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!!

 

When we found out that Samantha’s heart had stopped beating and that we would have to be admitted into labor and delivery, I didn’t know what to expect or do.  Not to mention, at that point I wasn’t thinking very well as the emotions that ran through me were so strong.  I asked the nurse on the phone what we needed to bring with and one item she mentioned was a camera.  I didn’t really think much about it, I just tossed my point and shoot camera in the bag as we walked out the door.  I am happy to say, I am very thankful and blessed for that piece of advice.  We were able to get a few pictures of our sweet baby girl.  The nurses were great at helping take photos and doing different things.  Things at the time I had no idea why.  The only comment, “you may not realize it now, but down the road you will be thankful to have these”.

That nurse was right.  We are lucky to have photos, as many who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth do not have the chance to take photos.  We may not have many, but the one’s we do are a treasure.  I know now that there are organizations out there of professional photographers who come in and will take photos of the parents and their baby.  It’s a great service, however your little one usually has to be considered stillbirth age in order for them to come in.  For those having a miscarriage, especially early on, we are left to not having any photos or taking our own if possible.  It is my advice, that no matter how far along you are, take photos.  Take as many as you can or have someone you know help you out.

We recently had professional photos done of Timothy and us.  This is an opportunity we didn’t get with Samantha, so when the chance arose I jumped quickly at it.  One of the best parts of the session was that we had family photos done…family photos of all four of us.  Using some special items that were Samantha’s or reminded us of her, we were able to snap a few photos of all of us.  The photographer was great and even before I got started in showing what we had for “props” she was asking if there items of Samantha’s that we wanted to include.  I was in awe and felt blessed that she remembered, as well as recognized our daughter.  She even asked Samantha if possible to send a real dragonfly down during the shoot.  We didn’t see a real one that day, as our time outside was limited to small windows due to rain.  However, while taking photos outside we were surrounded by all the garden art dragonflies that we have.

So, when you have the opportunity take photos.  You can never have to many, as they all will be a treasure down the road.

 

In the past two years I have often wondered what Samantha would be like now.  What color would her hair, her eyes have been?  What features would she have had of her dad’s or mine? What would her personality be like?  Would she be laid back like her daddy or have his sense of humor? Would she have my sense of organization and creativity? Many other thoughts and questions have run through my mind over the many months.

Lately, when I look at Timothy I can’t help but to wonder even more.  Our little guy is irresistibly adorable.  I know, I am his mom…I am supposed to say that.  But I am not the only one who has said it.  I wonder what features he has that his sister would have had.  I also wonder what kind of sister she would have been to her baby brother.

Day by day, I see Timothy’s personality starting to show through and I know that he has a great big sister.  I am sure there would be some similarities, but each have their own uniqueness.  Samantha has a big job…she is a guardian angel to her little brother.  He’s one lucky guy to have someone so special watching over him.

One day we will all visit the cemetery where Samantha is, take a few photos, and reflect a little.  Down the road we will share with Timothy about his big sister.  For now, I get to see a little bit of his dad, sister, and me in him.

 

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 post is long overdue.  It seems that time has gotten away from me as we have been doing pregnancy stuff, family things, and work.

Shortly after my last post my family celebrated the life of a wonderful man…my grandfather.  He passed away after 96 wonderful years, filled with many memories, life lessons, and some pretty amazing moments.  He is an inspiration and I will truly miss him…all his wisdom, stories, and humor.

On the baby side of things we have chosen the nursery colors and installed a door on the room.  It may seem odd, this little task of putting in a door.  There hasn’t been a door on the room since we moved into the house.  It is a room that is only accessible off our bedroom or the bathroom.  Over the years, it has become on giant closet.  Now, we are making room and making it more like a bedroom for our little one.  I will have to admit, I have already had a slight freak out moment.  I began spotting shortly after Labor Day weekend and the doctors sent us in for an ultrasound.  No worries came back and everything is normal.  Baby is healthy, with a strong heartbeat.  Baby is also bigger than we initially thought.  At the time of this post we are 9 weeks 5 days.  First prenatal visit went fine as well.  So, we continue to pray that baby gets bigger and stronger and remains healthy.

And, other than working a bit more, I have been continuing work on my dragonflies.  I am now partnered up with three hospitals and Kerin Lee of I Am the Mother to an Angel.  I look forward to continuing to pass along the blessing.

 

The past year and a half has been a roller coaster of a ride.  From learning how to grieve and begin to heel after the loss of Samantha, to deciding to try again to get pregnant, to the months waiting for our hopes to be fulfilled.  This ride has had many twists and turns, ups and downs.

After months, the pieces have all fallen into place.  We are pregnant again!  At this point, we are a little over 6 weeks along.  So far I am tired, hungry, and nauseous all the time.  From what I’ve heard, all are good signs of a healthy pregnancy.  As the months move forward I will continue to put updates up.  All my thoughts and how things are going.  In April we will have a little bundle of joy to bring home with us!  Our little rainbow

 

For the last ten days Raun and I have been on vacation.  What an amazing trip we had!  We spent two weekends in Rhinelander, WI with my folks, sister in law, niece, & nephew.  And we spent five days in Door County, WI with Raun’s folks.  It was a great time filled with relaxing, shopping, family, eating good food, camping, sitting by the fire, chilling by the lake, hiking, and exploring.  By the end of the week our cameras was filled with photos and videos.

It was the first time when I was nearly unplugged for ten days.  Very limited access to the internet, which meant that the things I usually spend time on the computer doing I wasn’t really able to do.  A few times in the week I was able to do a quick email check and quick glance at facebook.  But it definately was not the daily checking in that I was used to.  It was a little odd feeling at first, but after a few days it wasn’t so bad.  I think it allowed me to really unwind and relax for the week.

I was long overdue for a time to unplug and unwind.  This vacation allowed me to do that, all the while still being able to do all the things I enjoy doing.

 

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!

 

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.

 

Normally I am able to write more of a post, but it has been a busy week.  I have been in to work quite a bit, we’ve had softball two nights, and the rest of the time has been spent getting ready for the weekend.

It’s Friday and it’s a long weekend.  So we are headed to a beautiful campground in WI for the weekend.  The menu is planned and we plan to go canoeing, but most importantly it’s a mini vacation and we are going to relax and enjoy.  Hope you all have a great weekend and can find some time to relax.  Enjoy!

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