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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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ugh! A cold for me...

It's no surprise...I have a cold.

So, I haven't slept a full nights sleep in nearly 1.5 months. With a 3-year-old running around and a newborn, sleep really isn't an option.

On top of that, I went to an awesome concert with N on Monday night (more on that in another post). I should have known better, but it sounded fun and I wanted that time with her, so I went. What does a concert have to do with getting sick you ask? Well, it was outdoors, with temps dipping in the mid-50's and it varied between a light drizzle and a full on hard rain for the entire 3 hours. It wasn't bad until the rain had saturated through my clothes and I started shivering for the last 1-1.5 hours.

I suspected I would catch a cold. With the lack of sleep I figured my immune system was down a bit. I even told N as much on our drive home from the concert. I think I was hoping that if I said something, maybe I would be spared. It was a good thought! :)

I am not complaining at all that I have a headache from sinus pressure and that my ears and throat hurt. It happens to the best of us sometimes. I am just interested in seeing how creative I get with parenting a 3-year-old and a 1-month-old.
In a week or two, when I am on the other side of this cold, I will know the tricks of survival. For now, I sleep when I can and pray for a quick recovery. The girls need me healthy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you...

This post was inspired by the anniversary of 9.11 and my friend Anita's post.

I remember 9.11.01 like it was last week. The irony of that is that I have a horrible memory, but the events of 9.11 are burned into my mind, as it is in millions of other Americans.

The Designer and I had been living in Denver for about 3 years by this time. I had been working as a project manager for a large insurance company and just days before the attacks, I started my new career as a high school business teacher. Sept. 11 was officially my 7th day teaching...EVER!

Since Denver is 2 hours behind the East Coast, I was just arriving at the school when word was spreading that a plane had hit the first tower. The word on the news in the beginning was that it was an accident, but of course, there was some speculation.

I left the business office not really knowing what was happening and to be honest, thinking that although it was tragic, accidents happened. In my mind, it wasn't anything big...yet.

My students began filing in to their first hour class. Many of them buzzing about what they were hearing on the radio as they drove in to school. I taught in a computer lab, so many of them were wanting to use to computer to access more information. By this time it had become apparent that something was really wrong, but still, no one had a clue as to how wrong it really was. I allowed the students to use the computer to log onto The thing is, none of us could get on. was jammed from the number of people trying to access it. When we realized that several other major news sites were also jammed, we began (as a class) to realize that something big was in the works.

Part way through the class period, the school principal came across the intercom to give a brief announcement of the happenings in New York (and later other locations). We turned our classroom tv on and watched in horror as we watched the first tower crumble right there in front of our eyes. The nerds, the cheerleaders, the jocks, the gothics, the shy kids, the loud kids, the well-behaved kids, the obnoxious kids...we all sat there together, watching in horror. Tears in all of our eyes.

Some students used their cell phones to call their parents. Others had no parents available to call and sat there asking me to explain to them what was happening. I had to be honest and tell them that I truly had no idea and that although I could not promise it was over, I could promise to do everything I my power to personally protect them. They were scared! I was scared!

Finally, class was over. I did not have a 2nd period, so I hurried into the business office again and called The Designer. He worked right downtown Denver in a sky rise and the first thing that came to mind was if it happened there, could it be happening here next? He answered and we spoke. I urged him to leave the building, but he refused. He said he was fine and there was nothing to be concerned about. Honestly, he just hadn't been following the news closely enough to realize the significance of what was happening and basically he down-played it. I tried to explain, but he believes me to be a little dramatic and he doesn't get "riled" up about anything. He stayed for the remainder of the work day.

Next I needed to call the 2nd most important person to mom. She (along with the rest of my family) was 1200 miles away in Michigan. I reached her and she began to cry when she heard my voice. She wished I was home (in Michigan) and worried that since we were in a larger city, we could be more at risk than she was for an attack as well. She told that she had all of her employees pulled into a conference room and they were watching the news together. She was scared. They were scared. She asked how I was handling my students and how they were doing.

Throughout the day, classes continued. Some students had gone home, but many were still there. I taught in the inner city schools, so many of the students had no one to go home to, so being in school is where they felt the safest. As word spread that Bush planned to retaliate, fear spread even more as students worried that WW III could be literally days away. "Mrs. S__, what if we go to war and they attack us again?" and "Mrs. S___, will we survive or is this the end as we know it?" Of course, those questions seem so extreme now, but at the time, they were very valid. I tried to answer as honestly as possible without growing fear in their minds and hearts. I reassured them the best that I knew how.

Since I was teaching in the public school systems, I was obviously told and trained that I could not teach about God (especially since I taught business courses). However, that day and the days to follow, I did a lot of teaching about God. For some students, that was the first they had heard of Him. For others, it was reassuring to them that I believed in the same God they believed in.

I grieved for the men and women who lost their lives that day. I grieved for the families of those brave individuals. I prayed for the families of the terrorists even. Some of this I did publicly in front of the students and much of it was done at home, with The Designer the only one in attendance.

I wasn't sure if I would reprimanded for speaking of God to so many students that day and the weeks that followed. As it turned out, I wasn't. But, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change anything.

So, where were you?

Sunday, September 9, 2007


My heart hurts. Not for life is filled with blessings. I honestly couldn't ask for more. But, my heart hurts for my friend.

For some reason I was born with a "feeling" heart. Much to The Designers dismay, I become emotionally connected, involved, whatever, with many people from many different walks of life with many different agendas. He has always been concerned with how much of other peoples emotions I take on since before we were even married. As a high school teacher, I would connect with my students. I mean, really connect. I am not sure why, but that is how God made me. I am also an emotional person, meaning I can not hold back tears when I want to cry. They just come out, even if I wish they wouldn't. I always wear my heart on my sleeve. I can't even watch a movie without crying (hey! maybe that is why I haven't watched movies since I was pg with Lil Bug?!?!)

Both of those things combined makes some situations in life very difficult. I feel so bad for people sometimes. I have one friend who is having major financial difficulties. I spend so much time trying to thinks of ways to help her get out of her situation, all the while I am hurting for her and I see her struggle to provide for her family. I have another friend (actually many) who struggle with infertility and I try to make things ok for her and her DH. I wish I could just snap my fingers and they would be pg, but, of course, life doesn't work that way at all. All of this doesn't come without a price, by the way. I have been hurt more times than I can say from some of these people who claim to be a friend, use me to get what they need or accomplish what they want and then leave me high and dry. But I always go back for more. I feel it is my calling in some way, I guess.

At the moment I have a close friend that is experiencing a lot in her life. I will not go into details, she may or may not read this post. But I am concerned for her and care about her a great deal. Once again, I want to fix all the past problems for her and fix the future problems for her too. I cry for her. I pray for her.

Honestly, if I was cold hearted and non emotional, my life would be less draining. I would be able to invest that energy into something else. But, to be honest, I am glad I am a sensitive, feeling person because this is exactly how God made me and I will not question His intentions. Even though being sensitive has lead me to many, many heartaches, I will value the gift that I was given.

Please pray for my friend. God knows for whom I am referring, so no name is needed. Pray for me as well, if you think of it, as I want to do what is right by this person and it seems like I am failing with that at the moment.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Our weekend away

Last weekend we spent some time with The Designers family. We had a good time.

There were nine of us this year...last year there were only 7. Our family has been blessed and we have added 2 more little people to the mix in just 1 fun! The Designers brother and his wife and 2 month old son were there. The Designers parents were there and, of course, our whole family including The Designer, Lil Bug, Lil Princess and myself. Two of the nine were under 2 months old...that made for some interesting moments. :)

The cabin that we all agreed on to rent this year was nice. It was rather small for the number of people, but the location is hard to beat. It was right on the Muskegon River, which came in handy for the guys who like to fish...they would just go outside and they were literally on the river fly-fishing.

We spent the whole weekend laying around and relaxing. Last year we went canoeing and tubing, but this year we had two little people to take care of and we didn't want to leave anyone out, so we just hung out around the cabin. The first full day we were there every single one of us stayed in our pajamas all lie! Rest assured, we did shower and get dressed for the remainder of the weekend.

It was fun for The Designers parents because this was an opportunity for them to get to know their two youngest grandchildren better. They spent quality time with both Lil Princess and C.

Lil Bug celebrated her 3rd birthday on Monday, Sept. 3. We had a small party for her on Sunday. She had a good time.

Here are some of my favorite pics from this past weekend. Hope you enjoy...

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Lil Bug & The Designer

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Bumpa, Lil Bug, and The Professor

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Lil Princess, Cousin C, Lil Bug (small, medium & large)

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Lil Princess

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Grandma B with Lil Bug...boat ride

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Tummy time (or is it nap time?)

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Cousin C

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Daddy with his big girl

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Bumpa, Grandma B and their beautiful grandchildren

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Lil Bug

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Yay! MONEY :)

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Isn't Lil Princess gorgeous?