Reminisce

I was intrigued by the poetic contrast of the past to the present as I drove past the vacant building that used to be my place of employment. The years seem to have passed by as quickly as my car traveled the block, the building becoming just a glimmer in my rearview mirror.

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I loved that job. It’s hard to believe those days are over when there was a time that I imagined I’d be working there “forever”. I miss that time of my life. My heart ached as I passed by, remembering how I used to walk in that door each morning with my sweet bird Ava in her cage, not much of anything to worry about. I reflected on other aspects of my life, namely that as my role of a mother. I’ve heard it said more times than I can count, “Someday you’ll miss these days!” At which point I’d promptly roll my eyes. But it’s so true. Just in the course of a year (SIX MONTHS even!) so much changes. Nora has enabled me to reassess what really matters in life, to treasure each and every day and each precious moment at hand. All too quickly today will become a speck in the rearview mirror.

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Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
(James 4:14 NIV)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 NIV)

A special thank you to everyone who was a part of Team Nora today at the Walk for Kids, to benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. You’re awesome!

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Nora and I wish we could have been there, but we had lots of baffs to take! William and the big kids had a great time! Thank you, again!

Noah & Lane

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Morning cuddler

I haven’t been on Facebook at all today. Nora had her 6 month appointment this afternoon to get caught up on her shots. We were thrilled to find that we now have a 10 lb. 1 oz. baby girl, which is a far cry from the 4 lb. 10 oz. little thing we brought home! The rest of the day was spent with her in the baffs and then I cuddled her while she slept for her afternoon nap.

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I clicked on to Facebook this evening for a quick peek at things. There was a little boy who was mentioned on Nora’s page awhile back named Noah Alexander. I, along with many others, have been following his story and praying for him. I was absolutely broken-hearted to learn that he sprouted his little angel wings today. We just can’t figure these things out from our limited perspective and it hurts badly. I know that God is right there with Noah’s family holding them. I pray that they feel His presence and His Peace during this awful, difficult and unimaginable time. Please join me in praying for the Helton family as they embark on this difficult journey of healing.

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And now this morning I just learned of Lane Goodwin’s passing. Please also pray for the Goodwin family in the same way — for comfort and peace as well as the promise of eternity where they will all be reunited again. No family should ever have to endure the loss of a precious child. My heart hurts for these families.

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I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 NIV)

SIX MONTHS OLD!!!

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I'm SIX MONTHS old already??


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Yayyyyyyy!

It’s so hard to believe 6 months have gone by, but what an absolute joy. We celebrated Nora’a ½ birthday at Nana and Papa’s – and so we could pick up bins of baby girl clothes from Aunt Sarah. Seems as though the Little Miss has outgrown much of her clothes and needed the next size up! It was so nice to get out to one of our “safe places”.

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3 ducks in the river

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“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 NIV)

Here is a video of a rambunctious baby who should have been sleeping a couple hours ago:

Nora finally sleeps now and I must too! Goodnight!

Remembering

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Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is a day that had quietly slipped by unnoticed in former years, but this year has been heavy on my heart. To the families who have suffered the unimagineable loss of an infant or a pregnancy, please know that I’ve been praying for you today. These little lives may have been brief, but they were incredibly meaningful, forever changing the hearts of everyone they touched.

“The amount of time on earth matters very little: a man can live in greed and pride 90 years and never find God, know Him or accomplish His Plan. A stillborn baby on the other hand, teaches people to love, brings people to the Lord, teaches us the tenuous nature of life and teaches us a faith that those who have not suffered loss can never know. A child not even breathing for an hour, can have an impact greater than a famous preacher. The purpose of a life is not ours to decide nor in our hands: it is brought about by God.” -Author Unknown

At the request of dear woman Michelle who lost her infant daughter to trisomy 18 (6 days after Nora was born) I lit a candle, took a picture and posted it to her Facebook page in memory of her daughter Isabella. It made me think of all of the little angels I’ve come to know, many of them through Nora. I decided to light candles for them too. One of them is my sweet nephew Max, another my Aunt Marilyn who died in infancy, and my cousin’s angel, Conner. Others are the angels of friends, people I’ve met through the common trisomy 18 diagnosis, or people I’ve met through this blog. I pray that God will be with each of you and your families throughout the rest of your journeys on this earth. May He fill the void left in your hearts with peace and may the hope be alive within you that you WILL be reunited with your little ones.

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I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:14-16 NIV)

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From October 14th page of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:

Be prepared to suffer for me, in My Name. All suffering has meaning in My kingdom. Pain and problems are opportunities to demonstrate your trust in Me. Bearing our circumstances bravely–even thanking Me for them–is one of the highest forms of praise. This sacrifice of thanksgiving rings golden-toned bells of Joy thoughout heavenly realms. On earth also, your patient suffering sends out ripples of good tidings in ever-widening circles.

When suffering strikes, remember that I am sovereign and that I can bring good out of everything. Do not try to run from pain or hide from problems. Instead, accept adversity in My Name, offering it up to Me for My purposes. Thus, your suffering gains meaning and draws you closer to Me. Joy emerges from the ashes of adversity through your trust and thankfulness.

Rainbow & Birds

Here are some cute pictures that were taken today:

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Nora and Greta with Piggy the guinea pig

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Smiley-cakes

Gavin and Greta are spending the night at their Meemee’s this evening. Upon returning home from dropping them off this afternoon I drove through a pretty heavy downpour. I noticed a substantial break in the clouds where the sun was about to peek through. Recipe for a rainbow! I parked the car in the garage and watched the clouds roll and eddy around the sun gradually revealing its radiance. I hurried to the back of the house to look for the rainbow. Just as I took my place at the window three birds flew past the exact spot in the sky where the rainbow appeared right before my eyes. I had to do a recount… Not one, not four… THREE birds. I could not and would not make this up.

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The birds were already gone by the I got a picture.

Amazing.

And when I was burdened
with worries,
you comforted me
and made me feel secure.
(Psalms 94:19)

* Not that I felt burdened with worries today, but that rainbow and the birds sure made me feel secure and confident of God’s love and approval.

Thank you, God!

Reason

As I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser) I’ve obviously endured and witnessed tragedies. No one is immune. Often I’ve tried to make sense of things with the notion that everything happens for a reason, even of it’s just to comfort myself. But I began to really think about that phrase. By everything happening for a reason, that somehow implies that God authored the senseless bombshells that come crashing into our lives. I don’t believe He did. But I do believe He picks us up, comforts us, takes our situations and makes something(s) beautiful of them. It’s easy to believe or think that these things happen for a reason in retrospect, because we see the good that has evolved with our own eyes. However, sometimes things just happen. It would be the same concept as my son falling off of his bike. It’s nothing I, as his parent, caused to happen, but you’d better believe that I’m going to do what ever I can to make him feel better. I will wipe the blood off of his knees, clean off the dirt, cover it with Neosporin and a Band-aid, kiss his tears away and maybe give him a popsicle.

God knows about each of the tragedies that wil befall us in advance because He is God, but He did not inflict them upon us. Nor is our God a vindictive God. He does not punish us for something we did or didn’t do. It would be senseless for Him to have gone to the cross if that were the case. Jesus already paid for our sins with His life. On the opposite end of the spectrum — we cannot win God’s love and favor with good deeds. He loves us regardless. Our only duty is to accept and reciprocate His love. Sounds easy enough? That is where our trust and faith come into play. Have trust and faith that God’s love is true! It is real and it is alive in us. Never in my life have I been so sure of it! With each bump in the road when I lose my balance and go crashing to the metaphoric sidewalk, God is right there to pick me up and fix my wounds. He kisses my tears away and gives me my “popsicle” in the form of the three birds. Always there right when I need Him.

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 NIV)

Friday

We spent lots of time in the tub again. I know… Big, huge surprise!

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All deez baffs make me tired!!!

Saturday

William’s relatives drove in from White Plains, New York. We had a nice visit with Aunt Jane, Uncle Sal and Pop yesterday evening and today. They were very excited to meet the Little Miss. Earlier in the day William and the kids took everyone out to show them around the town. Nora and I stayed home.

Since it was such a nice day today, I took Nora on a little trip down to the creek! This was her first time down there, and my first time since she’d been born. A blanket of autumnal leaves covered much of everything. We walked along the edge of the creek until we came to the big rock I used to sit on with my paints back in the day. We sat there for a little while taking in the crisp fall breeze and listening to the birds.

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I looked up at the patches of blue sky through the tops of the trees and smiled, “Thank you for this, God. Thank you!!!”

The hill back up is always steeper for some reason (???), but we made it! Just in time for a major poopy diaper! Poor Nornor lost one of her booties on our way back. We wonder if a prince is going to show up with it tomorrow for everyone to try on. 😉

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Later in the afternoon everyone was back from their miscellaneous adventures. We picked up Montgomery Inn and spent a nice evening together.

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Uncle Sal, Aunt Jane and Nora


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Gavin, William's Mom and Aunt Jane with Nora

Nora had to excuse herself for a bath that she was very insistant upon. While in the tub she made a phone call to place a delivery order from the kitchen. At length she decided upon the milkies.

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And now she sleeps, as I must too! Goodnight!

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Aunt Jill in Texas and Auntie Brenda in California! And Auntie Maggie (Oct 9) in Texas!

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We love you!

Quick Update

I haven’t been able to update nightly like I used to. When Nora falls asleep, I HAVE to go to sleep as there is no guarantee how long she’ll sleep. I have so much I want to say, but I will at least leave you with these sweet pictures from yesterday and today.

Wednesday

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I wonder if I have any teefs yet...

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Nope. Not yet!

Thursday

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I'd like to order one milkies, please?

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Just one, please.

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Two milkies??

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I said just ONE!!!! ONE milkies!!

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And then I want Nana cuddles!

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And baffs.

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Every little things gonna be alright! God's got this!

We will try to add more tomorrow, but no guarantees… Big kids are off school!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV)

Photos

Monday

Today we got a sneak peek at some of the photos from our photoshoot with Melanie. How awesome to have these beautiful, beautiful visuals of our dream come true. Melanie’s photography always renders me speechless, most especially when my family is her subject matter. I don’t know how she does it, but she somehow captures emotion in her shots, as was clearly evidenced in Nora’s birth photos. Her perspective is other-worldly. You can’t look at Nora’s birth photos without feeling exactly what went on there in that room that day. I think this is why her work is so popular, what draws people to these images. My only regret is that she didn’t capture the beautiful days that Gavin and Greta were born. Just a few years ago no one thought to do anything but the “baby in the box” hospital bassinet photos with the pastel blanket in the background. They are cute, but they’re a far scream from what Melanie can do!! Now have our follow up photos that clearly depict our lives at home. The intrinsic love, and the special bonds between us are unequivocally portrayed. I love to imagine several many generations from now looking at these photos, “These were your great-great-grandparents, and their kids… your great-great grandparents.” My heart smiles.

I think we spent a combined 3 ½ hours in the tub today. Baby girl loves her baffs!! If she needs to be “deflated” the baff is a guaranteed fix.

Baff 1:

You’d never know she was screaming and crying 5 minutes prior…

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Baff 2:

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Deez jets make me a little nervous!!!!!!!!

Then we tried on some pretty outfits:

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Know therefore that the Lord  your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
(Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)

Tuesday

This morning’s appointment with the pediatrician went very well. Nora might not share that point of view as there was a shot involved. She weighed in at 9 lbs. 12 oz, 22 inches! A few more ounces and we’ve got ourselves a ten pounder! The doctor was very happy with her growth progression. She looks great, sounds great!

Once we were back home, a baff and some milkies were on direct order. That made everything better.

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Milkies, get in mah belly!!!!

This afternoon there was a show on about ancient cultures, specifically on the topic of Roman baths. They were talking about how these baths were such an important part of their society. It all sounded eerily familiar. Perhaps Nora might like to have her own bath house someday!

Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
(Psalm 103:2 NLT)