Kylie May

Kylie May

Layla Faith

Layla Faith

Zoey Noelle

Zoey Noelle


Our baby boy, due March 16th.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

10 Days Old

Well, I've been a little too busy to update my blog. There's something a lot more important right now. Sweet Zoey Noelle has been too enjoyable. I've been loving every second with her. Every once-in-a-while I get caught up with cleaning or thinking about work things to do. But then when I see her, those concerns go away pretty quickly.

As expected, I think she's perfect. My c-section went really well. There were a couple moments that I remember asking more than once if she was okay. I hear her cry right when she came out, but then she stopped. So, I just kept making sure she was okay. Very different from the last c-section in the same operating room. Just needed some reassurance and to see her. She's so beautiful with perfect dark hair and long 'piano' fingers.

Kylie was the first to meet her after school. She was so excited, but still reserved. She kissed her, held her and so innocently told her that she "gets to come home with us". Since then, Kylie has been such a great big sister. She made up a lullaby that actually gets Zoey to quiet down (but only when she's singing it).

Zoey is very content. Our nights have been going really well. She's up every two-three hours and then goes right back to sleep. I've been sleeping when I can and cuddling with her while Kylie at school. It's been lovely. I'm enjoying it while I can.

This post is becoming nearly impossible to finish. I started it yesterday & have been interrupted so many times! I better tend to my 10 day old. :)

My friend Heidi came over for some newborn pics! Zoey was eight days old. Take a peek. 

I love waking up to this!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Zoey Noelle

She's here!! Zoey Noelle was born on Monday morning at 8:25. Eight pounds fourteen ounces and twenty-one inches long. A little bigger than Kylie but still in newborn clothes.

Bryan, Kylie and I are so in love and amazed by God's blessings.

I'm sure I'll write more later. Here's a couple pics to hold you over.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rainbow Baby

Have you heard of that term before? Surprisingly, I hadn't until I was looking things up with Layla. I discovered that a "rainbow baby" is a baby that is born following a baby loss. So now, we're having our rainbow baby. I read the definition from the urban dictionary.

In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery. "We lost our last pregnancy, but now we have a rainbow baby."

I love that it posts the analogy of the storm. Remember my very first post? I knew there would be many blessings throughout this entire journey. My, did we ever experience blessings. I found out we were pregnant with Layla in April of 2011. We'll have Zoey two years since then. Bryan and I have grown so much in these past two years.

Zoey is our beautiful and bright baby that has emerged after this dark period. She is not a replacement. We cannot disregard the past couple years of what we've been through. The season that we've endured had a purpose. Now we are being blessed with another baby girl. We're so excited.

Five more days and we'll see our Zoey. Kylie can't wait to see her little sister. I am enjoying her rolling around in my belly. It's not too uncomfortable yet. I definitely have my pregnant waddle down. Heidi (did our family pics in February) took a few pics today of my growing belly. I'll be 39 weeks on Saturday.

I'm just finishing my Wednesday night of work. Heading to our old house to pack & get Kylie to bed. Our carpet was installed today and it looks awesome. Just have to get everything moved over tomorrow/Friday. Then clean the old place (worst part of moving). After we're settled, I'm sure I'll post again & show some pictures of the house!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Officially Feeling Pregnant

Okay, I know I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant. I know my hormones have been all over for the last few months (sorry, Bry). Something happened on April 1. I officially started feeling pregnant. I think that's when I realized that I'm having a baby on the 15th. Yikes! Less than 2 weeks now. I can't get my shoes on, I'm not comfortable sitting/standing/laying down. My heartburn is constant. It's lovely. :)

Really, it is. I love being pregnant. I love feeling Zoey squirm around. Kylie loves it too. I don't have any major complaints. And to just start feeling like this now is pretty good. I'm starting to have strangers ask me when I'm due. Followed by, "Do you know if it's a boy or girl?". Typically followed by "Is this your first?". It doesn't end. With most people I answer that I have a 4 year old daughter. It gets pretty complicated when I hesitate with saying two daughters. That's just the way it is, I guess.

So I'm just realizing that everything is happening pretty fast this month. The house should have paint by the 7/8th. Carpet is being installed the 9/10th. We're moving on the 11th. Having Zoey on the 15th. Should work out perfectly, right?

We had an appointment today & everything still looks good. Nothing new. One more appointment on Tuesday and then it's time.

I've waited so long for this and it's finally close! I better get some things finished up in these last 11 days!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homeowners Again!

It worked! Finally, we're done with the "buying a house" journey.

Bryan said it best:
"I'd first like to thank GOD. He makes a path when there seems to be a dead end. Thanks big guy. Thank you to the best realtor in Green Bay Greg Dallaire. Thanks for being awesome. Brian Wickert and his awesome team for getting us this mortgage. And finally my beautifully pregnant wife. Nancy Gruse you know as well as I do that none of this would have been possible with out your hard work. Thank you very much for helping our growing family get a home to grow in. Goodbye (and then I kick over the mic stand like a rock star)"

Here are some pics from today. Lots of work to be done in the next couple weeks. 

We brought Kylie's princess table with markers and coloring books for her new bedroom. Now, she'll have something to do while we're working. Bryan and Kylie took out the laminate in the master bedroom. She's a great helper!

Should be a fun few weeks!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Experiencing Our Generous God

Just one day after my last post, we received the phone call that the offer was accepted on our house. Our prayers were heard and I just had to ask. Sometimes it just feels that simple. Other times, it feels like such a struggle. God is a generous God.

Our church did a short series on tithing a little while back. Bryan & I have always put a priority on tithing. When we lived in Stevens Point, there were many times that we 'tested God' in this and He always provided. As everyone has struggled a little in their finances these last couple years, we put our tithing aside. Not on purpose. It just happened. I didn't remember, or I spent the money on something else before I 'could' pay our tithe. A couple months ago, we faithfully began again. Full-well knowing that He would provide for us. Money had been tight with all of the expenses of getting this house. A few hundred for an inspection, a few for an appraisal, mortgage insurance, closing costs & the costs to get the house ready to move into! We knew it was time to obey God (shouldn't have stopped!) and trust Him.

It worked. Surprise, surprise. We have experienced so many unexpected blessings. Saving where we didn't think we could afford an amount. Having just enough to pay for certain expenses and normal monthly bills.

With all of that being said, here are two scriptures that I've been thinking of this week.

Malachi 3:8-11 The Message
"Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day. "You ask, 'How have we robbed you?' "The tithe and the offering - that's how! And now you're under a curse - the whole lot of you - because you're robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasure so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams."

I like the way The Message reads. "...see if I don't open up heaven and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams." It kind of has a snotty sound to it. Instead of saying 'I will open up heaven...', He encourages us to test him.

The other verse was posted by a friend of mine on Facebook.

1 Peter 5:8-11 The Message
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in christ - eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does.

I have suffered and am finally understanding my Generous God. Maybe not understanding, but seeing that His word promises that suffering won't last forever. Our family has made it through one set of suffering and are now seeing the glorious plans. I know there may be more suffering and we will stand strong again. I know some families are going through huge trials over and over. I pray that this scripture will be an encouragement and reminder. "Keep a firm grip on the faith. He gets the last word; yes, He does."

On a side note, we had our 35 weeks ultrasound with Dr. Hayes. He was happy to give us good news and his "final blessing" on our baby girl. He said she's perfect & following the growth chart as normal. Fifty-third percentile for growth. She's already 6 pounds and should be a little over 7 by the time she's born on the 15th.  Our ultrasound tech said she has a lot of hair (just like the other girls). Her head is pretty low, so we didn't get a good pic of her face. Soon enough! I'm sure these next few weeks will go by quickly.

Thanks for checking in & praying with us!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Boring Update

Hey! I haven't posted in so long. I remember this little break I took right before we had Layla, too. I've been busy finishing up Simply Fresh Films work & preparing for Zoey! We don't have any exciting updates with the house or the baby. I suppose that's a good thing, in a way.

House update: still waiting. Yay short sales. It sure is a good deal, but takes a lot of patience. We made our offer in November. In February, they came back at a different price & we accepted it. Now, we're waiting for them to accept that. I know, I don't get it either. We were hoping to close by the end of March, but that's becoming unlikely. Even thought we don't quite have the house, we've had it measured for new carpet and paint. We're trying to get estimates and stay on top of things. Just in case we get it in the end of the month, we'd love to get it ready asap. We won't be moving in until the flooring & painting is done. Please pray with us. We're praying that the bank 1-accepts the offer, 2- accepts it soon! Also for our financing to go through in the mean time.

Baby update: still waiting. We're very patient people. I'm starting to remember how long I've been waiting for this! Pregnant since April 2011 (with a break between Layla & Zoey, but ready for a baby the whole time). It's been a long time coming for us and now I can't believe how close we are! I have a c-section scheduled for April 15th at 8 am! I've been going over scheduling details with Bryan, work & family. Now, I would love for it to go as planned, but we'll see. We had an appointment last week. Everything is measuring right and looks good. Baby is head down but not dropped. We have a 35 week appointment on Tuesday. It's another big ultrasound with Dr. Hayes and an appointment with our Dr. afterwords. I can't wait to see her cute face again. After that, we have appointments every week until the c-sec date (at 39 weeks). I'm sure this last month will go by very fast!

So, we're hoping to be in the house before the 15th. I'm trying to be realistic, so I took out 'enough' stuff for Zoey at our current place. Things I think I'll use in the first month or so. Everything else is packed away. Who knows? Maybe we'll be moving while I'm on maternity leave. I guess that could work. We want to rush to move in & get the house ready, but at the same time we want to do it right & make sure everything is done before we move in. It will all work out in God's timing. Please pray that we continue to be patient and trust in His time. Man, it can be hard!

There have been so many cute moments with Kyle & Zoey. Just last night she was talking to my belly about Layla. I said that Zoey doesn't know about Layla yet. Her response was "I can tell her about her! Zoey, Layla is a special little girl in heaven watching over us. She died and she's in heaven. So I have a necklace for you when you come. Love you. Goodnight." It was so sweet. Kylie is going to be such a good big sister. I know that's what everyone says about their kids. Kylie is so aware of everything and a naturally caring person. She's very 'motherly' in everything she does. Maybe a little too bossy, but it's cute for now.

We spent my birthday in Shawano with my sister. It was a great relaxing time. The kids were great and we went swimming. It felt so cool with swim while pregnant. What a great feeling! No pressure or back pain. Just floated around in the warm pool. Chad took the kids while we had a spa party followed by pizza & cake! Perfect bday celebration!

I've been feeling good at work. Some days are longer than others. I worked a little over 40 hours last week, so I'm going to try to slow down a bit in this last month by taking Friday's off. And I'll try not to work as much at home after I leave work! Easing myself into maternity leave, I guess. We record the radio show on Monday & Tuesdays. I run the camera so it's a lot of standing. I'm in the process of training someone to cover for me while I'm gone. I also tried to write up what our schedule will be like while I'm on leave and through the summer. Should be interesting.

That's about all I have for now. I'll probably post more maternity/family pics on my blog. I just love them so much and I didn't post many last week.

Happy days to you all. Thanks for your support & prayers through all of our craziness.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Family Pictures

I'm so excited to share our family/maternity pictures with you! My friend, Heidi, took them last Sunday. They turned out great. I was so excited to have pics in the pretty snow. Kylie was so good, the entire day. We started outside and moved to The Creamery in De Pere for some inside pics. It was nice and cozy with hot drinks & delicious cupcakes!

Check out the pics!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Pancake Squares

We had the most delicious breakfast on Thursday. It was pajama day at Kylie's school and we were all home in the morning with extra time for breakfast.

I found this recipe on Pintrest. It didn't take long to make and was a huge hit! Bryan and I have always had issues making pancakes. Part of the problem was that Bryan was using the waffle recipe on the Bisquick box every time he made them. The other problem is getting the right temp on the skillet. The first couple are never done right. Just when we perfect it, there's not batter left!

I love this recipe for Pancake Squares, because you get a whole 9 x 13 dish of fluffy pancakes in 30 minutes. Then you can all sit down at eat at the same time!

Here's a pic from the original people who posted them. Ours looked just as good, but my pic isn't as cute.

Here's the recipe for a 9 x 13 dish:

2 eggs
4 T melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 T sugar

Beat into wet ingrediants:
2 Cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

We each like our pancakes so different. I prefer just butter. Kylie loves chocolate chips. Bryan always stacks them and adds chocolate chips and syrup!

Next time you need a delicious breakfast, try it out! You'll love it. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lesson. Learned.

click to enlarge

I saw this picture online on Friday morning & thought it was pretty funny, yet true. There's a fine line between assuming/imagining/hoping for a "yes" and being okay with hearing "no". I think I had this well figured out with Layla. Hoping for a change, but also being okay "even if He didn't" change anything.

On Friday morning, I realized that I wasn't okay with a 'no' on the house. I felt like we deserved it, after all we've been through. But, after I read this comic strip I had a nice little chat with God. Basically coming to terms with the idea of not getting the house. And being okay staying in the duplex if that's what will happen. Letting go & letting God.

Ironically, we got a phone call on Friday afternoon at 4. We got the house (technically)! They countered our offer & we accepted. We have an inspection on Wednesday & are hoping to close in the end of March if all goes well. This is what we were waiting for, but it's still a waiting game. Praying that everything will smoothly move forward. Once we actually close, we'll have to repaint the entire house & put new flooring in.

We know we're crazy. This would all happen in the beginning of April. So we'd have a couple weeks before Zoey comes! Please pray with us that everything goes smoothly! We're excited :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spring Fever

Every morning this week I've been waking up ready for spring. This winter weather is getting old. It's still so pretty, but not fun anymore. Bryan will agree that I'm definitely nesting. I can't get my house clean or organized enough. I'm running out of energy a lot faster these days. I need to sit and take a break before I even leave for work! It's exhausting. Thankfully, I get to sit most of the day. I get up for a short walk to refill my water or go to the bathroom pretty often.

Still no news on the house. We're still hopeful that our offer will be accepted. Right now, I'm questioning if we'll be able to move in before Zoey's born! But, we'll just wait and see. Please pray that the bank decides soon! I just want to know what's going to happen, of course.

We had our 31 week appointment for Zoey. We haven't agreed on a middle name yet. I've been saying 'Zoey Boey' or 'Zoey Bean'. At some point we'll pick a real middle name! The appointment was great. Her heartbeat was 160. She's head down, but hasn't dropped. All is good & we'll probably pick a c-section date the week of April 15th. (Any suggestions for a date? It's weird to pick a birthday!) I have another normal appointment at 33 weeks and an ultrasound with Dr. Hayes at 35 weeks. Should be fun to see her cute face one more time before she comes. If she's like the other girls, she'll have tons of dark hair.

I think we've figured out what our schedules are going to be like this summer. We'll see what happens. Kylie's going to summer school three days/week and home with myself or Bryan the other two days. We're still working out the details for Zoey. Hoping we don't need someone for too much with the way our schedules work out. It was so nice to have Bryan home with Kylie, we were very blessed to be able to do that. Technically, we could do that again, but we both like our jobs too much. I think that's a good thing. Happy at home & happy at work, both doing what we love. Only took us a few years to get it right. :)

So, we'll take suggestions for birth dates and middle names. We won't guarantee anything, but it would be fun to hear some ideas. We're hoping to do some wintery maternity pictures on Sunday. I'm sure I'll share them when we get them back!

Here's hoping for an early spring & some nice weather from now on. I've been itching for a vacation this month. I realized that I've been to Florida the last two years in March/April, which is probably why I want to go so badly. Maybe next year with a five and almost one year old.

Happy Wednesday! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Eye-Opening Discovery

I came across a blog post on Facebook the other day. The title caught my attention because of our journey with Layla. I read the post and have been thinking about it for days. I know that I share my opinion often on this blog. I am shocked at the number of people who read this. I don't expect you all the believe in the same things that I do, but something about my openness & honesty or just plain curiosity is intriguing to you. With that being said, I'm going to share my opinion again.

The topic of abortion is heavily debated in today's culture. I don't typically share my opinions on this and I am not a fan of the people who protest at clinics and all that stuff. I don't want to get into a deep discussion with anyone about this. This is merely my take on this particular story that I read. I hope you find that it challenges your thinking and maybe even pushes you to do something about it.

I don't want to share the blog that I read. There is only one post on it. It is a women's story about her pregnancy. The summary is that she had a 21 week ultrasound for her second child. They received a diagnosis that the baby's limbs were short, he had fluid in his brain, and his rib cage was too tiny for lungs to expand. She was given the option to carry the baby, with the prognosis that he would not survive past birth or terminate the pregnancy. She chose to terminate. Hospitals don't allow late-term abortions, so she had it done at a clinic in Chicago. There are more details that are just horrifying and I don't care to share them. Basically, something went wrong during the procedure after they had taken the baby. She was rushed to a hospital and because of the mistake that was made, lost her uterus. Her blog post was written as a speech to Planned Parenthood to plead for them to allow late-term abortions to avoid what happened to her.

She ends her post by saying "No one should have to suffer while trying to do what's right for their children."

I was shocked after I read this. I had to take a few days to process it. So, please bare with me while I try to explain my thoughts.

If you don't know our journey with Layla, please read this post for an overview of the initial diagnosis. It is very similar to what this lady was told. Layla's limbs were short, her chest cavity was too small, there was swelling around her head. We were told it was a lethal skeletal dysplasia. In fact, this lady's baby was diagnosed with a dysplasia in the same category of Layla's. It was listed in our possible diagnoses in the beginning. I looked up her baby's diagnosis. There are 6 people who have lived with it. If you look up Layla's, there are zero.

I know you can see these similarities in our stories. But, there is one major difference. I had my baby. I let my baby live for 34 weeks inside of me. I held and kissed my baby. My daughter met her sister. My family held my baby. My baby made a difference in people's lives and she still is.

This lady is looking for sympathy for what she did. She wants people to feel bad for her. Because she aborted her baby at 21 weeks. And because of that, she lost her uterus. The last sentence in her post says, "No one should have to suffer while trying to do what's right for their children."

What a selfish statement. She is saying that you shouldn't have to suffer for nine months knowing that your child will die. She is saying that it was right and better for her child to not be born. Life shouldn't be hard, right?

Clearly, we have differing opinions on this.

It's ironic that a cell found on Mars is considered life, but an unborn child on Earth is not. I believe this is because there is no expectation of 'life' on Mars. On Earth, one's life is expected to be a certain way. There should not be down's syndrome, or deformities, or chromosomal abnormalities, or skeletal dysplasia's. And, to some people, if the life inside of them will not meet these expectations, they don't keep it.

Until I read this post, I was ignorant about abortion. For me, termination was not even an option. I was shocked to read a story of someone in the same situation as me, who chose the opposite. I don't want to be a crazy "pro-life" person. However, I didn't know that someone had to suggest "keep your baby". Keep your baby, even if the doctors say it won't live. Keep your baby, even though it will be hard. Keep your baby for so many reasons.

I feel like it should be assumed. Like people should instinctively say, "I'm keeping my baby". Little did I know, people make the other choice.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Have Patience

It's been a while since I posted! I've been busy having fun & finishing Simply Fresh Films projects before our baby comes! A lot of late nights editing, after working my job & getting Kylie to bed. Bryan's been working until 10 or so, which give me a couple hours to work before he's home. Two more projects left and then I'm rewarding myself with a pedicure!

The other day, we posted this picture online.

We finally decided to tell people "Beanie"'s name. The first person to tell, officially, was Kylie. She started practicing writing it right away. That 'z' is tricky! Bryan and I had Kylie's name picked out before we got married. But, for both girls, we wrote lists of other names. Zoey was on the list for Kylie, and it was our number two option for Layla. After liking the name for over five years, we thought we should use it. :) Zoey means "life", which is very fitting for our situation. (We're still discussing middle names.)

It's fun to call her by name around the house. Kylie writes her name all the time. We still call her Beanie on accident & most of the time Kylie catches me & Bryan!

We had a 29 week appointment last week. It had been four weeks since seeing my doctor. It was nice to talk to her about our 'plan' for delivery. I was two weeks late with Kylie. I was induced with no progress for 2 days and ended up having a c-section. I had Layla at 34 weeks. We were in a hurry because we wanted her to be born with a heartbeat, so a c-section was the best option. With all of that, our doctor said we could schedule a c-section sometime after 39 weeks. We haven't picked a date yet, but I'm sure it will not go as planned.

God is so good at reminding us that everything happens in His timing. I'm a planner. My maternity leave and pay was so perfectly written out in a spreadsheet when I was pregnant with Kylie. Much to my surprise, I worked a 40 hour week after my due date! And the same with Layla. We had just decided on a delivery date, and shortly after we had her. All of that to say, it would be so nice to plan everything for Zoey. To have everything in order before we go to the hospital. That would be ideal, right? But, I'm sure it won't happen. We'll walk in patience and trust. He has a plan.

You may remember a post a long long time ago about putting an offer in on a house. We submitted our offer on November 15th. It's a short-sale and our lease is up in March, so we gave the bank until February 14th to get back to us. This week, we extended the deadline to the end of February! It's a little frustrating, but we've got this patience thing down.

We've had some people ask how we can be so patient and laid back. I think we've always been that way, but even more after going though Layla's pregnancy. We couldn't do anything, and we just had to wait. So, we learned that there's no reason to worry or get anxious about anything. If it's part of His plan, it will happen in His timing.

The only hard part about waiting for the house, is not knowing where we'll have Zoey. My sisters threw me an AWESOME baby shower on Saturday. They didn't let me help at all, so everything was a surprise to me. It was so perfect at my favorite restaurant (Mackinaws). Family & friends came to shower me with love & gifts. My mom, sister, aunts and cousins, my best friends from Stevens Point, and a group of inspiring Christian moms that I respect, who have been so encouraging to me in the last couple years. I'm so blessed to have such a cool group of real people that support me. 

 I feel like this post is a little jumbled. Anyway, that's an update :) Bryan, Kylie & I all have off on Friday. We have some fun family plans. Our next appointment is one week from tomorrow. We have another ultrasound on March 19th at 35 weeks. Of course, I have another post in my head. I'm sure I'll write again later this week.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Inspiring Through Tragedy

Okay, so I have a lot of thoughts about this. I'm hoping that I can explain them in an organized and well-explained way. We'll see.

I know that many people have been reading my blog since the very beginning. I've gotten a lot of encouraging comments about my writing. Personally, I think it's just my honesty & openness that people like in my blog. I don't sugar-coat anything. I write like I would be talking & I talk about how I'm feeling (even if it's not pretty).

I would qualify my situation as a tragedy; a disastrous event or misfortune. I reacted to my tragedy with unrealistic optimism and faith in God. I believe that I did this because it's what I have seen others do & what I've been taught. It's just how you react. I remember Pastor Mark saying that he'd give himself 24 hours to freak out, and then move forward. The freaking out came in spurts. Trust me, there were days that I freaked out & allowed myself to cry my eyes out and feel sorry for myself. But, I always had to reset & remember how I needed to respond to this situation. Not only for me to be able to cope, but for my family & friends. It was my testimony of faith in action. People were watching me. (This is not to say I changed, but I knew that I had to pull through. Feeling sorry for myself would not encourage anyone or show anyone how God can give you peace through a situation.)

I reacted consciously. My reaction was not how I felt. At all. I had to intentionally deny my emotions and make myself think positively. If I would have allowed myself to be 'bummed', to say the least, I would have questioned God. I would have been angry and mad about what was happening. I was confused and sad, but that's different. I could have easily turned away from God because of my confusion. I could have blamed Him for allowing this to happen. But why? What would the point of that be? For others to feel bad for me? For me to feel better? I don't think any of that would have been worth it.

When a tragedy comes into someone's life, that person has to choose how they will react. If they don't intentionally decide how to react, the default will be to act how they feel. My point in all of this, is to say that when you see someone in the face of tragedy, you pray and hope that they will chose faith. It is so easy to act and react how you feel. It is NOT easy to react with faith, peace and trust in God. It's not the 'easy way'. The biggest testimony, is to see someone intentionally chose faith.

People would tell me all the time, how inspiring I was. I did not feel like I was inspiring anyone. I was merely keeping my head above water in the midst of uncertainty and confusion. However, I have recently seen a couple people choose to react how I did. Now, I can see how it can be inspiring. It is refreshing to observe someone make that decision. I know I keep repeating this, but remember this is a conscious decision. These people, who show so much strength throughout tragedy, don't feel it. (Having been there, I can say that.) There is so much confusion about why these things happen and the answer is most likely not a week away.

It truly is refreshing and inspiring to see someone with faith through an incredible tragedy. It's amazing to watch that. With all of that being said, thank you. For finding my story inspiring, even though I didn't understand why you thought that at the time. Be encouraged to intentionally choose to have faith and trust God when you face a tragedy of your own. Know that when you see someone that you're inspired by, it's not easy to act the way that you're amazed with. Pray for them, to feel the peace and strength that they are operating in. It's not easy, but it is inspiring. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Normal Baby

We had our 28 week ultrasound with Dr. Hayes this morning. Kylie May got to come with today, so she could see what all these appointments are about. She never came to any of Layla's appointment (every week). We never knew what the appointments had in store, so it was safer to not bring her. I guess we felt pretty good about everything up to this point.

Kylie was so excited to be with us! She was interested in everything in the rooms & what they were doing. It was fun to see her in that atmosphere. Beanie looked great! The ultrasound went pretty quick. Kylie loved seeing Beanie on the tv screen. We were able to watch Beanie put her hands over her eyes and 'play peek-a-boo'. She put her fingers in her mouth, and opened & closed her mouth. It was neat to watch and be able to show Kylie. We got one good picture of her pretty face.

For me, and Bryan, the best part was seeing her bones! Wow. I know it's normal, but we didn't get to see normal for Layla. When they measured Beanies femur, it was so bold and straight. You could see it so clearly. Just the way it's supposed to be. (With Layla, we couldn't see anything that resembled a bone. Not even short bones. They just didn't show up on the ultrasound.)

Our meeting with Dr. Hayes was the best we've ever had in the last year or more with him. He started with "Your baby looks great.". *sigh* He continued to say that he was looking for the measurements to be in the 10-90 percentile. Her femur was 30% and her humerus was 50%. I mentioned how cool it was to see her femur and he replied "It couldn't be more straight. It's exactly what we want to see. No curve." To hear him say these few things was music to my ears. It's not the way his appointments typically go. It's probably unusual for him to be able to give good news! He said he doesn't want to waste our time with appointments, so we'll see him in 7 weeks for another measurement ultrasound.

What a relief. We were expecting a good appointment. I don't think either of us were very nervous about it. It was just cool to hear all of those positive things. There has been a lot of sad news that we have been heartbroken about for us in the past and a few friends recently. This was just what we needed to get us through. I'm praying that even this little bit of positive news will help others remember that He will carry us through the hard times.

I have a post in my head that I've been thinking of and wanting to post for a while. Hoping to get to it tomorrow. Sounds like it might be a snowy day at home. We'll have to wait and see!

Thanks for all of your support. Please keep my friend Rajah's family in your thoughts and prayers. We'll be heading to Stevens Point on Friday for the funeral. If you would like to know how to help, here is a link to help offset the costs for the family. Thank you for your generosity.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Now? - Perspective

"...and suddenly, all of your own troubles and worries become unimportant." posted by a friend of my on Facebook today.

I got a phone call from a close friend in Stevens Point that a friend of ours passed away this morning. It was so unexpected. It  caught me off-guard and I am still in shock. The way I feel cannot even compare to how his family feels. He was 36, married for over 10 years, 5 beautiful kids. I keep saying it's awful. It's worse than that.

Rajah Heetai was a wonderful man of God. He respected everyone and always put others needs before his. He treated his wife like a princess and loved his kids so dearly. He knew what was important in life. He served in the church & community. He's someone that 'everyone knows' because he was genuinely nice to everyone he met.

There are so many characteristics about Rajah that I could go on about. I am just heartbroken for his family. I can't think about anything else. The feeling of grief comes over me so quickly and I cannot imagine how they will move forward. What now?

Rajah's wife Amanda is just as amazing as Rajah. She is so bold and strong. She is an excellent mom, and I know that God will protect her. I know Amanda will lean on Him and trust Him for every need.

Please lift up the family in your prayers. Hug your spouse extra tight and tell your kids you love them.

His passing changes my perspective again. It forces me to think about the relationships I have. Ones that have shaped my past. That have made me who I am today. Think about your perspective now, before a circumstance forces you to. Take a step back and look at the big picture.

In loving memory of Rajah Heetai.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thinking of Layla

I'm almost 27 weeks pregnant with Beanie. According to my app, she's 15 inches long! I had Layla at 34 weeks, and because of her skeletal dysplasia, she was only 10 and 1/2 inches long and 4 pounds. I've been feeling Beanie moving for a while now. It's getting to be more & more. Now that I compare the sizes of Layla & Beanie, I realize why I can feel her so much. I love it. A lot. When I relax at night I can count on feeling her kicking the most. Throughout the day, I get kicks while I'm working at my desk. It's this little reminder that I'm growing a baby.

I didn't feel Layla very much because of her size. My pregnancy with her was physically so different from Beanie. I can't help but think how much of a blessing that was. It was challenging enough emotionally. If I would have felt her kicking more, or felt sick/miserable it would have made it such a different experience.

My sisters and I went out for lunch on Sunday. They really got me into thinking about Beanie. I have three months until she's due, but I haven't thought much about having her. I was talking more about it today with a friend. Thinking about the weeks after Beanie is born and wanting to work. She reminded me of what it will be like. Not sleeping at night, nursing every couple hours, not being clear-headed. My most recent memory of having a baby was not bringing one home. I had a baby and my life went on as usual. I was back at work twelve days after having her. I didn't need to figure out maternity leave or where the baby would sleep. Who would take care of her or how we would financially afford it. So, with Beanie, I'm trying to remember what I need to think about.

I will be in the hospital for a few days. I will bring a baby home. I will not be sleeping through the night. I will not be grieving her loss. I will be happy. I will be exhausted. I will still need to take care of Kylie. I will take off of work. I will not know what I'm doing. But, I will have a baby!

I was watching one of 'my shows', as Bryan calls them, tonight. The lady in the show had a baby. The first things she said was "she's crying". It dawned on me in that moment, that this experience with Beanie will be so different. I will feel that joy. The overwhelming, forget everything else, joy that comes when you hear, hold and see your baby for the first time. I felt something when I held Layla, but I can't honestly say that it was joy. It was relief. It was pain. It was sadness. It was an ending, not a beginning like it's supposed to be.

Bryan, Kylie and I were driving past the hospital where we had Layla. I want to give Kylie a heads up about things, so I told her that we'll be having Beanie there too. This started a list of questions from her. I wasn't expecting it to trigger so many memories for her. She asked to go to the same friends house as she did when Layla was born. She wants the same person to bring her to see me & Beanie. She asked why Layla didn't open her eyes. If Layla was sleeping already. How she got out of my belly and stated that happened before she came to visit. She was wearing her white dress. Did daddy & I cut her hair when she was sleeping? What color will Beanie's hair be? For a four year old, she remembers and understands so much.

This is our life. These conversations just happen and it's normal for us. I was waiting in the lab at the Dr. the other day. This little boy, about Kylie's age, asked his mom, "When did my brother die?". She quickly told him to quiet down so others wouldn't hear. I didn't hear her answer. It was hard to ignore their conversation. This is just their life now. Maybe it had been a while, maybe it just happened. Either way, it has changed them forever. I wanted to talk to her. I had no idea what I would say. How it would be received. I just wondered if she would feel comforted by meeting someone else who lost a child.

I was asked to speak at our MOPS group at church a couple days ago. I've been thinking about it a lot. I remember feeling so strong after Layla was born. I felt like I could do anything after what I had gone through. I know I've said this before, but I don't believe my own posts from when I was pregnant with Layla. I know that it was genuine, I remember feeling that way. Maybe not always 'feeling' strong, but being strong in my faith and trusting God. I don't know where I would begin to talk about how I made it through because I can't believe that I did. I don't feel as inspired to share now as I did last year. But, it's not about how I feel. Maybe it's time to figure out how I can use what I went through to help other people. Like the lady in the lab who lost her son. There is a reason for all of this. This could be my first step in discovering that.

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's Friday!

We made it to Friday! This has been the first 'normal' week since all of the days off for Christmas/New Years. It's great to be back into a routine. Seems a little busier than I thought it would be. Bryan and I went out last night. We had great ideas of fun places to eat and things to do. But, we ended up going to dinner and a movie. A little boring. We don't have dates very often, so we're content with a simple relaxing date. Uninterrupted conversation was lovely.

We had an appointment for Beanie on Wednesday. I had to take my glucose test. It was not very tasty. Beanie's heartbeat was in the 150's. I'll be 26 weeks on Saturday! The days are starting to go by quickly. One of my co-workers had her baby girl on Monday. She came in to visit on Thursday. Her baby was so tiny. I feel like I just stood there and stared at her. Only four days old, they don't do much, but I was still enamored by her. I can't wait for my own.

Our next appointment is on the 29th with Dr. Hayes. Another big ultrasound. I'm ready to see her again. It's been a while compared to every 3 weeks, like with Layla!

Kylie May has been a little feisty these days. Maybe winter is getting to her. It's probably hard to adjust from having me home all the time, to not at all. I'm hoping we can reset this weekend and start next week off on the right foot!

It's been very springy around here. A high of 45 today! I like it, but I know it's not going to stick around. I'm sure winter will return and we'll have another snowstorm or two. Kylie & I are off to the dentist for her this afternoon. She has a sweet tooth, so I'm hoping for no cavities! Have a happy springy weekend! Oh, and go Packers!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Motivated & Excited

Christmas is over. **big sigh** I love the season, but it's taken on a new life with my job at church. It was an amazing busy time and I'm happy to be moving past it. Last weekend I had the huge opportunity to have a wedding booth at the Green Bay Wedding Show. I do wedding videos. Please check out my site & 'like' my Facebook page. I've been doing this since 2005 and never done any advertising. It's all been friends & family. I thought I'd give it a shot in Green Bay to see how it goes. The show went great. A huge thanks to Holly Marie Designs who designed my site, business cards, pricing sheets, coupon booklets and DVD cases. Also to my dad, who made my vision happen. I had this picture in my head of how I wanted it to look, and he made it happen. Thanks, dad!! Huntley Painting & Designs painted the wall for me and applied the logo/text. He did awesome at matching my colors and fonts. Well done, Steve! I could go on and on with people who helped me achieve this (Bryan, Addie, Mom, Emily). I lost my voice on Thursday and was feeling sick the whole weekend. On Friday, the first day of the show, I was losing my mind. I was rushing to finish things. One thing after another was going wrong and Kylie was not cooperating. I was a mess, but only lost it for a couple minutes. I didn't feel like it was worth all of the effort I put into it. I felt like I was making a huge mistake and had no confidence in myself. That had to turn around, because I had to go sell myself to 1,000 brides! I had a coughing attack with watery eyes and no voice with the first person I talked to. After that, I went to the bathroom to regroup. I decided that if I got more referrals than coughing attacks, I would be in good shape. Nobody else was boosting my esteem, so I had to do it myself. I did! It was a success and I've already booked one wedding. Thank goodness!

Here's a pic of my booth. I had an awesome time meeting brides. I love talking about details and wedding plans. They're all so excited and in love. It's so cute.

So, all of that to say that I'm super motivated and excited to be moving forward into 2013. Starting to get excited about having a baby in April! Ah, it's going to come fast now. We're trying to figure out where things will go in our house & what items we need to buy. We have a few things from Kylie, but I have to see what it looks like. I don't remember it from 4 years ago. Kylie was an October baby, so the clothes will be off a season. I'm sure some things will work.

Bryan & I decided to pull our offer on the house. There have been some complications come up with the financing since we have a house in Stevens Point. Initially we thought we would need 2 months of reserves for each property and now it's 6 months. That's a big difference. If we pull the offer, we'll be able to plan for Beanie in our current place (which we still like) and get settled in even more. I think we're both content with the decision. It gives us some certainty instead of having our housing situation up in the air for a couple months. I suppose this could change if they can work some magic with our numbers. We'll have to see.

***Okay...maybe not. We just keep getting more info on the financing. I don't want to 'give up' just in case it might work. It would be so nice to have a house with our new Beanie. I'll keep you posted.***

I know it's a little early for Valentine's, but I'm over the Christmas season & ready to move on. :) Spring cleaning anyone?