Friday, October 19, 2012

Destination: Maui!

We took a family trip last week--padded our fall break at school with a few extra days and ended up in Maui, for the first time as a family.  The kids worked very hard the days leading up to get their homework done in advance and pack their bags and clean their rooms so by the time Thursday rolled around they were all revved up and we could't get to the airport fast enough!

Everything from the check-in, to the security, to the train ride to the terminal, to boarding the plane was an adventure as it was the first time in several years since the big kids had flown.  It was fun and I was very proud of them for being such good travelers.  I was a bit of a flake myself as I had too many kids and too many bags to worry about. (when I didn't need to because they were keeping track of it themselves!) This resulted in me leaving behind my DSLR camera and lenses on the plane in LA.  Needless to say I was freaked out about it and there was absolutely nothing I could do before our flight left LA.   My heart had sunk as I was very excited about getting some great family photos and playing around with my camera on this trip.  But Karly had her camera and we all had our phones so I had to decide if I was going to move on or sulk the entire trip and there was no way I was going to not enjoy this as much as I could.  I was very lucky to even get the camera back in the end but that's when persistence pays off and it showed up Friday.  Whew!

Enough about my screwup, which turned out to save another screwup...and then to nearly be trumped by an even bigger screwup that we were spared by the skin of our teeth.  Anyway!  The trip was a blast.  I actually made a couple other mistakes, too, but they were fixed and we were able to enjoy a luau, a dinner cruise, waterfalls, some beautiful sunsets and a lot of sun, sand and pool time.  I don't think there was much else we could have asked for and we can't stop talking about "next time" we go back.

I was a little emotional as the trip neared.  This was a trip we had longed for (especially me) ever since I was pregnant with Emma and had visited the resort we had booked for the first time.  As bad as I wanted to take the kids to this awesome place, I was sad that we were doing it without Chase.  I remember thinking after Chase died that there would always be at least a little sadness in anything we did, no matter how wonderful, fun, beautiful, or amazing it was.  Because we would be missing a member of our family.  And that feeling surfaced as the trip got closer.   But I am used to having this perspective now.  Just as I am with having our rainbow baby, too.  The resort had some really neat pools and play areas for babies/toddlers and I loved using them.  I couldn't help but think if we didn't have Owen how heavy my heart would feel just walking past these pools....with no reason to be there.  Owen was a lot of work and had to be watched closely in the water but I cherished every moment with him.  I loved that I had to figure out how and where to get him to sleep and had a reason to play in the beach pool made for toddlers.  I loved chasing after him and watching him roll in the sand and run from the ocean waves and trying to teach him to not throw sand and watching him crush the sand castles we built and point out airplanes and the fish.....the list goes on.  I loved every second of it.  Because as much as I loved all that, I missed doing all of that with Chase.  I couldn't help but think how much fun Owen and Chase would be having playing together....but I was so thankful to at least have Owen.  Just as thankful that I am to have Emma, Karly and Reese.  Being surrounded by so much beauty and the vastness of the ocean makes me feel so appreciative.

So I wrote Chase's name on the beach.  A lot.  And watched the waves take it away time and time again.  I talked to him.  I know he was with us.  I just wish it was in the flesh.  It would have been so much better.  

The kids were awesome and they had so much fun.  It was definitely a dream come true being able to share this with them and do this trip as a family.  I told Patric I don't think I could have enjoyed myself at this resort if the kids weren't with us.  He felt the same way.  It's something we will be talking about for a long time.  I'm already working on a scrap book for the trip.  yes, I have plenty of pictures even without my DSLR.  And we are slowly getting back into the grove of things....and remembering that flip-flop season is over!

Friday, October 5, 2012


This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and I've been participating in CarlyMarie's Capture Your Grief 2012 project.  It's been a little more challenging and emotional than I had anticipated.  And time consuming.  But it has been therapeutic and comforting.  You can post your photo on Instagram and/or Facebook and it has been so emotional to read the posts.  I don't even touch the surface of all who are sharing but I am still moved.  I am touched by the things that people post particular to the place they are in their journey.  I am also affected by the men that post, maybe because they have a FB account and it's that easy to do.  They are not necessarily blogging type dads but they put their feelings out there nonetheless, when given the medium.  Seeing them hurt  and share their feelings is emotional.  Also I'm moved by those that have just joined this community from recent losses.  It reminds me of the way I felt and how much I still feel that way in some respects.  Proving that the pain never does go away.  I have been very emotional about finding Chase's things to photograph and have seen some things I haven't looked at in a very long time.  The tears that come with this have been healing in some ways, too.  

I have also been reading some blogs of moms who have lost or are losing their young children to cancer.  It's painful to read but, like pregnancy and infant loss, it's not talked about because it's an uncomfortable topic and until people start talking about it enough, the care and treatment for children with cancer will not get better.  It is amazing what some people can accomplish on this earth when their anger is channeled into creating good out of evil.  These moms truly are making a difference.   I know Ronan and Ty are so lucky to have the moms they do.  Amazing women.

We have our trip planned in the middle of this month so I will actually be on a beach for the 15th, just not Christian's.  But I will anxiously be awaiting the photos Carly will be posting.  Here is a photo of the flag I made for Chase.

I am so glad I sent my flag in early because I actually got a personal email from her saying she got it, which I was very grateful for because when I mailed it I pretty much just crossed my fingers!  Oh, and she also sent me this photo for Chase.  
Anyway, I saw some pictures of other flags she had already received and was quite humbled, to say the least.  I told her this and she let made me feel very good about my flag.  I have to say, the best thing about this was that I finally got to work on a project for Chase--like a school project for the other kids.  I had my time set aside only for Chase.  I had to get it in the mail pretty quickly by the time I found out about the project so I just used things I had around the house.  To me, each piece of it means something, though to anyone else, it might look plain.  I wanted it simple, but my resources were scrap pieces of material and ribbons.  The yellow fabric I chose, though, was fabric I had bought when Emma was a baby.  It has Winnie the Pooh sewn into it and I never got around to using it for whatever I had bought it for.  Until now.  Chase will be represented on Christian's Beach October 15th and I know he will like having his own flag!  I can't wait to catch that sunrise myself.   More pictures to follow.  Until then, check in on my Capture Your Grief photos here.