Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday's Random Thoughts

Happy Thursday. Why am I posting today after such a break? Who knows? My random thoughts are about as random as my sporadic posts. This is the stuff that's weighing on my mind lately...
I am totally perplexed about my eyelashes. Some days, I wake up, get ready, put my make up on, and my lashes look full (ok "full" might be stretching it. "Slightly more voluminous" would be a tad more accurate). Then on other days, I need a magnifying glass to find the things. Each day, it's like a game...what kind of lashes will I have today? I use the same mascara every day. So weird.

I admire all the women out there that take the pain-staking time to fix their hair. Maybe you're one of those blow out your hair, bit by bit. You finish with silky straight hair and look like you just left a salon. Yeah, you. That's not me. I try. I really do...sometimes. Maybe once a week (ok, once a month), I take the 35 minutes (and massive arm workout) it takes to blow out my hair. I take tiny sections, blow, roll, blow again, roll, blow again... What. A. Job. And then don't even get me started on using a curling iron to create the beachy waves. As far as I'm concerned, it should be considered an Olympic event.

Through Facebook, I've learned that people really need and crave attention. I mean, really, what did people do before our world's favorite social networking site? I'm always surprised at the things people put out there. I've felt like I've invaded marriages, disputes between friends, and have seen more mundane tasks listed than I care to admit. "Just got up. Susie hit her sister. I had to do laundry. I ran 2 miles in an hour...yea, me! About to eat dinner and fold more laundry...". Guess what people? All of our kids are fighting, many of us are working out and folding laundry, and we all have our personal issues. Facebook isn't a diary. Oh, and one more thing...if my grandmother can walk a mile faster than you can run yours, you really probably should hit "private" on your Nike run app rather than "public" and sharing it with all your Facebook friends. :)

I love to match socks. There, I said it.

I may have mentioned this one in the past, but every time I go to the zoo, this baffles me. Anyone else that's been to the Birmingham Zoo think that it's cruel and unusual punishment for the lions to be stationed directly behind the giraffes? The lions have to be licking their chops every time the giraffes walk by, right? It would be like positioning me in a fence right behind a Blue Bell ice cream factory, while making me watch it being made, and denying me any of it. Harsh!

I don't let my kids say "dude". The word has bothered me since high school. Why? I really don't know, but it really bothers me. It's always especially bothered me when women say it. It's crazy, I know. I think it goes back to Wayne's World. It doesn't make me popular with Tristan, as "dude" is a major go to word these days. Along these lines, I'm also working hard to break him of saying "like" before every comment. That has taken over our country. It's an epidemic! "I like saw this lion, and it was like right behind the giraffes, and it like looked so hungry like...". Make it stop! Oh, and now would be a good time to admit that I, too, suffer from "like sydrome". Hi. My name is Annie, and I'm a Like-aholic.

I think it's awesome that there are so many great photographers out there now (a topic I'll touch on in a future TRT); however, one thing really makes me sad about all the fancy slrs and digital cameras in general... I MISS the BAD shots! Fancy cameras and gifted photogs have destroyed the "junk pic". I miss the cute pics of people squinched (just made that word up) and taking a pic of themselves and their friends...junk all in the background. I miss the messy morning pics of the kids with their eyes closed because they blinked. I miss the candids. Now, everything is so perfect and beautiful. Am I alone in this? And since everyone's a photographer now (literally), no one wants to be caught dead posting a pic with poor composition.

Gotta go, friends! The Facebook world needs to know that I'm about to load up my van, drive over to drop off my clothes for the consignment sale, then I'll probably stop by to see Channing, eat some lunch, pick up my littles from school, come home and clean, think about working out, go pick up Tristan, make dinner, head out to the baseball tournament...". :)

*As always, my random thoughts are said very tongue-in-cheek. I commit many of the crimes (and more) that I make fun of. This is just all said in fun. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday's Random Thoughts

It's been a long time since I've written one of these, but things haven't changed. My mind constantly wanders. There are so many things that perplex me. Am I alone in this?
Here goes:

It goes without saying that most of us have a secret sock snatcher, right? I mean, we all end up with stray socks. None of us knows what happens to socks when they go in the washer and dryer. Two go in, one comes out. We don't know why and probably never will. At my house, we have that issue, but we also have a larger issue...we have a shoe snatcher. It never fails, my kids need their shoes for school or for a random family outing, and we'll find one (usually in some random room of the house) with no sign of the other. What in the world?! It happens to each of my kids at least once a week. How do two shoes, a pair, get separated so far from their partners?

Secret there such a thing? I say there's not. We all know at least one. The random family member or friend who sneaks around and thinks the rest of us have no idea. Oh, we know. Everyone knows. Why hide it? If you do it, you don't have a problem with it, why be so secretive? Secret smokers are never as secret as they think. The rest of us, though, will just continue to pretend that we have no idea.

You seen the Forever Lazy? I know you have. If you haven't, climb out from under that rock and click on the link. I dare say it's the worst "as seen on tv" product there is. Ok, ok...I know I spent a lot of time ragging on the Snuggie and then bought one for every member of my family and Channing's, but the Forever Lazy is worse. Who in their right mind would put on a zip up fleece an adult?! Not only is it a huge hassle, but you'd look ridiculous. "Oh, but wait", you say. "What about the front zipper and 'drop seat' for those times of emergency, when duty calls (aka gotta go potty)?". Yes, my friends, a prime selling point in the commercial for this product is that it has a front zipper and "drop seat" for bathroom breaks. Ok...GRRRROOOOOSSSSSS!!! If I ever find out someone I know has worn a F.L. to the bathroom and unzipped the butt of the thing to go to the bathroom, not only will you never hear the end of it, I'll never look at you the same again. That is sick. Who does that?! How is it even possible? Are you in your noodle under it? No underwear? No pants. Someone please explain this to me. It keeps me up at night.

As I was leaving the prayer meeting at church a couple of days ago, I began mentally reciting John 3:30, "He must increase...". Just as I said "increase", I glanced to my right and caught a glimpse of myself in the glass wall surrounding the playground, and immediately, "my butt must decrease" popped in my mind. Word from the Lord, you think?

These are the thoughts that have plagued my brain this week. I know, I know...I'm a true intellectual. I ponder the world's great issues. How about you? Any random thoughts to share?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Day to Rejoice

So the last few days have been rough, to say the least. I'm not sure what exactly the root cause has been, whether it's facing my loss, fasting, lack of sleep (going to bed at 11 doesn't make for an easy 5 am wake up), lack of fluids (totally my fault. I forget to drink water!)...not sure of the cause but today has been 110% better! God is so good, people!

My morning started at four. I woke up and said, "Pleeeeease don't let it by 5:00...pleeeeeease!". Looked at my phone, only 4:00. Woo hoo! I had another hour to sleep. At 5:02, I heard some weird and foreign noise coming from beside me. "What is that?!". Ummmmm that would be my alarm!

Reluctantly got up, dressed, made myself presentable, and headed out to prayer. So glad I did! I can't tell you how thankful I am that God has drawn me there every morning. I have really needed it.

I've attended most of the morning prayer meetings, but today was special. Today, it finally hit me...I've been making my needs, my family's needs, my friend's needs my priority and my focus during my prayer and fasting. Today, I spent that hour praising God, praising Him for who He is, for His grace, His mercy, His unfailing love. Wow! I can't tell you how much better and how much more peace I've had.

God is good. He never lets us down or leaves us hanging. How great is our God?!

Ok, sorry to go on and on, but it's just been a freeing, uplifting kind of day...even though Tristan forgot his backpack, and I had to go back and get it. No worries!

Thanks for your prayers, friends. You are such a blessing. And because I love these little rascals, here's one of my favs of my littles: Pete and Repeat.
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go..." ~Genesis 28:15

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On A Lighter Note...

So glad to be back and checking in with my blogger friends! I didn't realize how much I'd missed it and missed you guys! Can't wait to catch up on everyone's pages.

My header picture:
Typical picture of my kids these days. Tristan doing his duty and trying to give me a decent picture; Rhi trying to emulate whatever Asher does or find a reason to hit him; and Asher...oh Asher. That's his "picture face". Trying to break him of it, but it hasn't been easy.

I adore these kids...99.9% of the time! ;) So much chaos and fun at our house!

21 Days of Prayer

Have I ever mentioned that I love my church? For more reasons than I can count, I LOVE and adore my church. It has been a beacon of light for me in the 7 1/2 years my family and I have been there. This church has opened my eyes to God, the real God, the God that loves me, the God that cares, that knows everything I'm feeling, thinking, experiencing... He's not the God I grew up thinking He was...on a throne, waiting and expecting me to fail, and ready to punish when I did. That's not Him. He disciplines as a parent does a child, but it's in love.
Ok, I'm getting off track. Back to my reason for this post...

Currently, our church is in the middle of 21 days of prayer and fasting. Our pastor started the church this way and has continued the tradition every year since the launch. Fasting is one of those topics that a lot of people, including my former self, have misconceived notions about. If you want to know more, check out the link.

Anyway, Channing, Tristan, and I are smack dab in the middle of the fast, with the rest of our church. Tristan is fasting candy and sweets (and asks every day how many more days are left), and Channing and I are doing the Daniel Fast and also fasting tv. The Daniel Fast hasn't been as difficult this time as it has been in the past. Fasting tv, I'm embarrassed to admit, has been much harder. It's been good for me, though.

So today is day 10 of the fast, and I'm feeling it. Actually, I've been feeling it for a couple of days. I've been getting up each morning to attend the prayer service that starts at 6 (I am not a morning person), and I find myself spent by late afternoon. The prayer and fasting have been great. I can feel my relationship with the Lord getting stronger, but I feel weak, exhausted. I feel more in touch with my emotions, a little too much so. I'm trying to figure out if this is a good thing. I feel sure it is, it's just hard to handle.

I've spent the past four months, since losing Addy, recovering, sweeping my feelings under the rug, putting on a brave face, Christmas shopping, helping at Tristan's school, running, working out, eating, reading, watching tv...lots of things. I've done anything and everything I could possibly do to distract myself from her and our loss. This fast is bringing to surface all of those suppressed feelings. At first, I tried to ignore them, change them. I channeled my feelings into anger, anger about ridiculous things, things I have no control over and have nothing to do with her or the situation, just random world injustices. I've channeled my feelings into feelings of weakness and self-pity, but I never connected my crazy emotions to what I think they're really connected to...Addy.

I am so thankful that the fast is helping me to fully deal with my loss. I miss her, I'm sad, but a huge part of me is so incredibly thankful. I'm thankful that God knows way more than I do about what's best for my family and for me. I'm so thankful that He loves my babies more than I could ever imagine.

Last week, a friend shared this blog with me: "EB"ing a Mommy. WOW. Changed my perspective, a lot. Precious Tripp was born with a rare genetic skin disorder, EB. The blog is written by his young mom, who gave up everything to take care of her son 24 hours a day. I can't do justice to the situation and all that Courtney, Tripp's mom, has faced in the past two years and eight months, but in the days since finding her blog, sweet baby Tripp has gone to be with Jesus. I can't say enough about the need for everyone to see her blog. If anyone is reading this, besides those who will one day flip through my blurb book, please stop by Tripp's page. I can't imagine that anyone could visit her blog and not be changed.

I have learned so much about love and loss through Tripp's page. I admire his mom with every ounce of my being. I cannot imagine bearing her cross.

Please join me in rejoicing that Tripp is fully restored, healed, and in perfect peace. Please also join me in praying for his mom, Courtney, and his grandmother. I know they are relieved that their baby is healed, but I also know that their hearts ache and long to hold him.

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5b

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~Psalm 34:18

"...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."~Psalm 30:5

*Bear with me through the next week and a half as I share things that I feel God is placing on my heart. I want to keep a record of them for the future, and this is my outlet. I don't want to bore anyone, so you may not want to stop by for a couple of weeks. ;)

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Pain Like No Other

September 6, 2011...the birthday of my precious baby girl, Adalyn fourth baby born, my youngest, my second little girl. I had such hopes for her, for our family, our future together. I had already planned out her room, the love she'd get from Tristan, the hope of Asher stepping up and being the protective big brother, and Rhi, the fights she'd have with Rhi. I worried. I worried about how we'd find the time, money, attention, patience, and space we'd need for a fourth child. I knew, though, that it would all work out, it always had.

Thing is, none of these things would come to fruition. On Tuesday, August 30, 2011, Channing, the kids and I eagerly anticipated an exciting day. It was ultrasound day! We were finally going to find out if our family would be blessed with a sweet baby girl or a precious baby boy. We spent the night before making our predictions. We spent the morning of preparing our baby reveal game. We were all so excited! We had friends anxiously awaiting the news. It was finally time!

Cut to our appointment. Channing and I walked into the ultrasound room. We excitedly explained our baby reveal game and how we wanted her to hide the special piece of the game. We thanked her for performing our ultrasound at 17 weeks and 5 days (rather than the suggested 20 weeks). I got on the table. Everything was perfect and ready.

The tech, such a sweet and amazing lady, started with the wand over my belly. I quickly figured out something was wrong. I mean, this was baby #4. I knew what was happening wasn't normal. She moved the wand...and moved it again...and again... She was quiet. Channing was so busy looking away (he really wanted to be totally surprised during the gender reveal game) he didn't notice. I finally said it, "You can't find it, can you?". She confirmed my suspicions. There was no heartbeat.

What happened next is somewhat of a blur. I cried, Channing was upset, the tech offered words of comfort. Finally, I gathered myself and said, "It's ok. It's ok. It's going to be ok." Channing and I were ushered to an exam room to wait for our dr. My nurse came in, hugged me, but I was numb. I couldn't believe it. It couldn't be right. We had THREE HEALTHY KIDS. Three healthy pregnancies. One of my babies was born in the car for crying out loud! How could this be happening? I was numb.

My doctor came in. He told us how the baby was measuring where it should be and how whatever took the baby's life must've just happened. He tried to comfort us. He said all the things that doctors say, I guess. I know he felt bad for us. He told us the next steps...basically they consisted of me immediately being checked into the hospital and delivering my baby that wouldn't breathe at birth. I was in shock. I was heartbroken. I was numb.

Channing and I opted to wait a week before going through with the delivery. Deep down, we just didn't accept the diagnosis. We wanted time to pray for a miracle. We left the office with broken hearts. We called our parents and let them know. I knew a lot of my friends, teachers at my kids' schools, etc knew it was the day we were finding out the gender, so that made things harder. We knew people would ask. Channing went in to get our little kids, while I waited in the car. Teachers asked, heard the news, and cried.

Thankfully, Channing was able to cancel patients for the rest of the day, so we could go home together to explain things to the kids. The hardest part of our afternoon, after finding out we'd lost the baby, was picking up Tristan. He was SO excited! From the time his feet hit the back of our van, he couldn't stop talking about how excited he was to find out about the baby. "Daddy, you took off?! Are we going to do the game right away?! I think it's a boy!". It went on and on.

Finally, we arrived home, sat on the couch together and prepared to share our heartbreaking news. Tristan, of course, didn't understand why we were sitting down. He was talking a mile a minute about our game. He was pumped! Finally, we broke in and told them what we'd found out; that they didn't find a heartbeat. What was amazing to me was how quickly my seven year old Tristan picked up on what that meant, "It died? The baby died?". "Yes, baby. The baby died. He or she is in Heaven with Jesus." He broke down. He cried and cried. He was so sad.

Asher didn't quite understand. For some reason, beyond our understanding, he thought that our baby lost it's head, went to Heaven to get another from Jesus, and would come back. A wild imagination, that one has. It took a little more explaining for him, but we finally got it explained.

The next couple of days were harder than anything I've ever gone through. I was totally and completely heartbroken. I felt hopeless. I was so blessed, though, with amazing friends who quickly organized meals, prayers, and encouraging words for me. Looking back, I never could have made it through without them. Finally, on day three, I decided to fight. I wanted to fight for our family and the life of our baby. So that's what Channing, our friends, our pastors, and I did. We prayed. We were prayed over. We believed that our baby would be healed. I even felt guilty during that week because I had friends bringing us dinner, and I thought it was completely unnecessary. I would go back the next Tuesday, and we'd find out that our baby was totally fine. I was so sure in my faith.

Let me insert here, briefly, that I have never felt so loved. I had family, friends, neighbors, pastors, etc bringing us food, books, prayer cards, anointing oil, gift cards, flowers, encouraging words. I can never share and put into words how amazing that was, how blessed we were, how loved we felt.

Well, we went back to our doctor's office, Channing, my mom, and me. It was kind of a crazy day. Power was out all over Birmingham. The tech was late because of traffic. Our doctor was late. It was a messy day. Finally, it was time. Our doctor took us to the ultrasound room. Once again, I was on the table. Once again, no heartbeat. Our baby was really gone. No miracle. I would be delivering a stillborn baby that day.

I was devastated. I was shocked. I was broken. We three got up, left the room and headed to the hospital. I had to face what was happening. I just couldn't believe it. As sad, confused, and distressed as I was, God showed me that He had never and would never leave my side, even if I was in the middle of wondering how He could withhold a miracle from us, one that we'd prayed so hard for; one that we'd whole-heartedly believed would happen.

He made His presence known immediately when we met the nurse who would spend the day with us. Her name was Pamela. As we were sitting in the room with her, and she was taking our information, she began to ask about our plans for the baby after birth. It was more than I could handle. I broke down, and she immediately said we could discuss that later. That's when she said something along these lines, "I don't normally share things about my private life, but yesterday at church, as I was praying, I felt God tell me that I needed to step up for _____ patients ( I can't remember what she called patients like me, patients who'd lost their babies), so as soon as they said someone was coming over, I volunteered." That was proof to me that God had known exactly where I'd be that day, at that time. I was humbled that He'd cared enough about me to prepare the perfect nurse for me. It was incredible and exactly what I needed to hear when my faith was on shaky ground.

Nurse Pam was amazing. She walked me through my fears, through the pain, through everything. She wasn't there when Adalyn was born but was back the next morning. She was a bright light in a dark time. Thank you, Lord.

Adalyn Grace was born on September 6, 2011 at 9:00 pm. She was so so tiny. I couldn't believe how tiny she was. She was 5 inches long. As tiny as she was, we immediately recongnized that she had her Daddy's feet and hands...long skinny feet. Ha! Even baby #4 looked like him! I have some seriously recessive genes! But that's beside the point.

A lot happened in between the time I entered the hospital and the time she was born, a lot of odd and incredible things. I won't share them all. I'll keep some things specifically for our family, but it was a unique and humbling time.

It's been exactly four months and 10 days since our precious baby girl was born. It's been a rough four months, though it is getting easier. Times were hardest in the two months after we lost her. Now, I'm finally out of the fog and in a place of gratitude. I'm so grateful that the first face she saw was the face of Jesus. I'm so grateful that I'll never have to worry that she'll be hurt, that someone will break her heart, that she'll be sick...she is healed and with Jesus. Though I'm grateful that God has my precious baby, I still have days where I cry, where I miss her, where I am reminded that on her original due date, February 2, 2012, she won't be born. I won't be holding a perfect baby girl. Tristan won't hold her, guide her, love her like he does Rhi. I won't get to see Asher step up and be the protective big brother. Rhi will never yell at her for stealing her babies or clothes (as teenagers). I will never know if she'd have grown up with curls like our other three.

That being said, what greater glory is there than to be with our Lord and Savior? Our little girl is in perfect peace. Thank you, Lord, that we have hope in You. I don't know how people survive loss without Jesus; without hope of seeing their loved ones again. I know that one day, I will hug Adalyn, and I will be able to pour out my love on her. What a great day that'll be.

In the meantime, I'm so thankful for my husband, such an amazing man, partner, and father, for my kids, my friends, and one amazing church. I am blessed beyond measure!

A great verse that saw me through: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2

If you don't know Jesus, DON'T WAIT! Our time here is so short. Don't put off finding Him. Hope and salvation can only be found in Him.

Has It Been That Long?

I know it's been a long time. I refuse to look at exactly how long it's been. All I know is that I originally started this blog to chronicle the lives of my precious kids, so that one day, they can look back and see all the stuff I failed to put in baby books. Wish I was one of those moms who religiously updated baby books...or even the type of mom who had one for every kid. I am not that mom. I want to be that mom, but so far, I'm not. That's what this blog is for.

For those who may have accidentally stumbled upon my blog, let me warn you up front: There's nothing exciting happening here. I don't blog to show how great I am, how perfect my children are, or because I need the extra attention . In fact, if anyone hopes to find that here, you'll be incredibly disappointed. My kids aren't dressed to the nines 24 hours a day, and I don't take goregous pictures. I can't remember a time when I've made a gourmet meal or gone on and on about being married to the greatest person on the planet. That's not me. I'm just a normal mom trying to navigate through this world, with a great hope of leading my children to love the Lord and to realize their worth in His eyes.

With that being said, let's go...