Bennett David Kahl

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

How many hours are in a day?

I would like to thank all of our friends and family that helped make Team Chunky Monkey such a success this year. We have raised almost $4000.00 and I still have donations to drop off at the March of Dimes office. We are so blessed and thankful that our money will be part of the nearly 3.6 million dollars Houston raised this year!

WOW! How many hours are in a day? Don’t worry, I DO know the answer to this question…it just seems like I lived a whole week in the last three days! This weekend was eventful to say the least and it has left me exhausted!

I spent Thursday at the spa enjoying a massage, manicure and pedicure from my husband for my big 3-0! It was relaxing and I enjoyed getting lost in the silence. I actually found myself thinking to myself that I wasn’t really thinking about anything! That is bizarre for me because my head is usually spinning every second of the day about something. I realized that I would love to do that more often…we’ll see how that works out!

Friday, I went over to my mom’s house to pick her up. My family was meeting for dinner to celebrate my birthday that evening. I came home and got Ellie Grace ready for her Grandmom. Ellie was in rare form that evening and I actually felt terrible leaving her behind. I forgot about all of the home “drama” when I walked into the restaurant and saw my friends and family waiting for me…Brandon had planned a surprise dinner with my greatest friends and family members present! I kept asking everyone what our plans were for after dinner and they cryptically answered, “Can’t say…!” Now, if you know me and my type A personality, you know that I need to be in control and have everything planned out perfectly. To not know where we were heading after dinner was driving me crazy!

Dinner was great! My good friend Jocelyn brought my FAVORITE cake in the entire world and I have been enjoying it for the last few days! We exited the restaurant and there was a beautifully restored trolley waiting for us. We loaded up and headed out for a very exciting and eventful evening in downtown Houston. At about 11:00 I noticed that my younger brother had gone missing. I started to worry that we had left him behind until I noticed him walking up the stairs with two friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in over 5 years! Brandon’s last surprise to me was having Josh and Ashley in town from Dallas to visit and hang out with us! It was the icing on top of the cake and I honestly couldn’t have asked for or planned a better birthday myself! Way to go Brandon, mom, Connie, Dave and all of my friends that “lied” to me for the past week! I love all of you and thank you for taking so much time to plan a wonderful evening just for me.

Friday night was long and actually lasted until Saturday morning with Josh, Ashley and I talking and catching up. Brandon let me sleep in and after only 5 hours of sleep it was time for total Ellie Grace duty. You see, Saturday was the NFL draft and that day is sacred to Brandon. Honestly, this is Brandon’s favorite day of the year and he looks forward to it all year long! Uncle Chris came over and made salsa and the boys drug in the standing dry erase board and got down to business as the draft began. It really is cute to see how “into it” they are. There is a lot of planning that goes into that day on their part…it’s actually kind of obsessive!!! Ellie and I spent the day at the park and shopping at Target for a new digital camera…ours didn’t survive the surprise party night! We were in bed early because Sunday was the March for Babies and it was going to be an early morning.

I couldn’t sleep at all on Saturday night. I was up almost the entire night thinking about our baby boy. Most people wouldn’t realize that events like the March for Babies is excruciating for Brandon and me. Yes, it was for a great cause and it will no doubt help other families avoid the heartache we have suffered. However, half of the reason we were walking is in a cemetery rather than in our twin stroller. It is beyond description the pain and anxiety days like Sunday drum up. By this point in the weekend I was sure I had been awake for at least 72 hours. Between the out of town guests, the long day alone with Ellie Grace and the stress of the March for Babies I was hanging on by a string. We were so proud to see all of our friends come out and show their support for Team Chunky Monkey. We had a very generous family friend donate all of the t-shirts for the day, and they turned out perfect! It was awesome to see everyone in their shirts and gathered ready to walk. As the walk began (with THOUSANDS of people) we got separated from most of our group. We know what changes to make for next year, because we plan to have another big crowd and we want to make sure we can all walk together! The last few miles were LONG because Ellie Grace woke up and either wanted to be held or wanted to walk on her own…seriously! The best moment of the entire day was the moment we crossed the finish line. Imagine this…there is a band playing…thousands of people are all walking and cheering for you and they announced our team name over the loud speaker as we crossed the finish. “And coming into the finish now is TEAM CHUNKY MONKEY”…It brought tears to my eyes. It has been a long haul and there are very few things I can do for Bennett to honor him and celebrate him with all of you. This was one of those moments and for a split second I felt complete happiness and joy.

We met our team back at the tent and decided to go to lunch with our families. We had about 20 people heading out to eat as we left the stadium. One minute we were driving and the next minute we were slamming into the back of a car! OH MY GOSH is the next thought that ran through my head…my baby was in the car! I immediately checked Ellie out and she was fine…talking as a matter of fact…no tears…no discomfort at all…THANK YOU GOD!!! I was shaking like a leaf on a cold fall morning, but my instinct to comfort Ellie was the only thing I could think of. As it turns out, I was the only one that needed comfort after this fender bender because everyone else was just fine. We made it to the restaurant and joined our families to celebrate the last of this VERY LONG weekend. Once we were home, Brandon had to pack and head to the airport for a trip to Chicago where he will be until tomorrow.

As I was thinking about this weekend I couldn’t help but think that God had added a few hours to each of the days!! It truly felt like I lived a whole week in a matter of days. I hate that the stressful/eventful times seems to drag by and the wonderful/intimate times seem to vanish in a flash. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could decide how many hours were in each of our days? I think I would like to cut the bad ones short and make the good ones last forever!

Crawfish boil news:
We are hosting a thank you crawfish boil at our neighborhood clubhouse on Saturday, May 3rd, for all of you that supported Team Chunky Monkey in any way. We would love to have all of our friends and family there to help celebrate our success as a TEAM! The party will begin at 3pm and we will have the mudbugs and all the ‘fixins’! Bring yourself and a cooler with your favorite drinks…and maybe an outdoor chair to sit in! Please email me through or leave a comment on our blogspot to let me know if you will be able to join us. I will be placing the order for crawfish on Thursday. Thanks again for all of your support ~ you are the world’s best and we are blessed to have you in our lives!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One year year wiser?

Hello, 30! Yes…today I am one year older and as the saying goes…one year wiser. Well, you would think that after the year we have had I would be one wiser. However, I haven’t really figured out what I am…grateful, yes…empty, sometimes…I think it might take me a while to figure it out.

I was thinking about the last decade of my life today and I can’t believe all the wonderful things that have happened. I met Brandon at 21 years old. I graduated at 22 and got my first job and I was married by 23. We bought, sold and then built a new house by 25 years old. For the next three years we would battle infertility. I am convinced that this is one of the biggest battles married couples face and we made it through with flying colors. By 29 I had given birth to premature twins and I was the happiest woman in the world. Nothing could rock my world…not even having a precious baby boy still in the hospital…until June 15, 2006. When you think about it, that is a lot of change in 10 years. It is a lot of emotional highs and lows for anyone to handle and honestly, I never thought twice about the events in our life. I never considered us as having a “rough time.” I never considered our circumstances to be hard to handle. I have never felt sorry for the times we have faced. I am still grateful for every single experience and moment in the last 10 years and the previous 20 for that matter. I am; however, empty a lot of the time, even after all of that.

As Ellie was hugging me today, I reminded myself how sweet my life really is. I remember rushing to the hospital at 11 weeks pregnant praying that I was not miscarrying and that there was at least one baby still alive and growing. All along I just prayed to God to give us one healthy baby. And He did! I am never disappointed or ungrateful for the path I have led. I am a mother of two babies and a wife to a wonderful husband. I am a daughter to awesome parents and a friend to the best friends and girl could ask for. I am lucky at 30 years old to have had the life I have had.

I have been reading a book that talks about dealing with the loss of a child. It is so interesting to read about the “facts” that the authors have researched. One states that by 8 months most fathers of a deceased child have “come to terms” with their loss and by 12 months most mothers have reached the same point. My question…WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!?!?! Here I am almost 11 months later and I feel like it was yesterday. No, I haven’t “come to terms” with what happened. I don’t feel any better or have any more clarity. It has been a difficult day because I want to enjoy this birthday (it is monumental!), but it is hard when I feel so conflicted inside. How do I say goodbye to one of the best/worst years of my life? Every single month has been hard to say goodbye to…how can I say goodbye to a year? So many thoughts are racing in my mind…so many memories…so many questions…so many hopes for the years to come.

So it comes down to this. I pray that my next 30 years are as blessed as the last. I hope that we have as many joys and only half of the sorrow. We are the believers we are today because of the events in our life. I wouldn’t change a second of it! I know I will spend the next 30 years searching for peace and still feeling like it was yesterday that I was with my little boy. I will spend the next 30 years holding Ellie Grace and being thankful for God’s gifts to us. I will spend the next 30 years fearless…knowing that the last 30 is probably the hardest I will endure and I only have greatness to look forward to. So, HELLO, 30…I look forward to the wonders you will bring!

March for Babies update:
T-minus 3 days. The time is ticking and Sunday is right around the corner. We have raised over $1800.00 as a team and we are still going! THAT IS UNBELIEVEABLE! You are all so wonderful to be so supportive and generous. We are still planning to meet at 6:15-6:30 at the Waterview Estates clubhouse. We will then drive to Robertson Stadium and register by 7AM. We will try to have a meeting spot near registration, so we can gather the whole team together. You may turn in your money at registration time and collect your free t-shirt if you raised over $200.00. We will all be wearing navy t-shirts as a team…if you have one available. Brandon and I are hosting a “Thank You” crawfish boil next Sunday, May 3rd, beginning at 3PM. Please email us through if you are planning to attend. Again, thank you. As I stated before ~ having all of you there is the best birthday gift I could ever ask for! See you on Sunday! GO TEAM CHUNKY MONKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

I can't manage to catch my breath

One of the most frustrating things when you are being tickled is not being able to regain control and catch your breath...that is how I feel on most days. I am running, moving, picking up, dropping off, creating, washing, feeding, but I am never just catching my breath.

If you could see the old school planner I have sitting in my lap right now you would be disturbed at the obvious ink explosion that has occurred on it. Arrows showing when to reschedule, red ink means important, post it tabs to highlight shows that's all crazy and it's all catching up to me this week.

I will rewind to the Thursday before we left for Chicago. I brought Ellie Grace into the doctor to have a suspected diaper rash checked out...only to find out that it is a rash caused by an allergy to a particular type of food. Now let me remind you that I am the MOST anal mother on this planet and I carefully plan all of Ellie's meals to make sure they are well balanced and healthy. Actually, the fresh tomatoes I had been cutting up for her salad at lunch were the culprit. She is indeed allergic to acidic foods...which is most of them! We are on a new diet with the hopes of starting out bland and identifying the culprit when we spot the rash reappearing. I can report that Ellie looks good and the bland diet seems to be working so far.

Now, onto Chicago. The song from Dirty Dancing ques in my head, "Now I've...had the time of my life and I owe it all to you..!!" Brandon and I had a blast in Chicago. We got there on Friday and went straight to the convention center. I think I found my calling...I LOVED looking at all of the kitchen and bath appliances. I think I had officially redecorated my next 4 homes while we were there...AWESOME! I told Brandon that I am just a little jealous that he gets to work with that industry everyday. I think God might have switched us at birth...:) We were treated to fantastic dinners and coctail receptions. We also got a tour around the cities most famous landmarks ~ in the snow by our limo driver! AMAZING!!!

Now we are back to reality and trying to adjust. We got a call on Tuesday from a show in River Oaks asking us if we could please fill in for a company that didn't show. UUUMMMM ~ sure. We do need the money and the ability to get our name out to a completely different area of town was great. So, we packed up the little inventory we had left from our last show and headed down to Saint Lukes to set up. I got home last night at 10pm and started working on the monogramming machine until 3am. Long day... The show is turning out to be pretty good and we have made several very good contacts. So this crazy week continues. Tomorrow we will do the last day of the show, take down and start preparing for the next 3 shows we have in 4 weeks. God is great! We have been praying for this time and it is now here. Unfortunately, this news came on Bennett Day, and I couldn't be out there with my little man, his daddy, sister or Grandmom. I have been working so hard and been so stressed out that I haven't even had a minute to sit, talk and cry to my little prince. In the free seconds that I can steal for myself I keep saying, "10 months...10's just getting too far away." I am planning a special day for myself out with my little man. It's about time we had a talk with Bennett and asked him to help pick the final scripture for his headstone. :) I am the only mother that has taken this long on deciding about a headstone, becuase it is SO FINAL! I have read through the bible, I have looked through song books and read poems. I have searched high and low with Brandon and I think we are down to about 3 choices. I just feel like this isn't a pair of socks or a first day of school outfit...this is the one forever we can give to our Bennett and it needs to be just perfect as perfect can be.

Breaking News about the Crawfish/Walk for Babies:
We are still collecting money for Walk for Babies until Aptil 22, 23 which are bank days. PUSH, PUSH, PUSH for even 1.00! I am so proud of all of our friends and family that have taken this event and made it as important to themselves as it is to us.
*****There has been one major change. We will be holding the crawfish THANK YOU party on May 3rd. We couldn't get the clubhouse on the 26th, so we did a little rearranging. We hope all of you can make it to this thank you celebration that is the only way we can honor all of you. We would still like to caravan on Sunday morning, or plan a group meeting spot near the walk, in order to hand out the t-shirts we have for our participants.

Prayer requests...there seem like so many this week. First and foremost, please pray that Ellie's little body can recover from her awful rash and that we can figure out exactly what she is allergic to. Also, we need guidance in this decision making process for Bennett's headstone. I just need those perfect words to come to us and say, "this is it!!!" Please pray that we have continued success with our is the only reason I haven't had to go back to work yet. And please pray for Brandon as he travels and gains knowledge in order to help make him successful and confident in this new career. Please just pray for normalcy for our family. We hit the road running when our twins were born and we haven't slowed down doesn't slow down...and it's just plain hard to catch your breath sometimes.

Enjoy the new pics...and thanks for praying with us!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Your amazing support!

The support of our friends and family has brought us to a total of $1356.00 raised as of today for the March for Babies. WOW! I am so thankful and have such pride in my heart that we are all contributing to an organization that might someday help save another one of our babies...or one of your own.

I love getting emails saying that we have "one more walker" on our team. You will never understand how much joy we feel to know that so many of you still support us and think of us on a daily basis. On most days, walking in our shoes feels terribly lonely, but knowing that we are supported by all of you is a true blessing.

Brandon and I went to dinner tonight with two of Bennett and Ellie's angels. We will be forever indebted to Charlette and Kaitlin (along with our other primary nurses at Women's Hospital) for the love and devotion they showed to our family while we were in the NICU. It is impossible to express how we feel for them. They are our heros...and spending time with them brings us back to the most precious times in our life. You would think that we would want to leave all of that pain and fear behind, but that is a part of our lives that we never want to forget. We look forward to every single chance we have to see our babies' NICU aunt's (and uncle - Chris!). Gratitude and pride are the two best words I can use to describe how we feel when we are with these people. So, thank you, for taking time out of your schedule to spend time with will never know how much it means to us.

Now, for something I haven't asked for in months...a prayer request. As most of you know, Brandon and I are leaving on Friday to go on a business trip to Chicago...without Ellie! We are leaving our precious little angel behind for the first time and I am a wreck!!! I am excited to have the time with Brandon, but I know I am going to miss Ellie so much it is going to hurt. Please pray for all of us while we are away. Pray that both Grandma's make it through this experience in one piece, pray that Ellie has the strength to survive without us :), and please pray for a save trip for Brandon and myself.

I will post as soon as we get back with details about the getaway and new pics.

The Kahl crew