I am a 30 something year old mom of five precious boys and two sweet girls. Five of our children are here with us and two are in the arms of Jesus. Our sweet baby girl Hope was diagnosed with Dystrophic Epdermolysis Bullosa and our youngest son came to us through adoption, our youngest daughter through foster care, and I've recently been diagnosed with malignant melanoma the Lord has shown us just how Faithful He is. We will continue to Journey and follow Him where ever He leads. We feel very blessed that God chose us to be the parents of each of our kids, and we look forward to what He has in store for us in foster care!
So I had promised a couple of weeks ago to share money saving tips with you all on Thursdays, and since then we started tball, graduated from kindergarten, got the stomach flu, and are preparing for a FIRST birthday party. All and all it is a whirlwind and I wouldn't trade a minute of it, okay, maybe the stomach flu, but she sure was cuddly for those couple of days! ;)
Anyway, I thought while I had a moment between laundry loads, I would share a few more tips with you all. We have actually been able to cut our grocery bill to 30 dollars a week. :) So I have been doing well on our goal of 40 per week!
1. I clip coupons! I know, I was once one of those, UGH! I don't have time for that kind of ladies, but man it really is like holding a job. I save as much as I would make if I were working a lot of weeks. If you like a brand or a companies product...jot them an email and let them know...odds are they will send you a coupon or two and they are typically high value. I also follow blogs such as Faithful Provisions, The Thrifty Mama, Hip2Save and For the Mommas, these help me match up the coupons I clip to the best deals and get things for next to nothing or for free...Seriously, I cannot tell you the last time I paid for something like shampoo, shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dish soap, etc. If I clip coupons and shop Rite Aid, I can often make money on these items! My general rule is, if I don't have a coupon, I don't buy it! :)
2. We plant a huge garden and can and freeze. We typically spend about 50 dollars a year on seeds, and gardening supplies, this includes my canning lids. I have really surprised myself with this new found love of canning and freezing as well as gardening. I used to wonder why on earth people did these types of things. It saves us a ton of money and I love knowing that we do all of our gardening organically and that my kids are not eating pesticides. This year we planted the following : tomatoes (LOTS), red peppers, green peppers, and banana peppers, peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, and eggplant. ( I am sure I am leaving something out) We have also added two blueberry bushes, two pear trees, and two nectarine trees as well as several grape vines in the past year or two, but they have yet to produce just yet) We only own about an acre of land so it can all be done in very little space if planned out well.
3. Cloth Diapering. Another thing I SWORE I would never in a million years do, and yet I love! We have just in the past month gone from using disposables at night and when on the go to being 100% cloth! I love knowing that Hope has NO chemicals against her skin and that we are not filling the landfill with diapers that take over 500 years to break down! Well, if I am being honest...Howard loves the environmental thing more, I love that they are cute most! :) Cloth diapering is NOTHING like I had imagined it would be. It is not gross or terribly time consuming and has already saved us a BUNDLE! The money I invested in Hope's newborn diapers, I was able to make 80 percent of that back by reselling them! Now she will be in the set she is in until potty training!
4. We drink water, tea, coffee and milk. I typically do not buy juice or other beverages, they are typically expensive and add only empty calories to our diets. We get our fruit nutrients from fruit so that we also benefit from the fiber and skip the juices. My kids are drinkers and it would be easy to go through a lot of juice which would fill them up not leaving room for other foods. SO they have gotten accustomed to drinking water, milk (at meals) or tea.
5. I have begun making our own breads. Not just loaves of bread, but also bagels, hot dog buns, etc. I make it all from scratch and it costs pennies compared to supermarket prices.
SO there you have it...a few more tips...I will share more next Thursday as I have a birthday party to plan now! :)
This week has been a tearful one for me. Howard and I decided it was time to clear out this house and have a HUGE yardsale, so we have been working each day on clearing out the unneeded stuff in this tiny house and at first I was excited and as I began the work, I could not believe how difficult it really was. Tears fell like rain all week. I have been a complete mess.
As I would open a box to go through it, depending on it's contents, it was like reopening an old wound. Random photos or cards amidst other things would bring tears of joy, tears of sorrow, tears of gratitude, tears of longing. The toughest part by far was going through the baby stuff. Howard and I have decided that unless God leads otherwise, we are done having children biologically. I have had five babies in six years and when Hope was born, the doctor saw a "window" in my uterus and suggested I at the least wait a few years before thinking of doing it again. Not to mention the brain issues Isaac and Asher had compounded by Isaac and Hope having EB. Suffice it to say, we are just not prepared to walk that road again, but if the Lord calls we will walk wherever He leads. We fully intend to adopt or foster one day. The cost of adoption though has our heads spinning and wondering if that is really an option.
That said, if He leads us down the path of having a baby again, whether it is through birth, adoption or foster care we know He will also provide the means and all of the necessities at that time. God had really placed it on my heart to dig through the baby stuff and get it into the hands of families who NEED it NOW! So I have been working hard going through things and finding families who would be blessed with it.
For some reason going through this baby stuff is hard. It is grief work. I am grieving a loss. And I never expected it to be like this. It is just STUFF and I am really not a STUFF kind of person. I had several meltdowns as I was sorting and felt so completely stupid for having such a hard time getting rid of STUFF! I am a sentimental gal, and when I would look at an outfit I would have memories of the kids wearing those outfits. I wasn't really attached to the outfit, just the memory that has gone with it. I have tried hard to breathe deeply and take in each moment, committing it to memory, because I know full well that sometimes tomorrow doesn't come.
My heart was so heavy all week. I am SO thankful for each of my five kids, I know well that there are many moms out there who will never get to hold ONE of their children, let alone FIVE miracles. I know how blessed I am, and yet this is just not how I pictured it. I imagined a house FULL of babies, I imagined rooms FULL of bunkbeds, not side by side cemetery plots in the baby section of the cemetery. I have three happy, healthy, busy children in this home and joy abounds, yet there is always something, someone(s), missing. I have two boys in Heaven who will never know pain and are right where they were meant to be. I will not see them play tball, or graduate from Kindergarten. I do not know if they would prefer Superman or Batman ( a fiercely debated topic in our home). It stings. As a mom, we want to know our children, we are the ones who know them best, and I was robbed of that. It is a hard pill to swallow.
THEN, this morning I woke up and my sweet mother in law took Ben for a while. I sat here just thoroughly enjoying Hope (the yardsale has been put off due to rain) we played and sang, we snuggled and I nursed her and rocked her to sleep all the while, tears ran down my face. My heart was so overflowing with gratitude and joy, that I thought my chest might burst. I still look at her each day and can't believe she is mine, the Lord trusted her to ME.
After I put her down for her nap I went back and looked at my first post after her birth. I was so scared. Scared doesn't even touch it, I was terrified. Her skin was blistering, we were headed to take our two day old baby to have a biopsy done, we were given the worst case scenario and we were just clinging to His promise that He had it all under control. We sure didn't.
I read through ALL of the comments that day and was again touched by the massive amount of people who have been praying for our family. I feel completely unworthy, yet am so thankful. As I read through the prayers for Hope, each. and. every. one. had been answered. She thrives and is completely healthy. I don't take that lightly. Not for one minute do I want to take for granted what the Lord has blessed us with. He has given, he has taken away, he has given, and taken away and yet through it all His love shines through so brightly I can barely see at times. My heart is forever broken, I guess it had to be. I mean all the joy that is in this heart needs that outlet so it doesn't explode! :) Once again, sorrowful, yet rejoicing! :)
4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
Emotions ran high on Friday as my firstborn baby boy graduated from Kindergarten! He woke up in the morning and gave me a hard time about getting out of bed. I reminded him that it was a special day and that he would only be in school for about two hours since they got out early that day. He told me he didn't feel well. He tries to pull that trick pretty frequently so I reminded him that if he was sick he could stay home, but he would have to rest all day. He reluctantly climbed out of bed, walked to the bathroom and threw up!
Seriously? What is a mom to do? So I made up a bed for him on the couch and called my mother in law for advice. While we chatted he got up and started running around and playing. She advised me to wait a little bit and see how he did and take him up if he continued to be fine since he does tend to get sick when he is nervous. So I did. I took him up a little late giving him extra time to rest. He did great. When I picked him up he asked, "What's for lunch??"
We went to the White Turkey (a local old fashioned Drive In restaurant that we LOVE) per his request and then headed up to the school for pictures.
It was SOOO stinkin' cute. Such an emotional day, but I am so proud of my boy! :)
He played with that tassel most of the time he had that hat on! :)
Here come the graduates...this one was my favorite handsome grad.
Family Photo! :) If you look super close at Howard's tie...it has Luke's baby picture on it! It was his first Father's Day gift! :) I am sure he will wear it to HS graduation too!
This could be my favorite photo ever! :) This is what happens when you try to get 3 kids to look at the camera...into the sun!
I love him!
Getting his diploma
Our "party table" with cake and graduation treats and presents!
Our little "star"
(this is pretty much how I felt on the inside)
TRAGEDY! He accidentally switched seats with someone else and his hat did not fit! He is our "rule follower" and this about wrecked him.
Why do these days tug at my heartstrings so? I found myself really really longing for Isaac and Asher today. They would have been so proud of their big brother!
YIKES! Our oldest boy graduates from Kindergarten this evening! My "Thrifty Thursday" post will have to wait until the weekend...the past few days have been filled with photo sessions, first tball games, treat making, cake baking, cleaning, decorating, and snuggling! How DO these kids grow up so fast! We are just taking time to count our blessings, they are plentiful that is for sure.
SOOO until I get a minute to catch my breath and write a REAL post...enjoy this fun picture of Ben that Katie captured when she did Hope's! TOO funny! Pictures of Luke to come, the cameras are charging! :) Have a great weekend all!
This morning we went for Hope's birthday pictures. She has not been a big fan of photo sessions in the past, but she did pretty well today, aside from her *ahem* falling off of this stool while I tried all kinds of crazy antics to make her smile! :) I wanted to wait until her birthday to share, but we will have lots of pictures of that day to share, and I am not so good at waiting. SO here you go! :) Thank you so much to Katie Mihalak for your beautiful work! (If you are in the area and are in need of a photographer, I HIGHLY recommend her, her work is awesome, her prices are reasonable, she is great with kids and she takes the anxiety out of photo sessions!)
Snuggling her Baby Be Blessed "Hope" Doll we won a couple of "Free Friday's" ago
With Birthday Lamby! Can you believe she used to be smaller than her?
(This is my personal favorite) Shows her true colors! :)
I have been dying to get a photo done with this cute diaper cover from a sweet blog reader. It FINALLY fits her! I love it! :)
Okay, so my previous post "I've Got Nothin", changed a little when I was searching for normalcy in the blogs of other brokenhearted mammas...this one came from Grace...in Heaven
Ask My Mom How She Is
My Mom, she tells a lot of lies she never did before. From now until she dies, she'll tell a whole lot more. Ask my Mom how she is and because she can't explain, She will tell a little lie because she can't describe the pain. Ask my Mom how is she, She'll say "I'm alright." If that's the truth, then tell me, why does she cry each night? Ask my Mom how is she, she seems to cope so well. She didn't have a choice you see nor the strength to yell. Ask my Mom how she is, "I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping." For Gods sake Mom, just tell the truth just say your heart is broken. She'll love me all her life, I loved her all of mine. But if you ask her how is she she'll lie and say she's fine. WE are here in Heaven. we cannot hug from here. If she lies to you don't listen, Hug her and hold her near. On the day we meet again, we'll smile and I'll be bold. I'll say, "You're lucky to get in here, Mom with all the lies you told!" -unknown
Mother's Day always hits me kind of hard. It has since I was nine years old and my own mom died. I know I am very blessed to have my sweet family, and I do enjoy and cherish them on this day, but the joy is always laced with a bit of sadness. I tried hard to think of a post I could write today to encourage moms who have lost babies or sons and daughters who have lost moms and basically, I've got nothin'. It is hard. Plain and simple. Even when we know our loved ones are in a "better place" it is hard. Dreams die with them and the picture we envisioned for ourselves are forever changed. We grieve the loss of them, and the loss of the dream.
I will tell you that I made it through the day, and that is good enough for me. My family let me sleep in, took me to lunch at my FAVORITE little local drive in, and I was showered with handmade cards and a marigold from the "Mother's Day Bazaar". I spent time with my sweet grandma, the only woman I really knew as a mom, and had dinner with Howard's mom. I only broke down and cried twice, and I hate to admit but a couple of times I got snippy with my family. The Lord has sent many people to encourage me and love on me this week and though my heart hurts, I know He is good. I am blessed beyond measure and I am very thankful. I go to bed tonight with a heavy, and thankful heart.
Here is my post from last year, I am in much the same place and will be spending time tonight and tomorrow praying for the heavy hearts out there at this time of year:
Well, last year I shared some of my thoughts of my own mother on mothers day here. I would like to say I am at a better place with all of that but I cannot say that just yet. I am working on some things, but Mother's day still remains a day that brings stinging tears to my eyes and a sickness to my gut. ( It seems kind of a pointless day that just alienates those who are missing mothers or those who are missing children. I mean why not celebrate motherhood on your children's birth dates, the dates you became a mother rather than some arbitrary day in May?) OK sorry that was my rant.
I have much to be thankful for. I am very certain of this and I assure you that I am very aware of how blessed I am. For some reason I just really still struggle with Mother's day. I have since 1988 and am pretty sure I always will. I will never forget the Mother's Days in school where all of the kids made projects for their moms and I got taken aside to do an "alternate" project for my dad or my grandma. It always made me feel so much worse. I know the teachers were trying to be sensitive to my situation, but the whole thing just stunk. My heart would always sink as those project dates drew near. As a kid all you want to do is fit in and this was one time of year that I always felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.
These days I no longer am in grade school, but have similar feelings still. Even as I sit with my own boys and create mother's day projects for grandmas. I think about how they will never know my mom. How they were cheated out of a grandmother. Cemetery visits should NOT have to be part of a Mother's Day celebration and in my life, for too long they have been.
I also think about the two boys I wish would be here to jump on the bed in the morning and cover me with sloppy kisses wishing me a happy Mother's day. There will be two boys who do that and for that I am so grateful, but there will still be two missing and their absence is felt very tangibly on days like Mother's Day.
This Mother's day I am still without a mother, I am the mother of FIVE children. Two in Heaven, two on earth, and one still growing inside my womb. There is a lot of hurt for me that comes with Mother's Day, but also joy. Joy that I have gotten to be the mother of five children. Joy that some women only dream of.
I think sometimes on Mother's Day we celebrate moms and what it means to be a mom, but I think we also forget, that for many this day opens wounds and stings an already broken heart. There are so many people out there who are motherless, and so many mothers who are childless. I will be spending some time tonight and tomorrow praying for those very hearts, and I ask that if you feel led you would join me. If you have a hurt or prayer request this Mother's Day, I would be so honored to pray for you specifically as I pray for the brokenhearted. You can leave a comment here or email me at email@example.com and I will surely spend time in prayer for your heart as I am so keenly aware of the hurt this day can stir up. But as aware as I am of that hurt, I am equally aware of the comfort that our Lord can and will bring and I will be praying for that comfort for each of the hearts hurting this Mother's Day. The Lord has been so good to me and has comforted my aching heart and I want Him to be able to do the same for you!
Yesterday Ben, Hope and I did a lot of yard work. We mulched the front walkway and the trees in the front yard, did all the weeding and a lot of planting. After dinner Ben and I headed back out to work on the sandbox. We have a HUGE sandbox in our back yard and over the winter it was covered with boards, so we went out and dug up the sand and made it all soft again.
In the summertime, we use a huge tarp with bungees as a cover so that the boys can hook and unhook it themselves. SO I asked Ben to go ask his dad where the tarp was. Howard told him and Ben, being my good helper went and got it. It was folded up alongside the house and he drug it into the backyard. As I began to unfold it, I noticed that it was SHREDDED. Then, before the thought of mice could enter my brain, mice began to scurry, EVERYWHERE. People, I had mice run over my feet.
Can I just tell you that I screamed like I was on fire? I began running in place and threw the tarp to the ground. Meanwhile the neighbor, who was peacefully working in his garden came running thinking I was hurt, I screamed to Ben, "GO GET YOUR FATHER". Ben took off! He came back, still unaware of what had happened but saw some of the mice. He started shouting, "Punch that mouse in the face mom!" "You can do it". I was frozen. I did not want to cross paths with one again.
I hear Howard from the kitchen window laughing. He pipes up with "Shall I grab the shotgun?" I was NOT amused. The next thing I know, my mother and father in law are there. As we walked toward the front of the house we saw a hole in the ground where the tarp had been and there were mice there too! EEEEEEEEEEKKK! Ben, quick thinker he is, runs to grandma and grandpa's and lets the dog and cat out! Next thing I know, here comes Howard with a pitchfork! Seriously...you can't make this stuff up. I can only imagine what an onlooker would have thought as they saw the cat and dog chasing mice like crazy, Howard digging out the hole with a pitchfork, me standing with my inlaws looking on with disgust and Ben shouting "Get 'em Maddy, shred that mouse!" and Hope laughing like crazy!
Many of you have asked about our grocery budget. I had mentioned, a post or two ago, that we typically spend 50 dollars a week on groceries and that I was planning to cut that to 40 so that we could pay more on debt and dig our way out so that we can give more freely. Our debt is weighing us down and we want to be free to give more! We are on a quest to live more simply on much less so that we can be vessels to pour out what we have onto those who need it.
SO...I was thinking each Thursday I would come and share one or two of our tips. We live on one teacher salary, and still carry some debt from the death of our boys, and just from poor decisions. We are hoping to become unshackled from that debt as soon as possible so we are pinching pennies even harder! :)
Today's tips are: 1. Make your own laundry soap! I am serious...you will save a small fortune and it requires very little effort.
You will need :
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value
4 Cups - hot tap water 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (I use Ivory, it is cheaper and easier to find and works great) 1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (MUST be washing soda, baking soda will NOT work. I buy it at a local grocery store in the laundry aisle.) ½ Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)*they use MUCH less water so you don't want to add too much soap.
I am VERY picky about laundry and I LOVE this stuff. It works great and has saved us a TON of money.
*Note* I have NOT tried this on my cloth diapers as I am afraid the soap content would cause a build up. I use Arm and Hammer Naturals Free on my diapers. It goes on sale for about 6.99 a bottle, I have gotten it for 4.99 after coupons, use only about a tablespoon and it is a HUGE jug which lasts....well I have yet to need a new one. :)
If you have a Thrifty Tip you'd like to share, feel free to do a Thrifty Thursday on your own blog or leave a comment here...maybe if we all share ideas we can help each other to cut down on excessive spending!
I sat down to write a post about joy and as I have gathered my thoughts I have decided instead to focus today on the beauty of suffering. Weird? Maybe. Maybe not.
A few weeks ago I had written that things here in the Bolte household have kind of settled a bit. We have been in a period of rest and things have been going pretty well. I was finding that I had not much to say and nothing really to blog about, so I went back through my posts from when I was pregnant with Asher, looking for some of the lessons the Lord taught me during that season.
I had reposted a few entries I had written during my pregnancy with Asher and even still got several emails from people who were concerned for me. They suggested counseling and medication.
Now, I am not here to say for one minute that there is not value in counseling nor am I here to say that medication is not warranted in some situations. My mom committed suicide, remember? I am quite certain she was in need of help and that she never found it.
As I sat last night reflecting on all of this I felt quite a stirring in my heart. This might sound crazy to most of you, but I miss the suffering. When I was pregnant with Asher, my sweet fourth child, who was diagnosed mid pregnancy with fatal birth defects, I was terrified. I was broken and scared. Each day I struggled to get out of bed and CHOOSE joy, CHOOSE life. Yet I did. While I suffered, I was also filled with a peace I have never quite felt before. As I carried that baby boy, the Lord's presence was so tangible to me. In the days after his death, as I wept and cried out to the Lord, I also knew that God was near to my broken heart.
James 5: 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
It was a sacred time. I was so scared and so helpless that each day, (who am I kidding?), each moment, I had to look to the Lord to pull me through. The Bible tells us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and I found that to be very true.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you
Isn't it funny how when we are faced with a trial, we wonder what on earth is going on? I mean, the Bible tells us NOT to think of suffering as something strange. God's glory rests upon those who suffer. Our trials and tribulations give us depth. We often though look at our lives and we thank God for our prosperity but seldom for our suffering.
In fact, in our culture I would go so far as to say that we are extremely uncomfortable with suffering. We want to make it better. We want to rush through the suffering so that we can enjoy the good life. We see someone in agony and we are quick to want to medicate. Like I said, I am not saying that there is no place for medicine, but I have said it once, and I will say it again, medication doesn't change my reality. Even if I am on Prozac two of my children will still be dead. Period. This is the life the Lord has chosen for me. I am learning to rejoice in that. Without Asher I would NEVER have felt the presence of God in that way. I would never have known love on the level I do. Without Isaac I would never have been able to prepare for Asher and the experience the Lord had for me with the birth of each of my subsequent children.
By choosing Christ, we are not chosing a life void of pain. When you accept the Lord, life doesn't suddenly become all puppy dogs and rainbows. Jesus died on a cross. He suffered in a way that we cannot even begin to imagine. In fact, I would say that when you make the choice to follow Christ, you are choosing suffering. The Bible PROMISES us persecution and suffering, but also promises that it will be used for His glory. No suffering goes unnoticed.
I am working on an upcoming post on JOY. I have been seeking joy for so long, and have come to learn that it is a choice. We choose joy, and when we can choose joy and even rejoice in our sufferings, blessings abound.
When we think of blessings, we often think of a pretty package, all tied up with a bow, and I am here to tell you, that sometimes, blessings DO come like that, but more often they come as suffering, we all SAY we want to follow Jesus and walk like He did, yet our actions don't match. I am just as guilty of it as the next guy. I am on a quest though...this stirring in my heart has me on a quest for something more. I want my walk to match His. I don't want to just accept Christ in my heart, I want my life to reflect His.
Don't get me wrong, I would do just about anything to hold my sweet boys once more, but I am so grateful they will never know the pain of this world. They knew only love. For that I am grateful. My time with them was so sacred. So blessed, and so peaceful. I experienced God on a level I never knew existed. I miss that.
This is her "kissy face" when you ask her for a kiss, this is what you will get (if you are lucky)
Standing in her crib, (YES the mattress does need to be lowered, she doesn't really sleep here. She is safe, I promise.)
Can you believe it?! Hope is one month away from her FIRST birthday! SO bittersweet! I am so thankful for all we have been given in Hope, and am LOVING seeing her grow and learn, yet it seems to slip by so fast. I feel like I blinked and she was suddenly a toddler. Let's not even talk about the meltdown I had in Target when I realized I could no longer buy her PJs in the "Infant" section.
Anyway, here is what our sweet Hope is up to these days:
She started the month with one tooth and one poking through and ended it with a whopping FIVE almost six teeth!
She still despises baby food in ANY form but will nurse anytime she is given the chance
She has mastered the art of "fit throwing" she arches her back and screams when she doesn't get what she wants. I am pretty sure we are in for a strong willed child! :)
She LOVES balls.
She says a few words: Ma Ma, DaDa, Ball, Uh-Oh, Yeah, Ba (Ben), Yay!, Vroom! (when playing with cars), nack (snack), duck, Bye-Bye, and Hi
She waves hello and good bye
She puckers up and gives kisses and blows kisses (especially to Ben)
She tips the scales at a whopping 16 1/2 pounds
She LOVES to throw EVERY SINGLE morsel of food off of her high chair tray and onto the floor
She only naps with the vacuum running.
She is still crawlking, but is also pulling up and cruising along EVERYTHING she can get her hands on
She takes only a minute to get where she wants to go and get into and destroy everything she can.
She ONLY wants mommy, STILL.
She thinks Ben is hilarious.
She is overcoming her fears of dogs, cats and plants.
She is amazing. She brings a whole new dynamic to our family, just as each child has and we are just over the moon in love with her!
I have spent a lot of time lately in reflection of the past year. I think about where we were a year ago, waiting for Hope to arrive, then she was here! I spent a portion of the summer, grieving because of Hope's EB. I know it may seem silly, but I had looked SO forward to a baby girl in sweet little dresses and bare little toes.
Hope's feet and ankles were wrapped for the first two months of her life because of blistering from her hospital bands, so we did not get that last summer, and honestly I never imagined we would be here today. It was a warm day today and this morning, Hope wore a sweet orange sundress sans shoes, showing of her beautiful, mildly scarred feet. Each time I see those feet, I praise God! Only Him! :) Then this afternoon, she wore the outfit she has on in the pictures (Thank you Auntie Kate) with an awesome pair of orange Crocs, a sweet "blog friend" had sent her after I had her. She knew my favorite color was orange and they were so tiny and cute! I hate to admit that those shoes sat in Hope's shoe basket and I would glance in and see them, and feel bitter that Hope would likely never wear them. Can I just tell you that she ROCKED them today!? My heart is just overflowing in gratitude and joy for what the Lord has done in our girl.
Go ahead and mention my child, The one that died, you know. Don't worry about hurting me further. The depth of my pain doesn't show. Don't worry about making me cry. I'm already crying inside. Help me to heal by releasing The tears that I try to hide. I'm hurt when you just keep silent, Pretending she didn't exist. I'd rather you mention my child, Knowing that she has been missed. You asked me how I was doing. I say "pretty good" or "fine". But healing is something ongoing I feel it will take a lifetime. ~ Elizabeth Dent ~
"When I Lay My Isaac Down" - Carol Kent "The One Year Book of Hope" - Nancy Guthrie "Holding on to Hope" - Nancy Guthrie "Empty Cradle Broken Heart" - Deborah Davis "Waiting With Gabriel" - Amy Kuebelbeck "Streams in the Desert" - LB Cowman "It Takes a Parent" - Betsy Hart "I'll Hold You in Heaven" - Jack Hayford "Crazy Love" Francis Chan "Radical" David Platt