Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adoption question

For those of you who have adopted, I have a question....or a couple questions:

How did you talk to your child about adoption? At what age did you start conversations about adoption? Did you read books that talked about being adopted?

As Samuel's vocabulary grows, I'm beginning to think about how and when we will start talking about adoption with him.

I'd love ideas, suggestions and what's worked from personal experience!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Sleep training

This weekend we had to do some sleep training with Lauren. I am an avid reader so I've read all the books on sleep...Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, The Baby Whisperer, Solve You're Child's Sleep Problems, Baby Wise - just about everything that's out there. 

I learned tons of great info and firmly believe that adequate sleep is a necessity for happy, healthy children (and their parents!).

Lauren, bless her cute, sweet, little heart, has not slept 8 hours without waking since she was born. Therefore, her mama hasn't slept 8 hours since she was born.

That's fine. I can handle that for a few months. But with two kiddos under two, I couldn't do it any more.

I was tired, cranky, short, lacked energy, and my entire body ached when I got up in the morning because I rarely entered a deep REM sleep. And I just wanted to sleep ALL the time.

My brother gave me a good talking to recently that God never intended us to live with sleep deprivation for months on end (bless HIS heart). So after a really bad night of sleep Thursday night, Ryan said, 'We're letting her cry it out tonight."

I didn't know if I was ready for this. My heart is so tender toward my baby girl. But she would wake up 2-6 times a night. She only ate once but had become hooked on her pacifier to get back to sleep. It had become a "sleep prop" and she hadn't learned how to self soothe back to sleep. From what I've read, I've learned that all babies wake in the middle of the night, it's just that some have learned how to go back to sleep on their own. Whenever Lauren cried I would put the nuk in and she would go right back to sleep. But sometimes that happened hour after hour after hour.

So Friday night when Lauren woke up at 2:20 a.m. we wouldn't put the nuk back in. She cried. I cried. I prayed on my knees for my baby girl as Ryan sat upstairs with her comforting her every so often. It was a rough night on all of us.

And Saturday we were very tired.
But Saturday night when Lauren went down at 7:30 p.m. she didn't make a peep and went right to sleep (without her nuk!). And she slept until 5:20 a.m!!

Last night she went down at 7:45 p.m., cried for 5 minutes and slept until 6:45 this morning! 11 hours of straight sleep. Praise Jesus!

I know that 'crying it out' is a very controversial topic but at 6 1/2 months, having tried so many other suggestions, it was our only option if we were to try and get a good night's sleep again.

My body still hasn't adjusted to sleeping through the night yet, but I am sure it will soon. This definitely wasn't the easy road, but thus far it seems to be a choice that will benefit our entire family. I am so grateful to have a husband who not only supported this decision, but encouraged it and knew in the long run it was the best thing for all of us.

Proverbs 3:24 "When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet..."

Friday, March 26, 2010

The OB/Gyn Waiting Room

I had an OB/Gyn appt on Wednesday. Just my usual annual appointment. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

But a few things made me realize these appointments might not ever be completely 'normal' for me again.

When I was standing at the counter to check in, I looked to my right as a lady in a white coat walked up. My heart caught in my throat. It was the ultrasound tech that had told me my second baby had died in my womb. She wasn't callous when she had told me the news, but she wasn't overly sensitive either. I would recognize her face anywhere. My heart associates pain with her face.

As I sat in the waiting room filling out paperwork - because the clinic is finally transferring to electronic medical records - I had to write down my entire health history including:
How many pregnancies have you had? 3
How many live births? 1

Suck. Didn't really want to think about that right now. Will there always be reminders of my losses?

When I finished the paperwork, I looked over at two gals talking. Both pregnant. And my mind quickly went to a time when I was once again sitting in the waiting room. It was prior to an appt with my doctor in which we talked about infertility testing and a hysterosalpingogram test that would indicate if my tubes were open or blocked. My mom came with me for that appt and as we were waiting we overheard a young lady two chairs away call someone, tell them she just found out she was 6 weeks pregnant and was wondering if the baby was theirs depending on when they had been sent to jail.

Talk about unfairness. We couldn't believe what we were hearing. I had been married for six years and I wasn't concerned that the father of my future baby would be going to jail, leaving me young, single and with child.

All this in just about 10 minutes in the waiting room. Not the best 'trip down memory lane.'

Glad I'm not going back for another 365 days.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's just a nuk

















Found this sitting on the floor the other day. So precious. So sweet. So simple.

It's just a nuk. Why did I take a picture of it?

Because even though it's just a nuk, it says so much.

It says my son was there.

It says I am a mom with young kids.

It says they love their nuks.

It says that someday there won't be nuks on the floor anymore.

Even though it's just a nuk, it says so much.

That's why I took a picture.

Because I don't ever want to forget.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

He is working

I heard a message recently about Romans 8. Specifically about Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

This little piece of Scripture seems to be written on cards, sent via e-mail, quoted to loved ones, and referenced frequently.

Some might say it is taken out of context and used incorrectly. It's quoted to make us feel better when things are tough. 

Here's what I heard taught about Romans 8:28...

When we read that God works for the good of those who love Him, we think it means for OUR good. 

What that verse is saying, is that God works all things for HIS good. He will weave everything for HIS good. For HIS purpose. He says, "I am going to use all things - good and bad - to draw you closer to me. To experience fellowship with me. I am going to use all the sin, pain and suffering as a way to bring you to me."

So often when we suffer we think that God owes us answers....but He doesn't. He doesn't owe us answers or explanations.  We don't deserve to know how God is going to use our situation for HIS good. He just will. In His time. In His way. For His purpose.

In studying this verse, there are a few words that I think don't typically seem to get the appropriate amount of attention:

In all things God works.

If we know that God is good, and we know that He is working, shouldn't we be encouraged? Excited? Even ecstatic to see how God is going to bring good out of our mess?

I have experienced seasons when I thought God had forgotten about me. After five years of dating, Ryan and I broke up and I was devastated. He had been my life and I was left empty and alone. Surely God had forgotten about me.

But, of course, God hadn't forgotten about me. He was just waiting to bring good out of our situation and waiting until it would bring HIM glory. And today I can honestly say that Ryan and I desire that our lives and our marriage would bring glory to Him. He was working. Even when my heart was broken, God was working.

HE is working friends. He IS working. He is WORKING.

In ALL things, He is working.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sabbath Sundays?

Prior to having children I read books that challenged me about how I spent my Sundays. 

Sunday could be - if I so chose - a day of rest. A day of refreshment. A day to relax, have fun, spend time together as a family. Make memories.

In this season of life, with two children under two, I often think about those books.

The reason?

Because that is NOT what my Sundays look like! 

Getting to and from church is tiring and stressful. Once we're home, the rest of the day seems to be filled with entirely too many to-do things that either didn't get done last week or need to get done for the coming week.

Here is a run down of how our Sunday went yesterday:

Awake at 6:50 a.m. to greet our friend who came to fix our water heater. He is a plumber and we needed some plumbing help. 

While he is there, Ryan tries to assist him while helping me feed both kids, get ready for church and get both kids dressed as well.

Pack two diaper bags - one for Samuel in the nursery and one for Lauren who stays in the service with Ryan.

I strive to leave 9:15 because it is my week to teach Sunday School and I need to set up the room. 

Ryan's coming later with both kids.

I'm out the door at 9:30 because I can never leave on time. Eat banana and granola bar in car.

Ryan gets to church at 10:30 (later than usual) after squeezing in a morning nap for Lauren at home...and because it always takes more time than we think to get both kids into the car with all necessary items.

I teach Sunday School. 

Samuel in nursery.

Lauren with Ryan.

Church over. 

It's our week to help tear down after the service (we meet at a school) so Ryan spends 30 minutes doing that while I manage both kids. Samuel is running all over and I am chasing him while holding Lauren.

Chaos. 

But thank the Lord our community loves kids. They all help me 'catch' Samuel every few minutes.

Ryan takes samuel home. I follow with Lauren.

12:10 Enter home. Heat up leftovers for lunch.

Samuel is tired and crabby and clearly does not feel well.

Boys are eating. I get Laurent to put her to bed for another nap and she has pooped through all her clothes while in the car seat. 

Lauren gets a bath. 

Samuel goes to bed.

It's now 12:45 - I'm starving and need to pump since Lauren got a bottle at church.

1:15 - Ryan and I lay down for a quick snooze while kids are both napping. 

The rest of the afternoon consists of haircuts for the boys while the girls go grocery shopping. 

Dinner. Dishes. Bath. Books. Bedtime.

I know that years from now our Sundays will look different. We won't have to worry about morning naps, feedings during church, chasing toddlers, overstuffed diaper bags and poop blowouts.

But for now, this is our life.

Someday I'll strive for Sabbath Sundays...maybe in about 18 years?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Celebrating Ryan

Ryan's birthday was Wednesday - St. Patrick's Day. I try to make a big deal out of it, which pretty much means we all just dress in green :) It's an easy way to acknowledge his special day! Ryan took the day off so we went to lunch with his family and had my family over for dinner. It was a beautiful 60-degree day so we spent a lot of time outside.

The picture below of Samuel on the steps outside our home is with three neighbor girls. They just LOVE him and he loves all the attention from three pretty girls!























Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Will Carry You - Audrey's Song

On October 3, 2005, my friend Meg delivered a baby boy named Harrison. She had carried him since June knowing that when he was born (if he was born alive) he would not live. He was diagnosed in the womb with Anencephaly.

Her story and her journey changed my life forever. I was in awe of her strength and amazed at how she chose to walk the road God had placed in front of her. For the rest of her pregnancy she did all the things her baby wouldn't get to do: go to parks, ball games, fishing, etc. 

When Harrison was born he lived just shy of 24 hours. It was a privilege to attend his funeral and to know that even though his life was so short, it impacted so many.

Exactly three years later on October 3, 2008, my miracle was born: Samuel Lee. God gives and God takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A woman named Angie Smith traveled a similar road and gives an account of her story on her blog: Bring the Rain.

Her husband is in the group Selah and they recently released this song about their daughter. Here are the lyrics and the song is below.

May we ALL praise the One who has chosen us to walk the road we are on....

I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song)

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says …

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you



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Monday, March 15, 2010

Selfishness

The longer I am a mom, the more I am recognizing a trait in myself that I do not like. 

Selfishness. 

Straight out, total and complete selfishness. 

They say that marriage shows you how selfish you really are. That is true, but I say parenting takes that to a whole new level. 

Ryan is not selfish. 

He will gladly leave his food and eat it cold later.

He will get up early when the kids need attention.

He will sacrifice his needs, wants and desires. 

He will do what is best for our family.

For nearly 34 years I have taken care of me. MY wants, MY needs, MY desires. Eat when I want to eat. Sleep when I want to sleep. Read, shop, clean, bake, relax.

So I find myself telling Ryan these days, "Just give me a couple more minutes to do....."

GIVE ME.

I want more time to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Because I'm selfish. I am still focused on me. Habits developed over 34 years are not broken in 17 months.

Oh Lord help me, because selfishness is not an option anymore.

Friday, March 12, 2010

While we were waiting....

When Ryan and I were out to dinner Tuesday night for our anniversary, we were discussing marriage and our nine years together. At one point we were talking about highs and lows and Ryan said something like, "I am not angry about the time we waited for Samuel."

He then went on to explain his thoughts, but I was caught up in that statement:

"...we waited for Samuel."

We didn't know while we were waiting that we were waiting for Samuel. We didn't know what our future family would look like or how many members there would be or what their names would be (Samuel wasn't even on my radar for names...then again I hadn't anticipated the arrival of a son as quickly as he came into our lives!).

We truly didn't know what we were waiting for. Yes, we wanted children but we didn't know how they would come into our lives or what the timeline would look like. All I know is that Ryan and I both felt called to wait. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am so very grateful we chose to wait and not pursue our own agenda. We might have missed the perfect plan God had for our marriage and our family.

I love that Ryan looks back on that time and refers to it as the season we were waiting for Samuel. It will be such a joy to tell Samuel some day that we waited years and years for him. And that he was so worth the wait!

We waited in Hope. We waited on the Lord. We waited for His miracles. 

We waited for Samuel. 

And what a precious, perfect, beautiful little man we waited for.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nine years ago

It's 3:15 p.m. Lauren just went down for a nap. Samuel will be up any minute.

Ryan will be home at 4:30 to take me out to dinner for our anniversary. Samuel is staying overnight at Gpa and Gma's house. Lauren is being cared for by our friends while we are at dinner.

I am standing in front of the mirror remembering nine years ago today. I was in a beautiful white dress. My hair had been styled by a professional. My sister had applied my make-up. I was wearing pearls. My grandmother's hanky was in my hand. I had prepared, prepped, groomed, styled, and shopped for this day.

Nine years later I am in my bathroom. I have 30 min max to get ready before Samuel wakes up. I showered earlier - thank goodness. I hadn't brushed my teeth all day. I can see the bags under my eyes. My hands are bleeding because my skin continues to be dry and cracked from all the handwashing that makes up my day. My shirt smells like spit up. I didn't have time to blow-dry my hair this morning so it hangs limply. My eyes sting because they are so tired from days that end too late and start too early. My hips are wider and my tummy is rounder.

Curling iron. Jewelry. Clean shirt. Perfume to cover up the spit up. Cover up to mask the bags. Crest to make conversation over dinner bearable. Lotion. Eye drops.

I have changed a lot in the past nine years - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Praise the Lord Ryan has walked alongside me every step of the way.

Happy Anniversary sweetheart.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Fried

Samuel loves to dance and this morning I caught him and Ryan dancing in the kitchen to Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band. Country seems to have the best dancing music!


What songs do you dance to????

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

17 months

Samuel is 17 months today. He is...active. And that might be putting it mildly. This stage is about learning...every week, almost every day he learns something new or tries something he hasn't tried before (good or bad).

In the last week my curious 17-month-old has:
learned how to open door knobs
learned how to lift the lid to the toilet (after opening the bathroom door!)
dumped out a plant on the kitchen table and ate the dirt
grabbed a bar of soap during his bath and started eating it
learned how to climb on the kitchen chairs (and helped himself to a banana without peeling it - see pic below)
tried to feed his sister a carrot and put a toothbrush in her mouth
grabbed M&Ms from a bowl on the table and stuffed them in his mouth while sitting on my lap (he doesn't get candy!)

At this age Samuel loves...
... to laugh, giggle, run and hide and have us chase him, and be anywhere his sister is. If you were a fly on the wall in our house, you would frequently hear the phrase, "Please don't sit on your sister" over and over again throughout the day. He LOVES his sister and wants nothing more than to sit in the crib or pack-n-play with her (or on her).

...being around and playing with other kids for the most part, although toy sharing is definitely not on his radar at this age. He has fun with his two cousins (Aaron and Jonathan - both less than a year older than him). 

...to walk and run outside, at the mall, anywhere! His energy is endless.

...to have us read books to him. This week his Favorite is The Little Gorilla. Others that top the list are The Monster at the End of This Book, I Love You Stinky Face, Goodnight Gorilla and Curious George.

...his nuk, satin pink blankets (which are clearly his sisters but he doesn't understand that) and his lovies (teddies attached to blankets). He will walk around the house all day every day with those three things if I let him.

...music and dancing. I have taught him the sign for dancing and he will ask to dance multiple times every day as he points to the iPod docking station in the kitchen. I wonder what my neighbors think when they see mom and son dancing around the kitchen every day?!

...cell phones, keys, remote controls, cameras, television, and computers. Anything with batteries, buttons, knobs. When he has something he shouldn't, he runs to a corner. So we know that he knows it's 'not a toy.'


Every day with my 17-month-old is wonderfully precious, incredibly difficult, completely exhausting, and absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

Monday, March 1, 2010

This moment

The kids and I met Ryan for lunch today. As we were heading back to the car, Samuel had so much fun walking around soaking in the warm sun. Ryan held Samuel's hand and said to me, "This moment makes it worth the wait."

Done differently?

A reader asked the following question from my Ask Me post in December:

Looking back now that you have two beautiful children, is there anything you would have done differently?

Amazingly Ryan and I can only think of one thing each that we would have done differently. Praise the Lord we lived those years with no regrets!

Stacy - I wish I had journaled more. I filled up one notebook with my journaling and I am so thankful I have that notebook, but I do wish I had five of them filled with my feelings, heartache, fears, life lessons, and trials. Looking back on those notes would be an even greater reminder today of God's faithfulness through my time of loss and waiting.

Ryan - I wish I hadn't rushed off to work every single week morning. Looking back I could have taken more time in the morning to relax, drink coffee and soak in moments with my wife.



The list of what Ryan and I would NOT have done differently is much longer. As we were compiling this list we both felt so grateful for the opportunities we took advantage of during our waiting season:

Travel
Went on lots of dates and dinner out
Took two missions trips to the Dominican Republic
Volunteered in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina
Ryan got his MBA
Ryan became an overseer at church (2-year, twice-monthly commitment)

We served at church on the leadership team and as small group leaders
Saw lots of movies in the theater - even midnight showings!
Stayed up late and slept in late
Ryan watched Meet the Press on Sunday mornings while quietly sipping a *warm* cup of coffee
Stacy read tons of books and scrapbooked often

Joined a health club and worked out frequently
Enjoyed lots of social time with friends

We moved from the suburbs to Minneapolis to help start Milly City Church (I plan to post more on this decision soon...)