Monday, April 27, 2015

When the Arrival is Different

It seems that there's a month, a day, or a week for everything these days. National Siblings Day, National Hot Dog Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Wear Green Underwear Day... well, that last one I made up.

Maybe it exists though.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that April is National C-Section Awareness month, and while I'm not usually one to really line up in solidarity or support or whatever of these sort of things - this one is very near and dear to my heart. 

Both of my children were born via c-section.

Me pregnant with Will, 3 years ago yesterday, just about 38-39 weeks.
Even though I've said that out loud dozens of times, somehow typing it in the context of this post just made me pause and choke up a little bit. 

When we were pregnant with my son (and yes, I said "we" - my husband suffered through the pregnancy and don't kid yourself ladies, your spouse suffered too), I remember distinctly having this feeling on my heart that it was going to end in a c-section. God knows the whole story, the whole picture, and even though I sat through birthing classes and took notes and practiced breathing and did all my kegels... He was emotionally preparing me for what the end was really going to look like. 

At my 39 week appointment, I found out that the swelling I had been experiencing was due to a sudden spike in my blood pressure. I didn't have pre-eclampsia, but it was still alarming; I had put on 25-30 pounds in 3ish weeks, all water weight. After two non-stress tests and an overnight urine collection (that was fun), we were induced on our due date. 

I wasn't even a little dilated. The word my OB used was "pristine" to describe my cervix. 

24 hours passed and I still hadn't started contracting. I was barely dilated. The pitocin drip was started. After several more hours my water still hadn't broken; it wasn't until my OB threatened to force the issue that my water broke on its own around hour 36. An hour later I had my epidural. By hour 48 I was still only 4-5 cm dilated and it had been about 8 hours since Will's heart rate was recovering post-contraction they way that it should have been. 

50.5 hours later, Will received his official eviction notice. 

I was wheeled into the OR and I was scared. I had never had a major surgery before and even though God had been preparing my heart for this since the first time I had heard my son's heartbeat - I was still scared. I'm not sure if it was the chill of the OR, the anesthesia/morphine mix, or my nerves that had me shaking so badly on the table... probably all three. 

My husband just kept whispering Joshua 1:9 in my ear while squeezing my hand, a quiet and calming reminder from my teammate: "Be strong and courageous, God is with you... be strong and courageous, God is with you..." 

At 11:08 AM that day, Will was born.

In the recovery room with my little man Will.
I didn't get to push. He wasn't placed on my chest for immediate skin to skin and he didn't get his first milk against my bosom until about an hour later in our recovery room. 

I wasn't the first non-medical person to hold him. The first glance I got of my son was two nurses holding him towards me while they rushed him to get cleaned and warm and washed up. And while I am SO glad that Steve got the opportunity to be in the room while he was getting prepped and washed and got to help the nurses and give them his name...

...for about two years, there was a part of me that always mourned my textbook, perfect birthing momma moment that never happened. 

In my story and in every story I've heard of a first c-section, no one ever says that they wanted it to be that way. Even though God prepared my heart and I knew in my gut that it would be my story, a part of me was really looking forward to pushing, to having that moment of messy baby on my chest right out of the birthing canal. To have Steve cuddle into us and put his arm around me and our son and to have that be our story.

Instead my story was a cuddle on my net-covered head while I awkwardly held my son on the OR table for a brief moment until I was ready to be moved. 

A new baby and my first major surgery all in one day.

I couldn't stand up and change those first meconium diapers of grossness that they tell you about. Steve got the pleasure of changing those. It was almost 2 days before I was able to stand up over Will's crib and 3 days before I had the confidence to pick him up out of it myself without dropping him. Walking to the bathroom and showering were pains worse than the contractions before I got my epidural. 

Daddy and his firstborn son snuggled up in the hospital.
Two years of mourning what wasn't. My friends were having their babies and coming home and while they were sore, they weren't under the same doctors orders I was of no lifting and not being able to drive. They didn't come home with scripts for narcotic pain killers. They didn't have scars across their abdomens, a reminder of those moments I had yearned for and missed out on. 

It didn't matter that God had prepared my heart. I wanted normal. I forgot for a minute that my son was a miracle that wasn't supposed to happen, and mourned the loss of my textbook delivery that I knew wasn't to be.

When I was pregnant with Evie, even though our doctor said I could be a good candidate for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section), we decided that the blood pressure and induction process were too great a risk and that we would opt for the c-section again. 

I'm glad we did. My blood pressure spiked again, this time a week earlier at just about 38 weeks and with proteins indicative of early pre-eclampsia. One week and one day before our scheduled surgery date, we found ourselves scrambling to get a place for Will and mentally prepare ourselves for the arrival of our daughter a bit sooner than we thought. There as no deliberating about whether or not we should induce; because I had already chosen surgery - surgery was the answer.

It was as my doctor and I made the decision for Evie to come early that I finally found the peace from the guilt and sadness I had been carrying with me from Will's delivery. In that OR as Evie was delivered, I wasn't scared anymore and I wasn't upset as I heard her cries, watched her get cleaned and wrapped, and that first awkward hold with those bright eyes was my beautiful moment instead of a guilt-filled one.

Welcoming baby Evangeline to the world... chubby cheeks and all!
This was to be my story. God had prepared my heart for it, and it's OK that this is my story. 

My children were born healthy. I survived the deliveries. I am not convinced that would have been the story of my first pregnancy if it had played out "naturally". 

My friend that wrote her post acknowledging C-Section Awareness month and sharing her story noted that c-section mommas are - among other things she said - brave. 


I never really thought of it that way. But I guess it's true. Brave people look at a situation that could be full of fear and they conquer it. 

When I think back to that first surgery with Will, lying in the OR... I can tell you that the last thing I felt in those moments was bravery and courage. I didn't feel strong. I felt exhausted, I felt scared.

My husband was the brave one that day. He found himself in an OR with his wife on the table praying that his unborn son would be okay and healthy after 8-10 hours of his heart rate not recovering properly. He had to hold himself together while I had my eyes closed just praying that God let my son be OK and trying not to lose my mind. 

He was the brave one. 

I had no courage. I had to have God give it to me. And He did. But it wasn't mine, it was His courage and bravery I had that first delivery. 

With Evie, I was much more confident. I was much more "Let's conquer this thing, bad blood pressure will not win!" and determined. I wasn't scared that day. That day I could argue I was brave. 

"Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Will meeting his baby sister for the first time. 
It's the 27th of the month and it's taken me this long to be able to write this post. There are so many emotions that come up when I think through the births of my children, as is the case with so many moms out there. Everything I've read about the reasons for this month existing is to bring awareness to the rising rates and how we can avoid them and head towards a target c-section rate... and I think that looking at it in such a sterile way bypasses the hearts of the women who have had c-sections and are thankful for the surgery.

I am grateful for the doctors and their expertise and judgment. While they never said that we were in a life-threatening situation, I know it wasn't an ideal one and I know other moms who most certainly WERE in life-threatening situations that they - and their babies - would not have made it without having emergency c-sections.

I would say that I am sufficiently aware, and I hope that most other people are too. I am glad there is a time to highlight this though, and I hope that others feel the freedom that I now feel almost 3 years after the birth of my son.

My scar is no longer something that I look at with sadness or guilt. When I see my scar now, I see the pathway my beautiful children took to get into this world. I see the wisdom and skill of doctors who think of the best interest of women and babies day in and day out.

I see the bravery of my husband, I see the growth of bravery in myself.

I see our family.

I see love.

I see God.

Our little family - January 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Easy-Peasy Minnie Mouse Party

Our daughter Evie turned one just about two weeks ago now, and that of course meant that I had to throw her a party. And by "party" I mean "invite over a few people so that we can take pictures and show her we threw her a party just like we threw her brother, who got a party because we needed to celebrate that we had a kid and didn't kill him."

But of course in the vein of wanting all things equal, I went ahead and made her a birthday banner and we got her a cake (that was way more money than we should have spent on a one year old's cake). In the course of getting things ready for the party, I realized that I had to admit something to myself.

Somewhere along the line I became that mom. The "Pinterest Mom".

I have to say that this is one of the things about myself that I'd been in denial about. No, I don't pin things and then do them. Ever. But then I realized that I LOVE Pinterest for things like filing recipes on webistes that I find in a way that I can never love the "bookmark" function of a web browser. I love that when I am looking for a simple craft to do with the kids for a gift for a grandparent, I can spend a little while and find a few ideas for now and for later. It's a place I can file away ideas for homemade play dough, homemade paint, and home decor.

When we decorated both kids' rooms, we pinned the ideas for the decor we liked so we could find it later. I've seen people use it to flag fashion ideas, and while that's something I haven't used it for yet I love the idea of doing it. In fact, maybe that's how I'll bathing suit shop this year. Spare myself the in-store torture.

And of course birthday parties for the kids. Will's had dinosaurs, Elmo, and this year will be Mickey Mouse. Evie's party was a Minnie Mouse party.

For those of you who find Pinterest a bit intimidating as well as some of the ideas that are on there, I figured I would put together a bit of a run-down of what I did, how I did it, and about how long it took.

Don't be intimidated, guys. It seriously wasn't hard.

Let's start with the things that I absolutely, 100% farmed out. First, this t-shirt. Got it on Etsy. I openly admit that this sort of crafting is NOT my cup of tea, and I am usually happy to support those who take the time to use their talents to make these things and sell them to those of us who aren't so gifted in these areas.

Shirt available on - LilMonkeyStitches Shop
I had already alluded to the fact that we spent way too much money on a cake. We went through a local baker who is experienced in baking for folks with peanut/treenut allergies and sent them a picture of something we found on the internet. She did an amazing job with the cake; we were absolutely floored. Also, I am not paying this much for a cake again until they turn 16... or maybe until they get married. Or to celebrate something really embarrassing. That might be worth it. Until then, these kids get cupcakes with plain frosting and cupcake toppers on them. And they'll like it.

Cake purchased from Bittersweet Bake Shoppe.

Next up, the banner. I got the background paper at Michael's in the scrapbook section and printed the letters off on my computer. I glued the letters to the background using a basic Elmer's Glue Stick, cut around it to allow some of the background to show, and then used a hot glue gun to adhere it to the yarn. I made the Minnie Mouse heads using a "sandwich cutter" that I got while in Florida as a template, but you can always find a printable stencil on the internet for this. The bows were made from scraps of the background paper from the lettering. It's held on the wall by plain old scotch tape.

Total time invested in this was probably about 1.5-2 hours over a few days.
This idea was kind of a flop for this party because it was a smaller party, but I had seen it done at showers and saw it on Pinterest for a birthday party so figured I'd give it a whirl. I picked up a $1 journal at the party store and put it out for people to sign and leave well wishes or a note for the birthday girl. I think that this would probably work better for a) a shower, b) if it had been a bigger party, or c) when she's a teenager and teenage girls like to make sure that everyone knows "OMG, You're so totally my BFF and ILY for being so awesome!" (or whatever teenage girls say). Anyways, the idea has potential... that's all I'm trying to say.

Frames for the printables came from the dollar store and I'll be using them later for a home project.
Double duty!
For food for this party, we did a pot-luck brunch and I kept the drinks in the fridge. I know that for birthday parties it might not be the best "etiquette" to do so, but I find pot-lucks to be super fun. My husband and I love sampling different foods, we love variety, and who doesn't enjoy a good brunch? We had an egg dish, muffins, tuna sandwiches, biscuits, strawberries, and then I had bought some San Pellegrino sodas and Honest Kids juice boxes. With the cake it was the perfect amount of food and really it allowed for a rather relaxed morning.

All printables were done in MS Publisher OR completely "stolen"from free downloads I found on Pinterest.
Other things that I got/did:

  • Pink polka dot plates from Michael's, pink cups from the party store, and pink cutlery from the dollar store. 
  • Balloons from the party store
  • Mom, Dad, and Will were all wearing Mickey Mouse shirts too

Overall, I found it wasn't too difficult to put the party decorations together and I walked away wanting to write this post and leave the moms out there who are overwhelmed with Pinterest one simple tip.

Pinterest is a big, giant, world of ideas - but it is just that. I know you've heard this a million times, but don't use it as a measure of your "worth" in any way. You don't have to be crafty to do some of the things on there, but it's a great source of ideas. Use Pinterest as a TOOL to help inspire things that you can do within your own talents and time.

**This post was NOT paid for or endorsed by either Pinterest OR the Disney Corporation. My kid likes Minnie Mouse and I like Pinterest. The end.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So He's "In Computers", Eh?

There was a point in my early 20's when I realized that I would be marrying a geek. Or a nerd. Or a dork. Or all three. It doesn't matter what terminology you use, I was going to be marrying someone with an engineering-type mind that focused on technology. The better part of my close friends were male, they were into some sort of information technology be it customer-facing or programming, they played video games. I was going to end up marrying someone like this, and I was totally OK with that.

13 years ago this fall, I started hanging out with Steve regularly and the rest is history. As it turns out, he does indeed have a career in Information Technology and enjoys playing the occasional video game. Go figure.

Our wedding day - June 2007
What I have noticed over the years is that it seems like being in Information Technology is what he gets defined as, and I've noticed this is the case for other people who are in the IT field as well. I can't speak for everyone who has the pleasure of working in this often thankless field, but Steve is so. much. more. than. that.

Yes, I just used periods in between the words of that sentence. I did it to emphasize the point. Did it work? I hope so.

As a nerdwife who often finds herself inwardly rolling her eyes at the pigeon hole that her husband has found himself in, I thought I would share with you the...

Top 5 Things People Say/Assume to Steve/to Me About Steve That Drive Me Crazy
(But I would never draw attention to in the conversation because it's just too much to explain without making me sound like a crazy person or offending the one saying/assuming it.)

- Saying that he's "in computers". I cannot tell you how many times when people ask Steve what he does for a living, their response is "Oh, so you're in computers!". While I suppose that this is very true, the world of technology is much bigger than the laptops you get at Best Buy, the Geek Squad, or even the IT help desk department at your place of business. There's a lot to the world of Information Technology that a lot of us don't ever see. My husband is the Director of Platforms and Systems Engineering at a local university. He oversees all sorts of cool projects and things from virtual desktops to email systems to mobile device support to so much more that I am blissfully unaware of. If you ask him what he does, he probably won't give you a fully technological answer. He views what he does as a customer service - providing a service to the students, staff, and faculty at the school he works at. Saying that Steve (or any other IT professional really) is "in computers" is like telling Thomas Keller he's "in food"; it doesn't paint a real picture of the work that he does. (And I'll give you that was a bit of an extreme analogy, but seriously, it's so much bigger than being "in computers".)

Not in computers here. Here he's in an airplane. 

- Assuming he loves (or knows about) ALL technology. Let me tell you: if I had a dollar for every time Steve has uttered the words "I hate computers", "I hate technology", "Why can't this work when it's supposed to just work", or any other technology-bashing phrase over the time that we've been together - our kids' college tuition would be paid for. At an ivy league school. With room and board. Including grad school. Don't get me wrong - there are lots and lots of things that Steve thinks are really cool and that he gets excited about. You should have seen the demonstration I got of the sweet, kick-ass new laptop he was testing out for work. But to assume that just because he gets excited about some technology that he's infatuated with all of it is just silly. Same goes for assuming that he knows all about it; believe it or not, our bathroom reading is not a stack full of "Wired" magazines and he doesn't spend his time following up on all the latest techie blogs. Which brings me to...

- Assuming that tinkering with computers is a "hobby". Steve hasn't bought a computer (desktop/laptop) for this house in about 4 years. While he is usually aware of what the latest & greatest things are in regards to computers, he's not spending his spare hours in a computer workshop in our basement upgrading his own box to the latest gadgetry. Every so often, a new piece of technological equipment will appear that he is excited about - the latest was a home server that he'd been meaning to get since we got married almost 8 years ago. There are about a thousand things that Steve would rather be doing when he gets home from work other than delving into more technology after spending 8-10 hours of his day up to his eyebrows in it.

I will take this caption opportunity to brag that my husband is a 3 (or 4?) time vExpert.
Because he's super awesone.

- Assuming he can - or wants - to fix your computer. What I have learned is that once people know that you're in any sort of computer related field, they seem to think that you also know everything in the world needed to know to fix their computer or set up a network in their house or anything like that. While this is often the case, it doesn't mean that the geek in question wants to do it in their spare time. Reformatting a computer (which is often, as I've learned, the best way to "fix" a lot of the "problems" that people have with their computers) can be incredibly time consuming, and time is a valuable commodity. I know that when Steve's not at work, he'd much rather be spending time with the kids, with me, with our friends, catching up on reading, developing a professional skill or working on some project around the house that he has been meaning to get to.

As an addendum to this - I've also learned that often when a Computer Geek dishes out their advice on what you should do to improve your computer/network situation or avoid having problems again - people ignore the advice and do whatever they want anyways. Before Steve I dated another "computer geek" and many of my closest friends were in that "computer geek" category as well and it was always the same thing with all of them when they gave advice. What was interesting to me was that this advice isn't typically disregarded because of a differing opinion from another "expert" on the matter, but because the individual asking the question seems to think that they have a better answer. My daughter was born a week early because the very competent doctor with a medical background in obstetrics and expertise on the matter of birthing babies said that she had to come out. Going home would have put both me and her at risk of complications. I took his advice because he's got knowledge I don't have. The same goes for your friendly neighborhood computer geek - if you ask their advice, don't think you're smarter on the topic than he/she is. You're smarter than them on something else that they might want your help with someday too, and you'll want that expertise to be respected.

Also he's a Patriots fan... we need an updated one of these with all 4 trophies.
- Assuming he wants our kids to love/be immersed in technology. When I talk about my kids pounding on dead laptops pretending to be Daddy or playing on the iPad or something related to kids & technology, people will often make the comment that "Steve must be thrilled" or "Steve must be so proud" or "Wow! Headed for IT, just like Daddy!". These statements make me roll my eyes internally and think to myself "oh, if they only knew". Evie's "screentime" is a few random minutes here and there using a doodle program on the iPad. Will only gets 30-45 minutes per day of screen time inclusive of any iPad/computer and TV time. When we're home, our phones are usually in the kitchen, on the counter, away from the kids. We play with toys, we run around, we wrestle, we let them help cook, we do crafty things and color and play with play-dough. Steve actively rails against our kids getting immersed in technology and we both lean on the litany of studies that have been done that discuss how too much technology can harm a child's development. Let's not even get into the deterioration of our communities and closeness to each other as people as a result of the dependence we have as a culture on social media.

Here's my bottom line - Steve (and all other "Computer Geeks") is SO MUCH more than a technology-centered being.

He's an absolutely amazing father to our two kids. Their faces light up and they run to him when he gets home at the end of the day. He snuggles them, wrestles with them, prays with them, shows them new things, sneaks them treats, and tries his best to be present in their lives. Steve imagines and plays with them in ways I'm just not wired to do, and it's amazing to watch.

That time he brought Will to his first hockey game...

Steve is passionate about learning everything he can about everything he can. If something sparks his interest, he's researching it within minutes. He wonders about how things work or why people do things or how things came to be the way they are, and seeks to expand his knowledge every day. It's inspirational, and I love it about him.

He has a calling on his heart to help others get their finances in order and is a coordinator for Financial Peace University at our church. Steve recognizes that God has given us each resources to do good work for our families, communities, and the world with and wants to help others reach their highest potential with the resources they have been entrusted with. It's a wonderful thing that he is wired to do for our family and to help others as well.

To that end, he's an "armchair economist". If there is a hobby that he has, watching the economy and learning about how it works is probably it. He finds everything about how economies work incredibly fascinating, and I love listening to him talk about it.

He's extremely competitive and gets creative within the rules of a game so that he can win. It's annoying at times, truthfully, but at the root of it is really a drive to achieve and a level of constant creativity that leads him to be an incredible problem solver.

Let's not discuss what he once did to a Nerf gun...
He's got an extremely analytical, engineering-focused mind. There are few things in this house that he's set out to fix or improve on that he hasn't done. When he tells me he's going to cut a hole in the wall, I don't even flinch because he repairs it so seamlessly you'd never know there was anything missing. He's a perfectionist and a precisionist, and it shows in everything he does.

Steve is an amazing guy, and if you take the time to get to know your local neighborhood computer geek a little bit deeper you'll probably find out that they're pretty awesome too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Let Sleeping Babies Freeze in Time

I can remember the day that we found out we were pregnant with our son. It was a Sunday, we were watching the Pats game. I picked up the pregnancy test at halftime and we took it during the second half. We hugged, we squealed, we jumped up and down.

I wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant. Our doctor said there was a decent chance I wouldn't if I didn't get pregnant right after coming off the pill, and I had put God in my doubt box while He went ahead and gave us a baby anyways.

The Pats won. We celebrated our pregnancy with Indian food.

Our little Patriots fans in training - September 2014
I remember the day we found out we were pregnant with our daughter too. I woke up that morning and every smell was bothering me. Then we had to leave a church picnic because I was having some bleeding issues... two clues that told me I needed to go get a pregnancy test. After Will was in bed that night, we took the test and sure enough - we had an in-utero Evie.

I will always remember the night we thought we had a miscarriage and the relief that I felt in the hospital the next day when they found a heartbeat and told me my cervix was fully intact. And I very clearly remember the day at 28 weeks we found out the hematoma was gone from my uterus. Prayer and praise and prayer and praise again.

We celebrated with Indian food that day too. And decided her name would be Evangeline, the bearer of good news.

God is so good.

Will playing outside during his last day as an only child. 
And I definitely remember the day she got her eviction notice. We call it "The Thursday".

Will was almost 2 and was halfway through a round of antibiotics to ward off a case of bronchitis and a mild ear infection. I had run out of probiotics the day before and didn't realize what missing a dose of them would do to his system. As a result, I spent the first half of my morning covered in kid puke before I was finally able to get us ready to go to Target to get more probiotics and a box of crackers for him to snack on while I went to my doctor's appointment.

While at Target I realized he didn't have a change of clothes and luckily there was an outfit on the clearance rack his size. I also realized - nine months pregnant - that I hadn't eaten my OWN breakfast that morning, so I bought and ate a Hershey's bar at the checkout.

By the time I met my husband at my doctor's appointment, I felt like I had been through the ringer. Exhausted, frazzled, worried about my son, hungry... and it wasn't even 10:30 yet.

Then the appointment happened. My blood pressure was high, there was concerning protein in my urine, and I was off to the hospital for a non-stress test and a full urine/blood work-up.

The doctor - thankfully my favorite OB was on call - said we'd be having our baby by dinner.

Baby Evie in all her pre-birth, 20-week in-utero glory
Oh dear Lord, give me strength.

My mom wasn't due up for another week. My husband called three JC Penney stores in her area to track down which one she worked at. Flights were changed. Arrangements for my poor, sick (and now exhausted from only having a 15-minute nap) little guy were made for the night. A ride for my mom from the airport was arranged.

The next thing I knew, I was in the OR with 90's rock music blaring (seriously, best birthing OR team EVER), getting a spinal, and lying down while they went and got Steve ready to come in.

Evangeline Margaret was born at 4:49 PM, making her presence known rather vocally.

OK... maybe not so vocally here...
We had a baby by dinner. Which for me was popsicles. They had never tasted so good.

That was a year ago. In just a few short days, our baby girl will be a year old.

I had heard someone say once that girls grow up faster than you want them to. I mean, my son is growing up too fast too, but Evie... Evie's really, REALLY growing up too fast. She understands almost all of what we say to her and listens and has opinions already and is one confidence boost away from walking.

I'm not ready for her to not be a little baby anymore yet.

So yesterday afternoon when she needed some snuggles after the first half of her nap, I had a hard time putting her back down in her crib to rest. There she was, head mostly on my shoulder but also leaning on my arm, legs and feet splayed across my lap, hands gripping her pink elephant and my shirt. Eyes closed, binky rhythmically bouncing sleepily in her mouth, the breathing of a snoozing baby slowly drifting in and out of her nostrils.

She was so peaceful, so comfortable.

Still so little. So much bigger than a year ago, but so much smaller than she'll be in a year from now, or ten years, or fifteen.

I just held her. I snuggled her. I put my nose in her baby hair and took in her smallness.

This was clearly not taken yesterday.

I think about my own mom who always just wants to hug us. I remember being well into my twenties and thinking about how annoying it was, but I never said anything because she was my mom. Something told me to just let her enjoy and let her love us.

Those hugs... they don't bother me anymore.

I get it now. I bet a part of her wants those baby snuggles just one more time. I know this because I watch my son grow and even though he's almost 3 now, there are moments when he's sleeping that I can still see that baby face somewhere in his eyelids.

My Grammy Kathy always says "There's nothing like a baby, is there?"

So I let Evie sleep in my arms a little bit longer these days. I enjoy those moments that she's just snoozing, because a day will come when she won't always want those hugs and snuggles - and even if she does, she won't be this small.

I'll never forget the day we found out she existed, the day we found out she was OK, and the day she was born.

I'll never forget the moments she rested easy in my arms.

And I'll hold these moments - and many more to come - with each passing year.

Because I never know when it will be their last, and they're on to the next thing that will make me take pause, fill me with pride, or leave me with more emotions than I can articulate.

God is so good. Praise Him for my little miracles.

And happy first birthday to my baby Evie girl.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Will's First Made-up Super Hero

I am amazed daily at the mind of my (just about) 3-year-old son.

I should note here that Will is a little guy. He's only in the 3rd percentile for his height & weight - which isn't that surprising if you know his parents. The kid's just not destined to be an NBA all-star, let's be serious.  

But it's OK that his stature is on the smaller side, because the size of his heart makes up for it. We have had friends comment on how incredibly empathetic he is for his age. As he's gotten older and gotten more language this has become more and more adorable (if he hears a bang from another room, he'll run in and get close to you to ask "Are you OK? You need something? You need a bandaid?" and give you a hug). The other day I took made Evie give him back his smoothie cup that she attempted to usurp, and when she started crying about it he put his arm around her until she calmed down. He snuggles with her in the Costco carts, he hugs Mom & Dad big giant hugs every day, and tries to help when he can.

Will comforting his baby sister... he's so sweet.

And his imagination... oh boy...

That, my friends, is growing every day. And let me tell you - the kid imagines big.

His favorite thing to pretend to be right now is a dinosaur. My little Will hunches over, puts up his dinosaur claws, and in his biggest voice will ROAR! He will stomp around, declare himself a T-Rex, and be the cutest little big dinosaur he can be. There are, of course, times that I need to remind him that it's time for him to be a Library-o-saurus with an "Indoor Roar" rather than a boisterous T-Rex. But it's adorable.

Then there are the times he declares that he is a Football player like Tom Brady. He's going to run to the Super Bowl, be on TV, and then - guess what? Tom Brady is going to wear HIS shirt!! I don't ever tell him that the odds of him breaking 5'6" and becoming an all-time-greatest QB are slim to none. Instead I let him throw on his play football helmet and throw his little football around the house. I flop on the floor and let him tackle me, I help him practice his catching and watch as he figures out how to throw in straight lines.

Every day is a new super hero day here. Some days he's Superman; one day he was Superman and he flew around the kitchen with his cape several times before grabbing my leg to "save me". "I'm saving you! I'm Superman, and I save you! YOU ARE SUPERMOM!".

Okay, I especially liked that one for selfish reasons.

Yesterday, he read me a story about Batman and on the last page said "And Batman flies - LIKE ME!"

I decided that Batman certainly should fly with the power of a 3-year-old's imagination.

Yesterday, however, I met a super hero that a lot of moms probably don't ever meet.

Yesterday I met "Super Peanut Treenut Man" who saved me from the bad guys Peanuts and Treenuts. No, just Peanuts and Walnuts.

I was picking up some potholders and towels that the kids had strewn about the kitchen while I was making breakfast and getting ready to go to my moms' group when Will came barreling around the corner with a little wooden tree from his train set. "MOM!" he cried, "I SAVING YOU! I'M SUPER PEANUTTREENUT MAN!" and he jabbed me in the chest with his wooden tree.

"You're saving me, Buddy?"

"Yes! This is my epi-pen and I'm saving you from bad guys! NO PEANUTS OR TREENUTS! I AM SAVING YOU!!!"

This went on for a few minutes and as he ran away to go save more innocent victims with his tree-epi, I experienced this bizarre dichotomy of emotions. On the one hand, Will is now coming up with his own superheroes and not just emulating the ones that already exist. This is awesome in terms of imagination development, and it's pretty darned cool to see it happen. It makes me feel even more blessed that I get to stay home and watch these guys grow full time. I was excited to see this imagination milestone occur.

On the other hand... my son's world is one in which peanuts and walnuts are "bad guys" that can really hurt him. He doesn't understand that they don't hurt everyone; in fact, when I was getting him out of the car the other day, he reminded me that I can't eat peanuts and treenuts because I can get sick. Every time he throws up, he blames it on peanuts and treenuts because he doesn't understand that "sick" in that instance means "can't breathe, get ambulance ride, go to hospital" and not just throwing up a little. And because this is the world he lives in, when this was the first super hero he came up with on his own... my heart broke a little bit.

I can remember praying with my husband over the health of Will when he was a baby, and praying specifically about food allergies.

Sometimes God says "No" to our prayers, and I know He has His reasons why. God has plans for Will, plans with hope and for good and not disaster. I know this because scripture tell us so in Jeremiah 29:11, and it's a scripture I have always held dear to my heart. I believe in its promise, and I trust in the God that made it.

So while my heart breaks that this is the world that Will lives in, I take comfort in knowing that God has plans for our little guy. I know they are big plans, big plans with his big heart and his big creative imagination.

Who knows... maybe "Super Peanut-Treenut Man" becomes a real, tangible thing someday with Will as the starring role.

Wouldn't that be something?