The Due Date- Round 3

Since there is so much construction going on in our house right now Moriah and I decided to take a little vacation. I am tired of living in a hotel or in a construction zone. We booked a flight and spent 8 glorious days with family in Minnesota. While we were there my sister gave birth to her third child. My parents were on duty to take care of her two older boys and Moriah and I were excited to have a sleepover with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Since I live far away from my family these occurrences are few and far between for me. I will cherish those special moments I got to spend with my nephews for years to come. As I was going through my pictures and telling my husband all about our trip the past came back up from the depths of my soul. Like a hammer hitting me straight in the face. I don’t always remember or think about it but sometimes my heart stops and I remember the child that was lost.

One of my nephews is one month older than my child that was lost of miscarriage and my niece is one month younger. Of course I don’t know for sure as I was only 9 weeks pregnant at the time but in my heart I feel that child was a boy. As I was looking through my pictures and the memories of our mornings together my sweet nephews blue eyes struck me: he (my child) would be the same age.

Every morning Moriah would wake up in her crib and I could hear her sweet cooing before I was fully awake. And every morning when the boys were there someone else would greet her. My bedroom door would slowly open and I could hear quiet footsteps as the morning sun poured into my room. I would open my eye just a sliver to see that my nephew had heard my daughter in her crib and he would sneak in to gently touch her. One morning he was petting her head the next holding her hand. The picture I was looking at was one morning she was up early and woke up wanting some breakfast so she was in bed with me when he came in to check on her. He decided to climb over the footboard and into bed with us for his morning greeting.

At the time I thought it was adorable that my nephew was so gentle with her. Excellent practice for when he went home to his newborn sister, and that’s where my thought process stopped. But the other day, while looking at this picture I was reminded of my son, who I can only imagine was blonde and blue eyed; and my heart broke. I truly can’t wrap my mind around having a 2 year old along with my 4 month old daughter. That would be a handful. So today, I let the pain of loss wash over me again and I think about what would have been? Would he reach into her crib and hold her hand? Would he sneak into my bedroom and pet her head as she jabbers away? Would he reach out his arms with longing in his beautiful eyes as he asks to hold her one more time before bed? Would we be counting his animals and mimic the sound each one makes? Or would we be in a potty training battle full of 2 year old tantrums and “no,no,no’s”?

Probably.

Sometimes I let the grief and heartache bubble up to the surface because it’s in these moments that I am reminded of how grateful I am to have known this kind of loss. It’s in these moments where I’m reminded of Christ’s blessings. I did not lose a child in vain. God had and has a plan. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

God’s Gift to the World!!! – just kidding :)

housewinter2

I’m very fortunate to have received the gift of creativity from my parents.  So when I started asking questions about my birth story so that I could write my own version filled with drama and twists and turns, my mom offered to write it for me! So, today I give you all a special treat, a guest post today from my lovely mother Sheryl… Enjoy!

It was a cold dark December night and the weather was turning nasty.   As the family settled in to watch their favorite Monday night comedy shows, the father noticed that the freezing rain had begun.  Although the Mother was feeling uncomfortable she did not feel like she was in recognizable labor.   The family was watching the Bob Newhart show and the weather wasn’t getting any better so the father announced that as soon as the show was over the family would load up in the car and head to town just in case the baby decided to arrive on this blustery night.   Not long after the car was loaded and the boys in their places, the mother- to-be started to feel labor pains that she had been waiting for two weeks and she knew it “was time.”

The next plan was to drop the mother off at the hospital and take the boys to grandmas.  Is this where the song “over the river and though the woods “came from??

Or is this the song being sung on those icy roads 10 miles from the hospital?

The special child was born after several hours of walking up and down the hallways of the hospital which was and still continues to be the smallest one in the state of Minnesota.

Ok, ok back to the special baby…….yes, the baby was born and she was a GIRL!   Yes! A girl!!! Pink, bows, lace and dresses now could enter into the happy mother’s life.   You see the family before this special night consisted of a father, a mother and two little boys.   Now they were joined by a Girl!  A red headed girl!   This mother was so excited that she called her mother to tell her that she had been blessed with a daughter, a redheaded daughter!   The grandmother proceeded to tell her daughter that the little girl probably just had remains of her birth on her head and not red hair!  The grandmother was very surprised in the morning when 4 hours after the birth and her first bath the little girl still had beautiful red hair.  Red hair and an amazing interest in the new world around her.  The nurses were surprised at her alertness and interest in her new world! But where did this red hair gene come from???   As the child grew she used to tell people it came from the milkman!  Her mother said it came from the milk.  Well, it was true that the milkman did have red hair……..But with all kidding aside the red hair came from several generations back on both parents side.   The great grandmother sister on the maternal side had reddish hair and the great grandfather on the paternal side had a red beard.  God took out his red brush that night and created a beautiful little baby girl to bless this family and the world.  This beautiful baby girl, Joanna Kay Kopperud was born on December14, 1982 to two very proud parents and two very excited big brothers.   The mother felt like she had just received a special new dolly for Christmas that year.

joannasbirth

Can we all just take a moment to admire how incredibly adorable my brothers were???? So cute!!!! Joanna’s Homecoming and Christmas Card 1982.

Happy 30th birthday baby girl!

Yours forever… *BGR

This is how I sign all of my love notes to my husband. We have a secret language. He loves that I can own being a “BGR” Or as I like to call it… A Big Giant Redhead. I’m not a big giant, this I know, but I am a redhead that is surrounded by a family of little people. Many people wonder where I get this idea… so I bring you, all of my reasons for calling myself a “BGR”.

And now it’s time to let you know… That I LOVE the title I have deemed to myself as the BGR!!!! I own it, it’s awesome, and I stand out like a sore thumb! If you ask me “What’s something about yourself that you would never change?”  It would be my BGR-ness. It makes me different and quite frankly it’s more of an attitude than anything else. 🙂

The Case of the Rolling Bull

I found this little gem from my college years. It was written sometime before May 2005.

Our families cows breaking out of their “fenced in roaming area” is nothing new. I remember such experiences as a child when death felt near. It is those times when your heart beats fast and panic sets in, then your mind and body come together in that short instance that saves your life.

My family had just gotten home from vacation. We notice many footprints on our lawn. These were not any ordinary footprints but they certainly were familiar to my family. They were the kind of footprints that we all dreaded to see. They were cow footprints. My whole family was so tired and did not want to deal with the cows wondering all over our lawn. Dad took it upon himself and said that he would go out and see what’s going on while the rest of us unloaded from the trip. We were all laughing and reminiscing about the trip when we all turned to see my dad running towards us. It turns out that my neighbor’s cows had gotten into the very same pen with our cows and we would have to separate them. This is a HUGE job. My sister, mom, dad and I went and put our clothes on and got ready to go.

When I had finished getting changed I went down the hill to where the cows were. Naturally, the two bulls had found each other. I made my sister round up the herd while I stayed up by the house. My life all of the sudden became slow motion. The two bulls were coming towards me in a not so orderly way. Rolling, rolling towards me. I looked around for somewhere to hide, but unfortunately this was the open plain of the Midwest. There were no trees or anything to hide from two fighting, 2,000 Pd bulls. I screamed and looked at my sister. To my shock she was laughing hysterically at me. I did not think that this near death experience was very humorous at all.

I looked back at the bulls. The neighbor’s bull was running towards me looking for protection because our bull was winning the fight. This only worsened my situation. Finally, I did what I had to do; the only thing there was to do. I ran. I out ran them. After all I was only 140 pounds and they weighed only about 1,860 more.

Well, that’s what I remember. During the rest of the day I had two more near death experiences. If you would like to know “the rest of the story” just ask. It is quite amusing.

Freckles on the Pasture

I found this little gem from my college years. This was written sometime before May 2005.

As I walk

I hear the peaceful sounds

The wind massages my skin

And I keep walking

I wonder far away

Not knowing where I’ll end up

I keep going

Through the woods and paths

My freckles are burning

The suns rays hit

They are stinging

Like they’ve been bit

I think of all the feet that have been before,

Walking my very steps

Wandering away

From everything

I wonder what reasons they had

Scared?

Mad?

Happy?

Their mind becomes important

What did they think?

Why were they here

What did they do?

I’m here

Sitting,

Thinking,

Wondering.

Why I came here

What I’m doing

How I got here

And if they thought of me too.

I love this poem and can’t believe I wrote it way back when… This sums up a lot of why I started writing again. I love knowing the history of our family and knowing who lived in our house before we did. There have been many times when a walk on the pasture is all you need to calm your nerves, share you happiness, feel the peace of the prairie, or just to pray. I’ve walked that pasture for many different reasons over the years but most of the time it’s to escape the chaos that can be normal life. The pasture at my parents house is where I go to breathe…

20120831-214623.jpg

The Day Before

It was the day before my wedding. Everything was looking bright and sunny. However, there was rain in the forecast which was casting a shadow on my outdoor garden wedding but I tried not to let that bother me. We had a girl’s day planned the day before and it was going to be a glorious day! We were headed to Marshall to get our nails done and have lunch together. We left the boys home to finish setting up the tents and chairs. My mom left them a list of things that needed to get done while we were getting pampered.

I’m not entirely sure how the whole idea morphed into what it became. Our first mistake was leaving the men alone. My sisters in laws were both in my wedding so that left the boys to play without supervision. I assume the idea started with an individual finding a long piece of landscaping plastic that was left over from the preparations of my wedding at my parent’s house. After that, it all went downhill… literally….

The ladies and I had a wonderful day. We got manicures and pedicures and went out for a delicious lunch. We were excited to come home to see all the work the guys had done but we were greeted with something else entirely. As we drove down the driveway I could see my oldest brother (I say oldest because I have 2) standing at the top of a large mound of dirt that was left from digging the pit where my parents burn their garbage. I remember “what the…” coming out of my mouth. He was facing away from us wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He slowly turned and looked at us sitting in the vehicle. Straight faced, he slowly turned back around… and then FLUNG himself off the mound of dirt hands first!

After that, all the women started talking at the same time, “What was that?” “What have they been doing?” “They better have finished their list!” Upon further inspection and a walk down to where I saw my brother throw himself off the mound of dirt, I saw what they were doing. All the men, including my future beloved, were soaking wet. They had a garden hose hooked up to the barn and were spraying the landscaping plastic with ice cold water. They had made a slip n slide the day before my wedding.

My mom had organized everything down perfectly so there was a little bit of time to kill before the rehearsal started. Time to kill + Family from across the US gathering + 1 Texan+ God given creativity = DANGEROUS! My husband’s friend from Texas that flew up for the wedding suggested that we move the slip n slide to the sledding hill and proceeded to go into town to buy 100 foot landscaping tarp. And so they did… and yes, this is how I spent the day before my wedding. I did not go down the slip n slide for fear of injury but many did and I think it is now a family activity that will be passed on to the generations!

This last summer my nephew who is 4 years old continued the tradition.

The Squeaky Fan

Every once in a while the oscillating fan in my bedroom starts to squeak. Well, it’s more like little chirps than squeaks, but you get the picture. When it makes this glorious noise, most human beings (like my dear beloved husband) would be annoyed however; I fall into a deep sleep that is full of memories and comfort from a far off land…

My room was that very top window. This picture is before my parents repainted and sided and filled cracks….etc. They did A LOT of work to the outside.

When I was 14 years old, my mom and dad agreed that it was time for me to have my own room. I begged them for years to clean out the old storage room on the 3rd floor across the hall from my older brothers shared bedroom. I’ve always been the independent type so sharing a room with my little sister was cramping my style. My brothers liked to share their bedroom and had no need for their own space, and it helped that one of them was heading off to college soon. So, my mom agreed that as long as I did the work with her, she would allow me to have my own room. FINALLY!

As I recall, cleaning out the storage room was a “family affair”. My dad grew up in this house so there were many boxes of things from his childhood as well as items my aunts had left behind from their early years. There was also a home gym system my brother put into the room to prepare for each football season, along with old furniture and other little treasures the mice had left behind.

I had dreamed of this room being mine since I could remember. It seemed like such a waste to me to have it as a storage room, but in all fairness, with 4 kids my parents had to wait for the right time to decide who got the extra room. I used to love to hide and be by myself. I remember sneaking up the stairs, climbing over the exercise equipment and boxes, until I could finally reach my destination of the old wooden chair in the fair corner of the room. The old chair was an antique with broken wooden back spindles and a broken spring in the seat. I would sit on my “princess throne” for what seemed like hours dreaming of the day this room could be mine.

After weeks of hard work, and my parents teaching me how to wall paper, paint, and lay carpet, the room was finally mine. I felt like a queen in her castle. Mom had taken me shopping for wall paper and sure enough, right by the front of the store was the clearance wall paper. If you know me, you know I headed straight for that clearance section. I was trained at a young age to check those bargain bins! Sure enough I found the perfect wall paper stuck in the bargain bin. It was yellow with blue flowers. As luck would have it, my Grandparents put new carpet in their bedroom so the old carpet was laid in my new room…

Wait a minute… What was this post about? OH RIGHT! This post was about a squeaky fan… how I digress….

Every night as I was falling asleep in my bedroom, I could hear the “critters” inside the walls and roof. At first, they would wake me up. But after a while I got used to the sound of them leaving their homes that they had made in the cracks and crevices of our old house’s outer shell. I could hear the birds swooping and then landing to feed their young. I could hear the tiny chirps of baby birds feeding. I could hear the bats scratching, cooing, and squeaking. After a while, those little noises became a comfort. So now, whenever my fan begins to squeak it takes me back to the time when I was the queen of my imaginary castle… That is, until I’m awakened by my beloved violently ripping off the covers and smacking the fan until it stops squeaking, then proceeding to slam his body back in bed. I guess the squeaky fan does not bring him the same feelings of joy that it brings me. Perhaps I should buy a new fan?