Friday, December 30, 2011

An Early Arrival

Welcome to the world, Ada Jennifer!

Ann’s water broke at home on Friday evening, December 30, and this kissable babe came like lightning a few hours later. Leave it to Ann to waste not a minute!

The Present is a Present


I’m pretty excited what I am learning lately and what is crazy is that we are learning the same things at the same times in different ways. At the “art party” I went to they asked us to write a letter to ourselves titles “What I want most for myself…”  At first I was stumped and really hate questions like that but as I really began to think about it I wrote the following:

The life I want most for myself is that I would love to be present at all times. Present with Jesus, my husband, children, family and friends. I would love to allow Jesus to fill my cup every day with love so that I can truly love others. I’d love to be a part of the amazing stories that change people’s lives. I would love for the Lord to guide my steps and to follow His lead and to not plan to far in advance unless He asks me to. I’d love to raise loving children who bring Glory to God. I’d love to be truly balanced in what I eat, how I active I am, how much time I spend on being creative, serving others and living the every day life.

I thank the Lord for the moments this happens and for reminding me when I am not in those moments.

This week we had lunch with some friends and there was an Advent reading that hit our friend Chuck by Henri Nouwen about being present. How cool is that? I would love to just type you a quote from it but it was so good I want you to read the whole thing.

Henri Nouwen wrote “Jesus came in the fullness of time. He will come again in the fullness of time. Wherever Jesus Christ is, time is brought to its fullness.

We often experience our time as empty. We hope that tomorrow, next week, next month, next year real things will happen to us. But sometimes we experience the fullness of time…when time stands still…when past, present, and future become one…when everything is present where we are…when God, we, and all that is have come together in total unity. That is the experience of God’s time. It is in the fullness of time that we meet God.

I wonder and I am excited to learn what else the Lord will teach us this year about this!



How crazy that the Holy Spirit is bringing this to light in both of us?! I am so excited to see what’s in store for us.

I love your letter and plan on stealing it and using it as my mantra. These thoughts reflect a good portion of what I’ve been taught during Advent and giving up Facebook and other sites–things I didn’t necessarily plan on learning. I’ll share those thoughts soon, but suffice it to say, after just 25 days, I believe I am changed forever. Granted, it’s a 3 degree change when I have 160 degrees to go, but I’m better off than I was 26 days ago.

Wonder where we’ll be with all of these intentions at the end of 2012? Can’t wait to see!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Last Baby Post Until She’s Here?


Thursday I had an ultrasound. The doctor mentioned a few things and since they will never find anything perfect with this pregnancy I decided to blow it off and not worry about. I have googled something only once this entire pregnancy because it’s not really worth the misinformation I could be getting. Friday I had a doctor appointment and a few things really started to make sense to me.

They have found that the cord to the placenta may not be giving baby blood and oxygen like they would like it to. It’s borderline (that’s our story with everything) right now but because of this I have found three things that make more sense:
  1. This could be why my blood test tested positive for Down Syndrome. Other abnormalities are picked up through that test such as placenta issues.
  2. This is why my doctor has mentioned stillbirth in most of my appointments. She never mentioned she believed stillbirth could be prevented until this appointment.
  3. This is why I go to non-stress tests (NST). They want to make sure the baby is moving in a healthy manner.
It’s great to have this puzzle fall into place but I will say for the first time I’ve started to become concerned. It’s all on me if I don’t feel her move as much, and if for any reason I am concerned I need to go to the hospital to have an NST. Sometimes I don’t notice her all day while tending to the kids. Next week we will be scheduling an induction for some time during the first week of January. If I go into labor naturally that is fine, but they don’t want me going past my due date. Right now they think she is 8lbs so I’m fine with not going much longer!

Please pray for these last few weeks. This has been a peaceful pregnancy despite what the doctors have said and we’d love for her to be born in peace as well. I will be induced on January 5th and if for some reason I am not dilated before then I will be spending the previous night and they will give me something to dilate. I am hoping we won’t have to spend that extra night away from the girls!



Wow, I can’t believe we’re at this point. I’m starting to get paranoid if we don’t connect at some point every morning.

Although I hate that you have to live with that pressure of monitoring her, I’m also glad to see these pieces of the puzzle falling into place and things making a little more sense. Of course there are still lots of question marks about baby, it’s nice to have some more information.
Definitely praying. I really pray that God would give you a kind of sixth sense so you would be able to feel her squirming and kicking, and that you would be able to continue experiencing the peace I know has been such a part of this pregnancy.


P.S. How cute is that thumb-sucker?!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Non-Stress Test Turns Stressful

Dear Jen,

I seriously thought I would no longer be posting on how the baby and I are doing but today was RIDICULOUS! I went to the doctor at 1:45 for an appointment and then immediately afterward had a Non-Stress Test (NST). The baby was so active that the heart monitor would not stay in place, so after an hour they sent me over to the hospital. Then at the hospital the baby falls asleep and they can’t let me go until they see a certain anount of movements. I left the hospital at 5:30!

Next week I start one ultrasound a week, two NSTs a week and one doctor’s appointment. I am thinking of just handing my kids over to someone else to raise until I have this baby.



OK, part of me is glad they’re watching so closely. Nothing’s gettin’ past these people! But for someone who hates to be fussed over you’re sure getting the treatment. Ugh.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Art Party

Dear Jen,

Four years ago we were invited to party by our friends, Jeff and Kim Russell. For almost 20 years they had been meeting with the same couples, exchanging handmade Christmas presents. They decided to mix the party up and invited us! We were, and still are, so honored to be included in this fun celebration.

This year I created earrings from the rocks found in front of the Russell’s cottage in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Taraneh received my gift this year. Could someone tinier have sat next to me?! She is so enthusiastic about whatever you make so it’s a great person to pick your gift. You feel like you are an art genius.

I got Kim’s gifts this year! She made three different snow globes. I haven’t taken them out of their box yet because I know the girls will love them. I also know they love dropping glass snow globes so they are staying hidden for awhile.

I made this record purse last year with the help of my Mom.

I don’t sew so she helped create the purse part.

I know this picture is super blurry but wanted to show you Greg’s project. He made a decorative bowl out of sticks. I love how the women are all huggy about their projects and the guys are all business-like about their exchange. You can see Taraneh’s hand in this picture. Again, super-cheerleader telling Greg what a great job he did!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011



I’m not sure what week I’m in for my Advent fasting, but as predicted the honeymoon is over.
I’m not sad at all about giving up Facebook in particular. But giving up one layer of my “vices” has only exposed others. They were really just escapes, and now I notice so many more: eating, daydreaming, talking on the phone, just to name a few. All of them take me to another place mentally, and yet I want to be here 100% for my family!

I’ve also noticed other things in my life that can play games with my head, making me feel like my life is not as interesting as others’. Our beloved Real Simple that we read form front to back? Yeah, pretty much makes me think like my life is crap. Parenting websites and magazines? I suck. It’s making me realize that, although some things are totally worth avoiding, at some point I just need to adjust my perspective so I can experience these things again and yet not get sucked into that low place. I know it’s do-able, it’s just going to take a level of consciousness I don’t usually operate from.

On a positive note, I am still noticing joy in places I used to overlook, and trying to notice the fairytale under my nose, but it is certainly a choice I have to make every singe day.
Focusing on gratitude.



Dear Jen,

This brings joy to me that you are seeing things more clearly. You are an amazing mom and have great kids!  I like to think of Parenting and Real Simple as pretty things that have been photoshopped. Our homes will never be as organized as Real Simple because not everything fits in a perfect hole and doing a craft with the kids will be much messier than they describe in Parenting.


Monday, December 19, 2011


Dear Jen,

These past weeks have flown by. I’ve noticed after I sent my last update to a few friends and family that because I said our baby is doing well and all is well they assumed she doesn’t have Downs Syndrome. I don’t want to go around saying “She’s healthy but she might have Downs” so I have decided to let it go. She is who she is and I’ll just update them on tests as I feel comfortable.

Now at 32 weeks, I had another ultrasound. Things look good for baby. They are concerned my amniotic fluid is high. It was really high with June. I remember when they broke my water the nurse was running around saying she’d never seen anything like it and couldn’t find enough towels. My level was at a 23 (not sure if this is–oz, mm, jigawatts…). Normal range can be up to 24 BUT somehow he is very concerned about me. I’m really starting to get annoyed with this concern. Almost every test I have taken I have been in the normal range but close to the abnormal. How is it if I am within normal range they have to freak out?!  SERIOUSLY!!

Here is their next proposed plan: Two non-stress tests (NST) a week, one ultrasound a week, and one doctor’s appointment a week. Somehow, I need to fit those in while taking Catina to and from preschool three times a week, June’s speech therapy two times a week, June’s doctors appointments and well…just plain living life like, um, maybe going grocery shopping? The NST I took this week took an hour and fifteen minutes excluding drive time. I’ve convinced my doctor to let me just have one NST a week until 36 weeks. The specialist is the one who has been pushing for all the extras. I will see my doctor again on Wednesday and ask if I can cut down on ultrasounds as well. I just don’t see the point. Oh, and the specialist says if he sees the fluid continue this week I can just retake that 3 hour glucose test again. Why don’t I just move into the hospital until she is born?

I had a day of contractions last week where they were ten minutes a part. I think it was due to dehydration. I did not bring this up to the specialist because who the heck knows what he would do with me then?!

Trying to stay calm and educated in this mess of being an old lady having a baby.



So glad you talked your doc into a little more reasonable schedule! Now if only Catina could drive herself to preschool, you’d be pretty set.


Friday, December 16, 2011


Dear Jen,

We’ve had an fetal echo-cardiogram and her heart looks good! I am so grateful for this. Through our journey towards children I realize that its not about if our baby is a boy or girl, if they are smart or dumb, ugly or cute, healthy or unhealthy, it’s about us loving them and wanting to be with them, whoever they are. I’m really looking forward to holding our baby.

We had another ultrasound and everything is progressing well. They still plan to monitor me a lot which is annoying but as the doctor who joked with me when I came in for the fetal echo-cardiogram “Are you here because you’re old?”  I laughed out loud!  YUP! Apparently, 37 is over the hill these days.

Here is a picture of our cutie patootie! I swear she looks like June!




Love her already.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lightbulb Art


I really love this blog called Reduce, Reuse, UPcycle! I sent Rachel pictures of the sock animals my Mom sewed for your baby shower and she posted them on her blog. There are so many creative ideas she finds and I have started to bookmark the “some day” projects I may try!

Recently Rachel e-mailed and asked if we have any more projects to share, and since Greg and I are always trying to make things out of recycled items, in particular pallet wood, I sent her a few pictures.  In celebration of the season I wanted to share our Christmas light bulb project.

We took a piece of plywood and painted it black and then glued old Christmas light bulbs onto the board using JB Weld. We started at the top and laid the bulbs flush to the end of the board. We didn’t measure but used a bulb to help with spacing the next line.  I like this piece so much we keep it up all year round. Some day I think it might be fun to create different designs like flowers or swirls using the light bulbs.  Fun stuff!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fire Alarm

Dear Jen,

A few nights ago our fire alarm started chirping in the middle of the night. Not only is that sound super annoying but its right at the bottom of the stairs to both the girls and our bedroom. What is even more annoying than that is Greg can sleep through it! I finally nudged him and told him if I weren’t pregnant I would go downstairs and get on a chair to pull the battery out but I just couldn’t do it. In a fog he went downstairs and pulled the battery out. An hour later I hear the chirp again. What the…?

The whole day went by and it was in the middle of the next night that the fire alarm began to chirp. I hit Greg and asked him if he changed the battery. He said he hadn’t but there was no battery in the alarm. I told him he had to get out of bed and get a battery because I am not going another night where its harder to sleep than it already was. This whole time I am feeling badly about my bossiness but COME ON!

The third night it begins to chirp. SERIOUSLY! After smacking Greg and waking him up he tells me that he put a new battery in last night so he has no idea why its chirping. I let it go because I could tell he was not getting out of bed. The next morning he took the fire alarm and after investigating we figured it must be too old and we need a new one so he threw it outside in the garbage.

The fourth night I hear the chirping! Jen, seriously, I thought I was losing my mind. Come to find out we had been working with the wrong fire alarm. There is another one in the living room that we didn’t think to check and because it was so loud we just assumed it was the one closest to our room. OY!


Monday, December 12, 2011


Dear Jen,

Lately I’ve been wondering how we’re supposed to announce our baby’s birth now that some people know that she has the potential to have Down Syndrome? Everyone will want to know now as soon as she is born. How should the text to friends read?

<Born at 8:57am, Nameless Baby, 8lbs, 5oz, Down Syndrome> or <Born at 8:57am, Nameless Baby, 8lbs, 5oz, does not have Down Syndrome>

SERIOUSLY!!! Then if she doesn’t, I am again fearing people’s reactions of wanting to “praise the Lord.”  Would you not praise the Lord if she was? Jen, seriously, struggling here!

A few days later…
I asked my doctor today when we would find out if our baby has Downs and she said the test results may not come back for 5 to 7 days. This was comforting to me because I no longer have to worry about how to announce how she is doing. People will know in time.




This is complicated! Sort of glad the question is answered, but this totally hits a nerve with me.

I don’t know if there’s a book that’s popular or something that promotes this, but I keep hearing everyone say “God is good.” (OK, I know the book that originally said it is the Bible, but for it to be on everyone’s tongue all of a sudden? I mean, it’s definitely a true and good thing, but…well, read on….) So what makes me so crazy is that it’s said as though the THING that happened MADE Him good. “My husband got a job! God is good!” “We finally got pregnant! God is good.” “I passed my exams! God is good.” These aren’t false statements, but one really has nothing to do with the other; those accomplishments have NOTHING to do with His goodness! They’re totally separate. He’s good when we’re unemployed, and infertile, and failing out of college. Period. I know it seems like I’m splitting hairs, but I think a more appropriate response is to praise God because certainly all good things do come from Him, but His character (as in God IS good) has nothing at all to do with these things.



Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Sense of Accomplishment


You know how great you feel after you’ve cleaned your whole house top-to-bottom, knowing every nook and cranny you’ve ignored for months is now cobweb-free?

OK, well that’s the best way for me to describe the euphoria I feel after 1 week away from some of my “escape vices.” For the season of Advent I’ve decided to stay off Facebook and some other internet sites that tend to put my brain in bad spots.

I’m sure you weren’t surprised when I told you I felt like I was supposed to do this. I comment a lot about having a bad attitude even though I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, LOVE my life. I realized that I was sort of living a lie by escaping online, watching how others lived and then unwittingly becoming insecure or discontent about how I was living. Let me give you an example: I feel discouraged because I can’t keep up with duties around the house, and BAM! There’s a Facebook post from a lovely friend who lists her superwoman accomplishments from that morning. Or I feel frustrated because I have the best paint colors picked out for the living room, but can’t find the time to actually paint, and BAM! There’s the most  beautiful, put-together house on Apartment Therapy.

I love pretty things, and even though my life is exactly what I’ve asked for it to be, it’s not really pretty. I mean, it has moments of pretty, but then it gets puked on. And I don’t really mind, puke is surprisingly easy to clean. But there goes the pretty, and “high” I get from it. After a week of not escaping, I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying our little life here, how much more mellow and how in-tune I am to our kiddos.

Well, that’s where I’m at after 1 week. We’ll see if I’m detoxing a little harder in another 7 days.




I am so excited to see where this leads you and to learn from you during this time. As long as you don’t “fast” from ME its all good!


Thursday, December 8, 2011


June wore Croc type shoes all summer.  Can you tell?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Faith & Healing

Dear Jen,

Why is this topic of healing always an issue for me? I struggled with it when I learned of your baby Elisabeth. I believed she could be healed but at the same time she had a condition that never had been healed before so I knew that this was most likely not in God’s plan for her. I guess I feel the same way about Down Syndrome. The Lord knit these babies in their mothers’ womb and praying for “healing” is a struggle because who is to say they should be different than what they are now? Elisabeth taught me what true Hope is. She had a purpose beyond her little life. Why can’t we think the same of these babies with Down Syndrome?

Then I wonder if maybe I lack the faith I should have. Am I way off-base and I should be praying that certain conditions should be different? The Lord knows my struggle and continues to give me peace as I seek His thoughts and ways on it.



This was definitely among the hardest parts of our journey with our daughter. We’d waited so many years to finally conceive, and then we find our our baby had a lethal condition. Right away people dismissed the prognosis (God will heal!) and like you’ve experienced, ignored the medical information (Doctors are wrong all the time!). Levi and I felt a specific calling to accept the bad news and yet live gracefully with it. Of course we hoped beyond all hope that our baby would be born screaming and normal, but around that time I had read Philip Yancy’s Prayer, and my thoughts about healing were actually being lived out in front of me: God CAN heal, but He is in charge and He doesn’t always choose to do this. I believe the healthiest perspective is to acknowledge how confusing this is to us as humans. We desire healing and He created us to have these longings, but we live a broken world and this is one of the examples.

I cannot picture Elisabeth any other way–if I imagine her to be healed from her fatal dwarfism, I am picturing a different baby. At the same time, if we lived in a perfect, heavenly world, there would be no fatal illnesses or painful medical problems. Or for that matter, no cellulite or wrinkles or jealousy or judgement. Even though our babies are perfect gifts, WHATEVER their conditions, I do think there is room for healing. They aren’t flawless. We pray for their health just like we pray for the health of our seemingly “normal” babies (have we not both prayed for our quick-tempered children to get control?!).

I love how Philip Yancy says it:

When I fall sick, or learn of physical suffering in a friend or loved one, I bring that request to God, whom the Bible describes as “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” Sickness, not health, is the abnormality that Jesus came to expose. While not solving all the problems on earth, Jesus’ miracles gave a clear sign of how the world should be, and someday will be. His acts of healing restored to specific individuals what had been spoiled on the planet as a while.

Maybe I’m the one with the faith issue, because I’m perfectly fine with living with all this gray.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Healing & Prayer

Dear Jen,

Do you remember this story from Lent, earlier this year?


During Lent I really wanted to wait on an answer from the Lord. I have heard people make comments about praying for the healing of June’s hearing loss and for some reason it has always rubbed me the wrong way. At the same time I believe we need to ask for healing and have prayed for June. I wanted to have peace with what to tell people when they suggest praying or even imply that we don’t have enough faith. A week or two into Lent, Kate e-mailed and asked people to pray for her college roommate’s son who is profoundly deaf. I was more than willing to pray but again felt this irritation. Was it because I felt when people implied prayer was needed, they were implying something was wrong with my child? Was it because my child wasn’t healed and now you’re asking me to pray for someone else’s?

I continued to ask the Lord about this and tried to figure out what my feelings were. I was talking to my sister-in-law, April, who also has two children with hearing loss. I was telling her about how I was feeling and how mainly I am upset because I don’t think anything is wrong with June. She was created by God and I think she is great the way she is.

We were having this discussion on Good Friday (the last day of Lent) and she told me she hung out with her step-sister, Jen, the night before. They were watching one-hour documentaries on different topics and one of them was on healing. April expressed to Jenny some of the feelings I had been having and Jen said “But the Lord has healed.” April looked at her like, “What?” And, Jen said “The Lord has healed you so that you can see your child as whole.” It was my answer! How amazing. My daughter is whole in my eyes and we are healed!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Little People Animals


Dear Jen,

At small group today we were asked how to pray for our baby. Greg and I had different requests and I don’t believe it’s a bad thing. We are processing things differently so why would we not have different requests?

I have asked people that our journey towards this baby would bring Glory to God and that our baby would as well. Greg is asking first for her not to be Down Syndrome. He says he has to ask the Lord for what he would desire for her most and it would be for her not struggle. In this, Thy will be done. He will love and accept her regardless but this is what he will ask.

One of our friends mentioned that Greg’s children have really brought Greg to his knees. With our struggle to get pregnant with our first two and now in this the Lord has taught Greg to talk to Him about them all. During these times it is when I have become more dependent on my community because I do not have the words or even know how to pray. I depend on these people to pray for me. Both are good; both have taught us much.



Even to this day Levi and I handle our experience with Elisabeth so differently. My prayer is that your differences will continue to unify you and not cause dissension.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Stuff We Feed Our Kids (response)


I’ve gone crazy about this stuff as well and one thing I have decided is that as long as we continue to expose our children to good food we are doing o.k. Did you like vegetables as a child? I liked very few. Now I LOVE them. I make Catina PB&J or mac-n cheese but ask her to try something along with it. At our last doctors visit the doctor showed Catina this picture.

Between her exposure at preschool and the doctor she has decided to try a few more things. Sometimes we need people outside us to encourage them. As our kids grow older we can enforce things a bit more.

Catina isn’t allowed to eat after dinner. If she’s hungry she should’ve eaten what was presented. I do, however, always make sure there is at least one thing she will eat. That’s why we almost always have a piece of fruit as part of the meal. I also try to make sure she has limited snacks a couple hours before dinner. This way she is hungrier and may try something new. She also isn’t allowed to have dessert unless she eats the vegetables and protein. We don’t have dessert every night but she has had many a nights watching the rest of us eat a brownie because she didn’t eat her meal. Its tempting to not want to eat the brownie in front of her because it sounds mean but it does teach her to live with her choices. She has impressed quite a few of our friends by sitting quietly while we eat dessert having none for herself because she made the choice. We learned this from a Love & Logic conference we had gone to.

Another thing that has encouraged Catina to eat a better variety is allowing her to help me cook. She seems to eat more if she can help. There is a great website called It has been helpful as well. Having her help isn’t always the most convenient but if it works….

Catina is still not the greatest of eaters and its a constant struggle with her. A lot of my suggestions are for older children but know that your kids will be able to do these things before we know it. Crazy! We should create a link where we share the recipes our children love. Although they may love it for a few weeks and change their minds the next!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Stuff We Feed Our Kids


I feel like I’ve broken my kids. I always thought that if I only offered very pure, clean foods, this is what they’d love. How did we go from this to eating mac’n cheese and hot dogs? To be fair, the mac’n cheese is Annie’s and the hot dogs are organic chicken sausages, but seriously. They certainly aren’t clean and pure. I know you’ve been down this road before. Any suggestions?


Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Swagger Wagon


Dear Jen,

In most cases telling people about our baby has gone much better than expected. I’m realizing that people’s reactions are about them and not me. They need to process things and sometimes part of that process is spewing things from their mouth. I’ve also noticed that people really take on your emotion. We have informed people in a very calm and accepting way and people are quickly taking on our same attitude. I even had someone tell me that since I am not anxious about it they have felt at peace as well. The Lord has definitely given me His grace.






Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Twins


The boys’ 2nd birthday party with Levi’s family in the UP was great. This is the ridiculously yummy cake my mother-in-law made. If I had a big enough plate I’d just slice off that frosting and eat it straight up. Butter cream. You have no idea.

Of course they would have been satisfied receiving just these adorable toy cars from their cake. Well, at least for that day…I sure appreciate the generous gifts that will help get us through a long Minnesota winter!

Oh, and the best gift for very busy 2 year old boys? Etch-a-sketches. I ordered these to replace the dollar store “tester-sketches” we bought this summer and they were a hit.

(Everett’s covered in skittles; Levi took a chin-dive the minute we walked in. So much for birthday photos!)

Wish you guys and the girls could have been there!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Maternal Fetal Specialist

Dear Jen,

This morning was our ultrasound and the nuchal fold was a 4.6 mm but was reported to the specialist as a 5.  This means she is at a lower risk for Down Syndrome. This was relieving to me not because she may not have Down Syndrome but because I realized how I really don’t want this pregnancy to be wondering and worrying but want it to be focused on her coming. We still have a 1 in 12 chance of her being Down Syndrome but somehow it caused me to switch a button in my brain to not worry anymore. If she is, she is and if she isn’t, she isn’t.

We have decided to tell our family and friends about the monitoring that will be going on. I have an echocardiogram scheduled and will have monthly ultrasounds. Also, we believe people need to get used to the idea so that there will be quicker acceptance once she is born if she does have Down Syndrome.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kate’s Shower

I’m really proud of my creation of both a chocolate chip cookie cake and the token gift given! My friend, Kendra, designed the colors and the cute pregnant girl image.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Elephant in the Room

Dear Jen,

So, I’ve been hanging out with some friends and it feels like there is this huge elephant in the room. I am wondering about my baby but don’t want people to judge her before she is even born so I don’t want to tell them. Everyone thinks everything is perfectly normal but I am trying to figure out my emotions. The strongest one coming through is not wanting people to look at her as some sort of freak. I already know she is special and we are so happy to even be having a third child.

When we found out June (our second) was deaf I feared people’s reactions as well. I didn’t always like their reactions and their statements were sometimes so stupid. Most people were more concerned about how her hearing aids would stick out and how she would look rather than the safety of not being able to hear well or her having to work harder than others to speak. I know these were all first reactions and people don’t know what to say but this is what I fear!

Lord, fill me with your grace.  This is my prayer.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Mom Guilt (response)


I remember reading a few articles about how to handle things when a new child comes along. One of the pieces of advice I took to heart was to tend to the older child first and then help the younger because for the first year the younger one will not realize they are being “slighted.” So when June was crying because she needed to be fed I would quickly help Catina with something she was asking me for. Catina was receiving the attention she needed and didn’t feel like it was all about the baby. June was able to wait a few more minutes which I believe has taught her to wait patiently even now. Of course, there are exceptions to this every day but I tried to be conscious that baby didn’t always have to come first.

I believe a lot of what you are feeling is false guilt. I can say this only because I know you and how you feel badly for anyone who seems to be alone. It would be one thing if you left one of your kids in a room by themselves all the time but I know that is not the case. Your kids are almost always together and they may get a bit bored or need to be redirected but they are completely fine. A few moments to tend to themselves does teach them a lot.

You are going to hear me talk about counseling a lot but one thing I learned was that you need to tend to yourself as well. When June was born I made it a point that Mommy exercised before we started our day. They learned the habit and did not feel slighted because this is how life was. I was healthier and in turn they were watching Mommy take care of herself. Recently, you posted a Facebook status about how you felt guilty being on the computer when your kids woke up from their nap. There is no reason to feel guilty! You are constantly working and taking a few moments to check your e-mail is not a sin. I will pray that you will stop listening to the lies that are in your head about such things.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mom Guilt


I am amazed by how often I feel overwhelmed with guilt as a parent. And we’re not talking about guilt because I got too angry or too strict, we’re talking about guilt because Hayden has to lay on the floor looking all lonely while I tend to the twins, or guilt because I let them watch Dora 3 times a day so I can nurse the baby or get dinner prepared. I feel badly when they seem lonely or pushed aside, and yet logically I know they’re just fine and these things are normal—probably healthy (well, maybe not Dora)! I’m not sure what I think a mom is supposed to do, but I can tell you I feel pretty certain I’m not doing it. I feel like you have so much more balance than I do in this area. I need a new mantra.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blood Test (response)


I’m for telling people about baby’s possible condition, if for no other reason than to not bear the burden alone. If people are asking you about your pregnancy and baby details, it’s going to feel like a big, heavy secret if they don’t know. No matter what, people are going to seem irritating, so that’s a toss-up.

Praying with you,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blood Test

Dear Jen,

Today we got the blood test results back. My doctor called and told me the test was positive for Down Syndrome. She seemed to linger on the phone and I felt as if I was consoling her. Ugh, this is the kind of reaction I dread! I think this made it more of a real possibility for Greg. He tends to wait for his emotions until he really needs to have them. We are still looking forward to this baby coming regardless but I feel this puts a weirdness on our anticipation. Do we tell people? If we don’t, would they be upset? Should we let them get used the idea just in case? Or wonder if she’s not? I hate to be over dramatic. One of my pet peeves!

Greg told me that at first June’s deafness bothered him and he was full of concern but now he looks at her and wouldn’t want her to be any other way. He knows we will feel the same about Baby #3!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tests & Ultrasounds (response)


This makes me crazy for you. People’s responses can be so frustrating, I totally know. It’s crazy how this theme of prayer and healing and grace keeps coming up for us.

I remember being so scared of people’s responses when we found out our news about Elisabeth that I actually emailed everyone except you and our parents. And in those emails I decided to be super-specific about how I needed them to act when I saw them: Please do not have sad faces, please do not tell me about your pregnancy. Please feel free to ask me how I’m doing, and understand that I may or may not want to talk about the situation, and let me say as much or little as I like, without lots of questions. I write this only as a suggestion to you, since we know people are going to say well-meaning but ignorant things. We both lived through that with infertility.

So complicated. Praying for all of this.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tests & Ultrasounds

Dear Jen,

Today I saw the doctor to follow up with the ultrasound. The baby’s nuchal fold measured 6mm which can be cause for concern for Down Syndrome. I’m really not sure what to think. My doctor was talking to me like my baby was dead or something and it really bothered me, plus the pressure I was getting from her to have an amniocentesis. I’ve always passed on those tests and this does not make it any different for me. I did let her draw blood to check my hormones. Apparently, there is a hormone you can check to screen for Down Syndrome. It’s not 100% accurate so even after getting back the test results we still won’t know so afterwards I started doubting why I even did it. The doctor threw out the word “stillbirth” a few times and I think that’s what convinced me. I called Greg right after the appointment and he immediately told me that whatever the Lord brings we will be able to handle it and we will love her no matter what. I was thinking the same thing but it was nice to hear him say it. I have an ultrasound at the hospital and an appointment with a specialist in two weeks. I’m realizing that although it’s nice to have some follow-up, we still won’t know any more now than we will then.

My biggest dread in this whole thing is telling people. I don’t do well with people’s reactions if they don’t line up with how I want them to respond. It’s all an inner struggle. The hard thing is, I don’t even know how I want them to respond!


Friday, October 7, 2011

20-Week Ultrasound (response)


I was shocked to see your text explaining that you have to go in for a Level 2 ultrasound since your baby has markers for Downs Syndrome. I just stared at it. I have no idea the emotions you must be feeling, and even though we both know this is not a tragedy, it’s certainly hard to imagine a child who isn’t totally healthy. Of course we have a picture in our heads and it usually doesn’t include special needs, so it takes a minute to digest.

Waiting with you for more info….


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Creation

It took me forever to find the pumpkin seeds to make this.  Finally found them at the local gas station!  Who would’ve thought?  JEN!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

20-Week Ultrasound

Dear Jen,

As you know today was our big ultrasound. I was pretty anxious beforehand because I know this is where they can see all the baby parts, like the heart. I really wanted Catina to come with us and that was the plan from the beginning but when it was time to leave she decided to stay home. I’m not positive why, but somehow I do think it has to do with us being at the doctor. The last time this ultrasound was set she said she had a stomachache and couldn’t come. I think this is the first time I really disappointed by her not wanting to do something for me. I envisioned her there and I was really weepy when I found out she wasn’t coming. It was the first time I wanted to pull out that old line “After I’ve done for you….”

Once we were in the ultrasound room I felt much better and was excited to see our little one. The baby was being really stubborn and wasn’t letting the tech see all of the heart and spine. We were having really bad luck with finding out the sex and she couldn’t see the face at all. No cute ultrasound pictures for this kid! The tech kept making comments about how she couldn’t remember the last time she didn’t find out the sex of the baby. Finally, right before she gave up she told us we were having another girl!

A girl! I can’t believe we will have three. Its funny how just the day before I mentioned how funny it was that you have three boys and I have three girls. Its like I knew she was going to be a girl. Greg was happy and felt like the middle name of the baby came to him during the ultrasound. We have a boy name but do not have a girl name so it was special that he thought of something we both liked.

I think this makes it official for our families. Together we make the Brady Bunch!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

What you didn’t see…

I am hoping you didn’t see the dirty window and focused on the scripture but…

Right below the lovely scripture is the disgusting sink!  Ready to be cleaned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time for Scripture

Dear Jen,
Earlier this year I was really starting to feel down about rarely reading the Bible and my minimal prayer life. Greg is really great at reading scripture daily but he also has a flexible schedule that allows him to take that time; he has downloaded the Bible to his phone so he can read it in between meetings. I really don’t have the schedule he has, not to mention life feels like one big meeting and it’s all about the girls!

Looking for help, I asked Greg if we could start reading scripture together before we went to bed. This has helped keep me accountable. Rather than just going to sleep or reading other things, Greg has kept me on track. We are using Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne. Every day there is a different scripture to be read, prayers, and information about historical Christians.

This is what I can do for now. I’ve been thinking about placing verses in places around our home so I am meditating more but if I don’t change the verses often enough I stop seeing them. This is no excuse, just something I need to be aware of.