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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

06-29-11 / Bad Idea #2,928,876…….

06-29-11 / Bad Idea #2,928,876…….

Today has been full; full of absolute fun! We started the day at Bounce Zone with great friends where we ended our time with them at Chic-Fil-A. We then headed home to get ready to head to the gym and from there we went to Adam and Heather’s house for dinner; amazing day to say the least! Between the gym and dinner the cleaning bug bit me, this rarely happens so I must act on it when it does. As I started the process of cleaning our disaster of a house I started looking at some uncharted territory in our bedroom, wishing it would handle itself; not going to happen!

The weekend that Thomas was born, and in the months leading up to his birth and passing, we were showered with gifts from family, good friends and perfect strangers; you wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff we have for our angel. I have been meaning to buy a keepsake chest to store everything in but haven’t acted on those intentions just yet. I have a giant drawer at the foot of my bed that is filled to the max and the items that couldn’t be forced in there have made their way into boxes at the top of my bed; today I felt it was time to go through those boxes. I put it off until around midnight tonight and by then I had built up the courage to begin digging; this is how I torture myself late at night!!!!

I thought I was ready, I thought by now I could handle what was in those boxes, I thought wrong! I have been weepy off and on all day long and have not been able to put my finger on a reason for it when roughly 30 minutes ago it dawned on me; today my Thomas would have been 2 months old. It’s amazing how my body knows I should be sad long before my brain knows it. My body knows that I should be gleaming with pride when my baby smiles at me, my body knows that I should get all warm inside when he turns his head at the simple sound of my voice in an attempt to catch a glimpse of his mommy, my body knows that instead of smelling like perfume I should reek of spit up, my body knows that I should be sleep deprived because I have a demanding 2 month old taking the place of my sleep but instead I have the curse of insomnia and when I do sleep I’m awakened by nightmares that won’t allow me to get any sleep, ultimately, my body knows that I should be up feeding my selfish and demanding baby instead of blogging about how much I miss him. I’m constantly blown away at the fact that my body is so far ahead of my brain. I certainly wish my brain would catch up with my body because I don’t like the way these milestone days sneak up on me; I’d much rather be prepared for them.

Happy 2 month birthday my angel boy; I know you’re celebrating all your “firsts” in the arms of Jesus and that has to be good enough for me for now!

Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing in this life is certain. Ecclesiastes 7:14


Monday, June 27, 2011

06-26-11 / Half Parties: A Sure Way to Wear a Mommy Out…..

06-26-11 / Half Parties: A Sure Way to Wear a Mommy Out…..

What a blessing this weekend has been; weekends like this show us just how much we are loved. Last year was the beginning of “half parties” for Aaden, I realize this requires some explanation so I will gladly provide one. Aaden was born January 10, 2008; one of the best days of our lives! I begged for an earlier delivery for a couple of reasons; for starters, I was miserable due to his massive size and then there’s the obvious; if he had been born prior to January 1st we could claim him on our taxes!! As much as I pushed for an early delivery, Dr. Smith stood his ground proclaiming that little white boys lungs take longer to develop than other babies; this was a problem since I was birthing a little white boy. I still think Dr. Smith decided to quit delivering babies because I was such a difficult patient; he says otherwise but I’m not sure I believe that!

We celebrated Aaden’s first birthday on his actual birthday, I was adamant about this one; I felt if his birthday fell on a good day for a party then we should hold his party that day! We had a giant Mexican themed fiesta, not your typical baby blue “first birthday” party; that was the last party we held on or around his actual birthday. I started thinking that kids really get ripped off when their birthday falls right before or after Christmas so Aaron and I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of a “half party”. Let’s also not forget that the parental units are flat broke after Christmas so throwing a party around that Holiday is more of a burden than a pleasure! I got a tiny bit of flack for making this decision but ultimately I think people have come around. We always acknowledge his actual birthday by going to dinner with close friends and family; just a taste of what is to come in the Summer when we celebrate his half birthday. I can’t see one reason why a kid would complain about such an arrangement; not to mention, he’ll never know any different. 

This weekend was full of fun in the sun! We were able to spend the entire day Friday with great friends at the water park, where we all received a sunburn to remember. Aaron and I had already decided that we would take the kids to see Cars 2 at some point prior to his party so I decided Aaron should take them while I slaved over all the goodies that needed preparing for his big event. We rushed around getting the kids ready for their date night with dad, I got Aaden’s crazy mop fixed and dabbed on some of daddy’s cologne; he was set and ready to go. I got Kamryn all glammed up; perfume and makeup combined with whatever shoes she wanted to wear equals one happy kid. Got them out the door and thought I would have the house to myself for at least 2 hours so I could get almost everything done in peace and quiet; wrong! Aaron called me as soon as they got to the theater letting me know that Cars 2 was sold out! Geez!! I had an idea that this might happen since it was opening night and we’re late everywhere we go; meaning they didn’t get there in time to think about getting tickets much less decent seats! When the kids got home they were very upset that they missed their movie so I moved Aaden’s tv into Kamryn’s room and built them an awesome tent to watch movies in; they were set. I have to admit that hearing, “this is so cool” coming from that room melted my heart just a tad. Aaron decided to take them to the late move, which they both slept through, and I was able to complete the tasks I had lined up for the evening! Thank God for good daddies that actually want to spend this kind of time with their babies; the kind that will sit through Cars 2 even if both kids are zonked out.

Party day came and I was excited and a bit on edge. Aaron took both kids to the gym, thank God!! I was able to get things loaded up to take to the pool and spend hours on Aaden’s Lightening McQueen cake. If you know me, you know the kitchen is not my place! I wanted to make this cake for him so bad and honestly, it didn’t turn out so great but the boy loved it and that’s all that matters! The party was a huge success!! I can’t thank everyone enough for coming and for the awesome gifts you brought for my baby boy! We all had a blast! The party started at 3:00 and we didn’t leave until around 10:00 that night, that’s a party!! I can honestly say my family is blessed! We are blessed with the best family in the world, a family that is willing to go above and beyond to make sure that we have all that we need at all times. We are blessed with the best friends, friends that are like family; there for every part of our lives and the lives of our children. We ended this awesome weekend with a Sunday that began with church and ended with mud, paint, bugs, bullets, cruises around the neighborhood in the new race car and soap on a trampoline with a sprinkler blasting water to make the ultimate slip n slide. Does it sound like a “half party” is all that bad? I think not……

When I started reflecting over the last year of Aaden’s life I couldn’t help but consider Thomas. After having Aaden, the most difficult infant ever born, I never understood those women that would get “baby fever” when their babies are still pooping and peeing in a diaper; blows my mind to this day! Before meeting Aaron I was never getting married and certainly never having kids; shows you what happens when you make plans. When I met Aaron, the only questions my family had were about him having a child because they knew it wasn’t something I was really interested in; clearly it has worked out, not without kinks and lots of work on everyone’s part; but we have never been happier. I love that little sassy girl and my entire family does too; always have. Every other weekend we would pick Kamryn up and have to give her back, this started to really tug on my heart. I really started thinking Aaden needed a full time sibling; one to fight with, play with, love on, beat on, keep secrets for, tattle on and basically just to have at all times and not have to tell them goodbye every other Sunday. As we started chatting about it, we decided to start trying for another baby; it was around this time last year. I was terrified and excited at the same time; the things I was terrified of were sleepless nights, colic, acid reflux, diapers, feedings, spit up at inopportune times, that belly button thing falling off, food allergies, ear infections, strangers touching my baby and trying desperately to be polite while wanting to express to them that I don’t really want their germs on my newborn and any other stupid thing a new mom fears; what I would give to be living through those things right now. We got pregnant with Thomas immediately, very different than our experience with Aaden; I began thinking that this would be our easy pregnancy and ultimately our easy baby; hhhmmmmm.

The only thing missing this weekend was him. In the early months of my pregnancy one of my concerns was getting back in shape in time for Aaden’s big pool party; looking back on that I feel absolutely stupid. I miss him! Little things make me miss him. This party made me miss him but also made me realize that I have so many blessings in this life and he will always be one of the biggest ones.        

One of the best days of our lives! Never mind that thermometer on my forehead....hahaha!!

1st Birthday Fiesta!!

My Precious 1 year old!!

2nd Birthday Dinner

2 1/2 Birthday Party

Thank Goodness Paw Paw and E came to scoop us on his birthday to hit up Chuck E Cheese! I couldn't get out of the house on my own at this point....only 5 days after finding out Thomas' fate!

3rd Birthday Dinner

This was the first night I laughed after finding out about Thomas! Thank God for my family!

Ready for monster trucks!!!

3rd Birthday monster truck rally

Daddy date night!

The magical tent!

He wasn't too sure that this was a race car since it moved so slow on the that he gets to drive it around the neighborhood he thinks the other kids in our neighborhood would like to race him!

Awaiting the sprinkler.....

The Bug Vacuum.....I think every boy needs one!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

06-21-11 / One of THOSE days.....

06-21-11 / What a trying day……

As a mom, these days are sometimes more frequent than we’d like! I woke up with a pounding headache and my face felt like it might explode due to a lovely amount of snot build-up in my sinuses; glamorous, I know. I was so excited about just lying in bed while Aaron and Aaden hit the gym; after all, I hadn’t slept a wink all night long. It seems I can’t lay my head down anymore and just sleep, that “sleep” has to be accompanied with strange dreams that leave me feeling exhausted every single morning; last night was no different. It’s creating a very cranky mommy and wife! I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed by housework, yard work, bills and everything that goes along with being an adult, today it was mommyhood!

Today was one of those days where Aaden, who I fondly refer to as “the boy” most of the time, wants to cry about everything; literally cry! I’m one of those moms that would like to see blood or a broken bone if I hear this type of crying, it’s not music to my ears; it drives me nuts! Every single time I turned around today he was crying over something. He decided it was a good idea to smack Mailee, the new puppy, in the face and when she bit him, he cried. My response to that was, I would have bitten you too so suck it up. He spilled his bubbles outside and instead of just asking if I could grab him more bubbles he immediately went into a state of panic, screaming like someone was trying to kidnap him. When I told him he could not have gummies accompanied with macaroni and cheese for dinner, another meltdown. We decided to make a late night run to sonic so I could grab a Cherry Coke and he could have some sweet tea; a drop of his tea landed on his foot and, you guessed it, sobbing began!! Days like this make me want to lock myself in my room until the entire house is asleep; I wasn’t so fortunate so I had to regroup and refocus.

So many people have emailed me sharing how our story has inspired them and made them re-evaluate how they view their own children. I’m like any other parent; I have days where I just want to put blinders on, earplugs in and completely deny the fact that I have children. Some days, as a parent, are simply too hard and I want to throw in the towel. The difference between a good parent and a bad parent is this, a good parent has those thoughts then puts on their big kid pants and pushes through; a bad parent can’t do that. I don’t think having bad days with your children makes you a bad parent; I think it makes you normal. I can say that Thomas taught me that at the end of the day, especially days like this, I need to take the time to make sure I acknowledge the things I love most about my children.

Aaden is the type of kid that lives each moment with passion, passionate kids can be amazing as long as their passion is of a positive nature. Today he clearly wasn’t feeling terribly positive but as we were getting ready for bed I was reminded of who he really is. Every single night I read to him, I let him pick two books; he always picks his bible and most of the time he picks a dinosaur book. Tonight he conveniently picked 4 books; the bible, dinosaur book, bug book and rainbow book; stalling much?? As I was getting ready to tell him that I was not reading 4 books and he was just trying to stay up later, I quickly caught a glimpse of the beautiful reality that I’m blessed to have this time with him. I will never get to read any books to Thomas, I will never get to tell him no to 4 books because we only read 2, I will never get to tell him the very cool story of David and Goliath (boys think it’s super cool because of the weapons and death by stones), I will never get to tell him I will read 4 stories only if he gives me kisses, I will never get to lay next to Thomas at night until he falls asleep. The things I will never get to do with my precious angel help me take note of them when the opportunity arises with Aaden.

After our stories were read, I showed him some pictures of my friend’s baby girl; she is due to have another heart operation on July 5th and is only 3 months old! When I first pulled up her picture he got super excited and said, “is that baby Thomas?” I told him it wasn’t baby Thomas but it was baby Harper and she has a bobo on her heart; the look on his face melted my heart. He said he didn’t like that and he wanted her fixed. That’s the passion I’m talking about. He loves from the right place. He doesn’t know baby Harper but he absolutely does not like the fact that she has a bobo on her heart. He sleeps with a baby doll that we got him for Christmas to prepare him to be a big brother, we got it before we knew that Thomas was sick; his doll has a special name; baby Thomas. I catch him feeding him and rocking him. He talks to him like he’s a real baby. Before Thomas was born I couldn’t get him to touch that doll, now it seems to fill a void for him; a void that he probably doesn’t even know exists. Aaron said when they were leaving the gym today Aaden spotted his keychain with Thomas’ picture on it and asked if it was baby Thomas; when Aaron said it was Aaden took it from him and kissed it. When we go to the cemetery he knows we are there to see Thomas but I know he doesn’t “get it”; when we left on Father’s Day he said, “bye baby Thomas, I love you.” He looked at me the other day and said, “mommy, you’re the best” and he tells me I’m beautiful and I’m his favorite all the time. Aaron asked him earlier today if he was his boy and he quickly said, “no, I’m mama’s boy”. It really depends on which day you catch him on because he goes back and forth between being mama’s boy and daddy’s boy. When I don’t feel well he hugs me and says I need to go see Dr. Derrick so I will feel better. When Aaron and I look sad, he’s sad with us. His heart is pure and honest. These are the things I love about my son. His passion can be frustrating but the good that comes from it far outweighs the bad.

As my blogs become more about our family on earth, please know that our family on earth is what it is today because of our angel in heaven. My bond with my children has never been stronger and my marriage has never been better; all thanks to Thomas, the most amazing baby I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding in my arms.

Friday, June 10, 2011

06-10-11 / Thank You Time....

06-10-11 / Thank You….

I know I said I would write this a while back and I have had great intentions; those intentions just didn’t seem to turn into actions. I think part of me is so afraid to write this because I’m mortified that I might leave someone out; if I do, please know that I haven’t forgotten your acts of kindness or the love you’ve shown my family, I’m just unable to get my thoughts together at this given point in time. So many people have touched our lives through this journey with Thomas and I could never repay any of you, I can only say a giant “thank you” for all that you have done.

Prayer Warriors:
Thank you for your willingness to pray over our family! Just before we released the balloons at Thomas’s service I spoke a few jumbled words and part of that speech was to thank you guys for your prayers. I have to confess that we had just stopped praying, as bad as that sounds, it’s true. I think, for me, it just became so laborious and tiresome. So many people said I should pray for a miracle, but until you’re faced with something like this, you just don’t know how hard that is to do. I never once prayed for a miracle, I never once asked God to “give me my way”; I simply asked that His will be done. Over time I hated that prayer, I hated letting go of all control and telling God to put me through the worst pain that any parent can experience; so I just gave up. I can honestly say, the only way we made it through all of this in one piece was because of prayers; not ours, yours!

Our Family:
When we first found out about the fate of our baby boy we were so devastated. I couldn’t tell anyone, Aaron had to do all the dirty work. I couldn’t even begin to bring myself to call my parents to tell them what was happening, but the moment he called them they were on their way to Beaumont to do whatever needed doing; it just so happened what needed doing was to take Aaden away from the depressing cloud hanging over our home until we could get our heads right. Every single person in our family stepped up to the plate. We all walked this journey together; the toughest journey of all of our lives so far and we made it! I know this is the hardest thing my parents have had to be a part of, not only losing their grandbaby, but also watching as Aaron and I struggled with losing our baby. Each of you played a part in all of this and you know the part you played. I thank you from the bottom of my heart! You all love Aaron and I unconditionally, no matter what; you have shown us what “family” means and we will never forget it!

Our Friends (who also happen to be a part of our family):
Every single one of you has impacted our lives as much as you think we’ve impacted yours. You have all hurt with us, cried with us, laughed with us, rejoiced with us and mourned with us. We love all of you so much and are so thankful for your friendship! Some of you sat at the hospital with us that entire weekend, skipping showers, without toothbrushes, missing quality sleep and good meals so you could be there “just in case”. We had so many visitors, so many of you stopped in to share in the joy that Thomas brought to all of our lives for the short time he was here. We have made so many new friends along this path that I am thrilled to call my friends. In tragedy there can be happiness and I consider my new friendships a source of happiness. All of you that worked so hard to raise money for our family, those that were there for me every single time I needed to cry, those that brought me books, made us gifts, brought us dinner and brought gifts for Thomas even though you knew he wouldn’t get to “use” them. The texts, emails, cards and phone calls we would receive daily meant the world to us. Thank you all for just being our friends and doing what friends do. Whatever it took to get us through this, you did it.

Dr. Sherman and staff:
I’m not sure how many of you follow this, but I wouldn’t dream of leaving this group of people out! What an amazing experience this has been. From such tragedy came so much love, love from a doctor, her team of nurses and staff. It’s not everyday that you are able to encounter a medical team like the one I had the pleasure of receiving treatment from. All of you hold such a special place in my heart, from Dr. Sherman down to the sweet lady that would always laugh with us as she scheduled our next appointment. There truly is no way to thank all of you, there is no way to repay you for the extraordinary treatment I received; please just know that all of you are loved by my entire family. Thank you so much for making this terrible journey a little less painful.

Through God’s Eyes Photography (Lee-Ann Alpers):
Where do I begin? From the moment we decided to announce our sad news to everyone, you have stepped up to the plate. I remember receiving the email from you offering your services on the day of Thomas’s birth; you will always be special to me! You have taken our family photos since Kamryn was 6 months old, that’s 5 years! What you did for our family is something that cannot hold a price tag! Those memories are priceless and we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Haute Photography (Casey Sturrock):
We have been friends for many years and I won’t get all mushy because I know you don’t like that! I love you so much and will always cherish our friendship! You were there from beginning to the end, you were way stronger at the hospital than I thought you would be; I’m so proud of you. I’m proud of the work you do; you’re an amazing photographer and an amazing friend. I love you! That’s all!

Aaron and I have the honor of wearing our baby boy’s thumbprint around our necks daily and that’s because of two women. Monica at BBS, a little boutique in Beaumont, was kind enough to allow one of my closest friends, Lauren, to imprint his thumb and return it to her to create an amazing keepsake that we will always wear close to our hearts. I’m so thankful that you thought to do this, Lauren. Without you and Monica, we wouldn’t have such a priceless treasure!

St. Elizabeth NICU Team:
What a special group of people! I never dreamed I would have to deal with a NICU team in the birth of one of my own children, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have made it without all of you. Each one of you played such an important and special role in the life of our baby boy and I will never forget any of you! We were so blessed by your willingness to serve our entire family and we are all better people after having met each of you. I don’t know that I could do what you do every single day. I was reminded through all of this that I once dreamed of working as a NICU nurse; I do remember having a passion for that line of work, but I also knew that I couldn’t handle the sadness that went along with it. Some of you became more attached to our situation than others, but each of you will always be a vivid memory for me. I have so many special memories with each nurse, but one is so cute that I have to share it. I might have shared it in a previous Blog, so bear with me if that’s the case. This sweet nurse came in on Sunday to kiss Thomas before she left. This might not seem odd, but before she kissed him she said she was so mad at herself for not kissing him when she left the last time she saw him and she was so glad she had a chance to do it then. As she leaned in for a kiss on the cheek, Thomas turned his head and planted one right on her lips. It was so sweet and hilarious at the same time. This was just hours before he passed away and he was mostly nonresponsive; he clearly needed that one kiss from a hot lady! Thank you all for the support you showed Aaron and myself. Thank you for the support and love you showed our family and friends that just refused to leave the hospital. Thank you for never complaining when we buzzed you into our room because we had a scare, big or small. Thank you for just being you and doing the job you do; it has forever changed our lives!

Bro. David and Mrs. Wanda Trumble:
What you did for us is simply off the charts. What would we have done without you? I hadn’t really considered how hard it would be to hand my baby over to the funeral home after he passed; when it came down to that moment I am so glad you were there. You were so kind and patient, you didn’t rush me, you gave me all the time I needed to say “goodbye” to my baby; for that I will always be grateful! The hardest thing I had to do through all of this was to hand my baby to you and watch you drive away. The fact that I knew you loved him made it a tiny bit easier. The fact that when I handed him to you, Mrs. Wanda, you had a blanket ready to swaddle him and hold him tight the entire way to the funeral home made it a tiny bit easier. The fact that you guys are two special people in the lives of our family also made it a tiny bit easier. I know it was very hard for both of you to do, but you did it with such dignity and love; thank you!

Claybar Funeral Home (Orange, Texas):
Hershel Stagner did an incredible job making sure we got everything we wanted. My dad handled every single arrangement leading up to the birth of Thomas; I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Hershel is a friend of his and has been so gracious and kind throughout all of this. After we handed Thomas to the Trumbles I got it in my head that I wanted to go see him every day leading up to his funeral; I wanted to go sit with him at the funeral home until I was forced to bury him. When I voiced this to my dad he immediately got the ball rolling and somehow the ball fell into Hershel’s lap. He stepped up and personally prepared Thomas in a way that they don’t normally do with infants. He informed Dad that Thomas was in good shape and could be viewed soon, but he wasn’t able to promise that he would remain in such good shape; he wanted us to come as soon as we could. The first day that we went to see Thomas at the funeral home was such an incredible feeling. I remember walking into the room and becoming almost joyful, the words that came out of my mouth were, “it’s him”. I don’t know who I was expecting to see, but my heart became so happy just seeing my baby boy again. Hershel was so kind and patient, he allowed us to hold him and love on him in the privacy of a closed room. He shared with us that we could stay until closing time if we wanted, but that he felt it would be best for us to spend as much time with him that day as we wanted because he wasn’t sure he would look so good in the days to follow. After spending time kissing him, holding him and soaking in all of his features one last time we decided to leave and thought that would be our last time with him. Hershel called us daily asking if we’d like to come see him; it meant so much to us that he took the time to check on Thomas and then call us to let us know that he still looked good and we were welcome to come sit with him. What an amazing man he is and what an amazing funeral home we had the pleasure of working with. Thank you Claybar for the work you do, but most of all, thank you, Hershel for being who you are.

Calvary V2 band (Justin and William):
Thank you for the beautiful music! I was dreading having the typical “funeral music” played at my son’s service and you did exactly what I wanted; uplifting, praise and worship! Thank you for being so willing to serve.

I could never thank each person that played a part in all of this, if I did, this would be the longest Blog ever! I do have one last person that I would like to thank and that’s Pam Gaspard. The boys and I were able to get away from life this week and it is all thanks to her. I emailed Pam a while back asking if we could rent her lake house for a few nights after we had a chance to recover from everything and she was so quick to respond. Not only did she say we could use her lake house, she refused to allow us to pay for it. We were able to just relax and enjoy each other for a while. Living in this mess daily becomes very taxing. Aaden’s entire world has been turned upside down and his behavior reflects that. Aaron and I have been able to grow as a couple and as parents, but needed a break from reality. Our reality hasn’t been too much fun this year. 2011 has been the worst year of my life, but this week at the lake was the start of something fresh. We took time to just be a family and ignore everything bad. We spent time thinking of Thomas and wishing he was with us. We collected shells, sand and even a pinecone to bring back for him. He will always be a part of us, he will always be missed on family vacations and in everyday life; we are just ready to celebrate the time we had with him and push forward in life. I will never use the term “move on”; I hate that term! I will never “move on” from my baby, I will never be able to say, “I’ve moved on from the loss of my child”; I will simply push forward and make the most of each day, the same way I would if he was here with me!

It is late and I am very tired! If I have left you out of this “thank you” Blog, please know that I haven’t forgotten; my mind just gets boggled.
Thank you all for loving my family the way you do!

Gathering sand for Thomas

This is the pinecone he picked for his brother!