Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Girl's Getaway

My friend Chloe from New Zealand participated in Rachel's Race this year as a virtual walker.  She made this little Rachel "pocket rider" that she brought with her on the walk and then mailed to me.  My little Rachel bear has been riding on the dash in my truck since.  Asa broke the daisy off of her headband when I let him hold her one day, but I can fix it one of these days.

So, last weekend, Des and I went away for a girls night.  She had gotten tickets to Stars on Ice for her birthday and we left the day before to spend some girl time together away from all our crazy boys.  We took the van instead so we grabbed Rachel's pocket rider and Des put her in the cup holder.  We found Matt's stash of sour candies and ate them all (oops)... but I thought it was really cute that Des put one in front of Rachel's bear. ♥
It wasn't too long into our drive when I realized how badly we BOTH needed this trip.  Des has a hard job being the big sister of 4 brothers and a dead sister.  She does A LOT.  Much more than most girls her age... some times too much for her age.  She could run my house better than many adults could.  Lately, she can quickly get on my nerves because I have zero tolerance for attitude or laziness and she is a pre-teen who suddenly has both... but she is such a good kid.  It was amazing how well we were getting along just me and her.  I'm not sure how to foster this more often with our financial and time limitations, but this connection doesn't happen while running errands or in our daily grind.  I need to be more purposeful with her because I only have a few short years left to win her heart for Christ. 
Our first stop was, of course, shopping.  We bought her a bathing suit and a journal and I got a journal and a couple things for the house.  And then we were off to the hotel!
a keepsake box I found. ♥
We got into our room and immediately began working on our chocolate stash... because any girl getaway needs chocolate. :)  I made them all dairy and gluten free so we could eat our hearts out.
I had called the hotel ahead of time and the chef actually prepared an entire menu with all the gluten free items on it and left it at the desk for us!  I was really impressed with how well they handled that.  They even had gluten free pizza.  We planned on ordering room service, but when we walked past the dining area, Des thought it looked 'fancy' and wanted to eat there, so we went down to have dinner together.  We both got the baked haddock, baked potato and green beans and it was so good! 
During our conversations, there would be moments where I felt like she was so old... and then she would say something that revealed how little she still is.  Being 12 isn't easy - so stuck between two worlds...  we talked a lot about boys and what she thinks of 'dating' and how she will handle it when these things start coming up... because let's face it, it won't be long before the boys are chasing this pretty girl... and it's my job to make sure she runs as fast as she can in the opposite direction! lol.  But in all seriousness, it's coming and it's scary.  If I could go back to her age, I would change so much and avoid so much pain.  My hope is that she will choose differently and reap the blessings that will follow.
After we ate, we went back to the chocolate... I went to sit on my bed and she had left me a note earlier....
We hung out on our beds for a while and let the food settle while we watched some Family Fued and then went down to the pool.  With our Goggles On! (old post relating to the importance of goggles if you don't remember it, you should read it!)


If you have not yet gone to the bottom of the pool with your googles on with your kids, I encourage you to do it this summer.  I cannot even tell you what a blessing that time in the pool was for both of us.  It's been a long time since I've been able to just play with my Desirae May... we are usually so busy taking care of littles, but boy, did we play!  We would go to the bottom and have a 'dance party' and then come up for air and go back down and do it again.  We had races.  We pretended we were haddock in memory of our dinner and did crazy swim moves and flips... we laughed, laughed, laughed.  It was awesome. 
We went back up and showered and got comfy for some scrapbooking. 
Back in the fall, while we were on vacation and I saw the wedding on the top of the mountain, and was overwhelmed with wonder if I would be able to help Des plan her wedding considering all my heath issues, God put on my heart to make a scrapbook with her.  I didn't want it to feel morbid for her, just something so that if I am not still here when she gets married, she will have comfort in knowing her mom helped her prepare for it at least a little. Something that would take away the sting of her mom not being able to be there that day.  To, in a way, be there with her... the last thing I want is for sadness to be an overarching feeling at her wedding.  When we got back to town after that vacation, I saw a wedding magazine in the checkout.  I picked it up to see how much it was and this is what I saw...
Of course we haven't found time to work on this and so when I found out we'd have a night alone, I got more supplies and brought it so we could 'plan her wedding' together while we were away.  We spent a couple of hours cutting and pasting and talking about different flowers, colors and dress designs and classy vs horrible.  I'm thankful she is drawn to designs that are modest.  Oh Lord, please let me be with her that day!!  I also brought some items from mine and Matt's wedding to show her and she put one of our invitations and our wedding program in the back of her scrapbook.

We ordered GF pizza by room service, stayed up entirely way too late, and I didn't make her brush her teeth.  Moments I will cherish forever. ♥♥♥
We slept in and went down to eat breakfast - but the line was long and we were still full from the night before so we went to swim and sat in the hot tub for a few then bummed around the room and watched more Family Fued (it was on constantly!) and ate some more.  We drank coffee together, which made her feel all grown up.  By the time we left the hotel, we were finally relaxed.  We could have used another night to be honest, but Des was glad we had a few more things to do before we headed home to insanity! 
Our next stop was a place called Clay Play where you paint your own pottery.  I planned on spending much less than we did - but Des *really* wanted this owl dish and so we picked a mug for me that matched.  I had talked her into doing salt & pepper shakers that would cost half the price because we could each do a shaker, and she said it was fine, but I saw her face light up when she looked at the owl and I splurged.  We went to pick our colors and I looked for what color #43 was but couldn't find it.  We picked 3 of the 4 we were allowed to use and then decided we wanted a coral/peach color to be the last one and then found it on the bottom shelf... and guess what # it was... ?  Yep. 43. 
Des painted mine and I painted hers.  We decided ahead of time we would make the eyes look like daisies for Rachel but the rest we didn't coordinate at all....
It's almost scary how much alike they came out!  She is so much like me in every way.  Probably why I get irritated with her.  lol.  We spent well over 2 hours working on these!  It was super relaxing.  Now we just wait for them to come in the mail.  I had to pay extra for them to ship them since they don't fire them the same day.
We left there and grabbed some GF food at Five Guys in Portland.  It is so different eating out with just one child.  I would never say I regret having a lot of kids because I love them all more than life itself or anything life can offer... but I will say I had a few moments where I realized how incredibly hard it is now to be the mom I thought I would be.  Having one was so simple and I felt like such a good mom.  I never doubted my ability.  Having two was only hard because I wasn't sure I could love another as much as I loved Des, but I did so that was fine... three was a breeze... 4 was Rachel and no words describe that... and 5 was actually not that bad.  But 6...this little E... so close to my crazy Asa... they've done me in... in every way.  They seriously bring me to my knees every single day. I suppose there is purpose in that....
So anyway, after we ate, we went over to the arena for the Stars on Ice show.  Just as we were walking in (late of course) there was a light "Rachel" snow and since we were in Portland, where she was born, it was special.

you can see the snow resting on Des' hood.
 Here's where it started getting really 'ironic' on us...  our tickets were for row 4, seat 4 and 5.  I told Des ahead of time that I had a feeling that whoever was in row 4, seat 3 would have something to do with Rachel... but I was hoping the seat would be left empty and it would be like she had a seat with us. 

We walk in late and seats 1, 2 and 3 had to get up to let us in... sitting in seat 3 was a mom who gave me a dirty look for interrupting their show.  I was preoccupied mentally for a few minutes over how someone's lack of grace can affect a person.  As if I liked being late... 
I have always loved figure skating... so I knew this would be something I would like, but what I wasn't prepared for was how much emotion it would bring out.  I found myself fighting back tears through almost every performance.  I'm a crier anyway, but figure skating? 
A couple of songs into the show, this same lady reaches over and slaps my arm and says "That's my daughter!"  I asked which one and she said the one wearing the peach outfit.  Two things came to mind... first of all, she wasn't upset that I was late because she was grumpy... she was upset because this was her daughter's first time skating with Stars on Ice and she is a proud mama who didn't want to miss a thing.  I get that.  Second, my mind went back to Des' finger pointing at the peach color, #43 at the pottery place.  I turned to look at her and I kid you not, there were daisies printed on the side of her glasses. 
I wanted to tell her, but knew I'd look crazy so I didn't.
A few minutes later, she took a picture with her phone and when she put it back into her lap, the screen was still on.  I glanced down and her phone number was on the screen... the first three numbers of her phone number... 430
I wanted to tell her, but I knew I'd look crazy so I didn't.
I leaned into Des and whispered for her to look at her glasses and phone number... she's in row 4, seat 3 I reminded her.  Her eyes just got wide.
Then the finale was choreographed to "Shut Up and Dance with Me" and "Just Dance" and I realized that the theme of the show was "Dancing for Joy" ♥
That would have been enough for me to feel like God answered my prayer about letting me know Rachel was with us... but at the end of the show, the lady in seat 4,3 said to someone behind her "I told Hope to meet us at the door we came in." 
I looked at her and asked "Is your daughter's name Hope?" 
"Yeah, why do you know her?"
"No... well... um... I can't believe this...."
I was fumbling for words and she was staring intently trying to figure out what I was saying... I knew I had to tell her something or I'd look crazy... so I told her "My daughter lived for 43 minutes and you were sitting in row 4, seat 3 and we joked about how that seat might be left open for Rachel before we got here and Hope is a word that we associate with my daughter...."
I didn't tell her I saw her phone number or her daisies or that her daughter was painted in color #43 or I would have looked crazy....
Oh, wait, I already did look crazy!!  But you know what?  She started crying anyway.  We cried together over my little girl not being able to sit in her seat.  Me and a perfect stranger.  I was like a kid who just went on the best rollercoaster ever walking out of that place, repeating over and over how I couldn't believe that just happened. 
We got in the van and "My Hope" was on the radio.
I told Des on the way home that it might seem like I'm talking about Rachel and all the ways that Rachel shows up during things like this... but what I'm *really* talking about is my God, who cares so much about my heart that he pulls details together that He knows will get my attention... things I couldn't make up if I tried... things that could only be from him and point to the Truth of an eternal life after death.  When I tell people about seats and flowers and numbers and all the ways in which God times details just perfectly, I pray that nobody ever mistakes that for Rachel's doing... because while I do believe that God has clearly shown me that her and I are still connected in Christ and therefore she IS with me, along with Christ in my heart - I don't believe that Rachel herself makes these things happen.  I often say "Hi Rachel" as a way of saying her presence with me has been made known... but hear me when I say that Rachel would be nothing without her Father in heaven.  She couldn't do these things in and of herself.  It's actually God who does it and I'm so thankful He does.  I'm so thankful that He consistently reminds me of His love and her eternal life with him.  I'm so thankful that He hasn't forgotten me and how my heart yearns for her.  And I'm so thankful that he doesn't grow tired of hearing me say the same old things... or that he doesn't put a time limit on my need to be reminded that she is okay.
We serve an amazing God...a compassionate, loving, understanding, loyal and faithful God who never runs out on me.  He's never too busy to listen and He's never too self consumed to forget me.  It's a humbling thing.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
    And a time to die;A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.

15 That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past


  1. :-) :-) :-) God is so good! <3
    Love to the Aube girls <3

  2. I couldn't help but smile through my tears reading this post. So, so, soooo...ironic! Hi Rachel! =) xoxoxo


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes