Saturday, January 7, 2012

Recycled Sweater Mittens

The girls and I have been busy making recycled sweater mittens in the last two weeks...funny how ugly sweaters can turn into cute mittens!  Wish we would have found this pattern before the holidays!!

The girls and I have made 15 pair so far...for a total cost of under $25.  We have plenty of sweaters left to probably make another 20 pair!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Year....365 Days...Empty Arms

Another tough week for me, so I am going to attempt to write down my thoughts.

Tomorrow it will be one year. 365 days since we said good-bye to our precious baby. The baby that we never got to hold in our arms but always held in our hearts.

I was out in Ashley's memory garden yesterday with Ellie...attempting to pull the weeds that were knee high. Ellie sat on Jesse's big rock and was checking out all of the smaller rocks that the kids had painted last spring. I was a bundle of emotions in her garden...trying not to be sad for Ellie's sake as she asked question after question about baby Jesse and telling me how much she missed our baby cuz she would have been an awesome big sister!

As we sat and talked, we pulled some weeds back and saw Ash's bleeding hearts that she planted last year...and then the tears started to flow. Her flowers are beautful and seeing them made me both happy and sad at the same time. Happy that our precious little one is safe in the arms of Jesus and sad, knowing that part of my heart left with Jesse and hasn't been the same since. And I cried about having 'empty arms'...longing to hold our little one.

I don't think I will ever forget being in the emergency room last year while the girls were waiting for us at the letter winner's banquet. I didn't think one person could possibly feel so many emotions at one time...I was scared, confused, angry, and tried so hard to be hopeful. The emergency room doctor couldn't find our baby's heartbeat...and tried so hard to reassure us that sometimes the baby isn't positioned right, it might be too early, etc...but we had heard baby's heartbeat three weeks earlier, so even though they told us not to worry, I was already fearing the worst.

The doctor was incredible...taking the time to hold me and Wes as we cried and prayed with us before we left the hospital. That is another thing that I won't soon forget.

The doctor scheduled an ultrasound for us the next morning. I think it was the longest 12 hours of my life...couldn't sleep, was a nervous wreck, prayed and begged God for it to be a mistake, trying to remain positive, all the while feeling in my heart that we weren't going to get the news we hoped for in the morning.

I almost backed out of my ultrasound appointment cuz I told Wes that if it is bad news and something isn't right, I would rather not know. But in all reality, we went in for the appointment because we needed to know what was going on. I prayed so hard while changing for the u/s, again trying to bargain with God that this was all a bad dream or a mistake, and that we would soon be seeing pictures of our little one and hear a heartbeat.

I think I held my breath when they started and within less than a minute, I knew we were going to hear the dreaded the nurse asked to us to wait while she went to find a doctor. And then the tears started...we both knew that our little one gone and that we would soon be facing one of the toughest things we have been through in our marriage.

The doctor came in and continued with the ultrasound, held my hand as he told us that there wasn't a heartbeat. I felt like my own heart had stopped beating. He showed us our baby on the of a healthy looking baby. No defects, no abnormalities...but a perfect looking little baby. Our perfect baby who we would never have a chance to hold.

This doctor, like the doctor from the previous night, was incredible as well. He cried with us as he shared his own story of his and his wife's recent loss of their little one who was about the same size as our little one. He gave us our first and last pictures of our the time, I didn't want to even bring them home...but Wes told me to just tuck them in my purse because some day I will want to look at them again.

We were told that since I was healthy, that the best decision would probably be to wait for nature to take it's course at home. All I could think of was... 'what does that mean? I can't possibly do this at home! I have no idea what to expect. I am scared to death.'

I think the worst part of this day was knowing we'd have to go home and tell the kids what had happened and what was going on. It was so hard, especially since they had finally gotten over the initial shock of mom being pregnant again. We sat on the living room floor and held each other, cried, prayed, and cried some more.

The next day resulted in another doctor's appointment for me so we could be prepared for what to expect and tests to make sure my iron levels weren't getting too low. As we got in the van, Wes told me we had one more appointment to go to and he asked me not to get mad at him for calling Marva Jean. Knowing that with all that was going on and he somehow found the time to call her gave me a sense of peace. We spent over two hours with Marva Jean...laughing one minute, crying the next, praying, holding on tight to each other, being reminded that God hadn't forgotten about us and that He was hurting with us, trying to make sense of what was going on. This small act by Wes was exactly what we needed...and I can't believe he was afraid I'd be mad that he called her.

We went to dinner with the kids and I kinda hoped that nature would wait a few more days....I wasn't ready to not be pregnant any more. I just wanted a few more days with our baby even though our baby was already in heaven. I know that probably makes no sense, but I kept thinking that maybe it would all be a mistake and until it was over, I had some sense of hope and didn't have to let go. I wasn't ready. Fourteen and a half weeks wasn't long enough. I felt cheated. I felt like a failure. I was angry that God could allow this to happen. I was scared of what was to come. I didn't think I was strong enough to let go.

Later that night, the contractions started...just like with all of my other pregnancies. But this time, I knew it was not what I wanted. I knew the outcome wouldn't be full of joy as when we welcomed our other children into the world. It was only a matter of a few hours...Wes held me, we cried together, he was my rock.

I can't even begin to describe the pain of losing a child....I felt numb. Shattered. Broken. Helpless. Angry. And Wes felt the same things as well. We have each lost a parent and now we were saying good-bye to our baby. It wasn't fair. Even though our little one was an 'unexpected' surprise, we were overjoyed knowing that God was blessing us with another little one to raise. It was all in God's timing, and He wasn't finished with our family yet (even though we thought we were done after Ellie was born). We all were anxiously waiting for November to meet the newest 'Trout'.

And within three days, it was all taken away from us. We kept asking 'why?'

I will be the first to admit that the following hours, days, and weeks were difficult for our family. Some days it was a struggle for me just to get out of bed...and I had to remind myself that the other kids were hurting too, that I needed to be their mom and at least try to be 'normal' for their sakes.

The kids all helped pick out Jesse's name....Jesse Lyn Trout. Jesse because it means 'a gift from God', which is truly what Jesse was. And we challenged ourselves to each find ways that Jesse was our gift, albeit a short gift. We vowed we would learn from the gifts that Jesse gave us. We shorted up my middle name for Jesse's middle name..which seemed fair cuz Kacey and Jeremy share Wes' middle name.

We also decided that we would have a memorial service for Ashley's memory garden. Some people asked why we would bother but we ignored those who thought we were crazy because we knew it was something our family needed to do so we could find some closure and start the healing process. Singing Jesus Loves Me with our kids...words can't even describe what my heart felt. I was clinging so hard to my faith even though the world was crumbling down around me.

Another healing point for us occured later in the fall, about a month before my due date. Grand Rapids had a dedication ceremony for the Angel of Hope memorial park. The kids joked with me that they would come with if I promised that I wouldn't cry...course, I broke my promise and I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes. But it's hard to describe...they were tears for our loss but at the same time, they were tears of joy at how far our family had come since May. We were able to remember Jesse and be reminded of gifts that Jesse gave us.

I will be honest....completely honest. The last year has been a struggle for me. I still find myself searching for answers as to why this happened to our family. I cuddle up with 'yellow duck' that we bought in Branson last spring...Ellie's first present for her new baby. I find myself wondering what our little one would have looked like. I realize now in hindsight that our trip to the Precious Moments chapel was a way of God preparing us for what was to come a few days after returning from Branson. I didn't realize it at the time but it was an extremely emotional experience being at the chapel and seeing the mural, “Hallelujah Square” which celebrates the lives of real children whose lives ended too soon. I cried when I saw the mural and am so grateful for the photos that Emily took that day.

The following verse meant so much to our family...and continues to do so.

And this one means so much to me....

Baby Jesse, we love you and miss you so much. We will never forget you, and you will always be in our hearts.

Tomorrow will be one year.  I made it.  It was tough.  But I am getting stronger every day.  I don't think I will ever be ready to really let go.  But I am trying to move forward, and that is a good sign, because, last year, I didn't think I would ever get to this point.  Thank you, Jesse, not only for the gifts you gave our family, but for the gifts you gave to me.

And I look forward to heaven, where I know you will be waiting for us! (And my arms will no longer be 'empty').

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let Me Hold You Longer.....

Can't sleep tonight and have a ton of thoughts running through my head tonight after celebrating our 'baby's' 5th birthday earlier tonight. So many things have changed since this time last Ellie opened presents on her birthday last year, we were so excited to share the news that we would have a new baby in our family in the fall. Fast forward to the end of the month, and we were holding our children as we said good-bye to our precious baby, Jesse. Sometimes, life just doesn't seem fair.

I am struggling....I will be honest. And for those of you who truly know me, you realize how hard that is for me to amit.

My special little buddy is now registered for kindergarten in the fall. Ellie is my day time friend...someone to chat with (I swear she can carry on a conversation as well as most adults), bake with, and just hang out with and have fun with during the day. I never know if we will be playing dress up or having a tea party...or dressing as princesses for the royal wedding!

I am going to miss her terribly next fall when she is at school during the day with the rest of the stage of life is passing and a new one is beginning. I am not sure if I am ready for it or not.

I know in my heart that God has great plans not only for my buddy but for all of our children....and this new stage is a great thing. And I am grateful for days like remember being proud of our girls at the conference track meet, for watching Ellie try her best to be patient about her birthday and celebrating her sisters' successes (knowing that she would have much rather been at home opening birthday presents and eating cake), for her big brothers for making her feel so loved, for remebering watching Shane's success at past track meets, and for all of our kids for being pateint with me as I figure out how to be a mom after all these years!

Before I blink...these moments will be gone, and I will always cherish the memories of giggles, inside family jokes, back yard football games and trap shooting, and snuggle times that I took for granted at the time.

I found this poem earlier tonight from one of my favorite authors, Karen Kingsbury....and somehow, I needed the kleenex close by....


Long ago you came to me.,
a miracle of firsts;
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips.
The last time I lifted you
and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past—
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure in the park,
your final midday nap.
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all
your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow—
will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…..

The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you.
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass.
I want to hold on longer---
want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help
with the details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.

Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.

Sorry for being so long winded...just needed to get my thoughts down and ask God to let me hold on longer and tighter to every precious moment....whether it is a first or last moment with our children. And am praying that even though we never had these moments with Jesse, that God is holding our baby tight until we can be together again.

Seems like our season of life right now for Wes and myself revolves around the kids, and even though we are constantly on the run and overwhelmed, I know in my heart that I will miss this season once it is for now, we are hanging on tightly for the ride and enjoying every moment.

I hope our kids know how much we love them, how very proud we are of each of them, and that we are their biggest cheerleaders in all that they do.

And praying that God will continue to bless our family and watch over us and teach us how to be the best parents we know how to be.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Up-cycled Cake Stand

Kacey has been following some craft blogs lately and finding ideas that she wants to try out.  After a recent visit to St. Cloud and a stop at Savers, she had some items to 'up-cycle' into a new cake stand.

She spray painted a brass candle holder so it would match the blue plate that she bought.  Some super strong glue was used to attach the candle holder to the plate.

Kacey also discovered that the glass cover from my cake stand fit on her newest creation.
It's fun to see what a creative 13 year old can come up with...and she will now have a new way to display her cupcakes that she is always making!  Total cost for her project was less than $2.00.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend...we have been busy with the kids but wouldn't change it for the world!!

Linking up to:


Thursday, April 21, 2011

New IKEA Bookcase

We went to the cities last month when Ash received her ExCEL award at the Target Center....and came home with a new IKEA Billy Bookcase with glass doors.  Would love to have about a dozen more of these in our house, if we had the room!

The bookcase we bought ended up in our long hallway so we can store our fabric and craft goodies....until we can get a corner of our basement finished into a craft room. 

Have one photo to share tonight of what we did with our fabric and will hopefully get the other photos uploaded this weekend...
Love the bright colors and being able to see what we have...hoping to find some spare time soon to work on sewing projects!

Linking up to:

New fabric and a new 'old' loveseat!

The kids competed at the state project bowl for wildlife last weekend in St. Cloud....and of course, we had to find a few craft and fabric stores after the competition.  We said we weren't going to buy any new fabric until we used up some of our stash but somehow managed to come home with just a few new goodies!
We are hoping to make some new envelope pillow covers with the fabrics on the curtains for Ashley's room with the top fabric on the right pile, and new cushions for the bay window as well.  Didn't get a photo of the fabric for that but if all goes well, we will have photos of the updated cushions this weekend!

We also had our 'old' loveseat recovered recently...we were amazed that they picked it up on Thursday last week and delivered it back to us on Monday afternoon.  The kids are all complaining that it is too boring being a solid color but we will remedy that with some bright new pillow covers!  It is acutally a much darker chocolate brown than the photo shows but due to the cruddy weather, it was hard to get a decent photo.

Glad that the kids have a five day weekend....means that the sewing machines will be out on the kitchen counter, and we will hopefully get some new projects finished to share with everyone next week!

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Spring Pillow

Ashley managed to finish up her new purse for her trip to Washington D.C. last month (four days before she left!)...gotta love her, she wanted something original for her Close Up trip!
Couldn't throw away the scraps from her purse so we thought we would make a new spring pillow for the living room. Used fabric scraps from Make Life by Sweetwater.

Hoping to make another one with the rest of the scraps in the pile!

Linking this up to:

Blogger's Pillow Party


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