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

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.

DSC01724

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.

DSC01803

“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).

DSC01823So I popped off his legs, took off the liners and let him crawl around. I didn’t think twice about it because there was no one around, not a soul at the park this morning. But then I heard the babbling and banter of a little and his mom.

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

DSC01765

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.

DSC01832

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.

DSC01752

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.

DSC01828

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.

DSC01777

DSC01831

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.

IMG_2909

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.

IMG_2359

DSC00584

DSC00635

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…

IMG_3061

IMG_3067

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.

DSC00280

DSC00284

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

DSC00269

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.

IMG_2971

DSC00318

DSC00257

DSC00374

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.

DSC00319

DSC00414

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

DSC01854

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.

DSC07874

DSC07807

DSC07464

DSC08292

Momma Get Stronger

DSC06052
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?

DSC04798

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.

DSC05405

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.

DSC02266

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

DSC02063 DSC02085DSC02041

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

DSC02294

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.

DSC09168

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.

DSC09201

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

DSC09039DSC09593

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.

DSC09622

DSC00073

DSC09304

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.

DSC09401DSC09367DSC09374DSC09380

DSC09387DSC09363DSC09359DSC09392DSC00187DSC09377

IMG_7696DSC09376DSC00117

A Year Ago

DSC08799A year ago today we were downtown at Boston Children’s Hospital, handing our sweet little man over to our medical team for his bilateral Symes amputation and sitting for hours in the waiting room by a window. I chose that window on purpose. It was an awareness that there was life outside. People were going about their ways, living. We were surrounded by my mom and dad and our community of dear friends, our pastor and new friends who were stopping by and they floated us through, the tangible grace of our Lord. 

Today my little warrior and I celebrated by going to the park. He brought his pull along dog toy and ran, slid, climbed his way into bliss. As a momma, I preferred today over last year clearly. I would have done anything for a glimpse of today, one year ago, as I sat there, hoping all was going to be okay, wondering how he was going to process the loss of part of him and the gain of something entirely foreign. Last month he got his second set of legs. He LOVES them. He shows them off to strangers, lifting up his pant legs and saying, “ha ha ha.” Clearly that’s what friendly monsters say. And all is well. DSC08775

DSC08810

DSC08680

Arthur our prosthetist warned us the 2nd go around was never as easy as the first when it came to prosthetic fittings. Boy was he right! Bless Arthur’s heart as he patiently endured baby sobs while trying to make perfect little leg casts so we could gain cute little monster legs. We ultimately let Cade decide which material he wanted for his new legs. He walked over to the samples and pointed at his monster PJs saying, “Ha ha ha.” That sealed that deal. Monsters it was. And it kind of epitomizes this stage of toddlerhood to a T. My little friendly monster baby.DSC08802

DSC08800

DSC08835I can’t help but reminisce these last few weeks. At 37 weeks, closing in on 38 weeks pregnant, I’m often overcome with, “how the heck am I going to do this?” moments. I look at Cade, my sweet babe, and wonder how you love another? How you nurture his heart while keeping another alive? People clearly do it. I long for another crystal ball glimpse of a year from now, wondering where we will be. I trust that all will be well because although we walk many hard roads in life, we are never alone, never without grace, unending never ceasing, grace. We get to the mountain tops only to see a vast range of mountains. But having made the ascent we are stronger, better equipped to tackle the climb when called to. Thank you for walking this year with us. You are grace to our hearts.DSC08848

Lamentations 3: 21-24 “But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. The Lord is my portion says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.”

Sometimes Not Okay is Okay Too

DSC07650A week-ish ago, Cade and I scrambled over to the mall (not his choice of course…well, or mine really). This is not my favorite shopping season. As much as Caedmon loves his stroller, he’d rather run into oncoming traffic laughing the whole way. Which is why he’s bolted into his buggy AT ALL TIMES near traffic. So. That left a less than enthusiastic toddler to cheer on his momma as she fought fabric and zippers. Baby bump number 2 has decided to be drastically bigger than baby bump number 1. DSC07723The dress I had ordered weeks before the wedding just kept getting back ordered prompting an emergency scramble to find something that would make me feel less like a beached whale and pretty for a short window of time.

Many many stores and a few meltdowns later we were finally in line at Anthropologie. Success. There was no one around so I was nicely chatting with the lady. She asked when I was due. Phew. Finally at that point where its clear there’s something ELSE going on inside my abdomen rather than just too much Haagen Daz Raspberry sorbet/vanilla yogurt goodness (don’t ask how many of those have been consumed this summer). I told her probably Thanksgiving day when i’m really going to be wanting to eat my mom’s stuffing. She laughed and said she was due on New Years Eve. She didn’t look pregnant yet, still early but comfortable enough talking about it. So we chatted baby. She asked what I was having and I said ANOTHER boy. Curse of the Klekers I’d say. She was also having a boy and she casually tossed in, “you know. Just as long as it’s okay, you know, 10 fingers ,10 toes.” And, although smiling still, my breath caught for a second. I laughed it off but my heart was not laughing. Yikes. What if, just what if, you don’t get 10 fingers and 10 toes? DSC07566What if not okay is okay too? I wish I would have had the grace in that moment to offer, instead of a casual laugh, a word of wisdom. Sometimes the most beautiful experiences of our lives come out of something that is NOT OKAY. We’re terrified as human beings of anything “less than normal” or not “okay”. But I have gathered through many happy squeals and baby kisses that not “okay”, not “normal” is wonderful. DSC07422And more so than a healthy, perfect baby of your dreams, the different ones, oh they are so good for the soul. They are the Lord’s blessing. They teach us to see things in different ways. To understand how good can come out of not good. It’s a reflection of a broken world that has it’s roots in a beautiful, perfect one, that our hearts would crave perfection, yes. I understand that. I crave it every day. I crave 10 fingers and 10 toes. But I am so so blessed to get to watch an amazing little boy RUN. He doesn’t have a single toe, albeit plastic ones (which hurt like heck when they step on you). But he is wonderful.

Here’s how I’d like the conversation to have gone: “You know what. I hear you. Healthy is more important than the baby’s gender but we didn’t get good news when we went in for that first ultrasound. Our little guy didn’t have 10 toes and would need surgery and prosthetics. I was devastated. But he is the most beautiful blessing I have ever known. So even if you don’t get perfect news or even what you expect. Not okay is okay too. You’re stronger than you will ever imagine and little ones like that open your eyes to the great, beautiful things of life.”DSC07803

We’re clinging to our last bit of summer days while sneaking in pumpkin pancakes. I know I’m straddling two seasons but as I’ve always said, fall is one big warning sign that it’s about to get VERY cold and after this last New England winter. I’m pretending we get to reset back to the beginning of summer while secretly longing for maple lattes and leaf peeping. Here’s some more fun summer pictures:

DSC07596

DSC07659

DSC07840

DSC07699 DSC07761 DSC07786 DSC07628

DSC07692

DSC07470

DSC07773

Refreshing Honesty

DSC05136It’s been a crazy few weeks here but we’re finally back at the keys. We bought a house, scrambled to sell our house, had a sick baby which coincided with a million people traipsing through our open houses, got a bunch of offers, had a small bidding war, and then fled the country. Well, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but pretty darn close actually.

For our 7th wedding anniversary and my big 3-0, my sweet husband booked a getaway to the lovely island of St. Lucia. A great surprise and a good call on hubby’s behalf to recognize my severe vitamin D deficiency after a stupid Boston winter.DSC05168

Now we’ve traveled a bunch, this was seriously Cade’s 20+ flight in his short almost 13 months and his second international destination, but a one year old? Well that’s a whole different story. And he’s not even walking yet. But wanting to be caged, I assure you he let the whole plane know how he felt about his seat assignment. After delays and running through terminals and absentee Hertz agents, we found our way to our island home and breathed a deep sigh of relief. Our hotel room was bigger than our current home. DSC05238And that is not an exaggeration. It apparently came with the JetBlue getaways package. And although it looked like it was fit for a king it certainly didn’t cost it. DSC05489It was wonderful. A bathroom for each of us. 🙂 Cade had his own room which he refused to sleep in. So in our over-sized room with our over-sized bed, mom and dad got jabbed with his little nubs all night.DSC05379

Day one he hated the beach. Day two he loved it. Phew. I almost thought we had the wrong baby for a moment given my extreme LOVE for said ocean, waves, and sand in my toes. We knew once we arrived, after forgetting the travel torture, that it would be wonderful and it was. What neither of us was prepared for was how refreshing honest curiosity is.DSC05331DSC05284

You see we live in a society, in amazing America where people try to not offend others ALL DAY LONG. People apologize, walk a tight rope of public opinion and if you ever wanted to scare the pants off someone, well, you just say you’re offended. You can’t say certain words because that might offend certain people and you can’t wear certain things because, well that might be construed as offensive. That means you see something different…out of the ordinary, different than your normal and you stare (which is not wrong in and of itself) but you realize your error and QUICKLY, like a cat thrown into a swimming pool, glance away. We’re told to not stare after all, it’s rude. But it’s usually too late right? We see you. We see you recognize a difference, a deficiency and then try to correct your perceived error of perception. What if we turned it into a chance for conversation. How refreshing that would before all the momma’s out there who have little ones who are “different”. I’ve watched in mild amusement as old ladies sweetly try to pinch my sweet boy’s prosthetic legs because he’s wearing pants and you just can’t tell and then they stop, and look horrified. Were they offensive they wonder. There my friend is where it stings. And where refreshing honesty in curiosity blooms into something beautiful.DSC05403DSC05337

Every single local we met at the resort and on the island, got down on Cade’s level, spoke gently, lovingly to him and then turned to us and asked, “what’s wrong with his legs?” WOW. What the heck do you say? Let me tell you. Honest conversations about real life about things that matter and shouldn’t be avoided or perceived as possibly offensive. Let me tell you how amazing my little boy is. Let me tell you his journey, where he’s at in his physical therapy, how we’ve changed with his blessed life’s existence. Let me show you what he can do. Clap for him. Cheer him on. We all have something wrong with us. Something different. It makes us unique humans. And after refreshing conversation after refreshing conversation they look at us, smile and say, “and he’s doing just fine and that’s all that matters.” Ahhh. Breath deeply my soul.DSC05432

DSC05456

We’ve gotten use to people starring and recognize that it is a part of our innate curiosity as humans. Clearly our baby doesn’t have feet and when his mother usually forgets shoes and there is 3 ft of snow outside, yes, you have every right to take a double take. That in and of itself is not bothersome. But then please don’t look at me, realize your error in horror and avoid me like the plague. Embrace the conversation in the unique. Oh that we would all take a little more time and a little more interest in the unique and beautiful things in our paths. I bet we would learn a lot. I bet we would walk away changed and I bet children who physically look different would have more confidence and be more empowered to run a little further, skip, smile and dash through this earth with their own kind of wonderful.
DSC05386

DSC05599  DSC05637  DSC05669

DSC05716

DSC05674     DSC05278

IMG_3206

 

IMG_3245

IMG_3249

« Older Entries