Sunday, February 22, 2015

I Didn't Know I was Lost

I've debated whether or not I should write this post, but my parents raised me to always do the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing causes you to lose friends or start a controversy.

Crew James. My precious baby boy. He was born October 25th 2012. He was beautiful and I fell so in love. Moms of boys, you get it. That little boy steals your heart forever and you will never get it back. There is something so precious, so sacred about the bond you have with your son.

It was a few weeks before Crew would be turning one. It was supposed to be a happy, exciting, and joyous time. Instead it was overwhelming, confusing, and sad.

I had finally dug myself out of a very big hole. The hole of denial. Denial that it wasn't normal for my son to not respond to his own name. Denial that it wasn't normal that he had never shown one sign of affection. Denial that it wasn't normal that I could leave him overnight and when I went to pick him up he didn't recognize me. He looked right through me. He would scream if I asked him to make eye contact with me. He would scream if I hugged him. He would sit and watch Bubble Guppies and flap his arms. I could leave him with a perfect stranger in the church nuersery and he wouldn't even flinch. It was two weeks before he turned one and I finally told myself that it wasn't normal. I allowed my mind to go there. The "A" word. Autism.

I took Crew to a close friend's house for a few hours. I mentioned my concerns when I dropped him off because she immediately knew I looked upset. When I picked Crew up there was another young lady there whose parents worked with children with Autism. She said Crew should be screened right away. She said words like "autism" and "early intervention is key." All I wanted to do was cry. I wanted to dig a hole and bury myself and cry. I didn't know where to turn.

It was exactly two weeks before Crew's first birthday. I had some errands to run so I dropped Crew off at my Dad's for a few minutes. While I was driving in the car I heard the song "Wake Me Up."
Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost
I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans
Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is the prize
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

I broke. I sobbed and sobbed.  My baby boy. He was lost and he didn't even know he was lost. I knew he was in there somewhere. I prayed to God that He would help me find him. I begged God to heal him. I prayed that God would point me in the right direction. I begged God and I cried and cried and cried. My baby boy, that precious gift God had given me. I was supposed to take care of him, nurture him,protect him, but I had failed him. I vowed to myself that I would spend every day of the rest of my life doing whatever it took to get my little boy back. 

                        One year prior:

Before Crew was born, I was too busy organizing his nursery and folding his baby clothes to research the important things like vaccines or inductions. I did know that I wasn't comfortable with vaccines. I had not done enough research though to know why. I knew I wanted to do a delayed schedule. My labor and delivery with Crew was rough. He was over 9 pounds and I was overdue. So that meant pitocin and an epidural and a drug called demerol. He wasn't even born yet and I failed him. His heart rate was dropping very low with every contraction. After 2 failed forceps attempts, he was born. Within minutes after his tramautic birth he was given the Hepatitis B vaccine. A vaccine for a virus that is caused by being infected with shared needles or sexual activity. He was minutes old and I had already failed him. He barely ate for the first week of his life. He slept. He was a 9.2 pound baby and he was too tired and too drugged to eat.

Crew was eight weeks old. I took him to his first well baby visit. I knew deep down in my gut, in my core that I was not comfortable with him being vaccinated so early. I wanted to at least hold off. I wanted to give his tiny immune system a chance to develop while I did my research. God gives Moms a thing called "mother's intuition." I told his ped my concerns. She looked at me like I had nineteen eyeballs. She told me it wouldn't make any difference if I waited. She made me feel like I was a bad Mom for questioning her. For following my intuition. I complied. He had all of his eight week vaccines. I gave him tylenol like the ped told me to do. Not knowing that Tylenol actually depleted the brain of glutathione. Glutathione is a molecule that absorbs the impact of free radicals. Free radicals damage cell DNA and can cause permanent mutations. Our bodies use anti-oxidants to kill the free radicals in our bodies. I not only injected him with live viruses and known toxins, but I also gave him Tylenol. Tylenol promotes the toxicity of Mercury. Vaccines contain Mercury.

He came home from his "well baby" visit and slept. He slept for days. He screamed. He had a high fever. I called his ped. She said it was "normal." He would lay in his bed and scream. Ear piercing screams like he was dying. I knew he was fed, changed, burped. I thought maybe he was overtired. Maybe he just wanted to be held.

Four months later it was time for another "well baby" checkup. He was weighed and they measured him and told me he needed more vaccines. I knew how he handled his last set. I said I wanted to hold off. I was bullied again. I was afraid of what they would do if I just said "NO!" I told them my concerns from his last set and I was again reassured it was normal. This set of vaccines I saw the light go out in his eyes. He stopped making eye contact. He refused to be held unless he had a bottle. He would scream if I held him. He was constipated for weeks. My husband and I literally brought home a different baby. He never went back to wanting to be held. He never made eye contact again. He never noticed when we left the room. I knew all of this. My husband and I even talked about it. I had failed my son again.

We went back for his 6 month well visit and we were told he needed more vaccines. I described what happened after the last set and asked the ped again if this was normal. I came right out and asked if vaccines caused "autism". The doctor said,"no, vaccines do not cause autism. I felt stupid for asking. He got his 6 month set and got deathly sick. A fever over 103, runny nose, cough. He couldn't breathe at night from being so sick and it lasted weeks. I saw even more regression. He had just started saying "dada" and "mama" a few weeks earlier. It all stopped. More regression. More confusion. More failing on my part.

Months went by and I knew I was losing my baby boy. I denied it. I thought he would snap out of it.

Then came that car ride two weeks before his first birthday. I begged God for answers. I knew my baby wasn't born this way. I knew it. I knew it my core, in my bones that this baby boy was not born this way. I knew I had to fix him. He depended on me. But I knew I didn't have much time.

I had to start somewhere. I started with Bubble Guppies. I read that it caused too much stimulation for a child under two to watch television. Bye bye Bubble Guppies. He started to show improvement. It was a few days before his birthday and I scheduled his well baby visit. The ped told me he was due for his 12 month vaccines. The MMR vaccine being the big one. I said no. We are delaying vaccines at this time. She told me that he had to have vaccines to go to school. I later found out that he does not need vaccines to go to school thanks to a little freedom called a religious exemption. A freedom that many are trying to take away. Parents are trying to take this exemption away. You take this away and you are opening an even bigger can of worms. Your child has ADHD? Cancer? Do you want someone forcing your child to take Ritalin? To have chemo? Medicine is a personal choice. It is a freedom. You take that away and it will be the begininng of the end.

I started reading. I started poring over every autism book, article, website known to man. I started joining facebook groups of other parents who had children with Autism. The more I read the farther I got sucked in. I was in over my head. But it all started making sense.  I was obsessed. I didn't sleep. I started putting the puzzle pieces together.
In January of 2013 took Crew to a new doctor. My family's doctor. He delivered me when I was born. I knew he would help me get Crew a referal. He spent a few minutes with Crew and he knew something wasn't right. Crew had an appointment for May 2013 with a pediatric neurologist.

I discovered that Autism is the brain's reaction to toxins. I learned that the percentage of children actually born with Autism was very low. I learned that certain children are more "predisposed" to have difficulty filtering out "enviromental toxins." I learned that "gut health" is extremely key to "brain health." I learned that vaccines contain toxins. I learned that vaccines destroy gut health.

I read vaccine inserts, I spoke with parents of vaccine injured children. I read until my eyes burned, until my fingers couldn't type in one more search. I continued to put the pieces together. Slowly. I talked to parents who healed their child naturally.

Then I took action. I had four months until his appointment. Four months to find my little boy before the neurogist would give him a label.

I knew that some children are more predisposed to not being able to filter out toxins. I knew that toxins contribute to Autism. I knew that gut health is directly related to brain health. So the first step was to cut out all toxins. That meant no more vaccines. That meant all natural shampoo, fluoride free toothpaste, all natural baby lotion. I started using all natural cleaning products. I stopped using my Scentsy and burning carcinogen laden candles. I stopped using perfume. I used all natural laundry detergent. I stopped using fabric softner. I cut out every single possible toxin that I could. I started feeling better. Crew started to respond.

Then I knew I had to get rid of the toxins already built up in his body. I started with a heavy metal detox. Zeolite. It is all natural and it binds to heavy metals in the body and takes them out. Vaccines contain mercury. So does pitocin. So does seafood. That is why pregnant woman aren't supposed to eat it. But Mercury is safe to inject into a newborn's immature immune system? The Zeolite worked immediately. Within a few days he literally was a new little boy. I kept going. I started giving him a weekly detox bath in Epsom salts. I started using essential oils. I applied lemon, frankincense and lavendar essential oils to his feet at night. Lemon cleans out the cells while lavendar helps the body rest while Frankincense literally regenerates the cells. He showed more improvement. He started talking. My husband started calling me "Captain Crunch."

We took him to the chiropractor. He started getting weekly adjustments. Chiropractic care involves the nervous system. When the nervous system isn't working your immune system is compromised.

I needed to heal his gut. I introduced vitamins and supplements. I started him on a multivitamin, Vitamin D, vitamin c(kills free radicals, filters out toxins) I took him to an Iridoligist. I learned that Crew had a parasite. About 80% of Americans have some form of parasitic activity. We got rid of the parasite and he started to talk some more. The iridologist suggested to give him Cod liver oil and she adjusted his vitamin and supplements to exactly what his body needed. He showed more improvement. I introduced raw, organic milk. Probiotics. More improvement. I always had Crew on a very healthy diet. He only drank milk and water. Fruits, veggies, venison, organic meats. But because of the vaccines destroying his gut health and the parasite activity his little body wasn't absorbing nutrition.

Everything started coming together. Every day I woke up and saw more improvement. I was finding him. I cried tears of joy. I thanked God for helping me to help my son. For sending the right people to point me in the right direction and to share what worked for them. 

May came and so did his neurology appointment. I wasn't afraid any more. I knew deep down that he was fine. I knew that if I had continued on with his one year MMR vaccine and if I hadn't found a way to naturally heal him I would be terrified to go to that appointment. I was still nervous though. Any time you know someone is going to spend time with your child in order to "evaluate" him or try to find a label or category to put him in, you are going to be nervous. The neurologist laughed and in a nice way called me a "paranoid crazy mom." My husband and I kept telling him that the little boy sitting before him was much different than the little boy that needed an evalutation months before.

What have I learned on this emotional roller coaster with my first born son? I have learned to always trust my instincts. I've learned to do my own research. I've learned that giving my baby boy his vaccines is my biggest life's regret, but being able see with my own eyes what prayer and a Mother dedicated to helping her son can do is my greatest life's gift. I am thankful. I am thankful to see a happy little boy who is starting to put sentences together and says "thanks Mommy" a million times a day. I am thankful with every hug and kiss he gives me just because. I watch him sleep at night and weep. I know not everyone is this lucky. I know some people won't catch it in time. I'm thankful that when I talk to other Moms who are going through the same thing, but are afraid to talk to other's about it, come to me. I'm thankful that I can say, " I've already done the leg work. Try this. I've been there. It is so scary and sad, but I will try to point you in the right direction because I know you feel lost. You feel lost because you know your child is lost and you just want to find them too." 

I hear the harsh words other parents say. Parents who have no idea the thousands of hours I have spent researching every article I can find, reading vaccine inserts, weighing the pros and the cons. Parents who know that the CDC whistleblower admitted that the CDC covered up findings that proved vaccines are linked to autism in African American boys. If the CDC has findings that vaccines are indeed linked to Autism than maybe, just maybe we should be more concerned with the other adverse reactions listed. Especially knowing that autism is at 1 in 68. Autism is the least of our worries when it comes to vaccine reactions.

I hear the parents that say that my child who has NEVER even had a sniffle(minus vaccine reactions) will infect their child with the measles. Not knowing that THIER child who was recently vaccinated with the MMR vaccine is now carrying a live virus. A virus that sheds. It can shed to infants, the elderly, even middle aged adults. It is written right on the vaccine insert. Parents who judge my parenting because I have decided that acute health issues like measles and chicken pox aren't as scary to me as chronic health issues like deadly food allergies, seizures, asthma, autoimmune disorders, etc. People tell me that their children were fully vaccinated and they turned out just fine, but they have no problem posting on facebook pictures of their children with a nebulizer. Their child has deadly food allergies, seizures, asthma, constant ear infections, always sick, chronic colic, tourettes, ADHD, ADD, RA, the list goes on and on. Count how many times I have posted about my children being sick. Never. My daugher has never been touched by a needle. She is the happiest, most alert, and healthiest baby. I see the difference in her compared to Crew, but thankfully Crew has still never been sick. I had a completely drug free childbirth. My daughter surprised all of the nurses with her hearty appetite and alertness. My husband and I both were in awe over the difference of an unvaccinated child with an unmedicated childbirth.

Other parents like to use the words "jumping on the bandwagon". The term" jumping on the bandwagon" to me does not mean going against what the norm is. Jumping on the bandwagon is lining up like blind sheep to listen to what their pediatrician who actually gets paid for every vaccine given says. Jumping on the bandwagon to me means showing up at your baby's wellness checkup and doing no research other than blindly following what your pediatrician says and classifying that as "your own research." Did you know that if your child develops an adverse reaction and dies from a vaccine or is injured that the only person responsible is you?  You signed that form. Did you know that you cannot sue the vaccine manufacturers? Let that sink in for a moment. Then start thinking for yourself and wonder why on earth there would be one entity on earth that is impossible to have a lawsuit filed against? Then ask yourself, "is that who I trust with my child's health?

Read one vaccine insert. Read the list of adverse reactions. I have spoken to so many people who have either lost their child to vaccines or have a vaccine injured child for life. I have yet to speak with somone who lost their child to Measles or Polio. And help me Rhonda, the chicken pox are not deadly! Especially in a child with an immune system that has not been bombarded with foreign materials and toxins and live viruses. Read the list of ingredients on the vaccine inserts. Please tell me that you are 100% sure that they have absolutely NOTHING to do with the rampant rise of autism and cancer in children. True immunity is not achieved from a vaccine. A vaccine does not mean a child is immune. Only when a child has naturally acquired the illness can true immunity be obtained. 

If you want to tell me that you thank vaccines for keeping your child "healthy" and saving the world from diseases like polio then you need to understand that those diseases were already declining prior to the vaccine being introduced. So you should be saying," I thank the people who realized that basic handwashing and proper sanitation stopped the spread of disease.

Have you ever wondered why we don't have a vaccine for Scarlet Fever? I have. It would make sense wouldn't it?


I am not here to start a debate. I am not here to tell you how to raise your child. Do your own research. It is out there. I have already done the research I needed to, to be able to sleep at night knowing I am doing what is best for MY children.  I am here to share what helped my son. To share a tiny bit of the information that I have found. IF I can reach one other person who is going through what I went though then this post is worth the "friends" I will lose.


If you met Crew today, you would have no idea of the challenges that he has overcome. He is a typical 2 year old boy and he still melts my heart every day. I am so thankful.

Monday, February 16, 2015

She is Fierce



          -an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing.


     That is the best way to describe my second child.

After my first child Crew was born, my husband and I were very emphatic that he would be an only child. We were so happy with our little guy that we couldn't even imagine adding anything or anyone else to our happiness. Every time someone would ask us when he was going to have a little playmate we very kindly said, "NEVER!" We both knew how lucky we were to have such an easy, happy, calm baby. He slept through the night very early on and he was that kid that we just took along with us wherever we went. We didn't let having a baby change our lives. He made being parents...easy.

I will honestly say that I didn't believe it would be fair to have another baby. Most moms have their first baby and say that they can't wait to have more. That wasn't me. I was so in love with him that I couldn't imagine my heart growing any more than it already had. I felt like the heart had already grown 3 sizes too big. How could it possibly grow any more to love another child?

On February 22, 2015 came surprise number 1:

A positive pregnancy test.

My reaction can pretty much be summed up in this quote:

" If I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now."- Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

I was terrified. My recovery with Crew was awful. He weighed over 9 pounds. That is not something I ever planned on doing again in this lifetime. I can honestly say that my fear took away from my happiness. If I had another recovery like I did with Crew how would I take care of a toddler AND a newborn? I couldn't even take care of myself. I was afraid that Crew would be jealous. That he wouldn't like the new baby. I was afraid I wouldn't love the new baby as much as him.

On May 9th 2014 came surprise number 2:

Daniel has always wanted a little girl. He grew up in a family of all boys. He always said he thought it was impossible for him to have a little girl. Why? Maybe because he wanted one so badly and maybe because he comes from a family of all boys.

I also grew up in a family of all boys. I am the youngest of four. I was a tomboy. I had THREE older brothers so I had to learn to hold my own at a young age. I was also a bully. I will admit it! I was rough and tough and not girly at all. My mom was hoping for a little girl for so long. Then I was born after 3 boys and 3 miscarriages and 10 years after my brother. I am sure I was not quite what she had in mind. I was ALWAYS in trouble. I never owned a Barbie doll. I was more interested in playing with the neighborhood boys and swimming in the creek than I was tea time and princesses. I never watched Disney movies. I was the girl that got spanked at school! Who gets spanked at school?! I did! I was downright BAD. My brothers always told me that someday I would get my punishment in the form of my own little girl. Well, Crew was born and I thought I was safe.

When I found out that we were having a girl I was definitely surpirsed. I was scared. I have 3 brothers, I married into a family of 4 boys, I had my own little boy. I thought I would be the mom to all boys. I remember thinking What would I do with a girl? I don't know how to braid!! I need Disney Princess 101!!  I love having a little boy. He is so easy. Will she be born a diva?! Will she cry all of the time and I won't love her as much as Crew?

One thing I knew for sure, was that if I had a little girl she was probably going to be (GASPS) It was a scary thought. So when it came time to start planning her nursery I had this plaque made for her:

 My little girl will be little, yes. But she will be fierce. She will stand her ground, she might seem abrasive and bossy at times, but underneath it all she will have a big heart. A big laugh. She will probably be accident prone, but again that will make others laugh and she will always have the best stories. She won't be that girl that fades into the background. She will never settle for mediocre. She will love fiercely and she will never settle for less for herself or those she loves.

On October 23rd 2013 came surprise number 2:

It was 4:00 in the afternoon and I was 10 days from my due date. I was terrified of having another big baby and I knew if I went early that might help the situation. I felt contractions coming on and I knew from a previous doctor appointment that I was already over 5 cm dilated. Since Daniel had to go in for night shift that night I knew it would be a good idea to make sure baby wasn't coming that night. I didn't want to chance it with my luck. I can only imagine baby coming too fast and me delivering her by myself with a toddler assisting.(although that could have made a REALLY good blog) 

When I got to the hospital at 5:30  I was at 6 cm but not showing signs of active labor. I was too progressed to go home, but not enough that they could admit me. So I walked the hospital until 8:30. I was still not making any progress so the midwife asked if I would like to be admitted and she would break my water to see if it would get things going.

I had already made up my mind that this birth was going to be on MY terms. All natural, no iv fluids, no induction, no pitocin, no nothing! I agreed to let her break my water, but that was it. By the time I got admitted it was 10:15. She broke my water at 10:30 and within minutes I was in hard labor. I paced the room the entire time. I bounced on the birthing ball. I thought I was going to die. The song Ring of Fire was playing in my head. That's what unmedicated childbirth felt like. A ring of fire. At 11:50 pm I called for the midwife to check me because I couldn't imagine the pain getting any worse. I felt like baby was coming. She told me I was at 8 cm and it was probably going to be a while before baby came. I kept telling her that I felt like baby was coming NOW. While Daniel and the midwife were discussing epidurals(like I wasn't even there) I said I had to go to the bathroom. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom and the nurse followed me and waited outside the door.

 I sat on the toilet and thought I was going to throw up. But instead a noise came out of me that still haunts me to this day. I know everyone in the hospital heard it. It was an excorcism like scream and I did it twice and when I looked up Daniel, the midwife, and the nurse were standing at the door and their faces had turned white. According to Daniel's recount of the story, he walked in and I was standing up and he saw a head between my legs.

The midwife told the nurse to get the rapid response team. When the nurse came back in she grabbed me and pulled me on top of her and fell down on the floor. We were blocking the door so the rapid response team just sat behind us and watched. Daniel and the midwife were between me and the shower. One more push and baby was born right into Daniel's arms. On the bathroom floor. No gloves, no scrubs. Cali Larke Patel was born at 11:58 p.m. She weighed 7.7 pounds and 20 inches long. She was born exactly 7 minutes after the midwife entered the room to check me and 1 minute after she told me it was going to be a long time.

That little girl was in a hurry. Of course she was going to have a dramatic entrance into the world! She's my daughter isn't she?!

I walked back to the bed. My baby was born on MY terms this time. No drugs, no IV fluids, no pitocin, no epidural, She was born on the bathroom floor into her Daddy's arms and it was crazy and hectic and emotional and beautiful and perfect. Just how a daughter of mine should be born. With a story. 

After I got back to the bed I finally got to hold her. She was beautiful and perfect and boy oh boy did she have great hair!

Surprise number 4: I wasn't expecting Cali to be such a sweet happy baby. She was just as easy as Crew. I wasn't expecting Crew to love her so much. He has never shown one sign of jealousy since she has been born. She fit into our family perfectly and as cliche as it sounds she completed it.

Start to finish this little girl has been the biggest surprise of our lives. She was the best surprise.
 And the biggest surprise of all? I never thought I would love this little girl so fiercely.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Little Handprints and Dog Hair

It all started with the dog hair. Today I vacuumed my house for the third time this week. It's only Tuesday. I have three dogs so I try to vacuum and mop every day. I am not exaggerating when I say that one days worth of dog hair on my floor is equivalent to enough dog hair to make wigs for all of the Chinese Crested dogs in the world! As I vacuumed my way through the downstairs I thought, someday things will be easier. Then I made my way to the foyer. Earlier in the day I opened the front door to let in the sunshine. I noticed that my storm door was covered in little handprints. I started thinking about how long it had been since my storm door had seen a streak free shine that lasted longer than five minutes. I couldn't remember. I thought to myself again, someday things will be easier.

As I continued on to the living room I thought about exactly how long it would be until things got...easier. Then I realized what would have to take place to in order to reach that "easier someday."

Someday will be years down the road when my husband and I are all alone and the News is always on to drown out the deafening silence. The silence that used to be the sound of puppy nails clicking on the hardwoods and the pitter patter of little feet running through the house. 

Someday will be when my grandbabies come to visit and leave their little handprints all over my storm door. Except I won't have the heart to wipe the handprints off. I will leave those little handprints on the door and long to be twenty seven again. I will long for my hairy, messy, crazy, chaotic, exhausting life that I am wishing away right now. I will long to find little handprints on my door and Cheerios in the oddest places and dog hair...everywhere. 

Someday the mailman will drop a package off on my front porch. Out of habit I will anticipate three dogs barking like banchees followed by Crew saying "dog!!" signaling naptime was yet again cut short, but instead I will only hear silence.

Someday the thought of Crew's chubby little baby hands reaching for mine will make my heart ache. 

Someday I will long to read "Goodnight Nobody" just one more time.

Someday I will long to fold little socks and brush little teeth and feel needed again. I will long to snuggle up with my dogs at the end of the day and wake up to Crew's happy squeals and babbling every morning.

Today I realized that today is perfection in all of its hairy, sticky, crazy, messy glory. I choose to embrace today...little handprints, dog hair and all.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You Fill Up My Senses

   Tonight as I was giving Crew his bedtime bottle, I was thinking about how amazing our Heavenly Father is to us. When He created us He could have very easily just given us the basic senses that we needed to survive. Instead he gave us 5 senses so that we could see, hear, smell, taste and feel every experience. Most of the time we don't even realize when we are using these senses that we are creating a memory that will last forever. A seemingly trivial or routine moment creates a memory that will come back to us many years later and take us back to that moment, that sensation.

   Anytime that I taste a spearmint candy I am immediately transported back to my childhood. I am sitting in my Grammy's little cluttered kitchen listening to her tell me stories about growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey. She always had a jar of spearmint leaves on her kitchen table. I would eat one and suck all of the sugar off of it while I visited with her. Whenever I taste spearmint I feel like I am back in that kitchen. My Grammy is still alive and she is telling me that I can grow up to be whatever I want to be. Spearmint is such a special memory to me.

  Just the other day I caught a whiff of lavender. Instantaneously I was in Crew's nursery rocking him at 3 days old. Daniel and I were so desperate to get him to sleep that we would give him a bath in lavendar shampoo to help him relax. The scent of lavender
takes me back to pure exhaustion and pure elation all at once. The sleepless nights and pains of recovery are raw in my mind, but the feeling of holding my newborn son in my arms is the greatest moment of my life. He was so new, so precious. I was so tired, but so fulfilled. Thank you, lavender for taking me back to this moment every time.

  My favorite perfume is Paris Hilton. The scent of Paris takes me back to the day that I met Daniel. The day that we met we went on our first date to church. As I was getting ready for church, I think I used half of my bottle of Paris. Every time I spritz on my Paris, I am 19 years old and back in my college dorm bathroom with those hideous orange sinks. I am so nervous and my stomach is filled with butterflies, but I am so excited to finally be going on a date with the "hot usher". I think it takes Daniel back too. He always insists on buying it for me even though I say that it is too expensive. My perfume takes me back to falling in love.

  Whenever I see the creek that used to run behind the house that I grew up in, I am ten years old again. I am swimming in that creek with my neighborhood friends. Our sneakers are filled with sharp rocks and minnows, but we don't even notice. We are too busy being pirates. We have no concept of time or worries. Our day begins with sunrise and ends wth the sound of our mothers calling us in because it is way past dark. We are catching crawfish and snapping turtles and keeping them for "pets". We have our whole lives ahead of us and the biggest dilemma we have is how to spend our summer. We are young and carefree and the summer is stretched out in front of us like a lazy cat.

  When I was four, my family took a one night trip to the Poconos. I can remember going on two family trips growing up and this was one of them. It wasn't exactly an ideal trip. The "cabin" that my parents rented wasn't quite what they expected. It also downpoured the entire time. It was supposed to be a quality family trip and it didn't quite turn out that way. I do not remember much from this trip, but there is one thing I will never forget. My Dad loves Placido Domingo. He had a brand new Placido Domingo tape we listened to the entire ride there and back home. There was one song in particular that my Dad listened to over and over again. It was a duet by Placido Domingo and John Denver of "You Fill Up My Senses" Whenever I hear this song, I am in that backseat of our car singing along with my Dad. The rain is covering the windshield in sheets and the wipers are going full throttle. I can hear the rain hammering down on the roof, but our family is all together again. Our family is safe and warm in our little car and Placido and John are creating a memory so vivid that when I hear the first few notes of this song it takes my breath away.

  Some days when I smell the peppermints my Dad always eats or the sound of his change jingling in his pocket or the smell of my Mom's perfume, I can't help but wonder," will these smells and sounds bring me comfort one day when they are no longer here?"  

  We are filling up our senses every day with sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that are creating memories that will take us back to those moments. Moments of happines, sadness, anxiety, hope, newness, joy, fear, anger, warmth, emptiness, elation, peace, grief, and love. What would life be like without the ability to capture these moments with our senses?

"You fill up my senses like a night in a forest,
Like the mountains in springtime,
Like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert,
Like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Come let me love you, let me give my life to you,
Let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms.
Let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you
Come let me love you, come love me again.

Let me give my life to you,
Come let me love you, come love me again.

You fill up my senses like a night in a forest,
Like the mountains in springtime,
Like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert,
Like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear Crew

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt

Dear Crew,
You are truly the greatest gift God has ever given me. You have also given me the greatest gift; the gift of being a mommy. Not just any mommy, your Mommy. I have waited my whole life to be a Mommy. Thank you for this precious gift. Our journey together has taught me more about who I am and what I want to be and what I am capable of doing than I ever dreamed possible. God has been so good to me. Blessed is simply an understatement.
I found out I would be having you on Valentines Day. Daddy and I were so happy! We dreamed about what you would look like. What your personality would be. Would you be laid back, but a perfectionist like your Daddy? Would you be goofy and accident prone like me? Would you be a boy or a girl? Then one day I heard your heartbeat. It changed my life. On May 30th, 2012 I found out you were a BOY! I was so happy! I always dreamed of having a little boy. Daddy and I were thrilled! Of course, you wouldn't sit still for your ultrasound. You were so active that the ultrasound technician asked me to get up and walk around to see if you would settle down long enough to finish. But you didn't! I had to come back on another day to finish the rest of the ultrasound! That day I knew for sure that you were going to take after Mommy's side of the family! We can never sit still and our feet are constantly going. You have never stopped kicking your little feet! Even strangers comment to me on how "his feet never stop moving!" We decided that day we were going to name you Crew James. I loved the name Crew and James came from your Grandpap Kline.You have grown into your name perfectly. You even look just like Grandpap too so James was very fitting for your middle name!

Before you were born I was so nervous about being a Mommy. I had no idea what to expect! I remember thinking to myself every time I would feel you move that you were a beautiful baby
boy who was so sweet and innocent and I couldn't imagine you ever being anything BUT that. Evey encounter I ever had with a baby was screaming and demanding and impatient! But I knew in my heart that you were going to be a sweet boy just like I had envisioned.

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

You were in no hurry to meet me! But I couldn't wait another day to meet you! Your calm, laid back, no fuss attitude was already coming through! You had to be helped along because you were
so comfy and cozy in there. When you were finally born I expected to hear a screaming baby. But I only heard two little cries. Your cry was the cutest thing I had ever heard and the most
beautiful sound. After those two cries you stopped. I kept shouting over to the nurses, "Is he okay?! Is he okay?" The nurses reassured me that you were just fine. I thought there must have
been something wrong with you. You had been thrust into this brand new, cold, bright, sterile world with loud noises and metal objects and you just laid there looking around with big
eyes. I was so happy that you were healthy! Speaking of healthy, you weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces!  The doctor thought there was a msitake when they weighed you, but the scale was right! You were so big and strong already!

You were so alert! I kept trying to catch glimpses of you. I was so very tired, but I just wanted to see you! You were so beautiful. Handsome is the word you would probably prefer. Handsome like your Daddy.You had almond shaped eyes.Those eyes were the most breathtaking thing I have ever seen! They were a grayish green-blue color, like nothing I have ever seen. Your skin was so tan and perfect! You had a little button nose(which I recognized from your ultrasound picture). You had a perfect little chin and chubby cheeks. You were absolutely exquisite. I watched your Daddy look at you and snap pictures. He was such a proud Dad. The nurse gave him your hand and you wrapped your little hand around his finger and wouldn't let go. I fell in love with your Daddy for the second time that day. Never, ever forget how much he loves you, Crew. He would do anything for you. He has changed your diapers, fed you, burped you, tickled you, bathed you, played with you for hours on end and loved you unconditionally. He would go to the ends of the earth for you. You are so blessed to have him as your Daddy and never forget how much he loves you.

The first time I held you I couldn't believe you were all mine! You stared right into my eyes. I never knew such an unconditional love before. My needs disappeared and all that mattered was you. You taught me the true meaning of love. Pure, honest, selfless love.

Your Daddy used to swaddle you like a little burrito. You thought it was a game to get see how fast you could break out of your swaddle. We called you "Houdini". Daddy was an expert swaddler! I could never get you as tight as he did!

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

You made being a mommy very easy. Some people have still not even heard you cry and you are almost seven months old! It takes a lot to rattle you. I can tell you already have a tender heart. When you hear other babies cry, it makes you cry! When everyone around you is happy, you are happy. You have never once cried when you needed to be changed. You have never once cried in the bath tub either, not even when your were teeny tiny. You have always loved playing and splashing in the tub! It is your favorite part of the day besides meal time.

You have always been such a good sleeper. You LOVE your sleep! You have slept 8-12 hours a night since you were 12 weeks old and you take two long naps every day. I love my sleep too! Thank you Crew for letting me rest. You have always loved your crib. You have slept there every single night since you were born. You love the mobile your Daddy made you. You giggle and laugh at it every night when it is time for bed. Every morning you wake up at 9:00. You talk and laugh and play in your crib until I come in to see you. As soon as you see the light come on you get so excited and start looking for me. You give me the BIGGEST smile and kick your legs as hard as you can when you see my face! You make me feel so special.

You love to play with your doggies. You get so excited when they come into your room. They all love you and act as if you have been here all along. They are your best buds.

Lately I have been having a hard time with you growing up. I spend every second with you, but it never seems like enough. I wish I could just pause time right now. You are six months old and you are so much fun! You love to play, but you are still dependent on me for all of your needs. I get this heavy feeling in my heart when I think about you growing up. I am so blessed to be able watch you grow, but I know I will blink and you won't be a baby anymore. I keep telling Daddy," I am just not ready for this." He knows exactly what I am talking about every time I say it and he just laughs. I am just not ready for you to grow up yet. I know, it sounds so dramatic because you are only six months old. But time is going so fast and you will only be a baby once and I want to cherish every moment. I know you will only be small enough to hold in my arms for a very short time in your life and I am just not ready to give that up. 

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

Every day you give me the most precious gift. You give me the best of you. You are never worried about bills or dishes or laundry. You invite me to forget all those worries and kiss your cheeks and tickle your feet and allow your laughter to carry all my cares away. Silly things that used to bother me like the garden that needs weeded or the countertops that need replaced seem so trivial now. My hair is always in a pony tail and I am usually wearing Daddy's sweats and your sweet potatoes and my glasses, but you never seem to mind or even notice. You love me all the same. You never judge anyone by their appearance. You greet everyone with a smile. How much better would this world be if we were all like you, Crew? Kind and sweet and innocent and never casting judgement on others?

I pray you stay the way you are now, Crew. Don't ever lose your sweetness. You have changed my world with your smile and I know you can change the world with just your smile. You have the most patience I have ever witnessed in an individual. You sadly did not get this from me (or your Daddy) but I know beyond a doubt that God gave you this patience to teach me how to be more patient, more forgiving, more accomodating to others. God is so amazing, Crew. He could have easily given me an impatient demanding baby to teach me the hard way on how to be patient. But He knew the best way for me to learn patience was by watching you every day. To learn from a precious, sweet, patient, long-suffering little boy was far more humbling for me than a screaming squawking baby who taught me the hard way. You have been the most amazing teacher. You lead me by example. Thank you Crew, for being so patient with me.You have made being a Mommy a pure joy. I do not deserve the gift of being your Mommy, but I am humbled and blessed beyond words to have been chosen for this amazing role. I do not take this role lightly. You have given me the gift of knowing what true selfless love is. You have changed the person that I see in the mirror into someone I do not recognize. Underneath the messy hair, ten extra pounds, and stretch marks is a woman who no longer worries about herself or her needs. I may look rough to others, but I am more beatiful than ever to me. You have made me more kind and caring and loving and selfless than I ever dreamed possible and that is true beauty. I had so many plans for what I wanted to teach you in life and you definitely taught me what life is all about. Thank you for being my son and my inspiration. You have filled my heart with so much love. I love you always and forever, Crew.

     "And she loved a little boy very, very much- even more than she loved herself."- The Giving Tree

Image by Truly Blessed Photography


Thursday, May 2, 2013

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Since I am notorious for my "keeping it real" blogs, I have decided to write very honestly and candidly about my journey to Mommyhood.

I am sure many of you have read the book "What to Expect When You are Expecting" or laughed out loud at the hilarity of the movie of the same name. I watched the movie when I was 3 months pregnant with Crew.As my husband and I sat in that theatre, I couldn't help but relate to many of the scenarios each of the women portrayed. I laughed at the woman with an ovulation alarm on her phone and celebrated with her when she jumped in the pool to show her husband the positive pregnancy test.I cried with the young woman who suffered a miscarriage.Having suffered two miscarriages myself it brought back a raw pain in my heart. It also brought those nagging fears that I dealt with on a daily basis. "Is there something wrong with me?" Did I do something wrong?" "What will make this pregnancy different?" "Will I ever be in the safe zone?"

As the months went on, the doctor reassured me that he did not see any reason why I could not carry this baby safely to full term.Women who have not had a miscarriage assume that they will hear the heartbeat at every appointment. I went to every appointment assuming there wouldn't be one and praying for the best. I couldn't wait for the day that I could feel my baby move so that I didn't have to wait for my next appointment to hear a heartbeat.

As I progressed through my pregnancy I began to really relate to many of the "what to expect" moments. I thought it was hysterical when someone would tell me "your're glowing." All I could think to myself is "I'm sweating like a pig. I can't see my feet.  It is summer and I am hot and bothered.My legs are rubbing together when I walk and I just want a gallon of Breyer's ice cream."

The other phrase I heard on a daily basis was,"you're all baby."Crew was 9 pounds 2 ounces at birth, so any other body part paled in comparison to my extremely large belly.With a belly that enormous it helped to distract from my ever growing thighs, butt,arms, face, calves, ankles, fingers, wrists, toes. But I most definitely knew that I was not ALL baby.

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

This brings me to another one of my "only me" stories. Most women when they are 6 months pregnant are in that perfect pregnancy stage. They aren't too big yet, but they have that cute little bump. Everyone except me. When I was 6 months pregnant I was already the size of a hot air balloon. We went on a family vacation in July with Daniel's family to the BEACH! Lucky me. It was 105 degrees that week in North Carolina. I'm always hot even when I'm not pregnant. That week was the worst torture I have ever endured.

We stayed in a beach front house. I was very content watching everyone else in their skinny beach bodies from the couch in the house in air conditioning.I literally froze everyone out of the house that week. I would turn the theromostat down to 50 degrees and everyone would walk around in sweatshirts.I kept catching my father in law turning up the theromostat and when he would leave the room I would sneak over and turn it back down.I did attempt to go on the beach one day and my belly got burnt because I refused to give up my bikini just because I was pregnant. I think my belly was the closest thing to the sun that day which explains my horrible sunburn.

 One day while everyone else was enjoying the beach and I was sitting in the house,my brother in law and his wife came into the house. We were sitting there and all of a sudden I heard my sister in law say, "I wonder if that girl is going to talk to the guys." I looked down and there was my husband and his brothers sitting on the beach. Some skinny minnie who was walking by them decided to strike up a conversation with them. I grabbed the binoculars and ran out on the balcony.As I stood there on the balcony looking through the binoculars with my big belly,  Daniel's brother pointed up to the house and the girl looked up. I was caught red handed!

She walked away and I was so upset that I started running down the steps towards Daniel. He saw me running and he knew that me running in this heat meant there must be an emergency! He ran up to meet me halfway and asked me what was wrong. I put my hand on my hip and said, "Who's your little friend?"(and yes, I pronounced friend exactly like on Scarface)  Daniel looked so confused. I then demanded to know who his "little friend" was when it registered to him who I was referring to. It was just some girl asking his brothers a question. Yes, I overreacted. But can you blame me? Here I am, waddling over the sand dunes all hot and bothered and definitely not feeling the least bit attractive. I waddled back over the sand dunes and up the steps and into the house. I was so hot and flustered. My brother in law and his wife just sat there laughing at me as I turned down the thermostat(again) and settled back down on the couch. That was my only insecure meltdown over the 9 months. I learned my lesson. Next family vacation if I'm pregnant...we are going to ALASKA!

 I was so glad that I had read "What to Expect" because it prepared me for the numerous bloody noses, swollen ankles,cravings,mood swings,cravings,dizzy spells, late night potty breaks, cravings...did I mention CRAVINGS?! I think on average I consumed a box of Trix a day.The big box. I went through about a gallon of milk every 3 days and 1 jar of peanut butter a week.I ate WELL.

I was due on Wednesday October 24th. I went to see my doctor a few weeks prior and he was afraid Crew was going to be a big boy. I really thought I looked normal. I mean, doesn't every woman look like a house when she's pregnant? Apparently he didn't think so. He told me, "You look like a cartoon character and I know you can't see it, but your shirt isn't even covering your belly right now." Ouch. So he ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound predicted Crew would weigh about 8 and a half pounds. My doctor scheduled my induction for Thursday October 25th. I am so glad that I never read the last chapter of "What to Expect." That chapter is NOT for the weak at heart!

The night before my induction I was so nervous! Daniel and I didn't sleep a wink. I was so worried that something would go wrong. I felt like I had made it this far and I just wanted to see my baby boy and know that he was healthy and safe. I had so many things running through my head. "Would I be a good mom?" "What if Crew is a fussy baby?" "What if he isn't cute?"  "What if I have post partum depression?" "I have no idea what I'm doing!" "What if something goes wrong during delivery?" I was also quite worried that I would be one of those rare statistics of women that die during childbirth. We went to the hospital at 6 in the morning to be induced.I was so ready to meet Crew!

 Eight hours of labor, 3 vaccum attempts,3 hours of pushing, a catheter, and 8 hours of labor later... I met Crew! He weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces
and was 21 and 3/4 inches long. He was HEALTHY and perfect!


All that I know is that there is not one book that could have ever prepared me for the love that I instantly felt when I saw his face. I read every book that there was on parenting, babies, pregnancy; but, I never expected to fall so completely in love with that little boy. He made every insecure and uncomfortable moment worth it.He made those 8 hours of labor worth it. He made the back pain,swollen ankles, and stretch marks worth it. He made every single thing worth it. He is my miracle. He is not what I expected. He is so much more.

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

Image by Truly Blessed Photography