Tuesday, June 28, 2011

She's a dance, dance, dance, dance, dancing machine!

Every year our May is completely crazy busy!! One thing that keeps us crazy is Skylar's dancing!! She absolutely loves to dance & I'm pretty sure May is her favorite month because it keeps her on her toes a lot. The first weekend of May is always her dance competition at Lagoon. This year, Skylar and I decided to spend the day at Lagoon & the boys were busy with soccer so it was just us two. We started the morning going to the Remembrance Walk at Thanksgiving Point where they read the names of the babies in our baby loss group. This is a yearly ceremony that the families continue to go to every year to remember their babies. It was so nice to go and see Gabriel's picture on the slideshow and to hear his name read, along with so many other babies' names whose moms have become such a great support to me. It was a beautiful program and a beautiful day. We enjoyed walking around the gardens for awhile with my friends. It was great to have Skylar with me to enjoy the morning and remember our little Gabriel.

Then we were off to Lagoon for Skylar's Dance Competition. She did two dances-How to Believe:& It's a Hard Knock's Life:She did such a great job! Her team did such a great job! In fact, they won 1st place in both dances!! Go Sky!!After the competition we played all day at Lagoon with some friends. Skylar & her "best dance friend", Abbie have been dancing together since they were three. They have so much fun together!

Every time we've been to Lagoon in all of these years of dance competitions I've never been able to go on the rides because I was pregnant or we didn't stay for rides. It was so fun to have a girl's day out with my Skylar having fun & actually get to go on some of the rides that I've never been on. Skylar was so brave & went on everything! This is our new favorite ride, Wicked. It's name says it all.
The dancing doesn't end with the competition. There's still a concert to come at the end of May. Skylar had three dances in the concert. The two from the competition:

...and Dance Forever

Of course Skylar rocked it! The dance concert was a little bittersweet because it was Skylar's last as a student of Mrs. Jennifer and Mrs. Christy, who have been teaching her since she was teeny. Sky's now moving onto the Jr. Company at her dance studio and will have a new teacher. She will also be the youngest in her group. It involves a lot more dance, competitions, & money, of course. She's sooooo excited!!! I'm so glad she's found something she's so passionate about.

She's also excited that Abbie will be moving up with her. Go dancer girls!! Skylar loved having her posse, Line & Malia, come to see her dance. Thanks for coming girls!!There still was more dancing in May!! Here's Skylar at her school chorus concert. She has loved being in chorus this year. Their spring concert was all Disney songs and they had a fun time dancing away while singing. I'm not posting the performing pics because you can see the name of her school in them on their shirts, but here she is after bustin' a move.Then there was the dance festival at the kids' school. Each grade dances to a different dance from a different decade. Skylar's grade danced to I Heard it Through the Grapevine from the 60's. Skylar was so excited to get a tie dye shirt for her dance.

Here's some of Skylar's friends dressed like 60's hippies.
Nick got in on the dancing too. His grade danced to Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah from the 40's. Look at Nicky bust it!!
What a fun month May is, even if it's a crazy dancing month!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 30 (FINALLY!!): A Photo of you today and three things that you've learned in the last 30 days and/or since your loss

Do you know what has got to be the most frustrating thing? Spending a bunch of time on a heartfelt, very thought out blog post, while the rest of your family enjoys a movie that you watched maybe 37 seconds of...saving every other minute...only to have it completely gone when you go to publish it. The only thing left was the title. Serious ugh. What's up Blogger? Anyway, take two:

So, let's just ignore the first part of this day's entry and skip the picture. Come on, we all know what I look like and that ain't something we want to see. Just imagine me with some out of control hair in need of a long overdue haircut, a double chin that seems to grow every time I catch a glance of my mug in the mirror, and a sunburn from heck that has left me peeling like mad and looking like a leper. Yeah, not pretty. I'll spare you the picture.

On to the learning part:

1. I've learned that this person named Cyndi still exists. I am definitely changed, but I'm here. I am the mother of a baby that has died, but that doesn't define me. However, it is a part of me and always will be. Gabriel will never be forgotten. His life wasn't meant to be forgotten. He had a purpose beyond his own here on earth. He is a part of me, a part of our family, now and forever. But I also am a mother to four amazing living children. I am the wife to a very wonderful man. I hope I'm a good friend. I am a lover of the ocean, music, and gummy bears. I'm an undiagnosed OCD clean freak. I have interests and passions and even celebrity crushes. I'm a major nerd. I'm a total goofball. I'm still here. I needed to be reminded of that. I've definitely had to think about myself and remember myself in the last 30 days and it's been good for me to have to do that.

2. I've learned that I am a survivor and I can do hard things. A year ago I could have never imagined living through the death of one of my children. It's always been my greatest fear. But I've done it and maybe I haven't done it perfectly, but here I am, not giving up. Many times in the last year I've had the line running through my mind from Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters (or actually the version I have is from Cracker who covered it on If I Were a Carpenter, one of the best albums ever). The line says, " Sometimes I'd like to quit. Nothing ever seems to fit." Oh how I've wanted to quit when all of this just doesn't seem right or even fair. But I haven't. I've had the choice. I could crawl back into bed and stay there every day or I could've just pretended that everything was okay and that my heart wasn't breaking in two. Or I could do what I've done, faced the grief with everything I've had. A baby's loss requires grief. All losses do. I've read that if it isn't faced that it will eventually have to be, whether 5 or 75 years later. It can embitter you and eat away at you without you ever realizing it. I've chosen to grieve now and I've chosen to grieve out loud. It isn't easy and it isn't pretty, but it's real. I hope that maybe by being so honest that I've helped one person to understand and be sensitive to someone going through this. I hope that maybe someone who is going through this will see that they are not alone. Sometimes we feel so very alone, but there are others that know and understand and are there for us. In the book I just finished, I read:

“For there are moments in all lives, great and small, that we must trudge alone our forlorn roads into infinite wilderness, to endure our midnight hours of pain and sorrow-the Gethsemane moments, when we are on our knees or backs, crying out to a universe that seems to have abandoned us. These are the greatest of moments, where we show our souls. These are our “finest hours”. That these moments are given to us is neither accidental nor cruel. Without great mountains we cannot reach great heights. And we were born to reach great heights.” ~Richard Paul Evans (Miles to Go)

I know that I haven't been alone in this. I have had my wonderful husband and children and some amazing friends by my side. I've also had my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, by my side every step of the way. They have been there for me in my Gethsemane moments but have also allowed me to feel the pain of being alone so that I could grow. Oh, how I've grown. I'm not sure that without Gabriel's death I would've ever felt I needed to grow. I never would have taken that first step up that great mountain that I was meant to climb. I am thankful that in all of the dark feelings that I've felt that are completely normal parts of grief, that I have not one time doubted my faith and love for the gospel. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I know it is a plan of happiness, but that does not mean it is always happy. We were meant to have the joys with our sorrows. We were meant to learn. We were meant to endure even through our sorrows and times of darkness. We can do hard things, every single one of us.

3. I've learned that I can feel out of control and still be okay. This hasn't been an easy lesson for me. I crave control. We are sent to this earth to do great things and we are given so much choice in those things, but not everything is our choice. We still have to accept the things that Heavenly Father has in store for us. We have to seek His advice in making it through those and knowing what we are supposed to do and what we are supposed to learn. We have to be humble enough to seek His guidance and allow it in our lives. Today was our stake conference. Seriously, it was everything I needed to hear. The theme was personal revelation, and it is something that I am struggling with right now. I feel very much in limbo with my life and I'm not sure what the next step is that I'm supposed to take. I've been waiting for that aha moment to come from my Heavenly Father but it just hasn't come yet. Our stake president reminded me of this great truth, " We are hear to develop faith even in the dark. We always have the choice whether we will exercise our faith or choose to let fear take over." I am so thankful for the faith that I have never doubted and I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father that is guiding me where He knows I need to go.

Blogging every day is a pain in the hiney! Kudos to those that can actually do it and stay sane. I thought for sure I'd be able to even put some posts on here that showed some of my chillins' achievements and fun things we've done as of late, but I could barely keep up with this. I know that some people think blogging is dumb (um, hey, why are you reading this?) but I know it has certainly helped me to get my feelings out. I know that blogging can also be a great tool to bring others to the gospel. Elder Russel M. Ballard said, "We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches,” I hope that I have been able to share my testimony of the gospel and help in leading someone to know that our Heavenly Father and Savior know us and love us all. They know our wants and needs and have a plan to guide us to true happiness. I am certainly not ashamed to let others know what I know and feel so entirely blessed to know and have the courage to share.

Oh, and what a relief to be done with this. I feel like this has been 30 days of completely being self centered and I'm not comfortable with that at all. Thank you to all of those of you that somehow endured this torture of hearing all about me. A special thank you to those of you that commented as well. It was good to know that there were a couple people enduring this with me, so thanks to the two of you. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 29: If you had three wishes....

1. I wish, like I always do and always have, that we could move somewhere that an ocean is nearby. I can't remember not wanting to live near the ocean....and really, I don't need a warm tropical kind of ocean or even a beach, just an ocean. I truly, truly love the ocean. I know we just went to Cali in March, but I miss the ocean already. It lifts my spirits. It calms me. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like I'm home.

2. I wish we didn't owe money to anyone. I really have no desire to be wealthy but I wish we had enough money to really get by better. This year has been so tough financially on top of everything else. We've had one thing after another of unexpected and inconvenient things to pay for and we still have a major list of repairs just waiting for more time and money. Thank heavens that Ben finally has a dependable job where we can count on a regular paycheck. That's something new for us but a very great blessing indeed. But can I make a wish within a wish? Can nothing else go wrong that will cost us more money? Like for example, can that squealing noise from my car just go away because I'm trying really, really hard to ignore it because I know we can't afford any repairs. Pretty please?

3. The thing I wish for more than anything is that we could have another baby. Another baby could never replace Gabriel, but I know it would be healing for our whole family to have something to hope for. Every prayer my little ones say includes asking for a new baby. I wish with all of my heart that I could give that to them. Baby loss + subsequent infertility=pure torture. 'Nuff said.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 28: 15 Random Facts about Me

1. I've burned my left foot two different times, both huge 2nd degree burns with giant blisters, once at girl's camp and once at a youth activity, and had to be sent home early both times. I am that coordinated.

2. I used to be all about matching. I had a pair of shoes in every color and would daily match my fingernail and toenail polish to all of my clothes, both outer and under. Now days I'm lucky to match my socks. :)

3. My favorite candy ever is Cadbury Mini eggs. Thank goodness you only can get them once a year! This year I found a recipe for Mini egg cookies so I might have to stock up next year. Oh my goodness...they are delicious!

4. I have really weird eczema only on my hands and I'm allergic to latex and tire rubber. My eczema does pretty well as long as I only use Bath & Body Works soap because I'm sure I'm allergic to all other soaps too.

5. Whenever I watch a movie where there's some huge battle or a natural disaster, I always wonder who the heck is going to clean up all the mess left behind. Ben says there's something
wrong with me.

6. My random weird body skill is that I can touch my tongue to my nose. Gross.

7. I have three big brothers & of course they used to torture me. They used to put me under the beanbag and then sit on me until I was sure I'd die. I still can't stand having my arms restricted to this day. My brothers are nice now.

8. I just noticed the other day that my c-section from Alexis finally does not hurt anymore unless I really press hard on it. Only took close to 3 years, but hooray!!

9. I took accordian lessons for two weeks. It was awesome and totally lame at the same time.

10. I've broken two bones...and they were like the two tiniest bones in the human body but from the outside looked totally serious. I broke a tiny bone in my thumb in a car accident (cast all the way up my arm) and my big toe at a concert (yep, crutches).

11. I've had plastic surgery. When I was 16 my boyfriend's brilliant friend decided to throw a rock at my boyfriend...it hit me in the forehead instead. The night was still young and I totally didn't want to go get stitches, so we found a bandaid & I put it on. My head wouldn't stop dripping blood everywhere so I finally gave in and went to get stitches at like 10 pm. My plastic surgeon did a great job. I had a scar all through high school but you can hardly see it now. However, if I touch my forehead with any pressure at all it still hurts like a mother.

12. I had a recurring nightmare when I was a youngster that involved my family being at Sea World and my sister and dad falling into this pool of piranhas and me trying my darndest to save them. I seriously had this dream all.of.the.time. No wonder I have a ginormous phobia of piranhas. Even the word makes me shiver in my boots.

13. I have a spot on my right shoulder blade that constantly itches just out of my ability to scratch it myself. Ben knows exactly where my spot is. I will never mind if you want to scratch it, even if you're a complete stranger. Haha. That would be totally weird. Nevermind.

14. I'm so uncoordinated it's not even funny. If there is something to trip over, I will find it. If there is something for either of my pinky toes to kick, believe me, I will find it. You will never, ever want me on your volleyball team, so don't even ask. Yes, I'm just that bad.

15. There's not a line here that rhymes with anything.

Can't think of anything else....besides the fact that I always have some line from some song stuck in my brain on an almost constant basis...and whenever I can't think of something the line above always pops into my head. It's from Take the Skinheads Bowling by Camper Von Beethoven. Awesome, eh?

Day 27 (late): A deceased person you wish you could talk to

Of course the deceased person I'd like to talk to most would be Gabriel. What I wouldn't do for just a moment with him. A year ago I would have answered this with my sister, Mary Gwen, who was also stillborn. I've always wished that I could have known her. I've always felt I have, in a way. I've always thought that if she was here, we'd be very close, for some reason. I've always been the one in the family to remember her. Maybe she's been by my side all these years and especially now, helping me to prepare for the hardest thing I've had to go through in losing my own little Gabe before he was born. I certainly know it's possible....Jeffrey R. Holland taught:

"On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”

Oh, wouldn't it be so much easier if the veil was a little bit thinner? But I guess this isn't supposed to be easy. Knowing that they are so close certainly does bring me peace. I wish I was able to talk to both Mary Gwen and Gabriel and get to know them instead of missing them so much without ever getting a moment with either alive on this earth. That's one of the hardest parts of this baby loss thing. When most people go through a loss of a loved one they have many memories to help them get through it. Those memories are a treasure for them. They are able to think back on good times and be thankful for all of those moments. Well, I am missing and have missed so many of those moments. I'm so thankful for my eternal perspective though. I'm so thankful that those moments we've lost on this earth will be made whole in the next.

I'm missing and loving both of you, Mary Gwen and Gabriel, every single day. I know you both know that and I know you are by my side at times. I can't wait until I can actually see you and hold you in my arms again.