Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cooking with HIPPY

This summer, I enrolled Helen in her first non church-related organized event, and this fall she began the HIPPY program in Atmore. And if you wonder what in blue blazes HIPPY is, skip to my link.

Helen was standoffish at first, and dreaded the initial testing. Gradually she warmed up to our home educator, Mrs. Teresa, and now she looks forward to doing a little fun activity with me each day, even though we don't get to it every day.

Most of the lessons are literature-based, and follow the theme of a children's book that we get a copy of, but last week we had a cooking lesson. We took two completely different substances and combined them to make something different. In our kitchen, it was pudding mix and milk. Complicated, I know, but Helen loved it. She even chose the pudding flavor in the grocery store. I opened the box of lemon pudding, poured the milk, and she whisked for a long time while I yakked on the phone. I totally missed the part where we were supposed to taste and feel the separate ingredients. Oops. Then we divided the pudding into espresso cups, and Helen put three snowman marshmallows on each cup. She counted the cups, counted the snowmen in each cup, and counted the total amount of snowmen. It was fascinating for her, and fun for me to see her learn.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Our day began with junk food cereal and Tom and Jerry cartoons, both Saturday morning traditions around here. For the record, Marshmallow Pebbles cereal is a little too junky for my taste. I felt queasy for a long time after my bowl full.
When Jack woke up, his first words were about needing his "scoon." I peeled back the covers in his crib and found my slotted serving spoon, which apparently was his choice sleep aid last night.

I had a hard time leaving last night's memories behind. The moment the hospital came into view, dizzying emotions slammed into me. The parking lot where Jason and I had walked to get my contractions going strong was torn up, making way for new construction. A small blessing.

We visited the labor and delivery wing and dropped off a beautiful white poinsettia for the desk. They hadn't forgotten us.

The grief counselor that had worked with us was finishing her shift. I handed her a blanket I sewed after Quinn was born, along with Quinn's birth announcement, to be given to the next mama that needs it.
And we held Bryce. And it was hard, but it was good.
We felt God's peace in those moments. We still trust that his peace is always near, even when we choose to ignore it and give in to despair.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Thank goodness for my large supply of felt and embroidery floss, two of my current favorite sewing supplies. They come in handy when my children get snippy with scissors.

Jack cut a hole in the sleeve of his dump truck shirt. It took me a little bit to think up the solution, but I thought the road sign was an appropriate warning for his sometimes difficult-to-maneuver self.
Helen, age four and fabulous, must have wanted designer gauchos instead of the off-the-rack pair that Aunt Jan found for her. The first time she wore them, much to my shame, she gouged a hole in them on purpose. She confessed, but only after I questioned her. Grrrrr...

And the kitty tore a hole in her beloved snowman jammies. Felt and floss to the rescue!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9

What an emotionally tumultuous day. 3 months ago, we held our precious baby for 1 hour. We're left with a few pictures and memories. We don't have baby spit-up on our shirts. We don't have sleepless, newborn nights. The few rattles scattered on the floor are cat toys.

But we have a God that is good. Our future lies securely in his hands. Nothing comes as a surprise to him. Before Quinn was born, he knew her. He wrote the story of her life, and he wrote himself as the main character. Our arms are aching to hold her, but we know she is safe in heaven.

We swallow hard as we realize God has other stories for other people; it is no use to rant and rail. Our peace lies in accepting the path he chose for us, learning from his Word, and running into his presence.

And so we welcome with joy our sweet nephew, Bryce Andrew, born today, December 9, at the same hospital as Quinn. We plan to meet this new little person tomorrow afternoon. Congratulations, Brent and Janice!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gotta Love It!

Jason drove to McCullough to check the fields. Along the way, he saw a mud flap,a rude pumpkin man and a posted sign that was pretty clear, I think.
Although, I wonder if you could sneak a goldfish?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Helen Turns Four!!

I love celebrating my kids' birthdays, but for some reason, Helen's recent birthday was a hard one for me. The night before, I hovered in her room, telling her and myself this was her last night of being three. I think part of my sadness relates to the fact that we won't know her little sister as a three year old.

Here's the birthday girl on Sunday morning before church, posing nicely with the requested pink princess castle cake. Her sweetness quickly morphed into rocking the world with her silliness. (Motherly roll of eyes.)
The Castle. Those little pink candies are pink Whoppers. I can't bring myself to call them strawberry because the only thing strawberry about them is the picture on the box. After a futile nap attempt, we let the kids lounge while we all watched the New York City marathon and cheered for Meb and Shalane Flanagan.

Helen showed off her cake one more time. I think the most beautiful thing about this picture is the husband vacuuming in the background. Mawmaw was the first guest to arrive, and Jack could not stop belly laughing for the sheer joy of parties.We ate and then opened presents! Grandpa and Grandma Weber hit the jackpot with this preschool workbook. A huge artist's tablet and new paints from Uncle Brent and Aunt Jan were also well received by Miss Can-I-Paint-Mom-Can-I?!!And wonder of wonders--a musical jewelry box with a twirling angel ballerina from Uncle Conrad and Aunt Les! Well. What a pleased four-year-old girl we have!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9

This is kind of a cruddy day for me, since it marks two months since Quinn came and went. I've been writing down all the events and emotions that were crammed into that time, but it takes a good bit of emotional energy to make myself do that, even though I know it is important. I was back in Quinn's room this morning, journaling about how we had to tell our other children the sad news.

For six hours one Thursday morning, we had four children. Now how am I supposed to answer the get-to-know-you question "How many kids do you have?" The first time, it took me by complete surprise. "Three," I stammered to the clerk at the pharmacy, and then ran for the door. I don't remember if I put on a bright smile for her or not, but I know the tears were streaming as soon as I hit the parking lot.

My mom called this morning and asked how I was doing. She had some other sad news for us. A cousin lost her baby this morning, mid-way through pregnancy. It seems everywhere we turn right now, people we know are facing unexpected outcomes with their babies. I don't have a lot of words to say about it. God, help us.

I cannot collect all my thoughts and emotions, but one thing I know: God is holy.

Whew. I can't stay too long in an emotionally heavy moment, so I'm posting some pictures that make me laugh. Here's Owen, being his goofy self. There is no love of a pose in this boy's heart, although he is acutely interested in seeing himself in my camera window.
Here's Jack, looking like he's ready for shuffleboard. Meet you after coffee?
And Helen, with the pink princess castle cake she wanted for her birthday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Felt Hair Clips

These clips went to a sweet little friend who has the cutest, most seemingly alive hair. Helen was plastered to my side while I made them, scattering her opinions and questions. It was sweet, until I needed elbow room. (The kids are still learning about personal space.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Six Years Old!

Our kids are always happy when there is a birthday to celebrate. They are abundantly happy when there is a birthday amongst our own household! Owen turned the Big 6 on October 19.
The younger two and I took cupcakes into his class on his special day. Helen quickly figured out which classmates were which, as she has been salivating over every word of Owen's school descriptions since Day 1.

The birthday supper took place in the back of my truck, complete with the birthday banner and presents.Tailgate suppers are what happens when Daddy is playing in the dirt.Peanut harvest has most everyone wishing that their houses weren't downwind.
We celebrated with more family members later in the week, when I made Owen's cake. I had some cake batter testers in my kitchen to ensure all ingredients were properly measured.
The cakes had multiple tunnels in them. Can I blame my kids' involvement? That would be nice. Unfortunately, I don't need help to screw up a cake mix. Or Jell-O. All the same, I chose to decorate the cake after everyone under four feet tall was tucked into bed. The next morning brought a jealous admirer and an enthusiastic birthday boy.
We waited to place the dirt bike until we arrived at the party.

Happy Birthday, Owen! We love you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Once upon an afternoon,
our children were happy to be together.

And they all coexisted peacefully ever after.The End

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The thirteenth of October marked one month since Quinn's funeral. That month lived like a year. So much of our thinking has been rearranged, and we're still unsure of ourselves, stumbling on wobbly emotional legs. I'm distrustful of myself in public. I'm relearning how to buy groceries, how to cook, how to avoid diaper ads. Some days are good, and I can tune out the immediate heartbreak. Some days are horrible and I want to give in to the grief and let it swallow me whole. Some days I feel OK, but then I meet a friend in the produce section, and instead of choosing the perfect bunch of bananas, I'm wiping my eyes again.

I find myself having a good morning, but then suddenly getting outrageously angry at small things, like the inept repair of potholes in the road. In the same vein, I might have a tearful day, feeling like I'm going to vomit the whole time, but end the day with laughter around the supper table.

People ask what they can do for us. I don't know. Bring Quinn back.

But please keep praying. Please keep using Quinn's name. Keep asking how we're doing, but be OK with an in-the-moment answer. Some times we want to talk about it, but sometimes we need to forget about the grief for a time.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Over a year ago, I began keeping a small notebook for the things my kids say. I've kept that up over the past month, and the entries reflect their thought processes.


Gwue's Cwues = Blue's Clues
I meed it! = I need it!
No! I just went! = automatic response to the potty question
pockin picker = cotton picker

"I don'wanna talk nice!" (after being reprimanded for whining)

"Mom, what was that square thing with the windows in it back there? It was on the ground. It was something that you live in and has carpet in it." (I figured out later it was an abandoned roofless building.)

"Mommy! I'm obeying the TROOF in the truck! I am just growing up. In the bathroom I was thinking--and I was sooooo tall."

yong = yawn
clown = crown

"Mom, is Quinn's body at her grave, under the ground? And even her face and her eyes?.....I wish we should have another baby girl named Quinn." Parental explanation. "Well, I wish we should have another baby girl with a different name."

"I need a Q-tip to check my teeth. Q-tips are for your teeth to make a lever."

On Quinn:
"Did the ears on her body hear you?"
"Is Quinn going to drink milk from Paw Paw?" ????!!!!!
"Are there numbers on the houses in heaven? What is Quinn's number?"
"Is Jesus holding Baby Quinn? Can we call him?"

While being tucked into bed: "Mommy, I think you need to get out of here. You are talking to me too much."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Abandon yourself to the nap!

Naps are located in the top drawer of my coping toolkit. They are especially useful as we're shooing away the flu virus. (Yes, one faint positive flu swab at the doctor's yesterday.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Week Before Quinn

In reminiscing, we realize the week before Quinn came was a blessed time. We had decided to let her come on her own and not induce labor, as we had with our other babies. We trusted God to work out the timing. I have to admit I was extremely frustrated as my due date came and went, and each day after held its own struggle of acceptance.

I used the time to finish getting a few things ready for Quinn. I whipped up a blanket for her to match her diaper bag. I painted her monogram on her wall art.One day while sitting in front of my sewing machine, I was irritated with whole world, as only a 9-month-pregnant woman can understand. It seemed as if right then God whispered to me that this day was a gift for me to enjoy. I suddenly realized that Helen and Jack were playing happily together in the baby room, it was a beautiful day outside, I had a schedule cleared of any outside responsibilities and there was peace in my home. I had all this time to be creative, to live in the moment, and here I sat, grumpy and irritable. It changed my thinking, and I quickly made a little mattress and quilt to fit my old doll crib that we had put in Quinn's room, enjoying every moment.

The last Sunday before she was born, we went to church. Before we left, the whole family naturally gravitated toward Quinn's room. Owen took a belly shot of me.
Jason took another one.We goofed off until it was time to leave.
Jack loves the "two babies" that were mine when I was little. My Mom reminded me that they came from my cousin Andy. So thanks, Andy, and forgive me if I never sent you a thank-you note back when I was 2 or 3 or 1.
We tried Jack's new shoes on him, my Economy Shop find of the month. American made, leather upper, I forget what brand, hardly worn, for a little bit of nothing. There's obviously still room for growth.
Owen loves to show off the fan and light switches. It's his little piece of control.

And Helen, mostly sunshine that day.

There is no doubt that Quinn's room is our favorite room in the whole house. Jason worked so hard at finishing the walls and ceiling in time. Our family gathers there for prayer at night. It feels like a sanctuary.