Saturday, December 29, 2012

365 Photo Project :: day 310 december 28

photo of the day:  Ethan wearing Day of the Dead mask (from school studies about celebrations)

365 Photo Project :: day 309 december 27

photo of the day:  Father of the Bride

Wedding Photo Shoot :: A Lovely December Wedding

After a crisp winter walk, I checked my e-mail and there was a message from a friend asking if I would come shoot backup for her at a wedding that same day.  I was both nervous and excited at the prospect.  I knew it wouldn't be possible since I don't own a flash, but I'd mention it to my husband.  
We had three kids spending the night and their dad stopped by to pick them up.  I told Abraham about the e-mail as he talked with our friend (who just happens to have ten years experience in wedding photography).  He ran out to his car and brought in just the flash (which he picked up from the Goodwill for $15) I needed and gave me a quick tutorial.  It seemed too perfect to say no, so I changed my clothes and off we drove to Sellwood neighborhood and my first wedding shoot.  
The bride was lovely and it was truly on honor to be part of their special day.  I loved every minute of the experience and here is a sneak peek of the photos...

365 Photo Project :: day 308 december 26

photo of the day:  old barn

365 Photo Project :: day 307 december 25

photo of the day:  surprise handmade gifts from Abigail
(I am sad that I didn't capture more of the day but I enjoyed all of the sweet moments.)

365 Photo Project :: day 306 december 24 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

Happy 4th Birthday

photo of the day: flowers delivered for you

Happy fourth birthday Sabrina!  

Today we celebrated your sweet little life.  As tradition we brought flowers, balloons (one for each year), and handmade cards to your grave site.  The kids tenderly laid the flowers and cards as we sang "Happy Birthday."  

Sophia excitedly let her balloon go and watched it fly away to you.  Abigail tied hers to a stick and placed it near your graveside.  But Ethan just couldn't let go and so he brought his home with him.  Watching my little ones with those balloons made me reflect on how each of us deal with grief differently and gave me a glimpse into their hearts.  

We completed our celebration with vanilla cupcakes dusted with candy cane sprinkles.  A dear friend prayed for "precious moments, beautiful surprises, and deep comfort."  These are the gifts God gave us today on your birhtday.  We love you and miss you every day.  


Sunday, December 23, 2012

december 23 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

Poem 3  ::  from Daddy

photo of the day:  silence fell

Return Home

Silence fell
as I drove home,
the crushing weight
of no baby 
to bring 
to our house,
empty arms
as I walked up the
icy steps,
to an empty 

"Is it ok?" Abbey asks,
"Is everything alright?"

I don't have the heart,
to tell her.

"We need to go to
the hospital,"
I said.

Her eyes 
lit up,
she grabbed 
we headed back 
the hospital.

I don't have the heart.

The drive 
is silent,
the hallway
is still.

the door
I explained -
too late -
was not right,
went wrong,
we have no little girl,
not coming

The doors open,
pain sets in,
my kids 
for the first time
I've been 
walking through
all night,
our Father

It is too much,
a silent baby,
wrapped in swaddling
clothes, on 
Christmas morning,
arms stiffening,
the morgue
coming, to take 

Ethan reached out
to touch her

We returned home,
to face the rest
of our lives,
without you,
even, though
you'll always
with us.

To, my little Sabrina.

With love, your Daddy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

365 Photo Project :: day 304 december 22 :: letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

Poem 2  ::  from Daddy

photo of the day:  slipping away

Long Night

Every minute
I spent with 
was not enough.

Even though,
the seconds
the minutes
became hours.

Large glass windows
looking over the city.

After the pushing
and the bleeding
we held you,
as if
you were alive,
you're skin peeling
so delicate,
you're life
slipped away,
for us,
still slipping.

There is no moment
more vivid
in my mind
than the 
hours, I spent
holding you,
wrapped in a 
singing silent
looking over 
the city
it slept,

It was a world
a fantasy,
an entire universe,
of time 
with you.

I could 
here, forever.

the morning
would come
I must face
reality, that
are no longer,

Friday, December 21, 2012

365 Photo Project :: day 303 december 21 :: letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

Poem 1  ::  from Daddy

photo of the day:  a long sad night

Journey in the Snow

on icy
the bus comes
to take

Abbey is
suited for the snow,
next to her
Ethan, with
his sunglasses

We are trapped,
in a snow
You were caught
in heaven,
even though
didn't know.

The doctor's office,
the phone call,
the car ride,
an old toyota,
the snow.

We've lost 

At the hospital,
they put us
a room,
furthest from
other mothers.

You'd already,

one of the longest,
most memorable 
our lives.

365 Photo Project :: day 302 december 20

photo of the day:  emptiness 

december 20 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

from Auntie Anne

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

 Sabrina, every time I hear this song I am brought back to that chilly afternoon, gathered around your tiny coffin.  I am reminded that in spite of their great loss, your parents praised God.  In life many people are angry with God and become bitter when life’s circumstances turn their world on end.  Couples divorce when they bury a child; the strain and devastation is just too great.  Instead, I watched over the next few months and years as your parents drew closer to each other and deepened in their faith.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Even so, I will praise you.  Even so, you are faithful.  The Doxology has become my rock and a reminder of His great love for us.  God, you are faithful and worthy to be praised.
I still remember the evening your mom called me and told me you were gone.  I was on a break at work and there was a voicemail on my phone.  When I saw the missed call, I thought, ‘how sweet Nancy is calling to wish me a Merry Christmas.’  My family was over at our friends’ house and I was stuck working on Christmas Eve.  When I spoke with your mom on the phone, we just cried together.  They excused me from work those last few hours, because I couldn’t stop crying.  You were gone, our sweet Sabrina.        

Your cousin, Elizabeth, and I had already bought tickets to come and meet you after you were born.  Elizabeth had even saved up her own money and purchased her very own plane ticket.  She was sad that she would not be able to cuddle with a new baby, but instead she provided play time and affection for Ethan and Abbey who missed you very much.  

I do not understand why you had to leave us so early.  A friend of mine had almost the exact same due date as your mommy.  Each week at church I would watch her belly grow and imagine your mom’s belly growing in Portland.  Whenever I saw her belly, I would smile, thinking of you.  In January, when my friend had her baby girl, Sophia, I felt your loss.  Over the years, I have watched her daughter grow, and I am reminded of how old you would be now.
Through all of this, the most precious gift that I have received is the friendship that I now have with your mom and the strength of her faith that encourages me daily.  Sabrina, you were a gift.  One that we wish we could have held onto much longer, but your life has given birth to faith and friendship, beauty and grace.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

365 Photo Project :: day 301 december 19 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

from Grandma Karan

photo of the day:  presents from Grandma Karan

Writing letters has become somewhat of a lost art.  Gone are the days when the only way to communicate with faraway loved ones was long narratives sent by the postal service.  Depending on the mode of travel, some news may take months to arrive.  Now we can keep up on all the latest with a few key strokes and a click.  But today, I find myself writing to someone who is not so accessible.

What do you say to a granddaughter you never held, or hugged, or kissed.  Who is a sad memory of a Christmas Eve as you listened to her mother, your beloved daughter's cries.  A grandmother who has felt that same piercing loss of a child.  What do you say?

Perhaps you tell her that this is your favorite time of the year, when giving becomes part of the atmosphere.  When despite the hectic pace of modern life, an individual will smile and wish you a "Merry Christmas".  That you always think of her, especially during this season.  That you cry and feel sad.  Yet despite the sadness, I want to thank her for her gift, the gift of compassion, of empathy and of learning to share loss.  

Because of you Sabrina, those who waited for your arrival, have learned to cry with those who cry.  This is an invaluable gift and only a special few individuals can give this.  

You have left us with an incredible legacy. Thank you, Sabrina.  And I trust in my heart that you are enjoying time with your Aunt Mary Margaret and Great-grandma Baker.  

Much love always,
Grandma Karan  

Thrifty Thursdays :: December


vintage Thermos cooler in blue...I have high photo shoot visions for this 

a ruffly skirt for my girl
for my little crafter

starting to collect frames for Abigail's Woodland Art for the Buckman Show and Sale in February 
love the ruffles...lots of twirling at our house today

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

365 Photo Project :: day 300 december 18 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

your name

Sabrina Margot Bates
(Tink, Brina)

Sabrina means princess 

Margot means pearl

Sabrina we decided on your name Thanksgiving morning.  I love that your name is a beautiful image of heaven.  You are a royal princess, an adopted daughter of God.  Even before you were formed in my womb, God knew you and loved you.  

You are like a pearl, a lovely jewel, a precious treasure, and now you are in his kingdom, in heaven.  Your name reminds me of the goodness of God and that he has welcomed us into his family.  We are treasured by him and one day we will be together when I too pass through those pearly gates.  

made by Auntie Anne

Tink is from Abbey and Ethan.  They called you by this name when I was pregnant with you.  They thought we should name you Tinker Bell.  

Brina is what Sophia calls you, how sweet that even she has a nickname for you.

365 Photo Project :: day 299 december 17 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

from Abigail

Dear Brina, 

If you were alive, 

I would play with you and 

Phia all day long.  

And draw pictures with you



365 Photo Project :: day 298 december 16 :: Letters to Sabrina

Dear Sabrina...all the things that remind me of you.

baby book filled with cards

In the months we waited for you, I nested.  We painted the attic walls and set up a space for you. Daddy put together the white crib and I bought new pink flower sheets.  We filled your dresser drawers with tiny girl clothes.  I loved washing and folding and remembering when Abigail was so small.  I added warm winter snuggly pieces.  We hung art on the walls and made a place to welcome you.  

In our room, we set up a co-sleeper for those first few months.  I packed hospital for me and one for you.  I sewed burp cloths and blankets and waited for you.  

After you died, we slowly put things away.  There were some things that went quickly like your car-seat.  It reminded me that you didn't come home from the hospital on Christmas morning.  There were other things that were comforting and stayed with us for a while.   And some that waited for another baby.  I slept for months holding onto a little pink hat of yours. 

I filled a yellow box they gave me at the hospital with your things:  your beautiful lock of strawberry blond hair, your prints, pressed petals from the funeral, hospital tags.  

When I saw your baby book, it made me so sad. The first few pages were full of the promises of a new life.  The rest were empty reminders of all the firsts that would never happen.  

So I began filling it with all of the cards given to us after you died.  Your baby book is filled with words from Grandpa Ed and Auntie Anne, and family and friends from Idaho, Arizona, Montana, Washington, and Oregon.  Your book is full of the people who loved you.  The pages are no longer empty.  Your baby book is filled with cards.