Monday, December 31, 2012

My Whole World...2012


That's my whole world.

Without doubt, this has been another very tough year.  Starting out with a new IVF cycle that was as wildly successful (relatively speaking, of course) as it was really was just icing on a very delicious cake that has been my life since Luke was born.

And then the icing was gone.

We lost another baby boy, Trey, in April.  Unexpected (though Luke and I had been sick with strep, Norovirus and bronchitis my entire pregnancy), I was sort of back at that grief-place I'd not been in a while.

Why?  Why even let me get pregnant if You are not going to let me keep him? (Again.)

And with such, such different support.  Still blessed, without doubt, but with questions like, "Why did you even name it?" or comments like, "It's easier to lose earlier than later," and "It's not the same as when you lost Matthew,"I admit that I spent a large portion of this year biting my tongue and praying for strength to be graceful.  There is very, very, very much a discrepancy in how people view miscarriage vice how they view neonatal death and it's extremely hurtful and isolating.

In addition to the full, fresh cycle in January, I also went through a frozen transfer, another fresh cycle that was canceled and another fresh cycle did not result in pregnancy.  All this by September.

I was busy.  My body was busy.  I found a lump and thought about the irony in that...all I've gone through to build my family and then I end up leaving the one I actually get to raise motherless.

Good times.

The shootings in Connecticut have been really horrific for my PTSD.  I hate even saying that, because certainly, the loss of those lives is NOT about me, but the feelings that go with my empathy for those families have triggered some very panic-attack anxieties in me.

I remember what it feels like to have that brick wall hit you in the face.  Who dies of labor complications anymore?

I remember what it feels like to have stockings hung and Christmas presents waiting, but the intended will never breathe again, much less come home to those gifts.

I remember Christmas songs about being the most wonderful time of the year coming on and wanting to throw up because that was the LAST thing I was thinking.

I remember what it feels like to pick a grave out instead of take your child to see Santa.

I remember.  Like it was yesterday.  Five minutes ago.

And it still makes my heart physically ache and takes my breath away.

This has been a busy year for John too.  His job and his career have been challenging.  In the way that really great things are challenging, but challenging nonetheless.  We are but weeks away from him deploying for up to a year, and honestly, I don't even now how my heart is going to be able to handle watching him hand Luke to me one last time as we drop him off.

Luke is his whole world too.

There is much to be said about the strength of military wives and mothers.  I agree--we are pretty fabulous.

Honestly, though, I also feel like it's easy to be so because I win no matter what.

John is home?  We have Luke.

John is gone?  I have Luke.

I have Luke.

Praise God, I have Luke.

If I am truthful, I don't want John to go, of course.  Since he is, though, and there's no changing it, I won't lie and say I'll wish the time to pass quickly.

I want him home quickly, no doubt.

But time is moving too, too fast.  Too fast.

I'll never, ever, ever wish a second of Luke's life to move faster than it already does.

Accepting that we are not going to have any more children has been hard for me.

Is hard for me.  I want the ones I've carried here with me, and I would love more too.

I've always wanted to mother many children.  I didn't realize I'd need to be more specific in my wants and want them to be alive as I mothered them.

And now, we are done.  We will not pursue any more IVF.  For various reasons, and admittedly, mostly out of fear because of our own or close friends' experiences, we will not pursue adoption.

Babies don't just show up on doorsteps.

We are done.

Which makes me cherish and adore every single second I have with Luke.  Even the ones where he is swatting because he's mad or screaming because I can't find his 'Ah-hoe' (backhoe) fast enough or refuses, refuses, REFUSES to eat...every single second of that child's life is an amazing blessing and gift to me, and neither John nor I take that gift for granted.

2013 will be quite the year, no doubt.

I recognize that I will be challenged to parent for two, and will do my best to compensate for the time apart on both John's and Luke's part.

John and I will both turn 40 in just a couple of months.  Wow.

Luke is changing and growing SO.MUCH.EVERY.DAY.  His words, thoughts and actions are so...

...little boy.

So less and less baby.


In any event, here's to 2013.  Grateful for so much I have, and looking forward to the adventures Luke and I will have as we pray for Daddy's (and so many others') safe return home to us.

Some recent pictures...

Not digging Santa at all.  In fairness, Santa was grumpy.

Silly Christmas Morning!

Mommy was a little bit worried about how to stop going so quickly!

He had a blast with Daddy!

Wintergreen for New Year's!  Family time before daddy leaves!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Some Christmas Crafting!

I am not crafty.

I wish I was.

I try to be.

I pretend I am sometimes.

I buy a lot of stuff with good intentions to be so.

But I'm not.

This salt-dough craft is going all over the internet, though, and it looked 'somewhat' doable.  I mean, for  crying out loud!  I am an elementary teacher!  Crafts are the BEST part of teaching!  Surely I could attempt it and have somewhat of a success with Luke.


So, without further ado...a little pictorial of last Saturday afternoon.  We had fun.  About halfway through, he believed me when I said I'd give him a skittle if he put Mimi's apron on (NO WAY to the hat...yet, ha ha!), so at least I have a picture or two of him in it!  Speaking of...the giveaway ends TONIGHT so if you haven't entered already, do so!  I have to figure out how to pick the winner with rafflecopter (anybody want to give me the Cliff's Notes version?) and then we'll get that info to Karie/Mimi.  You will LOVE it!

Carefully pouring ingredients....not letting go of the backhoe, though!

Checking his work!

Giving it a good stir with a spoon...

...and the backhoe!

Seriously thinking about this!

Wearing Mimi's apron...note the smartie in his hand as bribery.!

Kneading the dough...

Rolling it out....

He may or may not be in the middle of "Eyebrows" here...

The finished products!  Not bad for a NOT crafty mom, huh?

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Sins" Of The Mother...

I have been pretty sappy these days.

Ha ha.

Even more than usual, I mean.

I am just loving every single day with Luke this season.  I make sure I always have dollar bills so every where we go, and there is a Salvation Army ringer, I give him money (which he immediately tries to shove down his collar—aka, his "Pocket") and then we go to the ringer and I help him put money into the bucket...telling him, "Jesus wants us to give money to friends who need help for His birthday."

He's at the point now where when he sees the ringer, he says, "Jesus?"

Melt my heart.

The other night, we were sitting on the sofa in the dark in front of our lit tree and asking Luke what different things were.  "O-Man,"  "Ambbie," (lambie), "Urtle" (turtle), etc...I pointed to an ornament with Matthew's picture and said, "Who is that?" and he said, "Maf-few."

Then he kept saying it, "Maf-few, Maf-few, Maf-few.  Ee-sus.  Ee-sus." (Jesus).

Again, my heart melts so much these days.

Of course, it aches too.  It's still hard to hear "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!" on the radio.  It was not that long ago that I wanted to shrivel up and die during this "Wonderful time."  The other morning, in church, our pastor was talking about the Christmas Eve services coming up and how they would be.

For a moment, I was taken back to three years ago.  Not even a month had passed since we'd lost Matthew, and I stuffed myself into a skirt to go to Christmas Eve service.  It was the first time I'd been back at church, and I was grateful that the place was so packed there was no way for friends to really come and hover around.  For the most part, it was just sympathetic glances and silent hugs...appropriate words simply not known and honestly, not known how to accept.

And the snow....everyone loved the snow.

Everyone but me.

Anyway, John's impending departure is rapidly approaching.  Too quickly.

I just got Luke's eval report from his therapist.

I should preface with the fact that every time I walk into that office, I thank God that our 'issues' are ours, and not the issues of others.  I realize that much of the stuff we work on in therapy with Luke are things that many people don't give a second thought to...consider quirky or a phase and think, "Whatever...he'll eat when he's hungry."

Except, he won't.

And I know firsthand because I don't.

I do not always eat when I am hungry.  In fact, more often than not, I eat a meal and a half a day and somewhat snack or drink water for the rest of the day.  I'd not even really consider my 'snacking' much at all.

I am not an eater. I never have been.  I was allergic to most everything growing up.  Dairy/wheat/corn and all products thereof?  Off the shelf.

I was not picky.  I just couldn't eat much of anything because if I did, I'd end up in the hospital with an asthma attack.

I WANTED to eat.  I would 'sneak' cheese.  I LOVE cheese.  Love it.  I wanted to eat a lot of things.

I just couldn't.  Wholefoods wasn't around then and my choices were limited.  Habits were formed.

And stick.  Just the other day I was thinking about how healthy I always am in I was soo healthy with Matthew and Luke, and even with Trey, couldn't help but catch the bugs that Luke brought me.  It dawned on me that I was super healthy because I was SUPER vigilant about making sure I was eating as nutritionally sound as I could.  Most days, I was forcing myself, I admit, but I was not going to take a bit of nutrition away from my growing babies.

So, imagine how much it hurt my heart to read these words, "Luke has very, very limited interest in food and poor recognition of hunger throughout the day.  Further, he curbs his hunger.  Though visibly hungry, he will without fail, refuse foods, often times even food he has previously shown interest in."

And these words, "Luke has difficulty with change and is apprehensive of new situations.  Although caution with new situations is common to see in children Luke's age, he is hyper vigilant for his age, which is impacting his function in various environments, particularly with food selection."

Like mother, like son.

When John came home, I cried and cried.  Reading it, I said, "Sound familiar?  Sound familiar?"

People have a hard time believing it, but really, I am a hermit.

I am.

I am not a fan of new situations, I very much dislike change and am often hyper vigilant in far more situations than I should be.

I choose to be a 'people person.'  While being a social butterfly used to be my natural inclination, as I've gotten older, I have become far more introverted.  After we lost Matthew, my desire for that introversion grew stronger and stronger and to this day, is always my first instinct.

It's cuhhhh-raaazzy how much we pass to our children.

Obviously, I know I can't change wiring.  Further, I know his anxiety about things is not just from his mommy.  Daddy's side of the family has it's fair share of anxiety, and frankly, we are ALL pretty successful and functional adults!

I'm certainly not worried about Luke having social anxiety issues (he goes outside, hears neighborhood kids playing and says, "Kids? Kids??"...and he's starting to play with kids more at school than play alongside them).  When he goes to school or church, after the obligatory, "Mama, I miss you!" he's fine.  When I go to pick him up, actually, he throws a fit!  He doesn't WANT to leave!

While he may not like change or new situations, he very, very quickly eases into them and warms up well, so, like his mama, he chooses to bloom where he's planted regardless.

I'm thankful.

I just hate that some of the things I've battled with in life seem to already be manifesting in such a baby.

He's so little still.

I'm keeping a detailed log the food he eats.  It's ridiculous.

Thank God for whole milk, dairy and good supplements is all I have to say.


Friday, December 7, 2012


It is no secret that I am blessed with some amazing, talented and generous friends.

I mean, REALLY talented and REALLY generous and REALLY amazing.

So, I am super excited to have another giveaway from my friend Karie at Two Kwik Quilters.  She has designed and custom makes the most ADORABLE things and she has generously offered to giveaway a custom apron and hat set!

Now, I'll be honest, Luke pretty much gives me flack on putting just about anything on him and God help if I entertain the thought of a hat (without a mega-bribe of TWO skittles!).  That said, I know this phase will not last forever, and I'll be doing all I can to entice him to wear this set because it is SO flipping cute!  He loves dinosaurs ("Rawwwrrr") and he loves snakes ("ssssss") even if snakes make his Mama's heart fall to her toes.  He played with the set for a good while, but the hat?  Yeah, well, the following is the best I could get!
Yes, this cost me two skittles AND a piece of candy cane, but SOOOO cute!
The adorable reverse side!

The entry chances are below and hopefully pretty easy (first time using Rafflecopter!).  Karie can do all sorts of stuff.  Today she told me that she did one that was more 'girly' on one side and 'boyish' on the other so when mom was cooking with one child for special time together, they could choose the appropriate side!  Brilliant!  I hope that whoever wins sends me a picture of their cutie wearing the set!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 3, 2012


The Kyrgyzstan Christmas Challenge is over, but money keeps coming and can CERTAINLY be used!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who donated in Matthew's memory!  The $500 for my part was raised, and John and Luke will be 'pieing' me as a result.  Oy.  All worth it, though!

Luke drew the winner of the awesome cosmetic bag from my precious friend at Two Kwik Quilters, and it was another sweet friend, Erin!

Believe it or not, a year ago, Luke drew Erin's name for last year's giveaway!  I think he's sweet on her!  I don't blame him, though, because she IS sweet, and I couldn't be happier that she won.  Again.

Wildman's hair...and yes, that is Thomas on tv in the background.  Luke is on an anti-daddy kick, so whatever gets him to spend some time with Daddy....the boy loves trains!!!

Another sweet friend, Rhonda, is sponsoring a Scentsy party online—and 100% of the proceeds (ALL of them, folks!) will go to the orphanages in Kyrgyzstan!  Please consider going here if you are in the Scentsy market for the was a very generous offer on her part and as always, I am just humbled at how supportive people are of us.

Thank you friends.  

There's a lot going on and it's a tough but beautiful time of year, so my emotions are up, down, left and right.

But I'm grateful for so much.  Thank you.

More giveaways to come...I always have believed it's more fun to give than to receive.  I am SO excited about the upcoming one.  Get's CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!!!

Congrats again, sweet Erin!  Enjoy your bag!