Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hannah Grace turns 1!!

I cannot believe my baby girl is ONE!  Wow, that year just flew by!  Well, parts of it anyway.  Those months of showing the house..not so fast.  She is growing up so incredibly fast.  Time slow down!

I loved every second of my time with Hannah through this first year.  She is such a delight - loves to cuddle, delights in her family, laughs at all the silly things we do.  She sleeps great and is willing to go with the flow since our days are dictated by her crazy big brothers.  Her eyes light up when I walk in to get her each morning as she lays her head on my shoulder and wraps her arm around my neck.  Who could ask for a better way to start each day??

We celebrated our sweet girl's 1st birthday in full girl style, with an abundance of pink and gold sparkles.  Here are some shots from her special day!

 Birthday Cake - strawberry cake with cheesecake whipped cream frosting.  Yummy

Little smash cake for our girl

Table of food

Pom poms!  Because...what 1 year old doesn't want pom poms??

"It's my birthday"

"And I love it!"

Birthday girl eating some lunch

Snuggles all around

Bouncy house for the big kids 

"I do not like this on my cake, thank you very much..."

And I don't think I want to get my hands dirty


Uhm...what is this stuff on my fingers

Cake??  Oh, I'll eat cake.  Just don't make me touch it

Hmmm....I'm just not sure about this stuff

Oh, ok, this inside stuff isn't so bad

All in all it was a wonderful day to celebrate with friends and family.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with Hannah on her special day!  Happy birthday big girl!!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dearest Hannah

My dear sweet girl,

Happy 1st birthday!  I love you so incredibly much.  Sometimes I am just amazed at how my capacity to love just continues to expand and grow.  You bring so much joy into our lives, and I couldn't imagine a day without you.

You came into the world in a relatively calm way, especially compared with your siblings.  And you have continued each day true to your start, taking it all in strides.  You are incredibly happy and content - loving playing at home with your "girl" toys, having a tea party and holding your dollie.  But you also love playing with the boys.  I love hearing your little truck noise as you zoom brothers cars, hearing you laugh and giggle when your brothers are being silly, watching your eyes light up as they learn to include you.  And you even take it like a champ when they throw you down to the ground and tackle you, rarely letting out more than a peep.  The perfect addition to our family.

You start each morning with a big smile and hug for your mama, reaching up for me in your crib before wrapping your little arm around my neck.  It is the sweetest moment and I will cherish every second of it, for however long it lasts.  And then we are off on a whirlwind of activities, typically dictated by Warren and Dean, though you never complain.

I love watching you learn, as you mimic us in an attempt to figure it all out, and then get so frustrated when you don't get it just right that first time.  I love how you delight in the simple things - in time with family, in your morning banana, in God's creation outside.  Your eyes are so expressive and it makes it so easy to know when you are just in awe of what you are seeing.  I even love your little temper tantrums, relatively quiet and short lived, when you feel slighted in the least.  They don't happen often, but you are already a master of the pouty lip.

Hannah Grace, I look forward to watching you continue to grow, watching you learn, hearing your first sweet words, and being with you through each stage.  I know this next year will be just as wonderful!  I love you so much, baby girl  HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!



Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy 4th Birthday!

Oh my dear sweet Reagan,

Happy 4th birthday love!  Four years ago you entered this world, making my dreams of becoming a mommy come true in a way we never imagined.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of you, don't feel the hole left by your absence.  I love you so much.  So much.

I remember everything about that day.  The fear of the unknown as we walked into labor and delivery unsure of what to expect, praying this would all be a mistake and we would be told you were actually okay.  I remember holding your Daddy's hand, seeing that final ultrasound, knowing then what was being asked of us but not understanding why.  I remember Daddy tenderly holding my hand, comforting me throughout labor, reading the psalms over us.  I remember how it felt to deliver you, the silence that followed.  But most of all, I remember how it felt to have you placed in my arms.  To look at your beautiful face, those long eyelashes and big pouty lips, and see us reflected in you.  You were the most beautiful little girl, so peaceful.  I remember rocking you, remember reading to you, remember singing you a lullaby.  Those hours are all I have this side of heaven.

As I sit here glancing at the few pictures I have of you, imagining your life and what you are doing, listening to How Deep the Father's Love and sipping coffee, my heart is overflowing.  I am so thankful God chose me to be your mommy.  So thankful for every second of time I was able to carry you and those precious hours I could hold you.  Your life has had such a profound impact on me, on your daddy, on those who have never met you.  It's such a mix of emotions today - on a day when we celebrate you while missing you.  I love that we have this special day for you.

So, today we celebrate you.  Hannah and I have already had a dance party - you would have loved it!  I can't wait to watch your video tonight and see you dancing again :).  And even more so, have a dance party in person when we are all reunited.  We have a cake all ready for you.  Dean helped me make the icing and Warren added the sprinkles.  I hope you can see that and hear them sing Happy Birthday with their sweet little voices.  We got you flowers today and finally put together your new garden.  It's such a special place where we can just smile as we remember you, another way you have impacted our lives.  And of course we each sent you a purple balloon with some sweet messages.  Dean was having a rough day, but in a tender moment decided to draw you and him holding hands on his balloon.

Thank you for making me a mommy sweet girl, for teaching me how to love.  I experienced such joy with you, and my life is richer with you as my daughter.  I love you baby girl!  Happy birthday!

Love always,


Thursday, September 22, 2016


For the most part, I try to avoid politics and current events.  I find them frustrating, and I'm not in a position to cause change.  I hate the political ads, both sides, hate the corruption and lies that have become accepted of our president (and those running).  I've seen various posts and articles about the police shootings and have been so frustrated with the ignorance and hate, again on both sides.  I've experienced it all with a certain amount of distance and callous.  If I can't change it, why bother investing?  What a terrible attitude!

All that changed with Charlotte.  I still consider that city to be my home.  I birthed my 4 children there, left my daughter's memory there, and spent 7 years of my life there.  I imagine it will be home for quite some time.  It's always been a mixture of so many different backgrounds, mostly transplants, never a true "Southern" city in the way my hometown Charleston was.

When I think back on my life, I know I worked hard to achieve my goals.  I studied hard in college, forgoing parties.  I started classes 5 days a week at 8 am, held various part time jobs, worked full time in the summers, and earned a full scholarship based on my grades.  I went my entire college career until 21 without alcohol, never did drugs, and spent many nights in the library.  I applied to grad school without any connections, did my interviews, and started my journey to becoming a PT.  I studied hard throughout grad school until I graduated with my doctorate.  If you had asked me then, I'd say that my race played no role in my achievements.  And to some extent, that was true.  But...

I grew up in a home where I believed in myself.  I was given every opportunity to succeed in life - a stable home with 2 parents, a stay at home mom who was involved in our daily lives (maybe too involved???).  I grew up feeling safe and loved and secure.  I am only beginning to realize how much that played a role in where I am today.  I knew, no matter what, that my parents loved me.  And, within that security, I flourished.  But not everyone has that.  Not everyone is safe at home.  I can only imagine what that does to confidence.  Andrew helped tutor a young boy in Charlotte, a little black boy who was raise by a single mother doing the best she knew, whose teachers were indifferent to downright hateful and discouraging.  What if that had been my environment?  Suddenly things get a bit harder...

I can't pretend I know what it would be like to be black.  I can't quote MLK and expect to even begin to understand the struggle.  I will teach my kids that the law enforcement is there to protect and serve, because that is what I know.  I don't even flinch when I see a cop (unless I'm speeding....and then I hold my breath for a second).  I fully expect that cop to protect me, to have my back, to have the backs of those around me.  And I expect my children will grow up with the same viewpoint.  But...what if I was taught the cops had it out for me.  What if I was taught I had to protect myself from the cops?  It doesn't seem like that is the situation Charlotte is currently facing, but suddenly things are taking on a new light.  I would hate that for  my boys, for them to live in fear of walking down the street at night.  But, what makes it better?  How do we overcome??  There are corrupt cops for sure, but not all of them.  And my heart just breaks for the protesters, for the anger they feel, the unforgiving rage.  It becomes more than just a black and white thing.  The system is broken, but this is not the way to fix it.

So, what does fix it?  Or rather, who?  The answer...Jesus.  Forgiveness.  Violence is not nearly as powerful as love and forgiveness found in Christ.  The shootings in a Charleston church, (maybe last year or early this year??) offer a wonderful example of that.  I was so proud of my hometown, of how the entire community came together to support the victims and FORGIVE the shooter.  The love of Christ was so evident following that incident that it quickly lost press.  THAT is how we handle things.  It seems the Charlotte shooting was clean - though facts are still coming through - that a black cop shot a black man because he had a gun.  Some new evidence may come through in the coming days, but until then, these protests seem to be fueled by pure rage.  There can be no racial drive, as the cop who did the shooting was also black.  Was the man who was shot simply scared for his life based on the police presence?  Maybe.  But what are we trying to accomplish by protesting, rioting, and shutting down the interstate?  The way to get people, to get the police force to understand and truly listen, is NOT by throwing a temper tantrum.  As a mom, I know that to be true - only makes me not listen, and in this case, only reinforces whatever prejudice is driving cops to be fearful. better.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


No one ever told me how lonely motherhood could be.  For as long as I can remember, I longed to be a mother.  I wanted a big family, lots of kids.  I remember planning all this out when I was a child myself, sitting with my elementary school friends talking about how I want to be a stay at home mom, playing house and dolls, in a time when the world told me that was not enough.  I chose a career that would be easy to do part time, one in which I could have the flexibility to control my hours and work as little as 1 morning a week.  I remember those early years in our marriage, longing desperately for a child even before we started trying.  I remember the utter defeat I felt, month after month, in the years of our infertility.  All along, I thought motherhood would make me whole.  Happy.  Complete.  I had a great job, but it was never enough.

My journey into motherhood is scarred at best.  Broken.  I still feel these moments of overwhelming bitterness when I think of our infertility, still questioning why God had us wait for so long.  I question and doubt every decision we made leading up to IVF, wondering if there was some point where we quit trusting God to provide and He began punishing us.  My human heart just wants something to blame.  Being surrounded by other mothers in the same stage of life, dealing with unruly preschoolers, diapered infants, and no time for showers should bring me comfort.  It's the life I live each day.  And yet, I don't know how to relate to these women.  I still feel betrayed and a bit frustrated at the ease in which most of the women conceive.  "We weren't trying" or "this one was a surprise" still just cut right through me.  "God blessed us with a miracle" when I feel like He didn't bless me in that same why.  And I find myself wondering all over again what I did wrong.  Though my head knows the answer is nothing, my heart struggles to feel it.

And once Reagan died, my world was turned upside down.  The "why," never clear and always lurking the back of my mind.  I think pregnancy and complications with Warren and Dean simply served to cover over the grief.  I didn't have it in my weak heart to grieve Reagan's death while being pregnant with major complications with the boys.  And I shut down, not moving forward in the whole process of grief.  Life became simply  and literally keeping them alive.  That was all.  And now?    I'm facing my grief over Reagan in a whole new way, in a new city where people don't know about her life, in an environment surrounded by little girls her age.  I think I heard 4 times today how my hands were full.  But they're not...not as full as they should be.  And how do I communicate that?  I just don't even know.  It seems to keep me separate from other moms, as the hurt just runs deep.  I don't quite know how to move past that.  Or if I can.

Monday, August 15, 2016

9 months

Happy 9 (and a half...oops) months Hannah!!  This little girl is growing up so fast!  She is so incredibly full of joy, laughing and giggling at her brothers, content to play just about anything, in LOVE with peek-a-boo and flipping upside down.  Oh, she can throw her head back in a temper tantrum with the best of them, but I love seeing that innocence in her face, the quickness with which she forgives her brothers for being mean, and the sweet joy she has in life.

Have I really not given a Hannah update since 4 months??  Wow, I knew I was a little behind, but I fully expected that I had at least shared she was sitting...Hmm.  Anyway, she's certainly changed in the months since we moved, getting in 5 (almost 6) teeth, learning to sit, crawl, pull up and cruise, feed herself finger foods.  She looks like a little chunk to me but continues to only be in the 15th percentile and still fits several of her 6 month clothes.  Naps don't come as easily as they used to, but Hannah still loves her night sleep and typically gets a good 11.5-12 hours in.  I know we are completely blessed with that as I think back on those sleepless nights with the boys.

Here are some of her monthly pics.  Poor planning with the blocks as that child will not sit still if there is a toy nearby that she might be able to chew on, so we've lost our visual markers.

6 months, last with a block...

7 months

8 months

9 months

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Facebook memories.  Most days I get a little reminder and see a fun note from an old friend, a picture of Andrew and I traveling, a video of the boys first walking.  Most of the time, it fills my heart, reminds me of how blessed we are.  But some days, it feels like I've been hit in the face with a brick.  I never choose to look at the memories in the weeks following Reagan's birth.  I know better than to look back and read the condolences, to see verses meant at comforting the gut retching pain, or to see my own words of despair.  It's been years, but it sure isn't any easier, and I still have to protect my heart.  But August?  August is one of my favorite memory months - with the boys in the NICU but growing stronger, experiencing so many firsts.  First time wearing clothes, first time breathing without tubes, first time taking a bottle, first time holding them both together without all the wires and tubes.  They still had a ways to come before they could come home with us, but these NICU days were incredible at showing us just how strong our little preemies were and just how miraculous life was in general.  So much we take for granted.

So today, I was completely caught off guard to see a memory of Reagan, our pregnancy announcement.  I was in that "safe zone."  I'd had 3 ultrasounds and knew she was growing well.  We'd heard the heartbeat, and I was moving into my maternity clothes.  How many years will go by before I stop feeling like my world is crashing down around me?  Does it ever?  Probably not...

Moving has been hard for many reasons.  To the outside world, I look like a mother who has her hands full.  Who has *that kid* who is screaming uncontrollably while throwing a crumbled cookie in Publix while the other one runs and grabs the avocados and starts dropping them on the floor while also wearing a crying baby.  I get stares and looks, though I've only ever had 1 person dumb enough to comment to me about where babies come from (if he only knew...).  Add to in the Florida humidity and a constant glistening of sweat, and I have all appearances of being an extremely fertile mother, with more than she can handle.  But the thing no one can see is how much I long for my first baby, how incomplete our family feels.  That I should also have a little girl about to turn 4, adding to the craziness. I hate that she doesn't exist here.  She still felt such a part of our lives in Charlotte - maybe because our friends knew us while I was pregnant with her and were praying for us while she was being born?  Maybe because we had just always imagined her running down the streets of our neighborhood, playing with the other little girls, swimming in the pool and having park dates. I never had those moments, those memories or hopes, in our new town.  And really, that's all we get with Reagan.  Memories and hopes, until we reach heaven.  And then I know (in my head) that it's all worth it, but my heart just can't seem to feel that some days.  I miss my Rea Rea, so much.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bob the Builder Birthday

This was the first year our boys were able to be involved in choosing their party theme.  Had their birthday been 4 months ago, it surely would have been Daniel Tiger.  They would play with a variety of toys, play outside, go to the park, etc.  But they LOVED Daniel Tiger.  With the house on the market, they learned to like this one TV show so I could stage things right before a showing.  But when we moved to FL, they discovered Bob the Builder.  Suddenly, everything was all about fixing things.  Block towers, forts, and puzzles were all completed with the aide of construction trucks.  Warren walked around "fixing" things with his drill.  They became obsessed.  So, when I asked them what kind of party they wanted, both Warren and Dean proclaimed they wanted a Bob the Builder birthday party this year.  Can't argue with that...

And so the planning began.

Birthday Boys!!

Tools for eating

Chips and dip, served in paint cans

Dumping chex mix.  This lasted for all of 2 minutes before Warren dumped the entire truck onto the floor. Sounds about right...

Build your own Dog station, paint brushes for Ketchup and Mustard.  It was actually so much nicer to get that even coat rather than use the bottle and get the big globs.  Just sayin...

Food table

Chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream

Strawberry cake with chocolate buttercream
Building station.  Such fun for the kiddos
Make your own dirt

Pinata.  Not gonna lie, the boys were pretty bad at this.  But it was Warren's one request.  AND we found one shaped like a dump truck :)

Because every girl should ride in a dump truck...

Mommy and Daddy with the birthday boys

And that's about it.  So thankful for everyone who came out to help us celebrate our little, no so little, miracle boys!  Happy 3rd birthday Warren and Dean!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A letter for Warren at 3

Happy 3rd birthday Warrie!  This 3rd year has brought about so many changes, so much growth and development for you!  One year ago, you had maybe 2 or 3 words.  That's all.  And now??  Now, you wake up each morning singing Bob the Builder.  You talk to your brother constantly.  You have come so far, overcome so much, to get to this point.

You are my biggest little boy, older by 1 minute.  And you have done a wonderful job loving your younger brother and sister.  I have loved watching you learn so much this year.  You love your tools, using a screwdriver or drill to "fix" everything around the house.  And you love building a fort - stacking up all the pillows and blankets in the whole house in one big pile.  (I promise not to mess up your pillow pile again tomorrow!)  I love watching you play with your brother, asking about him if he's not in the car with us.  I love how you cannot go to sleep without giving Hannah at least 2 hugs and 2 rounds of kisses, even though you immediately complain about her wet kisses.  And I love watching you come alive in the pool, laughing as you splash us or jump in.

Warren, you are so special to me.  When I think back to your birth, that scary moment when I was told I would deliver before hitting the 3rd trimester, I am just amazed at you and all God has accomplished.  Through the years of therapies and changes, you have thrived.  I love you so much my biggest boy!



A letter for Dean at 3

Happy 3rd birthday Deanie Man!  I love you so very much!

This past year, you have grown so much.  You are such a sweet and caring little boy, always concerned when someone doesn't seem happy, making sure that everyone is included.  My heart swells when I see how you love your brother, how you wait for him and make sure he is okay.  I love your passion for life, how you feel so deeply, even though this often manifests in temper tantrums.  What you feel is always written right on your face, so easy to decipher.  There is no deceit there, just a air of innocence.

You love your cars and trucks, especially the construction trucks.  I love hearing you play and coordinate efforts with Warren to move piles of clothes around the room.  You also love reading and would sit in my lap for hours and hour reading the same book.  I love how, as soon as I'm finished, you ask to read it again.  And I love how you will sometimes come and find me and give me a huge hug, just because.  You love so deeply and I pray you never lose that trait.

Dean, your little life is a miracle.  You are thriving, overcoming your birth history to the point that I feel like I almost don't have to mention it!  Know that you are always loved.



Warren and Dean turn 3!!

Happy birthday boys!!  I cannot believe my boys are 3.  I have 3 year olds!  And to celebrate...they're sleeping in!  Maybe it's because they haven't napped in ages, maybe it's a combination of day camp and swimming in the pool, but I'm feeling very productive on this birthday morning.  Who knows, maybe this will be the new normal...haha, right.

I love Warren and Dean's birthday.  I love it.  There is so much to celebrate on this day.  First, that they were able to have a birthday this late, that they didn't come in May or early June when we thought they would.  And second, that they survived even born so early.  We know all to well that this is not a given, that the odds were against us.  And not just surviving, but thriving.  They are going to camp together, learning so much and sharing it with each other.  This year is a little sweeter, as they are so clearly best friends.  They love each other and look out for each other and play (flight) together, which makes my heart so happy.  Three years ago, I was being moved back from labor and delivery to my longer to room, only to go back to labor and deliver a few hours later.   I still so vividly remember the way our doctor calmly stated "I'm going to take them now."  The rush of fear and anxiety followed immediately by calm and peace.  (And then reeeally calm as the mag drip set in).  We knew God was in control, we knew God would be with us and these little bitty boys.  We didn't know the outcome, knew better than most that there are no guarantees, but we knew that, no matter what, God was by our side.

We are so thankful to celebrate Warren and Dean's 3rd birthday today!!

Friday, May 20, 2016


So days you just feel like a failure as a parent.  Some days we wake up and have a great time playing, everyone is getting along, and there is only moderate levels of whining. Let's be real, with 2 toddlers, the best you can hope for is moderate whining, and I'm okay with that.  And then, you have days like today.  Where there is nearly constant whining.  Where the whining hits a nerve and causes me to yell, which I hate.  Where they run around like animals, banging on the walls, breaking things, hitting their sister, acting like some demon has taken over their little 2-year-old bodies.  Where no amount of punishment or grace has any effect on them.  I just don't get it.  So, tonight I quit.  They are running in their room, banging their blinds, hitting the walls, bound to wake up Hannah.  I have gone in there and tucked them back in.  Gone in and punished them.  Gone in and explained why their actions are dangerous (blinds falling down) and irresponsible (wake up sister).  Nothing matters.  I can even sit in the room with them and they just don't care.  There is no change in action.

Nothing makes you feel less in control that this whole experience with children - from trying to conceive, loss and pregnancy complications, and now parenting.  I used to walk into work sure of what I was doing, knowing what was going on with someone's body and able to help heal them.  That was the easy work.  THIS, this day in and out feeling like a failure, of knowing my children are a bit more, shall we say, free-spirited than most, this is what gets to me.  I worry that my boys aren't getting all they need, that they are falling more behind after losing all our therapies at once.  Yet, we're finding it nearly impossible to get in with a pediatrician here in FL to start the referral process to get the therapy started again.  And we've been told the waiting list for some of them could be months.  Meanwhile, the boys are not interacting well with kids, throwing violent temper tantrums in public.  And no amount of love or disciple makes a bit of difference.  I know we are all sinners, but no one sees that more than the parent - child relationship.  Not with college roommates, not with spouses, it's the kids that point out the sin in your life.  And it's amazing to watch them lie or bite or deceive right in front of you.  AUGH!  I know this is a stage, a stage we prayed for for years.  But it is a difficult stage, stretching me to my limits.

And just when I am about to lose my mind, I step funny and hurt my foot (biopsy this morning on the plantar surface of my foot, so I've been hobbling around all day).  I sit down and cringe.  Dean comes over to me and makes a pouty face/whiny noise.  And says "It's okay Mommy.  I'll take care of you."  I wrap him up in a hug and, as he buries his face in my shoulder, he whispers "I just love you so much."  :)  God knows when we need these moments, for our sake and our kids.  His Grace is sufficient, and I need to rest in that on these off days/weeks.

Potty training starts tomorrow, so that should be fun....more to come on that I'm sure!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Two.  Two is a difficult age.  Well, 2 almost 3 is anyway.  I don't remember right at 2 being so awful.  Having 1 2-year-old is enough to make a mama go crazy.  Having 2 "spirited" aka defiant and strong-willed 2-year-olds is, well, SO HARD.  I've endured many years of "hard" in my life.  I've had times filled with sad-hard, with lonely-hard, with grief-hard.  These days are full, full of life and that spirit, but still so very difficult.  It's the reason the phase "terrible twos" exists.  And I don't get much encouragement from other moms who have these strong-willed children that it will improve any time soon.

It's amazing, how up and down our days are.  One minute we are happily playing trucks, zooming along our makeshift pinterest-fail worthy road, when we suddenly decide we cannot live without an excavator.  Only...there's not one in my direct line of sight.  So, I must scream and throw things.  And then fall down, the more violent the better, slamming my head on the floor.  And THEN, I get to cry legitimate tears because my head is throbbing and/or bleeding.  And then the crying gets worse because my tears and/or blood have dampened my shirt and now I need a new one.  Mommy kindly explains that I need to use my big boy words and ask for the truck I want, but that requires so much more effort than flinging myself around the room while screaming loud enough to wake the neighbors two doors down.

And then, 3 minutes later, I get this running hug, this explosion of love so innocent and so sincere.  With the words "I love you so much, Mommy."  And my heart just melts, and I completely forget all about the hecticness (is that a word??) of moments prior.  Nothing makes it better than a child telling you they want to play with you, or be like you, or that they love you.  Those moments don't seem nearly as often as the others, but oh man, they sure do stick.

Here's the thing I've realized.  I need help.  I cannot raise all 3 of these kiddos so close in age and give them each what they need.  I feel Warren slipping behind in his comprehension without therapy, and I know I need to get him into the routine again...but I cannot with Dean answering all the questions or Hannah crying in the other room.  And Dean needs so much emotional support to make that timid heart feel comfortable and loved.  And Hannah...well, she's still so little.  She gets fed regularly, but otherwise seems to live in the carrier.  She's content to play with a single wooden block for an hour or more, and is often left to fend for herself.  Seems just so wrong.  How do moms of 4, 5, or more kids juggle it all?  How do we give enough of ourselves so that each kid gets what they need??  The truth is, we can't.  The right answer is, God can.  God uses me, despite my brokenness, my mistakes, and even my short temper.  He loves my boys when I cannot handle another minute.  He can give me the strength to endure days like today if I have the faith.  And if I remember to ask.  But, besides that, I really need help.  And somehow, that makes me feel guilty.  This is my job, day in and out, and I cannot do it.  As a successful professional, that is hard to stomach.  Asking for help feels like a failure.  And yet, I've come to a realization that without it, without a break, I will not cherish these precious moments.  So, the search for what our family needs, how I can balance the boys and Hannah and the demands of keeping a home, begins now.

Monday, May 9, 2016


Dirt.  What is it about 2 year old boys and dirt? It makes them so incredibly carefree and happy.  I can pinterest plan an assortment of themed activities and crafts, plan out how we will make cookies and wash the dishes together (aka play in some soapy water), make lion makes by tearing strips of paper and gluing it onto a plate while watching scenes from the Lion King, paint a cardboard box and turn it into a race car, build a town by drawing a street and buildings on a large box and then building houses and cars out of our legos, etc.  So much effort turned into endless temper tantrums, fighting over who gets what, throwing toys, and about 3 minutes of fun.  But dirt… Dirt requires no effort.  I am sitting here outside in the morning sun, Hannah is sleeping peacefully for her nap, and Warren and Dean are playing in a pile of dirt left from the construction on the pool.  Dirt is carried in cups from the pile to the water table, from water table to bucket, bucket to box, and then back to the pile.  Sometimes it’s dirt, sometimes it’s pancake mix, sometimes it’s strawberry cake, and on special days it’s pizza.  It’s been almost an hour and there has been one temper tantrum.  ONE.  That is just incredible.  They play well with minimal temper tantrums when they’re on their own, but put these 2 boys together – whether they play the same thing or not – and there is almost always someone screaming.  But not when there is dirt.  Picture it…I’m sitting and typing this WHILE THEY ARE AWAKE!  Or at least in their room “napping” not napping.

I was so disappointed our pool progress has become about a month delayed.  BUT, it’s giving me these relaxing dirt mornings, before the Florida heat gets too hot.  I get to watch their imaginations develop as they turn a pile of dirt into so many different things.  I get to watch them play together, laugh and smile, and help each other out.  All without me having to lecture, threaten, or bribe them.  What a beautiful morning!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day is rapidly approaching.  We're spending time making an assortment of handprint/footprint art for that special day.  There is nothing I like more than something with my kids prints on them.  I love looking back at the handprint platter from the boys 1st Mother's Day, knowing their huge hands now would never fit on such a small surface.  I have a whole collection I cherish.  And yet, it is so painful to see.  It's so hard, because not all my children are included in the way I would want.  My children, all 4 of them, are not accurately counted.  And that will always make this week difficult.

I'm so incredibly blessed to have Reagan's footprints.  I know not everyone who experiences stillbirth gets those, especially children who passed in the years before Reagan.  I stamp each of my living children's hands or feet, get these blurry images that I love so much, messy just like real life, getting a glimpse into the crazy of life.  And then, when the kids are all tucked into bed, I pull out Reagan's box, handcrafted and painted by my parents.  I sift through her cards, letters, special clothes, until I find her footprints.  And then I have to make a photocopy.  And then cut those out, or trace over them, or do something to try to transfer them to the art project of the moment.  I am so so thankful I can always include her in our art, that her footprints are right there with her younger brothers and sister.  But it's so heartbreaking.  Those feet never change.  They remain so, so tiny.  They actually seem to get smaller as everyone else grows bigger.  I HATE that I don't get to see them grow.  I HATE that life seems to be passing her by.  I HATE that I don't get to see my first baby girl grow up, that I miss those bouncing curls and ballerina feet.  I love that Hannah gets to wear her clothes and use her toys and blankets, but it some days it makes me miss those moments with Reagan even more.  As everyone comments on how beautiful Hannah is, I remember vividly how beautiful Reagan was.  And how no one else got to experience that, no one else besides us got to see her.  Oh, how I long for the day when I can introduce her to our families!

It's been many years since I walked the road of infertility.  And many in our new town would never know the pain this holiday brings for us, as I am so much surrounded with living life as a mother.  Mother's day - the day I dreaded for so long.  I still, years later, am just filled with anxiety about the day.  I feel for my friends who are waiting for their babies.  I feel for my friends who have lost babies, long ago forgotten by the world, who are waiting for their families to be complete.  This Mother's Day, take a moment to pray for the wife sitting quietly without kids running by, the mother who has experience miscarriage, the mother who doesn't have all her children at home with her.  This is one of the hardest of days.  And yet, one of the most beautiful.  Reagan made me a Mommy.  She was my first, will always be my first.  SHE is the reason I was able to celebrate this day before I had little feet running through the house.  And for that, no matter how painful, I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


I haven't felt as though I have much to blog these days.  No new insight, nothing profound.  Days are spent trying to entertain kids who just desperately want to play outside in the dirt but cannot since our backyard is currently under construction.  Nights are spent trying to unpack and fix the numerous little things wrong with this house.  We are so not "fix it up" kind of people.  This may be the only used house we purchase.  Wow, how self-righteous that sounds.  But seriously, everything is just a little off.  Faucets all leak, washer leaks, fridge breaks, garbage disposal breaks, dishwasher tips over if you open the drawer all the way, outlets don't work, wall switches are connected to nothing and yet some lights we can't figure out how to turn on...  Nothing major, just adds up to be a myriad of little things that all need to be fixed so I don't have to blow dry my hair in the toilet room (not even sure WHY there is an outlet in that little room, but it's the only working one in the bathroom at the moment.  Don't worry, it's located right next to the phone jack... Not so sure about the previous owners...)

The drive to FL was hard.  It was hard to leave behind the Carolinas.  I know we'll be back to visit, but we just have so much history there, so much life was lived there.  I actually got a call from my awesome maternal fetal specialist doc when he found out we had moved.  Who does that??  Who has such amazing doctors that they call just to say bye.  I doubt I can find that again.  Anway, we spent a few days in Clemson at the spring game and lake before making the trip to FL.  One last visit with my sis, one last trip to watch the Tigers play, before it just becomes more difficult.  I felt homesick.  Oh no, wait, not homesick.  Stomach sick.  Yep, that 8 hour drive from Clemson turned into 12 as I caught a stomach bug.  A bug that seemed to persist forever.  Let me just say I am thankful we moved to the town where my inlaws live so that they could spend that week caring for the boys while Andrew handled the move and I hid upstairs.  Ugh...

I am anxious to get out of the house, to get out and about, but it's disappointing to learn most things seem to be ending for the summer.  It's a bit overwhelming to think of entertaining the kids without structured events when it's too hot to just go out to the park.  I didn't realize just how much I depended on those therapy hours, just that little bit of structure, to help us through our day.  And naps...oh, how I miss the naps.  Without those, it's 13 hours of non stop kiddos.  Every. Single. Day.  Whew!  Just a stage, I keep reminding myself.  This is just a stage...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


The house is being packed up.  I am sitting surrounded by boxes, bare walls, empty counter tops.  I am overwhelmingly sad and nostalgic as I think back over these last 6.5 years.  So much life has happened in these walls, so many struggles, so much heartache, so much joy.  We have experienced laughter and tears, highs and lows, crushing despair and immeasurable joy.  We learned the fullness of Christ and His promises and faithfulness.  There will never be another first home.

Saying goodbye is just as hard as I expected.  As I sit here late at night with quiet for the first time in what seems like weeks, and I able to reflect and look back on this time together.  Our marriage grew so much in this home, outside the bubble of easy life and careless days.  We have faced so much together, and God has carried us through.  This little area of land became my full time home while on bed rest all those months, became my home and place of work when the boys came home 2.5 years ago.  With 2 years of isolation, I have spent more time inside these 4 walls than anywhere else in the world.  And for those years, these walls WERE my whole world.  I am going to desperately miss it. **Trying not to cry....trying and failing miserably...

These past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind.  We've had showing after showing, planned last trips and things I wanted to do "just one more time."  The schedule has been full.  And for the most part, it has been wonderful.  The boys have loved all the trips to the parks and museums, play dates, and time with their friends.  This week started with a trip up to Blowing Rock, my happy place.  The mountains will forever be my place with Reagan - my last trip before complications started with her pregnancy, our last fun trip away, our little babymoon.  And every time I go, I just feel such a sense of peace, of knowing that God is with me.  This time, it was in the stillness of the pond and the little purple wildflowers growing along the path.  Leaving the close proximity to the mountains, to Blowing Rock in particular, is one of the huge drawbacks to moving.  I just love it there.  Our car ride home, though, was filled with the sounds of our living children.  Of endless (literally, endless...) crying from one child, constant whining and complaining from another, and some seriously sound sleeping and snoring from another.  The car ride was anything but peaceful, and by the end I felt that all too familiar throb in my head and a little twitch in my eye.  Andrew was on a conference call and he was equally as frustrated with the sheer volume of our car.  And yet, I was filled with peace (which could ONLY have come from Christ, as I would normally have wanted to rip out my hair).  Peace and love for my children, appreciation that Dean was able to whine using so many words when we doubted if he would ever speak.  Appreciation that Hannah had no lung weakness as she put that to the test and confirmed that she is strong enough to scream for 2+ hours.  And appreciation that Warren sleeps like the Savant men, that despite the chaos around him he was able to find rest, waking only once to calmly state "Hannah's crying" before drifting off again.

I came home and I wanted to hug my children, I wanted to cling to them and never let go.  I was so grateful for each of them.  Being in my Reagan place always puts things in perspective.  Having those moments to feel close to our oldest daughter, remembering where she is and what she is doing, and remembering WHY she is able to live out eternity in heaven is so wonderful.  This Easter season, recognizing the sacrifice of giving up ones only child, just leaves me in awe and wonder.  My love is flawed and selfish at best, and yet I would still do anything to have Reagan with me.  I cannot fathom choosing to be separated from her, and then choosing to put my judgement on her.  I can't even imagine how painful that would be.  And I am so thankful that because God chose that, because Jesus was obedient, I get to spend eternity with my daughter.  I love springtime and the reminder that comes with that.  And so, driving home, my heart was full.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but completely and utterly filled.

Oh, and Hannah turned 5 months!  Poor child... We got some good pictures before the craziness started.  And she is still such a sweet little girl, and easy going for the most part.  We really ask a lot of her, to wake her from naps after only 20 minutes sometimes for showings, to expect her to sleep in a car/carrier/my arms/the store/etc as the world still revolves around these crazy boys.  But she seems to handle it all in stride.  She now rolls all over the place and won't stay on her back for more than a few seconds if there is no one interesting to look at.  She likes her feet, her thumb, and any number of rattles/plush toys.  This child is not picky when it comes to her toys.  She'll take a lego if that's all I've got for her.  And we are working on sitting, though she tends to just fold right in half and rest with her head on her toes.  Aww, to be that flexible...

Monday, March 14, 2016

4 months and a dress

So, Hannah turned 4 months old!  2 weeks ago...oops.  It's been a busy and hectic 2 weeks, so I'm just now getting around to writing about our sweet daughter.

The last month passed in a blur of cleaning and home showings, temper tatrums and 2 year olds, and little Hannah just hanging on for the ride.  She's still very content, happily going along wherever we end up.  She's sleeping through the night and in her very own room.  She loves sucking her thumb and will put herself back to sleep in seconds if she can find that right one.  She's still rolling to her back and is getting close to being able to roll to her belly.  If I could safely leave her on the floor without worrying about her getting trampled, she'd be much more likely to accomplish that feat.  And she has the greatest little giggle and open mouth smile.  Love it - the joy expressed by a child. <3

My past month has revolved around creating Hannah's baptism gown.  Whew.  I got the idea to search pinterest for a gown I could make about 5 weeks ago.  My thought was I would sew something lacy, but I couldn't find a pattern I liked all that much.  And let's be honest, my sewing skills are sub par at best.  I can sew a straight line, but I'd really rather someone else handle the pinning and cutting.  And then I came across this little crocheted thing, and thought, wow.  That's beautiful and I can definitely do that.  Three days later I had about 1 inch of a vertical stripe for the skirt, and knew I was in trouble.  Where to find the time to do this??  I can crank out a hat with yard in under 30 minutes.  But this dress, with the thin string...  Step 1, chain 316.  Eek.  And then came along my husband, sweet man that he is, who said "you can't finish that."  Well, I don't have a choice now, do I?? Stubborn Meghan took over and I just had to do it.  Of course I also wanted Hannah to have something special, something she could pass down to her own children one day.  I knew it was something I would have made for Reagan and I didn't want the fact that Hannah was our 4th and my days were busy to stop her from having something beautiful too.  So, for the next 5 weeks, every spare second was spent on the dress.  From the second Hannah went down until 11:30, from the time my alarm went off in the morning until kids woke up, nap times, and even while nursing Hannah, I was crocheting.  It became somewhat of a full time job at times.  But, it was finished just in time.  And our sweet daughter was baptized Sunday into God's promises.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Big Boy Beds

We have made the transition.  A few weeks earlier than I would have liked, but there you have it.  Big. Boy. Beds.  The transition has been rough, to say the least.  It's honestly ruining a number of relationships and dynamics in our household right now.  As I'm typing this during "nap" time, I hear Dean and Warren fighting, dresser drawers opening and closing, things slamming.  In the past week we experienced bite marks, hitting, overturned furniture, various ointments smeared over the room, clothes strewn about, etc.  I miss my babies in their cribs.

The initial days were filled with the basics...not wanting to nap, getting out of their cribs, pulling clothes out of the drawer or books off the shelf.  Nothing major, just a little time spent picking up once the designated "rest" time was over.  As week 1 progressed though, they rapidly became bored with these minor indiscretions.  Thursday started out rough, as they ripped each and every page out of their 2 new books.  By 1pm, after 3 days of no naps, they were exhausted.  I put them down, confident they would be asleep in minutes.  As I fed Hannah, I patted myself on the back for the quiet that was happening in the other room.  I didn't hear much of anything.  A few murmurs every once in a while, but no screaming as in previous days.  I sat downstairs and played with Hannah, ate a quick sandwich, thought about what would take priority on my first day with naps during the week in a while.  And then I heard a giggle.  Hmmm....let them play, I thought.  Then I heard a dresser drawer.  "It's easy to clean up the clothes.  Not worth the argument now" I thought.  Then came the "stop it Warrie."  Sigh...up I go.  I was not prepared for the sight when I opened the door.  Clothes were everywhere, not a single item left in the drawers.  Dean and Warren were soaking wet.  Wait a minute...not wet...greasy.  What is that??  Oh, an entire tub (TUB) of Burt's Bee's ointment.  Gross.  Into the bath they go. As I'm asking Warren what happened (he keeps saying, with a huge smile on his face, "I put the stuff in my hair. I put the stuff in my hair") I learn that the "stuff" was also put on the chair, floor, clothes, and wall.  Eek.  I return to the room, swivel the chair around, and find it COVERED in the "stuff."  A little bit of butt paste mixed in and, well, you've got hours of clean up.

Friday nap time came around, and I have removed some of the clothes from their drawers after 5 loads of laundry the day before to get said "stuff" off.  Books are gone from their shelves, table is removed so there is no climbing.  And the chair is still drying out from the deep clean the night before.  Their room is bare...or so I think.  Somehow, they managed to overturn the entire dresser.  And find Dean's fancy prescription cream to smear all over the dresser and wall and remaining clothes.  Into the bath they go...  I then take and shut them into the playroom to begin the clean up process.  Screaming begins and I find 2 fresh bite marks on Dean and some whelps on Warren's back from a wooden stick.  Sigh...  I put in a movie and all is quiet for about 5 minutes.  I resume the clean up process.  In the back of my mind I hear a few banging noises, but they are boys, and no one is crying, so it's a win.  Or not...  I walk back into the playroom and Dean grins up at me.  "I got the fishy Mommy."  Huh?? I turn back to look at the TV where Finding Nemo was playing and see a whole lot of lines and black space that was not there just a few minutes ago.  Yeah, you got the fishy buddy...

These are the days, these long days, when I feel like a complete and utter failure as a mom.  I cannot balance Hannah's needs with the boys' needs with my own.  Everyone gets just a little piece, but no one gets all they need.  And by the end of the day, we are exhausted.  And I'm ready to quit.  To retire.  To hire full time help.  Something.  Days with twin two-year-olds stretch me to my limit.  And then....then we have conversations like we did in the car today.  Warren and Dean are sitting in the back saying "Nutter Butter".  They had just gone to the grocery store before picking me up, so I'm thinking they got a peanut butter treat.  Nope.  Peanut butter? Nope.  As they keep repeating it, I realize they're saying "another brother" quoting a book we have at home.  Ahh...  Andrew says "do you want another brother" (deep breath as I imagine adding another brother into this craziness).  And Dean gets so sad.  No, I don't want another brother.  I want to have Warrie.  Ahhh....melt.  "Warrie my  best friend"  Ahhh...the cuteness.  The tender heart.  That child.  They really do love each other so, despite the fighting and trouble making.  And they road the rest of the way home singing songs and holding hands and loving their brother. <3

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

3 Months

I cannot believe our little girl is already 3 months old.  Time has just flown by!

At the end of 3 months, I already know so much about her.  How she likes to be swaddles, how she likes to be held, what songs will put her to sleep, what positions are most comfortable.  I know what her smile looks like when she is happy and what her cries are trying to tell me.  These are all things I wasn't able to know having twins, or maybe it was having preemies, or some combination of those factors.  Regardless, this sweet little girl is a breeze and complete joy.  I couldn't have asked for anything better to add to our mix of crazy.

And yet, I constantly feel like I am not enough.  It's so incredibly hard to balance time with the kids, to split myself amongst 3 little needy people.  When I am reading and doing puzzles and running with the boys, poor Hannah is left to defend herself from the floor.  When I am nursing Hannah or putting her down for one of her naps, the boys are left on their own.  This means I am returning to a room that is destroyed, books strewn about and things ripped off the walls.  Or, they are being babysat for that 10 minutes by a quick TV show...followed by the tantrums that I make them turn it off.  Don't get me wrong, these are good struggles to have, but it is a difficult stage of life.

I read (the beginning anyway) of another article on infertility earlier today.  And I am reminded that this crazy, messy life filled with temper tantrums and biting, silly smiles and laughter, tears and so many firsts is EXACTLY what my heart longed for.  In these quiet moments when Hannah is sleeping and the boys are destroying something I'm sure I'll be cleaning in just a few minutes, I am reminded that this is what I prayed for.  For a home that is full, for little feet running through it.  Though we always miss our Reagan's feet, though I always know life should be a little more crazy and my heart aches for that, I am so thankful for these moments.

So...Hannah ends 3 months right on track, rolling over, smiling at herself in the mirror, finally starting to enjoy tummy time, LOVING her thumb, and not too far off from graduating to the next size of clothes.  We don't have an exact weight or length (man, it takes some getting used to to not have bimonthly weight checks and appointments...) but somewhere just shy of 12 pounds and 25 inches.  Whew!