Saturday, April 30, 2011

I just might download this song

I love PBS for many reasons, PBS Kids being at the top of the list.

I love this song, which they play in between shows, and I sing it throughout the day.

I may be adding this song to my workout playlist. Seriously, after seven years I'm taking up running again so I can lose the baby weight and this song might just motivate my butt to move the same way Because We Can (from Moulin Rogue!) and All the Single Ladies do.

Anyone else have some good, motivating music?

a tea party for the royal wedding

 Wasn't it beautiful and lovely and even better than any princess movie because it was real?
His uniform, her lace-covered shoulders and arms, that gorgeous, gorgeous veil.
I even liked the trees in the church!

At my house we celebrated with a tea party.  I know, I'm a nerd.
In fact I am such a nerd about this that I couldn't sleep the night before and at 4:30am I realized that I was stupid for tossing and turning - there was a royal wedding on! - and so I came downstairs just in time for the Queen and Prince Phillip to arrive at the Abbey.
I made egg salad while sitting on my living room floor, taking in every moment.

And right there, mayo in hand, I realized that Kate Middleton will now be my #1 fashion influence.

Back to the tea party:
I had hopes of showing the wedding so my friends and I could gush over the dress, the tiarra, the groom, the best man(!) but technical difficulties wouldn't allow it. 
So instead our children ran around like mad and we watched highlights on tv.  We also had a cup of tea with two lumps of sugar because it felt like a British thing to do. 

For further evidence of my nerdiness I actually researched what to serve at a British tea.  So we had sandwiches, off which I cut the crust, home made scones with strawberry jam and cream, and cake.  I also had crackers, cheese, and fruit because I wanted my friends to still like me instead of finding me annoying for only feeding their children cake with coffee frosting and then sending them home for nap time.
(Recipes for the scones, egg salad, and coffee frosting used on the cake can be found at the bonnie dinner table.)

The above picture is from my breakfast this morning. 
I did not eat cake for breakfast but I looked at it longingly.
Longingly, people.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

this is what we've been up to

bottle feeding dinosaurs

getting awesome bed head

being remarkably cute

following in big brother's footsteps (of being cute)

getting a first haircut from a new aunt

hanging out

eating the fruits of our labor



checking out the Easter booty

growing a double chin

attempting family pictures

stringing together 1/2 off decorations purchased at the local grocery store.

Hope you're having fun at your place!

Monday, April 25, 2011

the sorrow and the grief

Holy Week was emotionally exhausting.  Some good friends, 38 weeks into a healthy pregnancy, lost their first child.  The funeral was probably the saddest and yet most joyful I've ever been to.  Our hearts go out to them and I ask you all to join me in praying for the family of Caleb Benedict.

For Travis and I it brought to the surface many, many feelings of sorrow and grief.  Watching our friends grieve while placing their hope in God took us back to the first hours, days, and weeks of the NICU while also speaking to exactly where we are now.  Balancing questions and worry with blind faith in a good God.

But our friends' loss made me hurt for Peter more than I have for a long, long time.  It has always been hard for me that Peter's body - only about 4 weeks old - was just "broken down" by my body and then passed.  I wish I could have held his body, studied this fingers and toes and lips, memorized his size and shape in my arms.  I wish I could have breathed his scent, washed his body, dressed him in special clothes.  I wish I could have given him a dignified burial.

Because it is one of my favorite posts I am reposting below something I wrote in January 2010.

January is the month that our first child, Peter, was due to be born. The 15th was his official due date, and it was a day that came and went without tears, just a brief acknowledgement that it was here and he wasn't.

I know that if Peter would have survived then Lydia would not be here, which is a tricky truth.

I bring him up, not for condolences, but because I want you to remember him the same way I do. He is always present to me as a great litany of questions and imagined features, giggles and hugs.

I suppose, more than anything, I want people to be more compassionate to mothers who have miscarried and to their families. I still grieve for the child I never knew.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jesus Christ is Risen!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!

He is Risen Indeed!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Happy Easter to you all!

update on Dexten

Earlier this month I posted about a little boy named Dexten who was in need of our prayers.  Dexten suffocated during his nap and was without oxygen or a pulse for a very long time.  Many people were hoping and praying for a miraculous healing but instead, after three weeks of fighting, Dexten has gone to Heaven.

May the angels lead you into Paradise

And when you come may the martyrs receive you
And lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of angels receive you,
And with Lazarus, once a pauper,
May you have eternal rest.

Eternal rest grant unto Dexton, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon him.

Please pray for his family. 
You can visit Dexten's CaringBridge site here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

If the Romans so treated him who was innocent, how would they treat the Truth that is in his Church; in an uneasy conscience perhaps he beckoned you to his confessional; in a passing prayer he called you to greater prayerfulness... you accepted the truth, you confessed your sins, you perfected your spiritual life, and lo! in those moments when you thought you were losing everything, you found everything; when you thought you were going into your grave, you were walking in the newness of life... The antiphon of the Empty Tomb was striking on the chords of your heart.  It was not you who died; it was sin.  It was not Christ who died; it was death.

   - Fulton J. Sheen, The Eternal Galilean

Thursday, April 21, 2011

cp, clumsy, or normal

We finally had our 6 month check up with the developmental pediatrician. He had a lot of good things to say and could tell me many things that James will not be. He will not be severely mentally retarded (his words). He will not have severe cerebral palsy. He will not have moderate cerebral palsy. These are very, very good things.

But the doctor can still not tell me who James will be. Our options are:
a) mild cerebral palsy
b) a clumsy kid
c) normal.

Those are good options and I'm grateful for how far we've come. 

The doctor was concerned about the following:
1- James was doing things a 4 or 5 month old does, not a 7 monther.
2- He lacks coordination of his upper body as evidenced by shrugging his shoulders up high while trying to sit, not being able to catch himself when he sways while sitting independently, slumping forward when he sits, and stiffening his entire body when he's put in a standing position.
3- He has not begun using consonants in his babbling.
4- Usually he does not roll over and can get stuck in a position he doesn't like.

He said that James' brain may still be working its way out of the brain injury and that there's a chance it will finally settle as a normal brain.

So the miraculous healing continues!  Thank you for your prayers!

And just so you know since that appointment James has greatly improved in his tummy time and sitting abilities.  It's like he just had to be threatened.  He did that kind of stuff in the NICU, too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

for Pete's sake

In honor of my first child, Peter Mark, who we lost to miscarriage, I would love to pray for your intentions that are related to infertility or the loss of a child.

Please leave your prayer intention - for yourself or someone you know - in the comment box. Commenters may leave their name or be anonymous. You may share as little or as much as you like. With great respect, dignity, and affection I would like to pray for you, your pain, your grief, and your hope.

I, of course, invite all those who comment or read the comments to join me in praying for one another.

Thank you for this privilege.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

this is how I will read the story of Lazarus for the rest of my life

The family and friends of James sent word to Jesus, saying,
“Master, the one You love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this He said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Travis and his wife and James.
So when He heard that he was ill,
He remained for 61 minutes and three days in the place where He was.
Then after this He said to Archbishop Sheen, St. James, St. Linus, and His blessed mother,
"Let us go back to the NICU.”

When Jesus arrived, He found that James
had already been in the tomb for 61 minutes.

When Travis and Bonnie heard that Jesus was coming,
they went to meet Him;
but others sat at home.
They said to Jesus,
“Lord, if You had been here,
our son would not have died.
But even now we know that whatever You ask of God,
God will give You.”

Jesus said to them,
Your son will rise.”
They said,
“We know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus told them,
I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
Do you believe this?”

They said to him, “Yes, Lord.
We have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God,
the One who is coming into the world.”

When Jesus saw them weeping and the friends and family who had come with them weeping,

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Sir, come and see.”

And Jesus wept.

So everyone said, “See how He loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the One who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this baby would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a crib, and it was surrounded by equipment.
Jesus said, “Take away the equipment.”
Bonnie, the dead man’s mother, said to Him,
Lord, by now there will be severe injury;
he had been dead for 61 minutes.”

Jesus said to her,
Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the equipment.
And Jesus raised His eyes and said,
“Father, I thank You for hearing Me.
I know that You always hear Me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that You sent Me.”
And when He had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
James Fulton, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with wires and tubes and IVs,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the friends and family who had come to Travis and Bonnie
and seen what He had done began to believe in Him.

I realize that I am "messing" with Sacred Scripture, but I hope you all understand that I mean absolutely no disrespect for the words of the Gospel.  Praised by Jesus Christ who makes all things new!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's official...

During a recent office visit at the hospital James and I stopped by the NICU.  We had the pleasure of privately visiting with Dr. C and Dr. C who both took care of James while he was on their floor. 

I asked them if they think James is a miracle and they both said YES.  They said that science and medicine definitely helped James but, in thier opinion, there's no way he would be doing as well as he is if it weren't for God's clear intervention.  Science cannot explain James.

So, what we've known all along the doctors have now affirmed.  Now we could just get the Vatican to sign off on it, too.  Then we could really, officially call it a "miracle" ...  technically it's just an "alleged miracle." 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

a miracle for Dexten

Last week I was sent the following email:

 I'm e-mailing you now because I just learned of a little boy named Dexten Peck, 14 months old, who had an accident in bed over the weekend - he slipped in-between the mattress and bed rails and suffocated.  His father found him, but he had been without oxygen for a long time.  He is in the hospital and they aren't sure if he is going to make it, but the doctors are already talking about possible severe brain damage.  Because of James, I have encouraged people to pray to Fulton Sheen on Dexten's behalf.  If Archbishop Sheen could intercede and heal James, I am confident that, if it is God's will, the great Archbishop can also heal Dexten.  I was hoping you could possibly remember this baby boy in your prayers to Fulton Sheen as well.  I know you know exactly what this family is going through.

It is terrifying to be where the Pecks are but it is an awesome feeling to know that you are being lifted up in prayer by hundreds of people. Please take a moment and pray for Dexten now and please continue to pray for him throughout the Lenten and Easter seasons.

Eternal Father, You alone grant us every blessing in Heaven and on earth, through the redemptive mission of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and by the working of the Holy Spirit. If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant, Fulton Sheen, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession that Dexten's organs heal and function normally and that he is spared any brain damage. I make this prayer confidently through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thank you for your prayers!

If you would like to visit Dexten's CaringBridge site please go here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I want to be bold

One day I was scrubbing in at the NICU and James' doctor spotted me and approached.  She reported that James was not doing well and when I asked why she said it was because of the brain trauma.  It was not the news I wanted to hear.  She left and I went back to my washing, trying not to break down in the very public NICU entrance.

I was not doing a very good job.  My eyes were filled with tears, my chin was quivering, I was biting my lip, and I was choking back sobs.

And then a woman approached me.  A concierge at the hospital, she must have watched the exchange from across the room.  She came with a box of tissues and a sincere look of compassion and concern on her face.  She put her arm around my back, placing her free hand on my shoulder and she asked if I was okay.  Did I just get some bad news?  Was there anything she could do?  She expressed her sympathy and told me she would pray for me and my son.  She took my hand and squeezed it and we parted ways - she went back to her desk and I went to James' bedside.

It was a warm, tender moment and I still carry it in my heart.  I know the woman is a Christian and I believe she was loving me as she would Christ.  If I was Jesus to her, she was Veronica to me.

More recently I was checking out at the grocery store.  James was crying which was making Bennet fuss and Lydia worry.  I was feeling completely frazzled when a woman approached me.  "May I hold your son and comfort him?" she asked, seeing I was busy with paying and keeping my eye on my other two children.  With my permission she scooped him up and soothed him. 

"I will walk you to your car," she told me. She told me she had raised 5 children, all closely spaced, and so she knew how hard it could be at times.  She held James and then buckled him in as I got L and B in their car seats and loaded my groceries.  She told me how blessed I was and then went back to the store to do her shopping.  There was no judgement about my inability to keep my cool while my kids fussed, let alone keep them happy in the first place.  She didn't judge how closely they were spaced or ask if we were done having kids. 

She just served me.  Like Simon the Cyrene, she bore my cross for a moment.

These two women spent no more than five minutes with me but what they did really mattered. I felt alone and scared and overwhelmed by my immediate situation when those women intervened in my life. 

I want to be more like these women.  I want to be bold.  I want to love and serve the people I encounter in ways that are real and meaningful.  I want to take the opportunities that are before me to actually live out my love of Christ.
Most of my days I am surrounded by 3 little kids and so I may not be able to do something similar to what these women did.  My hands are pretty full, so I might not be able to carry something for you.  (But I might!)  I actually have an idea of something I'd like to do - to be more intentional about - so that I can keep Christ always before me and reach out to people in need so they don't feel as overwhelmed or alone.

But first I'd love to hear from you!  What are your thoughts?  Do you have examples of people being bold and intentional in the way they have lived out their faith in their every day lives?   How might God be calling you to love and serve Him in the people you encounter? 

Friday, April 8, 2011

7 quick takes

Important question:  was anyone out there asking for Archbishop Sheen's intercession during the 61 minutes that James did not have a pulse? 
Probably not since it was from about 2-3am but I need to know for sure when people began asking for his intercession.

I want to have a tea party and watch the Royal Wedding of Will and Kate but I'm not so sure since they're getting hitched at 5am my time.  I've still got 2 more hours in bed at that point! 
But maybe I'll go ahead and invite some lucky friends over for tea, crumpets, and cake anyways.  I'm sure there will be highlights of it all day long. 

I've been updating my food blog, the bonnie dinner table.  I have been trying all kinds of new recipes so watch out for even more good food!

Here's the run down on what's been doing on with James:
- surgery went well and the site seems to be healing well.
- while he was "going under" with the anestesia he had a small seizure.  Our family doctor and the surgeon are not too concered and said that anestesia can sometimes trigger a seizure.  We spoke with the on-call neurologist while at the hospital but I'm waiting to meet with James' regular neuro before a definitive opinion is formed.  We have not, however, put James back on the anti-siezure meds at this time since everyone still seems to believe that he's still at a low risk of having another one.
- while recooping from surgery James came down with a small case of pnuemonia.  Fortunately it is most likely not from aspirating but from the head cold he had.  Thanks to his antibiotics he's already feeling better.

I keep saying that apart from his miraculous healing the poor guy can't catch a break!

Tonight I go to my friend's house to make the invitations for Lydia's 3rd birthday party.  Every year we have scrapbooked the invites using pictures of the kids.  It's so much fun for me and I'm always thrilled to see what great ideas Katie comes up with as I am barely creative at all.

I have saved the best for last, ladies and gentlemen.
With all of my kids getting better Lydia and Bennet have both slept through the night the last two nights and James only woke up twice!  After 3 weeks of very, very rough nights we are so grateful for normal sleep again!   

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

and the Daisy Award goes to.... James' night nurse!

Once upon a time James looked like this:

He was taken care of by this doctor:

and this nurse:

They were both awesome, as were a whole host of other doctors and nurses of whom we do not have pictures.

This nurse, the lovely Megan, we nominated for the Daisy Award, an award for outstanding nursing.  And out of more than 150 other nominations at OSF, Megan won.  :) 

Her nomination:
Megan constantly gave my son James pep talks. She lovingly cared for him and believed in him. She gave him every opportunity to succeed at bottle feeding and encouraged his development with play and conversations. She even bought him clothes because the NICU had nothing big enough. Megan cared for and loved my son like I am able to now that he is home. That means the world to me.

The whole family went to the award ceremony. 
Bennet played near the windows

and Lydia ate the icing off the cinnamon rolls.

It was a good day.
Thank God for OSF's NICU.
Thank God for the doctors and nurses who cared for my son.
And thank God for Megan who still takes an extra interest in my son.

glitter poop = awesome

I believe there is an expression that goes something like this:

I'm so awesome crap glitter.

If that's true, if having glitter as feces demonstrates that a person is truly awesome, then Bennet has officially joined the ranks of Johnny Cash, Jane Austin, John Paul II, The Beatles, and Ashley Brown. 

I'm so proud.

Monday, April 4, 2011

the April Fool's joke I was going to play

I've announced my last two pregnancies by posting Ok Go's Here It Goes Again. I thought it would be funny to post the video on April 1st but Travis told me it would be mean. :)

I am not pregnant. Heck, I haven't charted for this many consecuative months in over 3 years! But here's the song anyways. Because it is a good song. And the video is so much fun.

Ten Facts About Me and My Better Half

Yes, I know Betty Beguiles did this last week.  Whatever.  I am so last week.

Okay, really, I thought this was sweet and wanted to join in but with James' surgery and four out of the five of us being sick (including Lydia's 103.5 degree temp) I couldn't hop on the bus right away.  But here I go now!

The first day we met I made him rearrange furniture with me.  I was wearing a skirt and he was wearing a sleeveless t shirt. 

Our first kiss came while we were doing something illegal.  Scandalous!

We were friends for almost 2 years when we both realized that  God had blessed our friendship and we were in love.  Once we realized it we spared no time: 2 weeks later we had our wedding date picked out, 4 weeks after that we were officially engaged, and almost 7 months after that we were married.

We got married during the Season of Christmas on the vigil of the feast of the Holy Family.  It was beautiful.

Going to bed every night is like being at a slumber party in middle school - we lay awake talking for way too long.  Getting into bed at the end of the day, snuggling up to my husband, and talking and laughing with Travis is the best part of every day.

The illegal thing we were doing in #2?  Mushroom hunting at a state park.  Not so scandalous after all.

We have pretty traditional roles in our house.  Travis does manly things like fixes and builds things, mows the yard, takes out the garbage, works on the cars, and watches movies with car chases.  I do girly things like bake, make dinner, clean the house, ignore the laundry, and watch movies with Matt Damon.  It's nice for us when the car chase movies feature Mr. Damon.  Thank you, Bourne trilogy.

One of our favorite ways to pass time is to talk about all the things we would do if we won the Mega Millions.  The list includes: buying land with a creek or pond and woods, building our dream home (which is actually fairly modest but will include a nice man cave outbuilding and pool), giving our parents large sums of money, giving my alma mater money to renovate their science hall, among other things.

Travis and I love to host.  We love having people over and getting together with friends and family.

Almost every Wednesday I say to Travis, "Bones  is on tonight!" And then he shakes his head and laughs at me because Bones is on Thursdays and has been for a very long time.   I am honestly that forgetful.

Read Betty's list here.  And see the list of other blogger who joined in here.