Tuesday, December 23, 2008

18 Months...A Letter to my Daughter Cadence

Dear Sweet Cadence Alana, my beautiful melody, my little dancer in the womb. How I miss you baby girl. A year and a half is too long to go without seeing your face. You were the sixth born and the tiniest of all the babies, but wow you were feisty. If you were still with us now, I do believe that you and Sylas would have been my little partners in crime. I'm so proud to be called your mommy, Cadence. Thank you for staying with us for 13 beautiful days. Every moment spent with you was a dream come true. Daddy and I will carry you in our hearts forever and we can't wait for the day when we will hold you again. Until then, missing you...

Love,
Mommy



Cadence's Song*
By Daddy

Baby Butterfly
Flying so far and free
Lay to rest your little wings
Fly now to me

Fly now to me
Fly now to me
Kiss on Daddy's cheek
Fly now to me

Baby Butterfly
Now it's time for sleep
Tomorrow you'll fly again
But fly now to me

Fly now to me
Fly now to me
Kiss on Mommy's cheek
Fly now to me

Fly now to me
Fly now to me
Kiss on Baby's cheek
Fly now to me
Butterfly now to sleep

*Ryan wrote this song out of a place of great hope the day before Cadence passed away. We had just been told that our tiny little Cadence was on the mend. Little did we know that when Ryan penned the words "Tomorrow you'll fly again," she wouldn't be flying to us, but straight into the arms of our Savior.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bathtime

Thought you could use a little more Sylas in your life...



I'm Okay

So, a few people have asked if I'm doing ok. Well...what mother is really ever ok after losing a child? There will always be 5 little voids in my heart that no one could ever fill and I'm ok with those voids. I don't want anyone else to fill them. They make me long for Heaven even more. In spite of probably never being ok, I'm doing well. During this season, I'm coming to a new place of peace and trust in the Lord. I'm at a place of acknowledging that the lives of the 5 we lost, counted (more on that in another post) and they were beautiful, as opposed to tragic. I'm relishing in this very healthy baby girl that continues to grow safely inside of me and I'm learning to love my husband and my son so completely that it often takes my breath away.

Hope this answers your question. I'm ok...and I'm not, and I'm ok with that.

P.S. Thank you for all of your kind words on the previous posts. They mean the world to me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

18 Months...A Letter to my Son Lincoln

Oh, my sweet baby Lincoln. How have I gone a year and a half without seeing your beautiful face? Sometimes the pain of missing you and the cloak of grief that I bear is so great, I can hardly stand under the weight of it. I miss your sweet little fingers and your sweet little toes. I miss all the questions that you'd soon be asking me, like why is the sky blue and why do eyes have to blink and why do we feel pain. As much as I would try to answer your questions and teach you about the beauty of God's Creation, I think that you would be the one who would end up teaching me. I long to have you with me at this very moment, but for reasons beyond my understanding, your daddy and I were only able to enjoy you for five short days. I will always carry you in my heart, little Linc, and I can't wait to see you again. Until then, missing you...

Love,
Mommy



Sunday, December 14, 2008

18 Months...A Letter to my Son Tryg

I can't believe it's been 18 months since I've seen your darling face my baby Tryg Brenton. It's hard to imagine that you were the biggest of all the babies, yet the most fragile. My mommy heart wanted to protect you so badly, and I guess the best way to do that was to let you go. I'm so glad that you are now healthy and whole in the arms of Jesus, but oh how I miss you. I miss the little things that we'd be doing together right now, like rolling a ball back and forth, reading bedtime stories and if you were anything like your brother Sylas, having midnight snuggles. You were such a champion, Tryg. Thank you for fighting so hard and for staying with us for four beautiful days. Your daddy and I treasure each moment we spent with you and we can't wait to see you again. Until then, missing you...

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, December 13, 2008

18 Months...A Letter to my Son Bennet

Has it really been a year and a half my brave Bennet Ryan? It feels like just yesterday I held your sweet little body in my arms. Oh the pleasure of feeling you settle right in...like you were home. Of all the babies, you were the one I got to hold first and while I felt like a mom when you were in my womb, and I felt like a mom when I looked at you and touched you gently for 3 days while you were in your isollette, the minute I held you, I knew that being your mommy was the greatest gift I'd ever been given. I was made for it. I don't know why daddy and I only got to enjoy you for 3 days, but I do know that I'm eternally grateful for every second we spent together. I carry you in my heart every day, sweet baby. You will always be our first born son and you will always bear your daddy's name. Thank you for being so brave. Having you as our boy was an answer to our prayers and we can't wait to see you again. Until then...missing you.

Love,
Mommy



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Comparison

Every Monday, during the month of December, Sylas and I are heading over to a friends house to look after her little girl while the nanny is on vacation. She's about 9 months old and is the sweetest thing. It's fun to watch Sylas play and interact with her. He's always right in her face saying, "Hi, hi, hi." The three of us have such a great time playing together. On the other hand, it's difficult for me as I find myself comparing Sylas to her. When I'm alone with Sy, it's easy to be grateful and amazed at how far he's come, but when placed next to other children who are his age or even younger than him, the fact that he is behind is glaringly obvious. It makes me feel sad and worried and guilty. I know that it's just the start and that as he interacts with more and more kids, I'll continue to deal with these emotions. He'll always be a little bit behind, at least physically, unless the Lord heals him of his cerebral palsy and I need to be ok with that. I want to be a mom that NEVER makes him feel as though he's behind and that if he sets his mind to it, he can accomplish anything. Awhile back, when Sylas was hugging both Ryan and I at the same time, Ryan said that if this is all Sylas can ever do, if this is all he ever accomplishes, then I'm the happiest dad in the world. It's true really. I need to remember that what he may be "lacking" when it comes to physical acheivements, he more than makes up for it with his joyful, loving spirit. I'm so proud to be called Sylas' mommy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun

Wow! What a weekend! We left bright and early Thanksgiving morning for our 5 hour drive to my parents house. We were so thankful to break up the trip by stopping at my mom's parents house along the way. Thanks for the lovely breakfast Granny and Grandpa. We arrived at my parents church at about 1 p.m. where 50 family members were already gathered, feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes and countless desserts. Sylas was the star of the show saying, "Hi" to anyone who would pass his way. It's amazing how much Sylas loves people. The more the merrier for him. He went 8 hours straight without a nap and was still in good spirits. Little party animal.

After Thursday, things slowed down considerably. On Friday, I did a little shopping with my mom while Ryan and Sylas watched Wall-E with my little brother...who sadly is not so little anymore. Saturday we spent the morning with some friends so Ryan could take a few maternity pictures of them, then for dinner our family had the traditional Christmas Belgian waffles with berries and whipped cream. Due to my enlarged state, we will not be travelling for Christmas, so we had to do it a bit early this year. On Sunday, my sisters and I sang a song for church and were accompanied by my mom on the piano, Ryan on the drums and Phil (my sister's boyfriend) on the bass. It was so fun!!! We haven't done anything like that for a long time.

It was such a fun and relaxing weekend, but during the Holidays it's hard not to think of all we've lost and all that could've been. Especially as we watch Sylas interact so well with other kids. We are sad, but mostly we are thankful for each of our seven children and for all of the blessings God has given us.

Practicing the piano with Nonna

Laughing with Papa B.

Monday, November 24, 2008

We've Been Robbed!!!

Over the weekend, I received a message on Facebook from someone I've never met. She informed me that there is a girl on an online mom's group that has been posing as being pregnant with sextuplets and she's using our ultrasound pictures!!! Take a look...


My Original Photo
The first picture is the one she posted on the mom's group site, but we also found her personal blog where she had an ultrasound pic of each of the individual babies. Ryan contacted Blogger right away and by the end of the day, her blog had been removed.

I've heard about this happening before, but hadn't really thought it would happen to us. What type of a person would go to such lengths to get attention or recognition or whatever it is she needs? As appalled and upset that I am, I'm also very sad for her. I hope that someday she finds the love and acceptance she's so desperately seeking.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Sylas Report

After firm urging from my mother, I'm finally sitting down to write. So much has happened and it seems as though Sylas is doing new things every day. I'll do my best to get you caught up.


We are about 6 weeks into private physical therapy and it's awesome. We love Heidi, the therapist. She's very sweet, but also aggressive in her work with Sylas and the goals she has for him. My mommy heart breaks as Heidi stretches and pushes our little man to his limits, but the progress he's made has been wonderful, so I know it's worth it. He can now sit unsupported while playing with toys for about 15 seconds. He can also sit on a low bench or stair with his feet planted for about 2 minutes. He's also doing more standing with flat feet (as you can see on the picture above) instead of standing on his toes. We are believing that he is going to continue to make great strides in his gross motor skills during the months to come.

I took Sylas to the doctor last week, because he kept pulling on his ears and he was/is so fussy. Thankfully his ears are fine and all that ear pulling is a result of the 5 teeth that are trying to come in. Two of them poked through this week (which makes12 total), so we're still waiting on the other 3. I'll try to get a closeup of his mouthful sometime soon. I'm loving the toothy grin.

Verbally, Sylas has taken off in the past month. He now says dada, mama (or more often mom), baba, gaga (froggy pacifier), more and hi, usually in context. I know only time will tell, but it seems that the cerebral palsy is just affecting him physically and not mentally. He's so smart!

Due to my new job, Sylas and Daddy have been spending lots of quality time together.

All in all we're doing well. We've hunkered down for the winter to avoid germs, so we spend lots of time at home playing with toys and reading books. I'm already longing for Spring, but still trying to savor these baby moments with Sylas. He's growing up so fast and he won't be the baby for much longer.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

By Request


In response to this post.


Baked Stuffed Pumpkin (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 ounces sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (1 1/2-pound ) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup couscous, cooked
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 small (1-pound) pumpkins, hollowed out

Directions:
Make the stuffing: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Decase and crumble the sausage meat and place it in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the sausage until it is almost done -- about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan, increase heat to medium, and add the onion and 2 cups of the chopped pumpkin. Sauté until the pumpkin begins to soften -- 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chopped apple and sausage and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the wine, cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside. Combine the couscous, dried cranberries, olive oil, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add meat mixture to the bowl and toss to combine.

Bake the pumpkins: Evenly fill the hollowed-out pumpkins with the stuffing mixture and place the pumpkins in a shallow baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Caramel Apple Pie (my Granny's recipe)

Filling:
6 cups tart apples, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup cold butter, sliced

Directions:
Mix together all the "filling" ingredients and place in pie crust (I usually just use the jiffy pie crust in which all you have to do is add water, but if anyone has an amazing pie crust recipe, I'd love to hear it). Mix together all the "topping" ingredients and place on top of filling. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. When finished baking, drizzle 1/2 cup of caramel over entire pie.

Happy Baking!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Tradition







A couple years back we had some good friends of ours over for Halloween. Earlier that week I had found a baked pumpkin recipe I wanted to try and since Tim and Leah are some of our more adventurous friends when it comes to food, they were the perfect people to test it on. The pumpkins we're a success and we've now made it a Halloween tradition. There's no better way to start the Holiday season than by spending time with people you love and enjoying the savory flavors of autumn's bountiful harvest.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Workin' Mama

Ryan and I have been talking about me getting a part-time job for months and months, but with Sylas and moving and being pregnant and everything in between, I just never got around to it. I'm amazed at how quickly things can change. A job at the Starbucks near our house literally fell into my lap a couple of days ago. I went in on Tuesday to drop off my application and I ended up having my interview right then with Sylas sitting in his stroller next to me. I'll be working about 15 hours a week and I start on Saturday. I'm so excited. It's going to be great for so many reasons. First of all, I've worked at Starbucks before, so I know that I LOVE it. It's also going to feel wonderful to be able to contribute a little to the budget and it will be nice to get out and have a little "break" from the sameness of every day and meet new people and have adult conversation. Ryan and Sylas will have good bonding time and we'll all be one happy family. I hope...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Homecoming

After a busy couple of weeks, I have much to write about, but before the day is over, I want to make sure to say "Happy Anniversary of your Homecoming" to Sylas. Our sweet boy has now been home for a year and wow what a ride. Today has been a great reminder of how far he has come. It's so easy to get caught up in the things he is behind in or can't yet do, but today I'm in awe of what he CAN do (thank you to my wonderful reader who reminded me of this). He can breathe on his own, he can crawl, he can laugh, his smile makes everything better and he's stronger than any person I've ever known.

Mommy and Daddy love you so much Little Bug. You are our delight and your determination inspires and amazes us.


Sylas' first day home

Yesterday in lovely Excelsior



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One Down...


The MRI is over and Sylas did great! He was miserable while waking up from the sedation, but after a nice long nap at home, he's back to his normal self, chatting about da da da da da da.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Update

Our life is crazy! Sylas has an MRI tomorrow morning and since he'll be sedated, a pre-op appointment with the pediatrician today. My husband Ryan, who works for a non-profit, is getting ready for their annual gala/fundraiser that takes place on Friday and on top of all that, we're moving this week! For the past year, we've been renting a townhouse from some friends. They just recently sold it, so we'll be moving to an apartment in a lovely little town west of Minneapolis. It's a much smaller place, but we're excited to simplify our lives. We have been getting rid of so much stuff. Ryan has already taken 3 car loads to Goodwill and there's still more to go.

In other news, Sylas' physical therapy evaluation went well. He'll be getting therapy once a week, which is exactly what we wanted. The MRI that's scheduled for tomorrow was ordered by the pediatric neurologist we saw a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully it's first thing in the morning, since Sylas can't eat for 6 hours beforehand. YIKES!!! He's going to be a little bear.

For those of you who are wondering how my pregnancy is going, I'm feeling great! I'm 21 weeks and 6 days today, exactly one week before I delivered in the last pregnancy. I'm still being checked by the doctor every 2-3 weeks, and at my last appointment, they said there is no way I'm going to deliver anytime soon. I'm praying they are right and that our baby girl will continue to grow safely inside of me for many weeks to come.

It may be awhile before you hear from me again, since we'll have to get the Internet set up in our new place. Hope you're all healthy and happy and enjoying the beautiful autumn weather.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thank You

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your encouragement! I have been so blessed by your kind and thoughtful words.

...and just so you don't think we're all gloom and doom around here...


P.S. One great thing that came from Sylas' neurology appointment is a prescription for private physical therapy! Hooray! His evaluation is tomorrow and from there they'll determine how often he needs therapy. I'm hoping for at least once a week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Neurology Appointment

I'm an emotional wreck. Sylas had his neurology appointment this morning and the neurologist said that Sylas does fall into the category of having cerebral palsy. Not new news, but solidified news that was like a punch in the gut. He also said that Sylas' arms are tighter than he would like to see, and only time will tell whether it's spastic diplegia or quadriplegia. Ok, this was new news. It's not something we'd even talked about with any of our doctors or therapists. No one even mentioned there being a problem in his arms. On occasion, I have observed that Sylas' arms are stiff and he resists having them raised above his head, but he always seemed to have good range of motion, so I didn't make a big deal of it. Maybe I was in denial. Then to top it all off, we stopped at Walmart on the way home to return something and they wouldn't let me return it because my receipt was 5 days past 90 days. I understand policies and I myself am an avid rule follower, but I wanted to cry and scream that I just found out that my son might be a quadriplegic, so let me return the stupid toy! I refrained, got the items I needed, then calmly proceeded to my car where I balled my eyes out. Sylas cried too. He hates to sit in a non-moving vehicle. Eventually we made it home and had some lunch and then we were happier. Oh, the power of food. My afternoon has gone much better after a lovely visit with a friend and a new sweater from GAP. I'm now sitting at home watching my beautiful, happy, energetic son sleeping peacefully, and I'm reminded that God is good and that this news doesn't change how precious Sylas is and how blessed I am to be given such a gift.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Outdoor Fun

I am loving this weather! Autumn has always been my favorite season, but with this extra bump on my front, I am basking in the cooler weather even more. Ryan worked a few long days this week, so he was able to take yesterday off. We took advantage of our free time and spent the afternoon lazing around Stillwater, MN. We went to the apple orchard, petted the farm animals, walked along the St. Croix River, and had a picnic in the grass. We need to get our son in the grass more often. He wasn't sure what to do when those prickly little blades tickled his neck.





We have a busy week coming up, with Sylas' OT and PT evaluations and his first visit with the neurologist. I'll keep you posted as to how those visits go.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Boy it's good to be home. We just spent a week and a half in Wisconsin visiting my family, and had a wonderful time, but it's always good to sleep in your own bed again. It was great to spend the day with my brother Drew on his birthday, see the hospital where my sister Courtney works and watch my sister Kyrsten kick some bootie in volleyball. Ryan and I also got to spend one night away from Sylas in lovely Kohler, at The Inn at Woodlake. Thank you Nonna and Papa for looking after our little bug.

Unfortunately no vacation is without its trials and I started feeling sick about half way through our trip. Eventually (on my birthday) I went to the doctor and found out that I had a sinus infection and two ear infections. My mom said she would make anything I wanted for my birthday meal, so at my request she made a huge pot of chicken noodle soup. Exciting huh? And of course, as hard as I tried to wash my hands constantly and not kiss Sylas' cute little face, he caught my cold. We're off to the doctor this afternoon to have them take a look at his ears. Poor little babe. Hopefully he'll be on the mend soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last Weekend

We're still trying to recover from our busy weekend. We took advantage of the gorgeous 70 degree weather and spent Saturday at Como Zoo and Sunday at the Minnesota State Fair. It was my first time going to the fair and wow I've been missing some delicious greasy food. I actually felt the baby kick for the first time towards the end of the day. I'm not sure if He-She was enjoying or protesting all those cheese curds. Sylas was a little champ strolling around observing all the people with his newly bespectacled eyes. As for the Zoo, Sylas seemed to like the fiberglass animals better than the real ones.


Sylas riding Gino the Italian giraffe



Sylas after the Zoo


Holding up the line at the State Fair



Rockin' out to our good friends the Sweet Colleens



The bus ride home

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sylas Goes to the Park

The other day we went to the park with some friends and Sylas went in an outdoor swing for the first time in his life. He had so much fun! I'm not sure why we haven't done this before, but we will definitely be taking advantage of the park for the rest of the summer.


video


By the way, Sylas is doing awesome with his glasses. He wears them almost every minute that he's awake. He's always been a pretty happy guy, but he's even happier now. It will be interesting to see how much faster he learns and picks up on things now that he can see!!! Thanks to everyone for their encouraging words about how cute he looks! We wholeheartedly agree.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Whole New World





Sylas' glasses have arrived and he's doing incredible! We put them on after his last nap and he kept them on for about 25 minutes with no complaints. We're positive that he could tell the difference in his sight. He was looking all around and laughing and squealing. We decided to really test the glasses out, so we went to the mall and he wore them for about an hour, only touching them once or twice, and not really trying to take them off. We are so proud of him. It makes my heart happy to know that he's seeing the world in a whole new way.

Friday, August 15, 2008

15 Weeks







Baby #7 is on its way! He-she should be arriving sometime in the beginning of February. We are so excited to welcome this new addition to our family and we are thrilled that Sylas will have a sibling so close in age. I've already had a few ultrasounds and so far everything looks great. I have another ultrasound next Monday and they said they may be able to determine the gender at that time. I'll keep you posted...