Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Links 5/30/14

Run your race - Shauna Letellier via (in)courage 
Being a mom - Brianna Heldt
On Parenting Teens - Jen Hatmaker
The thrift store can be your (nearly free) storage unit - The Art of Simple
What the gang wars and the mommy wars have in common - Lisa Jo Baker

Special Needs
We need better treatment of sensory issues 
NO link between autism and childhood vaccines, a major new study finds
New study confirms increased prevelance of GI symptoms among children with autism 

And a few pictures from a recent park playdate with my friend Wendi and her two boys, Jake and Zane. Jake was so sweet to share his car with Clara. . . She was unsure at first, but warmed up a little after a few minutes. . .

 I seriously cannot get over the cuteness that is these two babies sharing the swing. . .

Camille was loving the swing. . .

And had so much fun she promptly fell asleep. . .

Enjoy your Friday, friends!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beauty in the strenuous climbs

There have been several times in my life where I have felt like I was on a never-ending strenuous climb. A climb so steep I just didn't know how I would ever make it to the top in one piece. Shoot. I couldn't even see the top, so how in the world would I ever make it there?

Losing a mom at age 7 = strenuous climb

Because surely no one should have to experience that. . . 

Battling anorexia & later pushing forward through recovery = strenuous climb

Because surely no one should have to experience that. . . 

Struggling with infertility = strenuous climb

Because surely no one should have to experience that. . . 

Facing the daunting thing that is an IVF cycle = strenuous climb

Because surely no one should have to experience that. . . 

Learning that your firstborn might not ever function like a typical child her age = strenuous climb

Because surely no one should have to experience that. . . 

Learning that there is a name, a real name, a real reason, that your firstborn might not ever function like a typical child her age. Learning that the reason is Cohen Syndrome, and that I, her mom, had a part in passing it to her = strenuous climb

Because surely no one should have to experience that. . . 

And I know you could fill in your own life experiences in place of mine above, with the sadness and heartbreaks unique to your journey. Because we all have them. We all have moments when the mountain feels too steep. Moments when it's so steep we just can't seem to put one foot in front of the other. Or even if we can, we are so blinded by our emotions and baggage we choose to haul up the mountain with us that we sometimes feel like the breath is literally being sucked out of our body.

The elevation is just too much.

You know that moment. . . that moment when you literally cannot breathe.

We all have that moment.

And these moments might tempt us to ask "What's the point?" Or "Why me?"

But if there is one thing, just one thing I have learned from my 31 year long life story, it is this. . .

There is so much beauty at the summit.

That mountain is real and tall and dark and scary and intimidating and fear inducing and filled with sadness and hurts and lost dreams and head hanging and tears shed and lots and lots of questions.

But if we just lift our head, just a little bit, we can see the rainbow that remains once the storm has cleared. The beautiful tapestry that God has been weaving together since we first set foot on the mountains base. The stretching and pruning and growth and healing is all so very, very beautiful.

So this uphill climb that you are on. You were chosen for it. I was chosen for it. That thing called Cohen Syndrome? Yep. I believe God gifted it to me because he knew I could do it. And do it well. That's not to say it won't be done without some (ok, maybe a lot of) heavy tears and hard days, but that's ok, it's expected, because remember God promised me there would be tears and hard days.

Because tears and hard days are part of the making of the rainbow. 

So that mountain you are on? Maybe today just consider how God is using you in it, tears and all. Maybe today just consider that he has selected you for this journey because He believes in you and feels that you, of all his little children, can not only climb that mountain, but can and will emerge victoriously.

So keep putting one foot in front of the other weary traveler.

There is beauty waiting for you at the top. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Links 5/23/14

Slow down, listen well, bravely ask - The Art of Simple
When You're Tired of Wearing Masks - Jennifer Dukes Lee via (in)courage
The Sweetest Sound - Journeying With Him

Special Needs
ADHD and Sensory Integration Disorder -
You Know You're An SPD Parent When. . . Part XI - The Sensory Spectrum
What is a gene mutation and how do mutations occur? - Genetics Home Reference

And a few Friday pictures. . .

Clara's last day of school was yesterday. So thankful for these precious teachers. They have been beyond wonderful in helping Clara stretch herself, while also tuning into her sensory challenges and creating an environment where she feels safe.

If you look close you will see Clara has a star stamp on her left arm. Star stamp = she stayed the entire time in music class yesterday. This has only happened one other time (usually the noise sends her into meltdown mode and one of her teachers will take her out). Way to end the school year with a bang, Clara!! So proud of you! 

And little Ms. Camille. . . aka "little Ms. Flirty pants"

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Camille 4 months

4 months old on May 14, 2014

Loves: Smiling, babbling, laughing, eating, watching big sister play, and looking at herself in the mirror.

Does not love: Being cold, when she has poop in her diaper, when we take the bottle out of her mouth to burp her, or when she looses her paci during the night/nap time.

Eating: Eats every 3.5 hours.

Diapers: Size 2

Clothes: Size 3-6 months

Weight/Height/HC - 15 pounds 13 oz (68%), 25 inches (50%), 16.73 inches (84%)***

Sleeping/Schedule: She continues to sleep well (still swaddled). We have been able to shift bedtime a tad earlier so a usual night of sleep is 8pm-7am or so. She usually wakes once to eat around 4am, although this week she has gone two nights without eating. As mentioned above, the girl loves her paci, so we have fallen into the "reinsert the paci 500x a night" game (ok, maybe not 500, maybe more like 4-6x which can feel like 500x), but as of now, we are just going with it. She takes three naps a day usually around 9am, 1pm, and 5pm (give or take 30 minutes on either end). She can last about two hours awake before needing to go back down for a nap.

Development: She can roll over from tummy to back. Her babbling is starting to have a rise and fall rhythm to it (changing tone), and she loves to babble all day long. Cutest ever! She has started giggling, which 100% melts my heart. It is so fun to see her laugh in response to others actions or voices. She also kicks and moves her arms in excitement, in response to familiar faces.

(Yes, the Bumbo is on the counter here. I assure you I never left her side.)

Adventures: No big plans in her future, just little play dates & outings here and there.

Happy 4 months, little Camille. We love you so very much!

*** We had to reschedule with the pediatrician several times, so these stats were taken on June 6th, which is actually closer to her 5 month birthday.*** :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

(in)courager community groups . . . a place for everyone

I have an exciting opportunity to share with you this morning. Today kicks off registration for the Spring 2014 session of (in)courager community groups. 


    • The (in)courager community groups exist to build safe, Christ-centered, welcoming, small groups for women through the (in)courage website and social media. With a variety of topics to choose from, the groups and your co-leaders are here to serve you, just as you are and where you are, in this season. We invite you to find a place that feels comfortable, where you can kick off your shoes, snuggle into the comfy couch and share your life with like-minded, Jesus-loving women around the world.
      It’s a place where you can grow in your friendships with other women and be encouraged to deepen your relationship with God. (in)courager groups will be led by a team of women who have a heart for serving. They aren’t experts, but have a willingness to walk with others and (in)courage them along the way. source

Not sure where you fit? There is a place for you. I promise. Just take a look at the list of groups. Whether you are a full time working mom, stay at home mom, single, a military wife, battling a chronic illness, experiencing infertility, struggling with depression, a writer, an empty nester, you fill in the blank, there is a group for you. 

I am so blessed to be leading a group this session with three other amazing women. We are leading a group called Ordinary Moms, Special Kids. A community of moms raising kids with special needs and sharing wisdom, hope, encouragement and joy for the journey. If you are a mamma to a special needs kiddo, please do consider joining us. 

This spring session runs May 26 - July 4th.

Here is a link to  our group Ordinary Moms, Special Kids. 

Here is a link to all the FAQ's about Community Groups.

This session there are more than 70 groups.

Over 160 volunteer leaders. (Yep, that's all of us us.)

A behind-the-scenes team of 9.

All praying for you and excited to encourage you in one of our free online community groups!

Whether you've been part of an (in)couragers online small group in the past or this is your first session, we would love to have you join us! In our (in)couragers community groups you'll: 
  • Meet in private Facebook groups for 6 weeks
  • Find new friends who share your same season of life & passions
  • Encourage one another
  • Pray with one another
  • Connect with leaders who aren't experts, but who love you and can't wait to get to know you!
  • Have fun!
So. . .  will you be brave and join us? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Links 5/16/14

Only two links today because well. . . we have had quite the week and there has been zero time for any link searching and/or pleasure reading. I will just spare you the details.

But these two links. . . they are really good. So I encourage you to take a second and check them out.

Because you said yes - Grace Uncommon

Beauty in what remains - The Art of Simple

And coming up Monday, I have a super exciting opportunity to share with you. I really hope you will take advantage of the resource and just jump right in feet first. Even if you are hesitant. Even if you are busy. Even if you are shy. Even if you are stressed with what life is laying at your door right now. That's all the more reason to say "yes." More details to come Monday morning.

And a few pictures of the Clara. . .  because it's Friday and well. . . what's a Friday post without a few pictures of at least one of the girls? Love her smiles so much.

In other news, we are taking Clara to her first dental appt. this morning. Please, please pray. Her oral sensory defensiveness is probably the highest & most sensitive overall. I don't even know how they will get a peak in her mouth. Cohens makes her more prone to tooth decay, so it is important that we take her now. We did locate a pediatric dentist that specializes in children with special needs, so for that we are very thankful. Thanks for the prayers, friends.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Mothers Day Baby Dedication

On Mothers Day our church had its semi annual baby dedication. A time where all the babies born in the previous six months are honored during service, and parents make a pledge before the church to raise up their baby in the Lord. We were so blessed to dedicate Camille to the Lord this past Sunday. Such a neat feeling to do so on a day dedicated to being a mom. It feels like just yesterday we were standing on this same stage with Clara.

After church we went home to let the girls rest (no one got any sleep the night before) and then met up with my family for lunch. My parents gifted me with this shadow box.

It is filled with pictures of me and my biological mom, and the little Bible she used to read to me when I was a baby. Such a thoughtful gift on such an appropriate occassion. And so honoring to a mom who did her best with what life dealt her, and who had to leave this Earth far too soon. Mothers Day will always be a bitter sweet day of reflection for me. (Brandon knows this and is always so sweet to just let me "ride out" my emotions. He might hear & see me crying one second, and then might see my face filled with joy & laughter the next). I find myself missing my mom immensley and wishing she was here to celebrate days such as Camille's baby dedication, yet also so thankful for the mom the Lord chose to fill this gap for me. To my mom in heaven and my mom here on Earth, I love you both so very much. Happy (belated) Mothers Day.

And I thought Brandon's cards to me this year were pretty cute. . . Love them!

(And a big thanks to Wendi and Aja for taking pics Sunday morning, and letting me steal a few.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Clara's 2nd Birthday Party

This past weekend we celebrated Clara turning TWO! It was a great afternoon at our house filled with family, friends, cupcakes, and great weather! Can't ask for much more! And a big thanks to my mother in law, Debbie, who played photographer for the afternoon.

And yes. . . I went there. Tacky? Maybe. But you don't really understand how much anxiety fills my body when I think of a lizard coming into the house. Just ask my dad. Who over the course of the past two years has had to drive to my house multiple times and trap lizards that have entered. Because there is a little family of them that live right outside the back door. And apparently I don't know how to spell lizard. That just goes to show how little I think of the creepy things. Or maybe it just goes to show that I slept through my 3rd grade spelling lessons. You decide. 

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