Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear Samuel

Dear Samuel,
Dad and I are going out to celebrate the arrival of a New Year and now that you're 15 months old we've decided to leave you in charge of your sister.

We'll leave the monitor on so if you hear Lauren cry, just crawl up the stairs and check on her. You are really really good at climbing the stairs these days so that shouldn't be a problem.

If Lauren gets hungry just give her part of your bottle and she should be fine. We've been  trying to teach you how to share so this is a good opportunity to show mom and dad what you've learned.

If your sister's nuk falls out, please put it back in her mouth. Gently. Very gently. You are really good at shoving her nuk into her mouth so I am not worried about this.

If you get bored just turn on the television (yes, it's those buttons we always say "don't touch") and watch a Praise Baby or Signing DVD. Since it's a special occasion you can even watch Elmo if you want. Please shut off the TV when you are done.

If you get hungry, just open up the pantry door like you've done many times, and pull out a bag of chips. Those are the ones on the bottom shelf that you always like to grab. The clip is a bit tricky, but I have no doubt you'll get it off. If you decide to open the Kettle Corn, please chew carefully. Popcorn is a choking hazard.

Jersey may also need a snack. If you hear her meowing, just show her how to eat the cat food by the back door. You've done that a couple times.

You love the telephone, so if there are any problems, just pick up a phone (you know where we hide them) and call me ASAP.

We love you. Be good and be nice to your sister.

Love,
Mom & dad

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Playing in the snow...

I have lots to blog about but no time to blog.

For now, here are a few pics of Samuel playing in the snow....indoors at grandma's house!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our dancing man

Samuel loves music and loves to dance. Here he is dancing in his Christmas PJs!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We didn't get Lauren's birth announcements sent out earlier, so we are sending them with our Christmas card this year.

Yesterday as we were driving to my parent's home, Ryan said, "Last year at Christmas we had a 3-month-old." Then he looked at me and said, "This year we have a 3-month-old. AND a 1-year-old."

It's still hard to believe.

God is faithful and today we praise Him for our Christmas blessings.












































You can click on the images to see them full size.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No use crying over spilled milk

It would be lovely if I could post a wonderfully sweet and peaceful message about the joy of Christmas. How it's so beautiful this time of year. The cookies baking, the music playing and the children laughing.

Instead of a Beaver Clever Christmas, at my house mom is crying, kids are screaming and the house is all a mess.

This morning I used my brand new Sharp Steam Mop (an early Christmas present) to clean my oh-so-nasty kitchen floor. While Samuel slept later than usual, I swept up the crumbs and steamed my floor until it was beautifully shining clean. I was so proud of myself. A clean floor before 10 a.m. It's going to be a great day!

Just five hours later I'm on my hands and knees in the kitchen wiping up my dirty floor. I dropped a container of applesauce and it splattered all over my clean floor and onto the front of my fridge. I stood in disbelief looking at my floor covered in applesauce. I had no one to blame but myself.

Then just three minutes later, I'm pouring breast milk into a bag to freeze (and let me just say that this milk is in low supply and high demand these days so every ounce is precious) and I dump over the bag. Onto the floor pours five ounces of milk.

I got down on my hands and knees once again, this time with tears streaming down my face. My clean floor was now sticky and my attitude was sour.

Who knew a little applesauce and spilled milk could cause mom to have a pre-Christmas meltdown?

As the old saying goes, "No use crying over spilled milk..."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some of you would give anything...

Today I'm thinking about my life and thinking about how some of you would give anything....

if you had to decide whether to eat lunch, take a shower, clean up your house or blog during nap time

to have bathroom toys covering your bathroom floor from last night's bath

to have so much food on your kitchen floor you could probably sweep it up and make a meal out of it

to be bugging your husband to go Christmas shopping so your kids have something to open on Christmas morning

to keep seeing your pile of Christmas cards that STILL haven't been mailed and most likely won't be mailed until after Christmas

to have breakfast and lunch dishes piled on the counter

to have toys and books all over your living room floor

to be tired just thinking about packing up the kids and going to two different grandparents' homes two days in a row to celebrate Christmas (even though we love you gpas & gmas!)

to have cookie dough from December 6 still in your fridge that you never got around to baking

to stay home from a Christmas party or gathering because you have two little kids rather than because you want to avoid the inappropriate questions, knowing looks and naive comments you're sure to face when you do go

I've been there. I know.

And I just want say, that this Christmas, I know some of you would give anything to have the craziness and chaos that is my life.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dressed in black...

Samuel and his cousin Jonathan. So so cute. My little man is growing up - handsome isn't he?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dressed in red...

Lauren and her cousin Evelyn are just 6 weeks apart. This is, I'm sure, the first of many photographs of the two of them dressed in matching outfits. Merry Christmas sweet baby girls...


Friday, December 18, 2009

The year I skipped Christmas

Last May I posted something I wrote titled "The Year I Skipped Mother's Day."

As I was driving today, I thought that this might be "The Year I Skipped Christmas."

We are one week out from Christmas.

I do not have a single Christmas decoration up in my home.

I have only bought three Christmas gifts for some of the little people in my life. Three. I have quite a few to go.

My Christmas cards are sitting on my dining room table waiting to be mailed. They are next to my birth announcements that only made it into the hands of about 10 people.

I made two Christmas treats a few weeks ago but want to make more (I love tasty Christmas treats!).

When I think about Christmas the part that excites me the most is that Ryan will be home from work for 12 days and I will get to sleep, sleep, sleep.

It seems I am living in a bit of a fog this holiday season...it has gone by in a blur and will be here before I know it.

But as I think about the first Christmas, I am reminded:
there were no decorations
they did not send out Christmas cards (or baby announcements!)
there were no sweet treats to enjoy
the gifts presented were not ones purchased at a store

So this year, I might be skipping (or at least delaying) most of the 'usual' Christmas traditions. But instead I will do as another young mother did so many years ago...

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

I commit today to stop feeling guilty for what I have not accomplished or am choosing not to do this year. Instead I will look at my two Christmas miracles, treasure their precious lives and daily ponder all that the Lord has blessed me with this year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aunt Sher

My sister Sherry is just 15 months older than I am. She is one of my dearest friends. She has mourned with me and rejoiced with me throughout my journey to parenthood.

During the past 14 months she has  earned the title of best aunt ever!
She stops by our house  frequently, babysits for me and loves these kids like crazy. She is a wonderful aunt and we are so blessed by her.

Here are a couple pictures of her with her four nieces and nephews (2 and under!) and with my kids tonight. We love you Sher!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Words on waiting

I have a friend whose husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008. He had surgery and it was completely removed, but a couple times each year he has to have a CT scan to make sure he is still cancer-free.

During this time of waiting anxiety is high for my friend. Her mind is consumed with wondering if the cancer has returned?

To hear that a loved one has cancer is something that we all dread.Thankfully he is healthy and doing great today.

But the reality is that every time he has a follow-up test, worries and fears abound until they meet with the doctor and hear that everything looks good.

So today they are waiting. Waiting for the test results to come back. Waiting to go to the appt tomorrow. Waiting to go on with life.

I am continually amazed at how we are all called to wait in life - even though our waiting looks so very different.


Waiting causes anxiety, depression, discouragement, fear, and discontentment.


But I also believe that waiting....

drives us to a deeper devotion with the Lord

drives us to greater dependence on the Lord

drives us to a stronger faith in the Lord.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Scrapbooking

Here are my answers to the questions about scrapbooking, cameras and photos:

1) What kind of camera do you have?

I have a Canon 30D. While I love it, a camera is only as good as the person behind the lens. I really need to learn how to use it better. It's rather large, so in hindsight I wish I would have gotten the Canon Rebel. The Rebel is a great SLR but isn't as bulky (who knew when I purchased the 30D that I'd be carrying around 2 kids and a diaper bag?). I've bought 2 cameras off Craig's List. Both were fantastic purchases that I have been very happy with.

2) What kind of digital photography software do you use?

I use Creative Memories Memory Manager and StoryBook Creator Plus. I love love love both programs and can't say enough good things about them. If you are filling out your Christmas Wish List, I suggest either of those programs. You can organize, edit and view photos using Memory Manager and you can do all kinds of fun creative things with StoryBook (create digital albums, create digital layouts, make invitations, cards, etc).


3) How many Creative Memories albums have you made? How long have you been making the albums?

I'm not sure how many albums I have made. More than 10, less than 20. I was introduced to Creative Memories by my mother-in-law in the early 90s when I started dating Ryan. My first album is about our dating years. I must admit I have a bad habit of starting albums, but not fully completing them. Looking back, I am so glad that I took pictures in my single years, dating years and early married years. Those photos are priceless to me. Today I scrapbook both traditionally and digitally. I love telling my story both ways.


Side note: I actually worked at Creative Memories for 4 years as a copywriter...it was my dream job and I loved it. I quit to start writing as a freelancer from home.


4) Is scrapbooking one of your hobbies?

I don't know that I would say that scrapbooking is one of my hobbies. It is more of a passion. I don't care whether the books are called scrapbooks, memory books, photo albums, picture books, storybooks, whatever. I think it's invaluable to take photos, print them and make them available to enjoy and celebrate. Albums are simply ways that we tell our stories...with pictures and words. In a way this blog is like a digital album for me.


5) Did you ever make a faith album or an album about your journey to motherhood?

I have not made an album about my journey to motherhood but I think that is a wonderful idea that I will consider doing in the future. I made an album the year I turned 30 and I called it my Blessing Book. I felt so thankful to God for the many blessings in my life that I wanted to chronicle all of them. I created a 2-page layout for each role in my life starting with "The Blessing of being a Woman." I also included Wife, Daughter, Sister, Granddaughter, Friend, Woman of Faith, Writer, American. This is what I would consider my faith album. It is definitely among my favorite albums!

I am also working on an album that I affectionately call "The 7 year itch." I took pictures every day for one month in March 2008 - the month of our 7 year anniversary. I love this album! It shows where we lived, who we hung out with, where we worked, and how we spent our free time. It will be so fun to show this to Samuel and Lauren some day. And I am very thankful I created it when I did, because 7 months later our lives were drastically changed forever!

Happy Santa Lucia Day!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Consumed by anger

I am very grateful for Ryan's post about prayer and my response to Samuel's illness. It does my heart good to read those words from my husband.

But here's what Ryan left out of his post: Tuesday night I was angry. So very very angry. I petitioned the Lord for sleep. I begged and pleaded and asked and prayed for Samuel to sleep well and for us to get some much-needed rest.

And I felt the Lord didn't answer that prayer. And I got ticked off. Really ticked off. In the middle of the night, I felt consumed by anger. I wasn't angry at Samuel, I was angry at the Lord. He could easily soothe Samuel's little body so that he wouldn't wake up or be sick.

I felt this was such a small prayer request in the grand scheme of things, yet a much needed prayer for our family. And yet the prayer went unanswered that night.

So I lay in bed mad. Consumed by my anger.

Can anyone out there relate to me?

You pray and plead and beg and petition and you feel as though it falls on deaf ears.

And you know what? I felt justified by my anger. I was content to sit in bed and be angry at the Lord. And in the morning when we got up, I was still angry.

In fact, all day Wednesday I was composing a post in my head about my anger. And to be honest, I am still working through my anger with the Lord.

I'm just asking for health. And sleep. And I think, "Is that too much Lord? Can't you answer this one little prayer?"

And then I think of children out there with major illnesses. Life-threatening diseases. Diagnoses that change a family forever. And I'm humbled and humiliated at my immaturity and my stubbornness to hang onto my anger.

I've got a long way to go as a parent. And a long way to go as a woman of faith.

Forgive me Lord. I'm definitely a work in progress.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Time to brag about my wife

If you read this blog regularly you know that my wife has an amazing ability with words. It is something that makes me jealous most of the time. She is always articulate and intentional...except when she is sleep deprived.

For the last three nights at least we have been up multiple times with Samuel puking, pooping and crying. It has been exhausting at night and each morning I have had to leave to go to work.

Two nights ago Stacy prayed with everything in her that we would get a good nights sleep. That night Samuel awoke for the first time at midnight. All I remember, besides the smell of vomit, is Stacy yelling "Are you friggin' kidding me?" You see she believed so much that her prayer would get Samuel through the night, that when he woke up, she was hopeless.

Last night I prayed. I was exhausted, but I knew that God could help. Samuel woke up this time at 11:15 p.m. Forty-five minutes earlier than the night before. We laid him back down but he was up again at 1 a.m. This time instead of panicking Stacy went straight to her laptop to let you all know that we needed your prayers.

In the heat of the moment, when it mattered the most, my wife did not crumble. Instead she prayed. I am so thankful for Stacy. She has a thankless job sometimes, but she sticks it out with an endurance I don't understand.

We both realize that we prayed for our children for a long time, but in the heat of the moment we need to rely on each other to not forget this important point. Thanks for loving me and our kids so much Stacy.

Please pray

It's 1:31 a.m. CST and I'm writing a desperate plea for prayer.

I just changed Samuel's sheets for the fourth night in a row. It seems his cold, which started pre-thanksgiving, has left him with a large amount of mucus in his little body. This mucus is causing him to cough at night which is leading to gagging and throwing up. Again and again and again.

We went to the doctor yesterday and he gave us a prescription for amoxicillin to clear up the mucus. This has now caused Samuel to have diarrhea. He started crying about 30 minutes ago....just two hours after I rocked him as he cried at 11:30...because he had thrown up again as well as wet through his PJs due to diarrhea.

Puke. Crap. Tears. Mucus. Coughing. Gagging. Crying.

Ryan is rocking him in his room as I type this and I hear Samuel coughing and crying. Samuel's little body is worn out and we are physically exhausted from caring for him.

So I ask you to join with me in praying for God's healing hand to restore Samuel to health TODAY.

**Update: It's now 3:24 a.m. and we have been up with Samuel for the last 2 hours. Your prayers are greatly needed and appreciated.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My faith story

In the coming weeks I'll do my best to answer the questions from Mondays post.

To get started, I'll share my faith story. Below is my testimony, written and given four years ago when I was baptized.

A beach, a byline, and a blank sheet of paper

One evening in June of 1999 I found myself walking along the beach in South Padre Island, Texas. I was 23 years old. I was tired, hurting and unfulfilled. I was still trying to figure out how I ended up in South Padre on a Missions Trip with a group of high school students.

I had accepted Christ in 3rd grade at a Bible Camp. I grew up in a Christian home and attended youth group faithfully. But once I graduated from high school I no longer pursued my relationship with the Lord. During my college years I enjoyed living in the world and earthly pleasures. It was fun – for a while. But in February of 1999 my boyfriend of five years broke up with me and my world came crashing down.

A girlfriend and I began attending a new church and we joined a College-n-Career group in the spring. I met some incredible friends, but I was lonely and desperate for direction in life.

In late spring I received a phone call asking if I would consider being a leader on a Missions Trip with a team from my church. In June I graduated from the University of Minnesota and just a few weeks later I found myself traveling on a bus with kids who were so passionate about serving God that they ministered to me. I quickly realized that the only reason I was on that trip was because God knew that I needed to get right with him.

So there I was on a beach in Texas. In my hand I carried a blank piece of paper. A speaker on the trip challenged us to sign our name to the bottom of a blank sheet of paper when we were ready to sign over our life to God. I struggled with God. I wrestled over the what ifs, how comes, and an unknown future.

I didn’t think it strange at the time, but now that I am a writer I think it’s ironic that God challenged me with a blank sheet of paper! Could I really sign my byline to a blank sheet of paper? Could I give God control and let him write my life story?

Yes I could. I had made enough mistakes trying to write my own story. That night was a significant turning point in my life.

Luke 15 tells the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Jesus said: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.”

The parable of the Lost Sheep describes my faith journey. I had left God. But He came after me – his lost sheep – put me on a bus, met me on a beach and then joyfully placed me on His shoulders and brought me home.

I am blessed to say that Acts 22:16 is now part of my life story. “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” Today I have the privilege of being baptized by Mike Binder and my husband, Ryan.

It’s difficult at times to let God write my story. I’m an independent, self-reliant and prideful sheep. But I am so very thankful for a shepherd who continually guides me back to Him.


This song was one that encouraged me to 'step out on the water' and be baptized. It has been very influential in my life...





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In re-reading my testimony and listening to this song, I think a few things are interesting: One....I had no idea when I wrote my name on that sheet of paper, how God was going to write my life story. I am so thankful that I signed my life - and my unknown future - over to Him. Two...the decision to follow Jesus as Lord of my life is not made in the midst of the trial. It's made today. It's made now. Either we follow the Lord come hell or high water, or we choose to walk our own path. Three...the lyrics of this song include the words, "If you draw us to the fire, you will not withdraw your hand" and "If you say wait, we will wait." Incredible, that even then, God was shaping my heart for what lay ahead.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ask me

I recently realized that I never acknowledged or celebrated my one year anniversary of blogging this past fall. October 7, 2008, was my first blog post.

So in honor of that, one year and two months later, I thought it would be interesting to see if any of my readers have questions for me. I'm not guaranteeing I will answer them all, but I'll do my best.

So here's your chance. If you're wondering anything about me personally...my family, my marriage, my parenting philosophies, my faith, my season of waiting, lessons I've learned on my journey, adoption, my views on whatever, writing, blogging....go for it.

Just ask me.

It'll be fun...?!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just because you're mine

My sweet baby girl,























This weekend in the peaceful quiet of the night, I held you, fed you, rocked you and looked adoringly at you. I said over and over, "I love you so much baby girl. I love you so so so much. Just because you're mine, I love you."


Sometimes I look at you and can't believe you're really mine. My baby GIRL. It is so precious to have a girl!

I love the moment before I lay you back down to sleep, when I sway with you ever-so-gently and you go back to sleep, all swaddled and warm, and I get to kiss your soft cheek and stare at your face in the soft light. I am often overcome with emotion that I have the privilege of loving you, my sweet baby girl.

On Friday, in the quiet of the night, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart. After I whispered those sweet words into your ear, the Lord whispered into my ear: "I love you too Stacy. Just because you're mine."

Just as I love you simply because you're mine, the Lord loves me simply because I'm His. And He loves you too sweet baby girl. He loves you too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

I'm struggling with what to write on my post today. I am committed to being honest, open and authentic on this blog. And when I have hard days, I will not sugar coat it and pretend motherhood is a breeze.

But I also want to be sensitive, because I know that a lot of you reading this would give anything to have a hard day as a mom and I understand that. I know you would give anything to have two little children in your daily care.

Yet, I'm reminding myself that I'm not only writing to those of you who are walking a journey similar to what I did. I am writing to my friends who are currently in the same stage of life I'm in: mothering two little ones at home.

So here's to you guys: Molly, Heidi, Liz, Megan H, Megan S. We're in this together. We love it, but it's not easy...

Motherhood is hard. Really hard. For years I longed to be a mom, and it is an unbelievable privilege. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Ryan had a work event to attend last night so it was just me and the kids from sun up to sun down yesterday.

And it was tough.

Another night of little sleep and feeling under the weather started the day off a little rough. Having two kids wake up crying at the same time leaves you feeling inadequate to meet both their needs.

Repeating "be gentle to your sister, be nice to the cat, don't touch that, please leave those buttons alone" over and over makes you wonder how long it takes until "please listen and obey" is implemented.

Changing diapers, giving baths, dressing the kids. That is all part of motherhood. But when does motherhood stop and making meals, cleaning up the house, and washing clothes begin?


Yesterday I did not brush my teeth until I went to bed at 8 p.m. I have not showered since Monday night when I got into the tub with Samuel as I was giving him a bath. Really? My only shower this week was with my child? I wore a t-shirt and sweatpants all day. I saw no other adult besides my husband. I watched no television and did not listen to the radio.

My phone conversations were my only connection with the 'adult' world.

The dishwasher did not get emptied all day. The laundry did not get put in the dryer from the night before until late afternoon.

My lunch consisted of a banana and wheat thins at 2 p.m.

I let my child watch two DVDs as I fed his sister and felt guilty the entire time for letting him watch 'movies.' At least they were a Praise Baby DVD and a Signing DVD.

I read Goodnight Moon 15 times and wiped a runny nose 10 times.

I was impatient. I was selfish at times. I was crabby. I whined to my husband and begged God for a few minutes of rest. I talked with friends about sleep schedules, feedings, and the challenges of mothering two.

This may not be pretty but this is motherhood. Not as I wish it were some days. Not as I hope it might be. This is my life - the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to record it so I can remember it as I look back on these days...knowing I made it through. I survived two kids under 14 months.

P.S. Now I'm going to go take a shower.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sweet Sleep

The other day as I was getting out of bed, I realized I do the exact same thing every morning: think about sleep (or lack thereof).

The first thing I do is plan how soon I can lay down for a nap. I wonder to myself: will Samuel go down for a morning nap? How long will he sleep? Will he and Lauren be sleeping at the same time so I can catch a few minutes of shut eye?

I feel like sleep has become an obsession these days.

I think about sleep.

I pray about sleep.

I want nothing more than to sleep.

I did some reading on sleep, and found this: "Sleep is essential to normal biological function. The immune system doesn’t work well if we don’t sleep. Sleep researcher Eve van Cauter at the University of Chicago exposed sleep-deprived students (allowed only four hours per night for six nights) to flu vaccine; their immune systems produced only half the normal number of antibodies in response to the viral challenge."

Since I am now fighting a cold, I absolutely believe in the validity of that statement! I know my immune system is struggling with my lack of sleep.

I also read that a parent loses about 350 hours of sleep at night over her baby's first year. Most people talk about the lack of sleep during those first few days and weeks. I say it's really the first 3-6 months that sleep deprivation is at its peek.

When people ask how I'm doing all I want to answer is, "Tired. Exhausted. Sleep deprived." But that answer gets old after three months, so instead I just say, "fine."

I often wonder how mothers of 4, 6, 8 children survive? Do they need less sleep than the average person, or do their bodies eventually adjust? Or do they just live in a constant state of fogginess for a few years?

I knew the lack of sleep would be one of the most difficult aspects of having a newborn and I asked for prayer about that prior to Lauren's arrival. I'm not sure I understood the obsession I would have about sleep or to the degree that it would impact my days.

In fact, in my sleep-deprived state I tried to unlock my front door yesterday by pushing the button to unlock my car. I hit it a number of times before I realized that button was not going to unlock my front door! And that was followed by looking for my cell phone as it was ringing only to discover it was in my back pocket.

I know it will get better. I know I will survive. And, yes, every sleep deprived minute is worth it when I see my baby girl smile at me.

So for now, I claim the promise of Proverbs 3:24, "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."

Monday, November 30, 2009

I know where to run

For five days Samuel has been sick. We're getting to the end of it (I hope!) but its been rough - on all of us. In 14 months Samuel had never been this sick. And in 14 months I'm not sure parenting had ever been this difficult. It is so hard to see your little one sick and not be able to help. When the tears pour from their eyes because they feel so miserable, your heart just wants to break.

I couldn't help but take a few pictures of his sad little face when he was down and out...

































As a result of Samuel's sickness (and having a newborn!), Ryan and I got little sleep multiple nights in a row. Sunday after getting home from church I laid down to take a nap and just flat out told the Lord, "I don't know if I can do this. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can't. I am so tired. My entire body aches. I just want to cry. I want to go to sleep for 12 hours. I don't want to cook or clean or care for anyone but me. Help me Lord because I'm not sure I'm strong enough for this."

You know what the Lord told me?

"You're not Stacy. You're not strong enough. But that's exactly how I want it to be. Because in your weakness, I am strong. In your weariness, I am your strength. You can't do it all by yourself and that's exactly how I designed it to be. Let me help you. Let me be your strength. Let me take care of you."


When you're the mom you can't just run and hide - no matter how much you want to. But as my good friend's mom always told her, "You know where to run Heidi. You know where to run." She was referring to Proverbs 18:10: The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run to it and are safe.

How refreshing that in my weariness, the Lord is my strong tower. I can't run away and hide, but I can always run to Him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

In everything give thanks....

I'm meditating on 1 Thess. 5:18 today: In everything give thanks.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Everything looks different for each of us.

Everything might be an unfulfilled dream.

Everything might be
unemployment.

Everything might be an empty bank account and an uncertain future.

Everything might be a tough diagnosis from the doctor
.

Everything might be the end of a relationship.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Today my everything means that I am trying to give thanks even though we'll be missing the Thanksgiving celebration at my in-laws. Samuel is feeling much better today, but he is still contagious for 24 hours so it's probably best if we don't expose all of his family to our germs.

But I'm not happy about it. I love thanksgiving food....turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole!

Ryan's mom has spent days preparing to feed a group of 25 people.

Ryan has family visiting from New Jersey and Chicago and we adore these people.

Ryan's brother is home from Med School. He hasn't even met Lauren yet and we were looking forward to introducing Lauren to her handsome, smart uncle.

So I'm pouting. I'm sad. I'm bummed.

It's our first thanksgiving as a family of four. I have the kids' cute little outfits all laid out. I was hoping for a family picture.

But instead I'm reminding myself to give thanks.

I'm reminding myself that my thanks and praise cannot be contingent on my circumstances. And even if they were, I have much to praise the Lord for:
As I type this I have a husband and a son sleeping and I'm crazy about both of them. And I have a baby girl in my lap who is smiling from ear to ear and cooing as only a baby can do.

In everything give thanks.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Parenthood and plans....

When I woke up this morning I had a full day planned with a lot I wanted to accomplish.

In addition to caring for my kiddos, I planned to:
Make green bean casserole for tomorrow
Clean my floors (its been weeks and they are disgusting!)
Finish up the laundry so everything is clean for the weekend
Go on a movie date with my hubby tonight to see Where the Wild Things Are (our first date since August!)

At 3 a.m. last night Samuel woke up very hot and obviously had a fever.

When he got up this morning he seemed to be doing OK, but as the morning wore on he clearly wasn't feeling well.

Ryan came home early from work.

We went to the pediatrician.

His fever was 102. Coughing. Congested. Runny nose. Teary eyed. Poor little guy. They said it was a virus and to just wait it out.

Then we went to the chiropractor. We are big believers in chiropractic care and thought an adjustment would help kick-start all of our immune systems.

Rain and traffic made it a 50 minute drive to get there. Lauren got very hungry due to our long drive so we stopped to get soup afterward thinking Samuel would like that and I could feed Lauren.

Chaos. Absolute insane utter chaos. What were we thinking?

We bathed Samuel and put him to bed at 7:30. The first time.

Ryan finally finished his dinner (soup) at 7:50.

We put Samuel to bed for the second time.

No green bean casserole.

No laundry.

No shower.

No clean floors.

No date night.

I'm quickly learning that my plans will always take second place next to parenthood.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Life with two

This pic is a good example of life with two little kiddos...one in each arm.

Lauren is such a good baby that she fell asleep while I read to Samuel. I think we read Ted in a Red Bed 4 times :) He loves turning the flaps on each page. Actually he loves just about any book. And since I love reading I am very thankful for that. Rocking and reading - does it get any sweeter?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two month pics

Lauren Ruby turned two months on November 13. At her appointment she was 12 lbs and 24 1/2 inches (97%).

Samuel didn't care much about her until recently. Now he wants to climb all over her, grab her hands and feet, take her nuk and poke her in the eye (what are those things anyway?). He is gentle with her most of the time but she has survived a few clunks to the head. Since Samuel is only 20 lbs, his little sister will be catching up to him fairly soon and then he'll have to watch out!

Here are a few pics I took recently. Yes, she has huge blue eyes and yes, she's getting so big! We call her Rubs, Rubster and baby girl. Although you can't tell from the pics, she is very smiley. She is a happy and content baby and we are loving every day with our newest miracle.











Friday, November 20, 2009

Waiting for that phone call

Today I was thinking about those of you I know who are waiting.

Some of you are waiting for a test that will change your life. A positive test result that indicates pregnancy.

Some of you are waiting for a phone call that will change your life. A call that will tell you that all of your adoption papers are complete. Or that there is a birth mom interested in meeting you. Or that the baby you are waiting for has been born.


I know a thing or two about waiting. And I thought I was waiting for a positive test result. In fact, I waited for - and got - two of those. But they didn't lead to what I hoped for.

What I didn't know was that a phone call was going to be the thing that changed my life. "Birth mom...baby boy...Waconia...yesterday...interested?"


While some of you are desperately waiting for a test result, know that God might have a phone call planned for you instead.

God knows. He has your story written. So pray. Pray like crazy during your waiting. But know that while you wait, God too is waiting to unveil His perfect plan for your family.

Be encouraged. Take heart. Your miracle might be just a phone call away.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

About Adoption

What I don't know about adoption:

I don't know how it feels to grow a life inside of me for 9 months and then make the heart-wrenching decision to allow someone else to raise that little life.

I don't know how it feels to have to choose who is going to raise the child I gave birth to.

I don't know how it feels to leave the hospital - sore, tired and full of emotions - without a baby in my arms.

I don't know how it feels to go through Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas without my child by my side.

I don't know how it feels to question over and over again whether or not I made the right decision - for my child and for me.

I don't know how it feels to wonder if my child will love me or hate me for the decision I made.

What I know about adoption:

I know that it doesn't matter to me one bit that Samuel grew in a womb other than my own.

I know that I would have paid twice what I did to experience the last 13 months with him.

I know that a piece of paper with my name does not make me Samuel's mother. 13 months of feedings, diaper changes, doctor's appointments, baths, walks, tears, smiles and hugs makes me his mom.

I know that my adopted son is unbelievably loved by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. I know that these people often forget he is adopted.

I know that the miracle of adoption is just that - an incredible, life-changing miracle.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's so amazing about adoption

On April 28, 2008, my husband and I moved out of our town home in the suburbs into the city of Minneapolis. Our town home had sold in 13 days (much to our surprise!), and we didn't have a new home yet.

So we were moving into temporary housing in south Minneapolis until we found a home.

We moved out our stuff on Sunday and I cleaned on Monday. After packing up the last few odds and ends, along with the cleaning products, I remember kneeling on the carpet in the living room of our town home.

I prayed. I prayed about the move. I prayed about our future. I prayed about this crazy thing we were doing: moving into the city to help start a church in Northeast Minneapolis. And then I cried. I sobbed. I bawled my eyes out.

I laid on the floor and poured out all the emotions that come with moving - there were good emotions because I was excited to start on this new journey of following the Lord into the city. There were heart-wrenching emotions because I was about to close the door on another chapter of my life and the chapter had not gone as planned.

Five years earlier when we had moved into our town home on July 27, 2003, the green room upstairs was to be the nursery. Now, five years later, it had been a scrapbook room and then a lounge room. No baby. No nursery.

So I cried out to God that I wasn't suppose to be leaving this town home without a baby. That was not how things were suppose to go. And it was really hard to be closing the door on our time in that town home without seeing my dream come to life.

But here is what is so incredible. This is what is so unreal. This is what's amazing...

That very same day, April 28, 2008, there was a healthy baby boy growing in his mother's womb.

There was a birth mom carrying a child that would soon be my son.

There was a God in Heaven who had a plan that was greater, grander, wiser, more beautiful than the plan I had hoped and waited for.

But I didn't know that. I didn't know about a precious baby boy who was already 16 weeks along in his sweet little life in the womb. I didn't know that I would become a mom just 5 months later.

I can only imagine that God looked down on me, sprawled out on the floor with tears streaming down my face and gently whispered, "Hold on my child. Just wait. Your miracle is already in the making. I know you hurt so desperately today, but just a few sunrises away your dream will come to life."

THAT'S what is so amazing about adoption.

Monday, November 16, 2009

National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. This year's theme is:"You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."

The main focus of National Adoption Month is foster care adoptions. There are roughly 129,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for adoptive homes.

That number is staggering and heart breaking.

Ryan and I were talking about this today and he said, "Imagine the pain we experienced longing for a child. Well imagine the pain these kids feel longing for a parent and wanting to call someone mom or dad. It's enough to make me cry."

Ryan and I would both love to adopt again some day. Maybe foster care is the route we'll go next. Clearly there are thousands of kids waiting, wishing and hoping for parents, siblings and a place to call home.

Foster to adopt is a much more economical route if you're considering adoption. The state pays it all from what I understand.

Foster care or not, have you ever thought about adoption? Infant, toddler, teen? Domestic or international?

If you haven't, I challenge you to take some time to think and pray about this amazing, awesome gift. Adoption has changed my heart, my life, my world. We would be doubly blessed to be able to experience it again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The story of Samuel Lee May

When I think of adoptive parents, I don't think of myself. I don't know what I thought adoptive parents were like, but I guess I didn't think they were people just like me. But they are. Because I am one of them.

But sometimes I forget I am an adoptive mom. I'm just a mom. Of a boy. Who I love like crazy.

I still find it hard to believe that he is adopted because he seems like he is our biological child in every way possible (so many people say Samuel looks like Ryan!).

I am so thankful the Lord has given me such love for Samuel that it makes no difference to me that he is adopted.

But I do want Samuel to know the story of his birth so I created an "All About Me" album for him. It tells the story of the phone call that told us about his birth, meeting his birth mom, meeting him for the first time, bringing him home and his gotcha day.

It is based on an idea I read about from Creative Memories. They recently published an Idea Book called Ten Questions. It provides 10 questions to help people tell their stories. One section is about adoption. It lists questions such as what was my birth family like? Why did you decide to adopt? What did you think the first time you saw me? How did you pick my name?

The moment I started reading this section, I knew I wanted to create this album for Samuel.

I want him to know his birth story. I want him to be proud of his story. I created digital layouts with pictures and journaling that answer these 10 questions, printed them and put them in an 8 x 8 album (I hope to post some of the layouts I've created).

As Samuel gets older, I plan to read him the story of "Samuel Lee May" just like I would read any other book. It's an amazing, miraculous, wonderful story that I look forward to reading over and over and over again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Samantha

Dear Samantha,

Today you turn 21. Happy happy birthday!

By 21 years of age you have accomplished a powerful thing: you have impacted the lives of many many people through a decision that you made one year ago.

Because of you, sorrow was turned to celebration and sadness to rejoicing.

Because of you, more people believe in the power of prayer.

Because of you, more people have witnessed a miracle.

You changed the lives of Ryan and I forever.

You changed Lauren's life (she will always have an older brother).

You changed our parents lives.

Our siblings lives.

Our nieces and nephews lives.

Our friends lives.

But most of all you changed Samuel's life. Because of the selfless choice you made, Samuel will know an abundance of love, security, and affirmation all of his life. He will know about a woman who gave birth to him and then made one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make: to allow someone else to call her child 'mom.'

Please don't ever think that we take for granted the decision you made. We are incredibly grateful and absolutely humbled at the gift you have given us. We will only speak positively of you to Samuel and he will always know the truth about how he came to be in our family.

So today we say Happy Birthday. We're asking God to bless you immensely for the sacrifice you made.

With much love and gratitude,
Ryan, Stacy, Samuel & Lauren

Monday, November 9, 2009

My little monkey...and some pumpkins

Samuel and I went to a local pumpkin patch a couple weeks ago with my sister-in-law Megan and my nephew Aaron (the day before Evelyn was born!). Here are some pics of our outing...









Saturday, November 7, 2009

Urine. Spit up. Water. Soot. Chaos.

Yesterday was one of those days that I know I'll look back on and wonder how I survived!

I spent the day at my brother's house with my sister-in-law, Megan. They have a two-year-old (Aaron) and just gave birth to my first niece (Evelyn) on October 28 so I wanted to 'help' her out.

Not sure what I was thinking...I have a one year old and a newborn. That equates to four children 2 years and under (including two newborns). How much help could I be?

Here's how things went:

10:15 Arrive
10:17 Sweet baby Evelyn is eating and all is calm
10:20 I step in urine on floor (we quickly discover Aaron, who is working on potty training, had a little accident)
10:21 I need clean socks
10:23 Aaron needs clean underwear, pants and socks (we actually decided today would be a diaper day)
10:30 Lauren needs to eat earlier than anticipated
10:40 Evelyn has a dirty diaper
10: 50 Samuel has a dirty diaper
10:55 Evelyn spits up all over her clean outfit and needs new clothes
11:00 Lauren has her first blow out all the way up her back and needs a total change of clothes
11:15 Samuel sees the dog's water dish and promptly splashes in the water (both he and floor are very wet)
11:30 Aaron has a dirty diaper
11:40 Samuel is found playing in the fireplace with soot and ashes all over jeans (furniture had already been placed in front of this temptation but he got around it)

This was all in the first 1 1/2 hours of the day. Four dirty diaper. Two complete outfit changes. Urine. Spit up. Water. Soot.

Not sure how much help we were to Megan and kiddos, but it was a fun and memorable day....

Friday, November 6, 2009

A wish bone of hope

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed....Romans 4:18

Abraham was old. Sara was old. There chances of conceiving a baby? Next to zero.

But God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. So Abraham clung to hope. Even though his body and his logic must have indicated otherwise.

I love thinking about Biblical stories that defy all logic. Because then you know they are all God.

Abraham clung to hope so many years ago.

Last fall I clung to hope. On Monday, Sept. 15 I was recovering after my D&C surgery. My mother-in-law was cooking in the kitchen. She made me homemade chicken noodle soup - my favorite.

It was a tough day. My body now bore three scars. Along with the D&C, I had an ovarian cyst removed. While the scars were not from the D&C, every time I see them, that's what they represent to me.

I was on the couch all day recovering. My body was in pain and my heart broken. It seemed my hope had been deflated.

That evening Barb handed me a bone from the chicken and told me to make a wish.

I took that bone and put it on my windowsill. I didn't break it. I just looked at it...wishing, wondering, hoping.

Today it leans against the word Hope so I never forget where my Hope comes from. From my darkest days God gave me hope...I didn't know how, I didn't know when, I didn't know where.


But He knew. And He was waiting to make my wish come true.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Overflowing with hope

I love the word hope. I love what it represents. Wish for, look forward to, desire...

I might hope I stay healthy this winter, hope Ryan gets a nice bonus, hope our cars continue to run, hope to lose a few pounds, hope to one day become an organized person. These are things I hope for.

But who is my hope in? Where does my hope come from?

The Bible has plenty to say about hope...

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my
hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Our hope ultimately needs to be in the Lord, His Word and His Laws. He is the ultimate hope. He is the creator of Hope. This is one of my favorite hope verses:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

God doesn't want us to have just a touch of hope...he wants us to overflow with hope. How do we do that? Romans tells us that we need to trust in God in order to overflow with hope. So without trust, can there be hope?

For many of us, some days we are much more hopeful than others depending on our mood, our circumstances, etc. But when we serve a God of hope - and we trust in Him - our hope cannot and should not be dependent on anything besides Him.

That's when we'll discover and live lives O V E R F L O W I N G with hope.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blocks, sleeper, hope




















I love these ABC blocks from Pottery Barn Kids.


And I love the pink sleeper below on my little girl.

What do these two things have in common?

They were my tangible items of H O P E during some of my darkest days.

When I had my first miscarriage in the summer of '06, I was part of a group called Homemakers With Hope. This wonderful group of women went together and purchased these blocks for me as a gift when I lost my first baby (my friend had these and I just loved them!).

They were a beautiful reminder to me as I H O P E D that one day I would have children who could play with these blocks.

I moved the blocks from one home to another. I packed them and unpacked them. Sometimes I saw them and they made my heart hurt as I longed and waited for my miracle. But they also represented H O P E.


Here's a picture of my sweet pea in a sleeper. The day I put this outfit on her was a special one.

I've had this sleeper for three years. I bought some kids' clothes when we went to Chicago to visit Ryan's cousins in the fall of '06.

I bought some clothes for gifts and some for me since I
was anxiously waiting to get pregnant again.

I put this sleeper in my 'gift box' along with the other items I had purchased, but every time I went to pull something out for a gift, I couldn't part with this sleeper.

What kept me from giving it away? H O P E.
I just kept hanging onto it, H O P I N G that one day I might have a little girl who could wear it. H O P I N G that I might have a baby. H O P I N G I might be blessed with a daughter.

A pink sleeper in a cardboard box. Wooden ABC blocks. H O P E.

Monday, November 2, 2009

H O P E


















I've been thinking a lot about H O P E lately. Not sure why. But it keeps coming to mind so I think I'll blog about it this week.

Today I'm simply posting this photo. H O P E sits on my window sill above my kitchen sink.

See what else is sitting there?

A tiny wish bone.

That wish bone has been on my window sill for 14 months. I won't break it. I won't toss it. It sits where I can see it daily.

It represents H O P E to me.

Later this week I'll share why.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Purple dino and precious pumpkin

Yes, I'm completely biased...but I think these two were incredibly adorable in their Halloween costumes! Samuel had a couple meltdowns due to his big bulky belly (can I blame him?!) but we caught a few memorable moments on camera.
























Friday, October 30, 2009

Birth control

So today I went to the doctor for my follow-up appt. I really can't believe I am sharing this on the blog, but oh well. I've shared quite a bit already, haven't I?

The doctor was asking me various questions and wanted to know if I had thought about birth control.

Immediately I had a flashback: One year ago this month I sat in a room in the same clinic having a follow up appt after my D&C. We brought Samuel to that appt (should have seen the look on my doc's face when we told him that story!). He asked us if we wanted to discuss birth control since we now had an infant.

Well we didn't discuss it and three months later little Lauren was conceived.

I am sure discussing birth control is typical during these appts, but it caught me by surprise. Maybe because I don't think about birth control. For so many years, all I thought about was how to get pregnant not how to prevent pregnancy.

There is something inside me that has a really hard time thinking about birth control. Even that word bugs me - after all, the only One controlling birth is the creator of life....not me.

However, I do not want three children under three. Then I certainly would not have time to blog :) I will gladly accept whatever miracles the Lord brings to the May family, but for now I'd like to lather all my time, love and attention on my two little ones.

So clearly Ryan and I have a decision to make. If we take the route we took last fall (deciding not to decide) we could quite possibly have three under three. This is something I am going to need to pray about. I have worked so hard to get my body healthy to be able to conceive that I don't want to put anything into it that could lessen chances of a future pregnancy should we ever decide we want to go that route again.

On that note, I have told many people that adopting Samuel was much easier than 9 months of pregnancy followed by labor & delivery and weeks of recovery. But, of course, our adoption went very smooth.

I am so thankful that the Lord is the One who opens and closes my womb. Try as I might to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy, ultimately He is the giver and taker of life.

Wow. These are some jumbled thoughts today. But even after all this time it's hard to go from infertile to fertile...especially when that means I need to make decisions about birth control as my heart continues to ache for those of you who long for your own little miracle.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall pics

I posted our black and white family pics awhile back. Here are a few of the color photos. I am not sure I've loved any picture of Samuel more than these. The bright colors, the smile on his face, the joy radiating from his little body as he so proudly walks down the sidewalk in front of our house...

How is it possible to keep falling more and more in love with our little man? One year and he's captured our hearts for a lifetime!





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sur.vi.val

Survival: the act or process of surviving, esp. under adverse or unusual circumstances.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and she affirmed what I was already thinking: I am in survival mode.

Right now the goal for each day is just to survive. Health, happiness, rest, routine...it will all return someday, but today if we are alive at the end of the day my goal is accomplished. That is life with a newborn. That is life when you don't sleep through the night. That is life with two children 11 months apart. That is life when half the family is sick.

So it seems we're doing whatever is necessary just to survive.

Poor Samuel is just getting over a cold and his little body is worn out and tired.


I've hit the 6-week wall (is there such a thing?). Six weeks of little sleep and lots of activity has caught up with me - along with Samuel's germs - and I am battling a cold.

The question I've been pondering for the past 24 hours is: who takes care of 'mom' when mom is sick and dad is at work?

I haven't showered today. I haven't even brushed my teeth. I ate breakfast at 10 and lunch at 2:15. I slept for 15 minutes on the couch this morning and woke up drooling (how tired do you have to be to fall into a deep enough sleep to drool in 15 minutes?).

I'm not writing this to get sympathy. I'm just communicating the current status of the May household.

Someday soon we will be thriving again. But today, we're just surviving.