Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Be Our Guest


May 26, 2013

Our baby girl blew us away this year at her ballet recital. 

In the last few months Ellie has really started to show interest in dance.  She has been enrolled since she was 2 1/2 but, just now she really seems to LOVE it.  In fact, this summer we are doubling her dance classes and in the fall she is already begging to add another hour for a new dance genre!  I will basically have ZERO extra time, but I guess that is what starts to happen when they get older and more involved.

We were having trouble with getting the dance down perfectly and to be fair to Ellie, she is over a year younger than any of the other girls in her class. 


I think we went through the routine at least 7 times a day.  We practiced in the classroom, in the pool, in the kitchen…basically, everywhere! 

We got to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell pavilion for dress rehearsal at 10:15 on Sunday morning.  When it was Ellie’s turn to dance they did okay.  We ran to the store to pick up goodies for Memorial Day and home to put groceries away.  Twenty minutes later we were back in The Woodlands for an early dinner with Mimi and then we rushed back across the street to the pavilion to take our seats for the evenings event. 


Even the little brothers were on their best behavior!


It made me emotional to walk through the gates with my baby this year.  She is growing up so fast and I am so proud of the lady she is becoming.  She has developed friendships this year that I hope last a lifetime.  We saw her greatest friends from class upon entering and as luck would have it their seats were right by ours.  My “grown up” baby girl actually sat with her friend until I had to take her back stage. 

recital  DSC_1114  

As they entered the HUGE stage I was on the edge of my seat.  The music started and my heart was racing for Ellie.  It was pride, nerves and anticipation as the first steps of their number left their toes.  Before I knew it the music ended and there was not ONE mistake from ONE girl.  They were absolute perfection.  I flew out of my seat clapping and yelling (and scared the woman in front of me half to death). 


Moments like that and the memories they create last FOR.EVER! 

Dear Ellie,

My whole body was bursting with pride for you and your major accomplishments at this years recital.  You are a gift to me every single day, but on the stage that Sunday evening you were simply stunning.  Your grown up behavior, your beauty, your manners, your dancing…your everything.  You are MY everything, little girl.  I am so beyond blessed to get to share this life with you, angel!

I love you forever...and ever…and ever!

And, here we are off to Ballet II and Hip Hop for the summer.  So grown up!

ballet hair ballet2 hiphop

Sunday, June 16, 2013

To the best daddy…ever!

Dear Brandon,

Fourteen years ago, we met as wild and free twenty one year olds.  Without a care in the world, our only priority was to graduate from college and have fun while we did it! 

Nine months after we met you proposed.  We waited another year and a half, graduated college and secured jobs and planned a beautiful December wedding.

Something was said by Father Lance during one of our premarital classes. 

“Your family begins the moment the two of you say I Do.  A family will begin with and be the two of you, adding children to that is up to God, but know that your family IS the two of you”

That statement stuck with me as a young 24 year old.  I had no clue that our journey would take the path it has, but I am thankful for the wisdom that Father Lance imparted upon us. 

Through our years of infertility, you were our rock.  You never lost faith and you were always there to build me back up after another failed fertility treatment. 

On our journey, the day we spent at the adoption agency made one of the biggest imprints in my heart.  You held my hand the whole time and the minute we got in the car together you said to me, “I don’t care where our baby comes from or if it’s a boy or girl…did you see that little girl in the packet?  She would be perfect.”

You are AWESOME.  That day was just another example of the character and heart you have. 

I knew the minute we met…literally, that you were different.  You were meant for me and you have changed me.

Two weeks after we left that adoption agency we did our first IVF.  A week after that you stood next to me in a small doctors office huddled around an ultrasound machine as we saw our two miracles on the screen.  We both cried.  In that single moment our dreams and prayers were answered. 

In my eyes, you became a dad the day we decided to start trying to have a baby. 

Bennett made you a dad at 1:44 in the morning on that unexpected December night.  Your tears were filled with fear, joy, excitement, thankfulness, and relief.  Your little girl came two minutes later and after that you left my side to be with the two best gifts we had ever been trusted with. 

You have been an amazing father from that minute on. 

You reinvented your career path to make the most amazing life we could ask for.  This life is more than I ever dreamed it would be and that is because of you taking risks, following your heart and listening to Him. 

Thank you. 

Thank you for all eight fertility treatments.

Thank you for always holding my hand.

Thank you for KNOWING that our journey would end with at least one baby…let alone THREE!

Thank you for your passion and compassion for and towards our babies. 

Six years ago, you celebrated your first Father’s Day with a lunch at Pappasitos.  What no one else in that restaurant knew was that the following day we would bury our firstborn son.  Your bravery and strength were absolutely admirable. 

I am heartbroken for you that year after year you will share Father’s Day with Bennett’s Heaven Day. 

On one hand it’s a cruel reminder of the worst day of our lives.

On the other hand it’s beautiful that every year you get to share your special day with the little hero that made you a dad. 

Bennett knew you were strong enough to live with that and maybe it was his special way of thanking you for always being there with him.  You know I don’t believe in coincidence…there is a reason from Him behind all of the happenings in our lives.

You are more of a father and a husband than most of the men I know. 

You are an example of what I want our children to grow up believing and living…which is why I married you. 

I love that with all we’ve been through and all the years that have passed, we are still “us” and can reach inside and find the people we were when we met. 

You are pure perfection to me.  Thank you for our perfect miracles and thank you for being you. 

Happy Father’s Day, babe.  You deserve to relax and enjoy this day more than anyone I know!

With all of my heart forever, I love you!!!!!


lake party vail walk

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Six years still seems like yesterday…

On a Monday, six years ago we got a call we never expected.  If you’ve followed us from the beginning you know that on the other end of the phone was one of the neonatologists assigned to round on our precious Bennett.  His voice was calm and matter of fact…we needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.  They were working on Bennett and trying to keep him alive until we could get there…

Twelve hours earlier I was sitting at his bedside.  To be perfectly honest it makes me sick to admit this, but I can’t even remember what I did with him…did I rock him?  Did I just sit there and talk to him?  Did I bathe him?  I wish I had documented his life more.  I wish I had video of him from every single day he was alive.  I wish I had fought the hospital and had more pictures of he and Ellie together.  I have a million regrets about things I had control over, but didn’t think about doing anything about.  I am firm in my faith and I believe there are no mistakes, but the little details, like pictures and video were just an oversight on this worn out, stressed, new mom. 

When we got to the hospital we never expected to see our baby the way he was.  NO clothes, blood, a ventilator…it was a scene out of an medical drama.  I remember grabbing Bennett’s hand and looking at him.  I knew then he was gone.  His eyeballs were drifting from left to right and then they would just stare straight ahead.  For a moment my hope got the best of me and I thought just maybe he could fight his way back like he had done so many times before.

The truth is, his little body was just tired and it was his time.  He fought every single day of his six month life.  God had given him to us and we had become changed people in that time.  Brandon and I had grown immensely in our faith and our relationship just from having known Bennett.  He healed our hearts, taught us what true faith is, and showed us how to fight through absolutely anything. 

That Monday was filled with chaos. 

On Tuesday, we waited for the neurologist and then waited even longer for his results. 

This week six years ago was the absolute worst week I will probably…prayerfully and hopefully EVER have as long as I live.  It was filled with tests, choices, tears, family, friends, phone calls, and sleepless nights. 

On Thursday night, we said our private good-bye to the best, first born child, ever.  In my mind I went through all of the earthly times I would miss with Bennett.  I made so many promises to him that night.  It is a gift and a blessing that I remember that night with such clarity.  Brandon and I left our family up there that Thursday night to keep our Bennett company.  They read books to him throughout the night and made sure he knew he wasn’t alone.  B and I went home and I wrote the eulogy I would read at our son’s funeral and we took turns rocking our baby girl in the middle of the night during a terrible thunderstorm. 

On Friday, we made a choice no human should ever have to make.  We bathed our little man and dressed him in an outfit that matched the one his twin sister was wearing at home.  Slowly, they administered pain medication to our little man and then all the machines were turned off. 


It was excruciating to pass our baby back and forth between our rocking chairs and just wait for him to take his last breath.  Brandon was the first person to hold Bennett and as fate would have it Bennett took his last breath in his daddy’s arms.  I truly believe Bennett always found safety and comfort in Brandon’s arms and in his voice.  They honestly did have a bond like none I have ever seen.  I’ve never asked B if he felt that…it’s just my opinion based on what I witnessed between the two of them over the months.  I mean seriously, look at him stare at his daddy in this picture and hold onto his thumb!!  This is one of my favorite pictures ever!


We held on as long as we could.  My heart will hold on forever.  The pain is raw and gut wrenching, still. 


I tell myself when my hearts aches and my stomach turns into knots that as time passes it’s just my journey closer to seeing my perfect angel again. 


That doesn’t stop the tears from falling, the nights from being restless and the day from coming though. 

This Saturday will mark “the day” and it will make six years since we said our good-byes. 

Dearest Bennett,

I know you are in the most wonderful place imaginable!  Our pain, as the ones left behind, is still so raw six years later though.  I still think about those promises I made to you that Thursday night and I try to live every single day to honor them.  You are as much a part of our family today as you were the day you were born.  Ellie and Cullen talk about you almost daily.  We live knowing you are watching over us and we are thankful to have our own personal guardian angel.  I pray you enjoy your Heaven day on Saturday with a celebration and a thankful heart that you were chosen to go back home to Him.  WE love you more than you would think humanly possible, little boy! 

Happy Heaven Day, Bennett!

All of our love forever and ever,

Mommy, Daddy, Ellie and Cullen

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The ATX Roadtrippin’ to BBQ

While browsing the internet one day, Brandon came across information for the Texas Monthly BBQ tour across central Texas. 

I came home and he asked (expecting the old lady in me to laugh at him and say NO) if I’d be interested in purchasing tickets and taking a weekend getaway on a whim. 


Bocky lives in San Marcus, so we checked to see if she would want to keep the kiddos all day Saturday in Austin and once we had confirmation we signed ourselves up for a day of BBQ, beer and an air-conditioned tour bus! 

HOLY fun!  We left Friday and had a relaxing trip up.  With a super fun stop at the outlet mall!!  Mommy and Ellie even got matching Nike shoes!

We really like to eat local when we vacation, so I began researching days before we left.  We ate at an amazing place in downtown on Friday night.  Moonshine, did not disappoint and the kids had a blast!  We walked back to the hotel and just had to show Ellie 6th street (it was still VERY early, so the crazy partiers weren’t out yet) and she was amazed by the lights and music coming from every single establishment.



My very stylish little lady!

Saturday morning came super early as we had to be at the famous Franklin BBQ by 7:45.  Bocky arrived and our day of fun began.

We boarded a giant tour bus only to discover the air was not working!!  Thank goodness after all passengers boarded we headed straight to pick up a bus that was in full working order.  I can NOT imagine a day of beer and BBQ and 56 people on a bus with no AC in the 95 degree weather. 


Daniel Vaughn is the BBQ editor at Texas Monthly and his stories made the trips between stops go so fast! 

First, on the stop was Snow’s BBQ.  What a humble, hard-working group of individuals at that place!  B was in Heaven getting to tour the pits and ask MILLIONS of questions!  It really was his dream day!


Next stop, Muellers BBQ.  That stop was HOT, HOT, HOT…literally, because they have no AC and it was HOT OUTSIDE!! 




BBQ and Big Red…what a kid at heart!bbq8

I absolutely LOVE this pic of my boots that one of the professional photogs took.  A girl can’t go out on a BBQ tour without her boots!

Last stop, and rated #1 in Texas Monthly for the best BBQ in Texas, was Franklin BBQ in Austin.  Truly, the best I’ve ever had!  I would make the trip back up to Austin and wait in his historic line just to taste that brisket again…delish!

IMG_0490 IMG_0491 IMG_0492 IMG_0493

What an exciting day to spend with the love of my life and best friend!  BBQ, beer (a designated driver helped) and Brandon…one of the most fantastic dates we’ve EVER had!

While we were out dating each other and stuffing our faces our little loves were with their other momma at the Children’s museum having a total blast! 


We arrived back at the hotel just in time for a little rooftop swimming with the littles and then headed out to eat at one of the few Neapolitan approved restaurants around.  Backspace, had a wait…like we could only get a reservation at 10pm, but when we arrived the bar was totally available, so we hopped up and ordered some fantastic wood fired pizzas.  Our kiddos were totally exhausted by the time dessert had been finished, so back to the hotel we went.


On the way home we went back to the outlets to do a little more shopping!  Hey, when you hubby suggests making another trip to shop a little more you DO NOT turn him down!  Ha!!!

Our weekend was full of fun, family, good food and outlet shopping…what more could you ask for!

Dear Brandon,

After 14 years together I still love going out on dates with you.  This was probably the best date we’ve ever been on though!  You are super handsome, so much fun, and so friendly to everyone we meet.  It is that quality that made me fall in love with you so many years ago.  I am blessed to call you my husband, but I am even more blessed to call you the father of my children.  Thank you for an awesome journey…every single day of our lives.

I love you!!