Sunday, July 31, 2011

House Painting!!

Again, the before:

And after!

We love it!! Feels like a new home every time we drive up.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

14 months later

Seriously... they grow FAST!! This is Bella & Farrah with their friend Amelie. Sitting in the same lawn - May of last year vs. this weekend. Crazy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pregnancy Update - 18 weeks

Baby is the size of: a sweet potato

Symptoms: Sciatic nerve may bother me every once in a while, but overall feeling good!

Maternity clothes? blah. I don't know why, but I'm just not looking forward to maternity clothes this time around. Maybe it's because of my situation, and having people look at my belly and it's just a reminder to me... or maybe it's because everything seems stretched out and too big right now? I don't know! But I can't fit into my regular shorts without doing the rubber band trick around the button - so I have been sticking to dresses (which I love in the summer!) or workout pants/shorts with a tank top. I don't have to get "dressed up" too often to go anywhere - mostly just weekends. So I stick to dresses then.

Sleep: Love it.

Fun moment(s) this past week: I went to dinner with a group of good friends from high school. This is embarrassing, but we called ourselves the Spice Girls. Not that anyone else knew that? I don't know. But it came from our halloween costume our senior year - we all dressed as a "spice" (salt, paprika, etc.) and we were the "Spice Girls". Anyhow... we caught up at dinner this week and that was fun!
Also, we celebrated one of my BEST friends birthdays! Morgan turned 30 earlier this month. We went to a cool place called Ormsby's and even played a little ski ball and bocce ball there! Afterwards we came back to our house and did dessert. It was fun to have good friends around and I hope Morgan had a great time. She's starting off her 30th with a bang next month with a new job and I am so excited for her!

Movement: Feeling little flutters if I am super still in the morning or at night. :) But I have to make a good effort to be still, not fall asleep, and feel them. I like it, but it is surreal, too. Not really sad, but it's just a totally different feeling this time. Not sure how to put words with that.

Food cravings:: No huge cravings. But I have a big sweet tooth.

Gender & Name: Still putting off picking a name.

Weight gained: blah. i don't know! Of course I don't want to gain 200 lbs but I also am not as worried as with Bella and Farrah. Just not on my radar as much.

Belly Button in or out? Same. Still in, but I can see the back of it :)

What I am looking forward to: Our house is getting painted this week. I can't wait to see the finished product!! It was pressure washed today. It will be the "Green" house by the end of the week!

And if you look a little closer in that pic... you may see Farrah...

Reflections on the past week: No big or wise statements this week. I think I kept myself really busy getting ready for the weekend festivities and house projects. I have found this week that I dealt with things mostly by just not dealing with it. To just not think about bad things. Not in denial, but just living day by day and not going "there". I think the bad or worried thoughts I have come out in my dreams - I've been having a few bad ones lately.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What time do your kids wake up?


Mine are about a 7:30-8am wake up call. I know that's not terrible... but we are night owls big time, so 7:30 is never fun. I usually get up with them, with Chris getting up around the same time to get ready for work. Weekends we try to switch off, so the other can sleep just a little longer. These were taken well over a month ago of Farrah (or Farrah Beara which is my nickname for her, or Farrah B is what Bella calls her as a nickname). They are from a morning Chris got up with the girls. (which makes me in such a good mood. I love to wake up on my own to the smell of coffee!) :)


So, when do your kiddos wake up?? Do you wake up before them to get the day started, or do you let them be the alarm clock?

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Pregnancy Update - 17 weeks

So.. I am back with my pregnancy updates! I stopped after the 13th week. But I've decided that I'd like to have some normalcy to this pregnancy, and I'm still carrying a precious girl that I'd like to update about. I did edit and take out some categories and added a couple. I feel like I could still have another category or two that could apply to my new situation, but I'm drawing a blank. Let me know if you think of something good I could add to update each week!

Baby is the size of: an onion

Symptoms: Sciatic nerve started acting up a couple of nights this week.

Maternity clothes? i've worn a couple of shirts, but I haven't broken them out totally. still fittin' in my pants, although I know I totally have a little belly now. just holding on before i start wearing those maternity clothes for what feels like forever. I think I may invest in a couple of new things this time around. (This is the week I bought my first maternity shirt with Bella!)

Sleep:I try to catch a nap when the girls nap. I've also noticed that I've been a much lighter sleeper. Or, I should say, I have a hard time going back to sleep each time I have to get up and empty the pregnancy bladder.

Fun moment(s) this past week: We went to our first Gwinnett Braves game. It was for Dave Odom's surprise 30th party that Amanda planned so well. It was unseasonably cool (kinda even cold!) and we had fun in the lawn seats chasing Farrah down the hill 100 times. Morgan, Kelly, Bobby, Chris & I and all of our kids ate mexican beforehand, and I couldn't get enough cheese dip. Cheese dip can be on a fun moment of the week, right? :)

Movement: There have been a couple of times that I have questioned it - this morning as I was laying in bed, I felt something... but wasn't 100%. (I just looked and started feeling Farrah at 16 weeks, so it might be flutters I feel!)

Food cravings:: Caffeine? Fruit of any kind.

Gender & Name: Most of you know we were going to be surprised at birth this time around. I was looking forward to that. But once we knew what we were facing, we wanted to know the gender. A sweet baby girl. Now, we're started to think about picking a name. Not an easy task ever, but feeling it's much harder this time.

Weight gained: I took this one out at first because I generally don't care as much this time. Not that I don't care, but I guess I have other things on my mind. But I would like to look back and remember. At my 16w appt last week, I had gained a total of 4 lbs this pregnancy. It felt like more, so that was good to know.

Belly Button in or out? In. But I can see the back of my bellybutton. (Does that make sense?) I looked back at Bella's baby book tonight, and noticed that this happened around the same time with her.

What I am looking forward to: A dinner with old friends tomorrow and celebrating one of my best friend's Morgan's 30th this weekend!

Reflections on the past week: I'm not repressing grief, but I also am waking up and CHOOSING to live my day joyfully. To make an effort not to let the little things stress me out. Starting to look forward to the little kicks and flutters so that I may have a closer connection with her.

Some favorite iPhone pics this week:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hard days & God's Mercy

I had my first appointment (16 week appointment) with my regular OBGYN doctors today since the diagnosis. Baby Girl's heartbeat was nice & strong. I actually had the appt with the doctor who delivered Bella. My practice has 6 women, and any of the 6 could be the delivery doctor. She had been filled in with the specialists findings and it was basically just a time for me to ask questions. I didn't have tons, just two really. One was "How often have y'all delivered a baby with Trisomy?" I knew it wouldn't be tons, but I was super surprised that she said, "Well, a couple of YEARS ago we had a girl who decided to carry the baby to term and made it to birth..." A couple of YEARS ago??? That is crazy to me. This is a huge, busy practice. I know that Trisomy is 1) rare 2) some decide to terminate the pregnancy and 3) many don't make it full term - but WOW.

Which leads me to the title of my blog tonight. I had a couple of hard days this week. I found myself, for the first time really, asking "Why ME??" Not that I'd EVER wish it on anyone... but why me? I know that may never be answered. But that on top of the worry of it all got a hold of me this week. I just didn't see how I was going to find joy in this pregnancy. How was I ever going to NOT think about my situation? It's on my mind 24/7. I was short with people around me, and I just wanted to sleep it away. "Wake me up next year," I thought. Though I know staying "busy" is a good way to keep my mind off of it, I also wasn't in the mood to be around anyone else. I was fine with the girls, but night time was hard after the day of worry had taken it's toll on me. (And don't worry a bit if you feel bad for not checking in on me. I'm more than likely to act like nothing is wrong anyway... I'm tricky like that :))

A blog of a husband & wife who went through this a couple of years ago has been so helpful. They reminded me that this is God's purpose in this little girl, no matter how long or short. I want to celebrate that, no matter how hard.

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

I love this verse and the promise it contains! The last few words could be translated, "...and find grace for a well-timed help." God's grace comes to us just when we need it, not before and never too late. That is why Jesus says not to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own, but God is already there and His mercies are new every morning, just when we need them. So how do we look into an utterly unpredictable future with, most likely, a great deal of grief and loss in it without becoming morose, self-centered, and depressed? How do we go on loving other people when we are scared and our hearts are grieving over what is to come? We preach Hebrews 4:16 to ourselves every day and fight the fight of faith in God's goodness and love for us. We approach the throne of grace with confidence! His grace will be sufficient and we can even rejoice in our sufferings because we have such and amazing God who will meet our needs at exactly the best moments.

That paragraph above is taken from their blog. Because I can't write that good, and I'm not good at paraphrasing. (Never have been, ask my parents and those darn book reports they helped me with.) And I think they said it just perfectly. I can't do this on my own, and God knows that. So why not just receive the mercy he's giving me?

So the past two days have been better. I know I'll have dark days in the future, but I also can come out of them confidently knowing I'm not alone and CHOOSE to see God's blessing in all of this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mommy, Pool?


Farrah loves the pool. She says "POOL!" to anything associated with it - swimsuits at the house, a bag that I might have taken to the pool once, towels... etc.

Farrah also refuses to wear any ol' pool hat. She will, however, wear this one all the time at home. So, I went with it and we use it in the water, too. It works great. Who knew? Target $1 Easter Hat from 3 years ago.

She's always ready for the pool!


Here's Bella in the same hat in 2009!
From Bella

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our Saturday

This past weekend, we went to Jefferson to see GG and Poppy & Uncle Brian. We had a great time at the pool. We also noticed a baby bird while we were there. Later on, we looked up to see that he was hanging upside down - and he was stuck in his nest!! Brian and I got a towel and made a kind of trampoline for him to fall on. haha! But he wasn't budging. Then Chris took the pool net skimmer thing and got him down. We found some sissors in a first aid kit and the pool. I was able to hold him and cut it away from his mangled foot. I'm sure he'll never use that foot, but he was able to fly away! And we then saw him meet up with his mama bird.
Anyhow... we had a great time jumping in and goofing off at the pool. Poor Chris the cameraman is in none of these pictures. But thanks for taking them, sweetie!! :)

She's so adorable!
GG & Poppy
Uncle Brian
Bathing Beauties

Friday, July 8, 2011

Check up on Baby Girl

"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning."
Psalm 30:5

We had an ultrasound today with the prenatal specialist to check on the baby. It's hard for me to know how much to write here! I want everyone to know what is going on... because 1) I know people are concerned (I've been in that boat!) 2) I want people to know how to pray and 3) if we do make it full-term, or even if we don't, I'd love for my blog to help someone in the future dealing with Trisomy 13. I know how much reading these similar blogs has helped me in the last couple of weeks. It's nice to read them and be like "Yes! That's exactly how I feel!!!" Because as helpful as the doctors want to be, they haven't been through this. Don't get me wrong, they are great.

But it's also hard to write and put all my true feelings out there. They can change so fast! I know my writings are kind of stream of consciousness, but I don't know how to get it all out there! I do want you all to know that we have MANY more good hours than bad hours. The harder times are:
1) At night when it's quiet and you sit and dwell on it or when falling asleep
2) The ultrasounds are hard (not so much the actual ultrasounds, but afterwards) because what Chris and I see is a perfect baby. And knowing that the doctors, as much as they would like to, can't tell us what the next day will bring.

So please know that YOUR prayers are something we've taken great comfort in.

I am literally having to learn to take it one day at a time - there isn't another way, really - and it's helped a lot. I'm kind of a wake-up-and-figure-out-my-day kinda girl anyways, but this is at a whole new level!

It is sad not to look forward to an ultrasound in the way you do with a typical pregnancy. But overall, I was eager to see her again and anxious to see if there were any new developments. (For those of you who have asked... we had a diagnostic test done - meaning they took DNA from my placenta - so there's no mistaking what the baby has). The only question that will remain is how severe will it be on the different organs (heart, lungs, etc.). She does in fact have a heart defect (we should see all 4 chambers of the heart, but the middle is not forming correctly). The doctor also suspects a cleft palate, which is a typical marker of Trisomy 13. The fluid behind her neck is less than it was 2 weeks ago, which is a sign that the baby isn't under as much stress. The doctor's educated guess after seeing things is that I have a 50-70% chance of losing her before birth. But to turn it around, that also means a 30-50% chance of a live birth. So really, to me, there is no telling!

The nice part about the ultrasounds, to look for a positive, is that it is LONG! So we get to see her for a good 30 minutes! Fingers, toes, sweet profile. I asked a million times for a picture because the most clear one I have so far is from 10 weeks. They printed two off... and they were not much better. Next time, I WILL get a GOOD ONE.

Thanks for your continued prayers. I know as a mom/friend/parent reading this and thinking about us is upsetting to you, too. So thanks for helping carry our load with your prayers, concerns and friendship.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book recommendation

My best friend Kristy lives up the street from me. How great for us. We both have two girls that love each other. And we've known each other since middle school, so we get each other. We roomed together all through college. So she's seen all sides of me (haha - thinking about the time my sports bra got stuck on my earring. I tried to hide and do it myself, but I ended up having to get her to help me get it over my head. How humbling...) haha! And now we get to live so close to each other. She is so helpful and watched Farrah for me for the month of June so Bella and I could enjoy swim lessons together. I'm so thankful she is my long time friend and neighbor!!

Kristy's husband, Russ, just published his first book! How cool is that?? It was just released from Tyndale House Publishers as an e-book on July 1st. It's called 40 Days without Food: Divine Goodness to a Starving Soul By Russ Masterson
It is available on the Kindle, Nook, and iPad (via the free Kindle app for iPad). Below is a book summary or jump to his site for details and stuff:

“I had a college degree, and soon a seminary degree to accompany it, yet I didn’t know where to go or what to do.” Russ Masterson had read and heard about purpose, but didn’t have a clue what his own purpose was. And there was emptiness where there should have been value. As he puts it, “I kept hoping a step would arrive when it was time to lift my foot.”

Disillusioned with his life, as well as with God, he heard this advice: fast from food for 40 days. Faithless and frazzled, Russ accepted the challenge, hoping for direction, reflecting on the past, and wrestling with issues like purpose, faith, and love.
In this book, readers will find a fresh literary voice — an insightful thinker who meets people in their humanity while helping them to see they can be rescued from it. The journey of these forty days without food will help you explore what really matters in life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th

We had a fun, busy 4th of July weekend. Chris took Bella to see her first movie in a theater on Friday. We spent Saturday at Ryan & Melissa's neighborhood swimming, then seeing fireworks at night. Sunday after church we drove to Athens to visit with our good friends, spent the night, then to Lawrenceville Monday to see family. A hockey tournament on a slip n' slide happened as I cat-napped on the couch. But Chris took some pictures & video I'll post later!

He took some great shots on Saturday. I love my husband. And we enjoyed celebrating our country's independence with lots of swimming, sweating, chasing Farrah all over WORLD, dancing and fireworks! Enjoy the pics!
Farrah Cheese
Awesome5IMG_6185IMG_6162Farrah singingIMG_6077IMG_6173IMG_6090

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thank you!

Thank you ALL for the prayers, emails, texts, comments, etc. We feel so loved. We are thankful we're not alone in all of this.

One thing I have not yet shared here is that baby Green is a GIRL! Not quite the way we planned on finding out (we were going to be surprised at birth this time around!) but after getting the news, we wanted to know. We feel a little more close to her in that way now. We can pray for her even more personally. It was tough to know as well, because you know how much I love my little girls :)

The hard part (or A hard part) for me right now is the not knowing how long I will carry her ... the anxiety and questions can drive you nuts. I worry that as time goes on, the anxiety will get worse & not better. My stomach is starting to poke. I am sure soon I will start feeling her kicks. At that point, I will no doubt want to meet her - if only for a brief moment in time.

I have to remind myself: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

So I also find that keeping myself busy is good. We loved getting away to the beach last weekend with my brother Ryan and sister-in-law Melissa and her mom and stepdad (Amanda and Doug). And we had a super filled weekend for the 4th of July. Thankful for that.

A crazy thing is that I have followed a FEW blogs in the last 3 years with moms (and dads) writing about this VERY thing - Trisomy 13 or 18. I have read as women go through this. I would weep. Why couldn't I just read blogs about decorating or organizing or something?? But I couldn't help feeling for them & wondering if I'd have the same strength. I've watched as others have gone through other heart breaking struggles. How did they get through this? I've always admired them, and been thankful for my healthy "uneventful" life. But it's never been a club I wished to join.

But I also know that in a strange way, seeing others go through this VERY thing has prepared me some - well, maybe not prepared... but given me a light at the end of the tunnel. Or a source to look back at. I know in my heart, it will be terrible - but we will get through it. But how do I also go through a trial being joyful? How will I possibly go through a whole pregnancy, knowing it won't have a "normal" outcome, and be joyful? That is something I want to learn all about. I'm not there yet. But I know MY God is not surprised by any of this. He already has this baby girl's days numbered as well as my own.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. – James 1:2-3

Here is our specific prayer right now, and we'd love for you to join with us:
God, give us more hours of joy than pain. Allow us to turn the corner of sorrow, to celebration. Cause us to see her as a gift. And allow us to cherish every moment she’s with us. Change our hearts.