Friday, February 27, 2009

update on jd

Real quick: JD's MRI was clear!!!!!! No tumor at all!!!!!!!! Wahoo!!!

just because =)

I will try and post later with an update on JD... I know there are so many praying- and I am so grateful for that!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let's write this down in the record books... I have two children sleeping at the same time, and both are in their own beds. It's a miracle! Actually, after (nearly) 6 weeks of mostly co-sleeping with Cate, I think we're done. I haven't been able to get her to sleep in her cradle hardly at all.. until yesterday. After using my brain a little bit, I realized that when she sleeps next to me in bed, she sleeps on her side. But when I was laying her in the cradle, I'd put her on her back. She was constantly coughing when she'd spit up (which is very often), and her breathing wasn't sounding all that great (for some reason??). So, I put her on her side, and rolled blankets next to her so she'd feel all cozy, and she was asleep within minutes. And she has napped twice in her cradle today, with me laying her down awake!! Next challenge: getting Corban to sleep in his big boy bed. Any suggestions? Any been-there-done-that advice? I've only tried two times for naps, but they both were unsuccessful.
Tomorrow is JD's MRI. I have completely mixed emotions and don't know what to say regarding it. Please do pray.
You know, it's just hard. I wish I could say that I've got it all figured out and can just rest knowing that God's plan is perfect... but I'm not there. I realized last night during worship at church, though, that I have allowed the Lord to use this, that He is growing me, taking me deeper with Him because of this situation. It seems like each major thing has taught me something, has been a building block in preparing for the next thing. Last night I just sat and wept during worship. My heart was in a different place than it had ever been. I found myself asking the Lord to prepare my heart and enable me to maintain an attitude of praise regardless of the news the MRI brings. I was asking Him to help me cling to the fact the He is good and His ways are perfect. I was praying that He would help me to walk in saying 'God is good' and walk out, in the same spirit, saying 'God is good,' no matter what we see. For the first time, it really matters (in my heart) that God is being glorified. My prayers before have always been more centered on getting the outcome I desire, if that makes sense. And don't get me wrong... I did (and am doing) a lot of begging and pleading. Oh, I want so badly for this MRI to come back clear. I just think that my perspective has changed some, that some forward progress has been made. But- in the same breath that I was asking the Lord to be glorified, I was saying... hasn't this been enough? Can't we stop now? We're pointing people to You, there's no question about where we stand and What we cling to, so can't You just work a miracle? Cut us a break? Please?.... I've got a long way to go. I'm thankful that God sees me, takes me, loves me just as I am. I am thankful that He gives me the grace to handle these hard times, that in the moment I want to shake my fist and say forget it, He reminds me that He's real and He is love... and even enables me to see good in the midst of the trouble. Man. Yeah. God is good.
Have you heard the song 'Never Let Go' by Matt Redman? It's kind of my anthem right now. You can hear it here... but these lyrics...

I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes-
Still I will praise You

that's the attitude I desire. I want to praise Him still, regardless of my circumstances.
Anyway, I'll post with the results of JD's MRI when I can. Please keep praying!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009





they might be related.
(Corban at 8 weeks, Cate at 4)


first smiles :)
(3 weeks 4 days old)

my beautiful flowers Jordan had delivered to my parents house for Valentine's Day (he was gone for the weekend)... sitting on my new kitchen table! (Thank you, Target clearance.. original price $300, paid $75!)

Happy Monday!!

Edited to add: I do still love my son. It's just so hard to get a picture of him, since he's so busy. He had his 18 mo. check up today (at 19 months), and he's in the 50th% all the way across the board (25lbs 5 oz, 32.5 in). He also got his Hep A and Tetanus booster, and he's wiped out right now. Better take advantage of that and get some cleaning done!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

hold that thought!

Okay. So here I go. Attempting to post. I was writing this in my head as I unloaded the dishwasher, waiting for my soup to finish re-heating... It started something like this:
"Ahhhh... here I sit, two free hands, two children sleeping in their beds, resting my tired (and sore!) body, enjoying a nice, warm bowl of this leftover soup from dinner last night..."
However... that's not how things unfolded.
It went more like this:
"AHHH! Here I sit, pecking away with two fingers, as I hold a baby with one hand, and type between bites of my now-cool leftover soup, legs sore from yesterdays workout and the seven trips up and down the stairs I just made at a failed attempt to get Cate to fall asleep in her cradle..."
Please know, however, that I say that in good fun and with a smile. I mean, it's all true, but I'm not near as bah-humbug about it as I sound. :) Besides, the soup is spicy enough that I barely noticed its lukewarmness. Haha. And in case you check out the recipe, I add a can of diced tomatoes and some black beans (and ground red pepper, but just to my bowl).
Okay- she's sleeping now, and on the couch, so this is a lot easier. Sweet Baby Cate is now a month old! Holy moly... I blinked and it's over. She weighed in at 9lbs 14oz (75th%) and 22 1/2 inches long (70th%). Proportionately big, right? :) She's so sweet... I can't get enough of her. We go on Monday for Corban's 18 month (but at 19months) checkup. Can't wait to see how much he's grown!! He really seems to have shot up and thickened up here recently. I think he's definitely going to have his daddy's build.
Guess what?! I went for a run last night (thus the reason for sore legs..)! It wasn't long, or fast, but it felt SO good just to get my body moving. It's safe to say that I am out of shape. Very out of shape. Very very out of shape. Let's think about this... the last time I was in shape was track season my freshman year of college. Which ended May 2005. Yowzers. But then I had heart surgery, and then came marriage.... and then came (2!) babies in a baby carriage. Haha. Now that we're planning on no major life events happening any time soon, I'd really like to be diligent with my exercise. The issue is finding the time with two children and a husband.
Speaking of time... mine is about up! At least until the cleaning I have planned is done. Now that the kids are sleeping, it's high time I get to work. Today I plan to: clean the toilets, clean the shower, vaccuum, and put away the 872 million loads of laundry I have folded and just waiting on the couch. Should be a breeze, right?? So, maybe next January I'll have a moment to post. Until then...

Monday, February 16, 2009

please... join me in praying.

I remember the phone call nearly four years ago... I could hear the fear in my mom's voice. She could barely choke the words out... "They've found a large mass on his brain. We meet with the neurosurgeon tomorrow." What!? I dropped to my knees and was sick to my stomach. I'd never been more afraid in my life. I remember what I was wearing, who I was with, the conversations that followed. I remember pleeding with the Lord, begging Him to let my brother be okay. I remember the hour drive I made the next day, listening to Jeremy Camp's 'Walk by faith' and 'I still believe' over and over. I remember meeting my family at Dr. Young's office, walking in, JD saying innocently and without fear, "Hey, sissy- did you know I have something growing on my brain?" and I remember holding back the tears.
I remember the first surgery, and the second, and the third. I remember him bouncing back like it was nothing. I remember them telling us they got all of the tumor, but they weren't sure if he'd be able to speak... and right after surgery him saying 'Hey, bunkbed' to me. I didn't hold back the tears then... I rejoiced. I remember MRI after MRI. I remember radiation. I remember sitting with Jack, watching the strong little boy strapped to the table as we stood and cried, wishing we could trade him places. I remember when his hair started to fall out, and then when it grew back. I remember that first good MRI. And the second, and the third. I remember nearly two years of good reports... and then August hit.
I remember where I was, what I was wearing, who I was with, the conversation that followed. It was the first appointment I'd missed. JD called me, voice as strong as ever, unwavering... "Sissy, my tumor's growing." I remember him reassuring me that it was going to be okay, while I crumbled. He was just 12! Once again... I was so afraid. I remember surgery number 4, and how terrible it was, how hard recovery was, how hard it was to see JD like that. Then came another MRI.. the tumor was back, and this time it was serious (as if it wasn't before). Fear struck like never before. That dreadful 'c' word was being bounced around. We met with the oncologist, discussed a fifth surgery, possible radiation, definitely chemotherapy. Oh, I was afraid. I cried and cried... and cried. We begged, pleaded with the Lord... please, let my brother be okay. Please, let this work. Fifth surgery came and went like it was a walk in the park. They got all of the tumor. They started chemotherapy. Seven(ish) weeks following surgery, just a week before Christmas, they did another MRI. As soon as the doctor walked in the door he proclaimed, "First things first, the MRI was clear!" More tears, but once again rejoicing.

Will you, my friends, please join me in praying? Next week comes an MRI that will be pretty indicative of the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. I'm a nervous wreck... we all are. I find myself, once again, begging, pleading with the Lord.. please, let my brother be okay. I am heartbroken for him and all that he has endured already, at a mere 13 years of age. The strength he has, the joy he brings, the character he is- oh, what a boy!, he's such an incredible young man. I wish I could express in words what my heart is feeling. I wish you knew JD. Everyone of you. I don't even know who all reads this, and some of you may know JD, and you know... he loves people, loves to make them laugh, make them feel at ease, comfortable. He's a riot. Will make a joke out of anything. He's a wonderful, wonderful person- and even if he weren't my little brother, I would be so proud of him.

Please pray for him, pray with us, pray us through this.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory..." (Ephesians 3:20)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

trudging through, skipping along

I'm not going to lie. It's been a rough week. This is the first time that I can think of that I have two free hands, no dishes in the sink, and not a crying child in sight. I'm thankful for a moment (or two) to relax.
The secret is out: I am not super-mom. Okay, so maybe that's not a secret- but it is the truth! I most definitely broke down in tears right alongside my two children this morning. I have lots and lots of laundry to do. I had dirty dishes sitting on the stove. My dishwasher has been clean but not unloaded for days. My 18 month old likes to not listen to his mother. My newborn likes to be held every waking (and lots of sleeping) moments. Though I'm getting plenty of sleep, I've been feeling just down right worn out. Out of gas. Spent. You get the picture.
You may be thinking... what did you expect, Kristen? You have two children under the age of 1 1/2. How did you think things would be? The answer... well, I expected it to be like this. I expected it to be hard. I expected a messy house (because let's be honest... it was messy before children). I expected rough days. I just expected to handle it more gracefully.
I want to be deliberate with my disciplining. I want to choose my words carefully. I want to not just react. I want to exude love for my children, not frustration. But it's hard somedays. Sometimes, some moments, I get it right. And it feels great to see my son react appropriately. But sometimes I just blow it. I'm impatient, I raise my voice, or I ignore something worthy of discipline, because it's easier to ignore than make the effort to teach a lesson. Sometimes I just get it wrong. But I'm learning. We're growing through this, walking through this, often trudging through... it just takes time.
Being a mom... what a blessing, a privilege. I can't do it on my own, in my own strength. I can't be patient and be gracious. There are so many lessons I'm learning and seeing through this journey, and that most definitely is one of them- I have to rely on the Lord. I have to be being filled by Him, or I have nothing to give. If I'm not in the Word, spending time in prayer- I react, I am not loving, my focus is on me, me, me. But God enables me to be different... to be more like Him, to love. And that's the goal of this all. For me as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, as a friend, I want to love like Jesus loves. I want to point others to Him, to 'know him and make him known' , to encourage them to love like Him.
Anyway, I was completely overwhelmed, frustrated, done earlier today. I had a 45 minute battle with my son and it was so hard to stay firm and continue until he did what was being asked of him, but I did, and he did and it was good. And then Cate fell asleep in her cradle, and Corban fell asleep in the crib (which he's now climbing out of again...), and I got to clean my kitchen and it was a new day. A few quiet moments can do wonders... I got the kids up to go meet Jordan. We took our van to get fixed, which we were expecting to be a huge expense, but it's going to be fixed without taking money from savings! PTL! We had a delicious lunch (paid for by a gift card) at Olive Garden, and then I came home and now have two sleeping children. A quiet house, a resting heart. I'm feeling very refreshed and reengergized this afternoon. I'm going to go finish reading a little book I started yesterday (You are Captivating, Celebrating a Mother's Heart), lay on the couch, and maybe watch an episode of House on DVD. I don't know when I'll post again... these 2 handed moments are rare. But know that we're surviving, most days surviving well, some days just trudging along. Today, however, we're skipping. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

family pictures

Just a few are ready... and I can't wait to see the rest!!!
Click here to check them out!


(Baby Cate, 3 weeks old)

I attempted captions, making this look orderly, etc. I even uploaded pictures before trying to write. But just know, we enjoyed the 60 degree weather we've been experiencing, Corban fell in the mud, I love to 'wear' my baby, my children are stinkin precious. Oh wait, can I say that? Anyway, I'm finding that doing things one-handed is difficult, especially typing... thus the reason I'm ending this now. And besides, who wouldn't rather snuggle a precious sleeping baby??

Monday, February 9, 2009

Corban's been down for just over an hour and I've showered, stared at my precious Cate- who smiled at me three times!!, listened to a Bob Coy sermon, made the dressing for the salad we're having for dinner, browned the crunchy stuff that goes in the salad we're having for dinner, cleaned out the leftovers from the fridge, loaded the dishwasher and put some groceries away. Even though my counter is still holding a massive amount of to-be-put-away groceries, I feel pretty good about things. Especially since the only thing I wanted to do was curl up next to Cate on the couch and sleep myself.
Corban is awake already. He never naps for this short. Wonder what's up? I think he may have gotten too hot, with his space heater blasting, and the heat wave (ha) we're currently experiencing in central Indiana. It really is warm and beautiful out. I'd love to go out and play... it's just a muddy mess everywhere. Maybe we'll take a walk at church after bit.
Our weekend was great. We had the church staff/leadership retreat Friday and Saturday, which was very encouraging and refreshing. Our parent's kept Corban for us, and Mom and JD brought him up and went to church and out to lunch with us. And then last night we went to Fort Wayne to see Phil Whickham, and of course, that was incredible. If you're not familiar with his music, you should look him up. It's very worshipful, and he's excellent live. We're all really worn out though. We weren't home at all, and that makes for a long week for Jordan. And then this coming weekend is the Jr. High ski trip, which the kiddos and I are skipping this year, but Jordan will be gone Saturday and Sunday. And then the following weekend he'll be gone Friday through Sunday for the men's winter backpacking trip- which he's been looking forward to for MONTHS. Busy, busy! I'll be spending those weekends in Cville with my family though, so I'm very much looking forward to that.
Alright- Corban went back to sleep (I think) and Cate is sleeping not in my arms, so I should take advantage of this in a productive way than blogging. Off to... lay on the couch. haha.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Is anyone else out there sooooo done with winter? After January 1st, I'm more than ready for spring. Come February, I find the snow just down right loathsome. But- I live in Indiana. Too bad for me. Rumor on the street (or though, is that we have some mid to upper 50 days making an appearance here soon. Wahoo! I definitely will be taking a walk outside (using my nearly semi-sized double stroller) and of course, letting Corban run around. He loves anything outside. It will most definitely be muddy, however, because of the 13 inches of snow currently sitting on the ground. Did I really just write a whole paragraph about the weather?
Moving on now..
We watched Fireproof last night. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts? I was really blessed and challenged by it. Jordan, who really wasn't wanting to watch it, loved it and said we were going to buy it. And he listed several people he wanted to watch it too. I think I'm still processing and thinking through the movie. One thing I really liked- it talked about studying your partner. It talked about how when you're dating, you try to learn their likes and dislikes, you watch and listen to them, etc. They compared it to getting a high school degree in your mate. Now, after years of marriage, the same thing needs to be done, but more intensely. You study until you get a college degree, and then a masters, then a doctrate... There were several things like that, and I'm just trying to figure out- what does that look like for me, for us? How will that work in my marriage? How can I put that into practice? The bottom line, really, is that marriage takes effort. And I've been lazy. And selfish. My mindset has been, "well he's not trying, he's not making any effort, so why should I?" I seriously nearly said to him (during a discussion) two nights ago, "I'm not making any less of an effort than you are." (but I held my tongue). It just shows where my heart is though... me, me, me, it's all about me. I don't want to be that way!! Anyway, I definitely recommend the movie. I may have more to say on it later, but I've been typing this one handing, as I'm nursing Cate. And now Corban is crying, so I must tend to the kiddos!
Have a great weekend... I'm really excited about mine! We have a weekend church staff (and spouse) retreat, and then Phil Whickam concert on Sunday. Can't wait! Adios!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

a bit random..

*I decided today that I really would like to learn how to sew. I have all of these ideas in my brain that will be forever there if I don't learn. So- who wants to teach me? I now wish I would've taken home ec in middle school, instead of goofing off in choir. haha.
*I am really cold right now. It may have something to do with my hair being wet, or the thermostat set on 69, but either way, I'm freezing bo-beezing, as I always say.
*I cried while talking to the nurse from the doctors office today. I couldn't decide whether I was offended or grateful when she said I was cute and a sweet mama, and that she wanted to meet me when I came in. Ha.
*I was talking to the nurse again because Cate continues to spit up, and has added diarrhea to the mix. My poor little girl! We're going tomorrow for another weight check and really for my peace of mind.
*My kids are both sleeping right now. I put in Corban in bed because he was being (incredibly) disobedient, and he fell right to sleep. Guess I just missed the sleepy cues this morning.
*A funny Corban story: I was drooling over the new Pottery Barn Kids magazine, and as I was holding it up, Corban was saying "ha-ye, ha-ye, ha-ye" over and over. That translates, btw, to "Holly", which could mean either Holly or Brandon, my brother and sister-in-law. I couldn't figure out what in the world he was talking about! But he kept insisting, and then I realized he was looking at the cover of the magazine... which had Major League Baseball stuff all over it. Ahhh... it clicked! He was 'saying' Brandon, because of the baseball stuff! Brandon is probably the biggest Cleveland Indians fan you'll ever meet... and I think this is proven by my 18 month old making that connection. lol
*I have picked up Mr. Potato Head and all of his body parts approximately 972 times today. Also occurring 972 times: Me saying the word 'no'.
*I'm openly admitting that I'm looking forward to an episode of Oprah. She's doing an episode on being frugal and slashing your grocery bill- surely she can't twist that into weird new-agey garbage, right?! I saw the preview while watching Wheel of Fortune last night, and decided that I would watch it today. It'd be wonderful (and maybe surprising?) if there were some useful tips on there today.
*We are getting real, professional pictures taken on Thursday. We've never done this before, and I'm really excited about it. Now, I just have to figure out what we're all going to wear. Oh, and we're getting them taken at our house!
*I'm just about finished wasting time. The toy box is emptied all over my living room, and I haven't cleaned up from breakfast. And, like always, there's laundry to be done. So, I should probably get off my rear and get to work!

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's started already.
My phone rings... I answer.
"Hi this is Anne from Dr. Miller's office, and I'm calling regarding your question about Katie."
I talked to her twice today, and both times she called her Katie. And both times I said Cate. I can't make her Katie in my mind. It just doesn't seem right. And I wanted her to be just Cate. I'm not really as upset about it as this makes me sound. lol.

Corban was sick all weekend. Like, wouldn't eat, fell asleep with you holding him, just wanted to go 'nigh nigh' all day long sick. There were lots of tears and lots of sleep (except at night time- he was up more than Cate). He perked around Sunday afternoon, and is definitely feeling better today. I can't decide if I think he had a cold, an ear infection, or if it's just the teeth he's cutting. Either way, I'm glad to have my sweet boy back.
Cate slept 7 hours straight last night. Holy moly! I think she has some tummy issues going on, and we're trying to determine if it's the milk she's drinking or if she has bug. Doctor is leaning towards bug, but I think differently. Either way, she spits up an awful lot and last night we had (just a few) minutes of inconsolable crying. It scares a mama to try everything and nothing work to soothe. Thank the Lord is was just like 5 minutes of it! Though she sleeps for long periods, I have to confess... she usually spends part of the night in bed with me. She's definitely more 'clingy' than Corban was... she doesn't like to spend much time outside of my arms, and come night time, it's no different. Once she's good and asleep I can lay her down without a problem, but she doesn't fall asleep in her cradle on her own very often. I don't want to co-sleep. I mean, I do... I love the closeness and having her right there next to me, being able to feel her breathe, the convenience, etc. But I don't want to deal with trying to break her of it, transition her to a crib, all that jazz. It's a small thing to worry about, I know. I am very grateful for her current sleeping patterns though.
On top of Cate sleeping 7 hours straight last night, we didn't wake up until 9a.m. this morning! Corban included! Woohoo!! It was a nice, full, restful nights sleep, and I feel refreshed today.
We had the jr. high over for the Super Bowl last night. Well, it was just our normal Sunday crew plus a few extras, but it was a good time. It was nice to see everyone... I feel so disconnected. I'm looking forward to returning to church, for sure. We may go Wednesday night, I'm undecided, but I think we'll probably go on Sunday for sure. I've got the cutest little dress I can't wait to put Cate in- haha!!
JD had chemo today. I can't remember what round this is.. maybe #6?! It seems like they've got a routine down to make the day go quickly and smoothly for him. I still hate it. I hate that it's a regular thing that they have a routine for. But I'm thankful for it, and I know things could be so much worse... I'm just praying that it's doing the trick. He'll have an MRI the end of this month. I get butterflies just thinking about it. Anyway, keep praying for him! He's doing really really well, and typically is just sick the day of chemo and the day after. So far, he hasn't lost his hair and has had very few other side effects from the medicine. PTL!!
Okay, I'm off. Sorry this was long and boring. My kitchen is calling my name.. pizza boxes scattered, ditry dishes in the sink. Better get to work while the kiddos are asleep!