Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vienne's Beautiful Birth Story

(copied & pasted from an old blog of mine...therefore, this was written a few years ago)

Vienne Juliet's incredible little self was created in late July of '07. This time of the year was coincidentally significant to us because it was exactly 9 months after the conception of our first child, whom we had lost in a miscarriage the day after that previous Christmas '06. I must admit, that when we discovered we were pregnant again I was initially scared and hesitant. And, who wouldn't be? The last time I had conceived I had experienced a traumatic death within my womb. BUT, God is faithful! The month in which that first child was to be born, He placed our precious daughter within my womb. How incredible is that?!
Overall, my pregnancy was spectacular...Thank you, sweet Child of mine and thank you Jesus. Sure, the first 12 weeks were rough. I had bouts of constant nausea and I battled with severe sinus problems...symptoms like a harsh cold that lasted for 10 weeks straight! But, hey, I never threw up and for that I am thankful. Once I cleared the 12 wk. mark, it was smooth sailing for us both. I remember, at 20 wks, when we had our first and only ultrasound taken - that's when this experience became real for both Mark and I. We saw this little person up on the screen, as it grabbed its little toes and pulled them into 'its' mouth. I say 'it' because we opted to not find out her sex. Because of the rambunctiousness of the baby during that experience, we were sure she was a boy. (I later learned that most babies are "active" during ultra sounds because they really don't like the heat of the machine or so my midwife informed me...interesting to consider for the next time).
During the following months, I maintained a healthy pregnancy by eating tons and tons of vegetables, ALL organic foods, taking a whole food prenatal along with cod liver oil, and receiving regular chiropractic adjustments. I believe that these efforts contributed to helping me breeze through those months...I honestly never felt better in my life! My chronic digestive issues took a side seat for a while and I was full of energy (I almost miss the days!).

Early on, way before we even got pregnant, we had decided to have a natural birth with a midwife. Let me tell you, I found the best midwives...what a blessing they were to my entire experience! My prenatal appointments were like friendly get-togethers, on the couch, over a cup of tea. I was given their undivided attention for as long as I needed. I had home visits, where we just sat on my bed and marveled over my belly. None of that cold Dr. office exam room experience when the Dr. just sweeps in and out. This was a true experience...the way it should be. Midwives honor each and every pregnancy and birth...each one is treated like a miracle, as it well should be. Anyway, so our plan was to have our baby at home, in our large corner soaking tub, in our master bath. My master bathroom has windows that look out over the forest...such a peaceful and serene environment.

My due date was May 2, 2008. I celebrated my 30th birthday 3 wks. prior - all plump and happy. As the day drew near, I must admit that I was not ready. Sure, I was excited to meet this child, but I just was not quite ready to give up my self-focused maidenhood. Of course, the Lord knew how ready I was for that! The day before I went into labor, I remember I was romping all around town (Cannon Beach) bursting with energy. I was SURE I would not have this baby for another week. Little Lady inside had a different plan.

That night, at 1:30 am on May 1, 2008, exactly the day before my due date, I went to the bathroom and that's when my first contraction, ever, started. I remember thinking " this just a tummy ache?".  I crawled back into bed and felt another contraction...I started counting them out at every 5 minutes for the next half hour. By 2:00, I woke Mark up. We called the midwife and she just told us to get as much rest as possible and call back when things got more intense. I remember thinking 'well, what does that mean?' So, Mark went back to bed for a short bit. We were both so relaxed about it all. I took a long hot shower. Probably for the next 3 1/2 hours, I quietly labored in the darkness of our bedroom, between the shower and the yoga ball, as things got more intense. Of course, Mark was awake by then and setting things up - pulling out towels and heating water and such. The contractions we progressing, of course, but all I remember was just being in the rhythm of it all. I was not a screamer. I think maybe at one point, I miserably told Mark that it hurt. ha. By 5:30am we called Adele back and told her we thought things were getting more intense, like a minute long and a minute apart, and we asked if it was alright to draw the bath...she emphatically said "YES! she should be in the water!". (I had been avoiding it because I didn't want it to slow things down as I heard that it could if you get in too early). We also called our doula/midwife-in-training, Jennifer, who lived just 20 minutes away (Adele lived an hour and a half away, in Portland). I labored on the yoga ball while Mark prepared the bath. By 6:00am I climbed in. And I remember that the moment I hit the water, I felt the urge to push. It freaked us both out. We were all alone and really had NO clue how far along I really was. My sweet Mark tried to check but he had no clue what he was doing...thankfully, he is not a queezy man. By 6:30 Jennifer arrived and I was already in "transition". She immediately checked my and the baby's vitals and quickly announced that I was already 10cm and ready to go!! Holy cow were we surprised! I knew I had wanted to push, but I was so afraid to without anyone there! I was afraid of pushing too early. Jennifer encouraged me to follow my body's lead...and NOT to force it. I specifically remember her telling me to NOT force a push..but to let my body do the pushing (SOO opposite of what 'doctors' tell you). I learned that when you force the push, that's when you really can tear and it goes against your body's instincts. Your body knows how to birth without you interfering! This entire experience was about me getting in touch with my body and my ability to do what God made my body to do. Incredible! So, anyway, Jennifer stayed at my side while Mark soothingly brushed my hair between contractions. I just remember that Jennifer's presence was so calming and reassuring...she was quiet but so confidently reliable during the hard pushes. Mark says I wasn't really verbal at all, just quietly moaning into my bath pillow. I do remember asking if this was going to carry on for hours and Jennifer just laughed and asked "why do you think that?". I pathetically said "because that's what most women go through..." and she very firmly said "no". I think I might have pushed for less than an hour but I don't even remember it being that long.

The candles in the bathroom were lit, soft praise music was playing, the day was breaking and at 7:38 am on May 1, 2008 a little girl was born. We pulled this tiny little baby up onto my chest and wept over her beauty. We were so enthralled by the pure miracle before us that we even forgot to check her sex for a few moments! And, there she was, 6 lbs 6 oz, 19" long, all curled up and bright-eyed on my chest. Not a peep she made. She just cooed and gurgled and looked up at her Daddy. She was covered in this marvelous thick white coating called vernix that we just rubbed into her skin, like lotion, and let it soak in, leaving her with the most luxuriously soft skin.

By 8:30 am my midwife, Adele, finally showed up! Yes, she was an hour late. She was sure that my labor would last longer. Nope, just 6 hours! As it turned out, Mark and I labored together for the first 5 hours and thankfully Jennifer showed up for the final hour to guide us along. After Vienne's placenta was birthed, we transitioned to bed. Shortly thereafter, my mom and sis finally showed up...totally bummed that they, too, had missed the big event. My labor was so quick that all of our plans for a long and arduous labor had flown out the window.

It was such a beautiful and peaceful experience. No doctors, no cold rooms, no drugs, and no rush. In the end, we were actually happy that most of our expected 'helpers' were a bit late - Mark and Jennifer were the perfect company that strove to maintain a peaceful and lovely labor. I would do it all over again in a heart beat!

And, this is the story of how our beautiful Vienne Juliet came into our world.

Friday, September 28, 2012

our little fish

Vienne took her first swim lessons this past summer of 2012, at Children of the Sea.  It was her most favorite thing to look forward to each and every week.  We had been a bit nervous in the beginning because we knew her fear of the water touching her face.  But, once in the care of a teacher (outside of her parents) she became fearless!  We were so amazed and proud.  The teacher's main objective, in the class, was to get them comfortable with putting their "eyes in".  "Eyes in!  Eyes in!" she would continually exclaim over and over.  One of my favorite memories at class, was how Vienne would calmly/gently speak up to the teacher, though, and tell her in a sweet voice that she didn't like to put her nose under the water.  Of course, she needed to learn, but I was so proud of her for not being afraid to speak up for herself...and to do it in such a sweet way, without whining or a fit of refusal like most kids.
At the end of the summer, one of Mark's co-workers invited us over a few times to swim in the pool.  This was the highlight of Vienne's summer!  She couldn't get her sundress off and floaties on quick enough!  She didn't think twice about jumping right in.  The other parents there (of children older than V) could not believe how fearless she was.  She didn't leave that pool the entire time we were there...with our constant supervision, of course.
She was born into is no wonder she loved it so.

{Memories} ~ from Eva Myers

I didn't get to know Vienne much beyond watching her grow via pictures and posts online, we both moved out of Cannon Beach and on our lives continued; but there is one very specific memory that had a huge impact in my life.

I was working at Waves of Grain, and I was in a relationship with a guy that had begun to get pretty serious, the same man I now call my husband. Before then, I never wanted to marry, have kids, or anything simply because I didn't trust people. I had a rough childhood, and didn't want to let anyone close enough, until I met Dave. I was at a point that I either wanted to end the relationship before it got more serious, or take a risk. Stay in the comfort of the coast, or move on to new territory. Then in walked you and Mark and baby Vienne.

You three gave me hope, gave me faith to take a step in my life that has brought me where I am today. Seeing the love, safety, and faith in your relationship gave me hope. Holding Vienne when she was a babe made me want to hold a child of my own. Knowing that a family can be so beautiful, and a child so loved. I remember she wore maybe a pink/orange striped sweater, and she had the biggest eyes full of wonder. She had the love of everyone around her. She was perfect. It was that run in that tipped me over to the side of being vulnerable for love. Soon after, Dave asked me if I wanted to move down to Tahoe so we didn't have to have a long distance relationship, and I said yes. So set the path of our life together, and I now know that was the best decision I've ever made. Seeing you three made me want to have a beautiful family, knowing how beautiful and full of love it could be. Seeing how loved Vienne is, how wonderful and full of life made me want a child of my own.

It's not much, compared to the other stories everyone else must have, but it made the hugest impact in my life, and it's something I've thought about over the years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Missing you

I miss you.  SO.  MUCH.  The ache is staggering.

I miss hearing the sound of an elephant stampede as you ran across the floor downstairs while I slept in in the mornings.  I still lay in bed in the mornings and think I hear it

I miss how you woke me up in the mornings.  How you would bust through the bedroom door and pitter patter to my side of the bed and say "Ivy is hungry, Mama", as Dad would be bringing her in.  Then I would grab you and pull you up and you would get this HUGE grin on your face because I had chosen to give you a few moments of snuggles all to yourself, before Ivy.

I miss the same question every morning from you - "where are we going today?"

I miss baking with precise and careful you always were.

I miss how you played with T-Rex, Alice, and Toronado every single day and how you would always want to "throw out a party" for them.

I miss holding your little hand every where I go.  How you would stop at the beginning of any street and hold your hand up to walk across in the safety of my grasp. 

I miss making your day by offering you just a simple honey stick or 5 yogurt covered raisins, as a treat.  You were so pleased by the simplest of things.  (no, not deprived!)

I miss your hugs.  How you would let me fully embrace you and how you would literally melt in my arms...not sag, but melt with joy.  You would become butter in my arms, and I would just embrace you and kiss you all over and you just relished it.  You were never annoyed by how much I adored you.

I miss combing your sweet silky patient you were with letting me do it up in any new creative fashion I wished.  You were always soooo patient.

I miss how much you adored your sister.  You would get so excited when she would grab your hand or foot and you would exclaim "she's touching me, mama!!".  And, you would always ask "can I touch Ivy?". 

I miss how every big number was "20 hundred". 

I miss how you were never out to prove anything to anyone.  You never had to be the best.  You never had to have the most.  You didn't worry about fairness. 

I miss how everything was colored blue and green when coloring...every choice of anything of color had to be green or blue.  Green, because it matches your and my eyes and blue, because it matches Daddy's and Ivy's eyes.  I miss staring into your lovely eyes.  Blue and green are now my favorites.

I miss how you would talk all about your birthday tea party whenever you met someone new.  You had grown so outgoing this past year and it was so fun to watch.  You charmed everyone.

I miss how you would say "oh mom" when I did something silly.

I miss your response to me whenever I complained about a rainy would say "it's not icky, mama - it's raining to water the flowers and make them grow!".  You make me well up with tears, you were so perfect.

I miss the way you ran.  If anyone reading this ever saw this girl run, you know what I am talking about.  Best.  Thing.  Ever.  wish I had a video.

I miss your daily creative goofiness - ie:  eating with a fork between your toes...accurately! ...wearing mismatched pajamas with rainboots and goggles  ...playing in my makeup  ....

I miss Ty (make believe friend) and Polly the Pony (a pony head on a stick).  I miss your amazing horse noises and your constant galloping everywhere we went. 

I miss watching you swim like a fish at swim class and your excited eagerness to go each week.

I miss our routines, your smell, your joy and love for life, your friendship and unconditional love.  I miss every fiber of you and I will never ever stop.  Why did you have to leave me?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A letter from Grandma Lynn

Dear Sweet Vienne,
I had so much fun with you on our afternoon walks when I would visit.  Once we went into Albertsons to buy some white bread to feed ducks and you made me laugh when you said, “But this isn’t New Seasons!”  As we fed the ducks, you named one of the geese we saw and called him “Floatie”!  Oh how good you were at naming things!  It was funny when you forgot the name of the goose and asked me what his name was the next day when we took our walk! (“Floatie…it rhymes with Boatie”!)
You always like watching people who were fishing and I know your daddy loved the times he took you fishing.  You wanted to go out onto the floating dock at the pond.  We did that and it was easier to feed the ducks.  Do you remember how we jumped on the dock to make it move?  You thought that was pretty cool J!
On one walk, I kept asking if you were tired and you quickly answered, “no”…because we still needed to go to the playground.  But first, we went to the opening of Ace Hardware because they had live music.  They played great music for dancing.  I’m pretty sure you would’ve danced if just one person had been there dancing!  Of course, we had to stop at New Seasons and snack on their samples to be energized for the playground. 
We were in the jungle gym with the two steering wheels.  You loved it when we pretended to be boat captains.  I would say, “Big rock ahead, quick, steer to the left.”  I would steer my wheel and you would copy me in the same direction.  Then you would say, “Tree in the water” and we would each steer to not crash into the imaginary tree.  I think we created lots of obstacles to steer around…and your imagination was completely engaged, which was definitely such a distinctive part of your personality.  I’m pretty sure you got that from both your mommy and daddy.
Watching you break-dance with such free flowing agility and a huge smile on your face was a true highlight I will always remember.  As your dad said, you really had some moves!
Do you remember playing with the glitter playdoh your mom made?  That was so clever for her to put in glitter and add a mint smell to it as well.  We made so many shapes and spaghetti – like playdoh hair that you loved cutting with scissors.  I remember showing you how to put your fingers into the scissors so you could cut better.  You were so proud!
I am so glad you and your daddy could come to Brynn’s wedding.  You sat on the carpet right next to the dance floor at the reception just waiting for the music to start for the dancing.  And you danced so much that your joy made everyone smile!  You added to the celebration.  I remember two lines of people formed so that individual people could dance between them to show their moves.  You hesitated, but I said it was okay to dance your way down through the people who were lined up.  You were so cute as you danced to the middle, then stopped to keep dancing as the most adorable center of attention until someone motioned for you to keep moving to the end of the two lines!  You had so much energy that you stayed up until 10:30 I think. 
The next day, you were not cranky at all.  You were so sweet, playing with Elliott and Porter.  Most of all, the next day you got to play in the kiddie pool with your aunt Christy.  It was a hot day and we spent time at your uncle David and aunt Kinsey’s house.  They even had a bubble-blowing machine making bubbles above you as you played in the pool.  Brynn and her family were so so happy to have you at their wedding!
One of my most hilarious memories was watching you and your daddy dancing to some very fun music, doing all sorts of amazing, random moves!  There was the fort built out of couch pillows, you sitting on the counter in the kitchen helping your mom, me getting to read stories to you before bedtime, sword fights with your sword that made noise, and your daddy entertaining your keen imagination as he demolished the lincoln log tower he had built for your dinosaurs and ponies.  That tower was like a castle.  You watched as your dad used two of your ponies to crash down the tower in slow motion…only because it was there for weeks already and time to take it down to build a different one later!
Another memory…in Cannon Beach…you weren’t ready for a nap and I took you outside to toddle around your neighborhood.  You saw a cricket and were fascinated.  You toddled a few steps and as you got closer to the cricket, you accidentally stepped right on it.  You were so little that you didn’t even realize what you had done.  That little walk was enough to tire you out and you went right to sleep for your nap then. 
When you first arrived at Brynn’s wedding, I loved it when you ran part-way across the grass field and jumped up for a giant hug with me.  Your mommy described you as “magical” and I would say “absolutely magical”!  I’ll always remember how green was your favorite color and when I asked why, you said “because my eyes are green”!
You will always be in my heart, but I have to say that it breaks my heart to be apart from you.  I was looking forward to more adventures and the joys of watching you grow into an amazing young lady.
You know, of course, that you were blessed with two incredible parents…as they were also blessed by you, a lot!  If you could, I’m sure you’d be saying to them, “I love you both so much and I know how very, very much you loved me.  You both were the ‘best ever’ parents.  Ivy doesn’t know yet how lucky she is to have you both…but, she will!”
I miss you sweet Vienne.  I will always miss you…until I see you again in Heaven.  I am having tidal waves of disbelief that you are apart from us and tsunami waves of grief.
                I am so glad you loved Jesus and knew how much He loves you.  I have to hang onto that.  I love you little precious sweet one.
Much Love Always,
Grandma Lynn

{Home Video}: She's got moves

this is one of our all-time favorite videos of Vienne's dance moves.  this girl loved to dance.  our favorite part, of course, is the tribute to Michael Jackson...unbeknownst to her.  if you listen very carefully after we laugh at that move, she says "sorry" in her cute little sheepish way.  such a sweet heart.  i love her so much it hurts.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

{Home Video}: "that was pretty great"

Another favorite video that I play over and over again.  I love her little shake of the head and mild frustration grunt when she misses catching the tube. I love how she says "that was pretty great" when dad threw to her - always the encourager. I love when she notices the camera on her, how she self-consciously pulls her shirt over her undies.  And, of course, I treasure that beautiful smile and giggle when she rushes to the camera.  Good grief, she took my breath away...she still does.

{Home Video}: sweet conversations

i have a ton of videos of my sweet girl that i am going to try to upload regularly.  i need to watch these often so that i can feel close to her.
this video just captured a mellow morning together in her room, while ivy napped.  She was playing dress up, which used to be unusual for my little tomboy, but just recently she was getting into "princessy" things. i can tell she had the sniffles that morning, by her sweet stuffy voice.  my heart leaps to my throat when she comes near the camera.  i want to kiss that sweet face, as i used to every day.  i miss my bestest little friend.  so.  very.  much.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"I like that boy" - {Cute things she said}

I think it was just about a year ago, late last summer/early fall and Kate (my sis) and Jeremy (her husband, aka J) were over for dinner.  Mark and J were brewing beer.  Whenever J was over, Vienne would hang ALL over him.  She loved her Uncle Jeremy.  I just remembered this small darling thing she said that evening...she and I went to the bathroom together, and while in there she was exciteable and gushed "I like that boy".  I replied, trying to compose my giggles:  "you mean, Uncle Jeremy".  "Yeah, I like that boy a lot"...with this huge gushing grin.  Oh.  My.  Word.  She was so cute.

V and J, when she was about 5 mo.

"Beautiful Vienne"

This is the song that was written and recorded for Vienne immediately after she died, by John Bruce.  It was played at her memorial service.
John goes to my parent's church and I know his wife, though had not met him.  It touched us so that he was so affected by her death and therefore moved to write this song.  Thank you dearly, John. 
(I don't know how to upload the song directly to the blog, so here is the link)

Beautiful Vienne, by John Bruce

Monday, September 17, 2012

Memorial Service - 9/9/12

I need to jot down the specifics of all the was done at the service so that I will never forget...never forget the specific details that were planned just for Vienne and all the amazing people who rushed to make it perfect in 2 short days. 
We were told that around 500 people showed up to honor our beautiful daughter's life.  I am astounded by the number.  We tried to tell everyone to wear her favorite colors - blue and green.  I did not notice, of course, but I have heard that the chapel was an ocean of blue and green. 
There is a precious memory of mine that is stemmed from the blue and green hydrangeas that filled the chapel.  The night before Vienne was ripped from my life, she and Mark went on a little walk.  She was dressed all up in her new Cinderella dress and matching plastic click-clack shoes.  Her hair was twisted up in a bun and she was wearing a string of my pearls.  She was soooooooo breathtakingly beautiful.  I stood in the window and just watched her slowly click clack down the sidewalk with Daddy.  She kept pointing up at the sky and I remember that I thought I should take a picture of this.  She was on a hunt to pick flowers for me.  My thoughtful, sweet, loving girl.  When they eventually came back home, she comes in with her excited, yet mischievous grin, holding something behind her back.  She tells me to close my eyes because she has a surprise.  She gently lays a beautiful blue hydrangea in my hands.  She was so excited that she found some flowers that were her favorite color.  She always melted my heart.  Thank you to Brooke for collecting the hundreds of hydrangeas for my sweet sweet girl.

Our talented sister in law, Kinsey, composed the most beautiful video montage of photos and home movies.  Each time we watch it, it brings gut wrenching sobs.  Oh, she was so beautiful and full of joy and life.  Kinsey also designed and printed hundreds of beautiful "programs" for the service.  She worked so hard, nonstop, all weekend long...through her shock and grief.

A day after Vienne's passing, we heard that John Bruce, a man from my mom and stepdad's church, was so moved by her loss that he started to write a song for her.  By saturday, he recorded it so that it could be played at her service.  He would've loved to sing it live, but his emotion was too strong.  Beautiful Vienne - it was played at the service while the picture of her dressed up as a "Princess Fairy Rainbow" was displayed on the screen.  It was perfect.

My stepfather, Tom, read a letter from my Mom.  My sister in law, Kinsey, read my letter through a compassionate mother's tears.  My brother in law, Jeremy, read a letter from my sister, Kate.  And, Mark shared his most lovely and heartfelt words with a strength even I didn't know he had.

Our Pastor Bob Hyatt from our church, The Evergreen Community, delivered an appropriate and powerful homily.

The service was concluded by my sister in law, Becky, singing the lullaby that I sang to Vienne and sing to Ivy now - Tell Me WhyIt was emotional and tender.  Perfect.

Green frosted chocolate cupcakes were made and contributed by many, served with Sleepy Monk coffee.

The line of people that wanted to hug me and share their tears was staggering and overwhelming, to say the least.  But, I really wanted to see who all was there.  Feeling their sympathetic pain, helped me to express my own deep deep sorrow.

One of the worst days of my life.  But I am so overwhelmingly appreciative for the selfless work that was rushed to put this together in such a short amount of time so that all who had flown in could come to the service.  I will be forever grateful. 

{Memories} ~ from Brynn Weagraff Esbenshade

"Out of all the things you could remember about your wedding day, Vienne is a special memory from mine! I was hiding behind some trees waiting to begin the ceremony and Mark and Vienne arrived. I am pretty sure she liked my dress :)smile because she could not stop staring. She was so adorable. She showed me her bracelets, gave me a hug, and told me I was beautiful in her sweet little voice, just that could have made my day. But it was only the begining of such a fun evening.

At the reception she danced the Whole night! I love looking through photos and Vienne is in almost everyone of the dance floor. She is sometimes the center of attention in the photo, but mostly you see her among the "big people" on the dance floor watching and dancing. I am pretty sure that I danced with Vienne more than any other person that night, even more than my new husband! But so worth it as she sparkled with her smile and excitement. Afterwards, I spoke with my family about how she just could not leave the "party" and they all noticed the same thing! She was certainly marveled at that night!

The other memories I love are of the children really wanting the cupcakes! Just standing at the cupcake table staring, I like to imagine what they and Vienne were thinking....

I feel so blessed to have had such a special experience with Vienne on such a big day in my life.

Her sweetness and pure heart make me smile.

Love, Brynn"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Word from Daddy, for Vienne Juliet

*This is what Mark wrote and read at her Memorial Service.  My husband is an amazing man and incredible Father.

For our family, for Jenny and I, heaven was on earth with Vienne.
Precious, caring, loving, fun, joyful, creative, adventurous, beautiful.
Vienne loved games and Her favorites were as simple as playing make believe with her many toy friends. She had dozens and every single one of them had a name. It was sometimes Jenny and I's job to remember the names when even V couldn't keep up with her own creativity; for example there was T-Rex, Alice, Cora, Rainbow Dash, Peritto, and Toronado.  This was her wonderful world and we were all characters in a vast tapestry of adventure and fun. She herself had many roles to play as well.
Most recently, Vienne was (in her words) a "princess fairy rainbow".  She will also be remembered as a soccer-playing pirate with a super kick, dragon tamer, a dinosaur lover, my home-brew bottle capping apprentice, an endearing friend, a playful cousin, an adored niece, a precious grand-daughter, a loving big sister, a most beloved daughter.
Those who spent time with Vienne could agree that we were blessed with a very gentle soul. When other kids might occasionally grab, push or yell, V would often just turn and look at us with confusion and hurt in her eyes. She loved everyone and enjoyed nothing more than making friends, even ones she couldn't see.
Vienne loved Jesus. Stories of him were her favorites, especially where he walked on water. I think he achieved super hero status with that one. Vienne loved Jesus and would sometimes ask me, "dad, when can we go to heaven and play?". She somehow got it in her head that heaven was a big amusement park with lots of rides she was tall enough to go on.
Jesus said in John 14:2 "in my fathers house are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you. But I go to prepare a place for you."
Vienne went to her place too early, too soon. No explanation will ever satisfy our grieving souls for we have lost that which was most precious in all the earth.  We are devastated parents in a wasteland of sorrow, mourning and tears.
But Vienne has a sister, Ivy, who remains a vibrant spark of joy in our shattered lives.  Ivy will most certainly be her own unique and beautiful self, but I do believe that Vienne's zest for life is continued through her sister. Vienne is also survived by all of your memories of her. Please don't hesitate to share these moments with us, with others or with complete strangers.  In just 4 years, I am in awe of how many lives she has touched.  Being reminded of how she shared her joy, love and innocence with you is a help to all who loved her..
The question of the day for V was always, "where are we going today?". She was always anxious for the next adventure. Vienne, today you are where you need to be. I don't understand why my baby and we miss you beyond all thought, feelings and word.  But I want you to know to Have fun my daughter, my beloved, and keep showing everyone your love and unconditional friendship.

{Home Video}: "Sagna" ~ {March 2011}

one day, vienne came home with a new baby. she endearingly named her "sagna" (pronounced 'zanya'). sagna got swaddled in a diaper. sagna was placed in a chair and fed a proper meal from vienne's kitchen. she was sung to and lovingly put to bed. she was a very loved baby.

sagna was a box of lasagna noodles.

not joking.

it started in the new seasons market. mark handed her the box and instructed her to carry it gently, as to not break the noodles. from then on, the box became a baby that vienne took special special almost disconcerting but quite entertaining care of!

of course, we ended up having to return to the store for another expensive box of gluten free lasagna noodles because we just couldn't take her baby from her.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

{Memories} ~ From Kristel & Emily

Dear Vienne,
You were Emily's dearest friend for the time you spent together and she has never had a friendship since then, that was as special.  You were unique.  Everyone says so.  I remember talking with your mama for hours about how you were not normal, in the best way.  You were always so good!  So sweet and so gentle.  I remember when you and Emily would play, Emily always looked like the "wild child" and you would be the more calm one by far.  But she also brought out your silly side and it was so much fun to watch you girls play together.  Your mama was obsessed with you, as I was with Emily.  We would always joke about how it didn't seem like other mom's were as crazy-into their kids like we were. We didn't care.  We both loved to fawn over our girls and talk about how cute they were.  Your mama adored everything about you. 

Every time I was around you, I felt a pull to you.  I always wanted to love on you and shower you with affection and I'm not always like that with other people's children.  But you were special.  You drew people to you with your amazing spirit.  I fully believe you were an angel given to the most special parents. 

You were so adorable on your 3rd birthday, which is the last one Emily and I were there for.  I remember you standing on the table to blow out your candles- you were always so tiny and little and precious.  And that year you got a red tricycle and you were so excited!  Your mom throws the most elegant, beautiful parties and she worked so hard to make everything special for you.  I'll never forget you and Emily playing balloons and laughing that day.

Thank you for letting me love on you for such a short time.  Thank you for being a friend to my Emily.  You brought so much joy to this life and we are all grateful to have known you.

With all my love,

Video made for Vienne's Memorial Service

She was the most beautiful creation.  I cannot believe that she came from me.  If you knew her, you loved her.  Just watching will love her.

Grammy's Letter

Saturday, 9/8/12, 6am                                                                                                                                                                                                             
VN, it’s me, Grammy.
          Can I tell you of your beauty?
I woke this morning with memories of your beauty…
…You and I, in the car last week after we went to the water park and played.  Mommy had to run into the store to get a card for your Daddy – it was last Tuesday, Sept. 4th, their 7th anniversary that day, you know.  I was in the passenger seat and you were in your car seat…Ivy was sleeping in her car seat…remember?  And you and I had to whisper and be so quiet – you were so good at being quiet when you had to – and so respectful of Ivy’s needs.
          I turned and mouthed to you “I love you” and you looked at me quizzically, head tilted.
So I said it real slow and signed it – finger to eye, hand to heart, I pointed at YOU – you, in all your beauty.  And then you did it back to me – mouthed “I love you”, finger to eye, hand to heart, and you pointed at me. 
And you wanted to keep doing it, back and forth, again and again – just like you always wanted to do things again and again that you found joyful and fun.
“Again, Grammy, lets do it again” 
And we did.
And then we drove back to Grammy’s house to spend the day – us 4 girls.  We put Ivy upstairs sleeping, and you and I set up the little red table with 3 chairs so you and mommy and I could eat lunch together. 
And we did.
Then you and I walked down to my neighbor, Sue’s house.  She was having one of her big garage sales and she invited us to come down early and look at the princess costumes. 
                   And we did.
First you tried on an Ariel costume, complete with a mermaid tail.  But it was just a little big. Then you went over and you put your delicate little hand on a light blue sparkly one and said: “I like this one…it’s blue, my favorite.” 
So Grammy got it down and looked and it was your size!  4T and in perfect condition, no rips, no stains.  We put it over your head and you went and looked in the mirror at yourself, this way and that.  Then you came back and asked about shoes.  And Sue found you the perfect little Cinderella shoes with click clack little heels for your perfect blue Cinderella dress.  And Sue let you pick out a blue boa – sparkly and long.  You didn’t want that as a “shawl” – you made it your princess pet, pulling it behind you.  You named it “Blue”.  You always named things, toys, imaginations – you always gave them such crazy fantastic names.  Then we walked back to Grammy’s house  - you - click clacking all the way, Sue - standing back on the sidewalk waving and watching us.  And you were SOOOOOO beautiful.  Truly a princess, inside & out, a daughter of the KING.  I stared at you and caught my breath – you stole my breath away - just like you always do when I behold your beauty.                  You take my breath away every time.
          My enchanting Vienne…I love you so incredibly.  Thank you for breathing your spirit into your sister, Ivy.  When we look at her, we get to see glimpses of you.  I am so grateful for that.  I know you are in Jesus’ arms.  I trust that – & we will be together again soon.  I will write to you of your beauty & our memories & the promise of our pending reunion all of my days.
Love, Grammy

{Memories} ~ From Erin Hofseth

Jenny ~ I love you so much and have been spending so much time these last few days just thinking about sweet Vienne. We came to see you guys just a couple days after she was born, and seriously, I have never, ever seen a more perfect newborn! She was all swaddled up and sleeping peacefully in your candle lit home. It was such a joy to watch her grow up and Asher was so lucky to have her as his first friend. For awhile she was his ONLY friend, because her sweetness to him set such a standard that we didn't like being around other children! She would take his hand and lead him around, "come on Ashy, let's go!" Such a tender heart.

Of course our last time with her was 4th of July weekend. She went hiking in the woods with us on the evening of the 3rd. She wanted to hold Kyle's hand almost the whole way there and through the woods. I looked at him at one point and he smiled with a twinkle in his eye and I thought, "if I were ever to have a daughter, I would wish for one just like Vienne."

She wanted to swing on the rope swing in the woods, Asher was too scared, but not Vienne! She charged down the muddy hill with little sandals on, never looking back and with Adam's help, got up onto that swing and with hair blowing in the breeze swung high into the air with a perfect, exhilarated smile on her face.

On our way home, she picked you wild flowers and kept saying in her soft little voice, "whoa, this is fun!" Asher wanted to show her the view of the ocean from where we were walking and she kept saying, "I don't see the ocean." Asher would say, "right there!" and point in that direction. She finally decided that she saw it, but I think it was only because she sensed how passionate Asher was about her seeing it. "oh, I see it now," she said.

There is so much how she peed in the river on the beach when we were playing with her before you guys left on the 5th. That was the only option, and she didn't care a bit! I told her that I peed in the ocean all the time when I'm surfing.

I loved/love her so much Jenny. A rare and beautiful soul. I will always keep talking about her.

Love Erin

{Memories} ~ From Dave and Marcy Weagraff

A few weeks ago, Dave and I had the privilege of spending a little bit of time with Vienne at Brynn's wedding. It was our first time to meet Vienne and how we enjoyed watching her! She melted my heart (Marcy) when she presented me with a flower she picked at the wedding. Such a pure and innocent gesture of thoughtfulness. Vienne made me smile; I felt so special by her sweet gift!

At the reception Vienne danced and danced and danced! A picture of pure delight and unreserved joy! She seemed to enjoy every minute of the wedding celebration. And Vienne's gentle nature was evident in her interactions with Elliott. She exhibited an unusual degree of patience and kindness toward her little cousin.

On our last day in Seattle - a Sunday afternoon - we went to David and Kinsey's for a cookout. When we arrived at their home, Mark was walking with Vienne; it was her first time riding a "big girl" two-wheeled bike with training wheels. Dave, Lynn, and I walked with Vienne and Mark as she pedaled with such sweet determination - What a precious picture! [Dave: This scene was my most memorable of Vienne - While on the bicycle, pedaling so happily yet in such determined fashion, her adorable little face had all the confident look of, "I'm a BIG girl now!". Priceless! What a treasure to experience such a special moment with her!

You are in our thoughts throughout the day and we continue to lift you up to the Lord.

With much love,
Dave and Marcy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dearest Vienne, Love Mommy ~ {September 6, 2012}

My precious, darling, magical Girl ~

Do you know how much Mommy loves you???? this, you used to answer "SOOOOOOOOO MUCH" with your arms spread as wide as you could.  "Who is my most favorite big girl in the whole world?" - you always always knew the answer to that.  These things I am sure of. 
Oh honey, I love you so much it hurts.  From the moment you were born, I have loved you with such fierce intensity that I could swear I thought my heart might literally burst.  You have been my obsession - healthy or not, I was completely and utterly obsessed with you.  How am I supposed to carry on now?

Baby, I want you to know that I never missed a detail with you.  And, I want the entire world to know who you know with the certainty that we now know, that we had been entrusted with one of God's angels, in you.  You were always soooo extraordinary and beautifully unusual and it never made sense to me until now.  You were unearthly.  Aside from the typical motherly bias, you were unlike ANY child we had ever known.  And, anyone who knew you, knew that was the truth.  Your Aunt Katy said that you set the standard...a standard that was ridiculous and most likely unattainable.  I would look at you and just wonder "where did you come from??  how did she come from me???"  Grammy always said you were enchanting...and that is so appropriate.  You romanced us with your enchantment...always.
It sounds impossible but your innocence was unworldly pure and without blemish.  You never had a mean bone in your body.  I do not exaggerate.  Not once, not ever were you unkind or disrespectful to anyone (aside from your mommy and daddy from time to time...which was a relief and confirmed that you were human!).  Not once did you hit, push, shove, grab a toy away, or say an unkind word.  You found joy in sharing and encouragement.  What child does that??!!  When someone was unkind to you, your response was always sadness and then a resolve to pray for them with the certainty that Jesus would make them nice.  You loved, my Dear One.  You loved like no other.  And, forever, you will be my example of how to love. 

And, how to trust in Jesus.  Your faith was unwavering.  You just knew that Jesus was your friend and that He was always with you and would always be with you when you needed Him.  You would say to me "mama, don't worry, be happy, Jesus will make it better".   You taught me about faith.

And, you taught me how to be a friend.  That was all you ever wanted....friends.  Each and every time we went to the park, that was your make a new friend.  If there weren't kids at the playground, we would leave in search of another where there were children playing.  You would set your eyes on someone (older or younger than you - you didn't care) and you would tell me that you wanted to go say "hi" to them.  And, you would walk right up, ask their names and if they would play with you.  You taught me how to be uninhibited and to set aside my pride.

Sweetheart, have I mentioned the kind of big sister that you were?  It was unreal.  You were every parent's dream.  You loved Ivy with such a selfless and precious love.  Not once, no not ever, were you annoyed, frustrated by, or jealous of her.  When she pulled your hair you would patiently move your head along in the direction of her pulling.  When she grabbed you, you would exclaim "Mama, Ivy is touching me!!"  And, that was all you wanted from Ivy - to touch her and to be touched by her.  When she cried loudly, you would NEVER complain.  When I had to steal away with her to put her to sleep 4 times a day, you were ALWAYS understanding and patient.  When I was holding you, and Ivy would begin to fuss, not once did you protest when I ultimately had to put you down for her.  You broke my heart with your love for her and your patience.  You were a better sister than I have ever been.  You taught me selflessness.

Oh, and your imagination was like no other!  Oh how you would take us on the most magical rides into your world of imagination.  You were so beautiful to watch when you played.  Your imagination knew no bounds.  You had make-believe friends and even toys.  If a real toy was missing from the pile, you could create it in your head and then play with it, never missing the real thing.  And the names that you came up with were genius and fantastical...Thorthura!  And Cortica, and Thixa, Asstag, Cortea, a restaurant named Narballs!  And, when we'd ask you the name of this or that, you would immediately answer with these wild names, right off the top of your head, as if that's just exactly how it always was.  When we walked down the sidewalk, you would rarely just "walk"...but most often, you would gallop and hold pretend reigns. You taught me how to open my eyes.

You amazed me.  Always. ....Vienne, I miss you so much.  There is not one moment I regret with you, and for that I am so happy and proud.  You literally touched every person that you came in contact with. You were my everything.  And, I know you've left a part of your spirit here, in your sister for us.  When I look at her, I see you.  She will be her own, but she will carry you on.  And, I promise to love her just the same. 

There is nothing in this world that I will ever want more than to have you back...but this life is cruel and so I will have to wait.  I will always ache for the day to hold your sweet tiny body again and caress your beautiful hair and kiss every single inch of your face, as I always did every morning.  You have taken a part of my heart with you.  I love you, Baby.   Mama loves you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

favorite words...

as of may 2012, this is my list of favorite words you say:

"fligilator" - refrigerator

"burrrrtiful" - beautiful

"bugger" - booger

"nuddle" - noodle

"donut" - adult

"prefect" - perfect

"slippily" - slippery

each and every morning, you ask "what are we doing today, mama??"

"play with me, play with me" ... which always means, play with T-Rex, Alice, and Tornado.  Play their voices and make adventures.

"throw out a party" - you always wanted to throw your toy friends a bday party or wedding party but you said "throw it out".  oh, you are too much.