A brand new start

Hi Friends,

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile then you know how crazy amazing this whole journey has been. And it’s continuing. We’re just moving Cade’s blog and journey with Fibular Hemimelia and all those mom moments of mine to a new platform…a brand new blog. I’ve been blogging at Finding Lovely for awhile now and figured it’s way easier to do it all in one place. You can continue to find all of Cade’s progress posts on findinglovely.com.  There’s a Fibular Hemimelia tab at the top right.

Here’s the most recent: A Curious Case of Nearsightedness

Construction Legs – The 4th Set of Prosthetics

I can’t believe this little boy is now in his 4th set of below the knee prosthetics. Today is day one and he is running around like he didn’t just magically grow over an inch and two shoe sizes bigger overnight. There’s been the occasionally tumble today but this little rockstar is doing great! Sweet blessings I’m letting settle over my momma heart.

The team at Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics in Newton, Ma always do a fantastic job and this is no exception. They are timely, invested fully in Cade’s care and give their whole hearts to making this process go well. We could not be more thankful. We started this process about a month ago and 3 appointments later have a new set of bilateral prosthetics. It takes a little bit of time between coordinating the insurance approval (of which insurance covers 80%, we pay 20%), castings of Cade’s legs to the actual completion of the prosthetics.

 

At the first appointment, Arthur measures his legs to make sure we get the appropriately sized liners.

 

 

The right size liner is then rolled onto Cade’s leg, wrapped in saran wrap and then marked at his knee area with a marker.

 

Mr. Arthur then rolls on the casting strips. A cast is made of each leg in order to make the next prosthetic, exactly fitted to the specifications of his unique legs. Cade has gotten very good at sitting still for the casting materials to harden but Mr. Arthur is great at distracting little hands with epic balloon gloves.

 

At the second appointment Cade tries on the “test sockets” to make sure they fit well. This is the first time Cade gets the more advanced foot since he is now big enough. It has a more realistic look, is composed of WAY stronger material and has some flex to it to improve mobility. The only drawback we’ve noticed is hunting for wide enough shoes in the toe area.

 

It is this test socket that is then used to make the final prosthetic. This appointment is filled with lots of fun playing. Both boys love Next Step. They’ve got great toys, a ramp to roll trucks down and all sorts of stuff to climb on and swing from–perfect for spidermen in training.

It is at this appointment we also hand over our fabric choice, usually a pair of pajama bottoms to be adhered to the prosthetics. We ordered a few different pairs and momma was rooting for the navy dinosaurs. No such luck. Cade fell in love with a pair of tractor pajamas. I knew it was a lost cause when he grabbed the pants, hugged them and exclaimed, “I am so in love with my new leggies.” Well fine. Next time maybe.

At the third and final appointment we get to try on the finished prosthetic in all its fresh, unscuffed glory. This time around a giant snow storm meant Mr. Arthur made a house call. Next Step Bionic and Prostetics’ customer service is unbelievable. We love you Next Step!

 

Look how far this little boy has come and the miles he’s already walked! We are thankful for each step. How proud we are of you Cade!

 

What do you say?

Sweet boy. Today you are exactly 1 month away from turning 3. You are inquisitive and lovely. The questions roll in all day. Questions about the sky and trains. Questions about things that make you chuckle. We have a computer in our kitchen–momma’s workstation and it resorts to entertaining us with an endless stream of photos. You love to watch them go by as we eat our meals. And you ask questions. What’s that? Why is that happening? Can we go on an airplane today?

Today a picture you hadn’t seen before popped on the screen. And it had you questioning and me searching for words. You saw that beautiful picture of your legs weeks after surgery at a post-op appointment. They looked raw and healing. You were on the exam table. And you questioned me. Today I wasn’t prepared for it. Eggs were burning on the stove. Kai was screaming because I wasn’t moving fast enough. Dishes everywhere, crumbs flying. Real life people. And I had to pause in that chaos and give you an answer. What on earth am I suppose to say to “momma what’s that?”

Here’s what I said, “Oh Caedmon. That’s a beautiful picture of your legs after you had surgery when you were a baby. Your body was healing”

Cade: “but why?”

“Well (swallowing hard), you were born with a sweet little foot on your left leg. It had a big toe and two little toes. And we loved it. But it would have made it hard for you to run like the wind. It was missing an ankle joint like momma’s foot (pointing to my ankle). So Dr. Kasser at Children’s Hospital helped give you strong, straight legs that fit nicely in your prosthetics by taking away your foot.”

 

Cade looked satisfied. But it didn’t feel right yet. I was still uncomfortable. To make myself feel better I said, “God made you exactly how he wanted you so that you could do great things.” And his brows furrowed for just a split second and he said, “can I be excused please.” And I cringed. For whatever reason those words stung me too as they left my lips. And my invisible hand did what it always wants to do. Shake my fist at the sky and say “why. Lots of people do great things with two legs. Why does this sweet little boy have to deal with this?”

So, why does that bandaid phrase suck so bad? And why was I uncomfortable as his momma? All I can think of is that that phrase is a platitude that masks the real conversation and ends what could be a beautiful conversation about the not so beautiful in life being made lovely because we have a great God who redeems. Because good can and DOES come out of the not so lovely. But we smack that sentence on a deep feeling of wrong or a deeply held feeling of entitlement for what we name as good.

Everyone has something that holds them back. Whether your eyes aren’t so good, you’re battling depression or anxiety or weight has always been an issue. Perhaps you’re crippled by fear of failure or don’t see the innate value you have as a human being. We battle an almost constant influx of fears and failures. Or we really do have physical limitations that prevent us from running like the wind. We battle society and “norms”, our expectations or those placed on us by another. We battling aging bodies.

Do I really believe that Cade was made specifically to have a physical abnormality or do I rest in the understanding that we live a broken world where things are “not quite right” and this in turn, if we choose to see it, points us heavenward to a hope of perfection and unity with a creator who actively loves His creation. You see I can’t wrestle these deep questions for Cade without confronting the spiritual aspect to human beings. And we do our best to glide through life not confronting these sorts of things because they are uncomfortable or it’s deemed by our society as politically incorrect. But we do ourselves a disservice if we do not dig deep and search. Because what if there is more?

Here’s what I wish I would have said:

“Sweet Cade. You asked me why you had healing scabs on your legs and I explained why you had to have a surgery. We are blessed to live in this time when prosthetic legs are so good. Mr. Arthur (our prosthetist) does a great job making sure you can run like the wind and you will find that you are able to do just about anything in life because of these great gifts. I want you to know that you are not alone. Every single person is battling something, sometimes it isn’t so obvious and people hold their hurt and differences deep inside. You will find through life that things might be a little bit harder or you might need to do things in a slightly different way because of your leggies. But I promise it isn’t forever, we live in this world for a set number of days but we have a hope that the God we love has made a way for us to be with Him in a perfect place where prosthetics aren’t needed. While we are here we seek to do good all our days, whether we have feet or not. We choose kindness, we choose to love, we choose to give our energy and resources to make this world better for everyone. You have the remarkable opportunity to bring God glory because you do not have feet. Just like I have the remarkable opportunity to bring Him glory because I do.”

John 9: 1-4 “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins.” Jesus answered, “He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.”

Marching Towards Grace

It’s been a long time since we update our sweet Cade’s blog. He is in the same set of legs as the last time we chatted although new ones are in the works. Truth is, we’ve been up to  a whole lot of nothing. No big plans. No changes in our lives. Just growing and learning and giving grace.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve had a revolutionary week haven’t we, as citizens in the United States and those who are abroad doing great things. We’ve inaugurated a man into office many think is not qualified. Many think is unkind and many think will change our freedoms. I for one can’t believe that we actually got here. But then I hated both candidates and used my freedom to NOT vote for either. But many of you are hurting and fearful and taking to the streets to march. I’m thankful you live in a land where you can express your opinion and peacefully gather. How lucky are we, let’s march to keeping it that way.

From what I can gather, the Women’s March is a gathering of women (and men) who are protesting the new Trump administration. Or women’s rights. Or minority rights. Or world unity. Or breast feeding in public. Or _____. I’m not quite sure actually. It seems at least from Facebook and the news that everyone is marching for something and they aren’t necessarily one in the same. And you’re all passionately devoted to this cause. And I’d have no problem marching along with you all on many of those topics. Women should be treated well, paid well, loved well. It is our obligation, both male and female, to take care of the less fortunate, the hurting, the homeless, the burdened. But I don’t need laws or a government to tell me that. I could march along with you in support of strong women who want their opinions heard. We are not yucky. We are not nasty. We deserve to be loved. Done. Marching right along with you.

 

But if I happened to find myself standing next to a person holding a “I stand with Planned Parenthood” sign, I might start crying and realize, perhaps this isn’t the loving and accepting place I had hoped it would be. But then how could it be? This broken world with all its different beliefs and claims to rights. And it would all just start looking like one big hypocrisy. Perhaps after all, we do not know what we are actually marching for?

You see we’d be at odds immediately. You and me. And I’d try to understand how you could be holding that sign. You’re standing there afraid that your right to killing an unborn baby might be taken away from you and I’d be standing there thinking, “what makes you think you have that right to begin with?” Isn’t that one of the reasons we’re marching here after all? I was led to believe we were marching to protect the lives of ALL humans. Black and white, female and male. To promote equality. Unless of course it’s a baby 3 days away from being born and you still have the protected right to kill that baby who, although human, does not apparently have a RIGHT or a CHOICE. A baby who could live outside your body without you. What if it is only 12 weeks along? Is it then not human? How do we march next to each other so at odds and for such undefined things? Doesn’t it just seem, dare I say, fake? Like a whole lot of nothing? Pretend unity when really, we are so far from being united in our beliefs and therefore ultimately our actions.

It all just makes me ache a little bit. I do not stand here in judgement over you sweet friends. I can not even begin to understand the roads you’ve taken or the heartache some have walked through but oh, how I do know heartache and oh have I been given the opportunity. I have been told that there was something very wrong with my sweet baby. And at 12 weeks pregnant I had to ponder whether or not to abort my “not perfect” fetus. Thank you United States of America for giving me that decision. And I wrestled.

 

I am not looking for a round of applause or pat on the back here. I certainly do not deserve one and I am not writing for popularities’ sake because I know without a doubt I stand AGAINST the current here and many of you are just shaking your heads right now. And I’m sure many of you would have taken the opportunity to end his life. Calling it your right. In reality, if you were honest with yourself, it simply would have been a convenience for you and believe me, the selfish side of me really wanted that convenience for awhile there. I hated the idea of having a baby that I thought wouldn’t be able to live well. Run like the wind. Would be so different from his peers. How thankful I am that the LORD protected me from myself. Protected me from that decision because if anyone has met my son, you know that he is living life well. Running like the wind on bilateral prosthetics. Kind and unhindered, he teaches the world more about love than any words I could every write or any marching I could ever do.

SO, since we’re all about equality here and you have to listen to different view points than you’d probably like to, what makes you think you have a right to kill a baby? You’re passionate about a woman’s rights but not a babies? Your preaching equality and taking to the streets yet withholding it from the most vulnerable. You are passionate about kindness so much so that you are fighting against the unkind words of a leader you didn’t elect but you won’t actually let that baby live because it is an inconvenience for you. And then you march about it when you think your “reproductive rights” could be jeopardized and the convenience taken away. Clearly Planned Parenthood as an organization does other useful things. I’m not hear to argue that. Without a doubt the Trump administration will do something right over the next four years…

If you’ve ever been pregnant you KNOW you have no control over what is happening in your body. If you’ve battled infertility you realize first hand you have no control over the creation of life. You can do everything “right” but not get pregnant. Year after year you try. I know, I’ve been there. But then one day you get pregnant and you realize even more clearly than before that your body is not your own for you do not get to wake up and decide whether or not you get morning sickness or gain weight or have a boy or HAVE A BABY WITH FEET. You see, your body grows that life without your willful involvement. If you have ever been pregnant you realize you DO NOT have control over what your body is doing. In this time your body is not your own. It is growing life whether you like it or not. It is not your right.

Oh my friends. I’m all for strong women. I AM a strong woman. I’ve marched through dark days, deep waters and I don’t need an ill-defined march to prove that. I hope my friends and family see my strength day in and day out. I hope they see me marching through all my days on earth with the same tenacity and hope. Fighting for what is right and refusing to stay silent when what is wrong is evident. I will not stand for hateful rhetoric but I will also not let myself get carried away calling on my strong woman rights to miss the point entirely. I will not let you fight for 90% of what is right and not the other 10%. If you’re going to walk those streets you need to not be turning a blind eye to very evident discrepancy in rights and actions.

Perhaps we have gotten so caught up in defining a “right” that we don’t realize what that is anymore? Perhaps we all define it differently and therefore have no idea what it looks like. Perhaps this points us heavenward. This desiring to be equally loved, this striving to be heard. Maybe…just maybe, there is a bit more to this life than meets the eyes. Dig deep my friends and search. Feel it in the quickened pulse and excitement as you march along.

I don’t need to join you along a parade route to have a voice but I’m proud of you for marching if you feel like you need to. I’m speaking my voice daily into the little lives I’m raising up and into the sweet husband I’m lucky to have equally by my side.

I have a voice when I go to the grocery store, I have a voice when I drive my car kindly along the road. I have a voice when I chose to love. To not respond harshly. To give grace when I’d rather withhold it. I’m marching through my days with the intention to give out grace like smiles. I’m already strong. I already have “rights” but I will march with you all towards grace with strength and fortitude. I choose to fight for EVERYONE’S rights including the most vulnerable and you should to. Don’t settle for empty rhetoric or an ill defined current that carries you along. Ground yourself in what is true and right and there you will find equality for all and the strength you are so hoping is protected.

Here Comes My Friend

He is not marked by the flippant word. He knows no hurt in his heart yet. He freely loves and welcomes all, seeing only the benefit of their coming.

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I swallow hard. Steel myself. Hope I can give grace when I’d rather shoot daggers.

My heart has known flippant words from time to time. A marring glance. I know the damage, the weight, as those words or glances heap on and become heavier with time. As the momma bear all those months ago welcomed this sweet boy into her heart, she now fends the world off not just for herself but for littles as well. I want to protect his gentle heart. I love how it welcomes, seeks, unaware yet of the battle lines and expectations of this world. How do we hold our littles close while preparing them to be marked by this world? I think we can all agree, regardless of your religion or political orientation that this world is not good and we don’t always love like we should. Oh the wonderments of a momma heart.

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“Momma I want to crawl in the sand.” Sigh. We don’t yet have the sleeves that might help prevent the dreaded sand kernel from wrecking havoc on his prosthetic legs and all my sweet little wanted to do was crawl around pushing the playground truck. It, after all, had a very busy job to do and was just sitting there waiting for some little boy to see it’s potential (missing wheel and all).

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Cade heard it too and he said, “here comes my friend.”

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And I knew they’d walk right up to the sandbox because that’s the first place little boys want to go. And they did. I sat there. Clearly Cade looks different. What do you say? “So I see there that you notice my son doesn’t have feet.” Nope. That wouldn’t do. Talk about awkward. Then I thought “Feet. What feet. Who needs them.” Grimace. Nope why don’t you just dig that hole deeper Cade and drop momma inside.

“Caedmon, why don’t you give your friend here a shovel so he can play with you.” That’s the best I had. That’s all I had.

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And he did. He stump walked right over the edge, handed the little boy a shovel and sat back down explaining that the “excavator was working hard.”

So I watched and I waited, quite intrigued really. Cade could care less. He is not self conscious yet. He’s barely commented on the difference between he and mommy, daddy and baby Kai Kai. I’m not sure exactly when that starts. The little boy was reluctant. But he was also much younger. I watched the mom’s eyes dart. He eventually got in and started digging. So I looked at the mom and asked “how old is your son?” When in doubt, start with age. Win win. It eases them in. So she proceeded to tell me she was the nanny and we chatted away for awhile. She ended up asking about his legs and that is ALWAYS easier. It was nice and did not feel strained. I breathed a sigh of relief. Crisis to my heart (and his) adverted, for now.

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But I pondered it all the way home. My response was dread and a bit of anxiety at their arrival. My little boy simply, light heartedly, responded “here comes my friend.” Do you think maybe this is what is wrong with the world?

At some point we stop looking at other people as a potential friend and more like an enemy. An unknown. A potential hurt rather than a laugh, a confidant, or a hope. I have to wonder, what it would look like if I intentionally focused my heart on seeing everyone as a potential friend rather than an intrusion into my existence. What if I saw HOPE? What if we all did? Imagine that world. That’s a place I want to live. A place I imagine my momma heart would thrive.

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We all have known those heavy words but why do they stick harder than the joy words, the words of affirmation we all have ALSO known? I encourage you today to see that person for the potential they could bring rather an intrusion into your existence. It might just make all the difference. And right now, I think the world could use a difference.

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But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

-Lamentations 3:21-24

 

Adventure Won

I sat holding the monster legs in my hands. They’re beaten up. Scuffed. Grooved. Marred. They are time worn gloriousness which means fun was had. Adventure won. It means we didn’t sit still. We didn’t stay put. We didn’t stay safe. It means we fell down. We cried. We got back up. That’s what worn out monster legs means.IMG_3045

We don’t all have prosthetics. Very few do. But we all have lives that are beaten up. Scuffed. Grooved. Worn. We’ve fallen down. Found ourselves places we didn’t expect. Don’t like. Think should be different. But ultimately these marked bodies reminds us that we’ve lived. It’s why I like wrinkles. It means you’ve smiled. It’s why I like grey hair (well kinda)…it means you’ve LIVED. This is cause for celebration friends. This is blessing upon heaping blessing.

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It’s that time again. When my little grows in leaps and bounds…well, bolts and carbon fiber I suppose. We’ve picked up a new set of legs and said goodbye to the old. He’s bigger. By an inch and a half. Two shoe sizes. Overnight. Leaps and bounds.

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Nextstep Bionics and Prosthetics in Newton, Massachusetts did a fantastic job, as they always do, crafting a set of leggies that withstands Cade’s fearlessness while celebrating his little loves. These ones have sweet, happy trains on them since Cade eats, sleeps and dreams in trains.IMG_3049

Nextstep also added an extra set of padding to the knee area. It has the same lock in mechanism we have come to love but this is the first set of legs where the liners differ in size, given his left leg is now thicker than his right. I really have to be on my game now when getting him dressed in the morning. Perhaps we should invest in that alarm clock that sends out the coffee smell…

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This set of legs couldn’t have been more appropriately timed since the monster legs died on Fourth of July. The beach killed them.

We celebrated the fourth of July at Crane Beach and I have been waiting for this beach day. Since getting two kiddos out the door anywhere by myself is near impossible, let alone, loaded to the gills with beach gear, we’ve yet to go this summer because it requires reinforcements, aka a husband. The beach is in my California blood. Staring out as far as the eye can see, it inspires me, uplifts and reminds me of my place on this planet. Especially in New England, this land of tree tunnels, few hills and valleys, lack of the open space–beach days are necessary for my sanity. So we got up at the crack of dawn, threw both kiddos, pjs and all, into the car and drove like crazy people to get to the beach in time. We were literally sitting on the sand before 9 am. Side note, only in New England do you have to PAY TO PARK AT THE BEACH (???) and line up to get a parking spot. Oh boy. Add that to the ever growing list of reasons to move back to California.DSC00409

But these beaches. They are works of art. And if the dunes and fencing couldn’t get prettier, you have the delicious smell of wild roses everywhere you go. It makes my soul sing. Shoot. Add that back to the Boston is ok-ish list.DSC00216

So we sat on the shore, watching Cade run from the waves with his cute monster legs. The squeals, the running, the little boy adventuring forward…it never gets old, my soul never stops rejoicing. If you have found out you’re expecting a little with Fibular Hemimelia, I promise, your beach days are just down the road. It will all be alright.

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Smelling the roses and salt wind, carefree and unadorned, we sat. And played. Kai slept.

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Last year, around this time we sat in the same spot on the same beach with my growing belly. Kai was just a wonderment. If you would have told me we’d have 7 months of terror baby I might have stayed on the beach a little longer. But we’ve sleep trained and are rolling with it better and are frankly, just use to A LOT of crying. So the days are brighter. They are easier. We’ve fallen into something more livable and thrive-able.

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Both kiddos and their parents were done beaching it up by 11 am. Which is when the fun started. By the time we got back to the car we knew we had a prosthetics problem. The locking mechanism on Cade’s prosthetics were jammed. Thank you carefree sand for locking our little beach baby IN HIS LEGGIES. This has happened before and it required the garden hose and a hammer. Such is life with a toddler in prosthetics. So we found the blessing in that NO ONE called child services as we dangled Cade upside down, pulling and tugging on his legs. I had his arms, Matt had his legs. He just squealed in delight as though this wasn’t a form of prosthetics torture. It was a sight to behold. We finally resorted to wiggling him out of his liners which were still locked in place. Oh boy. There’s something comical about having to hit your kid’s legs with a hammer to get them off. Our trusty prosthetist, Arthur is ordering us special sleeves to hopefully keep sand out and the fun in! Jury’s out if that will solve the sand dilemma. You can bet we’ll be putting them to the test as beach days are not off the table. We’ll just bring along the hammer next time.

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So we begin this next step in the journey, his third set of bilateral prosthetics. Fun, memories and thankful hearts—with these sweet new train legs we chug on. Remember dear friends, sometimes things not working properly serve to remind us of how blessed we are…sandy, broken legs means fun was had. Adventure won. The scuffs and grooves mean we lived. Blessings.

A Fickle Momma Heart

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Baby Caedmon, 2 months old. My 1st Mother’s Day

DSC01662Mother’s Day is fast approaching. And I’ve been mulling it over. What do I want for Mother’s Day? My husband has been asking. He may be deathly afraid of screwing it up after the Kai tsunami. And he’s not far off…after having Kai I’m fairly confident a trunk full of gold bars wouldn’t feel sufficient. We’ve bounced and cried and nursed and bounced and cried for ALMOST SIX MONTHS now. DSC07473I’d love to say we’ve turned a corner. Love to say he’s an entirely new baby, delightful. Gentle. Kind. But he’s one of those kids that has you scratching your head and wondering how early is too early to drink. Except I’ve never really drank and all I really want to drink is Starbucks…like the entire store. So what do I really want for Mother’s Day? The first thought that comes to mind, if I am completely honest, is the desire to celebrate Mother’s Day by pretending I’m not a mother. DSC08477I want to wake up at 11, sit down to eat breakfast in it’s entirety without reheating 14 times and making sure its soy and dairy-free. In fact, I’d like to put Trader Joes vanilla ice cream on top of butter on top of my french toast just to spite the whole darn thing. In this magical world there would be no dirty dishes, flying sippy cups and refusal to eat food that have mistakenly been found to look ever so slightly like “an icky bug.” Then I’d like to sit in my joy chair and read. Something really good and really long without phantom baby cries tricking your ears. Then I’d like to get dressed and go out on the town with my husband. And I mean dressed. A shirt that doesn’t require access to the goods so baby can eat. Jewelry that won’t become a pull toy. I’d like to do my hair (at this point that would require getting the manual out to figure out how you start a hair dryer).DSC08244

You see, if you’re a lot like me you want what you don’t have. If you aren’t a momma yet you can’t wait for the day. If you don’t own a house yet, you can’t stay off Zillow long enough to brush your teeth. If Webster defines colic Kai Kleker, you want the happy-go-lucky dream baby that every one else seems to have. If you’re a tired, cry-numb momma the first thoughts jumping in your head when allowed to dream about a glory day is wanting to go back to the no kid glory days. Except those were the days I ached so badly to have kids. There was hope in that place and honestly I was the one in control. I could make that dream exactly how I wanted it to be. Clean house. Angelic little squishy faced babies that LIKE sleep. And I mean a lot. The point is that there is always striving, in every stage of life. But this doesn’t sit well with me. And it shouldn’t because it isn’t right. It speeds up life and leaves us feeling empty handed, passed over and forgotten and we are never those things. We are seen. We are loved. And our lives our brimming with blessings. DSC08204

I recently read (I know, go ahead, round of applause please) the book by Becky Thompson called “Hope Unfolding” and it was a wonderful. It made my momma heart lighter because sometimes being a momma feels ever. so. lonely. Every person on the planet at this point knows being a mom is a full time job. That’s why they gave us a holiday. Clearly it takes stamina to fight the good fight and these littles are always worth the fight. But I also know myself. I know that the only reason my first thought was to celebrate Mother’s Day by pretending to not be a momma was simply because that would be easier. Easier than fighting a baby to sleep or ordering the entire baby sleep section off amazon books, secretly hoping he sees the stack and realizes you mean business without having to actually implement anything that causes MORE crying. Easier than fighting the frustration tantrums of a two year old. Easier than trying to make dinner while balancing said screaming baby on one hip, stirring with your other hand and rolling trains around the floor with your toes. We fight against things that make us stronger, dare I say, better.

DSC08754We decided before having babies that we would find a book that summed up something we hoped for our child. For Cade’s baby shower and hospital stay after delivery we had friends and well-wishers sign the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” because that kid is going to go somewhere and hopefully not to jail. There’s a part in his book that plays through my head often. “No. That’s not for you. Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying and find bright places where boom bands are playing.” How do you do that? How do you find those bright places where you aren’t waiting for something to change? For me I think it takes purposeful thought that grounds me in present day. So in an effort to purposefully find those bright places I’m going to be starting a new blog (in addition to this one) to specifically focus my heart on the lovely things that are all around me. To focus my heart not on the things I find lacking but on the things that make my life so full. This is momma-hood. It can make us short sighted but our lives are full and we are blessed. We just can’t see it sometimes without stopping and choosing to. So stay tuned. And if anyone knows a good website designer let me know.DSC07941

So for my third Mother’s Day ever, I want to be a momma to the messy babies and the messy life that I already have. And if I was again being honest with myself, the celebratory thought of pretending I’m not a momma for a day only emerges in my conscious because I know in my heart of hearts I wouldn’t trade these little boys for anything. They are here to stay and these boys make me momma. And for these littles I am blessed. If you are a momma or almost a momma or have a dream of being a momma this day is for you. It is your day because it reminds you and allows you to choose to see the blessings. We need to slow down. Slow all that striving and embrace the lovely that has already been set in our hands. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Momma Get Stronger

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Today I tried to do something for myself. I stood in front of the mirror and gave myself a little pep talk. Which went something like this: “Jackie. You’ve got this. They’re just kids. They aren’t going to kill you. They aren’t going to kill anyone else. Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to feed the one a snack while you nurse the other while packing the diaper bag while making sure your cell phone is charged while making sure additional snacks are in the bag. Don’t forget your wallet. You’re going to lug both of them up the stairs, change their tushies, grab a stack of additional diapers, sing Itsy Bitsy Spider to the one to distract him from the fact he has to leave his trains behind while wildly waving your hands in front of the other to make sure he doesn’t realize he is being put into the torture seat (AKA carseat). Then you’re going to make a mad dash outside, into the car, and then drive like a bat out of hell to the class. Got it?” Good. DSC05474

So I proceeded to do just that. And I wasn’t late. I even called ahead to see if I would be penalized for signing up for a class only to not make it due to a melt-down of the century. Momhood is misunderstood. Mommas aren’t late or miss dates because they are eating bon bons on the couch. I was assured there was only 13 people signed up and that I could just show up. Sweet. Maybe no other kids? Maybe they’d love this. This would be the first time I ever attempted dropping my babies off at a nursery while I attended any kind of class, let alone the Barre3 class which I just joined and was super excited about. What could possibly go wrong? Well let me tell you.DSC05880

Precisely 27 minutes. That how long it took for both kiddos to get so worked up that I was flagged down. The humiliating walk out of a PACKED class because MY kids were the disturbance. No kidding. I couldn’t help but notice all of the other babies playing quietly while their moms got to work out, have some “me” time and regain their sanity. Not my kids. I thought Cade would be fine. I had no such expectations for Kai. But everyone says you just need to power through. You need to keep trying. Keep trying to live. There was not just one sweet lady trying to calm / watch my babies but FOUR. And all four were just as bewildered as I on how to do that. What the heck is wrong with these kids?

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I held onto Cade, Kai was a lost cause. And in between sobs he kept saying, “momma get stronger. Momma get stronger.” Just what part of me is getting stronger? It’s certainly not the flabby belly. I had talked him through the entire ride there. Momma was taking a fitness class. You’d be able to see me the whole time. You’d get to play with new toys. Momma needed to get stronger.

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As I stepped outside, defeated. A bit embarrassed, the sky literally opened up and I was pelted with hail all the way back to the car. The heavens were throwing their “tomatoes” at me—at this act called motherhood.

So many people have said, “this will refine you” or “this will make you stronger” but it’s not…not yet anyways. It is literally breaking me into pieces. Hammering every hope, every sanity, every self anything out. Two kiddos, one stay at home momma. My world is getting smaller and smaller, it’s defeating at times and today is one of those times. And if I chose to sit here in my defeat I would ultimately stay broken and no good would come. And something good has got to come out of all this breaking and shedding of self.DSC04655

We’ve been attending the same Bible study for 8 years. And just this week, Matt and I came to the conclusion it was finally our time to step back, take a leave and try to survive these kids. Our world just got that much smaller.

And after today, this horrible wreck of an attempt to do what normal people do every day, I realized, our world has gotten smaller so we can ultimately make it bigger. We’re adding two people to this place and we’re pretty darn determined that they turn out ok and do good in the time they have. I have been broken so I can come back stronger. It has to be that way. I’m raising littles up into the world. I’m contributing something. And they’re showing me every selfish bone in my body and the breaking hurts. If I hear one more well-meaning person tell me just how quick this season goes I’m going to spin wildly out of control like a half filled balloon, untied and allowed to loop through the sky until it falls to earth…defeated. Quick it may be but only when you look back.DSC04638

Momma get stronger. I’m trying sweet Cade. I am slowly learning to embrace this season of smaller worlds and daily defeats. And I’m going to get a pedicure tonight just to spite it all. Where is your world breaking so ultimately you can change, get bigger, come back stronger?DSC05813DSC07369DSC07381

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings

DSC02211Blessings. They come in many forms don’t they? I glanced around. Toddler down and kicking. Must be a frustration tantrum—his new ride on firetruck got stuck on the rug. Baby. Well. He was screaming. Surprised? Nope, the “Kai Kai all I do is cry cry” special. Hubby trying to figure out which one to grab first. I couldn’t help but smile. And here all we were trying to do was get Facetime to work so we could include family in the memory making chaos. Imperfect PERFECTION. Merry Christmas.

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Blessings. Oh how sweet they are. This has been a trying season. A dairy-free, soy-free, SLEEP-free season of beauty. The Lord (knowing if snow was added to this mix I’d be admitted to the insane asylum) has decided to give us the most glorious of weather seasons. And it has been sanity to my soul. You walk outside WITHOUT a big hefty coat of sadness-wicking fluff only to breathe deeply the sweet crisp air. A Napa, California winter in the heart of New England. We’ve walked and walked and walked. Kai sleeps, Cade mimics firetruck noises (we-o, we-o, we-o) trying to wish one into appearing that second. I breathe and walk and breathe and walk. Baby weight is stubborn this time around. I think my scale is broken. It’s stuck on one number and not budging. Oh well. Breathe and walk, breathe and walk, breathe and walk.DSC02261

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Blessings. Choose to see them I tell my soul. Because it is so much easier not to. Don’t fall into that Jackie. Between diapers, meals and toys (OH SO MANY TOYS) you can lose sight of them. But then the other night, I was getting in the shower and saw two little socks flung under a stool in the bathroom. It caught me off guard, the memory of hope from so long ago. Wanting so badly to have little feet to put those socks on. And then Cade came and I was still wanting so badly for him to have feet to put little socks on. And now there is another who actually needs the little socks on his feet and his difficult little personality had me almost wishing those little socks away. Blessings. Choose to see them. We don’t get to chose them. But we DO get to name them as blessings. See them as such and live with them. What are your blessings. Name them. See them. Live them with joy. Merry Christmas, merry everything season my friends.DSC02254DSC02235DSC02203

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Welcome Baby Kai

 

DSC09124We welcomed baby Asher Kai to our crazy wonderful life on November 17th at 4:42 pm weighing 6 lbs 14 oz. He’s been a surprise from day one so leave it to him to come almost a week early causing a scramble–laundry wasn’t done, the house wasn’t clean, childcare for Cade wasn’t in place and Nana was forced to jump on the nearest plane headed east.DSC09174

Sweet baby Kai is a great surprise, has been even from the beginning, and he continues to kick all my expectations to the curb. Don’t ask me why at this point I still have them. If it were up to me these kiddos would have been spaced further apart, Kai would be a girl and would have politely abided by his due date. He was darn difficult to name to boot. This baby boy was always going to be Kai but we liked it as a middle name leaving us on the hunt for the first name for formality’s sake. For some reason we just couldn’t pin one down. We thought Beckham if he had crazy hair (he did, but that name was quickly kicked to the curb thanks to David Beckham being named “sexiest man alive” the day before he arrived). I liked Bennett but all Matt thought of was Tony Bennett. We both loved Landry and almost went with that but Asher couldn’t be beat on the name-meaning front. Asher, our “fortunate blessing”.DSC09231

Labor began precisely at 5:40 am Tuesday morning. I know because I rolled over in bed and thought, “yep, of course.” I got up, showered, blow dried my hair between contractions because that’s what sane people do. Our dear dear friends took Cade for the night. Packing that little boy up, watching him walk out the door with a runny nose and “momma” on his lips just about did me in. Talk about feeling divided, watching one little boy need you while knowing another was just about to join the party.

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I labored at home as long as I thought safe because I knew the minute we walked into those blessed doors they’d be poking me, sticking antibiotics in me because I happened to test positive for Strep B. I feel very strongly that antibiotics given to momma’s in labor are contributing to all kinds of issues little ones are facing, however I’m assured by research and doctors that a little one fighting Strep B is a horrible thing to endure and although your odds are low, we already had a 1% baby at home. So my theory was, labor at home AS LONG AS POSSIBLE = Less antibiotics. We got to the hospital around 2 pm and baby was born at 4:42 pm.

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Everyone said, “just watch and see how much you love this little one.” But he came out and I just stared at him, waiting to instantly love him. But I didn’t. I don’t think this is me. Or how my heart loves. I’m not sure I’m a “love at first sight” person. I fiercely love my Cade. And I fiercely love my husband and family. But it’s taken years and memories and moments to make my heart “feel” what this love is described so freely as. I can feel it creeping in, sneaking up on me when I look at Kai’s goofy little hair-do (NO IDEA where that head of black hair came from), or his scrawny legs (this kid is SKINNY)…I can tell I’ll be there soon. But an instant love connection, not quite. I’m still trying to figure out how to get him to think 2 am is not time to go clubbing or time for epic 3 hour long nursing sessions. DSC09085

It turns out Cade had double ear infection. Poor sweet kiddo. Antibiotics had him feeling better quickly. We tried our darnedest to keep baby and Cade separate until all cold germs were accounted for and I think we were successful. Nothing like that stress on a new momma, being told by the Pediatrician that if my new baby came down with what Cade had, it would be a hospital admission, spinal tap and all kinds of tests. I’m not sure I could have handled that. So far the Lord has blessed baby Kai with health. That is an ongoing prayer. My sweet mom landed about 12 hours after baby Kai was born. Cade adores his nana and her help and patience and presence has been a blessing. She leaves tomorrow and I’m bracing myself for a Cade melt-down of the century. I might just join him this time around. There is just nothing that compares to your mom. If it wasn’t illegal I’d tie her up and refuse to let her go.DSC09059

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We’re all doing well and getting more and more tired. Hence the need to formally welcome Kai before we turn into zombies and forget how the internet works. Much love to you all this holiday season.

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Here are some pictures of sweet Kai’s epic nursery. What fun it was to decorate. A soothing, neutral room, a bit nautical but not cliche. I love it and thought we’d share. Bless hubby’s heart (and the grandma’s!) for helping me wallpaper, create a mobile and lots of nursery art. It’s still coming together but is my favorite room in the new house.

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