Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Bryan and I welcomed a new nephew into the family on Anna's second birthday.  Bryan's sister, Marta, and her husband, Adam, had their first child just in time to share Anna's birthday -- born at 11:01pm (and my birth day is 11/01.  :)  This number loving girl loves that!).  And if those reasons weren't enough to make me crazy about him, they named him August Samuel. 

August has multiple significances: Augusts (with the "s" on the end) was Bryan and Marta's Latvian grandfather's name (sidenote: Apinis means hops in Latvian), and it is the month in which Adam and Marta were married.  As Mart and Adam discussed the name, they realized August is also very important to Bryan and I as it is the holy month we spent with Samuel -- a month that changed our lives forever.  Samuel joined our family on August 1st, and he left our arms for Heaven on August 31st -- giving us one perfect month with him.  All those elements factored into their choice.  And they chose Samuel in honor of our son.  How truly touching.

Marta called a few weeks before August was born to tell us the name they'd chosen and to be sure we were ok with it.  When Bryan told me about it, I teared up immediately.  How could it not be ok?  It hadn't occurred to me that anyone other than Bryan and I might use Samuel as a way to honor our son.  I love that my nephew is named after Samuel.  Love it.  And I love that August now has such a beautiful association.  For the first year after Samuel died, I didn't think I could ever again hear the word August and not think of Samuel -- the pain we endured, the unbelievable rollercoaster of hope and despair that we rode, and most of all losing him.  But as time has gone on, sometimes August is simply a month, and other times it stirs up joy in remembering the time we had with Samuel.  There are still moments when it conjures up all that pain and loss and heartache, but it isn't always the case.  It has become a gentler association with time.  I doubt I will ever disassociate August and Samuel, and now the two are linked even more in my sweet nephew.   I am grateful that August now also brings up thoughts of this baby boy, such a wonderful and positive association.  So August will now link my son and my nephew, two cousins who will never know each in this life, but who are inextricably connected.  I love that. 

Memories of Samuel are rich in both sides of our family -- now with August on Bryan's side and with my niece June, who was born 16 hours after Samuel, on my side.  I love that I can look in the faces of my niece and nephew and see glimpses of my son in Heaven.  In June I can see how old he would be, how big, what new skills he would be learning, and the friend he would have played with at family gatherings.  In August I will be able to see someone carry on his name and give me new, precious reasons to love it.  It means more to me than I can say that Samuel is a part of our extended family and not just part of my nuclear one.  I love that he continues to matter to others, that his impact hasn't fizzled out as life has gone on.

I love my new nephew, August Samuel, and I can hardly wait to meet him.  Welcome to the Apinis clan, little buddy.  I can't wait to get my hands on you. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Naming Eliza-Loo

It took Bryan and I a long time to settle on sweet Eliza's name though Eliza has been on our potential name list since I was pregnant with Caleb.  I was wishy-washy on it for a long time and was afraid I wouldn't love it once we gave it to her.  I don't personally know a single person named Eliza, and I wondered if I would like it as much once I heard it out loud all the time instead of just hearing it in my head.  But thankfully, I love it more and more every day.  I am so glad we chose it for our little love.  It's just right for her.  Little Miss Eliza Larissa Apinis. :)

Eliza means "dedicated or consecrated to God."  Bryan and I always choose a first name with a significant meaning -- something we can pray over and for our children all their lives long.  Dedicated to God fits the bill perfectly.  Not only do we want to raise our daughter with the mindset that she is God's -- that we have open hands and dedicate her to Him, not clinging to her but trusting her to God -- but we pray that she will grow up dedicated to the Lord.  We pray she will follow Him wholeheartedly, joyfully, and faithfully, that she will live a life pleasing to Jesus.  We want her to be set apart for the Lord. 

Our children's middle names are all family names.  Larissa is after Bryan's sister, Marta Larissa.  Though we seriously contemplated using Marta, we live in the Atlanta area where MARTA is Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and we didn't want everyone to associate her with a train or bus, so we decided to use Larissa.  Bryan's sister is amazing.  She is vivacious, giving, fun-loving, caring, and the world's best aunt.  Marta can make anything fun and is the best sport I know.  She's up for anything.  She loves others deeply, is genuinely thoughtful, and courageously follows God.  We all love being around Marta, and we'd be delighted if Eliza shares some traits with her spectacular aunt.

So, Eliza Larissa Apinis it is!  What an incredible gift she is.  I can't get enough of my baby girl.