Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Omphalocele Awareness Day 2016

Sorry, I'm a little late in posting.  O Awareness Day is Jan. 31st each year.  Its amazing to see a showcase of these babies.  Even remembering the ones that have passed.  In the MOO group, we get to know each other, whether through the multitude of questions posted or being located physically near another MOO (moms of omphaloceles).

This past year, several states have had the day legally recognized by the state government as Omphalocele Awareness Day.  Definitely on our way to be nationally recognized!

Awareness?  Yes, we need to let each mom that gets the diagnosis know that it is not a reason to terminate the pregnancy.  They will have struggles.   It will be hard.  Its heartbreaking.   The baby may make it or not make it.  In the words of my own OB/GYN, "it may or may not be compatible with life."  I'd say in MOST cases, the baby will be ok.  Or at least in my experience (despite what the statistics may say).  But you have hope, you have the MOO group there for you to answer your questions that most doctors can't, and you have an increase in modern medicine and technology on your side.

We've seen articles where the CDC says cases of omphaloceles and gastrochisis are increasing.  I might agree with that.  In the 4 years that I've been a part of the world-wide MOO group, membership has gone from around 400 to thousands!  Granted, some of those are GOO's (grandmothers or grandfathers of omphaloceles), DOO's (dads of omphaloceles), etc.   Most of us do NOT agree that so called "risk factors" are true.  There are SO many of us that had none of these existing factors to cause such a defect.  Personally, I don't smoke, I'm not obese, I don't do drugs, I wasn't taking any medications, and I'm not African-American.

It was just God's will.  Why you ask?  No, I don't think God is cruel, but He does allow trials and tribulations to test your faith.  John 16:33 says you have trouble in this world, but you will also find peace in Him.  I will go as far as to say, your family won't understand.  At times, your spouse/partner won't understand.  Your friends won't truly understand.  Who will you turn to?  God was my rock.

Merritt is a happy, healthy 3 1/2 year old who eats everything in sight.  Just the other night she put down 3 oysters, 2 shrimp, a salad, chicken, onions, mushrooms, grits, pasta, and milk.... at one meal! Yes, I wish my other kids would eat like she does!  I have no idea where she puts it, but food has never been her struggle since she was 2 weeks old.  She's odd for an O baby like that, but I know several other similar to her.  My point is that every O baby is different!  Some may have trouble with their lungs, their hearts, their stomachs, or have other genetic abnormalities.  In Merritt case, she has a VSD (hole) in her heart.  But it does NOT hold her back at all.

Merritt, we love you and thank God for you!  God is using you in great ways!  "Your people" love you!

Saw this on a new t-shirt the other day:  "Who needs bellybuttons anyway?  They just collect lent." :)




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Sunday, January 17, 2016

What I Would Say To Her

Death comes to us all I know.  My mom is still here with me so it never crosses my mind that one day I won't be able to call her up and ask "is that regular flour or self-rising flour in this recipe?"  I know so many women younger than me that have been given the death sentence via cancer.  Most of them have very young children/daughters.  All too often lately, I've been driving kids to school or wherever.. and all I can think is... what if that was me?  What would I do?  What would I tell my kids?  What would I wish I could tell them that I haven't?  If I died today, what would I wish I told them?  Mostly things they wouldn't understand yet.  So I'll put them here just in case.

Mati Claire, my 8 year old, tends to ask me the most serious questions and coming-of-age questions on the way to school.  7:15 in the morning and we're discussing birth control (yes! at age 8!) and such things.  When you have 3 younger siblings, its difficult to hide the breastfeeding, the C-section scars, periods, etc.  I didn't necessarily tell her up front about any of it, but I also won't lie to her when she happens across these situations.  I'd rather her hear the information from me instead of some random kid at school.  We haven't had the "birds and the bees" conversation yet, but I know its soon.  I remember being in the 6th grade for my first sex ed class.  If my mom told me about it first, I don't remember.   But I do remember that class.  Mat Claire will be in 4th grade next year, so again, my time is limited before she starts hearing things from her friends.

Yesterday's question in the car was "mom, how do you know you are marrying the right person?"  (after the topic of divorce came on the radio).  I'm given about a 15 minute window before she has to get out in car rider line.  15 minutes to answer what I would call life questions each day.  My mind is blown because I'll be in the middle of discussing tampons and she gets out, slams the car door, and says "bye mom! love you!"  And I'm left wondering if I said it right.  Did I get the message across to her?  Did that conversation go the way I wanted it to go?  Did she understand?  Parenting is tough.

So to answer this question, Mati Claire.  How do you know you are marrying the right person?
Well, I would say to her:
1.  Listen to your inner voice.  I like to think of it as the Holy Spirit guiding you.  Not your conscious.  What does it tell you?
2.  Does this man love Jesus more than you?  He better.  Is he a Christian?  I hope so.  If you put God first, its amazing how everything comes together in God's timing and in God's way.  It doesn't get any better than that. And you'll be so glad you waited for the right person (even if it takes longer than you wish).
3.  Look beyond the looks... is he a good person?  Is he superficial?  Looks can only take a person so far.  Looks go downhill with age... and some of the "best looking kids" in high school didn't age so well and some of the "nerds" in high school turned out to be really hot later in life!  :)
4.  Don't get me wrong... you'll have to look at this person for the rest of your life... as long as he's handsome to you that's all that matters.
5.  What do you not like about him?  Can you live with that forever?  And don't say there's nothing wrong with him, because no one is perfect.  As long as he's perfect for you.  If you can overlook the pet-peeves, then go for it.  If something he does drives you crazy in the beginning... it will probably only get worse in time.
6.  Is he a gentleman?  Does he have manners?  If not, move on.  No excuses.  If he doesn't put you first, then he isn't worth your time. If he doesn't make you feel like a princess, move on.
7.  Does he put forth any effort into grand gestures of love?  Any man who cares what other people think is superficial.  If he truly cares about you, he won't care if everyone around him knows it.  I would need to see a grand gesture of some kind before agreeing to marry him.  Just ask your Daddy about the contacts in the ketchup and then allowing my mom to go with us on our first date!
8.  Does he love his mom?
9.  Are his parents still married?  I would definitely look at this and this should probably be closer to the top of the list.  If so, he has a good example of what marriage should be.  He has seen that it takes work (even if he doesn't realize it).  If his parents are divorced, I'd say he's perhaps more likely to give up as well because he turned out ok, right?  ;) Or maybe he's seen divorce and knows what not to do.  My motherly advice would be to go with the still-married parents.
10.  Does he make you laugh?  Like touch-your-soul make you laugh?  He better.  And not in the mean-make-fun-of-you-put-you-down-funny.  That's not funny.  But life is too short to spend a lifetime with someone who doesn't laugh with you.  Your Daddy makes me laugh when I take things too seriously (which is often).  Laughter can take you far in life.
11.  Don't be afraid to be yourself.  If he tries to change something about you, then he is not the right person for you.  No matter what it is (clothes, hair, who your friends are, what you eat, etc).
12.  Does he have goals?  Ambition?  I won't lie --- if he doesn't have some kind of plan for his life as far as a job goes -- how does he plan to support you?  No goals = bum.  And you are better than that.  You deserve someone who can support you in the way that you want.  Marry for love, but also be realistic and practical. If he hops from job to job faster than you can blink, that doesn't look like a good foundation to me.  If you are happy with whatever income he makes, then that is great! Your Gigi always asked me, "If your husband dies, can you support yourself if you had to?"  So my goal for you is to have the job that will give you the income you desire.  You can not always depend on your husband for money.  Can you support yourself?  God forbid, what if something terrible happens to him and he is disabled?  Both of you need some kind of plan in the beginning.  Because marriage is hard and money usually makes it harder.

So that is my Top 12 answers for that question, Mati Claire.  I could go on and on but I'll stop there.  I would go into lust vs. love, but the question was about marriage...so I'm assuming its past lust already and hopefully in love.  Don't even get me started on lust...that's a whole different post in itself!

I love you, Mati Claire and Merritt.  I'll have to do a different post for the boys later.  I do hope you find the right person you are meant to marry.  And its ok if you don't.  If he hurts you, you better believe I will haunt him for the rest of his life! ;)  Now that we've been married almost 12 years, I can honestly say its not about the wedding... its about the marriage.  Big wedding, small wedding, elope... it doesn't matter... do whatever makes you happy.

My love is your love!


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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Breastfeeding

I love breastfeeding.  In March of this year, I will have spent 4+ years having breastfed each baby for one year.  Sorry, but not sorry, this isn't a post to make you judge me or for me to make you feel bad if you didn't.  To each their own.  I know everyone has their own reasons and you do what you have to do to make it work.  I know many people's bodies won't make enough milk and people have to go back to work, mastitis, etc.  However, I personally know too many people who I don't think put forth alot of effort.  Yes, overall I thought it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  After having breastfed 4 kids though, I will admit I have to laugh when I hear some people's excuses on why they didn't though.   I think those people just don't want to breastfeed-- which is fine too but I know that must be hard to admit-- so they give excuses instead.  ok!  this post isn't about that and I'll get off my soapbox.

When I had Mati Claire (my first), it was the worst experience of my life.  I never wanted another baby after that.  I felt like I failed already at being a mom on the first day.  Couldn't even dilate to push her out and (being under general anesthesia) didn't even know she was born.  I felt I missed out on being the first person to see her.  I missed out on the "whole experience".   So I made it my mission to put a real attempt on doing the next step: breastfeeding!  Whoever said that breastfeeding is a natural process is totally 100% WRONG!  It was the most un-natural thing I've ever done.  Mati Claire fought me every single time for MONTHS!  Without going into too much detail, I basically had to "get it/letdown started for her".  She was the definition of the word lazy.  The good part is that my body has no trouble whatsoever making milk.  Call me Daisy the cow.  At one point, I pumped out 12 oz from ONE SIDE.  yep.  it was insane.  I digress.  She wouldn't latch.  She didn't enjoy it.  Which made me hate it.  Every trick or hold in the books wouldn't work.  The boob nazis were relentless.  When my nipples were bleeding and I couldn't even let the water in the shower hit them... I truly thought of quitting.  It wasn't suppose to be like that, right?  Bleeding is normal?  that can't be right.

Everyone kept telling me that after 6 weeks it would be fine.  For me, it was closer 8-10 weeks and I still had to use a few tricks to make her do it.  It.was.HARD.work!  I leaked so bad in between I was terrified to go anywhere despite the fact that I was wearing the bra guards (yeah right like those really work). I thought I was prepared by buying my nursing bras ahead of time.  Lesson learned:  don't ever buy nursing bras before your milk comes in.  I went from a C to something larger than an F if I remember correctly. But by the time 8 weeks rolled around, I wasn't about to quit then!  I didn't go through bleeding nipples just to quit!!!

Oh did I cry.  Even though I was nursing her, I still felt like a failure.  I wasn't used to having a baby literally attached to your boobs 24/7.  Mati Claire was a snacker.  She wanted to eat every 2 hours (30 min-90 min during a growth spurt).  It was again, another nightmare.  I couldn't go anywhere -- because I would most definitely have to nurse her at some point -- nurse in public, what???

But stubborn baby met stubborn momma!  Again, I was determined.  So I hung in there.  She eventually quit me around 11 months.  I will never forget it.  She took one sip and un-latched.  She looked up at me, shook her head "no" and sweetly smiled at me.  I couldn't argue with that anymore.  I cried for 2 days.  All that work and it had come to an end... :(

I also learned through her that I DESPISED the breast pump.  I never pumped again until I had to in the NICU with Merritt for 2 weeks.

Then came Mattox.  The piranha.  My poster child for breastfeeding awareness.  He couldn't have been any more opposite of Mati Claire.  He came out (and to my complete shock) grabbed my boob out of thin air and latched on like his life was depending on it (ok it was).  He nursed like he had been doing it in the womb for months before if it was possible.  I was prepared for the struggle and use all the tricks that I was used to with Mati Claire.

Mattox showed me that it WAS completely natural.  And easy.  My boobs never bled.  Sore for a few days maybe.  I think Mati Claire trained them not to leak after a certain time.  So no leaking that time around.  He eventually quit me around 11 months as well.  Gosh he made it easy, I didn't even have to force him to quit. He literally got in, got the job done, and was off.  Never took more than 5 min to nurse that baby!

I definitely lost some modesty during my 4 C-sections.  When too many strangers to count have seen your insides not to mention you naked from the neck down in the operating room-- who cares about seeing some boobs?  Man, I LOVE not having to pack food, heat food up, mix bottles, wash bottles, etc.

Just to give my extended version -- Merritt and Mason were also breastfeeding champions.  Had a hard time weaning Merritt after 15 months but she had good reason with all her physical issues.  She refused to eat for the doctors through a bottle and I was finally allowed to breastfeed after 2 weeks...she was waiting for the real deal and never looked back! And my baby Mason has made it so much fun that I will definitely cry when I wean him in just a few short months.   I'm not one of those people who still breastfeed their toddlers.  I will cut them off around age 1.  I was able to pump extra during those first 2 weeks in the NICU and donated it to the other NICU babies that don't even have mothers there.  Some were orphans.  Some never had their mothers visit them (hard to imagine but true).

As much as I LOVE the time I spent with each one, I am counting down the days till Mason is finished.  I am ready to start back on my diet, I'm ready to wear normal bras again, and I'm ready to sleep on my stomach again.

So yes, I am a pro-breastfeeder.  Each one was different.  Mati Claire fought me and refused to latch, Mattox was my poster child, Merritt truly knew what she wanted and didn't want to let go, and Mason is my funny baby.  He gets so tickled (maybe bc he's so happy?)  that he can't nurse because he's laughing!  Its hilarious.  Sometimes he can't even look at me because he's trying to get back "in the zone" so he'll have to look away to keep from laughing or smiling.  (can't latch well if your'e smiling).  Knowing how happy it makes him, I will have a hard time weaning him as well.  Mati Claire and Mattox both quit me so I didn't have to wean them.

Looking back, the way they breastfed was a huge indicator in how they eat now years later.  Mati Claire is still the pickiest child I have ever seen!  Mattox is my crack addict when it comes to food/sugar.  He still eats like there is no tomorrow.  Merritt still wants the real deal: she wants me to slave over a hot stove with soul food and casseroles. No kid foods for her!  So I'm looking forward to see how this equates to Mason... I'm thinking he will be the one who plays with his food and laughs about it!


This is how you shut down breastfeeding shamers. Read more about Alyssa Milano's activism here: http://attn.link/1Ru58r4Like ATTN: on Facebook.
Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

I don't like my grandmother.  yep.  i said it.  The words "don't like" is putting it mildly.  those of you that know me already know this.  One thing I have learned as I'm getting older, is to let.it.go.  forgive.  get over it.  move on.
So its been close to 5 years since I've seen her the last time (before that it had been like 10-15 years). Her name is Jane.  She has Alzheimers now and dementia.  She doesn't recognize her own kids much less her grandkids that she never sees.  She's 94 years old.  Now that I've had my last child (and as far as I know, Mason is and will be her very last great grandchild from all the cousins combined) I figured she should at least meet them all.  Even if she doesn't recognize us.  But yes, I made my effort.  Nothing to write about really -- but had to document for my kids sake that yes, they all met her at one time.  Here is a pic of her 2 out of 3 children, 3 out of 6 grandchildren, and 7 out of 11 great grands.

Let me do a word vomit summing up the rest of the past month:

stomach virus circulated each member of our family THREE times.  Christmas shopping.  Christmas cards.  Northside Fundraiser and chaperone.  Accent Open House.  Hair Appts.  Field Trips.  Wrap ALL of the presents before our TN trip.  Sunday School class Christmas party.  Matt and I won the costume photo booth contest for dressing up like Caitlyn and Bruce Jenner!  But sorry, can't share the picture because its THAT bad!  Hilarious though.  Dr. Appts.  Christmas class parties x 3 kids.  Christmas Program at the Preschool.  Teacher gifts.  Pack x 6 people for TN trip.  Gingerbread houses.  Reindeer food.  Make cookies for Santa.  Book Fair board.  Mati Claire tied for 3rd place in that!  Orthodontist and dentist appts.  Teething baby.  Very little sleep for both of us.  The Elf on the Shelf not helping matters.  Matt works nights.  Cook for all of the above parties.  Did I mention the stomach virus loved our house this past month?  A normal 7 hour drive to TN turned into a 10 hour drive with the kids because of holiday traffic and road construction.  Allergy/sinus crud for several of us thanks to the 'Sip's weather -- 85 degrees on Christmas Eve!  I'm really really really tired.

I have never been so glad to wake up this Christmas morning with everyone home and well (other than Mason's teething pains).  The picture above got me thinking.  Its been OVER 5 years and its still not a "complete" picture with the other cousins and grandkids not in it.  I know one day my kids will be grown and move away.  I hope and pray we don't go 5+ years without seeing them.  Even if its not at Christmas, I hope all the kids will visit at least once a year at the same time!  I was reminded that some of my friends don't have their babies with them this Christmas.  Several babies went to Heaven this past year and I am grateful for every second I have with mine.

Its not about the presents.  Its about getting together and having a good time with family.  Its about first Christmases.  Its about the traditions you make.  My favorite decorations in my house are the stockings that my other grandmother made me and can't be bought.  Above all, remembering the real reason we celebrate = JESUS.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!


"Who are you???"   
This toy is suppose to work on body control and motor skills.   
Don't be fooled -- its not real.  "PurrfectPets"  is awesome and truly the perfect pet.  



Our Christmas card picture this year.  Dalton Lane photographer.


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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Heavy Hitter

Thanksgiving wasn't much of a break... and its hard to find something to be thankful for when you're cleaning up vomit and diarrhea every single day of the break.  Stomach bug hit our house hard.  Just passing it from one person to the next.  One child even got it twice (after days of being fine in between).

I went to the dermatologist for my annual checkup.  After getting slammed in the face by a harsh laser for scar tissue removal from my skin cancer (think of the hardest hitting rubber band popping you in the nose a thousand times), a marble sized cyst removed from under my arm, 4 stitches later, a black eye from the laser, and $500 less... again, finding it hard to be thankful and desperately looking for the Christmas spirit.

So then I notice my throat is hurting.  Hmm... thought it was just sinus drainage.  But then I remembered the last time I had a sore throat that caused a major psoriasis flareup 3 years ago.  (Strep is a trigger for that).  Anyway, I am THANKFUL TO HAVE A HUBBY WHO IS A DOCTOR AND CAN WRITE ME A PRESCRIPTION!  I asked Matt to err on the side of caution and call me in an antibiotic (fyi, if you catch the strep early enough it CAN prevent it from spreading and possibly decrease the severity if you're lucky).  So I started my antibiotic and felt great for 10 days.

The day after I finished it, I noticed red spots on my neck and chest.  Ugggghhhh.  By that night, it had spread to arms, legs, and torso.  I fully expected to look like my all time worst by the next morning, but to my complete surprise the spots actually looked somewhat better the next day???  Still there, but not enflamed or itching as bad.  I make my appointment with the dermatologist AGAIN expecting to start one of the new immune system depressants (Enbrel, Humira, Stelara, etc).  Within 3 days, the psoriasis had gotten worse and then almost completely gone!  All I could imagine was Clint Eastwood saying "Do ya feel lucky punk? Well, do ya?"    YES I DO!    After having my last flare-up completely clear up when I got pregnant with Merritt, I have no doubt that my breastfeeding Mason has helped again (keeping the pregnancy hormones up!) on top of the antibiotics.

My psoriatic-arthritis has reached an all-time high.  I'm 36 and can't walk more than 1/2 mile without my knees feeling like they are being stabbed with a knife.  My elbows throb in pain while I wash my hair.  Ankles, hips, and wrists hurt depending on what I'm doing.  I tend to find exercises that don't involve walking, running, or stairs.  Elliptical and Pilates seem to work for me - which I will get back to when I'm done nursing Mason.

Anyway - all that to say -- I will be starting some new treatment in the near future.  I'm a little terrified of trying this.  Mason is on a countdown to being weaned and then I have to make my decision. Being a pharmacist is sort of a curse when I know TOO much about drugs.  Ignorance is bliss people!

On top of all the physical pain lately, can I just tell you how much Merritt drives me insane??? I'm her mom so I can say that, right?  I love her to death, but ooohhhh myyyy goooodnessss.  Make.her.stop.  I really don't know where she comes from.  Certainly doesn't remind us of anyone (other than the fact that she looks like her Daddy).  She changes clothes AT LEAST 5 times a day, and normally wears multiple outfits...all at one time.  Yep, just layers them on because she's weird like that.  Usually different pieces from different outfits.  She loves her accessories to a scary degree.  I imagine her on one of those intervention reality shows where they tell her she has to sell all of her stuff one day and the high pitched screaming will be heard around the world.  Her vocabulary (and correct context) has reached a new level also.  Anyone who says she needs speech therapy needs a kick to the groin.  We need a therapist to get her to STOP talking.  Or a therapist to listen to her rants, because my ears are about to fall off.  So this week I was thinking that maybe... just maybe... we were beginning to round the corner from the terrible 2's and 3's.  She went 2 days where I would actually use the word GOOD to describe her.  Should have known that it would come back and bite me in the butt.  Yesterday, she cut her own hair.  2 good chunks missing out of the front that I'm pretty sure won't reach in a ponytail anymore.  Today, she is eating crayons.

November and December are proving to be hard hitters this year.  Is it January yet? Nope!  Its December 5th and we don't even have our tree decorated yet!

On a more positive note, we had pictures made with an amazing photographer in Tennessee back in July and I am just now getting the proofs back!  She's worth the wait though!  Here are just a FEW of my faves.






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Sunday, November 8, 2015

October Moveober

I think I mention this every year.  October and May are quite possibly my least favorite months.  Yes its suppose to be all great and fun for the kids, but how can you actually enjoy it with them when its crazy busy and you get no sleep ???

Whoever decides the school calendar should NEVER EVER EVER EVER put Book Fair, Red Ribbon Week, 50's Day/party, Fall Festival/Halloween/Trunk-or-Treat parties, Fundraisers, Field Trips, Behavior Rewards parties, all on top of non-school related activities including more Halloween parties, birthday parties, church Fall Festivals, normal extra-curricular activities (ballet, soccer, etc), not to mention its "sick" month where allergies and viruses are rampant.
BECAUSE lets face it:  most parents do not help in the public schools.  For those of us who DO want to help... we can not do it all.  We can't be in multiple places at the same time.  We all generally have more than 1 kid.  SO in the future we will be learning to Just.Say.No.  Which we all hate.  Which will mean less help and therefore less fun for the kids. They don't like hearing that word and we don't like saying it.  (I'm speaking for several moms here.)   Attempt to space all this out over the month, not squeeze it all into ONE WEEK!

ok.  rant over.  mainly because its November now.  and I can breathe again.

Halloween just isn't what it used to be.  Most people don't go trick-or-treating because no one trusts anyone.  Trunk-or-treating is nice when the churches don't cancel it because of rain every year.  But lets face it, trunk-or-treat doesn't have the same appeal as knocking on a stranger's door begging for candy.  In the 8 years that we've been here, our church has canceled their Fall Festival at least 3 times that I can remember.  Nowadays, everyone has Fall Festivals anyway - what happened to haunted houses and creepy witches?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not Satanic or into demon worship or anything like that.  Its.just.fun.to.dress.up.and.get.scared.  Last year, I was pregnant with Mason and beyond physically and emotionally exhausted.  So I opted out of throwing our annual Halloween party and taking a break.  I never heard the end of it.  I promised the kids I would do it this year and that I would persuade the adults to get dressed up too.  I do it for the kids.  I do it because times aren't the same as they were when I was growing up.  If I don't throw a Halloween party, who will??  I got smart this year though.  My only rule was if you come, you must bring food.  I took care of the "big" items and drinks.  Seeing as most of my friends have a minimum of 3 kids, I just can't do all the decorating PLUS ALL the food it takes to feed that many people.  It did start raining this year about half way through, but I think they all had a good time anyway.  I do an outdoor movie, this year we rented a jumper, food, candy, and a hayride.  The kids had a blast I think.  They were surrounded by their own friends and family, not a bunch of strangers at foreign-church's trunk-or-treat (which I get is a ministry opportunity).  We weren't knocking on stranger's doors.  Hopefully it took all the worries out of the parents as well as the kids and everyone had a good time.  Looking forward to next year!!! I'm thinking Elvis might be making an appearance (maybe).

If your picture didn't show up on Fb, its because my sister said she felt weird taking someone's picture if she didn't know them.  So please don't be offended. She tried to take everyone's picture for me and I must say I need to hire her from now to be the official every-party photographer!

I've had several friends come back and tell me that our Halloween party WAS their child's Halloween this year.  And that their kids' were still talking about how much fun they had.  Our church canceled their event for Halloween night again, plus it was raining cats and dogs so no one went trick-or-treating.  Every penny I spent and time spent on decorating and setting up... was worth it to hear that.

Having said all that, I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.  Its been crazy busy and I'm very much looking forward to school being out for the upcoming holidays.

P.S.  Oh!  Why was I dressed up as a cop? My friend Amy and I have an ongoing inside joke about us being "Mom of the year" (which we totally aren't) and also one of us being "Good cop vs. Bad cop".  I usually refer to Amy being the Good cop because she is the "nicer mom" of the two of us!  I'm mean mommy and I joke that I'm the "bad cop." I really didn't want the kids coming in the house during the party unless they had to go to the bathroom... I joked that I would "arrest anyone trespassing on private property."  Hence...the cop costume.





















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Monday, September 21, 2015

Hearts Hurting

So many people we know or know-of are battling terminal conditions.  A 31 year old mother of one is battling a rare type of untreatable liver cancer.  A 5 year old little boy passed away yesterday from cancer.  A sweet lady in my Bible study who has 2 teenage daughters passed away over the weekend from cancer.  Several O babies passing in the last few weeks.  My heart is so heavy and it hurts for these families.

When I'm so angry at Merritt for being a typical 3 year old, I need to remind myself that she is HERE.  Yes, she is slow to potty train.  Could be her stubborn strong willed self or it could be O related.  who knows.  She tells me her tummy hurts almost every day lately.  I don't know what to do or even say when she's still eating and going to the bathroom as usual.  There's nothing I can do for a tummy ache if she's doesn't have a stomach bug.

I haven't really lost anyone that I've been super close to.  I haven't lost a parent or child (thank you Lord!) - so I can't relate to the pain they must be feeling.  I have journeyed to the dark side for a bit.  Don't care to ever go there again.  But through it I truly understood the Abraham and Isaac story.  Sacrificing your child for God.  I (finally) had reached a point that I was ACCEPTING (wasn't happy about it but definitely accepting) of the fact that Merritt might go HOME sooner rather than later.  That peace people tell you about…. it comes one day.  Knowing you will see them again and knowing they are in a far better place and not in pain anymore.  'Death, where is your sting?'  I finally "got it."  I finally understood what that REALLY meant.  I am glad she's still here with us, and lately I have to hug her a little harder and more often.  I started watching her again after she falls asleep… just thinking how precious she is.

I went to college with this mom.  I'm not friends with her now, but I applaud her for her strength and ability to put this out there.  I can only hope I would have these words when I am in a similar situation.
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/campbelldale/journal/view/id/55fba9e3ab28b9a33022bdcf

So after you've dried your tears from reading that… I will rejoice in the happiness surrounding us lately.   Several new babies being born.  Family weddings.  Planning vacations.  Rejoicing in our faith in God and knowing what a mighty Healer He is!  Seeing several people with stage IV cancer now proving to be cancer-free.

and maybe (just maybe) because he's the baby - but this one ALWAYS put a smile on my face and we are celebrating 6 months of having this one leveling out the playing field for us.  I love my sweets!  I love love love 6 months of age!  It is my favorite age so far of parenting!  He ends our baby streak with a high level of cuteness and happiness!



in a milk coma


i will never tire of this face






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