Monday, March 30, 2009

Benji's First Haircut

Benji got his first haircut today.  He was mellow most of the cut and only started crying near the end.  He looks so grown up!



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures in Potty Training

For past few months, I’ve felt the pressing need to potty train Tommy since we both seemed very ready for this next big step.  I asked around for potty training tips and heard lots of praises about a 3-day potty training program.  A few of my friends and acquaintances used it with great success on their 2 year olds, so it sounded good to me.  I really liked the idea of dedicating a short block of time to get it all out of the way at once instead of dragging the experience out a little at a time over a few months.  So I set aside this weekend to do this program.  Here’s how it went:

I got Tommy up at his regular time of 7:00am and took his nighttime diaper off and announced that today he would learn how to use the potty like a big boy and he would get to wear underwear like big boys wear.  He seemed to like this idea.  Then I told him it was time to throw away all of our old diapers since we wouldn’t need them anymore.  He helped me put all his diapers into a garbage bag and we both put it in the trash (which I later retrieved because Ben still needs diapers...shhh!).  Then it was time for breakfast and I started filling him up with drinks. 

The rest of the day is a blur of accidents, pee, potty visits, juice, hyperactivity, and more accidents.  I made the mistake that first day of giving Tommy too many sugary drinks and I paid dearly for it.  One moment he was bouncing off the walls, the next he was curled up in a ball on me complaining that his tummy hurt.  At nap time he wet completely through his clothes and sheets.  Then he was up for more drinks, more accidents, and more potty visits.  Then it was bedtime and I decided to see what would happen if he didn’t wear a diaper at night.  Well, you can guess - he wet himself promptly when he woke up.  I’m pretty sure he wets in the morning right before he fully wakes up, so there’s nothing he can do about it until he is biologically able to hold it.  (On Friday he went through 25 pairs of underwear.)

The early part of this morning was very much like the previous day and I was feeling discouraged.  However, everyone told me to NOT give up no matter how badly things seemed to be going, so I stuck with it.  Over the next few hours, things got a little better.  Now Tommy would announce every time he started wetting and we’d run off to the potty to finish up.  This was improvement!  He had a nice nap and even woke up dry!  At night, I decided to put an overnight Pull-Up on him.  He told me it was a diaper, but I said, “No, these are Big Boy Nighttime Undies!”.  He seemed to accept that.   (On Saturday he went through 22 pairs of underwear.)

This was a completely new day.  All of our training seemed to suddenly click as soon as he woke up.  He had NO accidents all day!  He always told me when he had to pee, and when we rushed to the potty, he peed!  It was amazing!  He did wet during his nap, unfortunately.  I think it’s just a mater of time before he learns to hold it when he sleeps during the day.  Later in the evening we went out to dinner - we were out of the house for over an hour with no accidents!  We had a few false alarm potty trips, but still made it home dry.  (On Sunday he went through only 3 pairs of underwear.)

I think it’s safe to say that Tommy is mostly potty trained, after only 3 days.   It will still take awhile before he is trained to go to the bathroom independently, but at least he’s out of diapers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Fort is Complete!

I (Mark) have been working tirelessly for the past 3 weeks to complete a fort for our boys.  It’s designed to grow with them through the years, and each “play station” (ie: slide, rope ladder, etc) is removable and can be replaced with something more advanced later on.  We wanted something that was fun and large, and yet did not encroach on the lawn or too much of the sand. Going with two towers in each back-corner of the sandbox seemed like the best approach. This also left room under them for shaded sand-play.

The holes went through a foot of sand then 3 feet of rocky soil.  50 lbs. of concrete held each pressure-treated twelve-foot 4x4. Then the basic framing was bolted on. I had to trim a few small branches, but for the most part I tried to keep the trees intact, growing around, above and through the fort.

My brother’s nail gun made putting up the fence boards a breeze.
80% of the lumber used was left-over from my parent’s house and fence. I put the full 6’ fence boards tight together on the back to give our neighbors privacy. For the rest, I cut each 6’ board into three 2’ boards, then did a decorative cut on the top with my table saw.

The basic structure is done. Now for the add-ons!  After looking online, I thought I would have to spend $300 on a slide. Home Depot did not carry any. But then I tried Lowe’s. They have a great one for $90! And they had a lot of other inexpensive things too, like a swing, tarps, a rope ladder, and handles. I just finished installing all of those today. The slide, rope ladder and stairs all have large wood/concrete blocks buried under the sand to keep them secure. 

All we have left to do is sand the whole thing then stain/seal it. When the boys get older, we plan on adding a rock wall, 3rd floor, zip/squirrel lines, and a trap-door to the ground level. 

It has been an exciting project, and remarkably inexpensive, thanks to using mostly left-over lumber and bargain-hunting the add-ons.  It is solid as a rock, and I know it will bring many summers of fun for the boys, their cousins and friends!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two Weeks Later...

It’s been two weeks since my miscarriage on Sunday, March 8th.  I’ve been able to gain a little bit of perspective about my experience.  I no longer burst into tears at the mere thought of losing my baby, or at the sight of a pregnant woman.  I’m feeling a bit more “normal” every day. Every day that gets me further away from March 8th is a better day.

Here’s what I’ve been feeling...
- I’m really looking forward to having a fun summer with my boys.  Before all this happened, Mark and I were planning on going away alone together for a few days before the chaos of having 3 kids started.  Now we are planning to spend about 4 days in San Diego with the boys.  
- I’m looking forward to enjoying my boys better now that I have more energy to play with them and more space for them in my mind 
-I can start working hard on getting my pre-pre-pre pregnancy body back now that I know I’ll never be pregnant again.  In only 3 years, I’ve been up 40 lbs (Tommy’s pregnancy), then down 25 lbs, then up another 20 lbs (Ben’s pregnancy), then down 30 lbs, then up 15 lbs.  My poor body needs a break!
-I’m looking forward to clearing out all the baby clothes we have (about 6 boxes worth in the garage!) and giving them to someone who can use them.
- To see my son in Heaven someday
-To see what plans God has for me

- For feeling optimistic
- For enjoying myself in ways that I couldn’t while I was pregnant

Here’s what I’ve been doing:
- I’ve lost 10 lbs since March 6 (the day we found out our baby had died)
- I am eating healthy.  I was eating healthy food before, but was also allowing myself some treats and extra portions.  Not any more.  
- I work out at the gym three times a week doing strength training to tone muscles that have been wrecked by childbirth
- I walk at least 1.5 miles every day, often more
- Housework!  I’ve been so tired the past 4 months that I haven’t been able to keep my house as tidy as Mark and I like.  Now that I have energy, our house is looking a lot better and is more enjoyable to be in.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Tommy’s new (and favorite) skill is jumping. I remember only a handful of months ago when he wasn’t yet able to jump, but he would still crouch down, arms extended backwards (skier style), only to take a little step forward.  Now he’s jumping down two and three steps at a time and loving flying through the air. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Goodbye, Samuel

The following post is not for the weak of stomach.  It is meant to explain in written word the journey Mark and I have been through the past 2 days, so that I don’t have to go through the painful task of reliving the events in face-to-face conversation. 

My D&C was scheduled for this morning at 10 am, but I never made it that far.  I had painful cramping Saturday night and all day Sunday, and staying completely still was the only thing that seemed to keep the cramping at bay.  What I didn’t realize is that the “cramps” were actually contractions and that I was most likely in labor the whole day.  Around 8 pm, my water broke while I was sitting on the couch and I delivered the baby just a few minutes later.  It was a little boy, Samuel.  

We rushed off to the emergency room where I was checked and rechecked every which way to determine whether any “products of conception” were left behind.  Meanwhile, Samuel was taken to Pathology.  

After a few hours of tests, it was determined that there was some tissue left behind and that I would need a D&C after all.  Unfortunately, general anesthesia was not an option, but the doctor assured me that the drugs he could offer me would put me in such a state so that I wouldn’t remember anything.  In reality, they only made me slightly drowsy and I do remember the entire procedure vividly.  Luckily, however, I didn’t feel much more than heavy pressure.  

I was able to go home 30 minutes after the procedure. As we were leaving, God sent an angel to minister to us. All the nurses were very kind, but this one was a God-send. She had 2 boys, went through a similar situation as us, and then adopted another boy to create a very happy family. We sat a few rows in front of her at our church  in the same service for a few months, yet never met her before tonight. Amid all the tears, despair, fatigue and blood, she raised our spirits and gave us hope.

We finally got home around 2:30 am. I slept all of 3 hours that night.

Physically, I feel better than I have in many days.  Emotionally, I tend to vacillate between raw sorrow and cool indifference.  If I dwell on the physical experience or think about how my baby Samuel is not with me anymore, will never know his brothers, and that I won’t have my dream of a posse of boys wrecking my house, I lose it.  So I try to focus my thoughts on the present and with what is true, not on all that could have been.

I know my sweet baby boy is safely in the arms of my Father and that I will meet him someday and he will be able to meet his brothers.

For now, I put my hope in the promises that God works all things for good according to his purpose, and that if there is anything I don’t understand, I just need to ask for wisdom.

As for the future, we are sure that it is in God’s plan for us to adopt someday.  It is something we have been thinking about for a few years.  Now that certain doors are closed, we look forward to what new doors God might open.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Lord Has Given and The Lord Has Taken Away...

I never made a formal announcement here on this blog, but I was 16 weeks pregnant, due August 21st with our third little blessing.  Last Friday I started bleeding and immediately went to the doctor.  We found out that there was no heartbeat and the baby had stopped growing around 13 weeks.  I will be having a D&C on Monday.  I chose to have this procedure done because it was the safest and best option for how far along I am.  Pregnancies this far along don’t pass naturally without much risk.  

What I’ve been feeling...
- That this was my last pregnancy and I will never be pregnant again.  It is hard dealing with that fact.  I was trying to enjoy this pregnancy knowing it would be my last.
- That we will not be able to have any more biological children.  We were very happy with the idea of having three children and we waited for Mark to get his snip until I was past my 12th week and we confirmed that everything was going well with the baby.  At 12 weeks we saw his heartbeat and saw him dancing around in my womb.  We got a vasectomy 2 days later.  The baby died at 13ish weeks.  It just seems like a very cruel twist of fate.
- That I will never be able to meet the little baby that was growing inside me for 13 weeks

- That I’m relieved in some ways.
- That I actually laughed a lot the day we found out. It is odd how a morbid sense of humor comes out in these situations.
- That I didn’t fully bond with the baby the way Mark did.  I think I always knew from the very beginning that something was wrong and wouldn’t allow myself to fully connect until I saw that sweet little face on this side of my womb. 
- I don’t, however, have any guilt about causing it...I know the miscarriage statistics and how common they are in normal healthy women (1 in 3 pregnancies).  I know I didn’t do anything to cause it.

- That I have two beautiful happy little boys to hug and kiss
- That I have an amazingly supportive husband who just wants to sit next to me while I cry
- That I was prepared for this event in so many different ways:
      • My memory verse for the morning I started the miscarriage (before I knew anything would happen hours later) was from James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work in your so that you may be mature, and complete, not lacking in anything.”
      • My Mothering By Heart church moms group spoke on the topic of miscarriage only 4 weeks ago.  I took detailed notes during Colleen’s talk and am now clinging to those notes along with my Bible (and Mark’s arm).

- To get this ordeal behind me - though I know it’s wildly unrealistic to think this will be “behind me” anytime soon
- To start losing weight - I’ve gained 20 lbs with no baby to nurse the fat away.  I’m going to have to do lose weight the old fashioned way of eating less and moving more.  Until then, I have to wear maternity clothes, since that’s all that fits me right now.
- To know what the future holds to see if we’ll ever have any more children - either through a biological miracle (Vas. fail all the time!) or adoption.  Mark and I are not familiar with the feeling of not knowing what the future holds and it’s a bit unsettling.

...May the Name of the Lord be Praised.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Puddle Stompin'!

What do you do with kids when it’s pouring rain outside, they’re sick of coloring, and you can’t bear to sing another verse of Wheels on the Bus?  Why, you go puddle jumping of course!

Monday, March 2, 2009

All in a Hard Day's Work

Tommy’s favorite thing in the world is to “help” Daddy.  Not just helping a parent, but specifically helping Daddy with just about anything.  Last night he helped Daddy paint a small block of wood that was to be a piece of missing baseboard in our kitchen.  Today while we had a brief reprieve of rain, he helped Daddy dig holes in our sandbox in preparation for the fort we’re going to start building very soon (as soon as this rain stops!)