Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

The presents have been bought and wrapped (one was even assembled). We have been to church and sang Silent Night (I choked up as I looked at the sweet little girl standing next to me lit by the light of a candle). I have listened to my husband read the Christmas story out of Luke. Ainsley is all snug in her bed. Ryan and I are watching It's a Wondeful Life on tv.

There is only one thing left to do.

Wish you a very Merry Christmas from our family.

Especially this sweet girl.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Silent Night

It's been a whirl wind month.  There has been heart break.  There was a party or 2.  There was some shopping.  There was a lot of eating.  There was some wine.  The was some sickness.

And there was some sleep.  Thankfully I have resumed what I would consider almost normal sleeping patterns.  After weeks of getting 4-5 hours a night, it dropped to 2 consecutive nights of 2 hours.  At that point I gave up and called the doctor for a prescription for Ambien.

It worked like a charm.  I took it for 5 days to catch up.  I took my last one the night before our party.  I had one restless night of sleep after that and now I have resumed sleeping like I was before the miscarriage.

So now that it's 4 days until Christmas I am finally looking forward to celebrating quietly at home.  Well maybe not quietly.  We do have a 2 year old who thinks Santa and Baby Jesus are coming to her house.

I think what I am looking forward to the most is Christmas Eve service when the lights go down and the candles are lit. Silent Night will be played.  It's in that quiet moment that I find the most reverence for the Season.  It's my time to think about the not so quiet moments when Mary was giving birth to Jesus (I've been through birth.  It's not quiet and peaceful).  And to think about how Jesus left heaven and all it's glory to be born in a stable full of stinky animals, knowing that some day he would have to die for us.

All because He loved me.  And you. 

So celebrate we will.  Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Choosing Joy

At moments like this in life joy doesn't come easily.  Even though Christmas has exploded around us, my heart is weary.  I am still not sleeping (4 hours total in the past 2 days).  Ainsley and I both have colds.  I have a party at my house on Saturday for over 50 people.  To say that I am worn to the bone would be an understatement.

I know I have every excuse to choose to be grumpy this Christmas Season.  But I am choosing joy.  Because I have to.  I am called to.  Otherwise this would be in vain. 

And thankfully I don't have to find that Joy within myself.  That Joy comes from Our Savior.  And that is something to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In My Dreams

Everyone has been asking how I have been doing.  I try to give the answer that I'm OK.  For the most part that's how I feel.  OK.  Not good.  Not bad.  OK.

During the days I have things to keep me occupied.  There is the precious 2 year old who requires my love and attention.  There is my job.  There is our Christmas party which is in less than 2 weeks. (Yikes!!!)

They are all distractions.  Things that make me not think about what is going on.  I keep saying that baking is therapeutic.  And it is.  But it doesn't make me pregnant.  It doesn't bring the baby back.

So every night I go to sleep with hopes that this will be the night that I get a good night sleep and that I will wake up feeling normal again.  And every night I toss and turn and sleep for short periods of time.

And now I have started to dream.  Not the sweet dreams of cribs and baby bellies.  But dreams of ultrasounds and that blank stare from the technician as she sees the empty womb.  The one where she hasn't said anything yet but you can see it all over her face that something is wrong.  And dreams of having to deliver a dead baby.  And holding that dead baby which in my dreams is usually just a skeleton.  Not so much dreams.  More like nightmares.

And I wake up restless and tired.  To start a new day of saying that I'm OK.

So if you are someone who prays, please pray for me to sleep soundly with no nightmares.  Pray for rest.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hands and Feet of Jesus

This week has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life.  Due to some bad timing 2/3 of my family is out of the country.  That left us to fend for ourselves during this difficult season.  But Jesus sent some people into our lives the past week to care for us in ways that we could not have even asked for.  I'm trying to come up with a list but if I have forgotten someone, I am deeply sorry.  My mind isn't the clearest right now.

  • MaryBeth - Not only is she my nanny but she's a wonderful friend.  She has spoken Truth and comfort to me over the past week.  She has walked this path before and has been crucial in giving Ainsley some extra TLC this week.
  • Anne - Over the past years Anne has become a second mother to me.  This week she really stepped up and cared for me like only a mother could
  • Mary - What started as a client/patient relationship over 2 years ago has turned into a wonderful friendship.  Mary was our doula for Ainsley's birth and her experience in this area of loss is too familiar.  She has sent me endless texts of encouragement and love
  • Amy - She was the first one to know I was pregnant.  A coworker and also a friend.  She has listened to me and helped me through a few long days at work this week.
  • Jessica - She's about to birth herself and yet has put many of those emotions aside this week to care for me.  She definitely is a BFF.
  • Lindsay - She's a friend from long ago who loves me deeply.  A note in the mail came at the perfect time.  It was like a gift directly from Jesus.
  • Sarah - When I needed a meal, she provided us with one.  She has such a tender heart and when she says she's praying for you, you know it's true.
  • Kate - As my oldest friend, she stepped up big time.  She literally has a 1 week old.  And yet she took the time out of the sleepless nights to stop and call me.  I was the first non-family member she called since the birth of her adorable son Charlie.  To say this meant a lot would be an understatement.
  • Wendy - My sister Wendy is the only family member I have in the country right now.  While she doesn't know the loss personally she has walked many of her friends through the same thing.  She has been my protector since the day I was born and she has been there for me like no one else during this time.
  • Our Homegroup - We have a small home group from our church that meets once a week and has so for years.  This group of people has walked beside us through many things and will continue to do so.  What a gift it is to share this life with a group of fellow believers
  • Community of Women Who Have Walked the Path - This is not an exclusive club.  There are so many women who have walked the path that I am on now.  The notes and emails have been endless.  The support of this group of women is invaluable.  This experience has brought me a new perspective on loss and to share it with this group of women is an incredible yet difficult gift.
  • Countless People Praying - There are so many people praying for our family right now.  I couldn't even begin to list them.  But each prayer has been a gift to us.  We feel loved and prayed over like we never have been before.
  • Ainsley - The best thing that I could have during this time was a sweet 2 year old looking to me for love and support.  This week has been hard on her.  Children have a way that they know that something is wrong.  And yet their lives need to go on.  And to me that's a gift.  I can't drown in my sorrow and bring this sweet innocent girl down with me.  She has a heart of gold and nothing has made me feel better during this time that the sweet hugs and kisses that only she can give.
  • Ryan - It's hard to even put into words the strength that this man of God that I have married has given me over the past week.  While he is grieving this loss too, he has given me such unconditional love and support.  He has taken over everything from watching Ainsley to house hold chores to pretty much everything.  And the whole time he has been willing to listen to me cry and to hold me and even to be snapped at.  He's my rock and my protector.  I count it a privilege every day that I get to walk this journey of life with him.
So thank you friends.  You have shown me Jesus this week.

Matthew 25:37-40
 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hidden Pain

I've been kind of quiet over the past month.  There is a reason. 

It started with a call from the doctor in October saying that no I did not need to take the progesterone I had a prescription for to get my period to start up again.  I needed to take a different form of progesterone to help sustain a very early pregnancy.  This was something we wanted and we were looking forward to but since I hadn't had a period since August, it was the last thing I expected.  I actually didn't believe the midwife when she called.  I had to take one of these to prove it to myself.

I had some more blood work done and it seemed that everything was going as expected.  We scheduled an early ultrasound for November 11th to come up with a solid due date.

That ultrasound showed a gestational sac but no fetus.  They estimated that I was 5 weeks and 2 days along and that I should come back in 1 week for another ultrasound to make sure that things were progressing.  July 12th 2011.  There was a hint of doubt in the midwife's tone but we remained positive.

We went back for that ultrasound and I was so nervous.  At this point, I wasn't expecting things to be going well.  I was surprisingly shocked to see a baby and a heart beat of 110 beats per minute.  I thought that was pretty good and we left the ultrasound to see the midwife.  We were feeling pretty good.  I mean isn't this the cutest thing you have ever seen.

But the midwife informed me that 110 bpm wasn't as high as they liked to see and that they were going to need to see me back again in a week for another ultrasound.  Things were not looking as good as we had hoped. 

Ryan and I remained positive.  I had a peace that only God could give.  I actually didn't think about the negative side of things for a whole week.

We went back for the ultrasound on November 24th.  The day before Thanksgiving.  I went in kind of cocky and thinking very much about all the things I had to be thankful for. 

Quickly my mood changed when the ultrasound tech could no longer find a fetus and a heartbeat.  The baby was dead and so were my hopes.  Devastated does not even begin to describe it.

But I am refusing to grieve in silence.  This happens to so many women.  My midwife says it's about 1 in 3 pregnancies.  And yet you never know of people having miscarriages until you say something about your experience. 

So as I wait for the baby to "pass", I am not going to grieve in silence.  It feels like it would cheapen the life that lived for so short a time.  That life was my child.  That life gave us great joy.  And that life is with Jesus.  And I will get to see that life again someday. 

I love you my sweet little baby.  You will never be silenced or forgotten.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time Does Indeed Fly

I just sent out the Evite for our annual Christmas dessert party.  It's my 5th year doing it.  It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that we will be celebrating our 5th Christmas back in NC and yet it's hard to fathom that we ever lived in NY. 
The best gauge of how fast time is going is by watching our little girl grow up.  5 years ago she was a thought and a hope.  4 years ago she was a strong desire of my heart.  3 years ago she was about the size of a blueberry.  2 years ago she was an infant.  Last year she was stumbling around having just learned to walk.  And now she is a full blown toddler.

Case in point...

Last night I put my baby to bed for the last time in her crib.  (Side note, do you notice how she made her bear sleep on his tummy just like she does?)

And today she is napping in her Big Girl Bed. 

Oh my heart.  Time does fly but I can honestly say that we have enjoyed every second of it. 

Now excuse me while I have a panic attack because I just sent out 96 invites to a party in my house in less than a month and I haven't even begun to think about the menu.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Kitchen is Filled

When I got married I was 22.  I had lived in a dorm room or an apartment by myself since I had left for college.  I didn't cook and I didn't bake.  When I registered my mother almost had a heart attack.  My registry was horrible.  My mom tried to convince me to put more things on it and that indeed I would want these things later in life.  I didn't agree so I didn't change it. 

Each year after that my mom would give me things for my kitchen.  I didn't use them so I donated a bunch of them each time we moved (which was 4 times in 6 years).

Then I started cooking.  And baking.  And we started the tradition of our Christmas party.  And I didn't have anything.  Regret set in big time.  So I've slowly been accumulating some but my kitchen has been lacking.  My mother has given me things for Christmas and birthdays and I haven't donated them (and she never once has said I told you so because she is so full of grace).

And then recently my friend Joy started selling Pampered Chef.  After going to a few parties, I decided to host a show.  And we all know that I'm an over-achiever and a tad competitive.  So I decided to really go for it.  I have to say that it wasn't hard at all. 

The order came in today.  This is all stuff for everyone else.  It's over $900 worth of stuff. 

And here is my stuff (with the exception of 1 gift that I purchased).  I got $434 worth of stuff for $100!  And I feel like my kitchen is mostly filled.  I'm always up for cool kitchen stuff and what an easy way to get a ton of stuff for free and super cheap. 

I can't wait to cook dinner tonight!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Imperfectly Perfect

Today is my husband's 35th birthday.  So often we read in the blog world how perfect a husband is.  We all know that's not true.  So today I want to celebrate my Imperfectly Perfect husband.  And here's why...

You push my buttons BUT you push me to be a better person

You can act like a child BUT you father with love and strength

You work late BUT  you have the strongest work ethic of anyone I know

You won't play my "what if" games BUT you lead our family with logic and integrity

You compulsively lock the doors BUT you protect our family

You sing the wrong lyrics to songs BUT you entertain me

You follow a crazy diet BUT  you love my cooking

You talk to everyone on the phone but me BUT you pursue your friends and family with great consistency

You don't flush the toilet BUT you value God's creation

You make comments for shock value BUT you are grounded in Truth

You don't cry BUT  you comfort me when I do

You pick on me BUT  you picked me

I love you Imperfectly Perfect Husband.  Happy 35th Birthday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Name Has Passed

When I was a little girl, my mother used to call me Tracey Pumpkin. Most times it would come out as Tracey Punkin. It's always nice to have a nickname. It was something super special to me because I was the youngest of 3 girls.

When we had Ainsley, my mother started calling the baby her Ainsley Punkin. It is such a sweet place in my heart that she passed that name and love on to my child.

In addition to our Friday lunch date, I took Ainsley to the farmers market to pick out a pumpkin.  They had a pumpkin house and a couple cut out faces.  She had a blast running around.  My heart was full of the love that my mother passed to me and that I can now pass to my Ainsley Punkin.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Monkey See Monkey Do

A couple weeks ago we had our friends come to visit.  They have a 2 year old boy named Jack that is 2 weeks younger than Ainsley.  It was adorable to see them together.  Ryan wanted to play Simon Says with them and here are the results.  Too cute...


How Big are You?

 Rub your belly

Touch Your Nose

Touch Your Toes

Wiggle Your Ears

Hug Each Other

Friday, October 8, 2010

Too Late Now

I just realized that the word "butt" is in my blog address

That is all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Seasons Change

The seasons are changing.  The heat of the summer is past and the crisp fall air has arrived. 

This summer my goal was to store the fresh life of summer in all the ways that I could so that we could enjoy it into the fall and winter.  I've canned tomatoes.  I've made pickles.  I've frozen pesto.  And today I took the remnants of the garden and made 6 quarts of vegetable broth to freeze. 

And now it's time to rest and reset before the harshness of winter comes in.  Even our chickens are taking a break.  They are in molting, a process where they shed their feathers, stop laying eggs, and start a new. 

Most of my friends and family spend the early parts of fall decorating their homes with the oranges and yellows that make up the colors of fall.  I don't do this.  Part of the reason is I just don't like orange.  But there is a bigger reason.  I need some time to breath.

And this fall it seems especially appropriate.  I have a lot going on in my head right now.  There is anxiety and fear.  I've been distracted from things that are really important. 

So I'm excited to just relax and enjoy the next few months.  To take in the colors that God gives us.  To take in the nourishment of the seasons past.  To enjoy the blessings of today.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Definitely Not a Baby Anymore

I knew she was growing up.  I just didn't think it would be this fast.

First kiss at 26 months.  Yikes.  I'm in for it when this cutie gets older.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Big Girl Room - Update

I scoured the area looking for Ainsley's full initials.  For some reason, everywhere was out of K.  I decided to go with her fun name instead.  Here's a picture. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Big Girl Room

I have been recently working on Ainsley's "Big Girl Room".  I have no plans to move her in there just yet but I wanted her to be able to get used to seeing it before we actually move her in there. 

My vision started with a color.  Purple.  Then I thought about adding butterflies to it.  So I googled Purple Butterfly bedding.  I found this amazingly cute set.

The room that went from blue with an earth tone bedspread with furniture that was unfinished (I should have taken before pictures but it was really almost too embarrassing) has turned into this...

I am going to put her initials on the wall above the bed but need to order them.  Everywhere I went they were out of at least one letter that I need.

The furniture, which was unfinished, was mine when I was a kid.  And before that it was in my grandparents house.  It's really old and I've been trying to get the motivation to refinish it.  Guess I found it.  It's now a pretty white.

The bookshelf is actually a glass case with the glass removed.  Right now it has knickknacks on it but it will hold books and stuffed animals once she moves in.

This desk is actually a vanity.  It has a mirror but it needs new glass and it needs to be painted.  I'll be working on that in a bit.  One of my favorite things about this room is that wicker stool.  And that lamp needs a new shade.  I'm working on it!

Her favorite part of this room is this pink hook rug that I got at Target.  I envision her playing on it for years to come. 

And now comes the hard part of forcing her to be a baby for as long as I can.  This mama isn't ready to let go.

Monday, September 13, 2010

To Prove or Improve

It seems everywhere I turn lately there have been discussions on conflict.  Like most people, conflict is something that I don't enjoy and have been hurt by in the past. 

Last night in my small group it was my turn to give my testimony.  Much of my testimony revolved around my relationship with a family member when I was younger.  We would fight.  We would scream.  We would cry.  It was really a hurtful time for both of us. 

Yesterday the sermon at church was about Moral Courage in respect to conflict.  Our pastor was talking about how much courage it takes to have Biblical conflict.  There is a cost and yet there can be great reward as well. 

When I got to work today I was reading my daily email from Proverbs 31 ministries.  It spoke of using conflict as an opportunity to grow.

In combination with yesterday's sermon, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Every conflict that I had with my family member was about being right.  It was about winning an argument.  It was my competitive spirit (which is a topic for another day) that I used as an excuse to push the arguments further.  And frankly, it was the same trait in my family member as well.

And over the years we have both grown.  And we have forgiven.  And we have learned to love in order to improve and not just to prove.  Amen and Amen!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I'm in Tennessee visiting my sister and her family.  We drove over here on Friday for a long weekend. 

We got here around dinner time on Friday and were enjoying the time with cousins.  They were running around and just having a great time.  We ended up getting the kids ready for bed kind of late.  My nephew John Mark was reading a story to both Ainsley and Riley.  They were being silly and Ainsley bounced right off the bed.  I made the remark that she figuratively and literally hit the wall.  I put her to bed and she settled quickly.

After waking up at 12 and again at 5:30, we were both tired on Saturday.  Funny thing was that she wouldn't move.  She just sat there.  Then she started crawling everywhere.  It was like I was going through the stages of infant development all over again.

So here it is Sunday and she's still not walking.  Poor girl is hurt.  Of course with each passing moment that she doesn't start walking, I start to worry more.  And Ryan is worried sick since he's at home and can't see her to actually assess the damage.

After church today we took her to the urgent care.  After 4 x-rays, the verdict is no broken bones.  They believe that she twisted something or pulled something when she fell off the bed. 

Good news is that she's going to be ok.  Bad news is I have to carry her around everywhere.  But I am thankful that she's still acting as cute as ever with her cousins.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Was I Even There?

Part of being a mom is taking pictures.  I was looking over the vacation pictures and there are a ton of everyone but me. 

All the cousins...



The Dogs...


Ainsley and Ryan...

Ainsley and Ryan...

Ainsley and Ryan...

Ainsley and Ryan (do you see the pattern)...

I did at one point ask Ryan to take a picture of Ainsley and I.  Here's what I got...

Guess I'll stick with the self portrait...

Looks like everyone had a great time.  Although it's not really captured, I was there and had fun too!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Average Day in the Woods

Last week we were on vacation.  We were in the Adirondack mountains in NY, a place I love more than anywhere in the world.  It's beautiful.  There are mountains and lakes and trees and all kinds of good nature.

The weather wasn't perfect to say the least while we were up there.  But the weather was decent for a hike.  Ryan and I love to hike and be in the woods.  Every year we end up doing the same hike, which is crazy because the Adirondacks are full of all kinds of different hikes with different views.

This time we decided to go up Pillsbury Mountain instead of our normal hike.  It's 1.6 miles to the top and classified as moderately difficult.  We figured not a problem. 

We grabbed our friend Todd and off we went.  We quickly discovered 3 things.  1 - Moderately difficult meant pretty much straight up.   2 - We were not in shape.  3 - Lots of rain in the previous days meant lots of slippery rocks.

But we pressed on.  We stopped a lot and enjoyed the different mushrooms (to look at not ingest) and even found a geocache.  We figured we would get to the top and see this gorgeous view.  That's what the Adirondacks are about.

After what seems like forever we got to the top and this is what we saw...

An abandoned cabin in a clearing with trees blocking the view.  But there was also this...

A fire tower 9 flights high with rickety platforms and sketchy chicken wire that got shorter the higher you went up to hold you in.  Oh and dark skies that were obviously going to produce rain.

I am not afraid of heights but Ryan is.  So I went first and quickly climbed to the top carrying my camera and my phone in my hand.  I planned on tweeting from the top because I am that nerd.  I made it up there and then looked down.  It was really high.  And the wind was gushing.  And it was cold.  And it was raining.  And it was super scary. Like I almost peed my pants scary.

After getting to the 8th level, Ryan quickly ran down.  He then started yelling at me to get down and something about a gust of wind taking me right off of the tower.  But I had to get pictures.  So here's my best shaky attempt at a view....

I can't imagine how much better this would have looked on a clear day.  But it was raining and I was pretty sure that I couldn't hold my phone, my camera and the 2 foot chicken wire fence at the same time.

I quickly shoved my camera and phone in my bra and inched my way down.  What took me 3 minutes to climb took me 15 minutes to descend.  I did stop at about level 4 to get a self portrait...

Nice hair.  And my eyes are watering like crazy.  And then we were happy to be on the ground....

And by the time we cautiously descended the steep climb back to the car we were exhausted and ready for a hot shower...

Well, everyone but this guy...

Way to go Tucker the Wonder Pug!  What other 11 year old pug could have made it up that mountain and still have a spring in his step at the bottom.
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