June 26, 2009 Just in case you have not seen enough of our baby wearing hats with flowers and hats with bows... I switched it up a little for you to see her wearing her black hat and "blue bird" feather. She is cute as a button in what ever hair pretties she is sporting. Clearly, she's got the look!
During the time I was pregnant with Ava... we knew her first as Tweetie Bird, Baby Bird, and Birdie. Just a side note for you readers... When Elise past away, several of the angels we received and have since collected are angels holding birds. I took this very symbolically. Both creatures have wings. Angels belong in heaven and birds sore the earth. So when I found out Rob and I had a second chance at bringing life into the world I gave him a blue wooden egg in a nest... Symbolic of the egg in our nest. The light clicked on and he realized we had our second child on the way. This is how the ball got rolling. So really... Ava has her sister to thank someday for all of her nick-names. Thanks Elise.
The Bird lingo and birdie things became almost a game. Who could come up with the most creative bird-like names for her and who could find the cutest baby things that have bird themes. It is really amazing to me how much you can find, how much you can creatively come up with, and how it all stuck to her. Ava has been called Tweets, Tweeter, Tweet-Tweet, Chirp, Chirp-a-roo, Peep, Peeper, Peep-er-roo, Chick, Chick-adie, Robin, Rob-in-ette, bird-ette, and bird-zilla just to name a few. Ava's nicknames really took off in-utero without her say so and I am pretty sure they are all here to stay. Tweet-Tweet! Even Ava's name means "Pretty Delicate Bird!" All of the bird lingo and bird accessories became a constant part of her life and a part of her persona. She is Tweets...
I listened to a lot of music to get me through some of the anxiety of having a high risk pregnancy. Not only do I use poetry a lot in my life I also use music. Just songs that remind me of one thing or another in relationship to my life. Ava's Blue Bird Hat Photo... makes me want to share one of the songs I love with you that also reminds me of her... My Baby Bird. I would love to add this song to my playlist but it is not among the song options. Sorry. But... You can still enjoy the lyrics below.
Kenny Loggins- The Horses
We will fly way up high Where the cool winds blow Or in the sun laughing having fun With all the people that we know If the situation should keep us separated I know the world won't fall apart You will free the beautiful bird Caught inside your heart
Can you see her oh she flies so proud Cast her wild wings over water and cloud
That's the way it's gonna be little darling We'll go riding on the horses yeah yeah Way up in the sky little darling If you fall I'll pick you up, pick you up If you fall I'll pick you up, I'll pick you up
You will grow until you go I'll be right there by your side And even then a whisper in a wind Will call me to you in the night. I hear all the people of the world In my one bird's cry I see them trying every way they know To make their spirits fly
Can you see her moonlight in her eye Coming from under my wing You were born to fly
That's the way it's gonna be, little darling We'll go riding on the horses yeah yeah Way up in the sky little darling If you fall I'll pick you up,I'll pick you up If you fall I'll pick you up...
That's the way it's gonna be, little darling We'll go riding on the horses yeah yeah Way up in the sky little darling If you fall I'll pick you up,I'll pick you up If you fall I'll pick you up...
I'll pick you up darling yeah!
We're gonna be riding on the horses baby... We're gonna be riding on the horses baby...
June 23, 2009 Today the weather was hotter than hot in Cozy Acres. Temper-atures have officially reached a whopping 90+ degrees this summer and the humidity is out of this site. So after Ava's morning nap we headed over to the Arnoldink's for a "pool day." In all honesty, I was really excited for Ava to try out her new swim duds. I must say she looked cutter than cute sporting this water ready look from Old Navy. She was fashionably sporting a pink and orange cover-up hoodie, a pink and orange flower swimmy-suit, pink flip-flops, birdie towel, and pink sun glasses. (Ava is not seen wearing her pink shades... Oops! They were darling on her... I will capture them on her next time readers... next time.) I will say that our little sun bather looked healthy showing off her chubby arms and thighs. At this angle our Tweeter looks quite thin for being a twelve pound keeper.
This picture of our pool beauty says it all... Hot and Crabby!
Normally, Ava loves going into the tub... so I thought why not use it to cool her off outside in this heat. But for whatever the fashion-ista's reasons... she was not impressed. The look on her face and the tears speak for themselves. Maybe she didn't want to get her new duds wet. I explained to her that in public we don't skinny dip in the tub like we can inside at Home Sweet Kolkman for bath time. But she wasn't buying my reasoning or the wet bathing suit. I guess I will have to work with her on this one some. I am sure in time she will turn into a true water baby. It is in her genes to love the pool.
The Ava grizzlies bought her out of the tub and out of her cute Old Navy swimmy-suit. Once she calmed down some she did enjoy a long nap in the Aquatic Swing. Nothing like sleeping in the bird-buff with your "peeper." Baby-nite-nite. Ava slept for about two hours in the warm summer breezes of our country side. While she napped I caught a little summer fun in the sun of my own. A little tanning, a cocktail, dipping my feet in the big kid pool, talking with Kris, and watching her girls play was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. A little time spent at the Arnoldink's did Ava and I some summer good. Thanks neighbors!
All in all, I think for trying something new Ava did okay at "the pool". Plus... with or with out the water Ava can really model off swim wear. America's Top Model better watch out. If Tweeters could walk I am sure she would be struttin' her tail feathers on the Cat-Walk! Tweet-Tweet!
June 21, 2009 Father's Day 2009... A day for Rob! We celebrated him for all that he is........ A WONDER-FUL husband and father. Happy Father's Day Rob... We love you!
I had to post the picture of Ava sleeping on Father's Day morning. She's such a sweet little sleeper. How could you not love waking up to such a perfect site? Ava graced us with her usual good morning cheer and starving belly. So she had her breakfast bottle, several good morning cheezes, a snuggle or two, and she chatted all about her dreams from the night. She makes the sweetest sounding words and stories these days. She is quite the ham in the morning. It is one of her happiest times in the day. You would almost think it is on her agenda each morning to win our hearts over again and again... We remind her daily... She already has.
Since Rob works at the tree nursery and at the farm he doesn't have the usual places like a desk, computer, or work station to show off his favorite people. So the girls and I decided to give him a way to show them off. We gave him a digital photo album that he can keep on his key chain. It is the perfect gift to help Rob celebrate his children and fatherhood. With the smile on his face you can conclude he was happy to have this gift from the girls and I. Now he is never without pictures of the people he holds most dear. We also found him new and fancy pocket knife gizzy. Another perfect gift for "our" outdoor dad. Hugs and Kisses Pa-Pa!
Rob's journey to fatherhood has been a long road as well. He has two beautiful daughters, Elise and Ava, whom he loves with all of his heart. While I generally do not speak for Rob, I think it is safe to say, that the loss of Elise leaves his arms longing for her as well as it does mine. I can not officially speak to the loss of a child from a father's point of view for the obvious reason... I am not a father. However, I do know this day is bitter-sweet for him too. He has done an amazing job handling his own grief and being supportive of me in mine. No two people grieve the same this we have come to know. I believe there is nothing short of amazing watching your husband become a father. Watching the love he has for our daughters warms my heart in a way I can not describe. I know that Rob's heart is big and there will always be a special place reserved for only Elise. Ava is a true blessing to him and our family. The love he feels for Ava and is able to show her will never be taken for granted. He sure loves that little girl.
And with that... I leave you with this photo of Elise, Ava, and Rob having some time together on Father's Day along with a couple poems we hold dear to our hearts.
Silent Foot-prints We never had the chance to play, to laugh, to rock, to wiggle. I long to hold you, touch you now, and listen to you giggle. I'll always be your father. She'll always be your mother. You will always be our child, the child we never had. But now you're gone... but yet your here. We sense you everywhere. You are our sorrow and our joy. There's love in every tear. Just know our love goes deep and strong. We'll forget you NEVER. The child we had, but never had, and yet we'll have forever. Anonymous-
The Broken Chain We little knew that morning, that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly, In death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, You did not go alone; For part of us went with you, The day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, Your love is still our guide; And though we cannot see you, You are always at our side. Our family chain is broken, And nothing seems the same. But as God call us one by one, The chain will link again Anonymous-
Rob thanks for letting us celebrate you today... You are the best!
June 17, 2009 Ava had her two month well child check up today at ABC Pediatrics. Rob and I were both looking forward to knowing officially how much our baby has grown over the past month and a half from her last appointment. Boy were we surprised. Ava now weighs 12 pounds even and is 22 & 3/4 inches long! What a chunk. That is just under a five pound weight gain from her two week check-up and almost a five inch length gain from her birth. So when I say Ava is growing like a weed... that's a fact!
Tweeter is definitely a good eater and a nice armful. Her height and weight place her in the 62nd percentile along the well child check bell curve. My Ava is certainly THRIVING! Dr. Hoogstra said she is strong, shows good development of her senses, and has great social skills. That-A-Baby! All of our playing, talking, reading, and singing are paying off!
She survived her immunizations by a thread. I say this only because she had baby Tylenol on board 3o minutes prior to arriving and she liked the sweet tasting oral rhotovirus. Nurse Sarah was organized and had all three shots ready to go so I didn't have to hold her legs down... she did. I am thankful for that. Pre-poke Ava was all smiling and cooing in between sucking on her goo-goo. Then came the first shot... Her little peepers got super big... Her bottom boot-lip came out... Her eyes shut tighter than tight. In fact, I couldn't see her lashes anymore! Then came the big girly cry. She belted out this, "It hurts me momma!" dramatic cry for a full minute past the last poke. It was so sad to hear her tweet-tweet. Three round band-aids later, Lily Mae, and a 4 oz. bottle before things were looking up. Poor Baby. Her Tylenol finally came to the rescue... and baby Ava night night. We took it easy for the rest of the day and just snuggled on the couch. Life at two months old isn't all sugary sweet.
June 10, 2009 AVA ELISE....... "For this child I have prayed." SAMUEL 1:27. Ava... I grew to love you before you were ever born. I prayed for your well being the entire time you grew in-utero. Now that you are here safe and sound I am relieved and graciously thankful for your precious life. Just one smile from you and my heart melts. I can not stop gushing about you from your head to your toes. You are fabulous in every way and you are the perfect addition to our family. Ava you are the joy in my heart, the bounce in my step, the sparkle in my eyes, and the perfect bundle to fill the ache in my arms. Thanks for all that you do, for all that you are, and for all that you will be... My Second Daughter... My Rainbow Baby... & My Pretty Delicate Bird... Tweet-Tweet!
One of the many past times of mine after your big sister past away was reading poetry. I have so many sweet poems that remind me of Elise. It was a very healing part of my journey through grief. I continue to use poetry in my life. Poetry is here to stay! I hope you will grow to love poetry as much as I do. Here are a few poems that remind me of you... ENJOY MY LITTLE TWEETER!
A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN A little bit of heaven Drifted down from above A handful of happiness, A heart full of love. The mystery of life, So sacred and sweet The giver of joy So deep and complete. Precious and priceless, So lovable, too The world's sweetest miracle, Baby girl, is you. -Anonymous
SUNSHINE She's a little bit of sunshine She's a smile to light our days She will steal our hearts and keep them With her warm endearing ways. She's our precious little daughter With a sweetness from above Who will fill our years with laughter And our lives with lots of love. -Anonymous
Then last but not least... This is the poem I memorized and read to you (Ava) in-utero with a few modifications, of coarse, to fit your story and journey to birth perfectly. You are a miracle from above and an answer to my prayers. I love you!
Where Did You Come From? Where did you come from, Baby dear? Out of everywhere into here. Where did you get your eyes so blue? Out of the sky as I came through. What makes the light in them sparkle and spin? Some of the starry spikes left in. Where did you get that little tear? I found it waiting when I got here. What makes your forehead so smooth and high? A soft hand stroked it as I went by. What makes your cheek like a warm white rose? I saw something better than anyone knows. What makes your sweet smile of bliss? An Angel, Elise, gave me at once a kiss. Where did you get this pearly ear? God spoke, and it came out to hear. Where did you get those arms and bands? Love made itself into hooks and hands. Where did you get your feet, those darling things? From the same box as the cherubs' wings. Where did you get that dimple so cute? God touched my cheek as I came through. How did they all come just to be you? God thought of me and so I grew. But how did you come to us, you dear? God thought of you, and so I am here.
June 7, 2009 Ava was baptised today. It feels good to have this under our belts. This day was bitter-sweet for Rob and I. We were able to celebrate this milestone with Ava among our family, friends, and our church community. But it is times like this when we feel Elise's absence the most.
The last time Rob and I planned a family event at church was for the funeral of our first born child. So many memories flood our minds for today. A part of our grief that will never leave us. But today's church service and baptismal ceremony is a time of joy and celebrating Ava's life as we welcome her into Holy Spirit and help God into her heart.
Todd and Christina, or shall I say Uncle Toddzie and Auntie C., are Ava's God Parents. They are also Elise's! We are doing all of the little things possible to keep our girls connected. Thanks Todd and Christina for taking on this special role in Ava's life. I know you will be the best of the best for her to role model our faith in the world around us.
The mass was good and it was nice having Father John Vallier for the service. He is the priest who gave Rob and I our pre-marriage counseling, he married us, he came to the hospital when Elise past away and blessed her body, and now it is great having him share in Ava's baptism. He is a great priest and has seen Rob and I along our journey together as a couple and has been with us for some big milestones in our lives. I hope to share many more positive events with Fr. John. Thanks Father.
Now here is some Barron baptism history... In our family, there is an old baptismal gown that my dad's grandmother made by hand. It is sixty-one years old to date and it still looks beautiful. I love that my great grandmother made this gown and that it has been worn by generations of my family. It is so beautiful and delicate. The last person to wear it was Elise which makes this gown all the more special. I am glad that Miss Ava was next in line to slip into this gown. Then to follow the church ceremony I had a beautiful off-white cable knit dress for Ava to wear. I picked out this dress for Ava while she was 18 weeks in-utero at the Gap Outlet in Birch Run. It is perfect because Elise also wore an off-white cable knit dress from the Gap on the day of her funeral. So in a way not only is the family gown tradition to wear so is having a cable knit dress. And....Ava, you looked beautiful in both dresses!
To follow mass we had a small gathering of family and friends back at our house for brunch and dessert. It was quite the feast. We were hoping that right after mass our neighbors, Adam & Angie, could start cooking all of the the oven items... but we had our house locked up tighter than fort knocks and they were not able to start cooking up the feast we had prepared... Oh well, we tried and we ate an hour post arriving back at home versus right away. Trial and error. We will be better next time family and friends who patiently waited to eat.
After the meal we opened gifts. Ava was showered with lots of faith filled presents. She received kid christian story books, bibles, angel figurines, angel pins, a cross, clothes, money, and more. Thanks everyone for your generosity. We will put all of these gifts to good use. Thanks for celebrating this milestone with Ava. May there be many more celebrations on her behalf. Tweet-Tweet!
June 3, 2009 Who is Lily Mae? Well she is Ava's favorite baby for the time being. I have been playing up a storm with Ava here at Home Sweet Kolkman and I have introduced her to every toy and baby known to man. This little frog blanket is her personal favorite. It is neat seeing her make this baby selection on her own.
I discovered Ava one day just lovin' on this baby. She sucks on Miss Lily's three fingers on her left paw and kisses her on the lips! I was hoping that she would kiss me on her own first but how can I compete with this adorable little creature? Clearly, I just can't. I am only the girl's mother. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad really, I am not the only one who is second fiddle to Lily Mae. Glow worm gave her a run for her money along with her lamb rattle and pink bunny from Bunnies by the Bay. But Lily has one up on all of us. She is a combo baby... Part frog and part silky blanket. At this point in time she is the front runner of favorites in Ava's life.
As Ava is exploring the world around her and developing her own sense of style and personal flare I will keep you readers in her loop of favorites. There is nothing better in life than playing with my Tweeter. Not only do I get to help her explore all of these new things around her... I also get to watch her brain develop and see her build up her language and social skills. Plus she is learning how to use her hands and fingers and build all sorts of strength in her neck, arms, and legs. What a great way to spend my day and bond with this precious life I have longed for. Life at Home Sweet Kolkman really is Sweet Sweet Sweet. Thanks Ava for all the joy you bring into my life. I love you sweet girl! Hugs and Kisses XXXOOO Forever and Always.
Mom... I need a break from all of your stories. Shhhhhhh... I'm trying to sleep.
Ava's 2 Weeks Old!
Check me out.
Ava's 1 Week Old!
Ava's Birthday 04/15/2009!
I made it safe and sound. Tweet-Tweet!
Ava Elise Kolkman
April 27, 2009 Ava had professional photos taken at our nest... Rob and I had this set up for Elise but were never given the chance to experience this joy with her. So this event was bitter sweet at Home Sweet Kolkman. The beautiful dress that Ava is wearing was given to Elise in the hospital but she never had the chance to wear it. Ava looked beautiful in her big sister's gown. I am glad she was able to have her photos taken in something of Elise's... which is not always easy for us to do. With love and tears... Rob and I will keep our daughters connected in all of the ways we can. Tweet-Tweet... Our second daughter, Ava, is a wonderful addition to our family. We are so blessed to have her in our lives.
Ava & Levi meet!
04/26/09 Elise & Annika are so proud of our smiles...
Elise Renee Kolkman
10/13/2007... Forever in Our Hearts
To Elise on Mothers Day
A Mother's Day Gift From God-
Lord today is Mother's Day,
but my heart is split in two.
Half of my heart is still here,
the other with Elise, who is there with you.
All the lovely presents are a nice surprise.
But the only thing I want most is missing,
and tears fill up my eyes.
I know when you sent her Lord,
You didn't promise how long she would stay.
All you said was to love her and treasure each and every day.
But Lord it crushed my heart,
when you called for her return.
I really feel like half a Mom, as I ache, weep, and yearn.
But Lord Please tell Elise that I Love her
just as much as I did before.
And could you please make a window,
so she can see through heaven's floor?
Let her see that she is missed and thought of with every breath.
And that a Mother's love begins before life,
and does not end with death.
So on this Mother's Day,
She's the Greatest Gift I Give To You.
For Lord I know you missed her,
and you Love her too.
From Elise on Mothers Day
Dear Mr. Hallmark,
I am writing to you from heaven, and though it must appear a rather strange idea, I see everything from here.
I just popped in to visit your stores to find a card. A card of love for my mommy as this day for her is hard.
There must be some mistake I thought. I saw every card you could imagine. Except I could not find a card from a child who lives in heaven.
She is still a mother too, no matter where I reside. I had to leave, she understands, but oh the tears she's cried.
I thought that if I wrote you, that you would come to know... That though I live in heaven now, I still love my mommy so.
She talks with me, and dreams with me, we still share laughter too. Memories are our way of speaking now, would you see what you could do?
My mother carries me in her heart, her tears she hides from sight. She writes songs to honor me, sometimes far into the night.
She plants a tree in my garden, there my living memory dwells. She talks to other grieving parents, trying to ease their pain as well.
So you see Mr. Hallmark, though I no longer live on earth I must find a way, to remind her of her wonderous worth.
She needs to be honored, and remembered too... Just as the children on earth will do.
Thank you Mr. Hallmark. I know you'll do your best. I have done all I can do... to you I'll leave the rest.
Find a way to tell her, how much she means to me. Until I can do it for myself, when she joins me in eternity.
Adapted from the I-Village.com website