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.