Monday, December 16, 2013


Every so often a picture/quote along the lines of this shows up on my news feed...

 I'd be lying if I said it didn't sometimes cut at my heart. I'd also be lying if I said I wouldn't change anything or do anything different the 8 short months we had sweet Nate in our lives. If I knew I'd only have him for such a short time, sure I would've held and kissed and cuddled him even more.

Many of you know that we practice a parent lead schedule in our family. Sleep train from a fairly early age and don't co-sleep. I bring this up because sometimes there is crying involved. Not neglectful, emotionless (on the parent's part) hours of crying. More like intentional minutes here and there. Needless to say the quote stated above does bring Nate's sweet face to mind and a pain of guilt.

But when I really sit down and think about why we choose to parent the way we do, and if there are things we should change ( there are always things that we adjust and tweak as we parent each very different child and age), I also think about the fact that our family was pretty well rested most of Nate's life, which means when I'm rested I have better control of my emotions and feel as though I can function as a mom better and have more energy to play. I think about the very sweet relationship that Ella and Nate had sharing a room. She loves her brother so much. He was a very good listener to all that she had to say as they fell asleep together. Their relationship was so special and she was such a great big sister to Nate. Watching a video of Nate has brought her to tears recently. Their bond was deep and special. I also know that Phil and I having our room and bed to ourselves is one facet, of many, that keeps our marriage strong, our communication open and healthy.

I have not done extensive research or gone to school. But I can tell you. I have not seen any of my kids 'shut down emotionally', nor have I seen any of my friend's babies and children do the same. I know that focusing on caring and loving for them during awake and play time bonds our relationship. I also know that teaching them to self sooth, does not hurt our relationship. *

I bring all this up to say, sure hearing your baby cry is in no way fun. Yet I wouldn't change the fact that I am proud of the mom I was and am to my kids and thankful for the refreshing sleep I had, I wouldn't change anything about the sweet and special bond Ella and Nate had, that, I believe, sharing a room helped create. I also know that the fact that Phil and I work hard to keep our relationship strong and healthy, helped us draw even closer during this last year, instead of tear us apart, which could have been so easy to do. I wouldn't change any of that.

Phil and I know that we aren't even close to being 'perfect parents' we mess up. We try things that don't work, we sometimes disagree on how something should be handled and have to work through many things, but we also truly seek God. We ask Him for wisdom to parent our kids, we watch other families, with young kids and grown ones, and talk to them about what they are doing or have done.
This parenting journey will continue to take on different shapes, we will mess up. a lot. But as I look back, I really don't have regrets. We were working on raising Nate to know that he is loved so dearly by us, to be a lover of Jesus, to have a special place in our family, and hopefully one day an adult that would contribute so society.  We just didn't know that it would only be such a short stay. I cherish each and every memory that I have.

*I am fully aware that not everyone agrees with me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Here comes baby number THREE!!

*This is a little late, seeing that baby was born in August and I'm posting in December... but I wanted to go in chronological order with my thoughts...

Ella had me convinced. Since the moment that we told Ella that she was going to be a big sister again she was confidant that it would be a girl. Sara. end of story. We like to wait until baby arrives to find out the gender. The first two times it was so much fun. We told Ella that we didn't know. It COULD be a brother, but we also didn't push the subject one way or another. She talked about 'Sara' so much that near the end I would catch myself referring to baby as, her, or even 'Sara'.

People would ask what I thought, or which gender I would prefer. I had a girl, have had a boy.... I had feelings about either, but mostly said, 'I'm so glad I don't get to pick.'

You see, having a girl seemed a lot easier. Ella really wanted a sister. They would have so much fun together. I felt like it would be a 'fresh start'. I was looking forward to having a baby in the house again, but it would look different than before if it was a girl, different clothes. Good memories with all Ella's baby clothes. It would give time to heal such deep wounds. Then we could have a boy. Phil, even though he said he was ok with either, really, had a fear that he wouldn't have a son again... We both had so many emotions and had no idea what it would be like the day baby came.

We had lots of fun enjoying our last weeks. Crazy to think we would be a family of four again. Ella did so good being a big sister and adjusting the first time around. I just kept praying it would be the same.
We planned for our 2nd home birth. Had everything in place. I joked that I'd like an afternoon baby: start labor after a good nights sleep and be done around 2pm. My due date came and went, like I had expected. But as I stared nearing the 2 weeks over mark I started having flashbacks to Ella's birth... 19 days over and ending up getting induced.
Monday the 12th (12 days over) I went to Zumba with some friends
I had a few contractions. But I had been having them for weeks. I went to bed, got a good nights sleep and woke up around 5:30 am knowing that I was in labor!! Mom took Ella out of the house and we got the tub set up. Today was the day!
6:05pm. (a little later that I had 'hoped' ;) )
The first picture is just after baby is born. We don't know gender yet


So many emotions were going through my head. I was a little shocked. I think deep down I had really thought it would be a girl. 'A boy, again. Will this feel like I'm reliving Nate? Ella, what will Ella think? She so wanted a sister...'

Meeting her brother. 
She was so excited. I could hear her behind the door. Squealing. My heart was breaking. "I should've pushed more that there was just as much of a chance that this could be a brother." No going back now. She came in so excited. She wasn't very thrilled to find out it was a brother. Her whole happy attitude changed. She was disinterested. That was so hard to watch. She loved being a big sister to Nate. I just hoped that she would come around and love being a big sister to Evan.

Oh, we loved on Evan. But there were so many things that were so hard. Nursing was hard. He was fussier than the last. And really. Even though Nate was such an easy baby in reality, poor Evan just wasn't. I hated that. It was a rough first few weeks. It took me so much longer to bond. So many tears. So many thoughts in my head trying to process this new life I wanted to love. So many prayers. 
I took every opportunity to snuggle and love on him. To build our bond. He would look at me and seem to say, " Do you love me for me, Evan, Not Nate, not with fear of losing me or comparing me?" That was hard. I am so thankful for wise counsel and a loving God. I learned a lot about myself in those first weeks.

Ella, she wasn't so sure of her brother at first. But after some time, some questions being answered, like, "when is Evan leaving?" (in reference to Nate going to heaven) These are stinking hard questions to answer.
Her love for him just keeps growing. It melts my heart. I love seeing her love on him.

It's a boy. I thank Jesus for every day we have breath. Some days are so full of joy. Some have much more sorrow. Some days feel like I'm going to be living these next 8 months with a bit of deja vu. Above all else. The good days and and bad. I trust that Jesus loves me. He has 'fearfully and wonderfully made each of our kids' (Psalms 139:14)