Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Poem

We had Christmas Eve with my Mom and Dad and all my siblings. We don't usually exchange gifts with all of the cousins but this year we gave everyone a gift from Savannah. Monday Marie and Betsey helped me go through all of Savannah's things. We laughed, we cried and we packed a lot of it up for gifts, just a small remembrance of Savannah for everyone. I, of course, kept most of it for my family.

My sister, Megan, had a poem that someone gave her a year ago. She doesn't know who wrote it but she printed it and framed it for us.

My First Christmas In Heaven

I see the countless Christmas Trees around the world below,
With tiny lights, the Heaven's stars, reflecting upon the snow,
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,
For it's beyond description to hear the Angels sing.

I know how much you miss me I see the pain inside your heart,
But I am not so far away-we really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, dear one, you know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I've sent you each a special gift from my Heavenly home above,
I've sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all love is a gift more precious than pure gold,
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other dear as my Father said to do,
For I can't count the blessings of love He has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear,
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Decorating the tree (and the cemetery)!

This year we have been able to get ready for Christmas before Christmas eve. The last 2 years we were in the hospital until the day before, so putting up a tree and decorating it has been a last minute thing. Pulling all of the ornaments out of the attic was a task. Kiara and Donovan argued just a little but it was only over who was going to put Savannah's ornaments on the tree, in the end they decided to take turns.

Instead of our usual star on the tree, Kiara and Donovan wanted to put up an angel for Savannah. We went to Walmart to buy one, we were a little disappointed that they didn't have a pink one but gold was a good second best. Kiara picked out the angel and Donovan was able, with the help of Daddy, to put it on.

Santa hats are always a big thing at our house, we found out we have way to many, even if Savannah were still here. We alway take a picture of the kids wearing one in front of the tree. Lady, of course, had to be in the picture.

Saturday my brother, Sean, and his girlfriend, Jessie, came with their kids for a visit. They are moving soon to Arizona and wanted to come see Savannah before they left. I met them there and drove my van through about 8 inches of snow, I wasn't about to park on the road and walk in. (Brian said this was reason enough for us to get snowshoes this winter, he said "nothing" was going to stop him from seeing his daughter.) I am so thankful for studded snow tires and all-wheel drive!

The teachers at school sent down the pink Christmas tree to the hospital 2 years ago for Savannah. Last year it was set up in the girls room. We asked Kiara if she wanted it set up again and she said she wanted to bring it to Savannah instead. We took the lights off and brought it to the cemetery.

Corey, from Rocky Hill Landscape, made the kissing ball, she decorated it with a pink ribbon and put pink flowers and pearls in it too. Someone also brought up an angel. Annaset brought her jingle bells decorated with pink crowns and ribbon.

Portrait of Savannah

I received an email from a friend a couple of weeks ago, someone she had met online had painted a portrait of Savannah. She lives in Texas and Karen is her name. She was able to get the painting to Freeport and we went to pick it up.

It is quite large, 30x40!

Karen had heard about Savannah from Lorri and she often paints portraits for families that lose children.

I love how well she captured her, it is absolutely perfect!! (The photograph does it no justice.)

It is now hanging on the wall in our bedroom.

Karen, if you are reading this, this was a wonderful Christmas present, THANK YOU!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Still missing our Savannah

It is so hard to believe it has been 4 months today since our sweet Savannah went to heaven. We miss her so much.
Donovan prayed the night before Thanksgiving that Savannah would come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We will try to make the holidays special for Donovan and Kiara, but it just won't be the same without her here. Her stocking will get hung with the rest of the family's. Her special ornaments will be lovingly placed on the Christmas tree but our home will continue to feel a little empty without her.

We have slowly started to declutter our house. I have a nice pile on my bedroom floor of Savannah's thing. Kiara and Donovan have their special things of hers as well that they are hording in their rooms. Kiara loves to wear Savannah's clothes and jewelry. Donovan loves to pile her stuffed animals on his bed.

Her jacket still hangs with the rest of ours and her shoes are at the door. Her backpack is still hung on the back of her bedroom door right where she left it.

We went to the cemetery the other day and there is a nice blanket of snow that covers the ground except right where Savannah is buried, there is a lush green covering of grass. Hers was the only one like that. Her warmth and her love are so much stronger than any distance that can be measured.

It was also nice to see other foot prints in the snow around her site. We are glad that other people go and visit her too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

This past weekend was our scrapbooking get-away. We had a great time! Megan, Nicki, Marie, Joy and I went to a cabin, pulled out ALL of our scrapbooking stuff and scrapbooked all weekend long.

I completed 30 pages, I scrapbooked all the way up to Savannah's last week with us. A lot of it was very emotional. I scrapbooked some family outings and all of the events of Beka and Danny's wedding.

This is my favorite layout of the weekend; I have never used ribbon in my albums before and seldom use brads. The ribbon says "So Loved." We thought that this might be the last time that Savannah saw Beka.
Aren't these wedding pictures beautiful! (shameless plug for Memories by Melissa Photography).I couldn't journal on this page so I found a couple of vellum quotes to put on it instead. In case you can't read them the top one says "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

The one on the left side says "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." I especially love the picture in the center of the layout. I have seriously considered entering it into a contest, but I don't know if I think the picture is great because of who is in it or because the photography was exceptional (I am very critical of my own work).Everyone had a good time and were all very productive. I think we all completed between 30-35 pages. Joy finished her wedding album and Megan finished my nephew's baby album. And I am slowing getting caught up.

This album may be put on hold for a while, I have tried sorting through the pictures of Savannah's last week of life and it has been rather difficult deciding which pictures not to include in the album (I think we took somewhere around 1000 pictures that week). I have sorted through some of it but it definitely is going to take a while.

As a side note: My dad is doing great, he came home on Monday night. He is resting a lot and taking it very easy but he is definitely on the mend. We are unsure of what the next step is going to be. Please continue to keep him in your prayers

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Like Granddaughter; Like Papa

and yes that is the correct order.
We found out a couple of weeks ago that my dad has a tumor in his left kidney (Savannah's was in her right). This is why I have been a little MIA in the blogging world. Everything I have wanted to blog has been down right depressing and really who wants to read all of that.

He had some additional tests and found out that there is also a little spot on his right kidney but the doctors don't seem really concerned about it. Thankfully it is no where else; they checked his lungs and his bones. When we found Savannah's it had already metastasized to both of her lungs.

It amazes me how slow the doctors seem to move with adults. When we found Savannah's tumor it was removed within 36 hours. When they remove Dad's on Friday it will have been 3 weeks exactly since we found out. It is very frustrating.

The thought of sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for my dad to come out of a surgery that is so close to the surgery my daughter had is very stressful. I have never been the type of person to have anxiety but I find myself having lots of anxiety over this. I know that my parents would totally understand if I decide that being at the hospital is too much for me. However I also know that I would go totally nuts not being there.

Yesterday was the 3 month anniversary of Savannah's death and it has been a very hard weekend for me. I carried Lady with me to every door that the kids knocked on for trick or treating, I held her all during church today. I blubbered like a baby every time someone looked at me today.

It is so hard to believe that she has been gone 3 months. I wish I could hold her again (which I suppose is why I have been carrying her bear around like I'm a 2 year old). I wish I could feel her soft skin and kiss her warm cheek. My arms ache to hold her and snuggle her. My heart feels like it is going to break in two.

Some dear friends gave Savannah a beautiful wind chime for her birthday, she wasn't well enough to open it, so she never saw it; Kiara and Donovan opened it on her birthday. They gave it to her because, like the wind, you can't see the Holy Spirit but you feel its effects everyday. With all of the wind we have had lately her wind chime blows day and night (it hangs outside my bedroom window), it is the most beautiful, clearest tone. Every time I hear it I think of her and smile, she would have loved it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Well, we have been crazy a wreck MIA busy lately. I have been up to my eyeballs with work but so emotional I haven't been able to focus on it. Brian's company has been offering overtime lately(something they never do) and has been putting in 65+ hours a week. He had almost 2 months off from work after Savannah died, now we are trying to catch up.

He was supposed to go in tonight but Kiara, Donovan and I asked him to stay home with us (Thurs. and Fri. are his usual days off). Kiara, who hasn't really cried for Savannah since the funeral was really upset last night. She wanted her whole family together right now. Then she was upset because she didn't want Mommy to die before her, she said she would be too sad and that she wanted to die first. I told her I didn't think I could bear losing another child. We snuggled, cried and turned the lights off in her room so we could see the glow-in-the dark stars Savannah wanted on the ceiling (to remind her of Space Mountain).

We decided to spend the evening as a family, we went shopping for pumpkins and EVERYONE was out, we finally found smalls ones at a little local grocery store.
We spent the evening carving the pumpkins. Donovan needed a little help with his but Kiara carved hers all by herself. Lady spent the evening with us too, Kiara asked if she could take her to the store with us and then she sat on the table the whole time and watched.

Brian decided to be sentimental with his pumpkin and carved a princess on his and then wrote a message to Savannah on the back. We are going to take it up to the cemetery tomorrow for her.

Kiara picked out my design, it is supposed to be a mask. Kiara made hers with complete eyebrows, rosy cheeks and a chin. Donovan wanted his to have it's tongue suck out. They were so excited to have Daddy home. It was a great evening.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vocabulary Lesson

When we went to Florida last November every time we saw a crocodile or an alligator this is what Donovan would say...
video

If you didn't catch that he said "croco-lator."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All Boy!!!

My girls are very easy going. They love to play and it is very girly. They love girly movies, girly makeup, girly dress up and anything else girly you could think of.

Donovan on the other hand is ALL BOY! He loves all things boy; trucks, cars, and much to my chagrin guns and bow & arrows.

Papa Jon loves to hunt and was getting ready for his caribou hunting trip in Canada. He asked if we would let Donovan pull the trigger if he was holding onto the gun. He LOVED it!!! He also got a HUGE lecture about gun safety and only touching them if Papa Jon was holding it with him.

Monday Donovan and I went to see Beka and Danny and to look at their wedding pictures. While Beka and Marilyn, her mother, and I looked at the pictures Danny played with Donovan. They went outside to play with Dristy, the dog, they had great fun ringing the doorbell and running (you know, typical boy stuff). Danny came in and asked if it was ok for Donovan to be with him while he shot his bow & arrow. Donovan loved putting balloons on the target and having Danny pop them. Can't you just imagine the look on Donovan's face watching Danny with that big bow & arrow? He was very excited to hold the quiver with the extra arrows in it.

(We had been to the fire station that same day with Donovan's pre-k class. He loves that fireman's hat.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Confessions of a Scrapbooker

With scrapbooking comes lots of sorting pictures. When I was photographing in film I would scrapbook almost every picture I took. With digital photography I take so many more pictures (the cost of film and developing is irrelevant now). I no longer scrapbook every picture so sorting through them is a task. I have to decide which ones NOT to put in my albums. Now if you scrapbook like I do everything has to be in chronological order.

(Now comes the confession...) I am way behind. I am almost current with this year however, the last family album I completed was 2002. I am working my way backwards. When I get caught up with my 2008 album I put it aside and work on 2007.

While sorting through my 2007 pictures I came to when we went to Popham last year. I found this picture of Savannah and had to share it.
It was a cold day and she still went in the water. She loved to jump the waves!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Therapy-Scrapbooking

There are all kinds of therapy. My favorite kind is scrapbooking. I have immersed myself in my pictures since Savannah's passing. I have scrapbooked approximately 80 pages since her funeral. With all of the pictures I take my family album for the year has been divided in half (Jan.-June and July-Dec.) I have completed the first book of the year and am well into the second.

Marie, Nicki, Christine and I have gone for weekends to scrapbooking retreats with lots of other scrapbookers. We get lots done and have a so much fun. I have invited my sister, who also loves to scrapbook, to come along with us but for one reason or another she has been unable to go. This fall we have been invited to 2 different retreats unfortunately neither one of them work with any of our schedules.

Maine Children's Cancer Program has available to families who are affiliated with them a cabin to use. It is provided by a family, who had a child with cancer, for other families in our same circumstances to use as a get-away. Fortunately for us it close to where we live. I called yesterday to see if we could use it for a weekend to get away and scrapbook. We will be going in a couple of weeks and I can't wait. Megan will be joining us as well as Nicki's sister Betsey.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Missing our Savannah


Today has been a rather hard day. Two months ago today our sweet angel returned to heaven.

I miss her love.

I miss her laughter.

I miss her smile.

I miss her grumpy face.

I miss her hugs.

I miss her kisses.

I miss her voice.

I miss her snuggles.

I miss her smell.

I miss her pinkie promises.

I miss being in the hospital with her.

I miss changing her dressing.

I miss flushing her tubes.

I miss her bald head.

I miss her cold feet.

I miss her hands.

I miss her jokes.

I miss her singing.

I miss her sillyness.

I miss HER!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Very Sad Good-bye


Yesterday we learned that the Jason Program (http://www.jasonprogram.org/) is closing it's doors. The Jason Program is the only one of it's kind. They help families with critically ill children live as normally as possible. They have lost their funding and were unable to find a new sponsor to help with their operations cost.

They have a wonderful nurse, Greg, and social worker, Shelly, and doctor, Dr. Gary, who travel the state (the whole state) visiting families in their homes, making sure that the needs of the sick child are met along with the emotional well being of the rest of the family. I have spent many days in my living room visiting with them and venting my frustrations, my worries, my sadness and even my joys over having a terminally ill child.

Even after Savannah died they would check up on our family and make sure we were doing ok. They still visited us in our home and Kiara at school. One day shortly after the funeral Greg sat in my living room and I was sharing with him my sorrow over people not mentioning Savannah because they thought it would be too painful for me. Or how some would seem uncomfortable when I would mention her; like talking about a child who had died was taboo. He promised me that he would always talk to me about my daughter.

Greg and Shelly came up for one final visit today. It was sad for our family to have to say good-bye, they will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One of many firsts

Every September Papa Jon and Nanny rent a cottage on Popham Beach. We all go for a day and spend it with the rest of the extended family. We eat, walk the beach, eat, play games, play in the water, walk the beach, oh yeah, and eat!

Every year we always do a family picture on the beach. (Another one of Savannah's requests is that Lady, her bear, take her place in all family pictures.)

At first I didn't want to go; Savannah loved going to Popham. She would play in the water, run on the beach and write LOVE in the sand about every 5 feet. I knew this would be a hard "first" for us.

Kiara and Donovan had a great time. They would run from the waves, screaming all the way. Donovan would stand just far enough away and shake his bottom at the waves (teasing them, I suppose). Kiara actually got wet this year, usually the water is too cold. Because of the hurricane that weekend the water was warmer.

Kiara and Daddy wrote a message in the sand for Savannah. Just as they finished it a wave came and took it out to the ocean. Kiara decided that it was taking it to Savannah.

Auntie Gail went on a walk with us. Errol, her husband, died just a short while before Savannah also of cancer. He loved to walk the beach too.

The waves were extremely high also due to the hurricane. They came up over where high tide usually stops. It was a little scary with the kids near the water but great for taking pictures. I think I took somewhere around 300, just of the water. Many more of the kids.

Backing up-Planting flowers

On September 1st, one month after Savannah died, we took Kiara and Donovan to the cemetery to plant flowers for her. One of the many requests Savannah made before she died.

We planted 6 pink tulips, 6 pink hyacinths, and 2 pink lilies.

Kiara and Donovan loved digging in the dirt and planting something pretty for Savannah. She loved pretty pink things. They were very proud of the work they had done. They even wanted to go back the next day to see if anything had grown yet.

One of Savannah's crowns is stuck in the dirt at the head of the grave. The ribbons say "Princess Savannah" and "Princess is home." These are our markers until we can afford to by her headstone.

The Sunday after the funeral Donovan left Savannah a little lizard. He was always moving it around on the grave, he just couldn't find the perfect spot for it. One day when we went there I could tell that something was bothering him about the lizard, I asked him if he wanted to take it home and he said "YES", I told him it was fine. When we brought it home he wanted to paint it pink. We found some pink spray paint and painted it. He then wanted to bring it back to Savannah. Apparently he really just wanted to have it pink for her. Every time we go to visit he makes sure that it is still in the same spot where he left it (he hasn't moved it once since we brought it back).





Finally Started!!

Ok, since people have been hounding asking me to start a blog, here goes. I have put it off because I have always had Savannah's carepage (www.carepages.com, site name PrincessSavannah) to keep people updated with how the Hurley's are doing. Since Savannah's passing I have not posted there much. We will be closing it soon, since we are having it published into a book, and we want it to represent that part of our lives.

There may be some duplications between there and here for a little while until I do close it.

I hope you enjoy!