Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glimpses of Luke

In the quiet of the night and in the dim shadows of nightlights I hold my sweet little newborn. I look down upon her face and just stare. And when she finally relaxes and her little jowls droop her sweet lips soften and they fall open and are completely relaxed. It's then in that moment I see him. I see my Luke. And just when my eyes capture the face and my heart feels the connection it flutters away. It's replaced with a face that tightens with a little newborn grimace or shifts or squints or scrunches its nose. And I'm brought back to my reality. My present life. Life with the new addition to our family. But I am ever reminded of the connection --the ties which connect us to our "big brother." And with each little newborn face that enters our home I see him again.

October 2 - just over 2 months
August - about 3 weeks
August - about 3 weeks


Now my babies are 2 years old and 3 months. I no longer can look at their sweet faces and see their brother. Those first newborn weeks always pass too quickly. I cry each time I have to box up their newborn clothes and I long to hold a sweet newborn again. Not any newborn, but my own --my own babies who seem to always look alike. I love those moments when I get a glimpse of their expression that emulates their brother and brings me back to holding him in my arms.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Finding the Molds of Luke's Hands

I still am a little dumbfounded that the molds of Luke's hands turned up. I just don't even know where to start.

Maybe I'll start by saying how impressed I am by the faith of others. The thoughtfulness of others to include me and my family and my "stolen" keepsake in their prayers. And how touched I am that so many people hurt for me and with me when these were presumably stolen when our fire-proof safe was taken from our home. And how touched I am that so many people rejoiced with me when I announced their miraculous appearance this week.

I am not sure if it was my lack of faith that kept me from praying for these to be "returned" to me or if it was the fact that I just accepted them as truly gone and discarded that kept me from asking for their "return." The day after the burglary was garbage day. I had seen it all in my minds-eye: the small but heavy fire-proof safe was hauled off to some dark alley to be pried open and upon discovering it only contained birth certificates, passports, CDs of photos, and molds of a child's hands and because there was nothing of "value" it got quickly dumped and discarded into a trash can which then got hoisted up and dumped in to a garbage truck and hauled off to a landfill. I accepted that story as truth. I had accepted that the molds of my sweet child's hands and the green bubble wrap that was once protecting them were now laying among waste and gone forever.

Losing the Molds
Back in June I began trying to type about our break-in and all that happened. I couldn't ever finish it. The whole event put me over the edge of levels of anxiety that I could handle and I began to face my depression and mood disorders in the face again. So sitting and thinking about and documenting all that happened and how I felt about was just too much.

So here's a bit of the story. Trying to be responsible tenants we informed our landlord of some strange droppings we were seeing, which turned out to be a sign of termites. The home was to be fumigated. This entails an extensive process of not only evacuating the premise for several days, but also removing or bagging up all of your food (a big deal for me since I have a lot of bulk food). Not to mention packing up everything you need to care for and entertain a toddler with allergies while living out of a motel room that doesn't even have a refrigerator. The whole thing was an added stress I didn't want to be dealing with while I was trying to settle in to life and prepare for a new baby. The climax of the whole episode was definitely the final morning before we could return home when we were informed the house was broken in to while it was vacated.

Looking through the window it was evident drawers and nightstands were rummaged

Here is a summary of when I returned to the house by myself after dropping Jeremy off at a church member's house (whom I just met over the phone the night before!) to discover the state of things and wait for the police officer to return to the scene. I wrote this to my family in an email the evening after it had happened:

[Through the window] I could see stuff had been pulled from our nightstands and from under the bed, but the bedskirt (which I just sewed last week!) was covering the view and the drawers of the nightstand were closed -so I didn't know what was missing. At some point while I was on the phone with Trevor I realized that in my nightstand was a box containing the molds of Luke's hands and my sentimental jewelry that I had carried on my person during the move [from Virginia], but hadn't "unpacked" in to the house yet. This is when I got really angry and too scared to know the truth of if my items were actually gone or not (since I couldn't see in the drawer from outside) . . .

The officer that came was really nice and when we were in the house doing the walk-through I explained to him that I was afraid to look in the drawer to see if that box was gone and told him about Luke and the molds that were made for us. He was quite sympathetic and said that he and his wife had also lost a baby. He offered to look for me, but I got the courage to do it. I was relieved to see the box still there, but my heart sunk again as I opened it and remembered that I had transferred the molds from the box to the safe for "safe-keeping." I sunk to the floor and cried just a little as I peeked under the bed to confirm what I already knew ---the safe was gone.

Jewelry Box Stolen From Shelf and Rummaged Belongings

Re-encountering the Fumigation Company 
The timing of this miraculous finding is quite incredible. Friday people from the termite company were scheduled to come inspect our home because Trevor had mentioned to our landlord that there were signs of termites in spite of it being fumigated.  I essentially blame the fumigation company for the break-in because they were not forthright about how common break-ins are with fumigation and did not provide or advise to hire the security needed to keep the premise safe. Since our incident, other homes and complexes that we've seen being fumigated  have had 24 hour surveillance because burglary is so likely with the big tarping over the building declaring to the world that "I'm vacant!" and declaring to criminals "I'm vacant, come and take the stuff inside!"

Fumigaton Tent Covering Our Home

So Friday afternoon I stood at my sink washing dishes being mad and blaming this company as I waited their arrival. But also thinking about how I needed to get over it and let it be. How long was I going to harbor feelings of hate, frustration, and blame? What was done was done and being upset about it towards some person whom I've never even met, just didn't seem right. Nevertheless I was indeed harboring hurt and resentment and having these people coming back in my home was the last thing I wanted. I don't usually dwell on our break-in but having the people I blame for the whole ordeal to be making an appearance in our home was bringing a lot of not-so-pretty feelings to the surface.

For better or worse, I accidentally had arrived home about 20 minutes after the time they were supposed to come inspect and must have either missed them or didn't hear their knocking while I put two crying babies down for their naps! Regardless of being saved from having to encounter someone from the fumigation company they were on my mind on Friday.

Discovering the Molds
I have yet to finish "Clara's bedroom." So far it has been a combo of bike storage, a guest room, office/craft supply storage, and kind of a "catch-all" kind of space. I was attempting to finish cleaning it up in preparation for family to come and for Clara's transition from our bedroom to her own room. One of the things in that room is a big bin containing almost everything concerning Luke. The molds of Luke's feet are on display in our bedroom and everything else has been stored in this bin since we moved. I starting going through it to organize it a bit.

I opened a small tupperware container within the bin which holds an assortment of items -- sympathy cards, notes from floral arrangements, ultrasound photos, CD of the audio from the funeral service, and other small items. Instantly I felt bitterness as I saw the green bubble wrap that used to protect the little hand and feet molds. I reached out in disgust to pick them up ...and to my shock discovered the little hands were there! Right there in my hands loosely swaddled in the bubble wrap.

I could not believe my eyes. I believe I shouted out to Trevor to tell him what I had just found. I was so in shock I couldn't respond with much emotion other than being completely flabbergasted. I sat on the floor looking down at something I thought I'd never see again, not sure what to believe. What I knew to be truth (the molds were in a landfill somewhere) was not only challenged, but instantly proven wrong.

"I feel like I'm looking at a ghost," I proclaimed. Which I realize is a really strange thing to say regarding something that really does symbolize the deceased. But in a sense these had died too. I think I grieved their loss as well, of course, not in the same way I grieved the loss of my son's life, but I had grieved their loss.

Miracles and Answered Prayers
It is strange to think about how these molds were never really gone. At least not as far as I know. But I am still scratching my head over how they got to where they were found. Did I put them there? I have no recollection of it. And why were they there? They are either on display, in the box where put special things when we move (which we've done a lot in the last 3 years), or in the safe. My mother-in-law keeps reminding me that there's no use in trying to figure it out. It's simply a miracle.

A "before" picture of our bedroom prior to me re-doing our bedding. You can see the safe on the left where the molds "should have" been.

And for this sweet miracle, I am so grateful. Thanks to everyone who prayed for their miraculous return.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Tonight it rained. It doesn't rain here. We're in a drought, but tonight it rained.


I feel like I need a rain. A rain to wash things away, make things clean, and give me a fresh feeling.

I'd be lying if I said I was at ease right now. I'd be lying if said I was ready for our daughter to join our family. I'd by lying if I said I wasn't anxious and burdened.

Aside from all the other stressful things in my life --the moving across the country, the trying to get settled in, the break-in, the crazy hunt for a vehicle within out budget, the new church responsibility that was like a full-time job for a few weeks, the attempt to socialize and make new friends, the hosting of birthday parties, and then life in general with a toddler while pregnant -- aside from all that, there's another layer of stress that I haven't even let myself or had much time to dwell on.

The fact that my due date is exactly the same time as Luke's. The fact that my family is all going to be together for our annual boating trip without us because I'm pregnant, just like 2011, when I was pregnant with Luke. And now strangely, the fact that last time a grandparent passed away was when I was pregnant with Luke, and just this past weekend Trevor's last living grandparent passed away.

Thankfully my anxiety about this pregnancy hasn't been anything compared to the amount I felt when I was pregnant with Jeremy. Perhaps having a toddler to care for has kept me too preoccupied to worry about this baby . . . to dwell on the fact if she is still living or not when I haven't felt her move . . . to dwell on the fact that she might not make it. The questions do cross my mind, but the time and energy just isn't there to dwell on them. And perhaps I am just a bit more relaxed and confident that things will be okay. Having had one successful live birth has perhaps rebuilt my faith in the whole process of pregnancy and birth.

Nevertheless, inside of me is like a quiet storm of unsettled feelings. The strange parallels and timing of things. The concern of having a successful delivery ---meaning the outcome is a living child. It's like it's kind of just brewing inside of me.

Thinking about it doesn't really resolve it.

Even writing about it doesn't really resolve it. . . I don't know what else to say about it. The thoughts just aren't there.

But I feel it.
I feel it inside of me.

So a good rainstorm that will clear the haze, the clouds, and the gloomy feeling is what I need. A good strong rainstorm.

. . . if only the weather were in our own control.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Visiting the Cemetery - May 2014

It's always a little strange going to the cemetery --bringing to the forefront of my mind the fact that I really do have a child whose body is buried there.

After leaving a friend's house, I didn't have particular plans for the rest of my afternoon. Realizing Jeremy was going to quickly fall asleep in the car I concluded I'd go to the cemetery so he could sleep while we drove there and, if needed, continue to sleep while I was there too. I made a quick decision to get some flowers from the nearest grocery store so we could complete the errand before Jeremy began napping.

We got flowers for Luke and bananas for Jeremy and began driving south.

I decided to not take the freeway, but opted for a route of back roads. Driving through the south parts of Utah Country I found myself in places that I hadn't been since I was actually pregnant with Luke. I drove past a gas station and the details of the day I had been there before came back to my mind. We had stopped there with our realtor when we had been house-hunting back in 2011. Our realtor needed to fuel up and asked if we wanted anything? I was munching on some cut veggies and hummus I had packed with me. I was always hungry. I declined Steve's offer for a candy bar, but took him up on a bottle of water. He finished up quickly and we continued our caravan south looking at several homes, including the one we purchased and lived in for the remainder of my pregnancy with Luke.

The memory was a brief one. One with little emotion or importance. But seeing that place simply brought back a little memory that I had had with Luke. I liked that. I liked thinking about that little moment as I journeyed south toward his grave.


The cemetery was filled with a few men working hard to maintain the grounds. An elderly man was on a riding lawn mower carefully driving around each of the headstones and another man worked in another area trimming down any remaining grass around each headstone. I loved seeing the care taken to maintain the grounds.

I turned down the row we always park on just across from Luke's grave. Tiredness had overcome me just as much as it had Jeremy. I reclined in my seat and breathed deep just taking in the moment of being there. Sister isn't much of a mover, especially during the day, but I began to feel kicks and nudges inside me. I felt like she was letting me know, that even though she's still on the inside, she was a part of this visit to Luke's grave too.

As I drifted off to sleep I just took in my reality, one baby kicking inside of me, one baby sleeping sweetly in the carseat next to me, and one child watching over us from Heaven. Gratitude filled my heart for these children of mine.


Once I woke up I began my routine of cleaning up Luke's headstone -removing any grass clippings and cleaning up any mud or dirt on the the stone or surrounding cement. This time there seemed to be bird droppings on part of the headstone. So while most mother's a wiping their children's bums, for Luke, I just wipe down his headstone. Mothering begins to take new forms when your child is no longer living, but it's still just as present and part of my life.

Jeremy soon woke up and enjoyed running down the road and being on the grass. I held him and reminded him of his brother Luke who only needed to come to earth to receive a body, has already returned to the Spirit World, and watches over us now. I cried and Jeremy squirmed for me to let him go. With a kiss I put him down so he could run around and be his toddler self.


We didn't stay long but enjoyed the sunshine of the day and snapped a few pictures before leaving. The other days of our trip we rainy and I was so grateful we were able to go to the cemetery on such a lovely day.

The wind was blowing in our faces!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter 2014

As I have declared before, Easter has become my favorite holiday. Because of what it means and everything it stands for and how it personally relates to me and my family.

I usually plant bulbs every fall so that I will have tulips blooming in the springtime to remind me of Christ, to honor our son Luke, and to celebrate the new life that the Easter holiday embodies.

We moved just before fall and with the new place and all our other issues at the time I wasn't able to plant any tulips at our most recent residence. Also, we moved out before they would have bloomed, yet I still regret not doing it.

I was able to at least purchase some lovely tulips to have on display for Easter.

Easter was simple. We didn't do anything to extravagant to celebrate.

We attended church, like usual, and enjoyed the special musical numbers that were prepared for the day.

We let Jeremy pick up some Easter eggs that we scattered in the park by our house and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather.

We invited another couple over who also just relocated here for work to join us for dinner. I guess being a foodie the best way I knew to celebrate was to cook lots of yummy food --a baked ham with a homemade glaze, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, and carrot cake all from scratch. (I forgot to take pictures before we ate it all up!)

All the while I was simply feeling in my heart a closeness to my savior, Jesus Christ. A gratitude for His life, His love, and His gift of the resurrection that is promised to all. I am so grateful to know that because of Him I can be reunited with my son Luke and eventually all of my family members after we live our mortal lives.

I know that my Redeember Lives, and for Him I am Grateful 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Footprints and Molds

I feel so fortunate to have these little treasures.

These molds of both Luke's hands and feet were created for us after he was born. Luke was born at midnight so I think I finally submitted to much needed sleep, after both a very emotionally trying day and going through labor, around 3 am. At this point the nurses took Luke for a bit to create the molds and to stamp his hand and footprints.

These are the most treasured item in my home. When I decorated our entryway I decided to place the molds of Luke's feet there. I like that they are in a prominent place that both myself and others can see. I love to look at how long his feet are and imagine how he'll be tall and handsome just like his father.

I am so grateful for the Timpanogos hospital offering this service. I am grateful to the nurse who was on that night shift dedicating her time to sculpting our molds and tying perfect little blue bows on them. They were created with such care and even though this nurse wasn't actually caring for our baby she was serving and giving in a way that I will always be grateful for.


This post was originally written March of 2012 when we were living in our home in Payson, Utah. The molds of Luke's feet have continued to find prominent places in our homes in Virginia and have yet to be unpacked in California. I am sure we will find a special place for them here too. For both moves to and from DC these were wrapped in bubble wrap and traveled not on the moving truck with the rest of our possessions, but with me. First, in our truck when we drove out to DC and then in my carry-on bag last week on our flight back. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Ultrasounds, Gender, Due Dates, & Names: how I really feel


I kinda hate them.

They stress me out. That's about all there is to it. They were fun at first. And then we had to have an ultrasound to confirm whether our baby was alive or not.

He wasn't.

Yeah, that was pretty crappy.

Like I've mentioned before (here and here), I still don't like ultrasounds, because now I know that that's when some couples find out about conditions that mean their child won't live outside of the womb ...or if they will, it won't be for more than a few hours.

Yeah, that's crappy.

I miss being naive and just thinking that everything would be perfect. Can I just get over it and go back to the way things were? And just enjoy the miraculous experience of getting to see inside the womb and see your baby moving and see all the little miraculous parts formed?

Maybe . . . one day.

But not today.

So my sweet husband has to suffer the grumpy-stressed-out-Shelley while he's totally calm, thrilled, and excitedly looking forward to the gender reveal! Bless him for putting up with me!


So I have opinions. I'm sure people who can't conceive at all think that it's stupid that I have opinions and should just be grateful that I can conceive. And, don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for that, but I still have opinions. 

With Luke, I didn't care, I just wanted a healthy baby. 

Didn't get it. 

With my next pregnancy I wanted a girl, because I didn't want it to be anything like my first pregnancy. 

Didn't get it. 

Now I just wanted Jeremy to have the brother he doesn't have. Well, he has Luke as a brother, but I wanted him to have a little buddy --here and now-- who he can be friends with, be silly with, drive mommy crazy with. I like my boys, even if one is in Heaven, and I wanted another one. 

Well ... the story unfolds and guess what! Yep, still don't get what I want. 

Ya know, I'm okay with it. I really am. Because I know God knows us and our family and I know that He will send whoever needs to be the perfect addition for our family here and now. I know He knows best and I know He is in control. I know that. I really do. And I'm sure she'll win our hearts just as Jeremy has. I know that. 

But it doesn't change the fact that I like holding my newborn boys. The fact that holding my little infant boy brings back the fading memory of what it was like to hold Luke. It doesn't change the fact that I would love to hold another little boy of mine in my arms who looks like his oldest brother. 

So I'll get over it. And I'm sure I'll be totally smitten with this little one. 

And the good news. We don't have to try to come up with a BOY NAME that we both like! What a relief! 


Okay, while I'm at it with complaining about things (don't get me wrong I have a million and half wonderful things in my life right now, I'm just trying to be honest with how I'm really feelings about things!). I'm frustrated with my midwives practice trying to change my due date around. 

I generally have pretty regular cycles so I don't see why going off the first date of my last menstrual cycle is such a bad idea. There's the day, start counting the weeks, and there you go! Due date (or range as I prefer) calculated! 

No, no, no. We gotta go throwing measurements in to the mix! The measurements are pushing my due date to be later, which normally I'd be fine with. Even quite happy about. Give baby plenty of time to cook if needed without the added hassle of "You're exactly forty weeks! Have you had the baby?!" Since a normal range is 37-42 weeks I think that method is hogwash anyway. So in any other circumstance I'd jump on the opportunity to extend my due date to be later. 

But this time...

this time I don't like it because it makes it nearly parallel the days that Luke was "due."

I know, it's just a date. It shouldn't matter. But to me it does. 

Luckily I'm under the mindset of whenever baby comes, baby comes, so it's not as bad as if I were so fixated on the days. But still. I like that time to kind of just be it's own thing.

But like most things in life --It's Out of My Control! 

So I'm moving on. I'm gonna get over it and I'm gonna stop dwelling on the things that don't matter. But today, today, I just needed to be honest about how I really felt about it. 


Okay, I lied about moving on, one more thing! Could everyone stop naming their kids the names that I've had picked out since I was in middle school? 

I know, I know, it doesn't matter. Tons of people have the same name as other people (except I never had another Shelley in my classes EVER), but like I said, it doesn't really matter. I'm kinda just that way though, I don't like showing up to an event wearing the same thing as someone else (Thanks Mom for making my Prom dresses!) and I'm not trying to name my kid the same as everyone else. It just happens to be that the names I love weren't popular 15 years ago when I added them to my "this is what I want to name my kids" list, but we all know name trends change. 

Okay, I'm over it. They're family names and I still love them and I didn't steal them from you. So I'm ready to stop being weird about it. Great. Glad I could get that over with. 


I'm gonna go get another scoop of chocolate chips now and eat them.

Updated: I went and did just that. Ate way more chocolate chips than I should have, took a nap, and started thinking about some of the cute little girl outfits I already own from when I thought Jeremy was going to be girl. Already feeling better about things.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Visiting The Cemetery - January 2014

Some people have favorite places or things to do which they make a point to add to their agenda when they're back in their "hometown." You know, pizza parlors, other restaurants, favorite stores, perhaps visiting their alma mater.

Our family?

Whenever we're in Utah we go to the cemetery.

I don't know if calling it a "favorite place" is quite the right thing. Yet it is an event that always makes it on to our agenda when we're in town.

I never went to Luke's grave regularly. Some people go daily or weekly after they lose a loved one. I went whenever I felt so inclined. I didn't necessarily feel like it brought me closer to Luke to be there. I guess I got that from attending the Provo temple every week instead. I was there to honor him and bring something fresh to adorn his grave. I did a lot of remembering and connecting too while I was there, but I didn't need to go there to do that.

When I would go there with Trevor we used to talk about how one day . . . one future day . . . we would surely be there with lots of little ones running around as we brought them together to honor their older brother.

That day isn't too far off. We at least have one little guy cruisin' down the road in front of Luke's grave and doing laps around the headstone. I'm grateful Jeremy is able to be there with us. I am grateful he has an older brother who can look out for him, even if it's not in the "normal" older-brother way. I am grateful to see our family growing and God's plans for us unfolding.

It's always special to get to be back at the cemetery even if it brings back the painful feelings of all the events that unfolded that week in August . . .  not even two and half years ago. When we let the memories come back to us, it feels even more recent.


We know you're busy doing work on the other side of the veil, but we hope you know we came to visit your grave. We love you dearly and will never forget about you. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The memories in a smell

Last week we were on vacation and the bar of soap Trevor used was the same brand that he had used while a freshman in college. He commented how the smell alone brought him back to those dorm days.

Today I was cleaning out a box of hair product. I often try new products for a while and then move on to something else. I also always ask for free samples at the beauty supply store and pick up clearance items to give them a try. Needless to say, I have quite a collection that was getting weeded through today as I work on "spring" cleaning. I had recently showered and so my hair was still damp. I came across a bottle of Bumble and Bumble strengthening serum and opted to put some in my hair.

The smell.

The smell brought be right back to that January day when I got my hair cut. It was a cold winter day much like today. I got several "damaged" inches cut off my hair as I tried to bring my hair back to recovery after being in hair school! The smooth silky feeling of having someone thoroughly blow-dry your hair. The crisp edges of a new haircut. And the smell of the new product in my hair. The pink high heels. The outfit. Coming home to our little studio apartment and showing off the new look to Trevor.

I could see and feel it all again. Smelling that smell brought be back to that day. To who I was that day. To what I was that day.


Pregnant with Luke.

Some moms can remember the smell of their baby when they were born. I don't have any smells ingrained in my memory from that day, but this . . . this brought me back to that day when he was still inside me. Before we knew if he was even a he. To that day when life was just rolling along as it should --pregnant and moody and loving every bit of it!


Still thinking of you my little baby. Miss you and am grateful for our time together.