Let Us Begin

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.

Peppermint Sticks Fix

I posted a few weeks ago about my Christmas card dilemma, ouch.

I thought I should also share that I found a solution, one better than any of my initial thoughts on the matter.

Here is the original again…

I was shopping in Target when I stumbled across these peppermint stick bordered address labels.  I thought I might be able to cut them down to the right size to just cover the “& Baby Oertle” and leave the rest of the card in tact.

Although it wasn’t the card I had intended or hoped to send, I think it made the best of a difficult situation.  Anticipating that it might be hard on my heart, I made myself a steaming mug of hot chocolate, lit a holiday scented candle on the table, played Michael Buble’s new Christmas album on Spotify, and sat down with the stack of Shutterfly cards, labels and some scissors.

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon and sure enough, it worked like a charm.

Here is my finished product.  I added a sticker to the upper lefthand corner too to make it seem more intentional and less like a cover up.  In my opinion, it’s not a bad design element.  Other than the fact that our last name is missing, I don’t think anyone would even know the difference.

Mission accomplished.

 

-Alison

 

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Lightning McQueen

This All Saints’ Day there were two little saints that were on the forefront of my mind and heart

and two saints in the making that I wanted to help celebrate them.

 

This was the conversation that I had with Jack…

 

Me:  Today is a very special day.  It is All Saints’ Day.  Do you know who the saints are?

Jack:  They are people who really love God.

Me:  You are right.  The saints are the people who really love God and who are in heaven with Him.

Jack:  like our family?

Me:  Ummhmm.  Do you know who in our family is a saint in heaven, who really loves God?

Jack:  Baby “Ronica”

Me:  You are right.  Baby Veronica and Baby Kolbe are our family in heaven who are saints.  Today is their special day.  They want to give you and Gabriel a present to remind you how much they love you and that they are praying for you to really love God so that you can be saints in heaven someday too.

 

A little background may be helpful to understand the significance of the gift given to our boys…

 

Early in the morning of October 17th, after Baby Veronica passed from me and from this world, I climbed back into bed and sobbed.  Hearing me, Jack woke up and came to my bedside.

“Mommy, please don’t cry.  I don’t like it when you cry.”

dear, sweet boy…

Johnny explained,

“Jack, mommy is just sad because the baby in her tummy went to heaven”.  

“That’s why mommy is sad? because the baby is in heaven with Jesus”?

“You are right Jack, it is good that the baby is in heaven with Jesus.  We are just sad that the baby won’t get to grow up here with us in our house anymore”.

Beginning to understand the implications of what we were telling him, he leaned over to whisper loudly in his daddy’s ear,

“but daddy, the baby still is in mommy’s tummy, right”?

“No Jack, the baby isn’t in mommy’s tummy anymore”.

“But I wanted to find out if it was a boy or a girl”!  

“I know.  We did too buddy”.

With that, Jack went off to sit by himself on the stairs and Veronica’s big brother cried.

 

His tears were those of brotherly love and experiencing the loss of what would not be now that our baby was no longer growing inside of me.

…feeling her kick (He had already been pressing his hand to my belly certain that the rise and fall of my breathing was her tiny kicks and refused to be corrected.)

…hearing the swish or her heartbeat on the doppler (He had been with us to see that reassuring flicker of light on the ultrasound screen less than a week earlier that had so filled all of our hearts with joy.  He couldn’t wait to not only see it with his eyes but hear it with his ears too)

…and what he had been talking about ever since, the much-anticipated ultrasound that would let us know if this baby was a brother or a sister. (A favorite topic of conversation, always initiated by him, had become his guess as to the gender of his new sibling.  He had told me that he thought the baby was a girl.  When Johnny tried to ask him about it later though saying so you think the baby in mommy’s tummy is a girl?  Jack responded saying yes, I think the baby is a girl … or a boy.  hahaha.  well, pretty safe on that assumption).

..Later, he would express his concern for who would hold her and try to process the fact that it wouldn’t be him by telling me how frustrating I was when I offered that Jesus and Mary and the angels were holding her.

At only three years of age, our sweet Jack’s grief is real.

 

And so I pulled myself out of bed to join my crying son on the stairs and let him know that it was okay to be sad.

“But, but, but mommy!  I just really wanted to find out if it was a boy or a girl!”

“I know baby.  But you know what, Jesus told mommy that the baby is a girl.  We know that you have a little sister in heaven.”

“Okay mommy.  I just need you to hold me…”

and I wrapped my firstborn in my arms holding him close

…”and mommy, I need my Lightning McQueen.”

and so we searched the house for his favorite toy car.

 

I decided right then and there that the new movie Cars 2, Lightning McQueen’s encore appearance on the silver screen, would be a wonderful gift to help get him through what was going to be a trying time for our family.

I tried to buy it the night before Veronica’s burial, hoping it would be something that could offer comfort and distraction after coming home from the cemetery.  I was disappointed to learn that it wasn’t available in stores yet at first until I was told I would be able to get it on November 1st …

All Saint’s Day?  Perfect.

And so, to celebrate our saints and as an ongoing reminder of their love, prayers and heavenly consolation for all of us, the least of which are not their brothers, Jack and Gabriel were given Cars 2.

The look on Jack’s face when he pulled it out of the gift bag was classic.

We laid out a blanket, turned out the lights and of course, popped popcorn.

Even Gabriel, who never watches anything on the television was transfixed

although he was undoubtedly more excited about the popcorn.

Baby Kolbe and Baby Veronica, pray for us.  

 

-Alison

 

(Disclaimer to my catechetical friends out there: I do recognize that All Saints’ Day is intended for those canonized saints recognized by the church and that All Souls Day is to celebrate all of the other souls who have died in Christ and would be more applicable for our saints; however, thought this would be easier to explain to the kiddos and the video didn’t come out until All Saints’ Day ;)

 

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Ouch…

The appearance of a beautiful bright orange Shutterfly package on my doorstep usually results in squeals of delight and the tearing of packaging to see the finished product of my latest online creation…

 

Not this time.

I just groaned knowing what was inside wondering

“Why oh why did I have to be so on top of things and order Christmas cards in October”?!

It was that darn sale that was just too good to miss and the fact that we already had usable family photos ready to go and that I was just about ready to burst with the secret that we were expecting.

 

Here it is … our family Christmas card.

Lovely, isn’t it?

 

Yeah…

Not quite sure what I am going to do with these now.

 

I figure that I have a couple of options…

  • Throw them away and forget about Christmas cards this year.  (This isn’t really an option because I can’t bring myself to waste like that).
  • Write a letter to the nice people at Shutterfly and hope I get someone compassionate enough to reprint them with a different message.  (It’s not their fault.  They printed my order perfectly.)
  • Send them as they are but include a note in the envelope in memory of “Baby Oertle” / Veronica.  (I fear that people will see the card first and think that I am pregnant again and get excited and, well, that wouldn’t be good.)
  • Do some cutting and pasting of the pictures onto cardstock with a different, handwritten message.  (This may be my best option; however, it is a lot of extra work and  quite literally cutting the memory of our baby out of 50 Christmas cards could be a very emotionally difficult project.  Not quite sure if I am up for that.)
Any thoughts?  I am open to suggestions.

-Alison

 

“Remembering it over and over again, my soul is downcast within me…” – Lamentations 3:20

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