Dogs, Toddlers & Noodles

We've had the most amazing spring days lately! Today is windy with some humidity and the gray cloudiness that precludes rain. Allan has been a mad-man in the yard and I'm once again amazed at what can be accomplished when work doesn't eat up so much of one's time. Who knows how long it will last, but for now the yard and gardens look great and projects are getting done again. He has been working on a tear-drop camper, built me my potato box, has raked and mowed the whole yard, (a pretty big task with all these trees) finished the ladder for the treehouse, weeded my iris beds, (oh wow, did they need it!) done a boatload of laundry and dishes, installed the speakers in his truck. I'm going to stop there because he already outshines me, but suffice it to say the man is amazing. Sometimes his energy irritates me (because I'd rather just sit and chill half the day) but I am grateful to have such a talented and hard-working man.

And onto the title of this post...first of all...TODDLER!? How unfair is that??? He is supposed to be my BABY! He's in 24 mo clothes and I wouldn't doubt if we were in 3t before summer...but I digress.
So I've been in the laughing mood. Which is good, given the season. One of the main reasons we got a dog was to clean up after our children. Yes, I'm serious. He comes in very rarely except to sweep the floor and get a few chases around the downstairs by Corbin. Truthfully, I dislike the dog, (truthfully...I hate ALL dogs) but he is Corbin's best bud in the world, and for that reason, he must stay. So why not have fun with him, since he's gonna be hanging around? Today I let Johnny in, gave Corbin noodles and laughed for a solid 15 minutes.
I swear he was trying to slurp them up!!

They were a mess, and yes, I staged them! LOL

Corbin does this anytime Johnny is in the house and he's in his chair. It doesn't matter how delicious his meal is or how little he's willing to give up to his sisters or me, he will share it all with the dog just to get a laugh out of it. Just my luck, he's the most awful clean-up dog EVER. He leaves half the food on the ground and just spreads stuff everywhere. But he sure loves noodles! Of all the things, right??

We had a super-moon last weekend. It was amazing, so I decided to give my night options a go. I certainly need a tripod, but WOW!!

I mentioned being spit onto the shore last post. I only mean that I had alluded to feeling as if I were out at sea for the last several months. Just waiting. The last few weeks I've felt as if I've been tossed to shore, but in that Jonah way...you know, he ran away from God's plan for him, was victim of a massive storm and eaten alive by a giant fish and then, 3 days later, spit out on the shore. I feel raw. Can you imagine what the stomach acid of a fish would do to you? It has been so QUIET. The last year and a half of our lives have been pure torture, and while God was always there and we were always well Blessed, it sometimes felt like the ride would never end. Since December, things have been pretty calm and it feels off. It seems like something should be going on, so I kept trying to add more to my plate...online classes, Art of Marriage, etc. etc. None of my plans have gone so well, (doors keep getting shut) and I finally got my fill of it Sunday. I threw a little fit and contemplated some. I thought about how during the last year and a half I kept begging God to let things slow down for a little while so I could just *be* and catch my breath. Now He's Blessed me with this down-time and I've disregarded it, hoping to fill my days so I don't have to think about dead babies or failed tests or the fact that I could probably use a few improvements of my own. So here I sit...wondering which way Ninevah is. Something big is coming, I've been feeling it for years now, I just don't know what, and I don't intend to move until He tells me which way to go. Kick me next week when I come here and say that I've got some other cockemamey plan. I don't need anymore storms or fish!


They're growing so FAST!

I realize it's a sickness...for weeks on end my blogposts are long and nothing but text. Then I show up randomly and post a bazillion pictures. This is bazillion pictures day. I got nothing else. Things are kinda calm right now cuz I just got slammed into the shore and I'm re-establishing who this new person/family are. So in the meantime, here are lots of pix of my doll-babies (well, 3 out of 4! The 4th will be here Apr 1-10. YAAAAAAAY!!!!) They are all getting big WAY TOO FAST! GraceAnne is taller than an Emperor Penguin!
They're big enough to ride elephants!

Look, over half Daddy's size!

Drinking his own milk.

All that growing really wears them out sometimes!

Gah!! There's not a HINT of baby left in her face...she's a full-blown child!
a darling young lady, at that! But not missing any teeth yet, which has started to worry me...I didn't lose any teeth on my own till I was in 3rd grade, but had to have 2 removed in 1st because the big teeth were growing in behind and the little ones weren't the slightest bit wiggly. I need to make her an appt, soon!

He tried *so* hard to put on his own shoe. It was ADORABLE!

Look at the scrunched up nose...she was sniffing dad's St Patrick's Day muffins as well as she could. I could hear her two rooms away. HA!



Thick as thieves, I tell ya, and into more stuff than you would even know what to do with. I am one tired momma! They are such buds that when I was taking these pictures and grumbling about having to clean them up for the THIRD time today, GraceAnne got dust all over her hands and came over so she could be a part of the picture, too. At that point I was just irritated she got filthy when I was mad that the other 2 were filthy, so I didn't take the picture. Now I wish I had. Poor girl. I am not promised another baby scrubbing, so I had better enjoy them when they come. Lord help me remember that IN the moment and not several hours later when it's too late to laugh and include her and throw them all in a bubbly tub. Amen.


Shoulda Coulda Woulda-been

Here it is...the week that our Baby Josiah would have been born. And I could go on about the excessive sobbing that has been going on the last week or so. I could go on about the anguish and the fact that it's NOT FAIR.

But I'm not going to. I'm going to do 2 things. I'm going to Praise the Lord and I'm going to offer some advice.

First with the praising: God is SO GOOD and we KNOW this, even though we don't want to admit it sometimes, but He gives us so many good things. I praise Him for the 40 days of life Josiah had and that he never experienced any bad in this world. All he knew was perfect comfort, perfect safety and perfect love. He never so much as had to cry for any discomfort at all. I praise God that when I am in heaven I will meet my son and I will know him as if I had known him an entire earthly lifetime. (I was going to write "as if I had known him all his life" and stopped myself...I DID know him all his life!)

I praise God for the comfort I have found in His word. He has truly opened it up to me and poured it out like a river for me. I am grateful that it is active and living and can be applied to every wound for complete healing.

I praise God for the amazing people who have shown me love and support through this time. I was telling Allan today that the greatest supporters have been the people I thought least likely to understand. But there they are...shining for Christ in my darkest hours. I am so grateful.

And, of course, I praise God for the children I do have this day to hold and to love and to watch grow. Rhiya, GraceAnne, Violet and Corbin have made my life rich and colorful. They insert laughter and love into the deepest pits of depression. They teach me to get back up and move forward again, when I'd rather lay down and cry all day. They make me choose the high road and therefore teach me discipline and perseverance.

Now for the advice. If this whole ordeal has done nothing else, it has taught me what NOT to do for a grieving person. I don't really know how to phrase this, but I have seen first hand in so many areas of my life how judgemental we are toward each other. The base of it is that we want to make ourselves feel better.

For example, "Oh, she didn't mourn very long, she must not have loved her baby." Or, "she just needs to get over that, it wasn't THAT big a deal...after all, it was JUST a fetus." Think a minute about why a person might say one of these 2 things. The first could be that when that person lost someone they loved, they mourned past what other people thought was okay. To make herself feel better, she makes this judgement call that says, "the longer we mourn, the more we loved the person we lost." In the second scenario, it could be that the person making the judgement call feels like she might be considered less loving.

When I said earlier that love and support has come from the most unexpected places, I mean that 2 of the people who have offered me the most grace during this time have been people without children. I think that may be because they can't make either of the judgement calls I listed above, (or any others) because they are quick to admit that they can't imagine what I'm going through. They haven't mentally tallied a "normal" for mourning an unborn child, so they haven't imposed one. I disclaim that by saying that I've had some perfectly graceful companions who have children as well, I am just shocked by how much support and sensitivity comes from people who I would have imagined could have cared less, truly.

I close this with a call to think about some things in light of Baby Josiah this week. Where do you stand on when life begins? I had several people tell me they thought it was strange for me to be upset at the loss of a 10 week pregnancy because they couldn't connect it with being an actual life. And that's okay for those who admitted that to me, I appreciate the honesty. I'm more perplexed with the people who were sad with me in the beginning but have moved on to the point of completely forgetting because Josiah wasn't a REAL child. Would they have forgotten GraceAnne so soon?

For anyone with living children, I want you to remember for a moment at what point you imagined your life differently. For some it was in childhood, when we KNEW we wanted babies and began building a mental image of our future family portrait at the age of 4. For some it was the first time we found out we were pregnant and the "oh crap" set in, realizing we couldn't dodge that bullet forever and needed to drastically change some things. For some of us it wasn't until we could feel the baby kick or saw its face on the sonogram and realized, "there is a human being inside of me." For others it wasn't until the last push was over and a squirming infant was placed in our arms. I've even heard of people not fully connecting all the dots until even later than that.

Now I want you to think of those children and the ways they've changed you--for the better--and ask yourself when would it have been okay for that child to be erased from the world?

Would it be better in utero, before you "knew" them? Would it be better in infancy, before you truly had a chance to get attached? Would it be as a teenager, so that they at least had some time on this earth to know how you loved them? Would it be not until after you die, so that you don't have to suffer the pain of losing a child? Which of these questions sounds least selfish? I dunno, I can't really answer the question. I'm thinking my answer would lean toward the 4th given what I've been through.

And I'm trying my best not to be judgemental to make myself feel better about STILL being upset about the loss of Josiah. I don't ask you to do anything with those questions but consider them and perhaps use the answers to comfort a mourning person you will encounter in the future and also to afford grace to people who don't comfort you in the way you'd hoped for when it's your turn to mourn.

Ultimately I want to come around to the fact that life begins at conception. A 7 week old fetus is no less important to the mother who loves it than the 7 year old daughter. It is important to help a person cling to the knowledge that their child is safe, happy and awaiting their return. Further, when mourning an unborn child, not only is the child mourned, but also the loss of celebration. There aren't many happy memories to cling to to bring comfort.

I don't really know how to bring a hard close to this...I guess because I don't want to bring a hard close to Josiah's memory. So I'll just say I love you all and I'm grateful for each and every one of you who has read my blog, offered words of comfort, lifted us up in prayer, etc.