Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 23rd..

"A Butterfly lies beside us
like a sunbeam
and for a brief moment,
it's beauty and glory
belong to our world.
But then it flies on again.
And though we wish it could have stayed
we feel so lucky to have seen it"
-- Author unknown
That is one of my all-time favorite quotes. It so perfectly says what we feel about Olivia.

As of yesterday, it has been one full year since the last time Olivia was with us here, alive. One full year since we held her in our arms and kissed her soft little cheeks. I was sad on her birthday because I knew that if she were here we would be celebrating, but there was a much different feeling surrounding yesterday. The sadness kind of came and went at different periods throughout the day, but right now, I feel like I'm pretty much just in disbelief. I literally can't believe that a year has passed already.

Last year, Olivia's funeral was on the day after Thanksgiving. Needless to say, Thanksgiving wasn't a very happy occasion for us, even though we acted like it was. Which was weird. Looking back, I don't know why we put up such a tough front during those days in between leaving the hospital and her memorial service. We had some friends fly in on Wednesday night for the funeral, so we spent Thanksgiving with them at Kurt's parents' house, and then went to my aunts in Iowa. At the second dinner, I had to excuse myself several times to go sit on the front porch and cry. I barely ate ANY food, and just kept thinking about how much I still needed to get done for the next morning, and how much I wanted to go home.

S0 this year, we are looking forward to a very, VERY happy thanksgiving. We're doing the same thing as last year, early dinner with Kurt's side of the family and then off to Iowa for mine. But instead of feeling like complete crap because we have our daughter's funeral to get to the next morning, we will be preparing to head to Lincoln EARLY on Friday for the Nebraska/Colorado game. We bought the tickets because we thought it would be something fun to do right after our wedding since we can't go on a honeymoon until the spring... but it is so fitting that it ended up being on the "anniversary" of her funeral.  I really like that we'll be celebrating this year instead of mourning.

I remember how I felt at this time last year. We had just come home from the hospital, and I was laying on the couch with packs of ice, in complete disbelief that this was really happening. I remember thinking forward, and wondering how my life/our lives would ever be normal again. The pain was so intense and raw - both emotionally and physically - that I couldn't imagine ever feeling better. It's amazing how much time changes things.

But that saying - "time heals all wounds" - is partly BS. We both definitely feel better, there's no doubt about that. But this is one "wound" that I know will never completely heal. There's no such thing as getting over the death of a child. At least I don't think there is. 

We miss and love you VERY much Olivia. More than words can ever express.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

October Challenge: Days 26-30

Well.... this, for some reason, never posted back in October like I thought it had. I just found it sitting in my drafts folder. So here it is!

Day 26 - Your week, in great detail.

Mondays are practicum days. I'm at the office all day until about 3:30 or so. After that, I have an evening class until about 7ish. Tuesdays I have class all day, and Wednesdays I'm at the office all day, and then I work in the evenings. Thursdays are my ONLY day off out of rthe entire week, and I usually spend them running wedding related errands etc. I can't wait for the first thursday after the wedding. I am going to lay on the couch all. day. long. Ha! Fridays I'm at my practicum again. Friday evening Kurt and I usually try to do something fun, because we don't get to spend a ton of time together during the week. Saturdays I sometimes have off, but there's also a pretty good chance that I'll be at the office again. Sundays are work days. Pretty exciting, right?

Day 27 - Your worst habit since your child's death.

I don't really think I have any horrible habits... or at least any that I didn't have before Olivia died. I know that I do procrastinate a bit more. It's gotten a lot better than it was towards the beginning. I've thought about it quite a bit, and I really think I developed the procrastination habit because for a while there, nothing seemed important at all. The only thing that seemed important was Olivia, and so if I wasn't reading a grief/loss book or working on some sort of project related to her, I didn't want to do anything at all. Now I think I'm just back to my normal level of procrastination... which is still a bad habit that I should probably work on. :)

Day 28 - What's in your handbag/purse.

Ha! What isn't in my bag? I'm too tired to get off of my bed and go find my purse to see what's in it, but I know there's a ton of stuff. A little personal plastic thing of kleenex, my wallet, tanning lotion, 3030020111 pens and hilighters that have gotten thrown in there throughout the semester, a little pink photo album that has some pictures of Olivia inside, my ipod, chapstick/MAC lipgloss, receipts, some folded up program things from church, ibuprofin, a couple of coasters from a bar in San Diego that were supposed to go in the scrapbook but haven't made it there yet, my little camera....

Day 29 & Day 30 - Hopes, Dreams, and Plans

I combined these two days... one of them was supposed to be just Homes, Dreams, and Plans, and the other one was for the next 365 days. I'm tired and didn't feel like writing two seperate things :). My hopes, dreams, and plans are pretty simple, really. I just want us to be happy. Our family has been through so much over the past year or so, I think that ALL of us (including Kurt and I, our parents and our siblings) deserve to have a little period of happiness, where nothing goes wrong, where there are no more sudden deaths or tragedies, and we can enjoy life without the fear of something upsetting happening again. I don't feel like that's too much to ask for! is it?
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy First Birthday Livie Girl

Well, here we are.

Has it really been a whole year since our precious little girl greeted the world with the tiniest little squawk ever? We were so excited to hear that noise, because we knew it meant that her lungs were functioning a little bit. That's a cry that I will never, ever forget.

It really is hard to believe that it's been a whole year. In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday. I can remember every detail of that day perfectly, as if it really was just yesterday. When I close my eyes, I can picture her little NICU room and isolette, and remember exactly how I was feeling at each time throughout the day. 

However, we've come so far in the last year and have had some BIG changes. The biggest one of course is that we're MARRIED now. It feels so good that Olivia, Kurt and I all have the same last name. I hated that the newspaper obituary said something like "daughter of Kurt Miller and Betsy Hills". Obviously I know we weren't married at that time, but it just makes us sound more like a family to have the same last name, you know?

Today, we got up and went to the cemetary. Abigail (who we refer to as AUNT Abigail) and Jeremy (and I guess Uncle Jeremy? haha) met us there because they''d never been to the cemetary before. Abigail was in town and able to visit us in the hospital after Liv was born, but they lived in Nashville at the time, and had to fly back to get back to work before the funeral.

They surprised us with this placque...

They said that they bought it for her grave, and we set it out there with her flowers. But as we were driving away, I told Kurt that I loved it too much to just leave there. So, we had Kurt's mom grab it for us when they went to the cemetary a little bit later on. We want to be able to put it out every year for her birthday. Isn't it beautiful? I just love it so much. We have such amazing, thoughtful friends.

Abigail took this picture of us in with her grave marker. We've always gone to the cemetary alone so we've never had one taken before. I'm really glad we finally got one.

This picture is one that my mom took later on in the day, after everyone had already been there and taken flowers. I love that there are so many. Livie is a very, VERY loved little girl!

Tonight, one of Kurt's best friends and his fiance hosted a "friends' potluck Thanksgiving". When we first got the invitation, I was a little bit hesitant. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to any plans for today. I guess I was worried that I/we would be upset or feeling pretty depressed, and I didn't think we'd want to go anywhere. After talking about it though, we decided that it would be good for us to spend the evening eating really good food with really good friends. I am SO glad we decided to go. I made Presbyterian Potatoes (basically just baked mashed potatoes), crab & artichoke dip... and these birthday cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream frosting. For Liv's birthday, of course. That I made from scratch. With my new Kitchen Aid mixer. (Pretty much amazing that you can do something else while the mixer does all the work - I never knew what I was missing!)

I didn't take any pictures at the Thanksgiving party other than this one of Kurt's giant plate of food. :)

Afterwards, we watched a little bit o the Nebraska/Texas A&M game, and then came home. Right now, we are relaxing in the living room watching the rest of the game (which is pathetic, by the way), and getting ready to snuggle into bed with a Netflix.

On the way home tonight, Kurt asked me if Olivia's birthday had lived up to my expectations. I told him that I really didn't have any expectations. I just wanted to have a nice day and and not allow myself to get too upset. We were overwhelmed with phone calls, text messages, facebook comments, etc. from people letting us know that they were thinking about our little girl today. I am so thankful that we have so many wonderful family members and friends who helped us feel special today. That's really all I could have asked for.

Happy birthday, little girl. We love you so, so much.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

50 free holiday cards!

I am constantly scouring the blogs I follow for awesome deals. The ones I take advantage of the most are for free or super cheap photo prints to order online, because I love the matte finish, and our local stores only print the glossy kind.

But this deal is even BETTER than free prints, and all you have to do to take advantage of it is write about it on your blog. So all of my fellow new mommy and newlywed bloggers, this post is for you!

Currently, shutterfly cards if you write about their new line in your blog. So here we go :)

As newlyweds (it's so fun to finally be able to say that!) Kurt and I are going to send out our first set of Christmas cards together this year. Last year, we had planned on buying some, but ended up having to send so many thank you cards for sympathy gifts so close to Christmas, that we didn't end up sending any holiday cards. I have had it in my head all along, that since we are having a november wedding, we should send out cards with a wedding picture of us on the front. However, those are pricey, and after sending out our wedding invitations to so many people, we realized that we have a VERY long Christmas card list! But this totally helps us out. I am more than happy to write about something that I would have probably spent extra money on to order, anyway!

How gorgeous would THIS one be, with a wedding picture on the cover?

And wouldn't THESE personalized photo mugs be great stocking stuffers for parents and grandparents?

Now that our gifts will be coming from "The Millers" and not just from "Betsy and Kurt", I would love to order THESE personalized tags to put on all of the gifts we'll be giving this season.

Have you posted about the 50 free holiday cards on YOUR blog yet? If not, you should! It's definitely worth the time that it would take to write about :)
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Monday, November 15, 2010

We're Married!!!!


I am going to do another post later when I get a chance, but I wanted to write quickly to share how we included Olivia in our special day.

My bouquet included a little locket with her picture in it. (The rosary is the one my Grandma carried on her wedding day)

My earrings and necklace set were Citrine, which is Olivia's birthstone, and also happens to be our wedding month birthstone.

Family picture at the head table, right next to where my bouquet's vase.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

I haven't really had a chance to post lately... every spare second of free time that I've had has been dedicated to getting ready for our wedding THIS WEEKEND! I can't believe how fast the time seems to have flown by.

But for today... I just wanted to say Happy Veteran's Day... and thank you for my wonderful husband-to-be for serving two tours in Iraq, and everything else he did for this country and all who live in it. Livie sure has one brave daddy, and I am so proud of him.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

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