Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ambitious

I'm going to run a half marathon.

There. I said it. Now all of you have to keep me accountable and those of you who know me well, please pick your jaws up off the floor and have a little faith. I can do this, even though I despise running. I do have a few reasons for my madness.

The main reason is because my sister loves to run. Really, I would rather walk, but Courtney, crazy girl, loves to run. The two of us are only a year and a half apart, but we are in such different stages of life. I'm hoping that by running this half marathon together, we'll be able to connect and relate to one another on a deeper level.

The race is also benefiting some really good causes, such as one of the Children's Hospitals in Wisconsin (not the one we go to, but I will always be an advocate for Children's Hospitals no matter where they are) and also Breast Cancer research.

Lastly, let's face it. I.AM.OUT.OF.SHAPE. Oooh Mama! I tried running a mile a couple of weeks ago, and let's just say I had to use my mother's inhaler. This is not good people.

But if my dad can do it, I can do it.

My dad is running his first half mary next month. He'll be 50 years old this summer and is still so motivated and in shape. I'm so proud of him. The best part about the event he is participating in, is that they are raising money for Cerebral Palsy research and treatments! You all know that this is something very close to my heart.

If you would like to contribute to this very worthy cause, click here. I know Sylas Bug and his Papa would be so grateful.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Story (Part 1)

Ryan and I met in the Fall of 2000. I was a freshman at Bethany College of Missions in Minnesota and Ryan's parents lived and taught at the school, so naturally I would see him from time to time. It wasn't until almost 4 years later, in the Summer of 2004, that we started dating. He'll gladly tell anyone, that I fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him, but sorry my Love, we both know that isn't true.

After a short time of dating and an even shorter engagement, we were married in May of 2005. Oh, we were so in love. Sometimes I miss the bliss and simplicity of being newly married.

We had planned on waiting a couple of years to start having kids, but who was I kidding? I'd been waiting my whole life to have kids. I remember being about seven years old, kneeling in the backseat of our Chevy Corsica, begging God to let me get pregnant. Obviously at that point I wasn't privy to the...ahem...birds and the bees. All I knew is that I wanted a baby, and now that I was married and not seven, what was I waiting for?

We started trying to conceive in October of 2005. I remember that first month expectantly waiting for a sign that I was pregnant. I remember the next month, and the next month and the next, until a year had passed and we still weren't pregnant. The emotional roller coaster of infertility is so painful. The disappointment of seeing negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test is more than one can bear. Every mother pushing a stroller made me jealous. Every father swinging his son up on his shoulders made me weep. Baby showers made me bitter.

In October of 2006, Ry and I decided to go through some testing to try and find the cause of our infertility. After a series of tests, it was determined that our infertility was unexplained. Perfect. Just what we wanted to hear. It's difficult to treat a condition that's unexplained. That month, I started on a very mild fertility drug and continued on it for three months, but to no avail. At the end of December, I transferred to a fertility clinic and in January of 2007, I started on an ovulation stimulation drug. I was beyond excited. Two of my friends had gotten pregnant (each with one child) while on this drug, so I had so much hope. After months of waiting, this could actually be the month.

After I was artificially inseminated...ok...pause for a second. I have to tell you that I was scared half to death of having the wrong sperm put in me. There was an Indian woman in the next room over also being inseminated and throughout my entire pregnancy I had dreams of giving birth to Indian babies. Alright, back to the story. After I was artificially inseminated, I was told to wait 12 days to take a pregnancy test. I don't think I'll ever forget that date. January 25. The night before, I had the hardest time falling asleep, and awoke at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom. Hmmm...they didn't tell me what time it had to be on the 12th day, so in the stillness of the early morning I took a pregnancy test. From what I remember, it can take up to a minute to see the results, but I had to wait all of 3 seconds. It was positive immediately. I was pregnant!!!

That first week and a half was pure bliss. We talked about names, did a little maternity clothes shopping, and reveled in our secret. Then I entered week 5 and was pummeled with morning sickness. I couldn't eat ANYTHING. A few days into being sick, I was sure I was having triplets, or at least twins. There was no way I would be so sick so early in the pregnancy if I was only having one baby.

When I was six weeks along, I went back to the fertility clinic to have my first ultrasound. At this point, I'd already lost about 5 pounds and had tried every herbal and over the counter remedy with no relief. I was desperate. As soon as the nurse practitioner saw me, she knew I was miserable and I was promised a prescription for zofran, the supposed miracle drug.

Finally, I climbed up on the table. It was the moment we had been waiting for. Was I having twins or even scarier, triplets? All of the sudden, there on that ultrasound screen was an image that is permanently etched in my mind. At first I was confused. I had never been pregnant so I wasn't sure what to look for. The NP was extremely quiet as she looked intently at the screen. To break the somewhat uncomfortable silence, I finally asked what all the little circles were. With the softest voice, she answered, "babies."

To my untrained eye, it looked like four babies, but no sooner had I counted when the NP said that there were five. I immediately started trembling and poor Ryan must have been in complete shock, because he was so calm. He later told me that he had been expecting twins and when the NP said five babies, he heard two. By this point, I was terrified and crying uncontrollably and just when I thought I was going to lose it, she took one more look and said, "I'm sorry, it's not five babies, but six."

With trembling legs, Ryan and I walked across the hall to the doctor's office. I remember feeling almost numb, but as soon as the doctor walked in and started recommending selective reduction, the numbness immediately started to fall away. How is it that only six weeks along, sick as a dog and scared out of my mind, I could feel such an overwhelming sense of love and devotion to my children? I'm so thankful that amidst our fear and shock, the Lord gave us the presence of mind to refuse this procedure right from the start. The doctor continued to push for us to reduce, stating all of the risks to the babies and really emphasizing the risk to my body, but even though we were afraid, we refused.

That day, I walked away from the clinic with Ryan holding one hand, a prescription and a stack of ultrasound pictures in the other, and six beautiful babies growing peacefully within.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Frozen (Updated)

UPDATE:

As I continue to write our story, I'm realizing it's too long and too difficult for it all to be one post. I'm going to post "Part 1" soon and continue posting our story as I am able. Thank you to all who left such kind and encouraging comments. I feel so "lifted up."

ORIGINAL POST:

Hi Friends. I know that many of you have followed our story and have been praying for us since the beginning. At the same time, there are those of you who are new to the blog and really have no idea who we are. For you (and for myself) I'm putting together a post that tells our story from the beginning.

I didn't think it would be so difficult.

I sit at the keyboard and my hands seem frozen in grief. It's not that I haven't thought about moments from the past 2 plus year, but thinking about everything that happened in such detail is tough. I still have so many moments of "what if" and so many days when I feel guilty and as though I didn't do enough for my babies. I really want to write this story. I think it's an important part of healing and moving forward, but sometimes it's easier to be stagnant.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chicken Mango Salad

Anyone up for a summery salad? I made one a couple of days ago and it was so easy and oh so tasty.

CHICKEN MANGO SALAD (serves 6)

1 pound of cooked chicken breasts, shredded or cubed (I used rotisserie to save time)
1 large mango, cubed
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 scallions, chopped, including the greens
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno
grated lime rind from one lime
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup of sour cream (I used fat free)
3/4 teaspoon salt
salad greens

Grate rind from lime and place in medium sized bowl. Juice lime and add 2 tablespoons juice to rind. Stir in scallions, jalapeno, sour cream and salt.

Add cooled chicken, mango and beans to mixture in bowl and stir gently to combine. Serve mixture over a bed of fresh greens.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bliss

I just had this conversation with Sylas...


me: Bug, why are you crying?

Bug: Pappy

me: You want your paci? (I proceed to give him his pacifier).

Bug: Nigh nigh

me: You want to go night night?

Bug: Yeah! (Crying ceases and a smile the size of the Grand Canyon breaks out).


Did he really just ask to take a nap?

Orange for Stellan


Today we are wearing orange as a reminder to pray for baby Stellan. As I type this, he is having an extremely risky heart surgery. Won't you join us in prayer for this sweet baby?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Love

Have I ever told you about my husband? He's freaking incredible! You know how in Ephesians 5, husbands are commanded to love their wives just as Christ loves the church? Ryan does that. He loves me so deeply and so unconditionally. I know myself pretty well, and this is no small thing.

Ryan's not only a great husband, he's a great dad. He continually sacrifices sleep, clean shirts and my sole attention all for the sake of his children. All day long, Sylas asks for his "Dada," and why wouldn't he? Dada is his jungle gym and his wrestling partner. Oh, and Little Ives, she's captured her daddy's heart. Future admirers are going to be shakin' in their boots.

Of course Ryan isn't perfect. Not a one of us are. As a couple, we've gone through our ups and downs, but fighting for our marriage has been so worth it! I am so in love with my husband and every day I want that love to grow, but any of you who have been married for any length of time, know that this doesn't just happen. We have to work at it. Love is a choice. While I definitely enjoy the warm fuzzies of love, I don't always feel "in love." As a woman, this is difficult. Most of us are so driven by our emotions, that it's hard to separate fact from fiction. While I always am in love with Ryan, lately I haven't been feeling very in love. Is this because Ryan is doing things differently, or is it because I'm tired, overwhelmed with all of life's changes and still trying to shed the last little bit of Ivy's previous residence? I don't want to be a wife who's swayed by every emotion and every twist in the road, but a wife who responds and acts out of love even when I don't feel like it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

EEG Today

Sylas is having an EEG done today at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee. This test is mainly used to diagnose epilepsy, and since Sy's seizure back in February was not a typical febrile seizure (his fever was only 101.5), we need to check into other causes.

Please pray for us! The test is at noon and Sylas needs to fall asleep for it, without sedation and in a BIG BOY BED!!! I don't see how this is going to work. The plan is to leave soon, keep him awake in the car, do a little shopping and then have an early lunch. Hopefully it will tire him out, so he'll fall asleep easily.

We won't know the results of the EEG for about a week, but I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Thanks for loving our son. I feel so blessed to "know" all of you.

Bri

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sick

Sylas is sick. Again. Poor baby has a runny nose, a cough and a temp of 101.3. I know that isn't super high, but when he had his febrile seizure back in February his temp was only 101.5, so of course I'm nervous. We gave him tylenol and started him on an oral steroid. He'll follow up with his regular pediatrician on Monday morning.

Unless we see a dramatic improvement overnight, it looks like Sylas, Ivy and I will be spending Easter morning at home...in our jammies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

At the Beach (Updated) (Updated...Again)

SECOND UPDATE:

Ryan is wearing a Kelty Kids backpack, which turned out to be an awesome and fairly inexpensive purchase. It's very comfortable for both the parent and child and has a large backpack and an additional small backpack attached so it's great for day trips. No extra diaper bag needed!

I am wearing an ancient baby bjorn that Ivy loves. I'm not a huge fan of all the snaps and buckles on a bjorn, so I just ordered the cutest handmade mei tai on Etsy and I can't wait for it to arrive.

UPDATE:

I was just reading one of my usual haunts, Adventures in Babywearing, and saw that Stephanie put up a blog carnival on babywearing. Check out her blog to see all sorts of fun ways to wear your baby.

As you can see from the photos below, both Ryan and I are "wearing" one of our children. Of course it was the easiest thing to do because of the sand, but even when walking on pavement, we prefer babywearing to a stroller. Sy and Ivy love to be up high, looking around, and Ryan and I love to have our darlings so close to us.

ORIGINAL POST:

Ryan and I love going to Lake Michigan. I guess for us Midwesterners, the Great Lakes are as close as we get to "going to the beach." Even though it's still pretty cold out, the four of us braved the wind and spent some time by the water. The way Sylas was attempting to jump out of the backpack, I think he he would have preferred to be in the water.




Monday, April 6, 2009

Urgent Care

I'm sure there are many fabulous Urgent Care doctors out there, but why is it that I never get them? A few days ago, Ivy started getting a runny nose and a little cough. Since then, she has been having huge screaming fits in which you practically have to perform a circus act to get her to stop crying for about 5 seconds before it starts all over again. This is not like her, so I was worried that her ears might be infected. I decided to take her to Urgent Care yesterday instead of the pediatrician today, because Ryan was home to look after Sylas.

After the good doctor looked at my baby's ears, this conversation ensued...


Me: Do her ears look ok?

Him: Well, they look suspicious to me, so I'm just going to treat them with antibiotics.

Me: What do you mean, "suspicious?"

Him: They just look...not right.

Me: Do you see any infection?

Him: Well, there could be infection.

Me: Ok, but do you SEE any infection.

Him: No.

Me: Then I don't want Ivy to have antibiotics.

Him: I agree with you.


WHAT???


Thankfully I've done a bit of research and am aware of antibiotic abuse, so I knew to ask these questions. What about those who aren't aware of these risks? The rate at which bacterial resistance is growing is alarming.

So, for now, all our little Ivy needs is rest, lovin and the ever so amazing breast milk to fight off her virus. If she's not better soon, I'll take her to our regular pediatrician, but until then, antibiotics can wait for another day.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Amazing

I know, I know, it's been over a week without a word from me. It's not that you guys aren't awesome, it's just that I couldn't tear myself away from this...




or this...



If you follow me on Twitter, you know that we've had a little bit of sickness in our house this week. Bug started getting sick on Monday and of course I was so worried. Sylas and colds are not a good combo. It's now Saturday and he's better! This is the first winter cold that he's gotten over without the use of steroids. A-MAZ-ING!!! He had a normal cold, like a normal little boy.


Speaking of amazing, did I tell you that Sy Guy is talking? Not only is he saying words, he's also starting to put those words together. For example, when someone walks into the room, he'll say, "Hi Papa," or "Hi KK." He also says, "Love ya, baby, more please, thank you," and of course the usuals; "mama, dada, car, ball and Hummer." Again, A-MAZ-ING! He may struggle with gross motor, but intellectually, he's kickin!



On Thursday, for the first time ever, our little princess had a bath without screaming her head off. At the risk of sounding redundant... A-MAZ-ING!