Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day Mornings

I have lots of blogging to do to catch up on our Christmas traditions but here are two of my favorites. The night before Christmas eve morning we made cookies and set them out for Santa.




And then we went to sleep and waited!! That was the hardest part for myself. I was pretty excited!! Ashalyn zonked out in her bed and Nicholas and I went over the plan. When Santa came in the door (we don't have a chimney) he rang his bells and said "Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas" loud enough to wake our sleeping beauty. She wasnt sure at first. Matter of fact, she made me go see him first...so I took a picture from the top of our stairs and took it back to her room to see. Then she went to see for her self...but was NOT going to let me put her down to take any pictures!!

We watched Santa leave out the door, she got down and said, "wake daddy up for presents." So as I am stalling her watching out her bedroom window we look for Santa. Can't find him so we talk about the other boys and girls that have been good and need Santa to come to their house too...and before you know it Nicholas was up the back way in our house to crawl in bed and "trick" her....she suspected not a thing and was so distracted by the fact that Santa was there that our plan worked out perfectly!! Next year we might have to find someone to play Santa but it worked great for the time being!! We "woke" daddy up and went down to open our presents from Santa! It was such a blast!!
Later that day we celebrated with Nicholas' dad and then we went to the movies to see Yogi Bear with my parents! Later that night we read the nativity story and we got our Birthday Cake ready for Jesus' birthday! Ashalyn had fun helping me make it and she kept saying "Baby Jesus Cake!"
My family never really did Santa growing up but Nicholas' did, so we still would like to keep that tradition going...and I love it!! But I want to remind Ashalyn and our other Children that Christmas is not only about Santa, so thats why we chose to carry our Christmas morning tradition of Santa to Christmas Eve morning. Our Christmas morning we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus and His birthday!!
We made a cake and left a few pieces out for the birds to carry to the heavens. We took balloons and sent our kisses upwards and this is how we choose to celebrate Christmas morning....we celebrate Christmas the best we can here on earth, while our loved ones are up there having the best birthday celbration EVER!









Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus!!
Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and were able to create family traditions of your own!! I already look forward to doing these things again next year and seeing the new reactions from the gifts God gave me (my children)!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our version of the 12 days of Christmas....


We've been saying we needed to do something together as a family that was slow paced and allowed us to just relax. We take in sooo many emotions and we keep ourselves busy ALL the time to try and fill that empty void. I cannot even begin to explain this feeling that I am talking about, but it has an empty, numb and blahness to it. Last year at this time, we went way over board on Christmas presents. We shopped, shopped, and did more shopping. We thought as long as we were buying more "things" we could keep ourselves preoccupied from the pain and hurt we were feeling. With each new present we wrapped it seemed like we opened another one just to keep us "entertained" with the thought of having something to do, if that makes any sense at all.
Many of you may recall, our big purchase of a tiny little puppy as well. That too, only lasted a few months and than got old, so we found him a new home. It is very impossible to explain but it is something to this day we still do. We live our life on the go so that way we aren't burdened as much by the hurt.
Tonight at the supper table, we tried sharing with each other. Neither of us know how to explain but both of us understand. It's like we live two lives now. The life that wants to remember and hold onto every dream or memory we ever had. But the other life that wants to move forward with Ashalyn and into our future of both her and Kynzie. I blog to help me sort between these two lives, so if my blog seems depressing majority of the time, I do apologize...but this is what helps me with my thoughts. I promise, I do not live my life at home in constant tears and sorrow! I enjoy my one little girl way too much to allow that to happen. She still needs her mommy!! (and I pray she ALWAYS does!!)
But anyways, back to what I said previous, we have decided this Christmas season, in between still trying to keep busy to make it a family "tradition", I guess you could call it, to find the time as a family to stay in, focus on each other, shut off all the sound, and just relax together. Hopefully this will help a little with the "spend to be happy" theory that only hurts more in the end.
So our 12 Days of Christmas we have bought presents for our little family; presents that we can do together, enjoy together, and just create memories together. We have done Candyland and Memory, puzzles and Christmas movies on tv, made cookies for snack, but tonight's gift has been my favorite by far!
Not a single one of us by any means is an artist, but one thing that I LOVE is painting with Ashalyn. So we decided to try something different. We bought canvases, acrylics and nice paintbrushes. It was something new for all of us, but very relaxing and fun!!






Like I said, neither of us by any means are ready to quit our jobs to become an artists, but we had fun and I will forever cherish these works of art. Halfway through our families version of the the 12 days of Christmas!(can't wait to share how we spend our last day!!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nicholas's appointment

First, lets start with how frustrating it has been to get to this appointment. We had this appointment scheduled since the 5th of October and the week before they call us and say that the doctor no longer is seeing patients in the afternoon. So they had to move his appointment to the morning, which required him to take a whole day from work of vacation pay verses just an hour. So we got there, at his newly scheduled time (an hour drive) to wait in the waiting room for an hour and them to tell us that the xray machine was broken. So we rescheduled, took another day from work and finally made it in. And this is what we found....
This may seem normal to some, but no...that is NOT his knee joint...that is all his upper leg....where it looks as if two different bones are coming together...that is one bone, just where the fracture is. The rod and the nails at the top make me squirm. EWW! But yes, the doctor tells him that there is a fine outter layer over the fracture that fuses the bone back together but the bone density is still not smoothed over. Then procedes to say up to 15 years....yes, FIFTEEN YEARS???? WTW?
So his next interpretation was...we want to start out the least invasive and work our way up to most as needed. So, Nicholas is back on pain medicine for 8 weeks and then will go back for another view by a new doctor (this doctor is moving south and doing no more procedures at this point....in my thoughts, he doesnt want to deal with his mess up and leaving it for someone else, so just giving him the pain meds to get by on til then....but I'm not a doctor so...). This appointment we got more answers and I truly think it was because he's on his way out anyways. Last appointment when Nicholas told him of his falling down the stairs episodes the doc said, "well you did break you leg, it's going to be painful". Today he explained the procedure THE OTHER DOCTOR WOULD DO, he answered Nick's questions differently and wrote a "maximum recovery letter" stating, "It is to my best medical knowledge that Nicholas will always have a medical impairment that is highly likely."
We have had a second opinion appointment scheduled for next week all along because we knew something wasnt right, but this orthapedic was relunctant to take on Nicholas' care full time because he was someone else's patient. So now we hope that our doctor leaving the state will allow for him to do so and his care will be closer to home, with a much more trusted doctor. We thank you all for sticking by us through this journey and continuing to pray when we said something still isnt right. Please keep the prayers coming though, as today was a huge disappointment to Nicholas. The doctor said he feels he will never get back to competitve sports like he had been able to do before...it's going to be more of a "last man picked for the team" sort of activity now. And that took his hopes and confidence down quite a few degrees. So please please keep praying!!! I hate seeing him down and discouraged like this.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

i thought, but I was wrong

I thought I was holding together pretty well lately. I have been having fun with the kids I work with. I have been definately enjoying all the new things Ashalyn is doing. I am amazed at how big she is getting and she just keeps getting cuter and cuter everyday with that little unique personality of hers. I have loved feeling Kynzie wiggle about inside of me. And believe it or not, those clothes that I swore I would never pull back out of the box....well, that too I have enjoyed. I have shed a few tears, but I have enjoyed it because I also realize the power God has in these circumstances.
But today at church I realize that I'm still not strong! In the restroom a very strong Christian woman came up to me and said she's been praying for us this past week. She doesnt know what has been going on but we got to talking and it just so happen to leak about the week we have had with Nick's leg. She too seemed very confused as to why it hasn't healed completely yet. As we were talking I had to fight back the tears.
It is so hard for me to sit back and watch him in so much pain still. He had days off for the holiday and he went with pretty limited pain. But those few days off were H*LL for him when he went back.
The first day back he came home and could barely walk by evening. He tries to hid his pain from everybody but people are starting to ask him about his limp. I see him cringe every night when he goes up the stairs to go to bed. I see him pick up his leg with his hands to try and get it to unlock and take it's first step after sitting for a while. I hear the little grunts and groans that he tries to keep in. And I see him sneak in some pain medicine on occassion here and there. So the other night, i finally told him he had to look at me and be 100 percent straight with me about everything. He teared up and finally admited a long over due on his pain.
I had a second opinion scheduled for him a while back, but he didnt go. He says that they aren't going to find anything different. The doctor he is seeing now and that did his surgery says, "you broke your leg in three places, it's going to hurt!" So, he feels like he needs to "man up" he says. Well, I've had enough. My poor husband is in sooo much pain still, 14 months later...something doesnt seem right. It's so hard to see him go through this. I've cried many times because I HATE seeing him like this and there being nothing I can do. But I try so hard to stay strong in front of him.
But hearing the words come from his mouth the other night of him giving up on ever being able to play basketball again or feel normal again. That is NOT okay with me! Nick is by no means a quitter and to hear that just stabbed at me. I'm crying now as I type this because I don't understand how or why he has to go through the physical pain yet too, especially since the emotional pain is still so so SO real to us every day!!
I have considered giving up on babysitting at home so I can carry the insurance and he can become a stay at home daddy and heal. He tells me I am crazy and he won't allow me to do that. He feels strongly that he is the guy and he needs to be the one working. I love him for that, really I do!! But I wish in this time of weakness (injury) for him he would let me step up!
I have become very frugel and concious of our spending and have learned a budget that works for us, so that my money is the extra's for us. But I have yet to figure out something to help with the pain and I HATE THAT!! I want to take it all away from him so that he can enjoy the little things again. Like I mentioned in a previous post, things such as running in after work to get kisses from his girls, playing ball with the guys, leg workouts, going to work everyday, and getting down on the floor to play with Ashalyn.
Anyways, this woman at church...she is such an inspiration and she took the time to notice our hurting hearts still and to pray with me right there in the restroom at church. It meant the world to me, to us!! But made me realize, in this world I am still very very weak. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for!! But at the same time I know and realize that there are many more tears to be shed.
I miss the days of being a smiley happy child had the job of just making people smile!! And my biggest worry was when someone didn't smile back!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What are you thankful for.....?



Sometimes in life it is extremely hard to look at the big picture and pick out the little things in life that we are thankful for. It's easy to say, Family, Friends and God.

But it's the little EVERYDAY things that get me thru this life. Don't get me wrong, I am ever so grateful for family, friends and God. But this life journey that I am on, has definately NOT gone as planned. So those little things that many tend to look past, are the things I am thankful for today on this Thanksgiving day!!
Just today I've thanked God for the laughs Ashalyn and I shared making brownies and cookies. For the giggles I heard coming from the bathtub as Nick gave Ashalyn her morning bath. For the morning kiss I got from a man who loves me unconditionally. For the chocolate on Ashalyn's nose after licking the brownie bowl. The tiny little footprints I feel on the wall of my stomach. And mostly for the ever protecting, warm arms of an amazing Father, that is holding my babies tight on this Thanksgiving day!

It is for these things that I am thankful. I am so thankful to have family and friends and God walking with and guiding me through this life...but it is the small things that come from these people that give me a reason to have faith in the unknown and in our future!!

WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?????

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Discouraged

Today is kind of a discouraging day. My babysitting kids came and we sat down for our circle time. Circle time is nothing real impressive. We do a simple version of calender to get counting in. And I am able to ask the kids what month it is and they are able to tell me. I have a fun early childhood calender that has many colors and cute little pictures and each day a child is able to help by putting the day's number in! Simple, but the kids love it and it is what has helped Ashalyn learn her counting! After that we usually sing a song or two and then discuss our topic for the day before we do our art project. Today we talked about thanksgiving and what we were thankful for. Then we all sat at the table and made a huge thanksgiving feast for our lunch....mashed potatoes, dressing, chicken, greenbeans, corn and warm bread!! It was yummy!!
So you might ask why I say it was a discouraging day?!?
It goes back to the topic of the day. I look at my life and I see all the things I have to be thankful for. I had one boy say he was thankful for trains, trucks and cows. Another girl said her mom and dad. Ashalyn followed suit then by saying her mom and dad. I teared up. I AM SOOOO GRATEFUL FOR MY LITTLE GIRL!! Nothing discouraging about that!!! She is my world, my life!! I am thankful I am still here to spend these days with her. I am thankful that I am a mother of not only one beautiful girl. I am thankful for my husband! I HAVE SO MANY REASONS TO PRAISE OUR MAKER FOR THIS LIFE!
But when talking about these things the memories come crowding back....the life I had before! When I could picture Ashalyn and Miranda growing up so close in age and playing with the kitchen set we had purchased before the accident and Miranda was very much alive in my tummy. When Nicholas and I would lay in bed, he'd hold my stomach and we would talk about them playing basketball together, or what we would do if they both came home liking the same boy, or if they both wanted to get married all in the same summer. They would of only been 13 months apart, so all these things were possible!
But not only do we have the broken dreams of our daughters not growing up together, there is more that discourages me tonight! There used to be a day when Nick would get home from work and hop out of his truck and run in the house to see his two favorite girls! Today was no different than any other day since the accident...I watch him crawl out of the truck and he pauses. Just from the time he gets in his truck, drives less than a mile home from work, he has to completely start over with making his leg work. He has to focus on how to get from the truck to the house and "unfreeze" his leg. Every day I watch him hobble to the house with pain in his eyes, sometimes watch him stumble down the stairs, and other times just watch him grabbed his leg to lift it as he takes a step. Don't get me wrong....I AM EVER SO THANKFUL HE IS STILL HERE WITH US....but discouraged that our life took such a dramatic turn and will NEVER be the same.
Work days are hard days for him because he is on concrete all day long and doesnt get the chance to sit down much through out the day, so it seems like those are the days that are toughest for him with his leg. He has an appointment for a second opinion because it's been over a year and his limp seems to be worse on days and he seems to still be in a great deal of pain, given the good and the bad days! It's a discouraging day because it's been a rough one for him. I HATE HATE HATE watching him limp and not being able to do anything to take care of him. So tonight I am thankful for MANY MANY things, just a bit discouraged about others.
I hope not to ask for too much, but I would be ever so thankful if there was a day that I was greeted by him after work like we wwere before the accident!! Pain free. Limp free. Where he runs in the house because he cant wait for the welcome home kiss from his girls! I sure do miss those days!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A lil' bit of EVERYTHING

It has been awhile. I will be honest, I did NOT think many people read my blog. Just in the last week I have had two very random people come up to me and say, "sounds like there's some good things happening in your life" and "I've been reading your blog..." WOW! And about a month ago a mom had asked me if I would consider blogging different kids ideas! So...here's a little update on pretty much everything.

Let's start with Ashalyn's surgery. All went well. She ended up having lots of bleeding and scarring in the ear so the surgery was an additional 45 minutes where they took her tubes out, cleaned it, removed some of the yuckiness, and put a brand new set of tubes in. In addition to the tonsils and the adenoids being removed! It took her a week, but she is back to eating and drinking and back to her happy self. We sure did miss that personality of hers. However, it got to the point where the doctor told us whatever we could get her to eat.....I thought I tried everything! Finally I thought, maybe if we took popsicles over to her cousins house and shared with them she would want a popscicle! Well, they were eating cookies when we got there and sure enough, that stinker went straight for a chocolate chip cookie and downed two of them. Didnt eat for 3 days and made mom and dad look silly!! But the problem is....we started a VERY bad habit! Every night before bed, for breakfast and at lunch time she begs for cookies! On occassion she gets her way and we make hot cookies and milk for bedtime snack...but this mommy isn't sure how long that will last!! (she literally is asking EVERY NIGHT!)

Next topic: our foster care. We found out the week of Ashalyn's surgery that there was a few month delay on our paper work...which puts us back to February in getting our license. (baby is due early april late march) We figure that might be a little too much all at once, so we slowed down our speed on trying to get everything done by November. We have all but 12 hours of our training done. And most of our home study. However, we are going to hold the rest of that off til after the holidays and then start back up. We will then still get our license in Feb. but are going to wait til a few months after the baby to take our first placement.

Which leads me to the baby! A friend of mine called me up and told me that the CPC was doing ultrasounds for free one day for a training of the new machine...so...we got an early sneak peak of our little GIRL!! Yup, we are expecting another girl. Kynzie Caraline! Ashalyn stared in amazement as she watched her little sister move around on the u/s machine and now if you ask her what the baby's name is she says, "baby sister!" And then goes on to say her name, "Kynzie Line" She seems to be pretty excited for as much as she understands at her age. I've had a few ask how we came to pick Kynzie for her name, which we have found to be a very neat story!!

Ashalyn's name really had no meaning behind it. It was a name we both loved and agreed on. Faith (A's middle name!) is pretty self explanatory...we as parents made the commitment to raise Ashalyn in knowing our Christian faith and our prayer for her is that she comes to know and except that same life!
Miranda's name didnt come as easy. We already picked out one girls name and had a very hard time deciding and agreeing on another. A few months before she was due to be born we agreed on Miranda, but could not agree on the middle name. Nick wanting Lyn so we could stick with the "yn" names and me choosing Irene, after his grandma Edna Irene, and my great grandma Irene. So when the accident came and Miranda was born, I was SOOO out of it, I'm not even sure if Nick was in the room with me at the time, and they asked if the little one had a name yet, I remember not even thinkin about it, and the name Miranda Lyn Irene Rice flowed from my mouth. We knew before hand that the name Miranda meant "miracle". Now, that sure did not seem like any miracle to me....but looking back at how bad it could of been, we have seen some miracles in our story!
Briley Jordyn, with Briley we were not far enough that we could tell the gender of the baby, so Bryleigh being our girls name and Jordyn being one of our boy choices...we decided Briley Jordyn could be very gender neutral.
And now to Kynzie Caraline...We went through name after name. And both very much liked Kenzie. However, like I mentioned...we wanted to stick with yn names...so we debated and we even asked an english teacher if we spelled it Kynzie if that would change the pronunctiation. She told us that she believed it would change the pronunctiation to Kinsey...so, we thought about it and we actually couldnt decide then which name we liked better, but we knew we LOVED the KYNzie spelling best...so we looked up the name meaning of Kinsey and sure enough that spelling was there....and the meaning....it just BLEW US AWAY. Brought instant tears and goosebumps to both of us.
Kynzie: the kings victory over the evil one
WOW! Take our entire story and put that meaning into a Christian content. When we felt like we had been beaten to the ground over and over by Satan....our amazing Redemer and Lord picks us up and defeats him!! We have a healthy pregnancy and each day are one day closer to holding our baby, our living miracle!!
HOW AMAZING AND AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5 am stream of ramblings

I'm not sure I am really thinkin' straight at this point. Blogging is my last attempt at trying to get a little bit of shut eye before my annoying alarm starts sounding. The buzz is set for 5:45am and I have laid awake watching it since about 2 o'clock. My thoughts are beyond comprehension at this point. In just a few short hours I will send my little girl into the arms of the earthly physicians where they will prep her for what is thought to be a simple surgery. She will be getting her tonsils and adenoids removed, as well as a possible set of new ear tubes. So you might ask, "if it's so simple, what keeps you awake tonight?"
I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or just a motherly reaction, but I'm worried sick for my baby girl. Really, she's no longer a baby; she's very much so a growing toddler! But tonight before bed, I admit I catered to her much more than normal and I ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! After bath she insists on lotion. High maintenance? Maybe!! However, it spoils mom just as much as it does Ashalyn. That bonding time is amazing where she gets so relaxed and mommy just gets to massage her legs and pamper her. I don't know the details of it all but I do know that baby massage is wonderful for stimulating parts of baby's brain and it's something I've done from day one! I said extra prayers with her tonight. And I cuddled her more than ever. And now I sit there and watch her sleep.
Her previous ear surgery went well. We no longer were seated in the waiting room when they were coming out to get us to go back to recovery. I'm assuming that's a little how this will go. However, now I will admit...I live this life with a little bit of fear. It was all a matter of seconds in the past that my dreams of being a mother were shattered. All these true and happy moments I have with Ashalyn were ripped away from me before I could even beg God to give me another chance with my sweet baby Miranda. I arrived at St Vincent's Medical Center on life flight knowing my baby girl had a heart beat still and not long after that I was looking in the eyes of a very unfamiliar OBGYN asking if there was any chance of comign out of surgery with a live baby girl in my arms. So yes, my biggest weakness in this life is FEAR! I've tried over and over to lay that at the cross, but it's something I still struggle with on a daily basis, as I look at those beautiful blue eyes and see all that I could lose in her.
I cherish EVERY moment I have with her and I find so much in her that I love and that just brings the biggest smile to my world. Matter of fact, she IS my world! The past few weeks she has not felt well and it has been stressful at times. All I want is my little healthy and happy girl back. That's the goal of this "simple, normal" surgery....but I dread anistesia taking her from my arms and watching her walk down the hall, peering back over their shoulder, watching mom and dad struggle to fight back the tears. I dread every second I will be away from her, waiting for them to come get us to go back to recovery. And I CANNOT wait, til I can go pamper her more and craddle her in my arms, brush her hair with my hands, and just watch her sleep!!

Lord, watch over Ashalyn (and baby on the way) tonight, tomorrow and forever!! Thank you for my little blessings!!! And you know my final request for the night before I fall asleep.....kiss my other two babies for me! AMEN!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

16 weeks

For the past 2 weeks I have been scared to death for my 16 week check up! It was at 15 that we received the news that Briley had passed, so as you can imagine we were holding our breath. I remember at Briley's appointment before listening to the heartbeat the nurse asking if I had felt movement yet and the answer was no. This time, with this pregnancy, the answer again was no. And I paniced, matter of fact I had been panicing for weeks now.
I am pretty sure I felt small little pops in my stomach, but I refused to let myself believe that it might be the baby. I guess in all reality, it was because of fear. I tried so hard not getting my hopes up, so I second guessed everything. Well, at the visit, we got a very VERY strong heartbeat. YAY GOD!!!!
However, we did get some news that was a bit discouraging and could definately use some prayers. Throughout all this I have developed an infection in my body and I will have to go on a prescription antibiotic for it. The side effects of the prescription could cause harm to the baby (smaller chances the way it sounds) but if I DO NOT take it, the infection can cause death of the fetus, resulting in either a miscarriage or later down the road a stillbirth if it gets too bad. (the odds for this are much much higher I guess) So after praying Nicholas and I chose to take the smaller odds and take the prescription to rid my body of the bacteria. This is where we could use prayer! Thank you to all our prayer warriors during this scary, but yet exciting adventure of another pregnancy!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Are you sure you can do that?"

So, a few times over the courses of the months we have had people as us the same question over and over? And we finally have had the heart to explain why we chose the foster to adopt path verses the private adoption.
I have been tearing myself up wondering if we are doing the right thing. Last few times at church I have left church nearly in tears because different people, pastors, friends, etc ask us..."you know that Adriel (the agency we are going through) is foster to adopt right?" Part of me got angry at first, not understanding why it mattered. Then I began to think, what is the big deal and why can't you just be supportive of our decision. But with the training we have been undergoing I can honestly now look at these people when they ask and say, "yes, we do understand and we do know what we are doing and WE DO feel this is where we are being led."
Just this past week one of our faithful friends, someone we used as a referance for our adoption, came to Nicholas and said, "Do you really think you can let the children go? In a sense it's like a death of your children."
So....I'm here to try and explain this to our faithful readers and prayer warriers. We understand if a child is brought into our home for months, maybe even years, there is a chance that we will not get to adopt them. That they will be reunited with their birth parents. And i am sure that will hurt once we are attached. But let me try to explain!
Just this past training we had, we heard the story of a dad that used his children as target practice in the living room. The children came into foster care with lumps all over their body only to find little bbs impelted into their skin. So we can look at them leaving our home to go back to their family or another foster family as a death, like this dear friend said....or we can look at it as, saving a child's life while the parents get the treatment they need to make themselves "better" to better care for their children. Yes, we could in turn hurt when saying goodbye again, but the difference to us....that child didn't die. That child still is very much alive on this earth, maybe with the feeling of wanting to die, but aren't able to protect themselves. As parents, no matter how hard we tried, we were unable to protect Miranda and Briley. And we had SOOOOO much love to give them. I still long for that physical love all the time. I still would love to give her the biggest hug and kiss and hold her on my chest as she falls asleep. But I can't. And it saddens me to no end knowing their are children out there, alive in this world...that have NO IDEA what parental love is, nor a hug for that matter.
Yes, we do understand the trials that can come with being a "foster parent" but we have NO DOUBT in our mind that this is where God is calling us to be at this point in our lives. We have taken a few remarks from people that have hurt. We keep hearing, "maybe you should talk to so and so because they didnt have a good experience with foster care/adoption." Honestly, there are times we have come home and we look at each other and say, "so did you feel like we were being looked down upon for this decision?" So, we would like to express a HUGE thank you to all our true friends and family that have supported us in this decision!! I can say WITHOUT a doubt in my mind, that we are ready for all that this has to bring us. We are aware of the late night runaways and the vulgarity that might come with it (that's what our trainings have been informing us of) and we are also aware of the fact that the day might come that we will have to say good bye when we thought they would be a part of our family forever. We are aware of all the labels foster parents have. (where they lock them in cages, starve them and rape them) Nicholas and I aren't those people and we are making this decison based upon prayer and the support that we do have! We are also aware of life's tragic moments and the importance of loving a child to the end. And if we have to say good bye to these children, they will always remain in our heart and be part of our eternal family. And our reward for caring for these children couldnt be greater...........eternal love from our Father who didnt neglect us when we lived in fear and death of our child!

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

Matthew 18:5

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Every Child is a gift!

I am real reluctant to write this blog. But I can't help but to be excited. My heart is semi guarded at this point because I know the pain a parent endures when saying good bye to a child they have their hopes set on. But at the same time I have to every day pray for these two children and every day my love for them grows deeper and deeper. Nicholas and I talk about them like crazy. We dream up what our life would become if they become ours. And we pray un-endlessly for these two children. Now we had given up any bit of hope of bringing these children home, because we knew when there final adoption was taking place. The 3rd of this month. And we knew we would not be done with our licensing process. So like I mentioned before we changed our prayers. We prayed that they would find a family that would suit them, that would love them, and continue to keep them smiling (you will know what i mean when you see their picture!) We were still happy for them, that they would have a permenant family to call their own. But then we got the phone call back saying there was no family that met the criteria...and yet again we began to hold out hope. We know any day now a family could come along, but we are getting SOOOOOO close to being done!! This week we begin our training hours and not much more to go after that!! I cannot say that these children will be a match for us for sure or not....I cannot even say that we will be granted our request, but I can share with you all a pciture of the two children that we are praying for on a numerous times a day basis....and we can ask for you all to join us in prayer. That if not us, a family be found! The smiles on their face, along with Ashalyn's, is what has brought us through many many scared, fearful and lonely days!!!

Hope you all can smile right along with us by looking at this picture!!!
http://wtol.images.worldnow.com/images/incoming/HomeForKeeps/jamiaantonio.pdf
Now tell me that didnt bring a smile to your face!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dying to Post

I have been dying to write this post. I have wrote it over and over but been too afraid to hit "post". I keep saying to myself "if I do, then people can pray for me. If I don't they can't." But also...."if I do, then it's that much harder to undo it if things don't work out."
And with that comment, I admit. I am SCARED TO DEATH! Anytime I am feeling great I panic. Anytime I feel a chill or feverish I panic. Anytime I recall any little moment from the past, I Panic. And finally, anytime I think happy thoughts about this baby, you got it...I PANIC. I am living in fear in a sense.
My past pregnancy with Briley got me through some very tough times. It helped us handle seeing new babies. It gave us a hope in the future when we felt we could not go on. And it gave us a hope in having future children after the tramatic birth of Miranda. We were super excited. And then that was ripped from us as well.
With Briley we made a decision to do something that most would not do at that week in the pregnancy. We also buried Briley...right next to Miranda. (this is some info that not many might know about us) But when sitting in the hospital waiting for Briley to be delivered, we debated. We went back and forth with the nurse. We fulled out the birth certificate but then resistated with the death certificate. We were NOT sure we had the money for another funeral but as soon as that death certificate was signed it was something we had to do for the baby. So we went back and forth....do we want to go through that again??
Well, I hesistate in saying this...but having that private burial was the best thing we could of done for ourselves. We buried Briley at a point when we were physically more capable of "being there" if that makes any sense. Nicholas and I were able to go down there, free of pain (not completely, but compared to Miranda's funeral) and we were able to focus on our grief as a couple, as parents, and we were able to turn our emotions into something more healthy and positive. Not only then were we able to grieve the loss of Briley, we were able to grieve Miranda. All by ourselves, without other people telling us how we should feel, without sitting there in so much pain that it's unbearable (at her funeral we were still pretty drugged up), and without the harsh, unloving feelings of hurt, jealousy, hatred, you name it.
But all that didn't change the one thing we still fear! And that's having to do it all over again, for a third time. I never ever imagined in our 3 years of marriage that we would of had these struggles and emotions, but I believe it is something that will now always stick with us til death do us part. I don't want to do it again now, nor 60 years from now.
With that fear, we were afraid to go at this adventure again. We were afraid to announce again that we are expecting. And we will NOT stop holding our breath until the result is us bringing a real, living baby home in our arms!! But all that fear does NOT mean we are not excited. BECAUSE BELIEVE ME...ANNOUNCING THE OTHER DAY THAT WE HEARD A HEARTBEAT....was absolutely amazing. I have never felt so proud to say that yes, we saw a very active and full of life baby moving inside of my womb on September 15th!
That ultrasound was the most emotional but yet heartwarming moment we have experience since last September 7th, when we heard and saw our baby for the very last time. It brought back flashbacks, but it brought back so much of our hope as a family. We may be living in a little fear, but we couldnt be more thankful to our Lord above for giving us this opportunity to be mom and dad yet again, whether for the time being or for our lifetime, we will now be the proud parents of 4 children. 2 living and 2 in heaven. Our prayers are that the status of our children does not change, but no matter what we know who our God is and poop on Satan....literally!
So....NOW THAT WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD A STRONG HEARTBEAT....PLEASE JOIN US ON THIS EXCITING JOURNEY!! JOin us in prayer and in the blogworld as we continue to defeat that nasty devil guy. WE ARE LIVING PROOF OF GOD'S AWESOMENESS AND UNFAILING, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!!!
We honestly believe God has SOOOO much instore for our Earthly family that we CANNOT wait to share this journey and adventure as we grow and wait for our day to all be reunited! (that all being said, continue to check back on our adoption process as well...God still is calling us on that path...just has blessed us in the meantime in yet another way!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

what the h*** are we supposed to do today?

Okay, so first excuse my language in my title...but honestly today feels like a complete day of confusion and blah-fulness (is that a word?)
Yesterday was Labor day. Today is the day Miranda was born, a year ago. But our accident happened on Labor Day. So yesterday we honored her in many ways. Nicholas walked the bridge and then my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law paid for us to get over to the island. Once we got there we loaded a horse carriage and we toured the island as our small little family. The first actually stop happened to be Mackinac Islands butterfly house. Soft music was playing and butterflies floated so gracefully about. We sat there on a bench together, Nicholas, Ashalyn and I and we cried. And we smiled. And we cried some more. We even laughed some. We then went back on the carriage to the lookout rock and we saw miles and miles of the beautiful great lakes. We remembered Miranda in such a "healthy" way. We had so much fun together as our little family.
And then there is today......the day we should be celebrating as her first birthday! And we had all these plans for the day and this is what we ended up with. We drove to Saint Ignance. On the way we got a very emotional and heartfelt text from Nick's sister, Lindsay! It meant the world to us....but we cried and cried. As soon as the tears began we turned to the right and yet again a mile long opening that followed the great lake Michigan! And it was then a whirlwind of confusion! We want to cry for her, but yet we just had to smile because it was like a little glimpse of heaven from our sweet Miranda. We got into Saint Ignance and the life there seemed so fast paced that it just didnt feel right. We got out for a bit but felt very uncomfortable. So then we choose to leave that town. As we are heading out we find another nice quiet lookout point over Lake Huron this time with a secluded park right along the lake shore. We spent a few minutes where Nicholas and Ashalyn threw rocks into the lake and then found the park. Within the first 2 minutes of being there we ventured down a double slide and splashed right into a huge puddle of water, soaking Ashalyn and Nicholas. We laughed some, but then realized we had no more clothes....so time to head back an hour back to Nick's dad's house. On the way back the wind blew harder and the bad weather picked up. Lake Michigan waves were HUGE, so we pulled off the side of the road and enjoyed that together for a bit. And now we are back at the house where it is pouring down rain. Ashalyn napping, Nicholas sitting in the dark and me blogging.
We talked some and we both have that exact same feeling of...."what the H*** are we supposed to do today." It's been a day of so many mixed emotions, a day of hurt, a day of lonliness, a day of jealousy, a day of laughter (at times), a day of peacefulness, and a day of PURE EMPTINESS.
I think we anticipated this day sooo much, wondering how it was going to go, how we were going to feel, and how we were going to react...that now that it's here WE ARE JUST CONFUSED. It is far beyond our control of understand and comprehending. We are able to talk about our future with our future children, we are able to share memories and stories of our past. But as for today....we just feel....BLAH....CONFUSED....TORN BETWEEN THE EMOTIONS.....and EMPTY!!
WE JUST CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO WRAP OURSELVES AROUND TODAY....YET ALONE TRY TO EXPLAIN!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Could it be so.....maybe???

So....a few posts back I wrote about our first disappointment in the adoption process. We had a lead to two children that INSTANTLY melted our hearts!!! Then we were told that this week would be where the team of professions would sit down and evaluate their case and find a family for them. So we just missed the date...we will not be licensed until Oct/early November! We were very disappointed that we just missed it but realized that as long as they have a loving family we were happy. They brought smiles and joy to our life for the time being!! They meant sooo much to me, that I never once stopped praying!! My ways of prayer changed though...that the right family was found!!! Well, I received a call today. There has been no match yet so they are still available for adoption!!!! Now, we still have time to wait because our home study is still in the works but...could it be? That maybe they still could be our children?? I'm trying not to get my hopes up....but I can pray again in other ways!!!! I can honestly say, whether they will be our children or not, I LOVE THOSE TWO KIDS!!!! Something about praying for them just makes my day!!!!! :-)
SO....for those following our blog with the adoption process......KEEP PRAYING!!!! :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finally I can post about our process BEYOND paperwork!

Well, today is the first I feel I can post about our adoption/foster care beyond the paperwork! 2 weeks back with had an interview as a couple and tonight was the start of my interview individually. Nicholas and Ashalyn left the house for the evening so that I could meet individually with our caseworker for a 2 hour interview about every little detail of my life. We covered the normal personality questions, strengths and weaknesses, life changing events, etc. But there were also scenario questions...in example. How would you feel as a parent if a sheriff deputy and caseworker showed up and took your child from your home. If you were a child being pulled from your home what emotions would you feel. Give an example in your life where you have shown your coping with delayed gratification. And what emotions do you think a parent losing their child to the foster care system goes through. All in depth things you have to think about when wanting to work with foster/adoptive families.
In a sense there was paperwork. Every answer I gave went down into our home study pages for agencies to look at when making a placement. But it really gave me the chance to dig deeper into why we want to do what we are doing. There's things in our life happening right now that would make it SOO easy to say, "you know, let's hold off, nows not the time for us." But with it all we both really feel that no matter what is going on in our life that we are being led into parenting (fostering) children that are in need of a good, loving and safe home...and who knows, maybe one day we will meet a child that is meant to be part of our permanant family. I could not be any more excited about this process and next phase in our life and my growing family!! I am LOVING this journey....paperwork and all!!!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

that hole in your heart feeling....

Well, we did it to ourselves again. We went on vacation and had a blast and then we had to come home. I dont know what it is but once we hop in the car home from either of the family lake homes we cry on the way home. I cant even begin to explain it but there is that hole. There is a deep ache in our hearts that we talk about each trip home. We dread being here and we count down the days til our next return...away from everything. Where it is all thrown in our face constantly. Before I always enjoyed returning home after a trip, but lately it SUCKS! WE walk in the doors and we both look at each other and usually race to ask the other if we are ready to hop back in the truck and leave this place. Like I said, neither of us can explain this feeling...but I know exactly what Nicholas is talking about and he knows what I feel. Visiting the cemertary is different. Majority of the time, unless taking flowers we slow down instead of getting out. Not that we are closing that part from our lives, but because we no longer can feel her there. We feel her more when we are out and about as a family. I don't know if this is one of the stages they say you go thru but the cemetary is more of a dreary place of the hurt and the what ifs and should of beens...and our time on the lake is more of a "there will be a day". Now all this rambling really probably doesnt make sense, but I'm trying to figure out this hole again. Trying to adjust back into the rhelm of the everyday yet again! Bear with me please!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"....that would be a good family"

A news interviewer asks this child in particular what he is looking for in a family. And his response was, "um, I want someone that loves me and doesnt abuse me...that would be a good family."

Instant tears on my end. And Nicholas became angry and saddened. That's when we knew that where we are headed in life right now is EXACTLY where God wants us to be. In a way I feel too "young" for this or not experience enough, so over and over I've been praying "God, are you sure?" I've questioned our path a few times, but each time I do a verse, an email, a message, something is thrown at me reminding me daily that Nicholas and I were brought together to parent not only our own biological children but the orphaned, the neglected and the abused.

We have been searching hours upon hours the adopt U.S website of waiting children to find families. And it saddens me to see the children's pictures with a number next to it and some of their info next to it. After hours of searching one night a new case appeared.....and instantly Nicholas and I fell in love. These two children had smiles of gold. Hugging each other, this brother and sister group, melted our heart. We prayed and prayed for these children. And then we contacted our caseworker about them. We couldnt get our paperwork done fast enough...but then we got some bad news. Well, not bad...just not what we were hoping for. These children's team meeting (where a family is picked) is September 3rd. And our lincense process will not be over until end of October. So we just missed them.

Instantly our hearts sank. And we experienced our first broken heart in the adoption process. So I asked God, "what is it that you want from us. Here we are following your calling for us, we found the children that we seemed to instantly connect too..and now they aren't available." And that's when I heard Him. "Valerie, those children gave you a smile TODAY! Take that as today's opportunity to love them and pray for them!"

So with lots of prayer for these children I am able to say, we may not be that family for them, but as long as they find one that fits them and that can love them and that they can bring the happiness they broguht to me in the past weeks then I can let them go. However, I have NOT stopped praying that if they are the children for us that something miraclous happens. (which it still could. If a family is not found the case stays open longer and then we can submit our homestudy and life book!) But those two children brought so much to me on that particular day and the days leading up to now. They gave me a hope in our future as a family and reminded me to pray, not only for the children we will eventually bring into our family, but all the children out there waiting for homes.

It's been a while, as I said I would blog the process, but believe me when I say this.....right now, it's nothing interesting....but paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork...oh and our fire inspection today...but with that....MORE PAPERWORK!!! I promise to keep blogging, but just bare with me through this beginning phase of....you got it....PAPERWORK!!!

WAYS YOU CAN PRAY FOR US THIS WEEK:
*our preperation for our safety audit
*for our patience as we begin this long drawn out process of WAITING
*for the protection of our children, whereever they are
*that the financial aspect of it continues to come in
*(not adoption related) the accident settlement...we are getting close to a year and we are praying we are getting near to closing the insurance part of that!
*and for every child that deserves a family and that are just out there waiting!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

high and low light of my day

I am in tears tonight. It's been one of those emotional rollercoaster days. We were blessed tonight in a way I cant even explain. I asked on facebook if anyone had a set of bunk beds they wanted to SELL....and within minutes got a phone call....someone had some to give us because they knew they'd be used for good cause.....well....I admit...I was a little skeptical...someone's GIVING AWAY bunkbeds? Boy, did I stick my thoughts in my mouth.....these bunk beds are brand spankin' new. New mattresses and even a dresser. We are so blessed and grateful for these beds. It brings tears to even think about it. And then they even had people here to help deliver and set them up for us. They don't know how special they are to us for thinkin' of us in this way.

And then shortly after that there was a down moment....I look at my husband trying to go up the stairs and his face just read severe pain. All along in the back of my mind I know when he says he's feeling fine he's really not...but i thought he'd tell me when he was in pain. Well tonight he admits to me (i think because i caught him) how much pain he still is in. he refuses pain medicine and refuses to admit the physical pain because he says he wants to believe his leg will get better....but tonight he admitted he thinks it will always hurts and he's just trying to accept it. I see him daily stop mid track to refocus on walking. I see him cringe at the site of stairs. It just breaks my heart that he still has to go through all this physical pain, but feels the need to be strong for Ashalyn and I. So tonight I tear up for him....because i love him and care...and HATE seeing him this way. So if you have a minute...please please say a prayer for him after you read this. The pain isn't residing much (he probably will never tell you that!) and since he's been back to work it has seem to get worse. I don't believe him standing on concrete all day has been good for him. My heart just breaks to hear him talk the way he did tonight. So please please continue to keep him in your prayers!! Thanks for all the prayers thus far!! We are blessed by some great prayer warriors and are ever so grateful!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

pure exhaustion has set in

wow! That's really all I can say. I truely have learned what it means to be exhausted. I dont recall feeling this way before EVER and not had an excuse. I remember being this tired when I was pregnant with Ashalyn, but now I am just worn out...no reason really, other than a busy schedule.
In the past week, we've moved, went on vacation, getting ready for our fundraising garage sale, and painted, decorated and started to tackle the weeds in the flower beds. My house is still trashed and I have boxes left unpacked everywhere. I am beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed....EXHAUSTED!
Also, we both have been to the doctors this past week. GREAT NEWS for me, NOT SO GREAT FOR NICHOLAS. Unfortunately Nicholas' leg still has not healed. He broke his femur in 3 pieces and the small middle piece was crushed...so that's what is taking so long to heal. The orthopedic surgeon is giving him 3 months yet for it to heal or another surgery will be needed to place a bigger nail in it. As for my news...I went to the OBGYN in Toledo and he did another ultrasound of my female organs and he says "everything appears to be making a good return to normal and has begun to heal." He did give us the okay to try again if we'd like, but he also said more time wouldnt be a bad thing either. He cannot promise anything at this point, but he does believe that I could have a healthy pregnancy yet. I had two of them up til the accident so he believes it is possible but doesn't bring me out of the woods as far as not being high risk for future complications. Right now we are relying on faith and prayer.
BY NO MEANS does this change our mind on adoption. We are set that this is where we are to be and part of the bigger plan in our life. We cannot wait to meet our child, birth family, etc. And if God has more plans on top of that with us having another biological baby than we will go with it....but it will NOT change our adoption status.
However, there is one thing that has changed. Financially the $16,000 is harder to come up with than we expected so well we raise that money we will be doing the training and licensing for foster care. Maybe then we will meet our child in that process and we will go about that route and use the money saved to buy new bed, clothes, etc for him/her. We are so ready to make this dream a reality and to help give love and a home to children that need it that we are NOT going to let the money aspect get in the way. For now we are going to foster or maybe even foster to adopt and continue to raise the money needed for the private agency!
And finally, one last thing...I LOVE OUR HOUSE! It's almost like a new beginning for our life. We will NEVER forget our past, our sweet children, the accident. NONE OF IT! But we come into this house fresh. Where we can start our life here on earth with a new beginning sort of. We can remember Miranda and Briley and happy moments. We can leave the constant reminder of death (being right across from the cemetary)and remember the times she kicked us or when we held her in our arms. It's hard to explain without sounding like we are moving on...because we aren't really. We are trying to find ways to still be happy with the life we are given but in a more positive way if that makes any sense.
This post is very scatterbrained...but it's been a while and LOTS going on in our little world I guess!! Hope you all enjoyed your forth! I'm off to bed before I fall asleep here at the computer! Good night all!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

flashback

I dont even know what to say today. It's been a pretty crazy and busy weekend. We had some big responsibilities at our community park fundraiser and we were there about 99% of the time. We were most excited about life flight landing for the kids to peek in...but not just the kids, we were determined to check it out.
I was getting the bird feeder ready for sno cones when I heard it flying over head...the sound of it thrilled me. I was anxious to go meet the crew and thank them. And to see the inside all around me, not just the ceiling from the board in my neck brace. So I started over there to the track and called Nick to tell him they were landing. I headed up over the hill and there it was.......

I FROZE.

AND STARED.

And FOUGHT BACK TEARS.

I hesitated.

And I proceded forward.

Noticed many people around watching me with looks of sadness.

And I couldnt do it.

A FLASHBACK...I was leaving on life flight WITHOUT Nicholas and Ashalyn, begging them to spare their lives and feeling like the worst mother and wife EVER!!

So, i stopped in my tracks and pulled out my cellphone. And i told Nicholas to come immediately I needed him and Ashalyn there to make this trek up there.

So, i stood all alone and waited.

And another flashback...a heartbeat 142.

The life flight in front of me today was the EXACT lifeflight I last heard my baby's heartbeat on.

ANd the tears began to whell up in my eyes...and a friend from the community came up and just hugged me and she cried with me. Then Nick showed and we cried together. And they got a call...so we didnt get to meet them. We didnt get to see inside. But I'm not sure I was ready...or even wanted to. It's a hard thing, that snuck up on us, that we thought would be easy. Who would of ever thought the words "THANK YOU" would be so hard??!! Will the sound of life flight so distant always make us cringe? And will the flashbacks fade with time as we encounter many of these things that remind us of the accident and of our dear children?

I admit, it has gotten easier. But it'd never gonna be gone. We have fewer bad days...but when those days come, they are horrible. The images are terrifying. And the nightmare becomes fresh again. I hold onto the good memories but will never forget the bad.

And by being part of friendship days is just a little bit of a way to say thank you to this AMAZING community we are a part of. Thank you to everyone that asks how we are and to everyone that pulled together to help us out in this time of need. For the prayers and continued support...but mostly a SPECIAL THANK YOU to that special friend today that noticed me frozen in my steps fighting back the tears, that took the time to come hug me and say it's okay to cry...we love you!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

a sight to see

Today's story has nothing to do with the adoption, nor does it have to do with our story...it's a story that I just had to write down for Ashalyn some day....and yes, some day she will probably kill me for sharing this...

Today as I was putting all the children down for nap...I looked to Ashalyn and said, "Can you go get your blanket and go lay down?" I then finish putting the little ones down that I watch and go to check on Ashalyn.
There she is, middle of the living room floor with her blanket and she is fast asleep. With just her shirt on. And her blanket over her body...her bare butt up in the air...and snoring!
First, she must of been exhausted because it was literally a minute before I told her to go get her blanket. And 2nd...I hope real soon she gets past this wanting to be naked stage...and 3rd...I couldn't help but to laugh at her. Miss Independant and not a care in the world.
I covered her butt, but let her sleep. 2 1/2 hour nap...no diaper...and not a single accident...she woke up and said "potty". I think it's time to fully start potty training. (I can't help but wonder if that has to do with her desire lately to take off her pants and diaper). After our move it will be devoted to potty training. What a ham!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I thank God for this man!


I thank God EVERYDAY for this man! I couldn't have asked for a better husband and father to my children. He is an outstanding example to the man God created to be called a father!! I love you babe! Happy Father's Day! AND THANK YOU!!!

Also, Happy Father's day today to my dad, Wes Rupp and Nick's dad, Lowell Rice!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Ride on an Emotional Rollarcoaster!

I had a fun weekend all planned. Thursday night we went to Sauder Village and we pitched a tent. We had a blast. Played on the big playground, swam, and then had a campfire. Nick went early to work and I spent the day with my babysitting kids at Sauder village, the park, the tent and it was sooo stinkin' hot we moved into the village. Then Nick came back, kids left and it was us. We swam, we had fun.......

and then...

an older man says to Nicholas, "you see these gray hairs? I didn't have a single one til my two boys." Nick found it humorous at first...then he says, "how many children do you have?"

"Thr.., Well I have one here with me!"

"You have three? But she's the only that came with you to the hotel?"

"yea"

"well, I've got all I can handle with these two. Three? Wow!"

And that was that! We went up to the room...and a fun weekend....became a weekend full of tears. An empty ache in my heart. We had a room that overlooked the pool and from our room we heard and could see the families all together having a blast. And I noted something that tore me up. I saw a baby, about 10 months old, sitting in his stroller abotu 10 feet back from the pool all by himself, awake and watching his mom and dad (I'm assuming) and big brother swim off in the distant...away from him, and no attention on him what so ever. Stuff like that tears me up inside. I try to avoid it, but that's the things that hurt the worst. I'm not saying they were bad parents for leaving him there strapped in his stroller....I'm just saying how much I would give to have my 10 month old in the pool with me. Or what we would give to have our children be all that we can handle and not have to encounter these questions or conversations.

I don't blame these people, they don't know. They have no way of knowing. But we spent the time in the hotel room full of tears and just wasn't a good fun time...so we packed our bags and decided we were supposed to be home for the night. We went and checked out early (we didnt even sleep in our room) but we were willing to sacrifice that to try and bring ourselves to a happy place again. I went to check out with red, puffy eyes, feeling pretty silly. And Nick went to go load the truck. Believe it or not they actually refunded us our money and it was about that quick the tornado sirens were going off and we were being sent to the basement...and being thrown into a gathering room FULL of families on vacation having the time of their lives. And then there were Nicholas and I...set back along the wall trying to avoid further conversation with many of these families for the fear of them being able to read through our smile, but puffy red faces.

And sat next to us was a family of 3 girls. Caucasion parents and African American children. There was an adoption convention being held at the Inn this weekend. Many of the people we were surrounded by were families of adopted children. How much more can God throw at us in getting the point across that all that love we are bottling up because we cant give it now will some day be possible to share!?!

We ache and we feel so empty during times like this, but then are reminded of our child that we are praying for will need all this extra love, extra attention, and extra care. But now we just need to pray for our patience. We see this is by no means a fast, quick process. We see the building blocks that we can/will encounter. And we see the emotions we will go through. We are very anxious and need patience. So today we ask for prayer for patience in this journey. Patience as we wait to bring our baby home and for a peaceful heart as we walk the journey of a broken family.

Needless to say when we were able to leave, we were already checked out, so we still came home...and we camped out in the basement together as we awaited the next storm they were calling for. We finished up a campout at home and had a blast. And we just realized that sometimes our journey gets hits rougher spots than normal but are always reminded that God is in control and he'll work out the details. We may have to pack up and remove ourselves from certain situations but He is the one that knows what/where we need to be!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Butterfly bloggers

Today I feel honored and renewed to have found a blog by butterfly mommies, anchored by hope. Mommies that also recognize what we are experiencing and still look to God in the midst. Moms that call themselves Butterfly mommies! And those that know me, know how touching and true to my life that is...and ironic I guess!! And more so...YET ANOTHER GOD STORY!!! How true is it that our God is amazing?!?!?!?!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I am pleased to announce....

We have fully been approved for adoption!!!

Well, I guess I should say we have advanced on to the next phase. As people there has been no doubt of Nicholas and I as parents I guess. Our application was approved!
With that letter we were thrilled...but also overwhelmed already.

The emotions that play into this have hit hard. While reading of our different options we learned of 387,000 open cases in the United States of families and children awaiting adoption. That makes me so sad. I don't know how we will ever be able to say no to any case that comes our way when hearing those numbers. Just out of curiousity Nicholas and I clicked on some of the "waiting children" profiles and we wish we were millionares. We wish we had room for several of them. We wish more people would open up their eyes, hearts and homes to this large number.

But we know that adoption just isn't for everyone. And that is something we are learning faster than I ever imagined. The response from people saying "that's just not for us, but we'd love to help out in anyway we can". Honestly when we sent in our application fee of $250 we knew that was just the beginning. We knew there would be chances for grants once we had our home study. But we also knew we were in a long financial journey...and then it all began.

Just this week we got our first financial responsibility....$3500 to enroll in the first class. They don't hold your spot until you make the payment and it only goes to the first 15 couples. Then $2500 for the next class. And after that then we can apply for grants.

At first, a little overwhelmed we got our heads together and started brainstorming different ideas. We were given a list of fundraisers...but I am finding it hard to ask for money for my child...so with us not really caring for many of the fundraiser ideas...we came up with some ideas that we know are more our style and fit into the things we love to do as a family anyways. Our first event is going to be a parents night out. I got an overwhelming response to this, but mostly for seperate groups that we will host on different nights. Ashalyn loves LOVES loves to paint and we love to do it with her...so we are doing a paint party and movie at our house while the parents can enjoy a night out without the kids! Can't wait for that!!

Next we will be hosting a yard/bake sale where we will be going through our house from top to bottom and getting rid of any unneeded items. We have been debating doing this anyways because of the "living with little" theory of getting out of debt. I have had several people contact us already with donations to our sale. We are very grateful to people for that. So if there's things you need, come on out when we have it...there will be lots of good items. We are even going to sell our one car...going to a one car household for the time being. I stay home during the day so anytime I drive somewhere it's when Nicholas is home from work. And when we bring our baby home we will need a bigger vehicle anyways!

And finally....you all know how much I LOVE to coupon. With every shopping trip my savings is usually at least $50.00. So we have a coupon savings fund that we are starting...all the savings I generate I will then write a check to our adoption fund for half of that amount. So really we're still saving on our grocery bill but half of that savings will be put towards our adoption. And hopefully we will have the initial $6,000 before long!! We will then try gift of adoption and a few other non-profit organizations that help with the last half of the cost.

In a way it is overwhelming, but mostly I think it is sad that the cost to give a child a home is so high. I'm willing to bet that that is the exact reason majority of the people that say it's not for them feel the way they do. We are sooo excited and anxious for this journey. And pray each day that the financial burden doesn't get us down!! We are determined to find ways to make this happen!! Thank you already to all that have prayed for us in this way!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

God's story

I have heard more than I want to hear, "there is a reason for all of this".

Now I do believe all things happen for a reason, but when you are going through life day by day not sure how things will affect you, things people say, peoples reactions to you etc. Sometimes it's hard to put together that the things you HAVE to go through really do have a reason and it's definately hard to understand when you're on the not so fun side of it.....but here is my story for today.

I was a little hesitant about taking Ashalyn to the nursery class while Bible School was going on. All her friends that I watch were going to be at my house and she just LOVES playing with them...so why take her away from that I thought?! So we went Monday as a trial run...and she did great (at least that's what they tell me). She has been going to the worship and drama with the big kids, they painted backpacks, etc. Yesterday when I said "You ready to go Ashalyn." She raised her arms in the air and said, "yea!!! chool (school)" and she ran with me out the door. She was so excited. Yesterday while driving I looked in my mirror to see my sweet little girl with her hands up by her face doing some motions to a song they learned and she was mumbling all kinds of jibberish words, but I'm convinced she was singing the song (maybe not the correct words) but it was just too adorable. And then...there's a teacher in there. Ashalyn and her for some reason just clicked. She's new to our church and Ashalyn just loved her. Everytime I go to pick her up Ashalyn's next to her, playing with her, or holding her hand when they walk to the sanctuary for singing.
Now, I have been doing something that may make me a bad mother, but when she is so willing to go in and play I quickly take off...don't want to stick around talking to the teachers to give her time to change her mind about going in there. I know the ladies name, but did not take the time to say much more than what needed to be said to give her the idea of what Ashalyn would need for the day. Today as I was picking up Ashalyn I had my niece in there with me and the teacher says to her, "is Ashalyn your sister?" I politely explained that "no, these are my sister's children." Then she goes on to say, "is she your only child?" And with that, other teachers distracted our conversation...one talking to me and the other talking to her. I overheard the conversation of..."I'll explain later." So, not wanting to make her feel awkward or even bad for asking I continued my conversation with the one and I walked out and left for the day.
Not because I didn't want to talk about it, matter of fact, I'd LOVE to talk about my other children. But because it does put many people in an awkward situation. So I walked out and let that whole conversation go. I let the other teachers explain my situation for me. We are getting ready to walk out the door of the church and she comes up to me and says, "I am so sorry about your daughter." She didn't apologize for asking but she apologized for Miranda. She then went on to say, "I know how hard that question is to answer. I too lost an unborn baby and a toddler in a car accident 6 years ago."
There was a reason her and Ashalyn were so "close" throughout this week....and just when I'm feeling a little out of place, where it's hard to relate to people (mom's specifically) on certain levels...I'm reminded there are people who unfortunately do get me, do understand, and do care enough to say Miranda's name! I can't express enough how much she means to me this week and how awesome our God is to know where our needs are and He meets those needs in some of the neatest ways.
And here I thought I was Bible School superintendant for the kids.....but come to find out God used that ministry to touch me!!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

too busy to blog

Okay, I think I can say honestly that I have been too busy to blog this week. Since about November I have been busy planning our summer Bible School. It seems like there were spurts of when the planning got busy but the last few weeks have been intense...since this week is the big week. So far I am very pleased with our turnout...140 students today! PRAISE GOD!!
Not only is it Bible school, but in 2 weeks is Pettisville Friendship days. We are in charge of concessions for that, so also lots of work, that I am way behind in...one day at a time. And to top that off...in a few days we will have the keys to the house, where I will begin repainting all the rooms. I feel extremely drained right now and am ready for a full day with Nicholas and Ashalyn, where I can devote myself entirely to them. Nicholas and I need a night out to ourselves....the last few nights and days were completely devoted to being at the church. And tonight, I guess you can say we had a date.....if paying a babysitter for us to go to our attorney for legal advice with the accident settlement counts.
While there discussing all this I realized how far Nicholas and I have come, but yet how far we have to go yet. First, mostly there's still some anger, with the adjusters. I hate (yes, i dont say hate often) but I hate being pushed around by the adjuster. I may be younger than most people going through this....but I'm NOT STUPID! But we also realize how fresh the thought of "buryin' our dead child" (when they use that term it hits ya hard) is....even 9 months later. Those words brought tears to both of our eyes tonight. I can see where many would believe that since we are into the adoption process that we are "healed" emotionally. That is the biggest myth out there. Nicholas and I are doing well....fewer bad days and more good days....but that doesn't change how much we miss Miranda. We keep ourselves busy for that exact reason...but when we slow life down a little and discuss what we remember or talk about Miranda in the ways we have to at times....it brings back tears, hurt, every emotion possible basically.
Then you read facebook and other blogs....it still hurts. So many of our friends/acquiantances remark on facebook how "awful" their kids are or how they can't wait for the rain to stop so they can send the kids outside and out of their hair, or how they don't realize what they do have at the moment even if it's not perfect. Still so badly those are the things that sting. I dont mean to be selfish, but I just wish so badly that people would live for the moment with their kids...bring on the rain so I can take my two little girls and dance in it, run through puddles, and just all laugh together...I don't show it but those things still hurt....yes 9 months is a long time and it should be getting easier, but there's not a day that goes by where there isnt a thought of her or of the accident. I teared up today talking to our pastor because it's the legal things that make this so much more difficult....but then when talking about the legal things is when I'm reminded of EVERYTHING and how difficult it really is. I know I'm talking in circles right now, but honestly I cant even grab ahold of this spinning world right now.....I LOVE THE BUSY-NESS, HATE THE STILLNESS, but LOVE the stillness with my family and HATE the busy-ness (if that makes any sense to any of you!) I am so grateful for all the things that keep me busy, but live for the moments with my family that allow us to hold on to the moments we have with each other. 9 months ago yesterday I held my baby girl for the first time, 9 months ago today I held that same angel for the last time (here on earth).

Monday, May 31, 2010

:-) our next journey begins

Once before we got married Nicholas and I talked about some things that we wanted to do in life. One of them we both were able to agree to, but the time frame for it and the nitty little details needed to be agreed upon...there was a little conflict. We wanted to wait until our own children were more grown up to understand the whole thing. After Ashalyn was born we talked more of it and decided to wait even longer. Then the accident happened and in December we talked about it again. We even met with persons to discuss this journey. Then we found ourselves pregnant with Briley and we decided on our own without praying that we still wanted to hold off on this option. Then we had our 15 week checkup (at 17 weeks) and were given some more bad news of our baby no longer living. Now we had been doing some reading and listening to the diagnoses of the doctors and we learned of possible risks of future pregnancies. I have an abnormally misshaped uterus from everything my body has encountered, which could be the reasoning behind Briley not developing into a healthy living baby. So we were devestated to hear that this could possibly affect future pregnancies. So given all this information it became very evident to us that maybe, just maybe, now was our time. So something we have been praying about for months now is adoption. We are not giving up on us having more of our own biological children at this point, but we strongly feel led to the journey of adoption at this time. We have started the process and we have a date for our home study and Nicholas and I could not be more connected to this baby already. Yes, we understand it could be months, maybe even years til we get "our child" but we pray regularly now. We have tears of joy very often and we dream of our life with our baby. The thoughts of this baby consume much of our mind these days and we cannot wait for it all to unfold entirely. Now this is not how we EVER envisioned the adoption to play out when we talked about it after Ashalyn was born...we pictured the adoption years after all our biological children were born and they were old enough to understand why we chose to do this. Also with that we envisioned ALL our children living at home to be part of this journey with us here on Earth. We've had several times where the thought has crossed our mind but without praying we followed our plan in it all and kept pushing it to the back burner, because we weren't "old" enough yet. But, it has continued to tug at our hearts. And "adoption" has crowded billboards and tv commercials and tv shows. It was thrown in our face constantly it seemed....almost like a "hello Valerie and Nicholas...this is God!! Wake up and Listen!" So we began to pray and we strongly feel now is the time. It's time for Ashalyn to have a sibling that she can play with, not just one that she can visit at the grave or in pictures. It feels like we have so much extra love to give because we've been preparing for so long to bring another baby into our lives. And we understand that there are so many out there that are in need of that love from a mother and a father. And we feel this is our way we are supposed to give. We truly wish I was still pregnant with Briley and we really wish Miranda was here to start this journey with us. That is one thing we will NEVER understand while we are here, but we are starting to the work of Miranda's miracle and the life God has for us here.
I journaled my entire pregnancy with Ashalyn in a paper bound notebook and it is our plan to blog our adoption process. Not so much for everyone else but for us, our baby, and for us to connect with other families going through the same process. And with this, we hope people find the desire to pray for us. It's going to be a long process, as well as an emotional journey, as we wait and as we make the decisions as to which baby is right for us, which baby fits into our family and as we connect with the families that we will encounter.
As I said, we are NOT giving up on the idea of more biological children, but that is something we are leaving in the hands of God. He knows what we can emotionally handle and what His plans are for our lives. But until then...now is our time to walk in the journey of adoption. So, this is how we will pray...and how we invite you all to pray for us.
*for the birthparents- as they conceive and carry our baby, the tough decision they need to make as they choose what will be best for their child, as they search prospective adoptive family profiles and they find the adoptive family they feel is the best fit, for the birth mom to refrain from drug and alcohol abuse while carrying the precious child
*financial aspect- already we have paid some of the adoption expenses and know there are MANY many more dollars to be paid. We pray that the finances will come when needed, whether it be through grants or extra hours of work
*for us- as we wait patiently. Already we think about our baby day and night and have had several conversations about our curiousity in our baby, gender, race, name, etc. As we continue to parent and love Ashalyn and remember our two children in Heaven. Our attitudes towards the birth parent as we try to imagine our lives in their shoes and as we are ever so grateful for the decision they will be making. As well as our attitude toward life and cutting out the areas that we have to in order to make this happen financially. And as we continue to pray for God's direction and guidance!
*for Ashalyn- as she learns now sharing, playing, just the keys to being a sibling.
*for our families- as tehy prepare to walk this journey with us. That when it's time they will have the heart to accept this baby as our own and that they understand the time we will have to put lots of time into our classes, etc.
*and for "our baby"- all aspects. Health. Conception (if it hasn't already happened) Protection from anything (drugs, abuse, neglect, emotional hurt etc.) and an open heart to a new family (something they might not understand right away)

And with that...PLEASE join us on this new adventure. Our journey of hope, love and excitement! Join us with love and prayer as we encounter the next phases of life here on earth as a family!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SHOUTING TO THE MOUNTAIN TOPS!

We have been tugged in lots of directions over the course of the last year...but something that keeps tugging at our hearts is something that was discussed prior to this year and keeps coming at us! And NOW is the time. We have been in the process of a new adventure and journey and now it is happening!! We believe it is all part of Miranda's miracle, something we still believe we could have done if she was with us and wish we could do with her...but it's a dream coming true and unraveling as I type! And it now consumes our thoughts and our mind and we are ready to SHOUT IT TO THE MOUNTAIN TOPS!! Revealing it to our family this weekend and then we will be free to share with anyone our hearts desire!!! And I've gotten so much better with the blogging and I cannot wait to blog this journey!!! So if u're interested in what lies ahead...please please check back in with us after this weekend!!!
But until then, if you feel led to pray for us over the next few days and weeks...we'd love for all the prayers we can get! Not only pray for us, but for others that will be influenced by what we are doing, 3 ppl in particular...God knows!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It has arrived!





AND WE LOVE IT!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Summer Grillin' = Once a month cookin'!

Since it was rainy this morning and our zoo plans with friends were canceled I decided to do my once a month cooking today. This summer is going to be extremely busy for us so the quicker we can prepare meals the better. Also we are moving to a house with no AC so the littlest we have to use the stove the better; especially for the sake of my husband. He is definately a hot box and cannot stand the hot weather/heat. And we both LOVE being outside and grillin'. So here is a look into my morning.

7:00 woke up to head to the grocery store. Got home and instantly got to work. Ashalyn insisted in helping mommy, so I didn't get as much done as I had planned but this made it much more fun and meaningful!! I wouldn't have it any other way!!! Since Ashalyn was helping Nicholas even helped to brown the hamburger and do dishes!! WOW!!! I'm the luckiest!!!



So, while he did all 7 lbs of hamburger Ashalyn and I chopped green onions, green peppers, onions and red pepper. (Ashalyn got a butter knife and only the green onions)With that we made our stuffed peppers and steak and shrimp kabobs. 2-3 meals with stuffed peppers and 5 meals of kabobs. We got 10 freezer boxes of ground beef 3 taco meat and the rest hamburger for spaghetti and enchilladas and sloppy joes.






Next, I did 5 meals of chicken. 1 Italian Chicken, 2 Stuffed Mozzarella and Buffalo Chicken, 2 Chicken Cordon Bleu. While all this was happening we had banana's freezing on sticks in the freezer to dip for banana pops. And now I have zuchinni cookies and chocolate chip zuchinni bread baking in the oven. And lastly blueberry muffins.





I wasnt sure how this would go but it was a SUPER fun experience and I definately plan on doing it again! Now, I look forward to eating at home. Not really even thinkin' about going out to eat!!! So not only are we going to be saving lots of time, but HOPEFULLY lots of money on eating in more!!!

Our sweet Miranda

Our sweet Miranda

Followers

Blog Archive