Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Lynnea!

The focus of birthdays is usually on the aging process -- becoming another year older.  For young children, the idea of being a whole year older is exciting, while for adults, it is often seen as a reminder that they are one year closer to the end of their lives.  But really, the focus shouldn't be on aging; instead, the celebration should center on the birth -- after all, that's what is being commemorated -- the fact that a person entered the world, changing it somehow, sometimes in a big way, sometimes in small ways, but altering things nonetheless in that moment when they arrived, and in every moment afterward.

Two years ago today, I gave birth to a 7lbs. 10oz. baby girl named Lynnea Hope.  In that moment, she changed my world, and Corey's world, and her big sister Ashlyn's world forever.  Suddenly we were no longer a family of three, but a family of four.  Ashlyn became a sister.  In some ways, it may have seemed like a small thing to everyone outside of that hospital room, or outside of our immediate circle of friends and family, but it wasn't small at all.  We welcomed Lynnea Hope into our arms, and into our lives, having no idea at all the kinds of changes she would bring, or the number of lives that she would affect.

The two years since that moment when I held Lynnea in my arms for the first time have been nothing like what I had expected them to be.  Most of all, I never expected to get to say hello to her for the first time so early in the morning, only to have to say goodbye to her on an afternoon 20 short months later.  I feel like I was just beginning to get to know her.  But, I loved all 612 days that I was able to spend with her, and during that time, she taught me (and many other people) a multitude of valuable things, including the significance of birthdays.

So, today we celebrate the appearance of Lynnea Hope in our arms, in our hearts, in our lives.  I wish that she were here to celebrate with us, but, somehow, I'm sure that no Elmo-themed birthday party that I possibly could have planned for her would even come close to comparing to the celebration that she is experiencing in heaven right now.   So, we will enjoy the cupcakes that Ashlyn helped me bake (with sprinkles, of course), and remember what an amazing little person entered the world at 4:07am on Friday, October 31, 2008.

Here is some video footage from Lynnea's one and only birthday party.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reformation Party

This evening, Ashlyn went to the Reformation Party at church.  It was a costume party, and she dressed up as a Hershey's Kiss.  She enjoyed the games and getting to spend time with all of the other kids that were there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kitchen Helper

Ashlyn has been a helper in the kitchen lately.  She has been determined to make herself lunch whenever I will let her.  She makes peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  She also enjoys helping me make cookies and muffins. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ashlyn's Lynnea Book

Ashlyn's Family

Lynnea's Wagon Ride

Lynnea in the White Crib
This week Ashlyn worked on adding some pictures to her Lynnea Book.  First she drew a picture of her "whole family, before Lynnea died."  This is what she told me to write about the picture: "This is a picture of my whole family.  Daddy is very tall.  He loves me.  Baby Naya liked me, and she was very short.  Ashlyn is big; she would play with Naya and help take care of her.  Mommy is bigger than me.  She likes to do art."

Next she drew a picture of Lynnea going for a wagon ride at the hospital.  This is what she said about her picture: "This is Lynnea going for a wagon ride at the hospital.  She has a smile on her face because she was happy -- she liked riding in the wagon.  She is laying on her pink blankie in the wagon to make her comfortable.  She has a feeding tube in her tummy because that is how she would eat."

The third picture she drew was of Lynnea at home.  This is what she said about it: "This is Lynnea at home in her white crib.  She has two pillows -- one under her head, and one under her feet because she was silly and liked to put her feet on a pillow.  Bear-Bear is in bed with her because that's what she liked to sleep with.  She has  a feeding tube, but that's all -- this was a day when she didn't need any oxygen or the oximeter."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Missing Lynnea

Ashlyn has mentioned several times over the past few days that she misses Lynnea a lot.  Sometimes she mentions it directly, and sometimes it comes up during her play with her toys.  Today at nap time, she told me that Bunny was sad.  So, I asked her why Bunny was sad, and she told me that Bunny missed seeing Lynnea all the time and playing with her.  She doesn't cry about it, she just randomly mentions that she is sad and misses Lynnea.  We look at pictures of Lynnea, and watch some of the videos we have of her, and this seems to help some.  We also draw pictures and talk about things that we used to like to do with Lynnea.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Again with the Dip-Dip

I guess Ashlyn still hasn't outgrown her love of dipping things at meal times.  She no longer specifically asks for "Dip-Dip," but it there is anything dippable, she dunks it into whatever is available.  The recent favorites include: peanut butter and jelly sandwich dipped in blueberry yogurt, chicken nuggets dunked in strawberry yogurt (yes, I know, if I don't want her to dunk stuff in it, maybe I should quit serving yogurt for lunch), fishsticks in applesauce, and carrots in ketchup.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shafer Corn Maze

On Saturday, Ashlyn and I went to the Shafer Corn Maze with my brother, Chad, my brother-in-law, Jarimia, and my neice, Lexi.  Lexi acted as our navigator through the maze, while Ashlyn insisted on also carrying a map which she spent a lot of time staring at intently.  The girls also enjoyed feeding the goats, and working their way through the tangled web. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quiet Goodbyes

In the midst of my newsfeed on Facebook today, among all of the status updates from all of my friends, there was the announcement that Amayah had passed away.  Before and after it in the feed were comments about the nice weather, and what people were planning on making for dinner, etc.  Life continued on while life stopped for one little girl.  But, that's how it always is, isn't it?  Life continues, even in the absence of one, while friends and loved ones say their quiet goodbyes.

Amayah was another heart baby, and her family faced choices similar to the ones we did with Lynnea about when and how things would end.  Please keep her family in your prayers.  Also keep another one of our heart friends in your prayers as well -- baby Aidden had his Glenn surgery more than a week ago, and there have been some unexpected complications.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Three Months

Three months have gone by now since we lost Lynnea, and even though there have been some very good days since then, I'd be lying if I tried to say that there aren't still plenty of moments when the unexpected reminders hit me out of nowhere, and I miss her like crazy.  I should be busy planning what would have been her second birthday party, but instead I am trying to force myself to finish putting her clothes away in boxes.  But, moving on is necessary, even though it is hard sometimes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Leaves on the Trampoline

Today Ashlyn had a lot of fun playing on the trampoline at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  The trampoline was covered with leaves, so, rather than sweeping the leaves off from the trampoline, Ashlyn thought it would be a good idea to sweep the leaves into a pile and jump into them.  She worked very hard making herself a pile, and then enjoyed jumping into it.