I’m happy to finally share some details from Shepard and Deacon’s little service we held for them. Of course, something like this is just about the hardest thing ever to plan, you’re completely grief stricken, your world has pretty much stopped, but you still want more than anything for it to be perfect even though you can’t see straight from crying, let alone think straight. Luckily with the help of family and friends, we were able to make it perfect. (Aside from the cold, windy January weather).
I’m not even sure exactly how it came to be, but Krystie of the awesome Krystie Leigh Photography had just started making these cute little booties and was selling them, so I immediately had her make a couple of pairs for the boys. Four total, so I could have two replicas. I’m positive she will be embarrassed to have me mention her by name, but you don’t get to do something THIS sweet and kind for a person and not get thanked on my blog for all to hear about it!! I was trying to look on Etsy for something that could be custom handmade/knit just like what’s here for the rest of their outfits, but of course was having no luck, and it didn’t help that we had hardly any time.
I’m not positive, but I think I asked Krystie if she had any ideas of where to look, and she just “happened” to be working on putting together some terribly cute newborn outfits for her studio, and sent me some pictures of what she’d made. I was head over heels with the cuteness of it all, and was the happiest girl on earth when she offered to make them cardigans!!
And of course, she then offered to do the pants too, or I begged her to offering every earthly possession I had for such a thing. She just found an old sweater and put everything together like nobody’s business, and I’m still speechless to this day as to how to thank her for such a thing. Krystie, seriously, you’ll have a special place in our family for forever and ever!! No thanks will ever be adequate. And I haven’t even shared the most amazing part yet, which is that she made me a THIRD replica outfit out of all the exact same materials, so that I could have a keepsake of what their outfits were like EXACTLY forever. Which at the time did worlds for me to have, because once I’d seen these two precious little outfits she’d made, I didn’t want to let them go!! I’m still working on the best way to display it, it is one of my most prized possessions now.
And I’m sure you’ve also noticed the little custom white shirt onesies and ties…my word they are cute and totally completed the outfit. I asked Derick’s crazy talented sister Jennie to take some of the new onesies I’d bought for the twins, and retrofit them smaller to fit the boys. She added those perfect little collars (starched and everything), and then she made matching ties for all five of the boys. I wanted them to wear something matching, even if it was just once…both the twins to each other, and all five of my boys, it was so important to me, and the fact that family and friends did this for me was and will always be one of the most amazing services I’ve ever been blessed to accept! She also made me replica stuff too, a shirt/tie for the extra outfit, and two more ties for matching teddy bears that were given to us by the Foothills Hospital when we left. Funny how even teddy bears can become special.
I wasn’t going to have a little program typed up because quite frankly, the graphic designer in me couldn’t handle having the typical one that the funeral home provides. (The kind funeral director had a chuckle about that.) Then Derick mentioned he’d like one, thinking it would be another cute little keepsake. I knew he was right, but the thought of it was so much, so I called on yet another immensely talented friend of mine, Ashley of the cutest Ashley Bennett Photography and Design. (I’m a lucky girl to have such artsy friends!) She immediately got to work and made what’s below, and she could not have come up with anything more perfect! I could tell she did her best to make it how she thought I myself would have, and she nailed it! It’s amazing how things like the perfect font choice even made me overwhelmed with gratitude. (Really, the font their names are written in is just so perfect, manly and little boyish at the same time.) Thanks a million times over for this Ashley! Everyone loved it and was able to have their own little keepsake from the day.
In the hospital, it was strange, but when we first sang to the boys, I said to Derick, “what’s that lullaby you sang when Van was born, and I told you it sounded sad?” And he started singing “Castle on a Cloud”. We had no idea it was from Les Mis…oh so cultured. :) He just knew it because his best friend had always sang it, (his grandma taught it to him), and Derick’s family are ninjas when it comes to memorizing song lyrics. :) So we changed some words as the week wore on with the twins, and sang it to them a.lot. (Our lyrics are written above.) My sister Leah sang it at the gravesite for us, and it was darling and perfect. We also sang “If You Could Hie to Kolob” to the boys. It was my brother Boyd’s favourite hymn, who of course they were going to see very soon, and there’s something oddly lullaby-ish/comforting to that hymn. My favourite hymn is “Be Still My Soul”, so we sang that a cappella at the gravesite. I am an alto singer, and that song has the prettiest alto in it. :)
And my most favourite detail of the day, was the two giant red balloons we had tied to their sweet white casket the twins shared. I just knew I had to have these giant red balloons there, and I also knew we’d have two giant red balloons every year on the boys’ birthday in our home. I really made a lot of attempts to make as many ‘memories’ as we could to associate with the boys. Things to be reminded of them by. We also bought five identical hot wheels cars. Derick LOVES to buy his boys hot wheels, and we wanted a matching set, and we bought two extra to tuck inside with the twins, and we have bought more extra now too, so that each of our kids will also have their own matching hot wheels car to keep with them always in addition to our matching set at home. They also will each keep their ties forever too as keepsakes.
So I desperately wanted to have the twins on our Christmas card this year, and represented in our family pictures, and came up with the idea to use the balloons. This card was a labor of love no doubt, and I couldn’t be more happier with the way it turned out. I was nervous about having it spread just the right message, but I found the lyrics to “Away in a Manger” almost instantly that described the feeling I wanted to convey perfectly, and then the rest just came together. I wasn’t sure about using the pose above, just because I didn’t come up with it, but in the end, I knew it was absolutely perfect for what we were going for, a family photo shoot that represented our Shepard and Deacon.
And here’s a couple of my favourites from the shoot. Nose-picking and all. :) Thanks to Leah for taking these of course. :) She’s pretty much been my personal assistant with things like this, and trust me, everyone who knows me knows I’d be the worst.boss.ever. Lol. She deserves a raise for sure. I also have to mention that our local funeral home donated the casket and all of their services for the boys since they were babies. Was so unreal to me! Their shared casket was darling and I voluntarily gave the funeral director a hug…that says a lot. :) And Leah even knitted/crocheted matching white blankets for the boys to be wrapped in. Her talents are neverending! And so is my thanks. :)