Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Ben!!!

Today is my most favorite person's birthday, my Ben. I have a billion and one reasons to love him, adore him, and to be thankful for him, but I've been making a list the last few years and adding another item for every year he's graced this earth. Today marks 38 and hence, the 38 things I love the most about this amazing man I love:
1. He is my best friend in the world.
2. He's willing to be with me forever.
He is my perfect spoon.

 4. He gave me my sweet Skylar. 
5. He gave me my funny little Nicky.
6. He gave me my cuddly McKade.
7. My kids adore his every movement. He is the best dad in the world!
8. He has these beautiful dark eyes that smile when he's happy. I call them his "smiling eyes".

9. He has always treated me with greatest respect.
10. He makes me laugh, everyday.
11. He is extremely nice to everyone.

12. He's is completely selfless.
13. He stands up for what he believes. This is the first thing I fell in love with.
14. He loves Heavenly Father and tries to make him happy.
15. He honors and respects his priesthood.
16. He takes his calling in the YM Presidency seriously and his boys totally respect him.
**Um, this one is obviously old....all of those YM he had were in his Elder's Quorum when he was EQ President, and now they are all out serving the Lord on missions. He's now serving as the Executive Secretary and still serving the Lord righteously, like always.
17. He is the greatest example of Christlike love that I know.
18. He always tries to do the right thing.
19. I have never seen him say or do a mean thing to anybody. Honestly.
20. He supports me in all that I do.
21. He is the person that everyone can count on.
22. When I married him, a high school friend of his told me " We all think that you got the good one." I've always agreed.
23. He's willing to go on the many millions of adventures that I drag him on.
24. He lets me steal the covers and take over the bed and is still willing to sleep with me.
25. He gives me great massages, especially when I have a migraine,
even though I'm horrible at giving them in return.
26. He does the dishes every night since it hurts my hands.
27. Even though he's not particularly a fan of all our pets, he is very kind to them.
28. He tolerates my obsession for a clean house and helps me to maintain it.
29. Without him, I'd be totally computer illiterate.
30. He works very hard so that I can stay home with my kids.
31. He always saves the last few pieces of popcorn for me.
32. He has always loved me unconditionally, despite my many, many faults.  
33. He still gives me butterflies.
34. He gave my my sunshine, Alexis.
35. He gives me support, hope, and reminders everyday of his love and Heavenly Father's love for me.
36. He gave me my forever baby, Gabriel, who we will raise together in the future.
37. He is so much fun to be with...even when our ideas of "fun" can be different.
38. He gave me our second forever baby, Reese, whom we had such little time with, but were blessed to fall in love with. We'll have him again someday too.

I could go on and on and on. I love Ben so much and everyday I fall more in love with him. Sounds cliche', but it's so true. He's the very bestest and I'm the very luckiest!

Happy Birthday Ben! I love you times a gazillion and thirty eight!!!! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trying To Touch Heaven Week 2

 Our tree is looking so full! We are very, very blessed!!!
11/9: Ben-prayer, Cyndi-Fellow baby loss mommas, Skylar-agua, Nick-friends, Kade-Dylan (Tong), Alexis-Amy(Tong)

 Today I am so thankful for my fellow baby loss mommas. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without them,  their friendship, their understanding, and their help through difficult days on this lonely road of loss. I have found that although this is one of the crappiest clubs anyone could ever have to be in, it is filled with some of the most astounding and wonderful women that I've ever met. These ladies have laughed with me and cried with me, and most importantly loved and remembered my babies with me. 

I'm posting this picture of my long lost friend, Arianne. We were good friends in junior high and high school and then lost contact somewhere when we were at different high schools. Thank heavens for Facebook that brought us back together. Arianne lost her little Spencer 8 years ago at 20 weeks. Of all the baby loss mommas that have helped me through this, Arianne has been the bestest! I think she hears from me almost daily via text and she has been so helpful! Thanks Arianne for being there for me every step of the way! 

11/10: Ben-snow, Cyndi-our neighborhood & friends, Skylar-sports, Nick-Mom (awwwwwww), Kade-languages, Alexis-BYU

 I'm so thankful for the awesome neighborhood we live in with an awesome park with an awesome sledding hill and awesome friends to share it with!! We really do love where we much so that we can't seem to move away, although we've thought about it many times in the last few years. We live in such a great area, we love our house (although it's on the smallish side since it's a starter and we were going to be here 5 years max), and we love our ward. We have been truly blessed to live where we do and will miss it greatly if we ever do move.

11/11: Ben-Primary program, Cyndi-Primary Program, Skylar-the Sabbath day, Nick-caramel apples, Kade-Primary program, Alexis-flowers  

Today I am thankful for the best Sunday of the year, the Primary Program! This year all 4 of the kiddos were up there singing their hearts out and sharing their testimonies of choosing the right. This momma is very proud of my sweet kids and their joy in the gospel. I am so thankful for the Primary organization and the wonderful leaders and teachers that teach my children and strengthen their testimonies. This year has been a blast for the kids as they've had the amazing CTR Man making visits often to pick a sidekick. The sidekicks are all kids that have chosen the right and our kids have loved when they've been chosen. He's a true hero at our house! There's also been visits from the time machine from prophets, both ancient and modern-day. Our kids are learning and loving the gospel so much!

11/12: Ben-the sun, Cyndi-Reese, Skylar-Nick, Nick-Reese, Kade-food, Alexis-Jesus & Gabe & Reese

 Today I am thankful for my little Reese. I would've been 37 weeks today and due any moment to have him in my arms, but instead I will have to wait for heaven to hold my baby boy again. I know where he is though and I know that he and Gabriel are together doing amazing work and following God's plan for them. I am thankful that Reese is mine and I'm thankful for every bit of joy that he brought our family in the few precious weeks we had with him. He was so loved from the very beginning and we are blessed to know that love will last an eternity. We love you now and forever Baby Reese!!!

 11/13: Ben-light, Cyndi-temples, Skylar-Kade, Nick-blessings, Kade-water, Alexis-everyone in the whole wide world! 

 Today I'm thankful for temples and that I was able to go today. I went in with a heavy heart but came out feeling so peaceful and grateful. I am thankful to be sealed to my Ben for time and all eternity and that our precious children are ours forever because of that. The temple is such a gift and it is one of my favorite places to be. I'm also so thankful that I live fifteen minutes away from two temples. That is a true gift that so many don't have in this world. I am trying to take advantage of that blessing by going often and seeking the peace and comfort that the temple brings to my heart.

11/14: Ben-Reflections, Cyndi-talents, Skylar-Alexis, Nick-awards, Kade-school, Alexis-pumpkins

I'm thankful for talents and although I have few, my kids have been blessed with so many! The effort of doing Reflections paid off with all three of the kids getting an Award of Merit for their talents! Skylar and Kade won for Visual Arts and Nickolas for 3-D Arts. Skylar also won the Award of Excellence for her dance choreography!! Alexis didn't win anything today but danced her heart out at her dance class and has the most beautiful voice that is always singing and brightening my day. I love to see them excelling in things that they love to do and am thankful for the beauty their talents bring to the world!

11/15: Ben-dancing, Cyndi-Kade, Skylar-Gabe, Nick-Thanksgiving, Kade-sneezes, Alexis-that Kade feels better (so sweet since she's sick now too)!

 I am thankful for my awesome little guy, McKade!! The last few days he's been sick as can be (notice above picture of Reflections assembly that we dragged him to even though he felt less than awesome) and I've missed how much fun he usually brings to our family. He's finally on the mend and his contagious smile, laughter, and cuckoo personality always brighten my day. He might look exactly like his poppa, but he's a crazy loon like me and we have some big adventures planned together! He is fun loving, hilarious, and super smart to boot. I love you Mr. Kadybug!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Trying to Touch Heaven Week 1

Aw, November. It's finally time for an extra emphasis on remembering our many blessings. Of course we are thankful year round but I love the opportunity that Thanksgiving time gives us to really remember! 'Tis the season to be thankful!!  

This is our Thankful Tree this year. I love how it starts out all empty and is quickly filled with all of our blessings. This is one of my favorite traditions!



Here it is just one week later! We are very blessed!!

And now, for our many, many thankfuls: 

11/1: Ben-Cyndi (awwwww), Cyndi-Grandpa Jensen, Skylar-family, Nick-chickens, Kade-family, Alexis-water

I can't help but be thankful for my amazing Grandpa Jensen every year. He instilled in me a deep sense of gratitude for all I've been blessed with. Every year, instead of a Christmas card, he'd send a Thanksgiving message. Eight years ago this month, when he had reached the age of 102, those messages finally stopped coming. I miss him and the special attention he always gave me because I reminded him of my grandma so much but I'm so thankful for the many things he taught me and continues to do with the legacy he has left. I'm looking forward to this month to talk about and remember all of the many blessings we enjoy!

This is my amazing grandpa holding little Nickolas just a few months before he passed away. Aren't they both adorable?

 11/2 : Ben-My kids, Cyndi-the right to vote, Skylar-leche, Nick-air conditioning, Kade-friends, Alexis-presents

I really felt like I needed to vote early this year. I'm so thankful for that prompting since I was sick, sick, sick on election day! I took Little Lex with me and she was such a trooper in the long line. It was so good to let her help me with my voting and talk to her about how important it was to vote. It is blessing that not everyone gets and I feel very blessed to have this freedom!

11/3: Ben-friends, Cyndi-my girls, Skylar-friends, Nick-Dylan Tong, Kade-Dylan Day (a day when the boys get to play with Dylan, whom they obviously love, but doesn't live close so it takes some work. They have to earn this and it has been a great motivator!! Yay for Dylan Day!) Alexis-leche
I'm soooo thankful for my girls. I was able to see some of my favorite ladies today at different get togethers & I feel so blessed to have the amazing friends I do that make me laugh, share the good & the bad times, & make me feel loved. You know who you are & I love ya!!

Disclaimer: This is just some of my girls, Adrianne & Sara, and this picture is sooooo old because it's from our 2010 Disneyland Girls Trip. I missed this year's because I was happily pregnant. I think we need a do-over!!

11/4: B-Mom & Dad, C: Sundays, Skylar-Dad, Nick-grandmas & grandpas, Kade-Grandma Cammi & Aunt Jessi (who came for dinner since it was Cammi's birthday. I spent most of the time in bed, but Ben made an awesome dinner!), Alexis-music

I am thankful for Sundays. Although they are often my hardest days, I am so thankful for the reminder of the gift of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and what His Atonement and Resurrection mean to me personally and the chance to renew my covenants to follow Him. I didn't go to church this day because I was sick and I realized how much I missed the opportunity to go to church. Yes, me! Even though it's hard, I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, renewing my covenants, and getting closer to not only my Savior, but my boys waiting for me in heaven. Plus, I can do hard things!!! I am so thankful to know that no matter how dark my Friday may be that Sunday will come. 

P.S. I am super thankful for one of my very favorite Mormon Messages:

11/5: Ben-ice cream, Cyndi-comforts when sick, Skylar- Mom (awwwww), Nick-aunts & uncles, Kade-Christmas songs, Alexis-treats

 This day I was really sick. The achy awful sick where every single part of your body just throbs and you feel miserable, but I still had so much to be thankful for! I'm thankful for a warm, cozy bed in a warm, cozy house, a heating pad that makes me even warmer when I get chilled, an awesome husband that sent the big kids on their way to school so I could sleep, a slew of doTERRA essential oils to make me feel better, a stack of Disney DVDs (mostly about dogs-someone is obsessed-no, not me), and my baby girl to cuddle with. It's not awesome being sick, but what a blessing it is to have all of these comforts when I am!

11/6: Ben-to live in a free country, Cyndi-to be an American, Skylar-ice cream, Nick-popcorn, Kade-Mommy (awwwwww), Alexis-Baby Gabe & Baby Reese

Today was election day and although I wasn't super happy with the outcome of it, I'm thankful to be an American and for all of the freedoms we enjoy....the freedom to vote, the freedom of religion, the freedom to voice our own opinions, and so many more that we take for granted every day. I'm thankful for those that have served and do serve to ensure those freedoms for us. It is a very blessed thing to be an American and I don't take it for granted!
11/7: Ben-scriptures, Cyndi-the human body, Skylar-food, Nick-having the Holy Ghost, Kade-Dad, Alexis-friends

I am thankful for our amazing bodies. I'm thankful for all that they help us perform and create. I'm especially thankful that they heal. After being sick in bed with awful body aches for 4 days, I was so thankful to finally be feeling better. After being sick for 3 months with a super painful infection, I'm thankful that my body is finally starting to fight it off and the pain is going away. Nothing feels better than feeling better!

11/8: Ben-the sunset, Cyndi-Young Women (and a bonus of rainbow babies), Skylar-the gospel, Nick-Dad, Mom (awwwww), Skylar, Kade, Alexis, Gabe, & Reese; Kade-the Book of Mormon, Alexis-temples

I'm thankful for the Young Women program and the blessing it has been for me to serve in it. Last night I finally received my Young Women medallion as well as an Honor Bee. Even though I earned it as a youth, I never actually received it due to a technicality. It's been so great to learn so much and reach so many goals as I've strived to earn this. I have been truly blessed by doing it. I am also thankful for the awesome leaders I am blessed to serve with and the beyond amazing girls that are some of my greatest examples that I get to serve! I love you all!!

 I added a bonus thankful today because I got to meet a special friend for lunch and meet and cuddle on my her sweet, beautiful, little rainbow baby girl today. I'm so thankful for the happiness it brings mommas (and dads too) when they get their rainbows. I was almost there and I know how much joy it brought me. I hope we can have that joy again someday. I think I could cuddle rainbows all day long. I need a job doing just that.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chocolate Cake is My Favorite

  This was recently posted somewhere and I loved it. It describes perfectly how I feel in my life. I really, really hope someday I get my chocolate cake. It is my favorite, after all.
"Imagine yourself dressed up in your finest clothes. You and your sweet husband are attending a dinner
together in one of the nicest restaurants in town. You both have planned, waited and saved for this evening.
To say the least, you are very excited! You and your husband arrive and the atmosphere is more than you
expected. Everyone around you is having a good time. The chandeliers are sparkling, candles are glowing and
sweet soft music is playing in the background. To your pleasant surprise you see others there you know. You
are seated with them and in your heart you think there just couldn't be anything better!

The table is just exquisite. Breathtaking really. The people at your table begin to talk to you in jolly
conversation. You glance at the menu and you don't even know where to begin! You look over everything slowly
and carefully, especially the dessert menu! All of your life you have been hearing about this restaurant's
marvellous and divine desserts. Deep in your heart, you have been looking forward to enjoying dessert the

Everyone at your table orders their food. For dessert they all order chocolate cake. You think, "Hey that
sounds perfect. I'll have chocolate cake too please."

The waiter nods in approval and quickly swifts off to put in your order. In the meantime, you are still
enjoying the surroundings, the music and the company. You grab your husband's hand and sigh "Yes, life just
couldn't get any better."

The food comes and everything looks just pleasing. Some of the things you tasted you really love, some of the
things you didn't. Either way, you know that dessert is on its way. That thought in and of itself is just
exciting! Then you see him, your waiter! Your wonderful, blessed waiter with a silver tray full of plates of
chocolate cake! He comes and starts handing out plates to those you know. You look at the cake and to put it
simply, it looks just divine. You're even more excited now! The waiter comes to your side and then passes
you and your husband. You are shocked and think there must be some mistake. you don't know what to do, but
rather than make a fuss you think, "Just wait, I will get my chocolate cake soon too."

Those that have their dessert are going on and on about how amazing the taste is. You smile, you are truly
happy for them. Deep down you are anxious and their feelings only feed your curiosity and desire. Then you
see the waiter again and think, "Ahhh, here he is." You notice that he starts handing out seconds and thirds
to those that have already had their piece of cake. Your husband doesn't notice, he's busy chatting with the fellow next to him! Deep down though you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know something is wrong, something is very, very wrong.

You ask the waiter, "Excuse me please. Where is my chocolate cake that I ordered"? The waiter just replies,
"The baker has said that you must wait." He rushes off and not another word is said. Time goes on. You still
enjoy the surroundings, the people and the conversations. All the while though, you can't get chocolate cake
out of your mind. Time keeps creeping by and soon your husband notices too, "Where is our dessert?" You hold
his hand and look into his loving eyes and think, "Even without chocolate cake, life is still good."

Time, however, creeps and it creeps. At moments it seems like it has even stopped. It's getting late and
people are noticing you haven't received your dessert yet. Questions start arising and you just don't know
how to respond. You look around other tables and notice that people are also getting their third, fourth and
fifth servings of dessert. "Why" is all you have to lean upon.

You notice that others have ordered things for dessert besides chocolate cake. There is cherry pie, brownie
ice cream sundaes, raspberry cheesecakes and such. They seem just as pleased, if not more pleased with their
desserts and you wonder, "Should I order cherry pie too"? You talk to the waiter and he simply says, "I'm
sorry ma'am, you just need to be patient and wait."

You are starting to burn inside. Despite all of your best efforts you are beginning to boil. You really want
to jump on top of the table and stomp while shouting, "Where is my chocolate cake?" You don't though because
you know that will get you no where! Instead you look around and notice that there are some that are
refusing their chocolate cake. "It will make me fat" one says. "Ugh. I have enough already" another states.
One woman, simply dumps her beautiful chocolate cake onto the floor.

As you look deeper around you, you notice there are a few others that are waiting too. Your heart goes out to
them. You smile and wish there was something more you could do. You know their pain and it hurts. It really

Finally, the waiter comes and he has chocolate cake on that familiar beautiful silver platter...and he has
enough for two. One for your husband and one for you! Your so elated with joy that you can't hardly stand
it!!! You tell everyone at your table and they are just as happy for you. "We knew it would happen" they say.
"You just needed to relax"! Little did they know that deep inside relaxing was the last thing you were
feeling! You look at your husband. Tears are in both of your eyes. You carefully take a taste. It's such
sweet, sweet perfection. You go to take another and just before you do the waiter comes and gently takes your
plates away. "Something is wrong" he says. "Don't worry my dear, the time is soon."

There's confusion. Sadness. Anger. Above all though, you are just deeply and truly heartbroken. Heartbroken
to the very core. You don't know what to do. You turn to others for support. They cry with you and too ask
why. You take a deep breath and find the strength to go on. You have been given the promise that you will
receive dessert. It is just not understood as to when. You decide to put your full trust in the baker. You
reach far inside within yourself and find the effort to ask your husband to dance.

He looks at you and smiles..."Yes, I would love to dance with you my dear one." You both get up, leave the
table and set off to dance.

As you are dancing, you get your bearings. You again begin to notice your surroundings. The beautiful
surroundings that have so magically grabbed your attention in the first place. You remember the music, the
sounds, the smell of the sweet flowers. You breath. That's all you can do. You breath and slowly begin to
enjoy the moment again. Slowly, it all comes back to you. The things you love. Being with the person you love
the most. The pains you have just felt are still there. Still vulnerable, but you feel life again. Yes, life
is still good.

After quite a few dances, you both decide it's time to sit at your table. People still have their desserts
and their chocolate cakes. Your space is still empty. You decide, however, to really focus on those around
you. In doing so you find more joy. The desire for dessert is still there- but it's manageable. Time moves on.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, your waiter appears. He has the biggest smile on his face. He is pleased to
announce that you and your husband's dessert is finally here!! Your heart wells up with joy, but you're
afraid too. You ask the waiter, "Will you take it away"? "No, this one was made especially for you."

You smile back, hardly believing that this could be true or real. You look at it and it's not a dessert you
have ever seen before. It's then that you realize that the baker has made a dessert with all of your favorite
colors and flavors. Careful detail was lovingly taken into every consideration. "How did He know that this
is exactly what I wanted"? The waiter just smiles and says, "Because he knows and loves you." If you look,
you can see him there. You look and at the door, through the little round window you see a gentle man with
tears in his eyes. He is grinning from ear to ear and looking at you and your husband. You can't hardly see
anymore because of all of the happy tears. You whisper a big "Thank You" and in your heart you feel that this
simple phrase will never be enough.

You look at the people around you, they too have tears in their eyes. They too are smiling from ear to ear.
Everything is so precious and tender now- even more so than when you first arrived here. It's then that you
learn that the pains you have felt all along the way. The waiting, the crying, the agony. It's all been a
special recipe to make this moment this much more wonderful and sacred.

In your soul you take a deep breath and slowly let out a big sigh of gratitude.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Capture Your Grief Photo Challenge 2012 Days 21-30

Day 21: Altar/Shrine/Sacred Place

So I don't call this a shrine. To me, it's just the place where we keep all of the special things from all of our babies. Both my living children and my babies' have their hand and foot molds displayed as well as the Willow Tree statues I have to represent all of my children. Gabriel and Reese's items are on the lower she

lf. This is where we keep some of the things that were given us in memory of our babies along with their pictures, their blankets, their symbols, and Gabriel's Molly Bear. I love that this place isn't just for my babies in heaven, but also a place I can remember all of my babies and the blessing they are to me. I am so very blessed to be the mother of six wonderful children, even if they are split between heaven and earth.

 Day 22:Place of Care/Birth/Caregivers

I wasn't sure what to put here. I've lost three pregnancies in the last two years. They have been the most difficult things I have ever had to go through, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. They've all been different, but they've all been completely heartbreaking. With two of them, I was far enough along that I w
ent through the labor and birth of two perfectly formed precious little boys, our little Gabriel and tiny Reese. My doctors have been wonderful, my nurses were compassionate, but with my losses being so different, I tried to think how I could best represent the caregivers that helped me through the awfulness of losing my sweet babies. I thought of my constant through all three losses. My constant has been my best friend, my husband, my Ben. He has held my hand through each. He has cried the tears I have, knowing that these babies that we created with so much love and wanted so badly were not ours to have right now. He has been there to pick up the slack on days when I couldn't physically or emotionally do it. Losing a child is one of the greatest stresses a marriage can go through, but we've done it together, and we're coming out stronger, more dedicated to one another, and we know now that we can face anything, together. Ben hates when I get all mushy mushy, but I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to think that I have this amazing husband and the most wonderful father of my children by my side every day.

My kids adore him just as much as me. We love you Ben!!

Day 23: Their Name/Their Photo

Our two precious and perfect baby boys, Gabriel & Reese ♥
Gabriel, born 8/12/10 at 19 weeks

Reese, born 5/27/12 at 13 weeks

Day 24: Siblings

Our best days are the days we do something in honor and remembrance of our babies. My kid love to remember them, love to celebrate them, and love their brothers incredibly, even if they aren't here. Not a day goes by that my kids don't talk about their brothers or cuddle on their Gabriel and Reese Bears. We've tried to let our kids feel tha
t they can always talk about them. They're a part of our family, now and forever.

This picture was taken at this year's Running With Angels 5k. This has become a great family tradition for us to run for and with our Gabriel. The proceeds go to the Angel Watch program that helps provide the sweet treasures of pictures, hand and foot molds and prints, and counseling for those that are facing losing their babies or have already. We have been so grateful for the precious items we have of our Gabriel's.

We were really happy this day. Our precious Rainbow Reese was on the way and we were honoring Gabriel. Less than a week later we found out that Reese wasn't going to join us here on earth after all. I'm thankful for the time we had with him and the joy it brought my kids in those few weeks of anticipating him. We can't wait until our family can be complete again. We all love our Gabriel and Reese!!

Day 25: Baby Shower/Blessing

Five months ago today was my birthday. It was the most horrible one I've ever had and hope to ever have. The day before, we had just found out that our precious rainbow baby, who we had prayed and tried for for 16 months no longer had a heartbeat at almost 13 weeks. Since it was my birthday the doctor didn't want me to have a D *
C but I was already miscarrying my sweet baby. I was miserable, in so much pain emotionally and physically. My kids had something at school that morning so I hauled myself out of bed to go support them. When I came downstairs I was amazed at all the flowers that had been delivered since the night before when people had heard the news. I wasn't showered with gifts for my baby, but I was showered with love from those who took the time to care. It still chokes me up to see how much I was loved on such a heartbreaking day.

Day 26: Their Age

I am missing and aching for them so much!

Day 27:Artwork

This beautiful painting, In His Constant Care, by Simon Dewey came out just a month after my little Gabriel was born still. It has been such a gift and a reminder of where my babies are and who they are with. In our home, we have our living children's pictures hanging on the wall and this is hanging right next to them. I see it countless times throughout the day and it always brings me peace, knowing that my cherished babies, Gabriel and Reese, are in His constant care.

Day 28: Memory (positive or negative)

One of the worst parts of losing a baby is that the memories are so few, and of those memories, they are often filled with so much heartache that it's hard to see the positive. I wanted to share the positive though. I've never shared this picture before and I know we don't look great, but we look real. This was just mom

ents before we had to say goodbye to our little Gabriel. We were heartbroken. However, I feel so very blessed to have been able to see our sweet little boy for the short time we did. We held him, we kissed his sweet little fingers and toes, and we loved him. It wasn't nearly enough time, but it was the time we were given, and it was peaceful and priceless. When we lost our next baby, Reese, we took even more time with him. I memorized everything about his perfect tiny body. We knew that every second holding him would be ingrained in our memories forever. Those moments with my boys were peaceful and loving moments and I'm so thankful for the gift it was to hold them both every moment of their lives.

Day 29: Music

Each of our children has always had their own little lullaby that we've sung to them. We still listen to their songs now even though they're not babies anymore and it makes them feel so special to have their own individual song. Gabriel and Reese are no different. Although they aren't here, we still have lullabies that we sing that remind us o
f the cherished time we had with them and the tender moments we still experience without them just because they are our babies.

Gabriel's lullaby is Golden Slumbers, sung by Mindy Gledhill:

Reese's lullaby is My Darling by Wilco:

This picture that I posted are their names written with a line from their lullabies. These beautiful names were made by Baby Boards and are such a gift to us.

There are many other songs and hymns that remind me of my precious boys waiting in heaven, but there are also two specific songs that have helped me through my grief, one for each of my boys.

The moment that I found out that Gabriel's heart had stopped, Kite by U2 popped in my mind. I knew, at that moment, that although I wouldn't get to have Gabriel here on earth, that it was not goodbye. This is my favorite version of the song, where Bono talks about having to say goodbye to someone you're not ready to.

The moment we found out our rainbow baby, Reese, was on the way, Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Iz became his song. We knew that he would never replace Gabriel, but that he would bring us so much joy. He did for the precious weeks we got to have him, and he continues to because he will always be part of our forever family.

Day 30: Your Grief-Tell the World

Lonely. That's the word that comes to my mind first when I think of my grief over losing my babies. This is a very lonely trial. As my babies' mother, I have a bond that non one else does with them. I loved them from the very first second I knew they were on their way. I ache every moment that they are not with me. I unders

tand that no one else knew my Gabriel and Reese. Besides my husband and my kids, they aren't really loved by anyone else and their death hasn't affected anyone else. They don't have a lot of family and friends that mourn their loss. It's just us, alone. Beyond that, some of the people that I thought would be the ones by my side during the biggest trials of my life haven't been there. Some that I felt closest to before my losses have been the ones to hurt me most or have left me to grieve alone. I feel like I've lost not only my babies, but also the trust I had in those relationships as well. This has left me feeling even more lonely.

Elizabeth Edwards said, " If you know someone who has lost a child and you're afraid to mention them because you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift."

I wish people would talk to me about my babies, instead of changing the subject, instead of avoiding me. I wish they would say their name. I wish they would give me just the kindness of remembering that they were here, that they are always my children. I know that others don't know my babies and love them like I do, but I wish they loved me enough to remember them with me. I wish I didn't feel so alone.

Although no one, not even other parents that have lost a baby or a child, can understand exactly what I am going through, there is one that can, my Savior, Jesus Christ. He loves Gabriel and Reese as much as I do. He has felt all of my pain and all of my heartache. He has suffered along with me. Through the trial of losing my babies, I have learned to really apply the Atonement in my life on a level that I would've never been able to before. I am closer to and more devoted to my Savior than would've been possible had I never had to truly trust in Him to make it through the anguish I have felt. There are times that I don't feel Him, but I know that He would never truly leave me alone. This alone, has been one the greatest blessings in my life and it came through the worst trial of my life. I am forever indebted to my Savior for the love that He has shown to me.

Day 31: Sunset

I love sunsets. I always have. Each one is unique but each one is beautiful, just like my six children. Now, sunsets help to remind me that I've survived another day with part of my heart missing since two of my children are waiting for me in heaven.

It's been 2 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days since we said goodbye to Gabriel.

It's been 5 months and 4 days since we said goodbye to Reese.

Every sunset brings me closer to being with them again. I miss and love my precious baby boys but I know where they are and I know that I will see them again.

Participating in this project has been difficult on some days, but healing on so many more. Thank you to everyone who showed support and love through this difficult journey of losing my precious little ones. I am truly blessed by your love.

Capture Your Grief Photo Challenge 2012 Days 11-20

Day 11: Supportive Friends and Family

I have been very blessed to have some amazing friends that have supported me through losing my two precious babies. I wish I could name and put a picture up of all of them, but today I chose to share this picture of my friends, the Mailes. This was taken at this year's Remembrance Walk, a special morning for my baby
loss group dedicated to remembering our precious babies gone too soon. Most people had their families there. We had our Mailes. I am so thankful for this family's desire to come to support and love us, to cry with us as our little Gabriel's name was read, and to remember him with us.

My dear friend Abby's husband, Naki, died just 9 months before my first baby, Gabriel, died. I don't understand losing a husband and she doesn't understand losing a baby, but we do understand the feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and heartache when losing someone that you love. She has been there for me countless times and I hope I've been there for her. These sweet Maile girls have also been there for my kids, as they all understand too well how it feels to have a family that feels incomplete, split between heaven and earth. Most kids don't understand grief but these young girls do on a level of maturity that not many adults can even express. After my baby died, one of Abby's sweet girls gave me a huge hug, and told me, "I'm so sorry your baby died. I feel so sad for you." When so many adults couldn't even do that, I was so touched by this sweet girl's love.

We love you Mailes!! Thank you for always remembering our precious Gabriel and Reese and loving them right along with us!!

Day 12: Scents

I don't really have a scent that reminds me of my babies. The description said maybe a flower that does. I do that have that. Sunflowers. When my little Gabriel first died I would drive up the canyon every single day. The beauty of the canyon reminded me that Gabriel was somewhere even more beautiful and it made me happy for him. Along the ro
ad everywhere were sunflowers. They looked so vibrant, full of life, and happy. It reminded me that Gabriel was too....and that there were still beautiful things in the world, even if the heartache of losing him was so difficult.

Here's my sweet sunshine, Skylar, standing next to some giant sunflowers. Next year we're adding these to the garden for our babies! 

 Day 13: Signs

There have been many times that I have felt my babies near me, helping me get through this journey without them here in my arms. The thing that helps me the most is when there is a beautiful sunset. They always seem to come on a day that I really need them. They remind me that heaven is near and that it is amazing! They also remind me that I am one day closer to being with those precious boys of mine again.

This picture was taken last year on October 15, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. After going to the Walk to Remember we hiked to the G on the mountain in remembrance of our little Gabriel. The sunset that evening was spectacular! I know Gabriel must have helped a little in sending that to us on that special day.

Day 14: Community

This picture was taken at the Remembrance Walk for my baby loss group, Common Bonds. Every year, the day before Mother's Day, the group joins together to remember our babies, to say their names, and to honor them. This isn't the greatest picture, but I like how it reflects just how many of us belong to this crappy club that no one wants to
be in, but that we've found strength and love in despite our pain. I think our wonderful counselor in charge of our group told me that she sends out at least 800 invitations to this event each year. It's heartbreaking to think that so many are living with the ache of losing their babies.

I don't know what I'd do without the amazing friends that I have made through this group. They strengthen me on the good days and they help me to survive the bad days. They understand when no one else possibly could. I'm so thankful that I don't have to do this all alone.

Day 15: Wave of Light

♥ In memory of our precious babies, Gabriel and Reese ♥

Gabriel 8/12/10
Reese 5/27/12

Day 16: Release

This is a picture of our family at the 2012 Walk to Remember this last weekend. We sent balloons to heaven for our two baby boys, Gabriel and Reese, as well as my sister, Mary Gwen, and my nephew, Kye. It's both heartbreaking and beautiful to see so many balloons released for the babies we miss and love so much.

Day 17: Anniversary/Birthday/Due Date

Gabriel, Birthday: 8/12/10, Due Date: 1/7/11
Reese, Birthday: 5/27/12, Due Date: 12/3/12

First birthdays are a big deal in our family and we love to celebrate them! Gabriel's was no different, even if he wasn't there to celebrate with us. We had an open invitation to friends and family to join us for a balloon release in his memory. We were amazed at how many actually came to support us and share their love with us that day. All of the balloons floating heavenward looked so beautiful. It was a wonderful day remembering that although Gabriel was born still, he was still born.

We continue to send balloons to heaven on Gabriel's birthday and also do an act of kindness in his memory. We will do this for our little Reese on his birthday too.

Day 18: Family Portrait

Our family portraits always feel a little empty with our two babies missing. When we know we are going to be taking a family picture we do our best to include our babies by bringing their symbols, a dragonfly for Gabriel and a butterfly for Reese. Their symbols are small in the picture and most people don't notice them, but knowing that our babies are represented makes us all feel a little better. We know that these babies are part of our family, now and forever.

Day 19: Project

I'm always so inspired by the amazing ways that parents in the baby loss community have done something to make beautiful things out of something so painful. I am not crafty at all, but we do try to do simple acts of kindness in memory of our little ones. A few of my friends from my baby loss group and I have also made the sweetest blankets t
o donate to our bereavement counselor who gives them to families just like us. Like I said, I'm not crafty and I have no clue how to sew, but I have some very talented friends who have taught me the art of pinning and ironing so I can feel like I've contributed in the tiniest bit to help these families receive these precious blankets. I know that I treasure the beautiful blanket my sweet baby was wrapped in and I hope that the blankets we have helped to make have brought some kind of comfort to grieving families that have to say goodbye to their sweet babies.

I thought I had a picture of some of the blankets that we had made, but I can't find one. Instead, here is a picture of my own daughter, cuddling on our Gabriel Bear and Gabriel Bear's blanket that was made of some of the scraps from the blankets we made. My kids helped to pick out the material to make the blankets and they loved this extra soft material that they knew their baby brother would've loved to cuddle in.

Day 20: Charity/Organization

This is our Gabriel Bear made for us by Molly Bears. We love our Gabriel Bear. The thing I love most about our Gabriel Bear is how we received it. I had put my name on the waiting list and then pretty much forgot about it. Christmas is a hard time for me because my Gabriel was due right after Christmas. Last year I wondered what
I could do for my kids to make Christmas special when we just wished Gabriel was with us to celebrate his first birthday. I honestly couldn't come up with anything and was feeling overwhelmed. Just a few days before Christmas our Molly Bear arrived. It was perfect! The little hand on the bear is the same size our little Gabriel's hand was, such a special reminder of how perfect our baby boy was.

I've put our name on the list already to receive our Reese Bear. Our little Reese was due right before Christmas this year. It will be such a special gift when we get a Molly Bear to represent him too. Thank you Molly Bears for filling our arms with something precious to remind us of our babies!

Capture Your Grief Photo Challenge 2012 Days 1-10

October was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In the baby loss community there are different things going on throughout the month in an effort to remember our babies that are not with us. I decided to take part in one that I thought would be healing for me, the Capture Your Grief Photo Challenge created by a wonderful woman who has done so much for this cause, Carly Marie. The project was to capture a different subject about your baby(ies) each day. Some days it really helped me to see how far I've come through this and some days it was still so difficult because everything is still raw and painful, especially since losing Reese. Overall, I am thankful to have done it because every day I got to share something about the babies that I love so much but rarely get to share with the world. It was also helpful for me to see my own friends and complete strangers also participating that were going through the same things as me and feeling the same emotions. I definitely felt less alone in my grief this last month as so many came together to let the world know that they had babies that they loved waiting for them in heaven. I shared the challenge on Facebook since that is where the project was taking place, but now I'm sharing it on my blog.

Day 1: Sunrise

My migraine didn't get me up for the challenge today, but I took this beautiful picture of the sunrise on Gabriel's 2nd birthday, August 12, 2012.

Day 2: Before Loss Self-Portrait

This was taken about 2 weeks before we found out our Gabriel had died. We had gone camping with our friends in Fremont Indian State Park and had such a fun long weekend. I remember this day vividly. Gabriel was extremely active and was doing all sorts of gymnastics in my belly the whole time we were camping. I was worn out b
ecause he was not making sleeping very easy, especially while camping! Still, I was so happy to be having another sweet baby join our family and his kicks just made me smile. We were so, so happy! This is our last complete picture of our family. We will never have one again in this life.

 Day 3: After Loss Self-Portrait

This is about 2 weeks after Gabriel died. We were up in Yellowstone with friends, a trip we had planned all summer and didn't want to disappoint our kids further by not going. Since we were with friends, I tried my best to put on a good face, but I sobbed every time they weren't near. Every family picture we took felt incompl
ete. I felt empty. I've always hated this picture. My eyes are puffy from so much crying and I'm trying to learn how to smile again....yet I know that this smile is not my real smile at all.

Day 4: Treasured Item

My most treasured items of my baby boys are the blankets they were wrapped in. I still think of their precious little bodies wrapped up in those blankets and how sweet they were to hold.

I also treasure the molds made of Gabriel's perfect little hands and feet. I wish I had done that for Reese, but last year at the Walk to Remember I saw this pin of tiny feet that were the size of a ten week old. I just knew I needed to have them for some reason. Now, although I don't have Reese's molds, I have that pin to remind me of just how teeny, but still just how perfect, his little feet were. My precious boys were perfect in every way.

Day 5: Memorial

Our baby boys' headstone. Gabriel's symbol is the dragonfly and Reese's is the butterfly. It turned out just perfectly.

Day 6: What Not to Say

I've had many horrible things said to me:

"Be grateful for the children you have." Like I'm not. I am very grateful. That doesn't mean I don't hurt that not all of them are here.

"It's God's Will." I already know that. It still is horrible and hurts immensely.

"At least you didn't have more time with them. Then you would have painful memories." I would also have wonderful memories. What I wouldn't give for even one more minute with my babies.

"It's time to move on." I will never move on. I love my babies just as much as I love my living children and I will love them forever. This was especially hurtful when this was said to me less than a month after my second loss. I wasn't even physically "over" losing my baby and yet I was expected to wrap up all my grief.

But the thing I hate the most? Nothing. When people say nothing. This is the most difficult thing in my entire life. My babies are not "nothings".

"There's nothing I hate more than nothing. Nothing keeps me up at night. I toss and turn over nothing. Nothing can cause a great big fight. " -Edie Brickell

Day 7: What to Say

Aside from "I'm sorry" all I wish people would say is my babies' names, Gabriel & Reese.

"The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes but it never fails to bring music to my ears. If you are really my friend, please don't keep me from hearing the beautiful music. It soothes my broken heart and fills my soul with love."

This beautiful necklace was made for me by my sweet friend and fellow baby loss mom, Ashley.

Day 8: Jewelry

I feel a little spoiled here. I have had so many precious necklaces given to me from my husband and living children and also thoughtful friends since losing my baby, Gabriel and now my little Reese. Each time I have received one I have felt so much love and have been humbled that someone would care to remember, especially when they remember t
heir birthstones or their symbols. I wear a different necklace every day and I am always reminded that these two sweet babies of mine, although not here with me, still belong to me. One of the first necklaces I received came with a card that said, "This is so that when you can't hold Gabriel in your arms, you can feel him near your heart." I always do.

Day 9: Special Place

This is Gabriel's Garden. This has become a special place for our family to go to remember our babies. It's beautiful and peaceful. We planted two trees at the time we made this garden for Gabriel, an Eastern Redbud that blooms in the spring and a Japanese Maple that is gorgeous in the fall. Now that we have two babies in heaven, Gabriel and Reese, I'm thankful that we planted both trees. We love our garden!

Day 10: Symbol

We chose our Gabriel's symbol, the dragonfly, after reading the story, The Dragonfly. Ever since we've seen dragonflies everywhere and we have loved to remember Gabriel whenever we see one. After our little Reese died this year, my son decided that his symbol should be the butterfly, because "R
eese was small like a butterfly cocoon and only stayed for awhile until he was so beautiful he had to fly away". You can't argue with such sweetness from a big brother. Since then, we now see butterflies everywhere, along with the dragonflies still. My kids love to include their baby brothers' symbols in our family pictures so that they are never left out.

Our symbols for our babies, Gabriel's dragonfly, and Reese's butterfly