Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homeschooling and more

I adore homeschooling.  I really do.  I love being with my kids and living life with them.  I love the planning and paperwork.  Yes, we have hard days, but when you've lived through the loss of a child, "hard days" has a new meaning and a new context.  Anyway, I wanted to have a place to talk about and discuss and process and store my homeschooling plans and ideas.  Mostly I want this place for my own sanity.  When you are schooling 6 kids from high school down to preschool, and you have an infant, life gets a little chaotic.  I don't love chaos.  This will be a place I can logically sort through my own ideas.  But maybe others can gain something from my experience, trials, failures, and success.  And this place doesn't feel like the right place for that.  So I am starting another blog.  If you are  a homeschooler, follow me at myfavoritehomeschoolplans.blogspot.com.  If you have questions about homeschooling, post to them there and I will try to answer if I can or I will point you in the right directions with resources. 

We are doing a lot of changes in our homeschool world this year.  I am entering a phase in homeschooling that just feels too similar to our last year with Abigail.  A 1 year old at home, teaching a child to read, doing the ancient world and biology.  I had to change things up for my own sanity.  I have found some awesome new curriculum and researched a ton more. 

I have some posts in the works for this blog as well.  Updates on the kids.  Updates on grief at 3 years out.  Our struggles that are constant, some that are new, and some things that are easier than they were.  I have had many hard days this summer aching for my little bit.  It amazes me at times how that darkness can just sneak up on me and then body slam me when I least expect it.  The quiet pain is constant, but that overwhelming crushing weight seems to sit behind me just waiting till I'm off my guard.  In 3 years, I have learned how to avoid certain triggers, how to be intentional in grieving to give myself focus and at least the appearance of sanity, but grief is a nasty monster and he takes over when you least expect it.

Anyway, follow my other blog if you are interested.  If you know someone that has lost a child, please feel free to share this blog or email me directly.  I am honored to talk to anyone who needs support walking through the darkness of child loss. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dear Abigail on your 5th birthday

Little Bit,

You would be 5 years old now.  I can't even wrap my brain around that.  I don't know how tall you would be or how long your hair would be.  I don't know how you would talk or what would make you smile.  I struggled even trying to make you a cake this year because I don't know what flavor you would choose or what your favorite color would be.  I made you pink brownies.  I imagine you would still love chocolate. 

I am struck this year on how much the world is missing out on not having you in it.  Your fire and passion would have made an impact.  In just 2 short years, you made such an impression on those you met.  Your dimples and your grin stuck in people's minds.  You weren't just one of the crowd.  You, my little one, were special. 

And you still are.  There is a huge, aching, gaping hole that you left. 

We still talk about you every single day.  You are always apart of our stories and our memories.  And the honest truth is I still fight the thought that you aren't here.  You SHOULD be.  You should be mothering Eli like I knew you would, and getting into Anna Faith's things, and yelling at Samuel for whatever was currently upsetting you.  You should be making me pull my hair out and grin at the same time.  You should be wrapping your daddy around your little finger and getting whatever you wanted with your spunkiness and persistence.  And you most definitely should be fighting and playing and loving Gracie and Malachi, and your new baby sister Mila.  It hurts so much that you aren't doing these things.

I know you will always be a part of us.  We will never forget you.  We will see you again.  But we want you here now.  And we always will.  Today I'm just frustrated.  And hurting.  But I'm determined to tell your story.  And remember you.  And to live my life with the same passion you lived yours.  You are my inspiration baby girl. 

I treasure each tiny memory of you.  I go over them in my head frequently--the images, thoughts, emotions, smiles.  I physically ache to hold you and smell you and kiss your little head, even after 3 long years.

I will continue to fight your fight baby girl.  I will fight for other children at risk--orphans fighting for survival, children in danger by vehicles.  You drive me to fight for them.  I have courage because you taught me how.

I love you my little bit.  Happy 5th birthday!

So I haven't been great about blogging the past year...

Dear long neglected blog,

I wanted to do a quick catch up on some of the things we have been busy with over the last year.  First in August, we welcomed Mila Love, and she has been pure joy for us.


Nathan worked on his eagle scout project.  We are so proud of his strength and bravery.  He honored his sister and tried to save other children at the same time.  Here is an article on his work.

Nathan's Eagle Scout project-in memory of Abigail

And Michael, Mila, and I travelled to DC to urge our government to issue a rear visibility standard.  The legislation requiring a new standard was signed by the president on 2008.  It passed unanimously with 80 co sponsors and bipartisan support.  The new standard was due out in 2011.  It is 2013 and this is unacceptable.  We bought plane tickets and joined a group of parents in DC on April 11, the 3rd anniversary of losing Abigail.  We interviewed with CNN, spoke to USA Today, participated in a press conference, and met with our senators and representative in their office.  We hope they do the right thing.  Keeping our children in danger because of bureaucracy is simply unacceptable.  With 50 kids hit each week, and 70,000 backover accidents having occurred since this bill was signed, we must do something now.  Blind zones of up to 50 feet behind vehicles is more than dangerous for all of us, but especially the elderly, the disabled, and children.  We must protect them, and ourselves.  We are at risk of causing one of these accidents every time we are behind the wheel because we simply can not see.  The cost of cameras is minimal.  It adds less than $100 to the cost of a new car.  We have done so much to protect passengers inside vehicles.  It is not time to protect those outside the vehicles.  We strongly encourage anyone reading this to contact your members of Congress in Washington today to urge them to make sure this rule comes out immediately and that it is effective in such a way to prevent these accidents.  34% of preventable fatalities in children are caused by backovers.  It is too late for Abigail, but many other lives will be saved because of this standard and rear view cameras on all vehicles.  Here is our interview at CNN and the article at USA Today. 

CNN interview

USA Today article