Thursday, October 25, 2012


As a freshman at Eastern College (now University but I still call it EC) I was paired with a roommate.  We talked to each other once or twice preceding meeting each other, as an introduction and to chat up what we were bringing.  It took us a few weeks to warm up to each other but then we were very close and remained roommates all four years.  We were maids (I was matron and very pregnant with Tate) of honor for each other's weddings, and she was my best friend for many years.  

However, time, distance and those things that can happen, caused some separation in our friendship.  But our love remained, and she will always be my roomie, even if only in name.  As of late, our relationship has become more comfortable and familiar again, and I am thankful for that.  Recently, we got together with her sweet little one, and she asked me how I was doing (knowing that I would know  she was meaning about the baby loss).  I teared up immediately, because that is me, and I started explaining how I know logically that we just shouldn't have another children both have special needs so we're sitting at a gambling table, we don't have room in our house, we don't have enough money to send 3 kids to college (or 2 for that matter but they're already here), our girls would be so much older than their sibling, what would it do to my marriage, I get very sick when I was pregnant with the girls...etc etc ETC.  She listened (she's a great listener) and then said, "So you do want another, because you said 'logically.'

Oh my she was right.  I forgot - but she remembered - that in college she clued me in one time that she can always tell what I really want, because I begin the conversation with, "Logically...." 

She was really right.  I really do want another.  But that just may not be the wisest decision.  All three of my pregnancies have just happened.  Yes, I know about the birds and the bees but really, 2 out of the 3 we really were trying not to and God chose to bless anyway.  My first pregnancy, no we weren't trying, but it was a method of birth control that my cousin once dubbed the, "you-can-run-but-you-can't-hide" method.  

Part of me wonders if we actually tried, perhaps we wouldn't be able to conceive.  A bigger part of me wonders if we did conceive, what if what I went through another miscarriage - and I just don't know that it would be wise for me to possibly put my family - especially my tender hearted girls - through that again.  

Part of me wants to throw caution to the wind and ask God to bless us.  A bigger part of me is too scared.

I don't know yet how this story will end.  We're not pregnant, and not trying to become pregnant.  But I'm only 33, so I feel like I have a bit of time to think and pray on it some prayer is that I am wise not to the world's standards, but to God's.  I pray His will for my life, that I will be made aware of it by conviction, and have the strength to follow through.  I pray He blesses my family, however He sees fit.

Logically, I should get up right now and get chores done before work.  (so that means really I want to continue to sit here and sip coffee).

Monday, September 24, 2012


Yesterday was a great day.  Church in the morning and it was so good because Bailey remembered her lines and did a super job in a little skit she was in for both services - and I laughed really hard (mostly on the inside but a bit spilled out) when Taylor saw it and then said, "Oh, ok" and laughed her raspy, throaty laugh...just something about that made me laugh.  A few minutes prior she had spilled her hot chocolate (this was her first time drinking hot chocolate at church and I knew she'd spill, and she did) and I didn't care, it just was.

Lunch with family, then home where I made the choice to snuggle with the girls and watch Pinocchio - I made it through 3/4's of the movie before I couldn't take that terrible movie anymore and got up.  Decorated for Halloween and kids went to the playground with Kevin and friends.  Then I took them to the pool where we had a great time except B. had to be disciplined for a few minutes (sitting out of the pool when your sister's still swimming is big time punishment) for throwing her sister's Hello Kitty ring.    After the pool I got the girls small McDonald's fries bc they've been asking for them for a while and it seemed like a good time to say yes.

I was feeling pretty good, it was shaping out to be a banner day.

We came home, and Bailey got in the shower first while I started their dinner and threw the wet towels and suits into the wash.  I even thought to myself, "let little girlfriend take a nice long shower like she loves, don't be so rushy-mommy all the time."  But after a decent while, I knew I'd have to say something or she'd never exit.   I go in the bathroom and there's water all over the floor.

Let me back up to say I have water issues.  We had the "great flood of 2011" where our tub got a hole in it and flooded into our bedroom and down the wall into the garage.  Then a month ago I notice our fridge starts randomly leaking water all over the kitchen floor, warping brand new hardwood flooring the few times I didn't see it in time and the water sat.  Last week during the bad wind storm/torrential rain I noticed in our unfinished laundry room that water was seeping into a few of the cement wall blocks - it wasn't wet to the touch, but you could tell that water is permeating the blocks.

I love the water.  I love swimming, I love the ocean, I love watching and listening to the rain, I love lakes, I love ponds for crying out loud.   But I have water issues, and water fears.

So upon walking into the bathroom and seeing all that water, I freaked.  "Bailey, what on earth!  What is all this water!  Bailey!  The plastic curtain has to be INSIDE the tub, for real?!  You are almost 9!!  Come on!  Alright, get out, that's it.  Put the barbies down.  ALL OF THEM!  Get out!"

And right then, my banner day came to a close.  It didn't take me but a minute to wipe up all the water.  Why did I freak out like that?

I fed the girls dinner and let them watch a show. All the while I was cleaning and cooking, preparing things for the week.  I went downstairs to switch the laundry and feed the cats, and I hear them start to horse around, things are getting knocked over.  I yell up, "clear your places and just finish the show, you're going to bed in 10 minutes, come on just chill out" and they don't listen.  Yes, they heard me.  They just didn't care.

I didn't want to yell again, but I could feel my blood boiling.  I haven't sat in hours, haven't showered from the pool and reek of chlorine, I'm hungry, tired, and still have a list of things to do.  I felt so disrespected and uncared for - they couldn't at the least, listen and obey?  No.  So I calmly - through gritted teeth - told them they were to clean up the table, brush their teeth, Bailey needed her meds and they were off to bed with no tuck in.

Only a few times, if that, have the girls gone to bed without a tuck in.  I can really remember only one other time.  I love giving tuck ins, it's the favorite moment of my day with them.  Singing and back scratching, praying, talking.  But I didn't have it.  I told them why they weren't getting a tuck in, and they begged for a second chance.  Bailey started promising chores she would do this week, Taylor just was crying and saying, "I owe you apologies Mommy, please!  Please forgive me!"

Heartbreaking yes, but I just didn't have it.  That and I did want them to know they disappointed me.  I kissed them and said I love you, and GO TO BED NOW.

Kevin came home to Tate still crying her eyes out and before the key was even out of the lock I growled, "Don't you dare go back there and be Fun Nice Daddy" and he didn't.  But he did talk to her and she calmed and fell asleep.  We had dinner and watched comedy shows and I was recharged.  Before bed I crawled in with each of them and woke the poor babies to tell them I loved them more than anything and sang a short lully in their ears.

WHY is it that even when 95% of the day is banner, we obsess over the 5%?  I went to bed last night not thinking about all of the great things we did together yesterday, but about yelling at poor Bailey about the water, and sending them to bed without tuck ins.  I wondered if they'd remember any of the good, or only the bad?

Meanwhile, as he does every night of his life, Kevin put his head to the pillow and was asleep.

Every day I try not to yell.  I hate yelling.   Today is a new day and I will try again.

Friday, August 24, 2012

11 years

A few weeks ago Kevin and I celebrated our 11th anniversary.  When August 11 comes around every year, I think back to what I was doing back on Aug 11, 2001.  Getting my hair and makeup done, hanging out with my bridesmaids watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the hotel room, getting dressed at the church and peeking through the curtain to see Kevin and his family taking pictures.  Walking down the aisle to the song my dad composed for me, with my sweet Uncle Rich holding on to my arm, and smiling at my future husband.  Saying our vows, not really minding the words bc I thought, "we got this." What can I say, I was 21 and an idiot.  Our first kiss as a married couple, and I was filled with excitement and joy.  We had a wonderful ceremony, and the reception was a blast.

Our honeymoon in Riviera Maya was all that a honeymoon should be.  We couldn't get enough of each other, and we totally relaxed and enjoyed the amazing location.  And we ate.  Both of our shorts were tight on the plane ride home.

That's back when I wore shorts.  Now I stick to capris.

So we got home, and life got real, real quick.  No air conditioning in our tiny dated apartment (but it was in Haddonfield and so charming!  My inlaws did gift us a room air conditioner shortly after), and squirrels had chewed through the phone wires.  This is back when people still had "landlines."  Kevin was working, but I had yet to get a job for a few weeks.  One morning I took my big cell phone and stepped outside to our back steps to call my mom...I was missing her, and feeling a little like the honeymoon was over.  I did not realize that the door automatically locked.

I was wearing a piece from my honeymoon lingerie set.  Victoria's Secret sky blue little boxer shorts and a cami-type of top.  Not see through...but suddenly, trapped outside of my apartment, I felt stripped naked.

I freaked, needless to say.  My mom had a spare key, but was an hour and a half away.  My father in law had a key, but a.  I didn't want my husband's father to see me in my nightie and b.  there is no other reason, that's it.

So I called the super.  We had met him a few times - when we moved in, when we accidentally put a huge hole in the wall trying to hang something and bc of the squirrel issue.  He was very, very nice.  I explained that I needed to get back into my apartment and to please hurry.

He didn't hurry, or maybe he did all I remember is sitting on my back step as other tenants took out their trash or left for work and I tried to cover my whole self with my arms and look like I meant to be sitting there in practically nothing.

Anyway, I quickly learned that married life wasn't exactly as I pictured it.  Sometimes it was...but sometimes it was learning how to fight in an apartment where you couldn't get away unless you locked yourself in the bathroom and sat in the tub, and sometimes it was running out to my car yelling, "I'm going to my mom's!" with my new husband following in his car, flashing his lights and beeping the horn.  I pulled over only because I thought he'd get a ticket acting like a maniac, and we couldn't afford it.

We thought we'd go to Italy for our 5 year anniversary, before trying for a baby.  We'd both have Master's degrees by then, and I'd stay at home - which was large and had a dining room, not a dining nook - and experiment with recipes at night, because surely I'd have a lot of extra time then.  I'd make beautiful scrapbooks of our life together, I'd lose the baby weight and look even better than before ever being pregnant.

We had Bailey 2 months after our 2nd anniversary, both of us without Master's degrees.  We had moved to a condo, and it had a dining nook.  I patted myself on the back if I threw a chicken into the oven, nevermind looking at recipes.  Bailey's first 2 years of life pics are in a big box, I chose some to make a small scrapbook purely out of guilt that she would think that not scrapbooking meant not caring.  I traded my honeymoon set of nighties for gowns that were constructed during the pre-war era when homes evidently had no heat.

The years went on and not a lot went according to plan.  But one thing did, and I thank God often - we do still love each other.  We love our family, and our life together.

August 11 was a good day, and it still is.

Monday, August 20, 2012

back up but maybe not running

"Back up and running."  So that means, not just functioning but full steam ahead, I guess.  So I will say I am back up, but not running.  But then, I've never been a runner.

I've decided that 2012 just won't be a banner year, but that doesn't mean it lacks for joy.  We are going to Disney in several weeks, and I can't wait to be there again with my princesses.  We are going to be celebrating their 9th and 7th birthdays and I think it will be a trip to remember for sure.  Fortunately, we're going before I would have been due with the baby, so I feel thankful that I won't be looking at our pictures thinking there should have been one more child there with us.

I apologize to anyone who reads my blog with any regularity, for the lack of posts.  Summer has been busy, in a mostly good way.  Lots of time at the beach, pools, friends houses, playgrounds...when it wasn't deathly hot...and working here and there.  Several times I wanted to write, but to be honest, I didn't even want to see my page pop up with my last depressing entry.  To me just this blog alone was a reminder of my awful late spring loss.

I'm not over the loss, but I want to move on I guess.  I've been trying so hard to focus on what I do have - which is an overflowing cup of blessings.  My cup runneth over with friends, family, a cozy home full of items that bring me joy, good health.  Lots of love and warmth.  Laughter and hugs.  I am so, so blessed.

I just took a minute from writing about my blessings to loudly tell Bailey to get back outside with her sand toys that were full of dirt.  (not yelling...I'm trying to save my yelling for when school starts back up and they have to FOR CRYING OUT LOUD JUST PUT YOUR SHOES ON!  YOUR FEET!!  SHOES ON YOUR FEET!!

Anyway, welcome back.  Today is a Monday, what better day to get back into the swing.  I have some funny stories for you bear with me and I'll devote more time to this blog.  Can't promise how much, but I will.  Because I realized today that I have been "doing" life for my kids, trying to give them a summer full of fun and love.  Their joy blessed me.  But I want to do life for me again, too.  I want to find my own joy, separate from seeing Bailey boogie board in the ocean or snuggling with Taylor.  I want to be happy just because I am happy.  It dawned on me there is a difference.

My life isn't void of challenge and sadness.  In my marriage, in my home, in my memories.  But I believe that when we cling to the peace of Jesus, we can face challenges without our hearts being broken.  I can't explain it well I guess, but I feel it.  I am so thankful for that, and ready to move on.  I won't forget, but I can't live in a what-if, or what-would-have-been.  My here and now needs me, and I need to be happy.

Thanks for being here for me, friends.  I love you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

fighting him off

So this past weekend I had a rough time of it.  The past few months have been rough I guess, on and off - understandably, right?  But I was in the muck this weekend.  My last post I didn't share on fb, I didn't want people really to see it, and yet I wanted to get it out.  Writing always help me feel better I think.

Come to find out I was PMSing.  Well.  That didn't help.  My cycle is not regular since the miscarriage.  Which I don't appreciate.

In addition, I have been thinking a bit about the possibility - probability - of Satan's demons messing with me.  I am losing a reader or two here, whatever.  I only have five anyway.

A few days ago, Bailey was feeling really ill.  It was a rough night - I prayed over her and layed with her for quite awhile, then went to bed myself.  I woke constantly, and every time I did I would just say, "please, God..." and be thankful she was still sleeping, which meant she was comfortable.  In the morning she was bright eyed and bushy tailed and said she felt great.

God did not have to answer my prayers for me to believe He exists, it wasn't something like that.  But I think I must have been kind of holding my breath or something - I can't explain it.  All I know is that if she awoke to the pain - or hadn't even have slept - that she experience the evening before, I would have been so discouraged.  But all of her ailments were gone.  AND, this week she found another 4 leaf clover.  She barely looks for them and finds them all the time.  Maybe fifteen she's found, and a few 5 leaf clovers.  I'm not kidding!  I take them to be a gift from God, because every time she finds one I feel like He's saying "I have her."  I don't know why, I just do.

So anyway, later that day, as I was thanking Him again that she was well and healthy, I just was overcome with this feeling that I have been fighting the wrong one.  I was praying saying I was so thankful, but still so hurt, so confused.  And something in me - the Spirit I take it - just came over me and I started yelling - in my car - GET AWAY FROM ME YOU DEMONS!!!  SATAN!  In the name of Jesus, Holy Jesus, GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started crying, and I told God I just want Him back, I want to trust Him, and believe in His goodness. I felt so much better.

Anyway, if you did read that last post, I'm in a better place.

Friday, June 8, 2012

just being honest

Kevin's out.  Girls are asleep.  Ice cream has been eaten and I look at this computer screen through a fog of tears.  Feeling very alone.

I don't for a second think "Why me?" about losing my baby.  So many women go through that, and much, much worse.  So much worse that I can't even wrap my brain around it, let alone my heart.

But this loss has awakened in me a lot of questions, and I don't like it.  I loved having a faith that just was.  I didn't know the answers and I didn't have to.  Questions like, why do millions of children go hungry in this world when there is food to eat?  It must be awful to be a child and literally starve to death.  Whereas before I would think, people are not acting, it's not God it's people -- now I think, ok, I still think that, but how does God hear the cries of starving children and not answer?  And yet a further argument ensues in my head - how would He answer, just throw a loaf of bread down to the child?  But here's another one - how did God pick and choose who fell to their death on 9/11, and who was miraculously spared from getting on that ill-fated plane?  Can you imagine being a family member of a victim they never even found, so there was only your imagination to wonder what happened to your precious loved one, and hearing someone be interviewed and say, "God had plans for me, He saved my life!"  How does God decide which child he will spare and which He will bring home?  Is it favor?  Some people have an "in" with God and some don't?  Is it past generational sin, and we are just fated to a destiny that was of our ancestors making?  How does free will work, when we still pray to God to intervene?  A drunk man can hit someone, that person dies, and it was free will of the drunk man that led to  death.  But another drunk hits someone, who doesn't die, but is in a coma.  The family prays, begs.  The person lives and God is given the glory.  Miracle.  How does it work?  Is the second family favored?  Did God just relent, and go, "Ok, you prayed well enough.  Here you go, you're welcome." Or....Does the second person have a purpose left for this world but the first had fulfilled his?  Even as I write this, I am thinking, yup that's the answer...but it's still not giving me peace.  Please forgive my irreverence.  I hate that I am asking these questions.  But God knows my heart, so what's the point of hiding it?

Believe me, I am unhappy about this.  I LOVE believing in God.  Believing in His goodness and kindness.  His love that is unworldly.  A love that we can't begin to understand.  And that is what I am hoping will give me peace - that His love is just so amazing we can NOT UNDERSTAND IT.  Any part of it.  But that knowledge is not giving me peace, at least not yet.  I'm in pain.  Not just because of my lost baby, or the questions of the world that I'll never have the answers to.   I miss Him.  I miss feeling protected and wanted.  Loved.  I feel abandoned and lost, and I don't know why.  Maybe this is just something God's letting me go through to make me stronger.  

Such blessings I have in my life.  Everyday.  I am blessed everyday.  Please don't confuse my words.  I know what a wonderful life I have.  But this is my blog, and this is something I am working through, and I am just being honest.

This is what I want to have happen.  God, are you listening?  I want to believe.  I want to believe so deeply that I truly do give praise in the storm.  I am not giving praise in this storm, God, and I want to!! I want to know you have a purpose for me, for my family that is good and not death!  I want to feel you beside me, holding me up, not watching me as I fall.  I just don't understand Lord.  And I know I will never know why you gave to take away...but I want to feel peace in not knowing.  Please help me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

what married people with kids fight about

Most married people with kids, even within wonderful, loving marriages, fight about stuff they never would have dreamed pre-marriage/kids.

We had such a fight last night.

Now, within the confines of this blog - like, maybe Kevin will read it so I shouldn't share everything - some elements of the fight can't be shared.  Because it would make him look bad.  Not me, him.

Last night I got home from work and the kids were bathed and ready for bed.  I went into the bathroom and noticed that there were pieces of wet toilet paper sticking out of the tub drain and there was standing water.  So smart mom that I am realized 2 things - a girl had, for whatever reason, stuffed tp in the tub drain, and now we had a clog.

I tend to panic with home fix-it type of situations.  It doesn't matter if it's a major problem or a minor one, because chances are, my husband and I won't have a clue how to fix it.  We are NOT fix-it people, we are "quick!  Who do we know that knows stuff?!" people.  I panicked when my electric garage door wouldn't operate (I did realize, without hiring someone, that it just needed plugged in - minor).  I panicked when water flooded from the bathroom to our bedroom, dripping through the ceiling to downstairs (over $4000 later we had a redone bath - major).  So basically, in my mind, I immediately go to the what's-the-worst-that-can-happen and in this instance with the tp clogging the drain, I picture my back yard being dug up, trees having to come out and thousands of dollars (that we don't have) later being told, "Charmin's not good for your septic system, ma'am.  And toilet papers not supposed to go in the tub."

So as I start my panic, I realize Kevin's remaining calm and cavalier.  He had said he didn't know why there was tp in the tub but is that true?!  Why is he so calm when we may have to have a plumber rip through our pipes and yard?!   I may have, under my breath but loud enough for him to hear (a common married people with kids way of arguing) stated that I wished I had been home and not working so this wouldn't have happened.  That's when the floodgates opened.   It wasn't pretty.  Neighbors may have heard.

Bailey let me know when there was a break in our yelling that the reason why there was tp in there (previously girls had claimed innocence) was that in the tub she noticed Tate had a "rashy J."  So she gave Taylor toilet paper to wipe the rash off.  In the tub.

I may have muttered again (or yelled, I can't remember) that I wished I had been in the bathroom while they took their bath so I would've seen it, and where was Kevin?  He reminded me, not quietly, that I haven't watched them in the tub for quite awhile either.  Maybe a year or two.  (in my defense before you picture my kids drowning - remember they're 6 and 8, they swim laps underwater and jump off the high-dive, and I know they stay alive while bathing because I hear Ariel singing to Barbie.)

I took a break outside and when I came in, tucked in the girls and apologized for Mom and Dad yelling.  They were fine and Taylor promised she'd wipe out of water from now on.  Kevin tried to remedy the clog over the course of an hour with a bottle of Drano and pots of boiling water.  It was deemed fixed.  We apologized and got over it.

Taking a shower later that night, I deemed the clog not fixed, as water pooled at my feet.  I pictured the plumber again, and the bill I'd have to charge to pay.  I bent over, removed the drain, and pulled up a few gobs of wet tp.  The water magically flowed down the drain!!!!

I tried to not rub it in later when I told Kevin the clog was really fixed.

NOTE - Not my actual tub.  I know this because this tub looks expensive and luxurious.
Mine is a basic Home Depot model.  Also, this room looks spacious, and our one main bath is not.
This pic was taken from the Rural Glamour website, some lucky chic gets her bubbles and magazine time here.  I get mine with 2 little girls sitting on the toilet while I bathe, asking me questions like "Mommy, when you lay back why does your tummy stick out of the bubbles?" "Because, dear one, God made Mommy with a nice size tummy and if I filled the tub with enough water to cover it, the water would go through the over-flow drain.  And Mommy's scared of plumbers so she's careful of the over-flow drain.  Now be a lovey and get a towel for your Barbie that's gotten lodged between my butt cheeks.  Stop staring.  Thanks for taking a dump in here, 2 inches from my face, while I was having my "quiet" time.  And refill my glass with some of Mommy's special juice."  JK on that last part :)  I get my juice myself.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

hoping for hope

I have been in a weird place.  There are moments I have such joy, and moments I have such pain.  I'm not depressed - I'm fully functional and really, I do have happiness in my life.  But I am weary.  I find so many of my commitments draining.  I feel very far from God, which makes me deeply sad.  And looking for Him adds to my weariness.  And I have realized that so much of my problem is rooted in this - I am missing hope.  I have joy, I have love - my husband, girls, family and friends add such true life.  I am not hope-less, but a foundation of hope is not where it was.  And I want it back.

As I write, I am in Ocean City taking the night "off."  My mom is at a wedding so I came down with her to keep her company in the room, which is beautiful.  Right on the beach, right in the middle of the Jersey Shore life.  Wonderful weather and being here feels good.  But being alone forces me to think, which feels weird.  I don't like to think by myself too much these days, because I cry easily and I am sick of crying.  I'm a crier and so I am used to tears, but a heartsick kind of crying is different, and it feels awful.  It feels awful because there's no resolution to the heartache, I just miss my baby terribly and there's nothing I can do about it.

I am grateful for all I have.  I can't say it enough.  And I am grateful for this time with my mom, whom I adore.  You should see her, all dressed up in a cute orange dress with cute orange strappy shoes.  She's awesome.  But still, even in my gratitude, even in my moments of joy that I have every day with people that I love so much, I am weary and missing hope.

So I am hoping for hope.  Does that make any sense?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a letter to my MOPS girls

Dear MOPS friends -

As I write this, I am a few hundred miles away from you all, as you dig into egg casseroles and sip hot coffee.  I am missing being with you there terribly - the 'Tea and Testimony' meeting is by far my favorite of the year.  What a treat that our amazing Mentor Moms lavish love upon us like that.  Please enjoy, don't take it for granted.

I have been a part of MOPS for six years.  In 2006 I had a two year old and an infant, when I saw listed in HOPE's Sunday morning bulletin, "Coming Soon - Mothers of Preschoolers will be meeting here!"  I quickly shoved the bulletin in my tired husband's face, "This!! This is what I was talking about, a group! This!!!!"  He nodded, not knowing the open door that invitation would bring.  Neither did I.  I had hoped I'd make a few friends, women in the same stage of life as I was, and perhaps we could even share a few playdates.  Little did I know what MOPS would really end up meaning to me.

In 2006 I was 26 years old.  My close friends did not yet have kids.  We had just started attending HOPE in March, and I thought the women were friendly but I did not yet have friends.  Wanting to get involved and do something other than change the 50th diaper of the day, I asked Heather Mandala if there was some kind of hospitality group at church, because I knew if nothing else, I could make a meal now and then or send a card.  She had just started the planning of MOPS and so she "steered" me in that direction, and that is how I became a part of this MOPS group original steering team.

And so began my love affair with MOPS.  Because I joined MOPS - and really, mostly because I was on steering - I developed wonderful, strong friendships.  Over the years I have enjoyed countless playdates, park outings, and beach days.  I was in a cooking club with a few MOPS friends for awhile, and although they have both moved away, I still make the clam chowder recipe we cooked one day, as our little ones played at our feet.  Every time I make it I think of those mornings we had together.  I still have a picture of my fridge from 2007, when a group of us went to Cape May and wore hats and had tea outside in a beautiful garden.  MOPS meetings were something I looked forward to so much.  Hot breakfast, sitting with women talking, learning something from a Mentor Mom or a speaker.  Feeling understood, validated and encouraged.  But truly, those few hours were only the beginning to what MOPS really offered me.

Friends are not to be taken lightly.  The friends I have made while in MOPS are now some of the best friends I have.  These friends screamed in joy as I shared with them that we were expecting a surprise baby, just weeks ago.  They were the same friends who doubled over in grief for me when I then had to tell them that precious gift had been taken back.  They were the ones who stocked my fridge with groceries, made meals, sent care packages, cards and flowers.  They cried with me, prayed when I couldn't, and actually chased me down in the parking lot because they didn't want me to leave.

Girls, I pray you never have to go through what I just did.  Really, what I am still going through.  But odds are, you'll go through something during these preschool years.  Don't you want some amazing friends to fall back upon?  And when life is good - albeit full of sleepless nights, poopy diapers and temper tantrums - don't you want friends who really get you?  Look around you.  You might not know her yet, but you have a good friend in this room.  The only way you'll find her is to put yourself out there.

When I realized I wouldn't be back yet from our family vacation to attend this year's last MOPS meeting, I was devastated.  I wanted to tell you all how special I think this group is, and I wanted to thank Lindsey and the rest of the steering team for all of their amazing work this past year.  But perhaps my emotions would have overcome me.  After all, I think every time I have spoken in front of the group, except maybe when I talked about coupons, I cried!  And I wouldn't have wanted my message to be watered down with tears -- and my message to you all is this - LOVE each other.  Be there for one another.  Please, trust me, it is a gift you give yourself when you love someone else.  Be selfless and do things like pick up the Panera bread.  Invite a mom you don't know yet over for a playdate.  Take a chance and go to that MOPS outing, even if you don't know many moms yet.  Don't just come to MOPS for the biweekly meetings - take advantage of the opportunity to make friends that will feel like sisters.  It won't happen overnight.  But it will, if you let it.  And then those friendships will take you well beyond your MOPS years.  Because even though it doesn't seem it, this time will go by.  Some days drag - hours even! - but all of a sudden you realize you're peeing by yourself and there's not a pacifier, diaper or bottle to be seen in the whole house.  You might be looking forward to that and you won't miss it maybe, but in the meantime, let MOPS make these years more enjoyable, filled with friends that are in the same boat and along for the ride.

My ride was certainly better because of all of you.  And I'm taking you with me as I go towards the next leg of my trip.  Thank you dear friends, for all you have given to me and my entire family these past 6 years.  You don't know what this time has meant to me.  Much love.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Just read over Taylor's IEP.  Part of it was tough, reading that she is below level still in some areas.  I was shocked to read her IQ was in the normal range because I think she is gifted, of course.  Actually, really I do.  She just didn't feel like taking whatever test they gave her.

Before having children, I really didn't think about having a child that would need special services.  And I never thought I'd read the word "special" so many times in my life.  But here I am, with one child who has Cystic Fibrosis, and another diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Sensory Disorder.  I feel that both of them have such victory over their diagnoses, as they are both healthy and thriving.  Some days are tough, but really, they are great.

So what is special, anyway.  I am too lazy to x out of my blog to even look up the definition, but it means something like "out of the ordinary," "not common" or "above average."  Right?

Both my girls ARE special.  They are amazing.  Sure they can be brats, and perfectly normal in any kid sense.  But I really think they are out of the ordinary and even though I'm biased, I really think they are!

Bailey has such a deep empathy for people, and an understanding that is beyond her years.  She would do anything to make someone she loves feel her love.  She is sentimental to a fault, and I love it about her.  She is kind, and soft, and snuggly, and already, a servant of God.  She has such a heart for others, that I will confess I have already prayed that God not instill in her a heart for missionary work, because I can't bear the thought of ever being parted from her.

Taylor is laughter.  Her laugh IS my favorite sound in the whole wide world.  She is joy, and life, and wonder.  She has developed such a love for her family, and her loyalty runs deep and strong.  She loves to be touched and she lets me hang on to her babyhood.  She loves her family more than anything, and to her, Jesus is an extension of our family.  She is trusting, even though it doesn't come naturally.  She is brave and she is strong.

Pretty special, if you ask me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

what to do when you're seeing red

So I have been stewing over something that will have absolutely no resolution whatsoever.  I can't hash it out here on the blog (although I wish I could!  Oh the stories!!) but let's just say I have been pissed off.  True, it's not always hard to do, but I usually get over whatever pissings come my way.  But because I'm not a keep-it-inside person, I'm a vent-until-I-pass-out kind of chick, I am finding this situation really difficult because there's NOTHING I can do.  I can't talk about it, I can't reach some kind of compromise with this person, I can't do anything.

Ugh I wish I could just forget about it and not let anything bother me.  Not get mad, hurt, bitter.  I wish I could just not care.

So I think the only thing to do in this situation is go out with my girlfriends, get a good drink - or two - and vent away.  They will laugh, they will look at me with sympathy, they will say I deserve better.  That's what girlfriends do - once in awhile they will tell you you're wrong, but most of the time they will listen, empathize and totally side with you.  And because I have really great girlfriends that are strong Christian women, they will also pray for me when I don't have it in me to pray myself.

Can't wait to go out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

favorite moments

I would venture to say that most moms have some moments in their life as moms that are their favorites.  These are some of mine.

When they are sleeping.

Okay, I have more...let me think.  Um....


No, I'm just kidding.  But that is towards the top of the list.  Not just because while they are in dreamland there is no fighting, whining, begging, making a mess, making me crazy.  But because they look young to me in their beds ensconced in their lovies and princess blankets, and I can fool myself into thinking that they are still little girls.  They are going on 9 and 7 years old this year, and that is too close to 10.  10 sounds old to me....I know when they are 20, 10 will seem young and innocent.  But from where I am sitting, ages 2 and 4 seems like just yesterday, and yet it seems so young.  At 2 and 4 their days were filled with Dora and Elmo, art projects, toddler books and taking a bath for the 3rd time that day, because all they wanted to do was be in water and since they were contained and happy in the tub, sure, take another bath.  They still thought I hung the moon at 2 and 4, and cried at the window when I left to go anywhere, even though we had been connected at the hip all day.  They ate Cheerios and Goldfish for a snack and when they painted - which they loved - I had to strip them down to their unders because surely the paint would get everywhere.  They played with pots, pans and stacked tupperware at my feet while I made dinner.  Taylor required no less than 11 lullabies at night to calm down and stay in her bed, Bailey started drifting off after only 2 or 3.  They were little.

Now they are big.  But I'm not complaining, just remembering.  Because they are older now, we have a lot of fun and life is certainly easier.

I digress.  Some more favorite moments.

Going swimming.

Watching them figure out how to do something new, and seeing the pride and joy in their eyes for it.

Making cookies together.

Watching them play softball, they are so cute in their oversized team shirts.  They look over at us and smile with missing teeth as they run the bases, and sometimes my little one will blow a kiss and it just makes me melt.

Watching them onstage when they sing for choir concerts at church or on Sunday morning.

Listening to them play together - when they're not fighting.

Seeing them hold hands, or protect each other.

Listening to them talk about their faith, and what it means to them.

Witnessing the people they are starting to become - tender, empathetic, strong girls who truly know how to love others.

These are just a few.  I have to stop now, because Tatie is up and she doesn't like the sound of the keyboard clicking as I type.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

pure sweetness

It was one month ago our little one that wasn't to be, left me.  I'm guessing this past month, and probably the month that I would have been due - November - will be the worst months, as far as grief.  But it's really interesting something that I have learned about grief - it can be intertwined with the purest sweetness there is in this life.

When my dad died, my friends rallied around me.  Unbeknownst to me, they made a schedule and took shifts checking on me, being with me.  It was during this time of grief that my friendship with Kevin became deeper, more meaningful, more precious.  He would lay with me on my bed - a top bunk in a dorm room no bigger than a closet - and just be with me as we watched movies or listened to music.  Nothing physical ever happened, except sometimes some hand holding or I would lay my head on his chest - but the closeness I felt to him was special.  It helped me, and it was pure sweetness intertwined with my grief.

With our baby loss, again friends rallied around me.  Prayers, hugs, tears, cards, care packages, flowers, books, meals.  We felt loved, we felt buoyed.  It helped us get through it - there is no doubt about that and I don't know what I would have done without it.  It has convinced me that in my lifetime, I must, I must be there for others in their times of need, as my dear ones were for me.  It was pure sweetness.

This loss has also created a deeper closeness within my little family, especially within my relationship with Taylor.  Tatie and I both took it the hardest I think, and we feel a kinship in that.  We lay together a lot and talk about the baby, hold hands, sometimes pray, sometimes laugh with a tickle fight to break up the seriousness.  Last week I had a particularly bad night.  I had read them a book they have requested frequently, which was given to us by a good friend.  It is a childrens' book about heaven, written from the perspective of a little boy who died and he says he actually went there and this is what he saw.  I cried my way through it, I couldn't help it.  It's a beautiful book and it paints such a lovely picture of what the future will bring for us, and what it is like for my little baby there now.  I tucked in the girls and poured myself a big glass of wine and laid on the couch in the dark, crying.  Tater came out and I hugged her and told her I was fine, go to bed honey.  But then she asked if she could lay with me and listen to my heartbeat and I said yes...and she did and we both fell asleep.  As I drifted off, smelling her freshly washed hair and touching her smooth forehead, I gave thanks for all I have, and I felt such peace.  I was still sad, but I had joy, gratitude and love in my heart.  Laying there with my daughter, the one who I used to pray would learn how to really love others and now her love was overflowing, was pure sweetness.

It's interesting to me how the heart can feel broken, and yet full of love at the same time.  How is something broken yet full?  Shattered but bursting?  Maybe my heart isn't broken, maybe just torn...and there will always be a scar there.  A jagged, noticeable scar that will make some people ask, "what is that from?"  But more that, I hope my heart can continue to grow, continue to feel full with love for others.  I want to honor my baby...that his or her life was important, not in vain.  And that too, would be pure sweetness.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Am Mom Enough

My facebook news feed has been lit up with mom bloggers I follow, ranting about the picture on the TIME magazine cover that comes out today - a woman standing with her four year old nursing off of one of her breasts.  The magazine titled it, "Are You Mom Enough?".  Women are outraged over the picture - especially the attachment parenting moms who nurse for an extended period of time, saying that once again, our country has poked fun of something that should be accepted as natural and healthy.  More women are outraged over the question they ask.  I'm not really outraged, I don't really care, but I thought in honor of Mother's Day, I would answer that question for them.

Being a mom is really hard.  None of the details matter.  If you have the "perfect" family of a boy and a girl, a husband that worships you and makes tons of money, a big house that you can afford and don't have to clean yourself, and all of the other "perfects" like a great school, helpful and friendly neighbors, supportive family, and a body that is none the worse for wear after pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and eating your kids leftover chicken nuggets...IT IS STILL HARD.  Your kids will still fight with each other, your toddler will still want to sit on your lap when you pee, your baby will still cry when you hand him over to a sitter to get your hair done, your husband will still want affection from you even though you feel like all you have been doing all day is touching, loving, playing, hugging, kissing boo-boos, calming, swaying, bouncing, and rocking.  You will still cry yourself to sleep at night wondering if you are ruining your children and your future grandchildren for life because you yelled, again, even though you prayed you wouldn't.  You will still wonder if you have what it takes to raise them to be responsible, generous, loving individuals who can make it in this harsh world...and you will read stories of families that did everything "right" and they still have a son that's a mass murderer.  This also, will keep you up at night, right along with the baby that likes to eat every few hours.  And you will wonder why for decades there has been a phrase "sleep when the baby sleeps" because first, it seems the baby never sleeps and when he/she does, you are rushing around like a mad woman trying to do things like, I don't know, shower and poop.  This mom prays that everything she can give her child, from the $1000 birthday parties to the love-notes in their lunchboxes, will be enough.

It is even harder for the mom who has none of the 'perfects' of the aforementioned mom.  This mom is doing it alone, the dad got a free pass.  Oh sure he's supposed to pay up, but he's no where to be found. This mom has to juggle child care while she works, and she owes much more than she makes.  She knows she doesn't live in a safe town, she knows she feeds her kids cheap, processed junk...but the money she makes can't go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, it's got to go towards trying to keep a roof over their heads.  This mom loses sleep wondering if her children will go to bed hungry again tomorrow night, or worrying if her babies are warm enough because they can't afford heat.  This mom prays that her whispers of love in her children's ears, her promises of a better life soon, her hugs and kisses before she drops them off with a childcare worker she hopes she can trust...this mom prays that it will be enough.

What about the mothers that are mothers already in their hearts, but their bodies just can't seem to get pregnant, sustain a pregnancy.  They are still mothers, will their baby ever come?  These women are brave and strong, who do amazing things like go to the grocery store and watch as a mom disciplines her child harshly as he begs for a cookie.  She thinks she'd never stop giving her son cookies, if she only could.  Or how about rsvp-ing Yes to that baby shower invite of an old friend who used to say she never wanted kids, but the birth control didn't work and now she's having twins.  This mom would give anything, and is trying everything, to be able to feel life grow inside of her and give birth to a baby that is lifted to her chest to nurse and thrive.  She knows women visit abortion clinics every day and she wishes she could talk just one of them into having that baby, and giving it to her to love.  She loses sleep each night thinking of all the unwanted babies in this world, and wondering why she can't seem to have any.  This mom prays unceasingly that God will give her a baby, and she hopes that He thinks she is enough to give her one.

It is also hard, so hard, for the mothers who have lost a baby, or even many babies...their arms are empty and their hearts are broken.   They wonder what they did wrong, they wonder if they are being punished.  This mom wonders if her baby even knew how much he was loved, and wanted.  This mom prays and hopes that God hears, and will tell her baby over and over again that he is missed, and loved, with every breath, every day.  She cries herself to sleep, clutching the baby blanket that never held a baby, as she thinks of how old he or she would be, what would they have done that day together?  Gone to the playground or the beach?  Would her child have had brown eyes or blue, blonde hair or brown?  This mom hopes that her belief that she will see her baby again in Heaven is enough to get her through this life.

No matter what kind of mom you are, it is not easy being a mother.  Shame on you, Time magazine, for questioning us.  We are far too busy questioning ourselves.  We are far too busy questioning each other, when we should be affirming, supporting and loving each other.  Indeed there are moms out there who don't do right by their children, and that is a tragedy.  But I think the majority really are trying...but there is not a book out there that can tell us exactly what to do or say on any given day, because no one else lives our life, with our children.  We are all unique, with different gifts and challenges.

Happy Mother's Day are enough.

These 2 precious girls, plus one in heaven, made me a mother.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

a how-we-are-doing kind of post, and telling the girls

Well, it's been 3 weeks since we learned our baby was an angel baby.  It feels like 3 years and I'm not kidding.  There have been hours of crying and grieving, but also an underlaying sense of gratitude within my family.  Kevin and I have always been thankful to have our girls, but this loss has made their lives even more precious to us, even more miraculous.  Not to say I still haven't yelled at them about their fighting or leaving clothes and toys all over the house! :)

Bailey is doing pretty well, although I have realized that how she handles sorrow is to make like it's not there most of the time.  I'm not sure how I feel about that - on one hand, of course I totally get it, and I do it myself.  I have a lot of memories/issues about a person/season in my life, and most of the time, I just really don't address it.  I feel like it's done, there's nothing I can do about it and I don't want it to impact my life except to learn from it.  On the other hand, I don't want her to repress emotions.  So I ask her every few days hows she's doing and if she wants to talk about anything - and that's when she usually tells me something like a boy in her class defended her while another boy said she's the most annoying girl he's ever met.  As a family, we pray every morning and when it's her turn she sometimes says something about the baby, sometimes she doesn't.  A few times she has said something like, "I miss our baby" but then quickly goes on to something else.

Taylor is a totally different cat.  (and if you know her, you know she'd love being called a cat, because she wishes she was one.)  She talks about the baby a lot, and likes to lay with me and read the few childrens books I was given written from a child's perspective as they deal with miscarriage.  She and I hold hands and cry, and she asks questions that I don't really have the answer to, and she asks them over and over.  "Will we have another baby...Why was I born and this baby wasn't....Did this baby have brown eyes like me or blue and green like you...Will this baby be a baby in heaven or a kid I can play with..."  Our talks sound stressful, but they're actually healing and peaceful...I can't explain it.  But it does hurt me incredibly, knowing my girls have this life lesson, this sadness happen to them.  Last week when I was babysitting, Taylor ended up coming home from school (after 5 minutes there) and being with me and the little guy, who's 2.  We went to the playground and as the three of us held hands crossing the street, she whispered, "I have a great idea Mommy, let's pretend he's ours today, he's our baby."  It's moments like that, where I feel my heart actually pinch and I mourn for my sweet Tatie and her tenderness, her wishes, her pain just stops me in my tracks.

When we told them, we picked them up from my in-laws and took them to Kevin's old church where they have a memorial garden that's beautiful, with a bench and a cross.  We had called my in-laws and told them, but asked them to please not tell the girls.  We wanted to do it, and we wanted to do it in a place where they wouldn't have to be again if they didn't want to.  When the girls got in the car they asked where we were going, and what was going on, they were onto us.  Thankfully, the church is only a few blocks away and we told them we wanted to talk and show them such a pretty church.

When we got there, I sat on the bench and held them, as Kevin stood and cried.  They were saying, "what, what, Mommy?  What Daddy?" and I just started weeping and said, "Girls, look at this cross.  That cross is where Jesus died for us, he loves us so much!!!  He loves us, remember that.  He is always the same, no matter what happens, he loves us and he never changes."  Then I said, "girls, our baby, it is an angel baby, I'm so sorry!!  Our baby isn't going to come out of my tummy, it went back to heaven."  They both said, "NO!" and buried themselves crying against me and we all just hugged each other and cried.  They asked how I knew, and I told them the doctor took a picture inside my tummy and it showed our baby's heart had stopped, so it had to go back to Heaven.  I said I don't know why, but God needed our baby back and I just couldn't stop saying I was sorry.

Throughout these last few weeks, I still feel so sorry.  I do think something was wrong with the baby - from the beginning this pregnancy was different than my others, and the baby didn't grow date-wise as it should have been.  By April 12, I should have been around 11 weeks along, based on when I probably got my last period in January (couldn't remember the date).  But I was only 8 weeks, and they deduced that I just ovulated really late in my cycle, and conceived much later than the typical day 14 ovulation window that most women conceive in, give or take days.   At the time I thought it was a miracle gift, and God just really wanted us to have this sounds bad to say that I don't think that now, but here we are, no gift.  After I saw the heartbeat I was so comforted, statistically miscarriage goes way down...but I guess there was something wrong and the baby just couldn't survive.  I feel like it was a big tease, and now we all feel a big letdown.  And I keep wondering if I hadn't have been so stressed - taking on a new job, packing up my kitchen and everything on the floors to get work done to our house to sell, worrying about money - would the baby have been ok?  If I didn't accidentally eat a turkey sandwich before they told me no uncooked lunchmeat?  What was I doing at that exact moment when my baby's heart stopped?  What made it stop?

All that to say, it makes me sound like I am not doing well.  Actually I think I am.  I started the new job, I love my redone house and have enjoyed cooking again in my new kitchen, I have gone out with friends and laughed.  I tuck my girls in at night and tickle them silly and sing them to sleep.  Kevin and I have gotten even closer and I soak up my time with him.  I have gone out in public when all I feel like doing is being a hermit in my house and watching comedy movies...and that makes me feel brave and strong, because it almost feels impossible.

So lots of words, to say we are healing, we are loving, we are thankful but still sad.

Friday, April 20, 2012

part 3

In my previous post I tried to explain how in the beginning of the pregnancy we weren't sure what was going on because I wasn't measuring as far along I should have been based on my dates.  On March 29, when we saw that the sac had grown and there was a heartbeat, my doctor assessed that I just must have conceived really late in my cycle, and everything was now "normal."  The date that they gave me as when I would have probably conceived made sense, although to be honest with you, I couldn't remember :)  But because I can't be on hormonal birth control like the pill/shot, etc, our method is this - first week of cycle and the week I am expecting my period are the live-it-up weeks, and the weeks in between are the we-have-to-be-careful weeks.   It has worked since Tatie blessed us with her presence...

Anyway, I was so thankful God had chosen to create, and it just made me reflect on how He is so much in control.  We had a due date of the week before Thanksgiving (Nov 16), and already we couldn't wait to find out if our little turkey was a boy or girl.  As I said earlier, my lack of similar symptoms (read: vomiting/heaving several times a day and I never spotted) that I had with the girls made me think it was a boy, but part of me thought don't we just make girls?  I envisioned that little one in my arms asleep as we sat around the table at Thanksgiving and cuddled up in a beautiful blanket, warm and cozy in a carrier at our feet for Christmas Eve church service.  I was just so, so overwhelmed with gratefulness.

But...part of me knew I think.  I never worried I would lose the girls.  I just didn't, I don't know why.  For years before marriage (and I married at 21, so we're talking teenage years!!) my greatest fear was that I would be infertile.  Then, my babies came so easily (we never tried) so I just thought - everyone has their hardships in life, including me, but that wasn't one of them.  I was so thankful for that!!  I just never thought I would lose a baby.  But with this one, every time I went to the bathroom I would check for any spotting, even though I had only spotted a few times.  I would breathe a sigh of relief and think, "yes, stay in there little one, grow..." and I never thought like that when I was pregnant with the girls.  Why was I so scared?  I had a beautiful plaque I had found years ago at HomeGoods that said "God Bless This Baby" and I had been saving it to give to someone that would like it, it was kind of old-fashioned looking...I took it out and put it on my dresser and everytime I saw it I'd say a prayer of protection and thankfulness.

The week of spring break I was staying at my in-laws house because our home was having all of the flooring redone and the kitchen.  On April 11, a Wednesday evening going into Thursday April 12, I had terrible cramping all night long along with spotting again.  I hadn't spotted for a few weeks, and this time the spotting was a bit more and on the morning of the 12th, I saw red.

You never want to see red.

I called the doctor, but I really already knew.  Our appointment was at 2pm and Kevin met me there.  My MIL had the girls, thank God.  My cramping was so bad but I was scared to take anything bc what if everything was okay, maybe my uterus was just really growing?  Google said it was a possible reason for the cramping and spotting, but I knew.

Finally, FINALLY, the doctor comes in.  I had waited for an hour and I thought Kevin was going to punch someone.  I was curled on my side laying on the table crying when she came in, and she inserted the metal speculum (you guys know I'm not a big curser on my blog but what the fuck is up with that.  Really, metal?!  They can't invent something that can crank open the walls of your vagina that maybe is smooth and plastic?!  A man is in charge of this by the way, no doubt.  You think if a man had a vagina they wouldn't have found something better yet?!  Someday, I hope my girls only see a picture of such a thing, and they think, "wow, it used to be so barbaric...thank goodness I don't have to have one of those things come anywhere near me").

I digress.  It's my blog, I can if I want to.

So anyway, she cranked, it hurt like hell, and she saw the spotting.  She didn't say what I wanted her to, which was "your cervix looks nice and closed" as I had heard my few other visits.  She got the rolling prehistoric ultrasound cart, and said that she could see the sac, but it wasn't as big as it should be and couldn't see the heartbeat.  I was crying already but it got worse, and Kevin cried too bless his heart.  Then, because our insurance is a sweetheart (and we don't even have Obamacare yet!) we had to go to a different location (even though they have one right there) to get a higher tech ultrasound to confirm the loss.  Our appointment wasn't until 5:30 but I was crying at check-in and the woman knew why I was there, and said she had been through this too and that I would be okay.  I thought, no I won't, I'll never be okay again.  Anyway, she said she'd try to get us in asap, and we were in about 15 minutes later, 4-something I guess.  I was at a different u/s place this time, and so had a different tech.  She didn't say a word, and told me my doctor would have to give me the results so I'd have to get back in the damn car and wait again at the office.

It was a lovely experience, going back and forth, in tremendous physical and emotional pain, crying in front of old people at the imaging center just getting a scan of their broken hip or whatever, and then in front of about 50 pregnant women at our dr office, who weren't finding out that day that their baby died, and thanking God they weren't me.

Back at the office our dr brought us to a consult room (aka "you will hear bad news here") and told us that the baby had died, it didn't have a heartbeat.  Her words were really just a formality, bc I knew, but you still hold out a bit of hope I guess until you hear it for real, bc more tears started flowing, harder, and Kevin looked like someone stabbed his stomach.  She then said the sac was low, and bc I was already in such pain my miscarriage was probably imminent and I could either go naturally or I could get a d&c.  I chose to go natural - just meaning letting my body do it, bc I took a full dose of Advil and Percocet the minute the prescription was filled.

This was April 12, which I have not mentioned yet was Kevin's 33rd birthday.  In the car after our appointment outside the CVS while Kevin was filling that Rx for me, I called 2 of my friends who knew I was going for that appointment and were praying for me.  I told them I lost the baby, and they were both crying, and they let me yell and one of the things I said was, "tell me, doesn't it seem downright cruel of God, that He has taken our baby away and it is Kevin's BIRTHDAY?!" and she said, "yes, honey, yes it does seem cruel..." And it did.

We called our parents, which was one of the worst things I've ever done.  But the worst was to come, telling our precious, innocent girls.  That will have to be another post.

It is April 20 today, over a week since that has happened.  Already I have felt comfort and healing, so although my emotions as I write this blog seem raw and angry - and they are - I have about a million emotions, that yes, encompass feelings like confusion, sadness, rage but also...acceptance, hope, and a lot, A LOT of love.

just didn't want you to think I was going to go all metal-speculum on someone and do some damage.  I am okay, and our family is struggling but healing, already.  We've already had some laughter again, and joy.  Isn't that amazing, as a week ago, I wondered if for the rest of my life I would feel incomplete and sad.

I just wish I had my baby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

part 2

So I left off at March 8, a Thursday evening when we found out we were expecting.  Overnight, shock and fear gave way to excitement, thankfulness and joy.  I wasn't thinking about what if the baby had CF or some other special need, although yes that was in the back of my mind of course off and on, but really I was thinking about having another chance.  Another opportunity to hold a precious, sweet baby that smelled like Johnson's baby shampoo.  Another chance to nurse - and of course this time I wouldn't give the baby a bottle at all...well, not unless I was really tired and we had some free formula laying around :)  Another opportunity to be the only one in the world that can comfort your baby...and even though you're tired, it gives you a little surge of pride that there is one person who wants you the most of all.  Another chance to hear those baby gurgles and first "mama."  Another chance to get it right.

So the next day I made an appointment at my doctor's office.  They scheduled me for 2 weeks out, and I wondered how I would last that long.  We told my mom that day, bc I can't keep anything from her, and a few days later when Kevin's parents got back from a trip, we told them and my brother and sister in law.  Everyone was shocked and happy, and we were on cloud 9, especially the girls.  A little piece of me was starting to say uh-oh though...because I didn't feel horribly sick like I did with the girls, and I had felt ill with them right away.  I would joke that I conceived and threw up on my way to the bathroom.  So I would think, maybe it's a boy and that's why it's different...and thinking of maybe having a boy excited me for Kevin.  I love girls, and would have loved another, but the thought of Kevin getting to have a little fella made me smile just thinking about it.   But we held back telling many people, because even though by then I had taken maybe 6 positive pregnancy tests, I just wanted to see or hear the little heartbeat first, make it real.  Not throwing up made it seem unreal, since being sick characterized my 2 prior pregnancies.  The few people we did tell were so ecstatic for us that it was hard to not shout it from the rooftops.  And of course although we asked the girls to keep a secret, we knew they couldn't help but "accidentally" tell once in awhile, especially at school.

So a week went by and I called the dr and asked to have the appointment moved up because I was worried about the pregnancy.  I did feel really tired, nauseous, and if you are a woman that's been pregnant, you understand when I say my boobs felt like they were run over by a truck.  But something, something, wasn't right.  And a few times I spotted, very light and a pink color never red, but I never spotted with the girls.  So off I went to the dr.

The first question they ask, which I knew they would, is when was your last period.  Hmm.  I remember when my period was the month before last, bc it was Christmas week and I had to slip squeeze into a Spanx and dress for my brother-in-law's wedding and who could forget that wonderful Christmas present of your period during all that.  But I couldn't remember when it was in late January, so I guesstimated, and that's when things got not-fun.  They did an internal scan and couldn't see a sac, which bc I should've been 6-7 weeks by then, should have shown at least.  So I had to make an appointment to get a higer tech ultrasound done.

I did, and they found a sac.  I had my blood checked and then rechecked, and while my HCG did go up over 48 hours, from 7000 to 10200, it didn't fully double.  I had a bad feeling about that, although they said that many women take up to 4 days to fully double, bc with the girls my HCG was so hight that in fact with Taylor they had me come in for a scan to check for more babies hiding out in there.   But again, I thought maybe it's a boy this time, and I'm 7 years older so perhaps it's just going to be a different pregnancy.  We still weren't telling most people and I felt like we were in out our daily lives yet thinking about this precious baby nonstop, and just wanting to see that heartbeat.

A few weeks later, on Thursday March 29, I had the appointment where we hoped to see growth and hopefully a heartbeat.  In the car before going in to my appointment, I prayed...which was hard to do because I knew God already knew the outcome, and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Him if I didn't get the answer I wanted.  My beliefs tell me to praise even in the pit...and I thought, if I end up in the pit how can I praise?  I've praised after the pit, but in?  But I did pray...I prayed for life, and I prayed that God would help my heart if I received bad news.  I wrote on the back of a grocery list the words from Hebrews 13:8, a verse I love that brings me considerable comfort - Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I put it on my dashboard so it would be the first thing I saw getting back in the car after the appointment.

I was immediately relieved that I had the same ultrasound tech as before, because I really liked her.  During the scan, I didn't look, I closed my eyes and just breathed.  When she said, "look..." I knew.  I knew!!!  And there, there it was, what I wanted so desperately to see, that little flutter that says, "I'm here Mommy, I'm growing!!"  And I just started bawling.  I told her how we had told the girls - in preparation in case we received bad news and we didn't want to shock them - that some babies that start in mommies tummies, are called back to heaven.  The girls then had been praying that our baby wouldn't end up an angelbaby, but a baby for us to have here.  When they would pray that, my heart would just...long for the fulfillment of their prayers.  I would think, "hear them God, please don't disappoint such precious, innocent little girls..."  I was so thankful, so joyful...I felt incredible.

After the scan, I opened the door to see Kevin pacing through another door (they don't let husbands in, a bad rule if you ask me) and I gave him the thumbs up sign.  When I got to him I said, "hurry, let's get outside" because I could tell he wanted the details but I knew I'd lose it again.  We got outside and I jumped on him and was crying again, so joyful for our unexpected baby gift from God, that was here and growing and living.  We called our parents and I got back in my van and saw the verse.  I said a prayer of thankfulness that I didn't need to cling to that verse as a lifeline.  I drove home singing to music and laughing out loud, like a kid amped on sugar.

That was March 29.  We had a lot of fun sharing our good news that weekend with everyone, and that was really special.  We talked about names, we made plans to prep our house to sell and move to a bigger home, we talked about our life as a family of five. That joy followed us until April 12, also a Thursday, 2 weeks later when instead of singing out of joy as I did 2 weeks earlier, I wept with such an intense pain that my face actually felt broken.  Along with my heart.

more later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

from the beginning, part 1

I haven't written about our surprise baby on the blog, so I thought I would tell the story today - more for me than anyone else.  I'll start at the beginning and probably do it in a few parts - bc it will be too long for you the reader, and too intense and emotional for me the writer.

At the beginning of March, I took a pregnancy test.  We hadn't been trying - the opposite of trying - but I was late and had a day of not feeling right.  It was negative.  Kevin and I did a happy dance and I told him I felt like we dodged a bullet, and it showed me I didn't want to go back to the beginning, I didn't want to worry about the health of this child, I didn't want to move, I was ready to work more outside the home, (and actually have money!!) etc.  Kevin has been more than willing for years to get a V, but I was the hold-out, saying we are young, let's wait until I'm 35.  In the meantime, we'll try to not get pregnant but if God wants the opportunity to create in us, who are we to stop Him.

But the rush of emotions - happy, thankful emotions - seeing the test was negative showed me (or so I thought) that I didn't want to have another, we just couldn't.  Shouldn't.

Truth be told, there was the absolute faintest hint of a positive test line, but in my mind I told myself that's the shadow of the line that would appear for someone who's actually pregnant.  But we were safe, life would continue as normal.  Normal, safe.  Those 2 things felt good to me.

So I waited for my period, which seemed to be on hiatus.  The following week, I woke up one night feeling nauseous, but figured it was because I had babysat for a family that just had a stomach bug.  But a friend on fb asking if I was pregnant, so I thought, ok I'll take another test.


My heart starting beating out of my chest.   I had bought the kind for dummies, so it actually said 'Pregnant' on it.  I paced my tiny bathroom, and knew I couldn't keep a secret from Kevin for 2 seconds, so I asked him to come out on the deck with me.  We had just had dinner out there, so he thought I just wanted to keep talking.  Poor men, they don't know what's about to hit them half the time.

I showed him the test and started crying.  He jumped up and started pulling his hair, talking about being the sole breadwinner for 8 more years, we'd have to get a bigger house, where would the baby sleep...what if this baby had CF or a sensory disorder or worse?  How would we pay for college for 2 kids much less 3?!  He was panicking, and all I kept crying (for Kevin but also apparently all of our neighbors to hear...oh well) that God doesn't make mistakes, and He wanted us to have this baby.  We hugged before going back inside to our girls, and he said it would all be okay, but I didn't believe him.  His eyes were full of the emotions I felt.

We tucked in the girls, who had found out what we were talking about, and needless to say they were over the moon.  Ecstatic.  Joyful.  And their emotions were starting to rub off on me.

Kevin took a long run, and I joked about checking to make sure he didn't take his wallet and keys to assure he'd come back.  But it wasn't really a joke - I wondered what this would do to my marriage in the long run.  How much stress would it add, financially, emotionally, physically - especially if this child had special needs.  I enjoy my marriage, and I love having time with Kevin.  I wondered how different that would look, and if we could hack it.  I wondered if he would resent me, since I was the one who said no to having permanent birth control.

He came back, and I was laying on our bed.  He told me to get up, and he gave me the biggest, best hug.  He made me look at him - I was crying again - and his eyes had changed from fear, to joy.  He had a big smile and said, "We can do it again.  It will be wonderful and we can do it.  I'm excited."  I asked him what he smoked on his run, but I was so thankful for his acceptance and joy, and we talked for a long time about the future that night.  I didn't sleep a wink.

That was our first night knowing our littlest one was with us.  March 8, 2012.  I'll write more later.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

my better half

I've been a little bit into Kevin recently.

Which is good, since we are married.  Since we share a house together, are raising children and paying bills together.  Going through life.

We have seasons where he bothers me.  Just being honest!  It doesn't help that we have to share a bathroom.  For some reason, when I am in such a season, running into him in the bathroom seems to really get me peeved.

But right now, he's the cat's meow.  I am so thankful for his positivity, his humor, his gentleness and deep love for me and our girls.  I just can't imagine being without him.

Kevin, you're swell.  I love you.

A pic from Tate's itouch.  Perhaps blurry, but I think she was going for an artistic flair here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

a what-it's-like rant

My cousin recently asked her facebook friends who have special needs children to write her explaining what has helped/what has been difficult.  She is an author, and is writing an article on it.  This was my reply.

Ok so off the top of my head, here is what has encouraged me/annoyed the piss out of me - 

when Bailey was a baby, a friend of my MIL's sent a newspaper clipping to her about embyonic genetic selection...basically inferring that if we were to have another child, we could sort through the embyros before implantation to find out if the kid has CF, and only implant the "good" ones. I was HIGHLY offended, as what if we had done that with Bailey?! Her not be here?! Impossible. And what about those embyros?!  Not for me.

In addition, in having another child, I felt I almost had to explain that it was an unplanned pregnancy, as I felt crucified if I would have willingly had another, subjecting that baby to a possible disease knowingly. "Did you know about the CF before you had Bailey? Did you know you were carriers? Would you have had children?" Really offensive and over the line I think. I would guess many parents of special needs kids feel that their reproductive rights are no longer their own, with privacy as a luxury. It's like if you have a child with an inherited disease, suddenly it's more acceptable for your reproductive plans to pass the approval of others, like it's any of their business. 

For Taylor, she gets looks a lot. Looks of compassion sometimes - but even that can offend me depending on my mood. Like she's something to be sorry about. Looks that say "control your kid" makes me want to get in their face - and yet I'm so busy trying to regulate Taylor and desensitize her to whatever's putting her over the edge, that I couldn't address it. If I could, I'd say, "Are you perfect? Is everyone in your life perfect? Because I think we're all works in progress. What gives you the right to turn your nose down at my precious daughter, who's just trying to survive being in a loud store with a hundred different stimulations that are attacking her sensory system. You try being her for a minute - because she's my hero. She puts up with more on a given day than you would in a month. And still has joy, still has humor, has learned to show love and care to others. Or try being me, a mom who just loves her kid and is trying to do the best she can, to live through it and not just survive, but enjoy the ride. A mom who tries to be two steps of her kid at any given time, but still fails. Often. And when I give you a look like you just gave me, then you can tell me to fuck off. But until then, why don't you try kindness over judgement."

Well that's what has upset me.

As far as encouragement, any time someone praises my children, I glow inside. I soak it up. I am proud, if someone is proud of my child. Any help is appreciated. If we're at a restaurant and Tate is unraveling, an offer to take her for a walk or to the bathroom lets me take a breath. But it's complicated - if the offer is clothed 
in a "let me help you bc you obviously can't do it" look, I push away the help, I'll take care of her myself. But if it's given in a "let me spend time with the lovely Tatie Tot, come on sweetheart!!" kind of way, I SO appreciate and accept. Does that make sense?

I could talk about this for hours, but your eyes are probably crossed and I have to pee anyway. 

So that was my response.  Any of you with a child with special needs, thoughts?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

when mom is down for the count...

lots of things fall apart.

Dishes mount, laundry stays soiled, rotting in the washer if you threw in a load before sickness struck.  The kids' hair goes unbrushed, mail piles up, artwork from just a few days of school clutters your counter.

Hair and toothpaste is in the sink.  When was the last time the towels were changed out?  Something starts to smell in the fridge.  The kids eat cereal for dinner and have to buy lunch for school bc you wouldn't imagine spending 15 minutes trying to explain what to make for the kids and how, to your husband - much less who gets the Hello Kitty bag and who gets the Princess.  (You'd think their names in black sharpie on the label would help, but it's not a guarantee when you see the spaced out, confused look in his eyes).

I have a good, helpful husband.  But he's still a man, he's no mama.

I am so thankful to be feeling better, as my house was this close to falling apart, as is what happens with one sick day.  Am I right, mommies?  It's just the way it is.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

muffin top

Last night I was dressing in jeans and a shirt, and unfortunately, the jeans that were clean were the ones that pronounce my muffin top.

It's not my fault, it's poorly made jeans.  Really.  Has nothing to do with me eating actual muffins.  And anything else that's not nailed down.

Which brings me to my point of this post.

If I was a doctor, or a researcher, I would study why fat people keep eating.  WHY?!  Most overweight people don't WANT to be overweight.  A skinny person would say, "Then just don't eat!  Exercise more!  It's not rocket science!"

And guess what - That is exactly how one loses weight.  And people do, it's not impossible!  But for the person who would love to be thinner, CRIES because they are not, what happens physiologically between those thoughts of "I am going to exercise x/times a week and eat x/calories a day..." and then overeating again.

Sometimes I think it's a simple reason.  Habit.  Emotion.  A genetic predisposition perhaps to carry more weight.

But sometimes, I think it's really something that the medical world hasn't cracked yet.  How does one get to be HUNDREDS of pounds?  Oh my heart breaks for them!!  They can't WANT to be like that, life is passing them by!  And yet, they "let" themselves get like that.  To me, it is no different than a smoker who knocks out 2, 3 packs a day or an alcoholic who can't pass by the liquor store day after day, even though they are losing their job, house, family.  SOMETHING takes over that is STRONGER than anything they think in their head, and they take another drink.

I don't know.  I'm just rambling.  Two times in my life have I lost a chunk of weight.  Something came over me and I WOULD NOT "cheat."  Something came over me.

Where is that something and would it please come over me?!

In the meantime, now I really am craving a muffin for breakfast.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March menu

I love thinking about what I am going to make for dinner.  I love cooking, and I love eating.

"Confessions from a fat girl."

Anyway, each month I peruse my freezer, fridge, cupboards and pantry (don't envision an actual pantry, envision a hall closet that is supposed to be for coats that I converted to a "pantry."  Coats now hang on over-the-door hooks in the hallway).   I have ideas in my head of recipes I want to try, or meals we love, and see what I have the ingredients for and what I still need to get.  Then I make a list, and each week on Sunday evening I plug in meals for the week.  I have been planning around 20 meals, bc we have leftovers and go out to eat sometimes.


1 Pizza and salad (DiGiornos tonight for family game night)

2 Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread

3 Chili and cornbread muffins (ew but Kevin likes them)

4 Chili mac (one night is the soup, a few days later I add cooked macaroni to the leftovers)

5 Ham and Potato Soup (I have a hambone in the freezer I need to use up), grapes

6 Chicken, veggie, rice casserole and homemade applesauce

7 Veggie beef soup, cheese and crackers

8 Breakfast for dinner - egg casserole and taters

9 Breakfast for dinner - pancakes and turkey bacon

10  Chicken marsala, noodles, green beans

11 Turkey breast (I am going to crock-pot it and then use the meat for soup, pot pie and turkey salad for Kevin's lunch)

12 Grilled italian sausage, onion and peppers sammies, fruit salad

13 Pork chops, herb rice, peas

14 Taco salad

15 Grilled cheese and tomato soup

16 Chicken cutlets, fettucini, broccoli

17 London broil, oven potatoes, salad

18 Ravioli, salad

19 BBQ pulled pork, cole slaw

20 Macaroni and cheese, applesauce

Now I am hungry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

worst feeling in the world

Kevin and I are in a small group comprised of several friends from church.  We meet once a month and are currently studying the book, The Five Love Languages.   Saturday evening it was our turn to host the group in our home.  We have dinner first, and then go over a few chapters.

Well, as any woman knows, entertaining in your home means going on a cleaning blitz.  Because Kevin is a good man, and he knew I was doing all of the shopping and cooking for what we were contributing to dinner, he helped me clean Saturday afternoon.  At one point, he was vacuuming and I was cleaning the upstairs bathroom.  The girls had been in and out of the house all afternoon, playing in the back yard because it was a nice day.  The vacuum shut off, and I hear Taylor singing in her room.  Something inside of me told me Bailey wasn't with her, because currently the bane of Bailey's existence is listening to her sister sing.

I go to Tate's room and ask, "where's Bailey?"  Taylor said she didn't know.  I start calling for Bailey, to no answer.  Kevin starts calling.  Our cries for her become more loud and desperate once we realize she's not outside either.  Throughout the house we're screaming for her, yelling to come out RIGHT NOW.  I was so scared she had gone outside, even though she knows she's not allowed out by herself.  My mind immediately jumped to the whole "it only takes a second" and my heart felt like a million pounds in my chest.

Within a few minutes, we did find her - in the downstairs bathroom.  I had forgotten that I asked her to clean it!!  The fan in that tiny room is so loud that if the door is shut, you can't hear a thing.  It startled her so much when I threw the door open and squeezed her to me, and I was so thankful she was safe.

I know I sound like a nutjob, and I know I felt like one.  But that is one of my worst fears, if not my worst - that something evil will befall my daughters.  I don't know how I would live if something like that happened, someone evil taking my girl.

Thank you God, that You protect us each day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday morning

As I write this, Taylor is coloring, Bailey is watching a movie and I am sipping coffee while I play on my laptop.  Kevin left already for church, he works in the nursery for the first service.  I used to do it, and he would pinch hit for me if I couldn't wake early, for instance.  He's so much better at waking earlier than I am.  Anyway, he bonded to a few of the kids after they bonded to him, and he now does it every Sunday.  I think it makes him feel so good to have those little ones scream, "Mr Kevin!" and run to him.  I love that feeling too, but not enough to wake earlier than I have to.

We go to church every single Sunday unless we're away.  We've been regular attenders for 6 years.  Before that, as a young married couple, we did go, but not every Sunday.  Then we had Bailey, and I was scared to death of taking her around anything as germ-filled as a church, so we didn't really go except for special occasions for like a year at least.  Then I got pregnant, and the thought of ever getting ready for ANYTHING unless I HAD to was out of the picture, I felt so ill the whole pregnancy.  Then Tate came, and please, that's self-explanatory.  But then after a few months, I knew we NEEDED some church!!

So we started "church shopping" which was terrible.  Every Sunday we'd try another one, and Bailey, who was 2 and had separation anxiety, would go nuts.  I would hate Sunday mornings, and I worried Bailey would hate church!  But then we found HOPE, in March of 2006, and we never left.  Bailey didn't cry, she had so much fun she never missed us!  And everyone was so loving, and friendly.  We liked how down-to-earth the pastor was, and the fact that he has a special needs son endeared me to him more, to tell you the truth.  In fact, HOPE has a "buddy" program for families with special needs kids that buddy up someone from the church with their child, so the parent can enjoy the service.  Anyway, we love it there.  There is so much going on that anyone could find an activity that they want to plug into - from mens basketball to womens yoga to MOPS to Bible studies - and the kids have a great program and lots of activities too.  I sound like a commercial but I really love this church!

Anyway, our Sunday mornings are always about heading to HOPE.  Once in awhile I feel like I would just like to stay home, but then I know how much my girls would miss Sunday school, and I go...and I'm always glad I did.

I think in this world of negative influences, negative people and tons of problems, it's nice to go to a place that's about building you up, and strengthening you, strengthening families.  If you're in South Jersey, give us a try - wear your jeans and you can have coffee during the service, we're casual!