18 months

this month (on the 11th) we passed the 18 month marker of Christian's passing.  This month he would be 20 months old and Camryn turned 5 months old, both on the 18th.  I have a lot of feelings that almost seem contradictory in nature...i am so happy we have Camryn, she has a smile that takes up her whole face, I love it when she burrows into my neck.  I love her little giggle she is learning to give when she finds something funny. I like catching her eye when she's in her swing or sitting with someone else and knowing that when I say, "hi beautiful girl" she will almost always smile at me. I love those things and so much more.

But at the same time, I am sad that Christian isn't here. Everyday, part of my brain is sad about that.  I feel his absence, at the same time as I count him in my mind as I count the kids at the park, as I make pb & j for lunches, and wonder if he would have liked jelly or honey better.  Sometimes on a particularly hard day with the kids, I think longingly of the one more I don't have with me.  And that helps put things in perspective, because as hard as that day was with the four that are here with us, I would do the same day in an instant with the 5 we truly have.  I wish we could know what his laugh sounds like, what his favorite foods are, have pictures of him rolling over and walking and have videos of his first words.  I was sad when I made the list for the incoming 18 month old children in nursery at church, because I knew that the month of February, instead of having no incoming children, should have had Christian...

I don't have those things.  I will not know the answers to those questions here on earth.  And my heart is broken because of that.  But at the same time, I have so much joy from Ethan and Avery and Blake and Camryn and I have joy because of Christian.  I love that he was here, that I knew him and served him here, albeit a small portion of time, but that has made all the difference.

Having Camryn so close to Christian has been hard emotionally and mentally, not to mention physically but I know in my heart that it was the right choice for our family.  As hard as having a new person is, she is also helping us heal, by being her baby self and letting us love on her all the time.  She is amazingly patient with all the love and kisses and hugs and siblings trying to get her to laugh...she is what we all need.  She is in no way taking Christian's place, you can't replace a child.  But I firmly believe we are born in the order we are in our families for a reason.  I have seen it in my own family of origin, and I see it our family, with our children.  Ethan would never have survived as anything but a firstborn and Avery was born to be Ethan's little sister and Blake's big sister, she gets along with both of them well and bridges the gap between the boys.  Similarly, Christian was born to bring our family closer through his time here and then through his passing away. I am not saying I know WHY he could not stay with us, because I don't, but I see the ramifications of his absence.  We can be stronger together, having gone through the hard experience of saying goodbye to our fourth child.  We can be stronger and better so that we can be with him again, one day.  We will live for that goal.  And Camryn, coming as she did on Christian's heels, is helping us knit ourselves back together.  Families are amazing and I find myself intensely grateful that I have been entrusted with these amazing small people, who are small physically but so big in spirit.  I looked over at Ethan the other night, as I was feeding Camryn and Ethan was having quiet reading time before bed, and I thought, he is so awesome, how fortunate I am to be his mother! I get to call them mine and my heart is full.


Easter Kids

oh these kids...they are so cute!!!  this was Easter Sunday, the obligatory "all dressed up for church" picture, but really i think it came out pretty well! especially considering i was lame and went shopping for Avery's dress the Saturday before, in a 45 minute time window...but whew! we found one she and i agreed one and it went well with ms. cam's purple number she had been given before she was born so yahoo!

we had the traditional ward egg hunt on Good Friday, here is Camryn during the egg hunt...patient girl:)

it seems to be a thing for kids his age to put the bucket on the head...go figure huh?

nice face Blake.
that is only slightly better Blake and Ethan's smile looks a little painful, but i am thinking these are the memories we cherish you know?

Blake during the egg hunt...he kept taking eggs out of his bucket and saying,"hmmm...let's see what's in THIS one!" and then he would get all excited, "wow! candy!" or "wow, a plastic bunny!" it's the small things people!

Ethan checking his haul

this week, i got my hair cut, finally! sheesh, it had been almost 18 months.

i'm gonna donate it.  there were about 11 inches for those that wanted to know:)

this girl has us all wrapped around her tiny pinkie...and is it hard to see why? man, when she wants to be charming, she is SO CUTE! and even when she doesn't want to be charming and cries, Avery finds it hilarious! go figure. sisters!

so sweet:)

and then Blake wanted in on the action (photobomber)

and then this is what i get when i ask him to smile...cheeseball

Kendall entertaining Camryn with her own tent...now the kids try to make "her own tent" for her multiple times a day...slightly dangerous  but fun:)

Blake got given a George (curious  that is) by our sweet neighbors. he insisted that George wanted a sandwich for lunch and he should have his own chair. i made sure to tell Blake that he couldn't really feed George, so he (Blake) would have to do the eating. He politely obliged.  He carried George around and took a nap with him that day, very sweet.