Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Until We All Come Home...first book review

I have read some great books in my life. But recently, I won a book from another mommy blogger at Organized SAHM. Thanks, Tara!!

This book came with great reviews so I was SUPER excited about picking it up. But it did come with a warning! The warning was very simple, "You won't be able to put it down!"

Boy, was she right!

Until We All Come Home by Kim de Blecourt was an adoption story like I have NEVER read!

Admittedly, I am not familiar with the in's and out's of the local adoption process and much less familiar with the process abroad. But, I did not expect to read about how twisted and corrupt the Ukranian foreign adoption process was.

Kim spent nearly a near in Ukraine solely devoted to bring HER son home. During much of this time she was without her husband in a male dominated land. The last few months of the process, Kim cared for her own daughter as well as the son she was adopting. It was then she found herself trapped (for nearly two weeks) in a small apartment with two young children who had an abundance of energy.

It seemed that God was saying "no" every time there was an easy path to be taken. However, Kim would cry out and He would answer every time!!

If you are looking for a wonderful page turner, I strongly recommend Until We All Come Home by Kim de Blecourt. You will not be disappointed!

Until We All Come Home: A Harrowing Journey, a Mother's Courage, a Race to Freedom

Monday, December 3, 2012

Enjoying the Little Things

There are many reasons I love home schooling.

But now that I am being forced to have more down time, I have been able to enjoy the little things with the girls.

For example, today we were able to take a walk for the first time in a few weeks. :) We talked with the neighbors and totally enjoyed our 70 degree December morning!

But this afternoon, Libby (THE bulldog) was whining to go out, as soon as I sat down to rest. Trying to put her off a few more minutes, I rubbed her belly. This worked for a millisecond until she started routing around in the basket of blankets.

You will never guess what she found! A roll! Yup, a dinner roll!!

I guess, yesterday, when I wasn't feeling well a dinner roll (in a ziplock bag) ended up in the basket of blankets.

Libby quickly ran out the back door to bury the roll. And the girls were on the chase.

It is great to be able to enjoy the little things with these crazy kids (and bulldog) of mine!

(This was taken at Easter, but it shows exactly how much the girls love Libby. They HAD to include her in the egg hunt. I think they may have been cheating a bit!!) 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Easy Beef Stew!

When the cold weather comes to town, I want to hibernate and eat warm food! One of my favorites is Stew Beef. However, every recipe I have ever made contains some type of flour. Well, that is all well and good, but foods thickened with gluten free flour doesn't reheat well! So I tried something new. I came up with this recipe out of sheer desire to eat comfort food!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Oh, and by the way, this was Daddy and kid approved!!

Here are the stars of the show. Yep! That is it! The only thing I added that isn't pictured is salt and pepper. If I were to add anything else, it would be mushrooms. But we were out! Oh well!

Start by getting about a tablespoon of olive oil hot. Next add your finely chopped onions. You will notice all the vegetables are cut pretty small. You don't have to do this at all. My little ones will only eat them if they are cut up small.

Brown the onions well before adding the beef. Brown the beef well, but it does NOT have to be fully cooked. It is actually better if it rare!

Once you have the beef cooked add enough water to cover the beef. Stir in the carrots and celery.

And not for the GREAT part. Bring it to a boil, turn it down, and walk away!! Let it go until the vegetables are tender and/or you are ready to eat! I usually serve this with rice, but potatoes would be great as well. Or if you want throw the potatoes in the pot!! Enjoy!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gluten Free on the Cheap!!

Charlotte has officially been gluten free for two years! It doesn't seem like it has been that long. Many times, I feel like we just began this journey! A gluten free diet has been WONDERFUL for our baby girl!! She is a totally different person. When she does get gluten, watch out world!! She is a bear! She is a three year old force to be reckoned with!! Needless to say, we try to insure she NEVER gets it!!

Gluten free can be expensive!! In the summer, it isn't bad at all! We eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. In fact our house looks like the corner market in the summer. The fall and winter in a totally different story!! And Charlotte is beginning to notice that her food is different! 

We attend a Classical Conversations meeting every Tuesday and we eat lunch together as a group. No big deal normally, but it obvious that her food looks different. So we make a lot of homemade "lunchables"!  But, Charlotte's crackers cost $5.32 a box! There are 3 (or so) lunch portions in a box. And she LOVES these crackers. She would eat them for any meal! We make her stick to snacks and occasionally for lunch. We also pack her snack for every outing, including church and play dates!

We have been spending $6.50 on bread, $8.32 on pretzels, $5.32 on regular crackers, $5.32 on garlic bagel chips, and about $5.00 on cookies per WEEK (some weeks we don't buy the pretzels)!! ON ONE CHILD! Needless to say, I am always looking for a cheaper price! Occasionally, you can find them on sale, but a sale is rare! 

So a few weeks ago, I found this website. I know I am behind on the times, but I really don't order a lot of things online. Maybe it is the fear that the delivery man will be eaten by the dog! She has never eaten anyone, but I am pretty sure she has caused the occasional change of undergarments! 

Whatever the reason, I overcame my fear last Friday. I placed an order with Vitacost! I received my order today! That is right, the order was placed on Friday and received on Monday!! 

**Vitacost is a company that carries pretty much anything health food (not just gluten free stuff)!**

Check out the comparison!! 

Grocery Store
Bagel Chips
Bagel Chips
I ordered multiple boxes of everything and 4 new things to try. It ended up costing $65.22! That is nearly $70 in savings! I also received an emailed coupon for 10% off my next purchase. I am pretty sure we have enough GF food to last Charlotte about 2 months!! The only "necessity" I will need to buy is bread. I am one happy mommy!! 

Now I have been planning on writing this post as long as I was satisfied with the company, but when I picked up my invoice it had a beautiful little treasure on the top of it! They have a refer a friend program!! That is right, by me referring you I get $10 AND you get $10!! How awesome is that?!? Just use the link attached and we will both receive our little gift. I hope you guys are as satisfied as we have been. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15 minute pick up

I have been a fan of for a few years. Her thing is called a 15 minute sweep and it is basically the same thing as what I describe. Now if you need some serious help organizing/cleaning, check her out. She seriously helped me after the miscarriage. I found lots of things that I could do to fill my time and keep my hands busy. I have kept up with most of it because it is simply that easy.

Now, I do NOT claim to have a house that is picture perfect!! Did you hear that?? If you were to come over, you will see cups on the counter, toys on the floor, and other random items laying around. This does make my type A personality a little crazy. We have a "every item has a place" kind of house. Well, I like to think we do. The girls are quickly driving me nuts with all their baby stuff that ends up all over the house. You know how it goes, as soon as you finish cleaning one room, they destroy it while you are cleaning the next room.

But today I decided to get the little ones involved! I am not sure why it has taken me this long to get them on board. But the crazy nesting stage has begun and the constant picking up after them is driving me nuts. Plus bending down these days is, well, interesting!

We have cleaned out just about everything that we can clean out, and they are still having a hard time keeping it picked up! So today I actually used my brain and decided not to nag or threaten, we played a game.

I called the game "The 15 minute Pick Up".

Right after lunch, we started. I still needed to get the dishwasher going, so I knew where my 15 minutes were going to be spent. The object was to see exactly how clean we could get the house in 15 minutes. I am very impressed with how they worked. After about 10 minutes they said they were done and I did a quick glance into the rooms. There were a few things that still needed to find their homes, but they were pretty much done!! By the end of the 15 minutes all the clutter had been put away!

I could breathe! AHHHH!!

We all sat down for a story and then it was rest time. And today instead of cleaning while they rested, we ALL rested!! And I am a happy mommy!

Do any of you have some kind of system like this?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Field Trip

We all have weaknesses! One of my homeschooling weaknesses is taking field trips. Between trips to the grocery store and extra children around the house I just don't have the time (nor the energy) to plan a field trip!

BUT!! Being apart of Classical Conversations has remedied that situation!! Every week we get together to learn all sorts of amazing facts about the world we live in. I truly believe, I have learned more in these 10 weeks than any of the kids I tutor (or my own). It is an absolutely fascinating program!! We, also, are able to draw from each other's strengths. Jennifer Grimsley is super-mom field trip planner and has actually planned a few field trips for us this fall! YEH!! 

This mommy doesn't have to think about those days and they COUNT!! 

The first trip was to Lynches River County Park. They offer such an impressive program!! The younger students learned about the needs of plants and came home with a planted seed. When they start sprouting, I plan to have the girls measure them every few days and chart their growth. The older students talked about trees. They went home with a ring of a tree! 

The park also offers animals to observe and a beautiful nature walk. Charlotte and I left early because I was totally wiped, but Ansley stayed and came home totally excited about her trip. She was ready for Daddy to come home to teach him what she had learned. 

If you need a FREE field trip, this is the place to go!! Here is a sample of our trip!!

With love,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Update!

I haven't blogged in, well, forever!! There are a few reasons for that! Morning sickness, homeschooling, babysitting, gluten free everything, and a trip to the hospital sums up what has happened for us the last few months. I hope to start my blog back, but I am not promising anything. :)

The girls are doing great! Ansley turned 5 last month and we visited some enchanting princesses that wonderful day! She was so excited she could hardly speak. Which, if you know Ansley, is a rare thing! Ansley is also learning to read and her handwriting is much improved over last year. But, her favorite subject is math. She learned to add and subtract before her birthday!! Classical Conversations has been wonderful for her speaking skills. Every week, she gives a presentation on a subject that interest her. I love that she is able to speak in front of her peers and their parents!

Charlotte is the same old spunky, sassy Charlotte!! She loves to keep us guessing! Over the summer, we spent a scary night in the hospital because she decided to go back in the pool after I had taken her swimmies off! I think she learned her lesson and I learned mine (swim lessons begin in January)!! She is smart as a whip! Nothing gets by her! And when you think she isn't listening, you better be careful what you say...she doesn't forget a thing! Her favorite thing to do now is count. When she gets to 99, she says "tenty-ten"! Just because she knows it is funny!

As for Cole and I, we are doing great!! Cole is a great daddy!! And I am super blessed to have him! Can you believe that he (with my mom and sister) threw me my first surprise birthday party?? I was shocked and humbled at the same time. How blessed can a girl be? I am getting bigger by the minute! George Cole is due to arrive sometime in mid-January. We are getting ready for that glorious day. He is a busy little guy!! He moves from about 8 am until around 10 pm! He seems to sleep at night these days! Lets stop and pray he continues that after he is born! All seems well when we visit the doctor and my appointments are now every 2 weeks! We can feel the end coming!

We are working on his nautically themed nursery! I can't wait to have all the pieces in place and start washing those baby clothes!! It is almost done! We lack a dresser and some decor things. I can see the end in site!

This time of year is very busy for us. The prep work has started in the kitchen already! I have already made the gluten free bread crumbs for Thanksgiving Dinner. And I am currently working on a gluten free vanilla wafer  If this is successful, it will rock our world! I am about half way done with Christmas shopping. We have had to make some decisions about what we would and would not include in our Christmas schedule this year. Some of those things are hard, but we are looking to have a healthy FULL TERM baby! No one wants to see their little go to the NICU, because they got so busy and forgot to care for themselves. Well, that is what ALMOST happened with Charlotte and we don't want a repeat performance.

I think that is about it! Stay tuned for more adventures in Grangerdom!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sour Cream Chicken and GF Bread Crumbs

I seem to always be looking for another great recipe to go in my collection. I loooooove to try new things, but it is sometimes made difficult due to cooking GF. Sure, I could easily get my GF cookbooks down and make something that would taste okay. But we have young taste buds to deal with and (most of the time) they don't do funky foods. Unless, my mother makes it. But, that is another story entirely. So, normally, I convert what I THINK they would like into GF! It is easy to find new recipes to try (I may or may not be addicted to Pinterest). And when I stumbled across a Sour Cream Chicken recipe, I knew it was for me. :) The only problem was BREAD CRUMBS! AHHH!!

Now "bread" and "crumbs" are scary words in world of a Celiac patient. Normally, we RUN from them for a two reasons. Store bought crumbs are FULL of gluten, so nope! And gluten free bread is expensive. Who wants to grind up a $6 (6 inch) loaf of bread for crumbs?? Not this chick!! But I had been preparing for this day.

If you visited my freezer in the last few weeks, you would have noticed the bread grave yard. I have been saving the butts from every GF loaf of bread for about a month. It was starting to get ridiculous. We looked like we were hoarding the ends of the bread loafs. Cole tried to throw them once! Only once! :) I had a plan to carry out!!

Anyways, today I threw all of the odd pieces into the food processor and crumbled them up all nice and pretty. Once they stopped making a crazy noise, I melted about 1/2 a stick of butter and poured it in with the whirling crumbs. Along with the bread and butter went about a teaspoon kosher salt and a palm full of parsley. Once the crumbs looked like wet sand, I spread them on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes (stirring once half way through).

Bread crumbs, CHECK!!

Now the Sour Cream Chicken!

To make super easy cleanup, line a 13x9 pan with foil. You will love me for this tip later.

Place however many chicken breast you like in the pan. Sprinkle each with salt, pepper, and whatever seasoning you want (I used Mrs. Dash, because that is what I had).

Next, coat your chicken with a nice smear of sour cream. You will want to put some in a separate bowl! Don't cross contaminate your sour cream! And top with your homemade breadcrumbs.

Throw it in a 350 degree oven for 30 - 45 minutes. And voila! Supper!

Please let me know what you think about this recipe!! My little family loved it! I will be adding it to the rotation! Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration!

With love

Friday, May 4, 2012

Homemade Corn Dog Muffins

Let me tell you, being GF is an adventure! I have tried and FAILED at many recipes. But after almost 2 years of being GF I have finally stumbled across a recipe for cornbread that I like.

We have tried many cornbread recipes over the last few years. I would normally just buy Bob's Red Mill, but it made a ton of cornbread. Probably enough for a large dinner party or enough for about 3 meals. We can't do that much cornbread and we all know that cornbread must be fresh!! After all I am a southern girl. A southern girl that has never made homemade cornbread, what a shame. Also, I have come to the conclusion that I can't search of GF stuff!! So the other day I was on the hunt again. This time Pinterest was my guide. 

I am looking for a good cornbread recipe and I must convert the recipe myself. This could be trouble! And that is when I found a sweet little treasure!! My heart melted when I read about a Jiffy Cornbread Mix recipe!! Finally, someone understands what I have been seeking. Jiffy is my favorite, but have you looked on the box?? The ingredients list is SSSOOOOO long. Even if we weren't GF, I can't bring myself to eat it anymore. So here is the super simple recipe. My recipe is based on

Cornbread Recipe
2/3 Cup Flour (GF for us)
1/2 Cup Yellow Cornmeal (PLAIN! Not self-rising)
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 egg
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk (start with 1/3 but you may have to add more, I did)
2 tablespoons oil
honey (I don't know how much honey I put in there. Just give the bear a GOOD squeeze)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Allow batter to rest about five minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until brown. 

**To make the recipe GF, I used Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour. Yesterday, I put Zantham Gum in it, but I don't really think you need it. Today's batch did not contain Zantham Gum and I liked it better!**

So you might be saying, "I thought this post was about corn dogs!" It is! I promise!

To make the corn dogs, use the above recipe for cornbread and 4 nitrate free hot dogs. Spray the 
muffin tin well (or you will hate me later). Fill a mini-muffin tin about 2/3 of the way full. Chop a hot dog into small pieces (about 8 pieces per hot dog) and push the little pieces down into the batter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until brown. 
Note: If you have little ones, chop the hot dogs into smaller pieces and put 3 or 4 pieces into each muffin tin. 

My crew loved these! This picture is the second batch of the week and this is all that is left. I didn't bother to put them in a plastic container. I know they will be gone before dinner. I think the process took me about 20 minutes from nothing to the little ones eating (that is with cool down time). Now, how easy was that? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

We can't quite figure out what Ansley is going to be when she grows up. She has the ability to question a person like I have never seen. Even as a itty bitty thing she was talking and asking a million questions. She once talked for 3 solid hours on a road trip. Should I mention that she was barely two at the time?

She also loves to ask questions. Her favorite question is, "what is his/her name?" When you answer, she wants their middle and last name. She gets very annoyed at me when I don't know the name of the guy in the car beside us. There was a time that I would make up names for people. She caught on! Why does she have to be so smart??

She will also ask you the same question in a different way in order to catch you in lie. Like I said, she is smart.

She is very in touch with her feelings and the feelings of others.

Lately she has been talking a lot about Parker. She wants to spell his name (his full name). She tells me almost every day that she misses him. I think she feels how emotional I become when she talks about him. She almost always speaks about him like he is sleeping right there in the room.

I tell you all of this so you will understand what happened today.

Today, we had both of the boys. Ansley was the first one up from nap and was super excited about our afternoon activity. She finally asked to go wake up the others. We woke up Charlotte first.

Charlotte was in a great mood (which has not been the case these last few days). Ansley, Charlotte, E and I were laying in the bed playing. I was doing "super baby" with Little E. He was high above my head when I heard the following: "Mommy, when you get to Heaven you can do that with Parker!! Won't that be wonderful and fun? That will make you very happy!"

Love that sweet love that she has for her brother. The brother she never knew, yet she speaks like they have been friends forever. I love that she knows. I couldn't imagine loving her any more than I already do, but I love her more every day!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Psalm 10

At church, I help out in a 9th grade girls' Sunday School class. This class is fun and challenging. I don't really teach a lot, but I do help the teacher out when she needs me. This week, she needed me!

I was so excited about teaching the class. We usually have a lot of good discussions and I think it is great for the girls to hear someone different. When she asked me to teach I immediately said, "Yes!"

I probably should have looked at the lesson first. Yeah, that would have been smart. If I would have read the lesson, I would have told her NO. But, silly me!

This past week was really busy, so I did not even look at the lesson until teacher's prep on Wednesday night. **Note to self, always read the lesson before Wednesday.** That is the first time I discovered the topic.

I was supposed to teach on Psalm 10. Have you read Psalm 10?

Basically, the author is asking God "Where are you? Why are you hiding?"

I sat in the meeting and listened. I took notes. I was screaming on the inside. "You have got to be joking!! I have got to teach on God's perfect timing?" I left crying. I lost my shoe trying to get out of there.

In our heads we all know that there is a time and a place for everything. God has His perfect will. My heart even tells me that is true. But waiting is a very difficult truth to grasp. At least it is for me right now!

This has been an extremely difficult week. I spent most of the week praying for something and the answer has been clearly "NOT NOW, KENAN!" We had an open house today and it rained! Another, NOT NOW moment. I have cried and prayed. I am surely living the Psalm 10 passage.

Do you know what is great about this passage? Our God is the King of Kings! He is Holy and Just!

Every week we try to send the girls home with a challenge. This week the challenge is to pray back what we believe about God. This practice is so we may remember how wonderful and merciful God is. This challenge is for me!

God is patient with me even when I am not patient with Him!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Update!

What an absolutely beautiful time of year!! I love the spring. Winter is so blah! Everything is gray and brown. But just look around now!! Everything is green and growing. I think God must give us winter so we can truly  appreciate the beauty of spring!

I imagine spring at our house looks like spring in most houses. We plant a lot of flowers and a number of vegetables. The grass is growing extremely fast (thanks to my "yard man" and a lot of fertilizer). Cole and I have a pretty good deal. He does all the grass stuff and I do all the flower stuff. This time of year is really busy for me, but he is out in the hot summer sun. So I guess we are even! :)

The house is still on the market, but it is showing rather nicely. The feedback we have received is all a matter of taste. For example: "the yard is to small". Well, there is nothing I can do about that. I truly believe that God is telling our family that it isn't about us, but about Him.

We continue to ride through the country looking at houses and land. Dreaming and making plans like we will be forever young. I assume we will always look at ourselves like young people. Even though my oldest loves to remind me that "this year I turn five and that makes you sad".

When Cole and I married, we told everyone that we would have babies until we turned 30, but we wanted to be done by then. Wow, how things have changed! We now understand how fragile life is. We also have a new appreciation for the plan of God. It was music to my ears when just yesterday I heard my sweet husband say that he wanted more kids. Not just one more, but more. And when questioned about more girls, he simply replied "It doesn't matter to me, just more!" He sure know how to make my heart smile.

So we have been keeping on keeping on. Trying to raise our babies to love the Lord and grow them and ourselves in every way. We are truly grateful for some amazing friends and family. There are have many moments of tears and questions, but we have some amazing friends who have held our hands and wiped our tears. We are now learning to smile through heartache, because Jesus lives and Jesus loves!

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Normal

Well, I think we are finally starting to settle into our "new normal". By that, I mean we are getting into a good routine. People can stop by without me flipping out (on the inside) because the house isn't clean. My brain is focused (somewhat).

Things around here have changed a lot!! Since we lost Parker, I have cleaned like a mad person. I never saw myself as a stress cleaner. I have always loved organizing my junk, but never really liked cleaning. However, we have cleaned and organized every room in the house including the attic.

We are finally back on track with school. I had horrible sickness when I was pregnant, so school got pushed back. Then we had Thanksgiving and Christmas and school was pushed back. Then our world was rocked and school was pushed back. But, we are finally back on schedule. We will have to do school during the summer and that is okay. This is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling. When life comes up, we can push it to another day. When it is 100 degrees this summer, we can catch up. Also, Ansley is only supposed to be in 3K. We did 3K last year and 4K this year. She should be reading independently by summer. She is doing such a good job. I am very proud of her!

Cole and I also learned that there is no reason to put off our dreams. Many times as parents, we have put ourselves on the back burner. We have said, "Oh, we will do it when the girls are bigger." But God gave us a wake-up call. We are not promised another day. He has taught us that life is short. So we are going ahead with a dream we have talked for a LONG time. We put our house on the market and decided to build our country dream. Why not? The house has never been cleaner! ;)

We are very excited about this process. We are excited about the lifestyle we will be able to share with our girls. We are excited about the things to come.  God has taught us so much! We are so glad to hear what he is teaching us!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Well, it has been exactly one month since our world completely changed. I have had many people tell me that it will never be the same. And I totally believe them.

Cole and I are in a good place right now. We have started making plans for the future. We are staying as busy as we can. We have organized closets, cleaned out the attic, and painted the front door and shutters (not to mention the swing). It is nice to have projects on hand. I am running out of projects. So now, I am inventing them. For example: there is a little bit of paint flaking from the air return. So I am going to paint it. School isn't running as smoothly as I would like, so I am making a strict schedule (which I have already done). Anything to stay busy!!

The girls are doing great. Ansley still rubs my belly and asks questions. Her favorite is, "Mommy, when will you have another baby in your belly?" I don't have an answer for that one. I simply tell her that Jesus knows the answer and we will have to wait on Him. She talks about Parker playing in a field of flowers chasing butterflies. I love to hear her talk about him like she knows him personally. It is almost like they talk daily. :)

Physically, I am doing good! We finally heard from the doctors and there is no known cause of the miscarriage. That is pretty good news. It means no cancer (which is always a possibility with a miscarriage). I made it through the followup appointment without throwing up. I was so nervous about being in that office. I had to go there without Cole a week ago and thought I was going to have a panic attack. I was so glad I decided to take Charlotte with me. If not, I am sure it would have been much worse. It was once a place of wonder and joy. Now it is kinda scary. The nurses and doctors are wonderful and I love them. They have gone out of their way to make us feel at ease. They are still walking on pins and needles around us. But I can't blame them.

Many people keep asking us about when we will start trying to have another baby. There is no trying. If the pregnancy with Parker has taught me anything it is, there is a time for everything. God will bless us again, if He sees fit. We will simply let God work in His perfect timing.

A good friend let me borrow a book yesterday. She has gone through a similar trial. The book is called "Mommy, please don't cry" by Kinda DeYmaz. The book was beyond sweet. It is about Heaven written from a child's point of view. The last two pages are the sweetest words:

"Someday, Mommy, we will hold each other tight!
Then you will cradle me in your arms,
and stroke my hair...
And once again, our
hearts will 
beat together.

Mommy, please 
don't cry...
I'll wait right
here for you."

I don't cry as much right now. I celebrate the life that I was given to hold. And that I am thankful for!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rough Patch

I know it has only been two weeks. But these have been the fastest two weeks and the slowest at the same time. I feel like my life changed dramatically so fast that it is hard to breath.

Many people keep asking me how I am doing.

Physically, I am fine.
Emotionally, it depends on when you ask (beware, you may get a laugh, a tear, or a punch in the face...jk...I think).

I have heard that all the emotions are perfectly normal. I sure hope this is not my new "normal". I do not like it at all. I have always been someone who was pretty steady (I say "pretty steady" because I can have a temper). These "ups and downs" are driving me crazy.

I know, I have told Cole at least 10 times that I feel like I am going crazy. It is hard to put these feelings in words. I am sad, happy, and angry at the same time. There have been many time I have been sitting in the living room perfectly fine and all of a sudden get the urge to run into the street screaming and pulling out my hair. I told you....CRAZY!!

Something silly may make me cry. Like today, I remembered that next month is February. We were supposed to find out Parker's gender the week after Valentine's Day. All day, just hearing February or Valentines makes me tear-up. But, while I am teary, I may burst out in laughter at something the girls said or did.

I am so thankful for a very good friend who just listened today. She knows exactly what I need to hear and knows exactly when I need her to listen. And sadly she knows my pain.

I don't tell you these things for you to feel sorry for me. I am trying to be perfectly honest with you all.

I have found the most support in women who have also been through a miscarriage. I am so thankful that some of these women have shared their stories with me.

Why share my grief and craziness? Because I know there will be someone who reads this that will go through this exact same thing. If what we have experienced will help someone, I am glad to share.

One last thing before I stop my rambling:

Read these words out loud! They have given me such comfort.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made;
You works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I know Parker came to this earth to teach me something. I just have to be willing and open to listen to the lesson being taught. Today, I read "When you are down to nothing, God is up to something."

And that gives me hope!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I was so nervous about posting about our miscarriage. I was nervous because no one talks about these things. They are hush-hush!

Sometimes, it seems that people are ashamed. I needed everyone to know that I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed of my baby or my body! I am not angry at them either!

I want all of my friends to know and feel the love that I have for our Parker! And that is exactly what happened!

Thank you so much for the words of support! You may never know how encouraged I have been after reading your words. I have read them many times. I will probably read them many more times. I am also appreciative of the women who have shared your stories. I know they are painful, but it helps knowing that we are not alone.

A friend of mine also lost a baby over Christmas. She had a few moments with Ansley the other day and told her that our babies were playing at the feet of Jesus. They are blowing bubbles and chasing butterflies. And if they happen to get upset or miss us, Jesus rocks them tenderly in His loving arms. "Our baby has a friend!" Those words filled Ansley with joy. She is acting like her old self again. She is smiling more and behaving better. But those words stuck with me! They gave me an image to cling to. So now when I dream about my sweet Parker, I see him in a field playing with the other children. I imagine it like a spring day with green grass and wildflowers. Children are laughing and playing at Jesus' feet while He rocks sweet babies in His strong arms.

I may be totally wrong with those images, but they are comfort to my soul.

(I googled "Jesus with children playing" and this was the first image! Chills! He knows our hearts!)

We are having more good times than bad. We find ourselves smiling more. We find ourselves looking to the future. We know that we will have many more bad times. But our strength is not in ourselves, but in the Lord.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It was the best of times...or so we thought

I had it all figured out (that was my first mistake). We would be pregnant by January and have our third baby before the end of 2012.

November of 2011 came around and so did the sickness. Cole looked at me and said "you have got to be kidding me!" We both knew. So much for trying. We were already pregnant. And we were beyond happy!!

Even though we knew in our hearts, I still waited a few weeks before I took a test. The test clearly showed two beautiful blue lines.
I put the test and a note on the mirror for Cole to find. It read, "Way to go Daddy-o x 3!"
All we could do is laugh and question our sanity. :)

My sister made the official announcement to our entire family that she was expecting at Thanksgiving Dinner. We told our immediate family Thanksgiving night! They, too, were shocked. A baby in June and one in July. What a busy (hot) summer we were going to have. And how exciting to be pregnant with your sister.

Finally, at 8 weeks I called the doctors and we got a beautiful clear picture of our third little miracle. That was a few weeks before Christmas. The doctor said the baby looked a little bigger than what I had calculated, but hey we had a 7 lb 15 oz baby 10 days early and a 8 lb. 14 oz. baby a week early. So we are use to big babies!!

I decided that the perfect time to tell the girls was on Christmas. We set out three beautiful stockings and on Christmas morning they were full of goodies. After the girls had dug through all their little trinkets, I pointed out that there was still one stocking hanging on the mantel.

I quickly took it down and handed it to Ansley. She pulled out the things inside. They included the beautiful ultrasound picture and a few baby toys. She was not impressed. Actually, her words were "Do we really need another baby?" She was NOT happy about it at all. That morning at Christmas service, we told a handful of people. We were very excited. I was very nervous about telling people.

Our first family picture!

It took me a few days to convince Ansley that this baby was a gift from Jesus, just like her and Charlotte. This baby wasn't MY baby, but it was OUR baby. This precious baby was already apart of our family. She loved that the baby was her baby, too. It did not take long before she was rubbing and kissing my belly. Oh how that filled me with joy.

Just the thought of three babies filled me with joy. I have always wanted to be a mommy. I always knew I wouldn't just have one or two. I wanted many children. I use to tell people that I wanted a litter. :) Now we were well on the way.

The sickness continued, but seemed to be less and less. I was happy to be entering the second trimester. I finally had some engergy and was beginning the nesting phase. This has always been my favorite phase of pregnancy. We got alot done. Closets were organized. Everything had been scrubbed. We dropped many loads at Goodwill. Those are some of my favorite things to do.

Finally, January 10th came around. I was going to hear the sound of my precious baby. Cole wasn't supposed to be at this appointment, but his schedule had cleared. We were going to hear this one together. We were so excited. We chatted with the other moms in the waiting room. Joked about having to wait so long. Talked about how we could make it Facebook official that afternoon. Marveled that I had not gained any weight. Just then the doctor walked in and the fun was to begin. Doctors appointments always give me the jitters, but today I was flat out nervous.

She placed the cold Dopler on my belly and there was nothing. She told me that was normal at this stage in pregnancy. I grew more nervous. We went to the ultrasound room. We waited. We were joking but even more nervous. She came in. She ran the machine. There was nothing. Her words were, "I see your fetus, but I am having trouble finding the heartbeat. The ultrasound tech is here. I will send you over to her and she will look. She is much better at this than I am." The machine is old and not one they use everyday.

We sat in the waiting room. Tears ran down my face. The tech came in. She is a distant cousin of mine. We chatted. Trying to stay possitive. But I knew. She looked. There was my sweet baby. But there was no sound. No flicker. No life. I began to fill empty. To feel like someone was wadding me up like a peice of paper about to be thrown away. She began clicking. She was taking measurements. I could not keep it in anymore. With ultrasound junk still on my belly, I rolled into the fetal position and cried like I have never cried before. All she could do is say she was so sorry. I felt so sorry for her at that time. Who would want to experience that time after time? Not me!!

We went back into the doctor's office to talk with the doctor about what was going to happen now. My world was spinning. The baby had been gone for weeks. Actually, right after the last ultrasound. She was shocked that I had not had any symptoms. A procedure would be preformed in the morning. My mom arrived. We cried. We needed to go to the hospital and register. We were like robots. We did like we were told.

 I cried. I cried alot.

We arrived at the hospital and the room was FULL! We knew we had a wait in front of us. We found the only seats that were together. A lady that was waiting across from us brought me some tissues. I was very thankful. The lady beside us asked us if she could pray with us. Of course, my mom said yes! The lady started telling us that she was going to start cancer treatment. She kept telling me, "You will live! You will live!" My insides were screaming, "But my baby is dead!!" I have never wanted to punch a perfect stranger in the face before, but I sure was about to punch her. I looked at Cole and told him to shut her up, before I did. The rage and anger shocked me. Finally, she stopped. Thankfully, she stopped!

A few hours later we left the hospital with orders to be back at 5:30. We came home. The girls went to my mom's house. I was physically sick. My head was about to split. Cole begged me to eat. I ate. I cried. I slept. That night we had to prepare for the next day. I gathered the girls' clothes, blankets, stuffed animals. We went to my mom's house for dinner. I ate and tried to act like everything was alright. Ansley could see right through me.

Ansley kept asked what was wrong. Was the baby okay? I pulled her into the front room and told her that our baby was sick. Our baby was very sick and was now in the arms our Jesus. Jesus was going to take care of our baby. She was mad. She wanted to know if she was going to be able to see the baby. I told her that none of us were. She asked if she would be able to hold our baby. I told her that none of us would ever be able to do that. She wanted to know why Meme got to keep her baby and ours had to go back to be with Jesus. I could not answer that question. She cried. We cried together. It gave her comfort knowing that Jesus was going to make sure our baby was taken care of. She heard something in the other room and left. I cried even more. That was the hardest thing in the world to tell my precious four year old.

We went home, I didn't sleep. I watched the clock. I prayed that it would slow down. I held my belly wishing that I could hold my baby a little bit longer. The alarm clock went off. I cried harder. I was mad at the alarm clock. I stayed in bed and held my belly longer. Maybe, I could love this baby back. I finally made myself get up. We dressed. We arrived 30 minutes late. Neither of us cared.

They put us in the room. Everyone was nice. IV started. Procedure explained. My regular doctor came in. I cried more. She explained everything again. I held my belly, my baby. One of the nurses came in to explain my medication I was fixing to receive. She was joking around. I was ready to knock her out. Wow! There is the anger again! We made it into the O.R. and she was joking again. On the inside I was screaming at her! "Shutup! Shutup! Shutup! Shutup!" But the words would not come out of my mouth. The drugs were working. I dreamed I was being kidnapped. I remember thinking that I watch to many CSI like shows. I was out.

Everything was over and we were home by 10:30. I slept all day. Praise the Lord for those hours of sleep. No pain. No nothing. I was empty. Some friends dropped some food off. I was so relieved to see someone who had been through the same pain I was feeling. We cried together.

The girls came home the next day. I have never been so happy to see those two blonde heads and those blue eyes. I have never been so confused in my life. I was alone with my children and did not know what to do. A friend brought lunch and then it was naptime! Soon after, Cole came home and I could breath again. People came and went. I cried more and more. The girls went to bed. I took a shower and cried. I cried loud and hard. Afterward, I felt alittle better. When we finally climbed into bed, we cried more. I wondered if the crying would ever stopped.

It has been a week since all that happened. I don't have good days and bad days. I have good momments and bad momments. I have been extremely angry. I am not angry at God. I am angry when people say stupid things. I have been angry about stupid stuff, like the lady that refused to open the bathroom door.

I have been sad. I am so sad that I will never hold my sweet baby in my arms. I am sad that I will never see him walk or hear his voice. I am sad that he will never see his sisters and they will never see him.

I do know he is in heaven with Jesus. I know that for some reason we have been given this burden to carry. I hate this burden. I know my husband is the best man I have ever known. I know that God gave him to me because I needed him. He is my rock. There have been so many times that I have literally felt that I was spinning, but he calms me. He knows what I need to hear.

I have had a hard time reading my Bible, but my prayers have never been so honest or real in my life. Even without reading my Bible, the scripture keeps coming. They come from the Bible memory I did as a child, through a friend, or even a card. The Lord knows me. He knows my pain. He is with me and I am so thankful that I am not walking this road alone. He also knows our baby. He knows us by name. He knows the hairs on our heads. He feels our pain. He heals our pain.

Our baby's name is Parker Quinn Granger.
He is with Jesus and heaven has never seemed sweeter.