Thursday, December 31, 2009

on marriage

I found some beautiful quotes about marriage that I wanted to share with you. For once, I am leaving the cheeky ones out. First, though, some thoughts.

What brought me to this, you ask? (I realize you may not have been asking that, but I needed a transition.) Marriage, strong, solid marriages to be precise, have been on my mind lately. I read something recently that  captured my interest. The topic: how therapy 'saved' a troubled marriage. That therapy could 'save' a marriage riddled with infidelity, verbal abuse, and a slow, but steady, fade of love and passion intrigued me.

It got me thinking. This is not meant to be judgement, rather, an observation.

I thought about the strong marriages I had seen growing up - my parents, mainly. There were others, but theirs was the purest, in my eyes.

The marriages that were solid, were love flowed and the foundation was strong. You know the type I am talking about. The kind you subconsciously modeled your future union after.

Then I thought of the marriages around me that were not so strong. Sadly, there were plenty. And then I thought about therapy and the idea that it 'saves', and wondered if therapy could have 'saved' those marriages- the ones in trouble.

The answer, to me, seems quite clear. When a marriage is strong and solid, there is no need for it to be saved. Because it is never truly in danger. Yes, strong marriages weather storms, they climb mountains, and they forge raging rivers, but they go in as two, and come out as two, and that fact is never in question. Not because unity is the better of the options, but because togetherness is the only thing the heart beats for. Strong marriages look within, to each other, when the marital seas are choppy, and not to things far off in the distance. The idea is likened to the concept of searching around the world to find oneself, when completely disregarding the idea of standing still and looking within.

Furthermore, it seems like we look to the outside for an answer because it is simpler, easier, than just trying to figure it out ourselves, together with one we are struggling with. Harder, probably. More time consuming, I'm sure. But getting there both individually and together as a marriage, without the help desk of psychotherapy seems like it would be so much more gratifying. Do we really need someone dissecting every argument? Do we need someone to root through the garbage and pull out the decaying things that bothered us last week, to focus on? Why do we need another person present to speak intimately with our spouse? Why would another person in a room disarm us-- shouldn't the one we chose to walk life with do that?

For me, that would be like taking tylenol again and again to get rid of a headache. It lessens the pain while taking the pill, but it is something I have to ingest to feel better. Wouldn't it be wiser to figure out what was causing the headache and address that? Because I don't want to take tylenol forever, and if that little pill becomes a crutch, I won't ever feel capable enough of tackling the cause of the problem on my own.

I have heard people say that therapy gives them tools to make their marriage better. But don't we already know and have these tools? And this third party, can they really know you, really know you? Just questions I think about.

My intent was not to maliciously assess,  but to learn. My marriage is not young, but it certainly is not old, either (although, by some standards, 8 years might be considered a lengthy union.) Our marriage has been shaken by repeated deployments, the sudden loss of my amazing, my lovely mom, distance from family, and our child's health concerns. I know that to some, that might be a lot, and to others, that is a walk in the park. Regardless, we will continue to be shaken by these things, and new things that challenge us along our path. It is important for me to consider things and try to learn from them.

What I learned, for now, is this. I will look within, and to my husband, when things get rough. I will remember that really ugly things do not just happen-- they are built up over time, so to address things as they occur. I will remember to be humble and to know that we are not unique in what we face, and there are things to be learned from others. And I will celebrate the strength of my marriage and revel in the fact that I know we go in as two, and we will come out as two, always.

Perhaps the greatest compliment I have ever received was from my mom, after Tyler was born. She was here visiting, and as we sat on the couch, holding my hand, she said, 'There is no one else in the world for you but Jeremiah. I may worry, but I know what you two have, and together, you will always be fine.' I wonder if she knew how great a gift her words were to me, then and now.

Now, the quotes I mentioned......

"A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time."       --love this one

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."

"Between a man and his wife nothing ought to rule but love."

To all of you fortunate enough to find the one person you could not live without, many blessings to you and may your marriage be the most beautiful story ever told!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a baby I'm a makin'.....

I had my OB appt. today to definitively confirm my due date since there was such a difference between my LMP (most of my girlfriends know what that means, and I don't think anybody else really wants to know) and my first ultrasound-- almost a month difference.

Honestly, I was just happy to see my little one again. And see the baby we did! This child, at 12 weeks old, was kicking moving, flopping, waving. It was crazy. I can say that, without a doubt, I have never seen that much activity with any of my other little ones. Even my OB laughed at how she never had such a hard time getting an accurate crown to rump measurement at this stage of the game. It was so neat- and even neater for the kids and Jeremiah to see. Of course, Jack did not care. He just wanted to rip the latex gloves out of their compartment. But the kids got great big smiles as they watched their baby brother or sister practice acrobatic stunts way beyond their capabilities. It was the family's first glimpse of this new child, and it was a very special moment.

I did ask if they would let me attempt a VBAC. Shy of laughing, she said absolutely not. Based on my first experience with Tyler, and the fact that I have had 3 previous c-sections, she said it was out of the question. I was bit disappointed, but since there is nothing I can do to change it, there is no point in hanging my head. See, Tyler had to come out via emergency c-section because his heart rate dropped very low....this was at hour 22 of labor, and still no epidural for me. And Kaiti, well, with her I was told that based on the incision and notes from the OB that delivered Tyler they medically recommended another c-section for my safety and that of the baby. Enough said. And Jack had to be a c-section because of his heterotaxy syndrome-- they wanted to take him before I labored on my own, in a controlled environment with a team of prepared doctors ready to care for him. So, there you have it. I would be lying if I said having my uterus cut open a 4th time didn't scare me. But I hate that having c-sections would determine how many children we could welcome into our family. So, with prayer, we go forward.

Back to the baby. The baby that I hoped would be a girl. (Yes, I know that is probably a thought I should keep in my heart and not whisper aloud, but then I would be speaking dishonestly.) Today, when looking at the ultrasound screen, I had a very strong feeling that little thing squirming anxiously in my womb was a boy. I have NEVER had a feeling like that before. Ever. People have asked me before if I had a feeling as to the gender, and sheepishly, I always replied no. Truth be told, I remember feeling betrayal that my motherly intuition, or mama radar, was low and not registering. I always heard my friends say with certainty, 'Oh, I know this one's a girl.' And I remember wanting to ask, 'Really? How? What should I look for? Is there something that showed you that?' Now, finally with baby # 4, I have finally felt that 'feeling'. But watch....I'll be wrong and feel like a dummy for posting this, and once again, be betrayed my mama radar.

Anyway, I told Kaiti that I had a feeling the baby is a boy, and she said, very firmly, 'Well, I don't want another boy. We have enough. It's only fair if we get a girl.' So I told her, for like the gajillionth time, that He gives us what He thinks our family needs, and we need to trust Him and what He knows to be best. My ever-so-stubborn daughter turned to me and said, 'Well than tell God we NEED a girl.' I turned my head so she would not see me smile. It wasn't as much what she said, but how adamantly she said it.

So, now we are talking names. I LOVE LOVE LOVE baby names. Really. Love 'em. But I am married to a man who isn't a big compromiser when it comes to names. I love him to pieces, but when it comes to choosing names, he's a real stick in the mud. And I am being kind. You can ask my sister. She'll tell ya. I am hoping to wear him down. We'll see. So, here are my top 9 names for boy and girl. The highlighted ones are the names Jeremiah approves of......



Tarryn or Terra

I am guessing since neither of us have our heart set on a name, we will probably not choose until we meet the baby, and then maybe pick a name from our list. How big that list is, unfortunately, is up to my husband. Sigh. If only he would say, 'Babe, my gift to you is this- you name our child completely on your own, and whatever you choose I will love!' I wonder what the chances of THAT happening are? Don't answer!!

So say you all.....what do you think? Any suggestions?

Monday, December 28, 2009

NOT ME! Monday

Hi there! I came on tonight to un-blog about all my un-happenings, to distract myself from the pouty husband, upset that his fantasy football hopes have been dashed. Man, if Minnesota could score about seven defensive touchdowns, maybe his blood pressure would drop some and his color would return to normal. Until THAT happens, I'll just blog :)

A couple days before Christmas, with the cold settling in and my kids going stir crazy from being cooped up, we decided to go visit Daddy at work for lunch, bring him some treats, and go to the park on base afterwards. While there, I let the kids roam around and stayed ever close to my littlest babe. So, I can assure it you it was NOT ME who let Jack climb the steps alone and attempt the slide all by his one-year-old self. (I can feel my sister's fear and anxiety from here.)

And since my home is always peaceful and quiet, especially around the holidays, there would be no need to escape for a bit. So, I know that I did NOT hear my husband say, 'Babe, if you need me, I'll be locked in the bathroom for the next 45 minutes. No, I don't have to go, I just need some quiet.' And I did NOT grab my magazines and consider joining him in there.

I was NOT in a frantic rush on Christmas afternoon scurrying things into drawers, closets, and anywhere else they would fit, so my house would look decent and semi-tidy when our friends arrived for Christmas dinner. And speaking of having our wonderful friends, the Kopsch family, over for Christmas, we adults stayed on our best behavior while playing cards and hanging out, and I DID NOT hear Chris doing a wonderful rendition to the song 'Get Low', the song that Sandra Bullock sings around the campfire in the movie 'The Proposal'.

The day after Christmas we took the kids to Target to spend the gift cards they received from Grandma Julia and Aunt Jody. (And I should tell you that my husband has an extreme dislike of shopping at Target with me, because we go in for one thing, and come out with twenty.) So, as he was getting builders glue with the boys, Kaiti and I snuck off to the baby clothes section and picked out an irresistibly adorable outfit for the baby that is only 13ish weeks along in my belly.

Don't worry, if I actually purchased this, I'd definitely save the receipt.

Today at lunch time, after making myself a caesar salad with homemade croutons, I did NOT give Jack a mini candy cane to distract him, so I would not have to share one bite of my yummy salad with him. How selfish, right? And I promise you, I am NOT about to do the same exact thing because now that I have mentioned that delicious salad, I think I need another serving. So I better post this so I can start fixin the croutons!

Happy NOT ME! Monday friends!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not ME! Monday

Just days before Christmas, and thankfully I have been able to keep it all together. And that is only because I plan my time so efficiently and am always completely organized. So NOTHING went awry in this house. Nope! Just another charmed week in the Nelson home, where all is peaceful, quiet, and so very together.

So, of course, there is no reason for me to share a shamelessly pathetic Christmas card mishap. You see, I am always aware of the needs in my home, and I keep us fully stocked on all necessities-- including printer paper. So I DID NOT run out of paper while printing our Christmas letter, find some I let the kids doodle on a bit, print on the back of that paper, and then note 'A special Christmas doodle from the Nelson children', as if the scrap paper was specially made. Who would do such a thing??? NOT ME!!!

And I did not tell my husband we needed to make an 'emergency' trip to the grocery store so I could get some baking ingredients to make goodie baskets for the neighbors that have been so wonderful to us, and helped me tremendously while he was in Iraq this year, all the while hiding my TRUE intent. I promise, I would never tell a fib that tugged at his heart, only because I knew it was the fastest way to get chocolate and marshmallows to make the rocky road I had been craving for days. I would never! NOT ME!!!

As I've said before, my children are INCREDIBLY well-behaved. Really- they are. People stop me on the street and say, 'My, you have done a wonderful job raising polite, kind, and lovely little children-- you should get some kind of award, fine lady.' (Oh----I've gone too far, haven't I?) Anyway--- so keeping with the well-behaved theme, our Christmas picture was easy as pie, and I did not stoop to rewards and threats in order to get smiles from my sweet children. I did NOT STERNLYsay to my daughter 'Our family and friends DO NOT need to your strawberry shortcake under things, so please, for the love of Pete, cross your LEGS!'.

I did NOT relent on picture #18 and give Jack a candy cane so he would sit still and quit pulling his Santa hat off. And, finally, I did NOT, on picture #24, threaten to withhold candy canes from Kaiti and Tyler if they did not give me real smiles, and not the 'My teeth are coated with icky junk so I have to keep my lips far away from them' smiles. And, since my amazing parenting skills are matched by photographic skills, I did not give up and settle for a photo that had the majority of my children looking in my general direction, legs crossed, hats on, smiles as close to normal as possible.

NOT ME!!! I got them smiling beautifully, posing effortlessly on take 1!!!

So, there is my Christmas edition of NOT ME! MONDAY. It feels so good I imagine it must feel good to confess one's shortcomings here and unburden oneself. But since I have had another A+ week, I will leave the confessions to all ya'll!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

my part-time angels

Part-time. Full-time is too much work.

There's this one. And don't let the grin fool you. Right before we took this he whacked his brother with a baseball bat. A plastic one. But, a bat, nonetheless. It would help if his big brother did not laugh. It would help, a lot, actually. But laugh, he did, and so, of course, Jack thought it was funny. Me, not so much. But when he is NOT whacking people with baseball bats, he's a jolly little angel, with a cherub-like face I find it impossible not to smooch on.

And there's this guy. I think the picture says the caption for me. And in my defense, I was taking care of my smallest babe when this photo was snapped, with my husband behind the camera and our friend Vic cheering him on. Just a typical day of golfing with the guys, clubs on the back, a 5-year-old driving, and posing with a Sam Adams. Sigh. But he's a pretty cute one, if I do say so myself. And being the rather rule-oriented kid that he is, when I uploaded my camera and saw this one, with him sitting by my side, he turned and said, 'Mama, don't get mad at me, Daddy said it was okay,' with a very nervous and concerned look. Love this kid...I mean, angel!

Our she-angel.....our she-part-time-angel. Her soft voice and gentle demeanor are a bit deceiving. Of course, she is a lovely little charmer. MOST of the time, she's a preciously sweet girl, who loves to love, sing, and create. But I don't think we've gone a day, as of late, without seeing her impish side. She shows me what she is made of, and boy can it be something fierce- her stubborn streaks, her unrelenting will, and her need to test the waters CONSTANTLY. Then she smiles, and man, she's got us. We're working on strengthening our resolve, and teaching her obedience. Until we get it right, her halo will continue to be a bit askew.

And, finally, this guy. A rather handsome angel. This one, who helped create the 3 angels above. He contributed equal parts kindness, good looks, tenacity, and love. He contributed some other things, too ;)

So, here I sit, eating a candy cane amongst a crowd of part-time angels, and it's hard not to feel beautifully blessed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ANOTHER giveway post? Yes. Yes, it is!!

Do you want to win an HP TouchSmart computer? Well, I know I do! So hop on over HERE, and HERE, and HERE and enter! That's right, by entering at a few places, you have more chances to win. How cool is that???

 I don't know about you, but I think this is one SUPER NEAT freebie!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Whew.... after traveling across country with 3 little ones, most moms would probably have a bunch of things to share and confess. But Not Me! Our travel and stay with family went off without even a slight hiccup thanks to how very together I am. But you all know that by now, right?

Some moms might share a silly story about letting their very grown up 6-year-old pack his own backpack as a carry-on for the plane ride, because they were overwhelmed with things to do and being lazy, I mean, because they were trying to empower their child while teaching responsibility. Some mom might then share how after going through the security checkpoint, a CODE RED was issued as all exits and entrances promptly shut down, causing TSA agents to come running from all directions with their hands on their weapons. And as said mom was wondering in disbelief what in the world was going on while she was trapped on one side of the lockdown with all 3 children but no husband, said mom might have wanted to crawl into a hole when TSA agents lifted up a Cars backpack and loudly demanded, 'Who does this belong to?' That mom might have gone weak in the knees and turned red with humiliation as the TSA agent carefully pulled out a very real looking cap gun from the very grown up 6-year-old's backpack. Sheesh, I sure am glad I am not THAT mom.

While at my Dad's house, when running short on some things, he sent my sister and I to the grocery store with his credit card to pick up a FEW things (grapes, baby wipes, and orange juice). Of course, we were very mindful and responsible with his credit card and we DID NOT return home with lotion, makeup, a dozen different types of ice cream, slippers, mittens, AND a receipt exceeding more than $250. Could you imagine???

Like I said, our travel went perfectly. So many things could have gone wrong. For example, I COULD have left my wallet in my sister's purse- with every piece of photo identification inside- so that when I showed up at the airport to return home with my family, I had not a single picture ID to speak of. That would have been AWFUL. If that happened, I might have been treated like a terrorist, and been forced to stay behind while my husband endured the weight of all 3 children alone. And I might have started to cry a bit as the TSA agents performed a criminal check on me, as I stood there helplessly, not sure if I would be able to get on the plane. And I might have made a MAD DASH to my gate after my criminal check came back clear (they must not check internationally-- hehe) and made it on to the plane with just minutes to spare. But since that was NOT ME, I was spared all that drama. Thank goodness!

And I am always honest and up-front with my little ones. Always! So I definitely DID NOT tell them that Yo Gabba Gabba was no longer an appropriate show to watch because it was causing head aches and nausea for mommies. I DIDN'T stick to my story, as my very grown up 6-year-old said, 'Mommy, are you sure you are not just saying that because that show bothers you?' And, after hearing her brother's question, my curious 4-year-old did not say, 'Are you sure it's not the baby making you feel that way because Grabba Grabba is a good show'. I did NOT then look at my children, stare into their eyes and say, 'Seriously, guys, that shows makes me feel sick and I think it's best to not watch it.'

Nope! Not ME!!!!

What about you lovely folks? Any stories you were NOT a part of????


pictures from our trip to my Dad's!

she was a BIG help with the packing!

him, too!

Grandpa got a Nemo puzzle. 300 pieces of giddy fun!

my mischievous little man!

My sweet Kaiti, and her ONLY boy cousin, Kyle!

My big boy and his best cousin, and some good ol' fashion big wheel races!!

Aunt Kelley and Jack Jack. My sister is the BEST!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Did somebody say free??

Hey folks! Just a quick post wanting to let you all know about some wonderful giveaways that are happening right over HERE!!!! 

Click on the word 'HERE' to be taken to Mandy's blog where she is hosting some darling giveaways, for both baby AND Mommy!!

 Good luck!

Have a post with pictures of my visit to CA coming soon.....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thirteen thought Thursday

I made that title up. Just now. Not trying to start one of those quirky little blogging themes. Trust me, I am very aware of how itty bitty I (my little blog) is in the blogosphere. Okay, well maybe I am not itty bitty, thanks to my- pardon me- fondness of child-making (pregnant) and cheesecake (not to blame on pregnancy).

I also would like to state that I have WAY more than thirteen thoughts bouncing around in this noggin of mine. But the vast majority are not worth putting down on paper, and the rest, well…..let’s just say I want my family to still love me. I kid. Kinda.

Before I begin,  please know I intend to be a kind, tender-hearted, loving, forgiving, non-judging person. But sometimes I fall short. Like right now.

Thought 1: Role models….yep, already thinking about role models and how they will affect my children—mainly, my daughter right now. Let me tell you, it is SLIM pickins for role models now-a-days. I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers here, but there are a few I can cross of the list immediately: Miley, the Spears sisters, and the vast majority of young actresses. The only girl I am continually pleased with is sweet little Taylor Swift. She seems honest, responsible, thoughtful with her words and her image, and grounded. And faithful. Of course, she probably has made mistakes, but role models do that, and what defines them is the post-mistake behavior.

Thought 2: I don’t get people putting marshmallows—a candy, basically- on top of sweet potatoes. That would be like me serving steamed carrots sprinkled with smarties on top. That’s weird, people.

Thought 3: Non-believers celebrating Christmas. I thought about this a lot when a friend posted an interesting question on facebook—why do people who do not believe in Jesus celebrate Christmas?- she asked. Great question. And for the life of me, I don’t know. Yes, a lot of traditions do not seem  like they have anything to do with Christ. But in reality, a lot of things, like lighting a home, or putting a tree inside, have religious roots. But the fact that people just see it as a day off, to exchange presents, makes me sad. To me, it should be a day of rejoicing, that Christ was born, that the Son of God came to us in human form, like all of us, and showed us the path to salvation. So while the other traditions are lovely, and I love to merry-make and be festive, we need to keep the meaning close as we string lights along the mantle and hang mistletoe from doorways.

Thought 4: I really wish I knew what Kaiti did with her sparkly, glittery flip flops we bought back in August. She wore them once and I never saw them again. My feet were living vicariously through hers, because apparently Roxy does not make sparkly flip flops in an 8.5. Boo.

Thought 5: Sonic has a Peppermint Soft-Serve Shake. Wha..When??? Be right back.

Thought 6: I should clean my house and change this post to three thought thursdsay. Nah……

Thought 7: Advice……when you did not ask. Not lovely. Of course, it is one thing if I say, please, give me tips, give me advice, what would you do? In fact, I do this a lot….just yesterday I asked my sister and my friend Carrie for advice on how to proceed in a tough situation. I love other’s people’s opinions on how I should move forward……when I ask for it. When I don’t ask for advice, well then, I really am not open to it. And I think this is true for a lot of people. And really, how presumptuous is it of others to just dole out the advice—as if they have walked in your shoes, and have come out perfectly. I don’t think so. Advice on marriage, parenting, mothering, loving should be kept to yourself, since none of us is perfect, and all. I would never presume to know what another person is going through, experiencing, or feeling. Because we are different and handle things differently. So, really, advice is very circumstantial. Okay, getting off the soap box now.

Thought 8: Levis are a must for husbands. My husband + his worn levis = my frequent pregnancies J

Thought 9:  Oh. It’s gone. Next…..

Thought 10: I don’t understand the vanity that seems to running rampant lately. I am all about self confidence and feeling good about yourself, but I think truly feeling good about yourself comes from deep within. Cliché, but true- beautiful people, in my opinion, shine from the inside out. So the vanity kinda irks me. Like people taking dozens of self portraits of themselves to share with others…..what’s that about? We all know what you look like- they know we can SEE them, right? So why the photos? And what in the world is a person saying to themselves when they set up a camera and get the timer going and pose- ALONE- for multiple pictures? It makes sense to me if you are trying to get a good picture of yourself for your hubby, or you need for, oh, I don’t know, a business card or something. But repeatedly taking self portraits? Just seems like a funny way to spend time, and a very puzzling thing to only focus on oneself. Oops. Okay, I did say I was TRYING to not judge.

Thought 11: I love my family. And something new has been stirring in me as of late. A ferocious sense of protectiveness, a fierce need to pull them all in tight and shield them from harm. Maybe it’s the lawsuit. In fact, I am almost positive it is. Maybe it’s the big sister in me, but I really want to stand before the attorney’s and tell them to tread gently with my little sister and be careful and with her fragile emotions and her tender heart….or else. But if I do, they might throw me in jail. That would be bad. So for now I will just give them stern looks. Oh, they’ll know.

Thought 12: There’s a little girl in Tyler’s class who says she loves him. She is 5. I have met her. She is, umm, a lively girl. Adorable, sweet, full of energy. In kindergarten, she was wearing lip gloss, asking Tyler to sit by her at lunch, tossing her hair back and forth and chatting a mile a minute about the lunch ladies and how we’d better watch our backs (okay, so I am paraphrasing).  After talking to her briefly, it became clear that she MUST have an older sister. Or, she idolizes Miley or Jamie Lynn Spears (see what I mean?) Not sure about this. I did tell Tyler that he already has a girl that loves him and her name is Mama, and for now, that’ll do. He seemed content with that.

Thought 13: Why is there a big piece of tinfoil on the floor of the bathroom? Do I really want to know the answer?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year!

Yesterday, as I pulled up to pick up Kaiti from school, she jumps into the car, rips her backpack off, and says, very matter-of-fact, 'Mommy, we need to go home and put up a Christmas tree for Jesus'.

I was a bit taken back.....mainly because I had not even had time to turn my head and say hello to her. But also because, of course we will be putting up a tree, but the urgency in her voice told me she was not going to wait patiently. And just as I was about to tell my sweet child that we would be putting up a tree as soon as we returned home from California, she blurts out 'And it makes Jesus happy when we decorate the tree together, so we need to make it look really good.'

Clearly, they discussed symbolism of Christmas at school. And clearly, my child was taking notes, storing away everything Miss Pat said to the class, so she could regurgitate later in her argument to get the tree up.

Now, bear in mind that Saturday morning, bright and early, Jeremiah was up in the attic getting down all of our Christmas boxes. And he spent the better part of the day stringing lights along our house, putting reindeer in the yard, and fancifying our walkway. (umm, excuse me red underline, please remove yourself from beneath the word fancifying, because it IS a word-- I know so, because I checked with Mr. Merriam and his friend Mr. Webster)

So, you see, we are not just sitting here hoping little elves will bring in the season for us....we really are merry-making and decorating. But, for poor, sweet Kaitlin, our home will not be celebratory enough for the Lord until we put a tree up.

I explained to her that since we are leaving on Saturday for a week, it would not be a good idea to buy a tree. Who would water it? Who would be here to turn the lights on and off? Who would be here to smell it's intoxicating, Christmas scent? I thought I had her. I thought she was convinced, that it would be best to wait. She seemed like she agreed.

But about ten minutes later, as I was doing the dishes in the kitchen, she says, 'Mom, get your shoes on when you're done, so we can go get a Christmas tree.'

Aye.......Looks like I'm headed to Lowe's this afternoon to see if we can find a mini-tree to satiate my dear daughter!

Tis the season, folks!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

two little words......

I'm pregnant!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cake Face Jack

Happy Birthday Jack!!!!!

One year ago today, our lives changed. One year ago today, my love multiplied, my heart expanded. One year ago today, Jack William was born into this world.

This child that we worried about, prayed for, loved beyond measure was born. When my wonderful doctor said, 'Get ready to meet your son', I looked at my husband who was peering over the curtain, and could not believe I was so blessed to be in that moment.

And then I heard him cry. That loud, shrill cry that filled the room was music to my ears. He was breathing, he was crying. The tears I had been holding back let forth and I felt a joy that would be pointless to try and describe. I asked Jeremiah and my doctor, 'Is he okay'. And Jeremiah looked down at me and said, 'He is perfect.'

This sweet gift from God, our Jack William, has changed me. Jack's very being reminded me that control is not ours to hold, and that we need to trust Him. He takes away, but He also gives. He stands by us as we question, as we doubt, as we shake our fists in anger, and He redeems us and wraps us up. I lost my mom while Jack was but a teenie creature growing deep inside me. I learned of sorrow and met sadness and despair, but I also was filled with joy and love from the life growing inside me. And Tyler and Kaiti needed a mom to be present, to be completely with them, to continue to find happiness and fun, and to love without holding back. Jack, Tyler and Kaiti forced me to embrace the light, rather than cling to the darkness!

So today we are celebrating Jack's birthday! I am thankful for all my children every day, but today is special. Today, we remember where we were a year ago, and how far we have come since.

I remember meeting my son for a moment before he was whisked away. And having to wait hours upon hours to go see him because I was not able to get into a wheel chair.


I remember how Tyler and Kaiti wanted so badly to meet their baby brother but could not because they were too young to go into the NICU. I remember how awful it was to tell them they would have to wait another day, and see the complete sadness and disappointment in their eyes.

I remember being terrified by all the monitors and reports we were getting. I remember wanting so badly to rip the tubes and wires from him and nurse my sweet child.


I remember praying my broken heart out, the saltiness of the tears, and clenching my husband's hand tightly as I was wheeled to the car at the hospital, without my child. I remember such anguish at not knowing when we could take him home or the battle my sweet son would have to fight.

AND....I remember joy and elation when they told us he could go home. I remember true, complete love when we introduced our baby to his anxiously waiting big brother and sister. I remember the happiness that filled our home that day, the peace that came from being together, finally, as a family.

Happy Birthday Jack Jack!!!!!!! We are all filled with love for you, sweet child!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

deeper than the holler

Today, I feel bare. I feel stripped away of the ordinary, day-to-day emotions that usually clothe me. As the typical thoughts and feelings lay crumpled in a heap next to me, I realize that as I stand stark, raw, a clearness takes way. And all I am left with, all I see before me, is love.

The past week has been tough. No lie. I'm not proud to say that I felt like, on more than one occasion, this world had got the better of me. I felt sucked up by a cold wind, tossed about, and thrown down sharply against a rock hard ground.

I don't like feeling like this. It's definitely not a way I choose to live. But every once in a while, it happens. In fact, I downright despise the feelings that coursed through me.

But, as I have experienced before, wonderful things come from being ravaged by a life-storm. Truly magnificent things.

You see, when you finally just stand still and realize that there is nothing left to do except let the storm pass over you, there is peace. There is no more fighting the wind. No more struggle against the piercing rain. Just an amazing sense of clarity amidst the cloudiness.

And then love. Right there in front of me, love. And though there is plenty of love that surrounds me, the love that sheltered me most this week was the love of my husband.

You all know he is heaven-sent, right? I definitely believe that. Like I believe in laughter. Like I believe in play. Like I believe in the sun's ability to warm me from the inside out. I know Jeremiah was for me with all of the me that I am. God gave me him. He sent him to me, for me to love, for me to be loved, for us to create love.

I just love him. He does something for me- well, aside from the obvious ;)- on a level that is just his. He has a way of speaking to my heart without a whisper escaping his lips. I look to him, when all is blowing about around us, and I feel safe. When I worry that I am being carried away, that I am allowing the negative to take over, I find redemption and hope in his eyes.

This week, in particular, wrought with worry and fearing the unknown climb ahead of us, I turned to him. This man who seems unshakeable, who has kept to the course without so much as a stutter step.

I see this incredible strength and hope shine from him. So I asked him.

'Do you think there is something wrong with me? Am I bad, or wrong for focusing on the scary news? Why am I such a mess and so upset over all this, and you seem to be fine? Is there something wrong, am I so negative, that I only see the frightening words jump from the page?'

That was really how I asked it, as I had tears forging a stream down my face. I asked it because I needed to know the answer. Because he always tells me the truth, even if the truth isn't what I desire. I asked because I had been wondering those thoughts in my head- not aloud- for quite some time, and I needed an answer.

And with love coating his tongue and care in his eyes, he answered.

'No, honey, there is nothing wrong with you. You are a mom. You're his mom, and you're right to be worried. We're just different.  But you're not wrong. It's okay.'

And now I am crying as I type this. Because hearing him say that put my heart back together. I had been so consumed by apprehension and fear, but I also was just as heavily questioning my own response. I had felt such defeat and was angry at myself for not stepping up to the plate. I was mad at me for not rallying this time, and for letting the emotion take control.

But with his words, he lifted me. He brought me back to my feet. He removed that negative weight. He redeemed me.

I know- TRUST ME, I KNOW- how blessed I am to call this man my husband. He is unbelievably good, and honest, and loving, and right. And he is mine to love!

I love you honey! You're the best, most loving, kindest, caring, most honest man that ever was and I'm so lucky that you picked me for your wife!

Friday, October 16, 2009

sweet Jack

In the past week, we have had some appts for Jack- all referrals from the geneticist. We need to find out more about his condition, so we have been sent to various specialists to get more information.

The first one was a mixed review. At his otolaryngologist appt, they determined that is hearing is within normal levels!!! YEA!!!!! They think that he failed his 3 previous hearing tests because he had fluid in is ears, which was later absorbed by his body. The development of fluid isn't abnormal. He might have it happen more than others because of his cilia condition. But I was thrilled that my son could hear. One hurtle down.

But while we were there, the otolaryngologist (I don't remember his name- shame on me!) he said he thought Jack's mucus looked TOO THICK. I thought, 'Okay, thanks for sharing.' Then he said he needed to scope him. So he did, and poor Jack did NOT like that one bit. He concluded that mucus is thicker than normal (a word I have come to despise), and is related to the cilia condition. One more unfortunate box to check when pursuing testing. But it could be worse.

We also went to the abdominal ultrasound determine presence, location and size of spleen, kidney and liver size, as well as stomach and intestine info. We don't know anything concrete yet. I went into the appt a little confused. I was not aware that the NICU team determined that he DID have a spleen. So I thought we were just trying to verify if he had one. (Jeremiah says he told me this back then, but honestly, so much was said, that I forgot even the good news.) There were a couple very specific things we were looking for-- size of spleen, location, whether it was malrotated (like everything else is for Jack), and whether there was just one spleen.

I will share when we have confirmed things more. I continue to pray and feel hopeful that because our son is growing and happy and seemingly fine, he will be fine.

Oh, and if I haven't already told you-- Jack is taking steps!!! He doesn't get too far. We all cheer him on and praise him, and then, for reasons unbeknownst to us, Jack thinks it is hysterical to plop down on his butt. So, the routine goes, step 1- smile, step 2 - mischevious grin, step 3- his eyes twinkle, and then he sits, and starts laughing at us. Like, 'You silly fools, I am not a circus monkey performing tricks.'

He also has 6 teeth, with a couple more coming in. He is eating food and we've already discovered he is-  like the other boys in the family- a true meat lover.

Here are some pictures of the past week or so!

a very muggy day of t-ball

honoring life today

I sent prayers up today. Lots of them. For the families who never got to hold a precious child, and for the families that did and had to hand them over to God too soon. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day shook me this year.

The very idea of pregnancy and infant loss is such an incredible contradiction, a cruel irony, really. Pregnancy and new life are symbols of hope, of promise, of love, of divine creation. So to mix those ideas with that of loss, of death, seems to be such a tragic combination of extremes. And I think that is probably the best way to describe it. For me, anyway.

We lost our first child to miscarriage when I was 13 weeks along. Early, yes, but that did not make the loss any less in my eyes. I longed to be a mother for as long as I could remember. I always envisioned a loud, crowded home, filled with love and children. I wanted so desperately to make my wonderful husband a father, to come together as parents, and care for and grow a child. And I was graced with a child. A baby in my womb that was loved from the moment I saw a pink line spread across an itty bitty plastic window.  I dreamt of family trips to Disneyland, walks in the park beneath shady trees, cuddling our child against my chest as I rocked him or her to sleep. Losing that baby devastated me-us. It tested my faith. And it took me a while to come back around, and to see that He was at work. Always.  I have mixed emotions when I grow sad over the child that we never knew, because I have Tyler Adam. I became pregnant with him 4 months before our 1st baby's due date. I could not have both, and God gave me Tyler. How could I ever look at my boy and not feel incredibly blessed?

But then we were introduced to infancy loss on an entirely different level, when we were told initially that our 3rd gift from God had serious complications. When we were taken into a room and told that something was wrong. When we were told to consider terminating 'the pregnancy'. That day involved us in a whole new level of struggle, of worry. Still, we trudged through the heartache, and kept our eyes on the prize, so to speak. Even though everyone around us was telling us, warning us, of what could and probably would play out when he was born into this world, we kept our focus on our son, and the day we would get to cradle him to our hearts.

And when he was born, he was whisked away, but I saw him, for a brief, fleeting moment. 

He was here- this breathing, living, beautiful boy. The joy that poured from my heart was so intense. And the mood in the room was unmistakeable. Hope and happiness are as evident as rain dripping in front of you, as apparent as the moon shining in the sky. For a while, my fears and worry quieted. All I felt was happiness and unending love. 

Then, when I was finally able to be wheeled up to see him the next day, I was pulled back into that world of fear, worry and desperation. Jack William was just one of so many baby's fighting, struggling in that NICU. And even with the worry and concern over our son, we knew (boy, did we know) how blessed we were that he seemed to be winning the fight with each breath he took. So many baby's were not. It was heart wrenching. I can remember the smells of the antiseptic, hear the sounds of monitors beeping and nurses whispering in hushed tones, feel the fear knot up in my stomach still today, thinking of our time there. Seeing my child being fed not at my breast by my nourishment, but by tubes is such an unnatural, simply crippling thing.  Seeing an IV tube stabbed into the very thin skin of his scalp, because his other veins had simply had enough. But still, he was among the healthier baby's. He would, we prayed, be coming home. 

And, again, I felt conflicted. On the one hand, so incredibly grateful and blessed that our son was spared from a worse fate. On the other hand, feeling guilty and somewhat like a traitor amongst the other parents, who watched as we wheeled our son past them on his homegoing day. I still feel that way.

As we continue to face medical scares and problems regarding Jack's heterotaxy syndrome, I am always aware of how blessed we are. He is here. Today, he is with me, playing at my feet, laughing as he tears up his sister's artwork. He is here. 

The only way I know how to honor all those children who are not here, and the families that long to hold them, is to know and be grateful for each moment I get to hold my son. To appreciate his laughter fully, to cherish and hold deeply each moment he lays his sweet head against my chest. 

And I lift them up in prayer. I ask God to blanket them with His love, to shelter them from the pain. I pray that they know that mother's everywhere long to reach out to them, hold them, absorb some of their pain. I pray.

"For I  know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Well, if I was coming on here to participate in Not Me Monday, I might have a lot to share, but since I've done nothing this week that fell below the high standards I have set for myself as a mother, wife, and person, I most definitely DO NOT have a thing to share.

On the other hand.........
It might be fun to tell you all how my children, more than a few nights this past week, have walked around in the buff after their nightly bath because there were no pajamas to be found in the likely places.
And, they might have continued walking around (still, in the buff) aimlessly, until I directed them to the couch, were 75% of their clothing laid out in nice piles, just waiting for a mama to take them to a room and hang them up or tuck them into drawers.
And, in keeping with that story, it might be even more forthcoming to tell you that while those clothes were put away a couple days ago, another NEW pile is gathering, and gaining height as I type this very post. But since that was NOT ME, their is NO need to share such a story.

I am always paying 100% attention to my little ones-- ESPECIALLY the littlest of all, who tends to find trouble around every corner.
IF I didn't always keep my eyes peeled and focused on my babies, I might have a confession or two to share.
Like, say for example.....if, and only if, I was so busy making my gajillionth bow that was such a necessity (because, you know, a trillion bows is just not enough) that I did not notice how quiet my little Jack was.
Then, I may have been able to prevent the mess, also known as Markergate 2009, that Jack might have made while I was creating.
You see, if Markergate had actually happened, it might have involved an orange marker, a table, a couch, and precious baby face. But since I am ALWAYS aware, such a thing would NEVER have happened!

(this photo is a dramatization and was created strictly for Not Me Monday intent's and purposes)

As I mentioned, I always adhere to the highest principles in mommyhood AND wifedom. But if I fell short of my self-set expectations, I might have created a rather awkward snafu that might have been slightly mortifying for myself, my son, and some unwitting, yet gracious, man.
IF...  I was waiting for my husband to show up at the base pharmacy/clinic I might have told Tyler that his daddy had finally arrived (after spotting him through the windows) and was walking through the doors, and I might have sent Tyler to greet him.
Tyler might have been so thrilled to see his uniform-clad Daddy that he ran to give him a big,warm hug, only to find out that the man was not, in fact, his father, and just some other similarly built,  bald-headed gentleman in a flight suit.
That might have been very embarrassing for BOTH mother AND child (and said bald-headed gentleman).
And my husband, if he read my blog, might get a chuckle out of this since such a thing was not shared with him sooner. But since this DID NOT happen, and my husband (if he read my blog) knows I would never mistake him- the love of my life- for anyone else, I have NOTHING to worry about.
Because the story above is pure fiction- so, you know, this NEVER happened.

So, there you have it! A bunch of things I DID NOT, COULD NOT, WOULD NOT DO, because, as I have told you before, I am unflappable, earnestly aware, tediously tidy, and as efficient as can be. Like I even need to tell you these things......

The woman who did the things mentioned above was, without a doubt, NOT ME!!!!

What about you lovely folks? What kinds of things have you NOT done this week?


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