Thursday, November 30, 2006

News flash

This just in, hot off the Abilene press. It snowed!!!! We had to hurry up and get dressed to play in it before it melt and there wasn't hardly enough to do much of anything in it, but it was real, legitimate snow, white fluffy flakes fluttering down from the heavens. It was delightful ;) Ivan saw one snow last year, but he was too small to remember it. We don't always get snow each year, but if it does, the entire town takes off from work or school to celebrate. Oh, they use the excuse that the roads are bad or other such nonsense, but in reality, it comes so infrequently we have to immediately cancel everything on our agendas, and go play in it while it's here. This year's flurries were not really up to snuff for good snowman making, too little and too dry, but I managed to muster up a little one with some wet snow melting on the pavement and the dry snow mixed. One year we had a bit more snow and I helped the neighbor kids make a snowman. They didn't know all the secrets to the trade. The snow man was almost made of as much grass as he was snow and we had to borrow snow from several yards, but he was at least kid size tall and the pride of our street. I'm hoping our little guy will stay a couple of days anyways.

Here Dominique is making her first snow angel.

Ivan liked the snow a lot until his hands got cold, so we went in and had hot chocolate. Tonight as I was headed home, it was so awesome to see snow still in the grass, to see it sparkle and hear it crunch under foot, to breathe in the crisp cool air... Canada here we come !!!

On that note, we have a supremely awesome development in that arena. Our family is helping us get to Canada, but now we aren't driving, we are going to fly!!! We are on cloud nine. I love flying and this will be so much better with the kids and it being winter and all, plus we'll have that many more days to be with our family instead of navegating icy winter highways for days with the kids. I am so pumped. It has been a very good couple of days. Very good indeed.

What's your favorite winter memory?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


We are back safe and mostly sound from Houston- a small respite as we get things together here so we can head up to the snowy white North. I have lots of stories and photos to share, but I'll just start here with a small smattering (that's my English brogue, the Baggetts are English, from England and we're talking about roots here, but on the Weaver side and although I read all about the Weavers from a crest on the wall, I really can't remember much except that they weaved!)

I asked my mother-in-law (aka Nana) how it was that her genes dominated over all the genes in the mix of who would become my children. At different moments, people say our kids look like... (pick a grandparent or parent), but usually they mention my or Brian's mom. I think they favor Nana the most and here's the definitive picture to demonstrate. This is a photo of Nana as a girl I'm guessing about a year old and her look-alike grandaughter.

Last year the pictures were horrible since Ivan screamed and Andrew wouldn't cooperate. This year, Ivan didn't want to be in the picture, but I stuck him in anyways. Dominique was totally content, even though Christian wasn't exactly a pro baby holder. Andrew is doing pretty good here, he's matured some in the last year. I guess we all have.

The group shots were really pretty amazingly good. From left to right: Brian, Angela, Ivan & Dominique Baggett with Brian's mom Nana Glenn, then Amy (Terry's daughter) and her two kids Christian and Andrew then Terry Glenn (aka Pawpaw).

Do you favor a certain relative or have features from someone? I am a mix of my two parents. I have dad's skin type, mom's skin tone and curly hair, dad's thick hair, dad's features and height, mom's dark eyes. My weirdest biological root is from a great grandparent (Dad's mom's dad's). He gave me my pointy ears.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Snaps: vol. 21

I put Ivan in the crib with Dominique and he thought it was hillarious fun. Now he wants in all the time. If I ever sit her on a table, he wants to sit on it too.

When Brian or I give Dominique a couple of toys to keep her entertained, Ivan picks up on it and "helps" out by getting her a few more. Quite often we will turn around and all we'll see is a mound of toys.

The concrete won. Ivan did a face plant off the top step of our porch, on to the cement sidewalk. Now anytime he goes down the steps he reminds us that he fell there. It almost looked like a black eye. I once got a bruise between my eyebrows and it lasted for years. It was like those dots the indian women wear. Don't ask me how I got it, I don't remember, but it has to be about the hardest place to fall on without breaking a nose or something (which I didn't).

Gross eh? Saba is quite overjoyed that we brought another leaky faucet infant into the family. Ivan doesn't drool like he used to, but he does leave dinner remnants on his face and clothes that Saba greedily eats up. She just needed a little wet to wash it down- and voila- Dominique!

Ok, this one is better, slightly better. At least we can see her face.

We're headed out to Houston in the morning to spend Thanksgiving with chocolate pecan pie, I mean Nana and Pawpaw Terry. We are really looking forward to seeing them. With Gordon's quick departure, it just seems like we have to stay closer and see each other more. On a heavy note, we are a little anxious about leaving too. Big Buddy is in the hospital again. His legs have gotten bad again. This is his 3rd time this year. The doctor said there is treatment with IV antibiotics or amputation, which at 89years old with diabetes is not an option. What scares us though is that Big Buddy does not think he'll make it past one of the holidays (thanksgiving or xmas), both of which we'll be gone for. You can tell he's getting ready. Trying to give us stuff while he's here. Saying goodbyes in not so many words. We have to go and don't want him to.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Outside fun and lessons

Ivan had his first encounter with a bully today. We were at the park and the bully was a year or two older than Ivan and bigger (of course). Wherever Ivan would go, the boy would stand in front of him, blocking his path, sometimes with a menacing look. At first Ivan would just yell at the boy: NO! I told Ivan that is not the way to talk to people (he says it all the time to Dominique and I'm trying to break him of it). Instead I suggested that he say: "excuse me please". Whenever Ivan said this, the bully, who was still young enough to be moldable, moved out of the way. At times Ivan enjoyed playing with the boy and they did have some sweet moments, but then the bully would go back to his meaness. At one point I had to tell the boy to obey when Ivan asked him to move. At another point Ivan decided to skip the niceties and push him. Thankfully the bully didn't push back. Since we've been home, Ivan has been practicing saying: move please. I feel like this trip to the park was more learning than any trip we've ever made. It's a joy to see him learn to climb stairs or go down slides or how to walk over moving bridges, but how much more valuable to learn to exude confidence and kindness in the face of meaness and maybe even help a disturbed older kid find a better way than bullying through friendship.

On a more fun note, Ivan, Dominique and Saba enjoy playing in the backyard. Ivan loves to wear his ballcaps, but manages to pull them down so low, he really can't see without tilting his head. He is constantly getting into his daddy's tools and yard supplies, but won't for much longer. A storage shed is half way done in our backyard, or maybe I should call it a little house, the thing is huge!

Hope you enjoy this clip and get a good laugh over it!

Do you have any advice on dealing with bullies? or a story to share?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New discoveries and old loves

You may get bored of me posting about our favorite things, but they are constantly changing. Ivan's pretty much loved darts all his life, ha, ha, all two years of it! He is not tall enough to hit our dart board, but thought the table was too wobbly to stand on, so this was his solution. He makes high pitched "ping" noises because that's the exact sound our dart board makes when we make a hit. I notice he doesn't say "miss", which is what the board says when we hit the wrong section. Apparently his throws are never misses. You can also hear him say that he's playing dart board.

The other night, he prayed before our meal. He said: "thanks for the food, dadda, momma, meme, saba, snaysnay, big buddy [unintelligible other things] slides, swings, amen". Slides, swings, pool, snack-- pretty important to him right now.

As for Dominique, she has apparently acquired an inherited family talent- foot chewing. I'm really not very good at it and I couldn't point to Brian as the instigator either, but both our babes loved this activity and have amazed the local population with their obvious superior toe sucking abilities. On the back of the picture of Ivan it says: "Ivan chewing his toes, 4 months old", so this is a time sensitive talent seeing that Dominique is 4 months as her craft is being tapped, or should I say snapped? While toes are handy, Dominique does not limit her talent to them. She will also use hands, fingers (hers or other's), toys, stuffed animals, blankets, hair, tables... to satisfy her chewing desires. They say to only breastfeed up to 6 months now, but I think this girl wants something more solid. I put an empanada (which is like a baked fried pie) in front of her today and she grabbed my hands and stuffed it toward her mouth. She didn't know what to do once it got there, but she obviously thinks eating is an attractive and enticing next step to her chewing performances.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Like a butterfly

When I made Dominique's costume, it took a lot more work than I had first thought, but then I realized that I could use it as a room decoration. After I'd hung it, I was thinking of how it would always serve us as a reminder of Gordon since Dominique wore it the night before Jenn went in to be induced. Then it dawned on me that the butterfly was not only timely, but mimics some of what we went through with Gordon.

He started off so little and unrecognizable. Just as no one can imagine the caterpillar as a butterfly, so the everchanging bundle of cells is so unlike a baby. With the sonograms, we could watch him grow and move, squirming around and we grew to love him. He was in a sort of cocoon, enwrapped, safe, developing and changing from day to day. Much like a captured caterpillar, we did not get to see him take to flight in his more glorious form, but we know that he did. We also know that he is unfathomably more beautiful now than we can ever imagine. We were left with a shell, that empty cocoon and the memories of those days of anticipation and of love and of joy, but his true and glorified self will flitter throughout our lives from time to time. Butterflies often surprise us with their appearances. They come swiftly and don't linger long, but sometimes we get an audience with them and they always cheer our hearts. To hold on too firmly would defeat the life of a butterfly and so like them, we have to let Gordon go, to fly and soar and grace our lives from time to time, sometimes when we least expect it.

Of course there will be seasons when his presence in our hearts and worlds will be a given. Every Sept./Oct. in Abilene, monarch butterflies come through town. So too, Gordon's birthday, and other hollidays we will remember him, and if we don't cling too tight to our hopes of keeping him near for a lifetime, we will be able to see his forever freeform flying all the more. We will have to look with other eyes, eyes that look into the heavenlies, but as we do, he will dazzle us with his flight, and sometimes land on our clothes or finger or nose.

Jennifer and I were giggling at how we loved to say his name: Gordon. That joy of him will always grace our lives, even through the sorrow and the years and the pain of not being able to hold him as we'd hoped. May we have eyes to see him in new ways, as he is now and ears to hear his laughter on another plane. May our nursery room butterfly remind us of our love for Gordon and of his love for us as he looks down from heaven and smiles for us.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Snaps: vol. 20

Both treasures conked out in the stroller after a long walk.

Ivan and Dominique relaxing, having a little discussions perhaps. I thought it was cute how they were both using the stool as a foot rest.

Grandma Wynetta and Dominique. Aren't they beautiful?

The stroller did it's trick again, well on Ivan anyways.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What do you think Dominique?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

her laugh

It's a little hard to tell what noises are hers, but here Dominique was laughing at her brother who was swinging up toward her on his momma's leg. She laughs most at the dog, who really is pretty funny, then at her dad and Ivan. Somehow she doesn't find me as hillarious, maybe she's afraid to offend the food source.

And I hate to say it, but I'm treating her different from our first already. I remember with Ivan looking forward to each new clothes size and putting him in the bigger clothes pretty much right when they said to. With Dominique I still have her in her beautiful 0-3 month clothes, but I found out about someone who needs girl clothes soon. I was thinking she was just starting to grow out of them, but Brian told me it's time to move on, that some of them are too small. It was exciting to pull out all her gorgeous 3-6month clothes and wonder at how pretty she will be in them, but a part of me was sad that it's already time, that she's growing up and there's nothing I can do about it, but enjoy the ride.

Friday, November 10, 2006

the gate of heaven

These pictures were taken on and around a huge sculpture based on Jacob's dream (Gen.28:11-22) where he had a lifechanging encounter with the Lover and said: "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."

We all need special places. Our first special place has to be within, where we can escape the chaos or business or whatever of our lives and find peace. But it also helps to have physical locations on this green earth where we can get away and keep that inner place vibrant. To me that place can be anywhere with water, or some nights under the stars, or just an "aha" moment as I see something beautifully amazing in nature. Some places seem more sacred and hold within it a sense of awe: Niagra falls, the northern lights, an ocean wave, indian pictographs, grave sites, old houses. Today is the internment for Gordon. I know that his place of burial will be a holy place for us, a place where heaven seems closer, not that his soul resides there, we know he is already with the Lover, but the seed which is his body reminds us of the glories of heaven.

I was never very good at quiet, but I'm learning. Brian has helped. I'm getting to the place where I often don't even want the radio on. I like the stillness, the peace, being able to think and rejuvenate and connect with divinity. Of course this is not always easy with the business of life, the fast pace we seem to be propelled on, but sometimes Brian takes the kids and I can sit and be honest with myself and with the Lover. Othertimes I can connect through walks. Walking is a good way to slow down for me. This blog also helps me to reflect and pause and give thanks.

Of course, one of the most sacred places for me is a 30lb wonder named Ivan. Heaven seems so much closer to me as I contemplate his life, his being, his laughter and learning. AMAZING! Knowing and sharing and living and growing alongside Brian is definitely another gift of heaven. So often I am struck with awe at how refreshing it is to have someone know me so completely and share in this journey together.

I can sink into her blue eyes and know pure delight. Her laughter sets my heart to dancing. Her recognition of me and her smiles of love are to me yet another gate to heaven.

Where or what are gates of heaven to you?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Some of our favorite tools

Ivan loves anything with a motor and most of all mowers and edgers. He watches Brian mow with childhood awe and undivided attention. Perhaps if teachers used a motorized piece of chalk and humming paper, all those little boys would learn quicker or at least pay attention. I think I've mentioned how Ivan will use any bulky object as a mower (box, walker, chair) and any stick like object (cane, umbrella, catepillar toy) as a weed eater. He did his best immitation yet with his old mobile that we dragged out of the closet to set up for Dominique. He put his daddy's shoes on too. He doesn't do it in this video, but he will even tap the end of it on the ground like his daddy does to release more string.

My new favorite tool is a double stroller. I have told you I have the best neighbors ever, right? I told my neighbor to watch out for a double stroller when garage sale shopping. Linda is amazing. She can find all sorts of great stuff for steals. She brought me this stroller as a gift last week, her way of saying she loves us and feels for us during this time. It is like new, used only a few months and works brilliantly. We went to the park today in it.

OK, Dominique doesn't really use tools yet, but she does have accessories. Here she is in our first almost successful attempt at pigtails. If her hair texture doesn't change, I'm going to have to learn how to manage straight hair. My hair has never ever needed hairspray. It stands on end quite well on its own and will stay where I put it for the most part. Putting Dominique's hair in clips was like trying to catch a slippery fish with oiled hands, a practically impossible feat in and of itself, but if perchance, I had success, she would move and poof, the strands slipped back out again. I guess I have to wait a little longer ;)

I'll have to ask Brian what his favorite tool would be. What's yours?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

So fast, so slow

It has been a week since I found out that Gordon went on to be with the Lover. I still call Him the Lover even if I'm hurt, angry and bewildered at Him. I don't pretend to understand Him completely or comprehend His ways or even agree with them, but that is true of every relationship, and this one most of all. We stick it out together because I know I'm getting the better end of the deal and He's just crazy enough to keep with me too.

7 days. It feels like it's been decades. The world feels so different to me. I went on an errand yesterday and I was in autodrive. I took the wrong street several times and had the desire to tell everyone what had happened (I didn't- but it was like I thought everyone should walk with greater soberness and thankfulness too).

Jenn and John may you have deep and gentle healing in this, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This morning I read: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit". We are all brokenhearted and crushed, but you are most of all, so the Lord is especially close to both of you. May He come to you not in the wind or earthquake or fire, but in that still small voice of comfort and love.

It seems inconsiderate to keep posting funny little stories, or the pictures and videos of Ivan and Dominique, but I know that out of anyone, Gordon would urge us to live life fully, to embrace the joys and delve into the beauties of it. Likewise, Jenn told me how the pictures brought joy to her heart- and that is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

In this video Ivan is enjoying some birthday chocolate. Notice how he laughs really hard at the end when I ask him if he'll share it with mommy- his toddler way of sarcastically replying "yeah right, as if!"

Monday, November 06, 2006

How do we navigate through this sorrow?

The sun is shinning, the sky is blue, the temperature is a pleasant 15C (60F). A perfect day. This seems both merciful and cruel. How can the world continue to turn? How can the birds still sing? How can my children still laugh? When such a tragic loss has hit us?

Of course I know that tragedy hits someone everyday. Even as we read this post, someone has passed away somewhere, in fact many someones and the grief of their families is no less than ours. I barely watch the news because it is so depressing- people doing horrid things, devastation, hurt, pain careening across the television screen. But they are so far away. The news anesthetizes us in its commonality. Until the horror comes near. Until the loss hits my family, my friends, me. Then I can't turn away my ears or close my eyes, turn my mind to other things or stop the weeping of my heart. My thoughts are with John and Jenn constantly and I wonder how we can ever recover from this. And yet even as I talk with them, there is life in their voices, pain and heartache, but also laughter, also love, also resilience and faithfulness and connectedness.

We are all so thankful for the sea of people who have expressed their grief along with us in our loss. Prayers and love are being sent up from homes all over the globe- across Canada and the United States as well as throughout the world. It is comforting to know that so many have taken this personally and are carrying our sorrow with us. Of course none of us are affected so deeply as John and Jenn. It is for them that our hearts cry out most of all.

Jenn keeps telling me to hug my children. Perhaps the greatest gift that comes out of tragedy is the way people come together, the way we look at each other with renewed love, the way we cling to those who are close to us. We can't offer much in the way of healing, but we can offer togetherness in our sorrow and shared hope in the things that still bring beauty in the midst of pain. If the sun is shinning here, it is beaming in heaven, if the temperature is nice, it is glorious in heaven. These testimonies to life are but a taste of realities in heaven, where Gordon is, enjoying and relishing in the beauty and mysteries and excellence of perfection. We must grieve and mourn and cry and express our communal and personal pain, but we must also breathe deeply of the big and small beauties that surround us.

I don't have much to offer, but I offer here my thoughts, my life, my joys and my tears. May we be brought together in our common love and celebration of both those who are living and of those who have gone on before us.

Jenn, I wish you could hug Ivan and Dominique along with me right now, but we will be there shortly. In the meantime, I hope their pictures and videos warm your heart and bring light to your day. Thinking of you always. your sister twice over, angela

I am so thankful for this little contraption I came up with a week ago. I call it our "8 hour wonder". Dominique was establishing a new sleep pattern, brief, short periods all day and night. I know it's because she is not on her stomach. One night I thought of laying something on her stomach for comfort- she slept all night. But I was worried about it being too heavy or sliding up to her neck or over her face, so I made our "8 hour wonder" with burp cloths, some rice and an old sock. It's light, wraps under her to stay in place and gives her the comfort she needs to sleep soundly. This was my little bit of mercy. Grieving is so tiring. It's like I'm dragging all day- even with a full night of sleep.

On a humorous note, here is Dominique in Andrew's dress. If it gives you some comfort Andrew, mom gave this to me for Ivan! I don't think she put it on you though, just as I didn't put it on Ivan. A friend of mom's made this for Andrew when he was a baby. How nice of her. Some people have such funny ideas. But it does look great on Dominique.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My nephew in heaven

How can I take words to express the grief, the pain, the turmoil in our hearts at this time? My sister called Wednesday morning to tell me that they had lost their baby. She still had to deliver him, which took an agonizingly long time (until Thurs. afternoon). When I first heard of our loss, I wanted the world to stop and for us all to get off. I didn't want to play anymore. Then I turned to denial and hope, that there was a mistake, that his heart would beat again, that somehow, someway he would be born crying. My sister was amazing. She pushed, while grieving and managed to deliver a 10lbs 3oz son, without having to resort to a c-section. They named him Gordon Hector, after grandfathers on both sides. Jenn is at home now, with John and their sorrow as well as their victories.

I say victories because even in the midst of all this fresh pain, she is finding reasons to be thankful, ways to love and overcome and keep living one day at a time. While I didn't get to see my nephew, or hold him, or whisper in his ear, or tickle his little (ok, not so little) baby feet, he is a part of me, of us, of our family. Time may dull some of the ache, but not all of it. He will always be the desires of our hearts although we have to learn to live with him away from us for some time. I told Jenn that Gordon is very real to me. He is as real to me as my grandmother is. I never had the chance to meet her, talk with her, hug or kiss her, but sometimes I think of her. I can see her looking down on us, cheering us on, loving and challenging us to live better and more fully.

Gordon, what would he tell us? The Lover said "let the little children come to me for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Psalms says that out of the mouths of infants and babes, he has brought forth praise". I think Gordon's messages to us will be pure, innocent and full of the beauty of heaven. He did not taste of the horrors of earth, he did not see the vileness or devastation. He was loved and cherished. I know he understood that and felt it in the womb. In some ways, I think it would have been easier to lose him earlier on in the pregnancy, because that is more common. Gordon was so close to being among us. But I have read about research that shows that the young child can recall sounds and experiences from those final months. He heard his mom and dad's voices- and somehow I know that he knew all of our love for him, our expectancy, our joys in who he was and is. He managed to escape the trauma of birthing and was swept into the glory from which he came. I am so very glad Jennifer and John had him, that they loved and carried him in her body and in their hearts. Because now I have a nephew to love as well.

Saskatchewan is far away and in some ways heaven is farther, because I can't drive or fly or walk there. But in so many ways heaven is nearer than Saskatoon. Heaven is in my heart and a part of me is also in heaven. Colossians 3:1-4 says: "Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden in Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." All of us are as near to death as our next breath. We don't have any guarantees, we don't know our day or hour of leaving this earth. It did not even occur to me earlier this week, that losing my nephew so quickly was even a possibility. But I can not change what has happened. I can only live for today and live more fully in the realm of eternal mysteries.

My entire being aches with our loss. My heart is broken, my eyes weep, my mind cries out, my arms are filled with longing. I can not understand, nor do I attempt to comprehend the ins and outs of such loss. And while I can not bring peace to Jenn and John, I can not change their path through grief or reverse the outcome of this birth, I offer them my love, my shared sorrow, my friendship and prayers. May you overcome. May you rise above. May you love and live and find the peace that passes understanding, the delicate healing touch of the Holy Spirit, the wonderful transfer of grief to joy. I know the road is and will continue to be difficult, but may He who weeps, He who knows, He who loves, He who resurrects guide you, direct you and hold you close as you travel through the chaos into heavenly places, blessings and people.

Gordon Hector Wallace- we love you and will always love you. We welcome you into our family. You will always have your place in our hearts. We are sorry we didn't have a chance to know you better this side of heaven, but look forward to all of eternity together. When the days and the grief seem to stretch out before us without end in sight, may we recall just how fleeting this life is, that our real home is in eternity and how very close you are.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween with two

The festivities have started. Fall has been really fun this year. Ivan gets into everything so much more now that he is two. Every time he sees a candle he sings happy birthday, or even just to make someone feel special. For Halloween, we carved and painted pumpkins (painted 4, carved one) and roasted pumpkin seeds (ummmm delicious). I wasn't sure if Ivan would wear his costume, but once he saw his friend Ale in her costume, he thought it was all great.

Ivan was my birthday present. Get it? Since he was born on my birthday. I figured this would be the only year I would get away with dressing him like that. Dominique was a butterfly. She went dressed up to a baby boast party with the other moms and babies from our swim class, so she got to wear her costume twice.

Ivan enjoyed the trick-or-treating. He wasn't even scared by all the adults who think it's hillarious to terrify little kids (when did this start? I thought the kids did the tricks. Lots of adults were dressed up scary- they wouldn't have needed the make-up though, nowadays any adult coming after a little kid like they were is scary). Ivan gobbled up a bunch of candy and the neighbor shared hotdogs and chips with us. Another neighbor gave us cake. It's a good thing we started the evening with a veggie tray, I had the feeling things were going to get really unhealthy. Sure enough, by the end of the night, Ivan was spinning in circles and singing and jumping up to answer the door. He loved all the hoopla. It's sad that we have to have an event like halloween to all get out as families and meet people and give to each other.

We had a record amount of kids (140). Before the most we'd had was 104 two years ago. Last year was our smallest crowd with 64. I had about 15 candies left! I thought I'd have to dig into Ivan's stash, or send him up to gather some so that we could give it out! How would that be for recycling!!

Did you do anything special for halloween?