Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Xander is 5!

Xander was SO EXCITED to turn 5. He is the kind of kid who gets pretty excited about a lot of things. Like the incredibly long wrapping paper tubes Melayna gave him for his birthday this evening. That was an exciting present; I mean, those'll make some huge rocket boosters! Last night we got Xander in bed early to help him get enough rest for the exciting day, but he didn't actually go to sleep until almost 2 hours after I tucked him in, due to the combo of excitement and summer daylight. And this morning, he was up at 6:20. (For some frame of reference, the previous couple of mornings he was up around 9:00. For some reason, my kids often sleep in when their bodies need sleep. Go figure.) He was just so excited to have his big day begin, how could he wait? He certainly couldn't fall back asleep when I sleepily suggested that he try to get some more rest so he'd have energy for his big day. (Or was that so I'd have energy for his big day?) After his requested breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns, eaten outside per request, we geared up and headed off to the swimming pool with his soon-to-be Colorado cousins and some friends. Then we loaded Katy and 5 kids in the Beast (that's our Excursion's name, FYI) and headed right over to Subway, where Xander decided months ago he wanted to eat for his birthday. Of course, he wanted to eat it outside, so we headed over to the splash park and found a lucky picnic table. Pretty soon, his friends started showing up for his birthday party where they splashed and played and frosted and ate the requested chocolate cupcakes. It was simple for me and loads of fun for him--four thumbs up!

(On a side note, I love how Xander gets carried away with the thumbs up, sometimes bantering between him and Elodie, other times simply outdoing himself. A thousand thumbs up! Ninety-eight-thousand-hundred-trillion-seventy-nine-fifty thumbs up! Infinity thumbs up! The last time I heard Elodie try to trump him with infinity thumbs, Xander informed her, "Infinity is not a number, it's a concept." And while to you that might sound like a funny thing for a now-5-year-old to say, to me it was one of those heartwarming motherly moments, "Oh, he IS listening to me, his math nerd mom!")
We came home and the kids took a little break from the sun and lounged around watching Curious George. (Xander actually really wanted to watch Popular Mechanics for Kids but was unable to convince his girl cousins and sister that learning about how roller coasters work is REALLY COOL! They were pushing Barbie Swan Lake or Princess and the Pauper, but the diplomatic Xander found some middle ground.) I whipped up some sausage pizza, per request, with broccoli, not salad, on the side, per request. Of course he requested that we eat it outside. And then we finished it off with a little watermelon cake. Doesn't it look just like watermelon? That's because it is watermelon. We're having the real cake (a Blackbird Jet ice cream cake) on Thursday when more of the family comes in for the Fantastic Fillmore Reunion! Woohoo! Pretty much, the birthday excitement just doesn't stop!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I've always been a pretty optimistic person. I generally don't worry too much about things. I don't often get super stressed out. I like being optimistic. I like assuming the best without mentally enumerating all of the things that could go wrong. And while I still feel like an optimist overall, it's different now somehow, and I miss it. It's like I lost a little bit of that along with losing Dexter.

I went this week to another ultrasound. As I watched the screen at the beginning, our little girl didn't seem to be moving around at all . Previously, I would've thought nothing of it; babies don't move every second of the day. But this time, I felt myself searching desperately for some little movement, looking forward to the part where they check the baby's heartbeat and let you listen to its rhythm and see the beats graphed out on the screen. And when I did see her move and heard that nice regular heartbeat and heard the Ultrasound Technician declare that everything looked healthy and good and normal, I felt relief instead of, well, what I used to feel. I don't want to be paranoid or pessimistic. I miss assuming that everything is fine. I mean, back when I was pregnant with Dexter, I had a second ultrasound and they found an abnormality in his brain that wasn't there at the first ultrasound. But when they told me that, I wasn't worried at all. That used to be my immediate reaction, even when there were things indicating that everything may not be fine, I felt fine. I felt peaceful. I felt very clearly that everything was going ot be OK. And I assumed that OK meant healthy and whole like my first two children. And then I learned that there are other ways for things to be OK. Everything was OK with Dexter--it was just how it needed to be. The "OK" I first imagined was very different than what "OK" turned out to mean. But when it got to that point, I was no less OK with the reality than I was with my assumption of what OKness would look like. In fact, everything was so fine that I specifically remember the same week that Dexter died discussing with Aaron that I felt ready to have another baby whenever the Lord wanted to send one to our family. I felt so strengthened and supported and reassured that everything was as it should be, that I felt ready because I was willing to provide a body for another sweet little spirit even if his or her mission was the same as Dexter's. Because I KNEW that the course of his life was the will of God and I felt so confident that whatever happened with any other child God sent to our family would be the Lord's will, too, whether that meant a long or a short life on Earth. I felt such peace and trust. I felt ready.

And so I was surprised last summer when we were pregnant with our fourth and I felt hesitant to share the news with family or to even let myself get too excited about the prospect of another little baby to raise. I tried to convince myself that it was OK to get excited, that everything would be fine. But I didn't feel it. I wondered if I had lost my optimism. And then when we miscarried in the first trimester, I felt grateful for what I then recognized as the Spirit preparing me to face another challenge. It was much easier on me since I hadn't told anyone. It was easier on me because I hadn't assumed that everything would be fine like I used to. I felt peace and confidence mixed with my sadness.

Now, with this pregnancy, I have felt that everything is fine from the time we found out we were expecting. It felt different than last summer's pregnancy. I didn't have to convince myself that it was OK to get excited; I just felt excited and OK with that, like I didn't need to guard myself from hurt. I still do feel peace. I feel like everything will go well. So I was surprised that my former optimistic assumptions were no longer my first reaction at the ultrasound. I guess I just learned from Dexter that I don't necessarily know what "OK" means. OK might mean whole and healthy, but OK might mean that it's all in the Lord's hands and will go as it should. I don't think I've lost my optimism at all, really, it just looks a little different.

Perhaps the blessing of Dexter's life helped me learn not to take life for granted. It is a gift--both the giving of life and the sustaining of life day by day. As I felt the relief at the ultrasound, I felt such gratitude, along with a renewed, deepened sense of awe at the miracle of life. A new little person of her own is growing inside of me! I can feel her! I saw her sweet face and her little hands and feet! Pregnancy is just amazing! I love being such an integral part of this miracle.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


The first thing I heard out of Elodie this morning was a sneeze. And then another. Followed by this statement, "I hate allergies. I wish I was a boy and didn't have allergies!" Now I think her wish to be a boy is only based on the issue at hand and the sample size she's familiar with: our little family. Here in the Dahle house, Mom and Elodie have the hayfever seasonal allergies and the dry itchy eczema skin and Dad and Xander don't. Lucky boys.