Sunday, January 31, 2010

mom_of_4 at home

A while ago I wrote a post about my other blog. It was started, then lay dormant again for a while, occasionally posted to but waiting for me to engage into it fully. I think that's begun.

I won't say that my thoughts are turning more to home now that I'm going to be on maternity leave soon, but that I have more room for thoughts about home and balance and lifestyle. Also, with the recent "crossing of my Jordan" that I've experienced, I'm feeling more release to embrace this next chapter in my life, and along with that to focus on this other blog.

I also wanted to tell you that if you have already taken a peek now and then at "mom_of_4 at home", I have changed the domain name today to if you can't find it any more. I had started it under the domain name of and once I discovered today I could change it I did so that it included Zoe too. ☺

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now

I've been rereading the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp. I read it when I was expecting Sabrina and used many of the techniques in it with her. He discusses a theory of a potential 4th trimester outside the womb, where a number of babies need to be surrounded with a "womb-like" environment so they can finish their development by their fourth month and be ready to face the world. They should actually be considered more like fetuses and should not be expected to be able to cope with life outside the womb as well as we want them to.

The techniques work. When I had the presence of mind to finally use them with Sabrina (and modify my expectations) our world got a lot more peaceful. I used what I could remember with Olivia, but I was focused on surviving and hadn't even considered bringing the book out again for review.

As I reread it again, I remember how hard it was for little Livvie to adjust to life outside the womb. She was so tiny and so unhappy most of the time. I wanted to go out and do things, to enjoy them both, to be able to console and soothe her. I didn't have it in me physically or emotionally to give her everything she needed when she needed it. But as the magical 3-month mark passed, she filled out, became interested in her surroundings, and was a much happier little girl. Unfortunately, by then I only got to enjoy a short time of it until I went in to the hospital with Nicholas. By the time I could reconnect with her, she was already showing signs of SMA.

If I had known then what I know now, maybe I could have helped her enjoy her first three months too. The part that shreds my heart is that three months was half of her little life. Half her life spent fussing and crying and inconsolable. I did the best I knew how, and I am grateful for the patience that I did have, but as her mom I wish I had done better.

Lord, I thank You for the time I had with Livvie. I thank You for giving me what I needed to be her mom. Forgive me for not being open to Your leading, and in receiving that forgiveness, I trust You to cover this broken place with Your grace. I thank You that even though three months was a large part of her earthly life, it is an infinitely tiny part of her eternal life. Lord, You know how much I love her and wanted the best for her. And as You know my heart, she now knows my heart too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Comment Moderation

I just wanted to let you know that effective immediately I have turned on comment moderation, which means that if you comment on my blog, I will have to approve it first before you can see it on the post.

The only reason I am doing this is that it appears that my blog has become an unfortunate target for spam comments and I want to head off anything offensive before it even posts. I pray that this can be resolved by Blogger so that you can have more freedom in your comments again.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moving Forward is not the same as Moving On

My mom and sister-in-law came out last weekend to help us move Sabrina into the twins' room and set up Sabrina's old room as Zoe's room. It was a blessed weekend - we treated Sabrina to a room makeover that's much more in line with her personality. Zoe's room looks wonderful and fills me with joy every time I walk by it. We also spent a couple days scrapbooking and I was able to give some honor and space to the last of the items I had saved to remember.

Now that we actually have moved rooms, I think that I need to clarify something here. Moving forward is not the same as moving on.

Moving on implies that you are leaving someone behind. Moving forward brings them with you.

The hardest part about my grief journey has been overcoming a need to do it right. Has it been at the right pace? Do I look right as a grieving mom? Have I remembered my children in the right way? What I've appreciated most is that usually people do not offer any input other than to affirm wherever I'm at for the moment. Usually. But it's the occasional comment - I'm sure meant well - that sends me back into a tailspin and I get defensive because I did not fit into their expectations of where I should have been by now. But God is so good. He reminds me that my journey is for me and Him alone, and I do not need to receive anything that is not from Him.

I loved having a room for Nicholas & Olivia. It was a tangible way to keep them part of our family, to give them space. It was a room that was visited by myself and others when they wanted to reconnect with our babies. I offer no apology for keeping it as their room for as long as I did. I had no motivation to "move on" from them.

I also love that Zoe is coming. And that God in His infinite patience, gently led me through a process of moving forward that makes room for our little one without leaving anyone behind. I was never worried about making room for Zoe. She is full of life and her arrival is highly anticipated. I was more worried about my three other children. Sabrina, my oldest. She went through everything with us and has emerged a loving girl with a beautiful spirit, despite all our parenting mistakes along the way. Nicholas & Olivia, my twins. I fight to make sure they are remembered because that's my job as their mom.

Friends, if you have not gone through the painful stuff because it is too hard, I fear for you. And if you think that I'm better off now because I've "moved on" from the painful stuff, I grieve for you. What you've missed out on is a precious opportunity to let God heal your broken places and make you whole.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Vote for a Cure

Friends, there is an initiative happening on Facebook where you have the opportunity to help the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation raise $1 million to fund promising SMA research. A cure is closer than you think!

Please go to this link and lend your support to this cause before January 22. The Chase Community Giving campaign will give $1 million to the top charities based on your votes. It's quick and easy and is a way to lend your support to those families touched by SMA.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Remembering Olivia

Early in the morning 2 years ago today, we watched the winter sun come up through the big windows in Olivia's hospital room as she took her last breaths with us.

But that's not what we remember most. Bright blue eyes, little fat feet, how tiny she was when she was born. Her determination.

Our Olivia Hope, our little Livvie, without the hope that we clung to after you left us, we would have never survived. I know that you know how much we love you and remember you. You would never let us forget!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Making Room

We live in a three-bedroom house. One bedroom for Sabrina, one bedroom for Corrie & I, and one bedroom for the twins. Their room is actually the best room in the whole house, south-facing, spacious and bright, tucked away in the back corner, a warm sunny yellow room. And still set up just the way it was when Nicholas & Olivia were here.

I never meant for it to be a memorial, or to remain untouched. It has been Sabrina's favorite room to play in, sometimes a temporary storage room, but always Nicholas & Olivia's room. I confess there was still even some of Olivia's laundry in the hamper that needed to be washed and put away.

Until Corrie's mom came for a visit, I hadn't really considered a change. We had a baby's room all ready. She asked me how we were going to get ready for Zoe and it didn't really hit me until then that in order to make room for Zoe we needed to move Nicholas & Olivia out of their room. That was the last place in the house that still represented to me that they were still a part of the family. I had always thought that I hadn't tackled cleaning out the twins' room because I didn't need to, and never really knew what to do with it. Now I know that I hadn't done it because I didn't want to move them out of their room.

God has been so good to me over this holiday season. As you can read in some of my November and December posts, I've had some ups and downs. Adjusting to this new reality was part of it. But once He reminded me that it was OK to move forward, that it wouldn't dishonor my babies, I've been able to approach making room with some anticipation. Sabrina is going to move into the sunny back bedroom. She has a connection with the twins and has always gravitated toward that room. I don't have to kick Nicholas & Olivia out, because they will always be part of Sabrina. Zoe will be welcomed into Sabrina's old room. We will paint and get it ready just for her, knowing that her older brother and sisters would be happy to share some of their things with her, as well as adding some new things that will be her own.

I spent a sunny, peaceful afternoon going through Nicholas & Olivia's things today and making a memory box for each of them. I marveled at how tiny Olivia's clothes were and remembered how cute Nicholas looked in his overalls. I went through cards and letters and was reminded of how much love and support we have received over the last couple of years. I made a space for their most precious keepsakes in our bedroom.

We are making room for where God wants to take us next, and are at peace with it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome to our 2nd annual New Year's letter! It was a whirlwind Christmas season for us this year, with getting ready much later than usual and the cold weather keeping Corrie busy. But it was also rich with blessings and time with friends and family.

New Year's combines two things I love: starting new projects and coming up with ways of doing things better. This year our theme is "Trim the Fat". We have come out of our 2 year inertia and are looking around at what needs to change and what needs to be simplified. We want to be ready for whatever is coming up next for us.

We will trim the fat in our budget. We have been impulsive and passive for too long, and we want to be in a place where we can not only make decisions out of a place of freedom, but be ready to bless others out of the abundance that God has given us.

We will trim the fat in our diet. Corrie and I have seen the effects of neglecting our health this year in more ways than we like, and have committed to making some better decisions in this area. Again, being impulsive and passive have put us in a place where things need to change.

We will trim the fat in our "stuff". Both Corrie and I feel very strongly that we have too much stuff and will not only be simplifying what we keep, but committing to be very careful about how much more we bring in. We do not want to have more stuff than we have time and energy to maintain.

We will trim the fat in our time. We want to focus on the things that are important, like building relationships and keeping strong family ties. We will guard against those things that steal our time, and ensure that anything that we commit to is from the right motives.

Praise God! He has brought us through a dark place and has taught us many things along the way. I am very excited about 2010. I feel the need to prepare for a new season of blessing and coming up higher in what God wants for us. And we get to meet our little Zoe soon! Thank you all for your love and support as we have been learning how to live as the family that God has made us. We wish you all the best in this new year!