Tuesday, August 31, 2010

these quiet moments

My house is quiet.  Too quiet.  There is no crying babe, no chatty toddler, no...sound...at all...

My heart feels heavy and full of an emptiness that only a mother who has buried a child can understand.  My belly is empty from the loss of my sons, and feels cavernous tonight. 

I feel sad.  I miss my baby.  9 weeks ago I held his tiny body and begged God to let me keep him.  My soul aches with missing my children...  a deep ache, a belly ache.  I want to scream, to cry...to run...and not stop.  This quietness teases me, and cloaks me in itself. 

I try to fill up my days with phone calls, internet activities, meeting up with friends....to avoid the quiet that comes when I am alone.  I'm thankful that we decided to have Levi at the hospital rather than at home, as we had planned.  I think it would have made it unbearable to be here at all. 

I can hear Matt breathing deeply now.  I am not alone.  He too is feeling the sadness only a father who held his sons for only moments can know.  A father who has two dead boys...two tiny graves with the our last name on them...two....gone.

30-day blog journal - Day 19

Day 19 - a talent of yours

Oh, gee, there are just sooooo many.  I kid, I kid.  Anyway, I think I'm a talented singer.  I don't really have a way to show you this, without putting up embarrassing footage on youtube, and that's not going to happen.

I love to sing.  I have always loved to sing.  We have these recordings from when I was a wee tot, just singing like crazy.  I would carry around my grandaddy's recorder (complete with microphone) - you know the one.  I would make news stories, sing at the top of my lungs, and boss my little sis around.

 Yep, almost that exact one, except ours was off-white in color.  EEEEEk.

Anyhow, back in 2006 I entered a little contest here on the Gulf Coast, called Emerald Coast Idol.  I came in 3rd place.  We had several rounds of auditions (like American Idol) and then a big Sing-Off at the Saenger Theatre (a nice swanky type place here in town).  Anyhow, it was so much fun, and I just loved it.

I have been in several musical groups, performed on stage in musicals, sung at numerous weddings, and I love singing at church.  I also super-love Karaoke, which is how I ended up performing on our latest cruise as Gloria Estefan (in front of the entire ship)!!

Here I am 'striking a pose' at the finale of our musical on the cruise!  HA!!!

These two are from the Emerald Coast Idol Competition.  I guess I'm kind of a big deal!! HAHAHAHA

Ten on Tuesday

Trying something new today!!

I got the idea from Steph at A Grande Life.
Her blog is cute and fun, and so is her little!! 

Okay so a few rules:
1) take my button for your page, and leave a comment for me

2) take Steph's button and go read her stories

3) sign the Linky at the bottom, leave your page and we'll all visit you too!
4) make your Ten on Tuesday list today!!  yay!!

Now for my Ten on Tuesday!
This week is going to be a random list of things I'm thinking at the moment...

Starting with, a few indicators that you may need to take a vacation.

1)  you can't even look at other people without scowling, and mumbling under your breath.  (if this is the case you need to leave the area immediately)!

2)  when you wake up each morning the song "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" is in your head, and a cocktail is in your hand (all before 9 a.m.).  In this case it's best to take a trip to Mexico where they serve cocktails at breakfast...I'm not joking...I was just there. 

followed by, a list of books to check out:

3)  To Full Term by Darci Klein

4) Anything by Jodi Piccoult
     I've read about 7 of her books, and I have 5-8 more on my bookshelf right now. You probably know her because she wrote "My Sister's Keeper."  They made a movie about it, trust me, the book is much better.

5)  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
     I read this before the movie came out, and I just loved it.  I didn't care so much for the film, so just do yourself a favor and dive in to this adorable story.

And, lastly, here are my favorite websites for coupons, money saving ideas, etc.  And, they are all free!

6)  I Heart Publix
I Heart Publix

7)  Printable Coupons

8)  I Heart Saving Money
I Heart Saving Money

9)  Southern Savers
This may be my absolute favorite coupon site, because she does all the stuff I don't want to do...menu planning, coupon grouping...  Just making my life easier.

10)  Coupons.Com

I warned you it would be random, next week I'll be more prepared.  Enjoy visiting the links and leave your info below.


Monday, August 30, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 18

Day 18 - my wedding

My wedding was spectacular, spectacular.  
Matt and I met on eHarmony in December of 2006.  By the end of the week we had our first date, and then our second, and 5 days later he said he loved me.  Then about 6 weeks later he asked me to be his bride.  He proposed at Lamberts, a restaurant known for their delicious rolls.  He had them bake my engagement ring into a roll.  It was so sweet.   We were married on May 26, 2007.  It was a dream.

He wrote a song for me and sang it that day, it was too much.

My vows to Matt:

Matt, I love you and I am honored today to become your wife.  I'm proud of the man you are; your character, integrity and commitment to form a solid foundation for our relationship.  Each day I further learn to trust your judgment in leading me and someday our family, as God leads us.

I promise to remain faithful to God, seeking His will and guidance in my relationship with Him and for our marriage.  I promise to be faithful to you and above all things to honor you as my husband.  I promise to submit to your leadership, and look forward to making our home a place of refuge for you - a home full of love, acceptance and joy.

I promise to make our relationship a priority.  I will not run from you emotionally, knowing that you love and that we both desire to grow through our conflicts.  Knowing that marriage is a life-long 'work in progress.'  I vow to stand with you and face each challenge as your partner.  And, no matter the challenge, I will not divorce you.

I am proud to become your wife today.  I willingly commit myself to be your best friend, greatest fan and exclusive lover, until the day that one of us lays the other in the arms of Jesus.

I love you.

Matt's Vows to me:

Amanda, you’re my light and my love. You’re my level head and my voice of reason. You’re my biggest fan and the one who is always there to lift me up when I’m down.  You’re my best friend as well as the only one I want to spend my life with in this marriage relationship. 

I will have my moments, just as you will have yours.  I ask you in front of everyone here that you will try and have grace towards me in my moments as I’ll do the same for you.  

Sometimes I’ll be right…in my mind…while in actuality I’m dead wrong and you know it. I ask that you lovingly show me my error, if you deem it even necessary to point out.  I ask you also to not overlook my faults, failures, and idiosyncrasies, but help me to work through them.

Above all, I want you to know that I love you and will always love you.  Even though we’ll have our verbal bouts and valleys along the way, I promise never to leave you…and if you leave me, I’m coming with you.  

Though our disagreements might seem paramount at the time, in the grand scheme of things, I know that they’re just inconsequential, and I promise that in the midst of those disagreements or valleys or even in the mundane-ness of life, I will never consider divorce as a solution, or even an option.  

I want to work through our low, hard times because I know the end result will be a much deeper, loving relationship with you, which is what I desire.  I want to love you more 50 years from now than I do at this moment; I need your help to do that.  Help me to love you in the way you want to be loved, which is the way that I desire to love you, and we’ll be better for it 50 years from now.

2 months gone so fast

We have returned from Mexico.  It was a fun trip, and as always I feel it went by way too fast.  It was so nice to be far away from anyone who knows us, and just relax with each other.  I love my sweet hubster!

We got back Saturday.  That was the 28th.  That was also 2 months since our Levi was born and died.  It was bittersweet and I was totally exhausted.  We got home, had lunch and then went to the cemetery.  His headstone was placed while we were gone.  I got some pics, but it was raining quite badly.  I miss this boy so much.  Every smiling babe reminds me of what could have/should have been mine/ours.

I'll get weepy if I type more, so I'll just show off his beautiful memorial stone.  I love this little one so much.  There is also a pic of his big brother's stone.  We were blessed to be able to bury them side-by-side.

This is my story submitted to faces of loss about Levi's time with us.

Levi's Journey

It has been a long road. We thought we might be ready to try again after the beginning of 2010. I prayed and cried out to God to let us have a baby before I turned 30. My 30th birthday is this November 27th. So, on March 21, 2010, when I found out I was pregnant again....I was thrilled....scared to death..but thrilled.

I was much more anxious during this pregnancy, and I didn't want to tell anyone until I was 20 weeks along. Matt, however, couldn't contain it for even one day! He carried the 'pee stick' to work and showed it off. He works at our church, so it was kind of funny. He began telling everyone he knew, and everyone he saw. Once again, his excitement was incredible to watch. I love him so much. He has been such a hero to me. I held off on telling my friends until about 6-8 weeks, and didn't tell any of my family until 12 weeks. Mother's day. Again, all my appointments were perfect. My cervix was holding tightly, and things were looking like they might work out. But still, I held back my excitement. I had read so many books after Rowan left us, and discovered that I probably had an incompetent cervix, so I insisted on more testing and more exams, and my doctor was gracious and gave me what I wanted. I was seen every two weeks for measurements, etc. Thank God.

At week 17, June 14th, we went in to find out the sex of this baby. It was a boy. Hallelujah. We were ecstatic. I cried and held Matt's hand. Then, it was time for the cervical exam. No big deal, hadn't it been perfect just a few weeks ago, yes...more than enough length. Yet the u/s tech's face dropped and she rushed me into my doctor's office. I was told the length was at 2.5cm, and anything under 3cm is bad news bears. No worries I thought 2.5cm is not to far from 3cm. We were rushed to a MFM specialist only 3-4 minutes away, and by the time they examined me (less than 20 min. later), baby's head was down and my cervix was measuring at 0cm, and they could see the water sac. What?!?!!? How?!?! 

I was admitted to the hospital for an emergency cerclage the next day at noon. So, for 18 hours I was put in bed, at a 45 degree angle (feet above head) in hopes that the membranes and baby would slip back inside where they belonged and the surgery could be performed. I have never been so scared. My little one, in whom I'd been so hopeful...and now I was failing him too....failing my husband again. But, Matt was so incredible. My sweet love. He talked to me about baby names, and about what we would tell the baby. About how strong I was, and what a great momma I'd be. We hadn't discussed this baby before, a name for him, what he would do when he grew up. I think it was our way of not counting the chickens before they hatched....without ever saying anything to each other. We decided on the name Levi, which I have always loved, and Matthew after my husband. So, this baby, still alive in me would be called Levi Matthew. In the Bible Levi's name was changed to Matthew after he met Jesus, so it was a sweet name, and an honor for my husband.

Well, noon came and I was put under for surgery. I am told that I was asleep for 5-10 minutes, because as soon as I went under my water broke. 17 weeks and my water broke. I learned later (on my own) it's called PPROM. Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes. We were told there is no hope, and no baby can survive PPROM at this early in a pregnancy. They were wrong. Many babies have and do, once again information I discovered on my own. However, with spontaneous rupture there is no 'cure' because the rupture is too all encompassing, it is too big of a wound. So, I put myself on bed rest and a strict diet of prayer. For 2 weeks I laid in bed and prayed and spent time with my Levi. My husband laid around with me, and my friend Donna as well. It was awful, but kind of a sweet time to have with Levi, a time that I did not have with Rowan. Donna even took us out one day shortly before Levi was born and did some maternity shots....I'm so so glad to have them.

On the morning of June 28th I woke up feeling 'not quite right.' My appointment that day was at one, so I waited for Matt to get in from work to take me to the doctor. Around noon I started having mild contractions, and I went to the bathroom. I felt around and could feel something solid at the opening of my cervix. At the doctor's office I was told it was Levi's bottom. Again I cried. There would be no stopping his arrival. He would come, and it would be soon. I was told to go home and wait, but I begged to be admitted to labor & delivery, I wouldn't be able to do this at home. The doctor agreed, and by 2 p.m. I was in my bed in L&D. I had contractions off and on all day and by 7 or 8 that night they were massive, and bad and about every 5 minutes. Matt had fallen asleep and I rose to use the bathroom, it was 11:45-ish. Levi was coming and I couldn't stop him. I began to yell for Matt and he ran to get a nurse. I delivered Levi at 11:46, once again, over a toilet I brought a child into this world....only this time...he reached out and grabbed my hand. I watched with love as a tiny heart beat out a rhythm against the flesh of his tiny chest, and I saw him greedily gulp down 5-6 small breaths of hospital air. Then I just held him. There was, sadly, no saving my boy. My strong, lion-hearted Levi. He fought so hard, and was super-strong. A little hero, like his daddy. An identical, albeit, tiny exact replica of his daddy. 

We buried Levi on July 2, 2010, next to his big brother Rowan. They are forever together running the streets of gold, and loving Jesus.

face in a crowd

Check it out, over at faces of loss.  A new way to reach out and offer hope to those in your community who have loved and lost their babies. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

30 day blog journal - Day 17

An art piece...

So, I'm not really 'in' to art....  As in, when I visit an art museum I am never truly wowed, or in awe...  I guess I spend my appreciations on other parts of the arts.  So, I just surfed around online until I found something that struck my fancy!!

First this...
I'm really hungry right now, that explains alot.

 And then this, because this is truly what I find the most interesting type of painting/drawing... 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 16

Day 16 - a song that makes you cry (or nearly)
I don't know how to put a youtube video on here right now, and I can't find one with a good quality recording of this song anyway.
Glory Baby
Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

Friday, August 27, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 15

Day 15 - your dream home

My dream house is cozy, and simple.  
Not old, or new, just average and in between.  
I'd like for there to be love in every corner, 
and smiles in every door.  
I'd love for there to be children brimming up over it's edges.  
I'd like it to be a place that husband finds refuge in after he's been working all day.  
A home where you can say what you mean, and mean what you say.  
A place where you can rest, play, cry, love, work, eat, sleep and live.  
That is my dream home. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 14

Day 14 - a non-fictional book
Seriously, this list is waaaaay too long for one blog post.  I will say that I find great comfort and peace in reading the Bible.  I know, I know...don't go all cheese-ball on me.  But, truly, it is the best book with the best message.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 13

Day 13 - a fictional book
I don't really read fiction novels.  I just haven't ever been able to really 'get into' them.  But, I do have a soft spot for this book.  Okay, I LOVED it.  Didn't care for the movie...but the book is tops.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 12

Day 12 - something you are OCD about

I don't have a picture about this, but I am totally OCD about people closing things when they are finished using them.  I can't stand to see the kitchen cabinets open after my husband has removed a glass and left the room, or when people just leave open containers out...open drinks, etc.  Good grief....just close stuff people!!!  

Monday, August 23, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 11

I'm on my way to Mexico!!  WAHOO!!!  I have set these up to post in my absence.  I cannot wait to post all the fun pictures from our trip.  Rest assured, we are probably having a BLAST right now!!  :o)

I hate, with all I am, the reason for needing this trip...but I am thankful for provisions to be able to go and be away with Matt for a short time.  A much needed rest.

Anyhow, here is my blog journal post for today:

Day 11 - a photo of you recently

Sunday, August 22, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 10

Day 10 - a photo taken over 10 years ago of you

Saturday, August 21, 2010

summer party

Today is my niece Kalli's 2nd birthday. 

 We traveled to Marianna to visit with my family, and boy was it a hot, sweaty, birthday kind of day!  We had lots of fun, and the best news is that I only cried three times.  There were a lot of kids there, including a 9 month old, 3 month old and 10 week old - oh yeah and a girl with a big preggo belly.  And, I know all of them or am related to them.  Geez.  I'm so ready for our trip to Mexico...  hurry up Monday!

Anyway, back to Kalli-bug.  She is my younger sister's daughter, and just a little darling.  She was so tiny when she was born, she sure surprised us all by coming over a month early!  She hasn't stopped being a show-stopper.  I love her little personality, and the sweet way she says 'Aunt Amanda.'  I love her snuggle-bug-ness, her slobbery kisses and her bossiness (she gets that last bit from me!!).  Gosh I just adore her.  She is a beauty (as her name means).  I cannot wait to watch her grow up and become a lovely woman.  Allison & Kasey are a good momma & daddy, and they have raised up this little princess well.  She is quick to obey, and just a joy to be around.  I love you Kalli Lorianne. 

This pic is from her 1st b.day last year b/c I'm too tired to upload the pics from today...don't worry I'm sure I'll post them tomorrow!!

30-day blog journal - Day 9

Day 9 - a photo you took

I have a weird fascination with pictures of my feet.  Whenever I go to a place I have not been, like a new town/state, etc, I take a picture of my feet there.  This picture makes me happy because of all the green clover.  It was a particularly cold winter here, and this was the first day of spring.

Friday, August 20, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 8

Day 8 - a photo that makes you angry/sad

 My dad and my grandaddy.  

My grandaddy passed away suddenly, and completely unexpectedly on Halloween in 2001.  He was my biggest fan and a best friend.  He was always smiling, always ready with a joke, gracious, giving, kind, loving, sensitive, hilarious, and the best man I've ever known.  I miss him, and it brings me peace to know he's in Heaven with my babies.   "Smile.  Somebody loves you."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 7

Day 7 - a photo that makes you happy

  me and matt - taken just 2 days after we first met.  Already we knew...we would be together for a lifetime.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

30-day blog journal - Day 6

Day 6 - 20 of your favorite things

1.   being a wife to Mattie

2.    being a momma to Rowan & Levi

3.   being a big sister
me, allison & kloe
me & al

4.   being an auntie

5.   being a daughter

 6.  being a granddaughter

7.  my loud, crazy, dramatic family

 8.  being a best friend

9.  Cruises

10.   Being Crafty (crochet, scrapbooking, etc.)

11.   reading

12.   music/singing

13.  living in Florida

14.  girls' nights

15.  Jesus Christ, my salvation
got questions??  message me!!  I'll tell you all about Him! 
Isaiah 12:2-3
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  
The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

16.  Having my picture taken

17.  owls

18.  Vintage Pyrex Dishes

19.  Antiques

20.   being pretty much the same person my entire life
....and loving it!!