Sawyer’s Birthday

I took a little hiatus from this blog. I’m not sure why. I think it was just procrastination, one of my downfalls. Either way, I’m back now and I plan on keeping it up this time. Today marks a year since we had/lost Sawyer. A few coworkers reminded me and one even gave me a condolence card. It was very sweet. I also had my 29 week OB check up. That was the only time I lost it. It was something about being in the OB office that turned on the water works. I am just so thankful that we were able to get pregnant right afterwards. I understand that some people need a little bit of time before trying again, but for me, that was definitely not the right decision. It makes the year anniversary a little easier to deal with knowing that we have a sweet baby girl on the way.

First Stitches?

So, I’m at work the other day and the director of Aiden’s daycare calls me. She says Aiden was going up the wrong way on a metal slide on the playground, fell, and busted his chin open. She thought he may need stitches so I left work to take him. I was not looking forward to it. It was his first stitches and I was nervous.

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I called the urgent care office and asked if they would be able to stitch a four year old’s chin. The lady on the phone said as long as they can hold him down long enough, it should be fine. Hold him down?! Time for plan B. I had some surgical glue from work in my first aid kit at home. Although he probably should of gotten stitches, he held perfectly still and I glued it shut. When I told Aiden I was done and he wouldn’t need stitches after all, he said, “See, mommy? That’s why I love you”. Fast forward a few weeks later and the scar is barely noticeable, if I do say so myself.

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Day By Day

With each day that passes, life is getting back to normal. I do think about Sawyer often but I’m not overwhelmed with sadness like before. It’s more like a memory of something that happened, rather than a person I lost. I do get down when I see new born babies or pregnant women, or hear of someone who just had a baby with no problem but besides that, I’m doing better.

On a different note, Aiden has been a little strange. A few years ago we found a song that just became Brian’s song. It’s a less popular country song about a good, strong man/father/husband/etc. Lately, every time we get in the car, Aiden takes my phone, plays the song, and cries. Like serious tears. The first time it happened freaked me out. I heard him crying and when I asked him what was wrong he said, “I just love daddy so much”. I thought it was really sweet so of course I started crying. You should of seen Brian when we both came in crying because “we loved him so much”. Let me paint a picture for you: Brian is relaxing on the couch after his class and Aiden and I walk in the door, crying, and both sit on the couch hugging him while telling him how much we love him. He was thoroughly confused. Also, Aiden has been asking us when we are going to have another baby. He says that he really wants to be a big brother. He also said that families are suppose to have two kids. I spoke to his teacher today and found out that they have been talking a lot about families. She told me that based on today’s kids books, the quintessential perfect family seems to be two parents and two kids. That explains why he keeps saying we need two kids and he wants to be a big brother, but what is with the tears for daddy when we literally just left him? Apparently there are a few kids in his class that don’t have dads. I don’t think Aiden can wrap his mind around the thought of, “Wait a minute. You mean dads can just leave?!” I feel like he keeps in the back of his mind that his dad might leave him. You should have seen his little face the other night when he said, “Where’s daddy”? and I jokingly replied, “He left because you’re driving him nuts.” Oh my God, I’ve never felt like more of an asshole! I immediately grabbed him up and kept repeating, “That was a joke! You know your daddy would never leave you!”. Parenting fail.

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Aiden has been talking about Sawyer a lot lately. He wanted to assign a song to be Sawyer’s song (We decided on Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker. Sawyer moved like crazy in my belly when I would sing it. He got to where as soon as the song came on, he’d start wiggling). Every once in a while, he’ll say he misses Sawyer. I think he was really excited and now misses the thought of a little brother. We were at JCPenneys the other day and he was being so well behaved and using great manners. The cashier said, “He’s so polite. Is he your only one?”, to which I nodded. Aiden said, “Yeah, our baby died.” The poor woman didn’t know what to say. She had a mortified look on her face and muttered the words, “I’m sorry”. Aiden grabbed my hand, then patted it and said,”It’s okay. Mommy’s okay. Come on mommy”, and led me out of the store. I turned around to smile at the poor girl and I’m pretty sure she was crying.

Later that day, Aiden was playing with Play-Doh. He always makes me things so when I saw he had made a heart, I assumed it was for me. I said, “Oh honey, did you make that for me?” To which he replied, “Nope. This is for Sawyer because I miss him”.

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You’re not going to believe this but as I am typing this now, I looked over at Aiden who was zoned out watching TV and asked him what he was thinking about. Exact words: “I want you to have another baby. I want a baby brother”. This is sweet, but nothing breaks my heart more than when he starts explaining why he will make such a great big brother, like he’s pleading his case. As if he thinks that’s why we don’t have a baby yet. I keep telling him, “Aiden, I know you will be the best big brother one day!” One day.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes

This is a phenomenal low carb meal! Of course, it would be delicious over a plate of pasta but I just add a side of green beans.

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Ingredients:

1 pack of chicken

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 cup of fresh spinach (chopped)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup Sundried tomatoes

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Start with cutting the chicken into chunks and cooking it over medium heat in a pan with some olive oil. Season the chicken however you like. I usually just use garlic salt.

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Once the chicken is no longer pink, set it aside. Next, add the rest of the ingredients (except the spinach and tomatoes). Continue to simmer the sauce until it starts to thicken, stirring often. Now, add the spinach and tomatoes. Continue to cook until the spinach leaves have wilted, then add the chicken back to the pan and viola! You’re done. The sauce is so rich and yummy, you won’t even miss the pasta.

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Parents Night Out

Last night, Aiden stayed with my mom so that we could meet up with friends at Alhambra dinner theater. We saw Beauty and the Beast. We had a couple of drinks, ate a great meal, and watched an awesome show. It was a lot of fun.

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Had to take a selfie with Gaston.

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The show was over around 10pm and Aiden was staying with my mom over night so we decided to go out to the beach.

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We went to a park to go Pokemon hunting for a little bit and there was AT LEAST 100 people there! It was strange. The only light was the soft glow of a hundred cell phone screens. Everyone was walking around like zombies looking down.

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Next, we went to Zeta Brewing and had a couple of locally brewed beers and listened to some live music.

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I had a lemon drop shot made with Carve vodka just because I’m really good friends with one of the guys that started Carve, which is the only vodka distillery in Jacksonville.

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Then, we walked on the beach for a LONG time! We walked and talked about everything: Sawyer, work, the future, etc.

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It was about 3am so we decided to start back towards the truck and head home. The night was perfect until we came up to the top of the dunes just in time to see the truck being towed away! Ugh! We called our friend John and he woke up, came and picked us up and took us to the tow yard. $114 later and we were on our way home. We made it around 4:30am. ? And people wonder why we never go out!

Mini Orlando Vacation

Aiden has been trying to learn how to swim without floaties for quite a while but he was always too scared to try it without holding onto us. We were at a pool party a few weeks ago and I told him that if he swam from point A to point B without any help, we’d take him to Sea World. He jumped right off the side of the pool and never put floaties on again! We left early Saturday morning, spent all day at Sea World, then stayed at a hotel and played at Aquatica (Sea World’s water park) all day Sunday.

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Mommy: “Aiden, on a scale of 1-10 how excited are you right now?”

Aiden: “I’m like 38 excited right now!”

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Sea World has three big roller coasters that Brian and I wanted to do. Brian waited in line while Aiden and I explored and played. Once he rode the ride, he asked for a “child swap card” and brought it to me. This allowed me to skip the entire line and get right on the ride while he & Aiden spent time together. It was perfect.

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Aiden rode everything he was big enough for. He really liked Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

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Shamu was the only show we got to watch but it was pretty neat. The trainers don’t get in the tank with the whales anymore so that was kind of lame but I suppose their safety is more important than our entertainment.

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I didn’t get a picture of it but one of our favorite things was the Turtle Trek. It was a large dome shaped room where images are projected all around. It tells the story of a sea turtles life as if you were the turtle. Brian was holding Aiden and to make it more exciting he was ducking every time an image was projected towards them (as if it were real). During this, Aiden yelled, “Daddy, it’s not real! It’s a hologram.” People around us laughed.

The Happy Harbor kid area was huge! Aiden loved climbing the nets.

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Aiden wanted to take a picture in front of the beluga whales for Uncle Cory (since he always sang Baby Beluga to him as a baby).

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By far, Aiden’s favorite exhibit was the shark encounter! He must of went through it eight times. It’s a tube that runs right through a huge aquarium of sharks. It’s pretty awesome, I must say!

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We rode Journey to Atlantis. Aiden thought it was “really scary”. I love the picture. He looks just like the emoji!

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Our hotel room was pretty nice. It had a queen bed and a pull out sofa bed. As soon as we left the park, we checked in and went right to the pool. We swam for a little bit, then had to get out because it started lightening. So, we ordered dinner to be delivered to our room.

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Still trying to stay with the low carb diet, I had a burger with blue cheese, bacon and sautéed peppers. The salad was the only “green” side they had.

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Once the storm passed, we went back to the pool. Aiden met some kids to play with and Brian and I enjoyed some adult beverages from the poolside bar. We stayed until it closed at 11pm.

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This was at 11:15pm.

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The next morning, the boys had a really hard time getting motivated so I went down stairs and had breakfast by myself. And, lucky for me, there was a Starbucks in the lobby.

Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and a tall coffee with sugar free caramel syrup and heavy cream.

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I thought bringing a coffee to the room for Brian would help him wake up but I still had to wait. Oh well. It was kind of nice having the peace and quiet before heading out for the day.

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Aiden slowly started waking up. I guess that theme park really wore him out!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures while at Aquatica. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting my phone wet and damaging it. Aiden rode the smaller water slides and loved the wave pool but he wouldn’t do any of the bigger slides. He said it was because he was afraid of heights. Year, right. After about four hours of playing, he was ready to go and actually asked to leave.

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It didn’t take long for him to pass out.

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We didn’t leave a moment too soon. Check out that storm rolling in!

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Aiden slept the whole way home. We took a stroll down memory lane listening to music that we use to listen to when we were dating as teenagers. Over all, it was an awesome weekend!

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No Carb Isn’t Easy, But It Works!

Once I started back to work, after Sawyer was born, I wanted to concentrate on me. I wanted to get as healthy as I could possibly be for my self esteem and the next pregnancy. When I got pregnant with Aiden in 2011, I was 146 pounds. Through those next three years of sharing his toddler food I packed on 10 pounds, leaving me at 157 pounds when I got pregnant with Sawyer. I was 168 pounds the day I had him in 2016. Two weeks after delivery, I was back to 157. The day I started back to work, I also started eating no carb. I lost 17 pounds during the first six weeks and am now down to 139! I can not tell you the last time I was in the 130s. Literally, I can’t. I’ve tried to figure it out but I think I was in the 140s in high school. One more time for good measure: 17 pounds in 6 weeks! That is from diet alone. Not working out. I have been going to the gym but I HATE cardio so I do 10 minutes max and mostly weight train. Every time I tell someone this, the first thing they say is, “What CAN you eat?” since everyone thinks a meal is not complete without rice, mashed potatoes, or bread. Actually, I don’t feel like eating low carb is restrictive at all. You can eat as much as you want (constant snacking is encouraged) until you are full, as long as it is the right stuff.

Example Day:

Breakfast- two egg muffins (I’ll post the recipe at the end. They are made up of egg, spinach, and sausage. So easy & sooooooo good!) and water to drink.

Snack- turkey (regular lunch meat, I just look for the one with the least amount of sugar) & cheese roll ups and water to drink.

Lunch- grilled chicken with sauteed zucchini and squash (from the deli next to my work) and water to drink.

Snack- peanuts, string cheese, and water to drink.

Dinner- Grilled chicken, green beans, and water to drink. (Dinner isn’t always easy because I’m the only one in the house not eating carbs. I’ll typically make them rice or macaroni and cheese, but saute me some veggies of some sort as a second side.)

Have you noticed a pattern? “Water to drink”! I drink so much water.

It’s basically meat (of ANY kind), veggies (no carrots, corn, potatoes), eggs, cheese, and nuts. I cook with olive oil or real butter. Fruit should be limited (I have none). It’s easiest to cook at home but it is doable if you go out to eat a lot. I will typically look at the menu ahead of time to see what I can have. BBQ is my favorite! A nice brisket with green beans. Yum! The first week or two wasn’t easy but I was motivated so I didn’t cheat at all. Now, when we go out to eat, I can smell the sweetness from the hub’s sweet tea. I know that sounds weird but it’s true! Most any restaurant has some sort of grilled meat (without breading or sauce) and vegetables as a side dish. Although, fast food can be a bit tricky. You can get a cheese burger or other sandwich and not eat the bread, but that gets a little pricey. How many bread-less sandwiched would you have to eat to get full? I’m telling you, by eating no carb you dropped wait continuously until your “body is satisfied”. I say that because I believe once you are at your body’s ideal weight you’ll stop losing and instead be maintaining. Think about it, our original ancestors ate this way. It’s called the Paleolithic diet (Paleo for short) because that is what humans ate during that era, as cavemen. That is what our bodies were designed to run on. Cavemen would kill animals, eat their meat, and eat whatever vegetables were around. If they did eat fruit, it was whatever they came across and what was in season (which wasn’t often). Although, the fruit that we grow today is a lot sweeter than what they ate. Thanks to cultivational crossbreeding, farmers have been able to create fruit plants that taste much sweeter, are more desirable, and more profitable. Unfortunately, our bodies can’t tell if the sugar we are consuming is from an apple or a Snickers. It is stored in your body as fat. We need so little sugar to survive that pretty much anything we eat is overload. If you don’t consume high amounts of sugar while eating, your body doesn’t get that spike in blood sugar and in turn, has to burn stored fat for energy causing you to lose weight.

Any way, I lost 17 pounds and I’m excited. I haven’t lost any in the last two weeks so I think my body is telling me that I am at, or close to, my ideal weight. Now I’m concentrating on toning up at the gym. Once I get a routine down and start seeing results, I’ll post it!

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Egg Muffin Recipe:

I made these with cheese because I didn’t have any veggies in the house.

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1 pack of sausage

8 eggs

Whatever you want (cheese, spinach, broccoli, etc)

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Brown the sausage.

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In a large bowl, combine eggs, sausage, cheese and vegetables (cooked per package instructions).

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Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full.

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Bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Store them in separate containers in the fridge. It’s so easy to pop them in the microwave for 60 seconds and eat breakfast on the go!

It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Owning a house is non stop work and my honey do list is a mile long! Unfortunately for me, my honey has an injured shoulder so there’s not much getting done. Here is my wish list…

  1. Paint the master bedroom
  2. Refinish dining room table
  3. carpet all three bedrooms
  4. Replace master bedroom closet door
  5. Replace bathroom fixtures
  6. Paint kitchen cabinets
  7. Tile kitchen floor
  8. Create a half-wall in between the kitchen & living room

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Aiden had a birthday party to go to today and I convinced Brian to take him so I could stay home. Little did he know, I had an ulterior motive. Looking over that wish list I realized there was only one item that I felt confident I could do by myself. When they left, the master bedroom looked like this…

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Our bed wasn’t that messy. I took that picture after I started prepping the room for paint.

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And yes, that’s a surf board being stored in our bedroom. It gives the room a real romantic feel, right. No. No, it doesn’t.

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Now it looks like this…

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I can’t wait to switch that closet door out for a bright white bi-fold door.

These are the tools I used. I HATE trying to wash paint off so I cheated and got tray liners.

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I’m also really bad at cutting in so I bought a few tools to help with that but they didn’t really work like I had planned. The edger kept getting paint on the sides so it was constantly putting paint where I didn’t want it (on the baseboards, trim, and ceiling). I ended up taking my time and using a regular old 2″ angled paint brush.

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The corner painter worked okay but it was difficult getting an even amount of paint on both sides. I had to go back over the corners with the paint brush so it didn’t really save any time. It’s very possible that it was operator error.

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Halfway through cutting in the ceiling, it occurred to me that I did not remove the TV from the wall, nor did I even know how. So I did what any adult would do and cut around it, in hopes that Brian will help me remove it and I can finish behind it…. at a later date.

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Now to decorate! I wanted a more grown up, romantic bedroom so no more surf board or tacky beachy picture. I’m thinking a big, horizontal mirror over the dresser with a cool, maybe metallic frame.

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A few years back, Brian made this really cool picture out of a solid piece of wood and I LOVE it! It will definitely have a place on our bedroom wall. Not to mention the below picture he got me for Mother’s Day this year. (He also got me a vegetable peeler ?).

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“Can I borrow a kiss? I promise to give it back.” He can be sweet when he wants to.

Eventually, I’d like to get curtains but that’s where we will disagree. I’d like to get some sort of pattern in white and grey. I know he’s going to call that “too plain” and want something colorful. We’ll see who wins. Also, we WILL have carpet in all three bedrooms… one day.

I’ll post updated photos once we get somethings on the wall. Feel free to place bets on the great curtain debate of 2016!

Update: I guess you could call the curtains a compromise. I was browsing Target when I stumbled upon them in the clearance aisle. They were $7 per panel and they were black out curtains, which is exactly what we need in our hot bedroom (The house was built in 1957 so the insulation isn’t great).

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Now to hang some pictures!

“Melt In Your Mouth” Chicken

I’ve been eating carb free for four weeks now. It’s not easy but I’ve lost fifteen pounds so it’s worth it. However, today I wanted something good. I found this recipe on Pinterest and the comments said it was better than fried chicken. I don’t think I would go that far but it was definitely yummy and the kid liked it. That makes it a winner in my book. Plus, it was super easy.

Ingredients:

chicken breasts

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

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Combine everything together in a bowl. Lay your chicken breasts in a casserole dish and coat them with the mixture. They don’t look very pretty at this point.image

Bake them at 375 for 45-60 minutes and viola. That’s it. We paired the chicken with green beans and Mac n cheese (for the boys). I didn’t get a picture of the full plate. I started cooking late so we were all starving by the time it finished but you get the idea.

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Sawyer’s Butterfly Release Ceremony 6/18/16

For Sawyer’s memorial, I wanted to do something kid friendly and I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves. I didn’t want everyone crying and all of the kids asking questions, etc. We wanted to  thank everyone for all of their support and love through all of this. We decided to do a butterfly release in a local park. We chose Tilly K. Fowler park because of the pavilion we could rent that was right next to a big playground for the kids. I ordered sandwich platters from Publix and the butterflies from www.butterflyreleasecompany.com. They came via FedEx in a regular box with ice packs.

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When butterflies are below a certain temperature, they become dormant and sleep. Once they arrived, I had to keep ice packs in the box to keep them sleeping.

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We chose to have them put in individual envelopes. We were able to chose the color of the envelopes and an inscription. “In loving memory of Sawyer Elmore. 4/24/16 Taken too soon but loved for eternity.”

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The day before the release, there was an 80% chance of rain. Luckily, the weather was absolutely beautiful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

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I would venture to guess that thirty people showed up. Once everyone had arrived, we passed out the envelopes. I stood on a bench in front of everyone and said the following…

” Thank you everybody for coming. As you all know we lost Sawyer at 37 weeks The day after our baby shower. They have ruled it a cord accident. Although it is a terrible situation that we never thought we would go through, we have been so overwhelmed by all of the support and love we received from our friends and family. We truly could not have gotten through this without you. We just wanted to get everyone together to acknowledge what we’ve lost and celebrate what we have. Does everyone have a butterfly? I’m going to read a poem and at the end please join us in the release of your butterfly.

As you release this butterfly in honor of me, know that I am with you and will always be. Hold a hand, say a prayer, close your eyes and see me there. Although you may feel a bit torn a part, please know that I’ll be forever in your heart. Now fly away butterfly as high as you can go, I’m right there with you more than you know.”

Everone opened their envelopes and to our relief, they all flew away. Some were a little lazy and hung around on people’s hand or shirt before flying away. That made for great photo opportunities.

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Butterfly 8

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Butterfly 9

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Butterfly 14

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Butterfly 1

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In order to keep Sawyer’s memory close, I made a shadow box. It includes pictures, a sonogram, a blanket with his name, the hat he wore in the hospital and the onesie he was suppose to wear home. I also added the chorus to Wagon Wheel by Derius Rucker. Whenever I sang out loud, Sawyer would move. When I sang that song, he moved a lot! Every time. I will forever think of him when I hear that song.

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