Friday, June 25, 2010

Foto Friday: Twirl

I am by no means a photographer and my camera probably deserves the ridicule of anyone who knows anything about capturing a good shot, but lately I have been intrigued by photography and have made it a goal to try and capture moments when I feel happiness oozing from my little ladies. I even ditched JC Penney and set up an on-location photo session with a real photographer last weekend for our family photos -- and boy do I have some AMAZING shots to share. But first I have to narrow down my 70 favorites to about you'll see them in about a year. ;)

Until then, here are a few I snapped during one of the many daily dance parties that happen around here. Dresses and skirts are the clothing of choice for my girls (besides Kendall's bathing suit, but that's a whole other story...). However, there is one very important criteria...they must T.W.I.R.L.

If they don't, well, they might just as well be pants.

So while the shots from this past weekend may have some fabulous shots of pink twirling dresses and an adoring Daddy, these will have to do for now. Happy Friday everyone!

And, of course, there is always time for a quick pose or two...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brooklyn Update: On the Move

Today's non-stress test and ultrasound were mostly low-key with no dramatics.

(That is, if you don't count my hormonal breakdown in the middle of the OB office when I realized I got my appointment time wrong and they wanted me to reschedule. Needless to say, my tears and a whole lot of begging still got me in before noon. We even made a new 3.75-hour appointment time record!)

So besides that, Miss Brooklyn cooperated, and we passed our non-stress test. Our ultrasound, however, showed that she is indeed a busy bee and is back to a breech position. Yes, she managed to do a complete 180 in the last 3 weeks, so we may be back to that C-section after all. Only time will tell if our wiggle worm will go back "into position" or if she's ready to stay put.

The good news is that she is clearly moving around just fine in there. Plus, my mind has now been "prepped" for either type of delivery, so it's in God's hands. He knows which is the safest delivery route for her, and I am happy to do either. At this point, I just want her to be born so I can hold her! (Although a prayer or two for her to wiggle back would be nice... :)

Her ventricles were measuring a little larger (which helps determine the amount of excess fluid in her brain), but the increases were small and were in line with normal growth. Both ventricles are at about 21 mm. So while we have surpassed the dreaded 20-mm mark -- which some say is cause for concern -- we are trusting that God will protect Brooklyn's brain. However, please keep praying for the fluid to decrease. How awesome would it be to see that miracle happen?!

She is still a little peanut (about a week behind "schedule") but is up to 4 lbs and 7 oz. She is facing away from my belly, which means her spine is literally pressed up against my belly button for the whole world to bump into. I swear this child wants to give me more gray hair. But then again, she fits right in with her big sisters. We make them spunky around here!

My next OB appointment is next week, but I have no idea when I will have another ultrasound. I did manage to get a quick profile shot out of the technician this time, but I didn't want to push it since I was already on borrowed time.

34 weeks

(In case you can't make it out, the photo shows her looking up -- you can see her nose, lips, chin and little bit of her chest. That may be her arm over her head...not sure.)

So that's the latest. Keep praying, please! Only 5 more weeks to go!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To The Man in Our Lives

Happy Father's Day to a man who would literally do anything for his girls, whether that means putting on some Mickey ears, making holiday crafts, whipping up pancakes every Saturday morning, or reading Fancy Nancy fifteen times in the course of a week.

A man who is more than a father, but a Daddy that will kiss the owies and get right in there and be a part of their little lives.

A man who I completely trust with the precious hearts of our girls.

I love you, sweetie, for the man that you are to our children and to me. We are so very blessed to have you as the only man in our lives!












Thursday, June 17, 2010

Drama Queen

Did you know that an OB appointment can last 7 hours? No really. You didn't? Well, it can.

Did you know you could turn that harmless appointment into a fun-filled trip to labor and delivery, complete with a call to your hubby to get his butt downtown a.s.a.p.? You know, just for kicks...

And did you know you can then top it all off by driving home in 2 hours of Chicago traffic during rush hour when there is a complete downpour?

Oh, yes, yes, you can.

That, my friends, was my Tuesday.

And, yes, I would REALLY like some WINE with that whine. Please, please have a glass for me. Or two. ;)

Now, first of all, let me say that everything is totally fine and that the drama here is totally intended. (But, of course, we all know there is at least a smiggin' of truth in sarcasm.)


Needless to say, Tuesday's appointment wasn't as "uneventful" as we had hoped. Well, in the end it was (a blessing, I know!), but not without some drama.

I really, really hate drama. I try to avoid it at all costs, but I'm afraid I'm turning into a drama queen. Seriously. I've never even broken a bone, but now? Well, I feel like it's always something.

And it's not like a "poor, poor me" kinda thing -- honestly. It's more like a "this is getting embarrassing because I need you to now watch my kids for 7 hours because I can't seem to sit on a fetal monitor without something fluke-ish happening" kinda thing. I mean really?

So here's what happened: I went for a typical OB appointment (no ultrasound), which started with a stress (NST) test. I got downtown in record time, so I was feeling really good that we were going to break our current 5-hour minimum: NST, pee, weight, belly measure, and see ya next week!


I was hooked up to the NST machine, chatting away with my nurse while Miss Brooklyn was happily displaying her latest moves via line graph, when BEEP, BEEEEP, BEEEEEEP!!!!

Nurse runs out; another runs in. Doctor comes in. "Turn on your right side. Turn on your left."

Chaos, chaos, chaos.

"Turn back over and let's get that heartbeat again."

No more BEEEEEEPS! Just beep, beep.


Me: "What just happened?"

New female OB I had just met who looked like she was straight out of Grey's Anatomy: "Your baby's a bit of a trouble maker. Her heart rate dropped significantly for a while there, but she looks fine now. We just want to monitor you over at labor and delivery for a few hours. We'll do your OB exam over there."

Me: "Uh, okay."

So I call Jeff and waddle across the street to triage, call my absolutely angelic sister-in-law babysitter, get hooked up again, and snooze until my now-stressed hubby arrives. Oh joy.

Brooklyn is fine, but yes, she is a trouble maker. It appears that she decided to grab hold of the umbilical cord and give it a good squeeze, which made her heart rate plummet just enough to freak us all out.

But all is well now.

She is moving plenty, and I feel fine. And this grabbing thing? Well, it doesn't surprise me. I swear this girl has a hold on my bladder and squeezes it any time she feels the need for a good laugh...and lately, that is quite often. :)

I too can laugh about it all now, but I'll admit it wore on me a little Tuesday night after I finally got the girls to bed and I was waiting for Jeff to get home from his second trip into work...ya know, at 9pm.

But we all need a good cry now and then, right? And thank goodness I decided to give in and buy that heavenly bag of chocolate the night before when I went grocery shopping. Now THAT was a God-send for sure.

So there's some more drama for ya'll. I have an ultrasound next week, so we'll see what happens. At least I get to see Miss Queenie herself and those grabby hands! Seriously, could I write a better script?

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I sit on my bed, belly up, with a needle in my hand.

I am finally listening to my OB and attempting to take my second daily shot of blood thinner that somehow has taken me 10 weeks to accomplish. There is just not enough time in the day.

This needle, this shot, has nothing to do with Brooklyn. It is to protect me. Yet as I get ready to give the shot, she moves and I am distracted. She shifts, and the right side of my belly sticks up and contorts and is uneven. How that still amazes me.

I carefully put my hand on what I am sure is her backside. The tears start to fall, and I pray hard for healing. I pray for power in my hand. I hold her the only way I know how to right now, and I talk to her out loud and in unspoken words that go straight from my soul to my belly. She kicks, and my heart jumps. I am now smiling through the tears, and I know it is time to give the shot.

As the needle goes in my belly, it stings. Some shots hurt more than others, but today it’s not that bad. A breath of relief sneaks out. It’s the little blessings sometimes.

Yes, there are bruises on my belly. Bruises that were never there before this pregnancy. They are bruises I can hide and never show. But that wouldn’t be fair.

Because I am not alone. We are all hurting, somehow, some way. I am no different than anyone else going through this life. Life stings, and at times it may feel like too much pain to endure. But we do. We get through it.

The bruises fade, and we move on. But we never forget the sting.

And that’s where I know I am different….but in a good way. I could get angry. I could hold on to the pain, bury it deep within my body. I could focus on the hurt, the black and the blue, and give in to my human nature to sit in the sadness and dwell.

But that is where He comes in.

He doesn’t take away the sting, but He will heal the bruises and, most of all, He will fill the brokenness that goes so far beyond my skin. He will replace those bruises with all the colors of the rainbow, making the black and the blue beautiful and in perfect harmony with the bigger picture He is painting.

If you don’t know who He is, I am talking about God. And He makes all the difference in the world.

You see, I will get to hold the baby in my belly, look at her face, and I KNOW that I will be in awe of the beauty He has created. Not only because the Bible says it ( Romans 8:28 ), but because I feel it…even now. And that feeling is so much stronger than the sting.

I am still healing, yes, and it still hurts. But the assurance, the promise that lays before me is what I bury deep within my body. And even though there is another shot in my near future, there is also a life to live, a man to love, little girls to take care of, and much happiness to be had.

I will not be wounded. I will be better.

For me,
for her,
for them,
for Him.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Foto Friday: F is for Fun

So, I realize this blog has gotten a little heavy lately. I write when I feel led, and today I feel led to lighten up a little and share some of our family fun.

Truth be told, I was born a scheduler and rule-follower -- especially when it comes to our girls -- which means that sometimes I have to be reminded to chill out and just live. They are only little once, and the best part about being a Mommy is that you get the chance to be little all over again.

One thing that I have definitely learned over these few months is that life is truly what you make it. You can either jump in and laugh, or sit and miss out on all the fun. So I have vowed to change things around this house -- making it more playful and more joyful and full of l.i.f.e.

That started with a promise to make this summer as fun as possible...balancing planned trips with last-minute adventures and all-out silliness (and getting some work done in between). Although my hormones are trying REALLY hard to work against us, I think we've gotten off to a great start!

(Cue lots and lots of photos... Enjoy!)

Impromptu trips to random parks we drive past

Home-made popsicles on the deck

Touch a Truck day!



Home-made pizza WITH lots of gooey (dairy-free) cheese

Making sure we are dressed appropriately for every occasion ;)


Lots of fun with glitter (which Jeff just loves...)


Tickle fights with Daddy at bedtime

And last but not least...getting creative when Mommy is in bed sick all day (and Daddy is on the clock ;)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Faith Like a Child

When actions speak louder than words...


Saturday, June 05, 2010


It’s absolutely amazing how God has revealed himself to us these last few months. Sometimes it’s in quiet whispers as I look out the window or soak in the smell of a giggling ponytail bouncing on my lap. Other times, I swear He has been right there in the room, very loudly telling us, “I am here.”

Even in the weeks leading up to our first ultrasound, I feel God was whispering in an effort to prepare my heart, even though I had no idea what was to come. I vividly remember sitting on the couch with Jeff a few days before the ultrasound, telling him that sometimes I had a small feeling we might have a child with special needs simply because I thought Emma would be so awesome with him or her. Jeff quickly dismissed the idea—and so did I—assuming it was nothing more than “third-child paranoia" and nerves.

As I’ve mentioned before, we also decided to find out the sex of our baby this time—Jeff’s idea—and I admit I was pretending to be more excited about it than I was. It honestly didn’t matter to me. I also have never been a huge fan of saying, “As long as it’s healthy” simply because what if the baby wasn’t healthy? What if she had 9 fingers instead of 10? Did it matter? Would you not love the baby the same? I can honestly say that those words never sat right with me…especially now.

On the day of our ultrasound, Jeff and I were on the phone (he was meeting me there), and I asked him if he was excited. He said he was, and I teased him about the baby being difficult so that we wouldn’t be able to find out the sex. But then in all seriousness, I said, “We do need to remember what this ultrasound is really about. It’s not about girl or boy—although that is bonus information—it is about our baby and his or her health.” He agreed, and we hung up as I arrived at the ultrasound facility.

Now don’t get me wrong, the information we received in that ultrasound room took both of us completely by surprise. I plan to write about that experience in the future, but I can tell you I will never forget Jeff’s reaction. Watching a heart breaking before your very eyes is an image you can’t escape. The red cheeks, the confused eyes, the nervous hands…it’s like it happened yesterday. I will never forget that night -- ever -- even though I was in total shock. Even today, the reality of it all surprises me and catches me off guard as we go about our daily routine. Sometimes I think that is a sign of pure acceptance, while other times I wonder if it’s God giving my heart a break.

So it’s not like I had this “I already knew” moment, but as I look back, I can hear the whispers. The small preparations He made. The way He opened my heart to His possibilities, His plan—a plan that was so far removed from mine.

And while I have lots of “yelling” moments to tell you about as well (stay tuned!), I have learned to listen closely for His whispers.

Sometimes they provide what I feel might be very real information, but most of the time, they just provide a whole lot of comfort when I need it the most. Sometimes they come from a little girl who stops mid-eating to quietly pray for her sister’s “sick legs,” and other times they come from another little girl who stops mid-play to announce in her proudest (and loudest!) voice that she is going to be a big sister.

No matter the volume of His voice, I am trying to listen hard these days…and that usually means ignoring the world a little bit.

In my hallway, a framed image reads:
“Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud.”

I am still learning to listen, to drown out the other voices, and I am far from perfect. Before this experience, I admit that I would pick and choose when I followed God’s lead. I'm sure He has tried to tell me a lot these last few years, but life is busy, and well, it’s easy to get caught up in the meaningless jibber-jabber that is all around us. I can only imagine what I've missed, the murmurs of Truth I've ignored.

But now, it is different. Everything is different. I am different.

I am listening.

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

Psalm 73:24 NIV

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Quick Update...All is Well

Good news at our ultrasound today! Brooklyn's ventricles are about the same size as last time, which means the fluid in her brain is stable and not rapidly increasing. Praise God!

Of course, we would like all that fluid to simply disappear, but one step at a time. For now, we are rejoicing in what was actually a pretty uneventful appointment. Jeff was able to meet me there this time, so I feel kinda bad that we were in and out of the ultrasound pretty quickly. No sneak peeks at her cute little nose or even those kicking feet. But we both realize we can't expect every single appointment to be some momentous occasion, and honestly, it was kinda nice that it wasn't. Hearing a simple "all is well" is more than okay with us these days.

Miss Brooklyn is weighing in at a petite 3 lbs, 1 oz, which puts her at about the 23 percentile and definitely within normal growth rates. (A very good thing!) However, because she is a little bit on the smaller side, our OB is being cautious and would like to make sure she is getting enough oxygen, which means he wants me to start having weekly (yes, WEEKLY) NST tests...ugh!...on top of seeing me for regular appointments every 2 weeks...ugh!....and an ultrasound every 3 weeks...grumble, grumble, grumble...

Now, I don't mean to be whiny preggo, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that this makes me a tad frustrated. These appointments literally take half a day. Today, for example, was 5 hours from the time I left my house until the time I picked up my little ladies. Five hours! Last time was 6 hours. That's a long time for my wonderful babysitters (love you, sisters!) and kinda exhausting for this mama. BUT, it is part of the deal, Brooklyn is totally worth it, and, well, we gotsta get used to it. So suck it up I will.

Our OB is willing to let me do some of the NST tests at Palos, so I don't have to go out there EVERY time, which I suppose is a little better. Right?!?!???? Yes, yes it is ( I inhale five more peanut butter M&Ms...)

Anywho... she is still in position for a normal delivery (which they are really encouraging us to do), and she is really moving a lot -- hands and feet! Jeff gets to feel her move all of the time, and both girls love talking to my belly and making her kick. (I swear she knows their voices!) I know how much joy it brings to my heart every time I feel her move, and it is so awesome that they get to enjoy that now too. We get to rejoice as a family, and it only makes us that much more excited to meet her.

So, my friends, that is the scoop. As always, thank you for your prayers. You are all taking a part in our baby's life and our family's journey, and we are eternally grateful for the work your prayers have done. Next ultrasound in 3 weeks...let's hope it's just as uneventful! :)