Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Join Us for the March For Babies

Hello Friends!
Well, We are excited to say that we are gearing up for the 2009 March For Babies! As most of you know we walk each year in memory of our boys Isaac and Asher. It has been a great way for us to honor them and do something good for others! This year's walk will be Sunday, April 26 at 1:00. Registration begins at 11 am and we will be walking along Presque Isle. We are also excited because this year our family is the March of Dimes ambassador family for our area! We would love to have you join us in celebrating!

There are a couple of ways you can join in and help us support this great cause.

1. You could join us and walk! Go to www.marchforbabies.org/boltefamily and click the link that says "walk with me" under the picture of Asher's feet. Join the team and then send me an email letting me know your tshirt size as we are getting team tshirts this year. (The tshirts will be five dollars. If you can afford to pay for your own, that is fine and if not we will cover that cost for you as we are just glad to have you walking along with us.) We will be tailgating before the event and we will be sure to let all who sign up know the details of that in the next week or so. Feel free to recruit friends! ***If you do not live in the Erie area, you CAN walk at your local site with Team Isaac and Asher. Just put our team name on your registration and be sure to send us a picture of you walking!

2. You could sponsor our team. Go to www.marchforbabies.org/boltefamily and click the "sponsor me" link or click the button at the left of this page. No donation is too small. Every dollar helps!

We are so grateful for the immense amount of support we have gotten in the past and are looking forward to a great year this year! PLEASE join us!

PLEASE join soon and get me your tshirt size as we NEED to get that order in so the shirts will be done in time!

Thanks so much we are SOOO excited for this event!!

The Boltes

Saturday, March 28, 2009

(Part 2)

My appointment was for 9:30 and we got there shortly before that. I signed in and we waited in the huge waiting room for what seemed like eternity, and was almost an hour. They called my name and we went back. This is kind of when I flipped the switch and just checked out. I have developed a pretty good knack for that unfortunately. I just climbed up on the table laid back and held my breath. The ultrasound technician was great. She was very kind and compassionate and she talked through the WHOLE thing so it was not so awkward and tense. She did some measurements and then went to do the baby's head, but she was looking up facing us and she could not get head measurements with the baby in that position. We did get to see her sweet eyes though and even the lenses in the eyes.

She moved down to the feet. This baby girl had her legs crossed for the ENTIRE scan! Let's hope that modesty stays with her! She measured legs and feet, but couldn't get the one leg because she had them crossed, so she moved on to the abdomen, measuring her belly, kidneys, bladder, heart. Everything was measuring perfectly. She then moved to her head. The baby had changed positions and we were now able to measure the head and the structures of the brain. Each measurement was SPOT ON! I began to breathe a little. She then measured the baby's arms. There is a chance that this baby girl could have monkey arms! Her arm measurements were two weeks ahead! They were the only measurement that varied from dates so it may just be a poor measurement or it may just be that she has long arms.

The doctor then came bouncing in. She was smiling and sweet. She checked a few things and assured me that the baby looked no less than perfect. She was measuring just as she should in EVERY way! She was such a kind doctor and I am so thankful that God answered each request even down to the greatest ultrasound tech and doctors. She then told me that the doctor we had been working with in genetics still wanted to see me so I would have to wait a little longer. Honestly, nothing could really have bothered me at that moment. I was ok with waiting all day now that I knew my baby girl was ok. I cannot even explain the emotions and relief I felt lying on that table.

We were then sent to wait in the genetics waiting room, which if you have followed since our diagnosis with Asher, you will recall that I liken that room to Hell. It is a room filled with uncertainty, tension, crying moms, and dads who look like deer in the headlights carrying their own sadness while trying to be strong for their partner. UGH! We sat there and a few couples walked out in tears and my heart just broke for them. I remember being there. I remember wanting to run as fast as I could away from that hospital. I was sitting and rejoicing in the good news I had received and these families were being given the news that would likely force them to run toward God or as far away from Him as they could. I am still praying for these families. My heart truly breaks for them, but knows that God will comfort them if they allow Him.

A few moments later, my doctor opened the door and said "Mrs. Bolte, come on back" I followed him to his office and before we even sat down he said, "I am pleased to say I have NOTHING but good news for you! You really gave me a scare when you emailed, but really, she could not be measuring more spot on." He reviewed all of her measurements with me and said that the measurements they got on Monday must have been miscalculated. He also asked that I come back maybe one more time before the end of pregnancy, not because he expected anything to go wrong, but just for reassurance one more time. He scheduled me for an appointment in May and then said, "I am so happy for you and if you have any questions before we meet again, you have my info, but I expect this baby will be a normal healthy child."

As I checked out the woman muttered under her breath "well we will have to remove that abnormal flag on the chart now." I replied with "aww...that is a good feeling". She smiled, validated my parking and sent me on my way! YAY! Honestly I wanted to dance out of the hospital I was so elated! We headed toward home, again only making a little error in directions and stopped for a celebratory lunch. It was great! Then we stopped at the Grove City outlets and did a little shopping for little miss! It was fun and so refreshing to breathe and fully embrace and enjoy the new thing God is doing leaving the fear behind.

We got home shortly before six o'clock and Howard and I jumped in the car to go get the boys. They had a great day with great friends and I am so thankful that I never had to worry about them for even a moment, knowing they were in the hands of some of the best mommies I know. After picking them up we stopped and grabbed a quick dinner and then headed to Home Depot and purchased the paint which is already on the walls of her room!

I still had a hard time getting to sleep last night though, partly because I was still reeling with excitement from the amazing day God had blessed me with, and partly because I was wrestling with the idea of God's goodness. After hearing our good news, I have had many people respond with, "God is good!" He is that is absolutely a true statement and I really did feel it yesterday. Yet, I can't help but thinking that sometimes we make God's goodness conditional. Of course I wanted the report I got yesterday, but even if I had gotten different news, God would still be good. He was good when he blessed us with Asher and He was good when He called him home. God really is good all the time, even in the tough stuff. I can't even begin to fathom why sometimes we have to endure extreme pain and suffering but even in that God is good and I am thankful that he spared me the heartache that I could have encountered yesterday.

I am beyond grateful that God chose to bless me the way he did yesterday, with all of the right people, all of your prayers, good news, and an all around great day. I am really honestly still trying to put it all into words, but I am so thankful for this opportunity to breathe and enjoy, and part of me can't help but wonder if God had to bring me through this "scare" to show me how to embrace this blessing and truly enjoy her.

So that was my day in a nutshell. I am feeling beyond blessed and am so looking forward to seeing this new baby girl. The painting has begun and the preparing has resumed. We do not know what tomorrow brings, but for today we are going to embrace this good news and soak it in!

A Blessed Day Indeed (part 1)

(Grab a cup of coffee...I have a lot to share!)

Thursday night I was pretty much a ball of nerves. I sat down with my devotional and started flipping through to find something to ease my mind and I came to a devotional about claiming God's promises. I got to thinking about it. God promises to be faithful, He promises to never leave or forsake us, He promises to give us the desires of our hearts. That is a tough one, because as I look back I believe my heart wanted Isaac to live and I believe my heart wanted Asher to live so I have a tough time reconciling all of this.

So then I started thinking about the desires of my heart and desires in general. Sometimes I desire a huge bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, but the Bible tells us that IF we delight in the Lord He will grant us the desires of our hearts. I am not sure that my yearning for dark chocolate aligns with my delighting in the Lord, more so I think it sometimes anaesthetises me, it temporarily fills a void. Any desire really aside from desiring the Lord is going to still leave us feeling void and hollow. Now desiring for your child to live and desiring chocolate ARE two completely different things, and yet they aren't.

I had a conversation Thursday night with a new friend and I was telling her that when we headed to Pittsburgh to find out what was going on with Asher, I was able to pray to God and tell him that I accepted His will for my life, I of course added my preferred course, but ultimately surrendered to His. I could not bring myself to that point this time. I could not utter the words to God, telling him that I accepted His will. If it meant losing another child, I couldn't accept it. When I got off the phone I really started to think about it all.

I started thinking about Abraham. God promised to bless him and Sarah with a baby. Their situation seemed impossible to anyone who didn't know God, but Abraham held fast to that promise Abraham was not on Easy Street in the meantime. He had a tough life and God did not make good on His promise for a SUPER long time. The faith Abraham must have had to be able to wait upon the Lord for such a long time astounds me. God honored Abraham and his faithfulness and blessed him with the child he promised, but he STILL tested Abraham after that, He asked Abraham to give up the child he loved so much and though it must have made Abraham angry and scared, he knew God's plan for him was best and he remained faithful and obedient.

I don't have it all figured out, but I then began to pray for a heart like Abraham's. I wanted to want God's will for my life above all else. He promised that he has GOOD plans for me and I needed to trust in that. I did feel like He had placed the desire for this baby in my heart, but that is only possible if I remain delighting in Him alone. So I went to bed with a peaceful heart and actually slept well.

I woke up around 5:45 which if you know me, you know is torture in and of itself. I really did not struggle with getting up though, I jumped in the shower and got ready for the day ahead. Ben woke up early and when I came out he and Howard were lying in bed together. It was a sweet sight and I remember thanking God for each of them. I got dressed and packed the things the boys would need for their day of fun with their friends and off we went. Howard dropped me off at the friend's house who was driving me. My heart began to sink. We jumped in her van and off we went. I do have to say it was a blessing to have her along with me that day...she was really good at talking with me about anything and everything, this kept my mind off of the day ahead and I just enjoyed her company. Though I wish Howard could have gone...that ride would have been long and silent as he is always afraid of saying the wrong thing ;). After only one minor missed direction we arrived at Magee in plenty of time and that is really when my nerves started to kick in.

(ok...got to go get Ben in the tub...to be continued)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Praising God for Good News

I don't have much time to write as I am on my way to pick up the boys, but I just wanted to let you all know that our little girl is just fine. EVERY measurement came back PERFECT! We are elated and celebrating this evening! I will write a longer post later detailing the blessings of the day! Thank you all for praying!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just Some Clarification...

Many of you have asked questions and I figured I would just answer a few of them here for all to see.

1. Have they tested for Downs Syndrome?

Aside from ultrasound I don't opt for other testing, so we did not do the blood test, but she shows no other signs of Downs Syndrome, nuchal fold is normal (which was not the case with Asher), nasal bone is normal and all of the other "soft markers" have not been seen. I assure you, that we are aware that though many doctors treat DS and most other "disabilities" as though they are the worst case scenario, we know otherwise. We will welcome any child the Lord gives us with open arms however He chose to create them.

2. Did you just fail the 1 hour glucose or the 3 hour.

I only failed the one hour, which I hear has a high false positive rate, I will be doing the three hour test on Monday morning. I am not really looking forward to it, but I know that it is necessary for my health and for baby's so in the grand scheme of things, it is inconvenient, but not that big of a deal.

3. What does it mean to be anemic?

It just means my iron levels are low, which is relatively common at this stage of pregnancy as baby takes what she needs and leaves me with what is left. I have been told to take an iron supplement twice a day in addition to my prentatal vitamin to prevent problems with me or baby or during birth. Anemia can be a serious problem if left untreated. It typically makes you a little dizzy and tired and even pale which are all symptoms I HAVE been having but I am typically a pale girl, and well tired and dizzy, I just figured it was all related to pregnancy, motherhood and stress. It can cause complications during and after birth so it is good to know now so I can start taking the supplements.

4. Have they diagnosed the baby with anything yet?

No, and maybe I didn't make that clear enough from the get go. Both Isaac and Asher were born with central nervous system issues, with Isaac I went in at 37 weeks, had an ultrasound and they saw fluid on his brain and a few other issues and decided to c section me right away to find out what was going on. After he was born it was noted that his head and brain had stopped growing and developing around 18 weeks. Otherwise he was pretty perfect. No other defects were found. I was told that a uterine infection likely assaulted his brain growth and that it was a "fluke".

Asher was a different story. During my 18 week ultrasound several anomalies were seen. He had a VSD or hole in one of the chambers of his heart, he was thought to have club feet (which he did not), He had fluid on his lungs, his head was small and his brain was already behind in growth. We were then sent to Pittsburgh where it seemed a new problem was found at each visit. So though Asher also had a small head and arrested brain development they had largely different issues as well. Doctors have tried to link the two and have yet to come up with a true diagnosis for what might be going on, they assume they are linked, but cannot tell for sure.

SOOOO....since they both had microcephaly, or small heads and underdeveloped brains that is now what doctors are on the look out for. I am currently 29 weeks and until this point there has been no indication that baby girl's head or brain was not growing or developing. At Monday's appointment, the doctor said that if it were anyone else he really wouldn't even be concerned but because of our history with microcephaly he just wanted to monitor because one of her measurements was coming back small. Her femur, abdominal circumference and BPD (diameter of her head)are all pretty average. Her head circumference growth seems to have slowed to the 6th percentile. Her overall growth is 46th percentile. So she has NOT been diagnosed with anything, and there is no definite problem. Just concern. I am panicked because this is EXACTLY how it all started with Asher, just concern. I have heard that because she is head down, there is a chance that the head circumference is not an accurate measurement and I am SOOOO hoping that s the case, that all of this worry is for nothing. Unfortuately my prior experiences tell me that when there is concern, it will be confirmed and possibly worse than imagined.

5. Are you going to Pittsburgh?

After much deliberation I have decided to head to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning. Howard cannot go because he can't afford to use his days off as he will need them when this baby gets here so a friend has offered to take me and another friend has offered to watch the boys. My appointment is at 9:30 and we will be leaving here around 7 am.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Hope Endures

Today has been a tough day. I am still wrestling with all of this. I still am angry and confused and the failing of my blood count AND glucose tests were just icing on the cake. Seriously, a friend was visiting when I got the call and when I got off the phone with the nurse and explained what was up, all I could do was chuckle, I mean why not? The line from Bruce Almighty ran through my head "God is a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I'm the ant. He could fix my life in five minutes if He wanted to, but he'd rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm." I know it sounds whiny, but that is pretty much how I was feeling. Don't get me wrong. I am VERY aware of how blessed I am but I am feeling under attack.

When Howard got home I suggested that we go out to dinner because I needed to make myself get dressed and get out and into the land of the living. So we went to Moe's Southwest Grill, a FAVORITE of mine and Wednesday is .99 cent kids meal night so that was a nice bonus. So off we went, and then we stopped to get groceries. It was actually a fun trip. Sometimes as many of you know I am sure taking the kids to the grocery store, is not what one might call fun, but tonight it was, I guess because we were in no hurry and we were just hanging out together. We explored the produce department and bought a few new exotic fruits to try and talked about good food choices and not so good food choices and sent the kids hunting for the items we needed and they put them in the cart. It really was a good time and we enjoyed the kids.

On the way home Luke said, "Mommy, are you praying right now?" I wasn't sure I heard him right, so I asked him to repeat himself and he kindly obliged. I said that I wasn't really praying just thinking. Then I asked him if there was something on his heart that he wanted us to pray about. My heart hit the floor when he said, "I want to pray for our baby sister in your tummy. I can't wait to meet her." (as a side note, though he likely suspects something is up because mommy has been a little extra "sad" lately we haven't talked to him about anything that is going on because we aren't sure there is anything wrong and he is a worrier.)

So Howard turned off the radio and Luke prayed "Dear God, thank you for all the great friends we have and for the new baby sister in mommy's belly. Please make her healthy and strong so that we can spend lots and lots of time with her. We love her so much, Amen." Tears started welling up again, and I thought I was all dried out. I told him that I loved his prayer and that I was sure his sister was going to love him too and Howard turned the radio back on. The song "Our Hope Endures" came on by Natalie Grant and I just sat there soaking in the words as she sang.

I can't say that I am all better or that this has gotten any easier, but I am breathing a little more and finding myself hopeful that our little girl is going to be ok and just remaining grateful that God has blessed us with yet another precious gift. Thank you all for your prayers, I am certain they are being answered and I am so grateful for your love and concern for our family.

I think I will be traveling to Pittsburgh on Friday for an ultrasound with a geneticist. Please continue to pray that all goes well and shows a healthy baby. Her crib bedding arrived today, thanks to a sweet and thoughtful friend, and I am SO hoping to put it to use in a few months.

Not So OK

So I would love to come here and tell you that peace has overcome me and that it is all well with my soul, but that would be a gigantic lie.

I had my temper tantrum yesterday. After a failed attempt at talking about it all to my sweet, pillar of strength, faith never waivers, husband I left. I got in the car and drove to the lake where no one was around,( so as not to frighten anyone or end up in an institution) and I threw my fit. I screamed, I yelled, I cried, I begged, I pounded the steering wheel. It felt a little "Bruce Almighty" if you are familiar with that movie, and I expected to feel better after I had it all out and I don't.

Now I feel kind of hollow. Like I have said it all. I have laid it all out there before God and I have nothing left to say. He knows my heart and I have said it all. I am still angry though. I feel like the child who just can't live up to her Father's expectations. I have been dealt a tough deck of cards more times in my life than I can count. I have gotten through life without a mother and have had to give back two of the children He blessed me with. I have done it all, not always willingly, not always with an open hand, but I have done it. I have done all I can to remain faithful and continue to fight the good fight, but friends I am weary. I am tired of fighting.

I find myself wondering what I did not learn in my previous experiences that God is wanting me to learn again. I want to believe that this is all just doctors being overly cautious and that our baby girl will come home and be perfectly healthy. I want to believe God doing a new thing in my life means allowing my baby to live, to get to go to a baby shower not a baby funeral. The truth is though that God has allowed this pain in my life not once but twice and there is no guarantee that he is not doing it third time.

That said, I know without a doubt that regardless of what ultrasounds say or doctors predict, God is in control of all of this. He has given us this child as a gift. She is so loved and wanted. I am so very in love with her and I marvel at her kicks and rolls and I can't wait to get to see who she is and what God has in store for her, but I am terrified that that means letting her go. I just want to bring home a healthy baby.

As a side note...I just got a call from the doctor's office and not only did the ultrasound not go quite as hoped, but I am also anemic and I failed my glucose test and have to go in Monday for the three hour test! UGH! Seriously? Can just one thing go well, I really really really am frustrated and angry and at a complete loss.

I am asking for your prayers, because right now I just don't have the strength or the words to do it myself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Head Spinning Thoughts

I am still not exactly sure that I can put my emotions and thoughts into words but I am hoping that giving it a shot will help me to put it all into perspective so here goes. I am mad. There... I said it. I am really angry. We came home last night and I made a quick post checked email and laid down because my head was throbbing. I appreciate the many of you who sent messages via email, text and phone and apologize for my not answering the phone and not answering your messages but right now I just plain don't know what to say and can barely say a word through my tears.

Howard took care of the kids all evening so I could rest and read my Bible. I knew that fear was creeping in big time and I was hoping that immersing myself in the truth would fight it off. I wish I could sit here and tell you honestly that that is what happened but it isn't. As I read I just got more and more angry. I have tried so hard to do all of this, walk through suffering, endure intense pain and loss in a way that glorifies God and yet sometimes (get ready for me to whine) I feel like I just can't catch a break.

I had just begun to feel at ease with things, I had purchased a few baby things, the nursery was under way I was beginning to really believe that this baby would be coming home with us and then WHAM! out of nowhere we get blindsided yet again. I know that there is a possibility that there is nothing wrong and that she is still just fine. Ultrasound mistakes are made each day and realistically her measurements are still within the range of normal, they are just at the very very low end of normal. The trouble is that I am feeling betrayed.

God has done a beautiful job of reminding me in the past seven or eight months that he is doing a new thing. I think the reason I am angry today is because this doesn't feel so new. It feels exactly the way it felt last November. Those words..."if it were anyone else we would not even worry, and it is probably nothing, but..." were uttered about sweet Asher. We held out hope that perhaps then, the measurements were off or that his brain would pick up growth and it did not.

Now, I KNOW that this baby is not Asher and that it is very possible that her story will play out differently, and yet it feels eerily familiar. So much so that I could not bring myself to stop at Home Depot last night to pick up paint and I have closed the nursery door with all things baby in it. I am scared. I know good and well that the Lord knows what is best for me and that His plan is far better than my own but I for once just wanted to walk on Easy Street. I wanted to know what it was like to walk through a life experience, namely the journey of this pregnancy and birth to be uneventful. I wanted to be able to continue thinking about baby showers and nursery colors, my nesting instinct has kicked in and I was enjoying making space again for baby bottles and bathing supplies.

That has all come to a halt. Once again our lives our on hold. Once again the Lord is telling us we must wait upon Him. I am tempted to throw a two year old temper tantrum because it all seems so unfair and yet all I can do is sit here and weep. I weep not because I don't trust the Lord's plan to be good, I weep because I know that sometimes His plan hurts. I know he will walk with us through whatever he puts before us, but I desperately want this baby girl. I want to know what it is to raise my daughter. I spent the majority of the evening last night on my face pleading with Him. Begging Him for her health and safety. Yet I know sometimes our prayers do not get answered the way we hope and it frightens me.

Our next step is to wait until April 6th and measure again. Our doctor said he wasn't ready to suggest a trip to Pittsburgh just yet as things are still in the normal range, but that if I wanted to he would gladly send me at anytime to put my mind at ease. I desperately wanted to avoid that trip at all costs this pregnancy. I did not want the drama of it all. Yet, the first thing I did upon arriving home last night was email the doctor who worked with us when I was pregnant with Asher. He got back to me IMMEDIATELY as he always does and said that he would like to see me if for nothing else than to put my mind at ease. He has a few tests he would like to run and he would like to see what kind of measurements they get on the more detailed machines.

I am debating what to do this morning. Part of me just wants to wait the two weeks and see where we stand and make a decision from there, and part of me wants to run to Pittsburgh right NOW hoping for peace of mind that maybe the measurements are off because her head is already down in my pelvis. Howard only has a few days left that he can take off this school year as we have had so much already happening this year and I would hate for him to take another day off because that is one less day he will be able to take when the baby comes and yet I can't imagine going to such an appointment without him. So I am really praying for discernment in this area. I just am not sure what to do. Two weeks seems like such a long time away.

I can't imagine spending the next two weeks feeling the way I feel today...as though i can barely breathe, eyes swollen, tears flowing. Yet just the thought of heading back to Pittsburgh brings up anxiety all its own.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, comments, emails, etc. It does help to know so many are petitioning our Father on our behalf. Thank you for loving us and praying for us.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I first want to thank you all for praying for us. I wish I could come here and tell you that the paint has been purchased and that the nursery is under way. That is not however the truth. I am having a hard time putting my emotions and thoughts into words so I will just give you the facts.

Our ultrasound was ok. Her heartrate was good, she was moving all around and just as stubborn as ever...this time the only picture we got was a leg so maybe by the time it is all said and done we will have one of each body part. :-)

The doctors are a little concerned though. Her head, while it is still growing has slowed a little and is now in the 6th percentile. He assured us that this could be perfectly normal and for anyone else he would likely not say anything and would just measure again in a few weeks, but because of our history he wants me to be monitored. So we go back in two weeks to measure again hoping for more growth.

I can't say I am not terrified and I am frustrated. I am trying very hard not to let fear and doubt take up residence where hope and peace have been fighting to take the forefront. Please if you feel led, pray for us and for our baby, we know God has this all under control and I am trying my best just to give it to Him as there is NOTHING I can do aside from getting my nose back into my Bible and praying.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Prayers for Monday

Monday is our next ultrasound date. I will be having my glucose test done, having the ultrasound and then seeing the doctor. I would be lying if I said I was not a bit of a basket case. I have had a little fun in the past few weeks with the baby stuff. I have allowed myself to dream and hope. We registered for some things for a shower some friends are having for us and it was really fun to walk around the store and pick out girly little things. We (I think) even settled on a bedding set, which is HUGE for me. That kind of thing usually takes me months of back and forth, buying and returning, usually ending in tears and frustration. We came upon "the one" though and both of us knew it was perfect.

We can't afford to get the whole bedding set just yet so we bought the teddy bear made out of all of the fabrics in the set and walked around Home Depot last night looking at paint colors. Today the nursery is primed and stark white, a sight that both pulls at my heart and causes great excitement. I did not allow Howard to purchase the paint last night however, I told him that on Monday when we leave the doctor's office we will stop and pick it up.

My reasons for this are twofold. I am allowing myself more and more to feel the joy and excitement of the amazing thing God is doing in our lives. I am taking it moment by moment and day by day and reveling in the kicks and nudges I feel each day. I am loving watching the boys not so gently "waking" their baby sister and talking to her, only to end up fighting over my belly and who loves her more. I know I am blessed. No matter what happens tomorrow or even Monday, I am blessed. God has trusted me with five of his children and I am honored.

That said...we ARE trusting God and KNOWING full hearted that His plans are better than our own, and so yes, part of me wants to wait until after that ultrasound Monday just to have confirmation one more time that her brain has continued to grow. Fear still grips my heart some days as I hope and dream and I find myself paralyzed by the idea that He could allow me to walk the road of losing a child again. But, realistically, I know He can. Monday's ultrasound won't change that, but will get us one step closer to maybe bringing a little one home. It is just another milestone, and our purchasing of the paint will be our celebration. :-)

The second reason...well, I know they have told us girl twice, I know that this baby is likely a girl, and yet I can't help but wonder if that could change on Monday. :-) I mean is a Bolte girl really possible? We shall see! I am excited either way, but I really don't want to bring a baby boy home to a room full of pink. :-) So Monday is a big day for us. Ultrasounds will never again be the same light hearted fun "peek" at our baby as they were with Luke, I no longer go into that room filled with excitement just to see the little one's profile. I am looking at measurements and brain division and health specifics. I walk in holding my breath, palms sweaty, hoping for the best and praying my way through the entire thing, sometimes aloud.

So Monday around 4:15 will you join me in prayer?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Servant's Heart

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve : to give, and not to count the cost, to fight, and not to heed the wounds, to toil, and not to seek for rest, to labor, and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.--- Ignatius of Loyola

So needless to say the past week has been difficult. It is very hard to see your little one in pain and not be able to do anything about it. I have spent the past six days tending to Benjamin and jumping at his every need and he has had many. I would be lying if I said I weren't a little relieved that today he is more back to his independent two year old self.

Thursday afternoon, right after his surgery I found myself serving him just so glad that I had the opportunity to do so. Howard even commented on my "servanthood" as we are typically a litttle more, inclined to teach the boys independence. I knew my boy was hurting and confused and I was glad to do whatever I could to make the day a little easier. If that meant removing an ice cube from his drink because we all know a two year old must have FOUR ice cubes, certainly not five in his cup, or making him new toast because today he wants it whole, not cut up, then I was ok with that, though I must admit on a normal day, those things would not fly.

Each day I found the joyful heart which I served with on Thursday diminishing. I found myself complying with his incredulous demands all the while grumbling and groaning under my breath. Then Saturday when I was beckoned with a wild scream while I tried to take 30 seconds to use the bathroom by myself I lost it. I just sat there and cried. I needed a shower, I needed to feed myself, I needed to get my nose into that Bible and yet there seemed to be no time for any of that as Benjamin wanted ONLY Mommy! Thankfully Howard drew the line there and said "Kristy PLEASE just go take a shower...he will be fine for fifteen minutes!" (maybe it was more for Howard's benefit than my own as I had not showered since Thursday morning, but either way I NEEDED those fifteen minutes.)

As I spent my time in the shower reflecting I began to feel guilty. Guilty that I could even for one minute resent the fact that I HAD to take care of Ben. I should have been thanking God that I GOT to take care of him. God answered so many of our prayers in regards to Ben's surgery and has been so faithful. I know what it is to only wish you could tend to your child's every whim never to have that opportunity, there are two little boys in Heaven that I would give anything to serve, and here I was wasting precious time feeling anger with my situation, I gave in to self pity and my selfish nature.

As I prayed to God and told Him how exceedingly sorry I was for my self centeredness and self pride I continued to cry. He sent his Son to earth not to be served, but to serve others. He paid the ransom for all of us though he was blameless and here I was whining because I had a few tough days. Now all of that said I am also very aware that to be able to serve effectively, we do need to be sure we are taking time for ourselves to feed ourselves both literally and through God's word. For if we are empty, we have nothing to give.

This did however get me thinking about having a servant's heart. God calls us to serve. Not just when it is convenient, not just when someone else might notice, not for what we may get in return, but always. Jesus, the highest of highs, washed feet, a job typically reserved for the lowest of lows. Who are we that we think we are above God? If no job was too menial for Him, why do we often back away from a job that seems beneath us? Why do we often serve and do kind things when everyone is watching yet get snippy with the grocery store clerk or the waitress who spilled our drink? Is God not watching? Isn't it HIS view of us that is what is important? Jesus gave all he had freely, never thinking of himself. Our Father calls us to do the same. We really have nothing to offer Him, but we have much to offer others. What are your struggles with this?

Ben On the Mend

I am happy to report that yesterday's doctors appointment, though tough was good. Ben had his catheter removed and the doctor said he is healing beautifully. I felt horrible for him as we pulled into the parking lot. He recognized the building and immediately yelled "No, Mom, Not the Thomas doctor." (she has a big Thomas the Tank Engine table in the waiting room that he SOOO loved until surgeries and catheters) We rode up the elevator and walked down the long hallway. We entered the office and he began playing with trains while I signed him in.

I sat down and watched him play. He then had one of his bladder spasms that sent him through the roof. He started crying and I just thanked God that the tube would be coming out today as I held him and his blankie. He then went back to playing and a few minutes later a look of panic came over his face. I asked what was wrong and he told me he was "peeing down his leg". I assured him he was not. That his tube was leaking into his diaper and that he was fine. That is until he turned around and I saw a little wet spot on the back of his leg. UGH!

I took him back to an exam room and realized I had not paid close enough attention when I changed him and his tube was in fact leaking down his leg. OOPS. I figured it best then to stay put and wait for the doctor as we had made a clean break from the train without tantrum and I did not want to invite another struggle for the day. The sweet doctor and the Physician's Assistant came in and Ben immediately began to scream. I tried to get him to show them the little animals we had been playing with as we waited. He wanted no part! He knew what was coming. The doctor said "OK Benjamin, let's take that tube out, you will feel SOOO much better" to which he very loudly replied "NO! Please don't take my penis ring!" I about lost it. He had been calling it that since he saw the tube Thursday. It kind of coiled in his diaper and looked a bit like a ring therefore..."his penis ring".

I leaned him back on the table and talked to him while they quickly removed the tube (I must admit I am a little surprised at how long it was...I mean how did it not come out his nose?). He SCREAMED so loud and his face became as red as his hair. The doctor quickly ran to get him a lollipop, she insisted anyone who had had a weekend like Ben's deserved a lollipop, and stickers, and little plastic treasures from her treasure box. He was suddenly better. :-) He then came home to a couple of extra pairs of hospital issue socks, which he has developed an extreme fondness of over the past week. :-) Thanks Claire!

He is still a little sore but he is no longer on pain medication and is close to being back to normal. It is good to have our boy back. The bladder spasms have stopped. We still have the challenge of keeping him subdued enough not to hurt himself, but his pain has decreased tenfold and that in and of itself is a blessing.

Thank you all for your prayers. Now we just have to keep praying that the healing goes well and that this will be his last surgery for this issue.

PS...I am also happy to say that at least for the last day since the tube was removed, he has used the POTTY every time! YAY!

Thursday, March 12, 2009



Well Ben slept well last night, with us of course, but well nonetheless. He is eating and drinking just fine, and even taking his medicine without much protest. He seems to be in less pain today and is acting more himself. Which is the problem. I need to keep him as sedentary as possible at least until Monday when the catheter is removed. It is stitched in place and when he moves around it pulls and hurts. I am depserate for more activities to do with him that don't require moving so if ANYONE has an idea for quiet activities and games for a typically active two year old I would LOVE to hear them. I am running out of ideas. It is taking all of my energy getting him not to use his! :-) Thanks again for your prayers!

Hello Everyone!

Thanks so much for your prayers. They were definitely felt this morning. We were all able to get a good night's sleep and head in to the surgery center. We were blessed with wonderful nurses and the best doctor we could ask for and she was running ON TIME! One of the worst parts last time was handing him over to be taken to the operating room. He freaked out. This time they gave him a little "cocktail" to relax him and it was actually pretty funny. He is a really funny kid as it is and this magic juice made him even more so.

The anesthesiologist came in and gave him a little mask to hold and play with before the surgery in hopes he would not be frightened by it when the time came for him to breathe through it and Ben thought it was great! He yelled into it, sang into it and pretended it was a musical instrument! When it was time for them to take him back to the operating room, he just asked to take the mask and the little stuffed lion the nurse had given him with him. Off he went...not even a tear (on his part, mine is another story).

The surgery ran a little longer than expected but everything went well and we were called back as he was waking up. He always has a very hard time waking up from anesthesia but the nurses were so great. He was a little hysterical and I started crying as I was holding him because nothing I did soothed him. They got us a DVD player and some snacks and juice and then gave him some extra pain medication. I think that more of the trouble was just being in the surgery center...he wanted to go home and kept asking for Luke. Once we were able to get him settled a bit and made sure he wasn't having any reactions from any of the meds they let us go.

A little more pain medication and a Happy Meal (Ugh! I know, what a horrible mom) later he is doing pretty well. We are sitting in my bed now watching Pooh and snuggling. We just woke up from a nap and he is still complaining of a little pain but seems to be much more himself.

He will go in Monday to have the catheter removed. This seems to be bugging him more than anything, but this time he is on a preventative antibiotic to be sure he doesn't get a UTI. SO many of our prayers have been answered thus far and we are just continuing to pray for healing for Ben, and that this surgery will be the answered prayer that fixes the problem for good. I am going to try my best for the next few days to just focus on Ben and let the laundry, dusting and floors go. I am going to run out later to pick up a few easy to fix meals and hopefully we will be set. Please also continue to pray we can keep Ben relatively sedentary. He is an active kid but needs to take it easy for a few days so as not to pull on the catheter.

Thank you all for your prayers. We are home and doing well, praising God for his faithfulness and always sufficient grace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ben's Surgery

Tomorrow morning Benjamin will once again go in for an outpatient surgery to correct his urinary tract. Please please pray that there are no complications, he experiences minimal pain and that it works this time so that we don't have to do this again in six months. I am trying my hardest to remain in prayer and not to worry but it is really hard to see your little one in pain and scared. It breaks my heart. In the past the moments after he wakes up are the hardest as he is hurting, confused and scared.

He will be coming home with a catheter for a week which is also not pleasant and I do NOT do well with these sorts of things. Last time it was extremely uncomfortable for him and I can only imagine what it will be like now that he is mostly potty trained.

Anyway, please keep Ben in your prayers tomorrow and in the week to come. I will update as soon as I can.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get Your Nose In That Bible Girl!

To say that my emotions have been a whirlwind lately is a gross understatement. For me right now life is like a roller coaster with intense highs and plummeting lows. I am blessed for sure and can clearly see God's hand moving throughout my life and I know this is a good place to be, but it is intense. This past weekend after much feet dragging, Howard and I took the time to go and buy a few things for this new baby and to register for the shower our friends insist we have. :-) I have been in small increments allowing myself to move past the knowledge that I have that sometimes babies do not come home, and have allowed myself to embrace the idea that more often, they do. More often than the heartache, babies do come home, and live long and healthy lives. It has been a fifty/fifty experience in my life, but on the whole, babies "typically" come home healthy.

Over the weekend, we discovered two small lumps in Benjamin's neck. I am thinking that they are swollen lymph nodes from the bout of bronchitis he suffered a couple weeks ago and the lingering cold he seems to have now, but sometimes I allow my imagination to get the best of me. Ben has another outpatient surgery this week. He needs another correction to his urinary tract and I would be lying if I said that Satan wasn't using this to attack my mind daily. The procedure is minor, but Ben will be under general anesthesia which frightens me. This paired with his cold and the lumps in his neck warranted a call to the pediatrician who assured me he is fine and that they lumps are more than likely swollen glands, but we are headed in to see the doctor today just for my peace of mind. I want to be sure that before he heads into surgery Thursday, that he is healthy enough to handle the surgery. The week following the surgery is bound to be difficult as Ben will come home with a catheter in his bladder and since he is mostly potty trained (we have been holding out on going, full undies until after this surgery) it could be a rough go for a week. He was miserable last time.

I have been trying hard to work extra hours in the past couple of weeks and in the weeks to come because I know once the baby comes we won't have that income, and I want to get a few things paid off so that we miss the money less. This has cause extra stress in the household as a whole. Howard gets home, we race through dinner and I am off to work until after the kids are in bed. This leaves for little family time and little Howard and Kristy time.

We are agonizing over the decision of whether to send Luke to school or to home school him. I have been feeling strong prompting from God to be much more intentional in my parenting of the boys and I am wondering if homeschooling him is one of the ways He is calling me to do that. We attended Kindergarten registration at our local elementary school last week and Luke and I both loved the school. It is a very small school and the one Howard and I both attended as children and it is much the same today as it was then. Yet we got on the bus for the bus ride and as I sat down, Luke began to sound out a word..."F-U-*-#" he got the first two sounds out before I realized what he had seen on the seat in front of us. I promptly directed his attention to the dog outside and my heart sank. I know that I need to teach the kids about things such as bad words, but really at 5? Do I need to teach him how broken this world is at 5? So Howard and I are still debating and hoping God just smacks us over the head with the answer this summer. I see great value in much of what happens in school and yet I want to be sure to equip Luke for the world and to help him be confident in himself and what he believes before sending him out into it and I am not sure that can happen at 5.

I also this week was called to walk alongside another family in agony over losing their sweet boy named Benjamin and I am so in awe of God's working in me. I was so scared as I headed to the hospital last night to meet their beautiful son. I vividly remember the babies I held after losing each of my boys. I had never imagined that I would hold someone else's lifeless baby. God's grace enveloped me as I entered the hospital room and I felt nothing but peace and love for the family and their perfect son. The room was already filled with love, the kind of love that is almost tangible. You walk in and can almost touch it. I had no words to comfort the aching hearts in the room as nothing I could say would bring back the son they so desperately wanted and loved. The shoe was on the other foot. I had always hoped God would use me in this way and yet, admittedly he kind of drug me in there kicking and screaming albeit silently. I knew it was something I was called to do and yet, part of me was stricken with fear wanting to protect my own heart. Little did I know that God would make it one of the most beautiful days I will ever remember. I was able to be one of the support people just as so many had been for me and I cannot yet put the evening into words.

And as I pulled into my driveway after leaving the hospital I saw my husband through the nursery window, priming the walls. It sucked the wind right out of me. I sat in my car afraid to enter the house. I was already so full of emotion and in the words of Karen Fahmer it was too "full circle" for me. :-) I had just left a family at the hospital preparing to hand their son over to the funeral director and had come home to a daddy preparing for his daughter's arrival in our home. I stood on the porch for a moment took deep breath and made the decision to be thankful for a daddy who wanted his little girl to have a pretty room to come home to. Thankful that there is a healthy baby kicking and growing inside of me and that her daddy loves her so much already.

We have so much going on right now....on the way home from the hospital last night I phoned my sweet friend Emily, knowing, as a fellow night owl she would be up and be able to help me process my day and she did :) She reminded me that with so much going on in my crazy life right now I better get my nose in my Bible this week and keep it there because Satan will be using each of these opportunities to cause doubt, confusion and fear. Thanks for the reminder Emily! I will surely take your advice!

I would greatly appreciate your prayers in each of these areas of our life right now. God is good and he has been so faithful and I know he will continue to be. I feel like we are right on the verge of huge things and am really excited to see God continue to work in our lives.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Please Join Me In Prayer


I just got home from the hospital. Benjamin was born after 8 this evening and I am so grateful I had the honor to meet and hold him. His family is doing as well as can be expected. He is healed and happy in Heaven, but his earthly family still needs your prayers in the days ahead as they learn to live without their sweet boy. Please continue to lift this fantastic family up in prayer. Also feel free to leave a message on their Caringbridge for them or even here and I will get it to them.

Thank you also to the many of you who have prayed for my heart in all of this. I never cease to be amazed by God's grace. It is truly sufficient. I am so honored that I have been given the honor of walking this road alongside this family. My heart overflows with love for them and I pray that He continues to show me how to comfort those who are hurting with the comfort he has so graciously bestowed upon me.

I have had the distinct honor and privilege to walk alongside a family for the past few months of a blessed little boy named Benjamin. Benjamin had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 earlier in his mommy's pregnancy and he has been such a fighter despite the odds against him.

Last night his family learned that he had been called Home this weekend and his mom is headed in to the hospital to be induced to deliver him today. My heart is fully broken for this family who feels so cheated out of the time they hoped to have with him. Please join me in prayer for them today and in the days ahead.

They have a Caringbridge site and would appreciate any encouragement and prayers as they try to process all of what has happened.

I ask that you pray for Stephanie, the mommy as she is induced. They are guessing he entered the Kingdom of Heaven sometime Friday or Saturday so she is eager to have him yet frightened about how his looks may have changed. Please pray for a quick delivery free of complications. They are already dealing with so much. Please pray for Ben's daddy, Shawn as he says hello and goodbye to his only son. Pray for Shawn and Stephanie to find a way to grieve together and lean on each other and our Father through the unimaginable pain they are feeling. Please also pray for their two sweet daughters Kelly and Rachel. Pray for their little hearts. They are very young. Pray that Shawn and Stephanie can find the answers they need for how to include the girls yet not frighten them.

I know that God is with this family and I know they are relying on Him, but I also remember vividly how overwhelming the pain is both physically and mentally and I am just praying that He takes care of every detail in their worries and makes any decisions they have to make clear. I pray that their meeting Benjamin, even though he has already made his entry into Heaven is peaceful and beautiful. Please please join me. I am hoping to go see them later today and am praying for God to help me to comfort them with the comfort I have received myself.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Lately I have been struggling with feelings of guilt. Many days it is like I am wearing this heavy cloak of guilt that is keeping me from truly enjoying the blessings that God has so graciously bestowed upon us. I am hoping that maybe by getting some of it out I will be able to let go of some of the guilt and more fully embrace the blessings of each day.

I feel my baby girl (still feels weird to say) moving and dancing within me and I wonder what on earth I did to deserve to be blessed like this. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that God has once again chosen to trust me with one of his children. I have had the privilege to be the mommy to not one but five of his precious ones, and believe me it is not a job I take lightly. I know that there are many women out there that may never get the opportunity to experience the miracle of being pregnant. I often find myself wondering why God continues to bless us. We surely don't deserve it. I can't help but feel guilty that we get to experience all of this a fifth time while some struggle and yearn for children and that prayer is never answered.

I vividly remember what it was like to have my body and heart reeling from the loss of my baby only to be surrounded by happy pregnant moms, they were EVERYWHERE. Not that I wasn't happy for each of them, but it brought up a tinge of sadness and jealousy, I remember feeling guilty for feeling that way, and now I feel guilty that I am the pregnant one while other moms are still reeling from their own loss or anticipating one. I have said a thousand times that the incredible joy that comes with being pregnant again does not in any way change the sorrow I hold in my heart from losing Isaac and Asher, but I know that when you are on the outside looking in, you can't see the paradox and how difficult it is.

I am now 26 weeks along and as you know, my body tends to act more as a convection oven rather than a conventional one. Each of the boys were a few weeks early. This little one may be the one to keep us waiting or she may arrive early just as her brothers did, either way it is getting more and more difficult not to look ahead. Somewhere between 10 and 14 weeks from now we will get to meet this new little blessing and we pray that we are able to bring her home. Along with that prayer comes a little panic. No project in this house gets done quickly. I am the type who agonizes over just the right paint color for WEEKS before being able to actually take the step and the other details are no easier.

Monday night, while I was working, Howard cleared out the nursery that once was Benjamin's and began removing the wall paper border and preparing the walls for a fresh coat of paint. When I heard the commotion I knew just what he was doing. I would be lying if I said my heart did not sink when I realized that he was clearing out the "baby boy" to make room for the "baby girl". I have just repeatedly stacked things in that empty room and kept the door shut. I have been putting off the inevitable. Not because I am not excited that we have reason to prepare that room again, but because I vividly remember coming home after having Isaac.

We had no idea anything was wrong with Isaac until the day he was born. I had experienced 37 weeks of a healthy uneventful pregnancy when the bottom dropped out. Our home was prepared for our new son and coming home without him to a home that was fully prepared for him was the closest thing I can imagine to Hell on earth.

There has been comfort in having all boys thus far. We have had all of the boy stuff we could need and that has allowed for preparing at the last moment. We waited quite a while before preparing a room for Benjamin, knowing that we had all of the necessities. With Asher, we knew the reality was very likely that he would not come home with us, but we knew if God granted us the miracle we so desperately prayed for, that all of those necessities were just downstairs and could be brought up in a moment.

This time, I feel God calling me to once again step out of my comfort zone. The girl thing, while exciting has stretched me our side of that zone to say the least. He has really been doing a "new thing" in every sense of the word in our lives. I know that in all honesty this baby could come home, sleep in a cleaned out drawer and have a happy life even if the house is not "prepared" for her, but my body is in that "nesting" mode and I feel the need to clear everything out and make room for her.

I need to get up each morning and remind myself of the NEW thing God is doing in my life. Not to leave my grief behind necessarily but to pick it up and carry it along with me without fear, embracing the joy of today. More than anything I wish for the blissful ignorance of my first pregnancy, where mommies get pregnant and babies live. My reality is different now. In some ways I do miss that "ignorance" and in some ways I am equally thankful for my new perspective, knowing that each DAY is a gift, and that we are not ever promised a tomorrow. I have been holding back, trying to protect my heart. I have given birth to four sweet boys and had to say good bye to TWO of them much too soon. They have taught me so much about life and love. I am so thankful for them and the gifts they have given to me.

The thing is that I know all too well that sometimes babies die, I also know that walking the road of loss once does not exempt you from walking it again. Sometimes we pray harder than we have ever prayed only to find that our prayers were not within God's will. It hurts. I am wounded, still walking with a limp. Still trying to figure out how to live a life balancing grief and joy. I surely don't have this figured out. I want to embrace the idea of bringing a healthy baby home and getting to raise her, and yet my reality keeps reminding me that sometimes that is not what happens. I feel guilty for not embracing the idea that she will come home and for guarding my heart, and yet guilty if I forget the lessons I have learned and don't just embrace today no matter what tomorrow brings.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Asher's Birthday Weekend

I had a really hard time the week leading up to Asher's birthday, but I have to say that though I still wish he were here for his birthday, the weekend was blessed.

Friday I was still struggling a bit and I was cleaning the house like a mad woman. I looked into the living room where Luke and Ben were playing and saw them jumping on the couch. Just as I got the words "Boys, please use the couch for sitting and not jumping, someone is going to get hur..." out of my mouth I hear that sickening thud followed by Benjamin wailing. I ran to him and picked him up. He had jumped and hit his head on the TV stand. He immediately had a golf ball sized goose egg and bruise. I got some ice and dialed the pediatrician. I spoke with a nurse who said that most likely as long as he didn't lose consciousness and wasn't vomiting he would be just fine. She had me check his pupils and a few other things and gave me a list of concussion signs to observe him for for the next 48 hours. She said if anything changed or I felt uneasy just to bring him in. He seemed fine and was playing fifteen minutes later.

We continued to watch him for "signs of concussion". I basically sat watching him the rest of the day and didn't get another thing done. I was terrified to leave his side. Sometimes I swear that God gave us Ben to keep us on our toes and grounded. We can never become too consumed with grief or anything else for that matter :-) . He is such a blessing. Anyway, that night we took the boys to Disney on Ice. Benjamin has this crazy Mickey Mouse obsession and it was so much fun watching him watch the characters dancing on the ice. It actually brought me to tears a few times seeing how excited both boys were. We got home late and tucked both sleepy boys in bed so that we could discuss what we would do for Asher's birthday. I wasn't sure what my heart could handle and I felt God nudging me to celebrate Asher and the beautiful family He has given me, not the one I wish I had. He has given me two amazing boys in Heaven and two here on earth and we needed to celebrate Asher as the family we are.

We came up with pretty much nothing and decided just to go to bed. Then in the morning we decided to look into a few options we had been tossing around and to make a long story short a great friend made reservations for us at a local hotel with a pool. We headed to that hotel Saturday afternoon. We got there, settled in and got the kids ready to head to the pool, we had such a great time as a family swimming, eating pizza in bed and watching movies. The boys kept saying that "Asher's birthday was the most fun birthday ever!" They were so exhausted from swimming that they immediately fell asleep in their bed which gave Howard and I some time to just be together and watch movies and snack. It was so nice and so relaxing. We had nothing to focus on except eachother and it was really great. (aside from the part where I had to call Poison Control for Ben because he got into a roll of TUMS while I was getting my PJs on. Can't leave that kid for thirty seconds! :-))

Sunday we decided not to go to church. I was really struggling and I knew it would be too much for me. So many people that love us so much and I was just a gushy mess so I knew I would just bawl with every hug and warm wish. So we slept in, took another dip in the pool and then headed to a favorite pizza joint to meet a few friends for lunch. It was nice to have some good pizza with good friends and have a little birthday cake! Then we headed home for a rest and then had some other great friends over for dinner and cake. We also sent some blankies into the NICU of the hospital where Asher was born in his memory. (Thanks Lisa for making those for us)It was fun and so special to know that so many were thinking of our boy and continue to think of him.

We were not able to do a balloon release as we wanted to do, because it was a blizzard that day and anyone who has tried to release a balloon in the snow knows that as the snow collects on the balloon it sinks...we didn't think it would be very uplifting to take balloons out and watch them go up and then dive back to earth. :-)

I have to say that Sunday was not as hard as I had anticipated...truly the week leading up was much worse for me. But I guess that is true with most things...the anticipation is often worse than the actual event. Asher's birthday was perfect, we were surrounded by those who love us and love him. I have been so overwhelmed by the compassion shown to us over the past week. We have received many comments, emails, calls, cards, gifts and we cannot even begin to express our thanks. God was truly present and working through so many of you and words cannot even begin to show the gratitude we feel for the grace that has been extended to us.

The kind of cool thing is that the cards and notes are still straggling in. Over the past week or so each time I visit the mailbox I get a sweet surprise from someone else who has been touched by our Happy boy. :-)

I do have lots of pictures, but cannot seem to find that darn cord that attaches my camera to my computer so I will update the post as soon as I find it with the photos of the day! :)