Today is a special day in which all dads are thanked, honored, and remembered.  It is Father’s Day and we celebrate all our dads and all the men in our life that were like a dad to us.  I have my one and only amazing father, but there are several others who have been like a dad to me over the years…like my father in law and good family friend of ours.

Today is an interesting day in our family.  From first glance, most would look at Raun and say “Happy Father’s Day”, “Is this your first child” or “Happy First Father’s Day”.  But for those that know our family, this isn’t his first Father’s Day.  His first one happened three years ago, the first June after Samantha was born.  Raun has been a dad for three years now, his roll has just changed a little bit now.  Yes, this is the first Father’s Day with Timothy, but that doesn’t make it his first go around the block on this special day.

It’s has been an interesting week leading up to Father’s Day that has gotten me think.  I receive email offers from some of my favorite local restaurants throughout the year.  This week my inbox has been flooded with Father’s Day deals.  Interestingly enough, the deal is bring in the family of four and dad receives something free.  Family of four…we are a family of four.  But if we were to walk into one of these restaurants I am guessing people would think we are crazy.  There is a part of me that wants to email the place back and share our story, there is also a part that kind of just wants to show up the restaurant with crew in tow and something of Samantha’s, and yet still a part of me that wants to celebrate on a low key style & have the same responses to people who don’t know as we did for Mother’s Day.  It’s such a weird place to be.  We are a family of four, but look like a family of three.

I believe that families who have experienced the loss of a child learn a new way to celebrate holidays.  And each year looks a little bit different.  So I say, celebrate this special day however you want.  May you have the courage and strength to find something memorable in the day.  Today is a blessing.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Happy Father’s day to you Raun!  You are an amazing dad to our two beautiful children!!

 

As I am bouncing my new little guy, I am thinking about Mother’s day.  For those facing a loss, Mother’s Day can be hard to take in.  And when it’s your first child, then what do you do.  Is it still a celebration? It may seem weird to celebrate being a mom when your baby isn’t in your arms, but you should celebrate being a mom.  Honestly, it will be tough, it was for me.  Mother’s Day came just a few short months after we lost Samantha.  It felt right to do a little something, but I also wanted the time to reflect a little as well.  We spent that Mother’s Day enjoying the warmth of the sun (after a very long, snowy Winter), enjoying a coffee beverage & pastry from a local coffee shop, and sitting down by the Mississippi River.

That was two years ago.  It was my very fist Mother’s Day and my daughter was in heaven.  Now, I get to celebrate Mother’s day with her in heaven and our new little guy who arrived in April.  I am a mom times two, but it doesn’t look like it to most people.  We are blessed to have Samantha watching over us, like a beautiful angel.  It all just seems a little surreal.  I am a new mom, but yet I am not.  I have been a mom for two years, but have had different responsibilities than a typical mom does.  And yet, right now I am a first time mom because this is our first child that has successfully made it.  Some time down the road we will have the opportunity to explain to Little Guy that he has a sister.  But for now, I am relishing in the fact that I get to watch him grow…a little too fast it seems sometimes, but I get to watch him grow, change, and learn.  He is such a blessing.  We received a photo frame with a beautiful quote that really says it all: “We made a wish and you came true. And we thank god for the gift of you.”  We made a wish years ago to have children.  The path that we thought we would have taken and the one that has been laid in front of us are two very different things.  While there have been struggles, I wouldn’t change a thing.   I am a mommy x 2!

Happy Mother’s Day to all!  Even if you aren’t able to hold your children in your arms, they are always in your heart.  And even if others can’t see all your children, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a mom.  You are, and always will be.  Be gentle to yourself today and try to find some joy in it.

 

This weekend we celebrate Samantha’s second birthday.  It’s hard to believe, some days, that it has been two years since she came into our world and we had to quickly say goodbye.  I have to admit, the second year has been a lot easier to process through than the first.  I am not saying it hasn’t been without it’s difficulties and moments of undeniable grief, but those moments have been just a little bit easier to take in and deal with.

I am not sure what we will in honor of Samantha’s birthday this year.  I know every body does it a little different.  Some throw a birthday party, some just let the day go by and they remember in silence, and others do something something small in memory.  Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your little one’s birthday is your choice.  Listen to your heart to tell you what to do.  It can be a big party or it can be something small and it simple.  Last year for her one year birthday we visited her and placed some beautiful, bright orange flowers by her.  We took a moment to reflect and remember.  I would guess that this year, we will do something simple again.  But for us, that works.  Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Girl!

 

It’s a chilly day outside today, so I am taking some time to reflect on 2012 and think ahead to the new year, while enjoying one of my favorite beverages.  It’s been a busy year of travel, growth, spending time with family, and as the year comes to a close lots of organizing.  I look forward to 2013, knowing it will be filled with many blessings, moments of trials, and many changes…especially with Timothy on his way.

At this time last year I was given a the task to create a one word motto that would lead me through the year.  It ended up being two…believe and trust.  I like the idea of having a word or mantra to help remember throughout the year.  This year my word is Create.  The past few months I have done more creative projects and when done it made me remember how much my soul yearns for doing that kind of stuff.  But I also know that creating can be used in many areas of my life.

Looking forward, there are a few things I want to do better at and incorporate more into my life.

  • I am going to read more and watch less TV
  • I am going to do more crafty projects, as well as continue to make dragonflies
  • I am going to take better care of my health, like being more active and eating better
  • I am going to continue to write and do photography
  • I am going to experiment more in the kitchen with cooking new things and seeing what items I can make at home instead of buying

Happy New Year to all!  I wish you all many blessings and opportunities to grow.

 

Holidays are a time of joy and celebration, filled with making new memories, celebrating traditions, and spending time with loved ones.  Holidays can also be a time of confusion, sadness, and uncertainty if you have lost a loved….recently or years ago.  It doesn’t matter how long ago it was that you lost someone special, there is still a tinge of sadness that hits you during the holiday time.  If has been recent and someone who has lived a long time, you begin to wonder what will happen to the usual traditions of the holiday time now that they aren’t there to celebrate.  If it is someone younger, you sometimes try to figure out ways to start new traditions in their honor and memory.

I have always loved this time of year.  All the beautiful lights and decorations to see, decorating my house, and spending extra time with family.  With all the beauty that this time of year has, I am no stranger to loss during this time of year as well.

This is our second Christmas without Samantha…though she is always in our hearts, it stills feels a little different. While we remember Samantha, we also celebrate Timothy who’s arrival will come in April.  I also see a change coming this holiday season as it is our first holiday without my grandfather, whom passed away in August this year.  Also, I see some new traditions beginning to grow as families grow and kids get older.  Some of the change will be tough at first, but at the same time some of the change will be good.  There still is a special magic to this time of year and deep in our hearts we can still feel it.

I wish you a blessed holiday season, strength when you need it most, hope to keep you going, peace to be able to feel at ease, and time…time to spend with loved ones and time to reflect.  Happy Holidays!

 

October begins a season of change.  It is now Fall, with oranges, reds, and yellows in full swing.  This time of year is one of my favorite times, because of the cool crisp evenings perfect for sitting by the fire and days that are still warm enough I can wear flip flops.  I love the colors outside, so vibrant, and the chance to watch leaves twist to the ground in the light breezes.  I enjoy the chance to decorate my house with these colors on the inside and the chance to head to the apple orchard.

This year is no different.  Still a favorite time of year for me.  However there is a deeper meaning to this time of year.  Two years ago…right around October 15 we got pregnant for the first time.  Our baby girl only made it 17 weeks, but has left a lasting legacy on our lives and our hearts.  Interestingly enough, October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  On this day hundreds gather in memory of their children across the world.  There is also a wave of light that is passed on…a lighted candle lit in memory started at the same time all around the world creating a continuous light.

The whole month of October is slowly being recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month…a chance to break the silence.  A chance to tell the world that some of your children are here on earth, as well as angels in heaven.  Slowly we are moving away from a taboo subject and taking the chance to share with others.  More and more those who have walked this path are coming together .

I am taking the chance to put into photographs the opportunity to “capture my grief”.  Carly Marie has put together an opportunity to capture 31 photographs in 31 days.  You can find out more at Carly Marie Project Heal.  I am filled with a mix of emotions at the start of this month.  It has been a year & a half since we said our goodbyes to Samantha.  What most people don’t realize is that while time has passed, I still grieve.  The grieving is different, but it is still something that is with me.  And from what I understand, it will still be there…it just changes over time.  This October we are pregnant again, our rainbow so to speak.  So while thinking about Samantha, I am thinking about our little miracle.  Growing day by day and hoping everything is going alright.  In the following days I will share with you my 31 photographs as I walk through this month.  This week we celebrate week 12 of our pregnancy.  Not only will you see the grieving side and what has gone on with that, but also the joyous side of being pregnant throughout this month.  The photo in this post is from day 1 of the 31 photographs in 31 days…Sunrise.  It started out as a cool, cloudy day but ended as a beautiful warm day.

 

This week Raun and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary. Our relationship together goes many more years than that…17 years! As you can imagine we have created many memories together, as well as had some interesting twists and turns over the years. But through them all we have gotten closer and stronger. I am blessed to have found someone who is caring and funny, easy going and smart. I have a truly amazing and wonderful husband, who is also my best friend. I don’t know where our road will lead us, but where ever it goes we will be walking it hand in hand and ending our nights with sleep well, sweet dreams, & I love yous. Here’s to many more memories and all the twists & turns they bring to get there. I love you, hun!

 

Today marks the last of the “year hurdles”.  July 5th was set as our due date.  I remember hearing the doctor say that it was the date Samantha was due, but I felt that it was too early.  In my mind I figured it would be later in July.  Turns out, we were both wrong.  Samantha came in January instead.  She had her own plan.

I am not sure how to look at this date.  Last year this date mark the what could have been.  The excitement, the anticipation, the joy.  Last year this day was really tough.  We went away for the weekend and did something we enjoyed…camping.  The last day we were there as I was walking back to our campsite the sun was shining through the trees creating a beautiful and peaceful image.  I captured that moment in the photo in this post.  It was after that that I began to feel ready to begin trying again.  A let’s just see what happens kind of trying again.

But this year, the date has a different feeling.  I can’t quite put into words exactly what it is, but it just feels different.  Even though this was Samantha’s expected arrival date, she came on January 27 instead.  A date which holds so much more meaning and significance.  I am not saying that July 5th isn’t important to remember, it’s just not as important this year.  I recognize this date and what it might have been.  However, that is not what is.

So on this day, I will remember and reflect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the truly amazing fathers out there.  Whether you hold your child’s hand or you hold your child in your heart, you are a wonderful father.

Thank you to all the dads and granddads out there that have been a part of my life.

 

This past weekend, having an extended weekend, Raun and I decided to go camping.  I grew up camping during the Summer months and have so many great memories.  Raun and I have been going camping for as long as we have been together.  In fact, part of our honeymoon was spent camping and this year (7 years later) we will return to the same campground for a week.

For the Memorial Holiday weekend we headed over to Willow River State Park.  One of the best things about the park is that it is only 25 minutes from our house.  Not only does this park offer the best of camping, hiking, and swimming, but there is a lot of wild life and a waterfall.  On either side of our campsite there are deer trails and while sitting relaxing we would get the occasional chance to see the deer wonder by.  The waterfall is absolutely beautiful.  It has multiple tiers and you can even go in the falls, as well as behind them.

One of our visits to the falls was during the rain, so we were pretty much the only ones there.  Even though it was raining, I was pretty excited to get photos of the falls without other people in it.  Just listening to it’s thunderous roar creates such a calming feeling deep down.  We returned the next day when it was sunny and took some time to just relax on the rocks.  I did venture behind the falls for a little bit to capture some video for Raun.  The shear volume and sound from behind was truly amazing.

We spent part of the day canoeing.  I haven’t canoed since going to the Boundary Waters nearly 8 years ago, so it was a lot of fun to get back out on the water.  The sights and beauty around us made for some beautiful photos.  There were a lot of birds, turtles, and fish to capture on camera.  There were a few times when I would stop paddling and listen to what was going on around me.  Sometimes I would hear birds or catch a glimpse of a fish.  It was calming to just sit back, soak up the suns warm, and take in the scenery.

At night sitting by the campfire is where I was.  Just watching the flames dance and feeling the warmth on a cool night are enough of a reason to sit by the fire for hours.

All of these things are why I love to be outdoors and what calls me to keep going camping.  After the weekend I came back feeling relaxed, renewed, and a sense of calm & inner peace.  Now I am counting down the days until we get to go again.

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