Thursday, August 28, 2008

Her name in this world.....

Today I went. went to the place that marks my daughter's name. gives her life. gives my pain and heartache an identity. Today I went to the park to see her tree, her plaque, her place in this world. I went alone. I told no one. I went early in the morning when the park was empty. and I said hello to her place. her name in stone. An amazing peace came over me. A feeling of togetherness, connection, love, faith came over me. Now she has a place. THANK YOU!!! Becca, Gale, Sarah, Noelle, Lindsey, Denise, Denise, Mike, Wendy, Bob, Challeen, Pam, Kim, and anyone else that had a hand in this. You do not know how much this means to me...to Tim, to our family. Thank you for honoring my daughter's memory in such a beautiful way.





Wednesday, August 27, 2008

FAITH...

Faith....the word that describes my road, my path, my journey, my life, my hope, my Jesus. As I lay in my bed waiting to deliver my sweet angel baby, the only name that popped in my head was Faith. Faith. Faith. and so she was named Leah Faith. Little did I know, God had plans for me. Plans to remind me of His purpose. His love. His control. His majesty. I have had many moments. many glimpses. many purposes. But this must be the biggest, best, most powerful. You see, when I start my blogs it really is just to fill you in on my girls and our life. But then, something happens and the words just come. They aren't planned, aren't scripted. They come from within, and they fall onto the page, the keyboard, the computer screen. On Sunday I told the journey of my help. The shoulder and ear I turned away from. I told you how I was scared to make the phone call, scared to make the connection, scared to realize my path. BUT, God has other plans. Because GOD is awesome and always showing me His hand in my life. My dear friend Becca, who offered me the resource of her friend Amy who had traveled my journey, met her dear friend Amy at the pool on Monday. They hadn't seen each other in awhile, and their discussion turned to me. Becca told her she should check out my blog...not knowing what I had written on my blog on Sunday night. Imagine that ....the very blog I had written about Amy on, was the blog Amy stumbled onto....God has brought that connection about. God has once again crossed our paths....because God knows His plan for me, my family, my sweet baby girl who was born into heaven. And know I feel His strength...His love....His arms around me. I feel ready. ready to see my baby's tree. ready to visit the only beautiful marker of her life, death, and impact. My AMAZING co-workers, I mean FAMILY (because really that is what they are) bought me a tree and a plaque to honor our baby....born into heaven. And now I feel the strength....and I think I may be ready to go....see my girl's tree. Her name. Her place in the world. Because while you did not get to meet her....she left her footprint on my life, her hand on my heart, her memory in my soul. And I know her purpose will have been fulfilled if you can see it in my actions, words, and deeds. Because through FAITH...I will live a life of Joy, Love, and Hope. Thank you AMY for reaching out and touching me! On that day in March, and yesterday!! You are a reminder of how great our God is...how much He has planned for us...and for our girls, who are resting in the arms of Jesus right now! Thank you Becca for being a constant source of strength to me and a breath of fresh air in my life. You remind me daily of how important it is for me to stop, look, listen, and enjoy each step of my life. I am blessed to call you my friend! Our God is an awesome GOD, he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

1 dog, 2 parents, 3 girls, and 4 goldfish

We have officially made it to the 'American Dream'.

Own a home ~ check

One furry dog ~ check

2 working parents ~ check

One American made gas guzzling SUV ~ check

Membership to 2 Mothers' Clubs ~ Check

Membership to the aquarium and zoo ~ check

Successful camping trips for our summer vacation ~ check

3 frozen casseroles in the freezer ~ check

The first trip to pet store to purchase GOLDFISH ~ CHECK!!

Today we loaded the girls into the car and took a trip to Wal Mart. Yes, you read that right...we didn't just hit any old pet store. We went for the gold rings...we hit the quintessential store....Wal Mart. And....we loaded two smiling girls and 4 terrified goldfish into the car. Those poor fishies....they have no idea what they are up against. Forget the crazy girl in Nemo...nope we've got one better...we have Caroline :):) Just kidding! She hasn't started shaking the bowl, yet. Our new centerpiece is a beautiful fish bowl, complete with amazing fake plants. What better digs for our four newest family members. Nemo, DOri, Elmo, and Cookie Monster are busy getting settled into their new window on the crazy world, we call home. Hopefully we won't traumatize them too much :)

We have officially run our girls into the ground! Friday night was our first official Back to School Night dinner, as parents! The girls had the greatest time running around with a million other kids, jumping in two jumpy houses, and playing with all of my wonderful students. I have to say there are MANY, MANY, MANY reasons why I LOVE teaching middle school. The first one has to be the great students themselves. I love that they all come sit with me to eat their dinner, excitedly telling me of their weekend plans. The runner up reason...is I have 50 built in babysitters who love to chase, I mean follow my girls around...ALL night!! After an exhausting evening of fun we all fell into bed. Now my question for you is...when you go to bed late, exhausted do you A. sleep in late and relax or B. wake up really early?? Now I have always chose option A...but not my girls...nope they prefer option B. So, Saturday morning they awoke before the sun, ready to run! Ella had grand ideas for daddy to jump out of bed and build her a tree house. Being the awesome daddy that he is, he of course jumped right on it. After the required coffee intake, of course :) So, now we have a partially built tree house and one daddy who is full of grand ambitions. Look for pictures to appear soon. Our afternoon and evening were spent at the beautiful Vartan pool. WOW, this pool is a parent and child oasis. It has the best set up for the kiddos which of course allows all of us parents to relax, just a little bit!! One exhausting weekend later we now have....two dreaming daughters and one set of happy parents falling into the regular Sunday evening humdrum as we prepare for another fabulous week!

As I was leaving church today my friend approached with news that she had been working with a mother who just lost her 6 month gestational premie. She came to me to see if she could share my name with the grieving mommy. Of course I said yes as I passed along my email, phone number, and blog url. When I laid in my hospital bed waiting to deliver Leah, my friend Becca offered me the same resources. And I never called. Never picked up the phone to connect with someone else who had walked my same path. I don't know why. Was I afraid of the map she was going to give me. Afraid to face the reality of my grief. Afraid to cement my role as a grieving mother. Afraid to share my grief. Why are we so afraid to share our grief. Maybe it is not we...but me. Why am I afraid to share my grief? I hate making other people sad. Hate seeing the pitiful look in their eyes. Hate taking the wind out of their sails, the sun out of their sky, the joy out of their eyes. And yet not sharing my grief is in a way, denying my daughter her rightful place in my life. She is a living part of my life. Even though I never got to see her take her first breath, hear her cry her first sounds, or share her first smile...she is still a part of my life. still my daughter. still a wanted and loved human being who lived in my womb for 6 months. still my baby. Lately I have been struggling with the question of how many children I have. How do I answer that question? I have 3 daughters! 3 beautiful amazing daughters. 2 who live with me here on earth, 1 who lives in the arms of Jesus awaiting my arrival to heaven. I love the song by Mercy Me, I Can Only Imagine. Every night I try to imagine Leah's life...imagine her joy and love. imagine her peace and tranquility. imagine her here with me today. What would my life be like right now. and yet when asked that question...sometimes I answer 2 daughters because I don't want the eyes...the looks...the sadness to enter my day. It always lives in my heart and my soul but sometimes I don't want it to enter my day.
Many wishes for a great week! In faith...in love...in joy....in hope....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The first day of the rest of her life...

Today was the first day of the rest of her life. The first day of school. The first day of kindergarten. The first day of the rest of her life, because after all, we all know that everything we need to know we learn in kindergarten. And today was the first day of kindergarten for our sweet girl Ella. Wow!! How does time fly so fast. How does my sweet little baby girl who HATED everyone (except mama, of course) become an adorable kindergartner, overnight?? Luckily for me, my eyes were dry. Unlike other mommies who have to leave their babies at kindergarten, I get to follow my girl to school everyday. I get to rest in the comfort that her teachers are my friends. That her principal is my friend, that the people in her life everyday are my friends, really my family. Life at my school is so different than any other school. We aren't just co-workers, we are family. We know and love each other so much. We know and love each other's children so much!! And so, today my baby girl walked into her 'home away from home' and was loved by her extended family, loved by Jesus, and loved by her mama. The best thing in the world, was seeing all of the people at her first chapel that were there for her....there to share her special day with her. Thank you all for loving our baby girl! It really does take a village to raise a child and I am so blessed to have the most amazing village to call my home away from home!!

All dressed up for the first day of school!





Ella and her two kindergarten teachers who are job sharing! Ms. Wilson and Mrs. Madigan. Ms. Wilson is the sweetest person, EVER!! Mrs. Madigan is a DEAR friend of mine. She is the mama to the most adorable little girl Sierra! Thanks Becca, for loving my girl, and for putting up with me for the next year. I hope I don't drive you CRAZY!!!




Ella and her most beloved friend and teacher Ms. Zimmer!! Wendy is my dearest partner in crime. She is my saving grace in a crazy world, my inner voice when I am lost, and my confidant when I am in need of an ear. And lets face it, who else would put up with me dragging them around to different exercise classes at 5:30 in the morning. Wendy, I just love that God has brought us together...again. I am so grateful to him for allowing me to be your baby's kindergarten teacher and for allowing you to be my baby's kindergarten teacher. We do have an awesome God who placed you in my life at the best time...I love you girl!!




On another note...today is the 5 month anniversary of my sweet Leah Faith's birth. I cannot believe that 5 months have past since those fateful days. I still feel numb, still waiting for the other shoe to drop, still waiting to learn how to breathe again. Still waiting to wake up from my nightmare. I just cannot believe that this has happened to me. I remember my doctor telling me that Leah's cord accident was like winning the lottery, very rare and not likely to reoccur. I still sit in awe...we don't win things...we don't win lotteries, drawings, the slot machine, bingo, craps, you name it we don't win it. So why, oh why did we have to win this lottery. Today was the first day of school. I had a great day. I love my job, love my students, love my co-workers, love my school. BUT, I wasn't suppose to be here today. I was suppose to be on maternity leave...suppose to be loving my baby girl...loving my 3 girls. Instead I was loving my students...and feeling a hole in my heart that was longing to be filled by the embrace and cuddle of my baby.

Leah Faith Davis~ not a day goes by that I don't think of you, long for you, dream of you. I wish I could hold you and tell you how much I love you, how important you are in my life. I dedicate this school year to you....may my days be filled with FAITH, HOPE, and JOY. May my actions be a reflection of my love for you, may I leave people in awe of my faith, hope, and joy. 5 months today...it feels like yesterday...and it feels like a lifetime ago. I love you sweet baby girl! I can only imagine the party you are having in heaven, in the arms of Jesus!!!

Faith, Hope, Love....and the greatest of these is LOVE!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My daughter is an addict!!

Yes, she is an addict! We had to preform an intervention today. Still not sure how it went...it will probably take a few days to really understand the depth and extent of her addiction. We are hoping to find a 12 step program for her, and a parents' program for ourselves as we are struggling with how to stay strong, how to avoid enabling her, how to show her she can do it!! You see, our sweet baby Caroline is addicted!! Yes, she is addicted in the worst way. Addicted you say, to what??? O, to the most beloved baby object, her most treasured possession, her pacifiers. Not just one, but 3!!! And today was the day we decided to break that habit, break her spirit, rob her of her most beloved possession in life!! I am so heartbroken that we have decided to do it! Yet, it seemed to almost be necessary because we were no longer able to understand the broken English squelched by the pacifier!!

We started today by burying one pacifier in the yard because Ella wanted to give the paci to Leah. She decided if we bury the pacifier in the ground it would reach sweet baby Leah in heaven. SO off we were to grab a shovel. One paci down, 3 to go. After that we jumped in the car and drove to Build A Bear to make our very own paci bear. You can tell from the pictures how Caroline felt about that!! I am happy to report, however, that she has been great all evening! It might have actually worked. I will report back later in the week.












To top it all off, daddy thought it might be a good idea to make a few changes at once. So, not only is she paci free, she is also crib free. We moved her into a big girl bed tonight...not sure if she will last as both girls are driving us CRAZY!!

It is such a bittersweet moment when our children start growing up. On one hand it is so exciting to watch them reach and accomplish the various milestones of childhood. Yet on the other hand, we know all to well that once those milestones are reached there is no turning back...they are gone forever, only to live in our memories. Watching Caroline reach these milestones is bittersweet. I don't know if I will ever watch another baby reach these milestones. Growing up, my entire life, I always knew I would have at least 3 children, really I wanted 4 or 6. I always wanted to have a big family. Pregnancy, however, does not agree with my body. I am sick, sick beyond words. I want to crawl in a hole and never leave, I vomit more times than it is possible to count, I withdraw from anything and everything, I hate it!!! But around week 18 I begin to feel great, the glow of pregnancy returns to my face...the excitement builds. And then, the unbelievable happened. I became one of THOSE woman. The nameless, faceless women that wander the world with a silent pain. They don't share it easily, many times you meet them and never know....there are the survivors of stillbirth. The pain is so deep, so consuming, so raw. You walk through life with a smile on your face, leaving most people to wonder if you still hurt. Yet inside you rage like an out of control fire. Your heart aches, your body aches, you cannot imagine that this is YOUR life. It is not someone else's life. NO, it is YOUR life! And the reality of your life will never go away, never fade, never diminish, never change. You will always be the nameless, faceless woman who survived a stillbirth. And every milestone you encounter will cause both joy and heartache. Joy because you will watching your living child blossom and grow. Heartache because you will never see your angel baby experience these milestones, never get to rock her to sleep, never get to kiss her sweet lips, never get to stare into her beautiful eyes. It is because of this silent pain that I are family may be done growing. I don't know for sure. I told myself I was taking a year off, a year to focus on my own health, growth, well-being. 9 more months of walking around with an undecided feeling....nine months to grow my inner being...nine months to pray for God's will to become evident. 9 months to discover HIS purpose, 9 months....to allow my Faith to carry me, my Faith to lead me, my Faith to open my eyes and heart. A lifetime to honor my sweet angel baby, Leah Faith. A lifetime to allow her to shine through me!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When the going gets tough...

the kids get the stomach flu!! Not just any other childhood illness, runny noses, coughs, stuffy heads, fevers...NO, not something manageable like that. Nope. Just the wake up in the middle of the night to your two year old's crib full of vomit. Gotta love it...then sitting up all night to console her because she doesn't understand what is happening to her. All, the week before school starts, all on the days you have set aside to create the quintessential learning environment for those ever eager middle school students! My first response was to feel stress, anxiety, and frustration. BUT, then I sat back and thought to myself, maybe this is God's way of suggesting to me that I need to spend one more day with my precious girls before I enter the working mama zone for another school year. So, two sweet girls with the stomach flu, countless loads of laundry, many showers for mama,and one delicious margarita later, I can finally say, Yep, God wanted me to stay home and lounge on the couch with my girls. Because after all, tomorrow is another day. Having perfect bulletin boards in your classroom does not define you as a teacher, mother, wife, friend, daughter. Loving and caring for your sick girls does. And at the end of the day, I would rather be identified as the person who gave her energy towards her role as a mom, then the crazy lady who had perfect bulletin boards (because of course I don't). Please say prayers for a vomit free night for Tim and I!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

He didn't have to be....

20 years ago the man who didn't have to be entered my life. And boy, I was NOT happy. He came with baggage. A suitcase full of crap, otherwise known as rules, expectations, consequences, ultimatums. All the things an out of control teenager hates. He taught me how to drive, gave me my first car, dragged me out of a party, took away my car, enforced painful consequences, LOVED ME!! 10 years ago he walked me down the aisle. The card he left for me was signed by DAD. The tears he shed were real, the heart he shared was real, the love he shared was real. He didn't have to be. He didn't have to love. He didn't have to embrace. He didn't have to support. He didn't have to be. But he did. Yes, he DID!! And I am so incredibly thankful to God, and to him, everyday of my life. Because he did! HE loves, he embraces, he supports, he is...the man I know as my dad. The man who walked into my life when I was an out of control 15 year old teenager, the man who didn't give up on me, the man who loves me as his own, the man who loves my children as his own, the man who embraces my husband as his own. He didn't have to be....God, I am so thankful that he is, that he did, that he does. Because, without him in my life, I would not be the person I am today. I love you Dave! We love you Papa, I love you DAD!! You didn't have to be....but you did....and I will love you forever because you are...my dad today, tomorrow, always!!






Saturday, August 9, 2008

Our Farewell to Summer...

Sadly, our family must bid a fond farewell to our summer vacation. I return to work on Monday, meetings, setting up my classroom, lesson plans, all the fun stuff that goes into setting up the next school year. While I LOVE my job, I always feel sad saying goodbye to my stay at home mommy days. Two months of staying home with my girls, swimming at the pool, lounging in our jammies, playing at the park, and living on our own schedule.

This summer has been bittersweet for me. Although we have taken some special vacations together, it is not the way I had hoped to spend my summer. I am the most obnoxious planner. I can't help it. I always want to plan each step of my days, weeks, months, and years. Upon receiving my positive pregnancy test, I carefully planned my entire summer. Little did I know, God had other plans. He decided to remind me that He is the one that leads the way, He is the one that names the stars, He is the one that works for the good of all people, even when we don't see the good in His plans. My plans were to be recovering from a c-section, nursing a newborn, chasing after my two other girls, pulling my hair out when the demands out reach my abilities to mother three girls, and falling into bed with my amazing hubby so that we can marvel at the wonder of our family, the blessings of our three girls. Instead, I walk each day in search of Whispers of Faith. I find myself seeking out the purpose of my pain.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Over-packers Anonymous!!

Please tell me, there must be an Over-packers Anonymous group somewhere!?!?!?! I cannot be alone in this...I am a compulsive over-packer. I can't help it, really I can't. I always tell myself to try and pack light, BUT then, the "what if" thoughts creep into my head and I end up throwing everything into the suitcase. This is the number one reason we drive everywhere. That new airplane baggage law would really affect our pocket book.

Well, one incredibly stuffed SUV later we pulled into Tahoe. On Saturday we spent the evening with the Hernandez family at their condo in the Keys. Christine is my oldest friend. We met when I was just days old....our mommies were friends with each other when they were pregnant, and we were born 1 month apart. We were privileged to go to the same preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school. My entire life has been spent with her by my side. As adults we lived next to one another in duplexes with our soon to be husbands. We served as Maid of Honors in each others' weddings. As children we always dreamed of having our own kids together. And, we each have two children, she has two boys I have two girls. This summer was our first time taking a vacation together as families, just like our own families did many years ago. Our kids had the most amazing time playing together....sharing their joy and wonder with one another.

Best Friends Forever


The next American Gladiators


The magic of childhood wonder


Ella and Brandon


Caroline and Gavin


The girls spent the day fishing and taking their first boat rides. Caroline and Ella are truly water babies!!

On Sunday we met my parents and the Madden family at our campsite. We camped at Fallen Leaf Lake for 5 nights. It was a wonderful trip filled with walking, running, swimming, biking, hammock swinging, roasting smores, and chasing bears. YES, you read that right...chasing bears. A sweet little black bear decided to eat our of our neighbors cooler...and being the adventurous bunch that we are, we decided to follow him on his walk home. Okay, adventurous may not be the word you would choose to describe us, since we have heard other people refer to us as STUPID!!! But really who can resist the most adorable, cuddly baby bear!!!



Notice our friendly bear in the background


Ella Bella


Carolinie Lou


Our adorable God-daughter Elizabeth Kate



Overall, our summer was spent with some of the most amazing loved ones in our lives. We are so blessed to have friends and family that truly love us and support us through all the challenges that lie in front of us and behind us. We are so thankful to all of you. Thank you for making the hardest summer of our life a magical summer filled with adventure, wonder, joy, and love. WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!

A few cute videos of our girls:


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