This will take a while

It has been quite a while since I last posted. I'm almost afraid I may get kicked out of blogland! Almost 7 weeks....yikes!

My excuses are as follows:
1. I'm trying to spend more time with Richard in the evenings, instead of buried in my computer leaving me much less time to blog or keep up to date with my blogging buddies.

2. We've been super busy lately...even went on vacation for 2 weeks and did NOT have internet!!!

3. It takes me forever to get my photos uploaded and I knew I could not do an update without photos...I'm kind of slack when it comes to getting photos from my camera to the computer...and forget about actually printing them. I'm not even sure anyone in my family has the girls' 8 month and 1 year portraits!

So...excuses aside, here's what's been going on. We did take a wonderful vacation, thanks to a dear, dear friend who let us use their fabulous beach house. It was perfect, right on the beach, with a pool, and plenty of room for our family members to come and join us. Avery and Lily thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The first day we walked out to the beach, I put Lily down, she headed straight for the water...as soon as the waves hit her toes, she sat down and was literally as happy as a clam. She'd get up, walk around a bit, wave at the people walking or biking by, then walk back to the water and sit for a minute. I think she could have done this all day long if we had let her. Avery took a bit more coaxing to even touch the sand, much less the water. In fact, she would hike her legs up so high to avoid touching the ground if we were trying to sit her in the water or on the beach. She preferred to stay on the blanket or in the pool. We did get her distracted a couple of times by looking for shells and the last day we were there we had these great tidal pools that offered her a way to enjoy the beach without too much fuss.

My mom and sister joined us for a few days and then Richard's parents, sister, and our neice and nephews came for a few days. It was so great for my sister, and Richard's sister to get a chance to really spend time with the girls...my sister lives across the country and Richard's sister and her kids live about an hour and half away, and have very busy schedules between school, dance, hockey, etc so our visits with them are usually limited to a few hours. I loved seeing the girls interact with their cousins and their cousins are always so sweet to them. We really couldn't have asked for a better vacation.

Of course, like all things, it was bittersweet. Zoe wasn't there. We brought her ashes with us and one night Richard and I walked out into the water together and sprinkled a bit of her into the ocean. We wanted to think of her as being free to roam about in the water and go wherever she wants to go...and also to be somewhere that had significance for us, our first family vacation. It seemed for me that as the trip went on, I missed her more and more. I suppose the first few days, it was a new place, kind of a new routine...but we spent two weeks there so of course it all comes back, you never escape pain or grief...it follows you. I would replay each day in my head as if she were there, just imagining what she might have thought of the sand and the water...would she squeal with glee like Lily or prefer to be a sunbathing beauty like Avery? I don't ever picture her without her oxygen, and both Richard and I talked about how we could just see ourselves on the beach with her, O2 tank and all...just having a fun time. I still miss her so much, it hurts a lot still.

It's been 5 months almost and I still can't believe it some days and I do think sometimes that there must be some way I can get her back...some day someone will invent a time machine and I can go back, change everything I wish I could change, and maybe she'd still be here. I'm still battling guilt, but my meds have finally gotten worked out and I do feel more like myself. I still cry every day but I don't feel quite so crippled by my grief and depression, I can function, I want to do things, I enjoy doing things. Although my psychiatrist says I'm displacing my grief and self-medicating through some impulsive behavior I've exhibited. I know this is true, but I do feel as if I've taken a few steps forward at least...or maybe one step forwards and another sideways...but I don't feel like I'm going backwards. I can see how easy it is to become obsessive about things or for people to easily fall into addiction when you're experiencing such intense pain and grief, luckily I have an incredible husband that refused to give up on me...I can see I was headed down a very scary path and had he not been as persistant as he was when I needed him to be, I wouldn't be here right now. We're trying really hard to keep things together, it is tough. Any kind of traumatic event is hard on a marriage, and we've been through several in the last 19+ months...we've been in survival mode for so long, we've got to find our way back to being married as opposed to simply coexisting. Again, I thank God every day for Richard, I thank Him for the incredible father that he is, for being my one true best friend on this planet, for his compassion, for refusing to give up on me and on us, when it would have been so much easier to do just that. We've got a tough road ahead, I know this, but he keeps reminding me in his simple, loving ways and in the way he talks and listens, that we are in this together, he's not going anywhere and neither am I and we have the same common goal...to honor Zoe's life and to raise our beautiful, incredible little girls we have on Earth.

Now...speaking of those other two little girls, they are walking and talking constantly. Avery is a little mimic and a parrot, she and Lily both know just about every body part there is (including their tushies, Avery will grab Lily's when they're in the tub), they know and can identify just about any animal we put in front of them, and Avery can even count to two! Or at least she understands the concept of having two things. They will say "mo-mo...whoa, whoa" which means sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Avery has developed quite the Southern accent, I am proud to say, I'm not even sure how to spell this phonetically...but my dad and stepmom made up this song about a whiporwill...so when Avery wants me to sing it she'll look at me and go "weep-o-weeeell" (must be spoken with a drawn out, southern accent) she and Lily both say "bye-bye" with a sweet little accent too. Some other cute things they say:

noonles = noodles
papa = paci
gampa = grandpa
abba = Abby (our pug)
mac = can refer to just about any pasta product
shabba = shovel
hewo = hello (said to anything slightly resembling a phone such as a remote, a shoe horn, a calculator and whenever the phone rings)

when asked to "shake your money maker" Lily will break out in dance and shake her tushie
when asked to sing a song they both get these sweet, soft, high voices and go "la,la,la,ya,ya"
when asked what the baby said at the doctor's office, Avery will tell you, in an almost mocking tone with a mocking little look on her face, although no ill-will is meant "waaa, waaa"
while feeding Avery a chicken nugget, I asked her "do you want more chicken?" to which she answered "bock, bock" I took that as a yes!

hayu = hair
habuger = hey big girl
emo = Elmo
toosh = tush
oli-oli = ravioli
an no-no = Aunt Nomi
an def = Aunt Steph
oogle = Uncle Tony

They both love Jack Johnson, Tom Petty, Shakira, and the Gipsy Kings and they love to dance after dinner or really any time of day, they seem to find music and rhythm in just about anything...even my squeeky dryer, Lily will hear it and start her little rump shaking. They were given little flutes (more like a recorder you probably had to play in elementary school) by our speech therapist and they play those things all the time. They just love to make music, I've got to find some kind of Kindermusik class or something for them to express themselves musically. We've started to draw but only with a magna doddle or aqua doodle...no mess, no clean up, they can suck on the pen and not get poisoned and they can't ruin the furniture. I brought out the jumbo crayons and they went straight in their mouths, even when I showed them what to do with them, they didn't care, they just turned around, stuck it in their mouths, and tried to walk away...we'll try again in a few weeks. Oh...big accomplishment, no more bottles and down to one nap with no need for rocking to sleep!! Yippeee!!!! I'm sure more stuff will come to me later and I'll update again as far as the cute, cute things they do all day long.

Let's see...what else...oh yeah, Father's Day. I was in Oregon for my sister's graduation so I took the red eye back so I'd be home Sunday morning. The girls gave him a t-shirt that had a silkscreened name tag sticker on it that said "Hi, my name is DaDa" and I gave him a personalized stepping stone that reads "Grown with love, then has three little girls (one with angel wings) and below the little girls their names, it turned out beautifully. Richard has planted an incredible vegetable garden for us, I swear our corn is 9 feet tall! Anyway, I got the stepping stone with the intention for him to place it somewhere in the garden. And speaking of gardens, I planted Zoe's morning glories some time ago and the vines are really growing. We're trying to get them to grow up the side of our house, no blossoms yet, I'm not sure when they're supposed to bloom. I'm just glad they're growing. My dear friend Alice gave me a rose bush which I've planted near the morning glories, so we're kind of starting our memorial garden for Zoe which makes me happy.

My sister did graduate from her photography program (go Nomi!) which is very exciting. She is incredibly talented (check our her blog and her website) and wants to do editorial photography. She is currently interning with a woman who is doing photography for some books about wine in Oregon and she's also got an opportunity to be the second shooter at an LPGA tournament in August. So, very cool stuff going on for her. She's planning a visit some time this fall so if anyone is local and wants portraits done, she will be available for hire. I'll post that later though.

And...while I was in Oregon I got a tattoo. (thus my impulsive behavior) It's not little either and it's not hidden. I originally wanted a small rose with angel wings on the inside of my left wrist, I wanted something permanently on me that would constantly remind me of Zoe. I have two necklaces that I often wear together, one is a locket with Zoe's picture inside and the other is a collection of Me & Ro charms. One of the charms has the symbol for courage, which Richard gave me when we first knew we were having triplets. The second symbol is for joy, which was Zoe's first Christmas present when she was just 5 days old. I also have a charm given to me by a friend that is a simple circle with the word hope repeated around the circle. Courage, joy, hope...my mantra. Anyway, these are things that come off, that do come off almost every day and I need to feel as if Zoe is still a part of me, permanently and physically attached, so I thought a tattoo, something simple, delicate to represent her would be nice. But as I thought about it I realized I couldn't just represent Zoe. The three girls are a unit and they will always be a unit so the idea evolved. When I went in to the tattoo studio I said I wanted a flower to represent each girl on the inside of my wrist...a rose for Zoe, a lily for Lily, and an elfin orchid for Avery (her name means ruler of the elves). The woman who owned the studio informed me that I would not be able to get what I wanted in a small area. For it to not look cartoony and to be graceful and fluid, it needed detail and detail needs space. So, the idea grew. I went the next day to meet the guy that was going to do it and to check out the drawing and it was so beautiful, it was absolutely perfect. I decided to put it on my upper left arm...a place where I would see it constantly but could also be covered up if I ever needed it to be for professional reasons. It took about an hour and a half and Jesse at Adorn Body Art couldn't have been nicer, he kept telling me how honored he was to be doing this for me. It hurt...but I think I also needed for it to hurt. You see, the pain I feel for losing Zoe, is very empty, it's very dull...it's kind of hard to explain...but it just isn't tangible and yet it's there but can't be outwardly felt. So I think I needed this pain of doing the tattoo to feel some tangible sense of pain. It was actually very therapeutic and I love it. I want to add to it...but I'll wait. I did do something kind of bad though...I didn't tell Richard until I got home...needless to say he was none too pleased. I now realize it was selfish and childish of me not to tell him what I wanted to do and I have no other excuse. But if he wants to get one, I'll get another one :) What's really funny is that no one who sees me thinks it's real. They think it's some sort of fake tatto or decal, I guess because it's a bit "out of character" for me. But I don't care. Avery seems to like it too...she will point at each flower and I'll tell her which flower stands for which one of them and she'll just keep pointing to each one over and over. Lily has even tried to "sniff" the flowers, which was cute.

So other than that we've had some playdates, we've been to another petting zoo, we went to the aquarium with the Guinn Triplets , we had our preemie reunion at the hospital the girls were born at (Jill, please email me your pics so I can add them to my slideshow), we go to OT once per week, and swimming twice per week, and I'm working twice a week for a friend of mine which is going well. I've got two slideshows that I've posted, one that is just of our beach trip and the other is of all the other fun stuff we've done so far this summer, scroll to the very bottom of the page to view them. With RSV season once again knocking at the door in a couple of months, I'm trying to take every opportunity to get out of the house with the girls and they really seem to enjoy the outings.

I do have a couple of prayer requests for those of you that are willing. The first is for a fellow triplet mom blogger (Four Silly Sisters) and her family...her husband will be deployed to Iraq in August for a year leaving her with her four little girls. Please keep them in your hearts and in your prayers as they face this year without their Daddy. I also have a friend who will be undergoing surgery shortly to remove a mass in his lung...it's been biopsied, it's not cancer, but they don't know what it is and it is causing him quite a bit of pain. He has a young family and we are all concerned for them. And finally, I have a dear friend who is on the verge of adopting a baby boy from Vietnam, they are awaiting their final phone call which could come any day or could come in a few months...at any rate, this is very exciting so please pray for them and for that little boy who will soon have a wonderful, warm, loving home.

And finally...I have to give a big thank you to Stef who provided me with beautiful photo canvases of Avery and Lily. She did one of Zoe for me shortly after her death and I needed to have all three girls displayed together so she graciously took on the task despite her very busy schedule. Thank you so much Stef, I love seeing my three girls...together, in one place again. It makes me cry tears of joy each day I see them together.

So I'll try not to wait quite so long before I post again...thanks to all of you for not giving up on me either. Make sure to scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN towards the bottom of the page (past the old posts) to get to the slideshows. I just added on with pictures of Zoe that I had stored on my camera phone. I used to take pictures of the girls during our days and text them to Richard when he was at work to give him a boost if he needed it. It's taken me this long to figure out how to get them from my old phone to my computer.


Jill said...

I enjoyed seeing you at the NICU reunion! Avery and Lily are beautiful girls. Please send me your email address to jill_skurtovich@comcast.net and I will send you the photos.

Anonymous said...

It was so good to see a post from you. I check often and think about you daily. I am glad the girls are doing so well. My kidos are pretty close to your ages and as I read your post I see our day in my head.

Continuing to pray for you

MaryBeth said...

Thank you so much for your prayers. We can't wait to meet you and your sweet little gals for a playdate later this month!!

Karen said...

I'm so glad that you posted. I think of you every day.

Kate said...

I like the tattoo. It's beautiful. I'm going to get one, too, to represent my angels, but like you need to include my other munchkins. I'm not sure I agree that is was selfish or impulsive, only necessary. I'm glad to see you are doing better--I think about you often and know your journey too well. The girls are BEAUTIFUL and happy. You're doing a wonderful job with them.

Denise Wheeler said...

I am so glad to hear that things are going better for you. I think about you everyday. It is nice to hear that Avery and Lily are doing so well. They sound like they are an absolute hoot. It was good to see a post from you again.

Misty said...

I'm so glad you posted and to hear that you and your family are doing better. I'm really glad to hear that ya'lls vacation went well. I must missed your picture slide show, but I would LOVE to see your tattoo. I keep thinking of getting one!

Anonymous said...

The beach pictures are just lovely! It is so much fun to "hear" about the girls' southern accents--what impressive vocabularies for their age!



All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31