Friday, April 22, 2011

Minnesota 'Easter Egg Hunt'

The Friday before Easter, I took the kids to the Lowry Nature Center for their 'hunt'. It was the first time we went and had a blast. I did roll my eyes at their flyer which said "A festive rabbit character will be available for photos". (Let's just say my political correctness gag reflex was in full swing) We were sent on a hunt for colored rocks, since the wildlife may want to eat the eggs. We set off on our hike, looking for markers along the way. Once a marker was found, we knew to look for a small rope within 30ft diameter of the marker, at the end of the rope was a bag with the rocks in them. Each child took one rock then off to find the next. Along the same trail Katryn had a map and clues to find the answers to a secret message. This was the 'challenge' hunt for those who wanted add to the task. Most of the bags were really well hidden in decaying tree stumps and the clues provided quite a challenge! We saw lots of fun trees, rocks, & wildlife on our hike. Upon our return with our treasure, we turned them in for a fun treat. There were lots of fun activities to do as well inside their visitor's center. We took a picture with the aforementioned rabbit character, colored a wooden egg, help bunnies, met a one eyed rehabbed owl, face painted, caught guppies and had an all around great time! This may become a new family tradition. :-)

Easter Bunny ( aka, Festive Rabbit Character) with the Kids

One of the hiding spots

Some of our favorite fungi

An accidental treasure

Guppy fishing

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Darling Decade

Katryn, Mia, Anna, Mary Grace after finishing their karaoke concert

Katryn turned 10. I am still in denial. Where has the time gone? Katryn participated in the Chaska Valley Family Theatre Company's production of Cinderella last month and on her actual birthday had 'tech rehearsal' so we just had her 'party' last week. :-)

Katryn wanted to keep it small and just hang out with her best friends in her class. So Mia, Anna, and Mary Grace joined us for the fun. They painted nails, watched Jumanji, made friendship bracelets, made duct tape wallets, did karaoke, and ate cake & ice cream. (Part of Katryn's present was Dad took the siblings out during the party and came back in time for dessert)

The Fab Four finishing their fancy fingernails

Katryn chose 'Diva' sunglasses for everyone. These are hers.

The spa/craft table is set

Katryn making a bracelet

B F F Bracelets.
They each drew a name out of a bag, then made a bracelet for that person. The beads say B F F.

Switched it up and had cupcake cones.

Andes Mint Chocolate Cinder Cake (Ice Cream Cake)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Can you do sit ups like this?

Mackenzie volunteered to show us all how to do proper sit ups, with your 'sitting parts'... Still smiling.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Time Passing

Eight years ago today, on a day very similar to this cold, wet, spring day, I was in a hospital room awaiting the birth of our son, Ian. He was born early at 32 weeks.

We had excitedly gone to my ultrasound in January to find out if we were having a boy (I knew we were) or a girl. We found out almost immediately, we were having a son! Then the ultrasound tech grew uncomfortably quiet. Almost two year old Katryn, somehow knowingly, hopped down from Eric's lap and held my hand. Eric and I just looked at each other. A doctor came in, looked closely at the ultrasound and explained to us that our sweet baby that was happily kicking in my womb, had Holoprosencephaly (HPE). After much explanation, we were told, he likely would not live much longer. To say my world just stopped, would be an understatement.

Over the next few weeks, Eric and I became literal experts on HPE and quite frankly could have given a medical school discourse on the subject. Acquiring the knowledge only reaffirmed what we had been told. Our time was, in all likelihood, short with Ian.

The previous few days in that April of 2003, I had been full of inexplicable anxiety and a strong desire for more family to be with us, so I asked my mom if she could come out to visit. Her work told her if she took her vacation then, she would not be allowed time when our baby was due to be born. We asked my mother-in-law. She was told the same thing. My dad was working and it would be very difficult for him to get someone to cover his shifts. My father-in-law agreed to come the next day (the 15th). I was feeling a bit foolish about my anxiety and strong desire to have someone else out to help, but he was happy to come. Two hours after his arrival, my water broke. We left Katryn with a bewildered Papa and left to the hospital. :-)

My wonderful doctor, Ranjan Dasgupta, had asked a particularly special nurse to assist us, Ruth Micari. Both Eric and I commented how much Ruth reminded us of his mom, both in looks and demeanor. Such a blessing. Unbeknownst to us at the time and we didn't find out until many months later, the previous year, Ruth had been in labor at the same hospital and had birthed and lost a son, Michael. She was a literal Godsend. All the right words.

I went into labor around 5 pm and sweet Ian Bradford was born after a tightly wrapped cord scare, at 5:40pm, 3lbs 5oz, and 17 inches. Eric and I were blessed to spend the next two hours, holding him and singing to him. Two hours. Too short of course but a precious and literal miracle to be sure.

Although eight years have passed, Ian is in my daily thoughts. I am so grateful to God that Eric and I shared those fleeting moments of Ian's life and that because of His Son's sacrifice and resurrection, our family will be together again someday. I'm forever changed.

A couple of months after Ian's birth, while riding the train alone, this poem and many tears literally poured out of me in just a few minutes.