Anna’s President

Anna was two years old when President Obama took office. I remember sitting watching the inauguration with her thinking that she would grow up with Obama as her president. I was pleased with this fact because I knew he was good man, good father and was someone who was going to run our country with integrity.  I also was proud to know that with my vote, along with many others in our country, the first African-American president was elected.

I’m sure, like many, I was emotional watching his very first speech that day and found myself chanting, “yes we can” and dancing around the room with Anna. I knew in my heart that positive change was on the horizon for our country and it felt so good.

A couple of months later, after spending a day with her dad, Anna returned home with a new baby under her arm. Her granny had found it for her and Anna was smitten with her new addition. We sat that afternoon talking about her little one and, as I did with all of her dolls, I asked her what her baby’s name was.

She looked at me with proud mama eyes and then shouted, “Baby Obama.”

I smiled, gave little Baby Obama a kiss on the forehead and welcomed him into our family.


Anna and Baby Obama


I have an unsettling feeling in my gut this week. You know, the one you get when something really good is about to end. I’m not going claim that I know everything about politics or that every decision President Obama made while in office was perfect, he wouldn’t even claim that.  What I will say is, as a mother, I am proud that Barack Obama was my daughter’s president, a man who did lead our country with integrity.  This statement holds a lot a weight in my heart because he is the only president she ever knew.

On Friday night I think I may hold onto Baby Obama and his Aunt Alice for a while and daydream about the day Anna and I danced around our family room singing “yes we can.”  So mI will also continue to believe in the power of love and hold onto the hope that President Obama talked so eloquently about last week during his last speech to our nation.

President Obama was not only Anna’s president but he was mine and he and his wife will forever be role models for me as a parent and as an American.

I’m praying for our country and it’s leadership.


Today I’m thinking about the dance party that is happening in Heaven. Our friend Harry is 8 today and he’s celebrating with my girls. My dear friend Caroline, Harry’s mom, is spending the day with her family spreading love at Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital in honor of her little boy. There is so much love to spread in his honor.

Caroline was one of the first people I connected with when I came to Oregon so long ago. I loved going into her 2nd grade classroom at Gales Creek Elementary School and watching her teach. She was always so calm and loving. I knew right then that I had a lot to learn from this amazing woman.

Through the years we would connect at school, through email when I moved back to Ohio and even once on a high ropes course. Her daughter, Lucie, is someone I would seek out when I was teaching, wanting to steal a hug from her to get me through my day. She is very wise beyond her years and so delightful.

After Harry went to Heaven, Caroline and I started meeting for coffee on Friday mornings. At first I wasn’t sure what to say or do; how do you comfort someone that means so much to you after they have lost a child? I realized that being there in that space with her was all I needed to do. We talked, shared stories, we laughed, we cried and we created a bond that God had a deeper plan for.

I would leave our meetings with such a deep love for my friend whose heart was breaking from missing her little boy so much. I would pick Anna up from school after our coffee date and would hold her a little tighter, give her more kisses and hug her over and over again. I was doing this for Caroline because she could not love on her baby anymore. I never wanted to feel that pain and I was so sad that my friend had to.

The night my girls went to Heaven I asked someone to call Caroline and ask if she could come be with me. My girls were now with Harry and I didn’t know what to do. She came, hugged me and loved on me in a way no one else that night knew how to. She had a deeper understanding of what was to come and knew I just needed someone to be by my side.

When I’m sad I can look at her and she gets it. When I’m struggling I can call and she understands. God’s plan is so much bigger than anyone knows and my friendship with Caroline, started so many years ago, was part of that plan. I love that God knew we would need each other and that our kids would all be playing in Heaven together celebrating Harry’s 8th birthday, riding unicorns and sliding down rainbows.

Today, on Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating Harry! Happy Birthday sweet boy, you are so loved and so missed!

Harry bowling at Anna's 4th birthday party.

Harry bowling at Anna’s 4th birthday party.

Love Note

Just when I thought there were no more love notes to find from Anna I find this tucked in some unused construction paper.

Love note made by Miss Anna

Love note made by Miss Anna

My heart is full of love.



Artwork by Anna Oct. 2013

We have lots of love in our house and in our lives so of course we love Valentine’s Day. I would spend the 13 days leading up to it giving little love notes to Anna and Abigail, making heart-shaped cookies and sandwiches for their lunches and planning what we were going to spread love on the big day. I loved watching my girls create notes for their friends, Abigail loved to bake heart-shaped cookies and Anna loved to decorate them. We did these sorts of thing throughout the year but during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day we created a tradition to really focus on love we have for one another.DSC_0263

Last year I started putting little heart love notes in their rooms early in the morning before they woke up. Abigail’s were placed on the mirror in her bathroom, or on her dresser where her favorite bracelet’s were placed; I knew she would be putting them on in the morning before school. Anna’s were in her closet to be found when she was getting dressed or on the floor just as she stepped down for the first time each morning. I loved making these little notes and I loved that both girls would come downstairs with a smile and a hug knowing just how much their Mama loved them.

These notes are still displayed in their rooms by my girls. Anna’s placed in the various picture frames around her room and Abigail’s hanging on her magnetic board. I love that they were so special to them they displayed them.DSC_0199 DSC_0189

I too have lots of little love notes displayed by my girls. Abigail used to leave me sticky notes expressing her love and Anna, at least a couple of times a week, would make sure to tuck a note into my bed to be found once she was in dreamland.

I love that these little gestures are still very much a part of our decor and I can’t imagine that ever changing. I can go into any room in our house and find a note left by my girls, always making my heart fill with joy for the love we all share.

Yesterday, February 1st, I would have snuck upstairs while the girls were sleeping and placed my notes in their spots. Instead I walked to the place they went to Heaven, tucked my note on their tree and told them how much I love them. I know they can feel the love in my heart, I know they know I love them to the moon and back and now to Heaven and back.

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 This is Red, a horse at the barn where Anna went riding. I love this picture so much.

This is Red, a horse at the barn where Anna rides. I love this picture.

When I went this morning to let the dog out I found a sheet of window snowman stickers sitting on my front porch with a note attached.

Here are some happy snowmen for your windows or mirrors.

Love your Secret Santa

I smiled. What a happy way to start my day. I knew exactly where I was going to put them…Anna’s room. Her bedroom windows look out over Main Street so anyone walking by will be able to see them. I immediately headed up stairs and turned on the light. Oh how I miss my girl. I walked in and looked around, saying hi to her dolls and stuffed animals like I always do. I’m sure they are so lonely without having her to play with them daily. I sat down on her bed and took a deep breath. It’s really hard to imagine her never being in that space again. Every inch of it screams Anna’s room.

I looked down next to her bed and a book, which has been sitting there since the beginning of October, jumped out at me: Horses, a book she bought with her own allowance. She would look through it nightly and day-dream of having a horse of her own someday. She would tell me that she wanted a horse just like Tiva, or better yet, maybe we could buy Tiva?

Anna started riding Tiva over the summer and did so weekly up until Oct. 17.  During her last lesson we talked about a future of riding English and jumping, both she was really excited about. I absolutely loved to watch her ride. She was such a strong little girl and was able to move Tiva wherever she wanted him to go. He was so gentle with her and for that I am grateful.

She loved that horse so much. I remember during her last lesson, while her instructor was setting up some obstacles and Anna was waiting for her to be done, she laid forward wrapping her arms around his giant neck. Tiva could have put his head down and Anna would have gone rolling off the front of him, but he didn’t. He held his head up and allowed her to love on him in a way that melted this Mama’s heart. I love remembering that exact moment and the feeling I had. I was a proud Mama and my heart was filled with so much joy. Anna was so happy.

My girl loved that horse and I think he loved her too. I’m so glad she had those experiences.

So, whoever left the stickers on our front porch this morning I thank you. Your kind gesture triggered a chain of events that reminded me of a moment that I had not thought about since the day it happened. I’m sure there was a greater hand in it all but I am grateful for the gesture of love that you gave. The stickers are in Anna’s window and my heart is full of joy for a little girl that loved a really big horse.

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I Miss….

We sent this picture to Emily and Ben. The girls were missing them tons and wanted them to know.

We sent this picture to Emily and Ben. The girls were missing them tons and wanted them to know.

I Miss…

~ playing games with the girls at night; Uno, Jungle Speed, Wig Out, 1313 Dead End Drive and our new favorite The Game of Life.

~ snuggling with Anna in the morning.

~ telling the girls to stop fighting.

~ hearing about Abigail’s day at school.

~ playing Cafe with Anna…I would cook dinner and she would belly up to the bar with her babies and pretend she was at a Cafe.

~ Anna asking for a bednight snack.

~ Abigail asking questions about whether 6th grade was a good time to have a boyfriend.

~ laying in Anna’s bed while she brushed her teeth and danced around her room.

~ kissing Abigail goodnight and having her grab and pull me into bed with her.

~ Anna so intently watching Tom shave.

~ telling the girls I don’t have enough energy to play lava monster at 7:30 pm and having Abigail give me a hard time. (I’m not a night person)

~ giving Abigail a hard time at 7:30 am when she was grumpy and didn’t want to dance around with me. (She’s not a morning person)

~ that we understood this about one another but still gave each other a hard time anyway.

~ how my girls made me want to be the best parent I could be.

~ having kids play hide and go seek in our house. Many times trying to find Abigail because she knew all the good hiding spots.

~ having Ozilline knock at the door around 5:30 to ask for a play date and then hearing Taylor Swift blasting from upstairs 5 minutes after her arrival.

~ the girls asking to go get ice cream, over and over and over again.

~ Anna holding my hand.

~ Abigail asking if her hair looked stupid or was sticking up on the sides. It always looked fabulous.

~ dropping Abigail off at school and rolling down the window just as she was 5ft from the car and Anna and I screaming, “I love you Abigail.”

~ the look she gave us when we did that.

~ new artful creations emerging from the studio.

~ hearing Abigail and Tom talking in her bedroom.

~ monkey bars in the morning before school.

~ relentless request for sleep overs with friends.

~ the excitement that filled the house when Emily and Ben were coming for the weekend.

~ seeing Anna at recess and having her kiss and hug me a hundred times.

~ watching Anna ride Tiva.

~ having Abigail show me all her new Tap moves.

~ hanging out at the dance studio watching Anna in her tap class.

~ the smile she gave me when her eyes met and she knew I was watching.

~ listening to Anna care and nurture Baby Mary every single day!

~ hearing the loud music coming from Abigail’s room, even when the door was shut.

~ picking Anna up from her dad and listening to stories about her weekend away.

~ watching Tom dance with my girls.

~ elaborate dance productions in the family room staring my girls.

~ looking through the American Girl Doll catalog with Anna while snuggling up in the big red chair.

~ the excitement of finding Joey Francisco, our elf, each morning in December.

~ thinking about their future.

~ Anna giving me the “I Love You” sign as she drove away with her dad for their weekend together.

~ watching Anna lift Sampson’s back-end up so he could stand up.

~ sitting at the table and eating dinner as a family.

~ asking Anna to stay in her seat while eating dinner as a family.

~ talking/fighting with Abigail to do her reading.

~ being amazed that even when Abigail loved her book she would only read for exactly 30 min.

~ listening to the excitement in Anna’s voice because she was finally learning how to read.

~ listening to Abigail’s plans for her future.

~ listening to Anna’s plans for the future.

~ planning birthday parties with lots of surprises.

~ hugging Abigail and having her squeeze me really tight.

~ hearing Anna shout from the shower, “Mama where are you?”

~ hearing “Mama.”

~ planning family adventures.

~ finding our journal under my pillow and reading Abigail’s latest entry.

~ writing an entry back and telling her how proud I am of her.

~ talking about and then writing down 3 things that made Anna happy each day before she went to bed. Looking at her drawings of those 3 things the next morning.

~ watching Wonder Kratts and Curious George before school with Anna.

~ movie nights snuggled on the couch.

~ asking the girls to pick up their shoes.

~ paying out allowance.

~ listening to the girls plan for their allowance.

~ laughter.

~ watching Anna continuously move throughout the house every single night.

~ Abigail’s sweet singing voice.

~ Anna singing “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” by Taylor Swift at the top of her lungs.

~ finding love notes on my night stand.

~ my girls, I REALLY miss my girls.

This list can go on and on. I pray for continued peace and know that I will spend eternity with my girls. Until then, I will miss them terribly and will cherish the life I had here on earth with them. Under His wings I will find refuge. I am forever grateful His grace and for the time I had with my girls.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.   Psalm 91:1-16

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Below is a post from Kaden’s mom last night – thank you to all that prayed and continue to pray for this family.

“Kaden is looking great. Has breathing tube out and he is already sitting up. He is back to his bossy self. Hoping he sleeps well and he is on the road to recovery. It will be long road but first hurdle is over. Praise the sweet Lord. Please keep up the prayer it has worked a miracle today. One happy momma!”