ButterflyKissesFromMaui

It was my intention when I left TN to do a lot of blogging on Maui. After all, I’d be on a family vacation with tons of time on my hands and well rested, right??? Well, we have had time but I haven’t been well rested. Turns out a 5 hr. time change throws kids systems for a loop. It has been a wonderful trip though and we have gotten to do a lot of really amazing things and create great family memories. Scratch that: It’s likely our kids will forget most of this trip, Caleb certainly will and Noelle may only remember bits and pieces. That’s Ok. I took lots of pictures and Steve has a memory like a steel trap. We’ll be able to remind them what a great time we all had for years to come.

This place is truly beautiful. So beautiful it keeps taking my breath away.

Our favorite Beach: Kam1

Our favorite Beach: Kam1

I’ll be posting more pictures from our trip in coming days.

It’s late. As usual. Seems to be the only time I actually make time for blogging. Late at night when I’m really too tired. Tomorrow we leave to go camping ‘inland’ for a couple of days into the more jungle like areas of Maui. I expect we’ll have a whole ‘nother pile of images and adventures by the time we get back.

This past week we went to one of the coolest little towns in Maui. Paia had this really earthy, hippy, naturalesque vibe to it that made this crunchy Mama happy. I could have gotten lost in it’s eccentric health food store named Mana Foods with the tiny aisles and incredible selections crammed in every square inch of the place. And really, who couldn’t love a store with an entire WALL dedicated to chocolate?? With what the locals refer to as ‘righteous’ prices Mana gives the other Health Food Stores on Maui a healthy dose of competitive price points.

We struck out on foot with Caleb in the Ergo and just ambled here and there all over town. In one of the art galleries I found myself unexpectedly blinking back tears. Sometimes it hits me when I least expect it, in the most unlikely of places. Just these reminders of our lost babies and at the same time it reminds me of my friends who are still hoping and trying.

In this art gallery were a series of three sculptures all featuring children with butterflies. The first was a baby with a butterfly on his shoulder. Something about him made me think of our oh so tiny Kaitlyn Anne we lost after Noelle was born and before Caleb.

Baby and Butterfly Sculpture

Baby and Butterfly Sculpture

Then there were the baby-hands reaching up to catch a butterfly. The first babies we lost, the ones we never named, the ones that happened so early it seemed like they were barely there before they were gone…somehow this sculpture made me think of them.

Baby Hands reaching for Butterfly

Baby Hands reaching for Butterfly

And then, just as we were leaving Doodles pointed out the third sculpture I had somehow missed on our way in and asked me to take her picture with it. With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes I agreed. Yes, here was the reminder of the twins. The twins that would have been Noelle’s older siblings. Putting on her fake camera smile face she came up beside the statue and put her hand in his for the picture. A tear spilled over and down down my cheek as I snapped it and said “Perfect Doodles! That was a sweet picture. Thanks for thinking of it” Thank goodness for auto-focus or that one would have been a blurry mess.

Doodles and the Boy chasing the Butterfly

Doodles and the Boy chasing the Butterfly

What touched me about these images in a very visceral and powerful way was even though each one of them reminded me of a loss they were each so entwined with hope at the same time. The last one especially. In motion. Moving forward. Reaching for the butterfly. Gentle in the motion so as not to scare it away. Amazement as the fingertips brush the delicate and beautiful creature.

The struggle with infertility and miscarriages can kill Hope. It can squish the desire to live life right out of a person. It can fuel envy, deep desire and yes, actual lusts for a child. Sometimes Hope is the last thing one feels walking that path. And just when it seems Hope is there it seems to flit away again. The faster we lunge for it, the tighter we cling when we have it, the faster it seems to disappear.  I would encourage any of my friends reading this who are heart-sore and journey weary to just stop for a moment. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and let it all go. Stop the brain from churning, from planning, from anxious circles. Allow yourself to just rest for a moment of stillness and in that moment gently reach out and see if you can brush fingers with Hope again. Hope is a lot like those butterflies. It comes to us when we are in moments of stillness and quiet and flits just out of reach when we chase it.

My fleeting moments of hope were realized in two of the cutest children a woman could ever long for. Two children that I can hold and kiss and not just blow kisses into the wind to. My prayer is that the hopes of my friends are satisfied and fulfilled as only God can.  Love and hugs from me. And if you can’t hope, if you are too exhausted, too tired, too fragile, too hurt… I’ll Hope and pray for you. Message me or comment and I’ll add you to the list of women I pray for daily.

Me, Noelle and Caleb in Maui

Me, Noelle and Caleb in Maui

Shifted

This week has been a doozy. Overwhelming and wonderful. A dear friend gave birth early this week and I was honored to be able to attend as a quasi-photographer-doula-friend-encouragement combo type person. There is something about a birth, no matter the circumstances that is incredible to witness. It’s a stretching of the limits of what a woman thinks she can handle and is overwhelming, surreal and wonderful all at the same time.

For the first time in a veryvery long time I went 48 hours without sleep. It was for a good cause…actually I take that back… For the BEST of causes. But still. It was a long time without sleep. My body has decided it does not tolerate such things anymore and proceeded to unleash a vindictive backlash of life altering side effects as punishment for a couple of days after the sleep-less marathon. A few days of rest later and my body and myself have declared an unstable truce of sorts. Just in time too.

On the heels of  big-life-stuff from the makeup project, to the birth, to the kids getting a cold and a bunch of other things looms this family trip to Maui in just one short day from now. In the depths of my fatigue addled brain, engulfed in waves of pity partying over the fact that the kids just HAD to get sick NOW at the most inconvenient time ever I began to feel quite put upon by life. Nothing has sounded better than to cancel the rest of life and spend it in bed. Sans interruptions, needy kids, needy business duties, needy household and needy every-thing-else. Oh if only such a Cancel All button existed in real life.

Tonight as we went out as a family to go shopping for some healthy snacks to take on the plane and a few last minute Maui oriented items (Sun hat for the bald extra white baby anyone?) a shift in my attitude and perspective started to happen. Somewhere between trying to find a pair of sandals that fit our extra-wide-footed firstborn and the aisle with the baby-swim-trunks the other side of my hectic life reared it’s head. And my perspective on my woe-is-me life shifted. A reality not centered around my stress, low energy, millions of details, mountains of lists and even bigger mountains of laundry became suddenly clear.

I have two kids. Two sneezing, runny nosed kids that need to be supplemented, snot wiped and loved on. Two kids! Me. Yes, me, has two kids with little faces that are beginning to look uncannily similar with sweet chubby cheeks and precious trusting blue eyes. Sometimes it just sneaks up on me how cool of a thing it is to actually have these little people in our life.

Spring Day Kids

Spring Day Kids

I have incredible friends. A  local friend knew I was beyond snowed under and came over. The house was a disaster. There was tons of laundry to be done and I could barely move off the couch in the thyroid/adrenal crash of epic proportions. Plus I had a little guy who decided to dedicate his every waking moment to nursing. She buzzed around doing  laundry, helping to pre-sort some into packing piles and began warfare with the dishes. Another one of my Woe-Is-Me moments this week was discovering that my dishwasher was broken.  Today she came over AGAIN to help out even MORE and left the kitchen perfect.  It’s humbling and amazing to have friends like this.  Perspective shift? I’m beyond lucky. I have a friend who takes a chunk of time out of her life, does laundry, dishes and stops for a hot cup of tea and a chat in the middle of all that.

The biggest bummer of my week out of the many small bummers? Discovering that the great deal on housing I had been so proud of myself for frugally bargain shopping for weeks…trying to find the best deal possible for our trip to Maui…Finding out I booked it for the wrong YEAR. Yeah. I did that. The wrong year. And because it WAS a clearance deal and such a bargain there is no trade-ins, refunds or cancellations. And no, we also cannot change our tickets to just go next year at the same time as our housing. We were stuck going and stuck with no housing.  Hearing about the situation friends of ours on Maui offered their home to us incase we cannot find housing. And there it is again…That reality that we are pretty exceptionally blessed with incredible friends who are above and beyond generous with their time and resources.

At the checkout line of the store tonight I had yet another moment of grateful reality shift. We have the money to buy the clothing items we needed. I didn’t have to panic, or worry when or how  I would get these needed items for our children. Sometimes it still shocks me to be able to just go and get what we need without it being an anxiety ridden ordeal wondering if adequate funds could be squeezed from an inadequate budget. If a bargain cheap enough could be found. It’s more than nice. It’s a luxury many do not have. And I am thankful. Very very thankful.

So I am taking my shifted self to bed and going to sleep with my little family. Yup. My very own little family. That I get to spend 12 hours on a plane with in just a day or so. Hope this shift sticks around for a while. It’s a good perspective to have and an even better one to keep.