Just Because

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Sometimes I hold you, just because.

Just because it won’t always be this way.

You’ll grow up, spread your own wings and the way life works you’ll be so busy. The way I’m busy with life and I don’t see my mom every single day.

It hurts my heart to think of you leaving this house. But I hope you know you always have a home here. Sure, someday you’ll grow up and chase your own dreams and I pray you’ll use your God-given talents in some extraordinary way. And I’ll be your biggest cheerleader. But all the while I will know that someday, like today, we knew it was coming.

So there are many, many times I just hold you. Smile at you. Play with you. Ask you the same questions over and over, because they’re the ones that you can answer and we can hold conversations that I know you won’t remember, but I will.

Like the time you told me you saw two angels outside our window on the way home last Wednesday.

Or the time you told me you saw Jesus in our closet.

Or the time you asked me about Daddy’s work.

Or the many times you’ve told me about you starting school in September. (I love the way you say “September”, by the way!)

Or the time you talked to me about your monster trucks.

And I chase you around the house, or tickle you or make some crazy face just to see your smile.

I don’t feel worthy to be your mom.

I find myself reaching in desperate measures these days for wisdom, patience, and rest.

And each time I get frustrated at myself, I can hear God whisper that all I really have to do is ask. Just ask.

So today, all I can think of to do, is hold you. Just because.

Life won’t always be this simple.

Coffee Date

maxi skirt

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If I had the chance to sneak out of my house for a quick cup of coffee, I would throw on some comfy flip flops, tie my hair in a loose bun and grab my keys before my husband could change his mind about watching the kids for me. Honestly, he’s really good about it. But I hate leaving them more than I have to, so my guilt would be playing tug-of-war with my need for a little space to think.

But I’d take the opportunity and run as fast as I could to the nearest Starbucks and eagerly wait to see you.

I’d order something delicious and fattening.

I’d open up Instagram while the barista makes my drink, and gawk over the photos of prettiest beach in Florida or laugh out loud because I caught a glimpse of Angie’s Kate doing something completely awesome in the rain.

I’d squeal inside as I saw you pulling up, because even though I’m almost thirty I feel like a kid inside. I still get excited about friends. And hanging out. And laughing at ourselves and oftentimes other people…!

I’d tell you over my cup of iced coffee with a mountain of whip cream on top, that my heart is so happy that July is here. I’ve felt a movement in my soul for the past few weeks.

There are times when I have seriously questioned if there was really a God. Short lived moments, but honest nonetheless. Yet when I know my heart is searching and feeling so far away from anything spiritual, I can feel him there. I can see him in my children. I can hear him speaking. Softly. And more each day.

It encourages my heart. That even though I’ve had my own version of ‘hell and back’, he still wants to be in this mess. Maybe someday he’ll show me how to pick up all these pieces too, without injuring more parts of my soul.

I’d tell you that Bubby’s baby phase is gone… and has been for a while. But just lately I am really seeing his boyhood taking over. The way he is forming sentences… pronouncing ‘big’ words… asking questions.

I’d laugh as I told you that he asked me if we could take Jesus some cookies yesterday. He pleaded and pleaded to ‘go see Jesus’ and used the cookies as his final plea. I did the best I could to explain things that I wonder how much he really knows (more than I think, I’m sure!).

I’d tell you that Evie reached six months and that I can hardly wait to start really planning her birthday party. Yes, I am thinking ahead. I’d tell you that Pete turned down my idea to rent ponies for pony rides… but that I’m going to still check prices. Dream big, right? ;)

I’d tell you in all seriousness that even though at first having a little girl in our world again was extremely bittersweet, that today life is the sweet side of bittersweet. I think about what the three of them would have been like together… a lot. It makes me so happy. And sad. I remember growing up always wanting a big sister… and to think that Evie did… does… yet at the same time she doesn’t. That kind of breaks my heart.

I’d tell you that the other night I cried for the first time in what feels like forever. We were at the drive-in of all places. Evie was snoozing away, Bubby was watching Monsters U, and I looked up. I guess the movie wasn’t really all that, but the experience of the drive-in… priceless. Movie under a starlight sky? Yes. Please. But anyway, I looked up, and the quote about the stars being the love of our lost ones to show us how happy they are… it crossed my mind. Tears rolled off my face. I think they were happy and sad tears. I love thinking about Jenna being happy. Even though I never imagined I would want to be happy again in this life after we buried her… God has given us so much that fills our hearts. And happiness lives here. Happiness found it’s way back into our world, more than we ever dreamed. To think of her being happy… it’s a beautiful thought to say the least.

I’d tell you that I started my very two last designs. And that I am so ready to plunge head first into new things for the shop. I’d tell you that I am obsessed with gold spray paint, glitter and newspaper for projects.

I’d tell you that we need to go swimming soon, because it’s like a hundred and four degrees outside. And we could both probably use a little more sun? :)

I’d ask about you. Your dreams. Your heart. Your babies. Your world.

And I’d hope that we could do this again soon, soon, soon.

Evie

linking up here today.

After Naptime

When her naptimes are over, and we hear her through the monitors waking up, Joseph usually stops whatever he might be doing if he is in ear shot and say “Mama, she wake up!”

He watches me eagerly to follow my footsteps into her room. He loves this part of the day, and I love that we get to experience this sweetness more than once in a day too. He loves calling her “gorgeous” and “precious”. He’ll even say,”Mama, I love her.” I promise there are twinkles in his eyes when he talks about her. Every time.

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These are the Golden Days

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My heart is so full.

These babies. They have absolutely no idea how much they fill my heart with the most undeserving and unbelievable love and joy.

linking up here

One Year Ago Today

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dc6ac532c64311e28c8722000a1f90f9_7 3aa2c3b0c55011e2997822000a1fd57c_7 8fe115a6c3c111e2852e22000ae90903_7 db1133ccc58c11e2997822000a1fd57c_7One year ago today we got back in the mid afternoon after spending a few hours at the beach. I remember feeling more exhausted than usual. In fact, I don’t think I got off the couch much at all.

My husband kept looking at me and saying, “Yup. You’re pregnant.”

I was afraid to believe it. We had been trying, but it was discouraging and a little heartbreaking to take a test only to get a big fat negative when I thought I was pregnant.

But the next morning, I took the test. And I was indeed expecting.

This beautiful bundle of joy.

I cannot get enough of her.

Baby smell.

Smiles.

Laughs.

Baby rolls.

And the way she snuggles up against me when she’s tired.

She is just the sweetest.

One year ago today, we found out the most incredible news. Our lives changed forever again when we found out we were expecting a girl.

What a difference a year makes.

Going to bed tonight, with a heart bursting at the seams with thankfulness over this beauty.

One Day

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One day I’m going to miss this.

The changing diapers.

Wiping runny noses.

Playing ‘clean up’ fifteen times a day.

The nights that involve six hours of broken sleep.

Hearing Bubby talk about how he wants Daddy on this new schedule.

Washing these littles fingers and toes in the bath tub.

Holding their hands and feeling them grab my finger with their fists.

Finding monster trucks in the sheets, or cherrios and crackers in the couch cushions.

Watching Evie back away from the bottle to talk and babble softly for a few moments and then return to eating.

The way she calms down and snuggles in my arms.

The way they need me. I’m going to miss it.

I already feel this sense of urgency, and that time is swallowing us up much too quickly. In a few days Evie will be five months. It feels only like yesterday we were bringing her precious self home to us. It makes me wonder if I am doing enough. Taking enough pictures and videos. It makes me wonder how much time I spend looking them directly in the eyes, and drinking them in as much as possible.

She smiles, and lights up our world. She laughs too. She looks for her brother when she hears him talking.

He talks to her about his cars and trucks. Showing her the car as he talks and talks, fully trusting she isn’t missing a beat of it. She struggles to hold her head up high, but she is so eager to watch him. Listen to him. Watching them bond over trucks and cars, baby talk and afternoon snacks… it’s just beautiful.

That they are my babies. Their mommy. The one that is so needed by them.

I’m going to miss this one day.

But today, my goodness, today… I might be tired, but I am so incredibly blessed.

This Mess

messIMG_1174 IMG_1176 IMG_1179 IMG_1182 IMG_1189 IMG_1191 On a typical day, this is what my living room floor looks like.

Dump trucks, stuffed animals and books scattered all over our worn out carpet. Rubbed out spots on the floor, from peanut butter or ice cream.

Laundry covering the smaller sofa. I can hardly keep up these days. I think I’ve given up actually, and I’m okay with it really.

That saying about having a messy home, but happy kids… it’s kind of true.

The other day I was spending some time on the living room floor with my babies. My world. The mess of a typical day surrounded us. All I could think of was how happy I am to have the chance to clean this up.

Because there is only a mess where there is LIFE.

My son’s days are spent tirelessly, effortlessly sorting through games, toys and books. Dragging mud pies through our kitchen, and not-so-accidentally tossing play dough off the kitchen table, making semi-permanent red and blue stains throughout our kitchen floor.

I look forward to seeing what Evelyn will choose to do. What her mess will look like.

Sure there are days, where life can just feel chaotic and tiring. But this mess… the never-ending task of putting the dump truck back, re-shelving the books, vacuuming the nabisco crackers off the carpet for the hundredth time in a week… it’s something I’ll never be able to do for Jenna. I often wonder what her mess would look like had she lived. What books and toys I would be looking forward to storing away, to someday pass down to her own kids. What toys would have been her favorite.

Her mess looks a lot different than I imagined it would. But it’s a mess nonetheless. A mess that I look forward to picking up and sorting through each day. The art, the cards, the canvases, the emails, the connecting with other bereaved moms… all remnants of the life she lived.

There is only a mess where there has once been life.

Evie Girl

This afternoon, Evie fell asleep in my arms, and a few minutes later I found myself waking up to the sound of the doorbell. Our neighborhood boys trying to find their ball in our yard again.

I looked down at her, realizing what had just happened. I had fallen asleep too. She was so comfortable. She is the most squishy baby ever.

I talked to Pete as softly as I could without waking her, and she only reciprocated with a smile. He noticed how sweetly she responds to the sound of my voice.

With each passing day I am falling more in love with her, just when I think I can’t possibly love her any more than I already do.

She has my whole heart.

How it’s possible to give your full heart to each of your children, no matter how many children you bring into this world, is beyond me, but I know that it is. It happens every day, since the day I became a mother.

I’m still here, pinching myself, still wondering how on earth she is really mine.

The love. The bittersweetness. The joy. Even the hardships. I just feel completely blessed by it all.

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A Letter to My Littles

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Dear Joseph + Evelyn,

It seems like this year it just doesn’t stop. The world is a hurting place, and you have to wonder how much more sadness can be born into such a small world. I feel helpless thinking about the world you will know.

A lot of people say that all these disasters and wars mean that God is coming back soon. I hope.

Times like this you long for Heaven. You remember what really matters. And you question if you’re spending your smallest minutes in the absolute best way possible. Are you wasting any time?

Times like today, when someone in this world decides to hurt innocent people, create confusion, death and terror, and wreck lives forever… I want you to do a few things…

I want you to look for the brave people running towards the chaos, helping the helpless and putting their own lives on the line. Heroes inspire humanity. They put hope on the front lines, when you are being bombarded with chaos.

Look away from the television. Turn off the radio. Put down your phone or electronic device. All of which have the power to feed your fear.

Embrace your time.

I thought about the moms and dads at the event. The ones with littles. Hot tears poured down my face, thinking it could be us next time. Bubby, you’re old enough now to know when I’m sad. You asked me why I was crying. You started to become sad too. The last thing I wanted to do was strike fear into you. I soon after shut off the television. It was just too much. The same clips were playing over and over.

It makes me tremble to think that a day could come where my arms might not be enough protection for you. When you’re big and grown, and even in just a few years you’ll start school.

But if I’ve learned anything from the disasters that seem to have no end it’s this.

There are some people who thrive off of my fear. They live for it, and sacrifice others to die for it. I won’t let them win. Am I afraid? Yes. I think in times of crisis, it’s impossible not to be… even a little. But in all this knowingness of my lack of control… of anything really… makes me want to squeeze life that much more.

Live boldly. In the face of fear.

Live purposefully. Honoring our heroes, and the lives lost much too soon.

Live trusting again. Your Grandma reminded me of these words today… and hearing them felt like a warm blanket had just been wrapped around me on a dark, cold wintery night.

Let not your heart be troubled…

John 14:1a

sunday school paperToday of all days you found your Sunday school paper from Easter Sunday. One paper had a cut out of Jesus’ tomb and a rock pinned over it, so you could slide it back and forth and another paper had a picture of Jesus with a light shining behind him. You must have been paying attention that day because all day you were saying “Jesus alive!”, “Jesus alive!”. Only a few hours later my facebook feed would be buzzing with stories of this explosion in Boston. You kept saying it throughout the entire day too. Jesus is alive. Thank you for that much needed reminder…

free

brother and sister

I am free.

Free from the lies.

The hurt.

The guilt.

The guarded heart.

The trembling.

The fear.

Today, I am free.

She smiles. Her dimples poking the most adorable pockets into the biggest, softest cheeks ever.

She loves.

Something in her eyes tells me she knows.

The rainbow.

It heals.

The scar ever present.

But the gift it brings is something you never, ever get over.

rainbow baby

Her first real tutu… ever. How perfect is it?

:)

easter weekend.

Lately on weekends I am finding it easier to close the laptop. Unwind, as much as possible. This past weekend I sort of celebrated having my living room ‘redone’. I made curtains out of $12 wal-mart queen size sheets, painted a chalkboard wall in our kitchen and made our own family photo wall collage on the same wall that our T.V. hangs on. I feel like Martha Stewart on steroids, only I am exhausted! I’d die a happy woman if I never saw another gallon of paint again! But I’m loving the white walls!

Needless to say, I needed the four day weekend I gave myself:)

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Evelyn turned three months last week and I honestly don’t know how we got from there to here. So fast.

Easter Sunday it hailed and we barely got the egg hunt done in time, but we did! Bubby was more interested in popping open the eggs to snag the chocolate, instead of trying to gather as many eggs as possible.

And then he discovered confetti eggs…

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eshakti contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me if they could send me a dress, to share their awesomeness with you!!! I was so excited to look through all their super cute, and modest style dresses. They are HARD to find in stores today. Anyhoo… you can customize the dress to your size AND taste. For example, for the dress I chose,  I customized the length, and could have customized the neck line and sleeves. It has POCKETS… and it was fuchsia… and it had birds… so yea… it was basically PERFECTION. :)

be sure to use discount code FRANSMS to save 20% off your purchase // shop here

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Having a Daughter

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Since the thought of having children entered my mind years and years ago, I’ve always been afraid of having a daughter.

Maybe its because I knew how me and my own mom got along in my teen years…

maybe it’s because I knew how I was…

I don’t know.

But I do know the thought of having daughter terrified me. But a big part of me wanted a girl too, they’re just so much FUN!

When we lost Jenna though, I was terrified of having another girl for different reasons. All the original fears of having a girl have somewhat silenced in my heart, but there is still fear.

Fear that she feels a part of this bittersweetness.

Fear that I am not giving her enough.

Fear that I am not the mom I would have been, sans loss, to her.

Fear that someday she might long for the big sister she never met.

Fear that I’m holding too strongly onto the past.

Fear is the sucker-of-life.

I love holding her. LOVE. She is squishy, chubby, snuggly, you name it.

Lately she will study you with her dark blue eyes. And every now and then make a “gggg” sound.

When I hold her, I wonder what if I lose her too? It’s almost like a dream that is too good to be true. She’s just so perfect.

Sure, she cries, refuses to comply with any short shopping trip and loves to be held, but at the end of the day, it’s still like I’m living a dream I never thought would be mine.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming. I find tears falling from my eyes, watching her sleep or rocking her.

I want her to know that life threw a horrible wrench in the plan. And life took an amazing part of our world away, but regardless… love is here. Love is hers. Every bit of it I have to give.