Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back into blogging world again... Life is busy!

Since Facebook has come into play in my life it seems like my blogging has taking a side seat.  Actually, with our adoption of Summer last year, homeschooling and having my husband gone for about 8 months that also has had alot to do with it.  I am thinking of creating a new blog that is a little more up to date on other things going in our lives. 

This past year has been great, busy and blessings!  Busy with soccer, homeschooling activties and just life that is for sure.  Summer has grown so much.  It is so awesome to see how she just LOVES having a family.  Taylor and her are so close.  I would do older child adoption in a heartbeat again... I also would adopt young... I wish I could but we are probably at our limit with our life right now.  Who is to say what the future holds right?

We got some news that we will be moving to England next year.  This will probably be our last assignment or next to last.  Mixed emotions with everything there... I am looking forward to new adventures but also hard to say goodbye to the great friends we have made here.  I would have never thought I would love this area so much.  I think the homeschooling community is awesome.  Its been like selecting college courses all the things that are available. 

Some of the things they have done is Lego Physics, Lego Robotics, Art with a professional artist, American Girl doll History, Circus Arts and Musical theater.  That doesn't include soccer, swimming and church activities.   I know the stereotype for homeschooling is "sheltered, anti social kids" - I can affirm that this is quite the opposite in my kids.  We are so blessed and busy!

Moving to England... I am looking forward to it but hoping we can find a great community to build good friendships and also have my kids continute to grow.  It is a little stressful thinking about all the changes but I think it will be great.  I am looking forward to the photography opportunities over there!  Beautfiul scenery for sure. 

Here are a few fav pictures of our past year... Going to start updating regularly again - it is therapeutic for me :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grace and Grief....

GRACE AND GRIEF... Remembering Chase 

Today is one of those days were it is taking my all to get through the day.  Five years ago my son Chase went to be with Jesus.  I like to think he is sitting on his lap with a smile on his face... or with loved ones who have passed that are just pouring their love into him.

 It's hard not to think of the events that all happened that day, sort of like a horror movie that won't get out of your head.  BUT I am so thankful for that God has given me faith and hope that I will see my son again.  He will see his brother and sisters, dad, grandparents one day in Heaven and what a day that will be.

A few people have asked what happened and I will make this brief... We had tried for 5 years after Taylor to have another child.  It seemed like the vices were stacked against us for some reason or so.  We started the adoption process (I always wanted to adopt even without this loss) and found a sweet little girl.  As we were going through the process to adopt her she unexpectedly died of a heart problem.  We were devastated and sad to say the least.  Well, we thought we would try to get pregnant one more time through IUI... we were told we had less then a 7% chance of conceiving.  

You can imagine the surprise when we went in 4 weeks later and found out we were pregnant.  We were so happy.  My pregnancy was very uneventful.  I had a few more doctor appointments because of being older.  Unfortunately, once again Chad was going to miss a bunch of these appointments and the birth itself because he was called to Iraq again.  (He also was gone when Tay was born).  But we were fine we  knew this is the call of our life... and my family lived two hours away.  

A day before I was to have my c-section I went into my doctors office saying I had not felt Chase move very much... they thought it was just that I was getting bigger and running out of room.  My world came crashing down as we found out there was no heartbeat.  To be sure they had me drive myself to the nearest hospital and confirm... I have no idea how I made it there.  Low and behold my worst nightmare was confirmed.  I felt like I could have died right then and there.  One day, I am getting the last minute things together for my trip to give birth and the next day I am thinking about a funeral.

I had the sweetest nurse who took him for a bath, dressed him in the little white sailors outfit I was going to bring him home in and wrapped him in a blanket.  She was so kind to me... She also took some pictures for me - at that time I didn't know about,  "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" photographers who capture these moments for the parents.  BUT this sweet nurse - 6 months later came up to me at a Christmas memorial and said, "When, I took that picture of Chase the strangest thing happen.  All of a sudden light from the outside just surrounded his head and it was like a glow".  I know to some that might sound weird but it was so comforting.  In the picture you can see the glow as well.

I think one of the hardest things was having to tell Taylor what happened.  Here was a little girl who wanted a sibling for SO long, went to doctor appointments and then this happened.  It is AMAZING the strength of kids though.  I remember driving a few weeks later and she said to me out of the blue, "Mommy, when Chase died the angels came down and took him up through the clouds".  I will never forget that moment.  Sometimes I think God used her to minister to me.  She has always been a little more mature for her age and even at 5 she said some pronounced things.  She always remembers Chase on this day... 

Since that time, so much has happened.  I remember lying there when my c-section was going on thinking, "God, I am not going to let this destroy me but am going to do something positive because of it".  Not saying, I didn't have grief trust me it is a very hard thing to think about your hopes and dreams for a child just gone in a blink of an eye.   But I always believed that there was some bigger reason that God would allow this to happen.  For me that is the only way I got through it.

I am so thankful for the keepsakes I got from the hospital, the knitted blankets that some dear ladies made that were wrapped around Chase, a knit hat, stuffed animal and my two pictures I got.  My sister made me a beautiful scrapbook with the best quotes in it and the hospital information, bracelets, hair etc.  These are all I have of my son physically.  BUT mentally he has given me so much more... or I should say God used him to give me more.

My heart has softened.  I have a new sensitivity to people who have "lost" a baby or just plain loss.  You don't realize how "loss" really affects someone until you go through an immediate loss yourself.  I always felt bad for people but never realized how deep it went.  Sometimes you just wish people would say, "Hey how are you? "  people forget that sometimes I just need to have him remembered... I am so to thankful for those who remember.  I am thankful for my family back home who takes care of his burial lot for each holiday.  

I have the best sister and mom - you have always been there.  Dad, you are the most sensitive guy I know.  I love how you put things.  Chad you have always been my rock, how hard it must have been to be in Iraq and get that news and have to rush home.  He lost a son to... but is such a great dad to little Aiden and the girls.  Aiden is just the happiest little guy... and without Chase he most likely would not be here with his heart trouble.

I still find myself wondering at times when I see a little five year old and think, "Oh, Chase might look like that" .... but then I look at my precious two Chinese kiddos and think what a blessing we have right here.  Thank you God, thank you Chase for allowing me to have a heart that turned soft and not bitter, that I feel more grace then grief, and that I am so thankful in a way to have gone through this because I am a much better  person for it.  

I know that Chase will never feel hurt or sickness that he is safe.  Heaven seems to be such an awesome place.  It may seem a bit weird but I love to read books on people who have experienced Heaven in life or death situations and to see what they felt.  It seems like the grandest place with love all abound.  It gives me calm.  "Heaven is Real" by Don Piper was an awesome book.  Someone once said to me, "The bleeding stops but the scars always remain". This is so true... From those scars I decided to try and live the best life I can live though...

Friends, if you have experienced loss recently or in the past, know that your loved one is comforted by God 's embrace and that one day you will see your loved one again.  I truly believe that.  Cherish the moments you had, make memories in your life now to carry on - and live the best life you can.  Also, don't worry if you have a breakdown every once in awhile... it is normal in loss.  It is human, we are human no matter how "Christian" we are... I live by that song, "Live Like I was Dying" so true.

I know I went on a bit with this post, but for me writing is a release and I just needed to remember Chase on this day.  It is never easy but I am so thankful for the peace that God has given me.  I am thankful for the friends that he has put in place to surround me and great family who loves me and remembers.  Without Chase were would this little boy be?  I am so blessed. 

I may not understand WHY this happened but I do know that God has had a plan for our lives... it is up to me to make the best of it and I hope I do.

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the Road Again... Destination Michigan

Well, we are soon rounding down our summer. It seems like we have been so busy but busy helps time pass by. It seems like the past year has been a year of trials and tribulations but I am still thankful for the blessings we have. My dad last year came down with Lyme Disease - which he didn't know he had for two months, which turned into a life or death situation. He has had to retire and adjust to some short term memory issues, and being tired all the time. I am just so thankful he is here because it did not look good for awhile. Now Chad's dad is also dealing with his own battle with severe pancreatitis. Praying for a miracle that he gets healed... He is 8 weeks into being in ICU right now but slow progress is being made.

When you have these life or death situations it really makes you appreciate the time you have with loved ones. Even though it can be a pain to travel with 3 kids, find someone to care for our 2 dogs and other things - it is worth it once we arrive. I do feel like I am ready for a vacation from vacation sometimes! 3 kids are definitely more then when I just had one three years ago! I love it and feel blessed though... but packing for two girls - ugh lots of clothing and shoes.

We are almost 4 months out till Chad returns to. Thank goodness for Skype and Skype on my IPHONE is awesome. We can take Chad anyplace with us! Compared to when we first came into the military 17 years ago life has definitely changed with technology. I hope to get more into blogging again once my life settles down in another month. Really my life never settles down and that's okay! Here are a few pictures of our summer so far!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blessings in Heartache... Remembering Chase 7/16/2007

Not that I need a day to "remember" my son Chase but I like to honor him on his "birth day"... today would have been #4. I remember one of my friends who also lost a baby telling me, "The bleeding stops but the scars always remains", this is so true - but I can say that God has been so good and faithful. When I went through losing Chase (1 day before he was to be born after years of trying to have another child) I just remember laying there thinking, "Please God fill me with your peace to get me through this". Somehow someway with God and my family we were able to get through these years.

Don't get me wrong - it still hurts knowing one is missing at different times of the year, but I can celebrate because I know one day I will see him again. He was our son, a brother, a grandson - you just don't forget that... I will never forget calling Chad in Iraq to tell him this news... I am so thankful for family that could be there - and who has always remembered... that means more the words can say. I always tell people if you know someone who lost a child or anyone for that matter, don't be afraid to say, "Hey I was thinking of you" "How are you doing" ... I remember seeing a quote one time and I find it so true, "Stillborn means Still Born"...

So my way of remembering that day - is to also honor it. I have always felt that there is a reason for everything and although I still don't always understand why God allows pain - I do KNOW that it makes me think of others a little more. Sometimes I think God allows heartache to wake us up and make us be better people. So now we live life to the fullest, take chances, don't be afraid to break the mold.. You have one life and you never know when it might be taken.

Love you little guy... Thanks for remembering with me friends...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hard to believe she has only been here not even two months

Practicing for VBS... love this site! Getting ready for Chad to deploy for 6 months - these kids are such a blessing when he leaves! How they will miss their dad but have such a great church family!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


My parents drove in from PA for a quick 4 day weekend. They were so anxious to meet Summer. She took to them like it was the most natural thing in the world. I truly think sending over our photo books, labeling pictures really helped her in her transition. She amazed me with knowing who everyone was while we were in China... We had an awesome visit and I am so thankful they came out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Back home...

Well, we made it back to the US on Saturday and since that day I still have been trying to recover from jet lag... not sure why this time around it has been so much harder. Maybe having three kids now has something to do with it, ha ha. When we came home some friends of ours decorated the outside of the house with decorations and then my mother in law and Chad decorated the inside. Summer was just elated with her new home. She ran up to Chad from the airport and gave him a big hug and Aiden. Needless to say Aiden and her have been little buddies. Every morning when Aiden wakes up he can't wait to see Summer.

It has been great - but I want you to know also there are times where you are like, "What did I do?"... especially when there is some friction, whining and crying from the kiddos. That is usually short lived but it IS an adjustment period. Taylor has had her feelings hurt with Aiden wanting Summer, we get the "Everything is about her now" or "Aiden wants Summer all the time"... but for the most part (95%) of the day things are running smoothly. I just am needing to get back into the swing of life. I have been SO SO tired since my trip home. I think the excitement of China and the whole adoption process has you all vamped up then when you get home it is a let down for awhile. Which is good because I am SO glad to be done with the paperwork, waiting on approvals, financial things etc... but now it is a new adjustment.

As for Summer, I still am waiting for her to grieve - I have not seen one tear yet which makes me worry if she is really internalizing things to much. Yet, I see a kid who LOVES to play with her siblings, loves her dad, has done well with meeting church friends - etc. It is almost to good to be true. OR I can think that God worked through and really prepared her for leaving all she has known for a family. I do think they realize at this age what they had to look forward to in China being in a foster home compared to having a forever family, I think it helps rationalize things. She is so sweet and has just been great. It is also so cool to see how many people in our church have opened their arms to her. She has so many people pulling for her and just loving her. It really brings tears to my eyes, I love this area for that reason alone!

Some of the little things we have learned in the few days we have had her at home - put the child safety locks on in the car. We were going down the highway and she opened her door, thank God Chad was with to grab it quickly. The other thing is - we should have had her foot measured sooner, she came to us in a size 2 and is a size 4 shoe! I asked her over and over if her feet hurt and she said no! And lastly - as we went out to eat the other day we were paying our bill at the cash register and I look down and she had no shoes on! - She left them under the table... So important lesson - make sure kids have shoes on when exiting the diner!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Banana Leaf Restaurant Guangzhou

Any of my adoption friends following this blog - the Banana Leaf restaurant across from The Garden Hotel (in the first Frienship store level 5) - awesome restaurant good food!

Jumped on me for a ride... love it!

I was walking by our bed and next thing I know Summer jumped on my back and gave me a hug! I couldn't resist a picture...

My crazy daughter...the laughs continue

The laughs continue.. fun day at the park today... Thai restaurant with friends tonight! Three days left and then back to "normal" life - whatever that means! Chad is home for a day and then leaves or a week... gone for a week in May and then gone for 6 months! One good thing summer coming up... I love the sun and warm weather... ready for the beach!