The Missing Trick-or-Treater

Our family always does holidays big. 

Patrick and I are continually trying to make sure that Madeline can look back on her childhood and see magic. We want her to have memories of all of the special traditions that we have started with her and will continue for years to come. 

Halloween is no exception. 

This past month we have gone to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins. We have painted pumpkins. We have done Halloween themed crafts and made treats. We have gone to our town’s yearly Pumpkins on Parade. We have visited fall festivals, Halloween parades, and trunk-or-treats. We have gone to Boo at the Zoo and played dress-up for days at a time. Tonight we will trick-or-treat and pass out treats of our own. We have created amazing memories with our brave little Supergirl. 

All throughout all of these special moments there is that one piece missing. 

That one piece of our family that is always missing, yet we feel it all that more intensely during these special holiday moments. Joshua. 
We always miss him, every moment of every day. 

But these holidays. 

These special, magical, amazing family moments we get to have with his little sister make his absence felt even more than usual. 

We have four years of adorable photos of our sweet girl dressed up as a ladybug, a black cat, Princess Sophia, and Supergirl. With each costume I wonder what her big brother would have wanted to be. Batman, a Ninja Turtle, a Ghostbuster, a dinosaur, Superman to match his little sister…

I look at the matching sibling costumes that my friends post, I see the adorable Poppy and Branch Trolls costumes, the Catboy and Owlette PJ Masks outfits, and my heart wonders if Josh and Maddy would have wanted to dress-up together. 

The very first thing I ever bought for Joshua when I was pregnant with him was a pair of My First Halloween pajamas. We didn’t even know if he was a little girl or boy at that point, but I saw the soft pumpkin covered pajamas and just knew that our baby had to have them. When we dressed his sister in them two years later, my heart ached knowing that this was not the way I wanted to be passing down his things…unused. 

That feeling of missing is always there, but these holidays…they make it especially hard to fight back the tears and the longing to know just who he would be now. 

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She’s a Firework 





I mean where did this tiny little baby go?

Look at how we watched the fireworks her first year. Snuggled close in her Ergo with the Baby Banz headphones protecting her little ears. 

Last night she danced around with glow sticks and asked when we were going to do our own fireworks. She has grown so much in such a short time. 

I so much wish I could bottle up each of these different stages and keep each of these versions of her in a safe place.  Somewhere that I could come back to as she grows. When she’s a moody a teenager and I need to remember that she was once my sweet, cuddly, little toddler. 

I just want to be able to open up my little Madeline time capsule and get my cuddles while teenage Madeline slams a door and blares her angsty music. Someone needs to invent this completely impossible vision of mine. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come back to this face time and time again?

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Portrait of a Dad

To most this is just a photo of a dad holding his newborn daughter, but let me tell you, it is so much more. This is a photo of a dad who less than 14 months earlier had held his first born, his son, for the first and last time all at once. It’s a photo of a dad who has been through a tremendous tragedy and yet been an unwavering rock of support for his wife through the loss, another pregnancy, and now the birth of their new daughter. It’s a photo of a dad who is already so in love with and filled with wonder and amazement at this tiny little girl in his arms. It’s a photo of a dad who has just felt his broken heart heal a little bit while looking into his daughter’s big beautiful eyes. Today, that little girl is 3 years old and says daddy is her best friend. I’m pretty sure that feeling is mutual.  There is a reason this is forever my favorite photo of you two.


I’m not sure I can put into words how grateful I am to have you not just as my husband, but as the father of my children (but you know me, I will try). I remember the day we got married. I thought I loved you such an incredible amount then, but then that day I saw you holding Madeline, our sweet, beautiful, daughter in your arms for the first time it was like falling in love with you all over again. Watching you become a dad has been the most incredible thing to witness. From your willingness to change cloth diapers (thank goodness we are past that!), to watching you patiently let our little Princess try to “make you pretty” with her tiaras and beads. You have become such an amazing dad, and Madeline and I simply adore you. The days where Madeline has gone into full threenager status and is driving me crazy, you know how to talk us both down off of the ledge. We love our family adventures with you, our movie nights, our game nights, and our just be silly nights. You make everyday and everything a little more fun. I am convinced you are the world’s greatest husband, and Madeline knows you are the world’s greatest dad! We just know we are lucky to have the best! We love you bunches!!!

Happy Father’s Day from your two favorite girls!

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When Mother’s Day is Hard

Mother’s Day is hard. Even with my sweet, little, beautiful Madeline, it is STILL hard. I look at her and I know that I am blessed.
I know that I am lucky because there are so many that are still longing with aching hearts and empty arms to hear the words “momma, I love you” and for that I know that I am blessed. And even still my heart aches and my soul longs to hear those words come from another little voice too.

My arms, no matter how full of hugs from my sweet girl, will always still ache at the inability to hold her big brother. I feel the weight of her body as she cuddles in each night still wanting to be held before falling asleep (don’t say she is spoiled – you can’t possibly understand the reasons we do what we do) and I feel the weight of so much more than just her tiny 26 pounds. I feel joy and grief dancing their every present tango inside my heart.

I miss him.

Often it is that simple and that complicated all at once. I just miss him. I long to be with him as much as I am with her and that is simply an impossibility this side of Heaven.

These holidays are such aching reminders of what was, what is, and what could have been. They bring up wounds that never heal. They make me cry tears that never really dry. They leave my heart feeling vulnerable and wounded.

I know I am not the only one. That makes me sad too. As much as my heart aches for my Joshua, my heart aches for your child too.

My heart aches for the ones that are still tearfully and prayerfully waiting for a positive result on a test that you take month after month just hoping that the odds will be in your favor this time. My heart aches for those who have seen those tests turn positive only to have your heart break weeks or months later. My heart aches for the ones who have watched the ultrasound machine anxiously as the doctor searched for a sign of hope. My heart aches for those who, like us, have held your tiny child in your arms as they took their final breath. My heart aches for those of you who have had to say goodbye at any point, at any age, for we all know that 15 minutes, 36 hours, 15 years, 36 years, none of it is enough time with our children. My heart aches for the moms (and dads) I know that right now are watching their little ones fight battles that are far bigger than they should have to fight. This motherhood gig is not for the faint of heart.

So today while my heart somehow feels both full and broken, I am still grateful. Grateful to the little boy who made me a mother. I miss you more than words could ever express and I love you to Heaven and back. And to the little girl who made me a momma, I love you. Thank you for helping to heal your broken momma’s heart.

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How Sweet it Is

I was surprised at work with these gorgeous, red, long-stemmed roses.  I think he likes me.  😉


Then he surprised our little sweetheart with some flowers of her own.  She was so excited.  I had told her that daddy sent me flowers at work and showed her a picture of them and she said, “that is so nice.”  She could not stop giving daddy hugs after he gave her flowers when he came home from work.


Madeline was also pretty excited to get matching socks with mommy.  She is big into matching mom these days, so to have something that really matched was just the best thing ever.


I made some chocolate covered strawberries and we had our little family gift exchange before everyone went to work and school for the day.  I love our family.


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Happy Father’s Day

Please excuse me, my eyes seem to be leaking this morning. For all the brokenness that my own father left in my heart, this man right here, has healed so much. To watch him love our daughter, and to know without a doubt that she will never have to question his unconditional love for her, has been more healing than any amount of therapy ever could. Patrick, I adore you and am so lucky, grateful, blessed that you are not only my husband and best friend, but the father of my children. Thank you for being such an amazing daddy everyday to Madeline and for honoring Joshua in so many ways. We love you bunches and bunches!


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To My Husband on Father’s Day

My Darling Patrick,

To watch you be a dad has been one of my favorite things ever. You are patient (even when it’s hard). You are loving (even when we haven’t slept for what feels like days). You teach, you guide, you cuddle, you tickle. You can make her laugh like no one else can and smile the biggest smiles. You are her clown, her comfort, her safe place, her friend, her hero, her dad. You make this parenting thing so much easier (even on the really hard days) and I know our journey to get here wasn’t at all what it should have been, but I’m grateful that we made it through. There is no one else I would ever want by my side at 3 am trying to figure out the eternal question of “how is she STILL awake?” We love you and are absolutely certain that you are the best dad in the history of ever!

Love you always and forever (and then some more),

Victoria, Madeline, and Joshua


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2014 – In Review

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Had a beautiful little baby girl.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

This is easy, since I never really make any new year’s resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Umm…yeah.  I did.  My niece, Patty did too.  And a whole lot of friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

I don’t think so.  Patrick’s grandma died in July, but I actually had never met her.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More sleep.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 9, 2014 – Madeline’s birthday.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Madeline – I’m starting to sense a theme with my answers…

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m not sure.  I’m sure there were lots of little failures along the way, but nothing really stands out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Can I be lame and say it was something for Madeline?  I’m not really sure we bought much of anything else of any significance.  We bought a lot of cloth diapers, cute clothes, hair bows, and toys.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Patrick’s – I’ve loved him from the very beginning, but seeing the way he is with Madeline just makes me fall even more in love with him.  He is a great friend, a wonderful husband, an amazing dad, and just the very best man I could ever ask for.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Oh so many who I am too kind to name here.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Uhh…Madeline.  See no. 11.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Madeline.  Can I just make that my answer to everything?  No, really, watching Madeline grow and change.  Seeing her smile for the first time.  Hearing her giggle.  Hearing her say mama and dada.  Honestly, just every little thing that she does brings so much joy.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

American Authors – Best Day of My Life – I know this technically came out in 2013, but it was the song that was playing in the car when we were driving to the hospital to have Madeline.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

–happier or sadder?

happier – we had a baby.

–thinner or fatter?

thinner – I was pregnant this time last year so that was an easy one.

–richer or poorer?

poorer – we had a baby.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I would have found more time to just relax and enjoy the moments.  I think I spent too much time stressed about one thing or another when I should have just been relaxing with my husband and our daughter.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas at our house (our 4th Christmas in our house – crazy).  Patrick and I enjoyed watching Madeline open her presents (and some of ours).  I made our traditional Christmas breakfast of French Toast Casserole and bacon and then my mom came over and had breakfast with us.  That afternoon my sister and her family came over for lunch and more presents.  Madeline was spoiled to pieces and we all enjoyed seeing Christmas through her eyes.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

With my precious daughter, Madeline, and over and over again with Patrick.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so.  I really don’t “hate” anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?

I think the only books I’ve read have had illustrations.  I need to get back to reading again, but I am not finding a lot of down time these days.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m not sure.  I feel like I just listened to a lot of pop music this year.  Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Ed Sheeran.

26. What did you want and get?

A healthy, happy baby.

27. What did you want and not get?

A time machine.

27a. What did you not want and not get?

Pre-eclampsia. Thank God!

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

lol – We really didn’t see that many movies this year.  I liked the Lego Movie.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 10 days way from having Madeline.  We didn’t do too much.  We went out to breakfast at Le Peep, which has become a tradition.  We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I’m not sure there really is anything.  Overall, it was a good year.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

If it fit, I wore it.  I was either pregnant or nursing most of the year, so there wasn’t a whole lot of “fashion” happening this year.

32. What kept you sane?

Patrick.  Most definitely, Patrick.  He always knows how to talk me down off of the ledge.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ugh.  I hate politics.  Pass.

35. Who did you miss?

Joshua.  Always, Joshua.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Madeline.  Duh.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

I learned that there is light even in the darkest of times.  I learned that hope is a beautiful thing.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound”

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This little girl right here is the very best gift I could have ever asked for.  In her 37 weeks out (plus 38 weeks in) she has filled so many of the empty and broken places in my heart.

Her laugh is the most beautiful sound that I have ever heard and the way she will giggle and smile when I kiss her cheeks completely melts me.

I adore the way she cuddles in close when I pick her up.  I love how she gives kisses and says “mama.”

She is absolutely the best gift.


This guy is pretty great too.  😉

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There Should Be More


All my life I was raised to be grateful for what I had. This was especially true at Christmas. I may not have always gotten every gift that I had on my wish list, but my mom worked hard to ensure that my Christmas was always magical.

I know we live in a society that is always seeking more and I certainly don’t want to raise my daughter thinking that more gifts is what makes Christmas special. I want to teach her what is truly important about this season: Jesus, family, and love.

That being said, this year I can’t help but wish for more.

There should be one more stocking hung with care.

There should be one more pair of Christmas PJs carefully picked to match baby sister’s.

There should be cars and trucks and blocks wrapped in pretty paper with blue bows.

There should be more laughter and noise filling our house.

There should be more little foot steps running down the hall.

There should be more beautiful chaos, more excited voices, more bright eyes all aglow.

There should be more sticky fingers covered in icing and sprinkles as we decorate cookies.

There should be more sweater vests and bow ties.

There should be more.

I am so grateful beyond measure for our Madeline, but there should be more.

There should be Joshua.

So for those with aching hearts, missing your child, your parent, your grandparent, your spouse, your friend, I give you permission to wish for more this year. Be grateful for your blessings, but it is okay to acknowledge that your greatest wish is just one more moment with that missing piece of your heart.

I pray you all have a beautiful and peaceful Christmas and that 2015 is full of many blessings and joy.


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