Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stuff you really can’t make up

Sometimes I wonder what’s going on in Micah’s head.  He has these ideas that I just don’t know where they came from.

On pinterest I saw this great little trick about putting a rubber band on your soap dispenser so that it controls how much soap comes out.  That tip was designed for Micah.  He loves to steal the soap, and pump away, often in random places in our house.  He has also defeated my just put the soap up higher trick, by getting his chair from his room to reach it.

The other day I caught him sitting on the floor in the bathroom with the soap and two plastic cups, just filling them up with soap.

Monday I finished hanging laundry and was heading back to see what the boys were doing, when I hear, “Mommy I don’t think Micah should be playing with that, he’s going to break it.”  Right as I walk in the kitchen the pepper shaker shattered into pieces.

Sunday we hosted our HC and I made a poppy seed cake.  I walked into the kitchen and Micah’s pulled up a chair gotten himself a knife and started cutting himself a piece of cake. 

Just yesterday Calvin said, “Ummm Micah I don’t think you should eat that, it’s old and gross.”  I asked what he was talking about and he said. “Micah put some grapes in the broom handle a long time ago and now he’s getting them out and eating them.”

Seriously I just can’t make this stuff up. 

But that’s what I love about that little man.  He keeps me on my toes, but oh man is he fun to have around.

Friday, September 28, 2012

In the past week

Calvin finally got to go back to school {insert cartwheels and clapping)! 

He has a new head teacher, part of me is sad, because his teacher last year was wonderful.  But his new teacher seems nice.  Calvin even made a couple of new friends and a few of the boys who he said were mean last year are now nice to him.

I used up my last Mac & cheese packet I brought back from the states L.  Those were such a gift these past two months.  I knew when I was out of energy and out of bread I could reach into the cupboard and I’d have something to fill these little bellies with very little effort.  I guess I’ll have to start thinking of a few lunch ideas, or actually put the energy into grating cheese to make mac and cheese from scratch.

I'm still not caught up on laundry from our camping trip, two weeks ago.  I need to tackle the sleeping bags.  

Language started again.  I need the mental workout, to whip my brain back into language shape.  It’s so much work for me to formulate a sentence these days.  I literally cringe at my grammar mistakes.

We’ve seen the most beautiful fall weather mixed with a few foggy ones.  Love the sunny ones so much more than the foggy ones.

A friend was turned around when flying into our country.  I’ve been sad with them, as they grieve a very special place for them.  This city won’t be the same without them here.

I finally made some time to can some tomatoes for winter.  I’ll be thankful to have them, and not to have to pay a crazy amount for tomatoes come winter but man it’s a lot of work, and messy.

I also made some grape jelly.  Grape jelly is such a treat, since you can’t buy it here. It’s the first time I’ve ever made it, and it was pretty easy, much easier than tomatoes.

Now all that is left is to can some applesauce.  Awesomesauce is what it should be called, my boys can devour that stuff, which gives little time to appreciate the work it took to make it.

Randomly I decided to make french toast sticks instead of french toast one day which rocked the boys world.  Both boys ate happily and loved dipping their sticks.  I also didn't have to cut up any sticky french toast.  Win, win.  Why didn't I think of this earlier, so I made a bunch more for the freezer for easy breakfasts during the week.

I knocked a bottle of vanilla onto the stove while cooking this week.  There were flames all over my stove where the vanilla spilled, but my kitchen smelled amazing afterwards.

I also managed to spray myself in the eye with perfume at the market while testing out a few.  Not one of my better moments.

So that's what we've been up to.  I hope you all had a great week.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

All for a signature

Calvin started local preschool again this year…but like all things there was a little delay. 

We got him ready for school and took him on the first day of school.  He did great.  He loved seeing his teachers and friends but then they needed a note from the doctor saying he was healthy.

……our stuff from America wasn’t good enough.

But to get the note you had to see a ton of “specialists”.  I say this lightly because I really don’t know if they have any actual medical knowledge; it’s common for people to pay for their degrees, particularly for medical degrees.  Sad, but true fact of living here and I really hate that for all the people who really need good sound medical advice, but I’ve digressed.

Thankfully we found a pediatrcian at a private clinic who took the time to make some calls and find various doctors in town who would see us for a fee.  (We don’t have gov’t insurance, so we can’t use the polyclinics like everyone else does.) 

We saw the neurologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedic, a surgeon, an ENT, and the pediatrician.  All of which did the same exact things as our fabulous doctor in America did in a 20 minute well child exam.

Then we were on to some lab work.

Calvin had to have blood drawn……………
He completely freaked out.  They didn’t get a vein the first attempt so he was shaking and screaming in this language, No I don’t want to.  No.  Stop.  They finally got what they needed, and I was so relieved it was over.  It was hard to remain calm for Calvin’s sake.

We spent a couple days seeing all these specialists.  On one of these days I explained to Calvin which doctors we would see and what they would do.  I told him that we would see a doctor who would look at his bones and check and make sure they were good.  The whole day Calvin was so worried about the orthopedic doctor.  He kept asking if he was going to poke him again, or if they would need to cut him like they cut me when Seth was born.  I couldn’t figure out why he was so worried, but finally after lunch he asked, “But mommy how are they going to see my bones if they don’t cut me?”

Poor guy.  He was relieved to know they would only touch his skin and feel his bones.

So after waiting 2 ½ weeks for this beautiful piece of paper, we got it.

Calvin’s back to school.  Glad to know that’s over……….

until next year.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Resting Place

When we had to make decisions about Seth’s burial and funeral our heads were really spinning.  We hadn’t talked about a cemetery before, and the times we had talked about death it was always about one of us and not about our children.

So after a little thinking, it just made sense to bury Seth in the little country cemetery near my grandparent’s farm. 

It’s a place I grew up visiting.  It’s quiet and peaceful.  I think Marvin and I both feel like that was the best decision, we’re thankful that my family will drop in every now and then and make sure his grave is kept tidy.

My grandparent’s farm has meant so much to me.  It was and is a place to go and play.  To explore the great outdoors.  One time my cousins and I went looking for bulls in the pasture without telling our parents, not a bright move on our part.  I was terrified of dogs so my cousin probably ended up carrying me the entire time, needless-to-say we didn’t find any bulls and found some worried parents when we returned.  It is memories like those that fuel my love for this plot of land in the middle of Kansas.  

Grandpa and Grandma's place is nothing fancy but a place where my love for my extended family grew.  So having Seth buried close to there is pretty meaningful.  My grandpa told me that Seth was the 7th generation of our family that was buried in the little country cemetery and that’s pretty special.

We met my grandparents the day after I was released from the hospital for lunch and as we were walking out, my sweet grandpa said, “Well I guess you are old enough to handle things like this.”  I don’t know if you are ever old enough to handle the blow of losing a child, but Grandpa having a place to remember Seth so close to a special place helps tremendously.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Friday was a busy day filled with lots of cooking and getting ready for a family camping trip.  I took a little breather and sat down and checked my news feed.  My sister had just been to the cemetery and Seth’s stone was finished.

It literally took my breath away.

His name is etched in stone. 

There is something about it makes it too final.  There is no denying the fact that we have a baby in heaven.

Seeing this picture just made me want to buy a ticket and fly half way around the world to see it for myself.  It may sound silly but, my heart just longed to put flowers in his empty vase, just to show him that we care.

It’s hard to know that it will be a year before we can actually see it.....just another thing I’m grieving.

But it’s beautiful and we love how it turned out, and we are thankful for a stone that helps us remember how Seth’s short life touched our hearts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Sometimes I have a bad attitude; well actually a lot of times I have a bad attitude.

Recently it’s been about losing the baby weight.  I’ve never been one of those women who look like they’ve never had a baby just days after having one.  So I didn’t think losing the baby weight this time would come easily, but I prayed it would just magically fall off.

Sometimes it feels like an unfair parting gift, God gets to keep my baby while I have to watch what I eat, and have to work out every day.  But then I find myself face to face with an attitude of entitlement.

Does God owe me anything?  Nope, but I’m praying he’ll help me in this journey as I lose the post baby pouch that is not at all flattering.

It’s been three months since giving birth now and I’m 4 pounds away from my pre Seth weight.  It truly is the fastest I’ve ever lost weight after having a baby, and considering 1 ½ months of that I wasn’t even allowed to exercise due to the c-section, I should be happy with those results.  But my heart is just itching for a quick fix.  I’m not very good at waiting, especially if it means self control and sacrifice.  So through the extra pounds I feel like I’m learning a ton.

One of the sweet things through the hours of workouts I’ve done recently has been that sometimes when I’m really struggling and starting to feel sorry for myself, I’ll be facing Seth’s picture on our living room wall.  I just keep telling myself that Seth was worth it.  It has helped the bitterness go away, because he was worth it.

So we’ll see how fast this baby weight is shed, but I’m working at it and thankful that even through exercise the Lord is teaching me to rely on him.

Also I can’t wait for these last 4 pounds to come off so I can get some new shoes! J

Monday, September 10, 2012

Entrusted with Hidden pain

As I’ve shared about Seth’s death with those around us women have opened up to me about their own loss of a child, even women who I’ve known for a long time. 

It’s a secret that is only entrusted to a few here, and that breaks my heart and at the same time I’m grateful to be trusted with their painful past.  Grief here is internal, tears not acceptable.  I can only imagine the struggle inwardly of so many women.  It’s been challenging for me to know how to enter into these conversations. 

One because of differing faiths, my faith is the only thing that has allowed me to stand with hope.  Being uncertain of salvation or even if God even exists is adds a whole different realm to comforting friends here.  It’s given me an opportunity to share that my God is the same today as before Seth died, and even though I don’t understand why, I am certain I’ll see him in heaven.

It’s been difficult because my tears have been an emotional release for me, and when I become emotional with friends here they immediately try to change the subject.  Recently I wanted to give a friend of mine a gift that has helped me, a necklace, and her husband said, only if it doesn’t make her cry.  She confided in me that the month after Seth died she cried every day.  It brought all of those stuffed emotions back to the surface. 

So while I am grieving, so many others are also grieving, only their journey is silent.  I long to know how to comfort and walk along side them.  Will you pray for me and them?

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Left but not forgotten

This past week our nanny started again.  I was overjoyed to have some help again.  She is amazing with my boys and they both love her dearly.

As we sat down and talked about what had happened three months ago, I was able to show her pictures of our time with Seth.

She then told me about her son that was born in between her daughter and son. It was the first time she has even mentioned it.

She was 7 months pregnant and noticed a little less movement in the baby. She promptly went to get an ultrasound and found out he had encephalitis and would soon die.  He died the next day and she went into labor.

She went to the hospital and her son was born.  The hospital staff didn’t want her to even look at him.  But she asked to see him and they let her see him.  She said he was beautiful.

After delivery they took her to the post partum room, where all of the other mothers who just had babies were recovering, all happily holding their newborns, there is no such thing as private rooms in hospitals here.  Thankfully the next day her husband begged her doctor to release her, to spare her from the emotional torture of seeing others with their children.

I asked her what his name was, and she said they didn’t name him, they didn’t bury him.  They left him in the hospital.  Who knows what they did with his body.

In this country he wasn’t even born, he has no birth certificate, nothing to prove he ever existed.

I wanted to cry, but amazingly held it together.

This is the story I have heard from so many who have shared with me here.

My heart breaks because life is devalued here.  When I have seen doctors here for my past pregnancies they generally ask how many abortions I have had, not whether I have had any, which gives you an idea of how common it is.  It’s no wonder why women age so quickly, the emotional baggage they carry is heavy and has left scars on their hearts.

But God created life and I believe even a baby that is growing in utero it’s worth protecting, worth doing everything to help them live.  It makes me sad to know that women here are not given every option to protect their babies.

I was so grateful to be able to hold Seth, to be able to go see him any time during his NICU stay.  I loved staring at him as I held his hand; that truly was a gift.  As I hear these stories it makes me cherish that gift even more.

Saturday, September 08, 2012


Often times when my hands are in the dish water it’s the quietest part of my day.  Tummies are full, which means the little people in our house are content and less likely to fight (I’ve been doing a lot of refereeing in our home lately).  It’s been my little reflection time as I scrub our dishes clean.  Often my reflections are about Seth, God and this pain I feel each second I’m awake.

Last week as I was washing dishes it hit me.

When I signed up for this life, of following after Christ, I said yes I’d gladly follow you, my life is yours, even to the point where I might lose it, but I wasn’t totally in.  I still held perimeters to what God could or couldn’t take.  You see my life, that’s fine, but take away my child, nope not what I signed up for.

Yet here we are a family of 5 with one of our children in heaven.  This is when that trust and laying down of my dreams comes into play. 

It’s harder than I ever thought.  Yet it also could be described as a time where I’ve felt the Lord very intimately.  He is close to the brokenhearted and I’m just now understanding what that meansIt’s a beautiful place to be and yet so hard, a crazy juxtaposition.

I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that if the Lord chooses to take all of my children I will still follow him. I must, because without him this would all be too much.  I’m choosing to believe that these trials are for his glory.

A beautiful painless life has never been promised.  I want to follow Him, even down paths that I never wanted to walk.

From One Year Book of Hope…

Your son has given you an incredible gift.  He has given you the gift of being forced to reconsider the very purpose of your life.  Those who are sailing through a comfortable life at this point have not yet been forced to carefully consider their lives and surrender their dreams.  But because you have been shaken to the core, you see clearly that if you cling to your own plans and desires, you will never discover the freedom and joy found in losing your life for Jesus.”

Monday, September 03, 2012

My Battle Lately

Shortly before we left the states we received an envelope from KU med.  When we opened it we found Seth’s Autopsy report.

Opening that and seeing the word autopsy beside your son’s name just tore at my heart.  It made everything sink in, because then things really felt a little surreal.

After reading it we weren’t surprised at the findings, everything seemed to be in line with what we had been told at the hospital.  We were thankful that we didn’t find any surprises and nothing indicated that this was genetic, but just a very rare thing.

A couple weeks ago Seth’s doctor contacted us to discuss the results.  Marvin and I really didn’t think there was much to discuss, it all made since to us.

It wasn’t until Seth’s doctor mention a couple of possibilities that knocked me over again.

We knew that Seth had a fistula in right side of his lung, which is the reason why his chest was filling with air.  He was too unstable for surgery and they really tried everything to help him survive.  It just didn’t work. 

In our minds we had just figured that it was something that was always there. 

We hadn’t considered that it was a result of the evacuation of fluid procedures I underwent when he was still in utero.  While she could not say it was either way she was baffled that his lungs were without any abnormalities, if this would have been congenital then typically you would have seen other abnormalities. 

So that has been very difficult, because we were the ones who signed the consent form.

As a mother I feel like part of my job is to protect my children.  So the thought that I might have willingly had a hand in his death has been difficult, although a very unfair statement and one the evil one wants me to believe.

So when these “what if’s” make their way into my mind.  I’ve been trying to praise the Lord for the days we were given with Seth.

A friend recently shared with me that the "what if" game, is not a fair game. You will always lose because you know information on this side that you couldn't have possibly known on the other side. It's our choice of whether or not to enter into a stacked game where you already know the outcome.  Honestly it’s so hard to not enter into this game, but it’s not glorifying to God.

God says he’s ordained our days.  Seth lived for two days and it while we may never know the reason for his death, I’m so thankful for the two days he allowed us to touch him.

I’m sure it will be something I struggle with for a while.  But I’m praying the Lord would remove all doubt, worry and guilt.  It’s a choice and I want to desperately choose to be grateful.