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    My Dearest Daughter: Saying Goodbye to Gender Disappointment

    My Dearest Daughter, Though I’ve never actually met you, you have always a part of me: a dream, a desire, a hope. Until today. Today I say goodbye to the dream that was you in order to make room for other dreams. For as long as I can remember I dreamed about hearing ‘it’s a […]

  • Our Boys Are Watching Too

    Our Sons Are Watching Too

    This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and […]

  • Summer Themes

    Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

    I’ve had some interest in my “themed” summer so I thought I would take the time to type it out as it’s currently in scribble form on my notepad at home as a compilation of ideas and outlines that I continue to add to. Depending on where you live you may have more or less weeks than […]

  • That Parent 1

    You’re only “that parent” to yourself

    It was lunch hour in the middle of a very large metropolitan Red Robin that was way over capacity. We had 4 starving children and we were pushing nap after 2 very full days visiting the Portland Zoo and Ikea during Spring Break. The wait would be long but because we knew it would be […]

  • Advice for New Dads

    26 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Being a New Dad

    If you missed last week’s posts about the  25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy,  the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth, and the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know about Postpartum I suggest starting there. I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about what soon to be […]

  • New Dads and the Postpartum Period

    The First Few Weeks After Birth: What New Dads Need To Know

    If you missed the following advice for new dads: 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, and the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Birth I suggest starting there. Once you bring your baby home from the hospital you and your spouse are on your own. No more nurses, no more doctors. On. […]

  • Advice for Dads about Birth

    25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth

    If you missed yesterday’s post about the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, I suggest starting there. After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body […]

  • Advice for New Dads

    25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy

    First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…uh, what? Oftentimes soon to be dads (and moms alike) don’t know the first thing when it comes to pregnancy, birth and the weeks following birth. The very thought of having a baby can be scary and overwhelming. Don’t worry, with the help of several veteran dads and […]

  • Dating Kids

    Dating Your Kids: 10 Fresh Date Ideas to Get You Started

    All too often I have gotten to the end of the day and stopped to realize that I was never fully present with my children. Sure I was there in the flesh. But my mind was constantly multitasking: making mental lists of everything I needed to add to my to-do list for the next day […]

  • Brothers

    Redefining family after baby gender disappointment

    They sit across from me waiting anxiously, eager to play cars, trains, superheroes, or ninja turtles. Boys. My destiny. I’m learning to embrace this. Honestly, it hasn’t come easily. My parent’s closet still has my American Girl Doll neatly packed waiting for my daughter to play with. There also sits my dollhouse my grandfather made […]

Feb
17

My Dearest Daughter: Saying Goodbye to Gender Disappointment

blog image4

My Dearest Daughter,

Though I’ve never actually met you, you have always a part of me: a dream, a desire, a hope. Until today. Today I say goodbye to the dream that was you in order to make room for other dreams.

For as long as I can remember I dreamed about hearing ‘it’s a girl!’ I dreamed of holding you, your tiny body cradled in mine as we rocked in a beautiful white chair in your bedroom covered in shades of purple and grey, your strawberry blonde hair sticking out of the blanket, while I sing you the songs that my mama sang to me. I pictured taking you to your first ballet class; watching you twirl, so proud in your tutu, stealing glances of yourself in the large mirror. I pictured the bows, the braids, the frills, the ruffles, the headbands, the shoes. I looked forward to introducing you the world of American Girl dolls and playing dress up and tea party. The beautiful, delicate doll house your great grandpa built for me is still sitting in your Grammy’s house with all the furniture and people carefully packed away waiting for your tiny hands to explore. But even beyond all of the girlie stuff I hoped we would always be close…sharing secrets together, going on mother-daughter outings and long walks talking about everything and nothing at the same time, hearing all about your first date, your first school dance, your first kiss, your first heartache; everything you might be too shy to share with your Daddy. I pictured you coming in to tell us you met ‘the one’ and then sharing in your excitement as you planned your wedding. And then I pictured you as you became a mom…my baby girl having a baby.

My dreams aside though you would have loved it here. Your older brothers would have loved you and have been fiercely protective of you. Kadyn would have taught you that it’s okay to be sensitive…you CAN be both sensitive and strong. And so can men. He would have taught you all there is to love about the arts and literature and would have read story after story to you, never tiring. Kai would have made sure you were a bit of a tomboy by teaching you all there is to know and love about sports. He would have talked your ear off about soccer and had you kicking a ball before you could walk. He also would have taught you mathematics and would have always been eager and willing to play any game or do any puzzle with you. Lukah would have taught you to love hard. He would have been the one to sit and listen to you gripe about boys and relationships and then make you laugh. And your Daddy. My heart aches for your relationship with your Daddy as much as my own. You were already a Daddy’s girl, even with just the thought of you. He would have made sure you knew you were loved, and beautiful, and smart. There never would have been a question. He would have raised you strong enough to be confident in your own choices and yet never too old to hold his hand. Sure, he would have relished embarrassing the heck out of you on occasion, but you would have secretly loved it knowing he was yet again showing his love for you. You would have known from day one how a woman should be treated just by watching him in action with how he treats me. I pictured you at your wedding, dancing with your Daddy during your father-daughter dance; he would have had tears in eyes and you would have found a way to let him know that you would be okay. And so would he. He would have encouraged you to be whoever you wanted to be and always follow your heart. He would have taught you that you don’t need to fit a certain mold, you are loved for who you are.

In my longing for you and my initial gender disappointment I’ve been told many things. I know people are trying to be helpful when they remind me that one day I’ll have daughter-in-laws or even granddaughters. But I also know that though they will be special in their own way, they aren’t you. I’ve also had people tell me that God gives us the desires of our heart, but I’ve learned that doesn’t always play out the way we picture. And I’ve been told if you focus on something long enough, hard enough, and put all your energy/mind on that thing, then it will happen. Now I can now honestly say that doesn’t always work. Sometimes there is a greater, more beautiful picture waiting than even we can understand in the moment.

Surely we are doing something right though in raising our boys because God is entrusting us to yet another. One more brave, strong, wonderful boy. With you in mind we will continue to raise them to the best of our ability…letting them be little while gently guiding them to be the men other parents would want their daughters to date. Men that will no doubt make amazing husbands and fathers. I can’t promise they won’t think they are ‘dying’ when they get sick (I think this must be an innate male trait) but I can promise that I will teach them to cook, to braid, and to do their own laundry. We hope to raise them to embrace their individuality and fight for their beliefs. And goodness will they know how to love. Strong. Loud. Fierce. Bold. Completely. Never ending. For to feel loved, to know love, and to be free to express love Just The Way They Are is above all the greatest gift we can ever teach them.

And because of that, it is with a tear filled face but excitement in my heart that today I say goodbye to the dream you were. You hold the dreams of my past and to hold on to you any longer takes moments away from my precious boys. At this point to want you here means one of them would not BE. And as I anxiously await the arrival our newest, and our last little I cannot imagine life without ANY of them. They are each so special to me and I love them beyond imagination. And you see, they deserve all of me, not just the broken pieces. And I deserve to have complete, whole happiness in each of them. From this point forward I am all in. They are each the dreams of my present, and the dreams of my future.

So, baby girl, with a kiss and prayer I send you off. I pray you can bring hope to a couple that may be in the thrown of trying desperately to have a baby and currently feeling hopeless. They need you more than I do. And every time I hear of a ‘miracle’ baby I will smile and think fondly of you.

Kisses,

Mommy

Jun
12

Our Sons Are Watching Too

Our Boys Are Watching Too

This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and their personal perception of their outward appearance and how the only way to truly overcome that shame is with a heart change. I absolutely agree with everything she said….almost.

How many times have you heard the following?

Women need to get their thoughts of their appearance in check because our daughters are watching. (Something similar was also said at the Shine conference)

Or… Read More

Jun
9

Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

Summer Themes

I’ve had some interest in my “themed” summer so I thought I would take the time to type it out as it’s currently in scribble form on my notepad at home as a compilation of ideas and outlines that I continue to add to.

Depending on where you live you may have more or less weeks than us but here in Bend, Oregon we have 11 weeks. So, I’ve created a different theme for each of the 11 weeks. The idea is to have a go-to for ideas and inspiration when/if we find ourselves in a summer rut. Keep in mind that I am also fully in support of boredom because after all, boredom breeds creativity. I just don’t want boredom every.single.day ;)

What I tried last summer was to have a different plan for each day of the week…e..g. Mondays involved water, Tuesdays involved a park, Wednesdays involved a hike, Thursdays involved a service project, and Fridays were usually an activity. However, I found that without an actual plan I didn’t follow through. So, I’m still going to incorporate each of those things but add a weekly theme as well. So here go…

Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

Read More

May
12

A Heart’s Desire for Mother’s Day

Ironically, yesterday was a difficult Mother’s Day. I say ironically because I have 3 babies that I can hold, squeeze and hug. I was brought coffee in bed, was able to celebrate with both my mother in law and my own mom. It really was a beautiful, perfect Mother’s Day. Yet, there was a part of me that felt empty, lacking, and robbed because of our recent loss. I couldn’t help but ache for all the women that were without yesterday. All the women that wanted to be celebrating yesterday, but weren’t.

Because I have 3 earthly children I know that I cannot fully appreciate those have a desperate heart’s desire to be celebrating Mother’s Day. However, because I also have 2 heavenly children, there is also a piece of me that understood how truly difficult Mother’s Day must be. There was a part of me that wanted to turn off all of social media and hide and I have children so I can only imagine how hard it must have been for those that do not. Mother’s Day has to be a painful reminder.

And yet, I have to say, that all you women aching to be a part of Mother’s Day…YOU are amazing. All of you that have lost a mother, longed to be a mother, held a positive pregnancy test only to say goodbye to your baby before you got to say hello, waited in agony for the 2 week wait to pass by only to grieve the baby the wasn’t there, you who have a heart’s desire for Mother’s Day…you are strong, brave, courageous, and admirable.

So to all the moms in the thrones of raising littles; the ones that can’t sit down for a moment to relax on Mother’s Day because they are too busy wiping noses, pushing cars, combing doll hair, or helping dress, bathe or feed their children…

To the moms that are in the trenches of the teen years where their kids may not want anything to do with them…

To all the single moms that have children too little to know yesterday from today, or all the single dads that have 2 roles to fill…

To the moms that have had their littles grown and gone…

To all the moms that are separated from their kids for whatever reason…

To all the moms that have loved and lost long before they should…

To all the women that have played a significant role in raising a child…yours or someone elses…

To all the step-moms who have very large shoes to fill…

To everyone that has lost a mother of their own that taught them what being a mom was all about…

To all the women that have had the courage to place a child up for adoption because it was in the best interest of the child…

To all the adoptive moms that have embraced motherhood wholly and completely despite “conception” being different…

To all the moms in waiting…waiting for the positive pregnancy test, waiting for the phone call to say a family has chosen you, waiting for a pregnancy to stick…

To all the women that have been unable to have children of their own despite their heart’s desire…

Happy Mother’s Day

Apr
10

You’re only “that parent” to yourself

That Parent 1

It was lunch hour in the middle of a very large metropolitan Red Robin that was way over capacity. We had 4 starving children and we were pushing nap after 2 very full days visiting the Portland Zoo and Ikea during Spring Break. The wait would be long but because we knew it would be at least that anywhere else we decided to stay put. However, because of the crowd inside and the fact that it was pouring outside we ventured into the area between the interior and exterior door. That’s when it happened. I was chatting with our friends when all of a sudden lights were flashing and sirens wailing.

My son pulled the fire alarm. Read More

Apr
8

Two Little Souls

A letter my husband wrote after our heartbreaking miscarriage.

Two Little Souls…

I sit here tonight, the last one awake in my dear family…heart heavy, with tears in my eyes. For today we found out that the little baby inside Greta, just 10 weeks old, was actually two. Identical twins that shared what was supposed to keep them alive…and in the end could not sustain their newly formed life. I sit here wondering what those two heartbeats sounded like, what lives they could have had. Yet smiling that they will always have each other. It’s hard to believe how much the heart can hurt for something that was barely living, for two souls I have not yet met.

My heart goes out to my beautiful wife who has had to carry these two little ones. I know her heart is hurting so much more than her physical pain… so great is the pain I see, and feel in her. I admire her strength, and want to save her from the pain I know I cannot. I again sit here wondering what these two little beings would be like…knowing the kindness given to them by their brothers would have given such joy brings a smile to the heaviness that sits within me tonight. And yet through the pain I see the blessing of the amazing boys I do have in my life.  Tonight I look back with such thankfulness, for after sharing the days sadness with our two oldest boys I watched them cuddle into their mommies sobs, my sweet 6 year old asked his mommy what her belly felt like, she shared that it hurt…like what mommy, he said. Like needles sticking all around…with deep concerned eyes he touched his stomach and said that his belly hurt as well. Mommy said that it didn’t hurt as bad as her heart…”mommy my heart is hurting too”, he said. With tears in my eyes so many times today I feel most blessed for the family I do have…and for these two precious souls I do not get to meet.  So with great pain, faith, and felt blessings, I say farewell to these beautiful unborn children, my heart going out to all parents who have lost children both born and unborn alike. And to the two young souls I have not met….I love you, and always will.  Thank you for reminding me of the blessings I do have….Good night, and goodbye my loves!

With Warmth,

Your hurting daddy

Apr
1

EllaMenoPea

A friend of mine from college recently started EllaMenoPea.  — selling handmade kid’s furniture and toys. Cody, the founder and father of 2 ADORABLE little girls, makes every single one of his products in Washington. All of his products are sturdy, eco-friendly, and so adorable. I mean take a look at these…

 

EllaMenoPea1 EllaMenoPea2 EllaMenoPea3 EllaMenoPea4

Most furniture these days is made of MDF which is why it all falls apart so quickly. EllaMenoPea guarantees they will never use MDF to build their products. You can therefore ensure they are built to last. Built to last and stylish…yes, please!

My personal favorites are the numbers and fractions. What an excellent way to teach kids basic math and fractions in such a tangible and visible way.

As if that wasn’t enough to check out their products, you should also know that EllaMenoPea gives back to the Ben Towne Foundation. So cool.

To see all the different products currently available check out the website:

EllaMenoPea

Photo Credit: EllaMenoPea
Mar
20

Food Allergies in Schools–have a little grace

Food Allergies in School
He clung to my husband’s neck, desperately, pleading with his eyes...Daddy, please help me breathe.

The very first time it happened we got the call the day we brought our younger son home from the hospital, 3 weeks shy of our oldest turning 2.  “Kadyn is struggling to breathe. We think he might have put something up his nose that is now obstructing his airway. We’re going to take him to Urgent Care (closer than the ER).”

My husband raced to the Urgent Care to meet them while I stayed home with our newborn son. After a series of tests determining there wasn’t an object obstructing his breathing, yet having an O2 level of 61% and the inability to get a reading on my son’s lungs, the Dr determined it must be pneumonia.

My husband called me with the news.

I was screaming in to the phone. NO! He isn’t sick. He wasn’t sick. It is NOT pneumonia. Despite my plea, they were prepping him for x-rays to confirm pneumonia all the while wasting precious seconds of my son’s life.

My little boy clung to my husband’s neck, desperately, pleading with his eyes as if to say Daddy, please help me breathe. His breathing quick, shallow, and gasping all at the same time. His nose had ceased to function…there was no air coming or going. When he tried to talk, his voice was unrecognizable as his own. As time passed he limply lay in my husband’s lap, his face ghost-like in whiteness, the normal exuberance g.o.n.e. He had an O2 level somewhere in the 60s.

Fortunately (praise God!) he had a button up shirt on…the only reason the x-ray tech asked my husband to take my son’s shirt off. And what possibly could be what saved his life.

As soon as my son’s shirt came off, my husband was clearly able to diagnose him himself. IT’S AN ALLERGIC REACTION! He screamed. The blistering hives covered his little body. In some parts it was so severe the lumps were purple, the size of raised quarters. How this was missed during intake and initial assessment is beyond me.

What happened next is all a blur of quick reaction and life-saving efforts. Read More

Mar
18

101 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum, and Being a New Dad

 

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…uh, what? Oftentimes soon-to-be dads (and moms alike) don’t know the first thing when it comes to pregnancy, birth or being a new dad. The very thought of having a baby can be scary and overwhelming. Don’t worry, with the help of several veteran dads and their wives I’ve compiled this list of advice for new dads in this 101 things soon to be dads need to know about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and being a new Dad. I suppose I can save you a lot of time reading this if you just skip to #80. But if your wife suggested you to read this, then see # 2. So without further adieu…

Pregnancy Read More

Mar
13

26 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Being a New Dad

Advice for New Dads

If you missed last week’s posts about the  25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy,  the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth, and the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know about Postpartum I suggest starting there.

I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about what soon to be dads need to know about being a new dad after the postpartum period is over:

  1. Read More