Christmas, Holiday Albums

Christmas Mini Album

 

20181015_133834.jpgI created this mini scrapbook album to document all of our sentimental Christmas ornaments. It was important to me to document the meaning behind each one because I believe they tell our story.

This book is a special way to keep our family legacy alive. That way someday when I’m long gone, Everett can pass it down and his children and they might find nostalgia in our families history.

Although you won’t find any pictures in it yet. . . You will find many places for photos or journaling.

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Undying Hope

 

Ashley blog pictureIt’s been 6 months since we lost Audrina, and almost an entire year since we found out about her death bearing condition, Thanophoric Dysplasia. I can honestly say now that I’ve felt very little joy since that moment. Life has been more of going through the motions each day and trying to find little distractions. Everett does help me move forward and keeps me smiling but there’s this underlying numbness in my heart that can only be described in one word. EMPTY.

I fight like hell every day to count my blessings and focus on gratitude, but the joy is gone. There was a part of me that felt like all this pain would melt away once I would become pregnant again. Although I’m hopeful this will eventually happen; I can finally accept that it won’t put all my broken parts back together.

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The Truth about Pain

AudrinaEditedI’ve experienced loss on various levels throughout my lifetime, but nothing compares to the heartache I feel from losing my daughter Audrina. It’s a pain that would swallow me whole if I tried to process it all at once. It can only be absorbed in little fragments . . . .piece by piece overtime . . . . and maybe never fully.

I have to constantly build myself up to a state of grace, just to survive the inevitable slip back into denial. . . anger. . . then sadness . . . and despair. The cycle repeats itself and grief feels like a never-ending sting. Every time I think of her my heart throbs in pain as I’m forever reaching for a piece of me that will never return. It’s the kind of throbbing that shoots out from your heart wildly running through every vein, and aching on every bone.

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Life in the Present Moment – Choosing Joy

Audrina's FlowerThere was a time in my life where I lived completely in my past. Every day I contemplated little failures, unfulfilled wishes and the pain I couldn’t push past. Other days were spent dwelling on my future happiness. I often questioned when I would reach my ultimate state of joy. . . . . Then one day, I stumbled across Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. I thank God for guiding me to this because it has seriously transformed my life.

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Letting Go and Letting God

I dedicate this blog post on Mothers Day to every mom facing loss. To the mom that’s been dealing with infertility problems. To the mom that felt overjoyed when she saw two pink lines on a stick and then a couple weeks later cried with devastation when she felt it slip away. To the mom that said hello and goodbye all in one day to her stillborn baby. To the mom that went to wake up her infant to find her life suddenly shattered from SIDS. To the mom that bonded her heart to her child and then had both ripped away from the moment they died. . . . .

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It’s been 6 weeks since we lost our daughter Audrina. The grieving process isn’t as black and white as I thought it would be. I have mostly good days with some moments of anger and sadness. I start each morning with gratitude and ambition to lay the groundwork for the day and that seems to keep me moving forward. I’ve had some time to contemplate my future purpose and set goals to create a new vision for my life.

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Trusting God

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There are a few times in life where I have seriously questioned God’s purpose and plan. Losing Audrina made it to the top of the list. We will never understand why he chose us to become parents to a baby destined to die at birth. What I do know to be true is that out of each suffering endured; I’ve obtained a great deal of strength and become even closer God. Life certainly didn’t go according to our plans, but we are trusting God that everything happens for a reason and maybe our pain will serve a greater purpose.

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Baby Beau and Belle – A Beautiful Blessing

As I prepared for Audrina’s arrival and departure, a lot of emotion and careful thought went into every detail of her birth. At times, it was very difficult to even make a decision. I felt intense pressure to make sure everything was perfect as we welcomed our daughter into the world. Especially because our time with her would be so short. Selecting certain items were especially emotional because I would only be able to choose just one. This was true for the first and only dress Audrina would ever wear.

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Attitude for Gratitude

c360_2017-01-22-18-42-59-857.jpgI woke up this morning feeling inspired to chat about a topic that always seems to put life into perspective. It REALLY doesn’t matter what you have, who you know, or places you’ve been. What matters…. is your perception of it. Your appreciation for life is where your power lies and you control your happiness each day by the thoughts you feed yourself. It’s even more important to focus your beliefs on what you know is true and not what others tell you they believe to be true. Once you base your happiness on what others believe, you give your power away. I won’t get too deep though. I’ll save that for another day.

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Our Love and Loss – Audrina’s Story

UnknownOn November 24th, 2017 I found out my ultimate dream was coming true. In April, Aaron and I would welcome a daughter into our family. I can’t describe in words the joy I felt in that moment the ultrasound tech told me it was a girl. A thousand dreams flooded my mind…. little girl dresses, tea time and tiaras, tutu’s, pig tails, ponies, ballet slippers, mother daughter excursions like baking or going to the craft fair the list just goes on. The next day which happened to be Thanksgiving, I woke up feeling extra blessed. We were so excited to share the amazing news with our family on such a fitting day. The next week or so we spent living on cloud nine while imagining how our lives would soon change as we welcomed our daughter, Audrina Marie Rakow into the world.

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Mini Happy Mat

 

C360_2017-07-10-11-38-20-503I just love this little happy mat so much that I wanted to share this with all the busy mamma’s out there. This new mini mat style comes in a shape that fits most highchairs. It’s also great for stuffing in the diaper bag and using for meal time on the go. It has a nice suction cup to the bottom so it stays in place. I can’t tell you how many times that has saved me dining at the restaurants. It also comes in a little resealable pouch for easy clean up. I take it out when I get home and pop it in my dishwasher. Looking to get one of your own? I got mine from Baby’s on Broadway in Little Falls, MN.

Let’s give a grand “hurray” for no more clanking bowls on the ground!