Category Archives: baby

Power of a Teacher

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I never knew the value of a teacher until I put my son in a classroom. Up until this moment, there was no one human (beside his parents) influencing his life…now there is one person we call his teacher; it changed everything.

It started with her rules becoming our rules around the house. Like one day I said booty and he quickly chimed in “Ms. Monica says we do not say booty!” It later turned to the way she does things like pass out snacks or wash hands. I quickly learned Mrs. Monica is a powerful person and to get on the same page as her or be told I am doing it wrong.

Later it turned into more than that…more meaningful. When she picked up his early signs for seizures were starting again so we could call the doctor. When she could tell he was acting off and might have an ear infection. When we were worried about his development and she could honestly say what was normal or delayed or influenced by others. Her experience and input became very important and valued.

Finally, as he was in her class for over a year, she became like a second mom. I trusted her to call me if the symptoms got worse so I could come pick him up. She also would tell me good ideas for next birthday gifts based on things he enjoyed. Made me aware of good times and bad times with other kids since I would hear about it later anyway. Helped with the transition when he began to be over aggressive and allowed us time to correct it before labeling him the bad kid. When he fell she doctored it up and knew he loved band aids or helped me out when I forgot a blanket. She understood the vomiting was not sickness but a side effect of his meds so let him stay at school or the coughing was allergies and not a cold. She especially was a saint when he had diarrhea due to his meds and allergies and heroically changed him or kept him near the potty. Clearly going above and beyond, but did it anyway.

As a teacher myself, she understood that days off are hard so she helped out when she could or at least gave me time to get a lesson plan made and return. She gave patience, grace and mercy knowing that the teacher life gets complicated because you cannot just call in sick without creating a plan. I never expected this of her, but was grateful when she offered.

With all this talk about teacher this and that…it all changes when it is your kid and you really see their power and influence on your child. You want the best and I was fortunate to have that in Mrs. Monica. Today is his last day of Pre K. He will no longer go to this daycare as he starts Kinder with me in the fall. I am thankful he has had a great 2 years, but sad that it is over. It means he is growing up and moving on and the moving on means change which is hard for this mama. I will no longer have her as a partner in raising my child (and for those haters…teachers see the child awake more than the parent most days so yes they partner to raise them…the teacher should not do it all, though). 

So today I thank and salute the teacher that does way more than teach. I thank you for loving and praying and filling in the gaps that this working mom leaves. You are a gift from God and an answer to prayer. Your influence is endless and will be remembered for a lifetime as his first school teacher. Thank you!!

A Day at the Zoo

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This is normally our Fair Day, but instead we went to the Dallas Zoo. It was perfect! I crowded, great weather, no major meltdowns, ice cream, animals, rides, toys and glory to God for safe travels. Now that we live in Kaufman, trips to the zoo require a drive and directions but I got there and back safely and without getting lost…go me!image
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Romans 12:15

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The Bible says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, but what if both emotions occur at the same time? Which side do you join?

Mother’s Day presents this challenge. For the first 29 years of my life I lived in Mother’s Day ignorance. This day was about celebrating my mom and the world was great. It was a happy day no questions asked. Cue six years later and I have learned for some this is the hardest day of the year. Now that I have seen and experienced this pain, I can never go back to ignorance.

I struggle with this because many are celebrating: a first time mom, a mom that has come home, an older mom still here, grandmothers that are like moms, foster moms, women that are like moms, a mom of many children, an adoptive mom that never thought she would be called mom (me).

But I also know the extreme sadness: an infertile woman that should have been pregnant by now, a mom that just miscarried, a mom to an angel baby gone too soon, a woman that is old enough to be a mom but is still single and fears she may never get the chance, a birth mom that experienced the life for nine months then chose a better future for the child, a woman that is content choosing not to have kids but then is judged on this day as others assume she wanted to, a mom that just passed away or a mom that is far from home, a mom that does not remember she is a mom.

For the first time ever I did not make a big deal of Mother’s Day at school because I have two students that lost their moms…one four months ago…this is the hardest day for him-ever!

With all this sadness, it seems rude to celebrate except there are those that have earned this celebration and they deserve to get it. Moms everywhere need their ONE day to feel important, to be appreciated, to honor the sacrifice and generosity, to be treated like a queen and decide lunch or get a hug or get time off. We deserve our day…we do a lot that goes unpaid and unnoticed and this day solves that problem!

Both sides win and both sides are right and both sides matter. So do we rejoice or mourn?

I say both! God gives and He takes away and there is a time for everything. I think it is only important that you understand there is both happening simultaneously. I was that girl that almost lost it at the restaurant when the hostess handed me a flower after I had just started my cycle after the 24th month of trying (seriously I almost threw the flower in her face but that would have been awkward). I am also the girl that realizes my son was carried by someone else only to choose me to get to receive his card on this day. Her sadness today is my joy. Celebrating my first Mother’s Day was surreal; felt like a huge victory where I could say or do anything I wanted(I left the diaper bag at home on the way to church and was not fussed at…score!) I would not have wanted anyone to tell me I should not celebrate in honor of another’s pain…I think as sisters we can do both. Hug and dance in celebration and cry and console in pain. We as women need to lift each other up in whatever stage and just appreciate that as women we have that bond of understanding. Having ovaries ain’t easy!!

The good news: sorrow endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. Death has been conquered by Christ and your loved one is home where we all belong! If this is your season of mourning then believe sister that seasons change! Your smile is coming!image

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You Take the Good with the Bad

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We are on Facebook Fast Day 10 and I think I am slowly getting used to life without it.  I don’t find myself missing it as much since I have not been on it for ten days.  I do catch myself wondering about certain people’s posts about various topics or feelings about world events that I know would have something to say, but I enjoy being separated from the drama.  A coworker will ask me if I saw so and so’s post etc., but I can honestly say no and I have no idea what is going on.  I do feel isolated from current events or from social happenings around the community; the main reason I joined is because a friend was moving to Australia and a different one got engaged and I had no idea because they thought I knew through Facebook.  People don’t call each other to share news or even email…they just post it on Facebook, so I feel I am missing out on that, but you have to take the good with the bad.

I went for my semi-annual Lupus check up today.  It is only on these days that I remember I have a chronic disease that is in constant need of monitoring.  Only on days like today where I see how bad my disease could be that I appreciate the mildness of it all even if it is inconvenient.  For the first time ever, I got a bone density scan to measure if my bones were deteriorating due to the steroids I take daily.  I did surprise the machine guy with my scoliosis.  He thought I was sitting straight at first, but then realized it was my back and calmed down.  Thankfully the test had positive results.  We took my usually two vials of blood to monitor that the levels stayed the same and then did my normal check up.  This time I had a concern because my scalp has developed these lesions that are causing my hair to thin in areas and I am not having that hair loss!  He recommended a visit to the Dermatologist but assured me it was an effect of the disease and the hair will likely grow back.  I can tell that I am in a flare or about to be because of my extreme weight loss.  I am down five pounds, but eating more or as normal.  I like the natural weight loss, but will not tolerate hair loss…I guess you got to take the good with the bad!

Finally, my son is in the Terrible Twos in full swing.  The amount of “mine” “no” “I don’t want to” and pure break downs when things do not go his way are intense.  We call him bipolar Callen because one minute he is on top of the world and the next he is sprawled out on the floor.  We are trying to balance the thought that he is learning these bad behaviors to get our attention with this is just the age and we must push through it.  We are constantly reinforcing him to use his words and express his feelings while punishing using time out when necessary.  The good thing is our caretakers report he does well for them and the meltdowns are non-existent or minimal, but not sure why we get all the good stuff.  Hoping we are not encouraging the bad behaviors without knowing it, but we have no idea are just trying to do our best.  As I am fussing at him for taking out the chicken hammer, spilling the bubbles, putting his sock in the water and carrying the laundry basket into the shower…I thought I was about to reach my breaking point.  In my mind, I was thinking “we are not going to make it out of the twos” and then my mind went back to the mother that lost her 17 month old girl on Thursday and I know she would give anything to have the terrible twos.  I know she would sell all she owned to have one more day of spills, tears, messes and meltdowns.  I appreciate that I am blessed to have these moments with him…the good ones and the bad.

The good news is: Facebook Fast, Lupus and infamous two year old behaviors–I am blessed with the good and the bad.  Humbled tonight in so many ways especially knowing that the sweet parent tonight endured her child’s viewing.  I know God is good and He loves us.  I know God is faithful and His promises are true, but this one has rocked me.  Why give that good and perfect gift to later take it away?  I know she is in a better place, but my heart hurts at the thought.  Her story has rocked me today.  I know she will get up and breathe and take it day by day and hour by hour…I know she will find the strength, but I wish she did not have to.

IF Community Unite

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So, in the midst of this Facebook Fast where I am unable to check social media, I get an email about a prayer request for a family that lost their little girl.  The email stated the mother was a local teacher and the father a local fire fighter.  Both of these roles I immediately connected to because she works in my school district, lives in my city..we have several mutual friendships-though we do not know each other directly.  DPD and DFD have a connected bond through the work they do for the city.  I am also a mother of a toddler.  I could not find any information on the situation on Thursday night without jumping on Facebook, so I just committed to pray.

Yesterday, a fundraising site began circulating around and long story short now more people are talking, sharing and mostly fundraising to help this couple with funeral costs and paid leave as they grieve.  My child choking is my worst nightmare and my child experiencing pain while in the care of a daycare or sitter is a close second.  Every working mom has guilt and the number one guilt is that you cannot be there for your child and will someone else care for them to the depth that you will.  I mean I have to work (infertility is expensive), but I hate it because it took me so long to be a mom.  In the end, you just have to let go and let God and trust that you are making the best decision possible.  All of this rocked me to my core as a parent.  It hit too close to home.  And then I learned a detail that brought me to my knees.  This couple suffered from infertility and their child was conceived through IVF.

We in the infertility community know this pain too well.  “For this child I have prayed…”  The loss, the waiting, the patience, the emptiness and then to finally parent (whether through treatments or adoption) is your greatest joy because it did not come easy and it was not natural and you thought time and time again “What if it never happens?”  We know the brokenness our bodies feel and the shame and the regret and the pain when everyone around us has two then three then four or just starts selecting dates on a calendar to try for another like it is so simple; for them it is.  We know something entirely different. Our story is not the same.  The love is the same, the parenting is the same but, the struggle can only be felt if you have been there and felt like that 1 in 8 that cannot conceive.  My friends might cringe at my numerous kid posts, but this was a kid I never thought would exist and this kid may be my only one due to the work it took to get him…so I am embracing each day because I know it will not likely come again.  I don’t get the luxury to plan for baby number two….I have no control.

In light of all this my Facebook fast seems pretty unimportant and small.  In fact, it allows me more time to hug my son and embrace his laughter.  It allows me more time to pray for this family and listen for God to tell me how He will use me to help.  This blog is it.

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/emma-turner-memorial-fund/299958

IF community I urge you to join me in donating to this family.  They have already reached their fundraising goal, but we know it is not about the money.  It is about the community of us that struggle to conceive and cling to those miracle babies only to thing their birth signifies the struggle is over only to lose a child while you are at work.  God be with your donation, God be with this couple and their families and God be with all of our community.  Let’s UNITE and show them we see them, we care and they are not alone.

THe good news is: I am not saying infertility babies are more loved or more special.  Any loss of a child is tragic,  I am just saying that nine months to meet a child and 36 months changes things.  THe baby becomes like a prize and a reminder every day of a blessing you thought would never come.  Every dirty sock, every poopy diaper, every temper tantrum is a gift that I do not deserve and adoption allows me to be a parent.  My heart aches tonight.  God, be with them and all of us that do not get it.  Remind us that death is part of your promise and without it we would not see you.  We must die for our life to begin.

A Letter to my Son

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Dear Callen,

You have no idea how proud I am to be your mother. Not just a mother, your mother! I was told I could not have children because my body would not carry a baby; it was devastating news to hear. I knew I wanted to be mom, but now I felt confused. So many choices. Then God put on our heart to adopt and the decision felt right. I worried about who, when, where, how and then we let The Lord take over. I remember being so afraid that we would adopt the wrong baby and it would not be the perfect fit. I wrestled with trusting God to make you perfect for us. I remember thinking what if the child likes something I cannot understand or what if he/she is the exact opposite of us and we never quite click.

Why did I worry?

You are now two years old and I cannot imagine a more perfect child for our family. You complete Nathan and I and everything about you is what we envisioned for our ideal child and more. People say you even look like us. They always comment on eyes like your daddy or hair like your mom. We giggle at our special secret or amaze them with the truth: you are adopted and created by God for us…of course you look like us!

At two you are already showing so much personality. You are strong and brave; not a whiner or a complainer. You love the water, love the mud, love the outside and running instead of walking. You love to eat and dance when a bite is good. You are a meat eater all the way…and will try anything. You love music especially Little Einsteins. You sing when you are happy. You are glued to Frozen and act out the scenes. You have the most contagious laugh ever! You play hard and love hard. You give us kisses and hug your animals. You cuddle with blankets but not with mommy unless you are sick. You are as athletic as we are and maybe even more.  We love to compete and so do you-without notice you will say “on your mark, get set, go” then take off.  We know you have started and race and we better get going!

You are smart. You pick up our phrases easily and copy us often. You tackle daddy and hide from us under the table; you strain and say “I’m stuck!” when you really are not. You imagine with your wrestling figures. You climb up the bed and fall face first into the sheets and love every second. You are observant. You survey the room and watch before you commit to opening up. You talk up a storm and share about your day. You invite others to play with you by saying “come on!” You are a leader and direct the dogs to do what you want. You pray with us and listen as we read Bible stories. You are always thinking! Always learning. You sing Frosty, Let it Go, Happy Birthday, ABC’s…you take a bath for over an hour because you hate to get out.  I have to make you drain the tub.

You love animals and love reading. You are passionate and throw yourself down when things do not go as planned. Sitting you in time out calms you. Your latest trick is crossing your arms and saying “I don’t want it.” You love to laugh and live life. I am proud to call you my son and I am grateful that God allowed for the circumstances to happen that brought us together. Infertility is my friend since it brought me to you. Every decision I make you are in it. I love our relationship and you. Everything about you. Never forget that…I would never change you. I would never change us and our story.  Thank you for these memories, these hugs, these moments and these best days of my life now that I have met you.  Thank you for calling me Ma, Mom, Mommy and Julia (your dad taught you that).  Thank you for filling my heart with this unbelievable love!

Love, your mom

NYE 2014

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The last time we went out on New Year’s Eve was in 2011. My friend hosted a party at her home and we stayed after everyone left and talked about the future. It was the first time we had told others our leadings to adopt. They had so many questions that we could not answer, but we just knew that our family was about to change. I remember my husband and I kissed that year knowing big things were in store in 2012.

2012 brought the birth and later adoption of our son. We both stayed in with him that year as he was only 3 weeks old. The next nye, he was one and my husband worked while I dressed him in tuxedo pajamas. This year my friend calls me a week ago and says “let’s do something fun this nye”.

My first reaction was my husband was probably working and probably could not get off. But later when he confirmed that he could, my question became “How fun?”

Some research and planning brought us to our NYE 2014. We rented a hotel room at the Harbor, met for dinner then boarded a boat for a cruise/ ball drop and countdown. It was crazy cold, but the boat was enclosed and heated…perfect! Such a fun way to share the city with friends and lots of laughs. We went to the hotel afterwards and danced to live music before heading to bed. So many funny moments as a couple, with my best friend and as the four of us doing life together. I hope Callen can appreciate how much his parents enjoy being together and intend to keep making new memories both as a couple and family. Praying for big blessings for your 2015!! Happy New Year! image