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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hold On To Hope: Called to Love Retreat

I recently returned from a weekend retreat.  The retreat is "Called to Love" and it is designed as a retreat for moms that have adopted and/or foster kids.  This was my second year attending.  The theme for the weekend was "Hold on To Hope".  There is something so amazing and uplifting and refreshing to attend the retreat with 200 other mamas that "get it".  Moms that understand the struggles that you go through, the path you walk, and the thoughts you think when you are all alone.

There were so many great break out sessions and main speakers.  I took as many notes as I could possibly write.  I had the opportunity to paint a canvas and get a manicure and walk in the gardens at the Oregon Garden Resort.  I was really having an amazing time. 5pm on Saturday.  My husband was taking our youngest (8 months) to the ER.  He choked on something or inhaled something.  There is nothing more debilitating to a mother than to be an hour and half away from her baby that needs her.  So many different thoughts flooded through my mind from (you shouldn't have left your are so selfish, to why couldn't your husband watch the baby closer, to I am never going to be able to let the baby out of my sight again).  All of those thoughts, of course, are irrational but in the moment of having absolutely no control that is unfortunately where my mind went.  I wish my first reaction would have been trust, faith and prayer.  I have a long ways to go. 

Fast forward...Man cub was just fine.  They determined whatever he choked on was swallowed and he was just fine.  I made it to him in Room 202 at Legacy Hospital.  He was babbling away..."ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" (his favorite and ONLY word) and being his usual busy self.   The only thing we had to wait for was for him to eat two jars of baby food to make sure he was using all his muscles in the throat and esophagus.  He flew through both jars and we were released.  I was relieved.  Children will you on your toes.  ALWAYS!

Man Cub's choking episode has got me thinking.  I realized that he has been struggling with tolerating different textures.  I think back to my other kiddos, and foster kiddos and realize many of them were eating crackers, soft green beans and noodles.  Most were able to use the pincer grasp (index and thumb) to pick up small items like Cheerios and small Puff snacks (We keep trying these Happy Baby Puffs)  I like them because Man cub seems to want to eat them and they smell great.  BUT Man Cub...not so much.  So this an effort to help him taste some new people food without worrying about the risk of choking I bought him these Baby Fresh Food Feeders.  I bought the boy colors but they come in girly colors too.  I also spoke with his pediatrician this week.  Side note...the Dahl kids' doctor is AMAZING!  I cannot say enough wonderful things about him.  He is gentle, kind and really listens to me.  He LOVES babies too.  Dr. Miller recommended putting soft food into his cheek so that he really has to gum it before he swallows it.  Here is hoping that Man cub figures it all out, because for as much as this kid LOVES to eat (hello six jars of baby food a day) you think he would be stealing food off our plates.  LOL. 
Super cute Winnie the Pooh Walker.  Baby walkers at a good price were very difficult to find.  We love that this one has a tray and plays music.  Super easy fold down for traveling (like when you go to Mimi and Papa's house for a party!)
(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rest In Peace Sweet Dad of Mine

Thirteen years breathed your last breath and let go.  How is it possible that it has been 13 years already!  Seems like forever and a minute all at the same time.  I have been anticipating this year's anniversary for least my subconscious has been preparing.  You've appeared in my dreams, memories and I've noticed I have been extra emotional this past month.  Some years the anniversary of your death comes and I remember the day (as always) and miss you, think of you and move on, but some anniversaries come and they tear at my heart, and the grief feels raw for a moment and I cry at all you've missed these past 13 years.   This year's anniversary is the later. 

Recently I've thought a lot about the type of father you were.  You were involved in my life and you included me in yours.  You showed up and participated.  You drove me to school, piano lessons, chaperoned field trips, took my shopping, cheered me on at sporting events, listened to endless choir concerts.  You welcomed my friends into our home and I always thought of you and mom as the "cool" parents.  Even though you were a pastor and we were a Christian family, we were allowed to dress up and go trick-or-treating on Halloween, go to school dances, hang out at friends houses.  You took me on vacations and bought me a first car.  You loved mom.  Some of my best memories I have of you and her, is dancing in the living room on Christmas Eves to Kenny G.  Christmas was always magical at our home.  Try as I might, there is no replicating it for my kids.  We have wonderful Christmases but they are different now.  Different now that you are gone.

We sold our first home this past year.  It was very hard for me to decide to move.  Partially because you helped us buy our first home.  You helped us through the process and renovating it.  Selling it felt like losing a part of you.  However, with our ever growing family, it became necessary to let it go.  So after thinking a long time about how to include you in our new home, I finally came up with an idea.  At the end of the hallway, I hung your picture up.  The one I have had since your memorial service 13 years ago.  Above your picture is a quote from your favorite passage of scripture on a canvas (Psalm 27:1).  I thought you would like it here.  I joke that you have a great vantage point to watch the kids come and go and grow up.  You watched Matthew crawl down that hallway for the first time a few months ago, and you watch the kids enter and exit the bathroom everyday while brushing their teeth for school.  You've watched a myriad of kids go in and out and in and out the garage door with bike helmets, scooters and skinned knees, and you've seen me carry the central vac hose in and out probably a gazillion times.  Every time I pass by your picture, I smile.  I thought it might bring me sadness, but I actually enjoy knowing where I can see your smiling face.  So there you are on the wall watching all the craziness that is the Dahlhouse!

Rest in peace my sweet dad...I love you more than any words could ever say...xoxoxoxo
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