Monday, March 26, 2012

Indoor Gardening

I've been wanting to make terrariums with the boys for a while and I finally got tired of the empty jars staring at me and gathered up our supplies this weekend. I used this tutorial except we didn't use any charcoal--we're wild I tell you :)

David had fun dumping gravel and scooping potting soil.  In retrospect we should have done it outside.....and used wider mouth jars.  It was really hard to get our hands in and actually plant the plants, and by our I mean my.  I bought three succulents to use but I only ended up fitting one in.  The smaller jar only has moss that we dug up outside.

We put in a cute little house thing that David picked out at the pet store and some rocks and shells from our "collection."  Well, I'm using the phrase David picked out  loosely, what he really chose was a glittery pink treasure chest which I didn't think his daddy would approve of, so I may have had a hand in guiding him towards a less pink option......I think they turned out pretty well over all!

What I really want to make is something more along the lines of this except of course much more manly.....I keep telling myself that it doesn't make sense to do it here and I should just wait until we move.  Chris thinks I"m being silly and just trying to relive my own childhood fantasies of having my very own tiny garden.....he's probably right.  But I'm doing it anyway :)

Daddy Day Care

I ran out to a Dr's appointment this week and came back to find Chris had turned our living room into this:

The boys were understandably impressed.....of course all that changed when they came downstairs the next morning to find it dismantled....oh it's so hard to be little...........

Bunkers are for Climbing

We had a last minute detour into the Army Heritage Museum this week for a quick *and free* adventure.

Henry got tangled in the barbed wire fence.  I had a mini panic attack before I realized the fence was plastic faux barbed wire.  I don't know which is worse...that I let him get so close to a potentially dangerous fence before checking it out or that I entertained the thought that the museum would have put up such a dangerous fence and let the children fend for themselves.....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moving Forward...

Things have been quiet here as we've been processing our grief, but life keeps moving on....the boys still need their mommy--apparently just because mommy is sad doesn't change the fact that the house still needs cleaning and the children need to eat and play and bathe.......

Along with our pain we have also had so many blessings raining down on us.  The timing of our loss was really perfect--if such a thing can have perfect timing--Chris had the entire week off for spring break so he was able to stay home every day and take care of me and the children.  We've had prayers and lasagnas flowing to us without an end in sight, both of which seem to have overwhelming healing powers.  Shortly after we lost our little Katharine the weather miraculously turned beautiful.  This was extremely irritating at first--didn't the world know I was grieving?  Rain seemed a more appropriate choice for weather.  God knew better though....I know, that's a huge surprise isn't it?......The wonderful weather has allowed us to get outside and has done wonders to lift my mood.  You can't help but smile when Spring begins to bloom all around you.  

This first week at home without Chris I've been able to take the boys outside every day and go on ridiculously long walks.  On one such walk we landed at this usually quiet park..... 

Only on this day it wasn't quite so quiet and of course the boys wanted to sit themselves directly in front of this chain-sawing much for time for quiet reflection.....

They spent a lot of time burying my feet with their "diggers".....

So many thoughtful gifts have arrived on my doorstep this week; flowers, books, and this wonderful bracelet from my sister-in-laws.....

For the most part I've been doing well--spending time with my boys whose laughter is such a blessing, reading, and soaking up this wonderful sunshine.  I know this loss will always be with me, but I can feel myself being strengthened by it already and I know that we will all be okay.....

Thank you all for your continued prayers, I am sure that I can feel them and they have helped to bring us such comfort and peace.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Our Loss

Last Friday morning we went in for my twenty week ultrasound appointment and learned that we had lost our baby.  I checked into the hospital later that afternoon and delivered our little girl at 12:34 a.m. on March 3, the feast day of Saint Katharine Drexel.  Chris named her Katharine Louise in her honor.

I cannot begin to express the enormity of our grief over our loss of this precious child.

It doesn't seem possible that we could have lived all of the events of the past few days in such a short time.  As we entered into the very same hospital where Henry was born not even two years ago, everything struck me as being incredibly wrong.  You shouldn't enter the labor and delivery wing in tears of sorrow.  You shouldn't stare at the baby warmer and want to shove it into the hall because you know your baby won't be needing its warmth.  There weren't going to be any happy visitors with congratulations and balloons, just our priest and everyone's condolences.  There wasn't going to be any impatient waiting for a final car seat check before we carried our little one home for the first time, just a long walk past the nursery that she would never visit.

I declined the drugs that would have lessened my pain.  I welcomed the pain.  I wanted the physical pain of the birth to match my pain in knowing I was delivering a baby that wasn't mine to keep.  I read recently that you know you are having a challenging Lent when you don't get to chose your sacrifice.  This Lent will be our most challenging yet. We always knew that none of our children are really ours to keep, however much we may wish they were, but now that knowledge has been made real to us.  Our children are gifts given to us to look after, to love and to help on their way to heaven--we may have them to hold for our whole lives, or we may have them for only a few short weeks.  We have loved Katharine since before she was conceived, and now she has been born into heaven.  David keeps telling me that he doesn't want her to be in heaven, I just try to hold back my tears and tell him that we do want her to be in heaven, we just didn't want her there so soon.

As we left the hospital we noticed the white rose that marked our door, a signal to all those entering that ours was a room of mourning.  I don't think we'll ever look at a white rose the same way again.


As I labored Chris read aloud from a book I had been carrying in my purse--the only thing we brought with us to the hospital.  After all, what does one pack for an occasion like this?  We weren't sure so we opted not to bring anything at all, which seemed fitting since we knew we would be leaving with even less.  It was Peter Kreeft's Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion which happened to be bookmarked at a chapter entitled Blessed Mourning vs. Mourning at Others' Blessedness.  As I sit here typing, with an ice pack strapped to my chest in an attempt to stop the flow of milk that my baby isn't here to drink, his words still bring me comfort:

"All can be blessed by mourning...ordinary human suffering is blessed--any suffering, from a headache to dying.  Every suffering can be blessed because it hollows out a place in us for God and his comfort, which is infinite joy.  Finite sorrows fertilize the soul's soil so that the plant of infinite joy can grow.  Sorrows sensitize the soul both to sorrow and also to joy.  The more we suffer, the more we appreciate joy.  If this truism holds even of earthly joys, how infinitely more worthwhile to suffer the brief sorrows of this world so as to appreciate better the eternal and perfect joys of the next!"


How does mourning (suffering) bless us?  First it trains us by sculpting souls.  This is God's work, not ours.  The sculptor, not the statue, knows when and where the hammer must fall.  Second, it strengthens our love, the motive for enduring suffering.  After we invest a lot of suffering in something, we treasure it more, for "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Third, it teaches us the wisdom that comes only by the experience of suffering.  Rabbi Abraham Heschel puts it simply:  "The man who has not suffered--what can he know anyway?"

What does suffering teach?  The wordless wisdom that even sinners can detect in saints. The thing that made Job finally satisfied.  Even Christ, "though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb 5:8)"

Thank you all so much for the generous outpouring of love, support, and prayers you have given us as we grieve the loss of this precious child.  Our little Katharine Louise is currently at her grandparents house, who kindly offered to take care of her for us until she can be laid to rest at home in North Carolina at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning.

My Lord, the baby is dead! 

Why, my Lord, dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face. It will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise.

Why, my Lord?

“Why, My child, do you ask ‘why’? 

Well, I will tell you why.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty, he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”
I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool, forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity. 
-Mother M. Angelica-

Katharine Louise Reintjes, pray for us.
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