Four. Years. I can't believe that's how long it has been. I can't believe that's how old you would be. Should be. Everything from this day four years ago plays in my mind over and over. Not just on this day. 

Today was beautiful. The sun was shining and it felt like Spring. And I caught myself thinking that the day was almost as beautiful as you. But not quite. I have held Everley extra close today-squeezed her and kissed her and breathed her in-imagining all those moments I have missed with you in four years, and thankful that I have her here this year on this sad and hurtful day. 

You are so missed and so longed for and my heart aches and my throat swells at the thought of you. Of the thoughts of all I've missed and will always miss. Of thoughts from when I held your precious little body close, forever broken that you wouldn't get to live this life with us here. 

To see you and Harper doting on Everley-what I wouldn't give. 

Happy Birthday in Heaven Jonah...I miss you so much down here. So, so much.

Thinking of Jonah

I have always loved dogs. If there is a dog anywhere around me, you can bet I'm gonna be loving on it as soon as you can blink! I just love them. 

When I was pregnant with Jonah, we painted his room, picked out his bedding and I ordered a Charlie Brown and Snoopy wall decal. The thought of Jonah with his own puppy (Ruby) just caused my heart to swell-I could not wait to see the love between my boy and his dog. Pretty soon, my niece Allie would say Jonah everytime she saw Charlie Brown or Snoopy or even Woodstock. 

When we lost Jonah, I didn't change a thing about his incomplete room. When we found out we were pregnant with Harper, I planned on changing the room up-different bedding, different decal-I wanted Harper's room to be different because I'm my mind Charlie Brown and Snoopy was just Jonah's. But, when we lost Harper, I still had not taken down the Charlie Brown and Snoopy decal. As a matter of fact, I finally took it down when we turned the room into Everley's. 

Earlier today, thoughts of the day I found out Jonah's heart had stopped beating flooded my mind. I remember the emptiness I felt inside, I remember laying on my bed when I got home that night, holding my stomach and just sobbing. I remember taking a bath and just staring at my stomach and crying. I remember it all so clearly-as if it just happened. 

So tonight Everley wore her Snoopy shirt that I got my sister to make to match some pants she has, because it is precious and because I miss Jonah and I miss Harper today. 

I miss them everyday, but today the tears came as I thought about my Jonah and how much I wanted him and how devastated I was when I learned he had gone from me. 

It never does get easier to live with half of your heart here and the other half in Heaven.

Harper Would Have Been Three

Today was a beautiful day. As I was driving home from church I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the sky and the trees were. A perfect fall day, except it wasn't. 

Three years ago today, I was in Gainesville in preterm labor with Harper. I can't believe that was three years ago. Yet, I remember it all like it was yesterday. I remember the desperation I felt as things seemed to get worse, the labor only progressing. I remember the devastation I felt as I realized it was over and there was nothing that could be done to help Harper. Devastated doesn't even seem to be the right word for the moment I realized I wouldn't be bringing this baby home either. I remember the uneasiness I felt when I realized that Harper passed away on my mama's birthday-uneasy because that day would always hurt now. And I was right. October 18-Harper's earthly birthday, October 19-Harper's Heavenly birthday. Both days hurt, every year. 

I saw a little boy today who was born around the same time as Harper. Makes me catch my breath everytime...I can't shake the thought that he should be here, that size already. That I should have 3 years and 8 months old Jonah and 3 year old Harper here with us. That I should have two little boys here, loving on their baby sister. 

So while today was a beautiful, perfect fall day, it really wasn't very perfect at all because Harper was missing from it. There was no birthday cake and giggles, no sloppy wet kisses and smiles. And tomorrow will be the same. 

Oh are so very loved and so very missed every second of the day, my sweet boy...Selfishly I wish you and Jonah were here in our arms. That would be a perfect day.

Everley Meets Dr.Duffy

Today we took Everley to Jacksonville to meet Dr.Duffy for the first time. She did SO good! She slept the whole way there and most of the way home. She was one smiley, happy baby for the most part. 

Look at these two:

I looked over and saw Everley touching Dr.Duffy's face and I about melted in the floor-so precious! It was so good to catch up and to introduce Dr.Duffy to our precious miracle baby. It is so crazy to think that a year ago he was releasing me back into my normal OB's care, the end of my first trimester with Everley. We were sad that Nan, the nurse who has been with us from the very beginning, couldn't be there because of a family emergency. But, we plan on visiting again soon so she can get her hands on Everley, too. 

Looking back, most days the thought of bringing our baby to Jacksonville for a visit seemed crazy and like an impossibility, because we had tried so hard and it felt like we would never have our baby in our arms. It still doesn't seem real to me that Everley is here.

We are so grateful to Dr.Duffy and Nan and all the sweet nurses that God placed in our lives. And Kristi-Lord knows we are so grateful for her and her sweet family. 

Today was so very special to us. 

90's Christian Music

The other day the chorus of a song I used to listen and sing to popped into my head. So, I sang it to Everley and she acted like she loved it. So when she would start to fuss, I would sing it to her again and she would just look at me and make this sound that she makes when she wants you to do something again-a sound that I think I will still hear in my head when she is old and married-I love that little sound. Anyways, I couldn't remember the verses to the song so I dug the cd out and played it for Everley-who knew she would like Avalon! 

Tonight, I was swinging underneath the pecan trees as Everley was drifting off to sleep and staring in my face. I started singing the chorus to that Avalon song she likes so much. The chorus goes like this: 
"I don't want to go somewhere 
If I know that You're not there,
'Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don't want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don't want to go."
Tears began to well up in my eyes as I thought about the millions of times me and Sarah jammed out to that song, as well as a million others. After the journey we have been on the past three and a half years, it amazes me that I can still remember the choruses to songs like this, but then again, I know that is by God's divine mercy and grace. Those songs I sang long ago were just one of the ways He was preparing my heart for the road that was before me. 

I started thinking about the lyrics to that chorus that I hadn't thought of 
in years, and about losing Jonah and then Harper. And then the rough road of IVF that we walked down with Kristi, in all her selflessness...and I just cried (and Everley looked at me like I was crazy) because I know that we would have never kept going if it weren't for God leading us and walking with us every step of the way...that if He had not walked with us, I would not have wanted to go. 

So, when my Mama had heard all the singing she could bear to hear back then,  she didn't realize that God would use it to speak to my heart all these years later as I swing with this precious miracle named Everley. 

My 29th Birthday

Today is my birthday-a day I share with my twin sister, Sarah. I can't even believe we are 29! Last year of my 20s...oh my.

Birthdays have always been special until three years ago. After I lost Jonah, I dreaded the arrival of my birthday because I had so been looking forward to holding my baby boy in my arms on my birthday, and every other day. So, after losing Harper too, every birthday since I have felt so sad. Sad because yet another year had passed and my arms were still empty and Heaven held more of my heart. 

I have found this year that my birthday is still hard, because Jonah and Harper are There and we are here, incomplete until our reunion in Heaven. I am sad that two little boys aren't running around the kitchen wanting me to blow out the candles on my cake. This day is so bittersweet this year.

On my birthday, I have spent the afternoon at Everley's four month well baby check-up. She cried and I teared up and I held her close...and while I hate to see her hurt, I am so glad that I can pull her close and feel her little body relax because she knows her mama is holding her and making things better. And that will get me through to my next birthday.

am thrilled to death that Everley is sleeping peacefully in my arms as I type this, that my day has started and ended with me holding her. This year, my arms are not empty and for that I am so very thankful. 

Everley's First Time in Church

Yesterday we took Everley to church for the first time. She slept through the whole service and did so good! I got a little emotional when we stood up to show her to the congregation as I thought about how long we have been trying to bring a baby home and about how many times I imagined me and Aaron bringing our baby to church for the first time. So many Sundays I have sat in the pews of my church, shedding tears of sadness, overcome by the emptiness in my arms, overcome with longing for the two little boys that I had to give back. I can't put into words how deep the sting and how deep the hurt, the ache. And while the sadness is still here, because Jonah and Harper are not here, my tears yesterday were from my grief but more so from thankfulness. I was overcome with gratefulness that the God of the universe, Who is in the redeeming business, would bless us with this sweet little angel and allow us to raise her and to teach her about Him. My heart will ALWAYS ache for my boys and I will probably always post about that (sorry folks!). But to have been given three beautiful children and to have Everley in my arms right's more than my heart can bear sometimes.

And since Everley is a little angel-it was only fitting that she looked like a precious angel on her first trip to church. Oh I love her so very much! 

We are so very blessed to call Everley ours!