May 17, 2016

Healing Our Mayo Relationship

It was 2:15 and I passed Tim in the driveway, pausing only long enough to exchange keys and throw the stroller in his car.  His commuter car that fits into the usually packed full hospital parking ramps at the Mayo Clinic much better than the large SUV I usually drive with all six kids in tow.

Our appointment was slated for 2:45, but when I skated into the parking ramp at 2:45 on the nose I wasn’t worried.  I knew that 2:45 check-in really meant 3:00 appointment time and they wouldn’t page Tomass dietician from the floor to the clinic until we checked in anyway.   We quickly went up a few levels and then turned as if to exit, knowing the down-side of the ramp usually had better spots available.  I was rewarded by a spot just a few spaces from the elevator.

May 10, 2016

The Unpublished Posts

Over the years, I have amassed a collection of posts in draft mode that I never published.  Almost all of these posts are about grief and infant loss and many are darker than I would like to admit.

They have actual titles like:

Life Stops

No Replacements

The Me I Used To Be

What Would Be Different?

When Your Parenting Story is Unlike Any of Your Friends

This last one is about how hard it is not to resent my friends who have not experienced the vast amount of loss that we have.  Actually, most of my closest friends haven't experienced any of the kind of loss we have, except as they have experienced it through us.  It isn't a nice post and I have a hard time admitting it even exists.

Some of these posts were written in the last 18 months and others at any point over the last almost 9 years.  Some of them, the title is as far as I ever made it in writing.

What are all these posts to me now and what do I do with them?

They are a part of my story and a part of my girls' story but they are an unfinished part in many ways.  They represent pieces of life, death, and grief that I haven't quite come to terms with.  They represent the very struggles of my soul on a daily basis.  They are pleading prayers to find peace with sometimes dark places inside of me.

My child died.

Dead.  Died.  Gone.

Two of them.

Well actually five....

I'm not sure anymore what I'm supposed to say to that whole number question.

I'm sure these thoughts and feelings will not ever go away completely but how do I find peace with them?  What do I do with them when they come?  I have promised to be real with my readers about the journey that is grief following the loss of a child, but these particular thoughts seem out of place even in the spirit of honesty.  Aidan calls things like this "just because they are true doesn't mean its good to share" facts.

For now, I leave them in the in-between.  I put those thoughts to paper, but I leave the posts unfinished.  The drafts unpublished.

The story incomplete.

May 2, 2016

Clipboards for Paper Organization

I have to be honest.  When Tomas was born, the paper for 8 people living in this house got the best of me.  It had been a delicate balance for awhile, but he tipped the scales big time.  The medical stuff alone for Tomas and Caleb consumed me.  I also didn't spend as much time making the kid's spring planners as durable as I made their fall ones and they started falling apart leaving lesson plans and practice papers everywhere.  I wasn't finding as much time to go through the calendar each month and week and update them on our events and happenings.

I've been thinking about clipboards for quite awhile for several reasons, but largely because they fit on the wall easily.  I've used binders in the past, but counter space on my kitchen is at a major premium these days!  I love the pretty clipboards that Jen uses over at Wildflowers and Marbles, but when I saw the price tag...yikes!  I decided to hold off and try some other things.


And after trying other things I decided maybe we should go back to clipboards.

April 22, 2016

Adventures in Feeding Tomas


This is kind of a part two.  You can read about our initial journey from NICU to breastfeeding here. If you don't know how we started this part will make less sense (but probably not that much less if you don't have time to read).

I have been intending to write a follow up for those who are still faithfully following our journey by blog only, because I know there are a few.  I've been dropping cryptic little hints and outright laments that feeding has still not been going particularly well and that growing eventually did become a concern on our Facebook page.

All of the spitting/gagging/choking issues that he started out with continued to get worse little by little until eventually he was accounting for an entire load of laundry or more every single day (Kylee started wearing layers so she wouldn't have to go back upstairs and change after he puked on her), he couldn't lay flat under any circumstances, and eventually he started refusing to eat completely.  I kept being worried that it was a milk supply problem, but I could pump until the cows came home and take supplements and eat all the right foods and double my supply in a few days, but he just wouldn't (couldn't?) keep it up.

April 11, 2016

Singing His Songs


Don't be surprised if you visit our house one day and hear the sounds of Christmas music drifting from the nearest speaker.   When Tomas was in the NICU, his oxygen levels were one of the last things to stabilize for him.   Like many babies, his stats were better when mom was holding and talking to him.  He was awake very little, but we could tell when he was getting overwhelmed and stressed by seeing those numbers dive down and not come up well on their own.

April 8, 2016

7 Days of Awesome Review

7 Days of Awesome was not at all what I expected.  I was thinking it would be a slightly rhymed, cute creation story that was just one more to add to the pile.   It was rhyming, it was cute, and it was a creation story but it was otherwise not at all what I thought it would be.

I think that there are more realistic and beautiful versions of the creation story to share with children, most particularly a good children's bible version, but I also think that this adaptation wins on fun.  Many other reviews I have read refer to it as in the style of Dr. Seuss, a comparison that is warranted.

I can't call this a top creation story adaptation as some of the cartoonish illustrations and wording is aimed more at lower elementary aged and might be a little much for the toddler crew, but it is definitely a fun book that can be enjoyed by parents and children together while they learn a little more about the Bible.

7 Days of Awesome is a hardcover title, published by Zondervan, and created by Shawn Byous and Colin Jack.


In exchange for an honest review, I was provided a complimentary copy of this title through the BookLook Bloggers review program.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

March 17, 2016

Beauty of the Written Word


Kylee recently finished her first ever Institute for Excellence in Writing Thematic Writing Book: Bible Heroes.  For her final "project" she wrote a paragraph about something she is thankful for.

Baby Brother
By, Kylee (Age 7)

I have a baby brother, who is named Tomas.  I play with him every day.  He smiles cheerfully and plays contently on the floor.  Every morning, I change Tomas' diapers and clothes.  I am grateful Jesus answered my prayer for a baby brother.


This is a both laughable and lamentable picture of Kylee taking care of Tomas while I pump.  I guess at least it's G Rated!

Note:  We used IEW Thematic Writing Units without first doing the Student Writing Intensive.  While this worked well for us, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have at least some background in teaching writing because you will have to fill gaps and translate the teachers instructions which were meant to be used after doing the Intensive.  I know that we would have gotten more out of this if I had insisted on stricter adherence to the *method* as opposed to my wing-it method with some Montessori lessons mixed in.