Monday, March 26, 2012

Dinner With the Family

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My niece, Rebecca (that's her in the lower left-hand corner), got some great shots of us yesterday during our family dinner. My dad was feeling good, and it was great to be together.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Michaela @ Ten Months

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Another month has passed and Michaela is getting close to her first birthday. It is bittersweet, I tell you. Tonight as I was trying to get her down, she was making these cute sleepy sounds she makes, and I was just wondering how much longer she will do so before she outgrows that. I shed a few tears over that. I waited twenty years to become a mother, and my only child's babyhood is just flying by. I wish they were babies for longer. It's such a sweet time of life.

Growth: Michaela is still wearing 12 months clothes, size 3 shoes, and size 3 diapers. She is working on more teeth. She has four teeth on the bottom, and she's almost got four on top, too. She bit me one day recently. Ouch! Little stinker.

Eating: Some days she is a little porker. Some days she isn't. From what I've read this is typical. It's funny how one day she'll be crazy about say pear sauce, and the next day turn her nose up at it. I have cut back on her formula to 24 ounces per day as some of my childcare books advise, but she is oftentimes more interested in her bottle than anything else. Nevertheless, I continue to introduce her to many kinds of food. Typically if I'm eating something, she wants to try it. That's good.

Sleeping: We are still happily cosleeping, and will continue to do so indefinitely unless or until it becomes a problem for one of us. Her morning nap routine is pretty well set, but afternoons not so much. The time change has thrown her off. I am determined to set an afternoon nap time (within thirty minutes, or so), and an evening bed time. She has been napping late in the afternoon (really late), and then going to bed late. If not before, then over Easter vacation, we will try to get things figured out. I need her down around 7:30 in the evening so that I have time for chores, and time for myself. Plus, we get up so early during the week that she needs to start her night that early in order to get enough sleep.

Other developments: Michaela is babbling all the day long. She has so much to say! There are lots of mamas in there, but the rest of it is her own language. I love her little voice.

She has been cruising for about ten days now, and she likes to let go and see how long she can balance herself. She's a little daredevil. It's fun to see her exploring her abilities and her environment. She's a busy girl.

Michaela continues to be a very easy baby overall. She's just got the best temperament. On the weekends we run our errands, and she just goes along with whatever I need to do. At home, she happily plays on her own most of the time. She loves music, and when we listen to music, or watch music shows, she just has to move to the music. It's in her blood after all!

Ten months since she was placed in my arms, and I still just marvel that she's mine. I hope that feeling never goes away.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I have a sweet friend who has taken this verse to heart, and she has just blessed me so much in doing so! Ashley, a former coworker, frequently makes an extra batch of homemade baby food for Michaela when she does so for her daughter. Sophie is just six months older than Michaela. Sophie's mommy can really cook. She was well-known at my last school for her baking abilities, but her cooking talents extend beyond cookies and cupcakes. Michaela enjoys Ashley's veggie bites, oat-apple pancakes, Belgian waffles, pasta dishes, frittata, etc. It's gourmet baby food, for sure. I thought I would be doing this sort of thing for Michaela, but I just don't have the time realistically. In addition to all the baby food, there are oftentimes soups for Mommy. I love Ashley's homemade soups!

Ashley, I know you pop in here now and then and see what's going on with us. I just want you to know that I am so appreciative of you doing something that I wanted to do for Michaela myself - if I weren't working full-time. You have generously and graciously chosen to serve us in this way. May the Lord bless you and your family for being so good to mine.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Always In My Heart

Today it has been two years since Michael was last here with me. That is so hard to accept in some ways. It just doesn't feel like that long ago, even though I know it was.

On Sunday night, I was driving home on the freeway after having dinner at my sister's. A Saab zoomed past me, and as it did, I looked at the clock on the dashboard. It was 7:33 pm - just two minutes before Michael had passed on that Sunday night (the first Sunday in March) two years ago. Keith Green's "Trials Turned to Gold" was playing on my iPod. I can't really adequately explain all those connections, but I do think it was a "God thing".

Today Michaela and I will have lunch with Michael's mom and several of his siblings. We are going to King's Hawaiian Restaurant which was a favorite of Michael's. I have decided that the anniversary of his passing and his birthday should be times where we get together and do something Micheal enjoyed. In this way, I hope that Michaela will begin to understand a little of who her father was.

Last night, I went through Michael's box of personal photos and chose some of my favorites to share here today.

Nineteen months old - Oahu, Hawai'i.
I think Michaela has her daddy's lips (and cheeks, nose, etc.)!

Elementary school. I'm just guessing, but I'm thinking third or fourth grade.
What a cute little boy.

Young adult. Looks like a camping trip.
I love his expression! Michael was always having fun.

1994 - This is how Michael looked when I first met him. I'm pretty sure this was a Sunday afternoon after church. I wasn't present when this picture was taken, but I remember this look so well. I remember seeing him walking across the church patio area, and his hair was flowing behind him. A very Fabio moment. I thought he was so dreamy. Michael, not Fabio!

Doing what he loved.

Another love - baseball. I remember when we used to take our walks through the neighborhood park during baseball season. Michael would always want to stop and watch an inning. This might have been a game his friend Jeff's son pitched in, but I'm not sure.

Michael was really proud of this moment. He played in a tribute concert for the late Frank Sinatra. Quincy Jones (center) was the music director that night. A couple weeks before Michael passed, we were watching a PBS tribute concert to Quincy. Michael reminded me that he had played with Quincy at this event. He said it in a way that I knew he was missing his work and all the people he made music with. I assured him that he'd be playing again soon - that he'd either experience healing and be able to pick up his guitar again, or that upon entering Heaven he'd be handed an instrument. He kissed me in response and told me I was wonderful. I was always believing in a miracle for him, but confident in his destination no matter what the Lord had in store for his Earthly body. When Michael gave his life to Christ, he gave me an incredible gift. I have known great comfort in knowing he was saved and that I will see him again.

My handsome groom. He was so unassuming about his looks. He preferred to wear t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops. But he sure did dress up nice! We found this suit at the outlets, and I picked out the tie to match the sash on my dress.

I wish I could remember what we were talking about at this moment that day. I like the serious, yet tender way he is looking at me. Michael was so good at expressing himself with me. He always made me feel loved and appreciated, and he was never too proud to apologize the few times he upset me. He had a good heart.

This is one of our last photos together. I think this was early November 2009. He was doing fairly well on his cancer medication at this time but in just a few weeks that would change.


Thank you so much for loving me, and for being my husband. Our time together was so sweet. I just wish it had been much, much longer. I never got tired of being with you. You made simple things like grocery shopping, or washing the dog, or dropping the car off for service, fun. Everything was better when we were together.

I am so grateful to have Micheala in my life now. She has brought a new purpose and so much joy into my life. There are so many things about her that remind me of you. There is a sadness, too. Sadness that we didn't get to share any of this part of the journey together. I know you would have been such a loving and playful father, and I know how much help you would have been to me.

I hate that it has been so long since I saw you last, but I know that each day that passes gets me closer to the day I'll see you again. And then we'll never have to say goodbye. Until then, I will trust the Lord with my journey, and I will do my very best to raise Michaela to know what a good man you were and how much you love her. I tell her that all the time. I know you would want me to.

Love always,

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Missing Michael


Two years ago tonight, my husband was slowly slipping from this life to Eternity. He could no longer open his eyes, or respond in any way to me or anyone else. I can't really explain what I was feeling that weekend before he passed. I was overwhelmed, for sure. Loved ones came and went all day long. Not one to give in to my emotions, I know I kept up a brave front most of the time until Sunday night.

In those last couple of days, I know I took the time to hold Michael's hand and tell him some things that were on my heart. I'd been advised by hospice that it would be beneficial to tell Michael that it was okay for him to go. So, I remember telling him that. I also told him I'd be all right and not to worry about me. Michael was always very concerned about others' feelings. I told him that he'd been a good husband, and that he'd made me happy. I assured him that Jesus would meet him on the other side. That's all that I can remember telling him, and I know that it was enough. But, sometimes I wish I'd said even more. Of course, a lot of the things I'd want to tell him back then are things I've come to understand since he's been gone.

I've been thinking so much about him the last few days. Not a day passes that I don't think about him several times, but as I approach the second anniversary of his passing, I just keep thinking about so many things. For instance, on Friday I was teaching an art lesson on W. Kandinsky, and I remembered an art exhibit of a friend of Michael's that we went to the first year we were married. I hadn't thought about that in a long while. His friend's art was incredible, but some of the other art on display was just ridiculous and it had price tags on it that made our jaws drop. I told Michael to buy me some canvases. That I was going to splash some paint on them and slap a $10,000 price tag on them to pay for our fertility treatments. While we were there, Michael was anticipating that his friend, Jerry, might come. I had never met Jerry and wouldn't have been able to pick him out of the crowd. Michael kept teasing me by saying, "There's Jerry!" He fooled me a couple of times, but after that it just became a running joke for the rest of the evening. Jerry never did show up, but my husband was so much fun to be with! I could not have asked for a better partner and companion. He was just delightful to be around.

These two years without Michael have been better than I could ever have expected. I seriously did not expect to be able to function without him. I did not want to function without him. I think Michaela was exactly what I needed to feel that life was worth living again. But now that the getting pregnant, and the difficult pregnancy, and the newness of motherhood is over, I find that I am more and more lonely for Michael, though I've missed him all along. I long to see his incredible smile, and to feel his strong arms embracing us. Someday. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. John 14:1-4