Saturday, December 1, 2012


I knew something was wrong for a little while.  I was feeling TOO good.  Almost like I wasn't pregnant, although my pants were getting tighter and my back was CERTAINLY feeling the pregnancy.

It was Sunday after church.  Todd and I were prepping a turkey to put in the oven, as we were having friends over that evening for dinner.  I went to set the timer on the oven. 

As I was walking over to the couch, I felt a RUSH.  It was like my heart rate shot up suddenly, I felt a hot, redness overcome me.  I didn't know what to do.  I felt cramping in my abdomen, so I ran to the bathroom.  That part felt too familiar. 

I sat down to try and use the bathroom and there was nothing.  I noticed several waves of pain in my abdomen and back.  They came and went every four minutes or so: I was in labor at 15 weeks.  I stood up to try and deal with the waves of pain and there was a gush.  I sat down and SCREAMED for Todd.  One of those screams where you know something is wrong. 

When he made it upstairs, he knew.  He knew it wasn't good.  I told him I was bleeding and feeling labor pains.  He helped me get dressed and go downstairs.  He called friends of ours to come and watch the kids so we could go to the hospital.  We were off as soon as they were in the door.  The sad part is, is Austin (10) knew something was wrong.  He was trying to tell the other kids that it was "too soon".

Todd pulled us into the emergency area and the nurses came with a wheelchair.  "What's the emergency".  It hurt so bad to say I'm in labor at 15 weeks.  I was wheeled to the intake desk; blood pressure, temp, personal information, heart rate, etc. I was asked how far along I was again.  A nurse asked if they should take me upstairs to OB, and was told not to because I was only 15 weeks along.  Which, translated, means there's nothing they can do.

Friends had met us at the hospital and I was surprised to see them there.  I had no idea.  It felt like I was there alone.  I don't know how to explain it.  IV was started, blood was drawn, and an order for an ultrasound was given.

It was super quiet in the room as the ultrasound was being done.  I saw every one's eyes glued to the screen.  No one said a thing, except for the apologies from the techs about how hard they had to push on my abdomen.  It felt like forever that they were looking at our baby.  I just wanted SOME sort of answer. The last ultrasound we had, baby was EASILY seen, moving and wiggly with a GREAT heartbeat.  After a look over with the two techs and the doctor, they finally said they were "sorry".  Our remaining twin had died.

I remember crying inconsolably.  I remember forgetting to breathe. 

The doctor lets us know our options. We could have a D and E or use cytotec to dilate and give birth to our baby.  We chose the latter.  We had seen our baby on ultrasound.  We had seen a gorgeous heartbeat, a face, hands, feet, fingers and toes.  We couldn't do the D and E.

The nurse in the ER shared with us that she had lost a pregnancy 33 years ago.  She said she still has a hard time every August, even though it's been SO LONG.  As she was saying this, you saw the tears well in her eyes.  She gave me a great big hug, said she'd be praying for us, and off we went upstairs.

Our first nurse at the family birthing center was super sweet.  She was quiet and spoke tenderly.  She let us know that she would be doing things in baby steps with us throughout our 'journey'.  We were told by the OB that the cytotec could take a few hours up to as long as a few days. 

I prayed that God would make it quick and as painless as possible.  However, knowing my previous experience with cytotec, I knew it would hurt.  And it did.  It hurt a lot.  It was a constant contraction with NO breaks.  I tried to breathe, but I had no comfort.  See, with my other labors, I knew my pain would prove fruitful.  I knew I was bringing forth life from my body. The only thing I would be birthing this time is our dead baby.

I opted for IV narcotics.  The nurse explained she could give me a dose every hour.  So I happily accepted.  I was able to relax and get a little rest, but it was short rest.  It wore off within 30-35 minutes and I was feeling pain again.  I then asked for an epidural, as I did NOT want to feel any further pain.

Several times I had to head to the bathroom to go pee.  I had passed clots each time and each time I worried it was baby.  We had no idea how large baby was going to be.

The nurse was kind enough to offer another dose of the fentanyl before the anesthesiologist arrived.  I prayed that God would keep the pain away long enough to get the epidural in.  I prayed that God would make this a quick ordeal, and it was.  The fentanyl did it's job long enough.

Shortly after the epidural was placed, the nurse tried to get me comfy on my side to allow the epidural to work evenly.  I had felt another clot pass, but this time, it WAS baby.  I laid on my back and let the nurse examine what was passed.  She had to call the OB.  I was staring at Todd looking for a reaction.  I didn't get one.  He looked....blank.

The OB had to cut what little of a cord there was.  She said it was rather stringy.  And, while I would have been 16 weeks pregnant the following day, baby had only made it to 12.5-13 weeks.  We could not tell the sex of the baby, as it didn't live long enough.

Because we couldn't tell the sex, we were told to just pick what was in our hearts.  THAT was painful.  Everyone in the family was hoping for a girl, and I FELT like we were having a girl, so that's what we went with.

Our daughter was placed on a handmade kimono meant for preemies and early stillbirths.  She was placed face down so I wasn't able to see her face.  I suppose that was for the best, as what was placed on the blanket, on my lap, didn't look like a baby.  Because she had been gone for several weeks, her body had started to decompose.  I could make out the bones in the back of the skull, her ribs, stringy arms and legs, and a little bum.  In total, she only measured 4-1/2 inches and weighed.9lbs.

Todd and I both took turns holding out baby.  It was a difficult sight to see and it was difficult to say "we're done" and have her taken away.  After that, there was nothing left.  Not twins.  Not a single baby.  Just emptiness.

Her name was Chelsea Marie.  I fell in love with the name Chelsea, as it means safe harbor.  I felt that after her twin had passed, we were safe.  That she was safe in me.  

My placenta wasn't coming out like it should have.  The OB didn't want to pull on the cord, since it was so thin.  They placed another cytotec near my cervix and waited for it to come out on it's own, and it did.  However, after an ultrasound, it was determined that I needed to have a D and C because it didn't ALL come out.  If left inside, the remaining tissue could create a nasty infection in my uterus.

Thankfully, I had an epidural.  For that reason I did NOT need to be put under general anesthesia for the surgery.  They upped the amount of medicine going through the catheter and gave me a different narcotic through the IV.  I don't remember much of what happened.  I remember hearing clanking of different instruments and I remember bright lights.  I DON'T remember people or anyone talking to me.

My legs and feet were numb for the next 8 hours.  I was barely able to move in my bed.  I couldn't sleep and I couldn't calm down. 

A while after my surgery, the nurse brought in a box.  In this box was the only tangible items that we'll ever have to remember our baby; a small blanket, footprints, a stuffed lamb, the kimono that baby was laid upon, and a few other small items.

I wasn't prepared for the wave of emotions these items would cause.  Not for me OR for Todd.  It was SO HARD to hear him cry.  More than cry: sob.  I not only lost a part of me, but he lost a part of him, too. 

The next few hours were quiet, intermixed with minutes of crying.  What else were we to do?  Our children at home were being well taken care of by our friends, so we focused on us. We cried, we ate, we answered phone calls and texts.  We did not sleep.

The nurses let us know we could stay another day if we wanted.  It's normal for women to stay for two days after birth.  Staying meant delaying reality.  Staying meant a sort of safety.  For that reason, we chose to head home Monday evening after our kids were in bed. 

Heading out the door, I came to the realization that most women who would leave the family birthing center, left with a baby in their arms.  I left with a box.  My uterus was empty and so were my arms.  It was hard.  So. Very. Hard.

When we got home, I headed for the shower.  It was nice to get washed off and feel somewhat normal and at be at home.  Todd did the same shortly thereafter.  It was nice to be alone.

We felt it was rather odd that we had a name for our little girl that we had just birthed but not for her twin.  It would be weird to say "Chelsea and her twin".  So, we decided to name twin B Carter Edwin.  It was a name that Todd loved.  So it fit. Chelsea and Carter.

Tomorrow it will be one week since we lost Chelsea.  It has been 5 weeks since Carter's passing.  Each day we cry a little less. The sting of emptiness remains and, from what I understand, could stay with us for quite some time.  My womb is empty.  Our arms are empty.  I'm recovering from a birth but we have no baby to hold.  I am in physical pain with little comfort to be had.

We have been blessed beyond belief by friends by their time, their kind words, the flowers, the hugs, the meals, everything. I don't think we could make it through without them.

I see the OB on the 12th for a followup.  I had blood drawn to possibly get answers on WHY I lost my babies.  We may never have an answer, but we wanted to try.  I had low progesterone and was on suppositories for 10 weeks.  I also may have lost a triplet at 4 weeks.  Because I'm RH-,  that baby's blood could have mixed with mine causing my body to react poorly to the remaining babies.  Or, it could be a fluke.  Only God knows.

We desperately want to have a baby to hold and snuggle.  God willing, we will be able to conceive again soon.  Until then, we pray and wait.  We get comfort from the little things in our box.

Monday, November 5, 2012


**Parts of my story will be a wee graphic.  Nothing horrible, though.  Just a heads up.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Although it SOUNDS simple enough, it's really, really hard. I struggle with trusting God's choices daily, as it seems that my way is the best or easiest.  But the scriptures always bring it back.

2 Samuel 7:28
Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
Psalm 22:5
To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

I could go on and on, as the bible talks about trust quite a bit.  It's difficult to trust in someone you've never seen.  But what I can say, is I DO trust Him.  He's proven time and time again that He will provide for us, for our needs.

I've been struggling with some health issues for quite some time now.  Lack of sleep and weight issues, mostly.  And, while they're not SEVERE, they are hard to deal with.  Especially with a large(ish) family.

My midwife had diagnosed me with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) with insulin resistance.  She referred me to an OB to check for other issues and to have an ultrasound to check my ovaries and endometrial lining. The week of my appointment, I had just had my female monthly visitor.  A few days after it stopped, I experienced some secondary bleeding which was incredibly painful and heavy, so I was looking forward to my appointment and getting some answers.  The tech found a gestational sac.

Many women who have issues with PCOS have a hard time conceiving, so we certainly weren't expecting this.  I had asked the nurse, several days later, why I had a 'normal' period and the secondary bleeding.  She said it's fairly common for women to have a period after conception and the odd bleeding could have been a twin that I passed.

I called my midwife and let her know what was going on and she sent me to the lab to check my progesterone levels (the pro-gestating hormone) and Beta HCG (pregnancy hormone) to make sure that I had a viable pregnancy.  My HCG number were rising, but my progesterone was very low (6.4 - normal range during pregnancy is 16.5(low) to 35).  She scheduled an ultrasound see if baby was alive.

The two bright lines in the middle are the heart.  The circle at the top is the yolk sac.

There was a baby with a heart rate of 191 beats per minute. My uterus was VERY tilted at that point, so it was hard to see the baby.  They tech even thought she saw a twin, but wasn't sure because of how badly tilted my uterus was.

Weekly blood tests were done to watch my progesterone levels, as I had started progesterone suppositories. Two weeks later, another scan was performed to check on the status of baby.

The bright parts are the baby's facial features. 
Baby looked good here, although the amniotic fluid was REALLY low.  The bright spots on the screen in the sac are the baby's facial structure.  ;)  The shocking news was that there was, in fact, a twin.  However, it had no heartbeat.  I went home rather unsure of what was going to happen.  We held out hope for the twin, as again, my uterus was tilted and it was VERY hard to see. 

A call to my midwife calmed me a little bit.  If the twin indeed had passed, a few things could happen.  1) It would be absorbed by the living baby (vanishing twin)  2) I would miscarry the twin  3)  It would stay as is and become squished and calcified into the living baby's placenta.

For nearly three weeks, we prayed for the TWO babies in my uterus.  I at like I was pregnant with twins and I slept like I was pregnant with twins.  I saw two on that screen and I wanted two.  Having one just didn't seem right.

On the 25th, Todd and I decided to go out to dinner.  It had been AGES since we went out alone.  We even spent our 10th anniversary in September at home.  It was high time for a date night. 

Dear friends of ours watched our brood while we enjoyed ourselves.  Per my request, we headed to Red Lobster.  CRAVINGS!!  It was a 40 minute wait, but I didn't care.  My back hurt suddenly and I figured it was just due to the wooden benches and thought nothing more of it.

We were seated, ordered, and began eating.  After 10 years of marriage and 5 children, you'd think we had things to talk about, but we really didn't.  I brought up some topics, but Todd said he didn't want to talk about anything "too heavy". Funny.  It was then that I started cramping.  I felt a little discharge and figured I should head to the bathroom just in case.  I grabbed my purse, stood up, and a gush of fluids came out of me. 

I didn't know what to do.  I sat down and GLARED at Todd.  He didn't understand.  I wiped my hand on my pants and the fluid was shiny.  I wiped my hand on my napkin and saw the blood.  I started shaking and crying.  We asked for our bill right away, letting the waitress know our issue.  She quickly got our check, paid, and got up to leave.  The only issue was that my pants were all bloody and we were in the far back of the restaurant. 

The waitress was kind enough to walk in front of me and I draped my jacket over the front of my body with Todd walking behind me.  Once we were out of the building I started crying hysterically. I never anticipated it would be like this.

We went home and I got cleaned up, crying the whole time.  Our dear friend and neighbor watched our kids while we went to the hospital to get checked out.  We didn't know if it was a complete miscarriage, if we had lost the twin or is it was some random bleeding. 

The scan at the hospital showed one, living baby, with no sign of a twin.  There was a peri-gestational hematoma where the twin had been. While one baby was GREAT news, the loss of the twin was, and still is, hard.  I was sent home with some pain meds, as it was terribly painful, and told to follow up with my provider.

I had another scan this week to check on baby.  Thankfully, things are looking okay. They saw a line that meant babies did NOT share a sac, which means a better outcome for this one.  We're still not out of the woods, yet.  Baby's fluid level is STILL low.  Not sure how to remedy that at this point, but we're praying for it.

Side view of baby
Nana Nana booboo
So now, we TRUST in God's plan for our family.  We TRUST in His will for this life inside of me.  One is better than none, right?  I'm still crying randomly for our loss and I'm not sure how long I will.  The bleeding has stopped now, but I'm still cramping.  I'm not nearly as hungry as I was two weeks ago, but now I'm MORE tired than I was.  I'm finding it hard to do much of anything.  My guess is it is due to the amount of blood I lost, so I'm still trying to take it easy and sleep when I need to.  

If all goes well, we will have another person to add to our family in the middle of May, 2013.  Would you please pray for us and baby B? 

Now, with that said, I need to address something.  We chose not to tell people earlier because of 1) the issues with my progesterone and viability and  2) people have made some really NASTY comments about our family size. 

Take a line from Thumper, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all".   We've decided to TRUST God's will for our family as he's NEVER let us down.  But comments like, "aren't you done yet" or "you know how to prevent that, right", are rude and disrespectful and just plain uncalled for. 

Deuteronomy 28:4 NASB
4 "Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground...

We are blessed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strawberries and blueberries

The other day, the kids were all talking about hair color. I said Leah's hair was more of a strawberry blonde to which she replied, "yeah. There's blueberries in there, too". :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kansas City

Todd and I went on a much needed vacation last weekend.  It was our first one, without ANY children, in nearly 10 years of marriage.  We decided it was high time to meet our XBOX live friends in Kansas City.  ROAD TRIP!

We left Friday morning.  Dropped all the boys off with my friend Noelle and left the girls with Holly.  The boys were staying with Noelle all four days, while the girls would be hopping from place to place. 

Since our Expedition gets a whopping 17 miles to the gallon on the highway, we decided to get a rental and save over $100 in expenses.  Yes, it saved us THAT MUCH MONEY! 

It was almost a straight shot on I35.  I don't think it could have been a more boring drive.  I honestly didn't believe it when people said that all they saw in Iowa was corn.  Well, we saw corn.  And wind farms.  That's about it, folks.  Not much to speak of.

**disclaimer - I do not claim to be a photographer.  The pictures won't be fabulous, but they tell our story.  Oh, and sorry about the bug splatters on the windshield.  ;)

Iowa wind farm

Downtown KC

Paseo Bridge
The drive took us roughly 9 hours with potty breaks and dinner.  It was far too late to hang out with friends, so after checking in to the hotel we stopped by the Hy-vee in town to pick up a few snacky items.  I swooned over their gluten-free isle in their natural section. I was excited to see that they even sell zum products!

We chose to get a suite, so it had a small kitchen with microwave and full-sized fridge.  There was an actual bedroom and living area.  Because we were without children, we had a GREAT night's sleep.  The whole king-sized bed was ours!!!!

The next morning, we had our breakfast and waited for our friend Tommy to meet us at the hotel room. After 8-1/2 years of 'knowing' Tommy, it was SO GOOD to finally meet him in person!!

It was lunch time and we were going to meet another XBL friend, David, for lunch.  While waiting for them to get home, we drove around town a bit.  We stopped at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to bum around a bit.  We didn't do much sight seeing, but decided to take a few pictures.

Todd and I taken in front of the big shuttlecock.  Apparently, the artist saw the lawn of the museum as the play area for badminton and the museum itself was the net. 
Todd and Tommy
Tommy and myself
David's daughter decided she wanted to ride in our car instead of with her dad.  What a honey!!  The plan for lunch was to eat at a BBQ place (imagine that) called Oklahoma Joe's.  However, when we got there, there was a line out the door.  Tommy assured us that it wouldn't take but 20-25 minutes to get a place to eat.  Well, David decided it was a bit too much.  He said, "Did you see that LINE?".  His daughter, Rose, said her dad was a wee bit impatient.  LOL  So we decided to call in an order and pick it up instead.  Nummy stuff I tell you.

Back at David's house, the boys took turns playing a bit of Halo, trying to show off a wee bit.  Tommy is known to be a bit of sharp shooter.  Not this time.  ;)  While the boys were playing games, Rose wanted to show me her room and play room.  What a sweetheart.  This was the first time I was kinda missing my kids.  Only because I thought the girls would have a BLAST playing with Rose.

David and Rose
LOVE this picture!!

 From there, we headed to see Chris (AKA GuyverUnit4) at Game Stop.  So good to meet him in person.  I don't think he remembered we were coming, as he seemed quite surprised to see us.  He said to Todd, "Dude, you're tall.  A lot taller than I thought you'd be".  What was NOT surprising is he mentioned NOTHING of my height.  With a gamertag like ShortAndSweet, I guess it's a given.  :P

Todd, Chris, and myself. 

Todd, Tommy, and I went back to the hotel after visiting with Chris.  We played 500 and dominoes, had some snacks and had time to chat.  Tommy whooped us in BOTH games (I swear he cheats!).  

Tommy came back up to the hotel on Sunday afternoon so we could go out to lunch.  Todd drove and, apparently, *I* had to pick where we'd go to eat.  I made some suggestions and NO ONE had an opinion.  We finally settled on Buca di Beppo, although we have one in MN and I've visited it several times in the past few years. Eh.  But we passed The Cheesecake Factory and decided to eat there instead.  Cheesecake is my absolute most FAVORITE dessert!

They have the BEST cheesecake I have EVER had.  I ordered their Vanilla Bean.  Yes, I could have had something more decadent, but I know what I like.  While eating, we were being kinda goofy and speaking a bit here and there in other languages.  Being the goofball that I am, I asked Tommy if he spoke Mexican.  Yes.  I did.  o.O

After lunch, Tommy headed back home as we were supposed to meet other XBL friends for dinner.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to make the drive out there on the gas we had left.  They weren't able to make it up to our hotel because they had just added a new dog to their family.  I was bummed but totally understood.

So, Todd and I decided to whip out the dominoes once more.  Playing Mexican Trains with two people is so much more difficult than it should be.  We almost got through an entire game when we decided to call it quits.  Monday we were heading home and we needed sleep.

Decaf and maple leaf cookies.

Monday morning Tommy made it back to the hotel to give us a proper send off.  We had such a blast with him.  It felt like we had really known each other in real life for a long time.  I tried not to cry like a little girl, but I did.  I did.  It was really hard to leave.

Once we got on the road we were a bit excited to see the kids again. We opted not to stop for lunch or dinner but snacked on what we had left from the grocery store.  The drive home included much more caffeine and potty breaks. 

After a long car ride, this sign was certainly good to see!
 It was rough getting back, picking up all the kids, transferring car seats, and dropping off the rental.  We didn't get to have dinner until 10pm after the kids were in bed.  It's been a bit of a struggle getting back to normal, too, although I knew that would be the case.

We are certain that we'll make it back down there in the next year.  Next time we'll plan things a bit better and maybe stay a bit further south to avoid all the extra driving.  Until then, we'll have to settle for XBOX live and facebook.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Only Nathan

Anyone see the issue with this?

We picked up this little labyrinth for a quarter at a garage sale on Saturday morning.  I KNEW that Nathan would love it.  Anything with numbers is his thing.  There is a little marble that needs to be worked through to the finish, dodging all 60 holes. 

Well, this morning, Austin ran into our bedroom (I was still asleep) and said there was an 'emergency'.  Apparently, Nathan got his finger stuck in the number 54 up at the top.  I took out a Q-tip and vaseline and tried to lube up his finger.  It was greased up well and wasn't budging.  UGH!

I figured it was going to take Todd's help to get Nate's finger out.  I tried to keep it elevated as it was getting quite swollen.  The 'wood' was over 1/4 inch thick, so we couldn't bend it, and we couldn't use a hammer and screw driver to enlarge the opening. 

So, Todd took out the box cutter and started cutting through the closest opening.  It took a little bit, but it eventually cracked enough.  His poor finger was so swollen. 

This picture was taken this afternoon.  It's still a bit swollen and you can see how much of his finger he shoved in there.  Still not sure *why* he did it. 

The sad this is, is that Nate has done something like this several times before.  He shoved his fingers in a separation on the back of a metal chair.  He SHOVED his hand up so far it took all of my might to get his hand out.  Another time, he took part of a plastic bottle (the part that helps keep on the cover of a pop bottle but a smaller bottle) and put it on like a ring.  We could NOT get it off.  I had no idea what to do and Todd was at work.  His finger was terribly swollen and I was afraid I would cut him if I tried.  So we went to our neighbor and HE cut it off. 

All in all, VERY minor.  I'm so thankful that we haven't had to make a trip to the ER just yet. With 5 children, it's bound to happen sooner or later.  Well, Austin had an ER trip, but that happened at my parents' house, so I'm not too sure it counts.  

I know he'll be needing to have his fingers rescued from another small space in the future.  That's just who he is.  :P

So, if anyone has one of these they'd be willing to part with, I'm sure Nate would be super excited to receive it.  And I'll make him promise he won't shove his finger in the holes.  ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Austin's Baptism

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am for my son!  It has been amazing hearing him speak about Christ these last few weeks.  It has been fun talking about the gospel and what Jesus did for us with him; to see his eyes light up when he 'gets' it. 

Austin's turn to share his testimony

We spent the night before practicing so he felt comfortable.  He did a great job!

Answering Pastor Matthew's questions and listening intently.

Coming up clean.  WOW!  He was SO happy!  He gave Matthew a HUGE hug and TOTALLY left Todd out. :)

It was so great that Todd got to participate in Austin's baptism.  Afterwards, they proceeded to the front of the stage and we gathered around him to pray.  I LOVE baptismal Sunday's.  Welcoming new brothers and sisters to the 'family'.  Weeping with joy at the proclamation others are making for their faith in Jesus Christ.  There were SIX people baptized today.  SIX!!  Praise God!

I'm excited to see what God has in store for Austin.  He loves to pray, says all the time that he thinks his brother Ian will be a "great man of God some day".  Well, buddy,  I see that in you NOW!  We are *SO* proud of you!

**I will put up a link for today's sermon when it's been published. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sweet Ian's First Birthday

I seriously cannot believe it has already been a year since little E-man was born.  He has been such a doll and continuously makes us smile.

Sunday night, we had friends over to share cupcakes and ice cream and grill out for the second day in a row.  Man, it was a GREAT weekend!

Ian, at one year old you:

~ crawl faster than I've seen any kid crawl.  You know what you want and you totally go for it.

~ love your siblings.  Nate most of all.

~ are very tenderhearted.  Too much yelling/screaming and your stick your lip out to pout.

~weigh 19 pounds even and are 29" inches tall.  You are another shrimp, thanks to your mama.  

~ are a naughty little turkey.  You climb those stairs as soon as the gate is down.  You also go straight for the laundry room, dishwasher, and cupboards whenever available.  You know it's naughty, and you stare us down with *that* grin and go for it anyhow. 

~ your new sayings are "uh-oh", "all done", and "ni-ni" (na-night).

~ are good at eating.  We haven't found much that you WON'T eat.  

~ still aren't sleeping through the night, but we're hopeful. 

~ need a haircut, badly.  We'll take care of that this weekend. ;)

~ are a flirt.  Yes, at 12 months.  The ladies like you and you know it. 

~ are an amazing blessing and couldn't imagine life without you!!


We didn't light the candle for safety reasons.  ;)  He wasn't quite sure what to think.

He did NOT want to wait to eat the cupcake.

He certainly shoveled it in.

I think he got some up his nose.

All done!  And straight to the tubby he went!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Little Leah is 3!!

I'm right on time with Leah and behind on Ian and Austin.  I'm just here to show you guys I'm not perfect.  :P

 Little Leah, at 3 you:

~are a mischievous little thing.  You get in to more trouble than all your siblings combined.

~have the cutest laugh.  

~are already a teenager.  I pray for those years to be smooth and calm. 

~love to eat broccoli, pizza, and chicken nuggets.  Not necessarily in that order. 

~have very sensitive skin (still).  No lactose for you.  You are also sensitive to gluten, citrus, and any red sauce.  

~are our best sleeper.  Don't ask me how that happened.  It just did. 

~love to dress up; hats, dresses, purses, the works.

~enjoy playing with Barbie dolls, even if they are naked.

~pretend to be shy in social settings, although we all see right through you. 

~draw on everything you can.  We can make you wipe it off but you'll be exercising your creativeness on it again as soon as you are able. 

~are curious, just like the monkey.

~have gorgeous hair that Ian keeps pulling on. 

~are a smart cookie. You can count to twenty on your own and we're working on the ABC's. 

Leah, we love to see you growing and learning.  You are a beautiful little girl with amazing creativity.  We know you will do something great!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Okay, I get it.  Non-profits need to earn money.  I understand that people need to sell their items.  I do.  I give them the benefit of the doubt and listen politely when I actually DO answer a call from an unknown number.  I've worked phones before and know how tough it can be. 

I received THREE phone calls today, all before noon.  THREE!!  The first one was for some organization that supplies wheel chairs and medical supplies to wounded soldiers who are returning back to the states.  A worthy cause, indeed!  However, I have never heard of this organization.  I have NO idea if it's legitimate or what my donation would actually be funding.  I responded very kindly to his script, fully intending to decline any request for money.  When asked if they could count on me, I responded with, "I'm unable to at this time and would appreciate it if you would take our names off your list."  Then I heard "WOW!" 

Yeah, I know. It sounds insensitive.  Especially when thinking about the 'cause' that they were supporting.  But think about it, can we REALLY support EACH organization that calls for money?  Are ALL the organizations legitimate?  They answer to these questions is a huge NO!

The second call I received was for the Special Olympics.  A WONDERFUL organization.  The caller said upfront she wasn't requesting money (yeah right) and went on to tell me how they support the Special Olympics. Again, after she finished her script, she asked if we could support them with a subscription to a magazine (here we go).  I politely declined.  I told her, as I told the first person, to take me off of their calling list.  This time, I didn't receive any negativity. 

My third call of the morning was for SENIOR CITIZENS!  Where do they get this?  Fortunately for me, it was an automated call and I could push a number to opt out of further calls (does this make them call back, knowing it's a 'good' number?).

I do want to be polite and respectful.  Perhaps I just need to go back to what I was doing; turning the phone on then off right away.  See, I have to answer the phone or it will wake my husband (he works nights).  I would simply let it ring in the evenings, too, but I've actually had some important calls come through that APPEARED to be a telemarketer.  Gah!  What to do.  I just know that the polite and respectful way isn't working.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The way I WANT to parent

It went down like this; Austin said some MEAN things about his sister because he didn't want to read her a story.  I took a deep breath, focused myself, and told him Jesus wouldn't have treated you like that.  He replied with "yes he would".  I said, "No, sir.  He would love you, because you are special".  He tried to tell me that Natalie had done some really bad things and I retorted with "well so have you".  Austin told me how he really never like Natalie, ever since she was a baby, and so on.  I kept my cool and calmly excused Austin for bed time.  Early. 

About a half an hour later, he came down the stairs, crying, with crocodile tears running down his face.  He apologized to Natalie, giving her a HUGE hug.  Now THAT'S how it should be.  I was SO HAPPY to see this happen. 

Now, I know it's not always going to be like that, but I will savor this moment.  I know he's capable of doing it, and so am I.  <3

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I just can't make this stuff up

Nate was changing Leah's diaper when Natalie came over to watch.  Why, I have no clue.  Here is the conversation between them:

Nate: Leah, are you poopy?
Leah: Mmm, no.
Nate: Eww.  She pooped.  But it's just a little baby turd. (somewhat puzzled)
Natalie: Really?
Nate: Yep.
Natalie:  Awwww.   It's so cute.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

10 months old

My little Ian guy has only two months left until his first birthday.  ::sniff::

Little buddy, at 10 months you:

~love to crawl under, over, and around the kitchen chairs and table

~ Try to stand up to/on everything, even if it's moving.

~Have two teeth.  It doesn't look like anything else is making it's way through just yet.

~Love your siblings so incredibly much.  It seems the only times you're laughing, you're laughing at or because of them. 

~Can be a tough nut to crack.  You don't give your smiles out easily.

~Enjoy eating.  We haven't found anything yet that you won't eat.  That includes stuff you find randomly on the floor that may or may not be edible.  

~Still don't sleep through the night.  We know it's coming, though!

~Think Padme, the cat, is a hoot.  She's not too fond of you little buddy.

~Dislike getting dressed to leave but you LOVE car rides!

~Did I mention you love to climb?  :P

~Do the army crawl REALLY WELL.  It's amazing how fast you move.

~Dada is STILL your favorite word.  Mama only comes when you're hurt or need/want something.

~Poop through your diaper just about every time you go.  That equals a LOT of clothing, dear boy. 

~Pinch far too much and far too hard.  You know what they say about the hand that feeds?  'Tis true about the breast that produces milk, my dear.

 Oh, little man.  I so look forward to seeing what these next few weeks hold for you.  It is so wonderful seeing you grow.  <3

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Patience is a virtue

My mom would ALWAYS say, " a child".  I didn't really understand what that meant until I had children.  I think today, of all days since, has been the day that it really sunk in . 

I was on the recliner nursing the baby when Natalie came walking out of the bathroom.  With her came a sweet smell of perfume.  I don't spray perfume on 5 year old little girls.  This tells me that she certainly wasn't using the bathroom for it's intended purpose, she was spraying my perfume ALL OVER THE BATHROOM. 

I took in a deep breath, looked her in the eyes, and told her I knew EXACTLY what she did.  Now, mind you, this wasn't the most awful thing she's ever done, but it was disobedience just the same.  I walked over to the bathroom, took a step inside and my feet slipped a bit on the floor.  JUST GREAT.  The floor needed to be washed down.  (another deep breath - Exhale . . . . )  The floor needed to be washed, and Natalie was going to do it.  I generally resign myself to the fact that I'm going to do the work.  *I* am being inconvenienced.  *I* have better things to do with my time.  ::sigh::  Natalie needed to do it.

The craziness needs to end in this house.  I have NO IDEA what I need to do to break through to that little girl.  No matter what I do or don't do, her sinful nature persists.  My kids do something totally crazy and all I can do at this point is look their way in absolute astonishment. 

I've heard a few times that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  I thought, "Yeah, that's me alright!"  But then I did some digging and found that it indeed is NOT the definition of insanity and I am certainly NOT deranged.  :) 

It was then that I heard my mother's voice in my head.  Yep.  I get it, mom.  I do.  It's not that I'm insane or deranged.  I'm a mother of young children. 

Another quick search found me looking up the meaning behind the words.  I came upon the information about a medieval poem that, apparently,  describes the conflict of vices and virtues.  In this poem, Anger and Patience are characters.  Anger attacks Patience, is unable to defeat her and destroys herself instead.  WOW!!!  What an in-you-face picture THAT is. 

I know anger will not benefit anyone in this house and, in the end, I'll end up defeating myself.  Patience will get me through it.  It might be with more grey hairs than when we started out, but I will get through it.  Hopefully with happy, healthy children to show for it.