Monday, December 26, 2011


I have never been one to share my deepest anything abroad. I suppose I feel safer with my worries and sorrows buried deep inside me. I feel that I am protecting others from that pain, whatever it may be.

I don't say that my way is the best way. Nor do I say I've always been right in doing that. I am human after all.

That said, I've debated back and forth about sharing this post. About even writing it in the first place. But knowing we're not alone in this, and knowing that many people feel alone, Rick encouraged me to share.

This Christmas has been a somber one for Rick and me. A couple of weeks ago I got sick. Very sick. I was burning up with fever. At first I thought I had Strep throat. When the swab was negative, I figured it must be the flu.

It wasn't that either.

See, Rick and I had been keeping a secret. One we hoped to share just after the new year. After we had a chance to see the doctor. Hear the heartbeat. We were about 10 weeks along with what would have been our 4th child. Rick was sure it was another girl. I thought it would be a boy.

We'll never know who was right. Because that fever was a symptom of a miscarriage. We lost the baby the week before Christmas.

I'll be honest, this has been hard. A lot harder than I thought. I still get teary at the smallest things. Lyrics in a song. End credits of a movie (we used them for name ideas). Reading the Christmas story. All those things that reminded me that we used to be expecting a baby. That now we're not.

I don't write all of this so you can be sad, too. But somehow I hated the idea that no one would know about this baby who was supposed to come to our family. I wanted others to remember, too.

Don't worry about saying the "right" thing to us. We'll be okay. We'll move on. We're just sad.

Anyway, all this raw emotion has left me needing an outlet, so I wanted to share a poem. In truth, I debated sharing this, too, because I feel so exposed. And for the record, I don't claim to be a poet. So here we go:


Bright hope for the future
Nestling deep within me.
Love growing stronger each day.
Each moment.

Though months away, the scenes play in my mind.
A new infant filling our home with warmth and joy.
The awe of tiny fingers. Tiny toes.
The little cry that doesn’t seem real.

In my dreams I hear it.
I wake in the night to prepare a phantom bottle.
First smile. First tooth. First step.
The unknown dates already written in my heart.

Then the world---my world---spins. Twists.
In directions I can’t control.
And my dreams are shattered. Like a family heirloom crashing to the ground.
Shards surround me. Cut me. Hurt me.
Impossible to gather the pieces. No matter how hard I try.

One slip, and it’s gone.
Like rain drops in the dirt.
Like tears on my pillow.
Like blood down the drain.

Blood that won’t stop.
Choking me.
Drowning me in anguish for the dreams that are gone.
The hopes that lay in a drunken mess on the floor.

Yet new dreams will come.
New hopes.
But never this one.
Never quite the same.

Nor would I want that.
I’ll keep that place in my heart for the baby I never held.
Except in my dreams.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Naughty or Nice?

I discovered this fun Santa site where you can check your naughty or nice rating. We had fun reading about our kids:


Overall, niceness outweighs naughtiness. Was good a lot last month! Politeness often good, but has room for improvement. Could help around house more instead of watching so much TV. Expected to move even higher up "nice" list.

It was a pretty good year, so we'll go for a "Nice" rating. A few naughty marks for excessive junk food, not going to bed on time and nearly forgetting someone's birthday. Really tried to keep up with household chores, though. Extra credit for smiling a lot. Is kind to senior citizens. Keep improving!


What a great person and friend! Definitely a "Nice!" Wonderful job of always considering others. Hands out compliments regularly. Knows the great importance of "please" and "thank you." A good role model. The main suggestions for improvement: eat more veggies and really wash those hands!

What list are you on?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Tree 2011

On Saturday, we decorated our little, fake Christmas tree. It's so much fun decorating it because we only have enough space to put up the important ornaments. This year, we added an ornament from the Kennedy Center, France, and Switzerland to our collection.

As we decorate, we tell the kids about each ornament before we let them put it on the tree. We even talk about the ones we've lost in tragic kid-cidents. Hawaii and Disneyland will not be forgotten! Someday we may even replace them.

London is getting to the point that he knows the stories. "I know. I know!" he complained often. But I think he secretly liked hearing the stories anyway.

First we pulled out the jingle bell snowmen. These are the kids' favorites, I think.

Taking turns:

Brandt choosing just the right spot (which may have been just the right spot for the ornament he put on right before this one, too).

London pondering what to do next:

Daddy putting up his special doctor ornament:

When we pulled out our Steamboat Springs ornament, I asked the boys if they had ever seen one of these before.

London said, "Yeah, in Shrek."

I asked him if he knew what Shrek used it for.

London said, "Ummm . . . he went there to read a book?"

Yes, London. You will fit in nicely with the Johnson and Sumner men. ;)

Okay, that was a picture from last year, but I wanted to give you a visual. ;)

Me rearranging (shhhh!):

Then it came time for the star. It took lots of help to get it up:

And voila! Our tree:

London was feeling a little picked on that I made him come back to be in a picture. And Khyah was very worried about him.

Then we remembered that we hadn't started our Star Wars Lego advent calendar yet, so we pulled it out and the kids huddled around. (Turns out, waiting until Dec. 3 to start was a smart thing. No arguing over who got the first Legos!)

We love decorating for Christmas! So many wonderful memories of all our adventures over the years.

P.S. Don't tell anyone, but we used a Costco-size box of Cup-of-Noodles to heighten our tree. Wonderfully effective!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gingerbread Evening

On Thursday, Rick and I surprised the boys with a Gingerbread experience over at Gaylord National (a fancy, schmancy hotel with lots of family-friendly activities). Their theme this year is Dreamworks, so we got to meet all kinds of characters while we decorated our gingerbread family and house.

And here we go with the pictures. Here we are at the gingerbread kitchen:

And just to prove I was there:

This is us just about to start decorating. Notice that the Brandt and Khyah are looking at something to the right . . .

That's because Gingy from Shrek appeared:

I know you can't hear it, but I can. It's a choir singing "Laaaaaaaah!!!" Seriously, love at first sight. Brandt was jumping out of his skin with excitement. Luckily we were pretty much the only ones there, because Brandt kept going back to give Gingy hug after hug after hug . . .

However, Khyah would not go near him. Not for anything.

That said, she was pretty upset when he left to go perform in his show. Women.

So first we decorated our gingerbread cookies. Daddy may have helped Khyah.

But the boys worked alone. They had definite ideas about what they wanted:

In case you're wondering, Brandt is making it snow sprinkles on Gingy.

Rick made his:

And I made mine:

And voila, our gingerbread family. Those smallish blobs are two dogs and a cat. Can't you tell?

Right about then, the Dreamworks show started, but the bakers promised to guard our work with their lives so we could go watch.

Again, Khyah wouldn't go near, but she insisted on being held so she could safely watch from a distance. When they left, she was sad.

Then they lit the big, hanging glass Christmas tree. It went from this:

To this:

Again, you should be hearing, "Laaaaaah!!!"

After the show ended, we went back and worked laboriously to finish our gingerbread family's house.

Daddy got a bit upset when the kids wanted to help put up the lights on the awning. They weren't as diligent about following his established color pattern as he would have liked.

And voila! Our house:

Then time to carefully pack up the ensemble. Daddy refused help.

But we got it safely home . . . right up until I pulled the thing from the box. But luckily, we brought home the extra frosting so we could fix it. :D

All in all, we had a great time!