Archive | March, 2017

Emma Grace: 3.75 Years

9 Mar

Emma is quickly approaching her 4th birthday on April 7, so I better get this update in before it’s too late!15672976_1332807490082903_846264537335391369_nSize

Emma is in 4T and 5T clothing, and size 9 shoes. I’m excited to find out her weight and height at her next well-child checkup!

Eating

Emma is still a really good eater. Usually, we let her choose what she eats for breakfast, lunch, and snacks (by giving her a few different options), and we make her eat at least a few bites of whatever we made for dinner—which usually requires that she sit on our lap and we help her eat, though she is fully capable of feeding herself. She reverts to baby-like behaviors often, but I’m guessing that is fairly common with this age.

Her favorite foods are yogurt, clementines, mandarin oranges, peaches, baby carrots, cereal, baby cereal, waffles, peanut butter on a spoon, PB&Js, mac & cheese, cheese & crackers, strawberries, blueberries, and applesauce. She will also consistently eat broccoli, sweet bell peppers, black beans, and sweet potato fries. She still is not a fan of meat of really any kind, but she will occasionally eat a chicken sausage. Her favorite treats are candy, ice cream, cheesy dibbles (Cheetos), and caffeine-free pop (soda to all you non-Minnesotans).

15697791_1332807883416197_1671014031762530795_n15726473_1332807670082885_2760584912961896007_n15780738_1332807703416215_2116758220268045907_nSleeping

Emma is still napping during the day (because I need her to!) but she is able to skip her nap and not completely lose it before bedtime—so some days, we let her skip her nap, and apparently, she no longer naps at daycare (which isn’t that surprising). She can’t skip her naps too many days in a row, though, or she is a zombie. Because she is between needing a nap and not needing one, she won’t settle down unless I rock her to sleep in a chair. It usually takes 15-20 minutes, which isn’t so bad, but I end up stumbling out of her room wanting to just take a nap myself instead of getting stuff done. I rock myself to sleep sometimes! Emma usually naps from about 2:00 to 4:00.

At night, Emma usually goes to bed between 9:00 and 9:30. The days she skips her naps, she goes down at more like 7:00 or 8:00. She usually wakes up around 7:30 in the morning.

IMG_2506 (Large)IMG_2684 (Large)IMG_2584 (Large)Development

Potty training is still a battle with this one. She is completely in undies during the day and at night, and has only had a few accidents in the past 3-4 months, but she still wants to poop in a diaper about half the time. Little by little, she is more responsive to our encouragement to poop on the potty. She gets ice cream as her reward!

IMG_2749 (Large)IMG_2667 (Large)IMG_2561 (Large)Things Emma has been loving lately:

  • Hide and Seek – We play this as a family after dinner and it is so fun. Emma loves it! Sometimes she yells to let us know where she is before we can find her, and she often hides where she had just found either me or Travis, but overall, Emma does really well at this game. Annabelle is too young to hide, but she is a good seeker! We complain that she always gives us away before Emma can find us.
  • Hiding from “the Bear” – Where Emma learned this, I have no idea, but she is frequently in a closet or under a blanket hiding from the Bear.
  • YouTube Kids – We put the YouTube kids app on their iPad and Emma discovered these videos of people playing with playdoh. It seriously is the weirdest thing—I’m surprised there are people out there making these videos, let alone people watching them. These people make faces, princess dresses, or cover plastic eggs in playdoh, then open them to reveal the prize toy inside. The other videos on YouTube Kids that Emma has been obsessed with lately are of the song “Daddy Finger,” PJ Masks, Peppa the Pig, and videos of nursery songs like Humpty Dumpty.
  • Playing in the snow—Though Emma doesn’t like wearing winter clothes, she does like playing outside in the snow. She often walks through the snow with just her shoes on (even though I tell her not to). She has enjoyed sledding, snowmobiling, and climbing on big snow piles this year. She also likes to help Daddy shovel the driveway.IMG_2566 (Large)15844768_10103166677744622_7747851522964179194_o
  • Baths—Emma’s love of water is going strong, and lately has manifested itself in the form of 2-3 baths a day. I have a love/hate relationship with baths. I like that the girls are contained in one spot and are usually pretty good at entertaining themselves in the bathtub, but I don’t like that I have to constantly remind them to not pour water outside the tub, or on each other’s heads (let’s be honest, Emma is the culprit of this most of the time). Annabelle usually ends up crying and wanting to get out early.
  • Painting and writing her name—Emma can write her first name (nice that it’s short!) and is learning the rest of the alphabet, though she gets easily discouraged when she tries a certain letter a few times and it doesn’t turn out. She also loves painting, and has recently gotten into puffy paints (covered in glitter of course) and watercolors. I like them too, because less mess!IMG_2568 (Large)15747611_1332807103416275_4427022023995455069_n
  • Doing makeup with Mommy—Anytime the girls catch me doing my makeup, they want to do some too. So I usually give them my powder compact and/or blush and that occupies them long enough for me to finish. Emma also enjoys putting sparkles on her face, and getting her nails painted.
  • Making messes—Emma frequently makes big piles of blankets, sheets, sleep sacks, toys, books, towels (pretty much whatever she can get her hands on) and when I lament that she made a giant mess, she says “I’m making a party.”IMG_2748 (Large)IMG_2561 (Large)img_2280

Funny things Emma says:

  • When asked how she slept at night, Emma will usually say something like, “I slept for 6 minutes.”
  • Emma has started asking how things work. She has been particularly interested in the smoke alarms on the ceiling in her bedroom.
  • Emma likes to tell stories, both about things that really happened and things that she makes up. We can’t always understand what she’s talking about, but she is very animated, so it must be a pretty good story.
  • Emma has started to say the phrases Travis and I use, like “Coming in hot,” “Let’s do this,” “Fine,” and “Deal” with a thumbs up. It’s pretty much hilarious. The other day, she also presented me with two options for playing with the water table outside in the cold: “Mom, we have two options. We can either wash the water table or we can play with it.”
  • At Christmas this year, she called candy canes “candilions” (like dandelions). Last year, she called them candy pops.

Things Emma doesn’t like:

  • Wearing anything in her hair—Whenever I put her hair up in a ponytail, even at her request, she pulls it out after about 10 minutes.
  • Wearing winter clothes—She doesn’t like wearing dresses with long sleeves, pants, socks, etc. If she could, she’d wear summer dresses, tank tops, and skirts all year long. She should’ve been born in a tropical climate. This was her at Christmas:IMG_2410 (Large)IMG_2395 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 3.75 years!

Thoughts on Grief: Miscarriage

3 Mar

It was a surprise–both the pregnancy and the loss. We had decided to forego any additional biological children in order to focus on foster care. But then on Dec 4, I took a pregnancy test (my period was late) and it came back positive. At first, we were disappointed because the pregnancy upset our plans–foster care, Europe, my new job. But over the course of December, we grew excited, talking about names, gender reveal methods, pregnancy announcements, etc.

But then the bleeding started. At first, it was just spotting. An ultrasound revealed that the baby was smaller than expected, with a heartbeat of 92 (slower than it should have been, I found out later). I also had a corpus luteum cyst on my left ovary, a subchorionic hemorrhage, and “debris” in the gestational sac. They said they expected these things to resolve on their own.

I left the doctor’s office with a bad feeling about the pregnancy, even though no one else, including the nurses, seemed to be overly concerned about things. I tried to put it out of my mind. We told my family about our exciting news over New Years weekend, and prayed for good news at the next ultrasound.

But that next ultrasound on Thursday showed the embryo had no growth from before, and no heartbeat, and the spotting I’d had had turned to blood. I had gone to the doctor’s office for the ultrasound alone. It wasn’t until the reality that we were losing the baby set in that I realized how fully pinned my hopes had been on hearing that things were fine.

I kept it together until I got out into the hallway and called Travis. The minute he answered the phone, I started sobbing. “The b-b-baby…d-d-doesn’t…h-h-have a…h-h-heartbeat,” I stammered. Travis quickly arranged for our neighbor to take the girls, even though it meant waking them up from their naps, and came to the hospital, while I sat in the nurse’s office and learned about our options. Travis arrived, we discussed what the nurse had said, and decided to wait and see if things would happen naturally. We scheduled an appointment with the OB for the following Monday, just in case things hadn’t progressed on their own by then.

After we left the hospital, we went to Caribou Coffee to digest what was happening before jumping back into the craziness of parenting. I confessed to Travis that I was mad at God. The thoughts running through my head were, “This is so like God. He gives us a surprise pregnancy and enough time to get excited about that change in our plans, and then the baby dies.” It felt like God was the ultimate manipulator, toying with our emotions just to prove to us how little control we have over our lives. “What was the point of this?!?” I screamed in my soul. I felt like we were just pawns in God’s schemes, and that He didn’t really care about us after all.

The next morning, Friday, I got up at 6 am to cramping and lots of blood. A surreal experience if there ever was one, knowing that it wasn’t just blood–it was my baby too. Thankfully, it wasn’t very painful, lasted only a few hours, and another ultrasound that following Monday showed that I did not need a D&C.

God enabled me to see His grace to us in the midst of our loss. I’m so incredibly thankful that my body miscarried on its own, and that it happened the day after we found out our baby had no heartbeat. I’m also grateful that we have the money to pay for the costly ultrasounds.

God also reminded me how I had prayed a few months earlier for Him to enable me to hold the options of having another biological child or pursuing foster care with open hands, willing to follow wherever He led. I discovered that I wasn’t as willing to follow as I had imagined myself to be. The Sunday following the miscarriage, I had a vision in church of Jesus standing on the other side of the waterfall, beckoning me to join Him with an outstretched hand. Am I willing to follow through the veil down the road of fully acknowledging and feeling my pain and sadness?

Faced with the sorrow of losing a baby less than a year after the death of my beloved mom, I felt the familiar feeling of not wanting to follow Jesus into hurt and pain. As if there were a choice; the hurt and pain are there regardless. For some reason, though, accepting the hurt and pain as God’s perfect plan makes the pain hurt more, makes the loss seem more final. It seems easier to kick against the goads and reject the reality of loss. With the death of my mom, I clung to God’s goodness and perfect ways like a buoy in a white-capped sea. With this miscarriage, though, I floundered in unbelief and anger.

It wasn’t until I humbled myself and read the Bible that God broke through my anger, bitterness, and accusations, and my heart softened. The truth was that Satan causes harm and destruction; God redeems and heals.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

This experience revealed how close sin and unbelief are to me. They’re crouching at the door, waiting to devour me. And the only weapon I have is the sword of the Spirit–the Word. Truth. And the Truth is that “This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30)

One unexpected grace that has come from this loss is that I appreciate and cherish my two daughters and husband more. I feel so blessed to have them–and I actually feel it in my heart, instead of just acknowledging it in my head. You would think that a loss like this would make you feel less content, not more. But losing an unborn baby has reinforced how much I truly love kids in general, and specifically my own kids–even when they’re driving me crazy, I’m so blessed that they’re mine.

This sadness has also made me aware that we are entering into a world of potential heartache with foster care. A world of unrealized hopes and dreams, of uncertain outcomes and tenuous relationships. But Travis and I continue to feel called in that direction.

Lord, whatever lies ahead, give us the faith and strength to follow You.