4 years ago

 Today marks four years since this sweet person left our family. we miss him more than we can say. such a sweet and wise little spirit, looking into his eyes felt like looking into eternity...he was peaceful even when he didn't feel well...when we didn't even know he didn't feel well.  i love him so much and think of him everyday. everyday. still. forever. until we meet again.

Christian Hartley Wilson
August 18, 2011--October 11, 2011


Three years

seems like life keeps speeding by doesn't it?

we had a baby. a beautiful little boy. his name is McKay, and he was born on August 29th. i want to do a post about his birth, this is not that post.  i need to get pictures off of kendall's phone first.

(i have felt the need to write down some thoughts about Christian.  as much as this is a "journal" it is a place for me to write happy and sad things. comment if you want, but like in You've Got Mail "I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."  really it's more like there IS no hard and fast answer for the way i feel...)

as i write this it is October 10.  October 11th was the day that drastically changed our lives.  the day our son Christian passed away.  3 years ago. i can scarcely believe that it was 3 years ago.  and in the same breath, it feels SO much longer.  i can't adequately explain the way time has behaved since he passed.  i think one reason that it feels so much longer ago is that i feel like i was a different person then, that i am a different person now, since he is gone.

(Christian at the hospital when he was born)
i do not in any way mean to be overly dramatic, but when a sudden tragic, life altering event occurs, such as a child passing away, that changes a person. in a large way.  our entire family landscape is changed and we, as individuals, are profoundly altered.  i am sure that each of us is changed in different ways.  i know what has happened to me. i know i am more aware of how short a time we may have on this earth.  i know that i get super anxious when kendall and all the kids go somewhere without me...i worry. a lot.  really i am terribly afraid that someone else will pass away in our family. i also have a hard time saying "he died" in reference to Christian. it just sounds harsh, even though i know he is gone.  we live quite close to the cemetery where Christian is buried, when we first moved i found i passed by it many times. and i could not bear to pass it without some kind of acknowledgement of my son...so i blow him a kiss. every time we go by there. those are small things that have happened to me, i can see some of what has changed with the kids and kendall, but i am not them, so i can't tell you for sure.

the level of grief that i felt in the immediate aftermath of finding out that he had passed away was super intense, and stayed at a very intense level for quite a while.  but that level of grief is not sustainable over time. you simply can't live that way.  eventually i have found the level at which i can live.  am i still grieving? you betcha.  i feel very acutely the absence of a very energetic 3 year old boy.  sometimes i feel like i can catch a glimpse of him in the midst of our chaos, as he runs by me.  i think about him everyday.   

he is still the bath i am not giving, the lunch i am not making.  i do not know what he prefers for dinner or if he likes orange juice or apple juice better.

with each child that we have added to our family after Christian (Camryn and Mckay) i have felt anew the sadness that these siblings won't play together here on earth.  that i won't get to watch the beautiful relationships they would have. i have no doubt, whatsoever, that we all knew each other before this life, and that we will be together again, after this life is over.  but here and now, with my finite, human mind, i am sad that all my children aren't together.

i almost feel like i am lying to people when they ask me how many kids we have, or when i was pregnant, what baby this was for us.  it is six, 6!!! six children.  4 boys and 2 girls. he was really here, i will continue to count him, always.  sometimes i explain to people the discrepancy, and sometimes i just don't. and sometimes i just let them count who they can see, and so they assume the number is 5. and then i feel disingenuous towards Christian, like maybe i am not remembering him the way i should, or like he wasn't really here, so he shouldn't be counted.  Blake (and Avery) will draw pictures of our family.  sometimes Blake especially won't put Christian in the picture, and sometimes i point it out. he makes sure to tell me that he is just drawing people who are in the house, not those in heaven. i gently remind him that he can always include Christian, and he tells me he knows he can. and sometimes he does. just not all the time.  

looking at these pictures i am bawling...i just want him back.  i just wish with all my soul that this awful, terrible experience had never happened. not that HE hadn't happened, just that his surgery went well and he came  home with us, instead of what really happened.  it isn't fair. but life isn't fair. it was never meant to be.  i know this.  i relearn it everyday.  even though this is still so difficult to process and deal with, i would never, ever not have him.  the time he spent with our family is precious to me, he is precious to me.  what a sweet soul he is, and was, while he was here.  i am so very grateful for him, for his place in our family.  and so, in a way, i guess i am grateful for the grief; it is so hard and painful because we loved him so much.   

(When he had to go back to the hospital around 3 weeks old)

we try to visit Christian's grave every month.  we will hopefully do so on the 11th, because we are thinking of him and remembering him all that much extra.  that this is our reality is still very unsettling sometimes to me.  that this is our normal.  i know so many others have had children pass away, so many others have endured so much heartache.  this is my heartache though, my baby.  i know that our family can be together forever, and we try to live everyday worthy of that amazing opportunity.  

we miss our little man so very very much.  i hope he knows how much we love him and how much we wish he was here. the plan for Christian's life was different than we had ever wanted, we are learning to accept it and live with it.  

i was reminded of the poem "Death, be not proud" by John Donne recently and so i looked it up.  

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.



Hey remember when I used to write on this blog? Yeah, me neither.  It's just crazy how life wraps around me and speeds me away, it's been so long since I wrote! Cam is 18 months old now, gaining words everyday and is a firecracker, but very sweet:)  The bigger kids are done with school....that sure went fast!!!  Next year we'll have a 1st grader and a 3rd grader! Blake will miss the cut off for Kinder because his birthday is Halloween, but I am actually fine with that. I need some kids home right??:)
(last day of school for my kids...)
We were able to take a fantastic vacation just recently to Disneyland, it was so amazing! We have never been, if you can believe it! And we have been talking about going for at least 2 years. We decided to do it now, because we are having another baby (i know right? it's a boy:) And baby is due in September.  If we didn't go now, then the next non-peak time (meaning a few less people so we weren't SOOOOO overwhelmed) would be around when baby is due and that wouldn't work and I knew having him in rather than out of me would be infinitely easier at a place like Disney, so we took the kids for their last week of school. They missed the last 4 days but they didn't seem to mind:)

Disneyland is really one of the few places that lives up to all the hype, it was amazing!  Kept in great condition, there were always people cleaning up little messes so it looked beautiful.  They do a great job of having things for younger and older kids to do.  The rides are engaging and tell a story, so they appeal to all ages, baby to adult.

(ethan was the last kid picked to be a padawan at the jedi training academy...whew! glad he got picked!)
We rented a house while we were there, instead of staying in a hotel, it was about the same price, and we had a kitchen and laundry, and the kids had their own rooms they could go to to sleep. It was a very nice arrangement. i liked that aspect quite a bit:) We did have to drive to Disney everyday and pay to park, but we were ok with that.

I am so thankful we were able to go! It was beautiful weather, at least 15 degrees cooler than AZ, and we got to reconnect with some friends that we haven't seen in a while.  We were able to take the kids to the beach, and I realized not only was it Camryn's first trip to the beach, but also Blake's and Avery's as well.  We took Ethan when I was pregnant with Avery but I do not believe we've been back since then! Crazy!!!

The kids really did amazingly well with all the waiting and lines and such.  We all got a little sunburned at the beach, but they had a blast playing!!!

As much as I loved this trip, I also really enjoyed coming home, to our own little bit of chaos, and seeing all the people I like the very best spending time together in our home.  The sight and sounds of them playing together make me so happy and make all the difficult parts of family life worth it.  They really do love each other and we were able to make some great memories together:)


Camryn Turns ONE!!!

 the passage of time sometimes astounds me. i literally feel like the weeks are minutes sometimes, they seem to pass so quickly. sometimes that is a good thing, if we are going through a rough patch, but mostly i look back and think, slow down, slow down!
looking through some pictures tonight of Camryn when she was new, made me feel that even more. her first year has FLOWN by at top speed, and i was there through the whole thing, but man, it felt fast!!! 

 there have been definite hard times and hard days, but i have loved every minute of it.  i think that Camryn has blessed our lives in ways we are only beginning to understand; the same could be said of all of our children, but with Cam it's a little different since she is the "rainbow baby." this is a term i learned a few months ago, it is applied to the child who is born after a child has passed away in a family.  Rainbows are symbols of hope...and Camryn has definitely been that for us all.

 everyone in our home adores her, and wants her to be happy and smiley, to the nth degree.  Her older siblings love to play with her and make her laugh and smile and we all can't stop kissing her, like for real, someone seems to be always kissing her!! she bears it well:) 

 i have a firm belief that Heavenly Father sends children to specific families for a reason, and also that the order of the children in the family is also part of His plan. i have seen that in my family of origin and i see it now in our family.  Camryn coming after Christian's passing was no fluke, that's for sure.
Cam has 4 teeth, weighs about 18.8 pounds, wears size 12 month clothes and size 3 diapers. she nurses 3-4 times a day, but not for a huge amount of time and she likes cow's milk in her cup.

she loves baths, her siblings, music, swinging, yogurt, applesauce and is warming up to meat of all kinds.

she still doesn't love her carseat, we will probably turn her around in the next couple of months.  she also is super wiggly and protests a lot during diaper changes and clothes changes, but such is her age:)

she tried to touch her candle tonight, i think all of our kids have, fire is alluring:) she didn't really know what to do about the cupcake, she kind of squished it and threw a lot of it on the ground. she tried some, spit some out (her favorite trick with food she's not sure about), and i think swallowed a little:)

she's super mobile, crawling and cruising furniture. we love her so much and are so very blessed and grateful to have her sweet little self in our home.  we love you Camryn Elaine!!!


Box it up!

I honestly don't know how time is passing so quickly. It is already November, our baby will be 1 this month and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner! Amazing!

well, first things first, I suppose...



enough said right?

crazy town.

here's the house....

we really like it, and are getting settled. before we moved in, we (and by we I mean mostly Kendall and some awesome friends/family) repainted the entire inside. It was a lovely tan color before (which turned peach in the afternoon...NOOOOO!) and now it is a light gray. Much better!

Camryn has found a new love of climbing...onto boxes, in cabinets, up stairs, but thankfully not out of her crib.  yet.

we had Halloween! barely! we'd been in the house for maybe 5 days and of course I hadn't done shopping/making costumes before because I was PACKING OUR WHOLE EXISTENCE INTO A BOX, so it was a Halloween miracle that we found the ONLY black pants and shirt at Walmart that would fit Camryn the day before Halloween.  she was a cat if you couldn't tell, she was absolutely opposed to any form of whiskers/nose being painted on her face, so you know, imagine it.

2 zombies, a witch and her cat

Halloween means it was Blake's birthday, which is ON Halloween, yeah, that's right:)  nice slow, nothing-going-on-time of the year to move right? (better now than later with Thanksgiving and Christmas though I say!)
Blake is so awesome though! Very high energy but very loving, sweet and kind, most of the time:) he is 4 though so no one is perfect:)  he is such a blessing in our lives, he was the calm after the storm of ethan and avery who were more high maintenance babies than was Blake.  He is a hugger and loves Monsters University and Inc, anything that Ethan and Avery like and he is obsessed with Playdoh! 

I thought this was funny, Blake bit the candle after he blew it out, he tells us that he thought it was candy! hilarious!

one of the first things I tackled in this house was switching out the cabinet and drawer knobs/pulls.  it is easy to do, so that was a plus, the kitchen is small so there's not a million, also a plus, and there were approximately 5 different finishes of knobs going on...so for my sanity this little project had to be done!!! above you can see a knob and pull, old style.

this is what I replaced them with....ahhhh...much better!

left side: old, right side: new.
I had ambitions of painting the cabinets since they are such a light color but after I spent one Saturday doing the projects below, I decided I would change the knobs and live with them light for a while.  because the actual cabinets are in good shape, really.  new knobs help...new countertop would help too:)

last Saturday I painted this old metal teacher's desk, this is before.  pretty standard brownish/grayish, every teacher you ever had in elementary school had one...
this is the after: coral!  I like it a lot!! I also like all the storage it has.

this was also painted the same day, this is the bottom of a hutch I bought on craigslist, not sure where the before picture of the top is.... it was a hasty paint job that was done on it before I got it. red inside, white outside.

we made it dark gray:)  it has tons of storage which is great for our smaller amount of cupboards we have in this house.  I have shelves for the upper cabinets, not pictured here, and there are also doors...we are debating on the door issue, they may make an appearance or not, they are chippy and red and not in super great shape right now. so i'll see if I tackle them or just make some awesome curtains to cover the holes on top.  the awesome curtains will probably get made as an interim measure in any event because, you know, you don't want to see all that stuff hanging out on the shelves all the time:) this house has no blinds and no curtains...on any of the windows, so we are slowly buying blinds and are going to have a blind put up party this weekend I hope.

avery lost her first tooth on sunday 3rd, she was super excited!!!
we have a really great park near us, with tire swings (which is a big draw for the kids!) cam had her first experience with eating sand...no Bueno! it totally grosses me out, I have to give the kids a bath after they have been to any park, so having the sand in her mouth was not making me happy.

apparently they all like the sand:)
so we are still here, still alive, just trying to adjust and get settled in our new surroundings:)  as I complete more projects for the house, I will definitely show them here:)