store to retrieve my photos.  I not only printed ones for the scrapbooking project, but also some for family and for our home.  Keri and I sat at a coffee shop and she graciously looked through all the photos with me.  Only good friends do that kind of thing.  It had to be hard for her to see the pictures.  For me, I'm so used to looking at them that it doesn't really phase me anymore.  But for someone else, I could see how it would be more difficult perhaps to look at the pictures.  Keri said she was glad to look at them with me, and I'm so glad that she did.  Thank you sweet Keri.  You're a keeper.  And I'm glad that I've known you for so long.  Thank you for bravely and gently walking this road with me.

I have a question for those of you who have lost your babies...

Did you display photos of your deceased child in your home for all to see?  Just in your bedroom?  In a back hallway?  Only in a photo album or also in a photo album?  Hidden on a shelf or proudly on your coffee table?

We're trying to figure out how and where we will place our special photos.  They're such amazing treasures...especially the ones from Jen.  And I am not afraid to have a few of them out for others to see.     I realize this may not be socially acceptable in some circles, but I'm okay with it.  Erik and I have yet to figure out what will work for us together in our home.  This isn't something two people get to discuss every day - new territory for us in this grief journey.

I'll be curious to see what you have to say about this.  Thanks for your input.

And I'd love your prayers as I get ready to create my baby's photo album.  I'm sure it may be emotionally difficult.  Yet, I feel very ready to do it now.  Like I said, I'm really used to seeing the photos so it doesn't upset me in the same way as it used to.  More than anything, it just makes me glad to see our family together with our precious daughter whom we will always cherish and love.



This is one of my favorite candids that we took of our kids together.  They were incredibly sweet and gentle with their little sister...

Today I'm linking with Tesha...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Four Months Later

Today marks four months since our Solveig was born still.  I miss her.  I realized this last night as I was sitting with my sweet new friends from "The Club."  This is a group of women who have all had baby losses, and we are connected mostly through college but also one friendship is through a mutual friend.  It's incredible how quickly I feel bonded with others who've experienced loss of babies.  There's a common understanding, and we just "get it" with each other.

This has been a good week for me, for the most part.  My hope in Christ remains strong.  I'm not just saying that - it's so true.  I have so many reasons to believe in Him and His goodness.  The loving arms of Jesus continually show up around me...so many continue to pray over us.  I hear from people I haven't heard from in a long time, and they tell me they are praying.  And other friends keep telling me often that they are praying.  We are blessed by these prayers and gain strength knowing that He has sent these earthly angels into our path to encourage us.

As the sun shone brightly this morning, I knew that I needed to make my way to the cemetery to visit my baby's grave.  I think of her playing on this bright, sunny day in Heaven.  She is happy - that is for sure!  Standing by her tiny grave I gazed down and spoke to her as though I knew she could hear me.

"Sweet girl, how I miss you!  I know you are with Jesus and I know He is holding you.  He has shown me that.  And I know that you are okay now.  I will always love you and I'll always think of you, no matter what.  I'll always be grateful that the Lord gave you to us for even a brief time.  I'll always be so glad that I got to feel you moving so much in my womb - how amazing that was.  What a gift."

We were talking last night in our club about our losses and asking each other what we've been learning through this journey.  My friend asked me if I was at a place of feeling grateful for our loss.  And I am. I truly am.  I'm grateful for our baby Solveig, and I'm grateful that the Lord has brought us through this difficult loss.  It really has been a blessing.  I'm no longer angered by our loss.  In fact, I don't know that I was really angry for that long at all...because God truly showed me Himself in the midst of the pain and I know that He has never left my side.  He continues to be near.  I FEEL Him with me.

I also know that we're still in the earlier end of this loss, and that it is possible that there may be harder days ahead which may bring us low.  But I really think each person handles loss so differently too.  And maybe, just maybe I'll not be in such a low, depressed way as some are.  I ache for those who face true despair in their losses.  I do think I had some of that in the beginning...which is NORMAL.  And I do feel sadness.  Believe me, I do.  But I see Him through it all.  I still see Him and I know that in my pain, He holds me up.  If I do face even darker days ahead, at least I can go into it knowing that it is normal and that I will indeed come out on the other side.  I hear that sometimes the middle-second half of the first year of loss is maybe the hardest.

I've been reading a really great book lately called Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young.  If you haven't yet read it, I highly recommend it.  Sweet Sid and Char, some of our pastors, gave us this book after we lost Solveig...thank you dear friends.  What a blessing this book has been to me.  Each day there is a short devotional written as though maybe Jesus is talking to us and then some Bible verses are recommended to go with each reading.  Here's some of what I read today from the book, from the entry intended for April 5:

"As you go through this day, trust me to provide the strength that you need moment by moment.  Don't waste energy wondering whether you are adequate for today's journey.  My Spirit within you is more than sufficient to handle whatever this day may bring.  That is the basis for your confidence!  In quietness (spending time alone with me) and confident trust (relying on My sufficiency) is your strength."  


The recommended reading that goes with it is from 2 Corinthians 4, and I added a few more verses from that chapter that I love.

vs. 7-9, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed...."

vs. 16-18, "So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

May we fix our gaze on what is eternal and not seen.

There's a lot of other stuff on my mind today, which I will hope to soon share here.

May you have a blessed day.

I

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Solveig's Boxes

When we walked into our room to prepare for Solveig's delivery, the nurses directed our attention to a green box that was placed on a table just for us.  They told us that it had been made by a family like us who had gone through the loss of a child and wanted to help others.  We opened the box, and I began to weep.  Inside were several items that would become so precious to us, and included...

*A hand and/or footprint mold
*A "tress press" -  a small acrylic box that had some plates inside between which we could place Solveig's tender locks of hair.
*Some resources about grief, including a book for our children about having an angel instead of a baby

I was overwhelmed by the fact that another family had taken the time to make such a box and that we were the recipients.  The reality that we needed to receive a box like that in that moment became so intense, yet it was so comforting to have these things that would help us to remember our daughter and to make our time with her so special.

That day as we prepared for Solveig, I met Annette...the wonderful nurse/grief counselor/care coordinator at our hospital who has since become somewhat of a mentor as well as a friend - a great help in our time of need.  Annette was able to help us a little bit to prepare for what we would experience with Solveig, since she went through a similar experience years earlier.

After we had Solveig, we connected with Annette through our grief support group at the hospital, as she is the facilitator.  I asked her who makes those boxes.  She explained that different families through the years first started a fund to make the boxes possible, and then families would take on the responsibility of collecting everything to put into the boxes, creating 100 over the course of a year.  She said also that she was currently looking for someone to take on this job, and asked me if I was interested and would consider it.  I thought about it and prayed over it for a good while, asking some friends to come alongside me and pray over it as well.  Well, the long and short of it is that I could not stop thinking about the boxes and just really felt the Lord leading me to take on this new job for at least a year!  So I have done just that!!!

I'm currently in the process of gathering the items that will go in the boxes, and will be working with friends and family to compile the boxes this fall.  My goal is to have all 100 ready by Christmas, with at least the first 25 ready by early fall.  It's exciting to think about and I am so glad that we can help other families to capture special moments with their babies who will be gone all too soon.  These boxes will go to families like ours who are in the hospital for babies who will be delivered through a miscarriage, stillbirth and also those who will most likely die shortly after birth.

Soon I hope to have some type of link set up for you if you would like to donate to the cause.  There is already a fund set up through our hospital, so you can give directly to that fund.  I just need to learn the particulars of that and then I'll let you know.  And soon I'll share with you what we plan to put in the boxes.  Whether or not we decide to list the donation link here publicly, you can send me a message and I will personally let you know where to send funding.  My estimation for the cost of each box at the outset is around $50-60.  The current sample box that I have cost about $50, and that was with many things inside coming at a discounted rate.  If you'd like to support the cost of a box or donate towards it let me know!

Last night at our grief support group meeting, three couples were there to share their experiences from the past.  Two of the three couples represented have been involved in the boxes in the past, so it was really awesome to be able to personally thank them for this wonderful blessing.  In fact, the family that made the box that we received was one of those families there - that was REALLY wonderful to meet them finally.  I had for so long wanted to thank them, and it was amazing that I could do that in person.  Their story of loss and moving forward was powerful and they were so filled with hope and strength.  I appreciated their presence as well as that of the other two wonderful families who shared.

Please be praying for us as we move forward with this project.  Erik is in FULL support of me taking this on and he and I both agree it will be a very healing venture in our journey of grief.  I know Solveig would want me to help other babies...I just know it.  I think she was a very bold little girl with a lot of energy and she'd be all over this project! :)

Thanks for reading and for your encouragement.
Blessings to you all.

Linking up with Tesha's Treasures today...




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Buzz turned FOUR!!!

Our sweet little Buzz turned four on June 22nd!  It's hard to believe just how quickly the time has passed in his life.  He is a busy, happy go lucky kiddo who loves music, playing instruments, running and throwing and kicking balls, playing games, doing puzzles, painting, giggling, jumping on the trampoline, baking and cooking with Mama, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, reading stories and so much more.  We have a great time together and I just love my little snuggly guy so much.  He is such a blessing to us!

We celebrated Buzz' birthday with presents at home, just our family.  I was helping with VBS at our church this past week, and the last day happened to be Buzz' birthday.  Since I was leading preschool music for his class, I led the class in singing happy birthday to him.  I think he loved it!  For dinner, we went to our favorite burger restaurant that has a bird for a symbol...so much fun.  We love being in the birthday club there so that we can get FREE meals!  Then we played together.  Yesterday we went to a Swedish festival at the Gammelgarden Museum nearby.  VERY fun way to spend the day and to continue to celebrate our little guy!  It was such a nice time being together as a family this weekend.

Here are some pictures from Anders' first four years of life!


One of the best days of our lives - June 22, 2008 - Buzz was born!



Buzz & Daddy napping...so cute

Brother Joel and cousins came to visit

Big Sister Bug LOVED being with her new baby brother!

Buzz was such a rail when he was first getting going...he was hospitalized for a few days shortly after birth for an unidentified virus...we thought we were going to lose him, so he is really a miracle to still be alive.

My babies - I love having them in my arms

Bug and Buzz - always love being together

Sweet Daddy and his kiddos

So alert!

I loved this cow outfit. It was so cozy.  And I LOVE that smile!!!

My happy guy - such a smiler!  

Christmas 2008 - 6 months old!

Our little Norwegian dude.

EVERYTHING is STILL a drum to this kid.  He's been pounding on everything since he was  really young!

Baby Dedication Day - June 21, 2009 - one day before his first birthday and also Father's Day!

2 years old!  Thomas the Train birthday cake - my curly top kid

Fall 2010 - 2.5 years old

At our church camp playing wiffle ball!  June 2011 - 3 years old

Mother's Day 2012 - almost four years old - how we've grown!  And still, such love for the big sister.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY BUZZ BEAR!!!!!!!!  May you always love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  And may His blessing be upon your life.

Love always,
Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Link Up & Blog Hop

Linking up with Tesha's Treasures today...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

This has been a tough but also good weekend.  I didn't expect things to hit so hard this weekend, but I guess they did.  Yesterday I had a good time of cooking and baking all kinds of things.  I find so much joy being in the kitchen, creating food for my family.  After dinner, we made our way to the cemetery.  I hadn't been out there in about a month, since we had brought a desert rose to place at Solveig's grave. The need to be there hasn't been as intense lately...but yesterday I so wanted to go.  So the four of us went out, and the dog even came this time.  We cut some day lilies from our garden and each of us laid a lily by Solveig's grave.  I also placed one at Briana's grave, the sweet baby right next to Solveig.  I find myself wanting to care for the other graves.  There are some that get lots of attention and some that don't.  I swept away some cobwebs on one other baby's grave and spent some time looking at the names and the beautiful flowers that are gracing the cemetery this time of year.  It's quite lovely.  Whenever I'm there, I find myself talking to Solveig a little bit.  I know she's not there, but it feels nice to say something to her.  Usually it's something like this...

"Oh baby girl, how I miss you.  Mommy so wishes you were here right now.  I wish I could hold you again, but I know that Jesus holds you now.  I love you Solveig, and I always will.  I look forward to holding you again one day in Heaven."

After talking to Solveig last night, all the sudden there was a rush of wind in the air around me.  It sort of caught me off guard, and it was wonderful.  I looked up at the heavens and I truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in that place.  I know that the Lord was taking that moment to encourage me.  Tears streamed down my face and I smiled with joy, knowing that He was there with me.

It was a snuggle my pink teddy bear in Solveig's blankie kind of night last night.  Much comfort comes to me by way of snuggling that little bear.  Thanks Candy and Missing Grace Foundation for that bear. After having a hard time falling asleep, I asked Erik to pray for me.  Whenever he does that I feel such peace and comfort.  Thank you Erik for praying over me - that means more to me than you may ever know.  I'm so blessed to have you.

Today, we celebrated fathers.  I'm so blessed to have some in my life...my sweet husband, my own dad, my father-in-law, our uncles, my brothers, and some other men who have been like surrogate fathers to me through the years...so blessed.  Thank you sweet guys.

When we were at church this morning, I didn't know that it would be so tough to not have Solveig with us...but just like on the other holidays we've experienced to date, her absence is so profound on holidays...at least to me it is.  Mother's Day was tough, but I didn't realize that I would feel so deeply on Father's Day.  I kept thinking to myself, "I just hurt for my husband...that he didn't get to be a daddy to Solveig on this earth...he's such an amazing daddy and I know that he would've been so good to her and that she would've absolutely adored him!"

When I told this to Erik on the way home from church, he said to me, "she's in much better hands."

As hard as it is to accept that, it's true...and in that moment I could once again see her in the arms of Jesus...where she has been since late February.  She's safe in the arms of Jesus, and nothing can take her away from that protected place. This comment from Solveig's precious daddy caused me to have a flashback to the night that we were in the hospital finding out that Solveig had passed...February 26, 2012.  Right after Dr. M told us the news, Erik said to me, "she's with Jesus now, honey.  She's with Jesus."

I'm so glad that she is safe.  And as much as I want her in my hands, she's definitely in better hands...as her daddy said.



Holding our sweet girl...moments that we will always treasure.  I posted this picture of Erik because it was so touching to me to see him so saddened and tender at the loss of our daughter.  She grabbed hold of his heart in the few moments on earth that he had with her.  Solveig, your Daddy and Mommy loved you so very much.  We always will.