Pondering an anniversary

2 Loves

2 Loves…how I miss those chubby chins.

My Facebook feed was blown up yesterday due to a 40th anniversary. I read an article from Eugene Cho: To whom it may concern: Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the life that could be lived out. because of it. I’ve read many articles about it, on it, the whys and why nots for and against it. And I have to be honest with you.

I’m a fence rider.

Not because I don’t believe in the sanctity of life. Not because I don’t believe women shouldn’t have a right to determine what happens to their bodies. Not because I don’t believe that God intended humanity to be filled with beauty and life. Not because I believe that church and state are mostly and should be separated.

Not because I am sinful…or maybe because I am.

But truthfully, where is the argument or at least the point, when at the end of the day both sides are hurting? Woman, baby, families, broken in two by the loss of love? The loss of compassion? The loss of grace?

I’ve been reading a book that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas, Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. It’s focus on grace, on thanksgiving…I think is a genius answer to the hatred and pain that is felt throughout this argument. It’s exploration of the basis of sin and evil in the world being rooted in our ungrateful hearts, in a lack of thanksgiving. Through these reflections on faith and practice she connects the pieces together a little bit more for me on my own beliefs. Grace. What is grace?

I’m not looking for a debate or a fight or really anything, mostly I’m just shifting through my thoughts. I realize this won’t make sense to some and maybe will to others. As a mother, as a daughter, as an adoptee who doesn’t know her birth parents, as a child of God, and more simply as a player in humanity…I don’t dare to profess I have all the answers. I long for the goodness, the gratefulness that we once had as perfectly created and perfectly seeing, and in that longing I attempt to make a life and a belief that emulates what could have been. What is if we humble ourselves to embrace grace.

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Happy birthday Nellie So!

Mommy and Nellie’s first picture.

Happy 2nd birthday to my beautiful Nellie So! Mommy and Daddy love you so, so, SO much!

You continue to inspire and delight us in ways that we never imagined. I remember two years ago, wondering if I could love another person as much as I love your Daddy and sister. But I did and I still do now, it’s amazing how God created our hearts to expand exponentially. It’s a gift that I hope you grow to understand and cherish as a mother someday (wait, that would make me a grandmother–I’ll slow it down now).

I remember that day so well, it was such a calm feeling, knowing that everything was under control and in mere hours you would be in my arms. It’s such a bittersweet memory, knowing that I can never revisit that time again, but that I have millions of more moments ahead with you.

Ada and Nellie meet for the first time.

You’ve developed such a little personality this year and it continues to keep us (and your sister) on our toes. I love that you’re such a little monster (in the fondest way of course) and your little growl. Your imagination is astounding and I am so happy that you are able to play right along with your sister now in your own imaginary world.

Daddy and Nellie

You’ve also got Daddy wrapped around your little finger. The way that you shriek with glee when he comes in the door warms my heart and I hope that you always consider yourself “Daddy’s little girl.” In fact, I don’t even mind that you ask for Daddy when I pick you up at daycare and bring you home. I’m just happy that you have such an upstanding man to look up to and learn what kind of person you deserve if one day you choose to get married. You Daddy loves you so much sweet one.

You are such a trooper, demanding and diligent as you are, you go with the flow consistently and are generally enthralled with new experiences. As we near our Mayo Clinic visit, I cling to the promise that Christ gave us when He called us to

“Cast all [our] anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

and know that no matter what happens, you will always be loved. You are a loved little one my dear, and you will be blanketed with prayers during our visit. Whether or not you understand what’s going on medically with you, all we want you to know is that you are loved from the top of your outrageous behaving hair to your cute, little blue butt.

I love your gusto for life and learning. Already you are singing your ABCs and counting along with your sister. It’s such a blessing for us to see you grow and I look forward to another, and another, and another after that.

Happy 2nd birthday my beautiful baby!

Going home

"Forgotten Mothers" by Jenna Skalicky

“Forgotten Mothers” 
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. I have sent my cards and expressed my deep love and thanks to those mothers closest to me. 
I will wake up on Sunday and may or may not be able to make the daunting trip into church where I will not be able to pretend that I fit in. 
I will cry on the way home, if I go. I will cry while I make lunch. I will cry when I watch TV and I will cry when I make the drive to get my comfort coffee. I will put on my rainbow stripe socks, drink tea, and eat ice cream…and I will cry.
I will cry for myself as I have prayed and tried and waited and begged and screamed to be a mother. I will cry for myself for on this day, more than on any other day in the year, I feel completely alone. I  will cry because there are no cards, no flowers, no standing ovations, few hugs, and few phone calls for me and women like me.  I will cry.
I will cry for the other women, and men, who feel isolated today, who may avoid church because at times — believe it or not — the church is insensitive. I will cry for those who have shed more tears than we could know yet do not receive a simple kind word of “I’m thinking of you today” but possibly a comment such as “when are you going to start thinking about kids?” or “don’t you want to get flowers on Mother’s Day?” I will cry for the couples and women who will sit alone today, toughing it out. I will cry as I pray for these couples who cry alone.
I will cry for myself, my husband, and the others not only on this day but also Father’s Day, Christmas, baby showers, family reunions, and child dedications.
I do not wish to take anything away from mothers today. I do not wish to diminish the importance of this day and the wonderful and amazing mothers that are celebrated today. I celebrate these mothers today and everyday. I celebrate my mother and my mother friends who are changing the world with every load of laundry, diaper changed, wiped nose, puke bucket held, Bible story told, water fight battled, bedtime kiss, prayer on bended knee, time-out, and meal cooked. 
I also celebrate the women who have taken in children who are not their own as their very own and have changed lives and the world with their selflessness and love. Many of these women have made their own daunting walk into church as an unmother on Mother’s day. My own mother has inspired me.
I only wish to urge you to remember the mothers-in-waiting on this special day. These are the women who have waited, longed, hoped, dreamed, despaired, and cried with white-knuckled fists raised to the sky. These are the forgotten women. These women have tried and been, as of yet, defeated. Let us all together break the silence of this struggle.
Let’s also remember the mothers who have lost their children. Children gone before they have been fully formed. Children lost before the news of their new life has even been shared and celebrated with friends and family. Children who had not yet taken their first breath. Children taken before their life has been lived, before they could grow old. Children unplanned, waited for, loved, cherished, and missed terribly. Being a mother is not dependent upon the presence of children sitting nearby. Let’s remember those who have had to bear the pain of burying their own dear children from war, tragedy, accident, disease, reasons unknown.
There is a sad trend of overlooking or shying away from issues of miscarriages in the church. Please don’t ignore these women or avoid the heaviness of this tragic situation. It is hard and it is uncomfortable. Not ministering to these women, even in small ways, has a way of communicating that this situation is too much for the church, too much for you, too much for God. This was a real life. This was a real death. This is a real mother. It takes an incredible woman to endure knowing her child exists yet having to wait until heaven to kiss, hold, rock, and sing to him or her.

I have often contemplated rising to my feet when the call for all the mothers in church to stand is made. Why do I feel that I would be breaking some kind of unspoken rule to not stand because I have not held my child? Why do I feel that this would be unacceptable in the church? Why do I feel that no on would understand n the church community? Let’s take a stand…and stand.
Let’s remember those special mothers who have held their babies and loved enough to let go. Those mothers who have loved so much and given their babies better lives, better opportunites by being selfless and letting go. Those who have given women waiting for children the blessng of motherhood. Those who have chosen adoption for their precious babies, for whatever reason. These women are mothers too and have been amazng selfless mothers.

Also, remember the single mother who does not have a partner to give her a break, to buy her flowers, to take her to dinner, to celebrate everything that she does for her children. No matter the reason for her singleness, she needs to be valued as well.

These women, those waiting and those who have lost and those who have waited and still lost, need your support. These women need your love. These women need to be recognized, loved, and validated as the amazing mothers and mothers-of-the-future they are. These women value life very highly because they truly know how fragile, intricate, and precious life is. These women need to know that they are not forgotten. This is especially true in the church community.
These women need a smile, a hug, a flower, a card, a balloon, a kind face. Silence with a smile can be more powerful than the most well-meaning words. A nod and a hug followed by a short “I love you and I’m thinking of you” will be more than enough to completely change the life of this one woman who might feel that no one understands and she is all alone.
I have been blessed to have amazing women and a truly incredible husband in my life who have done just this. These small moments of remembrance and understanding have made the darkest moments of sorrow and grief lighter in weight and intensity.
Mother’s Day is for mothers. If you are a mother I truly hope you have an amazing day — that you are loved, thanked, prayed for, doted upon, spoiled, and given opportunity to rest. If you are not a mother I hope that you take the opportunity to thank your own mother and love on mothers around you. But please do not forget that there are mothers this Mother’s Day who will never have the opportunity to hold their children this side of heaven, who have had their children for far too little time, and women who long desperately to be mothers.
If you are pregnant this Mother’s Day I am celebrating this new lfe wth you today! I truly hope that this pregnancy is smoothe and pray that you and your baby are healthy. I rejoice with heaven in this new person and the incredible things that needed to happen, the miracle that God did to make this life.
If you are dealing with infertility or mourning a loss of a child, or both, I pray that you would be met this Mother’s Day with understanding, love, and kindness. I pray for you and cry with you, scream at the heavens with you, shake my fist with you, mourn with you, and ask “why?” with you today, and everyday. know this: you are not alone.

Mother’s Day is about mothers. But we can also use this day as an opportunity to minister to women who are hurting quietly, grieving silently, and waiting alone. 
Five Things NOT to say to a friend who is dealing with infertility (from an article I found in Home Lifemagazine called “Unwelcome companions” by Marlo Schalesky):
  1. You’re lucky you don’t have kids.  — if they want to have kids not part of this struggle is lucky or fun. This also diminishes or invalidates their hurt.
  2. Just relax. — advice giving only comforts the one giving the advice. the one suffering feels that their hurt has been missed and quieted. There is no 100% guaranteed sure-fire way of getting pregnant and each person’s body reacts differently to everything. Those dealing with infertility know that there is more to the struggle that just relaxing.
  3. You should just adopt. — adoption has absolutely nothing to do with infertility. people can adopt if they have children of their own. many people who do not have children decide not to adopt. an adopted child is a gift of its own it is not a replacement for a biological child. Adoption is not the defualt treatment for infertility and should not be assumed as such.
  4. God will give you a child. — we cannot pretend to know what God’s plans are. we are not God and we have control over virtually nothing.
  5. Maybe God knows you wouldn’t make a good mother. –this is plain horrible, awful!! My God does not work that way and can make amazing mothers out of all of us. i have actually heard this said to me and it breaks my heart. DO NOT SAY THIS…EVER!
“God has a plan” can be one of the most hurtful statements. yes it is true, God does have a plan and God is in control but when someone is dealing with issues such as infertility this part of God’s plan sucks. it just plain sucks. we dont tell someone with cancer to be happy about God’s plan, why would we tell someone who also is suffering with inertility? maybe because she is still relatively healthy so on the outside life looks good.
this struggle involves more than getting a baby. therer are questions about God’s control, his power, his love. There are questions of value, worth, identity, meaning, and purpose in life. many times this questioning will never go away, even if a child is added to the family.
Five Things NOT to say to a friend who has had a miscarriage (also found in the same article):
  1. You’ll have another child. — we cannot know what will happen.  another child will not replace this lost child or make the loss less painful.
  2. It’s good you didn’t lose the baby later. — a life is a life whether it is two hours from concpetion or ninety years old. death is always sad. the size of the person does not change this.
  3. There was probably something wrong with the baby anyway. — we cannot pretend we know why things like this happen.
  4. It was only a fetus. — it was not only a fetus. it was a baby. and it is lost.
  5. At least… — nothing good can come after this statement. do not even go there.
Please be mindful of how you begin conversations. Asking about children can be a sad topic for couples and women. This may lead to this couple or woman to feel that they do not fit in your community. Questions like “how many children do you have?,” “when are you starting a family?,” or “what are your kids’ names?” can make couples uncomfortable — like they automatically do not fit in the group.

Also remember that a family can consist of two people. validating this little family is extremely important!
Please do not assume of couples who have been married for a few years or those women who do not have children, that they do not want children. Many of these couples may seem uncomfortable around children. most often it is because they do not want to get attached or interact too much for this may intensify their sadness later. They may be fighting tears even as they play peek-a-boo.

Thank you for reading. Even though this weekend is tough for me, my amazing husband always makes sure that we have some fun. Can you imagine how empty the movie theater is on Mother’s Day? It’s great.

BACK from the dead!

Disclaimer: This is not my child. It’s a photo from Lil Mango Baby Boutique‘s etsy store that I stole in order to tell you about my newest acquisition.

Now that that’s out of the way…
I am back!!
Back from the dead?
Kind of. Mostly back from laziness.
But here I am and I know you readers, oh you of little faith, are excited and impressed that I am back. Or is that me taking liberty with the dept of your feelings for this blog? Possibly. Probably. Perhaps.

Anyway, Nellie So is now five months old…can you believe that!?
(This picture’s a bit old but I have to work with what I’ve got.)
And with those five months of age comes the dreaded teething stage. BLECH. She’s been drooling and chewing and fussing in and out of the last month or so and still there is not the slightest sign of a tooth coming through her poor gums. I’ve tried tylenol before bed, which seems to help a bit, but I don’t want to constantly be giving it to her. I picked up some herbal gum number from Amazing Grains, but again, I don’t want to over-use that either.
So in comes the Amber Teething Necklace.
This is what the website says:
“Wearing Baltic Amber close to the skin is a traditional European remedy for baby teething. A natural analgesic, amber will help calm a baby without resorting to drugs. Made from fossilized tree resin, leave the teething necklace in the sunshine to warm up and increase the natural analgesic power. Each necklace is made with Amber chips, so if the necklace breaks, there is significantly less chance of choking and it fastens with a magnetic clasp so should the necklace get caught, it will release easily but the magnet is strong enough to stay on during daily use!

SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF NATURAL AMBER:

In addition to teething, Amber is wonderful for reducing most types of rashes on babies.

Amber is said to balance moods, instill confidence in the wearer and ease depression and anxiety.

Amber is a fossilized resin, not a stone. It is therefore warm to the touch, as well as very comfortable and light to wear. Amber Jewelry worn on the naked body seems to have the strongest chemical effect. When amber is worn on the skin, the skin’s warmth releases minuscule amounts of healing oils from the amber which are then absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream.”

Now, I know, I know…it sounds a little out there. But…after reading and hearing from some other moms that I know and trust, I think I’m going to give it a try. If it does work, then there’s a whole passel of positives as I won’t have wasted my money, Nellie won’t have more medicine than necessary to ease her pain, it’ll EASE HER PAIN, and that in kind would ease our family’s nerves. The cons would be that I wasted my money…but hey…even if it doesn’t work, it’ll be a cute necklace for Ada or Nellie.
Here’s to hoping!

Ainsley & Nellie

Ainsley and Nellie meet for the first time.

They are exactly ten days apart.
My child looks like she could eat her cute and dainty counterpart.
They’re going to be great friends. 🙂

Michelle & Ainsley’s Shower

I’m headed home this weekend to attend my lovely friend Michelle’s baby shower for her lovely little daughter, Ainsley Marie. I am SO excited to meet this new little girl and to introduce our two to each other. 😀

This will be Nellie’s first trip to Fergus and her first substantial car ride, so hopefully all will go well. I don’t forsee any issues as she’s such a sleeper, but who knows. The car is like the twilight zone for kids.
Ada will be staying back with Dylan for the weekend, I think they both are due for some much-needed Daddy-Daughter-Time. Hopefully the weather will be nice and they’ll be able to go sledding and traipse around the Turtle River together. Either way, I know they’re going to have a great time.
I’m looking forward to getting out of the house. I love spending time at home with Nellie, it’s going to pass all too quickly, but I’m starting to feel antsy and I think this will be the perfect remedy.
I have yet to usher both girls out together by myself, I guess that’s something that I can build some courage towards this weekend.

Finally Up to Date!

And finally I am up to date with the blog! Our lives are pretty simple right now…well…as simple as it can be with a toddler, a newborn, a post-pregnant mother and a student during finals week.

Dylan and I spent the morning at Caribou with Nellie. Him studying chemistry and I updating the good ole blog. I even dared to breastfeed Nellie there and things went off without a hitch. Hurray for hooter hiders and multiple layers of clothing to hide any trace of post-pregnancy flesh!
Ada has been attending daycare faithfully throughout this new life change and I think that’s helped her keep some form of normalcy quite a bit. Dylan and I have been trying our best to let her know that we still love her as much and that she cannot be replaced by a baby. She seems to be adapting to her big sister roll with relish. She loves to hold her, sing songs to her, pet her head and “share” her toys…although blankets are still another story. Luckily Nellie doesn’t care which satin or fluffy or cotton blankie she uses…yet.
And Moses as usual could care less. Feed him, pet him and let him sleep in front of the air vents and he’s as happy as a clam.
I’m looking forward to a laid-back Christmas this year. Nellie is going to be Baby Jesus for two of Hope’s Christmas Eve programs–we’ll see how that goes. Then we’ll be spending time with the Dachtlers and Suttons. Christmas day we’ll venture down to Fergus and see my parents and spend Sunday celebrating with the Beithon side. Lots of pictures to come I’m sure. 🙂
Happy holidays everyone!!

Mas Hospital Pictures

A few more pictures from the hospital that didn’t quite make it onto the last post:
This is definitely one of my favorite pictures of the girls since Nellie was born…it looks like they’re sizing each other up. 🙂