Saturday, December 29, 2007


I can't believe the drama that pops up in cyberland. It never ceases to amaze me. I have enough drama in my own life. Why, oh why, would I want to seek it out in cyber/blog/forum land?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's rare, but I was at a loss for words!

Let me set the scene for you. It is Christmas morning. We are at my parents house. My sister brought her rottweiler puppy (9 months and about 90lbs) to enjoy the festivities. Everyone has opened their presents and most of the family is now in the kitchen, making the wonderful Christmas breakfast.

Lil Bug is sitting in the middle of the living room floor, playing with one of her new favorite toys. She looks up and sees Yenko (the rotty) standing in front of her. He is looking the same direction as Bug, but in front of her, so essentially, Bug is looking at his behind. He has no tail, so his bottom is fully exposed.

Lil Bug is looking at Yenko very strange and kind of tilting her head a little. Finally, after much thinking and with a confused look on her face she louding asks, "Mommy, why he have two balls right there?"

My sister, her boyfriend and I were all shocked...dead silent (if you know my sister and me, silence is a rarity!!!). Then we all broke out laughing. I couldn't come up with anything to say, so finally, after she asked me for a second time I told her, "go as your nana!" Bug was on her way to the kitchen to inquire when by the grace of God, she was distracted by some other toys and completely forgot all about her anatomical question. Thank God!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I am looking forward to blogging about Christmas 2007, but I am exhausted still. I will soon though. I promise!


I am so content...I love my life. Sure, I have a bad day here or there, but I am such a blessed woman. I have a husband with whom I have had the rare opportunity to have grown up with. I have a beautiful, intelligent, humorous 3 year old daughter who brings smiles to my face day-after-day. I have a 4 month old baby who completes me and never ceases to amaze me. Seriously, I couldn't ask for anything more. I want for NOTHING.

Outsiders may not be able to appreciate my life. In fact, I will blog more about this later, but many times strangers would be terrified of my life. But, this is MY LIFE and I wouldn't change it for a million dollars.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the blessings you bestow upon my family day after day. You see each one of us as so important and valuable. Thank you, God, for the little things. Thank you that Bug loves to read. Thank you that Princess is such a smiley baby. Thank you that The Designer has a stable job and provides for our family. Thank you that our church is Biblically sound and growing. Thank you for the material comforts in our lives...our cars, our house, our "stuff." But most importantly, dear God, thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for my salvation. Thank you for the promise that when my earthly life is over, I will have the privilege of standing face-to-face with you and you will be able to judge me for what I have done or haven't done in this life. Thank you for hope. Thank you for healing. Thank you for hearing my prayers, my cries, my laughter. Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for reminding me that I matter in this life.

I love you Lord Jesus.

Humbly yours,
The Professor

Friday, December 21, 2007

The man with the mustache

Lil Bug has never once mentioned a dream or a nightmare to us. She is 3 years and a couple of months old. I would have guessed that by now she would have experienced a dream and/or a nightmare and been able to identify it, but that hasn't happened.

Today, she was taking her nap after we got back from school and after about 15 minutes she woke up crying. When I went into her room she said the man with the mustache was scaring her and she didn't want him in her room.

The man with the mustache? What!?!?! So, I asked her about the man and she said that he has a big mustache and screams and screams and screams. I was concerned upon hearing this. Immediately I am thinking about who she has been around and what she may have been exposed to. I ask for more details.

Me: Where did you see the man with the big mustache?

Bug: Once upon a time there was a man with a mustache and he was going to be on t.v.

Me: So you saw him on tv?

Bug: Yes and then he screamed and screamed!

Me: Who was he screaming at?

Bug: The people who pulled his mustache!

Me: What else happened and where were you when you saw it on tv?

Bug: I was sitting on the carpet square and he came on tv and I turned around so I didn't have to see him. He scared me. He was on the train and there were penguins.

Me: *ah, I think I might get it now...she was at school and they watched The Polar Express!* I asked her if that was it and she said yes.

So, everything is settled...good to go! Not quite that fast. She woke up because in her dream (or nightmare) the man with the mustache was in her room and she could NOT get him out of her mind. I told her I promised to not let the man in her room and she made me stand guard at her door until she returned to sweet slumber. She slept for a little over an hour, but the first thing out of her mouth when she woke up was, "did the man come into my room?"

We did some errands after her nap and she talked and talked and talked about the man...she is still talking about him NONSTOP and it has been several hours now. I think that it might help to rent/buy The Polar Express and watch it with her. Or, maybe getting the book for her to look through will be enough. I don't know, but I feel bad she was scared by the man and I am so tired of hearing the same story over and over and over again.

Any suggestions?!?!?


I asked N way back if she would be willing to request a copy of Lil Princess' OBC so we could have a copy. She was very kind in saying, "of course." For whatever reason, she hasn't been able to get down to the county clerk's office to get it. So, earlier this week I asked her if she wanted to go together to do it today and she said, "yes."

After picking up Lil Bug from school, we headed over to get N. We were supposed to go straight to the clerks office, but I had to change the plans when I realized that Bug is most likely coming down with a bladder infection again. So, we headed to the lab to deposit a urine sample. Then we headed home for Bug to take a nap (she is NOT pleasant to be around if she doesn't get her nap!). We ate lunch at the house and just visited.

It was a unplanned, relaxed, wonderful visit with N. We laughed, shed a couple of tears and talked a lot. She got to see Lil Princess starting to sit up on her own, eating some rice cereal and playing with her new toys. Did I mention how wonderful the visit was??? :)

After Lil Bug woke up from her nap (the 2nd time...she had a nightmare in the middle that really had her wound up) we loaded up the girls and headed to the clerks office where we marched in and politely requested copies of the OBC. We were unsure if we would be able to get them as TPR was signed eons ago, but since we have not finalized, it was easy as pie. The lady behind the desk knew who each of us were and addressed N as mom, which was good. :) She handed over two copies of the OBC and away we went.

I am so relieved that Princess will have this document. Since she will always know N, I am not sure if she will find the value in it or not, but I do know that if she wants it, she has it. If we were unsuccessful today, she would never have access to it as the current Michigan laws would not allow her access when she was older.

I am so happy right now. :)

Sitting on Jesus' lap

Many of you that frequent one of the boards I frequent have read about little Ellie Skees in the prayer request section. I started following her blog nearly 1 year ago. At that time, she was fairly newly diagnosed with neuroblastoma. A very aggressive, painful cancer.

I have never met Ellie in person. I have never met any of her family in person. Even so, I feel a connection to them. Maybe it is because I am a mother and have come close a couple of times to losing my own daughter, Bug. Maybe it is a spiritual connection. I don't really know, but I do know that I feel some connection. Her mother so beautifully documented this little girls journey for the past year. It is evident to me that she and her family love Jesus. It is evident to me that Jesus carried them when they couldn't carry themselves. It is evident to me that God took good care of this family, even though, from an outside perspective, the death of their 9 year old daughter doesn't feel like they were well taken care of.

Every day I would read their blog and cry. Sometimes tears of sadness, sometimes tears of joy. When I read that she finally danced her way into Heaven, I had both kind of tears. She will never suffer from pain again. She will never have to have chemo, needles, doctors poking and proding or anything else that goes along with cancer. On the sad side of that coin, her parents will never have Ellie to hug, to talk to, to laugh with, to eat dinner with and so much more.

I am certain that Ellie's mom will never read my blog. She has way too much stuff going on in her life right now to bother. She has no idea who I am or that my blog even exists. However, if I could talk to her, I would say thank you. Thank you for being so real, so raw in sharing this long journey with us. Thank you for allowing me the honor of praying for your family. Thank you for reminding me how special our children are in such a special, unique way. Thank you for being honest with us. Thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for loving Ellie so much that you released her into the arms of our loving Jesus. I am certain Ellie thanks you too.

If you are up to it, read her blog....go back and read. I guarantee you will cry. But, it is a life changing blog. Seriously, life changing! I will forever be a better person for having "known" Ellie through this blog. If you are not up for the read, please PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY. Ellie has a 5 year old brother and trying to help him understand this is going to be a huge challenge, but God is up to the task.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The BIG Production!!!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, Lil Bug had a Christmas production at her school last night. Her very first one! It was just the preschoolers, so it didn't last very long. I was unable to attend because I had to teach. :( The Designer, his parents, my parents and Lil Princess went and The Designer did record it for me, so it was almost like being there.....NOT!

I have uploaded a couple of short videos so you can see just how incredibly cute she really is!!!!! I have to admit, I am the luckiest mommy in the world. :D

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


My girls are doing well! Lil Bug seems to be more settled in her role as big sister. Lil Princess seems to be adjusting well to being the baby in the family.

Lil Bug has her first school program on Thursday evening and I don't get to go because I have to work. I am so sad and if I dwell on it, I get tears in my eyes. The Designer, his parents and my parents are all going (and Princess, of course!) Bug probably won't even miss me. The thing that bothers me the most, I think, is that I literally only work 4 hours each week so that I can be a full time mom and here I am missing something so important to me. BLAH!

Princess has her 4 month dr. appointment on Friday. I am looking forward to seeing how much her little booty weighs. She is a big girl! I love her rolls on her legs. :D She is trying to sit up (like doing sit-ups) but isn't strong enough. She rolls from her belly to her back, but that isn't consistent yet. When she is on, she's on! She will do it over and over and over again. Then she will not do it for a long while. She has rolled from her back to belly once, but realized she hates being on her belly and has not tried to replicate that again, lol.

That is about all I can think of right now to update you on, so I will just shower you with some pics of my beautiful girls!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

google searches

After reading other blogposts highlighting the google searches other people have used to stumble upon their blog, I was curious and decided to take a look myself. This is what I found (between 11/28 and now):

* "Things that happened during a voyage"
* *there was a search for photos of siblings that pulled some of my pics up* Scary glad I don't use names on my blog!!!
* "she's lovely for wedding"
* "old money valuation"
* "Spina Bifida diapers"
* "alive and well the spirit is within me worship song"

Ok, so those pretty much are all over the board, huh?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I don't really have anything super exciting, but I haven't blogged in a week, so I figured I would write a few bits of randomness.

Our family is going to Florida in February and I am SOOOO excited. It will be Lil Princess' first airplane ride. Lil Bug is a pro on the plane, but will be nearly a year since her last flight by the time we go. We are going to be staying on Santa Maria Island in a beautiful Villa with a pool about 1 block off the beach. I can feel the warm sunshine on my face already!

Lil Bug:
She is feeling better. After they grew out the urine culture, they realized the antibiotic they originally put her on wouldn't help this particular bug, so they changed it. She seems a lot better, but we still have several more days of meds.

Lil Princess:
Is consistently sleeping through the night! She still gets up pretty early, but I can deal with that. Today she was up at 6am, which isn't horrible, just not my preference.

We have NOTHING on the calendar for today, which is extremely rare for us. So, when Lil Bug woke up this morning, we talked and decided to just go visit the library. We own hundreds of books, but it is always nice to go to the library and get a few new ones to drift off into another world for a little while.

The class I teach is almost over. We have three more Thursday's and then we are done! Praise God! I am certain I will never teach this class again. It was by far the least favorite of all classes I have taught. The students are nice enough people, but business math is not my favorite subject!

Lil Bug and I started wrapping Christmas presents yesterday. We have about 1/2 of them wrapped. I obviously wrapped hers while she was napping. We wrapped Lil Princess' right in front of her. We figured, if (and that is a BIG if) she had a clue, she would forgive us, but being that she is not even 4 months old, it's all good! Lil Bug and I are trying to figure out what she wants to buy her daddy for Christmas. He is a hard person to buy for! We have some thinking to do on that one.

How's that for randomness?!?! Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It never gets easier

Lil Bug has many medical consequences to having Spina Bifida. A few I have mentioned in previous posts, and many I have not even touched here yet.

Most of the time I am ok. I am happy. I am grateful. I realize things can always be worse. But once in a while I am not ok. I am sad. I am emotionally drained. I am frustrated. And, I feel like the weight of the world (or at least my daughter) is on my shoulders.

I am best described for the last half of the previous paragraph right now.

Lil Bug has been plagued with UTI's since her birth. The first 3 or 4 infections she was hospitalized for because she had a bug so bad that only IV antibiotics could eliminate it. As she has aged, the infections that she gets have been more common and oral antibiotics are successful. When I say plagued, I mean PLAGUED. She gets them just about every other month and sometimes even sooner. It isn't because she isn't clean. I do a great job keeping her clean and if I thought changing her diaper every 30 minutes would fix the problem, you can bet that I would do it. But, that is not the problem. The problem is her bladder and bowel control issues. Actually, I should say lack of control issues.

Her spine opening was in the L5-S2 range. That is low on the back. As a result she has no feeling in her feet and less sensation in parts of her legs. Most children (adults) with Spina Bifida have bladder/bowel issues because the nerves at the lowest part of the spine are the ones that actually control those functions. Even if you had an opening at the very stem of your spinal cord, there is a good chance you would have some amount of bladder/bowel issues. It sucks!

The problem with her bladder is that the sphincter at the bottom/end is generally "stuck" in the closed position, so she doesn't urinate on her own. Sometimes she leaks, but she doesn't go pee like you and I. As a result, the urine sits in her bladder and bacteria grows and she gets a UTI. Even if she could voluntarily open the sphincter, she may still get UTI's because she doesn't have the muscle control to be able to squeeze the pee out and so some amount of urine is always in her bladder because she can't empty it on her own. Urine is DIRTY. It should not stay in the bladder. So, our solution? We have to catheterize her 4x a day and limit her liquid intake.

Think about that! Can you imagine being catheterized even once, let alone daily and 4 times daily at that! It is a sad truth for Lil Bugs life. She doesn't complain about it usually. Since her sensation is lowered in that area, it doesn't hurt her. Her biggest complaint is that it takes time to do it and she has to stop playing to have it done.

Even though we do this process daily, she still gets UTI's and it is so frustrating. For one, it is a huge reminder (however small) that Lil Bug isn't the typical 3 year old...she has other issues that need to be addressed. For another, she is in pain. She complains that her belly and "bottom" hurt. She doesn't understand why she has to suffer. She doesn't like the medicine that she must take to make her healthy again. It is frustrating to know that these UTI's could turn into kidney infections and that would open up a whole new battle that fortunately we haven't had to deal with.

This past Friday she started complaining that her "bottom" hurt. I also noticed that her urine was smelling strong. As I catheterized her, I noticed sediment in her urine. I have the necessities to flush her bladder out, which I do when I think a UTI might be coming on. I flushed her Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If flushing is going to work, it usually works within the first day or two. By Sunday night she was in so much pain and complaining that I took her to the Urgent Care Center at about 7:30. We returned home around 10:30pm after picking up her new prescription. She took it, went to bed and slept well. Yesterday she woke up and we got her all ready for school. We were literally walking out the door to go to school and she started complaining it hurt. I decided she wouldn't go to school and she was devastated. This is the first UTI that she has complained about hurting. She is always whiny. She is always clingy. She is always tired. But, she never tells us it hurts. This time she did.

I don't want Spina Bifida (and its side effects) to control Lil Bugs life. I don't want her normal day-to-day activity to take a backseat to this craziness. I am slowly learning that no matter how "normal" she appears, she isn't. That is a hard fact for a mom to swallow. Yes, she will still have a great life. Yes, she will be able to do most things just as anyone else her age can do. Yes, that is true, but she will not have the "normal" life. Normal doesn't consist of chronic UTI's. Normal doesn't consist of walking with crutches. Normal doesn't consist of frequent brain scans. Normal isn't the first word I would use to describe Lil Bug. I know that many families face many difficult things in life, and I am not saying ours "things" are easier or harder than theirs. I am just saying that right now, this is hard for me.

Sorry for the downer post. I am just feeling down right now. I think I will be writing more posts surround some of this again soon. There is so much on my mind right now and this is the safest place to let it out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pathetic attempt

Many of my blogland friends have used a blog reader rating system to see what their blog reading level is. As a college instructor, one would expect that at minimum my blog would be rated at a college graduate reading level, but after using this rating system, I have learned that my blog rates at the lowely Junior High reading level. So, in my attempt to impress even more people (because I am out to win friends and influence people with my blog) I have decided to hyperinflate my score in an effort to make myself feel more blogland worthy. :P

So, here are some wonderful big word paragraphs...let's see if that helps my score?!?! (These are "borrowed" from a website I found when searching for "BIG WORDS")

**EDITED TO ADD** This great post only raised my blog reading level to high school...hmmm, guess I will have to try harder. :)

Big Words are colossal superfluous colloquies.

Big Words were indubitably proliferated per Sir Thomasical Gergantiunation II, in a display of incomparable hyper punctiliousness. Unequivocally there was unambiguous astronomical day when Gergantiunation excogitated the conglomerate erudition of paraphernalia. Notwithstanding e was insensate Gergantiunation conceived in envisaging deductive that diacritic conceivably permitted sonorousness perspicacious by commissioning morphemes that bagatelle posterior kumtux. A dexterous consummatent and stupid were consanguineous! oh and supercalafragalisticexpialadoucious. '''Cat is a huge word. but i think it makes me think too much!!!!!!'''


the most largest word in all of the ant hill are "a, I, lol, ttyl, rotflmmfaso, c-ya, gtg, peace out, homie"

BY: John p. Ellis of northern, west verginia in georgia(the country not the state you silly goose)

Big Words can be a fishcake when with impertinent sausages of south amazonia and get this you modulate inspicuous strudel. But memorialize, it takes many nauticals to preponderant the pictorialization of Big Words. In denouement, if you cannot envisage this exposition then you sir, are an ignoramus vexed by Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

Utilization in M├ętier Superintendence
Big Words assist the facilitation of efficacious communication by leveraging multilingual platforms, ergo subsequently resulting in an influx of expeditious enterprise which defracts the subvectoring of effective eCommerce capitalization techniques.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Your 3 words

Every few weeks Good Morning America weekend edition has a special "Your 3 words" video series that I really enjoy.

I can't really put into words what the premise is, but here is a link to one of their completed projects from a few weeks ago. What do you think?

I would love to do something like this on my blog, but haven't come up with how I would want it to look or function.

Until then, enjoy...

Friday, November 16, 2007

A different perspective (long and personal)

I am sure most of you know that I was not raised my by biological father. In fact, when I was 2 or 3 years old, he signed off his rights to me. When I was 5 my dad adopted me and that is the only dad I ever knew growing up. In the back of my mind I remembered this guy named "J" but I never asked about him. I loved my daddy so much I never wanted to hurt his feelings by asking about J. I would get courageous once in a while and ask my mom, but it was always awkward. I felt like I was bringing up a terrible part of her life and so I generally just daydreamed about J, but never spoke of him.

When I was 16, my parents divorced. It was at that time that I felt a bit more comfortable talking about J to my mom. I knew it was hard for her, but I also had a number of questions. My only memories of me with J were negative. My mom confirmed my memories. Often times, when I would have visits with him he would have a different girl staying at his house each time. He would party (serious, hard-core, illegal stuff) while I was in his presence. The last time I saw him I clearly remember my mom coming to his house to pick me up. I don't know if he already signed away his rights or was planning to soon or whatever, but regardless, he knew he wasn't going to be seeing me anymore. I had packed up my few toys that were at his house to take to my moms house. My mom came to the door and they argued about something (probably me) and then he told me that I was not allowed to take my toys. He said those toys belonged to his daughter, which apparently wasn't me anymore, so he was keeping them. I was devastated!

I am a firm believer that a girl needs a daddy. Ok, I am sure some people won't agree with me, but I NEEDED my daddy. When my dad came into the picture I clung to him. I was longing for that father figure like crazy. Even though I had a very capable dad raising me (although he was by far NOT perfect), I was missing something. I felt so rejected and I couldn't figure out why J didn't love me enough to keep me in his life. I couldn't understand what I did so wrong that J was willing to walk away from me. It hurt. It still hurts. I am 31 and I can honestly say that I still have a lot of pain surrounding the whole issue.

When I was 18 I asked my mom to help me find him. She contacted him first and set it up. I was so relieved to meet him. I couldn't wait to see what he looked like. How he now acted. To learn about his new family. The first year or so was great. My dad, to this day, has no idea that I had contacted J. I still don't want to offend or hurt my dad. It is ridiculous, I know, but my excuse is that his health is very shaky at best and I don't want to upset him knowing that any day could be his last (or he may live another 5-10 years, who knows?).

When I met J, the first year was nice. He had 2 children with his wife (one of the girlfriends at the house when I was younger). They were cute and I enjoyed getting to know my brother and sister. They were very young. The boy was only 2 and the girl, only 4 when we met. They were so excited to meet me, their sister. I was happy to know that J had told them about me and they were excited to meet me.

A couple of years after we met, The Designer and I moved to Colorado and so we only saw them once a year, usually at Christmas time, when we came back to Michigan for vacation. The problem was that I never heard from J. I ALWAYS had to call him. I ALWAYS had to set things up. It was frustrating and I kind of felt rejected all over again.

When I learned I was pregnant with Lil Bug and learned about all of her medical needs, I reacted in a lot of different ways. One of the things I did was cut off my ties with J and his family. I told him that I didn't think I had the energy to maintain a relationship with him that he didn't seem to value or want anyway. I chickened out and did it through email. I didn't even tell him I was pregnant. I just ended it. I told them that we were planning to move back to Michigan in a few months and after we got there, I would let them know how the kids could contact me, if they wanted to. I never heard from them again.

After Lil Bug was born, I felt compelled to tell them about her and to alert them that when the children planned to have children, they should take extra precautions to prevent their children from having Spina Bifida as well. I received a short, rude email back and that was it.

Ok, so that is the background for what this post is really about...

Adopting Lil Princess has really gotten me thinking. The Designer and I feel very strongly about keeping Lil Princess in contact with her natural parents. I can understand a tiny bit some of what she might experience as an adoptee and I want to help her have access and answers when she is ready. As I was thinking about this, I realized that I am doing everything in my power to keep Lil Princess in contact with her family, but have not offered Lil Bug the same benefit. I cut off ties to her biological family without her permission. It was like a slap in the face...that is not right.

So, I feel like although I hurt and have a lot of unresolved issues with everything, I need to extend the same opportunity to Lil Bug by attempting to contact J and his family once again.

Last week I wrote this email to them:
Hi A, J, J & J-

I am sure I am the last person you expected to hear from, but I have a few things I wanted to share/ask.

First, I wanted to let you know that we have another daughter. Her name is Lil Princess and she was born on Aug. xx, 2007. She is beautiful and healthy. She came to our family through adoption.

Second, I wanted to see if J (sister) and/or J (brother) were interested in and/or ready to talk to me.

To make it very clear, I hold no ill will towards them. In fact, I hold no ill will towards any of you. Three years ago when I chose to cut ties with J (biofather), that stemmed from MANY things...some of them had to do with him directly and some did not. It was a VERY stressful time for me as I was pregnant with a child that I was told would be severally mentally retarded and physically disabled. You can imagine what that does to a person emotionally. I had no energy left to maintain a relationship that seemed like J (biofather) was not interested in having. I hope that you read this with my truest intent in mind. I am not trying to pick scabs or anything, just thought it was time to let you know that I am not angry.

I miss seeing J (sister) and J (brother). I am sure they are grown and beautiful. I hope they are doing well. I would love for them to meet their two incredibly beautiful nieces.

If you see fit, would you please share with them my desire to see them. I live in Grand Rapids now, so I am not far away and could meet them anywhere.

My phone number is 616-7xx-7xxx.

The Professor

P.S. I have included pics of the girls so you can see them. Lil Bug is getting big and is doing very well. Lil Princess is such a joy.

Just this morning (1.5 weeks later) I received this response:
Hi Professor,
It is really nice to hear from you!! Congratulations on the new baby!! Both of the girls are absolutely adorable. I did look at your family web site every month to see the pictures and hear about your lives.

J (sister) graduated from high school this past June and is away at College. She was recruited by Adrian College to play soccer for them. Adrian is located in the South East corner of Michigan and is a liberal arts college, she loves being there on her own and she likes the college. She is planning to get her PHD in phsycology. She graduated in the top ten of her class and earned a number of academic scholarships. I forwarded your e-mail to her. I can't tell you what her feelings are toward you these days because we haven't talked about it, she was really angry at you when you told us you didn't want to be apart of lives anymore, and when I asked her last week if she wanted to contact you she simply said "no".

J (brother) is in 10th grade this year, he will be 16 in March and is looking forward to getting his drivers license. He played his first year of football this year and although he ended up sitting on the sidelines a lot of the time he loved being a part of the team. He has a number of girls that call him all the time, he's turned into quite the little cutie :). He says he would like to get to know you, here is his cell phone number 231-5xx-9xxx and his e-mail address

I need to leave for work now.
A (biofather's wife)

So, that is where I am at right now. It does bother me a bit that A wrote the email rather than J, but it is a start, I suppose. I'm sad that J (sister) was hurt by what I did. I know she has no idea what my childhood was like, nor do I feel that she needs to know. I don't want her to think badly of her father, so I will just let her think bad of me instead. However, if she ever asks specifically, I may tell her...not sure right now.

I am glad I followed through with the email. I hope that things will smooth out and that Lil Bug and Lil Princess will get to know their aunt & uncle and maybe even some day another set of grandparents. Who knows?!?!

I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that although my feelings are very real and were hurt, it really isn't about me anymore, but about my children. I think I am close to being able to put the past aside for their sakes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Time flies

I can hardly believe that Lil Princess turned 3 months on this past Tuesday. How is that possible? Time flies!

She is still waking up once a night to eat, but I am convinced it is out of habit more than necessity. So, Monday night/Tuesday morning at 2am, when she woke up, I decided to let her cry it out. I went into her room, assured her mommy was there, she was ok, etc. and patted her back. She cried on and off for about 20 minutes and then fell sound asleept and didn't wake until 7:30 Tuesday morning.

Night #2 The Designer was supposed to do the same thing if/when she woke up in the middle of the night. At about 2:30, she woke up. He went to her room and tried all the tips I had given him from the night before. After 30 minutes, she was still crying, so I went in, made a couple of adjustments and within 2 minutes she was zonked back out and slept until nearly 8am.

Night #3 was last night and she didn't wake until 4am. I did the same routine and she was back to sleep until about 7:30am.

So, I am hoping she will finally figure out that she doesn't need to wake up in the middle of the night soon. I am hoping that something very positive will come from this. Keep your fingers crossed, okay? Or, better yet, say a prayer for Lil Princess. She seems to have much better days when she sleeps more at night, so it is good from all directions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Currency valuation

Recently my father gave me a $20 bill that was double printed. He received it the year it was printed and has held onto it since, which was 40+ years ago. At a coin show a few years back, a man offered him about $150 for the bill, but he didn't sell. I am trying to learn how one would go about finding the value of this $20 bill. Does anyone have any ideas? I have kind of researched online, but it was very overwhelming, since I didn't exactly know ANYTHING about collectible money.

If you have any tips, I would appreciate hearing them! :) Thanks.

Brain Farts

When I am going about my day, I can think of a hundred different blog ideas. But, when the time comes for me to sit down and blog, well, I get a great big brain fart and can't remember any of them.

Now, I know that some will comment and say, "write them down as you think of them." Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, but if it was that easy for me to do, I would have done it already. :)

So, until I can recover one of my lost ideas, have a great day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not sure what to think...

I am sad, confused and hurt right now. I am trying to wrap my mind around a conversation I had with one of my good friends a little earlier today. I am sitting here baffled and angry and the only thing I can think of to possibly help a little bit is to blog. Let me give you a brief recap.

I have a friend, Susan. (I will call her Susan to protect her ignorance....I mean, identity). She has been very excited for our family as we grew through adoption. I have never heard her say anything anti-adoption or extremely ignorant until today.

She called to see how my day was. I told her that I have had a great day. I went on to tell her that we had Lil Princess dedicated at church this morning and 14 of our family members joined us to support us. Included that 14 were N and her mother. I thought it was great they were there.

Here is a general overview of how the conversation went from there...

Susan: Yeah, the whole idea of you having N around so much freaks me out.

Me: (a bit surprised and confused) Um, why?

Susan: Well, I don't know. It is just weird!

Me: What is weird, I guess I don't understand?

Susan: You invited her to go scrapbooking with you Friday night (she knew this from a previous conversation) and then she was there today. In my opinion, you should only invite family to something like a dedication.

Me: N IS family. She is Lil Princess' mom.

Susan: No! YOU are her mom, N is not her mom any more.

Me: Yes, N is her mom. We are both her mom. I am ok with that idea, why aren't you? Besides, what do you care anyway?

Susan: I care because YOU are her mom and I don't want N to hurt you later on. I don't see how anything good can come from her staying involved this much.

Me: *by this time I am shocked. I have talked about my relationship N with Susan many times and I have never heard her say anything like this before.* Well, I don't think I will hurt from this relationship. I have prayed, read books, prayed, read blogs, prayed, talked to adoptees, prayed, talked to first moms, and did I mention prayed? I think our relationship is healthy for all persons involved.

Susan: I don't I said, this whole thing just weirds me out. She is not Lil Princess' mom, you are and I hate to hear you share that title when you have worked so hard to get it.

Me: I didn't work hard! I did very little, actually. I am not sure we should talk about this anymore right now. I love N. She is my friend. I will continue to have her be a part of our lives because I believe that is the right thing to do for Lil Princess and because I like N. I enjoy seeing her.

Susan: Maybe I should just shut up now.

Me: You don't have to understand, I guess. I shouldn't assume you can ever understand, for that matter. Adoption is complex. It takes time to listen, learn, understand and realize that it isn't just about the adopting parents, but so much more. Since you have never been adopted, nor do you ever plan to adopt, you probably won't take enough interest to fully understand the importance of an open adoption. You just have to understand that I have spent time doing those things and I am not naive about the whole subject.

Susan: So, what are you doing this week?

Ok, so I hung up the phone and felt angry, hurt, confused, and sad all at the same time. I guess I just assumed she understood adoption, but obviously I was wrong. How could she, really? She worries about me, her friend. She doesn't worry about N. She doesn't understand why N feels a connection to Lil Princess even. What?!?!?! How could she NOT feel a connection...seriously?!?! Anyway, I just needed to vent. Ignorance is everywhere and I just learned that it hits closer to home than I realized before today.

So, now I have to shake this icky feeling off and pray for guidance on how to continue this friendship. I really care for this person and I can not hold ignorance against her. I can, however, hold it against her if she refuses to learn from what I am saying or just keep her mouth shut on the subject.

Any thoughts on what I should do/say?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I need some advice (maybe a child psychologist?!?!)

This post is for those of you that have been there, done that, with your child and for those of you that will just plain find it funny (the humor is at the end)!

As you know from previous posts, Lil Bug has a physical disability. She was born with Spina Bifida. As a result, she also has hydrocephalus, which has consequencial brain damage, etc. So, taking all of that in, it might not surprise you that we have spent countless hours, days and weeks at hospitals and doctors offices, surrounded by dr's and nurses.

Now Lil Bug is 3 years old. She is a very intelligent child. She is also very articulate. She has been infatuated with pregnant women for some time now. She has been around a lot of pregnant women for the past 6-8 months. She plays pregnant often and just about anything in our house is fairgame for becoming the "baby" she shoves up her shirt to pretent she is pregnant.

For a very short period of time, she watched A Baby Story on t.v. We stopped it quickly because she started imitating what she saw on the show. That was about 4 or 5 months ago. She still acts it out and she is very detailed in doing so. It is almost embarrasing because I fear she is doing this at school, although the teacher has assured me she hasn't.

So, on to the part that I might need some guidance on. My daughter is totally obsessed with medical/surgery shows on t.v. I mean the bloody, gorey, show-it-all kind where they do open heart surgery or brain surgery. She can be playing and if she passes the tv and something like that is on, she stops dead in her tracks, sits down and stares longingly at the t.v. The Designer and I have talked about this...we are not sure if we should let her watch this or not. I mean, I have heard of some people knowing from childhood what they would be/do for a career as an adult. In fact, The Designer did. He knew when he was kindergarten age that he would be an architect. I don't want to not encourage this, but I don't want her having nightmares about what she is seeing on t.v. either. So, is it ok for a just barely 3 year old to see this.

As a side note, she has never once woken up from a nightmare. She has never seemed disturbed by all of the blood and guts. So, what do I do? I want to do the right thing, but I have no idea what that is. Allow her to watch this educational, yet disgusting t.v. or stop her for fear of what it might do to her head?

On her own accord she regularly tells me she is going to be a doctor when she grows up. I had the mind to ask her what kind of doctor she was going to be the other day and she informed me that she is going to help babies be born. Then she took it a step further and said specifically that she is going to help Dora (yep, you know the one...the explorer!) have, do I have a future OB/GYN on my hands?

Monday, November 5, 2007

pictoral update

I haven't been around much, but things are well around here. Here are some of my favorite pics from the past week...enjoy.

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Lil Princess with her first momma, N

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The "fam"...The Designer, The Professor, Lil Bug, N, Lil Princess, N's mom (L) and N's brother (V)

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Lil Princess with her grandpa (my dad), D

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Little girl, big bed!

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All bundled up and nowhere to go. Yep, those are spit bubbles on her lips.

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Lil' Pumpkin

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Say "cheeeeeese"

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Lil Bug popping bubbles

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Lil Princess with her first daddy

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Pretty girl

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Look at that face!

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Lil Bug playing in her balls...she shoved some up her shirt and called them 'babies'..oh dear!

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Sooooooo big

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Mommy and daughter

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Lil Bug is not liking the "guts" of this pumpkin much at all

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Going in for the "guts"

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Lil Princess watched the whole thing, but never said a peep. She is taking notes though, I'm sure!

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Lil Bugs class halloween party...of course I'm biased, but I have a particular obsession with the cute purple carebear.

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My darling carebear and pea in a pod

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Some sisterly love going on right there.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I've been tagged...TWICE!!!

My friends, Anita & Beth, have tagged me.

Rules: Once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to 8 other people, visit their sites, and leave a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged.

1. I love being a mommy of two. To be honest, I wasn't sure how having two children would change my life, but it is so much fun and I am learning daily little things that make my day-to-day life easier.

2. I had my bellybutton pierced at two different times in my life. The first time, it just randomly came out during the night and by morning I couldn't get it back in. The second time I had to take it out when I was pg. Now I have a goofy second hole in my stomach.

3. I enjoy scrapbooking, but never make it enough of a priority to get caught up. I always have something else that MUST be sad!

4. I love to travel, but again, it is never a priority in our family. Our money is usually reserved for necessitites, not frivilous travel (but oh how I wish that weren't the case).

5. I am a reality tv show addict...seriously...I love them ALL! It is not good.

6. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, but my DH is very, very conservative and never wants to encourage that side of me for fear I will "blow" our life savings and retirement! :) Have a little faith, DH! hehehe

7. I haven't eaten red meat in over 10 years. I thought I would crave it when I was pg with Lil Bug, but nope. In fact, I just started eating chicken again in the past couple of years.

8. I don't enjoy my part-time college teaching job, but I do it so that I have a better chance of getting my dream job back again once Lil Princess is in school fulltime. So, what is my dream job? Teaching high school, of course. I miss it SOOOOOOOO much! Seriously, I can hardly stand it some days.

Ok, to the evil part...I tag: Emily, Joy, Nia, Leejo, Michelle, Shawn, Liz, and Liz (I'm sorry ladies...please forgive me!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

making a difference - hydrocephalus

I firmly believe that everyone, EVERYONE can make a difference. It doesn't matter if you are poor, disabled, busy, tired, overworked, blah, blah, blah...everyone can make a difference. The key is finding something that you care deeply about and suddenly it is easy to see where and how you can really make a difference.

Earlier this week, on Monday, I received an email from my lil sister with a link to a newspaper article from her town (the town I grew up in). It was an article about a 31 year old lady who woke up on Jan. 11 of this year and her life was changed. She was nursing her then 8 month old daughter and suddenly she had an extreme headache. She went to the local hospital, where they misdiagnosed her and sent her home. Being persistent, she went to another hospital (in a neighboring town) and within 15 minutes of walking in the door, she was in the operating room having brain surgery. For some unknown reason, she was suddenly suffering from hydrocephalus.

She joined an organization called Stars Kids and set up the first annual Grand Haven Stars Kids walk-a-thon. When I learned of the walk on Monday, I immediately contacted this lady to see if it was too late to participate. It wasn't and so I began collecting sponsorship funds and arrived this morning eager to walk. I will go into details later about the walk, but wanted to spend a moment educating you about what hydrocephalus is and how it impacts people.

Most of you have probably never heard of hydrocephalus. I know that before my 20 week ultrasound, when I was preggo with Lil Bug, I had never heard of it either.

Approximately 1 in 500 persons are afflicted with hydrocephalus either from birth (e.g., brain hemorrhage, spina bifida) or acquired causes (e.g., tumor, cyst, meningitis, traumatic brian injury). The term "hydro" is Greek for water and "cephalus" means head. It is also referred to as "water on the brain."

People with hydrocephalus have abnormal accumulation of celebrospinal fluid (CSF)in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, and mental disability.

Usually, hydrocephalus need not cause any intellectual impairment if recognized and properly treated. Shunts are the preferred treatment for hydrocephalus but they malfunction, break, can become blocked and cause infection. Shunts have a 60% failure rate within the first year. Many people with shunts undergo multiple neurosurgeries to correct shunt failures. Complications may include developmental delays, brain damage, stroke or even death. All complications impact the families of shunted children and adults.

Now that you see the importance of shunts, you may be suprised to learn that no federal monies are set aside to promote research and advancements with shunts. For the thousands of children and adults live with a shunt, there is constant concern and worry as the statistics show that failure of that shunt is likely. Each time a shunt breaks, becomes infected or blocked, it needs to be fixed. Each surgical repair or replacement is called a revision. A revision sounds like "a walk in the park." However, each and every revision is a major neurosurgery and a new traumatic brain injury.

The nonprofit organization "Stars" Kids was established to help raise awareness and monies to privately fund research and to promote advancements in shunt functionality so that those affected by shunts will have a longer and better quality of life. The founder and president of the organization has a 26 year old son who has a shunt. He has had about 100 revisions (yes, you read that correctly) in the past 10 the math and that means that nearly once a month he is having brain surgery. What kind of a life is that? She was frustrated with having to settle on the current shunt and so about 7 years ago she established this organization.

So, this morning I arrived in time to register and turn in the money I had collected. My dad met me there to be my walking buddy. It was cold (low 50's), extremely windy and raining on and off. We walked along a boardwalk and down the pier as massive waves crashed along the pier and sprayed freezing cold water on us. IT. WAS. WORTH. IT. Lil Bug was supposed to walk with me, but she has come down with a cold, so she met me at the end and met some other children with shunts. It was a nice event and the turnout was great for being the first year in that small town.

I look forward to being more than a participant next year and actually stepping up to help prepare for this event. It is something that has already impacted our lives very deeply and personally (Lil Bug had a shunt placed when she was 4 days old and had her first revision this past January-when she was just over 2 years old).

I am only one person, but I did collect a large amount of money and I know that money will be going to something that is very near and dear to me...researching to make a better functioning shunt.

sorta, kinda back

Well, my laptop is back, but it wasn't fixed...long story! Anyway, I had to reformat it, which means that now I have to take time to reinstall EVERYTHING and I don't have the time, nor the desire to sit and do that, so I am still using the old dinosaur in the basement primarily.

It has actually been kind of pleasant having my computer out of commission. I haven't spent nearly the amount of time I normally would on it, which means that my house is cleaner, my kids have had more undivided attention and I have been able to catch up on some television, amongst other things.

I briefly checked my Google Reader yesterday and it said I had something like 150 blog posts to catch up on from the two weeks it has been down. YIKES! Doubtful I will catch up with that, but rather, I will probably just "mark as read" and start fresh for most of them. I hate to do that because inevitably, something terrific will be written in someones blog and I will miss it, but that is the risk I think I must take at this time.

So, I guess all of that to say..."I'm back" but not really fully. Hope you all are doing well!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Bye-bye for now. I'm sad to say that my laptop was brought in for some fixin' and will be gone for 7-10 days (I'm sure hoping they were being conservative!). That means I have to rely on "old faithful," the dinosaur in the basement and that probably won't happen much, so most likely I will be absent for a while until my darling laptop comes home.

See you soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?

I have been longing to get back into a womens Bible study for a while, but in case you haven't noticed, things have been crazy. Well, I decided to take a step in the right direction and sign up for the new study our church started this week.

All I knew about the study was that it was a Beth Moore study. I have never done one of her studies before, but I have heard fantastic things about her and was looking very forward to what I would get from it.

So, last night was the first meeting. It is only 4 weeks long and we are meeting every other week. I walked into a room full of women I don't know very well. Yes, we have been going to our church since January, but we haven't joined any small groups or anything yet, with summer being so busy and such. So, I sit down at the first table I see with a vaguely familiar face.

We did brief introductions and then started the video. As I listend to the first 30 minutes, I really enjoyed everything Beth was saying. She is a great presenter. She has an awesome sense of humor. Then, suddenly I found myself getting very real. Suddenly I felt the Spirit's presence and I knew that I have work in myself to do. At this point I begin to think, "What have I gotten myself into?"

The study is "Love Well." Have you done it before? If you have, you know what I am talking about. If not, here are a few key things I took away from last night.

* God measures our spiritual maturity by how we love. (1 John 4:7-21)

* We must know God loves us before we can show love to others to His fullest intent.

* Loving others will always involve risk because they can hurt us.

* There are 4 types of people to love:
- JOY: These are the people that are easy to love.
- Testy: These are the people that drive you crazy to love. They are difficult to love. They crawl under your skin when you are around them too much.
- Foe: We are called to love our enemies. Think, "who do I hate?" You can only hate someone who has been close enough to hurt you.
- Far: These are the strangers in our lives. The lady in line next to us at the grocery store. The person whose car broke down in front of your house.

There are also 4 confessions of affection that she discusses.
- God is perfect love.
- Nothing can seperate me from Gods perfect love.
- God pours his perfect love into my imperfect heart.
- Accessed, I can love anyone through anything

So, it seems all harmless, right?


There is someone in my life that I consider a foe. Someone that I hate. I am not a hateful person, but there is one, just one, that I can say was close enough to hurt me so much and I do hate him. So, I know that God will be working on me during the next three studies and I am not sure I am ready to be worked on. I feel called to the study and resistent at the same time. Should be fun, huh?

I'll take a side order of sleep, please!

Ok, I knew going into this that sleep would be evasive, at best, but come on! I could use some real sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time...really!

Lil Princess teased us. She had about a week of time where she was going down at about 10:30 at night and not getting up until 3:30 or 4:00...that is a decent amount of sleep at one time. I'll take it! Well, apparently she has something else in mind these past few nights. She has been up every 2-3 hours again. One would think that maybe she is going through a growth spurt and so she wakes to eat, but NO! She isn't really eating even. She just wakes up and wants to snuggle. I am all for snuggling, but not at 1, 3, 5 in the night!

I know I was lucky, but Lil Bug was sleeping through the night when she was 8 weeks old. Guess what? Lil Princess was 8 weeks on Monday and there is no sign in sight that she intends to sleep through the night anytime soon. Different children, different sleep habits. This, I know! But a girl can hold out hope, can't she?

I will survive. Sleep isn't all it is cracked up to be anyway. I mean...I am much more productive when I am up 18-20 hours a day. So, I will not complain...but, should Lil Princess ever find it in her to sleep a whole night though, I will find myself very much appreciative of her efforts. :)

It is official

Lil Bug loves (I mean LOVES) preschool. Since her 3rd day of school she has not batted back one tear. She barely has time to give me a kiss when I drop her off. She is so excited to see her friends and even more excited to see her teacher, Ms. Panse.


I, on the other hand, am not quite over it! :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Isn't she lovely?

My Lil Bug was the most beautiful Flowergirl on Saturday!!!

The Designer's cousin was married on Saturday. She decided on an October wedding because she wanted an outdoor wedding in the cool, brisk air with beautiful leaves changing in the background. Well, the wedding was nice, but it definitely wasn't cool or brisk and there were very few leaves changing color where we were at. It was a record breaking day for fact, it hit 90 degrees...IN OCTOBER! That is just unheard of, but it happened.

Ok, back on track. C (The Designers cousin) asked Lil Bug to be the flowergirl a while ago. At the time, Lil Bug was generally an obedient child. In the past 6 months a lot has changed. Lil Bug is still a good girl, but she has a definite attitude sometimes and she has a voice that she believes all should hear. So, as the date neared, I worried about whether or not Lil Bug would actually execute her role in a nice, well-behaved manner. Fortunately, all went, wait...all went GREAT!

My Lil Bug was so cute! She felt like a princess and looked like one too. It was wonderful to see her. Here are a few pics from the busy day. Hope you enjoy seeing her beautiful smile and cute hairdo as much as I did!

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Who does she look like?

While I was pregnant with Lil Bug I would daydream about her often. How big would she be? Would she have hair or be bald? Would she be a happy/content baby or would she fuss a lot? Would she have my nose and The Designers mouth? I believe that those questions are common for any mother to consider while she is pregnant. And I also believe that the answers to any of these questions really doesn't matter, they are just fun to think about.

When Lil Bug was born, it was fun to hear peoples opinions on whom she resembled in appearance. The vast majority said that she was a mirror image of her daddy, The Designer. It didn't matter to me, but it was fun to hear their thoughts. I agreed that she looked just like her daddy. And why wouldn't she? One-half of her DNA came from him.

When we considered adoption, we didn't have any preconceived ideas of what our future child would look like. Once we were matched with N, I kind of expected to have the same "expecting" daydreams that I had for Lil Bug, but strangely, that didn't happen. I never really wondered who she would look like. I find that strange now, but I guess I knew she would look like N and D and to see how much of each them she resembled wouldn't be answered until she was born anyway. Besides, there was much more to think about during our wait.

The minute Lil Princess was born, it was very obvious to me who she resembled. I looked at her tiny little face and I could see a baby N looking back at me. Of course I have no idea what N looked like as a baby, but I am willing to bet she looked an awful lot like Lil Princess looks now. Did it surprise me to see the resemblance? NOT. AT. ALL. I expected it! And furthermore, I like it!

I have no intention of pretending that Lil Princess came from my womb. I have no intention of leading strangers to believe that Lil Princess is biologically related to me. That doesn't mean I will announce she is adopted to the world. Truly it is no body's business unless I feel like making it their business. However, it will not be a family secret that accidentally explodes in Lil Princess' face when she gets bigger.

As Lil Princess ages and begins to realize her story, she will have a beautiful reminder of her roots every time she looks in the mirror. She will see a lot of N and a bit of D in herself.

I am sure the resemblances don't end there. I am willing to bet that she will have personality traits of each of her biological parents as well. And those will be celebrated also!

So, the next time a stranger asks me, "who does she look like?" I will proudly proclaim that she resembles BOTH of her parents and leave it at that. She does and that makes me very happy for her.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Television has never been a big deal in our family...that is until the past couple of years. We lived in Colorado for 7 years and never once did we have cable or dish. We were both working full time and going to school full time, which meant that if either one of us was watching television, we weren't doing something that really needed to be done. We never missed not having tv. The fact of the matter was, we had rabbit ears and got in 3 (sometimes 4) channels and if we were really needing a tv fix, we survived with whatever was on. Even during the summers (when I was off from teaching) I didn't miss tv because I would go outside and enjoy the gorgeous Colorado weather.

When we moved to Michigan I decided I wanted to have Dish because I would be a SAHM and since I would be spending so much time indoors (Lil Bug was born in Sept. and the winters in Michigan are miserable) I wanted to have something to do. The Designer agreed and we got Dish. We didn't request it, but along with Dish came Digital Video Recording (DVR). We knew we certainly didn't need it, but it was there.

Well, we started playing around with DVR and learned quickly that although there were not a lot of shows that we loved (remember, we had no idea what was even on really), we used the DVR for the couple that we "just couldn't live without."

Fast forward 3 years and we are completely and utterly dependent on our stupid DVR. Yes, I could break the cycle. I could get rid of Dish altogether and we would survive, but a few good things have come out of having a DVR. (ok, get ready for some stretching here!)

First, when the children are all in bed and I have 30-60 minutes of quiet, mommy time, I am able to watch a show I really want to see and not one that happens to be on at the moment because I had the forethought to set up the DVR to record it.

Second, Lil Bug is able to watch Dora the Explorer, Signing Times (great show!) and Diego at convenient times, not when they happen to be on Nick Jr. We don't let Lil Bug watch much tv, but she is allowed 1 or 2 30-minute shows a day. She usually picks Dora, but there are times when she chooses something else (just as educational).

So, we moved to a state that is impossibly sticky and hot during the summer and ridiculously cold and snowy in the winter. We have DVR. It entertains us. I have gained weight and am less physically fit than I have ever been. So, the question I have is this...would that have happened anyway or can I completely blame my physical state on the dumb DVR?

Oh, on second laptop could be the cause for the weight gain. I sit here on my booty reading blogs and commenting on boards. Hmmm, the DVR isn't bad all...gotta run...I have several shows recorded that I NEED to watch! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In a blink of an eye

Lil Bug started preschool on Monday. I seriously cannot even wrap my brain around it. She was just born last week, wasn't she?

The month of September has been very difficult for me with regards to Lil Bug. First, she turned 3. For some reason, that was very difficult for me. My guess as to why is because we had Lil Princess here to compare just how big Lil Bug is and just how fast the time flies.

Then she started preschool. To be honest, when I was pregnant with her, the dire prognosis of Lil Bug's health didn't encourage me to look forward to such a monumental day. She has been blessed by God (our whole family has!) and is a living, walking miracle. For that reason alone, I beamed with pride as I watched my darling firstborn daughter walk up to the preschool teacher. She was so brave and strong. She cried, sure. But she went anyway. She caught up with the rest of the kids and turned around and managed out a courageous, "I'll see you in a bit, mom."

That little sentence did me in. I quickly turned and walked back across the parking lot to my car. I jumped in and the tears fell. I cried. I didn't cry because I was scared for Lil Bug. I know she will do fantastic in preschool. In fact, she already knows most of this years curriculum anyway. I cried because I realized I serve such a big God. I realize that God has shown his glory and light up my family. I cried because I am privileged enough to be Lil Bugs mom. I cried because it wasn't all that long ago I wasn't sure if this day would really ever come for her. I cried the whole 4 minute drive home.

The Designer rarely travels for work, but he was gone on Sunday and Monday. My mom took Monday off from work and spent Sunday night with me. She waited at home while I dropped Lil Bug off to preschool and when I returned she was there to dry my tears. She cried the first day I went to preschool too. She didn't have to say anything to me. She was there and that helped.

The rest of the day was emotional too. I will write about that in another post soon.

For now, here are some pics of Lil Bug on her way into school.

This first one, Lil Bug is still smiling. She is excited and proud to be going to school.
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In this pic, she realizes that I am not staying with her and the tears started.
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This pic, she is up with her teacher and a few of the other children. The teacher is trying to calm her. She is taking one last look as I walked off.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just another doll?

My Lil Bug absolutely LOVES baby dolls. I honestly couldn't tell you how many she actually owns, but she has a ridiculous amount. I admit, I bought her a couple of them, but the vast majority of them were purchased my her Nana and her Grandma. Everytime they saw a baby, they figured Lil Bug could use yet another and would buy it. I have tried to send babies back home to each of the grandma's houses, but they usually find their way back here again before long.

Last week my mom (Nana) was here and she decided to help Lil Bug pull out a "few" of her babies to play. As a result, she took this adorable photo. Lil Bug is on cloud nine!

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Friday, September 14, 2007


Just a few short years ago, The Designer and I were faced with one of the toughest decisions of our lives. We needed to choose whether to enroll in the MOMS study for the slight chance that we would have prenatal surgery on Lil Bug to increase the odds of her being "better."

Obviously the decision was a complicated one. We could not have the surgery and always wonder if we did enough to help her be the most she was made to be. Or, have the surgery and risk her death and the possibility of my death.

Enrolling in the study would mean that we would be randomized (chosen) for one of two different groups. The first is the prenatal surgery group. If randomized into this group, prenatal surgery is conducted before the end of the 25th week of gestation. Essentially, if you have prenatal surgery, they do a c-section, access the baby and close up the baby's spine. Then they close the uterus back up and and stitch up your belly. The hope is that the baby will stay in there until at least week 32, but it is not unusual for baby to come early. If baby comes too early, there is a high risk that baby will not survive or will have significant other issues from such an early delivery.

As mentioned in previous posts, I am thankful that we were randomized into the "control" group, which does not have prenatal surgery, but is still followed to see how the two compare.

As I researched I found a lot of information about prenatal surgery. Some of it was encouraging. Some of it wasn't. One thing that I came acrossed really "spoke" to me. It is an amazing photograph, which you can view down below. When I saw this photo, it gently reminded me that there was a tiny little person in my womb that was counting on me to fight for her. This photo helped seal my thoughts that becoming a participant in the MOMS study was worth it.


Story of the "Fetal Hand Grasp" Photograph

As a veteran photojournalist in Nashville, Tennessee, I was hired by USA Today newspaper to photograph a spina bifida corrective surgical procedure. It was to be performed on a twenty-one week old fetus in utero at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. At that time, in 1999, twenty-one weeks in utero was the earliest that the surgical team would consider for surgery. The worst possible outcome would be that the surgery would cause premature delivery, and no child born earlier than twenty-three weeks had survived.

The tension could be felt in the operating room as the surgery began. A typical C-section incision was made to access the uterus, which was then lifted out and laid at the junction of the mother's thighs. The entire procedure would take place within the uterus, and no part of the child was to breach the surgical opening. During the procedure, the position of the fetus was adjusted by gently manipulating the outside of the uterus. The entire surgical procedure on the child was completed in 1 hour and thirteen minutes. When it was over, the surgical team breathed a sigh of relief, as did I.

As a doctor asked me what speed of film I was using, out of the corner of my eye I saw the uterus shake, but no one's hands were near it. It was shaking from within. Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening, then pulled back until just a little hand was showing. The doctor reached over and lifted the hand, which reacted and squeezed the doctor's finger. As if testing for strength, the doctor shook the tiny fist. Samuel held firm. I took the picture! Wow! It happened so fast that the nurse standing next to me asked, "What happened?" "The child reached out," I said. "Oh. They do that all the time," she responded.
The surgical opening to the uterus was closed and the uterus was then put back into the mother and the C-section opening was closed.

It was ten days before I knew if the picture was even in focus. To ensure no digital manipulation of images before they see them, USA Today requires that film be submitted unprocessed. When the photo editor finally phoned me he said, "It's the most incredible picture I've ever seen."
- Michael Clancy

Thursday, September 13, 2007

1 month old

It is hard for me to even believe, but beautiful Lil Princess is alreay 1 month old! She has changed in looks already. She is gorgeous, of course! Her legs are getting rolls, and her 2nd chin is making its debut.

She definitely has likes and dislikes that in her own little-baby-way can get across to us now. She enjoys looking into peoples eyes. She enjoys snuggling. She enjoys rocking. She does not enjoy sleeping at 4am. She does not enjoy waiting to eat (even for one minute!) She does not enjoy when you give your attention to others.

Lil Bug is adjusting well. The most jealousy I have witnessed is when she has instructed me to "put her down, mommy!" Usually she spends time kissing her, holding her hand and talking to her. A beautiful friendship is blossoming in front of my eyes.

Here are some of my favorite pics from the past month...some are repeats of her arrival.

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