Nap Time

I am trying to get myself back into the habit of blogging, even if that means just writing a paragraph about something we do every day ……. NAPS.

I do not nap every day, though for a few months I did. (Newborn-induced sleep deprivation is no joke). River, however, takes mandatory naps two {recently down from three} times a day. Duh. He is a tiny baby. He needs lots of sleep.

I saw a shirt the other day that said “Mom Life is the Best Life”. I agree, but I think if I were to wear a shirt talking about my life as a full-time Mom it would say “Nap Time is the Best Time”. Are you with me?!? I feel like just that little bit of baby-sleeping-I-can-get-dressed-or-eat-or-meal-prep-or-read-or-whatever-I-want is refreshing to the body and the soul. And I am ALL ABOUT things that are refreshing to the body and soul.

I have been using nap time to do a little picking-up around the house, or to make myself breakfast and do a little reading. Today I decided to eat breakfast with River (though I did not have pureed peaches and brown rice cereal like he did…) and use nap time to brush my hair and put on a dress. Oh heeeeeey. Yep, sometimes I wear dresses.

There you have it on this Thursday morning. An ode to naps.

Until next week. When he decides he doesn’t want to nap at all anymore. 🙂

All my love,

Kristin

Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

Why I Don’t Want to Tell the Internet I’m Pregnant

Since the title basically gave it away, it will come as no surprise to you when I say : I’m pregnant!

I’m a little over halfway there, five and a half months to be exact.

The baby is really healthy so far.

I am having a hard time sleeping (someone is practicing their jabs, kicks, and somersaults), and experiencing all sorts of those normal, but still brutal, pregnancy pains.

It’s a boy!

We are, truly, thrilled. {here I am this morning. bump can not be hidden any longer!}

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Now, onto why I was resisting telling you, even though though I knew you would all be so excited to know.

Here’s the thing: words truly can not describe the gift we have been given.  We have one perfect son that we had to say goodbye to, and now we will, barring some horrible unforeseen circumstance, have another perfect child that we will get to actually raise and watch grow up. But pregnancy, babies, parenting, children… these are very tender spots in our hearts.

We long for Branch to be here, welcoming this new baby with us. With every good thing that happens with this baby, we are reminded of all we lost when Branch died, and how our family will not be whole again until we are in Heaven. We want this child to grow up knowing his brother, and have ideas of how we will do that in our family, but right now — while we wait to meet him – interacting with others who are on the outside can be hard.

When people say “Congratulations!” I feel weird. I know it’s good that they are congratulating me, and I am so grateful they are, but something stirs in my soul and makes me sad, too. You see, people didn’t congratulate me when I was pregnant with Branch. Some of these same people who are congratulating me now actually avoided me while I was carrying Branch and in the months after.  I do not hold this against them, I really don’t, because it makes perfect sense. We each have our own capacities, and many lovely people who love me, just could not carry any of the weight of my grief : and that’s ok. But in my heart, this spot is tender.

It is a reminder that my first baby, who is just as much my son as this baby is, carries much sadness with his story. It is a reminder that some people, even though they love me, can not talk about Branch — even now. It is a reminder that pregnancy is tough for us. I think it’s tough for everyone, or so I hear, but I know it is particularly tough for those who have lost.  It is a reminder of just how long, an unimaginable amount of time if I am being honest, we will have to wait to hold Branch again.

I sent Glenn a text this morning, telling him I was working on a post about being pregnant and why I didn’t want to tell the word-wide-web. I told him I felt like it all sounded kind of negative. I loved his response:

“You lost a baby. That’s just reality. You have to work through the negative thoughts to get to the positives.”

So wise, that Glenn. He’s also very encouraging, and fights for spiritual and emotional health above all else – something many people do not do. Through everything we have been through in our lifetimes, and particularly the past couple of years with losing Branch, I am most grateful for God’s mercy and love that has been expressed so clearly and personally to each of us.  I am second-most grateful for Glenn. I could write a whole book on how great he is. Maybe someday I will. Though I am not sure if many people are interested in reading how great someone else’s husband is. I guess I’ll find out.

I feel like this post is coming to a close. I have said enough for one day.  Opened the box, bared some more of my soul, which I think is what you all have come to expect here. After getting this part out, maybe I will start blogging all pregnancy related thoughts. Buckle up, internet, we’re in for quite a ride. My current obsession is baby boy swim trunks. Could those things be any cuter?!?!

Much love to each and every one of you. The ones I know and the ones I don’t. The ones who have been nudging me to post and the ones who have told me to hold it sacredly. And a special dose of love to those of you who are held in a special part of my heart – those who are in the middle of a story of child loss, those who have buried their children, and those who are pregnant with healthy babies after hoping for one for so long. I see you. God sees you. We are so, so loved.

Psalm 86:15 “But You. LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

May we bask in His compassion and grace today.

~Kristin and BSquared

Lately :: March 2015

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I spent the morning at Disneyland with my sister Kimberly a couple of  weeks ago, which was super fun. I don’t get too many Disneyland trips in anymore, now that I am working full time, but spending a Saturday morning there was a blast. We had corn dogs, ice cream, and rode a couple of rides. The ideal day at the park, if you ask me.

 

Glenn and I finalized and officially ordered Branch’s headstone. You may recall us working on his headstone and thinking we were in the final stages months ago. It is honestly surprising how difficult that entire process was. I never would have guessed it would have taken us over a year to order it, but it did.  I am glad to have the ordering finished, but am also grateful we took our time. I am sure it will be hard to see it in the ground once it is there, but I think it will also be nice in some ways — his name will be seen by all who walk by, and that is special in a way. I hope the gravestone will be a way that his legacy continues.

 

I feel like I do three things: work, walk, sleep. Maybe four things: I cook, too. My soul is in this strange spot, where grief is taking up less space, but is still taking up a good deal of my energy.  I imagine this is a frustrating place when you are a friend of mine, or an acquaintance even. I sense a desire from some for me to return to my former self:  the pre-grief Kristin they were used to.  Honestly, I get it.  I would probably feel the same way if I were them.

 

I try to show myself grace, to be gentle, to hold myself to no one’s expectations. It is hard, though. It is hard to disappoint friends. It is hard when relationships change. It is hard to be the only one in the room who has lost a child.

 

I went to a women’s event with some friends the other night. It was an enjoyable event and I was with safe people, and am so glad I was able to attend. As the evening began, we were all sitting in a circle, and the leader asked us to introduce ourselves by saying our name and how many children we have.  This was a first for me, but I think I handled it ok. It was a small enough group that I didn’t feel the need to hide, but my heart was palpitating as it got closer to my turn. I said my name, and said that I have no living children but my son Branch passed away a little over a year ago.  It was received well, as far as I could tell.

 

There is a new pair of jeans in my closet, and I am mildly obsessed with them.  My favorite jeans (before these ones) were the Madewell high-riser skinny. This latest pair are the AG legging jean. They might as well be sweatpants, they are so comfortable and awesome. And yet, somehow they are significantly more flattering than sweats. I love them!

 

That seems like enough of an update for today! Maybe I will write again in a few days, but I guess we’ll just have to see. 🙂

Much love,

~Kristin

 

Isaiah 66:12-13

For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

 

Dreams for 2015

The first week of January, as we were still celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas, I created a little space for myself to do something I hadn’t done in a year :: I gave myself space to dream.

At the beginning of last year, 2014,  I remember feeling like hope, and any chance of happiness, died when Branch died. I felt as if all life were lost, and not just for a season, but forever. It seemed the only form of mercy would be God returning and ending my pain. For a full twelve months, maybe more, dreaming became something sweet, innocent, well-meaning friends did, or suggested I do. Dreams, for me, were impossible. In my inmost being, sometimes they still are.

At the beginning of this year, 2015, I found myself ready, waiting, wanting to dream again, even if just a little.  And so, on January 4th, I sat on the leather chair in our living room, I used my colorful pens, I let the dreams flow — big and small. Here is what I came up with.

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Have a healthy baby. Write on my blog every week. Re-design my blog. Run 3 miles in 30 minutes. Travel to Europe. Eat at The French Laundry.

Dreams are different than goals. Dreams don’t need check-lists or priorities. Dreams don’t even need to happen. They are simply dreams. A picture of what the future could be, without any hidden agenda or judgement.  Dreams.

May God’s grace be sufficient for you today, whether you are able to dream or if the dreaming will just have to wait. You and I are so very loved.

~Kristin

Romans 8:32  “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Five Things : October 28th, 2014

1. We are finalizing Branch’s gravestone this week. It has taken much longer than anticipated. Not in the sense that it’s the end of October and Branch was born almost eleven months ago, but in the sense that we started the process over a month ago now, and the stone still isn’t ordered. We waited to start working on it until around his ten month birthday, and I am really glad we did. Did you know that in Jewish tradition headstones aren’t selected until eleven months after the death? Enough time has passed, but not too much time. I like that.

It is hard to design a headstone for your firstborn son. I would imagine it is hard to design a headstone for anyone. I never really imagined myself having the opportunity. I guess nobody does.

I think Branch’s headstone will be cool. We have put a lot of thought into it — what to say, what not to say, how to place things, etc. And honestly :: who knew there were so many options for granite??!!?

 

2. We spent this past Sunday at Disneyland.

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By now you know that I LOVE Disneyland. I love Walt Disney and all he created — the joy his vision brought and continues to bring to so many. I love the history Disneyland holds — a personal, familial, and fun history. I love how Anaheim is home to the original Disney theme park, and that Anaheim is so close to us here in San Diego. I love the way Disneyland decorates and celebrates so many seasons — Halloweentime being one of them.

Really, truly, Disneyland is my favorite place on earth, and I just loved spending the day there with Glenn on Sunday! Can you imagine?! Glenn AND Disneyland together?!?! My soul bursts with delight!

 

3. Glenn and I are lifting weights. We call it Murdock Pump Club. It’s pretty awesome.

 

4. I am really liking my job. I keep thinking of all the other jobs I interviewed for, or places I thought about working, and I am so grateful that God had the perfect position in mind — all I had to do was wait.  My job is not glamorous or high profile or even in line with what someone would think I should do if they looked at my resume :: but it really is a great fit for me! Here’s hoping my boss feels the same!

 

5. October is National Infant Loss Awareness Month. On the 15ht of October every year, there is an event called “Wave of Light” where candles are lit in honor of babies who have died. Many of you know this. Many of you lit candles for Branch or other sweet babies. Thank you.

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I don’t know how Heaven works, but I like to picture God pulling back the veil, just for a moment, and showing all of Heaven the beautiful wave of candles that burned in honor of our little loves. What a sight.

 

My prayer for this week is that my palms stay cupped in surrender :: offering all I have, and willingly accepting what He places in them.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

~Kristin

 

September Twenty-Fourteen

Hello, September.

I have seen you lurking in the distance for a while, and yet you still managed to sneak up on me.

It is hard to not remember your sister, September Twenty-Thirteen, when I see your name. A lot has changed in a year, hasn’t it?

You probably already know this, but tomorrow I start my new job. I have a little bit of nervousness, but mostly excitement, when I think about joining the workforce again. In the past I would become quite nervous, anxious, eager, and afraid when starting a new job. I hated the change, the uncertainty, the not knowing if people liked me or not. Now, I don’t really have any of those feelings. I am going back to a company I know, but more than that, I think job stress is somehow less significant to me now. As a dear friend put it “You have literally lived through hell. Nothing could be worse than what you have already gone through. With that perspective, a new job just isn’t a big deal anymore.”  It was validating, and in a strange way, comforting to hear her say that.

And so, I am looking forward to my job. I am welcoming the change. I am welcoming anxiety and sadness and fear and joy and anything else that comes my way, knowing it is a-ok, even at work. There is nothing wrong with excusing yourself for five minutes to sob hysterically in the bushes. I’m just hoping there are some bushes nearby…

September, you know you symbolize change in many ways. Summer is over, autumn is just around the corner. I remember fall in a different way this year. My therapist friend Laura says our bodies hold on to memories in unique ways — sometimes remembering particularly difficult seasons even when we are not consciously thinking of them. I wonder how my body will respond to fall this year.

Tonight I am going to make Chinese chicken salad and ice cream cookie sandwiches.  It’s a holiday, it’s the day before I go back to work, and more importantly, it’s still Glenn’s birthday weekend. Ice cream cookie sandwiches are always a great way to celebrate, wouldn’t you agree?

I hope you are good to us, September Twenty-Fourteen.  We are a fragile bunch.  Resilient, but still fragile.

Psalm 23:6 NKJV
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

~Kristin

Happy Father’s Day!

In honor of Father’s Day, Glenn is letting me share the letter I wrote him.

Much love to all you Daddy’s out there!  And to those who are hoping to be Daddy’s soon: We love you.

~K&G

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Glenny,

I picked this paper out when we were in Tokyo – one of our many adventures.  You liked it because you like the coy… just like the ones at Balboa Park, where we go often and went right before finding out our baby boy would have to die. What an adventure.

You, my love, are the perfect partner in adventure. The grandest of all of our adventures so far was the creation, sustaining, and giving up of Branch. Oh, how I wanted to keep him! His feet were just like yours, and I knew they would love life and lead many to God, just like his Daddy’s.

I know the past year has not been easy for you, either. And still you press on. You fight. For me. For Branch. For God.

I will never forget the tenderness you showed me on that June day when we got the diagnosis. I felt safe even though everything around me was being destroyed. You held me, and God held us.

You are a great Dad, Glenn. I hope we get to raise kids together here — the world is truly in DESPERATE need of more of you. And that’s our job, right, to change the world?

I love you oh so much. You are absolutely the greatest gift God has ever shown me. Thanks for being my best friend ever in life, and my baby daddy.

Happy Father’s Day!

Love, Kristin

This past week was R-O-U-G-H! Wow! Not fun.

I am feeling all sorts of things, but mostly glad the week is over, and proud of Glenn and myself for making it to the six month mark alive. WE DID IT! Mostly.

Six months down, only the rest of our lives to go.  Anyone else find that depressing?!

 

Along with Branch’s six-month birthday/anniversary/whatever you call it, this week brought a few other changes.

First up, I am no longer working full-time at Sea World. I am pretty sad about it. It was a really fun job and I was really liking it. I am still there a few hours a week, but for the time being there isn’t room in the budget to keep me on full-time. I guess I will have to find another way to listen to a ten-piece brass band every day. Tee-hee!

Second, I had my eyebrows done. This is a big deal mostly because this is the first time I have had them done since Branch was born. You long-time readers will remember my obsession with my eyebrow lady, Melissa of Anastasia Beverly Hills fame.  WELL, she moved!!!! To TEXAS!!!! So not only did I have to face the loss of my son, I also had to figure out how to manage this mess of a face without the professional help I was used to! Too much change all at once led to me not caring at all about my eyebrows, or much else,  for several months.

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{this is right after having my brows done — nice and groomed!}

I finally made the plunge today, and went to a different “brow artist” who was trained by Anastasia as well. I am pleased with the results and am praying this girl never leaves! Or that Melissa moves back! Either would be perfectly acceptable for my eyebrows.

 

Third, I hit the twenty pound mark in my weight loss! Sometimes I am embarrassed to keep posting these weight updates, but the other day I realized that when I am reading blogs and people are getting healthy and losing weight, I like hearing updates and seeing pictures. So here you have it. Me at the starting point, and me down twenty pounds!

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I have just started getting more serious about my workouts, and am having fun with that, too. Maybe I will tell you about those sometime, if anyone is interested.  I haven’t joined a gym or anything, so everything I am doing is either at a park or in my backyard.  I’m looking forward to the day when my “current” picture includes some serious arm muscles…. it may take me a decade, but someday they will show up!

Losing weight is hard work. It seems like everything in my life is hard work… But that’s ok. God has such a great vision for our lives, and I hope that He shows me glimmers of it every day so I can keep at least a little hope alive.

That is all I have for today. Much love to you all. Thanks for reading along … it’s a bumpy ride over here at times, and I am grateful for your continued love and support, and that you read what I write!!! That’s pretty cool. 🙂

~Kristin

 

Five Things — aka Mind Dump

So heeeere’s the thing: My brain is a swirly twirly mess.

If you don’t mind, I am going to use this space to do a little mind-dump. Ready? Go.
ONE
Easter happened. I feel like that really describes it. It HAPPENED. I kiiind of feel like it happened TO me, but really for most of the day I was enjoying myself! We went to church the night before with my family, which was nice, and then convinced/forced my Dad to try Thai food for the first time. He was quite apprehensive, as most old people are {HA! Just kidding Dad!}, but then he really wound up liking it. Crispy duck is delicious.

On the day itself, we met up with Glenn’s fam at Sea World which was super fun. Keith-as-I-live-and-breathe and I shared chicken nachos. They were surprisingly delicious. We watched the best brass band ever.

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We ended the day with a visit to CLevel – a restaurant with awesome atmosphere and views – and all of a sudden Easter slapped me in the face. I was tired. I was sunburned. I was dehydrated. I was hungry. My head started to hurt. All I could think about was how my baby is in the ground, and I can never see him again. It’s too sad, really. Most days are somewhat manageable, but some days the reality hits, and I become so, so sad.
TWO
We are officially members of an infant loss support group. I’m not gonna lie, I never thought we would join {or enjoy!} a support group. I’m all for therapy, but GROUP therapy seems a little weird. I imagined a room filled with “those” people, led by someone with frizzy hair and glasses at the end of his or her nose, their sad eyes peering over the frames. I imagined bizarre questions being asked. Fake intimacy trouncing around from story to story, couple to couple. I am happy to report :: I imagined wrong.

We totally like our infant loss support group!!

We, obviously, wish we and everyone else in the group never had to be in this group to begin with… BUT our specific group is led by our awesome grief counselor at The Elizabeth Hospice, and there is another couple in the group who we really enjoy! Strangely enough, their little girl who died shares Branch’s birthday! It’s nice to have people who are different from us but have gone through something so similar… even having our babies born on the same day!

We have only gone to the group twice now, and enjoyed both times. The first was kind of what I would imagine most first-meetings at groups are, where you introduce yourselves and share a bit about the child you lost, and then there are several topics that come up and Paula, our grief counselor and new best friend, facilitates the conversation. The second time we went we did a craft, which sounds super cheesy but was actually really cool. We made frames and discussed the just-around-the-cornerness of Mother’s Day. I actually am not dreading Mother’s Day, but I am leaning toward not doing any of the “usual” things on the day itself. Last year on Mother’s Day Glenn and I told his family I was pregnant. Eeek. Not sure if I’m ready to see the TimeHop photos pop up for that one…  Again I say eeeeek!

Nevertheless, I am a mother, and I have a great mother AND a great mother-in-law so I am hoping to celebrate them in a unique way this year… just maybe not on Sunday the 11th. Ha!
THREE
People are nice. Not all people. Not all the time. But overall, there are lots of nice people out there.

A friend of mine from high school, who has been so sweet to follow our journey, knew we would be at a party together on Saturday and brought us a card and gift. Ridiculously thoughtful!!

One of my girlfriends sends me texts, all the time, asking how my heart is — asking about my grief — asking what my “internal weather” is. And here’s the thing : she MEANS it. She really does want to know! Even the yucky, tragic, never-going-away-until-Jesus-comes-back stuff — she willingly asks me to share my heart with her.

My mentor meets with me on a super regular basis. When I fear I am becoming needy, or that I am not worth her time, she speaks kindness and truth to my soul. She tells me it is an honor to walk with me. She guides me into calmness and prayer :: places where God can reveal Himself to me in such personal and loving ways. She validates my pain, and tells me I am seen.

My beloved friend since the 3rd grade called up two of my best gals and organized a high tea date, in honor of Mother’s Day. In honor of me. It is so kind and generous and thoughtful, I could barely get “thanks” out when she mentioned it.

My Mom sends me encouraging letters every month, to be opened on the 3rd, and they always make me cry.  This month she even sent a pretty scarf! Just because! I look forward to my letters and the reminder that our families are walking this road with us, and missing Branch themselves.

I do not deserve any of these nice things, but I am so grateful for them. And for all of you.
FOUR
The first Lionheart Half Marathon and 5K has officially been completed. WE. DID. IT.

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If you follow me, or any of our friends here in San Diego, on social media, your feed was probably overrun with pictures of our cute shirts, and inspirational photos of Team Lionheart running and walking and cheering! It was such, such, such a great day! Wow! Things could not have gone better, and I felt such a flood of support it was nuts! Branch, you are one loved little boy!
FIVE
My hair can now legitimately be put in a ponytail. What’s up.

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Thanks for sticking with me through it all! Mind Dump Complete.

~Kristin

I have noticed something different in the air lately. Something fresh. Something I haven’t seen for a while.

It came quickly, unexpectedly, kindly.

It came as friends shared their exciting news of expecting a baby.

It came as I watched Mara gracefully receive gifts at a baby shower for her newest addition, all the while honoring Julia’s life and legacy. A baby shower after loss. Wow.

It came in the morning, after a full night’s rest.

It came in a walk along sunset cliffs with a dear soul.

It came in the tears streaming down my face every single day.

It came through laughter with my favorite people. Who knew seven miles could be so much fun?

It came as I held my breath, watching our new friends give birth to, and then say goodbye to, their sweet little girl.

It came around a table, sharing food and drink and love.

It came in the loud moments.

It came in the quiet.

In each little space :: hope came.

The journey of grief does not seem to start with much hope, and I think that’s ok. I think we have to realize the magnitude of our loss. Feel the loneliness. Sit with our sorrow, even though we don’t want to. It seems that is the only way true hope can enter in again. For when we are a big crumpled up mess,  God reaches down and touches us.

And that, my friends, is enough to give me just a little hope today.

Isaiah 40:31
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

Much love to you all,
~Kristin

P.S. I also wanted to THANK you all for praying for my car/mode of transportation. My car was able to be FIXED, which we originally had no hope of happening!!!! Thank you for caring about and praying for me — even in things like automobiles.