Friday, December 6, 2013

This pregnancy!

My pregnancy with Will was wonderful. Great! I felt fabulous - tons of energy - really, no symptoms worth mentioning after the initial first-trimester stretch of nausea. I loved being pregnant and told people I wasn't ready for it to be over yet. Even at 37 weeks, I was hoping for more time. I wasn't bummed at all to hit my due date.

This pregnancy is so DIFFERENT!

You know how it is when you start telling someone about your aches and pains and you can see their eyes kind of glaze over? And sometimes when you ask someone how they're doing and they start in on their list of health issues and you are trying to listen but you can feel YOUR eyes glazing over?

To avoid that whole social exchange, I tell people, "I'm fine! I feel great!"

And truthfully, I do feel fine. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine, in a grumpy tone.

I think this baby is going to be a girl! She has stolen my beauty and I want it back!

I have a MAJOR - MAJOR - sweet tooth. It was fine before Thanksgiving, and I was inhaling apples and oranges left and right, but now I am stuck here home alone with pies and cheesecakes and ice cream in the freezer and fridge and garage and honey butter for toast in the cupboard and sweet potato casserole and OH MY GOSH - dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tastes amazing but that's pretty much all it'll do for your body.

Being in my third trimester around the holidays, there are two concurrent streams of thought constantly running through my mind. One is, "I have to get my diet under control so I don't continue to blow up like a balloon in the next two months," and the other is, "What the heck, I already look like a balloon and SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR nomnomnomnomnom," which is where I turn into the Cookie Monster.

So the sugar makes my skin inflame (in my defense, I really only made that connection a couple days ago) and then my face is red and itchy and burning. And my hormones are through the roof so I pretty much look like Animal from the Muppets.

Except see those skinny arms? NO SKINNY ARMS anywhere near this pregnant lady. (And come to think of it, now that I'm looking at that picture, I'm rethinking my plan to donate my hair this month. Because really, all I need to complete the look is a bob haircut.)

And because my little old legs can apparently tolerate only one grown woman's circulation, suddenly I'm all what the heck? are those bruises around my ankles and calves and thighs? NOPE! It's an epic explosion of veins! So I'm wearing full length circulation hose (made for pregnant women, with a convenient pouch to fit over your belly except it DOESN'T, so I'm either hiking them up all day (a really graceful gesture) or rolling it down so that the very tight band totally constricts that oh-so-conspicuous area right below the waist making an EPIC muffin top.

And I've been grunting and groaning and weeping at the slightest thing and complaining about my hip pain to Brian and apparently doing some SERIOUS SNORING at night... and recently I just realized, Hey! We have a romantic getaway planned for LESS than a week from now! So I should not be trying to act like a ninety-year-old obese woman! I should probably even leave my circulation hose at home!

I am laughing at myself as I write this, all the while thinking, I am SO THANKFUL to be pregnant with these issues than to not be pregnant at all. The due date for the little baby we lost in May is coming up, and while being pregnant with a different baby generates conflicting emotions, I can't imagine the grief of not being pregnant at all on this upcoming date.

Last Saturday, I hit a low point while trying to squeeze myself into my circ hose for the first time. I was hanging out with Brian, trying to laugh at myself because they were NOT seeming like they were going to fit, and then I snagged them with my nail and eliminated any chance I had for returning them and suddenly I was sobbing out of control and hobbling into the bathroom with these TIGHT tights around my knees going, LEAVE ME ALONE! (which he wisely did) and then sitting on the bathroom floor going, God, why me?! I've tried to be healthy! I'm fairly young! Why do I have to wear these? Why do MY veins have to take over the world?

(They ended up fitting fine, so I don't have to return them.)

And then the very next morning, in church on Sunday, the worship leader said something that whacked me on the side of the head. He said we all ask a question at some point in our lives, and the way we ask it reveals our hearts. That question is, Why me? And we can either ask it with pride and ingratitude (Why me? Can't you pick on someone else?) or with humility and thanksgiving (Why ME? Why did you choose ME to bless so abundantly?). And as he was illustrating his point, I realize that as I was pitifully whining, Why me?, God was also looking at all the women who are in situations far worse. And I decided I am DONE feeling sorry for myself.

So while I am laughing at my aches and pains, I am truly thankful for this baby and this pregnancy. I'm also more determined to stop eating so much stinking sugar.

Okay, Will is crying in his crib so I'm going to cut this short and go cuddle him. I'm still in my pajamas and I haven't put on my circulation hose yet, so we should both be comfy. :)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

King Ranch Young Cinnamon Pecans Recipe

Click here if you want to skip over my Thanksgiving blather and just view the recipe!

I can't believe I am posting a blog on Thanksgiving Day. I've been up since 4:00 AM with Brian - he was up to (WHAT ELSE) go hunting this morning. I got up because - of course - it's Thanksgiving Day and I need to be in the kitchen, getting ready!

Except... everything's ready. I'm looking around my kitchen, thinking... okay, I guess I could run the dishwasher.... and scrub the stove again... 

I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my house... and it's pretty much all done. At 6:30 in the morning! My table is set. My Christmas decorations are up. And... I'm even showered! GASP!

Shockingly, I think having a child may be helping solve my procrastination problem. I thought FOR SURE that this would be the year that I was REALLY scrambling, especially with our power being out almost all last week. I pretty much just had last Saturday and this week to make the side dishes and desserts. And it's really tricky to bulldoze through a big menu prep with a toddler toddling around.

(I should mention... my mom is taking care of the turkey and gravy. Now THAT is AWESOME, because for some reason I cannot make a decent bird.)

Anyway, it turns out that when you think nothing will be hindering you from accomplishing something last minute, you typically leave it until the last minute (if you're me, that is). Somehow I got it through my head that I needed to have things done ahead of time... and they are.

So here's what's in my fridge, ready to be baked later.

Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Stuffing (with the addition of apples and sausage)
Real Simple's Spinach and Gruyere Gratin
Alton Brown's Best Ever Green Bean Casserole (double batch, of course!) with
Pioneer Woman's Onion Strings for topping (wrapped separately in the freezer, for last minute assembly)
Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls (to come out of the freezer at 10 AM, hopefully enough time to thaw and bake for our 4 PM dinner)
Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes (already in the slow cooker crock)
Sweet Potato Casserole (topping frozen separately)
Orangette's Cranberry Cherry Chutney

And because we're not eating until four, some Spinach Artichoke Dip ingredients are chopped and ready for Brian to stop at the store for the cream cheese (this was a last minute decision - I did my grocery shopping last Friday, I promise!)

For dessert, we're having
Grandma Ople's Apple Pie, my way (two of them, and they've been smelling fabulous on my counter since yesterday afternoon)
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
(with a very, very small slice already missing... what can I say?) Pumpkin Cheesecake
Sandy's Cold Oven Pound Cake

And still, with all that, I found myself making another batch of these amazing cinnamon pecans this morning:

Photo credit Bayhill (

My pumpkin cheesecake came out with a big crack, and in trying to find something to disguise it, I noticed this recipe on the back of my King Ranch Young Pecan bag (which is a great deal at Sam's Club, by the way). It looked simple enough, and it was! And if you thought making candied nuts was at all complicated, it's definitely not with this recipe. It does require a lot of stirring, but we can all use a workout around this time of year, no?

Except, do yourself a favor and add salt, like I did. It adds a very-much-needed boost of flavor.

King Ranch Young Pecan Cinnamon Pecan Recipe
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecan halves (the bag specifies to use Young Pecan brand, but I suspect you could try another brand) :)

Combine all ingredients except pecans. Dissolve sugar over medium heat. Add pecans and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Cook until pecans are completely sugared with no syrup left in pot. Spread on wax paper to cool. Can be frozen (which is the only way I'm not stuffing my face with them right now).

These would make a great gift! We'll be eating them beside our Spinach Dip and fruit tray, waiting for that beautiful bird to find its way to the table. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Our February Baby

Pregnant with our second baby,

I drink more coffee than I did with Will.
I get less sleep.
I write fewer pregnancy journals.
I take fewer belly pictures.
I have fewer plans for the baby's room.
I have less time to shop for baby things I need.
I am off my feet less.
I relax less.

But because our baby has an older brother,
He or she already

Hears more stories than Will did.
Hears more laughter.
Hears more songs.
Feels me move about all day.
Hears my voice even in the night.
Feels the movement of the rocking chair long before its birth.

Completely different, it's still as tremendous as it was the first time.

The richest experience in the world is holding my son and feeling his little brother or sister kick inside.
I can't wait to meet our little February baby!
Due 2/20/2014.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Easy Date Bars (Gluten-Free)

It's been a long time since I've gone an entire day eating a primal diet, like the one that made me feel so great in the summer of 2011. This is mainly due to convenience issues, indulgence (if I'm being perfectly honest with myself), and certain health reasons I'll talk about at another time. I've been pretty good about cutting out sugar, although I have my days, but I am looking forward to getting back to eating primal again. 

That said, I truly recognize the value of a nutrient-dense diet, and I want Will to appreciate that too. He's a very strange eater, and his tastes seem to change from day to day. For example, he rarely likes meat, so a lot of the protein he gets is from eggs, nuts, and dairy products. I do what I can. On the whole, I'd say he eats a pretty balanced diet. And when I get a chance to feed him a snack, I try to not let it be an empty one. 

That's why I love these date bars, and I make them often. Brian and Will both love them, so I try to keep a bunch on hand. They're similar to Larabars, but I much prefer these. They taste fresher. I keep them in the freezer (Brian likes them frozen, and tiny, frozen date-bar squares also appeal to my little teether) but they're shelf stable to a point, so I can throw a couple in my diaper bag if I'll need a snack. They're a good source of healthy carbs for growing babies - without nut allergies, of course. 

The process is VERY easy if you have a food processor and a stand mixer. If you don't... honestly, then they're not that easy. 

(Condensed recipe below pics.)
(Excuse the poor cell phone pics taken in my dark morning kitchen.)

Process the nuts finely.

Process your dates and dried fruit (if using) to a sticky paste.

Microwave the fruit until quite warm (two minutes?) and then transfer to stand mixer with ground nuts.

Mix until thoroughly blended, then turn out into a pan lined with either plastic wrap or lightly oiled aluminum foil. (Pictured is a 9x13 pan with two batches.)

Press down flat with lightly oiled hands.

Let cool for at least an hour, then turn out and cut into bars with a large, lightly oiled knife.

Wrap individually if desired. (I've tried throwing them all into a ziploc and freezing, but they don't come apart after they've frozen into a big clump.) I like using the folding sandwich bags for this.

See? Verrrrry easy. If you have a professional-size KitchenAid, you could easily make a double batch at one time. I have a 5 qt. size and all my attempts to double the recipe at once have turned very messy. I always make a double batch but I process and mix the two batches separately, thus ensuring that the ingredients don't fly out of my stand mixer all over my kitchen. One batch makes about two dozen Larabar-sized bars, so today I ended up with about four dozen, which will last us quite a while. 

Easy Date Bars

1 lb. fresh dates (not dried), pitted
8 oz. dried fruit of your choice (or substitute with an additional 8 oz. of fresh dates)
*Feel free to get creative with your fruit choices. I usually stick with cranberries and apricots, but I also love dried apples and raisins (with cinnamon and nutmeg!). Dried cherries, though expensive, would be fabulous. Your choice of nuts will also affect the final flavor. I think mini chocolate chips/dark chocolate chunks would taste awesome too, but I haven't ever added them (though I might if I make these for a gift). If adding chocolate, though, I wouldn't microwave the fruit.
1 lb. nuts 
Salt, if desired, and other spices if desired

Another quick note: Sometimes I don't have a full pound of dates for a batch. On this particular day, I only had 12 oz. per batch. So I substituted a sticky dried fruit blend in order to end up with the pound and a half of dates/fruit required. See, some dried fruits are more sticky than others (apricots vs. apples, for instance). What you want to remember is that you need at least a pound of stickiness to hold the nuts together, and then the 8 oz. of whatever you have on top of that will help also. Hope that makes sense.

1. Process the nuts finely.
2. Process the dates and dried fruit to a rough paste.
3. (Optional) Microwave the dried fruit and dates for a minute or two to make them looser and easier to blend.
4. Transfer nuts, date mixture, and any additional spices to the bowl of a stand mixer fittted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until combined, scraping the sides or paddle as necessary.
5. Prepare your pan. Line with either lightly oiled aluminum foil, OR drizzle a teaspoon of water into the pan and then line with plastic wrap (the water between the pan and the plastic will keep it from sticking together). 
6. With lightly oiled hands, press the date bar mixture into the prepared pan.
7. Let solidify for an hour or more.
8. With a lightly oiled knife, cut into desired bar sizes. Wrap individually. Freeze for longest shelf life.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Biannual Blog Post

Tap, tap...

Is this thing on?

Oh, folks!

My days of not-ever-blogging are coming to an end. I'm sure you'd LOVE to hear my list of excuses, which include no internet, no computer, and no time, but I'll spare you. I'm getting those things back, one by one. My blog WILL rise from the ashes again!

So, what should I talk about?

The closing for our new house was delayed and deLAYED. It was quite contentious, to be honest. But when Brian wanted to throw in the towel, it was with great tears and supplication that I convinced him NO other house would do. And now we are three happy clams in our new home, having been there almost two months. Actually, make that four clams - Bo is thrilled to be living in the country again. He often escapes to explore and returns with BRANCHES of burrs clinging to his fur. Having a slightly more needy dependent now (Will!), Bo sometimes must wait for his bath and grooming before he can come in the house. It's quite a sight to see him sit proudly at the top of our hill, surveying his vast domain, nearly camouflaged in mud and foliage.

William is wonderful and absolutely the light of our lives. I have zero complaints about him. My only gripes near the end of the day come from misgivings about myself. If only I had more energy! Was more creative! Was more patient! Had more time to explore his world with him! He is learning at an amazing rate. His vocabulary is expanding at a new word - or more - each day. My mom said recently, "He loves growing up!" It seems true. He loves learning, showing off what he knows, and being excited about all the things he can explore. The bulk of his language is still baby babble, which is devastatingly cute. I love having people over to admire him with me. Sometimes I feel guilty that these precious things become commonplace in my day-to-day. My biggest struggle lately has been feeling guilty when I'm playing with him and NOT doing housework, and also feeling guilty when I'm doing housework and NOT playing with him. Naptimes, thankfully, are pretty much guilt-free. Maybe that's why I love them so much.

We're still using our cloth diapers! I used to use them exclusively, even when we traveled. I'd bring a huge bag of clean diapers and take home a huge bag of dirties. It may surprise you to learn that Brian, who is a minimalist packer, did NOT love this. So we now travel with disposables. And since I therefore have disposables on hand at home, I will occasionally pop one on him if, say, I have no night-time pockets stuffed in the middle of the night and he needs a change, or if we're in the middle of moving and I don't want to bother with laundry. I've heard people complain that pockets begin leaking in the night when the child becomes more of a heavy wetter, which may start happening soon. In that case, I may either try wool covers and fitteds, or (more likely) put a disposable on him at night.

All that to lead into this: when Will was exclusively breastfeeding, cloth diapering was NOTHING. No rinsing the poops, just put them into a wet bag and throw 'em in the wash. When he graduated slowly to solids, it remained quite easy since all his poops were turds. NOW, however, he is on the fast track to potty training because Cloth Diaper #2's are The Daily Ordeal. Let's just say that my son LOVES fruit, and lots of it, and has not pooped a hard turd since January. Poopy diaper changes involve clothing changes, baths, rubber gloves, holding-of-breath, repeated toilet flushings, Lysol disinfectant wipes (for the bathroom... not for Will), antibacterial soap, and about twenty minutes. I'm not sure if a diaper sprayer would help. I'm guessing probably not. So I'm very, very vigilant about trying to catch his poops. About half the time, I do, and I sit behind Will on the toilet and we look at books and he goes in the toilet and NOT in his diaper, and LET ME TELL YOU WHAT - it is literally the biggest reward of my day. No one in my household understands why my face is beaming with glory when he's done going poo-poo in the potty. No one but me.

Last night, Will was unexplainedly awake at 3:30 and would not go back to sleep. I have been staying at my parents' house for the weekend, since Brian is in Montana for a hunting trip, so crying it out for an extended period of time was not really an option (I mean, these people have to be somewhere in the morning! I don't!). So I took him out of his crib, went downstairs, fed him a snack, changed his diaper, read him a book, and made him lay down with me on the couch. He was tickled pink to be laying down with mama... so tickled, in fact, that sleeping was the last thing on his mind. He preferred at that point to repeatedly stick his finger in my eye, saying, "eyes!", calling to Bo, and smushing my lips with his hand in an attempt to make me blow raspberries into his palm. These things are cute as I look back on them, but at - then - 4:45 am, they were met very dryly: "No, Will. Lay down, Will." It occurred to me during this that being a mom can be hard BECAUSE it aims to literally squeeze the selfishness out of you, little by little. It hurts to have the selfishness squeezed out. And so sometimes, being a mom is hard. I'm trying to embrace this. I'm trying to remember that I WANT my selfishness to be squeezed out. He eventually fell fast asleep beside me, and when I carried his limp, 28-pound body back up the stairs, my heart exploded with cuteness. Take that, selfishness.

My English teacher in high school made a comment to our class once, in passing: she said, "You all still have so much to look forward to - getting married, having children..." her voice trailed off at that point and she seemed a bit sad. That sunk into my mind, and I determined to enjoy those things that were, at that point, still ahead of me. I've gotten married, and now my family is growing. I will determine in my heart to enjoy this, to enjoy the tiredness and the work and the tedium and to grasp the moments throughout the day that make it so worthwhile. I have a long way to go before I serve the Lord and my family with joy. Right now I pretty much serve the Lord and my family with sometimes-joy and sometimes-an-air-of-martyrdom. But if God can make a way in the wilderness, he certainly can make me into whom he's called me to be. Right?

Until we meet again,

Monday, June 3, 2013


We are going to live at Hickory Creek! I am beyond excited and thrilled. There is pretty much NOTHING I want to change about this house!

A few photos of the listing (which pasted too large but I don't have time to correct them because I'm working on LOAN documents!) :) :) :):

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some weeks later.

This is a quick catch-up post - mostly because I don't want to leave the last post as my greeting-blog for another few months!

It's been three weeks and two days since we lost our little one. I'm doing pretty well. Monday nights and Tuesdays are oddly difficult. I'm sure it won't take much longer to feel completely at peace with the way things are, but like I told Brian - for a month I had two babies: one here and one on the way. Now I don't. So it's taking some getting used-to. That's all.

One more thing before I move on - I have really appreciated having friends and family ask how I'm doing. Usually I answer, "I'm doing well, thanks," and move on to the next subject. But it really, really helps. Something so simple has shown me that people remember. I've had a few folks brush over it to avoid causing pain or discomfort, and I get that. I probably would have done the same thing. But I'm surprised by how comforting it's been to have people ask about the baby: "How are you doing?" I'm going to remember that.

On to different things.

Will turned a YEAR old last week. I am so, so grateful to have had this year. What a tremendous miracle a baby is! We celebrated with a low-key party after church on Sunday.

Over Memorial Day weekend, his learning has exploded. He's saying (or trying to say) car, block, clock, and light. He's signing please and more and he's not only high-fiving but also fist-bumping, thanks to his uncles. : ) He just generally seems more aware and curious. I am surprised by how amazed I am to see him learning. I knew it would be cool, but this is COOL.

We are STILL - yes, still! - on the house hunt. We put in an offer for a grand, enormous house on over a hundred acres. We'll call it Rustic Mansion. It was at the tippy-top of what we could afford, PLUS it needed a ton of updating and the house itself was enormous so maintenance would have been quite the cost as well. It was a fabulous house with a ton of character, but after we put in the offer I began to feel a pit in my stomach whenever I thought of it. I chalked it up to anxiety about whether our offer would be accepted, but I was surprised to be relieved when we were turned down without a counter. I had begun to wonder if we would have been slaves to our home - all our money and work and time going into a place to live.

Two or three weeks later we found another house. We'll call it Cozy Brick Ranch. It had been on the market for months (odd in this market), and when we went to see it we were surprised. It was pristine inside, with an awesome finished walkout basement which made up for the fairly small size of the house. However, it was on a fairly busy road, located pretty much within the city, and we discovered it was being sold due to a cell tower that had been approved to be built on an adjacent lot. Still, we submitted an ambitiously low offer, hoping that their desperation to sell and the length of time it had been on the market would cause them to consider it.

Where Rustic Mansion would have sucked up all our time and effort and money, Cozy Brick Ranch would have been a financial breeze. We fell in love not so much with the house as much as with the idea of having such a low payment and a shorter drive to church.

Well, the weekend passed and no word on Cozy Brick Ranch. We began to wonder if they were seriously considering our offer. Brian was ready to counter-offer higher if needed. On Tuesday, the listing was suddenly disappearing from the real estate sights (or going "Pending"). We wondered - could it be? They've decided to accept our offer with no counter?! NOPE. Turns out another buyer put in a higher offer the same weekend. The sellers of Cozy Brick Ranch decided not to counter anyone but just to accept the higher offer.

We had asked God to close the door on Cozy Brick Ranch if it wasn't his will for us. Truly, through this WHOLE process, we've been asking for God's direction and guidance. He knows we may make mistakes, but we've diligently asked for His will. We prayed that He would close doors if we moved the wrong way. And this may sound odd (because I really, really want our own house!) but I'm SO thankful He's been so faithful to close those doors.

We found another house last night that we love. It's not PERFECT - it's a long drive from church and it's only got three bedrooms. But I walked in and just felt like I could stay there forever. I'll call it Hickory Creek House. We've put an offer in on it today. It's a new listing (four days old) and already has an offer, so we may not get it. If God wants us to have it, we've prayed He'll show us what to do. If we don't get it, I know there's a place for us and we'll be there eventually.

I have to say, though, that living with my family this long has been simply wonderful. It really has. The biggest frustration has just been a lack of space for our growing family's STUFF. Will has a mountain of toys piled up in the family room corner... and my parents don't own an enormous home. They've been so gracious, and I am still loving being with them. It's just that... I'm ready to be on our own. Will is getting used to having people around all the time and I worry that he'll suffer withdrawals from his fun grandparents, uncle, and aunt. What a blessing, though, to be concerned about. : )

Finally, I have to brag on Brian. For most of his life, with the exception of his first three months or so, Will's been waking up once during the night to nurse and fall back to sleep. I had no idea what to do. He could fall asleep on his own with no problems at bedtime. He wasn't a light sleeper. He was eating fine through the day. I didn't feel right about ignoring him, but I also knew that having a broken-up seven hours of sleep was not good for me. Or for him, either.

I began to realize, though, that he wasn't waking up on the nights Brian put him to bed (which were not often because I'm usually home). Turns out Brian was feeding him a bedtime snack and giving him lots of water. I thought an evening nursing session was accomplishing that. But I guess not. I reckon my Little Man was waking up thirsty.

So we cut out the evening feeding (we're actually down to one feeding a day now). I started giving him water and cottage cheese before bed. And for a week straight, Will's been sleeping through the night without an issue.

I realize that in posting that on this blog, I may have jinxed myself. But it's a risk I'll take BECAUSE I am bragging on Brian (NOT myself!) and also offering a potential solution to moms with the same problem who may stumble upon this blog.

That's all for now! I'll keep you all posted on Hickory Creek House. IF it's where we're supposed to live, I fully expect that we'll be living there. Ahhh. If not, then I don't want it. (Isn't it great to trust in the Lord?!)


Monday, May 13, 2013

Our December Baby

I was looking out the window a few days ago at the pink spring trees in the neighbor's yard. And I thought about how they will wither and go soon, replaced by hardier leaves and blown away by summer breezes. Come December, no one will remember them.

I don't want that to be my baby. I know I rarely post on this blog. For some reason it feels like for that reason, I shouldn't be allowed so write about something so personal.

But I need to share about my December baby. I was due December 14, 2013.

On April 7, I took a positive pregnancy test. I was elated. We had wanted babies close together. My heart rejoiced.

For a month I knew about that baby. We told our family - Erin danced around the kitchen with William in his "Big Brother" t-shirt. My parents cried. Brian's family hugged us. His grandma wondered if it would be a "girl this time."

I felt in my heart that we would have another boy.

Was it presumptuous to tell everyone so early? I don't know. I always knew that a baby is a miracle. I can tell you that I didn't take this baby for granted. I loved it, loved it the whole time.

At first I felt sad that my baby would have a December birthday. I was afraid its birthday would mesh into Christmas, an indistinct blend of celebrations. But then my sisters-in-law - both December babies themselves - told me it's magical to have a birthday that month. And I began to anticipate how exciting it would be to have a baby at the same time that we celebrate Baby Jesus.

When I was pregnant with William, I loved my baby but had no idea how madly I would fall in love with him when he was born. With this baby, I knew. I felt bonded to it immediately. I sang to it when I sang to Will. I would nurse William and think about how I was nourishing both my children at once. I thanked God for those moments, for my baby boy curled around me and another growing inside.

I loved being pregnant with this baby.

So I thought I was about eight weeks, but the doctor thinks I was nine.

On Sunday night, May 5, I began spotting, very lightly.

I had spotted with William at seven weeks. Nothing major, but it's terrifying anyway.

Monday morning, May 6, the spotting resumed. We're still staying with my parents, and I told my mom, "I don't want to do this day." I didn't want to struggle with fear about my baby. I scheduled a scan for the next morning. I wanted to go back to bed and sleep until Tuesday.

I didn't want to have to do May 6.

Will had a hard day that day. He fought his naps and flung his food. I was impatient and tired. It's hard to stay positive when everything in you feels like dread.

The spotting would slow down, then grow worse. At some point it became pink, then red. I tried to stay off my feet, but that was pretty much impossible. In the afternoon my mom made me take a nap. I was sure that had stopped the bleeding, until about a half hour after when it started again.

It's a horrible feeling when your body is killing a baby you want so badly, and there's nothing you can do.

In the evening the bleeding grew worse, bright red and heavy. I began cramping. Brian held me and said, "It's going to be okay. It's going to be fine." I told him I didn't know how it could be.

My mom read us stories online about women who had healthy babies after heavy bleeding. I tried to believe in a miracle heartbeat. It had happened to others, it could happen to me.

I laid Will down in his crib at 8:30 PM. At bedtime, he usually nestles in, but Monday night he started to cry. I picked him up and nursed him to sleep... just this once. I sang him a lullaby and wondered if this would be the last time I'd hold my two children. And I'm glad I did that. Ten minutes later, when I stood and bent over to tuck his sleeping body in again, I felt the most of my pregnancy pass. I went to the bathroom and I held it in my hands for a long time. It wasn't a baby.

You know, I don't know if I found the baby. Whatever I found, I wrapped it in a cloth to bury.

We prayed and worshipped together as a family that evening. Before going to sleep, I told Brian what I had passed. He held me and said again, "It could still be fine."

The next morning I woke imagining a flickering heartbeat on that morning's scan. I didn't think there could be hope, but I was determined to hope anyway.

I filled out the paperwork and wrote "suspected miscarriage" on the form under "Reason for visit". Still, the nurse practitioner entered the room and said, "Congratulations!"

I said, "Thanks." I paused. "But I think I lost it."

I told her what had happened the night before. She jotted down the important details, cramping and clots. She left the room while I prepared for the scan. As I waited on the table, my lower half wrapped in paper, I prayed, "Please, God, just help me hold it together."

She turned on the machine. I watched the ceiling. After a few moments, she said, "Okay... I think that's your uterus." I glanced over and saw the void. There was nothing. I fixed my eyes back onto the ceiling. When she said she was sorry, I said okay. And I did, I held it together.

She wrote me a prescription to visit the fetal imaging center to confirm everything was gone. She drew my blood and instructed me to come back in a week for another blood draw. I'll probably go, but I don't know. Everything seems to be happening normally.

I checked out and walked out to the parking lot and climbed into the truck and stopped holding it together.

I don't understand God's plan - I know there is one - but I just don't understand it and I suppose I never will. I wanted my baby, I still do, and I still find myself planning for it and hoping it will make it. That's illogical, I know. I just don't understand. I suppose it's what a million women wonder. Why is it that the baby I want so badly doesn't make it, and other people have babies they don't want? Or abort babies they don't want?

So it's getting easier each day. Nights are the hardest, because I'm tired at the end of the day and because I lost the baby on a Monday night. And I think, who else will be having a December baby? How will I not be bitter? And I know it wasn't my fault, but I still feel like it is. I feel like I let everyone down... Brian and Will and our families and the baby. And I know that someday I'll be the only one who remembers my baby, and I also know that someday I'll get over it and that feels horrible too, like I'm going to forget my baby along with everyone else. And I keep remembering the night of May 6 and remembering that panicked feeling of horror and grief when I saw those clots... and it just comes back.

So it just sucks. And my heart absolutely breaks for the women who've endured this without a living child to hold and be comforted by.

But I can be practical, too. I'm thankful for the timing. I'm thankful that I wasn't farther along. I'm thankful it happened on its own. I'm thankful for Brian and William and friends and family and hope.

I thought Mother's Day would be very difficult. On May 6 I had tried to distract myself by getting online, and I'd seen a giant banner ad on a website: "What do you want for Mother's Day?" And I'd prayed, please, God, all I want is a healthy pregnancy. But God gave me perspective and grace on Mother's Day. That morning I held Will in bed and felt tremendous gratitude. I am a mother, and that is enough.

On Mother's Day, Brian gave me a beautiful white azalea tree to remember the baby. It's an indoor plant, and if you take care of it it will bloom for a long, long time. I'll be able to look at it, even when the spring flowers are gone outside, and think of my December baby, and know that somewhere that Flower is blooming and praising God.

I loved being pregnant with you, Little One. You were eagerly anticipated and loved. If the love I had for you, and the love your Daddy had for you, and all the love our families had for you, could have given you life on the earth you would have lived here for a thousand years. But God had a different plan for you. I don't understand it and I miss you terribly - and will always miss you. But I believe in my heart you will recognize me in Heaven. 

All my love,
your momma


Friday, April 26, 2013

Well, hello again!

I'm sure you thought my blog was gone forever. I certainly did! A couple weeks ago, my dad raced upstairs to tell me that my blog had been "hacked!" To my horror, The Wonder Wife was most certainly gone and in its place was some raunchy-looking dating site.

My blog had not been hacked... my credit card information had been outdated and my domain had not renewed. For the next few hours I sadly mourned the loss of The Wonder Wife, which had been an active little site for a few very brief moments of my life. And I had loved it.

But alas! All hope was not gone. I updated my credit card information hoping that I could still salvage The Wonder Wife. And... ten dollars later, here we are again! All mine... to neglect!

So here I am to write a very brief post explaining where the heck I've been!

In October, our dreams came true and we moved back home to Michigan. Brian had an amazing job lined up, we sold our house to the most perfectly sweet couple (if anyone could love our home as much as we did, they do), and we planned to stay with our families while we house hunted and waited for him to begin work January 1.

In December, to our dismay, the amazing job fell through. The company that had planned to hire Brian had lost an enormous project - the one over which they had planned to put him in charge. He began earnestly looking for work. The next few months, which I'm sure were some of the longest of his life (and mine), involved yet ANOTHER company reneging a job offer due to another lost project, dead-end leads, hundreds of sent resumes and phone calls, and hours of soul searching and prayer. Through it all, we knew without a shadow of a doubt that moving home had not been a mistake.

In March, God answered our prayers in an enormous way. Not only had our dream to move home come true, my personal dream of Brian finding a job that didn't involve a location change every couple of years came true as well. After ten years of struggling to establish a healthy work/life balance in a company whose atmosphere discouraged pursuits other than WORK, Brian finally works a job that is more than conducive for family life. I am so thrilled and thankful. Of course, God had a plan!

Of course, this has meant that we've been staying with family for much longer than we'd thought, and we are actually STILL living with my parents! The experience has been precious and wonderful, as Will has spent his first year surrounded by love on every side. But we are ready for our own space, too! So this Saturday we'll be going to check out a few houses. We have a pretty odd list of criteria, which narrows the pickin's down quite a bit, but in this I am also confident that God has a plan and that our house is already chosen and waiting for us. (THIS, however, is the main reason my little blog has been so sorely neglected. How can I sit down and write when I'm soaking up the family time I've missed over the past seven years?)

Finally, the past seven months have been the best of my life, even though they've contained some difficult trials. The main reason for this has - of course - been Will. He's been the most precious, bright spot of life and happiness in the world. Every day his personality reveals itself a bit more, and we're cherishing our 11-month-old, funny, goofy, cautious, curious, determined little boy so very much. I can't tell you how much I love - LOVE - being a mom. What more could I ask for?

Will and Dada on Easter morning

Will and me on Easter Sunday

Will and his buddy Bo