Monday, May 26, 2014

Mornings ~ {A guest post by Mark}

*Since I am very obviously not currently interested in blogging these days, Mark saw an opportunity to fill the void and share his heart.  He has been hesitant to do so for some time…but I am so very glad he did.  I love my husband's heart.  And so will you.  (The photos were chosen and added by me)*


I never fully realized what a charmed life I had when Vienne was here, particularly the mornings.  The first two years of V's life I was a realtor in Cannon Beach.  The last two and a half years I was in sales for a heating/cooling company in Portland.  With both, it was rare that I had to be out the door before 8:30.  To some people, that means you get to sleep in until 8, or even 8:15.  But not if Vienne were living in your house.

From the very beginning V was an early riser and though I'm sure it happened I can't remember a day when she slept past 7!  As I recall, she was typically up around 6:30 most mornings.  And because it takes me a whopping 15 minutes to get ready for work, I almost always had an hour or two with her.

In Cannon Beach days, before she turned 2, we (I) would eagerly wait for the clock to strike 7 so I could pack us up and walk down to our favorite bakery Waves of Grain.  Often in misty morning coastal fogs, we'd stroller on down and spend 45 minutes hanging out on their cozy couch.  When she was tiny she'd just sit next to me on this old couch that you'd just sink into, nibbling on snacks and watching people come and go while I read the Gazette.  As she learned to walk she used the walls, chairs, display cases and occasional strangers leg to scale the circumference of the common area.  I always felt like the staff and owners came to look at her as a little mascot.  In fact, as I write this I remember that Waves of Grain Bakery is the first place I took Vienne a couple weeks after she was born.  For those who like details, V's favorite treat at the time was the espresso bran muffin; I would steal the espresso glazed top and she would mine the muffin bottom for all the raisins.  We complimented each other fairly well in this manner.

Waves of Grain has since moved to Portland (yay!) and the space in CB is now called Sea Level Bakery.  Through some odd providence, the new bakery owners are connected by family friends and very familiar with Vienne's story.  When they started remodeling the bakery this Spring they invited us over and asked if we had any ideas or thoughts on how they could honor Vienne's memory at the new bakery.  I mean wow!  Who does that?  I haven't been back yet and haven't asked them what idea they landed on because I envision just walking in one day and smiling at whatever I see.  The new owners are also the people who assisted Jenny's Mom in making her dream of  Vienne's bench plaque a reality.

In good weather we would sometimes take our bakery treats to the beach or just continue walking.  V loved the fresh ocean air.  Whenever the wind wasn't too crazy we'd walk the sand or sit on one of the  old driftwood-made benches at the end of nearly every street in Tolovana Park.  I have some great "selfies" (before they were called that) of V & I one day when there was a negative tide and she was just solid enough to totter around on her own.  We explored tidal pools and she discovered how fun wet sand can be.

Our Beaverton mornings were just as adventurous in their way but I'll save that for another day.

I don't have this freedom of time with Ivy, at least not on the weekdays and I feel guilty for it.  When Vienne passed I swore to myself that work would never trump time with family and I have become a classic hypocrite on this.  I work ten hour days in order to establish myself in a new career in commercial real estate.  I tell myself that in a year or two I'll have a better foundation set where I can blend working from home in the mornings and spend time creating stories with Ivy.  And yet, who knows more than us that we never know what even the next hour will bring?  Jesus spoke of this fruitless future planning and I think of those words often on my way to work.  Are the sacrifices today worth what tomorrow may bring?  Last year I would have unhesitatingly said no.  Take as much as can be gotten out of every day and as much time with those you love as possible.

Yet as time has passed we have new dreams as a family and I have new visions of how I want to grow with Ivy.  Those plans involve professional freedom and so in my subconscious scales I have weighed and determined that not having mornings with Ivy like I had with Vienne is worth the future I may have with Ivy that I'll never have with Vienne.
Right or wrong, I love Ivy with a fierceness that borders on insanity.  Every, and I emphasize every, morning they are heavy steps and an aching heart that have me walking out the door and away for the day.

And, now this is Mark with Ivy.  She has Vienne's smile, as you can see in comparison with the photo above~

Monday, May 19, 2014

Caleb's Dream of Vienne

Caleb told his Mama (Lacey) that he had another dream about Vienne.  If you don't know the history between Caleb and Vienne, read about it here and here.  This is not the first dream he's had about her in Heaven…though, I failed to remember to share the last one I heard.  Maybe Lacey can remind me.

Here is his dream from this past weekend:

Caleb (7 yrs. old) said that he went to Vienne's new house which was like a little castle made of lots of colors and was built of giant blocks.  They played outside on the swings and while they were swinging, Vienne told Caleb that she loved him and she thanked him for being her friend.  She was wearing a beautiful rainbow dress and he said she was happier than he'd ever seen her.  The sun was shining brightly and he said it was his favorite time that he has ever gotten to play with her.


and more *tears*

can't.  stop.  crying.

This one broke my overly hardened and embittered facade today.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vienne's 6th Birthday

Well, exactly one week ago from today, we celebrated Vienne's 6th Birthday.  I just realized today that Vienne was actually born on a Thursday too.  This was the first Thursday since her birth that we celebrated her day.  

As I promised last year, I have chosen to be happy on her Birthday each year.  I kept my promise last week.

This year's celebration was just as great of a turn out as last year's and I am thankful for that.  I am very thankful for all the help we received and for all of the participation and support.  

This year, we chose to celebrate Vienne's birthday at another one of her favorite parks - Barrows Park in Beaverton.  Vienne called this park "Dragon Park" for the concrete dragon sculpture that is there, which she used to ride on ~
{Vienne at age 2 1/2 riding the dragon}

This special park was also chosen because we were gifted with a beautiful bench plaque that we scheduled to have installed on the morning of her Birthday.  The plaque was gifted to us by my Mom and Stepdad along with some dear friends of theirs who have fallen in love with Vienne, Ann and Doug Menke.  Doug works for Tualatin Hills Park and Rec who helped make this happen.  The pictures are below.

We continued the tradition of planting wildflower seeds at the park.  I incorporated a new activity for the children, which will continue as tradition in every year following this one.  I filled a basket with tiny dinosaurs for the kids to hide around the park and leave behind for another child to find.  Each dino had a little tag with a note on it for the child when it was found.  You will also see these below.  

The day was another HOT (90 degrees!!??) sunny day, like last year.  A perfect day for the park.  We invited our close friends and family and people who knew Vienne.  

Here are the photos:

{this is a horrible photo, but this is the little bag of seed bombs that were made for our church family.  My friend, Jessica, helped and organized a seed bomb making party.  We rolled seeds into air-dry clay, mixed with fertilizer.  Jessica took them home and put them in these darling little bags.  She enlisted, Andrea - a graphic designer at our church - for help, who designed the darling cards, which were attached.  If you notice on the card, the T-Rex is holding a blue hydrangea!  And, then a dino was also included in the bag… church family totally rocks.}

{a dino in the bag, with seed bombs and shredded crinkle paper filling}

{the back side of the card.  This bag and card was only handed out to my church.  I made something of my own for our party.  I just wanted to share what was done for us.  We are so thankful for the continued love and support from our church family.}


{Tualatin Hills Park & Rec were also amazing in helping us to celebrate Vienne.  We scheduled the installation of the plaque for her Birthday, so THPRD offered to set up the canopy as well as provide chairs for the party!…and then come and pick it all up when the party was over.}

{And, here is the plaque!!  How freaking amazing is this??!!  The "photo" is actually in color.  I have NEVER seen a plaque like this.  We are so touched and amazed by this incredible gift.  There are no words.  If you live in the Portland area, please go and visit the bench.  Leave Vienne a flower!}

{We suggested that if anyone wanted to bring a gift for Vienne, they could bring her a bouquet of flowers, to set on the bench.  Here is a photo of the beginning of that collection of sweet bouquets, along with Ivy and her sweet cousin, Miriam.}

{We moved the canopy over the picnic table and set up a few things that I had planned for the party.  Here, in front, are remembrance cards, printed on handmade seed paper for the guests to take home and either keep or plant in their yards.  In the basket behind, are the seed bombs…just to grab and toss into the wetlands that line the edge of the park.}

{Seed bombs.  They either looked like poop balls…or chocolate truffles.  Actually, most everyone thought that they were truffles!  Good thing there was a sign. ;)}

{in the basket on the left are the tiny dinosaurs with little tags tied to them.  The dinos were for the kids at our party to hide anywhere at the park and leave behind for another child to find.  On the tags, I printed this little saying that Mark helped to create:  "Hi!  My name is Dino and I like warm hugs!  I was left here for you to find in memory of a little Girl named Vienne who loved dinos and adventures and making friends.  Today, on May 1, Vienne would be 6 - give Dino a hug and send her a sweet wish.  xo"}

{Made two types of cupcakes again - Grain/dairy free and Gluten free.  True to tradition, honoring Vienne's last birthday request, the chocolate cupcakes are decorated with green frosting and purple polka dots.  And I added a few candy dinos here and there.  (Thank you to my Sis, Kate, for making one of the batches xoxo)}

{I was pretty proud about how they turned out}

{the melted gluten free version}

{Vienne's Aunt Kinsey, my dear friend and sis in law, made Vienne this gorgeously creative dino and gnome garden.  UUHHHH-Mazing!}

{check out the little door and the hiding dinos…there are little honey bees and flowers…oh the pics don't do it justice.}

{sisters and cousins}

{it was a great turn out of dear friends and family}

{me with Asher and Elijah - two of Vienne's good friends}

{in a social gathering, you can ALWAYS find Mark playing with the kids.  ALWAYS.  He tends to veer from adult socializing.  He says that kids are way more fun and entertaining.  I love my husband.}

{Ivy Girl}

{look how big she is getting!}

{Cousin Elliott down the slide and Jenna watching on}

{Caleb and Ivy.  Caleb is of one Vienne's best friends and there is a true connection between these two already}

{long time friends - Donny and Mark}

{I love how Ivy loves Uncle Seff (Seth)}

{Cutie girls - Ivy and Sophie}

{Isn't she a beauty??}

{Me with Emily - one of Vienne's old dear friends.  I was so so touched that Emily could come.  She gave me some of the sweetest hugs.}

{Our dear friends, the Atienzas.  So glad they were here this year!  Last year, they were in Hawaii and missed the park celebration.  Love you guys.}

{Ivy loves her Auntie Eileen}


**Now, here are some photos that were submitted to me to share.  Photos of seed plantings for Vienne.**

*The Hernandez Boys*


*The Daggett Family**


*The Kerns Family*


*The Goetze Family*


*The Villalobos Family - another grieving family with a new angel in Heaven * 


*The Miller Family*


*Laura Green*


*The Browns & The Stricklands*


*The Partridge House Preschool!*


*Pam & Ryan!*


*Maddy Pierson*


*David Piscitelli*
 {Mark's brother, who couldn't make it down for the day so he visited the duck pond where he had taken Vienne and Elliott, one time, to feed the ducks.  Revisiting an sweet old memory on her Birthday.}


*Brittani Morton, Brittany Hill, Erin Cowen, & Cassie Boyd*
{A group of Vienne's friends and their mommies gathered at a nearby park and celebrated Vienne's birthday together.  They released balloons and shared cupcakes.  So sweet to my heart.}