Today is my 31st Birthday. That means I've lived as many years as Baskin Robbins offers flavors. That just might make this the best birthday ever. :) So, here are my 31 flavors:
1. 31 years of life. 8.5 years of marriage. I can honestly say that both life and love just keep getting better and better.
2. As the mother of a 6-year-old and a nearly 5-year-old (a first-grader and a full-time preschooler), I am in a parenting stage that is very quickly becoming my favorite so far. Their personalities are amazing, the tantrums are *rare*, and I love sharing these incredible kiddos with teachers and educators who partner with me in their growth, development, and education.
3. I realize now, more than ever, how incredibly blessed I am to have the parents I have. Not once, in 31 years, have they ever stopped loving me, even though I haven't always made it easy.
4. And while we're at it, I'm thankful for my brother. I watch my kids, and I pray they grow up to love each other as much as I love my brother. And I pray that they have the good sense to marry partners as incredible as my sister-in-law. And I pray that they give me grandchildren as amazing as my niece is. :) (Because she's stinkin' amazing, y'all.)
4. The older I get, the more I realize how uncomfortable I am with having large amounts of attention placed solely on me for the sake of me. This generally happens twice a year: Mother's Day and my birthday. I always wondered why my mom never really seemed to crave a bunch of attention on her birthday (because, let's face it, as a child, my birthday meant one thing: LOOK AT ME! MAKE ME HAPPY!). Now, I'm starting to get it.
5. I'd much, much, much rather use my extra birthday attention to shed light on things I care about:
6. Like The Mercy House. Check out this amazing fundraising campaign currently in Phase 1...plenty of time for you to get involved!
7. And my friends! You can take one quick moment and celebrate my birthday by voting for my friend and accountant here.
8. Or you can pray for my friend, S, and her son, L, who was recently diagnosed with Autism. They have a long and intimidating road ahead of them as they figure out how to move forward. Pray that God gives them comfort and wisdom and that, above all, L knows, deep in his heart, that God loves him immensely and has incredible plans for him.
9. And my friend, K, who just has a lot going on right now. Pray that God will show his love in incredible ways.
10. Finally, I don't have 31 Flavors. I've got three: I love God. I love others. I try (mostly unsuccessfully) to love both of those things more than I love myself.
Thank you so much for paying a little bit of your attention to me today on my birthday. And thank you, even more, if you paid a little bit more of your attention to the things I care about. That's the very best gift I could receive. :)
Have a GREAT September 15th!!
You are growing up so fast. I'm afraid to blink for fear that I'll miss something. So I thought I'd record a few of your little gems from this past weekend to try to capture a bit of this magical time we're experiencing.
Ruby, you're six years old, and if I had to describe this time in your life with one word, I'd choose DEPTH. You think about everything so very deeply, and we're alternately amused and inspired.
This weekend, you were in the car when the driver got pulled over for speeding. (It wasn't Mommy or Daddy, but I'll protect the identity of the perpetrator.) You asked why a police office had stopped us, and we explained that there are rules for the road. One of the rules is that you can only go so fast. If you go faster than the limit, you get in trouble and have to pay a fine. You seemed satisfied with our explanation and put your headphones back in to start playing with your LeapPad.
Fifteen minutes later, you pulled your earphones out and said, "Mom, if we were going faster than the limit and the police officer saw us. Then, he had to go even faster than us to catch up to us and pull us over. So he was breaking the speed limit, too. Why doesn't he get in trouble?"
The adults in the car giggled for quite a while. :)
Then today, we went to have ice cream with Pop and Gigi. We were only going to be in the ice cream shop for a short time, so we left Tux in the car. Just a few minutes after we'd started eating our ice cream, an older woman came over to our table to ask if we owned the car out side with the dog in it. We told her that we did, and she told us that Tux was barking a lot and panting. We explained that he is easily excited, and that we wouldn't be much longer. She continued to lecture us and give us dirty looks. It upset you pretty bad.
After we left the ice cream shop, you were still feeling pretty irritated by the woman, and Daddy explained that some people think they know what's best and they try to make other people follow the rules the way *they* want them followed. You started crying and said, "But sometimes I do that. I'm afraid I'll grow up and be like that woman!" And then you started bawling! So we explained that you're so young and if you see a part of your personality that you don't particularly care for, then you have the power to change that behavior.
At bedtime, when we prayed, I asked God to help guide your heart to be loving and compassionate to the people around you. I also told you that I was proud of you for being open to realizing where you might need to work on improving. You started to tear up again, and you said, "But I think I've probably already lost some friends because of this and now I can never get them back!"
Oh, sweet girl, my heart broke into a million pieces, because I. have. too. You get it so honest, baby girl. So, so honest. And it sucks. But you've got this incredible benefit of realizing where you need to make changes when you're just 6 years old.
So we made a plan together. I explained that it's probably not too late at all. We talked about how you could talk with the friends that you've hurt in the past and tell them about how the woman at Culver's made you feel, and then you could apologize for making them feel that way and ask for their forgiveness and a second chance.
"But what if they don't want to give me a second chance?"
You put words to the fears that we've all felt in our hearts. And I told you that you could only be responsible for yourself. If you do everything you can to love others, to apologize quickly when you've been wrong, and to forgive quickly when you've been wronged, then that's all you can do. The rest is up to the other person, and you have to trust God that He'll bring friends into your life.
I'm writing this all down, because I want this to be a "pile of rocks" for you. (Poppa used to say this to me all the time. Ask me what it means.) I want to come back to this in another couple of years, and let's see how you're doing. Let's see how *I'm* doing. Let's grow together, Amazing Girl. I'm so thankful for all the things you teach me, and I'm so thankful I get to be your Momma. I love you.
Burke, you're four years old. You're going to be five in just a couple of weeks. You've nearly mastered your Ls. You say them right 99% of the time, and I'm struggling with that. I miss your unbeweevabwee cute mis-pronunciation. :) But it means you're growing up, and there's definitely no denying it. You're getting so big, and you look more like your amazingly handsome Daddy every day. You're going to pre-school all day, every day, and I can't beleive the difference it's made.
You went to preschool all last year, and the only letters you could identify were the letters in your name. You couldn't identify any numbers, and I was starting to get a little nervous about sending you to Kindergarten in a year. But just four weeks of pre-school with Mrs. Cornell, and wow! You can identify I, i, U, u, E, e, A, and a. You can tell us the sounds that all four of those letters make, and you can write them independently. You're also learning your numbers and simple match concepts quickly. I'm so proud of you, Buster.
Currently, you love to play with blocks. Trio blocks, Lego blocks, Kinex blocks... just about anything that clicks together to make shapes. You like to build garages for your Transformers and castles for battles. You also like to build guns, and you're (alarmingly) accurate. I wonder if you'll be an architect or an engineer of some sort.
One of the more serious things that you're learning right now is that you are an individual, and you are responsible for your own choices. When you're running to fast and you trip, you're always quick to say that your shoes made you do it. When you're throwing a fit and using unkind words, you're always quick to say that the circumstances made you do it. We've been talking *a lot* about responsibility and making good choices, no matter what. I'm excited to watch you grow and learn through this stage, Mister Man. You sure are my favorite little boy. I love you like crazy, and you'll always be my baby (whether you like it or not.) :) I love you, Bubba.
Thanks for making me a mom. It's the greatest priviledge I've ever experienced. I love you.
Today you were playing Restaurant. Using the fancy-schmancy Don Pablos order tickets we copied, you took my order for vegetable soup and a banana split with sweet tea to drink. Unfortunately, your restaurant was out of strawberry sauce, whip cream, and cherries. You were also unable to give me the souvenir cup I ordered, because your sugar cubes were too big for that particular cup.
I complained. I said that it was quite a let down to be missing these items.
When you brought my food, you informed me that you were "very sorry for the disappointment today" and you had "brought this cupcake to make up for the poor service" and that my sweet tea would be out in just a moment.
A few minutes later, you appeared with my tea, complete with sugar cubes that very closely resembled three dice.
"Ew!" I exclaimed. "What are those black dots on my sugar?? Are there BUGS in my tea???"
"Oh no!" you responded. "That's our special sugar. We put holes in the sugar cubes to let in the air and make your tea sweeter. You're just seeing the holes."
You returned to the kitchen while I ate my dinner. (By "ate my dinner," I mean that I quickly shoved my vegetable soup, banana split, and cupcake into my desk drawer while you weren't looking.)
Within no time, you were back to clear the table and give me the bill. You handed me a bill for $100 and proceeded to ask me where the food had gone. You pestered me for three or four minutes, looking everywhere until Burke came over and found it in my drawer.
You took my food back and still demanded payment.
Of course, I complained. I said that your restaurant was the worst I'd ever visited what with being expected to pay $100 for food that I didn't even get to keep. I even said that I was going to post on Facebook about my horrible experience.
Well, you sprang *right* into action:
"I'm so sorry, ma'am, but I can't let you keep the rest of this food. When we reviewed the security tapes, we realized that a thief had broken into our restaurant, stolen the real food, and replaced it with wooden food. That food I served you will hurt you. You *can't* keep it! We'll take care of your bill, though."
I said that was fine and went home. (By "went home," I mean that I left my office downstairs and went up to the kitchen to prepare for real dinner.)
You followed me up the stairs and said, "Ma'am, please come over to my restaurant this evening and let me make it up to you. How can I earn your trust again?"
I started laughing and ended our game of pretend, because I really needed to make dinner, but I need you to know this:
Today you're about six and a half years old. Someday in the future, you're going to wonder what you're supposed to be when you grow up. You're going to look at that long list of talents and abilities you possess, and you're going to try to decide what to do with your life. On that day, I want you to remember a few things.
1. At the age of six and a half, you understand more about customer service than many business owners understand after 20 years of experience.
2. You've got an imagination that is out of this world, kid. Holes in the sugar to infuse more flavor? A food thief that leaves wooden food in his wake? Security cameras that caught it all? You came up with all of that on the fly. Not even a moment's hesitation before spinning these tales.
3. Communication is easily your greatest strength. You can describe the things you're imagining with incredible detail. You can converse with an adult about a pretend adult situation with eery accuracy. When you want to, you can inspire, pacify, encourage, persuade, and entertain your audience with the greatest of ease. It's amazing.
I love watching you grow and develop, Ruby. No matter what you decide to do when you grow up, I have no doubt that you'll end up spreading joy and love everywhere you go.
I'm so glad I get to be your momma. I love you, incredible girl.
I have a friend. She's a newer friend. We didn't know each other in grade school or high school or even college. We didn't meet each other through church or a social club or even a mom's club. In fact, we met as business acquaintances. For a long time, I didn't know her as anything other than a mutual business acquaintance through my brother.
Over the past few months, however, we've become friends. We've spent time in each other's homes, and we've gotten a deeper look at each other's lives. And I've come to realize that she exhibits a kind of love that is incredibly inspiring to me.
I've had other friends who love well. They support their husbands and care for their children and look out for their friends like any good wife/mother/friend. But Lori is different.
There are no legal or societal boundaries requiring her to love others. She loves because she chooses to love. And it's not easy.
Lori is in a committed, monogamous relationship with a man and has been for some time, but there's no ring on her finger. There are no Save-the-Dates in the mail.
Lori's partner has a son from a previous relationship. He spends one day each week and every other weekend with Lori and his dad.
Lori isn't required to love Jesse and Madden. Technically, she could lose them at any moment. Because of that, some people might think she's crazy for loving them. I kinda did.
I've loved and lost, and those losses have turned me into a very mistrusting and cynical sort of person. I'm hesitant to extend love to someone, to trust them enough to care deeply for them. But I don't want to stay this way, and Lori reminds me of the value of intentional risky love.
Last Friday, Lori and her family had Ruby and Burke over to play while Mike and I went on a date. When we came to pick Ruby and Burke up, they were all getting ready for popcorn and a movie. At one point, Madden, Lori's partner's son, tripped and fell. Physically, he was just fine, but he was tired and a little embarrassed. Lori hurried over and helped him up, and he crawled into her arms. As she stood up, holding this growing-too-quickly little boy, he wrapped his arms around her neck and twisted his little fingers into her ponytail. He laid his head on her shoulder and settled into her love.
You guys, it struck me. I've been thinking about it over and over and over again since it happened. And everytime I think of it, I get teary-eyed. That sort of love is life-changing.
It's not the first time I've witnessed their incredible relationship. When Madden needs a snack or can't find his Batman costume, he calls for Lori. When he needs help or he has a special "secret" (like the fact that he and Burke are hiding from Ruby), he comes to Lori. Lori isn't his second choice. She's his first choice, right along with his Daddy. This little boy knows, in a way that can't be defined, that he's very loved, and he loves right back.
And Lori's just as smitten with him. Monster's University party at the local theater? Check. Buying his favorite cherries at the grocery? Check. Community Easter Egg hunt? Check. Boo at the Zoo? Check. Walking to the pool with Madden's friends because they forgot to get the carseat but they still want to swim? Check. Inviting Madden's friends over just because she knows he loves to play with them? Check. Making sure he's got the clothes he needs, the food he needs, the shelter he needs, and the love he needs? Check.
Madden's dad is working hard to gain the right to more time with Madden right now. And I honestly can't think of a dad that deserves it more. Supporting her partner means that Lori has to reign in some of her love for Madden. When their time together is cut short or when she sees something that she doesn't agree with or doesn't feel is healthy for Madden, she has to take a step back and let the process work it out. She can't lash out and tell the other parties what she really thinks. She has to be patient and trust that everything will work out the way it's supposed to. It takes a type of personal control and restraint that is completely foreign to me.
The point is that Lori loves her family. Wholly and completely.
And she loves my family, too. She feeds us dinner every other week or so. She makes my kids laugh. She offers to help me with everything from organizing my kitchen to watching my kids for a few hours. She celebrates with us and grieves with us. And I'm really, really thankful God had our paths cross.
Because we know Lori, we are Love-Spotted. Jesse, Madden, Mike, Ruby, Burke, me... Her love has made a mark on our lives, and nothing can wipe it out.
After more than a year off from blogging, Lori has shown me something worth highlighting. I'm starting a series called "Love-Spotted." Hopefully, I won't be the only one writing it. When you spot love in your community, shoot me an email or message me on Facebook, and let's share it here.
Let's come together to shine a light on the great things happening in our communities. I can't wait to see how you're spotting love!
Thanks, Lori, for loving so well. I really appreciate you!
A little more than seven months ago, my husband made the bravest decision I've ever seen him make. For more than two years, I had watched him labor under the stress of a job that was stealing every ounce of his joy. Even in the midst of the worst economy our generation has witnessed, we knew it was more important for our family to be cared for mentally, spiritually, and emotionally than for our family to be provided for financially. So, after spending eleven years developing his passion for mass spectrometry and becoming an expert in his domain, he chose to take a hard left and leave the field of Science completely.
We had no idea where the new path would take us. On the day that he turned in his notice of resignation, our only prospect for income was his side business. It was a highly profitable hobby, but not nearly enough to sustain our family of four long-term. We had to act in faith, knowing that God was not only our leader, but our protector and provider, as well.
The next day, the full weight of our decision came down on Mike's shoulders, and he broke. Right in the middle of our kitchen, he sank to the ground in tears...wondering if he'd made a wrong turn. I've never felt those emotions before in my life. I wrapped my arms around him to try and comfort him, wishing that I could transfer my insane amount of confidence and faith into his heart and mind. Wishing that I had a magic way to show him how incredibly proud I was to be his wife in that very moment. It was wonderful to be standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing that we were right where we were suppoed to be.
Just one week later, I accepted a job offer from the bank I had worked for before having the kids. Our basic needs would be met, and we were so thankful.
A few days after that, a web development firm in Indy invited Mike to come down and interview for a developer position. They made him an offer that was hard to believe. He could work from home, set his own schedule, and the compensation was nearly exactly what he'd been making at his old job.
He was dumbfounded. I was amused. God's promises are true.
The first part of 2013 was lots of fun. I loved getting back into the workforce and flexing my customer service muscles again. Mike's new job was everything he hoped..and then some. His co-workers were great. He enjoyed his work. The flexibility was so good for our family. Most importantly, he was smiling again. All the time! Making the kids laugh, making me laugh...reminding me of exactly how much was at stake. Making me even more grateful for his brave decision to trust God with his greatest fear.
We *loved* having our husband and daddy back.
Then one day in April, his boss wanted to meet with him about his position in the company. We thought maybe they were considering a promotion or something like that. After years in a job with no upward motion, we were shocked and excited.
He called me that afternoon as he drove home to tell me that they hadn't offered him a promotion...
...because they wanted to spin off the web development portion of their company and bring him in on the new venture as the majority shareholder.
It was too good to be true. Surely there was a catch. God is good, but is it even possible for Him to be *this* good?
We spent the next months meeting with trusted advisors, business experts, accountants, and lawyers. At the end of it all, we realized that it wasn't a dream. God had brought us into a position to be able to do good work with good people for good reasons.
Y'all. I wasn't surprised when God gave Mike and me the jobs we needed to support our family. I wasn't shocked a bit when our step of faith led us into a better situation where we could love God and love others better. I loved seeing my faith turn into reality and seeing that facing his biggest fear and jumping off a cliff had led my husband to some of the greatest joy I'd ever seen him experience.
But when Mike signed the final operating agreement...
When the business was filed with the State of Indiana...
When I realized what God was doing, and what He was inviting us to do with Him...
Well, I still feel like I'm walking around in a dream. I can't wait to see what comes next.
For now, all I know is that my husband absolutely took the right left, and he is exactly where God wants him to be at this moment in time. And I'm incredibly thrilled to introduce you to his new company:
Please pray for us as we seek to manage this incredible opportunity in a way that honors our desire to love God and love others. Thanks for sharing in our joy and excitement!
The Goodwin Family has grown by four paws!! Meet Tux:
"The Good Ones' Dapper Tuxedo," according to the American Kennel Club. :)
He's an eight-week-old Havanese puppy, and we're all really excited to have him as part of our family.
The kids and I have been begging Mike for a puppy for several months now. (I've been asking for years.) And he decided now's the time. We picked up Tux at his breeder this afternoon, and we're all settling in nicely.
Kirsten Smith, of Lovespun Studio, made these adorable bowties to go on Tux's collar. After all, doesn't every Tux need a good bowtie? :)
We chose the red bowtie for his homecoming, but you can barely see it's cuteness under all that crazy fur! Tux will be getting a haircut soon, and we'll get a better picture then! Thanks for helping make today a little more special for us, Kirsten!
The kids have their own Tux-related responsibilities, and we're looking forward to this next adventure as a family. :) Thanks for stopping by to meet our new family member!! We'll be sure to keep you updated!
Subtitled: Why My Flooded Basement is the Best Thing That Happened To Me Today!
We bought our perfect medium house. It had a finished basement, just like we've always wanted. The former owners assured us that they'd never had any water issues in the 10 years they owned the home. We were over the moon!
Until the basement flooded six weeks after we closed.
Then last night, the shower drain started to back up again...threatening a second round of thousands of dollars of damage.
The first time it flooded, I lost it. I cried. I got angry. I assumed the victim role with a vengeance.
But this time, I just didn't feel that way.
From the moment the water started coming up, I thought, "You know what? It's just stuff. Even if it floods to the ceiling and ruins everything in the basement, I'll still be one of the most blessed people walking this planet."
And that felt right. That felt truer than panic and worry and anxiety. So I went with it...
Sitting on the drain in the middle of the shower with a wet, numb behind, I started to work through my options. I called my brother, and he came to help me get the kiddos off to school. He stood on the drain while I got things in order to sit on the drain for a while.
Then, I started calling plumbers.
The good perspective was great and all, but *this* is why my flooded basement is the best thing that happened to me today:
My dad called. While I was sitting (wet, cold, and uncomfortable) on the floor of my shower, he ran through a list of options and offered (more than half a dozen times) to drive up and help me. When I finally convinced him that a trip up north wasn't necessary, he did the coolest thing. He said,
"Honey, you call me if there's anything I can do to help. I'll come up right away, because the thought of you sitting there..."
And then his voice broke, I could hear the tears spring into his eyes.
"...well that just breaks my heart."
My daddy loves me, has always loved me, more than I could ever deserve. Sitting in the middle of one of the most frustrating situations possible, I was reminded of his extreme love.
And then tonight, when I figured out a solution to the problem? He said,
"I'm proud of you! I'm glad you found a solution, because it really did break my heart to think of you just sitting up there." And then on Facebook, he said, "That's my girl! Won't take no for an answer." :)
It may be silly for a thrity-year-old woman to still need to hear her father's love and affirmation, but I do, and I won't apologize for it.
I love my dad like crazy, and I'm so grateful he's mine! Hearing these words from him today was totally worth every moment of frustration, every dollar spent on the solution, and then some! :) Thanks for being such an incredible dad, Dad! :)
November 26th, 2012 - 2:00 a.m.
Well, Baby Girl,
The time is here. You were scheduled for an induction at 9:15 this morning, but we were all hoping you'd come before that point. True to your procrastinating roots, you waited until the last minute. :) You missed your Uncle Kevin by about 24 hours, but you decided to come just in time for Uncle Mike to meet you before he has to leave on a business trip. Around 10:40 last night, your Mommy's water broke. She and Daddy were resting on the couch when it happened, and you gave them a shock. Your Daddy said, "When your wife wakes you up with 'my water just broke,' you wake up. You definitely wake up."
I had a deal with your Daddy during these last couple of weeks: He was not allowed to call me unless you were definitely one your way. Texting was the only acceptable form of communication. ;) When my phone rang at 10:45 last night and I saw my little brother's face, I started crying. I knew it was go time, and I was beyond excited. Mommy and Daddy were going to wait a little bit before going to the hospital, so I jumped in the shower and got dressed and ready for the big night and day ahead.
Around midnight, I couldn't wait any longer. I figured as long as I was going to be awake and waiting, I might as well be awake and waiting at the hospital. Uncle Mike agreed to stay home with Ruby and Burke while I came to the hospital to wait on you. :) I stopped by McD's and got a sweet tea, then headed to the Women's Clinic. I saw the Eight38 car as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, so I knew Mommy and Daddy were here. When I arrived in the lobby, I learned that your Grandma Linda (Mamie?) was actually the first to arrive out of all of us! :) To say that we're excited would be a bit of an understatement, my dear. You sure are loved.
Around 1:30 a.m., Mommy was finally settled into your labor and delivery room, and she invited me and Grandma Linda back to visit. :) She looked beautiful! I am so proud of your mommy. She has been gracious, patient, kind, and joyful for the entire nine months that you've been growing inside her. During these final weeks, when many pregnant women resort to complaints and impatience, your momma has continued to be as sweet and lovely as ever. She's a gem, and you're a lucky, lucky daughter.
The lab came to draw Mommy's blood, and Mommy's night shift nurse, Ivy, came in to give us the low-down:
Mommy is supposed to try and rest for the remainder of the night, and the doctor will come in to see her in the morning. Grandma Linda went back home to rest up, and I popped a squat on the couch to document these first few hours of your labor. :) Mommy is tucked up snug under her blankets, and Daddy is reclined in a chair that's about a foot and a half too short for his tall frame. They're currently falling asleep to the sweet soundtrack of "Pawn Stars."
Yep. You read that right. Rick, Old Man, Big Hoss, and Chumley are the voices you're hearing as you prepare to make your way into our world. Hopefully that won't have any long-term affect on you. ;)
That's about it for now, sweetheart. It's 2:33 a.m. Your little perfect heart is beating away at ~145 bpm, and your mommy's contractions (which are still pretty weak) are coming along about every five minutes. We can't wait to meet you! :)
I love you more than words can say...
Mommy and Daddy got a solid four hours of sleep last night!! Good girl letting your momma get some rest before the main event! :) We all woke up around 6:30 this morning with the nurses' shift change. Mommy's primary nurse for these first few hours is Janey. The L&D unit is very, very busy today, so Mommy might be getting a new nurse here in a little bit.
So far, Mommy's contractions are coming every five minutes and they're mildly uncomfortable. Since your amniotic sac is ruptured (and has been for ten hours now), the doctor is probably going to want to get this show on the road soon. The nurse thinks he will order pitocin, so we took a walk to try to get the contractions started on their own.
Jarrod and Shannon (Mommy and Daddy's best friends) each stopped by to visit for a few minutes this morning before work. Shannon plans to pop in and out as the day progresses, since she works here in the hospital, and Jarrod will come back to visit later this evening.
Poppa, Nonna, Grandpa Sherwood, and Grandma Linda are still at home getting ready for the day. Uncle Mike is at home getting Ruby and Burke ready, too. They'll all be arriving shortly to hang out and wait for your big entrance. We surely do love you, Little Miss. Can't wait to hold you!!!
Hi Baby Girl,
Dr. Hoversland came in to see Mommy around 8:30. You were in position, and he felt that Mommy's body just needed a little bit of encouragement. He ordered Pitocin (a drug that helps Mommy's labor move along more quickly), and the nurse, Janie, started the line around 8:45. Within ten minutes, her contractions were coming nice and steady about 2 minutes apart. Now we're just waiting for the contractions to gain some strength and do their job.
Uncle Mike, Ruby, and Burke arrived around 9:45, and Grandma Linda got here around 10:00. Right now, we're watching Doc McStuffins and making small talk. We've taken a few guesses at your name: Grandpa Sherwood thinks you'll be named Esmerelda, and Poppa is stickin' with Pete. Ruby has guessed Lilly (along with Princess Snowflake), and Burke is guessing Optimus Burke. :) He originally wanted you to to be called Super Burke. :) We'll all know for sure in just a couple of hours...
Talk to you soon!
I forgot to tell you that Nurse Ivy is back again! She's pitching a double-header today, so hopefully you'll be kind to her. :)
Hey little lady,
You are taking your sweet precious time in getting here. Nonna and Poppa arrived around 11:20...right when your Mommy's contractions were starting to hurt a bit more. That's also right about when your cousins started getting a bit stir crazy. Grandma Linda tried to keep their attention by giving them a quick lesson in crochet. Ruby made a ring/bracelet for you, and Burke made you a snake. Yes...a snake. These are the types of things you should go ahead and grow accustomed to, baby girl. :)
Shannon came to visit again and explained some of the information on the screens to us. Dr. H also came in to check Mommy around 12:20, and she's nearly 100% effaced. She's still dilated to 2, but you've moved down to a -1 station.
Poppa, Nonna, Uncle Mike, Ruby, Burke, and I headed out to lunch at Olive Garden, and we're going to take a pizza back to your Daddy for lunch.
We're hoping to pass some time and then meet you later this afternoon. :)
Hope to see you soon, pretty girl!!
Hey Little E!
(We know your name starts with E, because there's an E on your crib mobile.) :)
We're 15 hours into your labor, and Mommy is resting easy with her Epidural. When we came back from lunch (at Olive Garden), Grandma Linda was heading out to get her lunch. Uncle Mike picked up a pizza for Daddy (Thin 'n' Crispy - Sausage, Pepperoni, and Green Peppers - from Pizza Hut). Then he took Ruby and Burke home to rest up for this evening. Poppa is napping in the car in the parking lot, because he wants to be close. :) Hopefully you'll come soon, because Uncle Mike has to head out for his business trip, and I really want you to be able to meet him right away.
Speaking of uncles, your Uncle Kevin made it back home safely. We sure are sorry he can't be here, but he'll get to meet you at Christmas time. He's currently completing an internship at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MA. He thinks that he'd like to pursue his M.D. in Pediatric Cardiology.
Grandma Linda, Nonna, and I are sitting out here in the lobby shootin' the breeze. We've discussed weddings, sending kids to college, menopause... ;) Anything to pass the time.
It's 3:40 p.m. now, and the hospital just played the lullaby which means that another baby was born. Nonna and I joked that it better not be you and after the nervous laughter died down, Nonna popped out of her chair and went to make sure. ;) There's a baby squalling on the other side of the L&D Department, so I don't think it was you yet.
(She just got back, and it wasn't you.) :)
Mommy is awake again, and I think they're going to check her progress soon. You really do bring a whole new meaning to anxiously awaiting something, my dear! I can't wait to hold you!
Well, Mommy was still dilated to 2 at 4:00, but she's progressed to 3-4. :) Dr. H is happy, and he's going to let her labor for as long as she needs. He thinks we'll have you in our arms between midnight and dawn. :)
Poppa, Nonna, Grandpa Sherwood, Grandma Linda, Ruby, Burke, and I are going to go to dinner, let the doggies out, and grab a few things for Mommy and Daddy. Then, we'll all be back here to settle in and wait for you. :)
I probably won't check in again until after I've got your cousins in bed. I love you! See you soon!
Hey silly girl,
The doc just checked your Momma and said she's at 5. :) It's almost showtime! I'm getting your cousins in bed and laying out all of their stuff for tomorrow. Then, I'm heading back to the hospital to wait on you.
I love you so much I'm about to burst!
Uncle Mike is on his way to Ohio for a business trip, Ruby and Burke are at home in bed, and Poppa and I are hanging out in the lobby waiting on you. Nonna, Grandma Linda, Jarrod, and Shannon are visiting with you, Mommy, and Daddy in your room right now.
Mommy has made some progress since earlier this evening, and the doctor seems hopeful that you'll be here in the wee hours of the morning.
The play-by-play has gotten decidedly less interesting over the course of the day, but I hope that one day you'll appreciate knowing how the day(s) of your birth progressed. ;)
I love you, kiddo. You'll never be able to understand exactly how much I do do do love you you you.
See you soon, Stinker,
Baby E, it's Showtime!
Mommy is 100% effaced, fully dilated, and ready to bring you into this world. Dr. H has given her the go-ahead to push, and you should be here in no more than two hours.
About a half an hour ago, Poppa, Nonna, Grandma Linda, Jarrod, Daddy, and I prayed over you and Mommy. We thanked God for your incredible, healthy, full-term pregnancy. We prayed that He would continue to protect you and Mommy as you move into this final leg of your journey. Daddy thanked God for your Mommy and her rock-star-ness, and he asked God to be with you and to make this the first day in a life that is dedicated to God. I thanked God for his answer to our prayers that Mommy would start to progress and not need a c-section. I asked God to be with your Daddy during this time and to reassure him of what an incredible Daddy he is going to be. Jarrod thanked God for your amazing extended support network and asked God to lead us and guide us to be everything that you, Mommy, and Daddy need us to be.
As we stood there, hands linked to create a circle of love around you and Mommy, I was overcome with gratitude. We're here, Baby Girl. Less than two hours from your due date...a truly full-term pregnancy. You are healthy, and Mommy is healthy. Even though your labor has been long, it has been calm and uneventful. When Mommy stalled at 2 cm, we all joined together, praying and asking God to intervene and bring Mommy to full dilation. Less than an hour later, Mommy was measuring 3-4 cm. And now, just five hours after we initially started praying, Mommy is fully dilated and pushing! What a mighty, good God we serve!
I wrote a few words about Mommy and Daddy on my Facebook page tonight, and this is what I said:
"When I was 29 months old, a bald baby with a big ol' head came crashing his way into our family. Within 2 years, he had caught up to me in size, and, not long after that, he surpassed me. My big little brother has been with me every day for the past 27.5 years. I have so many incredible memories with him, from playing Mall Madness together to pass the time on Christmas Eve to seeing the sheer joy on his face when he held my baby girl in his arms for the first time. Tonight, he will hold his baby girl in his arms for the first time. His life will change forever in the span of a moment, and he is going to be an incredible Daddy. I have never before felt this kind of pride, love, and joy. Happy Father's Day, Kyle Burke! I love you more than you'll ever know."
"When I was teenager and started to realize that one day another girl would join our family, I started praying about that girl. I didn't like a lot of my schoolmates, and I dreaded the thought of spending the rest of my life sharing my family with them. The day I was introduced to Kim Cherry, my brother told me that he was pretty sure he was going to marry her. I wasn't sure if he knew what he was talking about or not, but she seemed alright to me. Now, more than six years later, I can say, with all of my heart, that I couldn't have hoped for a better woman to join our family. She is amazing in so many ways, and I love her more than I can express. Watching her become a mother in the next couple of hours is going to be one of the greatest joys in my life. :) I love you, Kim. Thank you for being my sister."
And I mean those words with every fiber of my being, E. So, here are my words to you:
I've dreamed of being a Mommy since I was a baby myself. I thought God would give me a house full of kids, and I prepared my heart to love dozens and dozens of children. When Uncle Mike and I learned that we wouldn't be able to have anymore kids after Burke, that big heart that was ready to love dozens of kids broke into thousands of tiny pieces. I couldn't see past my grief to understand how God was going to use up all that extra love if I didn't have anymore kids of my own.
But over the past nine months, I've realized at least part of how God's going to put it to use. Tonight, I can feel some of the pieces of my heart mending themselves together and brimming with a love that's meant for you, my sweet. I am your aunt. I love you (and I will continue to love you) like my own. I will look out for you, and I will be here for you. I will make you laugh, and I will hold you when you cry. I will stand behind your Daddy and your Mommy, and I will love and support them as they love and raise you. You will always have a place right here in my arms, sweet girl. I love you.
I am so very ready to meet you, Little E.
November 27, 2012 - 12:19 a.m.
Well Baby Girl,
You've done it. :) You've made it all the way to your due date. You are perfectly full-term. :) You're the first baby I've ever known to be born on your due date.
Mommy's been pushing for about 2 hours and 20 minutes now, and she's sounding pretty tired. Daddy's standing right by her side and cheering her all the way. Grandma Linda is lending her support, and Poppa, Nonna, and I are holding down the fort out here in the waiting room.
We've been having a great time with another family that's also waiting on their newest member. It's a little boy, and he's two weeks late already. He's a big boy, so they took him back to c-section. He should be making his debut any moment now. (I think you should follow his lead...) ;) I've been teasing that you guys must be a match made in L&D, because you're both being stubborn and refusing to come out.
I sure do hope I get to meet you soon, sweetie. Nonna doesn't think I'll be able to hold you tonight, but I'm crossing my fingers. ;)
I love you.
Well, we have no idea what's going on back there, so your Nonna keeps trying to sneak back and listen in at the door. Unfortunately, the nurses are being very strict and not letting her roam the hall or stand outside the door. She keeps scoping it out and, when the nurse's station is abandoned, she tries to hurry back there.
The little boy that I was talking about earlier was finally born just a little bit ago, and that was the last straw. Your Nonna said, "That's it! I'm going back there!" And she got right up out of her seat and started to march back there to your momma, but no more than 30 seconds later I heard her shoes clip clopping quickly back down to the waiting room. She was giggling and said, "Nevermind! The Sargent of Arms is on duty!" :) Needless to say, she lost her spirit of rebellion pretty quickly...
She's now wondering (outloud), "I wonder if you can go around the other direction...I bet you can." ;)
We're desperate for news about you, my darling. Please come out and meet us.
Happy Birthday, Baby E. You are officially out of your Mommy. We haven't been able to see you, Mommy, or Daddy. 27 hours after your water broke (and after 3 hours of pushing), the doctor tried to help you out with forceps. When that didn't work, they took you both back to c-section. Unfortunately, you got a bit of your mom's anesthesia and you're in the NICU. We're all going back to meet you right now.
Not to be outdone by your cousins, you have decided to spend a bit of time in the NICU, sweetie pie. But before I get into that, please let me introduce you to yourself:
Eleanor Lynden Burke, you were born at 2:55 this morning via c-section. You were 22 inches long, and you weighed 7 lbs. and 7 inches. You have golden blond hair, the longest, most slender fingers I've ever seen on a newborn, and feet that you definitely got from your Daddy. :) You have got an incredibly strong sucking reflex, and I think you're going to be a natural at breastfeeding.
Right now, your respiratory counts are a bit high, and you're running a fever. You got some of Mommy's anesthesia during the c-section, so you had to be taken back to the NICU and woken up. You swallowed a bit of meconium, as well. Because of all that hooplah, you've already had your first chest x-ray, and the Neonatalogist has ordered a round of antibiotics for you, as well as a CBC. They're trying to rule out any infection and/or pneumonia. Hopefully you'll only have to be in the NICU for 48 hours and then you can go be with your Mommy.
Speaking of Mommy, she hadn't gotten to see you yet when I left the hospital. She was still in Recovery. I snapped lots of pictures for her and took some video to hold her over until she gets to come see you.
Actually, by this point, she's probably already met you and hopefully held you, as well. She sure was a trooper, but labor put her through the ringer. I can barely contain myself until I'm able to get back to you, Mommy, and Daddy.
Hang in there, Ellie. I'm praying that everything gets cleared up ASAP and that you're in Mommy's arms and on your way home before we know it.
March 6, 2013 8:22 p.m.
You're three months old, and I'm finally getting around to changing the settings on this post to "Published." ;) You ended up spending an entire 10 days in the NICU for antibiotics. Who knows if you actually needed all that medicine or not, but we're glad you got healthy.
You are amazing, Ellie Lyn. I can't get enough of you. Kissin' cheeks, pattin' backs, snugglin' you up! Shew, buddy...I sure do love it. :)
I'm lookin' forward to the next few dozen years with you, baby girl. :) LOVE YOU!
How in the world has it been four years, my sweet boy? From my tiny little baby miracle to my ever-changing, full of personality big boy miracle... It's amazing to me. Ten days ago, we celebrated your fourth birthday.
Your family came to celebrate with you, and we had tons of fun. It all started with a Perry the Platypus cake (requested a couple months in advance and crafted by yours truly out of pound cake, graham crackers, and marshmallows.) Just in case the Perry cake was a flop, I made sure to get a sheetcake, too. We used that for your birthday wishes:
I'm not sure what wishes you made. However, based on your reaction to your presents, I think a few of them came true. :) You had asked Daddy and I for Transformers about a week before your birthday, and Pop and Gigi had the same idea. You ended up with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Boulder (from the Rescue Bots.) We're still on a search for Heatwave, Chase, and Blades, but the best thing about these dudes is that MOMMY CAN TRANSFORM THEM, TOO! :)
I'll be honest: I bought your main birthday gift more than a month ago. I was absolutely sure you'd fall in love with it and think I was the best Mom on the planet. At first, it was lookin' good...you flew down the stairs...
...straight to the train table that I thought would steal your heart.
You and Daddy played around for a bit, but then it was right. back. to the *REAL* star of the Birthday Party: Uncle Jordan's Remote Control Car.
You, Daddy, and Pop were trying all kinds of tricks with your new car, even ramping it off the discarded boxes of your Transformers.
Unfortunately, Uncle Jordan was working, so he missed out on the ramping fun. Instead, you chatted with him on the phone. I think he would have been proud of your atypical approach to the conversation.
We finished out the evening with dinner at Olive Garden (your choice), and I noticed that one of your frogmuffs (a gift from Nonna and Poppa) had lost an eye. When I mentioned that fact to you, you assured me by saying, "No...he's jus' winkin'."
You spent a good portion of the day dressed up in some form or fashion. You enjoyed the superhero cape and mask that we got you for your birthday. So much so that you continued to wear it even while we went out to lunch and to Toys-R-Us.
I guess I'm sort of back-tracking here, but you spent the morning at the house with Poppa and Nonna while Daddy and I led worship at a women's event. When we got back home, went to lunch at Cracker Barrel where you scored those amazing frog earmuffs. Then Poppa, Nonna, KyKy, and Aunt Kim took you on a birthday shopping trip to Toys-R-Us. Whenever someone would ask you if you wanted something, you'd say, "Okay." We couldn't get you very excited about anything, but you seemed pretty happy with your choices: a police response unit Lego pack, an electronic semi-truck, and a big ol' honkin' TONKA truck.
All in all, you had an *awesome* birthday, big boy. We sure do love you! Happy 4th Birthday, Burke!
Roo, you make me smile. :)
You have settled in to school just perfectly. You have friends sitting with you at lunch now, and it seems that was the missing piece. You've been coming home with "Ruby made OUTSTANDING choices at school today!" badges nearly every day, and you're learning sight words and math concepts at an incredible pace. I love hearing you read your stories each afternoon.
Today, I sent a special note in your lunch. I think it's one you'll be able to read all by yourself. :)
Last week, you got to check out a book from the school library for the first time. You chose The Berenstain Bears' "Ready, Get Set, Go!" This morning, you packed it back up in your bag to return, and you were *so* excited when I told you that you get to choose another book today. :) I can't wait to see what you bring home this afternoon.
This past week you got a new bed. It's a good thing because last night you were up sleepwalking again.
We had a busy weekend this weekend. Daddy and I took you and Burke to see Finding Nemo 3D in the theaters. It was fun to tell you and Burke the story of our engagement and take you to see the tree outside Class of '50. You guys thought it was pretty cool to see where Daddy proposed. :)
Mike, Sam, and Corinne visited on Saturday and Sunday. We had dinner with several of Daddy's co-workers on Saturday night and breakfast with the Roths on Sunday morning. You were more than happy to pose for me outside of Cracker Barrel since you were wearing one of my favorite current outfits of yours. :)
I sure do love you, kiddo. See you in a few hours!