she rocks. The Letter 4 Sisters

A short while ago I had the pleasure of finding inspiration TIMES FOUR at this fabulous blog called the Letter 4. It is a blog run by four beautiful, ridiculously talented sisters who live across the country from eachother.

Be sure to visit their blog if you have a moment- it is jam-packed with tutorials, freebies, fun posts and inspiration GALORE. :]

Meet Jamie…

I feel so incredibly privileged to be introducing myself here today at Small Bird Studios. I immediately fell in love with Franchesca’s blog when I found it a few weeks ago. What an amazing project she has going! And in honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, I just wanted to say how much I love and truly respect all you mommy’s of angels! You are all truly the greatest and strongest mommy’s of all!
My name is Jamie and I run a blog with my 3 other sisters called
We sisters have always been very close and each others best friends growing up. Our blog has been an awesome way for us to stay in touch and still do projects together although we live far apart. I wanted to share with you all a few of my all time favorite posts.
Janae basically teaches all the sisters how to do their hair. Being the mommy of my sweet little one year old doesn’t leave me a ton of time to do my hair so one of my favorites is this hanging braid. Keeps my hair out of my face and take 2 seconds!
Speaking of my little munchkin, I am still so in love with this alphabet wall I did for her room. Cheap, easy, educational. Sabrina loves it too, we love to sing the alphabet together and emphasize on the letter “S”.
I also love to doodle and offer a ton of free printables on our site.
I wanted to offer a new one today!

Click here to download
I love this quote. Reminds me that even on my low days to look for something good, and it brightens everything :)
Thank you so much Franchesca! I believe that what you are doing here is such an amazing cause, and you truly have a gift. Looking forward to see what else you have for us readers!

Gift Exchange Partners

If you signed up for the Hello Autumn! Gift Exchange a few weeks ago, just wanted to post the names of everyone and their partners! Thank you all for participating!!! I hope it gives each of you a chance to make some new friends and spread some cheer!

We will be emailing each of you with your partner’s email so you two can exchange addresses :]

Stephanie Desjarlais + Amanda

Kendra + Caroline

Nika + Mattie

Heather + Holly

Natasha + Jill

Sarah + Christi Wilson

Ashley Elder + Karin

Stephanie Dyer + April

Molly + Danielle

Deanna + Mary

Kara + Fran

Just a few reminders…

- $15 limit

- Partners will be picked and posted on these blogs above by October 29th. It is up to the partners to get in contact with each other and exchange mailing addresses.

- All items MUST be shipped by November 7th.

There will be a follow up link up that partners may participate in to show off their gift on November 21st.

Heaven Just Got Sweeter.

And just like that she’s gone. It’s a little hard for my brain to process even though we knew this day was coming for some time now.

I know many of you have been following Nevaeh’s story for a while, and some of you even ask me from time to time about her.

Tonight she has slipped away into eternity.

I have a few scheduled – actually fun things – for this blog for the next few days that were planned before we found out she passed, but other than that I won’t be around much unless I just have to be for a few days.

Death is such a viscous enemy.

And tonight he won.

There are no words, just buckets of tears and broken hearts over this family’s loss…

update: the funeral will be at Shady Acres Baptist Church, Houston TX at 11am on Wednesday, November 2 for any who wish to be there.

she rocks. Michaela from ‘Metal Stamped Memories’

Through the most unexpected way I stumbled onto Michaela and her gorgeous work. I was so glad when she agreed to share her work here!!

Meet Michaela, talented shop owner of Metal Stamped Memories, and baby lost mother to baby Carter.

In her own words, Michaela shares a little about her story and how she got started…

“I am a stay at home mom of three beautiful boys.  I was inspired to create memorial & mother’s jewelry because of them.  My second son, Carter, was born “normal” with no complications during the pregnancy. At five weeks old we noticed a twitch in his eye and a little shake in his arm.  We took him in and after two weeks he was diagnosed with a one in a million condition called Ohtahara Syndrome.

This meant that Carter was having seizures, and a brainwave test showed a very rare pattern of high activity and then no activity, causing his brain to not carry out the signals it needed to for his body.  This was devastating news as children with Ohtahara rarely live past age 2, medicines do not control seizures for long, and in Carter’s case the signals were not being sent out for him to breathe on his own.

We made the most difficult decision to let him go to heaven.  Three years later, we are still slowly adjusting to life without him.  It is hard to live without him every day, and I know how it feels to feel lonely while the rest of the world goes on.  What keeps me going is knowing I will get to see Carter again someday, and also the love I have for my other boys.   You can read more about our journey at www.carterhagenow.blogspot.com

Metal Stamped Memories was created out of love for my boys and especially to honor Carter’s life and keep his memory alive.  I know how important it is to have something tangible to hang onto after you are left with empty arms. I also know there are many moms who would like to wear a piece of jewelry with all of their children included on it.

I create necklaces, bracelets and rings, but also special keepsakes like key chains and ornaments.  I hope that anyone who purchases a piece of jewelry from me will feel the love that went into it.  My jewelry is created to help you on your healing journey, and I know that you will wear it to keep the memories close to your heart.

You can also find Michaela at the links below:

facebook

shop

website

Please show Michaela some love by visiting her facebook page if you have a moment.

Be sure to share this post with your friends to spread the word about Metal Stamped Memories and the beautiful pieces she is making to encourage healing to bereaved parents!

XO!

Instagram Life + Sweet Nevaeh

Well friends, it’s Friday. How fast did this week go?? It’s like the closer Christmas gets, the faster the days just wizz by.

Dear Time, slow down please, my brain can hardly process today!

Anyhow- last Saturday we went to the Houston Zoo. We enjoyed it, minus the mosquito infestation (GROSS!). A kind stranger let us borrow some of her repellent which saved the day. Literally.

1. hello there gecko-looking dude.

2.houston traffic, i do hate thee. but the skyline and amazing sunshine that day made you a bit more tolerable.

3. entrance to the new section in the zoo. pretty :]

4. giraffes. my favorite part of last weekend’s visit. did you know you can feed them now?! we weren’t lucky enough to feed them but next time hopefully!!!

1. bubby, do you know how blessed i am to be your mommy?

2. elephant goodness. the baby ones were SO stinkin’ cute.

3. bubby at an uncomfortable closeness to a huge anaconda-looking snake.

4. bubby+mommy. i have a picture of me and my siblings on this same elephant from when i was a kid. it’s kinda neat {and a bit surreal} to take my own kid here.

1. we got new sofas. bubby approves of them ;]

2. the lion costume. now if he’ll just wear the mask/ head piece..

3. heaven is getting sweeter, but our hearts are breaking in a million pieces as this little girl is slipping away. sometimes life just does not make a lick of sense.

4. bubby being bubby.

How life can be so full of love, and so full of heartache in a single moment is beyond me. Please if you would, please wrap this family in your prayers as they say goodbye to their sweet daughter, their only daughter. Her time is short.

xoxo franchesca

Halloween Pinning + a Freebie!

Tonight I spent an undeniably wasteful amount on Pinterest, and I thought I would share my Halloween finds with you!!!

First of all, I found this first one at Laura‘s blog. Beyond brilliant.

source+tutorial

source

Ummm.. if I was brave enough to dress up on Halloween, these oxfords would be a little fun to wear.

source

I must try this!!!

source

If God ever gives us another little girl, well she will be wearing a ridiculous amount of tulle all year round, but definitely Halloween. ;]

source

And since it’s too warm to drink hot apple cider and hot cocoa in south Texas, might as well stuff something cute in your coffee cup for the season!

::

Last but not least, I made up this little printable that I hope you enjoy. Can you picture it in a old country-style white frame…?? smarvelous.

Download this 10″x8″ print here

Pin It

Followers Fest Link Below. Lots of new friends to make, and a ton of inspiration.

Bring. it on.

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Fall Card Freebies

Hello beautiful readers! I decided to post something a little light hearted and happy today…

Fall Freebies!

Oh and a sweet video at the end of my little man gettin’ ready for Halloween with his super scary lion growl… hehe ;] (Actually posting this for the grandparents and family, in case they didn’t see it on facebook yesterday!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy using the fall cards as much as I enjoyed making them :]

You can plug in your own photos into them using a photo editor

Download 7″x5″ card here

Download this 5″x7″ card here

Download this 7″x5″ card here

How to use these cards:

To use them you will need a photo editing software.

{Get a free photo editor for Mac here and PC here}

1. Download & save the file to your computer.

2. Open the file in your photo editor, and open the image you would like to use in it.

3. Make sure your image is high resolution, otherwise it may not print correctly (pixelated).

4. Pay close attention to the recommended dimensions and crop your photo accordingly.

5. Copy/ paste your photo onto the image file & VOILA!

6. Print anywhere you like.

ps- Lately I’ve been finding some killer printing deals at Snapfish!

Big Love & Enjoy!

And here is my little man in all his scary goodness… ;)

XO

A Beautiful Mystery

There’s nothing quite like it.

Watching him. Listening to him.

Wondering.

Witnessing the gift of childlike innocence.

Every now and again he’ll laugh at something when there’s nothing, nothing in sight.

He’ll point when there’s nothing but a bare wall… or empty space. These days he is pretty good at pointing at what he wants too, which usually involves the pantry, refrigerator or outside.

It’s in these moments that I feel paralyzed, awe -struck with wonder at what just happened… only hoping to make it last as long as possible.

I wonder if he knows who he just saw, played with, talked jibber-jabber to.

I’m tangled up in questions, but thankful for the visit. Because we know she came. It was all over his face, for that split second.

I get to wondering about the goodness of God to send her to us in that moment. Was it really for Joseph? Or was it because he knew I needed her close…

Perhaps she came for the both of us.

Spoken Word Blog {first vlog}

Eeeeeeeeekkkk….. I am about to share my first vlog ever. Inspired by Angie’s Spoken Word Blog Round Up. It has been incredible to hear so many bloggers, whom I have followed for some time now actually read their own posts out loud.

So here goes…

The painting.

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Split Wide Open
Oil on canvas

To join in, you can click here and hear more bloggers who have read one of their posts out loud.

XOXO

Quest for Answers… {and letting go}

I think I know what the white rabbit in Alice in the Wonderland feels like.

Frantically pursuing the impossible.

For me- the answers. The know. The WHY.

As you may or may not know I got the best news EVER last Tuesday night. My brother was frantically calling me (more than once) at almost 10pm. To be honest I was a little peaved because Bubby was just starting to fall asleep. One the second call, I decided to answer.

What he told me made my jaw drop. My heart sing……………. I was suddenly SO glad I decided to answer.

He told me that Jenna Belle’s name was mentioned on TLC’s The Little Couple last Tuesday. And they also mentioned how many days she lived. He went into very elaborate details of what the conversation was really about. Her name was a quick reference that was made. (In case you’re wondering… Dr. Jen Arnold was her first neonatologist at Texas Children’s… I have the bill the prove it! LOL).

And then a friend told me she heard it too.

I thought THIS IS SOOOOOOOOOOOO COOL!!!!!!!!!!! Naturally, I stayed up and watched the reruns.

I wish this was the part where I share that awesome clip with you, but it’s not.

Her name was NOT mentioned in the reruns.

So you can imagine my horror. My frustration. After hearing the best news EVER, it was all gone.

I scoured the internet almost all night for the clip. To no avail. The reruns did not mention her name. In fact the entire scene that my brother describes was entirely missing from the rerun.

I even bought the episode off Amazon thinking it might be in there. It wasn’t.

The more I thought about the scene that was described the more I wondered HOW THE HECK does their Chicago clinic even know about Jenna!? And more importantly WHAT do they know?!

So I called them. Please don’t tell me I’m crazy, I already FEEL like a lunatic.

They denied everything. They said they had no idea who Jenna Belle was, and that they would NEVER mention her name.

Don’t hate them. If her name was really mentioned, as someone mentioned the other day it is a HIPAA violation (I think). I don’t care about any of that though. I was just curious what they knew about my daughter’s condition.

As you may or may not know we HAD NO ANSWERS. They loosely chalked her death up to MTHFR, but there were no SOLID answers.

I thought this was our chance. I’d finally have a better understanding why she didn’t grow the way she should have. Why I couldn’t carry her longer. Why our son is so stinkin’ healthy (and praising God for it) and she just wasn’t. Was it me? Something I did/ didn’t do? Was it a syndrome? A genetic mutation???

It matters to me.

The following days I felt like I had lost her all over again.

I’m NOT exaggerating. I felt the raw pain I hadn’t felt in so long.

It sounds selfish, but when it comes to Jenna or anything that has to do with her, I want it all. Because there really isn’t much.

:::

I was balling my eyes out on the phone with my mom the next day telling her about my crappy endeavors to get answers.

And she said something that never even crossed my mind.

After listening she said, “Well, at least you know two people did hear it. That’s all that matters. You need to come to the place where you are content with her being in Heaven.”

I felt so shallow. I never realized that my quest for answers this side of Heaven might reveal discontentment.

I still long for answers. I think my heart will always wonder why some babies live and some babies don’t.

But I never want to take the peace God has given me for granted- that she really is okay today.

And when we get to that beautiful land, the answers… well they just won’t matter anymore.

Sign It. Please.

I was very lucky. I did not have to go back to work after Jenna passed away. After about two weeks I decided it was time to take a step out into the real world even though I felt incredibly jarred in this new normal.

But what if I had had a real job. What if I had the risk of losing my benefits and health insurance?

I would have gone back to work, but I can tell you right now it would have been nearly IMPOSSIBLE to even drive to get there. Much less be a productive employee.

Let’s get our voices heard. Give grieving parents a leave of absence after having to say goodbye to their child. It’s almost ridiculous that this isn’t already covered.

Let’s change that. Click here to sign.

Dewberry Farm + a winner

Dewberry Farm. What a place.

We had the pleasure of going with my youngest brother and my mom last Saturday.

Apparently everyone and their mama knew about this place before I did.

Since having a little one around I take interest in things like carousels, pony rides and pumpkin patches. He changes just about everything :]

And yes, we did the whole ‘pumpkin patch’ thing again.

I couldn’t help it. Not only was Saturday a spectacular day… I was having serious cabin fever last week. Working from home will do that to you.

Hope you enjoy the photos :]

Loved watching his little face light up with the sight of so many pumpkins… :]

Wishing you all a happy Saturday today!

XOXO

ps – the winner to the Dandelion Dream giveaway is #15 Jill! Please email me at fran@smallbirdstudios.com so I can get you & Erin in touch with one another :)

Our Life in Instagr.am

All I can say is thank God for instagr.am. It’s gotta be one of the best apps in the whole wide WORLD. :]

1. Bubby in the moonwalk.

2. Me+Bubby. My new favorite top (found it on clearance at Target!)

3. The animal exhibit at Gallery Furniture. I never ever go in there, so it threw me off when I was in there with someone and saw they had MONKEYS in the same place where they sell recliners, mattresses and overpriced lamps. Weird? I thought so too. Poor monkeys.

4. This is about the time that Jenna starts mixing her watercolors with all the babies up there. I think they like painting quite a bit in Heaven.

1. Isn’t she lovely? :]

2. Pumpkins.

3. More pumpkins at Dewberry Farm. More pics from our trip there soon :]

4. Grandma+Bubby time.

1. Cool truck.

2. Gussy. She rocks my socks off. I won $50 shop credit some time ago and snagged this bag with it. It doesn’t get used much as I’m afraid of wearing it out! Lately, since my other purse has a hole in it I’ve been using it more. And loving EVERY minute of it!

3. Headband from just.lovely.things. My new favorite shop these days.

4. A water hose holder-thingy never looked so pretty ;]

1. Yummmmmmm…..

2. Swinging in the park.

3. Jenna’s candle, handmade by Amy {mommy to Princess Nevaeh}

4. Our Sweet Blossom candle that burned on October 15th.

One last thing… hope you enjoy this freebie! Download here.

Happy, happy friday friends!

XOXO

ps- blog design queue opens Monday, October 24… and possibly a sweet holiday gift package to go along with it!

Sisterhood + Sneak Peek

I’ve said it many times but ‘meeting’ so many other baby lost mamas through my first blog became the best therapy my heart could ever ask for. I found healing, understanding, and best of all Jenna was REAL to every one that I connected with. To this day I still get little gifts in the mail on her birthday, at Christmas and sometimes at random just for my girl. Only recently I discovered that many people stumbling onto this blog are newly bereaved parents.

I would love for this blog to be a safe refuge, and share every last one of you who have helped me find healing, if you so choose.

Please be sure to add your blog here if you have experienced the loss of child.

No one is excluded.

There are currently over 50 blogs listed!

On another note… this weekend our Lost For Words Calendars will be released! So stay tuned… :)

In the mean time I hope you enjoy a little sneak peek of my calendar….

In case you are not familiar with the calendars, all the quotes are original quotes written by bereaved parents. Carly Marie and I are piecing them together this week. We will both be releasing a calendar!!