It's been a blah of a week so far. Tonight is the local parade and start of fair week. I just couldn't bring myself to go. For starters, I don't do well in crowds of happy people especially when I'm in a funk like I am. Tried to go out to eat last week, yeah, that didn't go well at all. Also, I knew I would see tons of people I know and I am not up for that yet. I still have stayed pretty sheltered because I just can't handle being around a lot of people yet.

Kevin took the kids. I felt bad not going but I know it was best for everyone if I didn't go. Hopefully they had a good time! We have a tradition every year of getting the family bucket of ping pong balls to try and win fish. So I guess we'll see if they got any this year.

With everyone gone, I did a little cleaning but also sat down to watch Noah's video again. Of course, it made me bawl my eyes out. It all seems like such a dream, but as I watched the video I can still vividly recall every second I had with Noah. I am thankful for my insomnia that kept me awake for every second of his life, especially considering I had barely slept in days due to a long labor. I walk into his nursery I had prepared, and I can still smell him. Even though he never got to come home, I placed all his things in there that he wore and his 3D foot molds & handprints and I keep the door closed. I go in there many times just to step in the door, look around and take a deep breath inhaling his scent. I miss my son terribly! There are just no words to express the void I feel.
I have to admit, I am glad yesterday (the 24th) is over. It was my birthday, Kevins birthday & our 12th anniversary (yes, we have the same birthday and got married on our birthdays). I feel bad for feeling like that, but it was a difficult day. It was just another reminder that Noah is gone.

Exactly a year ago, we were in Disney World, "the happiest place on earth". Thinking back on our wonderful vacation, I can't help but see how much our lives have drastically changed in just one year. I would have never imagined back then what the coming year was going to hold for us. But then again, I guess who ever does?

The kids were definitely more excited than I was about our "triple holiday". Bless their hearts, they made cards and got Kevin his favorite candy (Reese's Peanut Butter cups) and they got me Jelly Belly jelly beans. (I don't really eat candy but I do have a weak spot for these).

Really praying that when I blog next year on my birthday, I can be a bit more upbeat.
My week started off good, I think in part due to the adrenaline rush from completing the bike ride. But unfortunately, that quickly wore off. Monday was ok, but it went downhill from there. Tuesday the kids really just seemed "off". Our morning just wasn't productive at all. Around lunchtime, Sarah lost it, bawling & saying how much she missed Noah. Of course, this set me off and all I could do was sit there holding her & crying along with her. I am begining to see a pattern in the kids. When they are acting "off", it usually is a precursor to someone breaking down because of Noah.

Tuesday was also our first day back to our homeschoolers gym & swim class at the Rec. I suspect that is what may have set Sarah off. The last time we had this class, I was about 35wks pregnant. So this class was a very vivid reminder of missing Noah. Even I was kind've dreading it.

I knew there would be people at this class who remembered me from a few months ago and being pregnant. So as soon as I got the kids situated, I left the area to get away from the other moms so I could be alone. I wasn't feeling social at all. So I went to a sitting area which happened to be where I always sat just a few months ago when prego with Noah. As I sat there with the 2 kiddos I babysit, it brought back a ton of memories and made me tear up. I remember sitting there planning how I was going to be bringing the kids back for this class and how I was going to have 3 little ones under 2yrs old that I would need to entertain.

As I sat there holding baby B, who is only 3wks older than Noah, one of the employees I often talked to saw me and came over. She glanced at B (who is a girl) and said to me "I thought you were having a boy". I was already in tears from the memories so when she said this to me I started sobbing and was barely able to tell her that yes, I did have a son but he died. I felt bad for her, she just didn't know what to say and ended up walking away.

I knew it was a matter of time before someone would mistaken B for mine. Normally any other time it wouldn't have affected me, but I was just having an emotional afternoon. Also, B's mom and I were only due 2wks apart, and I was SO looking forward to our kiddos growing up together. I am thankful for B and her older brother J as they have been a part of our healing process.

Today, I was SO blessed by dear friends making a trip of over an hour one way to see the kids & I. They couldn't have come over at a better time as I was feeling so down & didn't realize just how much I truly needed the encouragement. They have been in my shoes & knew how I was feeling. It was just special enough to have them stop by, but Kerry & Kevin even brought me an iced latte from a coffee shop out their way!!! They remembered I like those, how sweet!!!

Continue to keep not only our family in your thoughts & prayers, but also Jen & Michele's families as well. With the holidays quickly approaching, I have a feeling we are all going to have some tough days to face this first year especially, without our little ones. Every passing day is a constant reminder of those milestones we are missing out on.

Bike Race Completed!

Thank you to all of you who encouraged me to do this race and prayed for me. It went absolutely great!!!

I went to bed early Friday night and took meds because I wanted to make sure I got a good nights rest. I woke up around 4am, an hour before I needed to be. I got up, made myself breakfast and gathered all my stuff up. We left the house about 5:45 so we could stop to pick some others up then we headed to Black Rock Retreat in Quarryville. We were some of the first there and got registered and we're given our packet of goodies and numbers.

We hung around for awhile chatting until our bikes got loaded in the truck. We then boarded a charter bus to be taken to the starting point. There were some people who were actually leaving from Black Rock via bike to bike down to Rehoboth which was 125 miles. I would've liked to have done that but I figured with only having Noah barely 2 months ago, I probably shouldn't push my body that hard yet. Maybe another year I'll do that one.

We got dropped off at one of the food stops which was a few miles ahead of where we should've started. It was also about a half hour later than we were supposed to get dropped off. The starting point was just a little south of the St. Georges Bridge near Rt 1. I got myself all situated (changed into my clips, put my number on my back, etc) and off I went.

It was a gorgeous morning. It was still a bit cool but it felt fine being in the sun. We were given laminated cue sheets of the route but the roads were also marked so I chose to not bring my cue sheet along (it's honestly a pain to try and follow it while still trying to maintain a good pace). I trusted that I would be able to follow the road markings. I admit, that was a little crazy considering I was in another state on roads I was never on before. (I was in Delaware).

I guess that's sort've like my life. I am just following the roads and turns that are placed before me, trusting that God will guide me to where I am supposed to go. Much like following those orange fluorescent "B's" on the road, not knowing what lies ahead but trusting they were going to keep me on the correct route and eventually lead me to the finish line. There were times I was lead through major intersections or even along highways and sure, I could've made my own way elsewhere but I probably would've gotten lost. Much like there are times when God takes me down roads I'd rather not go down. If I try to do my own thing and veer from His route for my life, I most likely would get lost or even mess things up in my life. Just like those in charge of the race, they could see the entire route and knew the best way to reach the finish line, so does God see the entire picture of my life and where I need to go to reach my ultimate "finish line" of heaven. And it's up to me to place my trust in Him and give Him the control to guide me. Which definitely isn't always an easy thing to do.

I was on a lot of desolate, back roads for quite awhile. Which was a good thing because it meant no major intersections and I was able to go for the first hour and a half and not have to unclip once. That allowed me to set a really great pace and make good time. I had supplements tucked into the back of my jersey so I was able to eat as I biked and was also able to reach down and grab my drink bottles while biking as well.

I didn't stop until 2 hrs and 31 min after I started, which was at the 40 1/2 mile mark. At that point, I stopped long enough to grab a sandwich to eat & refill my gatorade and off I went again. This was a really good supported ride with many great volunteers. Numerous times while on the road, I saw one of Black Rocks vehicles pass and honk. They were roaming the route making sure everyone was ok. I know there were several who had flat tires they would come help fix. I was thankful I wasn't one of them.

At times, I would have miles of nothing but empty straight roads ahead. I liked those stretches because it meant that I could really make good time. I kept a pace of anywhere between 16-20 mph. But it also got a little boring because there wasn't much to see. There were also times when we were lead through some pretty busy places, like going around Dover Downs and part of Rt 13. While I couldn't go as fast there, it made the time go fast because I had to pay close attention to my surroundings so it kept me mentally busier.

The last 5-8 miles seemed to drag because I knew I was SO close to the end!! In fact, I was so gungho on trying to get done, I was going 18-20mph those last few miles. When I rounded my last turn, I knew the end was near, but it still ended up being another 2 miles. It was a sweet sight as I came up on the finish line to see people waiting and cheering!! My odometer on my bike showed I actually did 81.24 miles because of being dropped off several miles earlier than we should've been. But I guess when you're already doing 75 miles, what's a few more, huh??

My own personal goal was to try to finish in 6hrs or less. Much to my surprise I finished with a time of 5 hours and 9 minutes!!! I guess when you think about the fact that I just had a baby 2 months ago plus everything else we've gone through with losing Noah, that was pretty amazing to even accomplish this. I have Noah to thank for making me so strong and giving me a sense of determination. He was such a fighter and taught me so much in his little life. I spent a lot of time during this ride just thinking about the time I was blessed with my precious son.

I know everyones question to me after I finished and even the day after was, how do I feel? Am I sore? And honestly, I felt great when I was done. In fact, we spent the rest of the weekend down in Rehoboth with friends doing stuff and I was fine. It was a great experiance doing this! I guess now I just pushed the bar higher for myself. The next ride to accomplish is a century, which is 100 or more miles. I was 19 miles short of this with this ride & I look forward to reaching more goals!!!

This is a pic of me at the finish line with my friend Joyce. (I'm in the red)
Thank you for the many thoughts and prayers on Monday. It was a difficult day. I took a prescription sleep med the night before in hopes of being able to sleep. I still only managed to get about 4hrs of sleep. On the drive to co-op, my stomach was a mess. I thought a few times I was going to have to pull over to get sick.

Once I got there, my friend Sharon met me outside to walk in with me and help me with the kids. As soon as I stepped in the door, I had tears in my eyes. It seemed like just yesterday I was here, waddling down the halls with Noah in utero. I ended up in the bathroom trying to gather myself together before going back out to face everyone.

The women in my co-op are all amazing. I was so glad I felt "safe" to just be myself and let the tears and emotions come. Several came up to me just to hug me and offer me words of encouragement which really meant a lot. Yes, normally it meant I would start crying, but that was ok. I would rather have that happen than to be avoided and not talked to.

Lunch time was really overwhelming for me with all the people in the cafe area & I had to walk out leaving Sharon in charge of my kids. From there, things just went downhill. I think the days of anxiety leading up to co-op, being out around a lot of people for the first time, etc, just finally came to a head and I lost it and really started sobbing. Once again my friends came along side of me to help me through my afternoon. One friend brought me lunch, another made sure I ate as I hadn't eaten yet that day, etc.

I knew I had to teach my 5th period class and wasn't sure at that point how I was going to manage after my breakdown. But once I stepped foot into my class, I felt lifted by the many prayers and not only was I able to gather myself to teach, but I also had fun with them.

Once we got home from co-op, I could tell I was just so exhausted. Physically, mentally & emotionally just drained. I was told that these "firsts" I will go through in the coming months will be hard and do that to a person. It just downright sucks. And there is simply no way to explain it. Unless you've been there, you just can't even fathom. For me, after such a "down day", it usually takes a couple of days to recover from.

I'm hoping each week at co-op, it gets a little easier for me. But my dear co-op friends, bear with me. I may be laughing one minute & sobbing the next. It's just how my life has been the last 2 months and probably will be for a long time.

The rest of the week has been pretty busy between homeschooling, babysitting (I watch a 3 month old & 15 month old siblings full-time), 5 hrs of therapy for the twins (they are hard of hearing & wear hearing aids) and preparing for my bike race that is tomorrow. I guess at this point there isn't a whole lot of prepping to do for the race other than to make sure my gear & bike are in order. I also have to pack up for the weekend since it's out of state (finish line is in Lewes, DE).

I will be up & on the road early tomorrow morning to head to the starting point. Please keep me in your prayers for safety as I will be biking 75 miles (and pray for good health throughout the ride as well!) The weather forecast looks beautiful for the race. I look forward to riding this in memory of Noah and the many miles we biked together!!!!
Yesterday I went out for a bike ride and rode 55 miles. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for a long ride. It was my last long ride I will do before the 75 mile race this coming Saturday. Thankfully (and honestly a bit surprising) I woke up feeling great today. I kinda thought I might be a bit sore, but I've been building up to this point these last few weeks and I guess it paid off.

Riding that far gives a person a lot of time to think. And I mean a LOT!!!! I admit, I have been having some anxiety the last few days about going back to our homeschool co-op and trying to get back into a busier routine. It has nothing to do with the people there as they have all been amazing and so supportive through all of this these last few months. They are practically family. I guess it's because I really haven't been around anyone in 2 months, let alone a lot of people I know at one time and I just don't know how I am going to be. I guess I'm afraid of being a sobbing mess or something. Especially given the fact that the first day back Noah will be 2 months old. The last time I walked the halls at co-op, it was a few weeks before we found out about Noah's condition. Also, everyone was looking forward to us returning with our baby. So I know it's going to be bittersweet going back.

It's not just me having anxiety with things. We got talking to the kids about going away overnight and Susans whole attitude seemed to change. Which is so unlike her. I've noticed occasional bouts of this lately so Kevin took her aside to talk. He finally got her to admit why she was getting upset at the idea of sleeping elsewhere......she feels like she is abandoning Noah if she is gone from home for too long. :( She said she knows he isn't here, but that there is just some sort of connection here at home where she feels closer to Noah. Poor kid was just bawling. How are you supposed to help your child when you yourself struggle with similar little things? Not only am I struggling to find our new "normal", so are the kids.

And I can relate to her. I haven't ever told anyone this I guess because it seems ridiculous. But on this rainy day today, I am reminded of the first day it rained after we had buried Noah, I just lost it. I sobbed at the thought of his little body in that cool, wet ground. I almost even went to his grave just to lay on it, to protect him. Yeah, I know, HE isn't there, but still, it was the first thought that came to me as it started to rain. Even now rainy, overcast days often are crappy days for me. The weather just feels depressing & it often sends me into a funk.

So if you can, remember us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow as we start back to co-op on Noah's 2 month birthday. I know it may also be tough on the kids as well. Hannah mentioned wanting to take her "Noah baby" with her as she takes him everywhere. But she knows it will be difficult to juggle her baby and her classes so she will probably leave the doll at home.

Fall is definitely in the air. I went out at daybreak for a 3 mile run. The cool 56 degrees felt nice to run in compared to the humid days I had been running in. I got to watch the sunrise as I ran which really got my day off to a good start. It made me think that if the sunrise I see is that beautiful, just how even more beautiful Heaven must look to Noah.

On Tuesday, Noah was 8wks old & Michele's Hezekiah was 8 months old. Michele & her kiddos went to Hezekiah's grave to release balloons and notes to him. They even included a balloon and note to both Noah & Olivia and took pictures to share with us. It was so sweet of them to remember our kiddos also and really meant a lot to me!!!

It made me realize that to all of our kids, doing things like this to remember their siblings is their new way of life. My kids are constantly writing letters and making cards for Noah. They even talk about dying and wondering who will get to see Noah first. To them, it's not morbid, this is just how things are now. Kids have a different way of seeing life than we do and are very candid in expressing that.

I'm still having a lot of insomnia. I've always had an issue with it, but some nights lately it seems worse than usual. The doctor gave me some samples of a sleeping med since the OTC stuff doesn't work for me. I finally caved the other night & took one after barely sleeping for a few nights. It was nice to finally get a semi-decent night of sleep. Of course, the following night I think my body decided to pay me back for making it sleep and I barely slept once again. Ah well...

I ended today by going for a bike ride and watching the sun set. I just needed the alone time. Again, just like the sunrise this morning, the sun set over the farmland was also beautiful. I'm glad I took the time to see both today. How many times do we rush through our days, never taking the time to slow down, look around and reflect on God & His creation? Noah has given me a whole new outlook and appreciation on life, that's for sure!!

Oh and if you think all this exercise today will help me sleep, nope. lol But I'm used to it!

*the first picture I snapped at sunrise, the 2nd picture I took at sunset.
Life continues to be a rollercoaster & from what I'm told, it's going to be like this for quite some time. Which just down right stinks. Things will never be normal again & I'm still having a hard time figuring out what our new normal is.

The kids have been struggling lately with missing Noah. Friday night Susan wouldn't go to bed and she eventually broke down crying because of missing Noah. I honestly don't know what all she said because I had Kevin handle her. I couldn't deal with it as I was in tears myself just knowing she was feeling so down. I feel so helpless. There is nothing I can say or do to help the kids and it makes me feel so bad.

When I woke up Saturday morning I knew it was going to be one of those awful days once again. It's difficult to have decent days then to find myself right back in that dark pit. The kids really wanted to go to Noah's grave and I couldn't bring myself to go yet. Kevin said he would take them. Which made me just feel awful that I just couldn't go. All the kids gathered their Noah babies, Hannah got a seashell she found at the beach the other week & a card she made for Noah to leave at his grave. They also took these little wooden crosses Michele's kids had made with Noah's name on. The kids wanted to also leave those for him.

After they left I just curled up in a ball and sobbed. It's not fair my kids have to go to Noah's grave just to "see" their brother. I sat here looking through the pictures of Noah from the viewing & his memorial service. I also watched his video once again and just bawled my eyes out. I know I should've used this time to do some organizing or cleaning while I had the house to myself, but I couldn't. I just felt so depressed.

I honestly don't know how their visit went because I haven't been able to bring myself to ask Kevin about it yet. I'm still struggling 2 days later and just want to try to get myself feeling better before I ask how their 1st time back to his grave went.

I've been trying to keep myself out of a funk lately by training. I find when I need to be alone or am feeling really low, I go out for a run or a bike ride to try and snap out of it. I found out the other week that I was sponsored for a bike race/fundraiser and honestly I am thankful I was pushed to do this or it might've taken me a long time to get back into exercising. In 12 days, I will be doing a 75 mile race. So I've been trying to focus on that these last few weeks. I am racing in Noah's memory. During my pregnancy with him, I rode & ran a couple hundred miles with him and he always seemed to love when I was exercising. Last weekend I did a 34mile ride and this coming weekend I'll be doubling that as long as the weather holds out.

Still trying to trudge ahead one hour at a time....