Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Clause is coming to town...

We knew it would happen, but we did it anyway. You know the parents who torture their too young kids to sit in Santa's lap so they can get a picture of them screaming in his lap? Yep, we were those parents. But I figured I lost the mother of the century award a long time ago the first time I screamed at her when she was a newborn only because SHE wouldn't stop screaming (I know you are completely shocked that I have lost my cool before!)! So, as cruel as it may seem, we just had to have the screaming child in Santa's lap picture on Christmas Eve morning. Here it is below...definitely a classic!
I forgot to mention that my sister and her beautiful girls joined us for our Santa visit. Afterwards, we all chowed down on an Italian Feast at Johnny Carino's for lunch. During lunch, my sisters youngest daughter gave me quite a laugh. I think my sister felt embarrassed, but there is nothing I love more than how honest a child can be. Here was our conversation (we'll call her "Em").
Em: "Aunt Sarah, did you have a baby die inside your stomach."
Me: "Yes, unfortunately I did." (At this point, I wasn't sure how heavy this was going to get and I prayed for God to give me the right words to explain this to a 5 year old)
Em: "But why did it die?"
Me: (Knowing that a simple "I don't know" wouldn't suffice this very smart little girl, I stuttered for a moment) "Well, sometimes babies are so sick that God decides to just go ahead and take them to heaven to live with Him."
At this point, I'm praying that she doesn't ask me why God didn't make the baby better, because I really didn't know what I would say to that.
Em: "Oh..." Then without even a pause she says, "well, I just saw a dead fish floating at the top of the water at Bass Pro shop! It was really gross."
I got so tickled at that. I actually admire her innocence and how she didn't feel awkward about talking to me about it. It made me feel so loved that she acknowledged that something very sad happened to her Aunt Sarah. To me, that was love. It was her way of showing compassion. I hope none of our girls lose that sweet innocence.

Later that evening we attended our Christmas Eve service at church. There wasn't child care, so Ella had to sit with us. Unfortunately we were so late, the only seats left were up front. Normally, front row seats at church are great...but, not so desirable with a 19 month old. All things considered, she was great. There were no meltdowns, but there was lots of talking really loud and singing "row, row" (aka-row, row, row your boat). Later, we arrived at my sisters house to a home cooked meal provided by my big brother. The highlight of the evening was our gingerbread making contest. My sister and I were on one team, my brother and oldest niece "A" (age 9) on another team, and then my dad and "Em" (age 5) on another. Check out the masterpiece my sister and I created below.

Here's a picture of all three teams final creations. My brother and A's on the far left, my sister and mine is in the middle, and my dad and Em's is on the far right. Ok, so you might be saying..."Uh, what in the world happened to the house on the far right"...

Well, my dad and Em kept having trouble getting their walls and ceiling to stick. Needless to say, this resulted in lots of laughter as the roof of their house caved in and it completely fell apart. They ended up having a "roofless" gingerbread house and stuffed it full of candy.
It was so much fun that we decided this is going to be our Christmas Eve tradition. This absolutely thrills me because I want to have some holiday traditions to pass on to Ella. I want her to have fun memories of the holidays to share with her own children one day.
The children were then nestled into bed and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
And then, at about 11pm on Christmas Eve, it dawned on me...

I COMPLETELY forgot about getting things for Ella's stocking.

Thank goodness I have a sister who is a seasoned parent and she had it covered for me!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a wonderful life...

It's a wonderful life has always been one of my favorite movies. I think we can all relate to George Bailey in some way or another. We've all had moments where we have contemplated our purpose here. What is God's big plan for us? How will people remember me? The older I get, I realize that I don't necessarily have to do BIG things in the eyes of the world in order to make an impact. Simply raising my child to become a responsible adult is a large task within itself. My purpose may never get any public recognition, but if it means I get to look at this little beauty every day, then I'd say God's purpose for me is awesome.

We took Ella to ride the Pink Pig at Macy's a few days ago. I remember several years ago being at Lenox Mall during the Christmas season when I was dealing with infertility and yearning so desperately to ride the pink pig with my future child. I wondered if I would ever have a child of my own to celebrate Christmas with. So, last Friday, as I was sitting in front of Ella and Andrew on the pink pig, I had so many emotions come over me. I watched in complete humbleness as Andrew pointed out all the decorations to Ella. Her face beaming with delight, I couldn't help but get teary eyed as I remembered how this was exactly what I prayed for several years ago. But, this wasn't a dream anymore. It is my reality. And despite all our suffering this year, I can't help but feel so richly blessed in the love and joy we receive by being Ella's parents.

I bought one of those cheesy souvenirs after we finished riding the pink pig. I bought it because I never want to forget that moment a few days ago...that moment where I realized it really is a wonderful life.

May you remember how richly blessed you are this season.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This is my post-Thanksgiving post...because I'm a slacker and didn't post while we were out of, let's just pretend it's still Thanksgiving...
I was going to title this post "Thankfulness" like every other blogger has for their "Thanksgiving" post...but, I realized I already did that last year and I'm not feeling very, the best synonym I could come up with was "Gratitude."
It was a long 11 hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for our Thanksgiving festivities, but it was worth it for some sunshine, friend time, family time, beach time, and a double date one night without the little lady in tow. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being with my girl, but it was nice to have an evening without being interrupted to watch "Pooh...mommy..peeasse (please)!!" and actually be out of the house past 8pm!

I've been trying to come up with something both inspirational and original to write about regarding Thanksgiving. But if I'm being honest, I was really having a hard time this past week feeling gracious for all that I have been given. I know this is wrong. In the book of James, it says we are to "consider it pure joy when facing trials..." I should be grateful that God is shaping me through all this. I should be on my knees thanking Him for brokenness. But, it's hard to get on my knees and say "Oh how wonderful you are God for allowing me to suffer. Suffering is so GREAT because it brings me closer to you." Yeah, that's not very easy to do.

But, dear friends, I am just a sinner. A sinner who can be very ungrateful and selfish. A sinner who sometimes has a hard time praising God when life gets tough. Sure, I run to Him out of desperation...but, not praising Him when times are tough.

So, on Thanksgiving morning I was trying to get myself in the spirit of Thanksgiving. I begged Andrew to take me to the beach. I just needed some alone time with my little family before all the extended family and friends showed up. I needed to see the of God's most beautiful creations. I needed to talk to God...and something about watching the waves of the ocean makes me feel close to Him.

And there we were. The three of us. Andrew played with Ella and I snapped some photos. I stared out at the waves and asked God where He was...why had He forgotten about me. In the midst of my grief, I had felt like God was so far away. And as I was fiddling around with the settings on my camera, I looked up and saw this...
My heart. God had completely put it right in front of my face...perfection. God had not forgotten about me. I have an amazing husband and the most beautiful daughter right here in front of me. The same hands that created the beautiful ocean also created this picture of own family. A doting husband and beautiful daughter who are more than I deserve.

What a beautiful God. Thank you for painting this picture in front of me. Thank you for a husband who loves me unconditionally. Thank you for the gift of my daughter. Thank you for allowing me to struggle to conceive before you gave her to me. Thank you for my trials because I know I love Ella more because of them. And thank you for this continual struggle to conceive a second child...I will be a stronger and more humble and more gracious woman because of it....

I drew this heart in the sand in memory of our little one that we never got to hold in our arms. I will never be able to take a picture of this baby whose eyes we never looked into, but I don't ever want to forget this moment in my life. I stare at the sand and pray for God to open up my ears to hear Him. It was one of those moments where you are saying "God, just give me a sign." No sooner than I drew it that the ocean washed it away. I felt God's presence and a whisper in my ear. "I have a plan for you Sarah."

Really God? Isn't there some other way? I'm waiting. Sometimes I feel like all I do is wait on you.

And yet, I'm supposed to keep praising God through it all. That is hard.

Really hard.

Gratitude. Thankfulness. Praising God...for my trials. I have to praise Him...because I can't get through this alone. I know, that one day, I will look back and it will all make sense. If God's plan is greater than my own, than He must have something AMAZING in store for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Real Me...

I have been battling myself today. The battle is between the Sarah that you know and the Real Me. The Sarah that I show on the outside tries to find the humor in everything. She tries to find the hope in every situation. She is sensitive, but loves passionately.

But the real me isn't laughing these days. The real me is tired of being strong and trying to hold it together so that people won't worry about me. The real me wonders if I will always hurt for this child I never met.

I started bleeding yesterday. Although the blood tests still show that I am pregnant, the bleeding reminded me that soon this baby will leave my body completely. Soon, the tests will show no remainder of human life inside of me and my womb will again be empty. I'm having a lot of physical pain now, but it doesn't compare to the emotional pain that I feel knowing that I cannot hold onto this baby any longer.

The real me sobs into my pillow in the middle of the night. The love of my life awakens and I quickly quiet myself so he won't worry. But, he knows and simply places his arm around me. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't need to. He knows the real me. I take some pain medicine for the cramps, but I know this won't help the hurt in my heart.

The next morning, I woke up and watched Ella on the video monitor play with her baby. She kisses her and pats her on the back. "Night, night. Night, night" she repeats over and over again. Like her mother, she loves everyone and everything around her passionately. And I pray for God to someway...somehow....give her a sibling to play with and love passionately.

I finish praying and I go to her. She stands up, opens her arms and says "Hug." So, I pick her up and hug her for a long time. We sing Row, Row, Row your boat (Woe, woe, woe she sings). She rubs her nose on my nose. And I realize that no matter how much my heart feels broken, somehow, this beautiful little 18 month old little girl holds it together like glue. Although my womb will soon be empty, my heart is still full of so much love. I look at her and I am reminded that God is still good. Having Ella doesn't change my hurt and yearning and grieving, but she gives me a reason to get up every morning.
And this is the Real Me:
I am weak. I need God for strength.
I am hurting. I need God to heal my pain.
I am angry. I need God to be patient with me.
I need God. I need God. I need God. Every hour, every minute, every second.

My dear friend calls me. Somehow we start talking about people and college and I laughed so hard. It felt so good to laugh. I realize I won't ever feel like my "self" again because I am forever changed by all this. But, I will laugh again. I will smile again.

And I will have another child...someway, time. Until then, I will stop being hard on myself and let myself cry as much as I need. And every morning, I will pick up my daughter and be reminded how precious life truly is.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I haven't posted in a long time. This is partly been my choice and partly because I have been so busy. I was looking forward to this week and this post. This was the post where I was going to show our first profile picture of our second child due early July 2010. I was going to tell you how fast it's heart rate was and how we felt so blessed to be expecting our next child after going through our third round of in-vitro this summer. It was our very last embryo...our very last chance. We had been through so much the past 6 months.

And now I'm not writing the post.

Instead, I am writing to say that the baby has stopped growing. Instead of hearing a heartbeat, I had to hear the doctor say that awful "m" word.


How is this possible? I still feel so pregnant. It still doesn't feel real. They tell me it may take a couple weeks for my body to naturally miscarry.

I've never felt such pain in my entire life. Being infertile is hard enough...but, to finally be given a child and have it taken away seems so cruel. Why does God choose sometimes to intervene and heal and at other times does not?

And now, I continue to listen to well meaning friends offer comfort...although most of their comments just make me feel worse. I don't want to hear "there was probably something chromosomally wrong with the baby..."

Really? Well, God could have fixed that. And He didn't.

"Sarah, at least you have Ella." This is the worst comment of all. Of course I am so grateful for my little miracle girl. But, that does not change my strong desire for more children. To make this comment, down plays my feelings. Just because my desires may be hard to achieve, doesn't mean I shouldn't want them.

"Everything happens for a reason..." This is my favorite because I don't believe that for one minute. I think we live in a fallen world and sometimes bad things happen. I don't believe that God "does things to us" to teach us lessons. I don't think He is trying to "grow me."

In fact, as mad as I am at God, I know His heart is breaking for me too. As strange as it may sound, I know God is mourning with me.

And at the end of the day, I keep running back to God. It's the only place I can go that is safe. Safe from the comments of others and into the arms of the only one who really understands.


And I wonder if I will ever feel the same again. Yesterday I wept. And my little girl who is only of a tender 18 months said "I saw-ry, I saw-ry". She is precious. I rocked with her for a long time last night. I hope she never stops letting me rock her...or at least until God puts another baby in my arms.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Because every princess...

...needs her very own princess gown.
Mother/Daughter Day: Dress-up

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ella's first day of school...

She cried. I waited to cry until I got in the car.  I worried about her for the entire day. I felt like a piece of me was missing. I kept telling myself "it's only two days a week." But, we both survived. She loves her teacher. She actually hugged her and blew her a kiss when we left which made my heart feel so much better. I was so happy to hear that she took a good nap there and seemed to enjoy the other kids. I am going to be a complete mess when she starts kindergarten...

Her first report card

Because every girl needs a lunch box with her name on it...

Dear Ella,
*sniff, sniff*. The hardest thing I have had to do so far is to start pushing you towards independence. All I really want to do is hold you in my arms for forever and protect you from harm. You will always be my baby. You will always have my heart...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Splish, Splash...

Our summer with Ella has pretty much revolved around water activities. This is partly because she loves it and partly because it completely wipes her out...which means she takes a great nap! I have yet to come up with any cold weather activities (besides going to the park) that will utilize all her energy and also let us get some fresh air. It has been so wonderful having a daughter who loves the water!
We have really enjoyed our neighborhood pool this summer now that we have a little tyke who can enjoy it. It has been equally great having the fountains to play in at the park down the road. All this sunshine has given my daughter a great tan and continues to leave me with pasty legs. I am completely baffled how someone who wears SPF 50 has a better tan than me. She must get that from her daddy. As for me, I will continue my love/hate relationship with the sun...sigh...but, I digress.
Here are my favorites from the past two weeks of water play! 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fun...

So, I have officially declared most Friday's from here on out as Mommy/Daughter (M/D) day. It will be a day of no cleaning. It will be a day that is all about enjoying my little angel...doing things that are all about her!  On this particular M/D day, we started out our morning at the park. We swung on the swings, we slid down the slides, we walked around the lake, and finished with a snack on a bench. Ella must have really enjoyed herself as she was sound asleep within 2 minutes of being in the car. After a 30 minute power nap, we shared a lunch at Chili's...I wish I had a picture of Ella eating corn off the cob. Where is the camera when you need it?
We finished our outing with a ride on the train in the mall. She had a good time, although I think next time we'll try out the carousel. At this point, we were getting close to nap time and Ella was in meltdown we made a dash for the car.
When Andrew got home, we decided to enjoy the little personal park we have...our backyard. Ella finally understands how to throw bread to the ducks. I wish I had a way of recording her little squeals of delight! SO, that is the conclusion of M/D day. It was so wonderful and I am glad that I have started this tradition for us. Andrew said he was jealous of the things we did. It makes me realize that I am so lucky to be at home most of the time with my little girl.
Sorry that I do not have any pictures from our day. I know it's shocking!! Me, without my camera?! 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Catching Up...

I know. It's been a VERY long time since I have posted. I almost don't even know where to begin to catch up. In summary, Andrew and I have a speed walking, very energetic 14 month old who loves constant attention. At the moment, she knows the following words: Mama, Dada or Da-Deeeee, "gat" (translation: cat), "dat" (translation: that),  "a done" (translation: all done), and "buh" (translation: bye). Although she is not talking a lot, her understanding of instructions constantly amazes me. She seems to understand most simple instructions and (for the moment) obeys. Of course, along with good comes the bad...we are also now dealing with little temper tantrums. *Sigh*
All in all, she is becoming a lovely little girl who is very social. She absolutely loves the water and the outdoors. She also loves her baby dolls and enjoys feeding them fake, plastic food. Have I mentioned that there is nothing better than watching your child enjoy themselves? Watching her pretend play and use her imagination make my heart feel so good. This must be the phase where you start to see the fruits of your labor.
Anyway, what's a post without some pictures of the little princess?...

...although the days are long, the weeks go by fast. What a joy this little girl is...even on those days that she is being difficult! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For this child, I prayed...

Exactly one year ago, I felt pain. No one told me it would hurt so much. No one told me that it would completely change me. No, I'm not talking about labor. I'm talking about what my heart felt that evening at 6:5opm... A love so great that it caused my heart to physically hurt because it had never been filled with joy like this. While most new mothers are counting their babies fingers and toes, I was looking through her eyes into her soul. I remember thinking, "I get it. I understand why God loves us so much..." Or, at least, I had a small understanding of God's love.
No one told me a year later, that I would love her even more than the first time I looked into those eyes. No one told me that my heart would still ache from this love. No one told me that the best part of my day would be walking into her room and seeing her smile...and knowing that God had granted me another day with her. 

One year ago...
And today...

My heart...
so much more than I deserve...

Dear Ella,
I could try and explain it, but you wouldn't believe me...but, one day, you will. You have changed me. You have filled me with joy that I did not have...a joy I didn't even know was missing. For you, my daughter, I prayed! Happy First Birthday!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The BIG day!!!

It was a fabulous day! The party girl was dressed in her perfect polka dot party dress. She was well rested and her usual flirty self. To top it all off, today would be the day she would take her first 5 steps...she was waiting for a crowd.