Joel Lives
Our son lives in heaven, we live on earth. The story of how we met, our separation, and the path to our reunion.
Joel Lives

Like the Jeffersons

Finally.
Finally I have taken the necessary steps to renovate this blog into a much more workable format. Thanks to help from some brilliant and generous friends, the new blog is nearly complete and ready to go live.It is rather simple and plain for now, but as time goes on I will have the ability to customize and tweak things far beyond what is possible currently.Additionally, the behind the scenes workings are superior in countless ways that will make blogging both easier and more fun.
One of the best parts of this transition ... << MORE >>

Unsaid

I keep thinking I have something to write and then it's awful. So I delete it, or change it completely and it sits there like a pile of some rancid tapioca smelling awful and looking disgusting.
Or I write and write and write and publish never comes. There is so much I have never said on this blog or in public and perhaps some of it belongs in the world but so much just feels private, personal. I wrote a great big long post explaining Joel's brain injury, what I know now of how it happened ... << MORE >>

Two

Sweet Baby Joel,

There are so many things I want to tell you, today and every day. But today is your second birthday and it is so hard to find the words because you won't turn two - you'll never be more than five days old. And that, my baby, is probably the hardest thing. I watch time go by and people change and your brother and sister just keep growing but you are stuck in those five days. Never will you change or grow or be the source of countless new discoveries the ...

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What Matters

Joel's birthday is next week.
I don"t know what that means. I don't know what it is like to have an almost 2 year old. I don't know what it is like to have a single child at home. I don't know what it is like to have a toddler and twin infants.
Van and Maggie are thriving. They are growing and giggling and milestoning away. They are him and they are me and they are Leo and they are my grandmother I never met and their grandpa Jimmy and Dutch and ... << MORE >>

Wonder Woman

I have superpowers.
Yes, more than one.
But I'd like to demonstrate one for you right now.
I can *magically* make all of you say the same thing at once.
Ready?
I am exhausted from lack of sleep.
~and the people said~
WELL DUH.
See? You all said it.
Here's the rub, the babies, for the most part, sleep very well. I, for the most part, do not.
SO. DUMB.
I ... << MORE >>

If You Feed Them They Will Grow

Van and Maggie...I don't know where to start.
Sometimes these early pictures are hard to look at because they were just so little.
For as much as I joke about bricks on their heads, I am eternally grateful they are growing quickly. It's hard to feel like a good mom when your babies are skinny. And they were skinny.
These hospital bands on their ankles barely fit around my thumb.




So they ate and they slept and they ate and they slept. (usually together which was too precious for words)



Sometimes they cried. Sometimes they had dirty diapers. (ok, all the time, but they're still adorable)
The oufits they are wearing here are preemie size. Mah teeny tiny behbehs are supah cute.



And then they began to grow. Faster and faster and they changed overnight and it hasn't stopped since.



I've been so busy being their mom I haven't edited a single photo. I'm lucky if I remember to take them. So the background on some pictures is super interesting. (Hi Jackie!)
But some outfits are too important not to document, we made sure we captured those.



At some point Maggie's cheeks started to take on a life of their own. I love them. 
We also observed Van's hair was made to faux hawk. I call it a Van hawk. So should you.





We still make them hang out; I don't think they mind. They could probably be cuter, I'm just not sure how.




Sometimes I actually catch a picture I like. Or in this case love.

  

Eventually I'm going to be coordinated enough to catch their unbelievable grins. More often I only remember the camera during moments like these. I guess that will have to do for now.  




Follow My Nose

I'm just showing up BECAUSE I CAN.
I love that.

I just ate a bowl of Fruit Loops as a bedtime snack and can't get the sound of Leo's voice out of my head.
I like it when that is the track on repeat.

As opposed to some lame commercial song.
Like "I've got a brand new pair of rollerskates..."
...but that commercial makes me laugh every ...
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A Trail of Breadcrumbs

...No amount of coffee, no amount of crying,
no amount of whiskey, no amount of wine
No no no no no
Nothing else will do,
I've gotta have you....*

They're peacefully asleep, and not for the first time I'm certain they'll stay that way until some hour most consider morning. I've been waking so long at 4am my body faithfully rises at that hour no matter the state of the two asleep at the foot of ...
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When You're Having Fun

You are the most generous, caring, PATIENT people I know.
I can't believe you're still here.

A MONTH.

WHERE did it go?

Well, around here it has been beautiful, chaotic, sleep deprived, stunning, scary, elated, sad, overwhelming, blissful, random, nothing and everything like we thought it would be. {I have 73 more adjectives for you but I kind of figured I might be testing your patience already.}

We brought two babies home. Two babies who were born just a bit before we expected, but who needed no medical support whatsoever. Two babies who were so healthy we jumped the hospital after just two and a half days. Two babies who look everything and nothing like we expected. Two babies who LIVED.

Who LIVE.

We said goodbye to the Daddy after the most amazing two weeks. I don't know how to put into words what it is like watching someone you love rise up and be everything you ever imagined they could be. Watching them fill a role too big for anyone, and somehow doing it better than fiction. Watching them love in a way that brings tears in an instant. He is remarkable, and now he is busy being remarkable somewhere else. Being someone else. But we know he has the heart of a Daddy, and I can easily say those were the best two weeks of my life. At one point I looked over at him, our giant bed divided by a bouncy seat and a co-sleeper, filled by slumbering bundled infants and we both looked over at Joel's picture and while the tears poured down my face I simply said, "I'm just SO HAPPY." Our family was all there and it was wonderful.

And 
Beth  came. And she did things like this:

                

and this:



Yes, Van is blonde. Very.
And yes, Maggie is dark. Very.
It's awesome.

Oh and this:


Oh. My. Heart.
If you are or can be near Northwest Indiana go hire
her . Because duh.

And now we are adjusting to life past the first two weeks. When our little ones shifted and changed and had a rough week (Oh, week THREE, you are on my list!) and now are maybe pulling past and finding a new normal once again. Life without the Daddy but with blessed loving support from family and hopefully when good nights follow the bad. It's twice as hard to get a good night when you have two babies, they take turns with the tough times which is simultaneously great and awful. When Van sleeps for 5 hours, Maggie has awful gas pain. When she dozes for a steady four, he can't stop spitting up. And yes, I am exclusively breastfeeding both of them. Just like every other mom I know, there is a story there too, and of course the challenges were nothing like what I thought and it has been a thousand times harder than I expected but my babies are worth every painful and difficult moment.

I truly hope we are emerging from the newborn fog and I can return to this space. I have SO MUCH to say and it is physically painful to stifle. Plus I want to share a gozillion pictures so you can all tell me how cute our kids are. Right? RIGHT??? And I think the world needs to know that Van is laid back and easy going, and he always lets an arm hang off of whatever, and that I call Maggie small and mighty with her bright, bright eyes and inquisitive nature. You need to know that she has a left  dimple and that Van is cold if the temperature falls below eighty. True story.

I hope. I hope. I hope. Surprisingly one of the most difficult things for me has been the fact that the chaos has reigned for so long. I did not expect to be consumed for this long and I have mentally struggled to cope with just surviving day in and day out for nearly a month. I stole these few moments today, and I have faith there are more to follow. But for now, I know that one little bum needs a clean diaper and I bet the other is shortly to follow. Duty calls. (Get it? DUTY? Hee.)

Oh,and they often get hiccups at the same time. Like right now.

So much love to you all,

SJ

To Hold a Rainbow

They're here. We can't believe it, but they are here.

Joel"s brother and sister are really here.

It feels like if we look at them too hard, they'll disappear. But we keep doing it anyway.





                        Van                                                                                             Maggie
 
                    Gideon Van                                                                             Margaret ... << MORE >>