Friday, April 27, 2012

Marissa Mouse

Today when I picked up Dominic from school I looked back to make sure he'd put on his seat belt and had a small panic attack. Somehow he'd gotten a hold of Templeton, Marissa's mouse. In a very panicky voice, I asked Dominic where he'd gotten Marissa's mouse.
And then he explained. Mrs. Beth-Anne had given it to him. Her dad had sent mice, exactly like Marissa's Templeton, to each of the kids in the school. I didn't really get the full story until I read Beth-Anne's blog this afternoon. They each came with a Bible verse that Marissa had chosen sometime this year.
I cried. How beautiful.
Dominic's class

He's kept an eye on it all afternoon. In fact, he tried to bring it to the table at supper. Thankfully we've all heard the story about Marissa not being allowed to bring her "rodent" to the table. =) So he didn't complain when Jon put it on the couch to wait on us. He's now sleeping with it.

Marissa mouse taking a ride on the soccer ball.
It's beautiful how God looks out for his children. Even though we've all suffered a devastating loss and are still grieving, it's wonderful to be a part of this huge, amazing family. Our church and the hundreds of people connected to us have each brought us comfort in so many glorious ways.
Thank you Mr. Ted!!!

All photos in this post are courtesy of Beth-Anne White.

Random moments

Here are some random moments that happened in the past few weeks.
Caitlin and a friend at the Children's museum.
 A bunch of our tiny Coffee Girls.
Ms. Wendy french braided Caitlin's hair. 
She won't sit still for me, but seems fine with other people.
 After swim lessons and a night in braids she had waves in her hair.
She kept touching her hair all day.
 The kids watching Jon play Angry Birds while we waited on our food at Taco Bell.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Forgotten moments

So often I'll be glancing back through this blog and see something I documented for Dominic. But life gets busy and I forget to take pictures or blog about it when Caitlin reaches that moment.

When we lived in NC there was a pediatric dentist in our town. So when the kids each reached 12 months I took them in for their first visit. I'm not sure if I took pictures or blogged for either kid.
When we moved here there wasn't a pediatric office and the general dentist wouldn't see Caitlin until she was three years old.
So last week she had the first dental appointment that she remembers.
She did amazingly well and had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last week Dominic asked me to help him clean off his desk. He's a bit of a slob and his desk is usually cluttered, if not completely buried. 
He begged me to help him because he had a special "project" he wanted to do.
This is what I saw when I returned. The card on the right is a sympathy card from my mom's pastor that was solely for Dominic.
 Later he needed more space and put everything together. But he won't let anyone else touch it.
He doesn't really say much about her, but every once in a while he'll make a comment that lets me know he misses her and is still thinking things through.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last School Presentation

Dominic had one more school presentation before school gets out.
They had one fiction story, one non-fiction and one poem.
His fiction story had something to do with nijas fighting with toothbrushes. This is apparently very funny to boys. In fact, only one boy did not write a nija story. His story was about a farting dog. =) The girls in the other hand, had sweet stories about horses, ice cream and friends.

His book is illustrated.

 I have no idea what his poem means, but he thought it was funny. I'm still trying to decide whether I should be weirded out by his jungle fungle. =)
Have a fungle
Have some fun
or a mun
See a Monkey
or a bunch
Have some fun
end of lunch.  
There was a sad moment to the presentation. Beth-Anne (the teacher) had laminated Marissa's books and poem and read them to the class in her place. The stories were so good and showed a bit of her sweet spirit and intelligence. I seriously doubt there was a dry eye in the room.
 My mom had come over to pick up some strawberries and stayed for Dominic's presentation. Dominic made sure she had a seat beside him and kept hugging her. Since we usually have to steal our hugs, she was over the moon happy. Perhaps it was because he didn't know she was coming until she walked in the door. He loved the surprise.
Once again I was super proud of my little man and the work he had put into his books.
It does my mommy heart and my book lovers heart good.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thailand Outfits

We purchased Sabbath outfits while in Thailand. But when we returned there was always a reason that we couldn't wear them - too cold, outside church, camping, etc.
So this last Sabbath we pulled the shirts and dress out and wore them to church.
I had a mini photo shoot before church.
 It was still a bit chilly and the slits on the sides of her dress went pretty high. This was Caitlin's compromise.
One of our friends who came over for lunch after church was gracious enough to take some pictures of the four of us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Good Bye

Today was one of the hardest days of my life. The days preceding it are right there at the top as well.
It's so hard to express how much we are grieving for Marissa. It's all mixed up with watching our son grieve, answering our confused daughter's questions and watching our dear friends suffer.

I've spent the last couple of days hugging crying people, running errands for people and praying. This loss has rocked our community and brought us to our knees. It's getting close to a week and our grief still feels so raw and the fact that she's gone so incredibly unbelievable.

Jon put it well when he said -
"Our church is more than just a church, it's our family. And on Tuesday we lost our daughter."
Photo courtesy of Heather Stovall

It's been the hardest thing I've ever done to watch my child grieve. He told me this week that he wished he could die so he could close his eyes and when he opened them he would be in heaven with Marissa. 
Caitlin doesn't really get it and keeps asking when the doctors were going to fix her so we could see her again. It broke my heart when we rounded the corner of the school and she saw her brother and friends on the playground set. She called out to them -
"Get off the swing set! That's where Marissa died and I don't want you to die."
(It wasn't where she died.)
It broke my heart. I told her it was okay, but then I started crying so I'm not sure she believed me.

Today was the funeral and I wanted to write down a few thoughts. Then I'm going to move on - at least on the blog. I want my kids to get back to a routine and I need to start healing.

Marissa was an amazing girl. She was funny, full of sunshine, happy and crazy fun. But if you've read my blogs or met me than you know that this little girl stole my heart when she told me about her love for reading. How could I not love her?! 
I've had the Wilmoth family over to my home, been to theirs, spent a week at a house in the mountains with them and had Bible study every week with Mary. But my very favorite memory is when I bought Marissa a book and she hugged me like I'd given her the world. I'll never, never forget that. The look on her face was how I feel when I get a new book and I totally got her.

Last night was the private viewing for the friends and family. It was gut wrenching to take my child to see his friend, so he could say good-bye.
Today was the funeral. Jon was a pallbearer and you can't imagine the sight of six men carrying that tiny casket down the hill to the grave site. They were all dads helping a friend by carrying his daughter to her grave. When we pulled up there was a long line of police officers standing at attention with their hands over their hearts. They stood there until every single car had passed them and parked. And since our church was packed and overflowing it was a long time. But they never moved as they showed their respect for a tiny little girl who lit up our world.
Photo courtesy of Beth-Anne White

After a few words the children each let a pink (Marissa's favorite color) balloon go with a wish to see her in heaven very soon.
Photo courtesy of Kristea Cancel
We watched as our children wrapped their arms around the Wilmoth kids as they all watched Marissa be buried. 
We left the cemetery with broken hearts. But we have a glorious hope that Jesus has promised us.
We'll see her again in heaven!
Photo courtesy of Beth-Anne White 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Last night a beautiful, sweet, fun and wonderful little girl went to sleep.
She'll wake up when Jesus comes, but we are going to miss her so very much while we wait.

We love the Wilmoth family dearly and our thoughts and prayers are with them.
She was adorable, funny, talkative and full of life.
We will miss you very much Marissa!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fall Creek Falls

Right after we missed the church camp out we got a call from my aunt and uncle. They wanted to know if we were still up for camping at Fall Creek Falls that next weekend. 
Since we planned on being gone for the weekend and Jon was off on Friday, I chose to do the Easter baskets and egg hunt on Friday morning.

The anticipation was killing them. They couldn't stand still for more than one picture before they took off to look for eggs.
Discovering new eggs.
With their egg loot and Easter baskets. The stuffed animals were the biggest hit.
 Setting up camp.
 Remember my saying that the stuffed animals were a hit? Apparently an angry bird is made to be thrown up and at everything.
 Taking a break on our hike.
 Caitlin kept convincing people to carry her.
A perfect ledge to stand on.
 Overlook for one of the falls.
  Jon set up his hammock and Dominic commandeered it.
Checking the map to see where we are.
After our longer hike around Fall Creek Falls
We had so much fun. The weather was beautiful, although a tad cold at night.
As usual, the kids enjoyed being out in nature and are asking when we can go camping again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Change of Plans

Last weekend our church planned a camping trip to Fall Creek Falls, including the church service there that morning.
The weather forecast called for rain so we chose to just drive up that morning. But someone forgot to set the alarm and we didn't wake up in time to make the drive down. So we re-figured and decided to have a family day.
When I'd had the kids pick out their clothes the day before, they chose to wear their Thailand shirts.
Caitlin just happened to be wearing a hat that my friend sent from Thailand several years ago. It doesn't really fit anymore, but she wore it all morning.
After breakfast and the impromptu photo shoot we headed to Burgess Falls. It's much closer and we hadn't been since last fall.
 We stopped at the playground for a few minutes.
 I'm thankful my kids don't mind the camera in their face all of the time.
 Dominic flopped down on his stomach and Caitlin followed. Baby girl copies everything her brother does - much to his despair at times.
 I have NO idea what she's doing.
 Caitlin found this tiny snail. He wasn't the least bit afraid of me.
 The kids are super curious and checked out everything.
It was a bit disappointing at first that we missed the church camp-out. But the day went so well. It was nice to see the kids noticing nature and to spend some quality time with each other. It ended up being a blessing in disguise.