Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Important Day

Last weekend was a big time for our family, especially Walt. The weekend began with him getting to spend a couple of hours with his Loli, his first babysitter! He stayed with her while Noah and I went to our Sunday School Christmas party. Just look at his face! You can tell that he was having a good time!

The next morning Noah and I picked up a friend of mine from college, Kim, and her husband, Ryan, from the airport. They flew in to see Walt be baptized in the church. It was definitely an amazing day to celebrate Walt being in the covenant family. While we have friends and family of other persuasions, we wanted to very briefly explain in part why we believe in baptizing infants. We do not believe that baptism saves anybody by itself, but we are saved only by a continual faith (trust) in Christ alone, which is a gift of God. We believe that baptism is a “sign of the covenant” which is part of the New Covenant established in Christ in a similar way that circumcision functioned under the Old Covenant. It is a setting apart of the child to God and a commitment of the family and body of Christ to commit to raising the child in Christ.

I was baptized as an adult along with the rest of my family, and Magdalena wore a white dress so small that it was made only for her to wear, so I didn't have a Baptism gown. The week before Walt was due I found this sweet gown that I hope to use with the rest of my children. I like the idea that the sales clerk gave me to sew the initials and date of the person who wore it in the inside of the gown. I love keepsakes that can be passed down from one generation to the next, and I hope that this can be one of them.
I didn't realize this before I had children, but my family likes to have individual shots with the most important person of the day. Maybe you realized this before me?

Gigi and Walt

Kim, me, Aimee (my freshman year roommate), and her daughter, Arin
I love being able to share these special times with old friends, and it meant so much that they drove in to celebrate with us!

Kiki (Kim) and her husband Ryan posing with Walt

Mimi, Papa, and Walt

Uncle Stephen, Loli, and Walt

And of course, our family doesn't like to celebrate without one of Loli's cakes!

Previously, I wrote that Walt had his hand prints put on an ornament, so I wanted to share those. I think that the picture does not really show how cute it is, but you can get the general idea.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Santa Time

Psalms 30:11-12
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

We saw Santa today, and Walt was such a sweet little boy. I wanted to share his pictures with you. Also, I realized that I never shared last year's picture when Magdalena went to see Santa. I wish the place where we took this picture had remained in business because we had such a great experience there, but I am thankful that we did have the opportunity to meet them, even if it was only for that one day.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Even with all of the blessings I am surrounded with, I shouldn't have to be reminded that God continually gives us much more than we deserve. But I do have to be reminded. God gave us his son so that we may be eternally with him. Shouldn't I be willing to give him my children? I am going to have to daily, no, hourly, give Walt to him. Worry that I will lose him too can sometimes be crippling.

One evening when trying to put Magdalena in her boppy swing to go to bed for the night, we laid her on our bed while we got all of her equipment settled. It was at that moment we realized that she liked lying in our bed. In fact, she had this look on her face like she was not planning to move! While trying to get ready one Sunday morning we put Walt on the bed too, and he enjoyed it just as much as Magdalena did. Look at this face!

I am trying to improve my auntie skills. It has been easy for me to be consumed with all that I was dealing with I forgot to be involved with my nieces, who act as sisters to my children. They are too young to understand, so it would hard to apologize to them, but I can be there more. And so far they have opened their arms up to me and made my heart swell because they were excited to see me at their special events. Children are very forgiving and don't always need a reason. Here is Laura (furthest to the right) as she performs in her Thanksgiving skit.
This was my first time to meet Kim, who does a lot to be sure my sweet Laura is cared for at her little school. She came over to meet Walt because she met both him and Magdalena through the blog and have loved them both. I always enjoy meeting these special people who love my children.
My little indian stopped to take a picture with her Boo! She looks and acts just like her mommy.
Here is a proud Mimi taking a picture with Walt and Laura. She is really the ultimate Mimi, and it is definitely her calling in life. You will see her driving around in her van with sometimes all of the grandkids! She loves every minute of it.
Laura and Landon came to see Boo and Walt. Laura loves Walt, but Landon isn't so sure, yet. He is wondering when Walt will be able to play some football with him.
Gigi is trimming Walt's fingernails for the first time. This has been Gigi's special time with both Magdalena and Walt. She is a great aunt!
Noah, Walt, and I had a big day the Monday before Thanksgiving. We set off early that morning for our family day of fun. First, we spent the morning at Grandmom's house (Walt's great-grandmother) where we had coffee and visited. Then, we ate lunch at a sandwich shop, and afterwards we strolled around the little shopping center. This picture is what Walt did the entire time! He took our outing to mean a good time for a nap!
The next day Walt had his check-up visit at the doctor's office where he weighed in at 11 pounds 8 ounces for his two month visit! Here he is naked except for a diaper waiting on the doctor to come in the room. He is just so happy to be there!
Taking his medicine like a champ and still smiling! I think he is getting used to the camera.
After the doctor's visit we met Mimi and Papa to go see Walt's first movie, The Blind Side. Great movie! You can tell Walt enjoyed it through the back of his eyelids.
Walt was dressed up for Christmas on Thanksgiving day. I was hoping to get a good family picture for our Christmas card. He is ready to go and eat some turkey! We went to Mimi and Papa's house with the entire family for a little while, but we didn't stay through lunch. It was a really emotional day, and I just needed it to be the three of us. Noah and I came back to the house and played a game of scrabble. It helped me to not have to fully acknowledge that it was a holiday.
We did return later to the Thanksgiving festivities. I was glad to have had the time to cry and get it out of my system so that I could fully enjoy being with my family and Walt on his first Thanksgiving. Here is Emma feeding Walt his turkey and dressing.
Caroline and Emma enjoyed this special time with Walt while Caroline read a book out loud.

Papa and Walt after a long Thanksgiving day. Walt likes his turkey pjs.
A few days after Thanksgiving Uncle Adam and Aunt Melissa came to visit, and Walt definitely gave them a lot of sweet faces, but what else could he give?

We take a picture like this to show Walt's growth, and here are two of his two month shots. He weighs 11 pounds 8 ounces. He is smiling at his daddy because they were sticking their tongues out at each other!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

There is no blessed way of living, than the life of faith upon a covenant-keeping God - to know that we have no care, for he cares for us; that we need have no fear, except to fear him; that we need have no troubles, because we have cast our burdens upon the Lord, and are conscious that he will sustain us.
Spurgeon, C. H.

This quote meant so much to me when I read it the other day. Although I really only write about the burden of losing a child, there are so many more that we all face. Every day if we would take the time to pray unceasingly we would enter into this world with no fear knowing that when Christ carried the cross he also carried the burdens we are dealing with. I say that this load is heavy, but God wants to take it from me if I will relinquish control over it, which leads me to realize how much I think that I want to be in control of my life. Power. I really don't want that kind of power though, even when the world makes me think that I do. Someone wrote to me yesterday sharing their life, and instantly I began to try to think of ways that I could help them. That didn't take long because I knew that their pain was so great that only God could ease it. I hate it that I instantly thought that there was anything good for me to do when really the first thing I should have done was pray.

There are many things to catch up on from the Thanksgiving holidays, but for now I just couldn't wait to share my Christmas stockings. Although unsaid, Noah and I knew that the holidays were going to be tough this year, and for this reason we entered into it full speed so that Walt could have a good first Christmas. The week of Thanksgiving Noah, Walt, and I did some fun family activities such as going to the movies, shopping, playing Scrabble, and putting up our Christmas decorations. I found a small tree at Target, which I am sure is supposed to be used on the outside of a house, but I thought it was perfect for us. Also, there I found these stocking hangers. One of them was an angel, which I knew would be perfect for Magdalena's stocking, and after looking around EVERYWHERE I found a stocking for Walt. Noah and I were forced to discuss getting Magdalena one that matched Walt's stocking. We were ok with hers being different, but when I saw this one it just fit her so well. I immediately began the think of how she is dancing right now not in hopes of being a Disney princess, but because she is a princess, daughter of God our King. And just look at that pink! For those reasons, we got her one too, but because it is hard to let go, I know that the one I found last year will always be close by in case I change my mind.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heaven is the Face

The holidays are here, and I feel it everywhere I go. It seems as though I am constantly on the edge of crying because I am constantly missing her. It doesn't end when I am awake because I dream about her too. Some sweet dreams and some I know do not come from God. I know that I want to honor Magdalena this Thanksgiving because I am so thankful for her, but I am not quite sure how, and the time is getting even closer. I know that God will tell me how I can honor her life in his time. I am trying to slowly bring Christmas into my life because I know that it will be even harder than Thanksgiving. It is hard to describe the intense emotions because Walt brings us so much happiness and laughter, and yet, I can break down crying while he sleeps on my shoulder. He looks just like his sister, which is bittersweet. It's like he knows when to smile at me so that I will smile too. God knew that he would be a perfect gift for us during this time. My heart swells up just by looking into his cute, chubby face.
How can someone look into the face of a child and not believe in God? How can someone survive the loss of someone so special and not see God's hand in it all? Although my pain is great, I can still see Magdalena's imprint on this earth. Maybe even more now than when she was with us. The pain continues to exist, but my heart must override my mind and remember that God's plan is perfect. In the midst of what we see as tragedy, His name is being praised. The heart is deceitful, and when I get mad, frustrated, or ask God "why?", I have to remind myself of what I know to be true, even if I don't feel it at the moment. I find myself having to constantly do that because of the emotions of the holiday season. Noah is reminding me that all of my emotions are ok, but the mind must continue to remember and hold on to the truth.

I heard this song on my way home, and of course, it reminded me of Magdalena. She is a constant reminder of how huge our God is. He is hand is in everything, and although the holidays bring tears, they make me long for heaven even more when I can hold her in my arms. She will be healthy and so happy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Handprint like Big Sis

On Magdalena's 100-Day Birthday she had an ornament made with her hand print on it. Her cousin's school was making them, and Loli, knowing that it would be a special keepsake for me, set it up for Magdalena to get it done too. I had been thinking about that a month ago and wondered how I could get one made for Walt so that they would both have one on our tree, and the answer came two days later through a letter someone at the school sent. They sent the flyer just in case Walt wanted to have one to match Magdalena's, and of course, he did! It is the smallest things that people do, not expecting to gain anything and not knowing how it will affect someone else, that really change this world. Reflecting on the day I took Magdalena was bittersweet for me because it was such a special day that we never thought we would have, and here we are getting to celebrate with Walt in our own special way too.
He was great on his little outing, but then he is not the misbehaving type. I am so excited to have one just for him too!

Here is is just hanging out and waiting for it to be his turn.

Unlike his sister, Walt did not cry when there was cold paint on his hand.

Here he is already making his imprint on this world!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I know that it seems so far away now, but we have to begin planning for our March of Dimes' shirts early. I would love to have ideas! If you want to draw an idea up and scan it or create one on the computer, please email them to me!!
I am hoping to receive so many that the other readers can vote on their favorite! The deadline is DECEMBER 1st!!
Please include what it is (March for Babies), the year (2010), our team's name (Magdalena's Feet) somewhere on the shirt. You might have a cute slogan for this year or include our quote from last year! Be creative!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Wal-mart has come through for me the second year in a row! Last year I had a preemie size jack-o-lantern onesie for Magdalena, and this year Walt got his Halloween costume from there! It was a great buy for $8!! He was the perfect little monkey! I think the trick is to look for deals before I absolutely need to have them and before everyone else is looking for them, so I get the treat of having something cute for cheap (a little joke). I think that we found both at some point in August both years.
Walt wasn't quite sure what to think about himself being a monkey, but he was very laid back, especially when he realized that there was candy involved. We began the night by trick-or-treating at Mimi and Papa's house. Then, we went to our church's festival. Although Walt was too young to play any of the games, it was fun to walk to each of the sections to see how creative people in the church got to be and how hard they worked to make this special for the kids. Noah and I just walked around, talked, and looked, and once the temperature became really cold we decided to take Walt to a warmer place. We all went back to Mimi and Papa's house where we ate our yearly fall chili.

Mommy's little man giving a big smile for the camera at the beginning of the night

Noah and I placed Walt and his bat basket in front of the door and stepped back after ringing the door bell. Walt sat outside the door and patiently waited for his candy, but when Mimi saw him she almost picked him up. Thankfully, I was there to point out that he had his basket in front of him. Here is Mimi putting some candy in it for them.

Our festive looking family

My precious nieces striking a pose for the camera. Can you guess who they are?

Of course, Boo has to be in the picture when the famous people too!

I love my sweet Laura.

All of the grandkids at Mimi and Papa's house before going to the festivals.
We are all so happy that Landon is really smiling for the picture!

My parents' neighbors are so sweet to all of us. Here are the kids trick-or-treating. Jennifer has a picture of Laura pulling out multiple pieces of candy. It is so hard to remember to share with such a big bucket of candy!!

Whew! It was a long, tiring night for this sweet, little man!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More than One Child

The day before I was going into the hospital to have Walter, Loli and Uncle Stephen came over to give Walt his congratulations-for-being-born outfit, which I will show in another post. It was a little onesie that said "baby brother". Lori is always very thoughtful with her gifts, and she gives me things that I didn't even know that I wanted!
This little onesie was so special to me because I wanted to include Magdalena in the celebration just as other parents include their children in the festivities. The problem that I faced was that I didn't want Walt to be living in Magdalena's shadow and to take the attention away from him. Even as I make his scrapbook, I don't write all of the feelings that I had while pregnant with him because I never want him to feel like I didn't love him as much. Before having Walt, Noah and I discussed a lot about what we would say on Walt's announcement because we were torn with how to word a lot of what had to be said. Neither of us was ready to just write our (Noah and Julie) as though Magdalena was not included, but we didn't want her name to distract from celebrating Walt. This sounds so simple in words, but emotionally it was so tough. When I asked Lori (because big sisters are supposed to know everything) she told me not to worry with those details until after he was born, and the reason she said this was because she had the phenomenal idea that by dressing him in the onesie for his picture it included everyone. Not everyone will approach this difficult situation the same way, but this was good for us.

Most of the things that I do for her are really done to help Noah and me deal with our loss of her. She is not in heaven worrying over having a "big sis" shirt on the day Walt was born. I know this in my mind, even though my heart says that I don't want her to feel left out. Noah and I want to include her in all that is happening in our lives to help us deal with how much our hearts long for her to be with us. Before going into the hospital, I looked everywhere for a big sis balloon for her, but I had zero luck finding the perfect one. Noah and I talked it over, and I ended up making a sign to have solid color balloons to attach to it, and he agreed that he would put it on her grave the day Walt was born. Noah wanted to be sure that it was perfect, so he took my sweet friend, Kim, and her husband with him. No one else knew we did this or where Noah was going when he left the hospital. It was done to help us to remember her on this special occasion.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Little Man

Yesterday Walt took his first field trip, and we went to one of my favorite places, Barnes and Noble. Of course, he really missed the trip because he was asleep the entire time! Magdalena would have been so proud to see that her stroller was shared with him.
I think that he enjoyed riding around in the stroller while Noah and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and browsed the store.

It is always so sweet to see Noah and Walter having some good bonding time. Here they are having a deep discussion about something important.

This outfit is what makes me call Walt my little man. He wore this to go to the doctor's office on Tuesday. He wanted to make a good impression! This is one of my favorite things that he wears!

Here Walter is getting ready to go to Barnes and Noble. He was so pumped about getting to go somewhere, but while in the car he fell asleep.

Here he is while playing with Mommy. Dr. B confirmed that these are true smiles and not gas smiles that he is giving us!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Walter's First Doctor Visit

Last night Noah and I try to come up with a game plan to tackle this morning. The first time getting ready with a baby always takes longer, and Walt did wonderful. He gave me time to eat breakfast before he wanted his breakfast, and then, he took a little nap while I got myself ready. We were actually five minutes early for our appointment! Walt weighs a dab more than 8 pounds and 4 ounces but not yet 8 pounds 5 ounces. Dr. B said that his weight gain was good, especially since he is a breastfeeding baby! Yay, Walt! He was so sweet as the doctor looked him over, and he even gave her a few of his sweet smiles, which impressed Dr. Brooks!

We continued our day with a few more outings. I needed a few things for my little man at Target, so Noah and Walt sat at the Starbucks inside the store while I got what we needed. It was my first outing in the last two weeks, so it was fun to walk around a bit by myself but know that Walt is in walking distance from me at all times.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walt's First Two Weeks

Every baby is different, but what I had been told did not prepare me for how Walt responded to us and this world. He came into this world as a laid back little baby ready to lift his head and eat! He only cries when he is hungry or naked. He does not like either of the two. Noah and I have been blessed with a sweet little baby. I know that this could end at some point, and Walt will become a little more "demanding", but we are really getting to enjoy him so much right now while we are learning how to care for a baby. Magdalena required a special, different kind of care, so having a newborn made me nervous, but Walt has been hanging in there with us.

The other day I just stared at him while I held him. It was hard to take my eyes off such a beautiful creature, and I knew that I had been given much more than I deserve. It is embarrassing to say that towards the end of my pregnancy I had begun to really regret being pregnant. I was miserable, uncomfortable, and full of so many mixed emotions that I thought maybe it would have been good to have just waited and taken more time to grieved over Magdalena. Because I was so ungrateful I know that I do not deserve Walt, but I am thankful that he has been given to me. He is a indescribable gift that has been a visible reminder of God, and just staring at him when he sleeps is my constant reminder. This little creature did not accidentally happen but was created with God's hands. No matter what decisions Noah and I could have made or not made, Walt is here because God has ordained him to be, and through his presence he will be used so that others may praise God's artwork.
Noah and I have had many different adventures since we have been married, each of which has allowed us to love one another more and know each other better, and this is another adventure. This one has caused my heart to increase to a large size that I never knew was possible. The physical pain of the surgery was nothing when I got to see what I received. I love him differently than I have loved anyone else, and I know that the love will only increase as time passes. Just as Magdalena changed who I am in this world so has Walt, both in their different kind of ways. He has lightened my heart against the anger I have felt in the past year, and when looking at his face I feel peaceful and happy. Walt does not heal the pain left behind by the daughter I so dearly loved, but he gives me the hope that I can make it through this stormy time. Even by saying that a little baby has changed may sound a little extreme, but it is true. God has used his creation to only point me to Him. And I do believe that I have so much to learn and so many things that I hold onto, which I shouldn't and need to let go, but God is giving me a lot of grace so that I can become closer to him and truly praise him.

Wren, one of Magdalena's NICU nurses and, now, Walt's nurse, changed her day to work to be in the delivery room with Walt. They are such special people to us!

Dianne, Magdalena's nurse, came to welcome Walt into this world shortly after he is born!

This was one of my most favorite sights after Walt was born, his hands. No clenched hands helped me to breathe easily. (Clenched hands is a possible visible sign of Trisomy 18.) Noah and I cherished so many of these little things. Praise God for open hands!

Walt about to leave the hospital, ride in the car for the first time, and going home.

For the first three nights Noah, Walt, and I slept downstairs, which made it easier for me to physically heal so that I would only go upstairs to shower. Then, on Sunday night Mimi helped Noah and me transition Walt to his bed. She slept in the room with him, which made me feel so much better than him being in the room alone, and when he needed to eat, she would come and get me. He slept wonderfully and woke up only when he was hungry. This was his first night in the big bed.

Walt's great-grandmother, Grandmom, enjoys coming to see Walt, and look at that face he is giving her! That silly little man!

I always feel nervous about bathing slippery little babies. Here is Mimi helping to give Walt's first bath. His umbilical cord had not completely fallen out, so it was more like a half bath. It really should fall out any day now! We can tell that it is getting close!

Please continue to pray for Noah, Walt, and me.