Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Life with Landry

Landry is so much fun, and she still makes us laugh all the time. Her little sayings, her funny facial expressions...she is just HER, and I love it! She doesn't care what people think (except her Daddy...she always wants him to tell her she is pretty!), and she kind of dances to the beat of her own drum. I'm glad she does because that keeps life exciting. You never know what is going to come out of her mouth...sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy. 

Landry loves to dress up and show us her new outfits. 
Here...blocks as shoes. Notice, Ernie is in a box too. Things must coordinate. Ha!
She calls tutu's "princesses" and always wants to wear a princess whenever we are going someplace special....or just to Wal-Mart. :)

Some of my favorite things she has said lately are:
-"Daddy can do anything for me." 
-"You're my best girl, mama!"
-In the car she told me "That truck zoomed!" about a truck that drove by fast. I told her how smart she was for noticing things. A few minutes later, I told Collier he was smart about something else. She got upset and said, "He's NOT smart! He didn't say that truck zoomed!" :) Competition. 

 Landry's other interests right now are:
-Being naked. That girl will strip off her clothes any chance she gets. She also helps Collier take his clothes off regularly. One morning, I walked into the kitchen, and there were two bare booties playing with magnets on the refrigerator. I asked where their clothes went, and Landry said, "We wanted to be naked and eat our cinnamon rolls together!" I could not stop laughing long enough to explain that it was not a great plan. 
-She loves giving "squeeze hugs," and they are the best!

I love the things that a two-year-old comes up with on her own. There are a few things that Landry says or does "wrong" that I refuse to correct. They are just too sweet! 
-She calls her nightstand a "porch." I have no idea where she got that, but she will ask us to leave things like her water, necklace, etc. on her "porch" while she sleeps. Love that!
-Also, she loves to tell people she's about to be 3 (only a few more weeks!). When she holds up three fingers, she holds her ring finger down. See the picture below. :) 

She is definitely my best girl, and I am SO thankful for her. She lifts my spirits and keeps me giggling. She is hard-headed and can have a mean streak, but she is 2 after-all. When Landry Elise made me a mama, she allowed me to look at everything with new perspective...I'm grateful! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

He's my favorite handful!

Collier is so, so busy these days. Today is an update all about my little man...Micah's little clone! 

**Some of these photos are very poor quality, but for the safety of my dare-devil child, I had to be fast!**
Collier loves to explore, and he is not scared of anything. He has started climbing regularly, and I find him in the strangest places. 

On top of the breakfast table...

I was loading things in the car the other day and left the door open to the garage. I searched frantically for C for a few seconds, and then heard "beep beep!" He climbed up on daddy's tractor and was having a blast!

IN drawers...literally. 

He seriously keeps me hopping...and guessing! Just this morning, he was standing on my vanity chair, digging in my makeup drawer, had the hair dryer turned on, and was saying, "I pribby!" He loves to be fixed up. Ha! All this happened in the 2 minutes I was getting clothes put in the washer. He is fast!

 Another consistent thing with Collier is he loves to sleep. He goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 (we are trying to push it back so that we actually have some family time!) and sleeps until 9. He then takes a nap from about 11:30-2. If I do have to wake him up for some reason, THIS is what I get. 

These pictures are from one day last week when Landry was gone with Micah's parents. I can't remember where we had to be, but it was 2:30, and he was still sleeping. I went to wake him up, and he had HUGE tears streaming. I climbed in his crib with him (Micah thinks this is hilarious) to snuggle and let him wake up for a minute. He put his head on my legs and started snoring again! I was stuck in there for almost 30 minutes until he woke up. We were late wherever we were going, but I don't get quality time like this very often! :)

Most of the time, Collier is happy and so entertaining! He can throw a fit like nobody's business if he doesn't get his way, but I think that has a lot to do with his age and trying to figure out how to communicate. 

Here are some things he is doing now:
-He sings his ABC's all the time. QRSsssssss is his favorite part, and he adds that in several times throughout the song. :)
-He can count to 14 and totally skipped being excited about getting to 10. 
-He knows all of his main colors, and he loves to show off. He will be playing in another room from where I am and bring me toys to tell me what color they are. One day, he made 12 trips back and forth to the playroom bringing ONE toy at a time to tell us the color. It was adorable. 
-He calls the Hogs regularly. If you aren't a Razorback fan, you probably don't know what I'm talking about. Trust is cute!
-Collier literally runs laps around the house. He is constantly standing against our front door, saying, "Ready, Set, GO!" and taking off. He's going to work some of his chunk off if he's not careful! :)
-Speaking of being a chunk, Collier weighs 36 pounds at 19 months. He is wearing size 3 clothes in almost everything. I can get him in size 2 pants from Gap because they have adjustable waistbands. I LOVE my chunky man, and love that he is a big teddy bear! 
-Collier gives the best kisses and pats me on the back when he hugs. He also says, "Wuv-oo" and it melts my heart. 

I love being mommy to this little man. I pray that I steer his heart and nurture his personality into a great leader for his future pressure. Ha! Being the mama to a boy is special, and I love the challenge and blessing it is every day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

He Got All of Me...

Well, today marks 3 weeks since Parke passed away. It's gone by fast. 
I've started to get back in a routine (as much as one can with life's craziness), I have both Landry and Collier back in my arms today, and I have had a fabulous week of shopping away some blues with friends. 

I had a few friends buy me special CD's after Parke's death. One friend said, "I know this is so 90's, but these are great." :) Ha! Really, they have been wonderful tools to minister to my heart. One of my new scheduled items with my "routine" is to get up at 5:30 or 6 to do my quiet time and work out. A lot of mornings, I do it all together. I stick one of the CD's in the player and work out while listening and worshiping our Lord. Spiritual and physical work out all in know, always multitasking! 

So, I wanted to share two of my favorite songs out of the bunch with you...

The first is Natalie Grant's "Held." It is a beautiful song that we actually used in Parke's service. My sweet friend, Emily, sang the song beautifully during Parke's slideshow. You can watch the picture video and hear the song at the link below.

The second song is newer to me. I just heard it in the past few days, but it created a total sob-fest for me. It is by Matt Hammitt and called "All of Me." 
Listen to the song here.
The lyrics of this song are perfect, and they describe the way that I felt about Parke that I didn't know how to put in words. 
Here are the words...

Afraid to love 
something that could break
Could I move on
if you were torn away?

And I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart and pray he makes you whole.
You're gonna have all of me, 
Cause' you're worth every falling tear, 
You're worth facing any fear

even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts,
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

I won't let sadness, steal you from my arms.
I won't let pain keep you from my heart.

 You're gonna have all of me, you're gonna have all of me.
Cause you're worth every falling tear, you're worth facing any fear. 
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough. 
Enough to mend our broken hearts, but giving you all of me is where I'll start. 
Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak. You're worth all of me. 
You're worth all of me!
So let me RECKLESSLY LOVE YOU, even if I bleed. 
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me...
{Chorus Again}

The words to that song just give me chills to type them. They speak a lot of what is on my heart. We could have walked away, we could have chosen to "switch" our match to a healthy baby after we learned of Parke's illness, but HE WAS WORTH EVERY TEAR. Parke getting to be a part of our family (here and for eternity!) was worth any amount of pain I'm facing. I lived 49 days with him as a normal baby. I tried not to look at him and see a child who was here in passing. He was my baby, and he got all my love...even when it hurt. I would choose this path every day over and over again because I was blessed by being Parke's mama. I did (and do) recklessly love him, and that makes the pain even more real....but he was worth having all my love. 

I'm missing my boy today, but thankful and blessed by the two crazy fair-skinned Gibsons. 
Happy's almost the weekend! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm Back!

Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how much I needed the break last was really good. We had a wonderful week, but I also had a few tough days. I didn't have the blog to take up the slow moments during my day, so there were times where I really had to come face to face with our situation, think about Parke, cry, and just let myself be emotional. It's easy for me to stay busy and not let myself get sad....after all, I have two crazy kiddos to chase around. However, when they both nap, that's hard. I used to beg for those moments of quiet, and now I kind of dread it. Those were my special moments with Parke...just the two of us. So, long story short, it was good for me to face that. For me not to cover it up and stay busy on the computer, editing pictures, updating the blog, or returning emails. 

The negative part of me taking a week off from blogging is that I didn't take a single picture until Friday. I love pictures and having a way to document what we do every day. I really missed that! 
Anyway, I'm back...and glad to be!

We spent tons of time as a family last week. The kids are just hilarious, and they are growing and changing so much every day. I'm going to do an update on both of them in the next few days. 
Micah and I went on an overnight date on Friday. It was so much fun! We went out to dinner, went to a hotel, rented an overpriced movie on the tv (I fell asleep halfway through), slept in, ate breakfast, and met the kids back at home. They stayed with my mom and didn't miss us for one second. 

The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, so we took the kids to the Razorback baseball game. We had box tickets, but we only stayed up there for one inning. The kids would not sit still and just wanted to run around all over the place. It was perfect weather for running. :)

We were asked 5.3 million times if the kids were twins. 

We started having meltdowns, so we left the game a little early. We still wanted to be outside, but we needed the kids confined. :) 

We ended up putting them in the stroller and walking around campus. It was so nice because most of the students were gone for Spring Break, so it didn't make me feel 100 years old. Ha! 
I remembered as we hiked around why I always wore comfy shoes to class. I was not wearing good "campus" shoes, and my feet were killing me!
We tried to find all of our family members names on the campus walk. My grandfather graduated there, 3 out of 4 of our parents, and Micah and me. We found Micah's name twice (bachelors and MBA), but did not get to see my name at all! The section where my year was stamped was closed off for construction. Micah was teaching Landry to make fun of me and she was being so silly trying to pick on me. She kept pointing to things and saying, "There's my name! See? Where's your's mama?" She is so much fun.

On Sunday, Micah's parents took Landry camping for Spring Break with her cousins. I've received a few pictures, and it looks like she is having a blast! They invited her for 5 nights, but we had planned to only let her go for 2 or 3...I'm kind of debating about driving to pick her up tomorrow. I miss her so much, but I know she is having the best time. Collier is soaking up every second of being an only child. We have played, and played. I'm trying to tough it out, let her stay, and continue the quality time with Collier. He rarely gets 100% of my attention, and he really seems to enjoy it. He has only asked where Landry was one time! 

 Two more random things, and then I'm all updated...

I received this priceless piece in the mail yesterday. It is such a sweet keepsake of our precious boy! I had a few people give me the paperwork for this to be done before Parke was born, but they ended up ordering it for us while we were at Arkansas Children's Hospital. It was made by a group called Mamie's Poppy Plates, and they are a non-profit group that provides these plates for families with stillborn or terminal babies. You can visit their website here...really, a great organization!

Also, what do you think of the new blog makeover? Jessica at Diamond Doll Designs fixed me up, and it feels good to have a fresh new look... especially with sweet Parke included! I'm still working out a few glitches, but I hope to have everything all fixed up this week. 

Collier is waking up from his nap, and we are about to start going again. Just having him with me this week feels like a breeze. We are going non-stop, and I am just loving staring and focusing on just him!

Monday, March 11, 2013


I'm forcing myself to take the rest of the week off from blogging. I need a little break. I need to not think about things so much, I need to not feel the pressure to (or not to) blog about Parke everyday. I loved keeping everyone up to date on his status, and I will love looking back at the memories we documented, but I'm a little worn down. 
One thing I do want to document before I take my time off is this...
I have the best, best, best friends in the whole world. Honestly. Our friends have helped carry our family through this journey with Parke like I never imagined. I have a picture of some of them from the service on Saturday, but not all of them. So, before I go on...just because you're not in the picture doesn't mean I don't love you! :) These were the hostesses for the reception after the service. 
Here are a few public thank-you's. These ladies are amazing!
(left to right):
Sarah-Thank you for your sweet messages and prayers, for making me laugh, and for helping to coordinate child care. 
Stephanie-Thank you for coordinating meals and childcare. Saturday was so smooth with much thanks to you!
Jennifer-Oh goodness...thanks for bringing out your inner therapist and telling me it is okay to cry. Thanks for making me laugh, and thank you to your sweet husband for being Parke's doctor and loving him so well. 
Michelle-My sweet soul-mate. Thank you for being my eating buddy (ha!), cuddling on the couch with me, and for being the mommy to one of Parke's best friends (Isaac). 
Sarah Lauren-This one makes me cry a little bit. God gave me you as my rock throughout Parke's life. Thank you for being here constantly during his life and jumping straight in my bed with me the minute he passed away. Also, thanks for mothering another one of Parke's best friends (Harris). :)
Cara-Thank you for feeding me, for loving my children so preciously throughout these past months, and for being just so darn thoughtful. You have blessed my heart!
Cathy-Thank you for your sweet messages, prayers, and concern. Thank you for helping with Landry and Collier and being such a support. 
Kathleen- Thank you for adding inches to my waistline. :) Your desserts...good grief! Thank you for checking on us regularly, for being Landry's play buddy, and for loving Parke. 
Kristen- My newest precious friend! Thank you for your daily concern for our family, thank you for being Landry's dance mama, and thank you for being such a blessing to my heart. I'm thankful that we met at the right time, and sweet Parke's life bonded us. 

I could start naming so many people that aren't in this picture, but then it would never end. We had friends travel hours to be here with us, feed us, call us, pray for us. It all means the world. We did not go one day without someone checking in on us. 49 days (plus) of phone calls, texts, meals, coffee. We are blessed by each of your friendships, and I thank God daily for the people he placed in our lives. 

So, that's it. Goodbye for a week or so! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Celebrating through tears...

Today we will join with many friends and family to celebrate Parke's life. Today is a good day. Today, I am thankful that we have a reason to celebrate and a baby in heaven that belongs to our family. 
I have moments of being so sad, but I try to remind myself to be thankful that God gave us the gift of such a beautiful baby...even just for a short time. Eternity will not be short, and we will be with him again for those days. I'm so thankful for Parke Henry, and today we will celebrate his days of LIFE here with us. His days were peaceful, precious, and full of love. 

Job 1:21
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Thursday, March 7, 2013

One Week

I can hardly believe it has been one week since Parke passed away. These 7 days have flown by and have felt so strange. I have grieved over a lost life before, but never anyone who lived in my own home. There are tiny things all over this house that remind me of our sweet baby....reminders I am thankful for. He was real, he was ours, and I want that feeling to stick. 
We spent 49 days with Parke in our arms, and each week was a celebration, a milestone. It feels funny to have a week pass...a milestone, but marking a loss instead of another birthday. I wonder how long I will count the weeks and the days? I don't know if that goes away or if I will always know that my baby would be 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 weeks old. 

As much as we think about Parke, grieve over him, and miss his presence, we are staying busy with Landry and Collier. Staying busy helps. The moments of sadness creep up at the strangest times, but especially when things are slow. 

In the midst of playing this week, Landry brought me this picture she "made of me." She said that it was a picture of me with baby Parke, "because he was your best friend." I love that girl! 

Here are some busy pictures of us from this weekend while my brother and sister-in-law were here. It was really good to get out of the house some instead of sitting on the couch and sulking. It's good for the kids for us to act as "normal" as possible, but we still make sure to talk about Parke regularly and answer Landry's questions. We want them to continue to know him and talk about their brother as they grow. 

The boys went to the Razorback game and chased Collier around. They said he loved it, but did not sit still for one minute. :)

Before I even go here, I've already been told that I am going to have to be watched! 
Landry may or may not have had her ears pierced on Saturday with my cousin. :) 
We had been talking about doing it for her birthday in April, so it was just a little early. Her daddy was a pushover when she asked him on Saturday, so he gave us permission to go. Seriously, cleaning those things 3 times a day is keeping me busy! 
One of my good friends asked me, "What's next? Is Collier getting a tattoo?" 

After the ear piercing torture, we went and got pedicures. Landry shared the foot soak bowl with me and loved it. The people at this nail shop really got to know Parke in his 7 weeks of life, and they were so sad when I walked in without him. 

Besides planning Parke's beautiful memorial service for Saturday, I have been keeping myself distracted with cooking, online shopping, and cleaning out closets. I think that Landry might be able to compete for the best dressed child award if I don't get myself under control. Maybe making some online returns will also keep me distracted!

We are continuing to feel your prayers for our family, and I can't tell you how much your precious words have meant. 
We're just missing our Parke Henry...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paying Their Respects...

On Sunday, Parke's birth mother and her family wanted to pay their respects to our family for the loss of our sweet baby boy. We have seen them multiple times since Parke's birth, texted regularly, and shared a crazy amount of pictures. We went to their house with the kids, but we really didn't know what to expect on this visit. 
We sat there for 30 minutes just making small talk and watching the kids play. We gave their family a plant and an 8x10 picture of Parke for their house. They have 8x10 pictures hung around the top of their wall of all their family members...even those in the Marshall Islands. We thought it would be special for them to have his picture, and they really loved it. 
Finally, people started flooding in, and I realized what we were waiting for. In a 2 bedroom duplex, over 30 adults and multiple children came to honor our family and acknowledge the loss of our child. Some of their families traveled over an hour to get there just to shake our hands. 
Their preacher showed up, and they even worked out having a translator there for us. The preacher stood up and gave a short message, and then the entire house broke out in the most beautiful Marshallese song. I wanted to pull my phone out to video or take pictures the entire time, but I did not want to offend anyone. Even without pictures, I will remember those moments vividly. 

After the song, they shared with us that in their culture they like to make an offering to the family to make up for their loss. They got in a line and came before us to throw money at our feet. Many people cried for us, and they all shook our hands and shared in our sorrow for losing a part of our family. 
This part was difficult for us...we wanted to say NO WAY! Especially because we were in a home where 17 people live in 2 bedrooms. They are in a state of poverty, and they continued to want to honor our family with the little that they had. They gave us over $70 and the flowers pictured below. 

After that was finished, the preacher shared with us that they had prepared "refreshments" for all the guests. A child came out with a plastic bread-bag filled to the top with individually zip-locked egg salad sandwiches. Two pieces of white bread and mashed up eggs...that house started getting very stinky! :) After they passed everyone one sandwich, the child came around again offering us the extras. We had plenty, so other family members started taking what they could. 
Next, the birth mother's brother, and the "head" of the house came offering drinks. He used the lid off of a storage container as a tray and had an assortment of sodas, juice, and water for us to choose from. 

I cannot express to you how they honored us in those moments. They put together a very special ceremony of love where our families and cultures were joined. 
The birth mother and I cried together, and my heart truly hurts for hers. She has been so gracious to make known that I was Parke's mother, but I know her mama heart is hurting and broken as well. 

I'm just throwing this out there in case anyone is wondering. If you want to honor Parke's life with a donation towards his birth family, we will absolutely get that money to them. I'm not asking anyone to do that, I'm just sharing that we will continue contact and will have a way to provide that gift to them at any time. I was overwhelmed that, with so little, they still wanted to give to us in a big way. They wanted to show us their love, their respect, and their sorrow for our family. 
We not only share a child with this family, we share the same God. I am thankful for the knowledge that one day the birth mother and I will sit down face to face in heaven and speak clearly to each other. No broken conversations, no cultural confusion...just mamas sharing stories about their baby. 

**I have learned something very interesting about the Marshallese culture throughout these months. If a Marshallese woman has a sister, their kids are all considered siblings. If she has a brother, his kids are cousins with hers...just like in the US. I can't tell you how many men walked in and the birth mother told me they were her least 12. Birth Mother's sister told me that their aunt (mom's sister) lives here and that is where all of their siblings come from. They have a family of 8 and so does the aunt. Pretty wild!**

Monday, March 4, 2013

Landry's Moments...

Landry was able to have some special big sister time with Parke on Thursday morning before he passed. This will probably surprise a lot of people, but she didn't even know he was sick. We hadn't really talked about that. She overlooked the oxygen, the medicine, the doctors visits, and all she saw was her baby brother...he was perfect and complete in her eyes. 

Thursday morning, we brought her into our room and snuggled her up in the bed with the 3 of us. The first thing she did was lean down and kiss Parke's head. She giggled and laughed and said, "Baby Parke is teasin' me! He sounds like a little piggy!" His breathing was labored at that point, and it was a cute description and made us all giggle for her to describe it that way. I'm so thankful that she interpreted it that way and not as scary. 

We told her for the first time that baby Parke was going to go live with Jesus. 
She said, "But I want him to live with me!" and "When will he come back?"

We told her that he had a broken heart and it would be totally fixed in Heaven. We explained that one day we would all get to go live in heaven with Jesus and we would be with Parke again on that day. 
She said, "But I don't have a broken heart." 

Landry also kept saying, "But I still want TWO brudders!" 
We told her that she will always have two brothers, and that she gets to tell people that she has a brother in heaven...not many little girls get to say that, and that makes her an extra special sister!
Her reply was, "But I want two brudders HERE." 

She asked some tough questions...things we didn't expect from a 2 1/2 year old. But, it was amazing what she understood. I loved getting to tell her even more about God and his purpose for our lives. 

One of Landry's favorite things about Parke were his "tiny feet!" She wanted to match their feet up that morning, so I snapped a quick picture. What a precious moment. 

She loved on him and hugged him lots that morning. We never asked her to say "goodbye" because that isn't what I wanted her to remember. I asked her if she wanted to sing Jesus Loves Me to him, and she did. The way she sang it was priceless...
"Jesus loves!" and would look at Parke.
"Yes, Jesus loves! Yes, Jesus loves!"
She wanted him to know that he was SO loved...because he was!

I'm glad I didn't post this a few days ago because since then, we have continued to be amazed at Landry's comprehension of the situation. Someone was sharing their condolences with us the other day when we were out, and Landry told them that her baby brother, Parke, was in heaven with Jesus. She told the lady, "Jesus is holding him because babies have to be watched." :) 

Just this morning, she told me that she missed baby Parke and wanted him to come back to his home with her. We talked about how that wouldn't happen and that he is so happy to be where he is now. We talked about how we can anxiously await being joined with him again one day. I told her that we could pray and ask Jesus to tell Parke things if we wanted to and if that would make us feel better. She prayed and asked Jesus to give Parke a lollipop...and a taco. Ha! 

She has been amazingly strong through this whole situation. Most of the time, she carries on as usual. There are those few moments of questions, and then she moves on with playing or telling stories. I hope that she keeps asking and keeps remembering her time with him. 

Micah and I were discussing some areas of hurt for us over the weekend. We had some families close to ours who backed away when Parke was born and chose not to "expose" their family to his story or situation.  We had others who practically would have lived with us for 7 weeks just to let their kids have a glimpse of God's hand working. I am so thankful that our kids got to be a daily part of Parke's story, and I am so thankful that Parke is a part of their life stories. I can't imagine it any other way, and we pray that as parents we live consciously choosing to expose our children to things that will help them know God on a more intimate level. 
 Even though Collier doesn't understand yet, we will be able to show him pictures of them together and teach him about God through Parke's miraculous little life. The questions may be tough, and the conversations are hard....but this is where life lessons are taught and accepted.  

I had a church friend share this with me through email. Her kids never met Parke, but the fact that they used his story to Glorify and teach about God in their family was so touching and comforting to us. 
 "I cherish the lessons of love you have taught me and my family by your example.  My children have cried and questioned God about Parke Henry's short life.  It has been wonderful to discuss  with my children about trusting our Lord with all of our fears and questions."

Thank you all for sharing your stories with us over email. We have received so many emails about purpose that Parke's life held. We will cherish those stories and look back with joy that his short life had meaning to others besides just us. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Parke Henry...

This post is hard, but I'm ready to document these moments before I forget. We are feeling your prayers bathing over our family, and we are so grateful for that. Parke was a special, special baby. I am so grateful to God that he gave him to us...even if just for a little while. I am so honored that I was chosen to be Parke's mama. He changed our lives in such an amazing way, and he will forever be my baby. 

Our last days with Parke were extremely precious, peaceful, and a time that I will never ever forget. 
Parke was on oxygen most of the time, so we didn't leave the house at all. It was wonderful to just snuggle up with our family of 5 and enjoy each other. Parke was comfortable the entire time, but sleepy throughout. I loved it when he would open his eyes and make contact with mine. He knew it was getting close, and he just seemed so at peace.

My grandparents were over on Wednesday, and we were able to get a few family pictures on the couch. They didn't go perfectly with our wild munchkins, but the pictures and memories they will bring my heart are absolutely perfect in every way.  

Parke continued to be "over-loved" throughout his last day on earth. He was SO loved by Landry and Collier, and I'm so glad we will have pictures to show them and talk to them about their relationship as they get bigger. Collier started saying "bru-ber" on Wednesday.  

When the kids went to bed Wednesday night, Micah spent some alone time with Parke on the couch while I visited with an old friend. He needed that time with his son, and I am so glad he got it. 
We went to bed late and stayed up until around 2:00 crying, admiring Parke's features, and just soaking up his presence. We read scripture to him, sang some of our favorite songs, and prayed for God to go ahead and take him. His breathing was very labored, and even though he seemed comfortable, we were ready for him to be fully healed. He hadn't had any fluid intake in 24 hours, and we knew that there would not be "normalcy" for him at that point. 
The scripture that stood out that we kept reading to him over and over was, 
1 Peter 5:10 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast." 

We got a little bit of sleep that night snuggled up with our boy. He made it through to the morning, and we got up early and started the process we went through the night before all over again. Pictures, sweet stories, scripture, songs. I snapped this picture of sweet Parke that morning around 7:00. Does he not look just amazingly peaceful and beautiful? He even seems to have a little grin on his face. I will cherish this picture, always! He had to know how much we loved him!

I kept struggling to understand why God was having him hold on. Why things couldn't happen quickly and without any struggling on Parke's part. God kept reminding me that his timing is perfect, and there is a reason for every second he has planned.
Landry woke up before Collier that morning, and we were able to bring her down and let her spend a few special moments with her baby brother. The minutes were PRECIOUS and I broke down and cried as she left the room knowing that God intended for those moments to happen. I will be doing an entire post about those few minutes because I want her to be able to look back and experience it all over again. It was amazing. 

At this point in the morning, we were still just a family of 5 hanging out together. Our sweet babysitter offered to come play with the kids that morning, and I was hesitant to say yes the day before. We love our mornings as a family, and we like to move slow when Micah is home. I thought about it and decided maybe 9:00 would be a good time for her to come. I'm so glad she did because she was in the room with us as we knew Parke was in his last seconds. She took the kids immediately so that Micah and I could be alone with Parke. 

I held him in my arms, staring into his face as he took his last breaths. Micah and I hugged him closely and told him over and over how much we loved him. We sang to him and rocked him tightly as he passed directly into the arms of Jesus. We knew immediately when he wasn't here any longer, but there was a resounding peace in our home. An amazing feeling of knowing we were covered in prayer and God was present with us. 

That is all I can handle to share for now.

Friday, March 1, 2013

More tomorrow...

Below is a link to Parke's obituary. I am going to try to sit down in the morning and share a post with some pictures and precious memories from our last few days with our baby boy. 
I cannot thank you all enough for the love and kindness that has been shown to our family.