Friday, June 26, 2009

Dex's Stone Setting

Dex's gravestone was set in the Angel Garden this week. We are so happy to have it in place.

My friend Ashley once said, "Headstones are a wonderful tribute, but what's even more wonderful is knowing the headstone isn't THE tribute. Our hearts are. I don't think there is a better gift, a more brilliant tribute, than a life led in goodness and joy."

She also gave me the idea to call the monument company and have them alert us when they were pouring Dex's stone so that we could come and place handprints in the wet cement. I love how it all turned out!
As expected, Crew's little monkey mitts were by far the most difficult to accomplish. We redid his contribution many times. We ended up with a hand-like print and a foot-ish print of his. The rest of us imprinted our hands, plus a special heart left from Mommy.

We had a very ironic and interesting learning experience with this part of the journey. They originally called us to do the imprinting as we were walking out the door to go to the Oquirrh Temple Open House. We had waited a long time for their call and I felt guilty and disloyal to Dex when I asked them to delay the pouring until the following week.

We toured the temple that morning as planned and I was reminded again that Dex himself is not in the cemetery. Dex was not waiting impatiently for us at the monument place. Do you remember how we were accidentally detoured during the tour? Let's just say that when the tour guide in the sealing room said "wow, what a wonderful privilege to be in the temple sealing room today, together with your whole family!" she had no idea how right she was.

The Lord's mercies are very tender indeed. My darling Dex continues to watch over us as we navigate the complicated mortal journey. I love him, I miss him when he isn't near, I appreciate all he does for us, and I'm so blessed to have him as a son.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blessing Crew

Twice this month we have had the privilege of attending the blessing of babies that are dear to our hearts. First our NICU friend, Leo, and this past weekend our sweet niece Tora. These recent experiences have given me the opportunity to reflect on the circumstances of Crew's blessing.

You may (or may not) have noticed that there are no pictures of Crew on his big celebration day, no announcement of his blessing, no invitations to a luncheon. You may have wondered exactly how long we were going to wait!

The fact of the matter is that we had him blessed in the hospital when he was 10 days old. Our stake president and bishop gave us permission to give him a name and a blessing whenever we felt it would be appropriate. While we know that it is not theologically necessary for Crew to have the ordinance performed before death, it was very important to us emotionally to have it done. When Crew was life flighted for emergency surgery on his bowel rupture, we didn't know how things were going to turn out. Having already buried one son 5 days before, it didn't seem so crazy to think that this one might not make it either. We felt the time was right to have him named and blessed, just in case...

I wish I could remember the words of the blessing, since I have been able to write down and reflect upon Kinley's and Tanner's over the years. I remember a vague feeling of peace and that's it. It was such a stressful situation that it required all of my focus to simply remain on my feet near my baby.

Crew has had many many priesthood blessings since that day. We have seen the hand of God perform miracles on our tiny prince time and time again. We have been very blessed in tender moments that are too sacred to share. My life would be very different without these rich, unspeakable blessings that have come at the cost of so much sorrow.

Nevertheless, I found the very human side of myself grieving this weekend over the "blessing day that never was". I was completely blindsided by the unexpected emotions. I have managed to stuff deep inside the pictures I once had in my mind of blessing my two treasures in their matching white outfits. Because Crew's "official blessing" was so different and so incomparable to previous fantasies, I had been able to successfully repress my sorrow over the loss of Dex's special day as well.

I felt very silly to be thinking such thoughts. I just wasn't anticipating them at all. We have had such wonderful experiences with Dex; he has slipped into a very real and very important role in our family, and spiritually I feel quite comfortable with our situation. And you already know the joy I feel in Crew's path. I wish I could adequately express in words the happiness and absolute peace that fills my heart because of the perfect mercy of the Lord. Therefore, it felt so ludicrous to be hung up on the mortal side of things. I guess though, it might have to be "my normal" to be content in the eternal perspective and still allow myself the moments to say "my baby died and that's really sad!"

Can I have joy in our situation and still feel bereft of the mortal dreams we once had? Apparently so.

At my mother-in-law's suggestion, I dressed Crew up in his blessing outfit and took pictures. It was emotional for me, but I'm glad that I did it. I didn't wash the outfit beforehand, so the "newborn" size still fits him perfectly. We bought matching outfits for Dex and Crew to be blessed in as soon as we knew they were coming. When they were born, soft white blankets were purchased and my mother-in-law remodeled Dex's outfit to be a beautiful, tiny burial gown. Crew's outfit has remained untouched in the closet until today.

I love my tiny miracle babies. I suspect that I'll continue to find myself sorrowful from time to time as we reach new milestones with Crew. He is so beautiful in white. He is so precious and so pure. My husband and my children are treasures, and I'm the luckiest woman in the world.

Cousin Fun

All of the cousins on Justin's side of the family were together for our whirlwind, quick trip north. We went up on Saturday and came home on Monday morning. They managed to squeeze plenty of fun into that time.Ellie, Karlee, Dex, Crew, and Tora were all born within the last year. That's a lot of quilts for Grandma to make! Each of Justin's 3 siblings (and us, of course) had at least one baby this year, for a total of 5 new grandbabies in 9 months! I never would have seen that one coming!
Tora is the most recent addition to the brood. She's cute as a button, and had the good manners to arrive smaller and lighter than Crew is currently.
All ten of the little monsters.

Daddy and Crew

Justin is the best daddy ever.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Who has the most kissable, lovable little baby in the whole wide world??

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oquirrh Temple Open House

This morning we attended the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House. What a fantastic experience for the whole family. None of us have ever been to a temple open house before (our lives were kinda complicated when the Draper open house was going on), so this was a new and exciting treat for us.

It is beautiful and peaceful, small, yet elegant. Our favorite rooms were the sealing rooms at the very end of the tour. "Somehow" in the congestion of the walkways, I took a wrong turn and bypassed the sealing rooms altogether. I couldn't hear Justin's urgent whisper, so obliviously continued on my merry way. By the time Justin caught up to me and we circled back to where we left the path, most of the rest of the people in our large group had already gone through and we were "coincidentally" ushered into a sealing room all to ourselves, just our family. It was very special indeed.

I am so thankful that the Lord loves us enough to afford us the merciful opportunity to be together with our families forever. "I love to see the temple... for the temple is a holy place, where we are sealed together. As a child of God, I've learned this truth: a family is forever." Heaven just wouldn't be very heavenly without my family.

Monday, June 8, 2009

They're "Sucking Blisters"

My pediatrician informed me with a laugh of the politically correct term "sucking blisters" when I was complaining about the "self-inflicted hickeys" that Crew is sporting all over his wrists.

Now you know and you too can be politically correct.

I love how he slurps himself. I love how deeply committed he is to his hands and his wrists. When he's in a slurping mood, you can hear him down the hallway, tasting his yummy fingers, hands, and wrists. This kid is so cute! He is just too much cuteness and sweetness. His personality is really coming out lately, the big fat flirt. He is gentle and patient and sugar-sweet. He is happy and sociable and smiley. He's my gooseberry and I just can't help covering him in kisses whenever he is in range of my lips. He's an embarrassingly good baby and a sweet sweet treasure.

I love you, Crewton, and I'm so glad you're mine. Thanks for coming to our family.

Crew Update

Crew will be 7 months old this week, with his adjusted age of 4 months. We went to the pediatrician this morning and he is doing really well. He continues to grow better than we have any right to expect and weighs in at a hefty 10 pounds, 14 ounces! He has dropped a little in height advancement (like we didn't see that coming from a mile away. Sorry for the genetics, Crew!) His head circumference continues to grow perfectly, hallelujah! He is scarring over nicely from his myriad surgeries and is super active, wiggly, and sociable.

In really exciting news, in the last three days he has finally started to reach for things. He doesn't do it very often and he doesn't do it very well, but we can tell that his attempts are purposeful and it makes us breathe a little easier. We've been waiting on this milestone for a while, starting to bite our nails about it.

In other great milestones, he now sleeps through the night! Wahoo!! He wanted a snack at 5:30 this morning, but generally he goes down at 8 or 9 at night and sleeps for 10-11 hours. He's such a lovey little kid. He needs a bath just about every day. I don't remember my other kids being so stinky, but I think his specialty formula leaks through his pores when he sweats and gives off a funky odor. Ick.

To my sadness, he seems to be through his licking-mommy's-shirt-all-day phase and has moved onto regular-ol'-drooling. It was just so cute of him to explore his surroundings with his tentative little tongue. I miss it already. He still loves to be packed around in his sling and he has even fallen asleep a few times on my bed, in our laps, and in his swing, without being swaddled. Whoa.

Our little trooper is beating all the odds, continuing to thrive and surprise us every day. Kinley said the other day, "Mommy, Dex is our miracle baby and Crew is our other miracle baby. When you were still pregnant, I didn't know we were going to have two miracle babies in our family! I thought we were just going to be a regular family!" I just love that she considers Dex another special miracle in our lives because that is how Justin and I view him.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Crew and His Darbi

Nanny nanny boo boo... I got to hold Darbi tonight...

Finally someone else can be the runt in pictures. It's about time Crew dwarfs someone, don't you think? This is the first time Darbi has actually seen Crew, since her eyes were sealed shut and all the last time they were together at Primary's... but we've been telling her how handsome he is and I hope he didn't disappoint. Crew played the role of the mellow comforter for his tiny diva, but seemed to only have eyes for Darbi's mom. Hmmm... lookin' for a cougar, son?
We've come a long way, baby... I mean babies.
Darbi and her beautiful Mommy, Audrey.
Clint and his brother Kade, the willing baby bouncers, but reluctant photo posers. Thanks for being sports, guys. I couldn't help but capture how sweet you were.

Welcome Home, Leo!

After almost 7 long months in the NICU and more than a dozen surgeries, our tiny brave soldier friend Leo has come home at last. Congratulations to the whole Miller family! You remain in our prayers and we are so so so happy for all of you!