Friday, January 21, 2011

Boxed Memories

The other night I felt this intense sadness for Preslie. I remembered my Mom saying to me after she died that when I am deeply sad and missing Preslie, she is missing me too. I really felt that way the other night, that she was really missing me at that same moment.

I decided to pull out her memory box that the hospital gave us. I have not opened it since Arista has been born, and I didn't realize the emotions I would feel when I looked into the sacred box. As I pulled out each item I reflected back on the short moments I had with Preslie after she was born. I felt such guilt and regret. "Why didn't I hold her tighter? Why didn't I kiss her more? Why was I scared to hold my own daughter?" I kept thinking the recurring "If onlys". My heart ached to hold her tiny body again. All I have of my precious baby is this box, and the memories.

I have known a lot of babies that have been born the past few months, and I can't help but feel a little sad when I look at the pictures of them. I wonder if I will always feel this way. I would NEVER wish our situation on anyone, but I can't help but think about why Chris and I were chosen to say goodbye to our daughter way too soon.

I feel guilty for not doing more lately to remember Preslie. Chasing after a 14 month old has occupied much of my time, but I feel like I need to do something once in a while to let Preslie know that Mommy has not forgotten her. I have volunteered to be an area leader for a infant loss group in the area. The link is on the side of my blog, Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. Our group Face2Face is going to meet once a month to share our stories and to meet others who know what we are feeling. I am excited to be able to talk freely about Preslie, and not feel judged or bad.

I know I shouldn't feel bad about talking about Preslie, but lately I have met a lot of women who happen to be pregnant who ask about Preslie. I explain what happened, and the women look terrified afterwards. I end up apologizing a million times, hoping I didn't scare them. I want to tell them that it won't happen to them, and that they shouldn't worry. Unfortunately no one has that guarantee. I've been attending different ward and church activities, and it seems like the minute Preslie is brought up the conversation ends. I didn't think it would be this hard to make friends. I am a normal, fun, Mom, who just happens to have an angel in heaven.

When writing this post It didn't even occur to me that 27 months ago today at this very time, I woke up to a still baby. A baby I would never feel move again. A baby that would eventually be buried with Grandpa in Utah. A baby that I would never see smile. A baby that won't grow up. A baby that was taken too soon. A baby that became an angel.

Preslie's headstone was laid a few weeks ago. My sister-in-law took and sent us pictures. It turned out beautifully. It looks exactly like the temporary we had in Michigan. Seeing the headstone made it seem so surreal. I, Rylie Quinn McDonald Martin have a child buried in a cemetery. Whoa.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miss Miracle

Our little miracle baby is not quite a baby anymore. Miss Arista turns 14 months on Friday! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown, and how sad I am that she is growing up into a little toddler. I wanted to show you all a few of Arista's favorite things right now.

1. Bath time. About 5 months ago we were giving Arista a bath and she decided she wanted to try swimming like a fish. Next thing we know she is diving into the water, swimming around. Before we knew it she slipped and bonked her head. Ever since that time she was terrified of taking a bath. We spent many nights wasting water, and praying that she would return to the water. We would take turns showering with her, and even then she still was scared. One day I had enough and sat her down in the water and hurried and put toys all around her and began showing her that it wasn't scary. It worked! Arista LOVES bath time now! In fact when we are upstairs she always runs into her bathroom, and tries to climb into the tub.

2. Mess. Arista love love loves to get into anything and everything. If we turn our back for one second she will be in the bathroom unraveling the toilet paper, or opening cupboards and taking everything out. Her favorite cupboard is in the china closet, and inside is filled with all sorts of candles. Almost daily I am pulling wax out of her mouth. You may ask why we don't put a lock or rubber band on it, well we do! Late at night when everyone is asleep Chewy attacks all the rubber bands on the cupboards and hides them. Needless to say we may need to try something different.

3. Go commando. Since Arista was born she has hated clothes, and diapers. Every time her diaper is changed or she is getting dressed, she cries. You would think after 14 months of the same thing she'd get use to it. Well Arista has learned how to take off her diaper, and it is now her favorite game. There have been numerous accidents on the floor, and a brand new chair we bought her. Luckily we have not had any poop accidents yet. There is no better way to explain her joy and excitement, then to show you in pictures.

4. Torment Chewy. Arista's day is not complete unless she had pestered Chewy. We feel bad for Chewy, but at the same time he can always run away. I think he secretly enjoys some rough house, and loves Arista. Arista loves to squeal and chase after him all around the house, it is the funniest thing to watch. There have been times where we are shocked she has not been bitten or scratched. You are a good sport Chew-B.

5. Eat sweets. Arista LOVES cotton candy, and giant lollypops. She doesn't like chocolate, but will try it everytime. She has also learned to fold her arms when we are about to eat!

Other Fun Things About Arista

Favorite book is a Christmas book from Hallmark. It's a combination of the songs "Up on The Housetop" and "Jolly Old St. Nicolas". We have all sung that book till we were blue in the face, but Arista loves it.

Drinks Whole Milk.

Loves participating in her Gymboree Music class.

Can say Yoda.

Can do sign language for "milk", "more", and "all done".

Loves watching Barney.

Ate 2 entire tins of popcorn from Christmas.

Loves fruit snacks and turkey bacon.

Climb up to her slide, and slide down by herself.

Can climb up and down the stairs.

Waves and blows kisses.

Roll arms. (Wheels on the bus)

Favorite doll is a hideous baby troll.

Started only nursing at night. (YAY!)

We are so grateful for the opportunity to have Arista in our lives. She has taught us patience, faith, hope, love, and has brought much happiness back into our lives. The Lord truly blessed us with such a happy and spunky baby, and we thank him everynight for giving us the chance to raise her here on earth. We have had many amazing experiences with Arista in the short 14 months she has been with us, and we will always cherish them. Even though life isn't always easy and we are still faced with challenges, we are grateful for each and every moment we have with Arista. We know what it feels like to lose a child you love, and because of that we love our daughters and the time with them, that much more.

Arista Miracle Martin, we love you!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Family Theme and Word

Last year I decided that every year we would have a family theme and word. Last year our word was focus. I wanted us to focus on the future, and to focus on the positive in life and not get stuck on the negative. Throughout 2010 we had a lot of positive and negative things happen to our little family. Despite all we've been through we are grateful for our health, the health of our family members, and for the job that Chris currently has. The past few days I have really been pondering and praying about what the focus of this next year should be for us. It wasn't until reading the Ensign today where I found the theme for our family.

Our family theme for 2011 comes for the talk "Make Yours A Great Life" by Elder Paul V. Johnson. Our theme is... "Your future is not determined by the conditions around you. It is determined by your faith, your choices, and your efforts." Throughout this year I want our family to be happy no matter where we live, and no matter what trials come our way. The article talks about historical figures who were faced with some major challenges, and how they got through them and didn't let them define who they were. I hope that through our trials we will make our lives great.

Our family word this year is Patience. Big word, and very difficult to achieve. However, with the Lord's help I know that our family will learn the true meaning of the word. I am not a patient person. When I want something I don't want to wait for it. I want to know where we will be in 2 months, 6 months etc. I want to lose 40 pounds by next week, have kid's without trying, not having to wait 9 months to see if we will get to take the baby home, where Chris will work. The list goes on and on and on and on. Waiting for Arista's arrival was one of the biggest trials of patience. I know that the Lord works in his own time and that if we are faithful and keep the commandments he will fulfill the desires of our heart. Although it can take quite a while sometimes, with patience it will become possible. This year our family is going to work on our patience and live more in the moment, and try to not worry what tomorrow brings.

I invite you to read this talk, whether you are lds or not. It really spoke to me, and kicked off my new year.

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

This year for Christmas we spent it in Virgina. A few days before Christmas Chris and Arista got really bad colds. I thought I would miss out on all the cold/flu fun but unfortunately it hit me on Christmas Eve. I lost my voice, and had a terrible sore throat. No Christmas carols were sung by me, however we had an amazing night.

We started off our Christmas Eve festivities by visiting The National Botanical Gardens. They had fantastic replicas of famous sites made out of plants, dirt, twigs, seeds etc. There was also this train exhibit that was incredible!

After visiting the gardens we ate at the American Grill at Union Station. We had a beautiful view of the Capital from our table, as well as a neat train display right below us. Arista enjoyed watching the trains go round and round as we waited for our food.

From Union Station we drove to the Washington D.C. temple's visitor center. They had over millions of Christmas lights lit up as well as beautiful Christmas trees. We listened to the sister missionaries perform a beautiful melody of Christmas carols, and it really helped us remember the true meaning of Christmas. After the concert we walked around outside and took pictures. Poor Arista was so tired and sick she slept the entire time we were at the temple. That didn't stop us from taking many many pictures of her though. :)

Arista woke up at the perfect moment to open all her gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Martin, because they were leaving early the next morning for Texas. We gave Chad a frame with pictures of him and his grandchildren and Sue a Grandma bracelet and Deal or No Deal for her DS.

For Christmas Chris bought me our first piece of art, Thomas Kincaid's Disney Castle. I am soo in love with it.

Arista was ecstatic with all the books she received as well as her building block truck, and Noah's Ark. We ended the night cleaning up, and watching Christmas with the Cranks. Arista didn't go to bed until well after 2am, so Santa had a very late night.

Christmas morning we woke up around 10am and started opening our gifts. Arista didn't know what to think! I think Santa spoiled her way too much! Arista had a blast ripping all the paper and playing with all her new and fun toys.

When I found Chris' main gift this year I was ecstatic! I thought for sure Chris would do a cartwheel he would love it so much. Everyone I talked to said that the gift sounded awesome. Well you could not hide the disappointment on Chris' face when he opened a "make your own soda machine"...It took me a good 20 minutes to recover from the disappointment I felt in failing as santa this year. Fortunatly I made up for with with the Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy as well as other Star Wars related things. For once I wanted to buy my husband something that you would not purchase at a toy store. I'll stick with toys for now on. ;)

After a breakfast of pancakes and eggs we opened our stockings. I always loved opening my stocking more than the presents. Around 3pm a guy from our ward came over to spend Christmas day with us. He was unable to visit his family this year, so we gladly offered to have him come over for dinner and games. I made a yummy dinner of Pork Tenderloin, homemade rolls, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin pie! After dinner we played Scattagories, and I beat everyone! Chris has never lost a game of Scattagories, so I walked around with pride the rest of the night. After our evening ended we were exhausted. We ended the night watching one of my favorite movies "The Sound Of Music". It was my Great Great Aunt Clara's favorite movie, and everytime I watch it I think of when I would visit her. We had a wonderful Christmas this year, and although Preslie could not join us we knew she was watching.