Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tell the Truth

I feel like I've left loose ends with those of you that walked our last months with us while having Jax in our home.  For that, I'm sorry.  I'm reading through Jen Hatmakers book "For the Love" and it's given me the courage to try to give the story of our last several weeks.  Jen reminded me to just tell the truth.  That maybe my imperfection and vulnerability will help you see that we all struggle. 
So, here's my truth.
Little man was reunited with his mom about 2 weeks ago.  She lives very far away, so we will not get to see him often.  I've stayed in close contact and pray many times a day for them both.
I wish I could say I took the whole process of welcoming a child that wasn't born into our family with nothing but love and patience.  
But I try not to lie. 
The season of adding a 4th child stretched me to places I hadn't known before.
 I was not always patient.  I was not forever self-sacrificing.  I messed up at times.  And while I had dreamed of someday adopting or fostering, this process has shown me dark, selfish places of myself that unless Jesus truly changed my heart then those goals are no longer an option for me. 
That's my truth. 
Quite honestly, I wanted that to be my thing for God.  So coming to terms that it is not is hard for me.
We were not asked to keep little man indefinitely, but that doesn't mean I didn't contemplate what my decision would be if we were...and that's where I struggle.
Jesus and I are starting to sift through what he thinks of me and how we walked through this situation.  My biggest truest fear is that he is disappointed in me.
   But even so, I feel his love.
Even so, he is for me. 
That is why I love Jesus.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This month has been the biggest whirlwind of emotions, decisions and faith that I’ve ever had.  I want to try to put into words what God has been teaching me and what our family is going through, without divulging too much personal information. 

 This story goes back many years.  Actually before Jaxon was born.  I have always felt that I would be called to help a child that is not my own.  I would see friends fostering or adopting and think, “Yes, that is what the Lord will ask of me someday.”  I trusted that it would be revealed to me without question.  That I just needed to be patient.  There are 5 prayers I have written in my bible.  Prayers that are ongoing throughout the years…this answer to this prayer makes 4 out of 5 fulfilled.  I wrote this one in July of 2010 and have prayed over it ever since.  I do have to be realistic and laugh at myself for my idealized version of what I thought helping a child would look like in real life.  It’s much more emotional, much more complicated that I could begin to understand when I wrote that prayer. 

 Aside from that I see BIG ways God has lined up our life to this month to be able to accept Jax.  Some of you know last year was a hard year for my marriage.   We struggled.  But 2015 has been a year of rebuilding and enjoying our marriage again.  Nick and I look back and just can’t even fathom how far we are from one year ago.  We truly were restored to an even closer place than we had ever been.   I’m so glad we are both committed to each other and to our family.  That being said, if this opportunity had arisen last year we wouldn’t have been able to help, we were in our own crisis. 

Another way we see God’s hand is Nick’s new job.  Nick was in a job he hated.  His mind and body were worn down by the stress of it all.  Nick was able to leave his old job the week Jax came to us. 

Without too many details I want to tell you we have known Jax since he was a baby, actually while his mother was pregnant with him, though we had been out of contact with his mother since he was about 1.    Bringing him into our home has been beautiful and brutal.  Beautiful because I see our family showing him love and joy and Jesus.  He is so happy to be here.  He laughs and smiles and plays all day long.  His health is much improved over where he was 3 weeks ago.  It’s been difficult to adjust our family to 4 kids.  We look around and just think, “Dang, that’s a lot of kids!”  and it is!!  And LOUD!  My house is wreck, there’s really little to no reason to even try to clean it.  Hard because kids need to sleep....and it took a few weeks to get the hang of that in a new place. Completely understandable, but exhausting none the less. It seems for a while one of us would be having a harder day with the adjustment each day.  We’ve all taken turns.  I’m happy to say that the girls are so helpful and LOVE him so much.  They get so proud of him when he uses the potty or stays in his bed at night.    They are his cheerleaders.  And, oh yeah, he’s a boy.   Which we have NO experience with.  Thank goodness for neighbors with boys that I can ask “Is that normal??”  several times a week .  (and it usually is, thank goodness.) 

 There are still things that have to be put into place for us to be able to keep him on a longer term basis.  I don’t want to make those public, but we would appreciate your prayers for those.  Honestly, we don’t know what the future holds.  What we have committed to right now is doing what we feel is best for him each day.  Praying that God will provide what he needs and what we need for him to be safe and healthy and happy.  We trust the Lord, we always have, and we trust him with this.

Your encouragement means so much.  My work family who has put up with my struggle to find childcare help, I appreciate it, you guys see my heart, and not my annoying call-ins.   Friends giving us clothes, diapers, toys…we are so thankful.  My sweet cousin for encouraging me to take this leap of faith when I wanted to put my head in the sand and act like God wasn't asking this of me.  My Mom for the daily phonecalls to cry or vent, she is my forever cheerleader and I am SO thankful for her.  Our CPS worker who has bent over backwards to help us in this transition.  He works long hours, has Jax's best interest in mind and will answer my late night frenzied texts with a reassuring phone call.  He needs a medal.  My sweet sweet husband.  Who is so patient while this little man is needing so much of my attention.  I repay him with sleeping in and naps. 
So that's our month.  We are here and we are in one piece. 
Proverbs 21:13
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
    will also cry out and not be answered.
Psalm 82:3
 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chloe's Birth Story

So, sweet Chloe turns 6 weeks old tomorrow.  My memory is such that if I don’t write things down pretty soon I have very little recollection of the event, so I’ve decided to write out Chloe’s birth story.  Be warned, if you are male, you will have absolutely no desire whatsoever to know these details…

Blake and Kate both came before their due date (Blake 4 days, Kate 8 days) so I was prepared, even expecting, for Chloe to come early.  Her official due date was January 7th, but we were not so secretly hoping she would come before the New Year (Sorry, but I’m way too practical to deny a tax deduction and insurance deductible that was already met!) 

My Mom, step-dad, sister in law and her kids had come the week before in hopes that Chloe would be born while they were here….no pressure at all right?  On Monday the 30th my doctor did what she could to stimulate labor, I’ll spare you the details. At that point I was already dilated to a 3.  So I went home feeling fine to spend time with my family. 

I woke up about 7:00 Tuesday morning and could tell my contractions (I had had some tightening before but nothing to cause excitement) were becoming more serious.  My contractions always seem to be in my back and these were no different.  What was different with this labor was that my contractions were only on the left side of my body.  They were consistent, but 10-15 minutes apart, then gradually became more like 7 minutes apart.  I called the nurse to ask her if I should go on to the hospital.  She said yes, but it was no rush.  So I called Nick, he came home around noon and we went to the hospital around 1:30.  At the hospital I was still a 3 but my contractions on the monitor were coming every 3-5 minutes.  “Sweet!” I thought, “we’ll be admitted and have a baby!”….but no….they monitored me for an hour, had me drink water, talked me into taking Vicodin (I should’ve known better) and sent me home. 

At home, my brother in law had brought the girls Christmas gifts from his Mom  and my Mom had made taco salad at my request…so we watched the girls play and had dinner…I think I remember some New Years Eve festivities but to be honest I couldn’t have cared less about New Years eve at that point.  By 8:00 I was really in pain, I would have to stop and really concentrate to get through the contractions that were coming every 3-5 minutes. Perfect!  Back to the hospital we go, ready to have a baby!!

Nope.  They checked me , still a 3. My doctor was on call downtown so she called to tell me she was sending me back home.  Again.  Then came my tears.  I just didn’t understand.  With Blake and Kate I was admitted when I was a 3, given an epidural and enjoyed labor bliss completely pain free. I never claimed to want to be without an epidural for my labors.  I know myself well enough to know it just wouldn’t happen.  I was always so scared to be sent home that I made sure I was in labor before heading to the hospital.  I look back on my labor experience with them as a sweet time of excitement.  So my doctor tells me to take more Vicodin, and believe it or not tells me to take a sleeping pill and sends me home to drug induced craziness.  I cried all the way home. 

When we get home it takes Nick massaging my back and me finding new positions to get through the pain of each contraction.  My Mom and sister in law were with me the whole time.  By now the medications had kicked in and things become a little (a lot) fuzzy.  I remember getting sick to my stomach.  Around 1:00 they had had enough of watching me hurt.  They loaded me up and drove me back to the hospital (I don’t remember that part at all.)

I got into a room, like hell were they sending me back home.  I would’ve camped in the waiting room begging for an epidural at that point!   I was now dilated to a 5 and could not keep up with the pain of my contractions.  The nurse gave me an injection of stadol, why oh why did they keep medicating me when all I needed was a freaking epidural!!! ??  I remember my doctor  coming in and breaking my water.  Looking back I totally don’t understand why she did that.  I was in so much pain, I thought it couldn’t get any worse…but who knew, it could!  Just break that water  and watch the pain triple in effect.  So at 4:00 a.m. the anesthesiologist finally comes.  10 minutes later I have approximately 10 minutes of relief before the doctor declares me a 10 and tells me to push.  A few pushes later little Chloe Ryan reminded me why it was all worth it when she was born at 4:48 a.m. on New Years Day.  We were able to have skin to skin time right away and she latched right on like a pro.  7 lb 2 oz 20 ¾ “ long. 

We stayed that night in the hospital then went home the next morning.  Usually I enjoy my time in the hospital but all I wanted was to get home.
Chloe's last few hours before she made her arrival.
Hanging out at home on New Years Eve.
My contractions the first time they sent me home.
Our first moments together.
Daddy and Chloe
Healthy baby girl
All clean after her first bath.
Sleepy Daddy and Chloe
Kate and Chloe

Meeting her biggest sister

Chloe and Grandma


Daddy kisses

sweet baby love

Stephen and Chloe

Aunt Nancy and Chloe

Jennie meeting Chloe

Caitlyn and Chloe

Getting hugs from Kate

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blake's 6 year letter

January 22, 2014

Dear Blake,

Yes, you turned six back in November.  I really had hoped to write you a letter then, but it’s probably good I waited because now I can include your newest little sister in this letter! 

But first, let’s talk about you as a six year old!  You get up and go to school like a champ.  Our first few months you really didn’t want to get up and go in the mornings, but then Daddy gave you an ipod where you can set an alarm for yourself, so now you come down dressed and ready for the day each morning. 

You are responsible and independent.  This summer we did a summer challenge where you could earn points with different activities.  You earned enough to get the hamster you so badly wanted.  And truth be told I put it off a few months actually getting you that hamster…but you didn’t give me a hard time about it.  So now we have “Angel Mia Hammy Hambone” , that’s just one hamster, but we can’t ever decide on a name so any of those will suffice.  You are able to clean her cage with just a little help.  Though you rarely want to clean it, you will if reminded.  This summer we also went to Sea World and you rode the biggest roller coaster they had!!  I wish I could’ve rode it with you, but I was pregnant with Chloe and you can’t ride roller coasters pregnant. 

Your favorite shows right now are Teen Beach movie (sigh) and Wild Kratts.  You’ll often tell me random animal facts because you learned them from Wild Kratts. 

You and Kate sleep in the same room, you have two twin beds next to each other.   Every single night you talk Daddy into laying with you guys until you fall asleep, and truth be told Daddy often falls asleep too. 

You can read!!!  I love to read, so seeing you read is awesome.  We are reading through your kids story bible right now.  Last night you said you want to finish because you think if we read the whole bible Jesus will come back.  You pray with an ease that shows me you really do believe in God and know he loves us.  You ask him to be Daddy’s friend, and thank him for everything he’s done for us. 

January 1st we welcomed your little sister, Chloe Ryan.  I was scared to tell you I was pregnant because you had always said you didn’t want me to have any more babies.  I know you said that because you were scared for me to be in the hospital away from you when I gave birth.  You actually cried (in sadness) when we told you I was pregnant.  But you quickly became excited.  You are an amazing big sister, just like I knew you would be.  You love to hold Chloe. Each afternoon after school you snuggle up in the chair and watch TV with her.  You love to “hold her standing up” and you can even change diapers! 

You really enjoy having kid neighbors.  Caitlyn stayed with us this summer and you had the best time.  We have Zach, Ben, Kinsley, Ainsley, Carter, Chase, Caleb and Summer as neighbors.  You love to ride your bike (no training wheels for you!), and skate outside.  We got you a motorized scooter for Christmas and ride it like a champ! 

You have an amazing kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Trautman.  I hope you remember her well.  She is so kind and patient and just the perfect fit for your first teacher.  It’s a highlight of my day picking you up from school and hearing about what your day has been like. 

I wish I could put into words exactly how much I love you and what I would sacrifice and do for your wellbeing.  You are pure joy to me and I absolutely love spending time with you.  Thank you for being the amazing kid you are. Thank you for not being jealous of little sisters that need my attention. 

I pray you would keep your soft heart that loves the Lord. 

Love you more than you can imagine,


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

I think I'm posting this for the one, maybe two people that still come check my blog.  Without google reader I'll admit I don't check anyone's anymore either.  But, since I'm on day 9 of my Facebook fast, where else am I supposed to share pictures?

Blake is loving kindergarten.  She has a teacher that is just perfect for her, and Blake raves about how nice and smart she is.   Having the right teacher makes all the difference in the world and I'm so so thankful we've been blessed with a good match.  Blake came home last week saying

"Mom!  Did you know Mrs. T requested all the best students in all of kindergarten and she got them!?"  Isn't that the sweetest?  She builds their confidence and has taught Blake so much more than I could (Blake + me + learning to read = tears) 

I admit I didn't know teachers worked as hard as they do.  I knew they worked hard, but man they work hard. I'm excited to start volunteering in Blake's class on Thursdays.  Do you know how much I would need to be paid to teach 21 5 year olds to read????  Infinity, that's how much.

So, with how great kindergarten has been we decided Blake needed a day off!  We are on week 7 and haven't had to miss any school (praise the Lord!).  So today we took a break and went to the pumpkin patch, hello no crowds!  With me working Fridays and Saturdays then church Sundays I've really been missing taking the girls to do things just for fun.    I can remember my Mom letting me skip school every once in a while to have a fun day.  I think we'll keep up the tradition. 

So here's a few shots of our day.

And here is the precious bedding my wonderful grandma made for baby, I love it!!

Things seem to be coming together, I think it's more my heart that has to prepare more than anything else when it comes to having a baby.  It's the strangest thing....knowing how much you love your kids and how that's about to start fresh with a whole new little family member.  And in case you're wondering, there IS a name :)  Whether we choose to tell before she's born is undecided...but she has a name.  Initials CRB.  Happy guessing!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013

My sweet Blake.  In just a few days you will start the journey of kindergarten.  How we’ve come so quickly from diapers and Dora the Explorer to a little girl who is embarking on a journey that requires less of me than I prefer is astounding to me.

 Part of me is excited for you.  You seems so ready for this next step.  You love friends and learning and having a routine.  You are smart and outgoing.  WhenI ask if you are ready for school you always reply, “I’m excited, but a little nervous too.”  There is a part of me that is sad.  Sad that you will enter a world where I won’t be right there to make sure kids don’t say things that I know aren’t true.  That maybe there will be a time you get in trouble and your little feelings melt and I won’t know till the school day is over.  That you will no longer learn songs and stories that invlove Jesus and his great example of how to lead a life while you are at school.  It makes me wonder if I’ve done enough.

 We’ve only had 5 years to get ready, and now it doesn’t seem so long.  Did we talk enough about how there are kids that aren’t always nice?  And how to repond with mercy and know that maybe their home isn’t like our home?   Did we talk about how there may be another kid who doesn’t dress or talk or look like you and how it’s our job to be a friend to those kids, too?  Most of all have you seen me show grace, mercy and kindness to those around me to know it’s not just words I say but how I live a life?  Will you remember the times I let frustration overtake me and you saw anger instead of peace?  I can only hope that you saw the good and quickly forgot the bad. 

I wonder if the evening hours will be long enough for us to fit in all that a day requires and still have a little for just me and you.   It makes me so thankful for all the sacrifices Daddy and I were able to make to ensure that we’ve spent as much time with you as possible these first 5 years.  Like I told you the other day, spending time with you and Kate is my all time favorite thing….and I meant it. Even if I can’t always stop and play or work on art with you, it’s always a joy when I can.   The days we’ve spent doing a million fun things or the days we spent curled up on the couch watching a movie we’d already watched 10 times, they were all worth it. 

I hope you stay the same.   The exact same girl you have been these first 5 years.   I know it will take work and me sometimes being the bad guy, but I’m willing to do just that if it means your little heart and spririt are guarded.  I pray you will be a light to those around you.  That the kids will know they can look to you for encouragement, a friend to sit with at lunch or play with on the playground.  And I hope there are friends in your class that will do the same for you if you need it. 

Yes, it seems too soon.  No, I’m not ready, not really.  But I will smile while I get you ready, smile while we walk to school and smile while we drop you off in your classroom.  I give no promises after that.  But for this first day as far as you know Mommy is only proud, not scared.  I’m sure the days will pass and years will make me jumping for joy that the school year is beginning…and I’m excited for that phase too.  You are my littlest best friend and I can’t wait to pick you up and see you grinning ear to ear ready to tell me about all you’ve learned and all the friends you’ve met. 




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

March 29, 2013

Dear Kate,

My goodness how time flies!  Today you turned 3 years old.  I can’t help but smile to myself just thinking of you!   Remembering you as a dark haired precious baby that loved the be snuggled up inside her sleeping wrap. And now you are a bright blonde, blue eyed, rambunctious girl that does not like to be still for long (unless there’s a movie and some popcorn). 

Some fun facts about you. 

We moved since you turned two, so now you share a room with your sister.  You two begged for bunk beds and to share a room, even though we now have space for you guys to each have your own!  Not only do you share a room, but you both sleep on the bottom bunk so you can be close to each other. 

You love your friends.  Little Cora is your best friend this year.  You two are little pistols together!  You are in the same preschool class and I’m sure give your teachers a run for their money! 

We still keep piggy around.  You aren’t as attached as were last year, but you still love her and want her for bed time. (A big change from me driving frantic over town with a crying child last year when we couldn’t find her!!)

You love church and preschool.  You are so outgoing.  I took you up to the hospital last week to visit the unit where I work.  You were all smiles and charm, introducing yourself to everyone. 

Your favorite foods are cheese (we won’t get into your gastrointestinal issues that make this a real issue for Mommy), pizza, apples, pancakes, strawberries, boiled eggs, and green smoothies, aka: shrek smoothies. Oh and you want chocolate milk all day every day.

Your favorite shows is Wild Kratts.

You still let me pick out your clothes without a fight (God knew I couldn’t fight two kids every morning!)

You started gymnastics recently.  I just watch you and giggle.  You’ve really caught on and are SO cute out there. The other day your teacher told you to put your arms up by your ears while you you covered your ears with your hands and jumped the length of the trampoline :)

You and sissy love the trampoline, you are out there every day doing tricks and jumping.  We walk to the park and you’ve started riding your little tricycle all by yourself. 

Our new house has lots of neighbors and friends to play with, but I think your favorite it our neighbor-cat Snickers.  You chase him and would gladly take him as your own.  You really love all animals.  No dog or cat is safe from a hug from you.  Daddy set you up an aquarium in your room and so every night we sit for a while and watch the fish eat. 

You’ve recently become more attached to me.  You’ll admit that you are now Mommy’s girl.  You love to curl up on my lap and have time just me and you.  We like to read or watch TV together.  You also like to be in the kitched with me when I cook and in the bathroomwith me while I get ready in the mornings. 

You are quirky and funny with a personality all your own.  I can’t imagine life without our little Katie-Kate.  Even while I write this you just came up behind me to “scare” me with giggles and smiles. 

Oh Kate, you are my joy.   I ask the Lord for wisdom to guide your adventurous spirit, and for the grace to mother you in the ways you deserve. 

Remember Jesus, Kate. No matter what, remember Jesus.  He is real.  He loves you.  He wants you to know him. 

All my Love,