Ariel and Mommy

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Hello Family and Friends,

I don’t remember who I’ve talked to about this and who I haven’t.  So, I’m providing all of the information below as well as an update where things currently stand.

Basically, since Ariel started walking, she has always walked on her toes.  She walks on her toes, stands on her toes, runs on her toes, JUMPS on her toes……all without putting her heels down.  We’ve been watching it since she was little but haven’t really taken action because her pediatrician was hoping she would grow out of it.

Well, at the beginning of this school year, she started having more problems with falling down- mostly when she had been running and the forward momentum of being on her toes would just propel her to the ground.  And she has also fallen here at home.  So, we brought it up at her 4 year old check up recently and her doctor referred us to a pediatric orthopedic specialist to have it checked out.

We had that appointment this morning.  Basically, the doctor told us that a lot of children walk on their toes when they first start learning to walk.  Most children grow out of it, but some do not.  Ariel is one of those that did not.  The problem is that with always walking up on her toes, the calf muscle never has a chance to stretch.  It is never stretched out and as she gets older and her bone grows, the muscle does not lengthen with the bone.  Most people can flex their foot past 90 degrees (past the point where you can stand flat footed).  Try it……..Ariel can barely get to that 90 degree mark, she definitely cannot flex her foot past it.  The doctor felt that she is at the pivotal point to correct this issue with little intervention.  This is what we have prayed about because my fear was they were going to mention surgery.  Thankfully, they did not mention it and the doctor thinks this can be corrected easily.

Ariel will have to wear leg braces for at least the next 6 months.  (will look similar to this)

 

We also will have to help her stretch her legs/feet several times a day, every day.  The braces will simply help her to keep her heels down and help stretch the calf muscle.  If all goes well, she can take the braces off after 6 months and the problem should be corrected.  I’m a little worried about how she is going to handle it, but at the same time, she is such a resilient kid.  And she is in an inclusion prek class at school.  (if you don’t know what an inclusion class is, it is a class that includes some special education students.)  We don’t know what the conditions of the special education students are, they can’t legally tell us.  But I think there is a child in the class that has leg braces- maybe for cerebral palsy?  Anyway, God has an amazing way of working and maybe part of the reason she is in this class is because God knew that we had this challenge coming our way!  It helped in the doctor’s office to explain it in a way that helped her to relate to another child her age…..and somebody that she knows.  I am hoping it will also help her to think of these leg braces as just something that she has to wear and not make her feel weird or left out.  We have always made a point to acknowledge that some people are born with certain conditions and that is exactly how God made them and they are perfect the way they are.  I don’t want my children to ever look down on someone because they have a disability- whether physical or mental.  But I do have to admit that it is different when it is your child and I find myself already concerned about looks and stares when we go out somewhere- even to the grocery store.  I guess God is going to be teaching me something during this time also!! She gets her leg braces the day before Thanksgiving which will give her time to get used to them before she goes back to school.  Ultimately, I’m just glad that she isn’t going to have to go through anything more intensive- although I know this will be an adjustment for all of us.  Please pray for us during this time in our lives!!

Also, a quick update on me.  Basically, things are going well.  I’m still having to go day by day with my back issues.  I have accepted that this is going to be a lifelong journey for me.  Some days are good, some days are bad.  Some days are just okay.  But I am keeping up with my exercises and trying to limit how much I pick Matthew up.  I do have an ergo carrier that takes all the weight off me if I wear him on my back.  I literally can’t feel him at all when he is in it!  That helps tremendously when I know that I will have to carry him for any extended period of time.  Other than that, God is definitely teaching me to be humble and ask for help.  I’ve always been able to do what I want- move furniture around, for example, and I can’t do that anymore.  I have to learn to be patient, wait on Matt for his help, and know my limitations!!  That is always a challenge for me!  but thank you for the prayers and thank you for those that have inquired about my back.  It means so much to me that you have remembered!

Mountains and Valleys

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We’ve all heard someone say, “I’ve been to the mountaintop with God” or heard the scripture, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.” (Psalm 23:4)  I was listening to the radio this morning.  Somebody was talking about mountains and valleys and how one minute, we can be on the mountain and the next minute, walking through the valley.  Lord knows, I’ve been in a valley lately.

VALLEY:  It is hard to feel in pain all of the time and feel like nobody really understands.  The hardest part of it is that I look okay.  My pain isn’t an obvious pain.  Countless times, I’ve had someone say, “So glad that you are better and doing so great!!”  (And I’m not saying this to make anyone feel bad for the comment.  I’m just trying to be honest.)  I could go on and on about all of the lessons that I’ve learned through this- about faith, judging others, friendship, serving others.  Those are just a few.  And the truth is, I have probably said the same exact thing or something close to it to someone else.  It is easy to make assumptions.  We all do it and I’ve definitely learned not to judge someone if I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.  To sum it all up, I’m pretty much in pain all of the time.  Even if I push through it, even if I choose to get up and get out of the house and live my life, it hurts.

VALLEY:  We recently had to make the decision to put Ariel into a full-time, lottery funded Pre-K program.  Luckily, there were still spots available.  But see, we had made the decision early last year that I would homeschool Ariel.  I was excited about it.  I was planning for it.  I had been talking to friends that choose to homeschool and getting ideas and advice.  When I started having back problems and it was apparent that it wouldn’t be going away anytime soon, we realized that this just isn’t the time to homeschool.  So we had to scramble to find Ariel a spot.  After a lot of searching, we found her a spot in a halfday Pre-K program, four days a week.  I had to get used to this.  A few weeks into the school year and a week into physical therapy for my back, we realized that things weren’t working.  I had been having a very hard time finding help with watching Matthew while Ariel was at school, so I could go to physical therapy.  This was a little bit of a discouragement to me, but that is a another post for another time!  Moving on, we prayed a lot about this and that God would provide a way for me to get to the physical therapy appointments so that I can get back to taking care of my family like I need to.  We ended up finding out about openings available at a lottery-funded preschool.  We decided to enroll Ariel and she transferred from her other school this week.  This was hard for me.  Don’t get me wrong- Ariel’s teacher is actually someone we go to church with and I trust her completely to take care of Ariel and help her learn.  I think Ariel will be just fine.  But I went from homeschool to full-time preschool in about two months time.  That is quite a shock to a mommy!!!

VALLEY:  I don’t even want to talk about finances.  I’ve touched on them in a previous post, but let’s just sum it up to say: high deductible, all tests and physical therapy out of pocket on an already extremely tight budget.  VALLEY

VALLEY:  My house is a mess.  LOL.  Okay.  Anyone that truly knows me knows that it is rarely ever completely clean.  I mean, let’s get real.  I have two hurricanes that make landfall in my living room several times a day.  Hurricane Ariel is usually not as destructive and unlike real hurricanes, cleans up her own mess even if it takes prompting……most of the time.  Hurricane Matthew is a constant category 5.  And in a lot of aspects, I have learned to live with the mess.  I can’t do a lot of repetitive motion activities because of the strain to my back, i.e. scrub dried oatmeal off the kitchen table, scrub the bathtub and toilet, unload and load the dishwasher, vacuum, hang up clean clothes.  I’m sure that several of you are thinking right now, “gee, I wish I had back problems!”  Ha ha!  But trust me.  You don’t.  And Matt has been an amazing husband, trying to pick up the slack where  he can.  But unfortunately, it doesn’t all get done.  He has a more than full time job and there are only so many hours in the day.

So, reading this, it probably sounds like I’m depressed.  But I’m not.  I’m actually in a good spot emotionally.  Let me share.

Being in a valley is tough.  It is lonely.  It is hard to be in that spot and keep trekking along and feeling like, “I’m stuck here in this rut!”  Nobody understands and it will never get better!!  If you are in a valley as I am, you have to think about what you are focused on.  Are you focused on yourself?  Your circumstances?  Or God?

Think about what is always right next to a valley…..a mountain!!!!

You have to remember that when you are in that valley, just look up toward God, and you will see that mountain!!  God is walking with you- Psalm 23 promises us this.  My favorite scripture, Isaiah 41:10, tells us the same thing:  “So do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be afraid for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Our mountains are right there…..we just have to be patient and continue our walk with God!!  He IS leading us out of the valley and up the mountain.  And when we get to that mountain, we may not be able to stay up there.  God may be telling us, “keep going”.  We might have to go back down to a valley.  But whether on a mountain or in a valley, keep your eyes on God.  He is leading you and  guiding you.  He is providing for you.  (Isaiah 41:17-20)  God is taking care of you so that “people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it”  (vs 20)  And God is taking care of you because He loves you dearly!  Matthew 6:24-34 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Let us keep our eyes on God.  Seek him out and know that He is taking care of you.  He will lead you out of your valley, just as he is leading me out of mine.

Diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis with DJD and the Treatment Plan

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Today, I went to the orthopedic doctor to find out the course of action regarding my back.  If you don’t remember or did not get the previous email, my diagnosis is spinal stenosis and DJD (degenerative joint disease- also known as disc disease).  I was going to write out some long explanation for what each of these are, but I would surely screw up the explanation and get it all wrong.  😉  Just google it!

 

 The doctor has referred me to physical therapy two times a week for 3 weeks, then I will see him again for a follow up evaluation.  If, at that time, I am still not getting relief, then he said he’d consider the epidural injections at that point.  As much pain as I’m in, I’m kind of glad that he is more conservative and does not rush into a lot of medical intervention.  He said that he usually only recommends surgery to about 10% of his patients and even then, it is after exhausting all other options.  I was very pleased to hear this.  I also must wear a back brace all the time…..basically, unless I’m asleep.  LOL.  When I put it on, I felt like I was wearing a girdle!!  Ha ha!!

 

I’ve also been getting a lot of advice and was able to speak to my friend, Julie, who is also a chiropractor.  She had recommended therapeutic exercise in addition to the physical therapy.  Specifically, she suggested Yamuna Body Rolling and possibly Pilates.  My brother in Christ, Cristian, also strongly recommended Pilates for core strengthening.  For the time being, she said that she didn’t think a chiropractor would be helpful, but that might be something I revisit in the future.  I’ve looked into the body rolling and have found a lot of great information and really believe that it will be helpful.  I also hope to add pilates to the mix as things improve and I’m able to regain some of my mobility.

 

With combining the physical therapy with the body rolling, I’m hopeful that I can get to a point of decreased pain and learn how to continue these exercises and techniques on my own.  After a lot of reading about my diagnosis (spinal stenosis and DJD), I have come to realize that this is something that I will be having to deal with for the rest of my life.  I don’t think I’ve totally accepted it, but I know God is leading me there.

 

Now the part of my blog post where I ask for something.  I would like to ask all of you to pray for a couple of things, if you will.

 

First, We are incurring a lot of financial charges with these medical challenges.  I have an extremely high deductible with my insurance and we have already incurred about $800 in out of pocket expenses in the last month.  Because of the way my insurance policy reads, I have to pay for all of the physical therapy out of pocket, until my deductible is met.  Even then, I am still responsible for 30%.  Between the physical therapy and the body rolling, we are looking at over $1000 out of pocket in the next month.  This is frustrating because we have been taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and are trying to save money and pay off debt.  We haven’t been able to make any progress because of all of this.  I know it is a necessity and I don’t worry about the day to day things.  I know that God will provide.  We’ve never been without food, clothing, and shelter.  But I also can’t put off the therapy because I’m unable to do a lot of simple housework tasks at the moment.  I really need to get my life back!!!  I have found a physical therapist office that is willing to work with me and set up a payment plan, but I still won’t know what that will entail as far as frequency or amount until I go to the first appointment.  Please pray that God will provide the financial resources necessary to pay for the therapy.  At the moment, we have several items for sale on craigslist, one of which is a $1500 dining room table.  The sale of it alone, would cover all of these expenses.  Please also pray that the payment plan turns out to be something that will fit within our current budget.

 

Second, please pray that I will be able to get some immediate relief soon and that I will be able to do the normal every day tasks required to keep our house functioning, food in everybody’s bellies, and clean clothes on their backs.  I definitely think I will never take for granted the ability to wash, dry, and fold a load of clothes, or put away clean dishes.  These simple things that we usually complain about are some things that I wish I could do again without pain.  I also cannot pick up Matthew unless absolutely necessary.  Um, has anyone ever tried explaining this to a 16 month old??  It is heartbreaking when your child just wants to be held and you can’t do it.  I can get on the floor and let him climb into my lap, but for my snugly little boy, it isn’t really the same….and he lets me know it.  It also means that I’m going against my doctor’s advice whenever I have to put him in his highchair booster seat or carseat.  Unfortunately, he can’t climb yet (actually, that’s a good thing).  I do have to add something here- I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have a best friend in Rachel K.  I cannot count the number of times that she has helped me out without expecting anything in return.  She has driven me to help me sell items to raise money for some of these expenses, she has babysat the kids (one or both) so I could go to doctors appointments- all while taking care of her own children and her sister’s twins!!  She has also stepped in every time that she’s been around and I’ve needed to pick up Matthew (or really any heavy item) and done it for me.  We even attempted Kidsignments last Monday night and if you know what this is, you are probably thinking- seriously?!? with your back?!?….but see, I had Rachel there….and she didn’t let me overdo it!  She even took it upon herself to clean my kitchen when I couldn’t do it!!  Her loving, serving heart really  knows no bounds.  I’m very lucky and thankful to be able to call her my best friend and sometimes feel frustrated at the thought of our friendship being so one-sided.  I can only hope that she feels at least some reciprocation and hope she knows that if she is ever in a similar situation with her health, I’ve got her back!!  😉

 

While throwing out shout outs, I just can’t help but make sure that I acknowledge my amazing, and wonderful husband.  He works a very long day at his business and then comes home to pick up the slack, where I haven’t been able to get things done.  I cannot count the number of times he has made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, put the kids to bed when I’ve been unable to get it done. And my four year old daughter……she may not be able to help out a lot, but all it takes is for her to put her tiny hand on my back and rub as she looks at me with care and concern.  I am blessed.

 

As of right now, I am scheduled for my first physical therapy on Wednesday, August 22nd at 10am (need a babysitter for Matthew if there are any takers!!).  I will start with just one session that week and begin twice a week with the following week.  Hopefully, I will be able to start the body rolling on September 6th.  The instructor suggested waiting a few weeks so that I can get used to the physical therapy before adding the body rolling in.  I have a follow up with my Ortho on September 13th.

 

Feel free to share this.  If you aren’t already receiving my email updates and would like to, email me at sharon@seoteric.com and I can put you on my email list.

 

I appreciate all of your prayers and well wishes.  I know God is working and even though I am not always sure how, I don’t doubt it for one second.  I can count too many times in my life where He has come through for me and taken care of me!  Sometimes we don’t like the pace of His answers, and I’m sure He is constantly teaching me a lesson in patience.  😉  But I do know that the answers have been coming and are continuing to come.  God’s timing is perfect and we have to trust that He knows better than we do, what we need!!!!

My Sweet Tooth Can Rest Easy!

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Okay.  So, Here’s the test to how well you really know me.  Raise your hand if you heard that I was starting this new healthy “real food” lifestyle and had your doubts about whether I could really go through with it because of my extremely overwhelming sweet tooth.  Well, rest assured, you are not alone!!  I had my doubts too!!!!  🙂  No, really, I did.

As hard as I try to make sure that my children eat balanced meals, don’t drink sodas or unnecessary fruit juice, and limit the sweets and junk food, I personally have a HUGE sweet tooth.  And the Coca-cola?  Um, yeah.  That is a hard one.  I’m currently trying to kick that habit and to say it has been difficult, is an understatement.  But that is a topic for another time.

So, I have recently discovered something.  It is OKAY for me to have some sweets!!!!!!  In moderation.  Now, I might not be able to sit around and eat all of the same “sweets” that I did before………unless I can name all of the ingredients.  But if I can make it myself, I can have it!  And I think I wrote this before, but the great thing about that is if I have to make everything from scratch, I’m not as likely to have sweets every day.  It is a lot more work!  But we all know that I don’t need them every day.  Or even every other day.  This is a big lifestyle change for all of us!

But I feel hope.  This is do-able for me!  Especially when I found a recipe for homemade marshmallows!!!!

YUM!!!  I can do this.  Homemade marshmallows, homemade ice cream, homemade chocolate chip cookies.  If I can learn how to make homemade gummy bears, I think we will have our bases covered!!  Oh, and homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but I doubt that I could find a homemade version of those that could possibly compare.

But even if I can’t find all of these things homemade, I feel very encouraged that it is possible to find products that use only simple, REAL ingredients.  We even found fruit snacks that are really made with simple ingredients!  I was surprised- even the Welch’s that claims to be made with real fruit juice and seems like a healthy choice had extra “stuff” in it.  I can’t remember the brand that we found off the top of my head, but we found them!  And surprisingly, they taste better than other fruit snacks!

We have a long way to go still.  I realize this is a step-by-step process.  I’m working to make these changes on a daily basis.  So, don’t expect to see me sitting on a park bench chowing down on granola or flax seed or something crazy!!  🙂  But I’m excited for the steps we are taking and the efforts that we are making to have a healthier family.  🙂

Healthier Food Choices

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So, earlier this year, Matt and I started to notice a distinct difference in Ariel’s behavior.  For a while, we couldn’t quite pinpoint it.  We just noticed that she’d have bouts of complete and utter disobedience.  Nothing we did seemed to help her either.  The more we looked into it, the more we realized that the times she was acting out was directly related to when she would eat a lot of junk food.  Specifically, candy that had red dye #40 in it.  We noticed changes in behavior around other dyes also, but this one seemed to be a big culprit in her behavior.  I decided to do some research and was surprised at all that I found regarding behavior in children and dyes in food.  Now, I’m not going to post a bunch of resources.  This blog is intended for sharing our adventures with family and friends.  It isn’t meant to be an informational source or some documentary type blog.  If you want to know more about dyes in food, I suggest you research it.  The internet is vast.  😉

Matt and I decided that we needed to cut out these dyes.  There is no reason to have them in our food except to make things “look pretty”.  And the more we decided to embark on this journey, the more we saw other “things” in our food that are unnecessary as well.  Lots of preservatives, for one thing!  The crazy thing is, I don’t even know that I can pronounce or spell most of these things.  I even found some flour tortillas that had two different types of parabens in them!!!!  Seriously.  Isn’t that the stuff in lotions and bath stuff that was recently found to be bad for you?  And it is listed as ingredients in food?!?  Why should I be allowing my children to ingest them or be ingesting them myself?!?  So, we have decided that we are going to clean up our act so to speak!!

This is a work in progress, so I’m still learning a lot.  I would love any advice or suggestions that you might have if you’ve been down this road with your family!!  But, we started small.  We decided that from now on, we are only buying items at the grocery store that have ingredients that we can pronounce.  Ingredients that we can identify.  And lots of fresh fruits and veggies!!  Little by little, we are going to begin making and, eventually, growing our own foods.  This is the exciting part!!

Earlier this week, Ariel and I went and picked strawberries and I made some strawberry jam. It is DELICIOUS!!  I didn’t make enough to can and was more concerned with the process of making the jam.  But I am excited to learn how to can it and start that next time!  Ariel already has her eye on picking blueberries in June!  I even found a recipe for a strawberry cake completely from scratch (no jello or food coloring)!  Alas, it didn’t come out just right, but it was delicious anyway!  I plan to try it again!  🙂

I also am excited to make my own bread.  I bought the ingredients and plan to attempt it this weekend!!  Eek!  After all, I do need bread to spread that delicious strawberry jam on, right??

We even made some homemade ice cream this afternoon- you know.  The kind you make in a Ziploc baggy in five minutes!  The great thing about this is that it is just enough for a quick snack without having that quart or half gallon of ice cream sitting in the freezer, calling my name!

Anyway, we are starting small.  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with a bunch of expectations and then we fail before we get started.  I look forward to learning how to bake lots of baked goods.  I also want to learn how to grow fresh fruits and veggies year round, based on what should be grown in which season.  Who knows?  Maybe we will start buying meats or eggs more locally.  Some of these are things that I’m not ready to tackle yet, but I am excited about getting there!  More than anything, I look forward to raising my children to be healthy and make healthy choices in a world with increasingly UNhealthy choices.  We are excited about this journey!  And we may have a long way to go, but we are definitely on our way!

Contemplating a Complete Family

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Wow!  I sure haven’t posted anything in a loooooong time!  It looks like the last post was about my 30th birthday……TWO YEARS AGO! I’ll have to get around to updating things.  LOL.  In the meantime……..

I’m  not really sure what I’m looking for in posting about this subject.  I’m not really sure if I just need to vent and have an outlet for my thoughts and feelings or if I’m looking for comments and opinions.  I really don’t know.  I think probably the former, but I’ll take the latter if you have any enlightening thoughts!!  😉

I have just been feeling a lot of things lately about my family.  About being done.  About not having anymore children through pregnancy.  Let me start at the beginning.

I’ve always wanted lots of children.  I have always said, as Matt stood next to me with a deer-in-the-headlights look, that I wanted to have four children though pregnancy and adopt two children.  Yes, that is right.  I am one of those insane women that wanted six kids.

After having one child, I started to rethink this.  I love my wonderfully imaginative little girl.  She comes up with amazing games and make believe play and says the craziest stuff.  But she is super headstrong and stubborn.  She tests my patience daily, as all children do, I’m sure.

But it did make me wonder if I could handle six.  I started to wonder how many children I could truly raise in the way that God intends. Yet, on I trekked.  Then, along came little Matthew.  Who, in his very short year on this earth has already managed to ingest dog poop and paint, among many other things.

He is the one that I can already tell is going to give me a run for my money……literally…..in the form of doctor’s bills.  I won’t be very surprised at all when he gets his first broken bone.  I’m sure there will be many to follow!  But, he is a boy and a very typical one at that.  I’m told that broken bones just go along with the territory.  And speaking of that territory, I don’t think we could afford another boy- the cost alone of feeding just Matthew is already ridiculous!!!

Yet…..

 

I remember that feeling…..of holding my newborn baby for the first time.  Of watching them grow and learn.  Of the sleepless nights when all I wanted was to feel normal and be able to hold an adult conversation with somebody, anybody, the next day.  The first steps.  The first words.  The first time Ariel wrote her name or learned to skip in dance class.  And I’m immediately torn.

Matt and I have had several conversations about being done.  We have talked about how difficult it would be to go through another pregnancy.  I have come to the sad realization that it would probably be irresponsible for me to try to have another baby when I have two wonderful, healthy children to take care of.  See, there is a very good chance that I would develop HELLP syndrome again and the consequences could be devastating.  I might not make it or the baby might not make it.  And we still feel called to foster/adopt children that are just sitting in the system.  Children that have been abandoned and desperately need someone.  So, I realize that we aren’t completely done with having kids.  And maybe this wouldn’t all be hitting me so hard if my little boy hadn’t just turned a year old.  But I almost feel like I’m going through a period of mourning.  As much as I realize that we have to stick to the decision that we’ve made- that it really is what is best for our family, I don’t want to.  I do think that God has made it clear to us that this is His will.  But coming to terms and accepting it isn’t quite as easy as simply realizing it.  In once sense, I feel completely crazy for wanting to go through another pregnancy and newborn phase.  My pregnancy with Matthew was awful.  But, I can’t help but think back to my pregnancy with Ariel and how wonderful it was.  Regardless,  the feeling that I will never get to go through that again is strange and foreign to me.  I think that I really believed that I would be pregnant two more times.

So, where do I go from here?  Don’t worry.  🙂  That is a rhetorical question.  None of us knows what the future holds.  At one point, Matt and I really thought that we wouldn’t be able to have children.  And this was a very hard pill for me to swallow.  I always felt that my true “job” in life is to be a mother.  The thought that this might not be possible was devastating.  And then along came little Ariel, out of the blue!  Can I say with 100% certainty that we will never have another pregnancy?  Of course not.  I’ve learned not to test God with that.  But I do know that we are done trying to get pregnant.  Any future pregnancy would truly have to be from the will of God and his doing despite any birth control used.  So that leaves me at this point.  This feeling that I can’t shake.  This feeling of desperately needing to let go of what I imagined my life as a mother would look like and learning to accept the life as a mother that God has given me.

Because it truly is an amazing life and I realize how incredibly blessed I am.  I have watched friends struggle to get pregnant.  I have watched friends deal with heartbreaking news about the health of an unborn baby.  I have watched friends have to come to terms with the realization that they would never be able to have a baby.  And while some of these friends have gone on to adopt and are absolutely in love with their children,  I imagine that there might be an emptiness……a longing for something unattainable.  I do know how lucky I am that I was able to have my two children and to give birth to them.  I do know how lucky I am that they do not have any health problems or developmental delays.  I do know that these are things that are sometimes overlooked or taken for granted.

I imagine with all things, these intense feelings will diminish over time.  It wasn’t too long ago that I swore off ever being pregnant again simply because of how awful my pregnancy with Matthew was…..yet here I am reminiscing about it like it was the best time in my life!  Ha ha!  I just want to look back in 20 years and have no regrets.  I don’t want to look back and say, “I wish we had tried for one more.”  I want to look back on our family in 20 years and I want to know that it is perfect and complete.   I want to be able to say, “I am content.”

Birthdays 28 and 30

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Well, it is official!  I am officially out of my twenties!!  I turned 30 on last Wednesday.  Matt turned 28 on the Tuesday before that.  He successfully threw me a surprise party this past Saturday.  It was really a surprise.  I am so lucky to have so many family and friends that came to encourage me (and somehow, managed to keep it all a surprise from me).  Here are some pictures below!!  If you click on each picture, it will enlarge it!  🙂