Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rachel's been gone 2 months today

When I look back at the past few months, I find myself wondering what the hell happened? When we got back from Houston in November, we were done and Rachel was going to get to be normal again. Now, she's been gone for 2 months. I'm still puzzled and devastated about what happened those last few months. We watched her go from feeling great and running around to not even having enough energy to stay awake. When I think about all that we've been through, the toughest part was January when she started to deteriorate rapidly. Cancer is the crappiest and most unfair way for someone to lose their life!! The memories of watching her slowly lose control of her body and life are the hardest for me to handle. I can accept that the ultimate way to heal someone is for them to pass away and be with God. I miss Rachel terribly and I will always have a whole in my heart for her but watching her suffer at the end was unbearable. I find a lot of peace and comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering. I usually cry for her at least once daily but I also smile and talk about her more than that.

I've spent the last 2 months trying to decide what to do with her things in a way that will honor her and not turn our home into a shrine. Her clothes are going to be made into quilts. Her favorite things, and there were a lot, I'm going to keep and do special things with them. For Emily, I have a special necklace that is a heart broken in half. It has a phrase on it that says "Lord watch over me and thee while we are apart from one another". The other half was buried with Rachel. I bought myself a charm bracelet and filled it with charms of things that remind me of Rachel. I also got rings with the girls' birthstones. Michael is leaving in June for an entire year. He has been given a deployment to the UAE and he will be stationed outside of Dubai. Emily and I will be moving to New Braunfels to be closer to family. Because of the move, I'm having to go through her things sooner than I'd like. If anyone has any ideas of things that they've done or have seen done with loved ones' belongings I would love some tips!

I realize that I have failed to discuss the Rachel fund on the blog. I would like to say a really really big thank you to everyone who donated. We raised a lot more money than we could've hoped for. We have made big plans for your donations! We are doing some major shopping to donate toys, electronics, and other wants that the child life people on the 8th floor requested. The clinic became like a second home to us and it's been great therapy for us to be able to give so much stuff to them to say thank you. These toys are the best gift that we could give to the floor. Cancer kids live in the hospital and they need lots of stuff to occupy their time so these things will be so appreciated! I will post lots of pics when we make the delivery. We also are able to donate money to our relay team and a pediatric brain cancer research charity. And last but not least, we are donating a portion of the funds to a scholarship fund at UTMB in Galveston where Michael's sister went to physical therapy school. The fund is in Rachel's name and the scholarship will benefit physical therapy students who are going into pediatric therapy. Rachel's therapists meant a lot to her so this is a great way to carry on her memory. I will post more info when I do each of these things.

I really appreciate all of the support that we have been given through this difficult time. I have been struggling with figuring out what to do with my time and my life. Having a sick child was a full time job and I'm so lost without the demands of such a child. I never thought I'd miss it but I do. I'm trying to embrace my new role as just a mom to a healthy full-of-life one year old. Emily is the best baby in the world and she makes being a mother so rewarding and easy. I just love spending time with her and she has been the best therapy for me. We got season tickets to the train today and I plan on getting season tickets to the zoo and Schlitterbahn too. I figure we might as well enjoy spending all of our time together! I guess this is what having a normal kid is like. I honestly feel like I'm experiencing a lot of things for the first time with her. I guess I've carried on long enough... goodnight

Emily's First Birthday Party

On February 27th we had a birthday party for Em's big #1! She had lots of fun and got spoiled by everyone.

After party with Ashton

"I like opening presents!"

"Feed me more grandma" :)

"What do I do with this thing?"

We had a pull pinata because the kids are too little to be trusted with a large stick! It was pretty neat, they pulled on the strings until the candy came out. They loved that part!

Hanging with Sony




Playing Washers

I worked hours on this cake. It's not professional looking at all but I was pretty proud of it.

She got a new trampoline to play on outside from us for her birthday. She loves it. :)

Birthday Dinner Pics

I know it's taken a while to post but here are the birthday pictures from our joint birthday dinner. It was a nice night with our family. My mom gave me some books that are made from my blog for my bday. It means so much to see all of our memories over the past 3 years in book form. It's like a made a chronological book about Rachel's life unintentionally. It gave me a new appreciation for the blog so I feel like I need to make sure to put all that I mean to in it because it gives me a keepsake for the big and small moments.

Yep, She ate it all!

Emily wasn't sure what to do with the candle.

Playing with grandpa

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February Recap

February was a busy month which turned out to be a good thing for us. My grandparents came to visit from Iowa and Emily and I both celebrated our birthdays. I have posted a lot of new pictures that I took with my new camera. Michael got me a very high tech Cannon camera for my birthday so we have been taking tons of pictures. Wish we would've had it when Rach was alive because she never liked to pose for us with the old cam cause she thought it took too long. Emily's birthday was the 23rd and that was also the one month anniversary of Rachel's passing. I can't believe that it's only been a month since we lost her. It seems like so much has changed and we've had to move on without her even though we didn't want to. We celebrated Valentine's day, Emily's birthday, and my birthday on the 24th. (I have more pics to post of the birthdays but Emily is crying at my leg because she wants to play with me so the pics will have to wait.) I really felt Rachel's loss so much last week. When we had the kids out in the "snow" it was hard only seeing 3 of them playing. I couldn't help but wonder what she would have thought of the birthday parties, going to Shiner, and making cupcakes. We never knew what to expect from her so it always was a surprise. We took a few family pictures but I don't even want to post them because it doesn't seem complete. I know I have to accept that but I'm still working on it. We have managed to enjoy ourselves a lot in the past month but we still miss her terribly and think of her often. Some days are easier than others. For me, avoiding being home has helped keep me busy and not sitting around being depressed. Emily has also kept us busy. She had well-baby visit at the pediatrician's office. She is a very big girl! She's in the 100th percentile for height and the 99th for weight. Michael definitely can't deny this one is his! Hopefully she won't be 6'6" like her daddy but she won't probably be much smaller than that. I have to say, it's such a relief to go to well-baby and have a healthy kid. I asked the doc how many oz. she needed to drink and what her caloric input should be. He kind of laughed at me and told me she would let me know. I do have to adjust to that because it's completely foreign to us! We're still trying to learn how to have a normal kid.

Who wore it best?

The girls have shared a lot of outfits but I think the birthday shirt is one of the most special. They each wore it on their first birthdays.

Rachel 2007

Callie 2008

Emily 2010

Making Cupcakes

Since Emily's birthday was such a cold day we decided that we needed an indoor project for the kids. I baked some cupcakes, "tuptakes" to Callie, and we let the kids decorate some of them. It worked really well and we were pleased with how they turned out. The kids had a blast doing it if you can't tell from the pictures!

Emily was more interested in eating it!

I look ridiculous in this picture but I had to show Cade how to do it about 5 times before he figured out what we wanted. I was so excited when he put the M&M on the cupcake. He can learn it just takes some patience! :)

He put 2 of the M&Ms on the cupcake!

Callie did awesome with it but she wanted to eat all the M&Ms. We finally had to switch to sprinkles.

Why can't I have more M&Ms?

Look who found the food coloring when she was cut off from the M&Ms! Talk about a mess.