Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Baby

 The other day I was listening to one of my new favorite Christmas songs "seasons" by hillsong. There is a line in the song that says, "You could have saved us in a second instead you sent a child"

Wow! So powerful to me. It made me feel like a couple of things were put into perspective for me. I've been having a rough week where I'm more then ever imaging what life would be like if Jaxon was here in my arms. I know things would have been harder and more challenging for us as a family with a medically fragile child but I wouldn't care. I constantly imagine different scenarios in which Landree would cuddle with him or kiss him or put her toys all around him, handing him one at a time.

Grief around the holidays is so painful for a lot of people. I don't want to sit here and say that loosing a child is more painful then a mother passing or a sibling or a grandparent. Its all hard, its all painful and it just plain SUCKS! You want to wrap those people in your arms and smother them with hugs and kisses and never let go. 

But when I was listening to this song, I started to think about God as a father not just as our Heavenly Father but a Parent to a son. Just like me. He sent HIS son to die for me, for us and for MY son. Without God loosing his son, my son would not be healed now and a promise of eternity with him would not be possible. God could have saved us in any other way but he sent a child, He used an infant to soften peoples hearts. It brings tears to my eyes because God used a baby to soften my heart with Jaxon as well and now that I understand the Christmas story on a deeper level I am soften once again by a baby named Jesus, in a manager. 

Now please don't let me get you confused I am in no way comparing my son to Jesus. I am just simply saying that God uses such small, innocent and perfect babies to make points all throughout the Bible. He did it with Moses and God did it again when he blessed Sarah and Abraham with a baby long after they should have been able to conceive, and now God does it with a women named Mary, a virgin none the less. 

Children allow us to see things differently, challenge us to love in a new way and they create peace in our chaos. I am so grateful that God entrusted me with Jaxon and Landree. The minute I saw them for the first time my heart was melted and through being their mother I have experienced a relationship with God like never before. It helps me to better understand the magnitude of Mary's love for her son and for her willingness to obey God even when the future was so uncertain for her. I want to be more like Mary as a mother, I want to hear Gods voice and respond with obedience, without question.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that God sends little tiny people to do amazing things for His kingdom. He forms these fragile, amazing and beautiful little humans inside our wombs to remind us that He does the impossible. He delivered a savior to our world and changed humanity for the better. I am beyond words grateful for a God that big and especially being reminded of that for this Christmas weekend. 

God gave me two beautiful children. He gave me two chances to have a more compassionate heart and more loving posture towards not only my family but everyone around me.

Merry Christmas sweet friends + Happy Birthday Jesus.

 xoxo, t.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Triple Chocolate S'mores Bark for the Holidays

Hey guys!
After a bunch of you messaged me on IG to share this recipe after I posted it in my stories I am super excited to share this quick and easy dessert with you all for the holidays! It took me about 15 mins total to make and you just have to let It chill in the fridge for about an hour afterwards. I will share the recipe with you guys here and its perfect to make for a holiday party if you're needing something fast. And did I mention it is delicious?!  

  • 24 oz dark chocolate (or milk chocolate)
  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • ¾ C graham crackers broken into pieces
  • ½ C marshmallows bits
  • 2 (1.55 oz) Hershey's milk chocolate bars (or dark chocolate), broken into pieces


1. Line a 15x10 inch cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2. Melt dark chocolate according to instructions on package, making sure to stir periodically. (I did it in the microwave)
3. Melt white chocolate according to instructions on package, making sure to stir periodically. (I did it in the microwave)
4. Spread melted dark chocolate onto prepared cookie sheet. Spoon white chocolate over the top. Swirl white chocolate through dark chocolate using a knife
5. Sprinkle with graham cracker pieces, marshmallow bits, and broken chocolate bars. Lightly press topping into chocolate.
6. Place in refrigerator and allow to refrigerate for at least one hour to cool and set.
7. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Hope you enjoy this and you can also put these in cute bags and give to neighbors as a gift! Tag me on IG if you make it so I can see. 

 xoxo, t.
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Giving Back Holiday Gift Guide

So I know every one and their brother is doing a "holiday gift guide" on their blogs right now but I thought it would be cool to do a gift guide with gifts you can give back with. Here are a few of my favorite gifts for kids, adults and everyone in between. The best part is, every one of these gifts helps give back to some form of charity. This holiday season is not all about what we get but what we give to others! 

This may be my favorite gift I will share with you guys! This company is amazing and with each doll you purchase they give 10 meals to a child. Like its one of the nicest things I've ever heard about and we really don't think about going hungry unless you have been before. These dolls come in so many different options for boys and girls. Landree has Sadie the fox mostly because foxes remind us of Jax and also because how cute is she? I hope you'll give one to a child in your life this Christmas season. They come in two different size options for each doll, this is the bigger version and they have a smaller one as well if you want to give it as a baby shower gift. They also make fantastic Birthday gifts! 

Above is one of my close friends, Jenn (here is her Instagram if you want to follow along with her journey) who this past year found out her son has cancer and the courage her + her family have makes me certain her son will kick cancers butt! Her son Charlie (who is the cutest btw) was born the same week I had Jaxon so this hits so close to home for me. Her faith is incredible and if you're ever having a day where you need to be encouraged, this is your girl! 
Love your melon is a company who sells beanies (like the one she is wearing) and they wanted to put a beanie on every kid fighting cancer! 50% of the proceeds from your purchase go to fighting pediatric cancer. I bought one for my self this year(merry Christmas to me!) and I can't wait to get it! Such a good reason to buy a beanie but they also come in tons of different colors. This is the one that I got HERE.

I live in the smallest state in the US but since moving to Rhode Island I have found my true earthly home with my husband and my babies. I was so proud to get this shirt and represent it because each purchase helps raise money for multiple sclerosis research. In 2013, The MS society honored The Home T by giving them their Cause Marketing Partner of the Year award. Pretty incredible people and such an honor. This is such a cute gift idea for someone who lives in a different state as you or for you and your bestie to be twinning in. They have mens and womens shirts that come in crew neck like I'm wearing or v-neck. 

I'm definitely bias on this shop (it is run by my husband and I) but we give back to families every month that have a medically fragile child. When we were going through our journey with raising a medically fragile child we had so much help emotionally, finically and many other ways from people all around us. One specific foundation that helped us was "Go Shout Love" they are no longer in business at the moment but I will always remember what their kindness and generosity meant to me and my family and so I figured I would start a little shop and try to help some families around the country and give back. We make shirts and with every purchase we give 20% back to a medically sensitive kiddo and their family! Not only are the shirt super cute you but you can get matching ones with your kids. Whats better then that!? Click the title to be directed to the shop or you can click HERE

This is another company I adore. They are raising money for SMA which is the number one genetic killer of infants. Its a horrible disease that robs families of time with their precious babies. Every case is different but I have known too many families effected by this disease. if you can make a purchase of their cute apparel and help even one child its beyond worth it, I promise you! The owners actually have a daughter who passed away from this disease so they know first hand the tragedy it causes! The slogan is something we lived by in our house hold while battling Niemann Pick Disease and every time we wore our shirts we felt like we could conquer anything. Jax constantly wore his and its the perfect gift to give someone you know fighting something hard during the holidays and reminds them to "never give up"!!!

To make a difference in some of the world's most vulnerable communities, they partner with Artisan Businesses that share their passion for building a flourishing world. They develop these businesses through fair trade empowering them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them. Helping support people in different countries who maybe don't have the same basic everyday things that we have or have the options to get good jobs. I heard about this organization through IF: gathering and have been obsessed ever since. I own a couple pieces and I always get compliments on them when I am wearing them. Above are the earrings I am in love with and match with so many things! I will put a link to them HERE

Hope these give you some good last min gift ideas for the holidays and you can feel good about your purchases because you know you are going back in the process. As always thanks for stopping by + happy giving sweet friends! 

xoxo, t. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Family Pictures 2017

These family pictures were so special to me because it was the first family photos we would take without Jaxon physically. To be honest I kind of put it off because I just miss him so much and some times I feel really guilty doing things like this without him. I wanted to be able to incorporate him into our photos this year and every year because for these photos I knew we would use them for our Christmas cards. I wanted to share them with you. We took them while we were on our trip to Denver, CO and Jackie Cooper took them and did such a beautiful job. So grateful for her eye and skills to help capture the people I love most in this world, my two beautiful children and my amazing husband! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope these help inspire another family who has lost a child to be able to see you can always have a part of them with you and its not strange or odd. It feels funny at first because they should be in your arms but having that picture with us was so emotionally honest for me because it was one of the first times in public where I felt whole because anyone looking at us would see that I had two children, not just the one in my arms. 

xoxo, t.
Friday, December 8, 2017

Mom Style in Denver

 Hey friends!
Just wanted to update you a little on life and the blog. Its been so long since I have been consistent with my posting and I want to say that I am finally going to be trying my best to do three blog posts a week. Usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. All while Landree is napping so I can have a little "me" time while she catches some Z's. Usually one family related post, one fashion and then maybe a recipe or home decor post here and there. I hope you guys will come check back and see whats happening over here!

This look was one I wore in Denver a little bit ago and thought it would be perfect for the chilly weather we've been having. Where its not quite cold enough for snow boots and a super heavy winter jacket. This vest is from north face and its a double sided wear so I am pretty excited about wearing the soft furry side in the colder months ahead.

I love flannel and ripped denim together but this look also has a lot of layers to it so if you're outside you can stay warm but then you can take off the vest if you're feeling toasty and enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend or its totally play date approved or even a day of running errands, where you want to look cute and put together but comfortable at the same time!

xoxo, t.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Monthly dose of Lo

Landree Olivia is seven months old! 
Not quite sure how that creeped up on us but I swear every month I say this but this is my favorite age. Everyday she brings us more joy, more laughs and more love then I ever imagined possible after losing Jaxon. I constantly pinch myself that she's ours because she really is the best baby girl!

This month she is sitting up so well by herself, LOVES to be held, is in a "big girl" rear facing car seat, eats purees twice a day (mostly likes bananas and pears but I sneak veggies in there at dinner time), likes Mickey Mouse club house, obsessed with the lights on the Christmas tree, is getting into anything she can, puts everything in her mouth, laughs a lot, smiles even more, is almost 18 lbs + 25 inches long, has the chunkiest thigh rolls and biggest blue eyes! 

Some of her favorite toys include: 
Book that makes a crinkling noise, teething waffle, rattle and Sophie the giraffe.

Wanted to share a little entry from my journal on the night before my scheduled c section that I totally forgot about until I stumbled on it the other day, here it is:

"May 4, 2017 - As I prepare to meet my daughter tomorrow night I am overcome by great sorrow and joy all at the same time. I miss Jaxon with every fiber of my being. Some days the ache of his absence seems too much to bear and other days the memory of his smell and smile carry me into tomorrow. I believe more than anything that our loved ones communicate with us from heaven. Jax let us know right away that he wanted our happiness by giving us Landree so close to his passing. She will always be so special to me because her presence will a forever reminder of the deep love Jax has for Mark and I.  I am excited beyond every other emotion to hold her in my arms, to rock her to sleep, to feed her and to sing to her. I can't wait to tell her all about her big brother and for her to grow up knowing the true protection she has, as I know she will always feel it. When I think about her my heart skips a beat because all I wanted was to be her mom. Since the moment we found out about her I dreamed of her soul and how much she will be loved. It didn't come without worry. I write this to remember that for 37 weeks and 5 days I worried. I worried whether my dream to kiss her cheeks and watch her breath in and out and snooze away in my arms would ever happen. Every pain, twinge and kick I worried. I was filled with anxious thoughts about her being taken away from us because I had to give up my son and watch his life literally slip from my hands. Grief while pregnant creates a battle within yourself that you never expected to feel. I did it all though because its worth it. Some days I was so overwhelmed with emotions I could barely get out of bed but then I remembered what a gift from God and our boy she is. We love you so much Landree Olivia and I can't wait to show you every day.'"

You are SO worth it my little ray of sunshine! Every moment with you is better than the last and to think I thought I loved you then! 

xoxo, t.
Monday, December 4, 2017

What only pictures show

I wanted to share these pretty holiday pictures in this blog post to kind of make a point: that just because someone is smiling/happy in a picture doesn't mean they aren't sad or dealing with the weight of some very hard things. I've learned through this journey of grief not to judge myself but most importantly not to judge others. You never know the hard battle someone is facing behind closed doors, no matter how pretty their pictures on Instagram are.

A couple months ago, I was like most of you scrolling through other people and bloggers Instagram feeds, looking at all these picture perfect curated squares thinking how in the world these people are so happy? How they get their kids to cooperate so well for pictures, how they always are so impeccably dressed and how everything in their life seems well, perfect!  

But then I started to think..what if someone was thinking the exact same thing about my life? What if they were struggling with fertility and saw my beautiful baby wondering when they would get theirs? What if they had a horrible fight with their husband and logged on and there was a square of the beautiful "shout out" I gave to my husband? And what if you just feel so insecure about your wardrobe and then there I am posting an #ootd of the new outfit I bought? 

My point is we never know what is going on behind these pictures. We snap the moment and then the next moment can be completely different. We all are just doing our best. Remember that, no one is perfect. The perfect "mom goals" girl you follow may be battling with postpartum depression or a financial strife or maybe even a marriage that is on the verge of divorce or an eating disorder. Don't compare yourself to anyone else but you.

Wake up every day and do YOUR best, find what makes you happy and ultimately create your own beautiful life. You can keep scrolling until your fingers go numb but you will never have their life, their love or their happiness. What is meant for you is for you, no one else. Post on social media because it makes you happy not because you feel like its what everyone else is doing.

Its so important for me to teach Landree to be confident and comfortable in her unique God given gifts. To always try and be the best version of herself and try her very best to be kind to people in all different walks of life because we never know what someone is facing day to day, pictures only show one part of the story. 

xoxo, t.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions are super important to my husband and I. We LOVE christmas time, we got engaged on Christmas day in 2012, we got married three days after christmas in 2013, so lets just say we like it, a lot. We want our children to grow up so excited for the holidays and this special time of year. I love everything to do with Christmas, from the tree to the stockings to the smells and the food. It has always been such a special time in my life since I was a little girl. 

Now that I have kids of my own I always want to make them appreciate this time of year. Not only are the presents fun but the meaning of this year is most important of all, the birth of Jesus. Now that Jaxon is in heaven I feel like is even more important to create memories for my daughter for her to remember her big brother and to incorporate him into our holiday season. I figured I'd make a post about some special things we do this time of year, for families who have lost a child and also for families who haven't. Hope you enjoy!

We created a tree in Jaxons memory that we put ornaments that belonged to Jax or that were given to us for him since he passed. Every year we purchase an angel ornament to go along with the tree. Last year we put it outside and this year we are going to put in the play house we have in our back yard to protect it from the weather. You can do this with a child loss or any family member that has passed away.

I can't wait to purchase ours for this year but both Christmass we had with Jax we did matching pajamas and it was SO much fun. We take a little Christmas picture in them and lounge around all day comfortable and cute! Some of my favorites are pajama grams, hanna andersson and target!

Jax & I in our matching Christmas penguin pjs 2014.
Christmas morning, 2015.

Now I know some people get SO stressed about family pictures but don't be. It is actually a lot easier then we make it seem and I have two examples. This picture below was taken by US. No photographer, no outfit prep just us in our Matching Jammies, a string of lights and a self timer remote. It was so simple and non stress and if they didn't turn out great it was ok. It was actually one of my favorite memories with Jax because he would smile but then as soon as I say cheese he'd stop haha. 

christmas card pic 2015

You can always go the more traditional route and hire a photographer or ask some one in your family to take the pictures and look on pinterest for clothing ideas and locations so you don't stress yourself out. It should be fun and its all about being able to look back at all your christmas cards to see how your family has changed and grown over the years. 
christmas card 2014

christmas card pics 2017.

This is pretty simple but getting a candle to light for the whole day in memory of your loved one that has passed away or some people "save a seat" for a loved one in heaven. I think both are amazing ideas. we did the candle last year for thanksgiving and christmas. 

Watching your favorite christmas movies together (maybe in your matching jammies) with some hot cocoa and treats by the fire, nothing cozier than that! a couple of our favorites are: the grinch, frosty the snow man, home alone and elf. 

I did this first with my nieces after Jax passed away. I gave them outfits from their cousin from heaven and i think it was awesome for them to get little gifts from him. I did it for our baby shower with a book from Jax to Lo all about angels. And this year for christmas I am going to get Landree and her cousins some presents from Jax from heaven. Its kindof like a second Santa for kids and adults. Knowing they are getting a special gift from heaven makes their loved one who has passed on seem present in the holiday season. 

Every time I have a baby I make their first Christmas ornament special. I buy a plastic (or you can do glass) clear ball ornament and then I use cute sticker letters to spell out their name and the year they were born on the outside. Then I fill the inside with the hat they wore in the hospital, their id bracelet and anything else special you want (I cut up Jaxons birth announcement and put it inside his). I just think its something SO special that hopefully Landree (and our future kids) can look at and remember it throughout the years and will want to do for their kids too. 

I hope these ideas help you make some amazing family traditions and memories this year. Please share any of yours that make an awesome holiday season. 

xoxo, t.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Don't be Silent

If you know someone who has lost a child, don’t be silent. Don’t shy away from talking with them just because you don’t want to make them sad, or you don’t want to say the wrong thing or you simply don’t know what to say at all. Speak up. Send a text telling the person you are praying for them because most of the time we are too proud to ask for prayers. Leave a coffee on their porch or sweet note or gift to let them know they have crossed your mind. Be the hands and feet of Jesus, cook a meal, ask to watch their other children or ask if they need to talk or maybe just show up to give them a hug. 

It’s hard to know the right thing to do when their whole world has come crashing down around them but the best thing you can do is ASK, ask how you can love them in this season? Ask them if they need prayer or even just a hug! Ask them if they feel like talking about their child or if they would share their favorite memory of them with you. Don’t just do nothing because you feel as though you will do or say the wrong thing. True, that nothing you can say will make their pain any less but the things you DO and say can shine light back into their lives. 

When your child dies you feel like everyone else just goes on with their life and you are stuck emotionally and physically. There is no “moving on” from the death of a child there is only moving forward. And with each step we take the more painful it is because each step into a new hour, day or week is that much time further away from the last kiss or hug or moment with your child. 

Some mothers say they can never imagine what we go through but try. Try to imagine a life without your baby, your child. Even the thought of if makes you sick, right? So imagine that sickness multiplied but it’s not just a thought it’s your life. Your day to day, moment to moment life. And there is no waking up from it, it’s forever. We will never kiss or laugh or talk with our babies again on this earth. 

But then imagine you grieving your child and you’re completely alone. No one to come along side you and hold your hand. Of course the initial days and weeks following your child’s passing people are so present and checking in and then one day it all just stops, or that’s how it feels. People go on with their lives and its not their faults because it wasn't their child who passed away. 

But then it starts to seem that no one mentions your loss out loud, and no one says your child’s name in fear of reminding you, but I’m hear to tell you. There is no reminding us because we are ALWAYS thinking of our child. It is a song in our hearts that is on repeat and you can never make us sad by mentioning them. I am already sad and thinking about my son from the time my eyes open in the morning to the time my eye close at night. He is with me always.

Don't forget about the daddys too. They are told to be strong and take care of their family all while their hearts are broken and spirits crushed right along side the mamas & other siblings as well. Everyone handles grief differently but every single person who has lost a child just wants to know their loss matters to you and you see them in their hurt. That their suffering is not lost in the hustle and bustle of this busy world. Sometimes that is how it is perceived to a grieving parent, that our loss has been glanced over and that our child has been forgotten. 

Jackie Cooper Photography

As parents we are all part of a club. This club should come with encouraging words and friends who carry your burdens with you. We aren’t meant to walk these scary, hard roads alone. We are built for community and deep relationships that know our hearts and help heal our hurt. One of your friends will lose a parent, they will be devastated but walk with them. One of your friends will have a failing marriage that might end in divorce, be a pillar for them, hold them up, let them lean on you. And more than likely one of your friends will lose a child, whether a miscarriage, still birth, tragedy or illness. Hold their hand, don’t let them do it alone. Come along side them and carry their hurt. Don’t be silent. 

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

This is a post that I have been trying to formulate for awhile. Every time I am about to post it I feel like I missed something but I know I need to post it in case there is someone who needs to read it. I hope you know this is just from my opinion and a couple of other angel mamas I have talked with. If there is something I've missed or a side I need to speak on please feel free to contact me and I could always do a Part 2 of this post. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finding out who God really is.

I remember when we were first told about Jaxons condition, people were on their knees praying for us. Praying something might change, for healing of our son, that doctors were wrong but also for God to restore us. I never really understood that prayer until lately.

When I look back to who I was three years ago and who I am now it is two totally different people. The women I am now is someone who loves deeper, sees the good in situations and who follows God fiercely in any direction he pushes me. I am a work in progress but I cherish every day because I know what one moment can change. 

One day I was pushing medicines through a gtube, sticking to strict feeding schedules, quarantined inside my house and wondering if the last kiss I gave my son would be the actual LAST one here on earth. Every appointment, every piece of bad news and every day chipped away at the person I once was and molded me and shaped me into the person God wanted me to be. But it also chipped away at pieces of my self that I loved. The carefree, free spirited person I once was left me because I couldn't live life on a whim anymore. I couldn't live without fear of the future or of the next day for that matter.

But slowly, not right away but over time I noticed this feeling that I had stirring inside my heart. God was restoring my soul. He has restored pieces of me that I never thought I would get back. He has literally called me from the grave and restored my heart to love in a new way but in a way that I know is best for my life.

When you get the news that something is "wrong" with your child, whether it is something small or something life altering, it matters. It matters and that day will be etched into your heart forever. The day we found out about Jaxon's diagnosis, it was one of the hardest days of my life thus far. One thing I know for sure is that I am changed completely, who I was when Jax was diagnosed is a different person, I barely recognize that girl. Everything we have been through has forced me to have to look at the world in a different way but in some ways i am grateful for that. One thing I know for certain is that you will change through whatever trial you are facing, you will be different BUT that God will never change. Who He is before you find out news you think will break you is the same God he will be forever. 

Remember this when your clutching your belly filled with a beautiful soul that you discovered is not the baby you thought, whether thats gender or health wise. 
Remember this when you are clutching your child in a hospital bed with machines beeping and the smell of antiseptic filling your nose. When you aren't sure whether your child will see tomorrow or even the next hour.
Remember this when your life isn't panning out to be what you once dreamed. 
God is always constant, He is the same today, tomorrow and always. 
He will go before you and fight for you. 
God is bigger then your fears, He is bigger then your dreams and He is bigger then any diagnosis or health concern. He will carry you through it all.
And if one day the worst comes to you. If your child lays lifeless in your arms He IS still the SAME God he has always been and you might feel lifeless as well but God will restore every inch of you.
He will bring you back to life.
Sometimes when you lose pieces of yourself you find out who God really is.

xoxo, t.