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.