on love and rainbows after death


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There were so many things I expected to feel and think after Trek died, and I have felt all of them and more. I have grown accustomed to the surprise stings of pain from a seemingly insignificant stimulus. But even after over 2 years of living with the grief of losing my son, I can still be surprised. 

Trek 2 weeks old

Vesper is truly our Rainbow baby. Her little face lights up our days, and brings out emotions and joys that I had feared had disappeared in the ocean with Trek’s ashes. But as I was changing her diaper yesterday, admiring her soft belly and returning her beaming smile I realized that I am traumatized by Trek’s death. That there is a part of me that was seriously injured by my little boy being taken away.

I know Vesper will crawl and walk and talk, but I have yet to day dream about such things. I won’t believe them until they happen. Like a battered wife does not believe she will ever be loved again. When she turns 15 months old, I think my brain may reset a little, that yes, this baby will live, she will walk and talk and she will not also be taken from me.

Vesper 4 days old

I knew when I picked Jarrett and decided to spend my life with him that he had all that I was missing. Throughout the years, he has proven over and over again to be there in every way that I truly need and want. He amazes me on his ability to access and act in situations others would deliberate and stress over for days, months, or years. He sees things in black and white, while I see things in rainbows. When you see things in rainbows all the time-you definitely need a black and white partner.

There have been so many times that Jarrett has picked me up and carried me in our relationship. Even during and after Trek’s death we somehow were able to be there for each other even though we were each dying. There was only one day when we both needed so much and could give nothing, it was hard, but thankfully out of all the days, it was only one. 

The day we brought Vesper home from the hospital was magical. To bring your love child home-the place they were made and grown out of love-is a surreal moment. The magical day you have been waiting for for 9 months. It was so peaceful, Peyton and Conner were elated, it was all I imagined. 

As I was crawling into bed that night I laid Vesper on my chest. A panic set in, one I had never felt in my 9 years of being a mommy. I felt inadequate. I know this is a common feeling, but I had never felt it before. Being a mommy was all I ever dreamed of since I was a little girl. The day I had Peyton, I finally felt like I was truly myself. It was all so natural and fun and just perfect. Everything before no longer existed, just Peyton and anything I needed to do to take care of him. But here, on the start of my mothering journey with my 4th baby, I was scared. What if I did not hear her cry and wake up to nurse her? what if I rolled over on her? what if I forgot she was here, and no longer in my belly and didn’t take care of her? what if she died too like her brother?

In the lamp light of our dark room, Jarrett pushed the hair back from my face, looked into my eyes, and told me I was the best mother in the world, I would never forget about Vesper, or lack in taking care of her, that I had done this 3 times before with ease, and that he would stay up all night and watch me  and her sleep. That he would wake me if I did not wake up when she wanted to nurse. That he would hold her if I was too tired. 

He probably does not even remember that as a significant moment in our life. But I am crying as I write it. It was a very significant moment for me. It was a moment where I got over a little bit of the trauma from Trek’s death. It was the moment I became a mother all over again. It was the moment I was given a new baby, after one was taken from me. It was the moment that I knew I could trust Jarrett to always see the truth even when I could not. That I could trust him for all the days of our life together. The moment that I was able to see all the vibrant colors of my Rainbow baby. 


Fall 2014: 4 little pumpkins

I once heard a speaker ask a room full of moms to date their page. She then went on to say that they didn’t have to know the exact date, or day, or even the month, just the season would be good enough. Ha-ain’t that the truth when you have children! It especially feels like that with the blog since having little miss V. (as I am one-hand typing now and she is grasping at the keyboard and babbling in her teeniest little voice). So this season of the Ingram life is Fall, and it is freaking beautiful. 

at the pumpkin patch getting 4 pumpkins for my 4 beautiful little children 

Living physically without one of your children is so hard. The day above was wonderful-one of the best days I have ever had with my children-but the amount of times I thought and longed for Trek throughout that day was innumerable. It’s our family’s new normal without Trek, bright sunny days, but always a little overcast with his very intensely felt absense. 

when my sister took this picture of us, all I could think about was when she took this one 3 years ago in Maui (she even said something when she was taking the picture too)

us with Trek pumpkin picking in Maui

I looked back and I did a blog post on this trip with Trek (before he was diagnosed and we were blissfully unaware), and amazing thing, I posted it on October 20th! Exactly 3 years ago today.

Trek’s 1st Pumpkin Patch

Speaking of Trek-he is a little sheep! Our friend Quinn (who also had NPA) is doing an amazing fundraiser through her foundation. Auburn University has been doing research on sheep infected with Tay Sachs (a VERY closely related disease to NPA). They have increased the sheeps’ lifespan by 57%! How amazing in the way of treatment for rare diseases. If you want to donate to help keep this program going you can find out more here!

big brothers picking out Trek’s and Vesper’s pumpkins

Trek’s 1st pumpkin!

riding in the trailer to the corn maze

Peyton, Conner, and cousin Jackson as corn

Peyton 9 years, Conner 7 years

their first pumpkin patch in Maui 5 years and 3 years old:)

they also had a flower cutting garden which was amazing and our favorite part!

my sister and some of our homeschool group picking flowers

Conner and Peyton were picking flowers for a special project. They did not tell me what it was until we go home.

when we got home, the boys made their own vases and made little shrines for Trek in their room-it made me teary and was so sweet (Peyton’s above)

Conner’s Trek shrine, complete with the geodes we made the other day, and the photo album I made for them with Trek’s pictures in it


cousins 3 years ago, I still can’t believe my sister and I have gotten to do so much boy raising together:) (and now a girl!)

We have enjoyed the fresh flowers so much around the house. The boys helped me make a special flower food and they are still looking pretty! We have been outdoors more now that the Texas heat has died down and most of the dang mosquitoes are gone. We also have been baking a lot since the house does not heat up so much. It has been so fun. The boys are extremely helpful at this age-its amazing and we have lots of good times together.

helping me chop and roast some vegetables (which they amazingly like now!)

For part of homeschool the other day we watched a cooking show (ok, I really wanted to watch it, so it became homeschool-hehe). And after, Conner went into full Emeril mode. He just HAD to make us dessert for dinner and when I pulled out a cook book he came and took it from me, closed it, and said, “Mom, we are just doing what tastes good to us.”

So he dumped a bunch of berries in sauce pan and added heavy cream and sugar and the rest was history.

Vesper was even so sweet and played the entire time so I could help Conner (when needed or he let me:)

he had a grand vision for a berry sauce that included coffee, chocolate, sugar and milk (it was pretty amazing I must say).

He was extremely proud of his berry tarts with chocolate-coffee sauce and homemade whip cream! Yum-it was sooooo good! I was so proud and impressed.

Conner catching me changing Vesper’s diaper (one of the many pictures I found on my camera)

his first selfie (hehe)

We live a few streets away from the Gulf of Mexico. It is so beautiful all the time, but the fall has a calm aura that draws us to it. It’s so peaceful and breezy and make you want to run and find a million sea shells! On Jarrett’s day off last week, we decided to do a marked coastal walk about 20 miles down from our house. We wanted to find a secluded spot, so we drove until we found one. Its our new skinny dipping spot!!! (just kidding…I think)

Conner taking pictures of a scissor tail bird he found

we found some amazing sea shells, it was such a nice morning.

I hope your fall is starting off wonderful. With lots of pumpkins and coffee and maybe even some coffee-chocolate-berry tarts:)

so much love, Chelsea

4 months with 4 children

I miss you guys!!! I really do, I think about you all a lot, but there is a tiny time thief that steals all of mine! Good thing she is cute, or I might have a problem with it:)my 4 month old precious daughter

Peyton and Conner and I have been having sooo much fun too. Their homeschooling is getting for real! I had to look up some answers in the back of Peyton’s book the other day-my brain is rusty-ha! I have been enjoying my time with the boys even more than usual. I have had this over arching emotional reaction the last few weeks of how lucky I am to get to spend so much time with my big boys. They are so cool and sweet and special, I feel so happy to call them my friends and sons.

Vesper has thrown us for a complete loop this past week! We bought her this…big mistake….she thinks she is a big girl now.Photo: who knew playing the piano with your feet was so much fun!

When we got it a couple weeks ago, she was still a little larvae. On day 1 she started to play the piano with her feet. Day 3, she started to grab the toys that were dangling overhead. And then on day 6, she freakin rolled over from her back to her tummy! Mothers of newborns-never put your baby down, keep them in their pouch forever!!! (hehe)

Ha! The transformation has brought us all so many laughs and freak outs. I love the newborn stage, but I had forgotten how fun this stage is going to be:) I love each stage so much, I always have growing pains for a day or two, and then I remember why I love the next stage just as much too!

Speaking of stages, I had to share one of the most amazing books I have ever read on parenting. I ordered the Waldorf Oak Meadow 3rd curriculum for Peyton, and this is part of the teacher’s manual. It explains how children learn and act from ages 1-7, 7-14, and then 14-adult. It is AMAZING!!! I felt so comfortable in the early years. This book made me miss the 1-7 year time period, full of imagination and play. It really made me sad and long for those years I will never get with Trek.

I have had more curiosities about the middle years. The years when you start to give more control back to your children, how that looks and feels, and the growing pains that your children now feel alongside you and you have to take into consideration.

It was so enlightening and made me just as excited about the next 7 years with my 2 big boys:) It’s an expensive book, but sooo worth it. My other favorite parenting book is Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves is just as good, and a little cheaper.

The weather is cooling off a little, but we are still sweating and in shorts. It has been raining for days on end, which we LOVE. My coffee pot has been brewing all day, the boys get a cup every once in a while with me, but they have been asking for hot tea and honey most of the time. It is a fun change after living in Maui and then travelling in hot places. I think this winter might have its charms, even though we are all cold wienie babies.

The mosquitos are horrendous. Its like something out of a horror movie. In our effort to repel them, we somehow succeeded in becoming a breeding ground. I am not joking-we really did. Our SCREENED IN front porch was solid black in every corning and all over our door! We did not leave the house for over 24 hours b/c we would have to walk through them. I finally braved it the next day and fogged the crap out of it. They all died which brought me great joy and and totally grossed me out. The internet said that mosquito season is over by October, they best be gone in 2 days!

Peyton turned 9 on September 6th-NINE!!!!! I wrote the best blog post about my love for him and how freakin amazing he is, but it dissapeared:( I am so sad, I am not sure what happened, but I will do a redo. I have not been able to blog as much as I would like, but I have to at least do the highlights of this season of our lives! I still have to finish the birth story of Vesper!

So this sweet baby girl is 4 months old! And she is totally acting like it! Peyton did everything the fastest out of my babies, but she is beating him by a couple weeks on the first few milestones. It totally took us off guard! I can give her toys and she plays with them and we can’t leave her rolling self anywhere anymore.

she discovered her feet and is obsessed with them!

rolling over-hehe

keeping her baby book updated and comparing with her brothers

She is still in her 0-3 month clothes which delights me. She has some cute outfits and I am glad she is getting lots of wear out of them. She is also still in size 1 diapers. She is our smallest baby so far at this stage. That along with her need to succeed makes Trek’s onesie she borrowed just perfect for her:)

it was also worn by our precious Trek-he was the perfect guy for Tiny and Tuff:)

my laundry helper

Trek as my laundry helper at 4 months old too:)

Vesper wearing a special diaper. When I was shopping for cloth diapers for her, I came across this one named “Quinn”, so of course she had to get it to honor her.

Vesper wearing Trek’s t-shirt and his surfer diaper. She is getting into some of Trek’s 3-6 month clothes which is the size Trek wore his whole life. So it is special and bittersweet.

Trek in the same shirt with Conner in Honduras

4 months apart:) Same hair bow, same outift-size preemie and 0-3 months

She loves her swing and was napping great in it, but then reverted back to our bed for naps. Her favorite place to nap is still in my arms. She sleeps a good 30 minutes longer when I am holding her, so she naps most of the time there:) 

Vesper wearing my baby dress and socks:)

family dinner outside in this nice weather

it’s waaaaay too much fun dressing a baby girl

she loves her awesome brothers

I couldn’t find a hair bow to match this outfit (which is saying something since I am sure she has over 50 of them!), so I made her one out of a vintage handkerchief.

she loves to stand up, which looks so cute and funny b/c she is still small

I’ll post more later, but handsome Peyton got a laptop for his 9th birthday (and new mama-made fire pants:)-he was so happy! and so was I to have such an amazing son!

the shirt/dress I made for Vesper out of a vintage napkin. We went to visit my grandparents, so I borrowed my Granny’s sewing machine. Jarrett is getting me a new one next week, I feel ready to sew again now that Vesper is a little older, and it will be just in time for Christmas sewing!

holding her first toy! of course it was baby Trek’s, Conner got it for him for his 1st birthday:)

am I lucky or what?! who are these precious children?! I heart them

a day at the beach across the street

we tried a bottle of breast milk for Vesper, she drank a little-it was so cute:)

these two! Most people don’t know, but Jarrett is a big ol’ marshmallow. But it has reached epic proportions since Vesper came along, seriously, the biggest pile of mush EVER!

my dad’s mama-MawMaw getting a smile from Vesper

this Moby wrap is pure magic for Vesper: insta-nap

I hope you all are doing wonderful too! I love you all so much!

so much love, Chelsea

3 months with a princess

We are so bad over here. There is pink and fluff, and smoochy woochy names flying every where. The boys are worse than us with Conner calling her names like Flower, Princess, and Preshy (short for Precious-ha), and Peyton bursting out of his room with righteous anger if he hears her crying and giving me the worst stink-eye EVER!

It’s bad and oh so wonderful. I could have had a million little boys, but what a wonderful surprise this little girl has been.

Vesper had her 2 month check-up a little late. She was 10 weeks old at the time and weighed almost 11 lbs. She was healthy, which we never take for granted.

Even though I know that she does not have NPA like Trek, I still had her Dr. check to make sure her liver was not enlarged. I held my breath the entire time. Thankfully, she has a perfect liver.

She is smiling all the time, the most at Daddy. And laughing now too, in a girly, precious way.

When she wants me she lets out the funniest girly scream-not like a cry scream, but a lady-like scream just to let me know that she means business.

She has been refusing to nap anywhere but my arms for the past few weeks. She sleeps great at night, only waking up once or twice to eat and falling right back to sleep. But the day-oh my, she sleeps a lot, but ONLY with my boobie pillows-ha! I get it girl, but geez, what’s wrong with your cozy cradle or bed? hehe:) Thankfully today we had a break through. We got a baby swing and she has napped for a couple hours today in it! The house is sparkling, homeschool is done, I already watched Bachelor in Paradise-what I am supposed to do now? I guess its time for some more sleeping snuggles:)

I decided to start using her cloth diapers this week. I finally feel in a good spot with housework and homeschooling to add another load of laundry. Picking out a new print each change is satisfying my need to dress her up a hundred times a day like a doll.

you were dying to see a picture of Trek in a cloth diaper too weren’t you?! :)

back in her paper diapers that we love

A friend told me to keep putting on hair bands, so Vesper thinks she was born with one (hehe). I am not sure I would have been so into it if Peyton had been a girl. But after 3 boys-I can’t help myself-its waaay too much fun!

even though she looks just as beautiful without one:)

This outfit makes me go nuts!! I was given a gift-card for a baby boutique before she was born, and when I saw it I died. As I was buying it, it felt like a twilight zone-“am I really buying something pink and so adorably fluffy?!”

he’s the one she saves all her best smiles for, she is fascinated with daddy

Here is Vesper and mama at about 2 months old. She looks like me in a lot of my baby pictures, a LOT like Conner, and she has been resembling Trek to me lately in some small ways. Peyton is his own man, Trek looked a little like him with blonde hair and blue eyes, but Peyton is basically a mini-Jarrett.

Conner loves taking photos. He often asks to use my camera and heads off to photograph his interests. I love seeing my memory card later at what he photographed. Above he set up Vesper’s picture with one of his Beanie Boos on her changing table-hehe:)

he photographs one of Trek’s photos every time

his name and height at 7 years old

Vesper’s 1st Beanie Boo from Granny he set up on the bed:)

another photo shoot…its out of control I know

My sister in law made Vesper the teeny flip-flops a dozen people tagged me in on facebook-hehe:) I LOVE them!!

you know those failed Pinterest attempts-this was one of them. My sis-in-law sent me this from her store to photograph-Vesper does not quite fit anymore-hehe:)

I have an even better one-you know this darling picture that floats around on Pinterest?

Well this was our version, except with 3 adorable boys-

Trek, Conner, and Peyton 3 years ago-hahahahaha!

brothers are so fun

my nephew taking a ride in Vesper’s rainbow sling. My first time to get to babysit him!!

Jarrett, Vesper, and I got to go on a date right before my sister and her husband did. It was double date day-kinda!

Peyton has been reading a lot lately, it makes me so happy for him. I used to read non-stop growing up and hated when it was time to go to bed and I had to stop.

Conner was supposed to be watching Vesper and I came in to find this. I guess he passed the job on to her doll.

wearing her big brothers’ Reebox. All 3 of the boys wore them, so Vesper had to also. We called her Sporty Spice all day.

getting a bath from daddy

sleeping beauty

my surfer dudes

Peyton and Conner are my two favorite oldest sons EVER! Seriously, I cannot stop kissing, hugging, snuggling, and squeezing them. I can’t wait till Vesper gets to the squeezing age too! We saw the sign for surf camp last summer and knew that we would totally do it this summer.

So Surf camp we did! I was totally more excited then them. I could see their future spending many sunny days catching waves!

Peyton will be 9 years old in 2 weeks, and Conner is 7. They lived on Maui for 4 years, but it took us moving to an island in Texas to learn to surf! I took a surf lesson on Maui, but I had too many babies around to ever get to go out and get good at it. I think it will be something our whole family can enjoy now that they are older. The boys did amazing. Children take to surfing like they do snow skiing, just give them a little push and they are off!

Getting warmed up in the morning sun. That is the Pleasure Pier where the restaurant Jarrett runs is located. It’s a super fun place for us to visit him at!

Vesper and her new sun bonnet. I have been admiring these for years, and just the other day I realized I finally had someone to buy them for:)

As I was taking this picture I had major de-ja-vu back to this moment…

Trek at the exact age as Vesper at the beach in Maui-3 months old

Peyton’s first time ever on a board-I was soo happy for him!

and he was so happy too:)

The boys’ friend Micheal was there too!

The first day, I was without my cabana boy (Jarrett). Micheal’s mom was without hers too, so we had to set up our umbrellas and beach gear all alone with our babies in our arms. We tried to help each other, but we were useless, even to ourselves. Thankfully, the guy who rents umbrellas to tourist on the beach did come over and help:)

Go Conner go!

Peyton waiting to catch a wave

and back at the beach-a napping sister

warm-up on day 2

mine and Vesper’s sexy cabana boy came!!

Stephanie and baby Oliver (Micheal’s family)

Vesper cheering her brothers on in her plumeria bikini

the boys’ instructor was so kind and sweet to the boys, here he is building sand castles with them

one of the days was oceanography day, they put a net out to catch sea creatures

Surf camp was amazing. The boys learned so much and now have the confidence to surf anytime they want to! I really wanted that for them since I know we will forever live by the ocean:)