29 September 2013


Today was a great day.


For almost 9 weeks now, Boone has been suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety. It happened out-of-the-blue and instantaneously. One night he was fine, the next he would not leave my side. At all. You couldn't offer him enough candy or ponies to get him to step more than 4 feet from me at any given moment. Every single day since then I've been followed around the house incessantly. My name has been called out in questioning panic hundreds, if not thousands, of times. My patience has worn thin more times than I'd like to think as I would reassure him that "Yes, I am still here. No, I'm not leaving. Boone, Mommy's right here."And it only took one major, honestly-scared-out-of-his-mind, clawing-at-himself-and-the-door anxiety attack to realize this is serious and we have to figure it out.

I have played psychologist and come up with a few legit reasons as to why this has happened. I have gotten advice from a real child psychologist on how to help him through this. I have cried more tears of frustration, anguish, and sadness for my sweet son than I can think of. It physically pains me to see him like this. This has never been him. He has never been timid. He is the life of the party. The risk taker. He was the baby who never looked back to make sure his mama was still there.

All of this anxiety has been extremely testing, and I have been feeling completely inadequate as a mother. Not knowing what he needs or how to give it. Not knowing why he is behaving the way he is, or how to encourage different behavior. I have felt countless times that I am screwing up my child, and that he will want nothing to do with me when he is grown. I have felt alone; frustrated with him and frustrated with myself.

But today at church, that changed. Jeff shimmied into the pew next to me right as service was starting, and my eyes got big with wonder and he whispered "He's OK! I don't need to be in there with him- I promised him I would check on him partway through." My heart did a flip and right in that instant a song started that brought me to tears. It was THE song. The song that was on Boone's birth video. The song that I sang on repeat in my darkest hour while I clung to Boone when he was a wee babe:
How Great Is Our God

God spoke to me in that moment. He told me all is well. It will be OK. We will get through this. His grace is sufficient for me. Boone will be alright.

God made me his mother for a reason, and I have a purpose in his life. He is my timely blessing, and made specifically and perfectly for our family.

Ever so thankful, I hung on to Jeff and cried the entire song. And then after the service I showered hugs and kisses and high-fives on my sweet boy. He was proud of himself as he explained in the car that he "trusted that we would come get him afterwards... and if not, then Eileigh would take him home". He thinks he will want to do it again next week. Perfect.

Amazing breakthrough. I'm sure it will still be a process, but this is exactly what I needed to have renewed energy and hope for the future.

Thank you, Lord, for my son. And thank you for your faithfulness.
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28 June 2013

my life

It's picture perfect.

Don't you agree?
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on any given day

These are just a few of the moments I get to witness, cherish, and commit to memory 
on any given day:

 I can't get enough of their captivating personalities.

I am addicted to my kids.

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12 June 2013

Willa Scout

It all started back in the Fall with this original little video that we surprised Jeff with:

And then this happened at Christmas:

And then on May 17th, 2013, at 9:14pm:

SHE arrived.

SHE is here.

SHE has changed our lives forever.


Pregnancy went really well this time. Besides a little lingering nausea through 16 weeks, I felt great. I had been to the chiropractor a few times to stay adjusted, and I swear that was part of feeling so well. The day after my very first visit, Baby went from a breech position to head down. Hello, alignment! The week before her birth, Jeff told me, "You don't seem like you're about to have a baby. You're in good spirits and moving too easily and not very whiny." This was such a blessing, since caring for the boys was (and is) quite demanding.

Shortly after getting pregnant, my heart arrhythmia kicked it up a notch and I began experiencing significant symptoms. Fortunately, the doctors were confident that frequent magnesium IV's would help resolve the issue, so for the majority of the pregnancy I got a mag drip every other week. Thankfully, my symptoms lessened greatly and I no longer felt my heart bothering me.

 I was also able to enjoy prenatal yoga out at Bella Vie each week, which was vital for not only preparing my body for birth, but also my mind and heart. Struggling with my {raw} emotions surrounding not only a surprise pregnancy (and the loss of my nursing relationship with Tripp), but also fears regarding another traumatic/troublesome delivery like Tripp's, having time each week to focus, visualize, and rest in peace was so calming to my heart and helped me bond with Baby.

At my 37 week appointment, my birthing "team" (midwives, apprentices, Jeff and I) had a great talk about the upcoming delivery. Due to all three previous pregnancies ending with high blood pressure issues, it was vital that we had a birth plan mapped out in order to keep things under control and be able to keep our birth the way we wanted it. With Tripp coming at 39 weeks and 2 days, we decided the best course of action would be to induce at 39 weeks exactly, hoping to bypass the blood pressure spike that always occurred. Every bone in my body was hoping to have a gentle, non-issue birth. I was terrified of having a repeat of Tripp's delivery. After sharing my fears and concerns with my midwife, she kindly read over the chart notes regarding Tripp's birth with me, and it was a huge relief to re-visit the past and separate the fears I had mentally created versus the reality of what actually happened. My nerves were calmed and I had a peace about our course of action.

The very next day (the weekend before the birth), I felt her switch positions to a more upright one (not her usual C-shaped curve). That entire weekend I had a LOT of contractions. None of them intensifying, but very annoying, uncomfortable, and frequent. Monday rolled around and they eased up. By Tuesday, they were back- not as frequent as the weekend, but still happening quite often.

I had been monitoring my BP every morning at home, making sure the numbers were nice and low. But by Wednesday, I was seeing the numbers go up and then fluctuate back down when I rested. After keeping track for a day to make sure it wasn't just a fluke, I called my midwife and and told her what was going on. She said she would confer with a few OB's and Dr.'s and we would chat about options the next day at my 38 week appointment.

You would think I would've learned from doing this 3 other times to BE PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME... but no. Nursery wasn't complete, bags weren't packed, hair wasn't washed (being hid under a hat, actually), and toenails weren't painted (a very important detail to a pregnant woman). But I showed up to my appointment anyways, thinking that I would at least have through the weekend before Baby came. Seeing as how my blood pressure was fluctuating so drastically from super high to low, a prescription for Labetalol wasn't an option. A big magnesium IV wasn't a viable option either, since high doses can actually stop labor, and that just wasn't ideal if we were going to be inducing soon. The decision was made to check to see how far along I was; and then go from there. Lo and Behold, I was already 5cm dilated! We were all shocked that I wasn't feeling more "labor-y" at that point, but also encouraged that my body would respond well if and when we did induce.

{cheese, crackers, baby monitor, and a big ole belly}

After a phone call to Jeff to let him know that "hi, we're having a baby today", I got to rest and have a snack at Bella while they did a non-stress test on Baby. All looked well. Jeff showed up to take me to the naturopath, where I received injections that stimulated my parasympathetic system (to calm my body down and lower my BP), but also rev up my liver and kidneys and make sure they were functioning at top levels. Next, we headed to a quick ultrasound where fluid levels, placenta and Baby's tone all checked out perfectly.

We then headed home, threw our bags together, kissed the boys, and drove back to Bella Vie where everyone was waiting for us. We once again talked things through; going over the risks of having my water broken, other natural ways to induce, and the protocol if my BP didn't stay down (read: transferring to the hospital). My midwife suggested that we all pray about it, so that's what we did. I laid on the bed and had 4 women and my husband pray the most beautiful, genuine prayers over me, asking the Lord to give us wisdom, clarity, strength and peace. Something made that moment so special... Maybe it was the dimly lit room, maybe it was the trickling water of the tub filling up, or maybe it was having 4 mature women (all mothers themselves) praying for a young couple about to embark on yet another journey in Life. It was like a rite of passage, and it's a moment I will never forget.

I opened my eyes from prayer, and told them with clarity that I really felt that they should just break my water. I was already having contractions... they just needed to intensify. I wasn't nervous about the time frame surrounding broken waters- I had never had a problem getting my babies out before. And I didn't want to waste time with an alternative approach and have my BP go up in the meantime, which would make us have to head to the hospital. So I was checked again and found to be at 6cm, with Baby really low at a +1.5 station. A slow little leak was begun at 7:10pm, and I stayed on the bed until contractions picked up and were intensifying nicely.

After changing positions a few times, and an incredible back massage from my midwife, I decided things were progressing enough to get into the tub. Instantly I felt more at ease and knew this is where I needed to be. I was working through the contractions now, really trying to focus on relaxing every muscle in my body and not hold on to the pain. But in between contractions I was still able to smile and chat a little with Jeff, which we both found odd and interesting at the same time, and wondered how far along I actually was. I mentioned that he might want to get the video camera and tripod set up, but he was still texting people, telling them not much was happening.

I told the midwife at one point that some of the contractions were right on top of each other, but then others weren't as strong. She suggested that maybe it meant my cervix was gone (fully dilated), and I hopefully wondered if that was true. Not too much later, the apprentice came in to monitor Baby's heart rate, and I felt a tiny twinge to push. I mentioned it, and the apprentice called out for the other apprentice to go get the midwives. Immediately after, I started pushing, and everyone picked it up a notch. Jeff was scrambling to set the tripod up, and I remember hearing the midwife tell him, "You better hurry up, Dad, if you wanna catch your baby!"

Kneeling down in the water at the edge of the tub, I knew she was coming fast. It hurt so bad and all I wanted to do was push through the pain and be done with it. But I knew that I really wanted to do this gently- unlike the other three births. As the burning fire began to consume me, somehow miraculously, I was able to stop pushing and with my hand on her head, just pause and breathe.


The next contraction I continued to breathe and slowly she eased her head out. I told everyone, "Her head is out" and I think everyone was surprised with how quickly it happened. Then with the next contraction the rest of her came sliding out and into Jeff's hands, who handed her up to me and I pulled her out of the water and into my arms. I leaned back into Jeff and we just held her there, staring at the little beauty covered in dark hair and vernix. Her left eye was waxed shut, so she just calmly peeked around with her right. No crying, no screaming... so very different than her brothers.

It was magical.

I felt amazing. Extremely tired, but not deathly exhausted. I was able to smile and talk and relish the moment, instead of being completely wiped out. Granted, I haven't watch the video yet, so I don't really know how it all went down, but in my mind, it was beautiful. It was gentle. It was the birth that I had always longed for. I felt in control of my body and completely covered by God's strong and faithful hands that night.

Oh, Baby Girl. What an amazing 9 months this has been. It is absolutely fascinating to me how God took me from distressed and grieving to excited and accepting of a tiny little plus sign. The Lord sure knew what he was doing when he began to knit you in my womb... creating your heartbeat that I heard at 14 weeks, your first kick that I felt at 16 weeks, your gender that was revealed at 17 weeks, your hiccups that I experienced constantly, and an expanding belly that I became attached to with every touch of my hand. God's timing is always perfect. He knew we needed you. And in true Godly fashion, He brought you earthside in your own special, perfect way.

7 pounds | 5 ounces | 19.25 inches

{Photos by the lovely Layce Nicole Photography}
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08 May 2013

finny turns THREE

Oh Finny. 

You turned three.

We threw you a milk and cookies party. 
You were thrilled and so happy to have a "cookie birfday party".

A month after Tripp's party, a simple menu and color-scheme seemed ideal for a party.

With about 10 different varieties of cookie to choose from, there was plenty for everyone.

{Egg-free cookie dough bites}

{Egg-free cookie dough dip}

Take home baggies. And the pregnant one putting the milk out.

Homemade confetti for the table.

Skillet Cookie instead of a cake.

{Enter video of birthday boy blowing out his candles HERE- which I couldn't get to upload}

My dear son,

You light up our lives. There is just this undeniable quirkiness about you that makes you an instant hit with everyone you have contact with. You are funny, but not because you try to be. You are just you... and in being YOU, you make us giggle, shake our heads, imitate you, and our hearts swell with emotion. I love how you have your own place in our family; you've made your mark and both brothers love you. You are Boone's best friend, and Tripp's little buddy. You call me "Mama" and have taken to sneaking into my side of the bed every single night and snuggling till morning. I cherish your warm little body, your heavy breathing, and your arms dangled over my neck, for I know that it won't be this way forever. I love your constant secret that never changes as you whisper into our ears, "I wuv you" each night. I love your expressions, your scratchy skin, your bright blue eyes, your little accented voice, and your cuddly sweetness.

Three years.
I have loved every one of them.
And I love you so very much. 
Happy Birthday to one of my very best.

*Visit Finn's birthdays here: BIRTH | ONE- pt 1 | ONE- pt 2 | TWO- pt 1 | TWO- pt 2

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