This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

You can also email me at:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reality Check

Okay, so this is completely off topic from the last few posts, but those of you who know me well know that I'm not great at staying on one topic for very long anyways!  I will, however, continue Hailey's story next post!

Anyways, tonight I had a major reality check.  Sean and I were looking at some stuff on his computer and came across a video of Hailey at her 3rd birthday party.  So far, I've only seen one 5 second video of her since she passed away.  Seeing her physically moving and hearing her voice is just still far too painful.  Well, for some reason, I wanted to see the birthday video.  It was only a couple minutes long and showed her opening her Lay's potato chip t-shirt.  I had the hugest smile on my face, yet the tears were flowing down my cheeks like Niagara Falls.  Let me just say...It hurt.  It hurt a LOT.  

I forgot how big she was!  It may sound so weird, but seeing her little hands opening that shirt and turning it all around to show everyone just reminded me that she was a little girl when she died.  She had the mind of a 3 year old.  Sometimes I equate her with Ava since I haven't seen her in so long, because honestly, they're probably about the same size now!!  I forget that she could talk and have a conversation and get excited about things and anticipate events in the future.  These were all normal 3 year old things that I guess I ridiculously took for granted while she was here.

Seeing her huge, excited smile as she opened that present and all of us so happy and "oohing and aahing," brought back so many emotions I hadn't realized were buried.  I think sometimes I fool myself into thinking I'm okay because I stay so busy I don't deal with my grief outwardly.  I've really tried to continue life almost as if my grief weren't there.  I think that people I see on a day to day basis don't even realize or sometimes forget the pain and sadness that I'm carrying because I don't talk about it or show it on the outside.  But it's there.  Let me tell you, it's there, literally every second of every day.

I rarely look at pictures of her that I haven't already seen a million times.  The ones I have around my house don't hurt as much because I've seen them so many times and gone over the memories attached to them so many times already.  I have only watched that one 5 second video of her once, until the one of her birthday tonight.  I don't really talk about my pain and grief outwardly because it's too difficult and uncomfortable.  And I rarely, if ever, cry in front of people because the emotions attached to those tears are too raw and hard to control once I've started letting them go.

I miss my baby girl so much and I love her even more.  My faith has helped carry me through this horrible trial and I take so much peace and comfort in knowing where Hailey is and how happy she is and that she is absolutely still alive in spirit.  However, in all honestly, that faith in NO WAY negates my sadness and how much I miss her.  I want her back.  I want her back NOW!  I don't want to wait until I die or the resurrection of Christ, whichever comes first, to see her again.  That is just way too long.  

Our family is not complete here on the earth anymore.  It never will be.  A HUGE part of it is missing and I want that back.  I started thinking about the days when she was here and the times I thought life was so difficult.  I was either exhausted from all her medical trials or beyond frustrated with all her constant yelling!!!  But now, of course, I would do ANYTHING to have all that back...every single second of it. 

I realized tonight that seriously, no matter how difficult life can seem at any point, it can be or get a lot worse.  We really NEVER know what life has in store for us.  I mean, really...if someone would have ever told me a year ago that this would be my life now, I would have laughed and called them CRAZY.  I guess this means that we really should try to be grateful for what we have at any given moment and remain aware that it could all be taken away in literally one heartbeat.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that I'm outwardly or consciously grateful for what I have every second of every day, but I can honestly say that deep down inside I truly am.  I still have an amazing husband, children, family and friends.  We're healthy, have a nice home, and a stable income.  All of those things, however, could disappear tomorrow.   I have an awesome belief system.  I am a member of a church unlike any other, that has lifted me up and pulled me through something that I would have thought beyond my realm of survival.  I am blessed to have a knowledge of a loving Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ who are willing to lift this burden and pain from me when it seems to be too much. 

I hope I don't get too "preachy," but I'm just being honest with how I feel, I guess because I can.  I am in that dreaded club now.  My worst nightmare has become my everyday reality.  I've come to the decision that I do need to face that reality, outwardly and openly.  A friend of mine just happened to approach me at church, out of the blue, on Sunday, with the name and number of a grief counselor that she has seen and highly recommends.  So, I promised her I'd make an appointment, just to check it out.  Even if I only go once, it can't hurt.  Lexi loves her new therapist and seems to be opening up a little more about her emotions and feelings, and now I'm realizing it's my turn.  I need to be emotionally healthy and stable for her.  My greatest fear is that if I keep holding my grief back and pushing it inward and pretending like it's not there, one day I just might explode!!!

So, I'll keep you all updated on when I'm going and how it goes.  If you don't hear anything about it in the next month or so, and you feel comfortable doing so, please ask me about it.  I tend to flake out of stuff like that because it's difficult to go through with!!  But I NEED to go, so I NEED all of you to hold me accountable!!!  

Until then, I'm going to continue my story of Hailey's precious little life...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tracheo-Esophageal WHAT???

I was laying in my hospital room waiting for Sean to come up with a picture of our new baby girl.  The doctors wouldn't allow me to get up until my bleeding had stopped for several hours, so I still hadn't seen her yet and was going crazy!  When the door opened though, it definitely wasn't my husband, as I had expected.  Instead, it was a doctor in a white lab coat with a ridiculous accent and tons of folders and paperwork.

He walked in and sat on the edge of my bed.  Next thing I knew I felt like I was literally in some foreign language version of the Twilight Zone.  Not only did I not understand a word of all the medical terminology he was spouting off, but I also didn't understand a word of his English...assuming that's what he was speaking.  All I remember hearing is..."Hailey has Trahglagohaglahgoagulkgiaglkgg," ...we've seen this before."  " esophagus attached to her throat." "...will need a surgery to repair..." "...we'll go from there..."  

Okay, where was my husband and why didn't this doctor wait until he was there with me to tell us this together and why didn't they send a doctor who spoke English, or at least a translator who could speak both English and Medical?  He drew me a picture, which helped a little, and then asked if I had any questions.  Seriously?  Yes, I have one..."HUH?"

Anyways, he walked out and I just sat there on my bed, staring out the window, literally unable to move.  I was frozen.  I couldn't take all this in.  I was still reeling from the sudden birth of my daughter 8 weeks premature, almost having to have surgery to stop my bleeding, and the fact that after about 6 hours I still haven't held or even SEEN her yet.  Now this!  I was seriously in shock and trying to process the events of what should have been one of the happiest days of my life.  

After what seemed like hours, Sean walked in with an excited smile on his face!  He had just been down visiting Hailey and brought me up some pictures.  I felt absolutely horrible to be the one completely ruin this moment for him. I think he could tell there was something wrong so I just blurted it all out.  I think he heard pretty much the exact same thing I heard.  I showed him the picture the doctor drew and told him our little 4 pound baby was going to need surgery.  

Next thing I know he had the doctor back up in our room to clear everything up.  Apparently Sean can understand heavy accents and medical talk.  I was pretty impressed.  Anyways, next thing I knew, he put his arms around me and said, "We can do this.  She'll be okay."   My husband is seriously an amazing man.  If you've ever seen one of those huge, unmovable boulders on the side of the road...that's him.  Nothing seems to shake him.  I am so blessed to have him because I don't think I'd be as strong if I didn't.

Anyways, I looked at the pictures of my baby girl, smiled at how adorable she was and then picked up the phone to give the heart wrenching news to everyone else...

Okay I know it sounds mean, but I totally don't like this picture, but it was the first one taken.
She was way cuter than that!!!

On a side note: 
Hailey had Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula.  Here's the description in our terms: (People in the medical field, please forgive me for butchering this!)  Anyways, we have two tubes leading down our throat, our trachea (windpipe) which brings air to and from our lungs and our esophagus which takes food and liquid to our stomach.  These tubes start as one and during the first several weeks of pregnancy break into two separate tubes.  For some reason, Hailey's didn't completely break apart.  Instead of her two tubes being separate, her esophagus remained attached to her trachea.  So basically when she swallowed, her saliva, food or drink had no where to go.  See the picture below for a better idea. According the doctors this is totally a fluke thing.  They assured me it is not genetic in any way and also was not caused by anything I did or didn't do during my pregnancy. I'll describe the surgery in my next entry.

Hailey had Type C.  
The pink tube is her esophagus and the white tube is her trachea.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Beginning

My pregnancy with Hailey was anything but normal. Little did we know that was going to be the theme for her entire life!  I had quite a few complications early on.  I'll spare you all the personal details, but I will say that I ended up in the doctor's office a few times thinking I had miscarried.  Yet, each time, there was my baby girl's silhouette on the screen, heart beating so strong!  She was already a fighter.  It took about 4 months into my pregnancy before everything started to seem "normal."

Since Lexi was a textbook pregnancy & delivery, perfect in every way, I assumed Hailey would be too.  So, about 3 months before my due date I decided I was still going to take my annual trip back to the East Coast to visit my family and friends.  All went well, until I was on the plane heading home.  It was just Lexi and I, she was almost 3 at the time, and we were flying a red eye.  All of a sudden I started getting really bad back pain.  I didn't think too much of it, since my due date wasn't for almost 3 months and Lexi was only 4 days early.  I figured it was just due to sitting so much on the plane.  It soon passed and we got home safe and sound!

The following day my parents came over and took Lexi out for a while so Sean and I could go to dinner.  Something just wasn't feeling right. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just felt kind of off.  During dinner I started to get really bad cramps and ended up skipping dessert (so not me!) to go home and lay down.  I'm not one to run to the hospital or doctor for just anything and it was getting late and I was tired, so I tried to ignore the pain and rest.  A couple hours later, I noticed my cramps were coming about 5 minutes apart so I called a friend of mine who's a labor and delivery nurse and of course, she told me to get to the hospital right away!  I was tempted to say no because I figured we'd drive all they way down there (about a 25 minute drive), wait forever, just to have them tell me they were Braxton Hicks contractions and then send us all the way back home.  However, something told me just to go get checked out anyways.

So we drove down to the hospital, they checked me in right away, and put a monitor on my stomach.  Sure enough, the nurse told me I was going into preterm labor and they needed to admit me.  I was shocked and not very happy...I just wanted my own bed, but at this point I was only 31 weeks along so they wanted to stop the labor if possible.

They put me on Magnesium Sulfate, which helps to stop contractions.  Let me just tell you, it's worse than labor.  Anyone who's ever been on Magnesium will be able to attest to that.  It is miserable.  Some of the side effects, that I experienced in full force are: muscle weakness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and speech, and more. I literally felt like I was in the twilight zone...I could barely move or speak, and my mind was so out of it.  You also cannot eat or drink anything while on it because you'll just throw it all up.  So even though I had intravenous fluids, I was sooo thirsty!  I finally got a nurse who was so nice and after much begging I convinced her to bring me a Diet Coke.  I didn't drink much D.C. when I was pregnant with Hailey, but at this point I was desperate!  Apparently, she was an avid Diet Coke drinker too, and therefore understood my need!!  However, she did warn me that I would probably throw it all up.  No prob...I was willing to take the risk!  Wow, it was heaven...until, sure enough, it all came back up within 10 minutes!  Not only that, but the throwing up caused a huge back cramp that literally paralyzed me for about 2 minutes and hurt worse than anything else I had ever felt in my the point that I was screaming.  So worth it though!!!

While in the hospital, I had Sean give me a Priesthood Blessing.  In our church, men who live righteously hold the priesthood and can then perform blessings on behalf of our Heavenly Father.  These are considered very sacred.  In my blessing, Sean told me that Hailey and I would be okay, however there would be many more peaks and valleys to overcome.  Ummm...could he have predicted that any better?  After knowing what we now know, I asked him to keep those kind of things to himself from now on!!!

Anyways, after 2 days on the Magnesium Sulfate I was moved up to a regular room for a day and then sent home under strict orders to be on complete bed rest.  Seriously?  For those of you who know me, that just doesn't work for me!  Not to mention, I had just got back from 3 weeks of vacation and had so much to unpack, clean and organize before the baby came.  However, I forced myself to lay in bed the whole next day to keep my baby girl safe and healthy.  Well, that next morning, my water broke.  Seriously, I was so mad!  Had I known my water would break anyways, I would have spent the day before unpacking, cleaning, and organizing!

We headed off to the hospital ready for a new adventure and a very little, early baby.  My labor started off fairly normal, until I suddenly couldn't breathe.  I was just laying there peacefully, went to take a breath, and nothing would go in.  I started to panic and grabbed Sean who ran and got a nurse.  She came in and started yelling that we had to deliver right then!  They put an oxygen mask on me, told me to push, and within 5 minutes my precious, beautiful baby girl entered the world!  

Hailey Mayz Vassilaros was born on July 20, 2006.  She was 32 weeks and weighed 4lbs. 3 oz.  She literally entered the world as suddenly and quickly as she left. They were able to get her breathing on her own and then wisked her away to the NICU while they tried to stop my excessive bleeding.  Luckily, after almost having to go into surgery they were able to stop the bleeding and I was on my way to recovery. 

Aside from Hailey being born early, everything else looked great and seemed normal!  Little did we know what awaited us.  We had no idea of the miraculous mission our little girl was sent here to the Earth to fulfill.

Stay tuned for more about those "peaks and valleys" we were about to experience...

Me telling Sean on Christmas Day that I was pregnant!
Merry Christmas Honey!!

Hailey right after being born.

After a little oxygen she was breathing like a champ!

Sean seeing his baby girl for the first time!
(I didn't get to see her until 9 hours later.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who Is Hailey?

I feel like I've talked a lot about myself and not nearly enough about Hailey.  A lot of you knew Hailey or know me well enough to have heard about Hailey all the time, however, I'm aware that there are many of you who never had the chance to meet her or hear about her personally, so I decided to fill you in!

I figured I'd start with who Hailey was when she passed away.  I'll probably work my way backwards in future posts as I begin to tell her story, but I decided for now, I'll start with the most recent.

Now, where to begin?  Let me start by saying that Hailey was brought here to this Earth with a purpose.  I guess technically, we all are, but I believe her's was different than the norm.  She was born 8 weeks premature, was very underweight her entire life, and struggled through more medical procedures and situations than most of us will in our entire lives, yet she was the most vivacious, strong, determined little girl I've ever seen.  I'm sure her strong willed and determined personality is what got her through those 3 short years of her life.  She NEVER gave up!  She fought for every single thing she achieved. 

Hailey absolutely LOVED life.  Nothing ever seemed to get her down.  No matter how sick she was, she technically never complained.  (Partially because she couldn't talk for the first year or so of her life, but even then, she rarely ever cried.)  She had doctor's appointments several times a week for the first couple years of her life.  At one point, she was seeing a gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, allergist, immunologist, pediatric surgeon, physical and occupational therapist, and her pediatrician.  Yet, she was friendly and outgoing with every one of them. 

On the outside, she looked pretty much normal, except for being small for her age.  Although, there was one point when she had a little black string coming out her nose and taped to the side of her cheek so her doctor could do "esophageal dilatations" easier.  She never touched it or pulled on it.  

 On the inside, was a whole other story.  Her esophagus didn't work correctly. (I'll explain more about her condition in another post.)  Her lungs were weak.  And her bowels were ridiculous.  That girl could blow out a diaper like no other!  However, her mind was sharp as a tack!  And her vocal cords...WOW...they could break the sound barrier.

For being as little as she was physically, the voice that came out of her was insanely loud.  She LOVED to yell.  By yell, I mean, YELL ABOUT EVERYTHING, AS LOUD AS SHE POSSIBLY COULD!!!  I'm sure it had something to do with her small size and large mind.  She was often treated younger than she was because she looked so little, so maybe she used her YELLING to remind us all that she her mind was totally normal!  Sometimes, by the end of the day, it would literally take all I had to not take a piece of duct tape and put it across her mouth and wrap it completely around her head just leaving a slit for her to see out and a slit for her nose to breathe from!

Hailey could get under my skin like nobody could!  She knew exactly how to push my buttons and get me going, yet at the end of the day, she would always give me a kiss and say, "Me love you Mommy."  Of course, my heart would melt and I would hug her so tight.  

One of her favorite sayings was, "RIGHT NOW!"  One day in church she decided out of the blue that she wanted some candy.  When I told her I didn't have any with me, she refused to accept that answer.  So she ended up throwing a huge tantrum, screaming at the top of her lungs, "ME WANT CANDY, RIGHT NOW!"  I finally had to take her out and make her stand in a corner in the foyer until she was done.  It took her a good 10 minutes to finally stop yelling that phrase over and over again.  Of course, I was starting to get frustrated so I decided to count how many times she said it...I finally lost count somewhere around 72!  When she would get mad at Lexi, she would put her hands on her hips and yell, "LESSIS (Alexis) JANE, COME HERE RIGHT NOW!"  (Hmm...wonder where she got that from!)

One of her favorite things to do was go to her therapy sessions.  She absolutely ADORED her therapists!  One of my favorite memories ever is seeing her looking out the window as I came down the hallway and hearing her yell, "Mommy here, mommy here!"  I can't even begin to tell you what I would give to relive one of those moments again.  Every time we'd drive by her therapy building, she yell, "Mommy, there me thewapy is!"  "Me see Bephnie"  (Her occupational therapist was Stephanie.) She took so much pride in her accomplishments.  When she finally learned how to step up onto the curb without using her hands (at the age of almost 3) she refused to ever let anyone help her.  Not to mention, that she would have to step up and down off every darn curb she could find!  But she was so proud!

She loved the water!  Her first day of swimming lessons, she started to scream halfway through.  I let her finish and then asked the teacher what happened.  She said she wasn't sure, Hailey just all of a sudden said, "All done," and when her swimming teacher told her she wasn't, she decided to scream and cry the rest of the time.  The next day I told her if she didn't cry I'd take her to get a cheeseburger at  McDonald's (one of her fav's!), and of course, she didn't let out a peep.  From that point forward, every single day, she'd get out of the pool with the hugest, proudest smile on her face, run up to me and yell, "Mommy, me no cry!  Me no cry at swimming lettons!"  That's one memory that gets the tears flowing every time!

Hailey LOVED to eat!  EVERYTHING!  Lay's potato chips were her very favorite.  Every single morning when I'd walk into her room she'd say, "Peesh, me want lellow peesh."   We have no idea where she got the word peesh for chips, but many times we'd say, "Ch- Ch- Chips," to which Hailey would reply, "Ch- Ch- Peesh!"  I also tried to change up her beloved "peesh" with something a little healthier, first Baked Lays, then apple chips, but she figured it out and refused to accept anything but her "lellow" bag of Lay's potato chips. 


Gosh, I could go on forever about this precious little child!  Those are some of the things that really stand out when I think of my little Hailey.  But, now I'm on a roll, so I'll continue my stories about Hailey in my future posts.  Also, if any of you have any funny or heartwarming memories of Hailey, please feel free to share them with me!  I love to hear about other people's experiences with her.  You can either write them in the comment section or email them to me at the address on the top of the blog and I'll eventually publish them all.  

Wow, do I miss my little girl.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Different Mom

I've come to realize that I'm now a much different mother than I was before losing Hailey.  That may sound kind of obvious, but I'm different in many ways.  A little broken, for one, but more importantly, I think I've become a better mom.  

I'm definitely much more compassionate and loving toward my girls.  I've become much more in tune with Lexi, especially, and how she's feeling.  I'm not much of a huggy, cuddly kind of person, but lately, I've been that way with Lexi.  I've become quite attached to her...sometimes I feel like she's one of my best friends!  (I don't really tell her that because I still need to be mom, but I just feel it in my heart.)  I also crave to be around my girls and just hear them laugh or watch them sleep, which before I would jump at the chance for a break!  I'm also a lot more patient with them...which for me, is huge! 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still a typical mom too.  I still get frustrated and impatient at times.  I still need a break every once in a while.  I still want to rip my hair out now and then!  But, I've also learned to enjoy my kids.  That's what I wanted to share today.  

I've always been the kind of mom who just wants to get down to business and get things done.  I like things neat, clean, and organized.  I don't like loudness or chaos.  Often times I'd say no to Lexi when she'd want to paint or do arts and crafts because I didn't feel like having to clean up the mess.  Or I wouldn't want to go somewhere because it was a pain to get everything together, get the kids in the car, get the kids out of the car, etc.  I would get really stressed out and anxious if I would see my girls getting their clothes dirty or tracking dirt into the house.  At bath time, I just wanted the kids in and out...bath toys, bubbles, etc., just made an unnecessary mess when I was trying to make things clean!  So basically, I was an anxious, uptight, you know what, kind of mom!!!  Okay, now I really made myself sound bad. 

Anyways, I've come to realize that all that stuff seriously doesn't matter all that much.  I do still like my house clean and things picked up and organized, however, I've come to realize that it is possible to clean up after a mess (and some fun!).  I've come to realize that life can be short, way shorter than expected sometimes, so I need to chill out, relax, and just enjoy my beau'ful girls.  I've come to realize that I'm much happier too, when I just sit back and watch life through their eyes.  Not to mention, the fun they get to have just being kids.

So let me give you some examples of this big change in myself!!  First off, let me just say, that some of you may read these things and be wondering what the big deal is, but let me just say that these are huge changes for me!!!  So here goes:  (Oh, and I even have pictures to prove it!)  

  • I was at a friend's house and let Ava crawl around in the mud by a stream that runs in front of her house.  She was absolutely filthy and enjoyed every single second of it!!!  (As for me, I was so proud of myself and found that I actually enjoyed watching her enjoy herself!)  Oh and guess what, I was actually able to wash her clothes...whoo hoo...can you sense my sarcasm at myself.     
And to think I would have missed out on this!

And this...
(Just kidding, but it did wash out!)

  • I didn't freak out when Lexi caught a lizard in our backyard!  I even considered letting her keep it, but after researching  how much money it would cost for all the supplies needed to take care of it, I decided it was better off in nature.  I got a cute picture, though, before letting it go.

  • I let Ava play with a bowl of pudding and even put her whole face in it.  Normally I would have insisted on feeding her myself, but decided to give in to her strong will attempt to do it herself.  And of course, she thoroughly enjoyed it, almost as much as I enjoyed taking this picture!
  • Bath time has become fun bubble time and I even let them splash sometimes!!  Go me!  :)  
  • I've spent many afternoons laying on the trampoline in our backyard with Lexi just chatting or coloring.  
  • We went and bought some fruit and vegetable plants and planted them together...something that would have been too dirty before.
  • On Easter we went back in the canyon by our house and found some tadpoles.  (There aren't many of those in Cali.)  We caught some, came home and read on the internet how to take care of them and made a little home for them.  Nope, wouldn't have even considered that before.
  • I try to say "Yes," as often as I can.  I often stop and think about the reason I want to say no, if it's because I want to be lazy or just don't "feel like it," I stop myself and reconsider. 
  • Today we spent the afternoon playing with bubbles, and getting all wet and soapy...something I would never have had the patience for before.   
So those are just a few of the things that I gave up some control over.  And honestly, I am so glad I did.  I don't know why I was so uptight about that kind of stuff before and I do still have to remind myself every once in a while to chill out and just ENJOY.  I came to the realization today that most of our children will never be taken from us as early as Hailey was, thank goodness, however they will all grow up.  So, we still need to take the time to slow down and just have fun with them.  This is something I'm working on everyday in honor of my little Hailey.

Thank you Hailey, for teaching me that valuable lesson.  Your sisters will greatly appreciate it when they are older.  I love and miss you baby girl.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Well I wish I had something huge and profound to write today since it's Easter and all.  But honestly, I really don't.  I thought this day would either be ridiculously difficult for me, like Christmas was, or really profound because the resurrection of Christ and the very personal meaning it now has for me and my family.  Don't get me wrong...It was a wonderful day, a beau'ful day!!!  I just realized that it wasn't really difficult because Hailey was here with us in Spirit and of course, the Lord carried me through it as He always does.  Gosh, I am blessed.  And I don't think it was really profound either because, although my baby girl is no longer here physically with us, I realized that I've always had a huge testimony and belief in the resurrection of Christ.  That's probably part of the reason I've been able to handle Hailey's death with such strength.

First, I wanted to share a letter that I wrote to Hailey in my journal yesterday and then I'll tell you about today and a really amazing miracle that happened!!  So, here goes:

Hey Hailey-

Here I am sitting here at your place and enjoying how peaceful it is.  It's so cute here for Easter!  Someone came and left a little, plastic, colored Easter egg on the stone of every single child resting here!  It's so adorable and literally warms my heart to see how loved all these children are.  Of course, your place is one of the most decorated already, because you are so loved and special too!   What a beautiful example of someone doing service for others.
Speaking of Easter eggs, this year is going to be tough without you.  I remember last year so clearly.  I was so excited to go back to our old ward (The Huntington Beach Ward) to show you off and how great you were doing!  They were all there for you from the day you were born until you turned one and we moved.  Everyone there loved you so very much.  They served our family and prayed for you more than I'd ever thought possible or seen before in my life.  The Easter before that you were in the hospital, so last Easter was extra special for me because we were all together: Daddy and Mommy and our three beautiful girls!  I remember I had all three of you dressed in matching pink and white dresses and I literally burst at the seams with pride as we walked into church that Easter Sunday morning as a complete and beautiful family!  The family I had always dreamed of...complete, beautiful, and perfect at that very moment.  Of course, you had no idea of the significance of it all and walked in there as you did you owned the place!  Anyways, little did I know why that Easter was so special.  I could have never even thought it possible that I would be spending the rest of my Easters here on Earth without you.  

I remember after church we all went outside and took a family picture and I put bunny ears on you and your sisters.  Of course, you didn't want to wear them and kept pulling them off, but we still managed to get a cute picture!

Now this Easter, of course, has a whole new meaning.  I'm sure it's going to hit me because I thought I was prepared for Christmas and it literally knocked me off my feet.  I'm just hoping I'll be able to focus on the hope that Easter brings with it and the importance of that beautiful resurrection!  I'm also hoping you'll be with us, if even for a small moment.  I just want to feel your presence around me.  

I miss you so much Hailey.  My heart aches, as do my arms, to hold you.  You are such a beautiful, special little girl and obviously our Heavenly Father thought so too, which is why He made you an angel.  I can't wait until that day when you are also resurrected from the grave as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was.  Now that will be a BEAU'FUL day!!  
I love you baby girl!  Love, Mommy

Some pictures from last Easter:

The girls with the Easter Bunny!
(Check out Hailey's chips...that's how we bribed her to smile!)

On an Easter Egg Hunt!

The true Hailey comes out!
(She wanted more chips!!!)

My THREE beau'ful girls!

Our family picture!
(Hailey was trying to take her ears off!)


It was absolutely BEAU'FUL!!!  We got up and the girls checked out their Easter baskets.  The Easter bunny even left a basket for Hailey with a couple things for her place and also a bag of Lay's potato chips.  

We were so thought of today!  Several of our friends from church stopped by bearing thoughtful little tokens of their love and compassion for us on this day!  We received the best homemade bread ever, a very touching and beautiful picture book on the meaning of Easter, and a loaf of Friendship Bread that was insanely good!  Hailey even received a few gifts at her place: an adorable wooden flower, a pot of Easter Lilies, and adorable balloon, a stuffed baby chick...etc.  I can't thank all of you who thought of us and stopped by or offered up a prayer on our behalf!  We are so supported and feel so loved.

Later in the afternoon our neighbors came over for dinner and afterward we drove down a canyon road behind my house to a beautiful stream running in between the mountains.  There's really nothing out there but mountains and tons of rocks (My Sienna rocked it!).  The kids played in the water, jumped rocks, and Lexi even caught some tadpoles!  But more importantly, and miraculously, my mother seriously found a dime!!  Okay, when I say there is nothing out there...I mean it!  No stores, houses, paved roads, etc.  She was walking through a ton of rocks, happened to look down and no joke, there was a dime laying in amongst them all!!!  Talk about an Easter miracle.  My Hailey was there!  I mean what are the odds that someone would find a dime out in the middle of nature?  It was literally like finding a needle in a haystack.  Anyways, I took a picture so you could see what I mean by it being a miracle.
After spending a little while there, we all drove to Hailey's place and sat with her.  It couldn't have been a nicer day!  Thank you Hailey for visiting us...and Thank You Lord for allowing her to do so!  As I've said before, we are seriously so blessed.  Our Hailey is ALWAYS here with us!  I love it!

Pictures from this Easter:

At Hailey's Place

Can you find the dime?
(My mom did!)

The proud Grandma with her dime!
(Thanks Hailey!)