Tidbits of Us

I am the wife of an amazing man, seeking hard after God's will for his family, and the mother of 3 beautiful little girls and a 4th baby lost in pregnancy, who all pull at my heartstrings continually. Life has been a whirlwind since our wedding in 2008, including seminary, adventures in camp ministry, missions in Kosovo, and countless moves and God's fingerprints are throughout it all. We are blessed and encouraged that He is equipping us continually for the ministry ahead and pray we are great stewards to all he has entrusted to us, in family, friends, ministry, finances, and of course, the gospel.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Things remembered: attempting healthy healing after miscarriage.

I have a natural and exceptionally deep 
longing to have our baby known.
To tell of the life that was never born,
but DID live.
The life that although incredibly short,
has changed me.

You can find our not so simple story here.

This is baby bear.

Such a simple little bear, and yet, so much meaning within this little fellow.

For each of our girls we made a build-a-bear. We made them pretty quickly after we found out the gender and picked their name so it would be the very first toy they received. We also put our voices in them to hear our voice when we weren't near. Shortly after we knew we had lost our 4th child, I knew we needed to make him or her a bear as well. We picked a simple, gender neutral little bear with a sweet little smile and incredibly soft fur. My husband and I each wrote a note to our baby. We took all the girls with us and talked about the reason for this bear.

The older woman gently stuffing our bear turned with her big smile and asked who this one was for. After just a slight pause I smiled and gently said, A sweet little baby that didn't get to be born. She smiled so kindly. She didn't feel the need to offer words of sympathy. She didn't give off any kind of awkward feeling. It was refreshing to talk about my baby to a complete stranger.

For those not familiar, they have little red satin hearts that the child can kiss, make a wish, and place inside the toy they are creating before it's closed up. I picked a heart and asked each of our girls to give it a kiss. The woman knowingly didn't ask them to make a wish or do any of the blowing on it to warm it up, rubbing on their tummy and jumping up and down sort of things they would usually ask the child to do. She simply held our bear open, ready to receive the kiss covered heart. We also placed our letters and two ultra sound pictures inside.

We don't keep him high on a shelf as an untouchable. We want our children to love on baby bear, cuddle him, sleep with him, and wear him out. Eden is our 2.5 year old who has never been good with transition or with one of us missing. Once old enough to realize daddy left for work every day, she cried for months and months each morning until she finally got use to it. When Madison, our 4 year old, started half day preschool this fall, Eden had the hardest time adjusting out of all of us. Just last night we went to Madison's Christmas show and Eden lost it when we dropped M off with her teacher. (But oh those incredibly sweet girls, as M was on stage with her class waiting for the song to start she found us and kept asking from stage, where's Eden, until she finally saw her and could wave. Of course Eden was super excited to see M up there as well.) So, naturally, Eden is in love with baby bear. She loves to play and cuddle with the bear and tries to keep it all to herself.

The greatest part about our bear, it reminds us all about our baby. The girls will say that the bear is for our baby who is in heaven, and talk and ask questions. It brings me amazing comfort to know our children have a reminder to keep from forgetting about our baby. And of course, baby bear has caught a few of my tears as well.

And this....

is our baby's stocking. I've made it identical to each of our daughters with the exception that it's white.

The day I hung the stockings and put up the tree was slightly heartbreaking. I kept thinking about how next year there should be four stockings. I could picture it there. After a few weeks I realized, why not hang a stocking? My request, and please feel free to join in, is for help filling it. We asked if anyone would do a random act of kindness in remembrance of our baby and privately share it in writing with us. Or just a personal note. We are printing them and sticking them in the stocking to read together when the time is right on Christmas. If you would like to send one, please say in the first line that it's for our stocking so we don't read it right away. Normally I would say good deeds should go unnoticed, but for us to know that kindness is being spread through this grieving process is an incredible blessing and touches my heart.

These are my new necklaces....

I have made them both myself and would be honored to make one for anyone struggling to remember their lost babies. The one on the left is shaped like a pocket watch. My father always carried one. It worked (and still does) on six diamonds, was engraved with his initials, which also happen to be mine (with my maiden name), opened in front and back and has gold roman numerals. It has a beautiful and intricate design. I always loved it and would beg to see it. Always. When I graduated high school he gave it to me with a personal engraving on the inside of the back. It's treasured to this day, especially as we approach the ten year anniversary of his passing. So the shape of this necklace is already intimate.

Inside my necklace is the saying, "The first thing you saw was Jesus", as well as what would have been the birthstone (May) for our baby, an angel wing, the letter A for Anderson, and a sunflower because baby was the size of a sunflower seed when we lost him or her. It also happens to be my favorite flower. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look at a sunflower the same again. They will be more intimate to me then ever before. I realized this when Aaron brought me four sunflowers a week after my D&C. I couldn't bring myself to throw them away once they were beyond wilted.

I do want to make clear, the angel wing is not because I hold the believe my baby is an angel, or an angel baby as many say. The bible tells us that we are created higher then the angels. We are God's most valuable creation. When a believer in Christ Jesus dies, he or she does not become an angel because we are better then that. Our maker has told us so in His word. My baby is better then any angel. This angel wing comes from a song by Brave Saint Saturn. One line ran through my head over and over as I've grieved this baby. "The angel's wings cover you tonight, hallelujah, press your head against the breast of Christ, Hallelujah." This is what the angel wing is for.

The necklace on the right is a birds nest for any momma. I love these, but was waiting and waiting to make one until I knew we were done having children. But I've finally decided that if God wants to bless us with more children, I can always make a new one.

And finally, this....

Our willow tree figurines. I have a whole line of them, each depicting times in my life that I cherish. I'm not a big collector of anything, especially figurines, but these have become sentimental. I found the perfect willow tree figurine for our cake topper when we were married and I was eventually given two more as gifts, each holding something symbolic to me. One holds a sunflower, which now makes it even more meaningful. My husband gave me the one of an expecting mom gingerly holding her belly when I was expecting our first, and we were given one of parents and their children. My sweet mother-in-law gave me one for all three of our girls last year, depicting something of each of their characters. After we lost our baby she gave me the fourth one you see here. An angel holding a baby. I tear up just looking at it now. How I long to hold my baby. The comfort to have this visual reminder that my baby is being taken care of by his or her creator. Sometimes it stirs up painful emotions of how I long to hold and care for our baby. And other times it brings so much comfort. A sense that it's ok. My baby isn't neglected. My baby is living in heaven with our Creator.

It's not always easy, but there is joy and peace in that.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

To lose a life through miscarriage: Our not so simple story.

"Just a regular ol' miscarriage".

I don't know how many times she said it. I don't think it was too many, but just once was more then enough. I can still picture her, casually leaning against the counter next to my bed in the small ER room. My husband in the chair by my feet. We were right across from the nurses table. On a corner where traffic was high and most people felt the need to look in as they passed by.

She used her hands as she talked and gave a half sort of shrug as she said it. Her tone was meant to lighten the blow.

She knew why we were there. As she heard we had three children and were pregnant with our fourth she shared the joy of having four close in age just like ours. Her baby was merely a few months younger then ours. She joked of how we must be insane to plan it this way.

It was a Friday. The last few days paranoia had set in. I had made my first appointment for the 10 week mark. I was an old pro at this pregnancy thing by now and wasn't going to rush in as soon as they would let me. We had planned on this being our last, and part of me couldn't throw away the pregnancy test. I had never once kept it before, but something in me just held on. I would often go to the bathroom just to look at it as it rested on the counter in it's little spot. But I was growing nervous. So, I put my three girls into a much needed bath in our big tub and as they splashed and played I went to the calendar to make a phone call. I easily adjusted the appointment to the very day I would be 8 weeks.

I remember her voice. I leaned against the corner in our kitchen counter to rest my ever so mildly aching back and verified the date and time I had written in blue dry erase marker. I'd told Aaron the night before that my back felt as though I'd worked out recently, but I just couldn't figure out what I had done to make it sore. She confirmed and began to remind me of the things to bring. But I wasn't hearing her anymore. The sound was there, but it wasn't anything I could hear. Instead my body simply felt. In a moment of horrific timing, as we prepared to hang up I almost told her. I almost said it.

I'm bleeding.

I'm bleeding....

Any woman would recognize the feeling and know it instantly. And any woman would know, if it's enough to feel it happening, it's not just spotting.

My body felt the sudden wave of fear. The sudden rush of panic.

I don't even remember getting off the phone. But I was aware enough to be sure to take it with me as I rushed to the toilet. I dropped my pants and tears emerged with immediately and incredible force. I sat there staring in disbelief, and yet knowingly, and sobbed. Unable to divert my gaze. The crimson red. When I close my eyes I can still see it. Bright. Obvious. Too much of it.

I called Aaron and had to say words over and over that I'd never thought would leave my lips. I kept hearing these words pour out of my mouth as he couldn't understand through my tears. I don't know how many times I had to say it, but somewhere in there he heard. Repeat with my mother in law. Disbelief at what my words were saying. I got off the phone and looked up, suddenly realizing my three children were in the bath, staring at me. My oldest, an innocent 4 years of life, her eyes bore an expression I've never seen on her sweet face before. The child was in fear and confused. The other two watched while playing. My 2.5 year old uneasy.

 I struggled for composure. Not now. Don't loose it now.  They need me. They need mommy. If mommy's world is falling apart then theirs is spinning out of control.  I struggled to dry my eyes. Calm my voice. Smile. "It's ok baby. Everything is ok". She relaxes. She trusts me. She begins to play again. They trust me. If mommy says everything is ok, then it is.

I fear eventually this moment will be one of my 4.5 year old's first memories.

So I wash my children and get them dressed. I call the OB and wait. But I can't, so we prepare to go to the ER. In a moment of tears my sweet 2 year old asks if I'm sad. When I say yes she sings a favorite Daniel tiger song. "It's ok to feel sad some times. Little by little, you'll feel better again." I ache to believe those words.

I lay in a cold ER. My back pain had suddenly become just bearable at the same time the bleeding had started. But I can bare it. Resisting the urge to cry from the pain shooting through my body as I hold various positions for exams and internal ultra sounds. A handful of hours and a diagnosis later. A "regular ol' miscarriage". They had tried to comment on the positives, but I knew.

I knew when the ultra sound tech, barely out of school, wouldn't let me see the screen. I knew when she refused to tell me a thing. I knew when I told her even if they baby had passed I would like a picture and she responded by letting me know I was too early for this to be a baby either way. I knew referring to my baby as a fetus or still just tissues was easier for her. I felt angered by it, but I felt sorry for her as well. What if she saw this all day long. What if this was a way of removing the emotions for her. Her way to cope. I knew when she walked out of the computer room, not knowing we were still in the hall waiting to be taken back down, and averted her gaze the instant she saw us, quickly wiping her eyes.  She said everything when she said nothing.

A weekend passed and I numbly walked into the OB's office. But this time was different. This time there was hope given. This time the ultra sound showed more then we had expected. The thought of two babies. There were two sacks, but both were full of clots. We never actually saw a baby in the one sack, so they assumed this baby had passed. No longer viable as they said. But the second sack. This one held hope. This one held a living child. As we watched the smallest heartbeat I have ever seen, I was filled with hope and joy. But this baby wasn't safe. This baby was surrounded by clots much larger then itself. My baby was about the size of a grain of rice, and the clot was almost the size of a dime. And rested threateningly right next to my baby.

For the next ten days I waited and prayed. Every day I prayed this life would be granted to our family. This life would one day be in my arms, a strong, healthy baby. For ten days we prayed for a miracle with the second life. We prayed Both babies would be in our arms. For ten days I reminded myself not to forget the threat. I tried to be careful not to feel certain in my hope. The slightest hint of lower back pain and I felt the fear closing in. Ready to invade any speck of hope to be found. I'd begun having morning sickness and all the glories that come with first trimesters. I even began to notice a firm area in my lower stomach starting. I knew this all too well. This was the beginnings of hope. I began to feel certain of it. And I forgot. I forgot the risk, no matter how many times I said it was there. I completely forgot about it. 

Ten days went by. My anxiety getting the best of me. Two more weeks was too long to wait. They can squeeze me in. I can make this work. I walked into the ultra sound room ready. Ready to see my baby. Ready to accept the possible second baby was gone for sure, but praying with every step closer to the bed that both were living. 

I knew things didn't look right before she said anything. She informed me the "second baby" was not an actual baby. Similar to that of a Mohlor pregnancy in a way. My body thought the clots were another baby and treated them as such, but things had grown enough now that they could tell the difference. 

She was gently taking the long way around. She was stalling. I acknowledged all she said and waited for what I knew was coming. If it was good news she would have lead with it. I would have seen movement, I would have felt her relief. She took measurements. She tilted her head and adjusted in her seat. I asked if she was measuring the baby. She was. My baby had been alive. My baby had grown in the past ten days. But it was no longer growing. There was no movement. There was no joy. No relief. No hope. My heart was breaking. I blamed my shaking on the coldness of the room. I forced a smile as we said two sentences about how offices are so cold. She offered a picture with unsure body language. I accepted and glanced at the broken pieces of my heart that were encompassed within this four by four square of black and white ink laying lifeless in my hands. 

We chose to wait two more weeks. I felt lifeless. But I had to take care of my children. I had to smile. They needed me to be ok. They needed mommy to have some life left in her for them. My goal: to get out of bed. Every day. To step out of bed. And every day I did.

We told our daughters that the baby in my belly went to be with Jesus because he or she wasn't able to grow right. For days they'd ask if there was another baby in my belly yet. Every time they asked I fought the urge to crumble.

Every day I feared it beginning. I feared my body doing what it was suppose to at this point. I was constantly prepared for it to begin. I dwelt on my baby being flushed down the toilet or the drain of the shower in a mixture of blood and water. I feared it happening at home and having to use my own bathroom or shower again after that. I feared images that would never leave my mind. I feared the pain. I ached at the thought of having to flush the toilet. I don't think I could have. I couldn't even throw away the underwear from that first day. I was too horrified to look at them. I asked my husband to throw them away along with the pregnancy test, being sure that I didn't know when he was doing it. 

I feared my body, once again, not doing what it was suppose to. I feared the cold and sterile operating room. I feared them ripping my baby from my body to dispose of him or her in a hazardous waste bag. I feared choosing to be asleep for the whole thing would be letting my baby down. If it happened at home I would at least be giving my baby absolutely everything I could. As if choosing the operating room was a way of failing my child. 

Every day I fought morning sickness. Struggled to try to eat when everything sounded or smelled repulsive. Yearned for the constant nausea and lack of energy to give way. Pregnancy symptoms that you usually tell yourself are worth it in the end. You struggle but you get through, and you barely remember them even if trying as your holding your baby in your arms.

But what do you tell yourself when there's not going to be a baby. When you've prepared your heart for this person that will never be with you.

The anger came in waves. Hard and strong waves. Mostly directed at myself, or just at the loss. Some days I felt it would eat me alive. Every time I ached to fall apart, to have my outside match my insides, a child needed a drink. A cuddle. A story read. A mommy who had it together. A mommy they could fall into and know everything was safe. Everything was ok. Stand strong, momma. You can't fall apart today.

I haven't really asked why. I know the answers to that. I know God has a plan and it's glorious and greater then I can imagine or fathom or even handle at this point. I know it deep in my heart, not just in my mind. So I have no need to ask why. Nor am I angry with God. I'm not angry that this is something he will use in our life. I'm not angry at Him for something that isn't his doing but is an effect of the fall and man's sin. He will use it to bring us closer to him if we will allow Him to see us through this. If nothing else it reminds me of how much in need of a Savior we are because of our sin. Because God's glorious plan didn't include this when he created the earth. Man marred the whole thing up. God in his infinite wisdom planned a savior from the very beginning. God holds my baby. Right now my baby is with the savior of the world!! And because of my savior cleansing me from my sins as only Jesus Christ could do, I will see my baby one day. Just maybe God will be there, holding my baby as I walk up. Ready to introduce us. God's plan was never that we would loose our children. He desires for us to see each other again, just as He desires for us to live eternally in Heaven with Him, if we would only see and accept the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. God yearns for restoration with passion. God yearns to restore my heart through this pain as well. And it will take time. And it won't be easy. 

Two weeks passed. Another ultra sound. I walked in determined not to cry. This time my body had finally done what was best. My body absorbed most of the clots, as well as my baby. I wouldn't have to flush the toilet. I wouldn't have to hold back from vomiting every time I saw a blood red hazardous waste bag or symbol. Relief floods me when I think of this. Relief marred with anger. NOW my body decides to do what it was suppose to? It couldn't have done this 4 weeks ago when my baby needed me most? Anger, and relief. 

They called to inform me of the date and time of the D&C. I struggled to keep myself from collapsing as she said these words. Four weeks had slowly passed. But it was here. I don't know if my emotions were relieved that this was going to bring it all to a close, or if the depth of the reality was finally hitting me. This was really happening. This was final. I am one in four. I have a baby born in heaven. I have had a miscarriage. 

Halloween day I laid cold on the bed. The mask went over my face. I can picture that exact moment clearly, as I can all of these moments. They way they show it in the TV shows, from the patients perspective, that's pretty much how it looks. I watched a show just last night where they showed this. And I had to close my eyes to stop from crying. It took me right back. I was on that bed again. 

Tomorrow is 5 weeks from our D&C. I don't know how it's been this long already. The physical healing is complete, although it took more time then I expected. The emotional... the depths are yet to be seen. Most of which will probably be seen here. Because, as a wise friend has said, writing is cheaper then therapy. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's been a while... and I'll tell you why...

Life is busy. It's mundane. It's crazy beyond belief. It's routine.

If I say "I'm tired" one more time I'm going to slam my head into a wall. And if anyone knows me, hitting my head is almost one of the very worst thing that could happen to anyone around me, because it makes me instantly angry and it's always... ALWAYS someone else's fault.

I'm not even really tired half of the times I say it, but I don't know what I am, therefore it covers it. It's like those times when you're not actually hungry, but you keep snacking. You're really board or anxious. Or dehydrated. Do you realize you often confuse being hungry with actually being thirsty! We are such crazy creatures!!

We've been doing a lot since the last time I posted. But mostly, my silence isn't due to busyness or lack of. It's not from demanding children or crazy schedules. In fact, most of that is pretty much in the normal range around here. Well, except my newly 3 year old deciding to bring out all the rebellion that comes with this age. That's been really fun the last month!!

I could tell you I've been busy, but really, it's been completely manageable.

Not very overwhelmed either.

Nope, none of those are the "issue" here. It appears to be. I sure look like a maniac from time to time, but I usually save that for my poor husband to try and decode.

Here's what it is... the real truth behind what I label as overwhelmed, tired, busy, or even just in need of a break.


The average member creates pure beauty in every craft, home schools, has time to read, sews, dinner is always fabulous as well as her hair, and takes the kids to story time, gymnastics, swimming, football, baseball, and probably even skydiving classes! Every special occasion has a perfectly themed party to celebrate it. Not to mention she has an immaculate and fully pinterest decorated home on a very frugal budget that she always stays within. They always have the best tips and advice and do their own research for pretty much everything.

Members must breastfeed their children, make their own baby food, use cloth diapers, find the perfect stance on the vaccine issue, wear their babies, NEVER have too much TV, eat all organic (grown in your perfect garden out back is best) and have the perfect discipline habits that never include spanking.

The elite members blog multiple times a week and are on their way to publishing a book... and it may not be their first one to be published, it just depends on how long they have been a mom.

If you don't believe me, publicly begin to discuss your personal parenting style in these areas. I promise you will hesitate to share in several of these areas. Not because you have nothing to say or have not figured out what works for your family, but because it doesn't line up with the "mom culture".

I'm not saying that if you do some of these things you're part of the problem, not by any means!! I'm simply stating that those so "into" the mom culture tend to be noticed. Somehow, out of all the moms in the United States, these "mom-culture members" seem to stand out so much that we've begun to believe as a whole that this is what a mom should really look like. THIS is the answer.

The problem is the rest of us moms out here. Watching. Reading. Listening. Trying.

We have forgotten that the average mom is just that. Average.

The "Average mom" member will pin a million things on pinterest and maybe try 10% of them. Even then, half turn out to be pintrocities instead. We burn dinner on a regular basis, and a few nights a week we don't even make dinner. We just throw something together and call it a meal. We take time to do the fun things with our children and we have learned to figure out what will work best for them and us. We've learned 15 different 5 minute buns or braids, or we've cut our hair way shorter then we wanted it because we know if we are not up before the children, our hair will not be done that day. And really, how many of us are up before the children intentionally!

And when I am trying to accomplish something, my children are sure to put an end to that. Simply making me more frustrated because my type A personality "needs" to finish it. There are no stopping points. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop writing this post this afternoon. You can probably tell by where the transitions are choppy or a sudden paragraph that doesn't quite fit in the area it's been placed! And then I'm more frustrated at my lack of attention and gentleness towards my toddler who just wants a simple snack. It's not my 1 year olds fault she woke up from her nap 10 minutes before it would have been convenient. It baffles me how these mom culutre members get anything done over and above the typical mom tasks. I wonder where their children are when they are blogging or decorating their house or creating beautiful artworks or sewing quilts, or maybe they just don't sleep?!! Their children are certainly not half naked in front of the TV shoving Oreos in their mouth as mine are when I'm simply trying to clean the bathrooms.

As the average mom, we get through and we enjoy being a mom. We love our children with overflowing hearts. We get tired and warn out, but it's not truly, deeply because of our responsibilities as much as it is the expectations over and above our responsibilities that we have put on ourselves.

And nothing.... not one thing we have done, hits the mark at the end of the day. We simply think, well, we are all still alive. I must not have screwed up that bad today.

But why?? Because we are saturated with mom-culture. It's like teen girls that are so saturated with what media says is beautiful. They don't realize how beautiful they really are. They don't see the virtue in purity or a gentle spirit. They are too overwhelmed with seeing the things that they are not constantly flashed before them.

This is how mom culture works.

I read these two quotes on a blog today, which is what finally inspired me to get around to writing some of my thoughts on the topic....

"And if they're tired [moms], they're weakIf they're anxious, they're unspiritualIf they fail, they're unworthy.

In the end your kids care far less about how presentable their dinner is and far more about how healthy their mom is. They may not understand it in these terms, but they certainly reap the implications of it.Your kids need you to be a daughter of God before you are a mom to them.

While a "good" mom may do a lot for her kids, a "great" mom understands all that Jesus has done for her. Her mothering flows from there, even if the dishwasher doesn't get emptied that day."

 Reading it made me tear up. I want to see myself as beautiful even in the mess, but all I see is a weak, unspiritual and unworthy mom.

I'm not tired, I'm just tired of feeling like a failure if I raised my voice out of emotion when my children were not misbehaving all that much.

I stare down the barrel of my newly 3 year olds newly acquired behaviors and see how fast they frustrate me, and I only feel more heavy at the thought of a whole year dealing with this and watching myself over react every. single. time. Why do I forget to give myself the benefit of the doubt. We have figured out each stage so far, of course we will figure out how to best handle this one, and even our failed attempts will only grow us in wisdom. I forget because I see how much mom-culture has it together. It's a mirror to my failings. 

When I am full of despair and frustration at the end of a day, it's almost never because of my children. It's because of me. Because I expect myself to compare to the moms of mom culture. To the the blogs and books and skills of the moms plastered everywhere. When I say I am tired, I'm really just upset at my failures. And when I realize I'm just being too harsh on myself and expecting too much, I then feel the failure of falling short of seeking God's approval over mom-culture's.

Yes, sometimes I'm genuinely tired. And yes, my children do genuinely frustrate me at times. Sometimes over and over and over in a day. I'll gladly admit that one. But how I catch myself reacting frustrates me even more.

But most of the time, I'm simply another victim of another day of mom-culture saturation.

The worst part is, we moms need each other. We need support. Comfort. Advice. Adult conversation!! Oh that coveted adult conversation!! But we become so saturated with expectations we are afraid to admit how we have been doing things, even if they have been working. We'd rather have the "right" answer for each other then what we've figured out worked best for us, or at least got us through. Because, lets face it, we moms know exactly how things "should" have been done, we've all tried to fit that mold and make it work for us at least once.

So yes, mom-culture has been in my way. Keeping me silent simply because life has been full lately, and I've felt mostly failure at all of it. I want to name the heaviness of failure by what it is. I'm not tired. I'm not overwhelmed. I am not anxious or too busy or frustrated. It happens, yes, but that's not what I am most of the time.

I am heavy with feelings of failing my children. My husband. My family. Myself. My Savior.
I cannot be this mom.

My three daughters deserve an example that cares more about God's approval for my life then mom-cultures unspoken and unrealistic expectations. Not that doing crafts or taking my children to story time is bad, but I don't want them to grow up believing a moms role is to strive the hardest you can at absolutely everything and beat yourself up when you fail. They will have enough pressure from society to be that kind of mom already. I pray I can be the mom that helps them see past that through my example of seeking God's guidance, wisdom and discernment, and most of all, His approval for how I have mothered my children.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gender predictors and wives tales

So I've been silent on here for a while!! A combination of lack of time, and lack of anything worth sharing really. Not that anyone cares to hear my rants to begin with!

But, I had an idea that I've thought about with all my pregnancies. Collecting a good bit of wives tales on how to predict the gender and then testing them out! With Eden (baby #2) we'd thought a lot about not finding out the gender, but I just couldn't hold out. My idea if we did wait was to have a baby shower that was just a fun time doing all these gender predictor things. Obviously that didn't pan out!

So, I collected my list weeks ago... before my bump was even really showing. Went through them, peed on a few things, collected my results and lost the list! Finally found it a week ago, slid into the small crack under my nightstand drawer and the base of the night stand. My oldest loves to play "mail boxes" and slide papers into small cracks. I'm guessing this is what happened here. I feel slightly bad for blaming my husband who diligently vacuumed the house the day it disappeared. I knew it had fallen on the floor by the bed and figured he tossed it in the process. Sorry love!

Then my baby found it... and tore it up. Along with our dog, who for some reason really likes to eat paper with sticky stuff on it. Usually post it notes and band aid wrappers. When I caught the baby tearing up the list I also caught the dog eating some of it, which was a little weird since she normally doesn't eat just normal paper.

Oh well.... so I've salvaged all I could and it's not in too bad of shape. There is a chunk missing, but it's from the right side, so I remember most of what's missing based on what's still there. :)

We find out the gender tomorrow!! So I figured I better get this going soon! I've decided to try a column format and see how it goes... Sorry, they are random and in no organized order as far as the list goes! The more complicated ones and comments on them are below quick list. I've highlighted my personal results for this pregnancy. Of course, I have comments about most and my results. They will be below.

For those who could care less of the details: my final tally was 11 for girl and 9 for boy of the ones I tried or will announce (there are two I know the answer to, but it's none of your business!)

** THEORY**                        *SIGN FOR GIRL     *SIGN FOR BOY
1. How you carry                        High                               Low
2. Where you carry                  All around/watermelon   Front/basketball
3. Heart rate                             150's & higher                140's & lower
4. Cravings                                  sweet/citrus                     salty/savory
5. Face Breakouts                    A girl steals your beauty    mild to none
6. Hang ring over belly                back and forth                circles
7. Morning sickness                     moderate to severe         mild to none
8. Side you sleep on                     right                               left
9. Hair                                          thin/dull                         thick/full
10. Hands                                     soft                                dry
11. Moody                                    yes                                not so much
12. Size of boobs                          right is bigger                left is bigger
13. Feet                                         normal                          colder
14. Leg/armpit hair                       normal                          grows faster
15. Headaches                              mild/none                     frequent
16. Direction pillow faces             south                            north
17. Color of pee                            dull                               bright/neon
18. Previous child's first word       any but dada                dada
19. Sex during conception            dad aggressive        mom aggressive
20. Dreams of gender (opposite)  dream of boy                dream of girl
21. Hold out hands naturally        palms up                       palms down
22. eat garlic                                 no scent                   comes out pores

(I'll just say now, no one needs to know if one of my boobs is bigger then the other, or who was more aggressive in bed!! I may have a huge lack of filter in almost every area, but I DO have limits! Just saying!)

some that are too long for the column format:
23. Mom's age at conception, with (not adding) the number of month baby was conceived: Both are even or both odd = girl. One even and one odd = boy.

24. Moms age at conception PLUS (add) the month of conception: odd = girl. even = boy.

25. Pee in a cup with baking soda covering the bottom: nothing happens = girl. Fizzes = boy.

26. Boil red cabbage 10 minutes. Combine 1 part cabbage water with one part pee. Purple = girl. pink/red = boy. (For this one I knew the water was so purple the pee wasn't going to change it. And it didn't. So then I diluted the water since I had used a lot of cabbage with just enough water, in a smaller pot. Just in case it would have made a difference if there was more water then cabbage. It didn't make a difference at all in changing the color. Still purple.)

27. Look at the hairline of your last child: if it comes to a point then your next will be opposite gender. Straight and the baby will be the same. My baby barely has any hair, so I'd say it comes to a point, but that's unfair since her hairline isn't really there yet at exactly one year old (on Monday!) But the hairline of my oldest is straight, so it's true that our next child after her was the same gender if that means anything.

28. Pee in 1 tbl. crystal drano - I found two outcomes for this one. If it's green it's a girl and blue it's a boy, but also if it doesn't change it's a girl and becomes dark brown within 10 seconds means boy. I didn't try this one simply because there were lots of suggestions on adding the pee while outside and not in a glass cup. It made me feel cautious enough not to want to try!

29. Yes, the all known Chinese gender prediction chart... well, here's the deal with that. It's calculated on your LUNAR age at conception and the LUNAR month. (Whatever that is!!) Some charts you were to put in your info and it calculated that stuff for you. Other sights didn't. But I used a few different sights and always had mixed results even when they were all calculating it for me. I even did it with info from my other two girls and most of the time it always said my one year old was a girl (correct, and I'll note she was the one that carried just like a girl as well.) And it was mixed on if my oldest was a girl or boy... and she's a girl. So I'm not putting much trust into that one.

#1-2, I carried my first so low and round and only in front, I had people tell me our TWO ultra sounds saying girl were wrong, and we'd better have it checked again or buy a boy outfit just in case. She was so low she wasn't in my ribs/lungs at all, and I thought women were exaggerating about how bad that was. Well, she's definitely all girl at almost 3 months old! Eden is obviously a girl as well, and she carried typical for a girl. Middle/high and put weight on me EVERYWHERE! And yes, I think she was spending most her time using my lungs for boxing bags and playing piano on my ribs! I apologize to any woman I thought exaggerated how uncomfortable a baby in the ribs/lungs can be!!

for #3, the latest heart rate was 130's, but my old midwife said all babies have high heart rates until the 2nd trimester, and by the time you may start seeing a "reliable" pattern after that, it's time for the gender ultra sound anyway. But so far the heart rates have been in the 170's twice and once in the 180's until the last one at 15.5 weeks. 

I did try #6, but to be super fare, I didn't hold the string. I taped it to the table and left if for a long time until it wasn't moving at all. then I laid under it for a few minutes, not touching it or breathing in it's direction. It didn't move at all!! When I held it up myself I got both results multiple times.

As far as #9, my hair is thick to begin with, so I really wasn't sure how to answer. It hasn't changed for any pregnancy other then it stops having those random strands that fall out during the pregnancy until a few months after and then it falls out like crazy. Still doesn't make a difference in how my hair is though. With this pregnancy I still have hair falling out in the shower and in my brush, which is slightly odd from the other pregnancies, but not odd for normal life when not pregnant.

#21. I didn't try because I read it and knew the "answer" so felt it would be unfair.
#22. I love garlic but not heavy at all, and not heavy enough to see if it would come out my pore or not! Based on my normal garlic habits, I couldn't smell it out my pores before, and I still can't now. So if it's suppose to be heightened for a boy, then it's not.

And there you have it... if you've stuck with me this long!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A melting away...

My heart breaks with the news of the school shooting in CT. I really can't seem to get over it, and at the same time, I don't want to. 20 parents came home to decorated trees and stockings hanging, but missing a huge piece of their hearts. I am so angry that some seek to find a reason that will make them feel safe. They can't believe in their hearts that someone could be evil. They have to have another reason why this happened, and why if they surround themselves with people not like "that", then it won't happen to them. Others feel the need to use it as a podium for their political stand on gun control or the lack there of. I wish the "simplicity" of it could settle in people's minds. We are sinful by nature. We HATE light. When you truly hate, you will do anything that is the opposite of love. Anything. This is why it happened. Because hate is an evil thing harbored in hearts of man kind. Pure Evil. Your hate may be on a different level, but it's there. All it takes is a little work here and a little pressure there from satan and your hate will intensify. Your hate is no better then his was. It's simply not as intense.

But why glorify him by analyzing who he was and why he did anything.

20 babies sleep with God each night. There's a beautiful song that I pray when someone I now has gone. And when these babies had gone. "The angel's wings cover you tonight, Hallelujah, press your head against the breast of Christ, Hallelujah."

My heart breaks at the thought. I've heard of such great tragedies before and not been rocked as I am now. BUT, it. is. good. It is good that I am shaken. It is good that sin has shown it's evil face and I have broken at the ugliness of it. We as Christians have become so numb to the evening news. People are murdered on a daily basis and we, I, don't blink from preparing evening dinner. But this time, this time it overwhelmed me. I have held my children every day the past week and thought of the parents who didn't know they wouldn't hold their babies again. The parents who went to bed two nights in a row while the lifeless body of their child still lay on the cold tile floor of the school while police and medical examiners documented everything.

I just can't stop aching. Pray against evil. Pray hard. Tell the world the good news of Jesus and pray they are given the only thing that can bring true light and love into their hearts. True Love.

I know that's heavy and sad. I'm not sorry for it. We need to become desensitized to the depravity of mankind. We just do. I do.

My sweet Madison is still so young and simple minded. Of course we have not talked with her about it, but we have tried to love on her every moment we could. That Friday night we had a fire in the fireplace although it was 70 something out, invited family and friends over and had a pizza picnic in front of the tree. She had a blast. She still asks to do it again. I crawled in her bed with her and read Green Eggs and Ham for the millionth time, and I was sure to go really really slow. We looked at every part of every picture and giggled at all the silliness. I can't tell you how many times she has gotten to stay up late this week, just for cuddle time and "one more book".

We've also been doing advent with her, focusing on giving to remind us that God gave us the best gift of all, Baby Jesus. Madison has made it clear she is very excited to eat baby Jesus!! What she means by that is his birthday cake. :)

We've taken her to buy and wrap gifts for mom, dad and Eden, talked to her all about the nativity while she played with our figurines, gave food to a food pantry and coins to the bell ringers. Yesterday we made and decorated cookies for all our neighbors. We gave each one a note telling them about baby Jesus and how we are learning about giving while we get ready to celebrate his birthday.

Today we found a special little silver gift bag by our door. There was a tiny puppy in it, which during nighttime prayers she finally named by saying, "And thank you for Figaro my tiny tiny puppy because he so so so so cute!" (that may not have been the exact quote, but all the important parts are there.) And a note. A very sweet note written on two purple post-its. It read:

"Dear little neighbor, thanks for the candy, cookies and nice note. You did a great job decorating them and they were very good!! When we got home and found your gift it really helped me feel better because a doctor had just tole me that day that I have skin cancer. I am so glad you know about Jesus! Thanks for making me feel better. We all had a cookie and some candy. You are special!! We hope to meet you someday soon. Merry Christmas, Love and Blessings."

God's timing is beautiful.

After a week of emotions and sadness. A week of looking at my girls and wondering what in the world I would do "if". Seven slow days of constantly remembering that 20 parents are not able to do what I get to do with my little girls.

After a week, god has shown me beauty. He has shown me a melting away of evil. He has reminded me what baby Jesus came for. To save our souls and fil our hearts with love that we may love and bless others in a way only one filled with the Spirit can do. A way we can only do with his guidance. Perfect example, if we didn't have the love of Christ in our hearts and the desire to show it to our girls, we would have made cookies for ourselves alone. Forget all that work for the neighbors! My little girl not only helped this woman to feel some joy yesterday, but in turn showed her mommy what God intends the world to look like. that amidst the evil and hate, He is there, working. He is there loving. He is there holding. He is there changing lives.

Yes, it is good to be shaken by such evil. To not be numb to it. To recognize satan's work. BUT, God is at work in even greater ways, no matter how the sin of the world has attempted to cover it up.

He has already used those 20 little lives to change thousands of others. A much greater work then satan could have predicted. Satan never wins.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

three. point. one.

Miles that is. Three point one miles. I can do this right??

It's chili. Not too bad though. I love that my father-in-law's car has working heat. Stupid knob in ours broke over a year ago, and we thought, who needs it living in Texas and Florida, right? Right. Gosh I'm nervous. It doesn't make sense though. I'm really just being dumb. Really dumb. People run more then this every day... for fun. But I need this. I just do. I need an accomplishment more then the dishes or changing a days worth of diapers. Couldn't tell you who for other then me of course.

Gosh, I'm really a little jumpy in my stomach. This is so dumb.

I'm doing good. Enough time for breakfast from Burger King. Some OJ and sausage, egg and cheese crissont. Oh theirs is so much better then Mcd's. Better not eat too much of it though. The OJ hits the spot! The lady at the window wants me to have a nice day... too bad she has no clue I'm about to go torture myself for almost 40 minutes. Man, I hope I can do it in 40 minutes. I hope I can do this without walking.

Lord, if you could just give me this one. Please.

Getting close... gosh, their are lots of people already. He's loud and obnoxious... really?? He drove here from Miami? For this? Yep, he's going to make sure everyone knows it... oh, and off comes his shirt. I'll steer clear of him for sure. Yep, I'm preregistered. Goody bag in hand... sad day. Just a bunch of fliers from sponsors. Could have at least thrown in a Gatorade or something. Unless theirs something I don't know about how dumb it is to run after drinking Gatorade. Gosh, I'm so lame.

Wait, oh, they know me... oh gosh. Don't act dumb or nervous or divulge too much info about how your not going to be able to run this whole thing like a wimp and then your going to cry about it. To late. I need to learn how to filter. Sure I'll run with you... but I won't be able to keep up and I'll simply feel embarrassed, but I did warn them my pace was super slow.

stretch. walk. kill time. pet the pretty golden lab.

There's a six year old boy with his dad. How sweet is that. He's going to remember this forever. And he's going to run faster then me.

Lining up... yep, you said all of that in the three emails you sent. Find the middle area. Don't go to the front, you'll just embarrass yourself. Don't go to the back, you'll set yourself up for failure. Nod to the other girls, set up your music... he said go... don't you dare cross that line until your already jogging.

Every. Step. Must. Be. At. A. Jog.... well at least I started it the way I wanted to.

And look, they are already faster paced then me... that's ok. Don't get caught up in their pace. You've got yours memorized. You know what your breath sounds like. You know what your feet sound like. You know what your hips and knees and ankles and feet feel like at your pace. You've got yourself memorized... stick with it. Don't get caught up in the rush. You've got this. Listen to the words. I love this song. Just sing to it in your head. Your starting off great!

It's beautiful. My chill is almost gone. Just moving. Double check sounds of my breathing... yep. I'm still on my usual pace. Nice.

Gosh, look at their heads bobbing over the bushes way up there around the bend. they are so fast. That's just insane. There's the boy with his dad. Look at him run circles around his dad as if this is nothing! I bet he will get a good nap when he gets home. Maybe I should start my girls off running that young. Maybe. That's if I stick with this... few... this. is. getting....

One mile. done. Boys with water... no, I don't want to even try to grab a cup. I'm good. Make sure to say thank you. Keep on trucking.

Right turn. There's already people on the other side of the street headed up the last mile. She's waving to one. No, two. Take out headphones... I think she's talking to me. Her son! Wow, he's in the lead. Her husband right behind him. How did she end up all the way back here with me. She's so encouraging. She's right. Of course I'm not going to stop jogging. I've got this.

I'm actually going to pass someone. Such a dear old man. He looks as if he's going to fall over. He can barely stand up straight to run... sweating like crazy. He's doing amazing. I want to give him a hug so bad! Wave, call to him that he's doing great. He's got this. thumbs up. I hope he was encouraged. I hope I helped some.

Cows. Madison would love to see the cows. It's such a pretty morning.

There are the girls I started with on the other side of the road. They are not that far ahead. I know I'm close to the other side of the road. I know I'm close to half.

Few... turning... Ok, Lord, I need my second wind. I need it now. There's a sea of people ahead of me. I know I'm not last, but I'm not far from it. I can't really do this. I know it. I've never done more then 2.5 miles and I've only done that twice... over a week ago! This is ridiculous.

Lord, it's nothing to ask you to give me this. It won't effect anything in the grand scheme of things. I need you to show me your going to give me this. I just do.

Another turn.

I'm past half way. Just listen to the music. Sing it in your head. Watch the birds flying. Listen to your breathing. Still on pace. Nice. That's something. Listen to your feet. Feel your body move. No. Never mind. Don't feel your body. Don't pay attention to the details. Just listen to the music.

Right turn... two miles done. Not bad. But I knew I could do two miles. It's going to get harder from here. How's that second wind coming??

Is that?? Yes, yes, it is! that's my car. That's my hubby! He's driving the rout. Oh, don't tear up now, don't loose it now. You still have so far to go. My baby girl is waving. Blowing a kiss, did she catch it?? Take that energy. Take that moment and keep going. Don't get too excited. Listen to my breathing... yes, I'm still on pace.

Water table... ok nice boy... we'll try this. Hmm... getting close... those runners all took water from the kids on the left... poor guy on the right, just wants to help. Point to him... dang, he's holding out a bottle... no. "Cup". Yes. Just in time. Nice job. Don't forget to say thank you... oh stink! Water, control the water... sip... that's good enough. Dump it and trash the cup... few. Just enough to stop the dry throat.

We've got to be close to 2.5... just have to. There are so many people in front of me. So many I can't even see. So many that are already done as if this was nothing to them. Why can't they see it's not nothing to me. I need to get this. I know there are others behind me. Not many, but there are.

Visualize. I'm right in the middle. Bird's eye view. There are just as many behind me as there are in front. Nice. See, you got this, you can keep up. You're ok. Keep that view. Hang onto it...

Big curve. Yes, I know I'm getting there... wait. I hear a car. They are coming up behind me. My family. I love my family. My girl is waving. My baby is chilling in her car seat, along for the drive. Madison is so excited to see me. I can't wait to hug her.

Keep on running. I know I've hit my max achieved. I'm going to break that today. I know I can.

Lord, Please let me have this.

I see it... It's still far but I see the tent top. Here come the trees lining the street. I'm in the area. I have to be at 3 miles... I just have to... curve. It's not just around the curve after all.

I can't believe this. I'm so close and yet I'm not going to make it.

Music. Breath. Still on pace. But for how long??

Another curve. It's not just around that one either. I'm actually not going to make it. It's never going to be just around the curve is it? This is ridiculous.

Being passed again... wait a minute... it's the old guy!! He must have gotten all warmed up because he's running perfect now. Sweating like a pig, but running like he does this every day! Ha! He probably rolled his eyes at my attempt at encouragement. Now I feel really dumb!

Aching. Can't listen to my body anymore. I'm certain I have a blister on a really odd spot on my foot. Stop listening to your body. Don't feel it. Just listen to your breath. Check. Now just listen to the music. Sing in your head.

There's a guy! wait... that's not where we started. Point one mile left... really?? Still?? I'm so close and I'm actually not going to make it. I've beat my best. But it's not what I set out for. It's not going to satisfy me. I have one tenth of a mile left. One tenth. And I'm not going to be able to do it.

Ok Lord, you've got me this close. I need a second wind. I need something. Show me your going to let me have this.

Visualize. Crossing that line with Aaron and the girls to meet you. I'm going to cry. Why is this so emotional for me?? What in the world? Just picture hugs all around. You've got this. That's the goal.

Your doing it. It's there... it really is around this curve.

There they are! But they are a bit in front of the finish line... Ahhh. I can't just scoop her up. I can't just run into Aaron's arms... She's running with me... my sweet little girl. Such a beautiful smile. She's freaking adorable! She's running with me.

There are the girls. Yep, the ones I couldn't keep pace with... really?? They are coming back for me? Oh wow, they have a much larger pace... oh but it kind of feels good on my hips. Here we go...

Check the clock. 35:35. Yes, under 40 minutes.

Stop, breath. No, walk. Walk it off. Turn around. There's my girl. Scoop her up, bring her to the finish line too. She's so excited to run the race with mommy. Hugs. Smiles. Kisses. My baby in my husbands arms, smiling and kicking at the sight of me. He's proud of me.

There's the mom with the campion son. She knew I could do it too.

I've accomplished it. Thank you, Lord. You gave it to me. You let me have it. Such an insignificant thing, but you decided I could have it. Thank you.

Juice table. and they have bananas. God is good.
Now to get home and prep our Thanksgiving dinner. And what a good day for it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I look at my sweet babies faces and can't believe I they are mine to cherish, to nurture and raise in this world. It blows me away.

I have the sweetest 2 1/2 year old in the world, and I can't believe for a moment that is a bias opinion. She's never been through terrible two's. She is so verbal it's insane, constantly pulling out words we didn't know she had stored in there and sentences far beyond what I see most her age using. She is a nurturer at heart and is full of compassion. She cries if the dog is in trouble! She is sensitive and curious. She knows what she wants. She is my sweet pea. My amazing little girl with beautiful brown curly hair, hazel eyes, my nose and her daddy's dimples.

So how could I ever love another being as much as I am overwhelmed by how much I love her??

You hear people say it's instant love the minute you meet your sweet child. No matter how that child became yours. And it's unbelievably true!

So when your smitten by your toddler and find yourself overcome by how much and how deeply you love them, and your pregnant, you wonder. Can I possibly love my second child as much?? Will I play favorites, just because this was my first baby and she got the extra "new mommy" love tokens??

And then you see her. You actually see her as your giving birth to her. I know, maybe that's a bit weird, but what an amazing and wondrous moment in time! My body completing for the second time one of the greatest things it was created to do aside from glorifying God, and how was this miracle not glorifying Him! And this tiny little raisin was placed on my chest with all her screaming and crooked nose. It was so crooked! At one point Aaron looked at me and asked if it was going to fix itself later on. I reassured him that surgery would do the trick if it didn't. :)

There wasn't this sudden realization. There wasn't a feeling that washed over me. There wasn't anything extraordinary. Just the joy and busyness of the nurses and midwife. Just the cry of our new baby girl and the excitement shared between Aaron and I as we admired her. But, even without something to draw attention to it, it still happened. I still fell head over heals in love with this little baby girl, as I knew I would.

It's so hard to describe when you try. To put into words how you love them the same, to the same strength, more then anything of this world. Not one more then the other. To the point your overwhelmed when your thinking of it. Overwhelmed to the point of feeling the tingle you get right before your eyes grow moist. Or your smiling ear to ear without even realizing it yet.

Our little smiling infant. Our people loving baby who loves to laugh and giggle at just about everything! I mean everything! She's barely 7 months old and crawling and pulling up to standing. She's so aggressive with finger food even though it hasn't even been quite a month since she started eating solids well. She's playful and moody! She snuggles into me when she nurses and it warms the deep parts of me. She wants what she wants, when she wants it! Our hands will be full with her! She's as bald as can be with a few random strands a few inches long. She also has my nose, which straightened out, and her daddy's dimples.

Her eyes are becoming the same beautiful hazel as her big sisters.

Sometimes I wonder as I play with Eden if Madison wonders if I love her more. Of course at 2 1/2 years old she probably has no concept of that yet, but when the thought pops in my mind I can't help but quickly rebuttal in my brain that I couldn't possibly love one more then the other!

A momma's heart is a strange thing. Strange, and beautiful. Moody and brought to frustrations others may not grasp. Needy for the love and affection only their children can provide. Joyful at the little moments other's didn't see.

I've heard people speak of the love you have for your children the moment they are yours. I've experienced it twice, though I couldn't tell you the "moment" it happened. I just knew it was there. As if it always had been and was just looking for it's way to the surface. I can't explain it, and I can't help but wonder, whenever we are blessed with a third, will it happen all over again? I know it will. I am confident it will be as deep and full as with Madison and Eden. But I can't help but wonder how it could be possible to have even more of a mother's love then I already have! How can it be contained?! It is a mystery.