Friday, August 31, 2012

My Baby Girl

I haven't been to visit her in awhile, but my husband stayed with Raccoon one morning so I could do some paperwork and stop by her grave. The 5 year anniversary of her death was July 28, and going back to the cementery was harder than I thought it would be. I could remember so clearly the day we buried her, and all of the dreams I have lost since then.

But as Paul says, "...I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus" (I Thes 4:13-14). So even though I felt the grief wash over me again, I also celebrate that SB is completely whole, perfect, and with Jesus.

I love you, little one, and I miss you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting for Spring

(a continuation of My Very Long Winter)

Days passed. I shared my fears with my husband. Then on Sunday evening, I read Exodus 15. The part that struck me was the last half, verses 22-27. The Israelites had just crossed the Red Sea in a miraculous way and celebrated God's deliverance. Then, three waterless days later, they came to Marah, a pool of bitter water. If anyone needed more faith, more growth, more everything, it was the Israelites. If Marah was a test, then they pretty much failed it in every way. But right after that, God still brought them to Elim, "where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees..." (v. 27). God didn't take them to another Marah, and another, until they got it right. I felt like the Lord brought me to this passage for a purpose, to show me that even though I have failed and still have far to go, He will bring me to Elim. There will be spring in my life again. Soon.

To celebrate and remember this, and to step out in faith, I have chosen the nickname Robin for Baby S. He or she will be a sign that winter is over and spring has returned, that what was seemed to be dead will be alive again, and that there will be new life as well. Wikipedia says, "The American Robin is active mostly during the day (I take this to mean that they sleep well at night!), it is one of the earliest bird species to lay eggs (first back in the springtime), and it is among the first birds to sing at dawn."

from Wikipedia by user Mdf
ETA: 11/29/13 I have now changed my daughter's blog name from Robin to Kitty. I first called her Baby S. because I was convinced she was a boy and I wanted to name "him" Samuel. Nope, not so much. :) I love that God gave me a daughter to raise and I think Kitty fits better, although she has been a great sleeper! And oddly enough, the house where we lived in Washington (May to December) was full of Robins during the summer; I would see them all the time. It was a beautiful reminder that spring has finally come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Very Long Winter

I was daydreaming while waiting for Raccoon to fall asleep, and I began to wonder what nickname I should pick for Baby S for my blog. I want another forest animal to go with Raccoon, so I thought about Bear or Rabbit, but not knowing boy/girl makes it hard. And there has been something much deeper going on in my heart during this pregnancy, something I've been trying to put into words but haven't quite found how.

The last, oh, ten years of my life have been pretty dark, like a long winter. There have been moments of joy and light, but overall, trial seems to have followed trial. Some of them were due to ignorance, some due to poor choices on my part, and some just felt like I was a magnet for sorrow and pain. For the first three of the ten years, I worked my tail off to get the degree I thought would help me accomplish my lifelong dream of starting an orphanage. I worked 40 hours a week and went to school full-time. Not fun, very stressful, and very lonely. Then during the next four years, I butted my head against wall after wall, until finally I realized that my dream was not for me. My life was a mess and I was not the person I thought I was.

During those same years, we received three incredible miracles, bringing with them some of those times of light. SB came into our lives, a fragile baby with severe brain damage. I loved her fiercely and fought two governments to make her my own. After one year with us, she passed away in July, 2007. A month before, we had taken in two foster girls, N and J. Reeling from the loss of SB, I slowly and reluctantly fell in love with N and J, and they took over my heart just as completely. But they were not to be mine either, and my heart broke again when they were adopted by another family in July, 2009.

To add to the craziness, I was 5 months pregnant at the time with Raccoon. As I've said before, he is amazing, and has really been blooming these last few months, but wooeee, he can by no stretch of the imagination be called an easy child. I never knew a person could get so little sleep year after year and not be dead, seriously. But he is my rainbow boy, and I would not trade him for all the easy babies in the world. He has been my joy and consolation for almost three years now, a light in the dark.

Three + four + three brings us to the beginning of 2012, ten years into the most barren time of my life. There was some thawing with Raccoon, but overall, it has still been winter. I should have had four children, but instead I have one. One awesome, funny, bright, intense, active little boy who I treasure every day, but still, one. My husband was perfectly content, but I felt like our family was not yet complete. I didn't want Raccoon to grow up alone. Then surprise, surprise - I'm pregnant! I felt overjoyed, and terrified. Of course I had longed for this new baby, for another miracle in our lives. But at the same time, I couldn't help but wonder, is this going to be another hard thing that I might barely live through?

I have been holding my breath during this pregnancy, waiting for life to become harder again now that things finally seem to be easing up a bit, because that's how it has been for so long. I had this haunting doubt, that two good things could never happen to me in a row. Raccoon, of course, is my first good thing (that has stayed so far), like a clear day with sledding and hot chocolate, but it has still been a long, cold winter.

I found myself drawn to the blogs of other mothers who have experienced the loss of a baby, or were pregnant and fearful. I think I was trying to figure out how I, too, could survive if the worst happened. I kept telling myself Jeremiah 29:11 over and over, ""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."" But it wasn't enough to erase my fears. (If you're not a Christian, this next part will probably be confusing, sorry about that. I've been on this walk for 26 years now and I still felt confused too.) Of course the Lord does not plan to harm me, but what worries me is that it is my ultimate good that He is working towards, not my immediate comfort. If you are a Christian, you've probably heard the sermons - trials bring us growth, a closer walk with Him, they help our faith mature, it's like manure in the garden, etc. So the midnight terror whispered to me, "Here's another hard thing for you, it's for your own good. You haven't passed the test yet, you need more trials by fire, you know, to refine you like gold. So buckle up, you wanted this, no complaining now!" Or something like that.

Finally, I cried out to the Lord that I needed a word from Him, because I couldn't carry this fear any longer. I asked him to be merciful, reminding him that I am fragile, and so very, very tired, broken, and needy. The last time I really felt like I heard His voice was when he whispered to me out of the blue in February, "You'll have a baby this time next year." I begged Him to show me His heart again because I felt lost in the darkness of doubt and fear.

To Be Continued in my next post, "Waiting for Spring" ...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Foody Friday

What worked this week for my, um, very selective eater?
*Devilled eggs (usually with a hard boiled egg he'd eat the whites and not the yolks, now he just wants the yolks)

*Rice and ketchup (this is an old standby)

*Coconut juice

*Apple slices (another staple that rarely fails)

What are your go-to meals or snacks?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dear Kitty,

I had the most wonderful dream about you last night. I was at the hospital, getting an ultrasound, and I could see you so clearly. You had such a happy face, and you were so chubby. I could quickly see that you were a boy! I woke up with such a feeling of peace and well-being. We'll see if the boy part is true, but I know that you are going to be such a blessing for our family. I can't wait to meet you.


ETA: I originally titled this "Dear Baby S." but changed it after I chose the name "Robin"

ETA: 5/13 Chubby yes, boy no. :)

ETA: 11/13 For the sake of clarity, I have gone back through and changed all references to my daughter on this blog from Robin to Kitty. It's just a better fit.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our "School" Blog

Raccoon and I have been doing early learning things at home for awhile now (starting off with ideas from Glen Doman's books, then moving on to more traditional preschool things). I have been blogging privately for awhile, but I decided to make it public today.

So if you wonder what we do, head on over to our "school" blog - The Imaginary Country of Celosia. If you are curious about the name, you'll have to go back to my very first post there. My thoughts on early learning have changed a lot in the last year, so please be nice. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Foody Friday

No, I'm not going to offer recipes as I am anything but a good cook. :) My goal is rather to track food/feeding ideas that work(ed) with my son's sensitivities. Food is a tough area for us and I suspect that eating enough/not enough is directly related to my son's moods and meltdowns. One of our main problems is that his food preferences (which are fairly limited anyway) change often. One week, the banana is king and becomes my go-to move. Then for the next month, poor banana can't even get into the castle. Today, I want to share a few things that have worked at least once.

*Grated carrot (carrot sticks worked for awhile too). I give it to him raw or add some to whatever soup I'm making that day.

*Leaving snacks out on his table. At the end of particularly hard days, I just put a selection of fruit, bread, crackers, or whatever I have handy, along with juice and water on his litte table in our living room (we have tile floors, not carpet, thankfully). At some point during his evening play, he'll often wander over to take a few bites here and there.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Overall, Raccoon is improving, but his growth happens with lots of ups and downs, back and forth, until all of the sudden he takes a leap forward and stays there. Often, just when I think things have taken a turn for the better, he goes backwards. I find these times particularly discouraging, even though I know that "this too shall pass." Sleep is especially dear to me right now, and Raccoon did several days in a row of six hour stretches. Finally, we've arrived! I thought. But then these last few days have been as bad as ever and I'm struggling. I cannot go back to where we were, with Raccoon up 3-6 times a night. Sigh. Have mercy on us, Lord. This has been my prayer for so long now.