Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

     What a year this has been.  I could have never have imagined EVERYTHING we as a family would of gone through this past year.  It was the most amazing and difficult year all at the same time.  Here are a few of the highlights:

Turing 21:  Tony and I both turned 21.  Mine was in January and Tony's was in April.  Even though the birthday's seemed huge at the time, it does not seem like quit the same impact now. 
January Pregnancy Picture
Tony in April when we visited St. Louis for the weekend.

St. Louis:  Tony and I went to St. Louis as a prebaby celebration.  It is something I recommend everybody do.  What a great way to go and celebrate our new family.

1st Year Anniversary:  In June we celebrated our first year of marriage.  We enjoyed a nice dinner at home.  I was a bit big to enjoy much else. 


Sweet Pea's Birth: Of course our biggest news of the year is Sweet Pea.  Wow!  She has changed our lives so much.  I knew a child would change us, but not to the extent it did.  I mean this in positive and negative ways.  Sweet Pea has been a true blessing.  However, she has also put our marriage through some of its most difficult challenges.  I have been thankful for a God of mercy and grace who has been patient with me as a wife and a mother, desiring to teach me so much!!!


Hysterectomy:  As many of you know, shortly after Sweet Pea's birth the unexpected rocked our world.  I had to have an emergency hysterectomy.  To read more on the details of this check out our blog in August, September, and October.  God completely changed our world within an hours time.  Again this has been both trying and a blessing.  We have given up many hopes and dreams.  I still daily greive the loss of future biological children.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed with saddness.  Many times I am unsure of who to talk to or what to say.  However, Tony and I are excited to be given a chance to adopt more children then we could of ever dreamed.  I love to talk to people about this opportunity.  I see God open doors and hearts through our story.  It is only something God could do.  Here is a picture of our family in the ICU.  Sweet Pea is less then 24 hours old.


Graduation:  My personal milestone was graduating from ISU w/ a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences/Family Relationships.  I may never do anything with my degree, as I am excited to be a stay at home mom.  However, I am excited to share this moment with my supportive husband and adoring daughter.


This year has brought me through the biggest emotional rollercoasters of my life.  God has grown my faith beyond anything I could have every of imagined.  I feel like our journey is just beginning.  I ask that those of you who have been praying for our family continue.  Our losses with in the last year cause daily grief.  We are striving to follow God's plan and purpose for our lives.  We also have a scary year ahead of us.  Tony will be graduating in May and is currently looking for a job.  We are unsure of what the future holds or where it will be head.  We also hope to begin our adoption journey this coming summer.  We are not sure whether that will entail just research or whether that means we will begin the daunting but worthwhile paper trail. I will leave you with one last picture of our little chica, hopefully you will find a good smile or laugh in this picture.  May God bless you in the new year!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Seeing Life Through Different Eyes

Look at those beautiful blue eyes.  Lately, I have been struck by what my daughter sees.  Really, my eyes are old.  I have been experiencing things for over 21 years and I am well seasoned.  I do not see the freshness or joy to life that I once did.  One of the things parenting has taught me to is to look at life through my daughter's eyes.  She is seeing everything for the first time and it shows. 

Her most recent discover is herself (in the mirror) and her feet.  She will stare at her feet as they move with awed fascination.  I look at my feet and think "I really should paint my toes" or "maybe I should use some lotion".  However, Sweet Pea looks at her feet and its a whole new world.  Her eyes are saying "those things move and they are a part of me.  How neat."  She looks in the mirror and smiles, but before her face can break out into a full grin she quickly gets serious.  Its like shes a bit nervous around her new found friend.

I'm rediscovering the world again as my daughter discovers her own.  God made this world for us to enjoy.  However, as time goes on our eyes grow old and our hearts become experienced.  Its fun to hear a sound as simple as the car door shutting and see Sweet Pea perk up.  It causes me to reappriciate that sound.  God gave me those ears to enjoy those very sounds.  And as I take a walk with my daughter I am able to relearn all the beauty around me.  So, I pray that as my daughter gets older I take the time to rediscover the world over and over again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Two Months: Part II

This second part of a two month update is about Addilece and her cousin, Josiah. Josiah is my sister's son. They are just under two months apart. When Addilece was born I said that they would have the biggest difference in size ever. That is totally evident now. Check out how both of these little cuties have grown.
Sisters enjoying their babies. Papa and Nana love their grandkiddos.We took a picture of Josiah and Addilece's feet when they were first born...we decided to continue that this time. (Top: A-Left, J-Right; Bottom: A-Right, J-Left)Right after this picture Sweet Pea swung her keys in Josiah's direction and he started chewing on them. Soon they will be sharing toys because they want to...not on accident.
Also, have fun w/ this video. Sweet Pea is usually a bit more active then this...but of course the camera came out and she defied what she normally does. Its also amazing that Josiah didn't roll over this whole time...boy can he move.
video

Happy Two Months Baby Girl: Part I

I am going to do this post in two parts because it will be incredibly long if I don't.

Our little peanut is growing up. She is two months old (ok by this post she is 2 1/2 but you get the picture). I can't believe how much changes in a week, let alone a month. We have begun the smiley stage. It is SO much fun! Her favorite time is on her changing table. Boy can we get her going then.


Boy is this little chica a daddy's girl. He was the first one to make her laugh. Whenever he is around she just stares at him. It is so fun to watch that Daddy/Daughter relationship.


Here are the stats: She is 14 lbs, 5 oz. She is 24 1/2 inches long. She now smiles and laughs. She is sleeping through the night (mostly). She received 3 shots and one oral and she hates medication. She loves bath time but we are still working on tummy time. No rolling yet and no attempted rolling. Although if she gets frustrated enough on tummy time she might just kick herself over one of these days. Daddy loves to dress her in dresses and mommy loves hair bows.

I wanted to write a letter every month to her. Well, that did not happen at one month. Seeing that I am better at blogging then actually sitting down to write a letter I just thought I would blog it and transfer it later.
Dear Sweet Pea,
Wow, I can't believe you are two months already. The other day we went and visited baby Isaac (well, you didn't because you had a cold). It made me remember that feeling of holding you for the first time and how little you were. You loved to snuggle w/ mommy and daddy and now you've become Little Miss Independent. I can't get over how much you want to do. You HAVE to face forward because you HAVE to see everything. Snuggling is no fun because you might miss something important. You are happiest when you are holding a toy (I don't think you understand you have a toy but you know you have something). You love to dance around the living room w/ your Daddy to Jack Johnson, Second Hand Serenda, and any other crazy artist Daddy can get you to listen to. We are still working on skills like Tummy Time, but we know we will get it some day.
I love to stare into your beautiful blue eyes and say to myself, shes really mine. I am blown away that God would grant me the privilege of raising you. Sometimes I get frustrated because people call you chubby, your not as happy as another baby, or someone questions how I am raising you. However, God has blessed me w/ an amazing little lady. I can't wait to grow as a mom as you grow as a child. We are taking this journey together. Everyday you teach me something new. Just the other day I discovered how beautiful your laugh was. And, if you thought I was crazy when I was trying to get you to smile (trust me, you did), then you are really going to think I am crazy when I try to get you to laugh.
I'm discovering as a mother that I will not always do things perfect, and I will not do things just like others do. Pastor Ed told me right before I had you...you will find as a parent that God grants you supernatural wisdom. I am so thankful for the wisdom he is granting me. No matter what God will show me (and your wonderful Daddy) the best way to raise you. We don't need to answer to anybody else but him.
Thank you so much for making life fun. Your Dad and I have discovered we love each other in a completely different way because of you!
I love you Baby Girl!
Mommy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Festivities: A Day at the Pumpkin Patch


Tony had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off this last week. A rarity for us (thank you Lord for the rain). We decided to take full advantage of this and go to the pumpkin patch. This was a lot of firsts for us/me. I have never actually gone pumpkin picking (I've been to a pumpkin patch though), I've never carved a pumpkin, I've never eaten pumpkin seeds, and we've never been on a family outing like this since Sweet Pea was born.
 It was a cold and very wet day, but it was so worth it. There farm isn't huge but they sure do have a lot in it. Everything is FREE except facepainting and the corn maze. If we are still in this area in years to come then I think it will easily be a family favorite.
Get a load of this cutie pa tutie. Don't you just love the matching sweater and hat. I don't think she was necessarily too thrilled w/them.
Walking through the pumkin patch w/ Daddy (already fast asleep).
We found one!
Can you believe this monster?

Yes, they were pretty heavy...and yes I am a weakling.

She was both small and lighter then these pumpkins. She was a whole lot lighter. Tony's is the fat round one and mines the very tall one.

Tony cleaning out the insides of his pumpkin so we could bake the seeds...yummy!

Carving a pumpkin for the first time. Check out the knife hanging out of the nose of Tony's pumpkin....needless to say we have't baby proofed our house yet. :P
The finished result. I thought they turned out pretty cool. Mine is a "family-o-lantern" and Tony's is Gweedo. I decided next year I was doing an easier design.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Day of Family

Tony and I finally got a chance to take Sweet Pea to meet her Great Grandparents. What a special time this was for us. Tony had the most amazing Grandparents. They are some of the most loving people I have ever met. They have always treated me as their own granddaughter. They were so excited to meet their youngest great grandchild. It touched my heart to watch them hold and cuddle with her.
(Great) Grandma and Grandpa Snyder getting to know Sweet Pea.Lots of cuddle time!!! Boy did Sweet Pea have a fun day.

We also had another privilege that day. Sweet Pea got to meet an uncle that she had not met before, Uncle Justin. Jay just got back from his deployment in Afghanistan. It was exciting for us to see him and to introduce him to his niece. She sure loved him. She cuddle right up next to him. Thanks for serving your country Jay. We are so excited to have you home!
I've always loved spending time with family. Tony and I hope to pass our appreciation for family on to our daughter. This day was one I want to make sure I remember for her!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baby Dedication

This past Sunday was our baby dedication of Sweet Pea. This was not something we had planned on doing this early. In fact the original plan was to dedicate our child (at the time we didn't know whether it was going to be a Logan or an Sweet Pea) in December, when I graduated. That way all the family would already be here and we could do it in one fell swoop. Tony and I gave Sweet Pea back to the Lord the Sunday after she was born. We were able to pray over her with our Pastor (Ed) and his wife (Lea). We are so thankful for all their encouragement and prayers...I realize more and more what a great Pastor we have and we love his amazing wife. Anyway I am digressing. So this Sunday we committed Sweet Pea to the Lord publicly. At the bottom I put what Tony said. I thank God for a husband with so much wisdom. God really gave him the perfect words.
Side note: It was a fifth Sunday month. Like most churchs ours does something special. We had a combined service followed by a potluck/picnic. Everyone was told to come in their picnic clothes. That is why our Pastor has on blue jeans...we normal don't wear them either.
I have always known, since I was young that I would redidicate my children to the Lord. I didn't know how hard that was going to be. I'm sure it is hard for any parent to give their children back, to let them go, no matter the circumstances that surround them. However, I didn't expect the other emotions that came with the day: joy and peace. I was overwelhmed knowing that my daugther is now in the safiest place she can be: God's hands. I could hold her close and protect her but I am no match for God's protection. That was so extremely comforting.
Enjoy this family picture we took that day. I'm taking every possible oppertunity to get family pictures:

In case anyone has not yet heard, after the birth of Sweet Pea, Heather experienced some complications and had to have an emergency hysterectomy. We would like to thank everyone for all their prayers and support we truly have felt God’s Grace. 2 Days after Sweet Pea was born we put her into the nursery so that we could focus on talking and praying together. During this time with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes we gave her back to the Lord. We know it would be easy to keep her to ourselves and spoil her especially with these special circumstances, but we also know that is not what is best for her. It is our desire to be and live as Godly parents, but above all it is our desire that Sweet Pea would come into a saving relationship with Jesus. We stand before you today for two reasons. First, to make our commitments know so that you can keep us accountable, but more importantly to ask for your help. Help us lead her to Jesus. Then, help her become the woman God intends her to be.

If you would like to help us, we ask that you continue to pray. Physical ailments are fleeting while emotional scars require life-long healing.

Once again thank you for all your prayers and support.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finding Pure Joy

James 1:2-4
Consider if PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops preserverance. Perserverance must finish its work so that you may be mature, not lack anything.
Consider it pure joy....those are odd words to consider when you look at what our family is going through right now. I don't believe that God is asking Tony and I to have joy about what has happened. However, I do think that God wants us to look for the blessing in the storm. He wants us to have joy in the growth and maturity that we will obtain through Him. This hardship has and will bring us closer to each other and to God if we let Christ work through us. So, I wanted to write about some of the many ways God has been taking care of us through out this whole process.
*I had an easy birth with Addilece: 8 hours of labor, 25 minutes of pushing. God protected her and me. He had left me with an amazing amount of strength. He also had her out of the womb and healthy before I even went to surgery. Could you imagine what Tony would of gone through if she would of been in trouble too?
*I had an amazing team of nurses who had the insight to realize there was a problem. They were truely on top of the situation.
*My parents decided to stay until I was out of surgery. I don't know what Tony would of done if he hadn't had them, and later his family, there to help with the baby. He needed Addilece near for comfort, but he wasn't always in the best state of mind to care for her.
*My doctor. I will never be able to thank Dr. Dameron properly. God gave me a doctor who had expirenced this once before. She was quick with her decisions, which helped to keep me safe. She also stayed until I was settled into ICU (2:30 in the morning), and she checked on me twice the next day (one of those times she was not on shift yet).
*Addilece...she in herself is an amazing blessing! God granted us a child. Many couples could not have any but God gave us the amazing gift of our daughter.
*Tony had a whole day to connect with his daughter. I have a husband who has looked forward to having a son all his life. He wanted to teach him how to fix things, do sports with him, and just wrestle. God gave us a daughter, my heart broke for Tony when I realized I couldn't give him his son. But God allowed Tony to have an entire day to care for his daughter. They have a very special bond. I can't wait to see how it develops and matures in the future.
*We are part of an amazing body of Christ. They have been surrounding us with prayer. We have felt the peace of God because of their prayers. We also have two wonderful churches that we grew up in that have step up to support us. Wow God has been good!
Through this trial God has brought us so much peace and joy. We love to watch our daughter grow and change. We can also see God bringing us closer as a couple. Tony and I grieving together has created a closeness that I could of never imagined as a couple. I know that my husband is expierencing the same pain and loss that I am. We also know that we can not do this journey with out our Heavenly Father. We must lean on Him. We have begun to mature...for that I am thankful and I do find joy!
Everyone should check out the following pictures on flicker. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8500355@N08/sets/72157621888776415/ These pictures were taken by the very talented Ashley Netzer. Addilece has changed so much since these photos (she was 11 days old in them) but they are just so stinkin cute that I had to share. Ashley captured such an amazing moment for us. You should also check out her website at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One Month

What a difference a month makes. Sweet Pea is 4 weeks old tomorrow (Friday). I can't believe how much she has grown up in one month. Here are some pictures to show the change.

Before: I had to have a towl to help hold my head up in my bouncer and I was rather little for it (sorry apparently I forgot to edit this photo and turn it). Now: I hold my head up pretty well on my own and my bouncer doesn't swallow me.
Before: I had to take sponge baths. I hated them. Now: I love taking baths in my bathtub. Its much cozier.
Before: Nana and Papa's swing would swallow me whole. Now: I'm starting to fit in it pretty well.
Sweet Pea's one month appointment is next Tuesday, so I don't have any specks yet. Tony tried to measure her a week or two ago and were pretty sure she's at least 21 in now. I'm guessing 9 lbs. She has really good control of her head. She can keep it pretty steady for 5 to 10 minutes as this video shows....
video
She loves to "play" with mommy and daddy, read books, and go for walks. She loves her bouncer and her swing. She moves EVERYTHING....her arms, legs, and even her tongue. Its so exciting to see her grow and change.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Greiving the Loss of Something Never Had

A recent picture of my cutie...she has learned to hold her head up. In the past week has started to become more stable and hold it up for longer periods of time.
Tony and I feel that ever since the hysterectomy we have been grieving the loss of something we never actually had. Many things we never actually had. It feels like we are saying goodbye to four wonderful children. We are saying good bye to children we will never know or see.

We have also had to say good bye to many dreams that we had. Tony really was looking forward to having a boy. I was too, but not in the same since as him. Wrestling on the floor, playing and coaching sports teams, crawling under the kitchen sink to fix a leaking pipe. I looked forward to watching me sons walk in their father's foot steps...and want to be "just like him". Please, don't get me wrong. Tony and I have many hopes and dreams with Addilece. There are many things we are looking forward to doing with her...these are just some of the dreams we are learning to give up. I grieve for my husband...as I feel at times his loss is harder than mine.

I grieve so many weird and little things. The hustle and bustle of a house full of kids, teaching our daughter how to become and good big sister, her going w/ Daddy to pick out the coming home outfit (and adding a new child to that tradition every time), taking my little guys on mother/son dates, watching my kids learn from each other, ...oh the list could go on forever. It feels like I am constantly being reminded of that loss...whether its the mom w/ the many kids at the grocery store or Tony and I talking about a child hood memory or someone asking "is this your first". I also know that there will be other times that it hits such as Addilece's first birth day, first day of school, first everything (we will only have some of those first once) or when I get to hold a newborn niece or nephew. I'm very sure this grieving process will never end.

Some of these hopes and dreams we will probably experience someday. I will never hold my own newborn...but I do hope to hold my child. I will never have a son who looks just like his father....but I do hope to have a son who will play sports and fix things with daddy. I'm looking forward to the hustle and bustle of a house that has a rainbow of kids in it.

However, I had to smile the other day. As I walked down the isle at Walmart I noticed a mother with her two kids. The little girl was obviously adopted, possibly a Guatemalan Princess-knowing how many kids in this community are from there. I was amazed at how different her and her brother looked but yet how they seemed no different then any other siblings. I wanted to go up and ask that mother a million questions. I've been learning that God has blessed me with a unique gift....I get to love the fatherless. I will have the privilage of showing my daughter his gift of salvation in a very real way...as we prepare her for not the birth of a sibling but the homecoming of a sibling.
I have also been learning that even though I had plans, God had greater plans. I know that some of the things I do for my daughter now will be better for her in the future...even though she may not be thrilled with them (she would rather be held all day to sleep and not be put down). That is a beautiful reminder to me that God is doing things and Tony and my life now that I might not understand or like, but are better for us in the end. Grieving is painful but I find peace in God. I know I must seek Him daily for that, and somedays I just can't bring myself to except that peace. I know though that He has wrapped me in His arms and is holding me tight through the process.
I just wanted to clarify why I am blogging all of this. There are several reasons behind it. First, our Pastor encouraged us to journal...this is my way of doing that. Second, I deal will things by talking about them, I have done a lot of that with people I love. However, this is another way for me to talk about it. Last, I know that there are a lot of people out there reading this who understand what I'm going through for one reason or another. It is encouraging to know they are reading this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Arms Open to God

In the last week and a half I have had a roller coaster of emotions. After the surgery I knew that I was not going to have anymore children but it didn't hit. The full realization of what that meant had not touched me. In fact, the first time I showed any emtions to it is was when I was waiting for my blood to be drawn. I thought I was going back upstairs at 3. At 3:30 we found out that they first had to draw my blood and wait for the test to come back. That could take an hour. I was thinking "I have already missed so much of my child's life and now because someone is not doing their job I will miss even more of it." I didn't want to miss a single minute of her life.

The next time I really felt anything was Sunday night. We had a packed day of visitors and as I sat there and breastfed my beautiful daughter in my very quiet room I just started to cry. I began to tell her how desperetaly I loved her. I told her how very special she was to both her Daddy and myself. And then I told her that her daddy and I would always lover her, no matter what. She could not do anything to hurt that love. I let her know that just because we knew she would be our only biological child does not meant that she had any special obligations or expectations to live up to. Tony walked in on my crying.

After we let our last visitors go for the night tony and I took Addilece to the nursery and came back to talk. We poured out our sorrow to God and to each other. We held each other as we shed deep tears of saddness.

Tony and I will never know why God let this happen. We know we live in a sinful world and our bodies suffar from that sin. This is just part of that. We don't think God "caused" this. We know he could of stopped it but that wasn't his plan or will. God took our lives and chaged them drastically within a few hours.

My instincts tell me to take my daughter and hold very close, as close as I can get her. I want to protect her from everything. I want to make sure we pour all our time and energy in to her. But as Tony and I talked we both realized that doing that will not bring about the best results for our daughter. We want her to become a Godly woman, and raising her that way will probably not bring that about. We also realized that God has given her to us temporarly and as a gift. I asked Tony, "If God decided to take her tommorrow could we let her go?" Both of realized that we did not ever want to give her up, but that if God asked for her back then we had to give her back. As Tony and I prayed that night he said "God wether she is ours for 18 years or 5 minutes, we want to raise her your way."

That night Tony and I took our arms and offered our daughter back to God. I hope that God grants us the 18 years. I know that if he doesn't, that he will give me the grace to get through it. I know that he has wrapped his arms around her and is hold her close to him. In God's grace and protection is the safest place for Addilece. Tony and I can not protect her the way our Heavenly Father can.

Tony and I will be offically giving Addilece back to the Lord on August 31st. We will be doing this in front our church for accountability and encouragement. Part of me is screaming that this is a stupid idea. I keep thinking "do you realize what you are committing to? Do you know you are giving God the ability to take her away?" I have to remind myself that God can choose to take her wether I do this or not. My attitude towards it will make the difference in how I raise her and my ability to cope with it.

We have also realized that we will daily need to remind ourselves of this. I know I'm going to draw lines with God. "You can have her here, but there is no way I am giving her up here." We know that we need an accountablity system. We are praying that God will develop a network of people to help us stay on the Godly track of raising our daughter.

While in the hospital we had a friend come in who has struggled with her son for many monthes. Her and her husband have dealt with many things since the begining of their marriage. She gave me a set of notecards to write Bible verses on. She also included some of the most meaningful ones to her. Here is one of those verses:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. wait on the Lord; he of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27: 13-14

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Here are some shots for Sweet Pea's first week. ENJOY!


Meeting mommy for the first time.

Ready to go home from the hospital! Daddy got me my pretty dress.

My first bath at home. I really didn't enjoy it but I'm gettting better!

Daddy picks me out the BEST outfits. This one says "I'm berry sweet!" Maybe he will take me shopping when I'm older!
Meeting cousin Josiah for the first time. He was born June 2, 2009. We are almost exactly two months apart. Daddy also got me this dress.
Tired and hot...but I sure like the swing at Nana and Papa's house.
Boy do I hate to be swaddled.
Confy, cozy and clean!
Aunt Brittney is Mommy's best friend. I bet Josiah is going to be like a big brother to me.
Nana and Papa sure like being with their grandkids.
Enjoying some cuddle time with Mawmaw and Pawpaw.

My parent's are so excited that I am here!