About Me

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I have the most wonderful Husband who has been my best friend since I was a sophomore in high school. So incredibly blessed to be his wife. God has given us three beautiful children. Nella Grace, Knox Michael, and Crew Matthew. God is good and I am thankful for all He has provided for us!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My sweet momma

This is the blog post I have been waiting to write until, well I felt like I was ready.  I am really not sure if I am.  Really not sure if I am strong enough to attempt this, but my heart feels like it needs to. Like it needs to get these words out.  So here I go.  

This season of my life has been one of the toughest in my life.  One no one could have prepared me for or one I could have ever imagined would happen this early in my life.  This is how this storm started with this video.  My dad called and said my mom was not getting better with her cold and despite different attempts with antibiotics, she was just not progressing.  So he brought her to the hospital.  We made this video for her because I knew it would bring a smile to her face.  Dad sounded so calm on the phone and made me feel like it was just a step to getting her better and with some iv antibiotics she would heal and get better.  Never did I think this would be the last time I knew she heard me on the phone.  The last time...

This is my momma.  My sweet mom.  See my mom was my best friend, truly my hero.  The one I called when I needed to talk, a shoulder to cry on, get advice, someone to giggle with, someone to tell me it was okay, and someone that no matter what was going on would bring huge smiles to my face.  She was my comfort.  Always.  

She was the one who reminded me to be a giver, to love with all your heart, work hard, be honest, and never ever put yourself before others' needs.  She was a giver through and through.  My mom and I always had the best time together.  There were sure to be smiling, giggling, and silliness when we were together.  My momma was fun and playful.  

She was the best. (Its so hard to write this…WAS..I cannot stand using this word) The best momma I could have ever be given. She taught me so much about God, life, love, and what truly matters in life.  She valued her faith, simplicity, nature, people, and animals.  She was devoted momma always, but oh my did she love her grand babies.  They were her world.  What truly brought her joy was being with them.  Holding them, giggling with them, chasing them, snuggling them, and making them whatever they wanted in the kitchen.  She adored them.  The joy they brought her poured of her when they were present.  

This is my last picture of her holding our sweet Crew

The nightmare begins…
Matt and I were having Matt's family over for a dinner at our house.  Minutes before his family arrived, I got the call from my dad that she wasn't doing well at all and they were going to put her on a vent.  My heart sunk.  My momma.  The one that I think of as having super natural strength.  The one that never lets anything take her down.  I immediately prayed to God, be with her doctors, give her strength, let her heal.  But my mind said, she will be fine.  She always is.  She just needs more treatment.  I attempted to draw comfort from those words.  

About 10 minutes after Matt's family arrived, I got a call from my Aunt saying I needed go to Goshen because she wasn't doing well on the vent.  She said, you need to come.  She needs you.  Your dad needs you.  I remember hanging on those words, the tears welling up in my eyes, trying to process what it meant, what was happening, leaving my family, leaving my two week old son, how long will she be in the hospital, will she be okay?!?  The questions just raced around in my head and I found myself frozen.  I remember standing in my closet staring at my clothes not sure what to do…then I felt a wave of peace come over me…and heard "you are strong..pack your bag..It is what you need to do."  

I packed my bag in a fury not even sure what was in there.  My sister-in-law, Leslie,  offered to go with me, and I felt guilty pulling her away from her family.  I will be okay I remember thinking, but Matt insisted she go with me.  On the way up there, I remember thanking God for her being there because I felt so lost.  Not sure how to go about this, questioning what I was about to walk into.  I made a call to my best friends Natalie and Jess on the way up to start praying.  I just knew this was going to be a big storm.  I just didn't know how big until I arrived.  

On the way up there, I remember Leslie trying to reassure me and thinking yes she is strong.  Yes God is with her.  I remember hanging on those words, she is strong.  She will be okay.  I remember praying in the silence in the car.  Praying with all my might that maybe it wasn't as bad as it sounded. I tried to make sense of the words, she needs you.  How bad was this?!? Should Matt be here?!?!  

I remember driving up to the hospital and wanting to run to the door.  Wanting to hold my mom.  Wanting to hear she was fine now…false alarm.  My cousin Megan met me in the parking lot.  She held me really tight and when she let go, tears were rolling down her face.  I knew then…it was bad.  It was not good.  I wanted to turn around.  I wanted to run away. I wanted to wake up..this wasn't happening…I knew once I walked into the hospital…I was going to see her and it would become my reality.  

While signing in at the hospital, I met my cousin Ryan…He gave me one of those great hugs..the kind that you melt into…and I needed that.
We headed upstairs and I wanted to run off the elevator to my dad.  I wanted to hug him. As I walked into the waiting room, it was full of family and friends with tears in their eyes and heads hanging low.  Dad immediately grabbed my hand and walked me out of the room.  He started crying and just kept saying she is not good.  My heart dropped to my feet.  I wanted to be strong for my dad so I pushed my tears down inside me so they couldn't get out.  I prayed to Him be with us…as we walked into the room.  She was covered in tubes, sleeping peacefully on her back, and looking pale.  I wanted to hug her and hold her hand.  I was told I couldn't touch her…told to let her rest because if she sensed us it would cause her blood pressure to spike and affect her breathing. I looked up to see the doctor standing at the foot of the bed.  I heard him spit out words like she was on a high vent setting and wasn't improving, she has ARDS, she had pneumonia that has damaged her lungs, she needs the vent, now we wait to see if antibiotics work…it was overwhelming…I stood silent thinking this can't be…this truly cannot be…no God…why God…make her better…help us!  

We left her room and dad just held me and cried.  I pushed back my tears that were welling up inside me…I was determined to find my strength in Him and be there for my dad.  She would want that…

I came back to the waiting room for more hugging, tears, and comforting words (she is strong, you know she will be okay, I am so sorry hun, love you).  I called Matt and Jess.  My best friend Jess is a Critical Care unit nurse in Indy and deals with people like my mom's condition daily.  She gave me encouragement and comfort that the doctors were doing the right thing.  I felt peaceful that they were and hopeful that tomorrow things would improve.  

My brother and his wife, Sammy, arrived! I remember feeling thankful they were here.  We stayed late at the hospital and decided that in the morning, when we got an update from the doctor and hopefully see some improvement.  
Leslie and I went back to Matt's parents house and tried to sleep.  I couldn't sleep at all.  All I thought about was her laying there.  I kept thinking any minute she would be okay and this would be over.  In the quiet of Matt's old childhood bedroom, as I lay there and look up at the ceiling fan, I prayed and prayed.  I prayed until my heart was aching so much I had no more words.  I prayed and prayed until I finally drifted off to sleep.  I got up early the next morning and got some food to take to the hospital so my dad and family. I called my friend Jess and she told me what changes I should be seeing today if she was improving…I was anxious..anxious to be there…praying I would see those changes..

Getting to the hospital felt like it took an eternity, even thought it was only a 40 minute drive.   When I got there, Adam, Sammy, and my dad were already there.  We decided to go back and see her.  She was still on her back with the tubes all around her and she looked so pale.  She looked peaceful and I remember thinking maybe that is a good sign.  I texted Jess what was on the vent setting so she could see if was an improvement.  She immediately called me and rattled off questions to ask the doctor and made it sound like there was no progress.  She didn't regress, but she didn't improve.  She was questioning us transferring her to another hospital, one that would have more treatments available.  I talked it over with Bubb, Sammy, and dad.  We decided to meet with the doctor and have Jess on speaker phone to ask questions and be able to get her opinion of what is best for her.  
The doctor and Jess talked really fast and through out terms like ARDS, throwing antibiotics at her, no improvement, bi-vent, unable to transport, need transport soon, ECMO, pressure and peep settings.  I remember feeling like they were speaking a foreign language.  After we met with the doctor and talked with Jess, we decided she needed to be transported for her best chance of survival.  The original plan was to airlift her to IU methodist, but after an ice storm hit north east Indiana, we had to take her by land in an ambulance.  It seemed like transporting her took forever.  My dad and I finally got the go ahead that she was going.  We headed to Indy hoping to be there when she arrived.  I didn't want her to feel scared, even though I knew she wasn't awake.  I wanted to be there for her.  I wanted to be able to ease her mind when she arrived.  

Her family all headed down to Indy to meet us.  I was so thankful to have her family there.  To be surrounded by my aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins.  I needed them.  We needed them to keep us calm to remind us that she was in the best place, that she would do better here.  I was greeted by my best friend, Jess, in the waiting room and she told me they were checking her in and that she did wonderful during the travel.  It seemed like a whirlwind.  It seemed like a bad dream that just kept going despite my attempt to wake up.  I kept feeling like moving her, that this would fix it.  She would have more options for treatment.  She was going to be okay.  

Matt arrived and it was the first time I had the opportunity to hold him since I saw her.  It was the first time I could just cry and be held by him.  There is nothing like his hug.  I feel safe and for once I felt like I could release and really just cry.  He brushed the hair away from my face and smiled and gently whispered she will be okay.  I wanted to believe him with all my might.  I stood there holding my husband and thanking God for getting her there, for allowing the doctors to get started working on treatment right away, and for FAMILY so thankful for all of them.

We got the okay to head back and it felt SURREAL.  It felt like a movie and I was watching it..not living it. I felt like I moved in slow motion trying to take it all in but not able to really process it.  They asked to put her in a roto-prone bed.  Dad immediately signed the consent.  She was transferred into a bed that would rotate gently around and she would lay on her tummy to help her get more oxygen and hopefully move the fluid off her lungs.  The doctors continued to adjust her oxygen saturation levels and peep.  

I would soon be able to explain to you what all this meant.  And what seemed like a foreign language would become familiar.  We would soon learn every nurse, tech, and doctors name that spent time with her.  I would bring cookies for the staff and know other families going through similar situations.  It was amazing how my life would change.  

Here at this moment my life would be something I would NEVER dreamed it would be.  And while I enjoyed getting to know each nurse, tech, and doctor, I wanted to run away.  I wanted to go back to adjusting to being a mom of three.  I wanted to go back to just worrying about setting a schedule for three kids, keeping laundry going, having something for dinner, and just being home.  I wanted to go back to that.  I wanted this to stop.  I wanted it to be over.  I wanted to talk to her.  I wanted her to open her eyes.  I wanted to tell her about Crew, Knox, and Nella and see a huge smile on her face.  I wanted it!  I wanted it to happen.  I begged God.  I begged him.  I would soon know a new exhaustion along with my physical exhaustion.  I would soon become emotionally broken.  The next three weeks would become the worst three weeks of my life.  The weeks where I will FOREVER be changed.  Forever be different.  

My dad moved in with us for the next three weeks and family would pop in and out of our home.  I love being the hostess and tried with all my might to make people comfortable.  But to be honest it was hard.  I was trying to learn how to be a mom to three, trying to meet their needs, and now I was trying to keep the house clean, make meals for everyone, be sure that I was there for my kids, but also there for my family and mom.  My days consisted of being with my kids during the day, leaving when Matt got home from work, going to the hospital until 9 or 10, coming home eating dinner, doing laundry, cleaning, dream feeding a baby, waking in the middle of night and feeding sweet Crew, and doing it all over again everyday.  We watched her make a small steps forward and two steps back for 10 whole days.  She never really improved and then we got a blizzard.  Literally...

Dad and I got a call we needed to be there now.  She was coding!  I remember just white, snow everywhere, and us being the only people on the road.  It wasn't pretty and it was scary. I remember praying the whole way that we would make it. The hospital is about 20 minutes from our house.  It took over an hour.  We raced to the unit and heard words like she coded, she needs more treatment, she needs this to live.  Will you sign?  I remember thinking  God please let this be the answer.  We need her.  We need her so much.  You see she is our rock…our world…she is our everything.  Dad signed for ECMO treatment.  She immediately went into surgery to put the canula in.  This machine would act as her lung and remove blood and provide oxygenation and carbon dixode and then put it back into her body.  It would allow her to rest and really give her a chance for her lungs to heal.  We found out this happened from influenza type A and that the flu caused the pneumonia that has damaged her lungs.  We prayed the damage would be okay if her lungs could be at total rest.  

And while we had two weeks of ECMO,  I watched my mom make gains and for once we felt like she would be okay!  I remember total peace washing over me.  We started to talk about treatment after her lungs were able to function again and what her life would be like for the next year after this.  I remember thinking I don't care what has to happen and I was just so grateful she would be here.  I was so grateful to be able to have the opportunity to see her smile again.  I remember thanking God with all my might.  I fell to my knees praising him and his healing.  

And then just as that happened…she started to stall and really not make the progress.  I remember watching them increase and increase the amount of support ECMO was doing for her and watching the PEEP (pressure on the vent) start to rise.  I remember feeling like this was not a good sign, but Jess would remind me it will take time and to be patient.  That the lungs are sensitive and we just need to wait and give her time.  I prayed for my dad, our family, for her, hospital staff, I prayed that God would allow his amazing healing…I prayed with all of me.  I prayed in the quiet, in the car, in the shower, in line at the grocery store, while my kids played, I prayed until it was just silence because God knew my heart.  He knew what I wanted and I would hear him say I am here child.  I am here!  I knew he was here.  Even in the chaos of my life at that moment, there were moments when peace would completely wash over me. I had to trust what was happening.  It was in HIS hands.  It always is.  

And then there was the day…the day my world crashed….the day I prayed wouldn't come.  My dad left our house to go to the hospital early.  I didn't hear from him when he got there and I thought that was strange. I remember texting him and anticipating I would hear a text about her current stats and that she was the same or no change.  I wished that was his reply…no I get she needs a cat scan of her whole body…they have some concerns…I need you.  I called Matt frantically and he wasn't sure how quick he could get home, but he quickly rearranged his schedule and just left.  He came to be with the kids…I got there right after they took her back for the CAT scan.  I sent my friends a text to pray…she needed it…I just knew! 

Finally we saw they were wheeling her back to her room…being on ECMO it was a huge deal to get her to the CAT scan room.  So many people with her holding tubes, clearing the hallway…I remember dad saying it was a risk! We cried and prayed…and dad kept saying Janelle I really don't think this is good. I don't have a good feeling.  He just kept crying. We called family and told them to get here.  After what seemed like hours….the doctor came and got us…

We went back to her room and he put the scan pictures up on a screen.  I remember him saying 80% of her lungs are damaged.  The damage is not able to be fixed.  I remember him saying only 20% of her lungs are able to work.  That is why ECMO is not working…I remember hanging on every word and thinking any minute he would say, but we are going to try this…it never came.  He said well I say we give it three days, but her choices are to live like this forever on a vent, unconscious and treat the problems that will arise from being in a bed or let her go…NO NO NO you can't mean.  You can't mean this is it.  Please have another choice.  I was screaming this in my head.  I wanted to shake him and I just wanted to lay on the floor and get in the fetal position and bawl.  I wanted to throw a temper tantrum and have the doctor just give in ….have another treatment…have a miracle.I wanted God to bring a miracle.  He was the only one that could….I couldn't lose my mom…I just couldn't….but I knew in my heart she would never want to live the other life he was describing….no that was not an option…

When we left the room…dad and I just hung our heads, tears, and we were silent….we met bubb in the hall…I melted in his arms and bawled.  He didn't know what was said, but at the same time he knew.  

I attempted to make phone calls to family and try to explain….how do you tell someone their sister/daughter/friend is dying…I couldn't even say it myself…I called Matt bawling first.  I told him to get here.  I needed him. 

I wanted to soak in the next three days.   I wanted to soak up every single ounce of her.  I wanted to talk to her, sing to her, tell her how much I loved her, I wanted her to know.  I wanted her to know how scared I was to be without her…but want I really wanted was to hear her say goodbye.  I wanted to hear my momma say I was going to be okay…just one time I wanted to hear that sweet soft voice and cute giggle.  I wanted her big brown eyes to look at me and smile and say you are okay.  I love you Janelle.  I wanted it so bad.  

All of her family came and loved on her.  Told her goodbye, gave kisses, said I loved you.  I watched my uncles and aunts with tears rolling down their cheeks whisper into her ear and kiss her.  In the waiting room, we would tell stories about her life, how much fun she was, and I would learn even more about how special my momma was.  It was comforting…comforting to be surrounded by her family, hear those stories, and feel so loved.  Matt and I took turns being at the hospital.  Our kiddos went to many friends houses and Corey and Leslie's house.  I was so grateful.  Grateful that I had that support.  

And then on the 21st of January, we said our final goodbye to our momma and she went home to Jesus.  My heart shattered to the floor.  It was so broken.  The pain, the pain is fierce and I couldn't even stand.  I couldn't even get on my knees to cry out to Him….I didn't know what to do….didn't know how to take any steps out of the hospital….how to leave this place…how do this

One of the nurses handed my dad an imprint of her hand….he gave it to me…it was from jess….there were no words no words…just tears.  oh that gift, the gift of the reminder of her hand…every line every detail of her hand….that hand I knew would give me strength…remind me of her strength
I looked up to my best friend, Natalie rushing in…I grabbed onto and just sobbed sobbed and sobbed until I kept sobbing but there were no tears…we just held each other….

We left the hospital and my life became a whirlwind…one that I truly can't remember…it felt like I stood still and huge storm just passed over me….we went and picked up Crew from my friend Amanda…I was so grateful to hold that baby.  I needed that comfort.  I needed someone to snuggle with….then later matt went and picked up Nella and Knox from Leslie and Corey….grateful for the care they gave them….grateful for the fun my kids had that day.  

Later that night….Natalie and I went funeral shopping for my momma and I was grateful for Natalie…she kept me going…she kept me focused…she helped me move when I wanted to cry on the floor until a  puddle appeared…she loved on me something fierce and took care of my family…. every step of the way during the funeral my friends and family loved on me…they took care of me…they knew what I needed before I could say what I needed…it was texts, helping with funeral projects and baking cookies that were my mommas favorite to hand out, creating recipe cards of her favorite apple crisp recipe, taking care of childcare for my kids, sitting at the table and helping me assemble wildflower hearts on cards to honor her, helping with floral arrangements, doing my mommas hair and make-up, taking care of my dad, watching my sweet babies and I could go on and on….I am grateful for each one of you that stood in the gap for us, loved us, took care of us, and just was there, truly there

I don't know how you really move forward from this.  I don't know really know what I am supposed to do, but I do know God is with me.  I do know he is carrying me and showing me all the joy I have to be thankful for.  All the gifts still present in my life.  To be honest, I feel as though I am stuck in the sand of the ocean and I get to watch the whole world move forward and I want to scream at each person...how can you go about your daily lives while I am so broken here, ....don't you see me stuck here in the sand of the ocean while the waves lap over me almost drowning me each day...but then out the darkness I see this light and sometimes it is so small I have to squint to see it and sometimes it is bright and blinds me and that is Jesus and his love for me...it is little things he does to show me that he is here...he is with me...his grace he shows me in the most settle ways to help me feel his love...its in being able to rock my sweet baby to sleep, seeing lilacs in my backyard (one of her favs), listening to a favorite song on the radio, giggling over something silly my sweet little knox did, a deep hug from a friend, a phone call that made me smile, or hearing my sweet Nella talk about how she saw mamaw in her dreams.  

You see I could decide to dwell on the hurt, the pain, and be upset that she will not see my children grow and that I will not be able to hug her, tell her I love her and hear it back, or hear my mommas sweet laugh for the rest of my time on Earth.   BUT I will not choose to focus on that...I will choose to find joy in every single day even on the hardest days, I will find something to be joyful about.  I will find some sign of God’s grace.  

I have learned that life is unknown and only God knows our stories.  Only God knows what he has planned for us.  I have learned to value people and truly take time to love on your family and friends.  I have learned that little things don't truly matter.  I have learned that I am like my momma in a lot of ways and I am so incredibly proud of that.  I have her inside of me.  I have her in my heart.  It hurts, oh my does it hurt, but I am strong with God's love and I am strong because I am her daughter.  I will live this life choosing to make her proud and show the world who my momma was and what she stood for by who I am and what choices I make in my time on Earth.  I have learned it is okay to hurt, be angry, and just cry.  I have learned that I need GOD so much and because I couldn't even get out of bed without him. I have learned to choose joy everyday.  EVERY single day be grateful and joyful…every single day

I believe my little Crew looks a lot like her!  I love that reminder of her.  When he smiles…I see her

Thankful for Crew.  I will never be able to express to him how much being able to rock and snuggle him helped my heart.

Thankful for my children for they remind me of how joyous life is on hard days and remind me of Gods everlasting love for me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

And then there were three...

Meet our sweet little Crew Matthew....

Born December 5th

Dear Sweet Crew, 

You, my sweet boy, are such an angel!  You were the gift I didn't know I would desperately need, the gift God gave us.  When we found out about you on April Fool's Day, Daddy and I thought God had a funny sense of humor and that he liked to keep us on our toes but God knew what joy you would bring to us, no to so many!  Upon finding out about you, the to-do list started and we knew lots of things had to change to prepare our lives for you.  And God helped us through each little item on the list and we would check them off.  I couldn't wait to meet you and I could wait to see your sweet face.  

See little one, you have always surprised us.  You surprised us by a quick delivery and didn't even let your mamaw and grammie make it into the room, but that is how God wanted it.   He wanted daddy and mommy to be the ones there when you arrived into the world.  You continue to surprise us with how aware you are, your huge smiles, and being the sweetest baby ever.  

Crew, you love guy, bring us more joy than I could ever describe.  You are the most content, loving little guy.  You love to be snuggled up close, have conversations, flash huge grins our way, and be sang too.  You adore your sister and your brother.  You love when they kiss you and smile so big when they talk to you.  You are what God knew we so desperately needed, but never dreamed we would have.  

See little guy, mommy and daddy soon after your birth, went through the hardest season of our lives.  We lost our dear mamaw and it breaks my heart to even type this.  It is something I wish I didn't have to tell you, something I wish wasn't our reality, but it is sweet one and God knew so desperately that I would need you.  He knew I would need this sweet angel to snuggle, rock, and sing too.  He knew!  He knew my heart would burst with joy with every smile you flash and that my tears would stop and that you would bring a smile to my face.  He just knew.  I am so incredibly grateful for you buddy and so thankful to Him for bringing me you, my angel boy.  I love you so much sweet boy!  More then I could ever put into words.  Thank you!  Thank you for being my easy going guy who smiles and reminds me every single day that Life is GOOD!  God is so good and with you three loves, mommy is going to be okay.  God knew I would need each one of you and I am so incredibly thankful for what He gives! 

WIth all my heart, 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oh the places we will go....

It has been a whirlwind this past month...we have sold our house in 14 hours, had appraisal issues, had an inspection scare, to find out it was no scare, and had the pressure of finding a home!  We survived it and God saw us through!  
We are excited to be moving to Fishers and nervous about leaving our amazing community we have established here.  We have decided to stay at our church and house church for sure which will help us feel at home in our new home! 

It is hard to say goodbye to our house of 7 years.  This is the home that Matt and I created for our family.  IT is the home where I wished and wished for a sweet little angel to call me momma.  It is a where I laid on the floor in our nursery cried out to God that he would make me a momma.  It is the home where sweet little Nella came home and I can remember exactly where I put her carseat down to let our dog, Liberty smell her.  It is the home where first steps, first words, birthday parties, and lots of fun was had.  I can remember where I was standing when I found out I was really pregnant and then bringing our Knoxie home and seeing Nella smile that he brother came home!  It is hard to leave all that and say goodbye.  So many memories and thankful that I have those precious memories always with me.  
WIth buying our home, it means many new and exciting things.  A new school for Roo, new neighbors, new places to discover, establishing a shopping routine, and being close to family and friends!  Roo wants a pink room and really is excited to have a playroom.  Knoxie will love having a room with lots of balls ( I am redoing his room and using lots of Matt's old baseball and football things).  

Things really seem to be falling into place which I know is God!  LIfe is good!  I am even handling dealing with boxes everywhere and my house out of sorts, for a girl who likes order and not chaos I am really feeling calm.  

Now on to the more exciting loves in our lives, our kiddos are having a great summer.  We have done many zoo trips, sprinkle parks, play dates, playing in the backyard, picnics, museum, and swimming.  

Our Nella is three years old now!  I still cannot believe she is 3 seriously have I really had three blessed years with her so far?  She is the most amazing girl!  I am now I am her mom and I am suppose to say that, but she is the kindest love.  She has such a loving and caring heart at such a young age and I am amazed by this sweet heart God has given her and I know she will do great things in her life.  Our Roo loves princesses.  I am not sure how this happened, but she does!  She loves wearing dress, picking our her outfits, wearing tiaras, and spinning/twirling.  She is becoming very motherly and wanting to take care and nurture things around her our pets, babies, babydolls, and her little brother.  She is very kind and helpful and really wants to please all the time!  She continues to love books and being read too.  Nella loves art and creating pictures too!  We are so blessed by this love and love being her mommy and daddy.  She brings smiles to our faces everyday! 

Knoxie Michael is 15 months old now!  Wow!  Big boy!  He is the most joyful baby I know.  He has such a sweet smile and silly laugh and really is just happy.  He is busy bee and is on the go alot.  It is fun to watch him explore and learn about his world around him.  He was what I call the "transporter".  He likes to take things from location and moving them another.  It is pretty cute.  He loves to run and be tickled.  Knox loves balls, blocks, books, and Mickey Mouse! Knox loves being outside.  He has many more words now and love listening to his little voice say them.  He can say momma, dada, nella, kee(kitty), doggie, Daisy (mickey mouse), icky (mickey), nack (snack), baba (milk), dank you (thank you), bye bye, hi, night night.  It is exciting to watch him learn and grow!  He is such a gift from God and bring so much joy to us!  

                                                                  Love our sweet babies!  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Amazed by God's Grace and Love

I find myself emotional lately.  I feel overwhelmed by God's love for our family.  I feel like he has truly filled my heart that was once aching so much to now full with love, that I am bursting at moment.  When I look at these two, I feel so incredibly blessed and amazed that I was chosen to be their mother.  I am the one God chose for these two angels and that thought humbles me to the core.  

It seems so long ago that I was once sitting on our office (now Knox's nursery) flooring sobbing, crying out to God!  Begging him to let me be a mom.  Promising I would give my all.  I would love with them with every ounce of me.  That I would be devoted and show them His love.  I can still feel that pain even after years, it is so raw and still so real.  It was not an easy road to get here.  But one I wouldn't change for a moment.  One that I know taught me to trust and love God.  

This Christmas at our home, I wanted it to be magical and it truly was.  We had snowman pancakes in the morning, put our reindeer food and cookies for Santa out, received a special book from Santa in the mail, watched my babies face dance with amazement over all the new fun things Santa and Mommy and daddy gave them, ate a yummy italian dinner, watched my sweet girl sing her heart out as she sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, did a snowman bath, and then watched Rudolph in Christmas jammies!  Wow, it seemed what I hoped and begged for had come true!  But the whole time, I just felt amazed!  Amazed that these two beautiful sweet children are here!  God truly is amazing and such an amazing Father!  I am not sure why he chose me, but I thank him every day!  I thank him even for the pain to get me here, because the pain and the confusion of this journey helped me realize the vastness of God's love and grace.  I see it everyday when I look into their sweet faces.  

My Knox
9 months old
Oh he is truly a joy!  He has a contagious smile and that makes everyone around him face burst into the biggest smile their mouths could honestly make. He is a smiley, happy, sweet boy!  He enjoys building with blocks, hearing stories, and discovering his world around him.  He has a sweet heart and truly admires and adores his sister. His face lights up when she is around.  He crawls and smiles the whole time he is going.  Knox loves his baba and loves his baby food!  He truly loves Mickey Mouse and his face lights up with smile and his feet kick like crazy when he sees him!  He is my little miracle and he melts my momma heart every single day!  

My dearest little Nella (Roo)
2 1/2 years old
This girl has taught me so much about myself even at only two years old.  She has taught me graciousness, compassion, and what love truly looks like.  Nella has such a sweet heart and truly wants to help and love on anyone and any animal.  It amazes me to see love pour out of her.  She adores her little brother and truly wants to help him in anyway.  Today, she even asked me to turn off her Doc McStuffins (her fave show) because we should turn on Mickey because Knoxie really likes it mommy.  Seriously what a giver already at such a young age.  Nella has the most expressive eyes!  Her eyes can melt you in a moment.  She is dancer, singer, and girly miss!  She loves to dress up and truly is a princess through and through!  She is kind and loving!  We are so in love with this little angel.

My sweet little angel bugs!  I love this two with all my heart.  

Our Christmas card this year, had one word...blessed!  I feel so blessed everyday to have these two call me mommy!  Sometimes I get so down on myself because I want more time with them and I just want to soak it all in and being a working momma makes it hard because my time is limited, but I have quality time with them and I truly treasure the moments and smiles they bring to my face.  I couldn't ask for sweeter loves and I love my cute husband that I get to share this life with!  I find myself tonight just thanking God for His love and thanking him for bringing these two into our life!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Niece arrives

This is a post I have a taken a long time to write.  I wanted it to be just perfect like our sweet little Lilah Rose.  I really hope I am able to express meeting her for the first time.  

I will never forget the day that Leslie told me she was expecting my sweet niece.  We were sitting at our house and they had come down for a visit and she just blurted out I'm pregnant. I was shocked, excited, and felt an immediate love to the sweet little one she was carrying.  I love being an Aunt to sweet Clay and I couldn't wait to have another little one to love!  It was so fun to check in with Les through out her pregnancy and hear how active our sweet one was.  I remember when she told us that she was having a girl.  Matt got a call for Corey and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I was so excited to have a niece to have fun with,  be a loving aunt that would spoil her and do all the girly stuff with!  I was really excited for Nella to have a little girl to play dress up, tea parties, slumber parties, and hear giggles during sleepovers.  But then also to have a girl to share boy troubles with, friendship issues, and all that fun stuff girls go through.  I was so close to my cousin, Megan, growing up and I was thankful that God was going to bring this sweet girl into our lives!  I couldn't wait to meet her and snuggle her and watch her grow.  

Sometimes God brings something into your life, that you weren't expecting.  I know our God doesn't ever give us anything we cannot handle.  I think that is the beauty about God because he gives us unexpected surprises and teaches us that we are stronger than we ever thought we were.  God brings this into our life because he chose us because he knew we can handle it, actually not handle, but find joy, strength, and love when we weren't sure why he chose this path for us.  He is always holding us and I think that is what is remarkable about him because you never know what God has planned for you and it teaches you to trust his love and judgment. 
 I will never forget the day when Leslie called me about Lilah and her condition.  I was at school and all I heard was I need you and her sobbing.  My heart broke and I drove like a maniac to their house praying, crying out God to somehow let me be a tool to help her, calm her, and be there in a huge way.  When she told me, my heart ached for her.  Not because this is not what was expected or not wanted, but because as moms we have this huge ability to protect our children and we never ever want them to experience pain or heart ache.  I knew Leslie was worried about her life.  How it changed for her, what she would have to overcome, and how she might be perceived.  She wanted to protect her.  She wanted to make it all better before she even had to experience anything.  I cried with her. Held her. Loved her. and prayed!  In my heart, while was holding my sobbing sister and brother, I felt God calm me.  I felt him say it will be okay.  It will be okay!  She will be beautiful, loved, and joyous!  She will have strength!  Honestly, I have only felt like I have heard God talk to me three times in my life.  And that was one of them.  I felt him!  I felt his calmness!  I took Clay that night and loved him, fed him, and gave him a bath and brought him home to parents that needed love!  They needed to know it would be okay from their community.  Oh WOW did God ever give that.  I know Leslie and Corey have had a huge out pouring of support and boy did they ever need that!  I am so thankful that they have so many loving hearts in their lives.  What a huge reassurance and support you all are!  Lilah is one loved little girl!  


The day Leslie was due to deliver Lilah, I had a pit in my stomach all day.  I was so nervous! I could feel it in everything I did.  I felt this lump in my throat the kind you cannot swallow and grows bigger in your stomach when you try.  I kept telling my assistants at school that i felt like I was going to get sick.  I just prayed and prayed.  I prayed while i taught social skills as I patiently waited for kids to answer the question I just asked.  I prayed and prayed for her.  I prayed for Leslie, Corey, Clay, Doctors, and Lilah!  I prayed!  I wanted it to be okay. I didn't want my brother or sister to hurt anymore.  

I left school half day and picked up little Clay.  I was so excited to hold him and snuggle him. I wanted to see the excitement on his face.  He didn't disappoint.  He was excited as always to see Nella, Knox, and Liberty!  He had his Big Brother shirt on and was grinning from ear to ear.  I remember the concern in Leslie's face.  I held her for a long time and kissed her check.  I remember the moment I left Nella knowing it would never just be me and her again by ourselves and saw that look in Leslie's eyes as she said goodbye to Clay.  I felt Corey's nervousness as I hugged him in the driveway. As Clay and I sang Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the way home, i prayed and prayed!  Little Clay fell asleep in the car and I carried him inside to finish his nap.  

After naps, Matt and I got all three of the littles around to head to the hospital.  Nella was pumped to be with Clay.  Clay was excited to see his baby sister.  Knox was just smiling at watching Clay and Nella.  We were excited.  We couldn't wait to see her and hold her.  

On our way there...Corey called....seeing his number made my heart stop...I prayed before i answered..God this is it..please I beg you please let her be healthy.  

And she was!  Sweet Lilah Rose had arrived with much strength and brought joy just as God had said!  She was healthy and doing well and she got to stay with Corey and Leslie so they could get to know her and snuggle her and tell her it was all going to be okay.  God IS SO GOOD!!!!!!!  

The Waiting ROOM
Here we are waiting to meet our sweet Lilah!  We were all excited and would turn towards the door whenever we saw someone come out.  We couldn't wait to see her and ooh and aww over her!

 The big Brother
 Yah!  Lilah is here!
 Even Knoxie is excited!!!
 I don't think Grammie stopped smiling!
 Two thumbs up from Grampie
 We are excited!

I want to see her!

Walking into meeting our girl!

I will never forget walking into that room!  I felt joy, peace, comfort, and total excitement to hold her!  But when I got in there..I was watching everyone else.  I watched their expressions of joy just pour out of their heart.  Smiles!  Lots of smile!  Tear filled eyes and lots of she is beautiful were heard around the room. My heart was overfilled with joy.  I felt a peace to see everyone just falling in love and fighting to hold her.  I will never forget the amount of love that poured out of that room.  If our room would have shone, it would have shone a bright pink shooting out of the door and windows with all the love and joy that was being felt.  God was smiling!  He was so pleased with his plan!  I felt it!  

 This is my favorite picture of the day.  He is so proud of his princess.  He fell in love!

 Happy Birthday to my sweet Lilah Rose.  You are an unexpected gift.  A gift that God chose for all of us and I am thankful that God brought you into our life.  I know sweet love that you will teach us so much about you, ourselves, and the world. You are an angel sent to us.  I love you Lilah!  I cannot wait to watch you grow, learn, teach, and embrace this world.  You are strong, beautiful, and bring so much joy to some many!  XOXOXO

To my dearest sister
You are strong and beautiful!

 I know God chose you to be her momma. He handpicked you to love her and guide her. He chose you because He LOVES you.

 Because he knew of your strength and your ability to accept and love her with all your heart.  And you do it so beautifully.  

I love you so much! 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Knox is 3 months

 Our little guy is already 3 months....seriously how did this happen?  He is such a joy and seriously melts me everyday!!!
 This boy's smile....is a heart melter.  His whole body lights up and he smiles just when we look at him.  Oh how I love that smile.  He is going to be a charmer.  
 He is such a strong little guy and is able to sit up now for about 5 seconds, but he is determined to do it.  Not sure where he gets that determination from..lol!  He is such a good baby and really is just a very content little man! 
 He loves his bumbo.  He loves that he can look around and see what is going on!  He likes to be up and seeing.  He wants to be such a big boy already!  He doesn't like to lay down like a baby...no time for that!
 Knox LOVES tummy time!  He would stay on his tummy all day if he could.  He already moves his legs and tries to push forward...oh no he cannot be mobile anytime soon...yikes mommy is not ready for that!
He is a noisy little guy.  He is constantly cooing and trying to imitate sounds we make.  He continues to sing in his sleep!  He takes 4 naps a day.  2 that are 2 to 2 1/2 hours and 2 naps that are 1 hour!  He sleeps all night too!  Such a good little guy! He loves to be read to.  He flaps his arms and kicks his legs with excitement when being read to.  He loves to sing "Take me Out to the Ballgame" and he loves to do patty cake.  He also LOVES the bath.  He splashes and kicks like crazy.  He is such a little frog! He can already reach out and grab items in front of him. He can bat things too!
And sister...she continues to adore him!  She is always kissing and hugging him. I love it!  

Going to two children has been challenging at times.  We have had some rough starts in the beginning.  Knox in NICU. Knox struggling with nursing and then having to pump for all his bottles.  He had gas issues and has struggled with gas pains and going to the bathroom, but we made it.  We finally have figured out his issues and how to help him with feeding.  He just has to burp really frequently and we have to go slow when feeding him.  He also needs to be upright for quite awhile after he eats.  
I really struggled with the mommy guilt at first.  I had this huge guilt for Nella and trying to make sure she felt okay about this big sister stuff. But as usual I worry and she just rolls with it, always!  She really has done amazing.  It is hard to balance it both and be sure that everyone is getting all that they need, but I feel like with lots of prayer, patience, and trying new things, we have made it to 3 months and we are in a really good spot.  And there are not words that could describe how my heart melts watching my sweet loves together.  Oh how amazing it is to see the love between them.  He lights up when she is around and she smiles constantly when talking about her knoxy.  She is his biggest cheerleader and always trying to include him in what she is doing. It is magical.  I am so humbled and amazed that I was chosen to be their mother.  Wow God WOW!  Oh how you love us!  We are so in love!!!