Friday, August 17, 2012

Remembering and Anticipating

Today, August 17, 2012, marks 3 months since our little boy was born silent and still. In the midst of that time of the most intense grief I have ever experienced, I never knew how life would be again - how I would breathe; how I would survive. God has been so merciful and rescued me from the pit. He has set my feet upon a rock. He established my steps and put a new song in my mouth - Praise to my God; many will see it and fear and will trust in the Lord (Psalm 40:3 - my paraphrase).

In the last 3 months, time has both stood still and moved way too quickly. My mourning has turned to joy. I wouldn't call my son back here if I could, because his home is much too exuberant for me to do such a thing. It's the complexity of a mother's heart - the knowing and wanting. I often gaze at his pictures and can easily squint my eyes to see him as he lay perfect but still. Those hours of holding him will forever be in my heart as precious and dear and painful and sad.

How do we ever come out on the other side of something so tragic? The Lord. It truly is the only answer.

This week I had many doctor's appointments - the chiropractor, the headache doctor, the dentist. I had not seen any of these people since our baby died. In the telling, I was okay and could get through it in a matter-of-fact way - the logistics. But every time when my eyes started watering and my lip quivered, they knew. I wasn't a callused woman, I was a healed woman who will have a bit of sadness always in her heart.

A couple of weeks ago I attended my sister's baby shower. We were due 3 days apart. She is still pregnant with her sweetie and I'm overjoyed for them. I feel like I did well through the shower - since I had already cried my eyeballs out in the driveway while my dear friend, Brandi, prayed for me. Then came my mom's towels. She makes big hooded baby towels and has given me 2 for every child that we have had since she started making them. She was going to make 4, but only needed to make 2. I knew it. She knew it and that fact had bothered her as she was making them. So when Kimbo opened those towels all I could do was stare and I felt myself sort of zone out in my thinking. I immediately started praying - Lord snap me out of this for my sister's sake. He did.

Another dear friend, Tanya, was pregnant right along side of us. She gifted Kimbo with some little Christmas outfits for Jayden's first Christmas. She had also bought a set for herself and for me, which she left for me in a pretty red bag for later on. Some people might question why she would still have given them to me. She bought them for me, for our baby, for her and her baby. Yet our babies wouldn't wear them. Only an amazing friend, who knows you so well, and is walking in loss alongside you, knows that having those little outfits will bring tears and comfort at the same time.

Paige's gift for our anniversary.
Pete and I celebrated 16 years of marriage on the 10th. It was a wonderful day as we served alongside our children at church helping with some projects that needed to be done. We did some yard sale-ing, movie, and dinner. A beautiful day of thankfulness to God for our marriage and the love and life He had allowed us to share for these many years. We have almost been married longer than not - at least for me, since I'm soooo much younger *wink* - 5 years.

That morning we found out some amazing and wonderful news - my womb is filled once again.

We are cautiously optimistic. We are elated. We are sober-minded. I have found myself in prayer more for this baby than with any of my other children. I think that is a good thing - a God thing.

5 weeks
I have increased my folic acid to 4mg, plus the 1mg that is in the prenatal vitamins I am taking. I'm taking 400 mg of prometrium (progesterone), and have also started the Lovenox injections daily. I'm starting to get gaggy and am very excited about that. Long gone are the days when I let morning sickness bring me down. I anticipate it and although there are days when I can't move, I thank God for those reasurrances that all is well.

Baby #9 is due April 19th. Praise the Lord! Praying to the Lord for a sweet precious little one born kicking and screaming in April!!

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Organized: Toys

Over the years we have been pretty selective as far as how many toys and what kind of toys we get the kids. Even grandparents know our wishes (when we express them) and have been been fairly supportive in the endeavor to keep things simple. Despite all this, our toys had gotten completely out of control over the last year.

With Noelle being at the age where she would actually play with toys, everyone kind of went crazy with pink and girly toys. And it was actually fun for a while. But if you add to this equation the fact that we have the Mercy Closet at church (a small portable building that houses the stuff everyone brings from their house and allowing everyone to get things they need from others) where the boys are always grabbing something new - you get a plethora of stuff.

This was quite a job because the toys had been in a place that was out of sight, out of mind. I've realize that is not a good thing. I usually don't allow toys in the bedrooms because then things just get crazy, but somewhere I had slipped up and stopped caring.

Here was my process:

First I filled out a roadmap for where I wanted to go with the toys. Then I got to work!

 End of the hallway, toys are in buckets and bags. I separated them into different laundry baskets by type of toy. Dinosaurs, Imaginext, Cars, Girly, etc.

 I happened to go into the blue room (boys room) and saw this mess.

 I recruited the boys to pull everything out from all the crevices in the room - anything toy related, toy-ish, ANYTHING having to do with a toy.

I separated those out into the baskets also, with the other toys that I had already gone through. I trashed some, and others...

... just had to find a new home. :( This little bear was a gift from us to our oldest son, Christian (now 16) after he had his first ear surgery. He was 4. There was a time where he wouldn't part with this bear, then he kept it clean and put away. Then he just didn't care one way or another. So I snapped a pic and sent it off to be loved by another child. We got rid of 4 trash bags of toys. 

I put everything into small bins or ziplock bags. I only kept things that they really play with. The only battery operated items I kept were the things that were Noelle's as well as some trucks the boys got for Christmas. The thing is, Noelle NEVER plays with the battery operated toys. But I'm not moving them out until they are replaced with open-ended toys. I will be working on filling the Amazon wish lists with some ideas for Christmas and birthdays. Another excellent thing that all the grandparents (and sometimes the Aunt and Uncle) do is give memberships to cool places like the zoo, science museum, and living history village.

This is a coffee table that a friend of my grandmother's built for her. It sat in her living room for 20+ years and now it is in mine. She passed away this spring. I loved this coffee table as a child. It has a neat little compartment that she would put magazines and things in. 

And right now, that little door's hinge is broke due to Princess Noie trying to close it. :(

Where we go from here:

Some of the toys are in another room on a shelf in their ziplock bag or bucket. I rotate them out every few days because we have so few of them out at a time. Clean up is EASY and we do that about 3 times a day. One major problem we are having is Noelle dumping all the toys. She really doesn't play with any of these toys so she is bored out of her mind while we are doing school work. I'm working on a solution to that problem. 

What I really hope to do is move my desk. Pete just built me a desk inside of my prior prayer closet. He built one for him in there also. We share a chair (not at the same time) and it is a perfectly small space. I need to post about it and will when I get things moved over here.

In the place of the desk I plan to put a Trofast frame and buckets. I'm not sure how high this one is, but I would really like to add a cushion on the top and make it into a reading spot. 
Though I might end up choosing something more like this one and still doing a reading spot on the side. The colors mean nothing, they have several to choose from. I would go with the green to match our living room. These are a bit harder to slide out (to deter a little dumping girl) and yet would allow us to still keep 6 sets of toys out a time.

This last week I worked on school bookshelves!! Pictures to come on that next week. My next project is decluttering a major holding station - the pink room - because we are renovating the house starting there!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Organized: Littles closet

About a week ago I finished a BIG project. It took me just a hair over a week to finish it and so far (!!) it still looks like it did in my after picture.

Living in 1700 sq. ft. with 7 other people sometimes proves to be a challenge. Ask personal friends how much I like a challenge? Buahaha - I like to take a challenge head on and I always dive in with both feet (sometimes that is dangerous).

Master bedroom is biggest bedroom in the house (duh!), but why (?). Two people stay in there. You generally have a bed, a dresser, nightstands, and.... Yes. That's about it. We have had many things in our bedroom at different times, but right now that is all that is in there. 

Challenge: We needed to maximize our storage space and that meant putting the youngest 4 children's clothes in our bedroom.


  1. I would be able to consistently keep an eye out for clothes strewn about, as well as wet towels. Ugh. Teachable moments.
  2. I could keep hanging clothes and folded clothes together, based on our setup.
  3. Meant going to one place for putting up all the littles clothes. This is a big deal, though we are working on teaching them to put their own clothes away.
  4. There were boundaries with how much could be kept at any given time - and that is a good thing!
  5. I could stay on top of the hand-me-down clothes with ease.
  1. Had to be easy to maintain.
  2. Had to be flexible.
  3. Had to add to my bedroom, not take away from it. (haha - quite the challenge!)
So, here we go (with pics!): 

Pete moved the Expedit (from Ikea - because everyone asks) into this section of our room. Then he installed two rods, since the kids clothes are short. :) Basically the decor looks so bad because we didn't take it down before doing all this rearranging. It looks plain tacky, not to mention the horrible clutter.

Yes, more clutter. The boxes are bankers boxes. We used to have boxes from Ikea that I paid and arm and a leg for. They were plastic. Plastic + kids = no bueno. Also you'll notice that the 2nd column, 3rd shelf is broke in the back (that is why the box is leaning). We have had this for about 5 years, and that is the only broken part. Someone tried to climb up. 

So before I get to the big reveal, let me tell you....

I just can't say enough wonderful things about Organizing 101. She has a roadmap in there that will help you get through just about any project if you are a DIYer. Because I had a plan and action steps, I was able to really move forward easily on this project.

The big reveal...


It probably looks like the rod sags a bit. Well, that's not an optical illusion - it really is sagging. And we are working on a solution. 

Rod Dividers
One of the things I really wanted was rod dividers for the littles clothes. Enter this excellent pinterest idea while I was looking for pins to fill my Inspiring Closets board

 The Collage Boxes
If I had to pick one favorite thing about this space, this would be it. It met my requirement for adding to the space! They really turned out more perfect than I imagined them to be. 

Banker's Box Close-up
Banker's box, one pad of scrapbook paper, mod podge (glossy), chipboard letter painted, and laminated labels with kraft scrapbook paper. If I had a request for how I did this, I would consider doing a tutorial, but it is really easy. Really!

 The other boxes
You'll notice that the other boxes don't have the chipboard letter. The top row is currently Noelle's (4 boxes), Brason next row (3 boxes), Landon (3 boxes), and Aiden (3 boxes). The other 3 boxes I hope to use if we add another baby to our family (praying!). Eventually, Noelle will not have her shoes up in the top right box because we can trust that she won't drag them all around the house. When that happens, we'll have 4 boxes vertically for the baby's clothes (praying!! :) ).

 Boxes on top of Expedit
These are fabric boxes from Dollar Tree. The left one holds hair bows for Noelle.

 The other one is for ties and belts (1 tie and 2 belts missing somewhere in the house).
Third box is there because I needed to even out the look and I know I'll need it at some point.

Basket for hand-me-downs
We use the dot system for hand-me-downs. Use 1 dot for the first child to wear the outfit, 2 dots for the next child, 3 dots for the next (they are probably wearing thin by this point). Noelle doesn't have anyone wearing her clothes, so none of her stuff has dots. I put the sharpie markers in the basket, black and silver, for adding a dot, then folding the item and putting it in the basket. It's a small basket, which means that there is a boundary for distributing the hand-me-downs regularly. I found the best hand-me-down idea here.

That's it. On to the next project - toys! I'll try to post that one by next Sunday.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Organizing resolve & pics of my junk drawer

One of the big things I wanted to do not long after I had Jaron was to get organized. I know there is some sort of connection between grief and the need to feel in control of your surroundings. And in many ways I do believe this is true. I also know that this is a journey that I have been on for quite some time. Only the thing is that right now I am not pregnant or nursing anyone and I have a lot more energy to actually get it done.

I taught a class for our ladies day retreat at church, Simple Organizing Solutions, on July 14. It was a great time of preparation as these ideas were so fresh in my mind. I want to share on my blog the progress I am making as I go in hopes that it will inspire anyone reading this to start their own organizing journey.

I'm hoping that the ladies that were in my class will peek in here ever so often and continue to be motivated to put into practice some of those things I talked about in class.

For years I have been reading blogs, books, and more on organizing. Truly I do find the whole process a lot of fun, but I have trouble maintaining it. That changed when I took a class from Aby at Simplify 101. I also bought her Organizing 101 e-book and it has geared me up for major change - great change. One of the best things about Aby's classes and books are that she is not a "one size fits all" kind of gal. She helps you get to the deeper issues and see how you work and think.

She also encourages you to make an organizing mission statement - a goal statement of sorts. The entire process is explained in her ebook. Here's mine, so that you can get an idea:

"I feel serene, light, and composed in our home where there is a place for everything and everything is in its place since January 31, 2013. Our newly organized home enables me to have more relaxed fun and be a joyful wife and mother."
Aby breaks everything down into steps for you. As a person who "can't see the forest for the trees", that is very helpful to me. She encourages you to stop and do the steps necessary to move forward and she does it little baby steps so it is not overwhelming.

You will finish the book having completed one small project. I'm including before and after (above) pictures of my junk drawer turned supply drawer (renamed to be more appropriate for its intended purpose). It was a fun process that I have now applied to my littles closet (next post) and their toys (the post after that).

Using the book, you will also make a plan for organizing the rest of your home. It is really excellent! Though I'm certain that most people think I'm sooooo organized, they really don't know the half of it. Almost every area of my home needed a complete overhaul of organization and that is what intend to do before January 31,2013. I have a plan and am making it happen! It's interesting how organization breeds organization and routine breeds routine. Have you ever found that to be true?

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sometimes it is nice to have an answer

Time is a strange thing. It is gone in an instant and yet terribly slow. It feels as if a million years have past since the death of our little boy and yet like not long at all. It's been 11 weeks since I delivered our sweet one. There has been so many emotions; so many tears. Along with that has been tons of prayer (from us and others), armfuls of cards, and a beautiful memorial service, as well as several doctors visits as we move forward in hopes of finding out the cause of our son's death.

We have been able to find out a probable cause to Jaron's death. In many ways that gives me some relief. At our first follow-up visit, the doctor said there was nothing from the pathology reports that would give us a reason for his death. I walked away extremely angry and frustrated. Pete, however, was relieved. She said that she felt it really was a "fluke" deal and that it would probably never happen again, though she couldn't guarantee that, of course.

At that visit I asked her to run some blood work for my thyroid and any blood clotting issues. She didn't think that there was anything that would show up, but she was glad to do whatever I asked if it helped me turn every stone.

Honestly I didn't expect anything to come back either, but it did. They couldn't give me the information over the phone and I had already scheduled an appointment with a fetal and maternal specialist. Let me backtrack just a hair. I only had the blood clotting workup done because a friend of mine had lost her baby in January and had later found out that she had a blood clotting disorder - a gene mutation. She encouraged me to see if they found any blood clots. I had no other reason to have that run. I had previously scheduled an appointment with this same specialist for my progesterone issue but was unable to get to the appointment because of my emergency gallbladder surgery. It had taken me a month to get a consult for that issue. When I called to see this same doctor after Jaron died, they got me in within 4 business days. A miracle as this doctor is very good and very rare. The practice where I was seeing my midwife (and the doctor that delivered Jaron) forwarded the results to the specialist.

The specialist was amazingly patient and wanted to answer all my questions, get my thoughts on what happened, and just give me comfort. She then went on to tell me what she saw from my blood work. I have two different gene mutations that cause blood clotting disorders. I am homozygous for both A1298T and C677T. I haven't been able to do a whole lot of research on this yet, but basically it means that my blood clots when it isn't really supposed to and causes folic acid deficiency. After 6 successful pregnancies, one would wonder why this would show up now. Age seems to be a factor - I'm only 35!! It is similar to the breast cancer gene in that you have if your whole life (passed down from one or both parents) and they are not really certain as to what "flips the switch".

What the doctor believes may have happened with Jaron is that a blood clot started forming to cut the blood flow from the placenta (they found a blood clot during the autopsy, but did not notate exactly where it was found) and began to cut off nutrition to him. This is likely why he was measuring much smaller than when I delivered him as it had slowed his rate of growth. I was certain that I had felt him move just a few days earlier and now I'm certain as certain is, that I did.

Thankfully, my friend Brandi, was at the appointment with me. As I was feverishly taking notes, she was thinking!! She asked about my sister, who, as I mentioned before, was pregnant alongside me. She is still pregnant and that was our concern, that if this gene is passed down genetically, that she could also be a carrier. She was able to get in to see my doctor and just found out that she is also a carrier. She is only heterozygous for both gene mutations, which is less severe, and the doctor is fairly certain that there is no reason to be alarmed or do anything prophylactic at this point. She is taking additional folic acid and they are continually monitoring little Jayden.

My heart is healing, but I'm certain that there will forever be a scar on it from the sudden, unexpected loss, of my little boy. I have been very comforted lately reading Stepping Heavenward. It was the book chosen for our ladies ministry summer book club prior to my having lost Jaron. If you have read this, you will know what a blessing I have found it to be.
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