Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Happy Day!

Two years ago, I was in the hospital, waiting for this precious little man to enter my life.

He sure did take his sweet time getting here.

 But he was worth every minute of that wait.
 Tomorrow we celebrate Graham being TWO.  (he says it loud, you have to write it LOUD)

 He has grown leaps and bounds this past year. 
 He repeats everything we say now, much to his big sister's dismay- ha!
 This time last year, he was JUST taking his first steps. Now? Now, we can't get him to stop or slow down.  
 Graham is adventurous, silly, funny, brave, strong, sweet, and loving.
Happy Birthday Buddy.  We love you to pieces.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mr Baseball

We had a little party with some friends a few weeks ago.  Alexis brought a baseball set and I think Graham was the most excited.
He did not want to take the helmet off!
Grace was not so excited about baseball.  She wanted to be a cheerleader. Ha!
All the kids loved snack time though!
Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation
Psalm 35:9

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I am blessed.

Today is my birthday. 
I am blessed.

I have a husband who loves me madly and who does everything he can to keep our family healthy and happy

I have two beautiful children here on earth who are full of life and energy and keep me going

I have a daughter in heaven whom I WILL see again.

I have friends and family who call and text and send me messages to tell me I am loved

I am a child of the Risen Lord, whose grace and mercy cover me daily

I am blessed. Indeed

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday

This is the day that the Lord has made. 
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Today I am thankful for:
  • babysitters!  I had a babysitter come over this morning and I accomplished so much!  I even went to lunch by myself.  Lovely
  • modern medicine-  I have a lovely case of itchy hives.  No idea why I have it, but I am thankful for medicine to make the itching STOP!
  • a playdate-  We are having friends over to play this afternoon.  That with being out and about this morning will make this day go fast. :)
  • YOU- if you are reading this chances are, you are a loved one.  I am so thankful for the people in our lives who love us fiercely.  We have felt that love in the past 7 weeks and we are so grateful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grandpa's work

We stopped by to visit Grandpa at his new office!  
We helped him with some of his work.

Thanks for showing us around Grandpa!  

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It's Thursday.  I usually do Thankful Thursday posts.  I'm not going to lie.  My heart is hurting today.  A Thankful Thursday post is not top on my list right now. The beginning of the week was great. We had Ella's memorial on Sunday.  It was beautiful.  Hard, but beautiful.  Our family was there and we had such a great time with them.   I started working a bit (I work part time from home) and got up before the kids, got some house things done, just overall had a great few days.  

Today is not one of those.

It's not the awful- just stay in bed- kind of day.  Just the kind where, my heart hurts and the tears are always at the surface.  6 weeks ago...  Will I ever stop counting?

Today I hurt.  Tomorrow is a new day.  So instead of a Thankful post, I want to share with you what I wrote and said at Ella's memorial. 
(balloons we released at Ella's memorial, credit to my dear friend Marah)

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll…
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
I became a Christian at an early age.  It feels like I’ve always lived my life with Christ as my center.  I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my life and as most people do, I have clung closer to him during the hard times.  It’s easy to live life knowing Christ is in control when life is good.  But to have a baby and to know that she is going to die, is something that I never thought I’d experience and it’s so much harder to live for Christ in the hard.  For years, I have sung the words to “It is well”. I have said “when sorrows like sea billows roll” but I can honestly say I’ve never thought about them or how the illustration is so very true.  I can now sing those above words and know what it feels like to have sorrow and grief roll across my body in a way that is almost paralyzing.  

Knowing Ella was sick and not going to live was so very hard, but it allowed us some great blessings.  I stopped taking every little roll and kick for granted.  I would lay in bed each night and again each morning and soak in the “time” I had with her.  When she’d kick my right side like she always did, I’d tell her “good job, baby girl, you are strong”.  Shane would spend more time feeling her move.   Every day she was inside me was another day we had with her and I loved that.

We were given the gift of preparing.  So many people don’t have that opportunity when they lose a loved one.  We talked over what we wanted for her life, no matter how short it would be.  We were able to begin grieving and to begin to prepare our kids that their sister wouldn’t be coming home with us.  We began to talk about how we wanted to honor her life.  From the very beginning Shane shared that he wanted God to be glorified in her life and death and that he wanted our family to grow even closer, and stronger from this experience.  We talked about what that looked like for us.  Even in the hard, we shared our feelings and thoughts and I loved that too.

From the time we heard that Ella had Trisomy 13, my only prayer was that I’d get to hold her alive.  I just wanted “time” with my baby girl.  I know that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the ways we want, but we had two great hours with our little girl.  She cried.  She opened her eyes for us.  She even pooped on me! :)  I am forever grateful to Him for those gifts and for hearing our prayers.

I was so worried that when we had Ella, I’d be so sad that I wouldn’t get to enjoy her.  Again, the Lord showed His grace and love by blessing us with a peaceful day and a beautiful birth.  Loving doctors, midwives, and nurses surrounded us.  Ella was born quickly and she cried immediately, bringing a smile to both her daddy and I.  She was placed right on my chest and that’s where she stayed her whole life.  She was warm and loved.  We told her everything we wanted to say.  We sang to her, held her hands, kissed her, and loved on her.  She KNEW she was important to us.   I read Psalm 139 to her.
God, you created Ella’s inmost being;
You knit her together in my womb.
We praise you because she is fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
We know that full well.
Her frame was not hidden from you when she was made in the secret place.
When she was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw her unformed body.
All the days you ordained for her were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139: 13-16

I miss Ella.  I miss her kicks and tugs in my belly.  I miss her sweet brown curls.  I miss her small hands and the smell of baby powder on her skin.  I miss all of the things I won’t get to have with her. I miss not being able to bring her home to Grace and Graham.  I miss seeing them kiss and love on her.  I miss the snuggles we would have given her and she would have given us. All of the life experiences that we have with our first two that we won’t have with her- I’ll miss those too.

As hard as it hurts to not have her here, I know that Ella is in heaven.  She was not created by accident.  God knew exactly what he was doing as He made her and He knew her days.  I know that God has healed her. She has no pain.  She has no suffering.   I’ll see her again someday and I cannot wait. 

I know that God will be glorified in Ella’s life.  He already has.  Even if just from me- my faith now knows what it’s like to walk in the desert and valley with pain and sorrow and to be held by a loving merciful God and I can sing and know what it feels like to have “peace” as well.  And all the while I know that it is well with my soul.  Not because I “feel” a certain way but because I am given the assurance that neither life nor death can separate me from the love of God because he gave up his own child for me so that I can have life forever.  I give him all the glory for each and every blessing in my life, including the hard ones.
My sweet little girl and her daddy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


 1- the number of boy cousins Graham and Gracie have
 50- the number of times Gracie asked the boy cousin to play/read/pretend with her
 10- the number of minutes it takes to round everybody up to walk down to the lake.
 5- the number of takes I had to do to get this one good picture of everyone.  Well, almost everyone!
2- the number of days we have until we can be with family again.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth
Psalm 71:5

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thank you

Thank you for those praying for us this weekend.  We had Ella's memorial yesterday and it was beautiful.  Our family was there with us and we celebrated her life and our great God.

We are blessed.  Even in the hard.


Friday, August 10, 2012


Maybe it's just me, or maybe women in general, but dates are important.  I met Shane on June 11th, got engaged October 3rd, married May 5th.  And of course the day I had my kids- those dates are important.  There is a song from Haiti that I remember singing in church that goes something like "if you were saved on a Sunday, get up and dance.  If you were saved on a Monday get up and dance... and so on.  I do not, for the record, remember what day I was saved on but since it was at Awanas (Sparks for Jesus!) I guessed Wednesday and that was my dancing day.

I have a great ability to keep a running calendar in my head (mostly) and know what we are doing when.  It makes my husbands head spin when I start rattling off our plans for the next 6 months.

Today is my due date.

Today was the day we were expecting Ella to come.  Now, of course, due dates are just estimates.  Just an approximate time.  I had Gracie six days before her due date, but I got to pick that date because it was a c-section.  I had Graham the day before his due date.

Before we knew Ella had Trisomy 13, I was so looking forward to August 10th.  I liked the "look" of 8/10/12 if she would have been born today.  I liked that I had babies born in the summer.  After we had her diagnosis, I just wanted her to stay put for as long as possible.  Each day we had her was such a gift but it was one day closer to August 10th and the inevitable fact that she wasn't going to come home with us.

It's fitting to me, that today, on the day she was due, I got a beautiful 8x10 picture of her in the mail.  And it is perfect, just like she was.  So today I am looking at my baby girl and loving her.  It's hard on days like this, but I WILL be thankful.  I WILL choose joy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday

  • 5 weeks ago (exactly- it's 2:30!)  I gave birth to my sweet beautiful girl.  I am thankful today for her, and her memory.  
  • I am so thankful for pictures. I love looking at Ella's sweet face.
  • I am thankful for the hug from a stranger.  Not exactly a stranger I guess, but from someone I only really know in passing.  It was exactly what I needed today.
  • I am thankful for a card in the mail.  They were the perfect words.
  • I am thankful for friends who keep calling and texting and emailing to say hi and check in.  I am thankful that they are not stopping even though I may not call, text, or email back.
  • I am thankful for coffee in the morning.  Amen.  :)
  • I am thankful for a warm cup of tea when I need some comfort.  (now all I need is for my mom to have made it for me- why is it that tea made by someone else is always better?)
  • I am thankful for people who love my kids.  It's been hard for me to play with them like they need, or even just to "be" there for them.  But they are doing good and so many have stepped up to love on them.  Grace has been at VBS this week and she's had a fantastic time.
And lastly, I am thankful for laughter.  I've enjoyed this post this week sent by a great friend. It's provided lots to chat about  (really, probably only ladies will care about it, so Dad and Brad, don't click on it. :) )  Go and read it.  Do you have "mom" jeans?! (disclaimer, I am NOT endorsing spending a gazillion dollars on jeans, that's probably why I have "mom jeans" because I will not pay even full price for a pair!)

Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Sunday, August 5, 2012


 This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it!
I'm trying to catch up on pictures....  Here is a great one!  Grandma Shirley took Gracie to the fireworks for the 4th of July.  We got them all ready to go with glow in the dark glasses!
 See?  Don't they look great? :)
 We went to the county fair too.  The kids had a good time.  Well, that's not true. Gracie was CRANKY!  But it was still a memory.  Ha!
 Here are two little men - when you see them you can't help but smile.  Look at my friends sweet little guy.  Can you honestly look at those cheeks and not want to kiss him all over?!
 This is a pic of some beautiful flowers my dear friend sent.  I loved loved them. And I love her even more for thinking of us.
That's right.  My Graham Bradley is a FEATURE.  Along with some lesser known classics. :)

Another friend gave me these great verses and encouraging cards that hang on your bathroom mirror.  They are by Emily Burger Designs.  Go here to see them.  They have a number of different ones.  It would make the perfect little gift to tuck into a card or give to someone just because.  I also would love to get a framed print for my bathroom or really any room in my house.  Every morning I look at the card hanging in my bathroom and it's the perfect encouragement.   Having Scripture or encouraging words around me has been so helpful.

Blessed are those that mourn for they will be comforted
Matthew 5:4

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

(a few pics, to make this post interesting- the grandparents may get mad if I don't show these two. Ha!)

Four weeks ago today I gave birth to Ella.  Four weeks ago this morning I was dozing thanks to a great epidural.  I'm so thankful for that peaceful day.  We knew what was coming and it could have been so so awful but that day was quiet and peaceful.   Shane just hung out and watched meI snore sleep all day.  I would wake up when the nurses would come in then drift off to sleep.  We had all the monitors turned low so we weren't listening to her heartbeat.  I didn't want to stress about if her heart was beating well or not.

Part of me feels like it was yesterday and part of me feels like it was years ago.  That's bittersweet I think.  I can't live in those moments.  I need to keep going.  My kids need me.  My husband needs me.  But I'd love, more than anything, to hold her again.  I know I will in Heaven.  Praise God for that.  I KNOW she is in a better place.   I just miss her.

Today is Thursday and I am thankful for:

  • a gorgeous necklace given by dear friends.  It's Ella's birthstone!  I never thought that I'd have a "ruby".  I love love love it. (and I'm even more thankful for those ladies who so thoughtfully gave it to me)
  • a visit this week by my BFFs from Michigan.  I love those girls.  We did nothing special but it was the best.  
  • Pictures!  My friend Jess took a few pictures of Ella and "prettied" them up.  I LOVE them!  I may share them on here.  Right now, they are just "ours" and that feels right.
  • dinners that were made for us.  They have ended (did they really have to end?!). I know that's a good thing.  I need to start doing some planning and get a schedule going for us.  But those meals were such a lifesaver for my family.
  • going out to eat tonight with some amazing ladies.
I had started way back in January, doing Ann Voskamp's gratitude list.  (you can see August's here) but  I slowly stopped . I'm going to start my gratitude journal again and try to do it every day this month.  

Because those who keeping a gratitude list:
1. Have a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)
2. Make progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
3. Report higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
4. Feel closer in their relationships and desire to build stronger relationships(Algoe and Haidt, 2009)
5. Increase your happiness by 25% — (Who wouldn’t want a quarter more happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)
Who doesn’t want all that?
(copied from A Holy Experience)  
I could use a little more happiness and to have closer, stronger relationships and definitely more energy. :)