sowmies

ever since caleb could eat solid food, he’s been drinking “sowmies” (that’s his baby word for smoothies which we still use lovingly).

in the summer, we have them more often because it’s hot and we don’t like to use the oven much. ūüôā ¬†it’s also a cheap meal. ¬†but, we use a lot of fruit so it’s a special treat.

dane took these photos one night last week.  caleb LOVES to help with sowmies.  we have terrible lighting in our house and it was the late afternoon so some of them are grainy and/or blurry. 

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trip to west texas

last weekend, caleb and i flew to lubbock to visit my dad for the weekend. ¬†i took some photos for my little brother’s graduation announcements.

i also had a personal challenge…to take more vertical photos. ¬†so here they are! ¬†caleb even posed for me a bit in between takes of my brother.

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he adores my dad. ¬†he’s really blessed with really active grandparents (and great grandparents!!). ¬†my dad doesn’t just ‘watch’ him. ¬†he takes him on lawn mower rides, to see the tractors, to the park, plays baseball, and patiently waits on him while they take long walking excursions. ¬†he was like that with us when we were kids and i’m glad caleb gets to experience the fun, too!

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caleb wanted to sit on my dad’s shoulders. as he put him up there i immediately said, “awkward family photo” and they just went with it, trying to make it as awkward as possible. ¬†proof that it doesn’t really matter how people are posed…if you love the subjects, you’ll love the photo. ūüôā ¬†i love this one.

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it’s west texas so the wind was crazy! ¬†about 20 takes of my little guy and me and FINALLY one where my hair wasn’t covering my face.

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at the tennis courts (throwing a baseball, lol) after we finished shooting.  loved the harsh light.

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there’s ralph. ¬†if you saw my Instagram, then you know who this is. ¬†we left Ralph at dad’s. ¬†i talked to him last night and he said he’s still sitting in his own rocking chair in the living room. ¬†this thing is huge and holds a special place in caleb’s heart. ¬†it was love at first sight. ¬†they were inseparable the entire trip.

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that’s it. ¬†still not entirely proud of the lack of photos but a great start for the month. ¬†we’re off to oregon this weekend for a wedding and we’ll be celebrating caleb’s 3rd birthday!

our random trip to california and our crazy year thus far

EDIT: this was written and supposed to be published two days ago!
bullet points are always nice when a million things happen in just a few short months. oh, who am i kidding, even with bullet points this is going to be long. and rough.

  • on december 27th, 2012 we found out we are pregnant! ¬†it was from the Lord but it was also…um…anticipated? ¬†i’m not sure how to explain it any other way. ¬†i felt a clear yearning to have a biological child from the Holy Spirit (before adopting a third…and fourth….and fifth child) and before we could disagree, bam, knocked up. ¬†if you’re counting, which you wouldn’t be, we’re batting .1000 for making that happen. ¬†anyway, baby is due September 4th. ¬†we are planning a home birth. ¬†we will most likely find out the sex of the baby when we have a sonogram (around 20-22 weeks, i’m 18 weeks tomorrow). ¬†we think it’s a girl (chinese calendar, intuition, different pregnancy) and we could possibly name her Lucy. ¬†other than my thyroid issues, everything seems to still be in the ‘low risk’ zone. ¬†this means i should have no problems staying with a midwife and planning to birth at home. ¬†(it does not necessarily mean something won’t happen during labor, duh). i’ll see an endocrinologist in a few weeks to see what they think.
  • as you already know, january was the hardest month of my life. ¬†partly because T was in the hospital so much and partly because i was deathly sick as well, which i couldn’t say yet because we decided to announce the pregnancy to the interwebs at a later date. ¬†i had morning sickness with caleb but oh, man, this was terrible. ¬†everyday at 5pm i would finally start to feel better. ¬†i most definitely threw up everyday, sometimes twice or three times and it lasted until about 14 weeks. ¬†pretty awful stuff. ¬†my poor kiddos. ¬†they started making vomiting noises each time i went to the bathroom. ¬†then, caleb would do it at random times throughout the day and between T throwing up and my sickness i almost couldn’t handle the stress. ¬†but we got through it. barely.
  • february was slower for us. ¬†T only threw up once or twice a week and i was only sick about half the day. ¬†we didn’t go anywhere or do much, though. ¬†we were pretty much tethered to the house. ¬†we made it through since i knew it was just a season. ¬†we found out things were moving along with T’s case and they would have a hearing on March 20th. ¬†they would decide when he would go home. ¬†we just waited and lived on until that day.
  • march brought more health and good weather. ¬†dane and i were able to get away and actually have some fun. ¬†T only threw up about once a week. ¬†we knew he would definitely be going home in the next few weeks/month so we just tried to soak up every moment we had with him. ¬†on march 20th, the judge ruled for T to be placed with a family member, effective immediately. ¬†our case manager requested it be the next day so that we could have time to say goodbye. ¬†i had 24 hours with him after hearing the ruling. ¬†we really did have a great last evening together. ¬†dane decided to call in to work on the 20th. ¬†he played with caleb and i took T to a dr. appt. ¬†then we heard the news and just spent the rest of the day hanging out and packing up his clothes. ¬†the next morning was another dr appt. ¬†dane went to work and i am thankful i had my mom with me. ¬†it was extremely difficult for me to keep it together (remember, i’m pregnant with extra hormones) knowing we would sit at a very long appointment just to go home and hand him to CPS. ¬†there was one good/weird thing about when he left. ¬†i had to wake him up. ¬†he hadn’t been taking a morning nap but when we have a visit or dr appt he does. ¬†he fell asleep on the way home and i had to put him in his crib while i loaded things for CPS. ¬†we chatted for awhile and i handed over meds and his schedule then went to wake him for hugs and kisses. ¬†he was so completely out of sorts. ¬†it was sad to see but it was also a blessing. ¬†with us having so many different people to see in just a few days you can imagine how clingy he became. ¬†he would scream if anyone tried to hold him. ¬†he didn’t really react to mine and caleb’s loving and didn’t scream when our case manager took him. ¬†i mean, i was a total mess but it would have been much worse to see him so upset.
  • in the meantime, we are receiving prayers, calls, texts, love from family and friends which was really great for us. ¬†my mom had been there all week with me (praise God, seriously!) and left around 5:30pm the day T left. ¬†I think he left our house around 1:30pm and then we spent the rest of the afternoon packing up his room while caleb slept so we wouldn’t have to deal with it later. ¬†That night we were sad and numb. ¬†We went out to eat and on our way there Dane and I tried to make a plan for us to get away for the weekend. ¬†our original plan was to go camping but it would freeze at night. ¬†our brother-in-law, joel, had been pestering (yes! very persistent. ¬†i’m so thankful for him!) to use his buddy passes through Southwest Airlines. ¬†we had nowhere we thought we needed to go. even though the flights were free we’d have to pay for hotel, car, food, etc. then i mentioned california. ¬†this was around 7:30pm thursday night after talking with dane’s mom (who had mentioned caleb and i come out the next week to get away). ¬†dane loved the idea of us just picking up and going so i texted joel and he called his dad and at 10pm that night, we had open seats on a 6am flight waiting for us the next morning! ¬†dane was able to take off friday and monday to spend the weekend with his parents. ¬†caleb and i stayed until thursday (march 28th). ¬†flying with buddy passes (standby) is pretty tough with a 2 year old but we could not be more thankful to joel and, mostly, God for working it all out.
  • you’ll see in the photos that we went the beach on saturday. ¬†i mean, it’s awesome. ¬†who doesn’t love the beach? ¬†the waves, the wind, the sun, the sand. ¬†you don’t see anything but God there. ¬†i dare you to look out into the ocean and not be overcome with your smallness and God’s greatness. humbling. ¬†so i know the majority of our friends and family were relieved to see us there. ¬†what a great distraction! ¬†and it truly was. ¬†but, for me, the Lord did not leave me to let my mind wander. ¬†the pain of losing T was still very raw. ¬†throughout the weekend i felt that everyone had forgotten T except me. ¬†everyone had their ‘tasks’ except me. ¬†i felt very….alone. ¬†even when trying to explain it to dane, asking for comfort, he was confused. ¬†as he should be. ¬†no one understood what i was going through and they weren’t meant to. ¬†i felt the Lord let me get to that place of ‘aloneness’, not leaving me, and let me make the choice of how to deal. ¬†after being together with my wonderful man 8 years i’ve learned quickly that he is not my savior. ¬†i immediately apologized for expecting him to comfort me when he was doing the best he could. ¬†i started to seek comfort from the Lord. ¬†i wasn’t sure how to do it because i had never lost someone this close to me. ¬†it is much like a death when looking at our day-to-day but i’m thankful he’s out there somewhere blessing his family! ¬†i began to search Scripture and looked forward to attending barry and lisa’s church service and bible study. ¬†i wanted to be surrounded by His word, His majesty, His people, His love. ¬†when you have a special needs kid, that’s all you think about. ¬†when they’re gone, you can’t just turn that off. ¬†it was still there. ¬†i heard him crying every night. ¬†i would not allow myself to make plans without thinking of what he needed first. ¬†and each time that happened and i realized he wasn’t there, my heart broke. ¬†over and over and over i would pray that the Lord stay patient with me and not leave me. ¬†that He would fully comfort me and heal my pain. ¬†it is still my prayer today. ¬†it is much easier, even being back home and seeing his stuff here and there, because of the tiny stitches in my heart in California. ¬†so, yeah, grandparents are amazing. ¬†the beach is amazing. ¬†fresh seafood is amazing. ¬†but the Lord is greater than all of those things and He has proven that to me in a very real way.
  • you’re probably wondering about caleb. ¬†he’s wonderful. ¬†all those weekly visits with T and his parents really paid off! ¬†i don’t think he fully understands everything but he’s not at all sad. ¬†he knows that T is being taken care of. ¬†something he’s been teaching me.
  • so, yeah, we’re doing well. ¬†the Lord is gracious.

i took photos when we went to the beach and then a random day when caleb was helping wash dishes. ¬†i don’t know. ¬†i wish i would have taken more but these will do. ūüôā

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outside and elmos

love my tender hearted child. ¬†these elmos have become outside toys (by accident! i left them out one night and they were rained on. ¬†poor elmos) and he found them with leaves all over them. ¬†he picked them up, dusted them off, greeted them with a hug and ‘it’s good to see you!’

sometimes, he’s just too much.¬†
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children’s museum

 

 

i did not take a single photo with my DSLR in january of this year. ¬†how sad is that? ¬†it was just a really sad month for us so i didn’t have any motivation. ¬†but i vowed to do better (and we vowed to do more fun things!) so here’s another set of photos of my big man at the fort worth children’s museum. ¬†it was his first time (well, he went when he was 4 or 5 months old) and he had a blast.

the cash register/grocery area is a HUGE hit with everyone but it was so crowded that he didn’t stay long.¬†

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his favorite, of course, were the trains and train tracks.
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sitting in a big dinosaur footprint.
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building windmills with dad.
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ha.  i love his face here.  this was a paper airplane launch pad and caleb wanted to do it all by himself, being two and all, but most everything was too big for him so he was getting frustrated.
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watching the big kids spin things around on this disc.
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building prisms on the light tables.
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this was new for me.  it was a huge peg board with tons of colored squares.  you could move them around to make designs and such.  pretty cool.
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afterwards, we needed all hands for both of our kids (T had been sitting in the stroller) as we finished up at the museum then headed to lunch.  then naps and a movie later in the evening.  it was a FULL day but so much fun!

monks

 

monks, caleb’s beloved stuffed monkey, has been around since his first Christmas. ¬†it was a gift from my brother and it is now one of his bestest friends.

when he first came along, he made caleb laugh.  now caleb makes him laugh.  and talk.  and cry.  and get in trouble.  this impromptu session came about after i pulled monks out of the dryer and handed him to caleb.

“oh, it’s good to see you monks! i’m so glad you’re awake”, he said, hugging and swinging him in his room. ¬†it was probably the cutest thing i had ever seen and i almost died right then and there.

i thought that would be a great opportunity to get some photos of them together so he can look back and remember his buddy. ¬†it didn’t really go as planned. ¬†once the camera came out, he immediately stopped hugging monks and started trying to pose him. ¬†monks was not very cooperative and had to be scolded many times.

caleb honestly thought he was being super helpful by holding him up.

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here’s one by himself. ¬†it’s a task to get his head to stay upright…not much stuffing left in his neck.
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and this is just a classic caleb face lately. ¬†i kept trying to get him to put his arm around monks. ¬†he kept looking at monks then looking at me like, “what’s the problem, mom? we’re ready. just take the picture.”
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and this is my monkey.  dane came back inside and i had him snap a few photos of us. 
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he likes to climb on my back. ¬†i’m glad he’s still somewhat little.
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things got a little crazy after this…as most things go with a 2 year old monkey boy.
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january

probably the hardest month of my life.  it was one of those times where we just tried to get through each day the best we could.

a recap:

December 6th, 2012 РT started throwing up and we thought it was a stomach virus.  It lasted 4 days and none of us caught it.

Dec 29th or 30th (can’t remember!) – admitted into the hospital after 8 hours in an ER waiting room. ¬†T had been throwing up bile. ¬†we were released 4-5 days later

January 14th – admitted into the hospital again after 5 hours (with both kids!) in an ER waiting room. ¬†my first trip in in ambulance to have T transported to the children’s hospital. ¬†we were released on the 18th and had to cancel our family vacation to California.

January 24th РT started throwing up again.  This time he healed within 36 hours and they did not send us to the hospital

February 3rd РT threw up again.  this time he healed within 24 hours.

i mean, really? ¬†5 rounds of this sickness in 8 weeks. ¬†the hospital stays were by far the worst. ¬†i just hate it there. ¬†anyway, we got through it. ¬†i’ve never prayed so much in my life while also, simultaneously, feeling so lonely. ¬†it was rough.

after the first few rounds the bitterness left. ¬†i was able to still find joy in my life even through these ‘trials’ but now i just feel old. ¬†and tired. ¬†and boring. ¬†‘

my life consists of disinfecting my house, holding a sick baby, and going NOwhere.

the reason i write this out is that i can’t wait to look back and clearly see every area the Lord was tuning. ¬†He is¬†long-suffering¬†and patient, you know, so i won’t pretend like i know my ‘lessons’ or fully understand why all this happened at the time it did. ¬†He hasn’t revealed it to me.

He didn’t leave me, though. ¬†for some weird reason i love this ministry more than i ever did.

i am so addicted.

when you pray for a heart like His, you will not be able to abandon those characteristics (loving the orphans, etc).

and He won’t abandon you if you do His work.

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i didn’t take a single photo on my actual camera (just phone camera) in the month of january. ¬†it’s because i have ¬†a 2 year old and a 1 year old who will not sit still. ¬†but you can get an idea of what Caleb is looking like these days.

Reflecting and moving forward

How did you do on your goals?

1. memorize 30 verses – I memorized James 1…does that count? I’ve been reading more bible throughout the day, less memorizing.

2. become licensed foster parents- Done!

3. lose 20 lbs- I’ve lost 5 inches around my body but weigh the same…does that count? Lol.

4. serve Jesus better – my motto this year has been “I want to do what You want me to do”. It has helped my heart turn more quickly in times of trial. Still need much work to be done on my selfish heart.

5. spend more time alone with dane – total FAIL if I ever saw one. ūüė¶

6. pay off debt – paid off $9000. Not a fail since we always aim high in this area.

7. book 12 portrait sessions with clients – 15! And then a few side jobs, not portrait work.

8. read 52 books- I read 50! That was fun. I want to do this again.

9. read through the bible- finished early December. Pretty neat book. ūüôā

10. meet weekly or monthly with a fight club or discipleship group- yes! I did take a break from may-July when my friend got her babies and I got T, but then I started another bible study and have been with them since (with breaks in between).

Wow. What a great year! If I wouldn’t have written these out I would have thought our year was pretty bland. It’s hard to see past the daily grind, but it was a hit.

Now onto the next…

100 things for 2013

Juuuust kidding. I don’t like lists that much.

We’ll keep it at 10

10 things for 2013

1. Daily prayer journal- I used to love this habit. I’m bringing it back. Along with big hair from the 80’s.

2. Spend time with Dane- lets face it…this hasn’t been a priority for us this past year. It’s just fun and good for both of us. I’m shooting for once a month dates. Seriously needs to happen.

3. Eat better, be fit- so vague, I know, but I just joined a crossfit gym so I’m hoping the accountability will help. I can’t really make specific goals yet because there are other issues with my body. More on that at a later date.

4. Pay off debt- yep, still here. And it will be here until it’s gone!

5. Read 52 books- again, so fun and a great challenge.

6. Organize my house- with pretty containers and everything. No drawer left trashed, no space left unturned.

7. One project each month- I don’t know what they will be. I have ideas, though…add decor to kid’s rooms, finish photo albums, sew a shirt, etc.

8. Book 15 portrait sessions- intimidating with my schedule now…

9. Learn 12 songs on piano- one a month because it takes me that long since I don’t practice that much.

10. Do what He wants me to do- so often I don’t pray over my decisions. I want to pray more, read more, abide in Him at all times, and just push everything else out. Have peace and clarity about ministry and life.

Alright, let’s get to it!

Happy New Year

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m writing from the inside of a children’s hospital room.

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I can’t seem to keep my little one healthy. He was admitted last night for dehydration, but it’s been more complicated since he has a few other issues. With all of this time in isolation, I’ve been able to reflect on the past year and pray over the next (and also for good sleeps for my babe).

More to come because next year will be big for us. I just know it!

redemption

a year ago today i had a miscarriage. ¬†i wrote this post¬†a little afterwards that was very vague because i was still processing everything. ¬†it was our first experience with death that close to us. ¬†i threw myself in the Word so as not to let my emotions towards God wreak havoc on our relationship. ¬†i didn’t trust Him for awhile. ¬†i wanted to know more. ¬†a year later, i think i’m ready to tell the whole story. ¬†the way God is writing it for me to share.

on november 30th, 2011, i had a weird feeling that i was pregnant. ¬†i’m not really into weird feelings. ¬†i did have the same weird feeling the day i found out about caleb, but he was somewhat planned so that doesn’t really count. ¬† i happened to have an extra pregnancy test in the bathroom because i thought i was pregnant in october. ¬†my body had been out of order for a few months so a pregnancy wasn’t out of the question. ¬†i took the test. ¬†i remember setting a timer on my phone and forcing myself to go lay on my bed and pray. ¬†i prayed for exactly one minute then ran into the bathroom to see a very bright ‘plus’ sign. ¬†i was so pregnant, the test didn’t need the full 2 minutes.

i immediately started shaking.  not a good kind of shaking.

the night before we had attended our final class of our month long training to start the foster care licensing process. ¬†it was a million hours or more of training and we could not have been more excited about getting all the paperwork started. ¬†we wanted to be licensed by february or march. ¬†we had originally decided on april, after caleb’s 2nd birthday, but we were so moved by the training that we didn’t think we could wait that long. ¬†this pregnancy would change all of that. ¬†i have never felt so torn in all of my life. ¬†with this pregnancy, a precious baby was growing already. ¬†already ours. ¬†but it also meant losing out on all those kids we wanted to foster. ¬† i’m not sure if you’re understanding this or if you ever will unless your heart goes through the beginning stages of transformation of adoption. ¬†it’s not a decision you can easily turn on and off. ¬†it is our whole life.

i tried to convince my head to pray about it all, but it wouldn’t. ¬†i texted dane to call me. ¬†when he did, ¬†i blurted out the news and started crying. ¬†by this time i was excited and scared. ¬†the good kind of excited and scared. ¬†dane was extremely happy.

that same day, my best friend dropped by after work. ¬†to this day, i don’t know why i didn’t tell her about the baby. ¬†i spent hours with her and didn’t tell her. ¬†part of it was because i was afraid my emotions would betray me and i was kind of scared what would come out. ¬†i wasn’t ready to deal with it all without thoroughly praying with my husband. ¬†it was exactly a week later when i attended her appointment with her midwife at the birthing center that i knew i wanted her to be the first to know. ¬†i got to hear jack’s heartbeat (before he was jack, before he was a boy) and then we went to Sonic where i failed at finding a clever way of telling her. ¬†like with dane, i blurted out the announcement. ¬†she used my own words in reply, “are we happy about this?”, before showing emotion. ¬†i cried through a ‘yes’ and we hugged and laughed. ¬†i told her about the weird feelings i was having this time around. ¬†it was so good and the first time i remember being truly excited about it all.¬†she ended up staying at my house until joel returned from work. ¬†i was going to cook them dinner and we’d hang out and celebrate.

not even two hours later, i started spotting.  i knew this could be a sign of normalcy.  nicole had gone through the exact same thing just weeks earlier.  but, like any good mom, i started to panic that something was terribly wrong.  i called my nurse friend and she came over.  by the end of the night, 6 adults stood in a circle in my living room all huddled up, praying over our baby.  i will never forget that night nor the power of community.

on thursday, in a last minute decision, i decided to see my doctor. ¬†she could get me in for an ultrasound and i could rest knowing my baby was fine. ¬†nicole went with me, once again by my side during a difficult thing to experience. ¬†i saw my baby for the first and last time that day and he/she was measuring around 4 weeks. ¬†i was stunned. ¬†i knew my body had been off, but i was sure i was 6, almost 7 weeks. ¬†after giving me a lesson on conception, the nurse dismissed us. ¬†i paid for the ultrasound and we walked to the car. ¬†the information started to really sink in. ¬†by the time i was sitting in front of the wheel, i had no more self control. ¬†i broke down in the worst kind of way. ¬†i knew something was wrong because there was absolutely no way i was just 4 weeks along. ¬†i know how conception works, i’ve already got one kid running around! ¬†nicole tried comforting me by holding me and talking. ¬†she wasn’t aware of everything tumbling around in my brain. ¬†she was just excited they saw something, definitely a baby.

i think it was then that i knew we would lose the baby. ¬†i knew what it was like to be David, praying over his child as if he wasn’t going to die (2 Samuel 12). ¬†i knew, in that strange Holy Spirit way, that God wanted me to be right where i was. ¬†to be helpless, crying out to Him. ¬†i had so many moments of great strength in Him where i felt total peace. ¬†they didn’t last long in those first few weeks, but i always knew He’d be there to heal me.

that night we watched The Help. ¬†why? why didn’t anyone tell me it would be so terribly sad. ¬†or maybe i was just so terribly sad. ¬†i cried for nearly two hours and finally felt like i ‘let go’.¬†if you’ve ever had a miscarriage, you know it’s never fun going to the bathroom. ¬†for the next three days, that room ruined my life. ¬†¬†i was thankful for the weekend. ¬†time with my family. ¬†time to be with my husband who was mourning, too, and was finding it very difficult to watch me go through it all. ¬†time at church with my community. ¬†and just the gift of time itself. i marked it on the calendar as our baby’s birthday. ¬†i didn’t want to ever forget to celebrate our baby. ¬†¬†i talked about it a little with friends and family, but it wasn’t until april when we had our homestudy that i was confronted again. ¬†you will never forget any of your kids, but i felt so ready to move on and love on others. ¬†i wasn’t just putting on a show or saying things to get our license…it took everything i had not to break down over NOT getting kids in our house immediately.

we took december and january ‘off’ from our licensing process so we weren’t official until June 26th.

on june 29th, friday, we got a call about a little boy who was in the hospital. ¬†after little deliberation we said ‘yes’ and waited for CPS to make their decision. ¬†it was around 5 or 6pm that evening that told us we could visit him, but he wouldn’t technically be in our care until the following monday. ¬†CPS had closed for the weekend. ¬†we knew absolutely nothing about this baby except his name and that he had a chronic illness.

i stayed the entire weekend and dane and caleb visited often.  he has several medications he takes that the nurses were administering to him regularly.  i allowed them to so i could watch and learn and ask questions about how to take care of him.   late that first friday night, the nurse came in for his nightly meds.  she cross checked the ID tag he had on his foot with the tag on the syringes.

“OH!! ¬†What is his birthday? ¬†I don’t even know!!”, ¬†I exclaimed, startling the nurse. ¬†i turned baby T over to get a better position for reading his ID tag.

12/11/11  is what it read.

my mouth dropped open and my shoulders went limp. ¬†i remember leaning my head back on the chair and laughing to myself. ¬†i couldn’t wait to tell dane.

here i was holding my precious baby boy.  the baby that God promised me.

neither one of them will be mine forever, but whatever time God allows with them is reason enough for celebration.

so happy birthday, Mikka, and  happy birthday, baby T.