Sweet smile!

Lately, Eli has become a lot more alert.  He loves gazing around the house and loves laying on his activity mat and staring at the toys.  My absolute favorite developments are that now he will respond to my voice, follow me with his gaze and respond with the sweetest smile.  It doesn't matter my attitude or what I am doing, that smile just melts my heart!

He is getting so big though.  I weighed him on our home scale yesterday and he was 12 pounds.  That's almost double his birth weight already!  And he is getting just as tall:

Eli is still our favorite photo subject.  Here are a few of our recent favorites:

Eli, I can't believe you are almost 2 months already, but we love you more and more each day!  Today, I am so thankful for your sweet smile!

A Confession...

Allow me a moment to confess something to you:  parenting a newborn and adjusting to being a family of three is hard.  I love Eli more than I could ever express, but I have to admit, I thought maternity leave would be a glowy time of bonding with my new son, planning fun outings, and managing the household with ease and grace.  While I certainly have had glowy bonding moments, I have also found endless hours of nursing, a million disgusting diapers, and many sleepless nights.  I had heard about this, but I suppose I just assumed this was other babies...not my perfect child :-)  Let me tell you, Eli is not perfect; adorable but certainly not perfect.

These realities took a hit on my sanity and definitely how I treated my husband.  Mix hormones and a lack of sleep and what do you get....an insane mother.  I found myself struggling with anger and resentment.  I even found myself angry at Eli as though he did anything to me.  He is a baby just doing what babies do.  Poor Matt probably didn't know if he was going to come home to a house that looked like a tornado hit with a woman nursing in the dark crying or a crabby lady.  Thankfully many of those hormonal moments have passed, but I definitely still have my moments.

Last night was one of "those moments."  I was trying to make dinner and clean things up before Matt got home.  Eli was sleeping peacefully in his bouncy seat so I bound around the house putting this away and preparing dinner...a premade dinner that someone dropped off.  All I had to do was follow the instructions, everything was measured out perfectly and accompanied by easy directions.  I was trying to make Gorgonzola burgers with sweet potato fries and fruit.  Easy enough right?  I mixed up the burgers and formed them into patties...but as I cooked them, they kept crumbling.  It looked like I was browning ground beef, not making burgers.  Yikes!  Then in the middle of it, Eli woke up and started screaming.  Burgers abandoned and oven turned off in hopes to not completely burn the fries, I quickly attended to Eli.  He would not calm down.  He looked hungry but I had just fed him an hour before.  Could he seriously already be hungry again?  Yep!  So a crabby mom, started to feed Eli and texted Matt, "The burgers are falling apart.  Eli is screaming.  My dinner is screwed."  Poor Matt.  He simply wrote back, "Oh no.  I will be home soon.  Sounds like we both need a glass of wine."

Thankfully he got home a few minutes later to find his crabby wife on the couch nursing Eli.  He poured me a glass of wine  (don't worry, I waited until after I was done nursing :-)) and surveyed my crumbled burgers.  He then took the mess and turned them into awesome sloppy joes from scratch.  (Thank goodness my husband was blessed with his dad's cooking gene).  Twenty minutes later, Eli was again sleeping peacefully (for a 5 hour stretch!), I had a glass of wine in hand and was eating a yummy dinner. Crisis averted!

Today I was thinking about how that is just what God does for us.  He takes our crumbled mess and the bad attitude that comes with it and turns it into something beautiful.

All I can say is THANK YOU!


Back in the land of the living!

Well, I can see that my last post was at the beginning of my third trimester.  I guess it has been a while!  Honestly, I really needed to step away from the blog for the end of my pregnancy.  Its not that I forgot about Isaiah for a second, I just really needed to focus on staying positive or I might have gone crazy - especially because I had a scare at 34 weeks (but more on that later).   Thankfully, Eli (Elias) Matthew arrived safely on August 29th.  I can't believe he is already almost 7 weeks old and I haven't updated the blog with the news about him....but let's be real, I barely have had time to brush my teeth or take a shower.  My hair has been in a pony tail since I went into the hospital.  (Thank goodness Matt likes pony tails.)

Here is the scoop on the last couple of months:

The remainder of my pregnancy was a little frightening.  I had a bleeding scare at 34 weeks and ended up in the hospital for three days.  Thankfully, they were able to stop my contractions and keep the baby inside for a few more weeks.  I spent the rest of my pregnancy on modified bed rest (A lot of couch time for me.  Would you believe I actually got tired of napping.  Crazy!)

Thankfully Eli stayed put until he was supposed to and at 38 weeks, I headed into the hospital to be induced.  Here's the last picture of Matt and I as a family of two on the way into the hospital.

My labor was fairly quick.  I was finally induced around 1:00p and at 6:57p, Eli weighing in at 6lbs 12 oz and rocking out at 19 inches long, made his screaming entrance into the world.  (I had prayed and prayed for the chance to hear that adorable scream!)

The nurses got him cleaned up and handed the adorable bundle into my arms.  It was love at first sight!

Leaving the hospital with Eli was amazing.  Knowing what it was like to leave with empty arms made that moment even more joyous.  The days since then have been a whirlwind of trying to figure out this little man and survive on a negligible amount of sleep.  Though we have had frustrating moments, we have loved getting to know Eli.  He is such a joy...even at 2:00 in the morning.  He has become Matt's new favorite photo subject.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Many more updated photos to come!  For the meantime we are going to delight in every moment we get with Eli.  He is such a precious gift!

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~ Psalm 37:4


Hello Third Trimester!

I can't believe I have already made it to the third trimester....or really close depending on which website you look at.  Thankfully the pregnancy is going fairly quickly, and starting next week, I will be seeing the doctor a whole lot more which I am sure will help my nerves.

This little guy has been a pretty chill baby.  He moves a fair amount...but he likes to nap a lot too.  Imagine that, a growing baby needs his sleep.   I do not do well with his down time though.  If I haven't felt him in an hour or so, I find myself poking and prodding my belly to try to get him moving.  If that doesn't do it, I have resorted to pop, a sugary treat or a spicy snack...whatever it takes.  I read that his brain is starting to function a whole lot better this week...he is probably starting to think, "Mom, stop bugging me!"

In all honesty, these quiet moments bring back the morning we found out we had lost Isaiah.  I have never mentioned this on my blog, but the morning of that shattering doctors appointment, Isaiah wasn't moving.  I kept trying to get him to move.  I even had an orange juice which often worked.  Still nothing.  I tried not to get worried.  I had felt him a ton the night before, and I had an appointment later in the morning where I could verify that everything was ok....only it wasn't.

I know each pregnancy and each baby is different so I am trying to adjust to the patterns of this baby, but at times its hard.  I keep trying to remind myself to lean on God more and more.  He loves this baby more than Matt and I ever could, but still its hard.    Through these moments, I am really learning that Christian catch phrases are often a bunch of bunk and not helpful. I keep hearing, "Just have faith."  Well ok there is truth in that, but its just not that simple.  I am learning that if faith were always easy...it wouldn't be faith.  There is no "just have" about it.  Having faith and trusting God is a daily battle to take him at his word and turn over each worry and concern to him. This a great lesson for me to learn...but not an easy one for this hard headed girl!



Woah, has it already been a month since my last post???  I have been quite the lazy blogger.  Thankfully its because time has just gotten away from me.  I say thankfully because that means I haven't been sitting around anxiously counting each moment until September.  I still have my moments, but they are definitely farther apart than they were a few months ago!

On my last post, I requested prayers for my ultrasound a few weeks ago.  Thank you so much to all of you who lifted us up in prayer during that day.  We were incredibly nervous the day of the appointment... especially because the ultrasound tech was pretty stone faced for the first few minutes.  We briefly explained our story and why ultrasounds terrified us and she quickly became much more interactive and was great about reassuring us that everything looked good.  We felt even better when we met with our doctor again after the ultrasound and she again reassured us that HE is healthy.  We were happy to find out we are having another boy.  I was worried this would remind me too much of being pregnant with Isaiah, but thankfully it hasn't.  We have already thought of some names (and no we are not telling until he has made his debut!) and that has helped me bond with him.  This pregnancy will always remind me of Isaiah, but I want to bond with this little guy as his own distinct person.

Our days since then have been filled with fun things and a bit of busyness which has been wonderful.  We had a fun Easter brunch and celebration with my mom and  visited Matt's family in MN...and yes, it snowed in May.  Ridiculous if you ask me!

Matt has been keeping himself extremely busy.  He is diligently working on taking the 7 required exams to become a licensed architect.  They are all pretty intense but as of next Tuesday, he will be more than half way done!  He does like the house quiet while studying so I am trying to tip toe around and I am getting good at watching TV episodes on the iPad with my noise cancelling headphones.  It also doesn't hurt that I can't stay up past 10:00....ok most nights I am passed out on the couch by 8:30 or 9:00.  As long as I don't start snoring, that helps keep the place nice and quiet.

Matt has also signed up and started to train to run the Chicago Marathon in October with Team World Vision.  This team, made up of believers from around the Chicagoland area, is raising funds for World Vision, an organization near and dear to our hearts.   World Vision works with communities in need around the world to help provide things like clean water, nutritious food, education, medical care and economic opportunity. We have been sponsoring three children in Africa, Ntilibabi and Bilibi from Ghana and Warku (who shares a birthday with Isaiah) from Ethiopia and it has been such a blessing to watch our money go to things like getting Ntilibabi her first pair of shoes, helping the community that she and Bilibi live in get a well to provide clean drinking water, and providing food and water during times of great drought to Warku's community.  I am thrilled to see the amazing things that world vision will be able to provide with the money that Team World Vision will raise.  If you are interested in sponsoring him, check out this website: 


I think back to life a year ago.  I was thankful just to get through the day without crying more than once and now I feel like I have so many things to be truly excited about and thankful for.  That doesn't negate the pain that Matt and I have been through, but it reminds me that in His time, He makes all things new and truly does turn our mourning into dancing!


Surprised by Joy

The last few days have been beautiful here in Chicago. Ok, I admit today is a little chilly, but the sun is shining and the spring flowers are starting to bloom around the city. The promise of spring (even if the temperatures won’t cooperate) brings a flicker of child-like excitement to my heart.

Another exciting thing that is bringing joy to my heart is that over the past week or so, I have started to be able to feel the baby kick and squirm. I just love these tiny movements. At first, I thought it would just be a painful reminder of being pregnant with Isaiah, and while it is definitely a reminder, it is not painful. It reminds of how fun it was to feel him move a squirm as well.

Though I am still struggling with moments of anxiety, I have noticed that the past few weeks have been surprisingly joyful. I have experienced an almost giddiness at moments, and I honestly didn’t know that I would ever feel that way again. The only thing I can attribute this to is all of your prayers. The peace and joy that I am feeling definitely surpasses my understanding.

Please keep praying! God is hearing! Specifically, please pray for our ultrasound coming up on the 27th. We are thrilled that we get to find out if we are having a boy or girl at that appointment, but honestly we would be so happy with either. What we long for is to hear that our little one is healthy. Also, ultrasounds, while exciting, are extremely difficult for us at the same time. It was at an ultrasound that I found out about my first miscarriage, and it was at another ultrasound I found out Isaiah’s little heart had stopped beating. Walking into an ultrasound room brings hard memories of those days. Please pray that I would have peace rather than anxiety going into this ultrasound and that we would have joyful results.


Back to the blog...

I have been taking a bit of a blogging break for the past few months, but its because I have been trying prevent myself from spilling the beans.  I am pregnant  - just over 16 weeks along.  This little one is due September 12th (although we may end up being induced a little early).  This pregnancy has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for both Matt and I.  We are excited and have been truly amazed at God's timing.  We found out I was pregnant on New Year's Eve.  I wasn't sure if I was pregnant or not, but New Year's is a popular night for enjoying a few drinks and glasses of Champagne.  I decided to take a test just in case and was shocked to discover it was positive.  We had already been looking forward to putting 2010 behind us and this exciting news was the perfect way to start the New Year.  We did end up attending a party at my friends house that evening, where I discovered that drinking only the mix for Margaritas is just plain gross!

The early weeks were terrifying as I felt so similar to how I felt when I found out about my miscarriage.  My first appointment was the afternoon of the start of the blizzard here in Chicago.  I was so anxious to find out if the baby was ok and I was worried they would close my doctor's office due to the storm.  I called and they promised to stay open, so I prepared myself to face the storm.   Matt and I both tried grabbing a cab from our offices to the doctor's on the other side of town, but traffic was at a standstill and Matt couldn't even catch a cab.  We found ourselves trudging through the piles of snow and holding each other down so we wouldn't fly away in the winds, but I was not going to miss that appointment!  Thankfully we got to see our little (at that point, really little!) baby swimming around on the screen with a strong heartbeat.  It was wonderful.  To make that day even more powerful, it was the day before Isaiah's birthday.  We found ourselves with something to be excited about on what could have been a really hard day.

The weeks since then have still been filled with a bit of anxiety.  I had a bleeding scare around week 13 which put us back on heightened anxiety, but thankfully everything appears to be going well.  I had my 16 week appt on Tuesday.  Since I was feeling nervous, my doctor did an extra ultrasound so we got to see the baby wiggling around.  It was amazing!

I don't know that our anxiety about this pregnancy will go away until we are holding this little one in our arms.  I have to be honest that we have found ourselves a little annoyed at the people that have been overly thrilled and congratulatory about this pregnancy.  I know they are well meaning, but its a bit hard to swallow when we are feeling such a mix of anxiety and joy.  Please be patient with us - especially when we don't sound as excited as a lot of people do when they announce they are pregnant.  What means the most to us right now are those that say they are happy for us and then offer to pray for us and our little one.  It is through lots and lots of praying for this baby that Matt and I are learning to trust God in a new and deeper way and I am slowly, and I mean very slowly, learning to cast my anxious thoughts on him.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  - Philippians 4:6


Happy Birthday Isaiah!

Dear Isaiah,

Today marks one year since I got to gaze upon your sweet face and hold you in my arms.  I miss you more than words can express.  I wish that I was planning your birthday party, decorating the house with balloons and baking you your first birthday cake.  I bet you would have been messy like me and gotten it all over yourself.  You would have looked so cute.  My heart breaks that I don't get to share the special memories with you, but I rest in knowing that you are having the most incredible birthday in heaven.

Know that mommy and daddy love you so much!

Happy Birthday!!


Not what I expected...

Honestly I had been dreading yesterday for the last few weeks.  February 2nd, the anniversary of the day I found out my sweet boy had gone to heaven.  I have to say, 2.2.10 was the hardest day of my life.  So much sadness and fear were wrapped up into one day.  It was utterly shattering to find out his heart had stopped after just feeling him move the night before, and the terror of having to give birth to his lifeless body was more than I could bear.  I know it sounds silly, but at the time, I remember thinking, "I can't do this.  I haven't even been to my birthing classes.  This just isn't possible."  Unfortunately, class or no class, I didn't have a choice.  But thanks to a wonderful doctor and some incredibly supportive friends, I made it through the day.

I was afraid that yesterday, the anniversary of that fateful day, would cause me to go beyond remembering and relive the shattering emotions.  Matt and I knew that we wanted to mark the day...but we also wanted to keep our minds busy so we volunteered at a local christian charity.

Well, our plans were thwarted.  Yesterday (and the night before) was one of the biggest blizzards Chicago had ever experienced.  Everything shut down...including the organization we had planned on volunteering at.  Though for a moment, I panicked about having to face the whole day stuck in my house, my fear was quickly replaced with a childlike excitement about the snow day.  After the gale force winds off of Lake Michigan died down, the snow in our neighborhood was incredibly beautiful to look at.  As the peaceful blanket of white covered up the previously muddy streets and sidewalks, I was reminded how God can wash the muck of our lives - all the shame, the sorrows, the pain, the sins, etc - as white as snow.  HE makes all things new!

I kept looking out our window with childlike wonder until after lunch Matt and I decided to don our snow gear and venture out on a walk through this winter wonderland.  The sights we saw were simply amazing, but my favorite was a walk on the beach by our house.  The powerful winds and snow created a scene like I had never seen before.

Between the amazing snow day, the incredibly sweet messages I received from so many friends and family, and the countless prayers of so many, I got through yesterday, and you know what, it was actually a good day!  I remembered my sweet boy, Isaiah, but not with tears...with a smile.


It's been a while!

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I have posted. Time just seems to slip away, but thankfully, it’s because Matt and I have been busy with fun things.

We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s spending time with friends and family and we took some time off just to hang out at home together.

The New Year has kicked off with bang and we have found ourselves busy with lots of fun activities, including visiting my grandma in TN this past weekend. We had a great time with her and I just love visiting the South. The pace of life is slower, the accents are fabulous and the weather is a bit warmer...just hold the gizzards and turnip greens!

I am thankful for the fun busyness of life right now. For so much of the past year, I have felt so stunned by grief that I felt like I was wading through life in slow motion - although, time has flown by at the same time. What a time warp! I can't believe that it is only two weeks until the one year anniversary of Isaiah's birth and death. One year. Crazy!

We are trying to find a special way to mark the day…or days in our case. It’s a little confusing when you consider we found out he passed away on the second, but he wasn’t born until the third. It feels like we actually need to mark both days…not to let them just slip by with the normal busyness of work and home.

I anticipate that the second will actually be the harder of the two days…as it was last year. The sudden shock of finding out was simply shattering and I fear that I will relive some of the memories of that painful day. Matt and I have decided that we want to volunteer somewhere for the day…with a twofold goal in mind. First, we want to mark the day by giving back to the community in honor of our son. We were so loved and so cared for from the earliest hours of our loss and giving back, serving others just feels right. Secondly, we think this will help keep our hands and minds busy so we don’t have too much time to sit and wallow – although I am sure there will be a bit of that.

We feel like the third, Isaiah’s birthday, should be more of a celebration of our son. Though we have so many sad memories around his death, we have wonderful memories from when I was pregnant with him and treasure the profound impact he had on others even in his death. So in honor of his birthday, we are going to make a fun dinner and birthday cake and celebrate. I may even have to have Chipotle for lunch that day – that was his favorite when I was pregnant.

It seems so strange to be finding a way to mark days of loss but it just feels right. This is the last difficult firsts we have to wade through this year – we have already made it through our due date, a myriad of first holidays he should have been at, birthdays and other important days. God has so lovingly walked with us through this hard first year and I know he will be with us through these tough days.