Wednesday, November 30, 2011

free time...

Not that I ever had much free time after Jack,
but now even that little much I MIGHT have had during a random nap or after bedtime is a distant memory...
even now I am typing with one hand and holding a screaming Declan in the other.
Motherhood is glorious:)
This week, Tim headed back to work and I quickly realized that this was going to get overwhelming pretty quickly. Someone once said the hardest jump is going from no kids to your first one. I have found this to be utter crap. Not only am a recovering from my 3rd c-section (which is not going well and is an entirely different story) I am also outnumbered most of the time. Newborns are demanding enough with feedings and diaper changes, pair that with my strong-willed Jack and it can be a chaotic scene around here rather quickly.
Thank God for sweatpants and my nasty bathrobe with pockets. At one time, this robe came from the most luxurious resort Southern California had to offer: The Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach....I can assure you that is is anything but nowadays! My robe that is...not the hotel, which in my most trying moments I can escape to for a moment in my mind when I need a quick sanity check.
Being a stay at home mom is easily the HARDEST job I have ever had to do. Harder than dealing with rich clients at that luxury resort, harder than guiding a classroom full of children, harder than saying goodbye to my husband for a deployment to Iraq...But seeing my two healthy children together is precious to me and makes even those hardest days worth it. And how could you not want to eat up those two precious faces in the photos. The brotherly love is so sweet to watch...And Jack is quickly coming around (most of the time).
Sure. I live in sweatpants lately. Whatever. I also live in the woods with no one around to see me...If I still lived in SoCal I know I would feel a bit more ashamed. So to keep a higher standard for myself, today I didn't just put on any sweatpants. I pulled out my new Juicy Couture ones, still with tags and prided myself that only a month ago I couldn't even pull them over my huge thighs. They now fit. Here's to getting a little piece of the old Julie back:)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Introducing Declan Thomas

Getting ready to go home!


I can't believe our baby is over a week old already!
Declan Thomas was born according to plan on 11.11.11 at 11:58 am.
He has been an amazingly easy baby...
its Jack that has been keeping us on our toes this last week.
I am not surprised!
Declan sleeps all the time.
He hardly cries.
This is truly an easy baby so far.
And thank goodness because Jack is giving us a run for our money.
The kid is SLOWLY adjusting to having someone else around.
For right now, I'm doing good just putting up some pictures!
So thankful that he is here safe and sound!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The final countdown


Can it really be happening this week?!
I am in shock that we'll be driving to the hospital in just 3 days to meet our newest addition. In the meantime, I know that I have been meaning to get this blog updated...
and here is the truth,
I have typed out 3 blogs and then my computer won't let me post them.
I about had a nervous breakdown, so after taking a week break from attempting to post anything, this one is going to be short and sweet but with some photos.
The nursery is done.
It was super easy and fun and Tim and I really enjoyed doing a little bit each night.
And then there was Halloween,
which was also so much fun this year with Jack.
He was a goldfish and tolerated being paraded around like a champ. But of course, the photos of that won't download tonight...so there are after and before's of the nursery since I couldn't seem to get those in the right order either. These days, I pick my battles. Something is better than nothing, right?
So these last few days I have been spending a lot of time just being with Jack and enjoying our last few moments of 1 on 1 time. Reading and playing cars and doing puzzles...
because come Friday, our world is about to get rocked.
In a crazy good way:)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

About that time...

This is the time in my pregnancy when I am about done...
except that I know my life is about to change into pure chaos,
so while I am ready to no longer be pregnant (the aches, pain and diabetes)
I am not yet ready to give up my 6+ hours of uninterrupted sleep at night.
Jack is crazy.
The kid is into everything. Walking. Opening doors. Stealing my phone...making huge messes. Normally this would not bother me.
But when we were at Walgreens the other day and he dropped 2 bags of cough drops on the floor on purpose I nearly burst into tears.
I can't bend over.
I can't pick things up off the floor.
I wanted to completely lose my mind...
and that is how I know I am ready to not be huge any more:)
But I am not yet ready for baby #3.
For the first time, I will have two children here with me.
I'm already a mother of 2 boys (soon to be 3) but I've never been able to hold more than one at a time...and they were years apart.
How is this going to work?
I'm excited yet scared and anxious. Even with having #3 here, I know our family won't feel complete. Jack will be a big brother. But he's never known being the little brother either.
Heavy stuff.
I've got a lot on my mind lately,
all while trying to keep up with Jack and get the new baby room ready.
We're also moving Jack's room to be by the new baby,
since moving out of this house won't be happening.
So I have 2 rooms to complete in just a matter of weeks.
It can be done.
Those are the easy things...
how do you explain about being a big brother to a 14 month old?
How do you prepare from going to having a single living child to two? All while focusing not on what could have or should have been and focusing instead of the living boys God has blessed us with?
The only constant in life is change.
But honestly, the only thing I wish I could change at the moment is to trade in my tired, exhausted body for someone with super-human strength...
'cause I could really use that right now:)
We are so excited for this new baby and to grow our family.
And as the leaves are starting to change
and the weather grows cooler,
I know its only a matter of weeks until we can finally meet him.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

catch up

When I think about how far behind I've gotten in blogging,
it really blows my mind.
I used to write nearly every day when I began this as a hospital update over 3 years ago. And then after Will died, it was really my only outlet to deal with the incredible loss.
I cherish those entries...and looking back its crazy to see how far we have come in the last 3 years. Literally, I was on the brink of no hope. So devastated after losing Will just 3 months after I quit my job as a teacher in Southern California to start a new beginning in Michigan.
And then it was just wiped away.
I felt like I had lost everything,
and in a way...I really did.
But slowly, as days passed into weeks, which passed into months...I now sit here 3 years later with a 13 month old son and another healthy baby on the way who will be here in November.
And I feel so blessed.
Not just for my children,
but for everything along the journey.
I don't have time to blog like I used to.
But it is because of my little blessings that keep me busier than I have ever been in my life.
Sure, I miss writing like I used to.
But some day soon, the clinging little arms and whining will be all grown up...
and it will have gone so fast.
I would rather have this, then an empty (and clean!) house and hours to write because I have no one that needs me for hugs and naps and stories.
But in the meantime, I really do have to do at least one entry a week. Because I want to remember all of this too.
Life has finally found a new sense of normal.
It has taken a long time,
but there is always hope for better things to come if you have enough faith.
Even if at the time it seems only as big as a seed,
that is all it takes...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack's 1st Birthday

Jack's facial expression was so precious when everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to him!
Digging right in to his smash cake
Yummy Monkey Pops
Lots of treats!
Okay, so Jack's 1st birthday was nearly a month ago and I am just now getting around to writing about it...total slacker! Well, not really, I mean...a LOT has been going on around here but I did cheat just a little bit and change the post date to early August so it doesn't look so bad!
Jack's party turned out great. I know its probably not top on many people's list to go to a one year olds birthday party, but we are so grateful for the family and friends that made it over to celebrate with us. After all, I know Jack won't remember any of this, but truly...we have been waiting a LONG TIME to actually celebrate our child's birthday. And it was a time to celebrate...
I had a different theme all picked out and then once I got pregnant, I just didn't have the time or energy to go all out with it like I had wanted. So there is always next year. Instead, I found this super cute monkey theme on a website and they literally had everything I needed. So I took the path of least resistence! It turned out pretty cute. My addition was the monkey pop party favors, which after working all day on them Friday, turned out to taste just as good as they looked! Whew:)
Its hard to believe Jack is already one, and his little brother will be here in just a couple of short months. Three years ago exactly we were wondering just where our lives were headed without Will. We didn't have a whole lot of hope back then, but the shred of it I did have left...couldn't even have pictured how good we would have it now.
I'm so grateful and blessed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whirlwind

Jack's 1st Haircut
Visiting the bricks that Grandma & Grandpa had done in honor of Will in Rockford.


What a crazy time these past two weeks have been.
We made it through Will's 3rd Birthday and death anniversary
just looking towards the future and Jack's 1st Birthday to get us through.
This year was still difficult and being 23 weeks pregnant only made
me more emotional.
Then on July 21st my grandmother passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's.
Even though I have been preparing for this for many years,
no matter what I might have thought, it still hit me hard.
I love my grandma,
she was the grandma I spent much time with growing up and knew the best.
So on Monday we had her funeral
and this week has felt like a roller coaster.
Again, death and birth all within a few days of each other.
And to think that just a few years ago July used to just be a completely boring month for our family!

But yesterday we celebrated Jack's 1st birthday with just the 3 of us.
He is such a good boy lately,
and I am loving him to pieces.
His big party is going to be Saturday and I am loving every minute of the preparations.
Its crazy and hectic,
but I have waited so long for this type of celebration.
My kids are going to grow up knowing just how special every year...every day...they are here on this earth really is.
As for me?
I'm looking forward to finally getting to party after all this mourning...
Its been a long time coming,
but so worth the wait.
How is Jack handling turning one?
He was a sport and was such a good boy for his 1st haircut...
we have had fun celebrating all the little "1st" this year has had to offer.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Will's 3rd Birthday

I remember every July so clearly since Will was born.
2008 being in the hospital and a huge storm whipping through the night before he was born.
2009 being so sucky as we were still grieving so hard and wondering why we couldn't get pregnant...
2010, being so darn hot and me about to explode in the heat...but determined NOT to have Jack born on his brother's birthday or the dreaded other day just 52 hours from now.
And here we are in 2011...surprisingly pregnant again, getting ready to celebrate Jack's 1st birthday in just 10 days.

This year I feel incredibly blessed,
but it doesn't take the sting of Will not being here away.
It still hurts.
But honestly, what hurts even worse is something that the passing of time brings...
the habit of forgetting.

Sure, I am planning a huge party for Jack.
But tomorrow I want to remember Will.
And we are supposed to get together with family, and some mentioned saving "time" and celebrating Jack's birthday early...

To me this is so hurtful.
I'm sure not intentional, but unfortunately we have a lot of family that rarely mentions our son, our grief and says things like "Oh yeah, we knew his birthday was around this time."
WHAT?!
And that is if they even say anything at all.
Hurtful because it is already an afterthought...
like he never existed.
And this is a battle every mother that has even lost a child has had to endure.
Because my heart won't even allow me to forget.

Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet Will.
Not a day goes by that I don't wonder what life would be like if you were still here...
what you would say,
what you would love to eat,
what you would love to play with...
and who you never got to become.

Your birthday changed daddy and me forever,
and we'll be better parents to your brothers because you were here first.
We love and miss you more than words can say...
And we are so grateful to our family and friends that are brave and strong enough to remember you...and who choose to remember, even though it isn't always easy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

3 for 3

So this is really late,
and I feel really bad about it...
but we had our 20 week ultrasound a couple of weeks ago.
I take for granted how easy it is just to post a one liner on Facebook anymore,
and that is about all the time I have lately because Jack is
INTO EVERYTHING!!

But we got word that he will have another partner in crime
in November...
A little brother to get into even more trouble with.

Tim and I were a little shocked that number 3 was another boy,
both of us feeling so blessed but wondering just how we would manage the chaos:)
But since they will only be 15 months apart,
I'm hoping they will be best buddies.

And the fact that we already are acquiring lots of boys things makes it super economical:)
I am so excited for this new little boy to join our family.
And from the look of the 3D images,
if I imagine in my head just right...
all 3 of my boys appear to have very similar features.

I'm just so thankful that everything is going well and he is healthy.
Now we play the name game...
and I am honestly out of boys names!

I promise to post the 3D pics of #3 as soon as I can get them downloaded:)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where does the time go?!

I checked in on my blog and realized that I haven't posted anything for the entire month of June...what in the world is wrong with me?!

Oh yeah, I am pregnant and chasing after an 11 month old. Despite everything that we have been through, I have to confess that the other day we were driving and I told Tim that I was almost expecting something bad to happen again. I mean, the road with Jack hasn't been paved in gold, but he brings so much joy to our lives...and the past few months (now that I am past the morning sickness and such) things have been, well, good.

Do you realize that I thought I would NEVER be able to say that ever again after Will died??

I still have days where I cry, and miss him terribly. But the truth is, his death is just so much a part of me now that I carry it around without noticing it some days. Its always there, I always feel it...but I can now function and appear to others as if nothing ever happened.
Not sure if that is good or bad,
but that is what it is...

In a few days it will be July. Wednesday we find out if we are having a boy or girl. And somehow time just keeps moving forward. In just a few short weeks, Will would have been 3 years old. How did that happen? And how is Jack almost 1 already?

All I know, is that I enjoy every single day. Thus, the lack of blogs...I've just been too busy keeping up with my little monkey. But I want to write more, because one day, I'll want to look back and remember these good days, just as I continue to occasionally look back at my older blogs to remember the bad ones....

And say a huge prayer of thanks when I realize just how far we have come.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lots of pictures...






So I know these are pictures from weeks ago...
but better late then never.
And this kid is keeping me so busy,
he is into everything!

I am seriously EXHAUSTED lately, but feeling good otherwise...
So that is my excuse for the lack of blogging.
Especially skipping his 9 month update.
So here is a short one:

Jack's current status...
6 teeth (which he uses to bite and chew everything...including my toe and his beautiful crib rail)
Loves food (especially ours)
Is finally on somewhat of a regular nap/sleep schedule (Thank you, God!!)
Loves to chase Sophie :) This never gets boring to watch
Is incredibly ticklish.

And overall, he just grows more fun each day...
I'm loving this age.
Hard to believe he'll be a year old soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day


My first Mother's Day with a living child and one on the way!
My husband tried so hard to make it special, and it was.
We went out for breakfast, where Jack was an angel. Couldn't have asked for more:)
Then he took Jack for a run on the biking trail in the jogging stroller we just got so I could have my one Mother's Day wish: A nap! Having that hour and a half of uninterrupted sleep felt like heaven to this pregnant momma:)

Then, the one aspect I was not planning on was our realtor called and someone wanted a showing! Literally, I was the most annoyed that I have been in a really long time. So when I woke up from my nap, I started cleaning...on Mother's Day!

Seriously, ridiculous...

But when your house is for sale, do you really have a choice when the prospective buyers are not living around here? All I have to say is we had better get an offer!

While the house was being showed, we went and had some dinner and just enjoyed being a family. Lots of calls and well-wishes came in and I am so grateful for all those that were lifting me up. I won't lie, its still hard to think that Will should be here. And every day I still miss him.

But the other day I was reading something that Elizabeth Edwards said and it really stuck with me. Not just because what she said was close to my heart, but because often my heart breaks because most of our family rarely mentions Will or honors his memory in any way. And to me that is the most unbearable. So when I read her words, I felt like I had a voice to express just what that felt like. Because I love being a mom. And before Jack came along, I was a mom to Will first. And so this Mother's Day, I was celebrating being a mom to not just one, but two boys...

"If you know someone who has lost a child...and your afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift."

What great advice, especially now, when spring is finally here and my mind is heavy with reminders that 3 years ago this month I began my 8 week stay at The Hotel Del Spectrum Hospital :) But this Mother's Day was the best I have ever had...and I look forward to many more with our growing little family!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

CA trip



For spring break,
we ventured to our old home...Orange County, CA.
I have to admit that while we lived there, I absolutely could not stand it at times.
Now I am smart enough to also admit that not only was I stupid,
but that my feelings have changed.
There is so much to do there,
but most importantly we love our friends and miss them dearly.
And the best part?
Some of the best weather in the country.
Very predictable.
And in our life, I will take anything predictable...
we've had enough surprises:)

So we took a nice long plane ride with Jack (who did pretty well and won over the masses on the plane) and went for a little sunshine and relaxation...only when you have a 8 month old, there is not much time to relax. So about a day before we were supposed to come back home, we were finally on a schedule again and I was not ready to come back to grey and cold Michigan.

It was a fun trip. And I loved seeing everyone again and eating at all of our favorite places. We'll hopefully end up living out there in the future. Life it too short to live in a place you don't love. And I really miss the ocean and sunshine. My only bummed out moment was not being able to have the incredible mojitos at Coyote Grill in Laguna...and as far as Jack, that kid loves to be outside. Of course, time went too fast and between the pregnancy blahs and the time change we didn't do a whole lot.

But then again, it was just nice to sit by the pool and feel the sunshine again. And Jack, that kid was all about the water and being outside. He even got to pick a lemon off the tree:) I'm ready to go back for more...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fashion Show



So along with Jack keeping me busy, there is something else that threw us for a loop this past month.

And since I love to shop,
when I saw this adorable shirt for Jack, I knew I had to get it.
Even though I am German, Not Dutch...
Doesn't matter,
its gets the point across, right?!

For the record, this was the biggest shock of my life.
Had no intention at all of getting pregnant so quickly after Jack.
In fact, after all we've been through, I didn't even think it was possible.
Just goes to show you, God has the ultimate plan...not us!

Now if I could just be blessed with Superman strength to get me through this...
and maybe a little delay in Jack walking too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Months 7 & 8





Okay, I am embarrassed...
After all the people that read and follow this blog,

I should know better than to go nearly 2 months without posting anything.

And its not that I didn't want to,

writing is still my outlet...and perhaps if I did more of it,

the last two months would have been a bit more bearable!

But this kid...

takes up all my energy and time...


Since my last post in Feb. Jack has begun to crawl...to pull himself up on furniture...to bite all the furniture he pulls himself up on...and even gnaw on the nastiest thing~our concrete hearth that comes out of the fireplace. Ugh. Tim shudders with each little scratch of his teeth.


Then there are the wires. If there is anything poking out from behind a table, in the mouth it goes. I am seriously exhausted...


But there are so many fun things too. Jack loves food. He tries everything and we can no longer eat our own meals without him grabbing or screaming for a bite. Its fun to give him new things to try and watch his face.


But if we think we are busy with him now, just wait until the walking begins...and then there all the other things going on. More on that soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow, snow...go away




If I were to sum up the last few weeks it would be this:
Snow.
Tons of snow.
As you can see from the pics, the drifts were clear up to the glass on the door. At least a foot and a half high.
Then today it reached 45 degrees and I did a little happy dance as I watched the huge mountains in front of our house slowly melt down to something a bit easier on the eyes.
I am so ready for spring.

While it was busy snowing outside, we have been busy inside. Except for the one day that G&G bought Jack his little red sled and somehow talked me into going for a walk around the neighborhood. Don't let the sun fool you~it was FREEZING.

But besides trying to stay warm, we have officially put our house up for sale. Where are we going? Not quite sure...but after the huge blizzard I'm daring to say someplace a bit warmer maybe. We'll see.

Jack has also been going to Gymboree class, which helps us beat the "stuck inside all the time" blues. He loves it. Because let's face it, here in Michigan you can only go to the mall or grocery store so many times before you feel like your going lose it.

Today had a small sense of spring about it. Just how excited did this make me?
I was giddy.
Seriously, giddy.
Combine that with the plane tickets I just bought to fly us out to L.A. in a few weeks and today was a spectacular day:)
Now I just need to get my ab rolls to look as cute as Jack's in a swimsuit:)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

6 months




Happy 6 month Birthday!
A whole half year already...
And what a week leading up to it!

Jack, this week you celebrated your half year birthday with a bang:
First fever (102.3)
First cold
and to top it all off your first TWO teeth popped through this morning!
You have not been a happy camper,
but you have been one tough cookie.

Since Christmas you can now sit up for longer periods without any help
or without falling on your face. You also are eating a few solid foods and no longer gagging on them:) What is the most disgusting thing? You love prunes...I have no idea who you got this trait from!

Most importantly, you can now fit into all your 6-12 month clothes I happily have stashed away along the journey:) And good thing, because not only are you the best dressed in the family (according to Daddy), but it means that you always have a clean set of clothes since you seem to drool a LOT...and never mind all the spit-up, since you love to bend your little body in half as you reach and grab for everything in sight, including your toes.

We love to make you laugh and giggle. Your feet and tummy are ticklish. And you just love to be a busy body, I know in a few short moments you will be giving me a great work out chasing after you.
You bring so much joy to our lives. Every day is something new...
Speaking of new, mommy found these fun stickers to slap on just before its time to snap your monthly photos.
What a great idea! Find them on www.pickysticky.com
If only everything were this easy! Because apparently your toes were much more interesting than anything I was doing to get your attention for a cute 6 month picture:)
*Sigh*
And that is nothing new...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2.5

Two and half years ago yesterday, Will died.

After all this time, nothing really has changed on the inside.
I still miss him terribly and think about him numerous times a day. That probably surprises a lot of people. But it really shouldn't...I have found that with Jack being born, people are quick to forget who came before.

But as a mother, you never do...

There are times when I glance at Jack, see a similarity and it causes me to catch my breath. We look out the window together at the falling snow and I tell him about his brother. He has no idea what I am talking about right now, but as he grows up, he will know about Will.

Most days now are filled with such crazy busy "mom tasks" like feeding Jack, keeping him happy and constantly changing him from outfit to outfit as he drools or throws up. I don't have time to be sad...in fact finding time to clean or change out of sweat pants still can be a challenge! And don't even get me started on trying to keep up with everything I want to blog about...

But every now and then he will look at me with those eyes, or cuddle up to me in the middle of the night after a bottle and I can't stop the tears from streaming down my face. I hug him as if I am hugging them both.

Jack is such a blessing and as his little personality is beginning to show...
I'm loving him twice as hard.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year...New Family




Our little family had a great Christmas this year...
and if there was one phrase that Tim and I found ourselves constantly repeating to ourselves and to each other was,

"What a difference a year makes."

This was the year we had been waiting MANY years for...
Jack has brought back a love for life that I thought I might never see again. The past few holidays were so painful without Will and without any sort of real hope that we often thought of selling everything we owned and escaping to some far away land. Some of our family & friends understood our grief and were supportive, while others were so painfully clueless that it has led us to simply cut out any sort of gatherings because we just couldn't take it.

What a difference a year makes...
New Years 2008, we were beat up. Without our son, in a new state, and me without a job...I'll be honest, there wasn't anything happy about life at that moment. I wanted out. January 2009 was the lowest point in my life and yet when I think back (isn't that really what New Years is all about? Reflection?) I have no idea what kept me from giving up except for one thing, there was about a gram of hope left in my soul. All I did was pray for that spec of hope to grow and as it did with time I also found my faith being restored...it simply HAD to get better than this.

New Years 2009, I had a secret that I had just shared with family. Even though I was about 12 weeks along I was terrified. Terrified that this would end up just like the other 3...and when I started having more complications last January I threw my hands in the air and was at a complete loss. I didn't even know what to pray...Did I pray for a miscarriage right then so it wouldn't be like Will all over again? Was that how damaged I was that I had given up even thinking it might turn out the way I had only started to allow myself to dare to dream? Each day in 2010 leading up to Jack's birth was an achievement.

New Years 2010...I stared at my dream come true laying in his crib. I cursed my neighbors for setting of fireworks in front of our house at midnight and waking me from my precious sleep...and I stared at Jack once again as he slept right through. This year, I was physically drained but finally emotionally and spiritually thriving. I finally felt myself again. It had been a long journey to get here...

But what a difference a year makes.
And now as we make our way into 2011 I wonder what this year will bring. No matter what it does, my resolution is to be better at blogging about it!!
Happy New Year:)