Thursday, December 31, 2009

Strawberry Roan

I have been blessed with many opportunities in my life and I have been blessed with experiences that have made me into the person that I am today.
It is all too easy to let life slip by.
Chaos of day to day life takes away the joy of our true purpose.
As I was drudging through a particularly stressful time lately, a passing thought made me stop and remember how truly beautiful life is and how truly beautiful my life is.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many different people in my life, from all walks of life.
One person in particular allowed me a weekend that has forever engraved itself in my mind.
Cedar Vale, Kansas is a small dot on a map in the middle of nowhere.
A town embraced by the simple life.
A drive to town took half an hour, pumpkin pies were homemade by blue collar hands, steaks on the table came from a cow that used to roam the land out the front door and the only place in town to enjoy the nightlife was Norm's.
Years ago, I visited a family in Cedar Vale who were the proud owners of a 5000 acre ranch that boasted cattle, cats, dogs, 14 horses and a blind white pet cow named "Baby".
Life started on the flat dirt roads that led to the ranch and continued into the rolling hills where the cattle roamed.
Life was peaceful and simple.
Simple pleasures came from practicing how to rope and ride.
Throwing a lasso was a skill and learning how to tie a proper knot extended far beyond the reaches of the laces of a shoe.
The wind always blew across the open land and I swear the sun touched the earth out past the barn, right near the edge of the ranch.
Nothing was more relaxing than riding in the cab of a truck, counting cattle and delivering feed while looking in amazement into the eyes of each simple creature we encountered.
The most touching moment of that trip came on the first morning after arriving in Cedar Vale. Unlike living in suburbia, there were no blinds or shades on the windows of the bedroom in which I slept.
The sound of the wind crept through my mind as I drifted off to sleep the night before and God's pure beauty surrounded me as I woke.
When I opened my eyes on that first morning, outside of the bedroom window stood Strawberry Roan, one of the most beautiful horses that I have ever seen.
The horse stood so very still as the sun shone down, glinting off the dew on the ground.
My breath caught as I was looking into the face of a horse whose soul was pure and heart was open.
There was nothing more simplistic or beautiful than waking to find God's work so eloquently placed right before my eyes - as if I were staring at a picture painted by an angel.
I often wonder what became of that ranch that held so much beauty, the amazing family, their dog Pedro, the cats, horses and most of all, Baby and Strawberry Roan.
As we continue on through our daily journey's, may we find the time to cherish the moments where God is so near.
Those times when we are sure that there will never be any greater or more beautiful moment in life.
Although, I have seen this world from the top of snow covered mountains and I have seen this world from the top of mountains as waves crashed onto beaches silently below, there have been just two moments in my life that have topped the beauty of that morning in Cedar Vale, Kansas.
The first being the birth of my beautiful son
and
the second being the birth of my beautiful daughter.
We celebrate the beauty of my daughters' life today.
May God bless us and protect us and allow our moments of pain, grace and beauty to be purposeful and bring comfort and joy to those who may cross into our paths.
With sincere love, gratitude, appreciation and thanks for your support over the last three years,
Jenn

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sorting through

I just realized that there are many emails that I have missed. I, apparently, do not check the spam folder or junk folder on my email accounts.
If I have missed responding to you, I apologize and will try to do so. Otherwise, please know that I appreciate all of the kind words that are coming my way.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finding a balance

When my family is facing such loss in death, it almost seems wrong to celebrate life.
My sweet Baby Girl's Birthday is this week and it is a time that we struggle anyway.
We have always celebrated her birthday in a way that we saw fit.
It is such an incredibly emotional day for us that in the past, we have always chosen to remain by ourselves.
Part of me feels that we shouldn't celebrate her day as we are waiting to lay to rest the newest additions to our family.
We always struggled with the day Addie was born and the day we brought her home because we feel that we didn't do enough to celebrate her life in a time of confusion.
How could I not celebrate her 3rd Birthday?
That would be letting her down all over again.
I had to talk myself into finding the balance that we so desperately need this week.
We are proceeding with our plans in celebration of the life that has touched so many.
We are honoring our sweet baby by celebrating her day and pray that our time of honor to our daughter in no way dishonors my sister or my nephews.
We need this day for our daughter and for our family.
Many of you have written your stories of blessings and wishes for this past year and the year to come.
I am as close to broken as I have ever been and my post of thanks and wishes has yet to come into my heart.
My sister has been moved from ICU, for which all thanks go to you - those of you who have been on bended knee for our family.
I have 397 pictures from Christmas that I have yet to have the heart to sort through and I am desperately trying to balance work, appointments and this tragedy and still take a moment to cherish the last full day before Addie's Birthday.
Please continue your prayers with me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Update

Before I even begin, it is important to know that my sister gave her blessing for me to share some information.
Today has been hard.
My sister - Cecilia - is still in ICU tonight.
She was given two pints of blood this afternoon and although some levels have improved, others have not.
I will have to contact the funeral home in the morning to let them know that we will have to postpone the funeral until next week.
The doctor said that my sister will be in the hospital until at least this weekend.
I know so many of you have asked for details and for the vast majority, I feel it is out of concern and with offers of prayer.
To be honest with you, we do not know exactly what happened.
We know that my nephews - Ethan Reed and Evan Ryan - were perfectly healthy last Wednesday as they showed off their strong heartbeats during testing.
They were big and healthy, weighing in at 5 pounds 13 ounces and 5 pounds 9 ounces respectively.
We know the babies were active and doing well and then we know that my sister began exhibiting signs of what we thought was typical pregnancy sickness.
She was assured by her doctor and the on call doctor that she needed to take Zofran and push fluids.
We know that the babies were fine during our Christmas party and we know that by the time the doctor finally told my sister to go to the hospital Saturday, the babies heartbeats were gone.
That is all we know besides the fact that my sister did everything she was instructed to do by her Obstetrician and the on-call Obstetrician.
That is all we know other than my sister is now recovering in ICU and my nephews are now beautiful angels.
I do know that we may never have the answers we search for.
I do know that I thank God for allowing me to be a part of this time in my sisters life.
I was there with her as my niece came into this world and I was there with her as my nephews came into this world.
I needed to be there for my sister and I needed to be there to see the babies as they were born. I wanted to see for myself their condition as they were born.
We were blessed to have an anesthesiologist that was truly heaven sent.
I told him when I entered the O.R. that I wanted to watch the delivery and wanted him to let me know when the time was near and so he did.
He gently placed his hand on my shoulder, making eye contact with me and I stood moments before Ethan was born. He was beautiful. Perfectly beautiful with a head full of dark hair. Evan was born one minute later, a perfect match to his sweet brother. I looked for any signs of detectable complications or abnormalities.
There were none.
Only perfectly beautiful babies.
I watched them as the nurse tended to each one of them, stroking their heads and gently bathing each one.
I waited until the nurse had completed her job before I walked over to my sweet nephews.
They were cuddled together and I put my hand on their sweet bodies and told them how much they are loved. I told them how thankful we were to have them and the peace that we felt knowing that they were resting in God's arms.
I prayed to God to bless them and I prayed to God for peace for my sister.
I knew from the tone in the O.R. that my sister was much sicker than anyone had realized and as she was taken directly to ICU, our family gathered for our time to hold the babies and to love them.
At that moment, that was the most important thing for them to know - how very much they are loved.
We can't make sense of the situation and I realize it is not for us to understand, only to learn to accept.
Our acceptance is overridden by our earthly pain and your prayers are coveted.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thank you

for your amazing prayers.
My sister is still in ICU, still stable.
We have proceeded with private funeral arrangements for later in the week in hopes that my sister is well enough to be released from the hospital.
I promise there is nothing that we need anyone to do - other than pray.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Called home to heaven

My sister is in stable condition, but recovering in ICU tonight.
My nephews are resting in God's arms as we struggle to understand what led us to tonight.
Please pray for our family as we search for answers and as we prepare for the coming days.
Please pray for complete healing for my sister.

My children are fine, but

Please be in deep prayer for my family. We just received tragic news and need your prayers!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas (Eve) to you all!
Please know that we are wishing your families peace and love during this special time of year.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Luke 2: 8-14

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas at Nanny's

We went to Nanny's for Christmas and Addie's Birthday celebration with Chris's side of the family.
Thanks Nanny for a wonderful meal!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Addie vs. Frosty

Four days before Christmas and we finally managed to find the time to drag our snowmen out of the attic.
We put them on the sun porch in hopes that Addie wouldn't be too frightened by them...
but what to our wondering eyes should appear, but Addie beating Frosty for all to hear.
She was off the hook!
Imagine my child with lots of balance issues trying to wrestle with a blow up snowman.
They were wrestling all over the porch.
She would fall, find her way back up and would tackle him all over again.
We finally had to pull her away from Frosty and told her that it was time for Frosty to go "night-night".
It was absolutely hilarious!


I'm a cheater

I am not creative enough to come up with ideas on my own, so I have to steal ideas from others...this time it was Addie's teachers.
Addie and I made this little snowman for Addie's table in the kitchen.
Problem is that Addie wants to take him out and love on him, so the snowman is now sleeping and we have to be very quiet not to wake him at least until Christmas is over...then she can love on him until he turns to mush!

Jessica and Addie

Addie loves Miss Jessica!
All of Addie's teachers are truly heaven sent and I thank God for them!
Now, if I could just wrap them up and take them with us wherever our path may take us, life would be perfect!

Birthday celebration at school!

Today we celebrated Monkey's Birthday along with four of her other friends who all share December Birthday's.
Monkey was so excited!!!

Check out how long her hair is.

This hair style is courtesy of Monkey's teachers...seeing as how her Mommy is terrible at styling hair!

So sweet and happy!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't get me wrong...

I would love nothing more than a few extra carats added to my ring finger come Christmas morning, but I am obviously showing my age.
My biggest tangible Christmas wish this year was new lighting in my kitchen - not because I actually need light to see to cook in my kitchen, but because I cannot stand fluorescent lights.
My wonderful husband spent hours taking down old lights, cutting holes for new lights, running wire throughout the ceiling of my kitchen and installing new lights.
It looks awesome!
:)
Monkey was a bit ticked over the whole ordeal.
She is suffering from yet another horrible sinus infection and if she wasn't attached to me, she wanted to be helping her Daddy - which she wasn't allowed - which meant meltdown.
I wonder which lucky medical provider will be cursed to see us this week...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas celebration at dance

I cannot even begin to put into words the emotions these pictures bring about.
I am so proud of my little Monkey on a level that exceeds anything I ever could have imagined. We are now two months into dance classes and Monkey is starting to follow along with her classmates.

Monkey's teacher almost had me in tears today as she told me how happy Monkey makes her. She commented that Monkey "talked" to her today and that she is always smiling and always so happy to be in class.

I told the teacher that Monkey gets excited when I tell her that it is time to go to dance class and I told her how much my little Monkey enjoys dance and music.
Monkey's teacher is really finding a level of comfort with her and my heart is exploding with joy and breaking at the same time.
I cannot imagine life any other way than it is now and may God continue to put amazing people in our path.
People who will be kind to us, people who will want to help us and people who will treat my little Monkey with respect and love.
Chris and I have been faced with painfully difficult decisions lately. Schedules are wearing on us and we are trying desperately to keep sight of each day.
When I look at these pictures, this is it. This is what it is all about.
My children are blessings from God and my sweet Baby Girl has a purpose beyond any that I have yet to fully grasp.
Merry Christmas to you all and may God continue to be with us and bless us.
In less than two weeks, my Baby Girl will have been on this earth and impacting lives for three years.
Please pray for us as we approach the most beautiful, yet emotional time of year for us.




Thursday, December 17, 2009

Game six - Win five

33-5
No pictures.
Addie and I missed the game. It was a horrible, horrible night.
Chris and I left work early for a medical appointment for Addie - in Tuscaloosa.
The medical appointment was scheduled for 4:00 and didn't end until I said enough was enough and we left at 7:00.
Sweet Addie was miserable.
Her face was all red from crying and crocodile tears were still clinging to her little cheeks when we got in the car.
Julien was supposed to be at his game at 7:30 and we were well over an hour from getting there. We had missed dinner and I was about ready to cry right along with Addie.
We managed a quick trip through a drive-through (errr!!!!) and as we were heading out to find the interstate, I told Chris that we were making a detour by Yogurt Mountain.
For the love of all things good in this world, we could not listen to Addie scream for over an hour on the way to the basketball game.
I ran in, grabbed her a cup full of yogurt and happily placed it on her lap as soon as I got in the car.
I told Chris that I didn't care if the whole car was coated in yogurt. Addie's throat had to hurt from her crying so much and we needed whatever tricks we could find in order to make it back to our side of town without her screaming the entire way.
Addie ate every single last bite of the yogurt and ten minutes from home, hit meltdown.
I begged for forgiveness from Julien and told him there was no way we could make it to the game. Chris and Julien detoured by the house and dropped Addie and Me off and then off to the game they went.
At least Julien made it to his game. I would have felt even more horrible had he missed it completely.
We now have a break for Christmas before our next game.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas celebration at school

Pin the nose on FrostyJingle Bells
Waiting patiently for her snack
Showing the snack who is boss

Out of all the pictures I took, there wasn't one really good picture.
I guess I was just too busy watching sweet Addie.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Addie had a few things to say...

Addie told Aunt Cecilia that she loves playing with babies and feeding them and that she would have made a really great Mommy so,
if Aunt Cecilia would let her love on her babies, she knows how to hold a bottle to help feed them and she loves to pat a baby on the back and she gives the best kisses any little cousin can give.
Addie has the qualities of an angel and a heart full of love to share with her new little cousins.

Such a good girl!

Sweet little Monkey was so sweet at the baby shower! She was content to sit quietly with everyone and enjoy the activities. She sat and talked on the phone (the one she nabbed from a fellow shower attendee) - legs crossed like a lady of course!
Oh, busted! Monkey is like her Mommy...we can spot chocolate a mile away! There was an entire bowl full, nobody would miss a few pieces!


Sweet girl

Despite the fact that Addie did not want to wake from her nap to go to the baby shower, she quickly changed her mind when we got to the shower and she realized that there was...cake.
I woke her from her nap and told her it was time to get up and get dressed, we were going to a party and would have cake.
She looked at me, said "no" and cuddled back into her pillow.
It was raining out and a nap seemed like a really, really good idea.
Who could blame her?
She couldn't pass up an opportunity to look so sweet, how often in our lifetime can we pull off looking so sweet in polka dot tights?

Why, yes...

I am a good aunt.
Every nephew of mine must have their own quilts.
One for Ethan
and
One for Evan.

02.07.2010


02.07.2010
The date my nephews are due to arrive.
What a blessing it will be if they can just wait until 01.01.2010.
There is a history with our children.
Each child is always born on an even year and exactly four years apart.
If my nephews will wait until 2010, the tradition will continue and the numbers will even out.
3 girls/3 boys.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Little Yellow Lab

He was included in the gift bag at the fundraiser we attended.
The dog was was made of soft, squishy material and was the perfect size for little hands.
From the moment Addie saw another little girl holding one of the dogs, she had to have one.
I don't believe that her initial intent was to maul the dog to death, nor do I believe that the incident that took place after we left the party was performed with malice.
The party that we attended was just minutes from our home.
We were not more than two minutes from our home, when I heard Addie trying to talk to me.
I looked back at her and found that she was a bit distressed.
She was holding the decapitated body of the Little Yellow Lab in her left hand and the decapitated head of the Little Yellow Lab in her right hand.
She was trying desperately to reattach his head.
I reassured her that everything was okay, that we would be home soon and that I would take care of him (by disposing of him in the trashcan as soon as she fell asleep).
Addie continued to try to talk to me and at one point became a little more assertive with her attempt to communicate with me.
I looked back at her to find her desperately trying to show me the decapitated head of the Little Yellow Lab.
I reached back and took each part of the dog in an attempt to show her that I would help.
It wasn't until I took the head and body in my hands that I realized what exactly Addie was trying to tell me
The head of the Little Yellow Lab was missing one very important part.
I glanced back at Addie as she was putting her hands to her mouth and saying "yuck".
"Yuck" was right.
My sweet baby girl had decapitated this poor dog...then proceeded to bite off his nose and swallow it.
Poor dog...
I tried to convince myself that the nose that was now soaking in my baby girls stomach acid was made from 100% natural paint products.
I also tried to convince myself that this nose and the head that it used to be attached to was made right here in the good old U.S. of A., not in a country that could possibly rhyme with Dinah.
That poor Little Yellow Lab is now resting in peace.
Yet one more reason why we don't own a dog.

Game four - Win three

Julien and his team played a fantastic game tonight.
They won 31-13.
My throat actually hurt by the end of the game from all the yelling.
For me being such an incredibly shy person, I sure do have a set of lungs at a ball game!
I'm going to have to check into that.
Lack of eye contact with a specific person = even skin tone, loud yelling and stomping of the feet.
Eye contact with a specific person = blushing, stammering of words and loss of intelligence.
Hmmm...weird.
Monkey was so proud of Julien. She stayed up two and a half hours past her bedtime to watch all the boys (all from our town - it seemed like most from our neighborhood) play ball and let me just say...those kids can play some ball!
It was like driveway ball had been transplanted into a gym with bleachers full of parents, siblings and friends.
It was one of those times when you cheer when the opposing team makes a good shot just because the boys are so fantastic.

We are so blessed for this community that we are a part of.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

By popular demand

I have vaguely edited the post below.
Minor details are given regarding last night...but no, I still cannot name the store in question. Although I would love to give thanks where thanks is due, I have a history with this store and can't risk being blacklisted.

:)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I like pea soup

It is just one of those weeks...
Not that anything is wrong or has happened, but nothing is going right.

It just has been a go figure kind of week.
I will spare you most of the boring details and skip to tonight.
I decided that tonight was the perfect and only time to make our way up to a shopping area to buy a few Christmas presents.
What I failed to realize before entering one of my very favorite stores, was that I had apparently ticked off the god's of grace and good behavior.
I had something happen to me in a store tonight that in my entire eleven years of Motherhood, has never happened.
I left my youngest child under the watchful eyes of my husband and oldest child in order to go to the front of the store to find someone to help us. I was waiting ever so patiently for my turn, when I heard a ruckus behind me. As I was turning to see what that ruckus was, my brain had already processed the sound of glass shattering. There was that tiny part of me that was hoping it was the nearby aluminum canteens falling to the hardwood floors and that my ears just thought it was several martini glasses that had been resting quietly on the shelf perfectly placed to the height of my two-year-old daughter. As Monkey went for one of the glasses, another individual (no names mentioned here) tried to grab the Monkey and pull her away instead of gently grabbing her hands to redirect her. As this individual grabbed Monkey, her arm hit the above mentioned glasses.
It quickly occurred to me that as a part of her therapy, I let my youngest child play with cups - all the time - she has to practice taking cups out of one another, putting them back in and stacking them.
Some of these cups are clear, plastic cups, which could easily be mistaken for the expensive martini glasses that she wanted to hold.
As I was walking towards my husband and children to assess the situation, I passed another shopper who at that moment...shook her head in what I detected to be - disgust.
As in, "how dare anyone allow their child to run amuck in a store.". As if we were ruining her shopping experience. My youngest child wasn't running around the store, my husband and oldest child just so happened to lose at "faster than the baby".

I knew in that instant that this other shopper had in fact never given birth to a child.
If she were indeed a Mother, chances are she received her beloved package as a gift from another Mother seeing as how this particular shopper probably didn't want to ruin her own body by growing a child within her womb.
This particular shopper probably also never held a sick child, gave a boo-boo a kiss and most likely shipped her child off to boarding school as soon as they were old enough to go.
What shocked me just a bit was the fact that I had a moment of realization that had she been any closer to me, I would have tripped her, allowing her to fall ever so gracelessly onto her silicon filled boobies and rhinoplastied nose .
Gasp!
Oh yes...evil thoughts were being projected her way! Who does things like that? It was an accident. Accidents happen to those of us who are mortal.
What shocked me as well was how quick the workers of the store came to help.
Not only to help, but to reassure us that everything was okay. I no more than had stepped over the shattered glass and had my hands under Monkey's arms than one of the workers was telling me that someone was on the way to clean up the mess and that it really was okay. She went on to tell us that it happens more frequently than we can imagine.
For that I am so grateful because I am still trying to recover from that incident.
Sadly for the workers of the store, I will go back soon because we left without buying one single item.
(I knew I was hitting maximum stress capacity when my husband made a comment about the store "Campus Fever", I thought he said "Wine Cellar" and felt a tinge of hope for just a minute.)
After leaving the first store (not Campus Fever or my imaginary Wine Cellar), we proceeded to my other favorite store right beside the first one.
Not only did my youngest child cause a ruckus in that store as well, but that ruckus continued until we pulled up in front of a little restaurant an agonizing drive down the road in rush hour traffic.
Dinner went well with our little social butterfly saying "hi" to all who would listen and making friends with the little boy who came to sit next to us.
I was feeling a bit less-stressed (or so I thought) as we exited the restaurant and headed to the car, until my oldest child accidentally tried to close the car door (because he didn't see me standing there holding Monkey) and managed to knock Monkey in the back of the head hard enough that I fully expected to see blood running down the back of her head.
As the god of grace sat way high up on her pedestal of mockery, I yelled into the crisp night air something along the lines of, "are you freakin' kidding me?!!!!!" as I felt the windows in Whole Foods shake, my head began to spin around while the imaginary pea soup coated our freshly cleaned car.
Are you kidding me???? Stomp, stomp, stomp, slam!
All I want to know at this point is am I alone on this planet of tantrums and "are you kidding me" moments?
All I see around me are perfectly well behaved children parading around in their little smocked outfits saying their "yes ma'am's", "pleases" and "thank you's" while helping little old ladies cross the street in the rain, scooping down to retrieve a turtle stuck in the intersection so they can gently place it back in the river with its family before picking up the plastic bottle that some moron threw out of their moving car, then taking it to be recycled after donating their weekends wrapping gifts for the needy and changing flat tires for helpless women.
Really, am I the only one on this planet?
Oh...and for the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with silicon filled boobies or rhinoplastied noses, but there is a lot wrong with people who would rather look the other way in disgust than stop to help a child.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Game three - not a win

This is not what it looks like...really, it's not.
We understand that basketball is not a contact sport and that is not my child standing over the little boy that just made contact with my son...nope.

This on the other hand is what it looks like and we were the home team.