Where Whine Meets Wine

The Tough Answers

So we all know life has some tough questions, but sometimes the questions come easy and it’s the answers that are the hard part. Such was my experience today.

Today we were sitting at the table having lunch, when I got asked such a question. Biggest E was asking me if I named him when he was still in my belly. I said yes, and then told him the story about how I came home from work one day and told his daddy that I knew what his name was, and that was what we named him. Then Miss E asked about her name, and we talked about who she was named after and why. Frankly, I was enjoying this line of questioning, and was completely unprepared for what came next.

Mommy, how do babies get out of the mommies’ bellies? Um, what? Mommy, what do the babies do to get out of the mommies’ bellies? (*pause for moment of panic*) Well, they come out of the mommies’ bodies so that they can be born. But where do they come out of the mommies’ bodies? (*pause for longer, bigger moment of panic. Trying to think of appropriate ways to describe to my 4 1/2 year old where babies come out of*) Before I’ve stopped panicing, he simply asks, Did God just make a special place for babies to come out of? (*Huge sigh of relief*) Yes, God made a special place for babies to come out of. And did He make a special way for them to come out? Yes, sweet boy, He certainly did.

Thank the good Lord for pauses and moments of panic- sometimes that’s what we need in life before doing and saying something unnecessary.

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YOU Are Not My Judge

Last night I attended the memorial of my cousin, a man who for the last decade had spent most of his moments ministering to everyone he met. His favorite ministry was in jails, as he’d been a troubled teen who’d been there. Unfortunately, the last months of his life were in unwind. Things that had previously been of the highest importance, no longer were being prioritized. I don’t know what happened or why, but I am sad for an end that didn’t have to be. He was someone that was a little bigger than life, in personality. And in those ten years he changed people, you could see it in all the faces of those at his service, in their tears, as well as their stories shared. Growing up, I think that he was someone that people maybe tossed aside, deemed as too troubled, too wild, or just plain disposable. He was wild, uncontrollable, unreliable, a father at 16, and he bounced around homes… Fast forward to him being 20 and finding people that no longer felt he was disposable, who saw what  and who he could be. And he thrived.

What it had me thinking about this morning is something that I’ve talked about before, it’s the way we judge others. How different would the very people we tend to judge be, if we were to stop judging them and just start supporting them. I am not saying you let everyone (or anyone!) take advantage of you, and I’m not even speaking financial support…just support. That the next time you saw someone or came across someone that to you seems out of control or doing or saying or living in a way that is maybe unhealthy… just be nice! And not just those that are visibly unhealthy! What if you gave the next stranger on the street that accidentally bumped into you and didn’t apologize, or say excuse me, a smile and meant it. The point is, we don’t know everyone’s story, where they’ve gone and where they’re going… and it’s not ours to judge.

After all, haven’t we all been judged before? Unfairly, unreasonably, and hurtfully? Don’t we all have one place or one time where we knew we were judged? (Please tell me it’s not just me!) I can recall vividly the way it felt when I was going through something a lot of people in my life didn’t understand. I had left a relationship and a college that I knew were not what I needed, even though everyone around me seemed to feel decidedly different. I even received a letter from a woman, who really didn’t know me or anything about me, telling me how because I wasn’t getting married, and I wasn’t in school that I wasn’t following God’s will, or His plan for my life. It was followed by lots of advice and direction from people in my life, telling me what I should do next, where I should go, how to get back onto my path… the funny thing was, I never thought I was lost. I always knew that this was the road I had to take, and it would lead me to where I was supposed to be.

It’s not the same as my cousin’s life and I am by no means saying it is, it was just my jumping off point and what I’d been thinking about that lead me here… Anyhow, as it turns out, I was right, the road I’d been on was not the one for me, and I knew I had to take a side-street to get me to my true destination, my true path…the one God meant for me. And that’s the one I’m on now. The one where I’m married to someone who respects me and treats me with respect, the one where we have three beautiful children, the one where I’ve found my place. I am on my road.

And maybe the person next to you that is doing something that you don’t agree with, or maybe it just annoys you, and you really want to reach out and smack them on the back of the head… maybe instead  you reach out and give them a handshake, a hug, a cup of coffee, or simply a smile. Maybe your not judging them for things that are not within your control anyways, will be what it takes for them to pass it on to someone else. Some roads are unhealthy (like when my cousin was young) and some are just misunderstood (like mine) but judging and pointing fingers are not the answer. Can you imagine all the self-validation if we spent more time building each other up, the way we should be doing instead of tearing them down so we feel better, or look better, in comparison?

Rest In Peace


Faith Of A Boy

Life with children can be a crazy thing. It’s so easy to get lost in the day to day that we forget to see the big picture. And I am certainly guilty of failing to see things from their point of view, and not realizing just how much they take it and are aware of. Today I had a moment of clarity in a discussion with the biggest E.

We try and teach out children about God and His love for us, but we don’t always know how much of it “soaks in”, let alone how much they understand. I am here to tell you it is far greater than we think. We incorporate Biblical principals and stories throughout their days along with prayers, hoping that things will take hold. I’m not sure there’s an exact science to it or an exact age where things suddenly “make sense.” What I do know is that their faith is an amazing thing to behold. Something we should all strive after, just as the Scriptures say.

I was busy trying to reestablish some sense of organization to their bedrooms and playroom when I heard biggest E singing, “I promise God, I promise God, I promise God…” over and over. I asked him what it was that he was promising to God. He said, it’s that song we heard all those people singing about. At church last Sunday they did a snippet from their Easter play, with Jesus entering into Jerusalem, for Palm Sunday. It was very moving and through all the people and all the singing, you could feel the excitement and anticipation people must’ve felt, waiting for Jesus to arrive and bring the prophecy to fruition. It was so moving, it brought me to tears. It was also filled with (real!) animals- goats, a donkey, chickens, rabbits, so I was surprised that he had captured anything other than a petting zoo. But that wasn’t even the best part of the conversation!

He then asked me, “Does Daddy know that Jesus is bigger than him?” Yes, Daddy knows.Well, why does Daddy always pray for God to come to the places we are?” Well, sometimes we need God’s help and so we ask Him to come and help us. “But God always just stays with us because we always just need help. Just like when I pick up my toys. But I never have seen Him much putting away my toys.”

And it’s just as simple, and complex as that.

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Blessings Abundant

Ok, so I started out by doing a “know your blogger” survey, but I felt like you knew nothing more than my pets’ names afterwards. So then I started going back and forth on ways to tell you about me… but I’ve decided that I’ll share myself as posts continue, and so this post is really just what’s on my heart right now.

Blessed: my life has been more blessed than I ever dreamed it could be. Not in ways you might see just to look at my family and I, but trust me it’s there. We all know people who just seem to be “lucky” -always getting the promotion, winning the prize, finding the lost treasure, and while we are so happy for them- we don’t fit in that category ourselves. Thankfully my husband loves a good fight, because over the course of our marriage we’ve had lots of those. Not with each other (well, maybe some of those too) but with people and companies we’ve dealt with. It’s kind of the if-it-can-go-wrong-it-will kind of thing. We’ve got oodles of that. Important thing in the mail… it’ll get lost at least twice. And then sent to the wrong address. Cancel an account. They’ll continue billing us for MONTHS without ever sending a notice. Even after we’ve called multiple times. These kinds of things have become the norm for us. So if you’re wondering where the luck or the blessings happen… I am too. Ok, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been blessed with each other in our marriage, we’ve been blessed with our children. We have family and friends who are blessings and bless us frequently. Maybe we’ve always known that we were blessed in those departments, but this last year we have had out eyes open to just how lucky we are.

I’ve always wanted kids. For as long as I can remember. The kind of person who you know probably within minutes that I adore children and would have as many as hubbyman could handle. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a period of time (but not more the few years in between high school ending, going to college, and getting married) where I thought a career was on the forefront of my life’s horizon. And then I got married. And all of the sudden it was like everywhere I looked there were babies. And I wanted one. Bad. Hubby tried to keep those feelings pacified by getting a pet. But he was on nights and I worked days, so we got a cat… turns out it didn’t help. In fact, it kinda backfired. So during his deployment in Japan, and probably out of loneliness, he agreed to try for a baby when he got home. We had a very short time line. Obviously that wasn’t a problem. We knew I was pregnant in less than 4 weeks from him coming home.

Pregnancy, for me, unfortunately, wasn’t the dream I’d envisioned. Instead of “pregnancy glow” I had IVs keeping me hydrated because I was so sick and couldn’t keep anything down. Hubbyman says I smelled like I had applesauce coming out of my pores. I probably did. It was pretty much the only thing I’d eat because it was the easiest in reverse. And that was all 9 months. With all of my children. It’s a blast. Needless to say, for me, they’re more like 9  months of guilt for not being all happy and glowy. But the birth… well, let’s just say I’d rather give birth than to feel the way I feel all 9 months of pregnancy! Biggest E’s birth was amazing. I was so proud. Of him and myself. Miss E’s birth was also good. The Dr’s missed it, but the important people were there and that’s what really counts.

Figuring I’m just saying my children are my biggest blessings? I’m getting there, I promise. (and yes, they are my biggest blessings, but that’s not completely the point) After MissE, hubbyman felt like he was done having children. After all, as pretty much everyone we came in contact with would point out, we had one of each, why would we want anymore? While I always assumed I’d have kids, I never really thought of a number. Since Big E and Miss E are only 18 months apart, the early months/years were… well, the first couple months were a struggle. Just as I started thinking that maybe I was content with just two, I had a miscarriage. I’d only had an inkling that I could be pregnant, when it was over. I was so, so very devastated. And it was then that both hubbyman and I knew that we would have at least one more. While we had no idea it would be so soon after, we knew it would be eventual. 4 short months later, we knew we had Littlest E on on the way. I was a nervous wreck. I just had this feeling that I couldn’t shake and assumed it was because of the way my last pregnancy had ended. By 8 weeks we knew that where the umbilical cord inserted into the placenta was not centered like it’s “supposed” to be, but was on the top of it, over a placental lake (or a pool of blood in real people terms). By 20 weeks we knew that he was very small. 13th percentile small, 5 weeks behind my very accurate dates small. By 24 weeks he was now a week AHEAD of schedule. And while that was a relief, I still had that nagging feeling. My midwife was so nonchalant that even when I brought my mom (who is an OB RN, a doula, lactation consultant, parent educator, and infant massage instructor….you get the picture) along on a visit to ask questions, Mom was satisfied as well. Let’s fast forward through the rest of the pregnancy, the rest of the midwife visits, and ultrasounds I had. But let’s pause just to mention that they wanted to do frequent observations, but still continued to tell me there was nothing to worry about. Riiight. Like any woman can really know something COULD be wrong and not worry about it… it’s pretty much engrained in our DNA that we’re going to worry. So worry I did. But I also prayed. I prayed more in those 9 months than I have my entirely life previously combined. And I’m a prayer.

Enter his birth. (11 days early instead of the 10 days overdue like his siblings) We get settled in the room and I’m about to jump in the shower or go for a walk when the nurses start freaking out, because they’ve FINALLY gotten ahold of my charts. And right there in black and white it says that his umbilical cord is only attached by 20%!! Twenty freakin’ percent! Are you kidding me?! Apparently that was something they didn’t think I needed to know. Like the fact that I should have been on bedrest the whole time and not MOVING and lifting and emptying boxes! UGH!!! Obviously, it still makes me a little angry… Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. After hours more of labor since I was now stuck in bed and not “allowed” to move around or walk or anything else that helps both labor’s progression and natural pain therapy and with them awaiting a C-section (because of the insertion the fear was that it would become unattached when my water broke and he would essentially bleed out). Ethan entered this world (and not via Csection, thank you very much Dr. do-it-my-way). Pink and screaming and very healthy… tiny (less than 6 pounds…3 pounds less than Biggest E!), but healthy. And then came the placenta. The umbilical cord was NOT attached. I repeat, not attached. It had some veins coming out of it that had hooked on to either side of the top of the placenta with the middle of the placenta crumbling. Between my mom and my grandma they have over 50 years of OB nursing between them and they have NEVER seen a baby born with a 0% insertion, because they just don’t survive in utero. In fact, they sent it to pathology to study. (Starting to get the picture?) Medically speaking, there is no reason why he had that growth spurt and then continued to survive. Unfortunately, our adventure did not end there. Even though they knew my placenta had not been whole… they didn’t check for more pieces, or watch my bleeding. Even after I’d repeatedly told my nurse that I’d never had this much bleeding with either of my other children, let alone the fruit sized blood clots. FOR HOURS. Until I could no longer even sit up without passing out (over 4 hours later) did they even ask a Dr to come and consult. Unfortunately, he had a laboring patient down the hall and didn’t want to take the time for a proper DNC (which means going to another floor for operating and putting me under)… so without doing that he decided to just do it in my room, for an hour… using various painful techniques trying to pull the little pieces of my placenta off my uterus. After reaching the point I could not take anymore and having already told him so, repeatedly, only to have him make comments referencing my apparent pain intolerance. Telling me that if I would just settle down he’d be able to do it, how it was no big deal, not a painful procedure, among various other insults. I said all of my labors have been well over 12 hours and all of them have been without any form of pain medication. I know and can handle pain, thank you very much… and while I am willing to endure it for my babies, I am not willing to for you. Finally, at 3 in the morning, they had to take me up to surgery to have an emergency DNC done. While it means I was bleeding for a very long time, it also meant that my little peanut had more time to eat! And eat that boy did! Thankfully my milk supply was already pretty much in (I could hear the big gulps and see the milk on his face)… that’s probably a big part of why he was able to thrive so well. So…that awful night (unfortunately there was more awfulness that occurred, but I just highlighted the most important) and 2 blood transfusions later… we were both alive.

So…long story short…or long story, shorter than whole long story, but still long… After hubbyman had his vasectomy (for multiple reasons but a top one being that after all my in-room specials I’m left with holes and scars and would likely have a very hard time maintaining pregnancies. So the vasectomy was our way of making it our choice, and not something that was taken from us.) he and I got to enjoy some quiet time without “the big kids’ while he was recovering. And during a conversation he asked, “When is our lucky break?”  Suddenly, I felt the knowledge welling within me. Not that I believe God gives us “bad luck” or anything like that, but I know, for us, Littlest E is our luck, all rolled in one. He was, and is, our miracle. And we would not trade all the bad luck, or hard times, or long, obnoxious phone calls for him. Ever. He is our lucky break. He is God saying, even among the rest of the crap you have deal with in this life, I’m still here. Thinking of you and protecting you. And He knows the important stuff.  He knows me. He knows that on a daily basis I will look at my son and think of the miracle and the blessing he is, which in turn makes me think of the miracle and blessings Big E and Middle E are to my life. And my hubbyman. And our parents, and siblings… and all the REAL blessings our life contains. No matter how long I’ve been on hold to resolve the latest issue.

Littlest E at 6 months and 20 lbs

*I would also like to add a very special thank you to all our friends and family who kept their thoughts and prayers with us through Littlest E’s pregnancy. (Not to mention all the meals our family and church family provided!) The blessing of it is not lost on our family.