Thirty Eight.

I turned 38 an hour ago.

Happy Birthday to me!

And I figured today was a good day to blog again.

It’s been a grip of time. I’ve been busy. I’ve been doing stuff. I’ve been thinking about stuff.

It isn’t that I didn’t want to write about some things – it was just….sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. And if I guard anything in this life fiercely (besides my beautiful baby girls), it’s my words. I hate letting people read even my grocery lists. I don’t know why. It is hard to put my heart into words and then put those words out into the world wide web.

But I have realized that on some level – this is just who i am. This is me. Good bad and ugly. Boring as heck or tear-jerkingly awesome – and everything in between – what you see is what you get. Me.20140517_034306299_iOS

So here I am on my birthday, reflecting on where i’ve been, and more importantly, where i’m going.

37 was a kind of crazy year. I look back on my birthday last year….and I would have never guessed that just a few short weeks later my life would be in such upheaval. You never really know what’s just around the river bend. (yes that’s a quote from my favorite disney princess movie.) So the best option is just to push off the shoreline and start swimming.

My wishes this year are for more love, more peace, more strength. I cannot possibly flesh those all out tonight – but i am sure that they will become more evident as the days keep coming. They are not all just intrinsic, or things i wish upon myself. They have a very extrinsic component – meaning they are things i wish to spread with those around me. There’s really so much more to it….but it’s really hard to put into words at 1 am. Still, I wanted to get it out a little bit tonight, while it was fresh on my mind.

I don’t know what this year ahead will hold – but I know I am ready to accept it all with open arms. Accept the bad times, because through them I grow. Accept the good times, because they make me thankful for my many blessings. Accept the in between times because they serve a purpose too. I’m excited for this year!
I thought I was dreading this birthday a little – I don’t know why…the number just seems so face-numbingly OLD. But I have realized that actually i’m excited. I have lived every single second of these 38 years, and I plan on doing the same in this year to come. I cannot wait to see what it holds!

I am so blessed to call so many of you friends – even more blessed to call some of you my family. Thank you for being along on this crazy ride. Thank you for holding me up in the bad times and for laughing with me through the good ones. When i look back on the last 37 years, YOU are the reason I can laugh, shake my head, smile fondly, and thank the good lord that I am still here today! In case you didn’t have time to go get me a birthday present – i’ll forgive you! instead, leave me a comment here telling me your favorite memory of us, however I know you! That would make me deliriously happy! Or send noodles. I am kind of hungry for like a good noodle casserole right now but I don’t know how to make one….
So yes – noodles or memories. your pick.

Anyways – I’m going to go sleep now so I can stay up for my fireworks tomorrow night!

Happy 4th of July, friends!

Keep on Keepin on~

 

Terra.

The other birthday today.

Last night I wrote to my baby girl, whose birthday is today.

what you might not know is that today is also the birthday of someone very special – my daddy.

Dear Daddy –

I hope today is an awesome birthday for you. 60! Sixty whole years you have been on this earth, changing lives and helping people. When I try to think of just how far reaching your life has been in the lives of others, i can hardly fathom it. For as long as I can remember, you have made it your life mission to help everyone around you, to bring the love of Christ and His saving grace to their lives. You did it in a large way from the front of the church every Sunday and you did it in quiet ways by picking up hitchhikers and giving them your last $5 every other day of the week.

You poured yourself into your ministry, your family, and everyone around you.

You were the best daddy any girl could ask for growing up – always so involved in everything we did, making sure we knew how loved we all were, laughing with us, lecturing us, guiding us in the way we should go without being a dictator. I don’t know how you did it, never having had a dad yourself. How did you know? (I mean, i know it’s because you took the amazing advice of mary jane mostly!)

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Family trips, driving around the county looking for picket fencing, or just racing home from wherever we were at – we learned that together is the best place to be.

and as I think back to some of the times we’ve had this past year, that still held so true.

I think most poignantly to me, the memory I will hold close to me this year is that night in the PICU. Ben had called you and told you guys to come, and you flew there. I didn’t even know how much I needed to see you and mommy that night, until you were there hugging me, telling me it was going to be ok.  We were all taking turns standing at her bedside, willing her numbers to come into the right ranges, begging God to give her back to us, to heal her, to make it all better.  I saw you bent over her puffy fragile body, stroking her nose like you do to put her to sleep, gingerly trying to find a place to connect with her that wasn’t covered in tubes/wires/monitors, some place that wouldn’t cause her vitals to skyrocket in the wrong direction. And while I don’t know exactly what you were whispering to her throughout that long night, I’m betting it was stories of the little jokes you two have, telling her we all needed her JOY back in this world, begging her to keep fighting.
I cannot remember a time I saw you that depleted. To be honest, I don’t think i’ve ever been that depleted myself.

during our darkest times, you were there with us. During our times of elation as she came back to us, you were with us. You prayed over us, you cried with us, you rejoiced with us. All of those lessons taught over the years, that God is good when things are good and He is still good when things are bad – they were put to use that night.

You exemplify what it means to know a father’s love.

I am so honored to be able to call you my daddy. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me in our years together.

Here’s to 60 more.

i love you daddy.

love,

your baby girl.

a whole handful.

Five.

Five fingers on her little starfish hand.

Five years.

Five.

Do you know how amazing this is?

I have tried to put it into words myself –and feel that I fall so short.

I’ve watched friends have to bury their children well before they reach 5 years of age. I’ve had to watch my baby almost lose her chance to see this birthday.

I do not take this birthday lightly by any means.

I rejoice in this birthday – I celebrate it with respect and awe and thanks. Thanks to God for the gift of her life, thanks to our family and friends who support us every day on this journey of life, thanks to the doctors and nurses and other medical professionals who help keep kendall running every day. This day would not be possible without any of you.

On this, the last day you are four, I wanted to tell you this:

My dear baby kendall quinn –

from the moment you were born, you have fought with all your might to survive. to LIVE.

and live you have. you live each day to the fullest. You are excited about every new thing, every new challenge, every opportunity that comes your way. You show me what it is to see this life for all the beauty it really holds.you have taught me to not sweat the small stuff, and what it’s like to sweat the really really big stuff.  Your sisters taught me how to be a mommy – you’ve taught me how to be a momma bear. Fierce, loyal, unwielding.

You have taught me so much in your five years here, it’s as if i didn’t really know what it was to live before i met you.

and i’m just so very proud of you my baby girl. I cannot tell you that enough. I am proud of how you endure all that you must every day with a smile on your face, and i’m proud of how you love unconditionally, and i’m proud web3 of how you have taught so many people to keep on keepin’ on.  I’m SO proud of you for putting up the fight you do, when the darkness of those infections threatened to overwhelm you, you looked them in the eye and said “not today”. How very brave you are! You really are a warrior princess, kendall quinn. Your name means that you will be a strong leader in the valley.  When we chose that name for you, I had no idea just how true it would be. You have been in the valley of the shadow of death more times than any child should – and you have come out stronger on the other side. you have taught me how to handle  life in the valley, and life on the mountaintops.

 

aff6b10a-deeb-4083-91dd-a144018246f9 I have no idea what this year ahead holds for you.

My hope is that it holds nothing but health, happiness and so many good things. Your one true wish – to meet and swim with Ariel – will be granted. i hope it is the time of your life. I hope you chase the wind and touch the sky. I hope you become even stronger and even more amazing in this year ahead. Most of all – I hope you know how very much you are loved, and how very very proud I am to be your momma.

 Kendall as Ariel 027

you did it baby girl. you became a whole hand-full.

you’re my hero, for always.

 

keep on keepin on~

love, mommy.

Four Years.

Four years ago on this night, I got the first ever IV line I have ever needed in my life.

Four years ago on this night, I was a tired mom of three baby girls, and was anxious to welcome my fourth beautiful baby girl into the world.

Four years ago on this night, I had no idea what noises the machines make as they are helping your baby breathe, or what a nasogastric tube did, or what it felt like to be scared literally to death for your child’s life.

For this night, I was blissfully unaware of the world of “medically fragile children” – of the sheer undeterred strength that I could possess as a momma, of the limits of exhaustion that my body could push. For this night, I laid in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV, knowing that in the morning my life would change when Kendall Quinn came to meet us – but having no idea just how much change would be headed our way.

Four years ago on this night, I was innocent.

Some days, I wish I could go back to that old me. I’d love to worry only if my child would need ear tubes or a bump in her asthma medication. I’d love to have my house to myself (instead of having nurses in and out), celebrate my big girl moving to a big girl bed, be working on potty training (or already done with it!). I would love to be able to walk into a hospital or ER and naively trust every single word coming out of the doctors’ mouths as gospel truth.

But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it.

I wouldn’t trade all the sleepless nights, gray hairs, stress poundage, eye wrinkles and encyclopedic medical knowledge for that innocence. Because all of those things^^^??? They brought me my beautiful Kendall Quinn, a fighter in every sense of the word. The very definition of strength and hope and amazing. They made me the person, the mommy, the me that I am today. This is not my battle to fight – but these are my battle wounds. And in the end, they are what has made me stronger.

 

Four years ago on the night of November 13 – if you would have told me all thatIMG_4213 would transpire between then and now, I would have buckled to the floor. I would have been afraid of the pain, of the weight of it all. But I am not that same person. I can look back on the last four years and know that I am stronger. That we are all stronger. And no matter what comes, we will be ok.

 

 

My dear baby Ken-no-quinns –

You are amazing.

I have no idea where you get the strength that you do – to face each day with all of its challenges, to be woken up out of a deep sleep by a needle injecting medicine into your leg, to live your life and play all day with a backpack on your back lugging around an IV pump and medicines and bags of fluids. I don’t know how you do it. And I wish so hard that I could take it all away from you – make it MY pain, MY backpack, MY tubies to deal with.

 

This fourth year of life has been a crazy ride, hey?

For the first half of it, the focus wasn’t even really on you! You let the REST of your family share the medical spotlight for a little while. Very nice and gracious of you. And then when your issues hit, man did they HIT. The many days of intense pain in your bladder from being unable to pass  urine for days, and then the added trauma of trying to cath an extremely uncooperative you…I want to block those days from my memory!

And then surgery.

And then more pain.

And then infection after infection after infection and more hospital stays…more ambulance rides…more tests. I am so sad some days for you my baby girl. I know that I couldn’t endure what you do. I know your sisters would in NO WAY be able to handle what you do with your same awesome attitude.
IMG_4513You have fought back from some pretty scary infections and situations this year kiddo. They have left you with scars, some physical, some emotional. They tell me that your status is fragile and complex. But that’s because they don’t know YOU. You are strong and singular in purpose – you are HERE to LIVE OUT LOUD. I don’t know what the next year might hold for you. I hope it is a year of health and happiness, and free of hospitals. I hope we can figure out a way to make your wish of seeing Mickey and Cinderella come true. I hope so many good things for you. But mostly, I just hope that the next few hours are pain-free. And the next few hours after that.  And then the next few hours after that. I hope your blood clot dissolves. I hope we can stop the nasty shots into your legs before Christmas. I hope Santa is good to you. I hope you know how much I love you – how much we ALL love you.

 

I hope that you continue to receive your daily mercies and strength from Jesus.

I hope that you continue fighting and proving that you write your own textbook.

I hope you continue touching the lives of everyone who comes in contact with you.

I cannot wait to see the amazing things you will do this year – you ARE amazing my sweet baby~

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I’m so honored to be your momma.

Love you forever.

Happy Birthday, Princess.

Bibbidi.

Bobbidi.

Boooooo!!!!!

Happy Birthday Week!

Trying this again. I still haven’t forgiven my blog program for losing my last post. I’m not going to be able to rehash the whole thing. But i cannot believe it’s been a week (more?) since my last post, so i figured I better get something up!

It has been another crazy week around here – but we all survived. Eye doctor visits for myself and all four K’s revealed that at least three of them have gotten my crappy eye genes. Kendall will likely be hugely benefitted by glasses, but was uncooperative with the testing by the end of the visits, so we will try it again in a couple months when she has hopefully gained SOME kind of attention span to be able to test the deficit better. Kealey needs pretty strong glasses which was a HUGE shock – she has never ONCE complained of things being blurry, hard to see, strained eyes – NOTHING! And Karissa has a “visual processing disorder” based on some of the testing the doc did, so we will need to follow up more with her neuro about that to figure out more of how it fits into the bigger picture.

Conferences with their teachers all went well – i’m so proud of all of my girlies and how they are doing in school!

This week will hopefully be MUCH less stressful, and hopefully will bring us closer to more sanity in our lives with nursing help, finishing up IV antibiotics (and their crazy scheduling!), and no appointments (yet). PLUSSSSS….

 

It’s little missy’s BIG BIRTHDAY!!! this Wednesday! I need to finish up my birthday letter for her, do a birthday video/year in review, and decide on her present! This is the first year she has actually been cognizant of “things” to want, and of course she wants EVERYTHING! Her first request was for a “minnie shopping cart wis all da food”, but when I went to look online for that, they had only a “bowtique” shopping cart (Minnie’s bowtique), no food included, or a Minnie play kitchen. She went nuts over the play kitchen pictures and told me “mommy, you have good sings on your pu-tahh!!!” But then she saw an ad for this Cinderella playset and looks at it every day and says “mommy, da birsday fairy bwing me DISSSSSSS????? Pweeeeezzzze!!!!” And of course I can’t FIND the stupid cinderella playset anywhere! (I can’t even find it online to link to but THIS ONE is cute too that i did find! i’m sure she’d like it too…but its not the one she looks at every day!!!)But then again she is also obsessed with play-doh and painting so maybe i should just buy more of those? i hope I get some free time to go actually find her something before her birthday!

And we are SO CLOSE to meeting my goal of having 1000 friends/fans/prayerwarriors for Kendall Quinn on her facebook page, Hope for Kendall! There is a link in the sidebar – if you have not liked her page yet – PLEASE help us out and do that! Then feel free to share it on your wall! Why is this important to me? I’m not sure that its about the actual “number” as much as it is about sharing my beautiful amazing warrior princess with so many people. For all that she endures every day, she is my hero. For all the times she pushes through pain that shoots through her bladder and down her legs and into her back. For all the times she lugs around a backpack that weighs 1/3rd of her body weight that carries her food and pumps and medicines and supplies. For all the times she gets stabbed in the legs with medicine to break up the clot hanging out dangerously near her heart. For all of the daily battles she faces with a smile on her face – I want her to know that she is touching someone’s life. that she is making a difference. That all that pain isn’t for nothing. I want you to know this amazing little girl like i do. She’s pretty awesome. So are her sisters. So is her dad.

I’m also toying with a possible idea of having a “bring your own nuggets” party at the bolingbrook Chick-fil-A this coming Saturday night (the 17th). Basically we would be there for a certain amount of time and have some cake and if you could stop by and celebrate with us, we would love to see you! No pressure, nothing huge….just something i’m tossing around right now! Let me know if you think you might be able to make something like this! It will help me make up my mind!

Anyways – that’s where I’m at this rainy Sunday night. It might snow tonite! I don’t know why – but i think that would be kind of awesome! i hope you have all had an awesome weekend and have a beautiful Monday! I promise i’ll have a better/more detailed post tomorrow!
Thanks for checking on us!

terra.

{2002.}

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Ten years ago at this moment I was doing my hair. And makeup. And feeling very very large.

And very very excited. Nervous excited.

And crampy.

My aching back was tired of the weight it held up in front from my 10 day overdue pregnancy with what I HOPED desperately would be a baby (but had been having strange dreams about being a litter of kittens that talked instead). I was 25 years old. I worked in an office for a construction company. I had been married for almost 5 years. We had a little house in a little town outside of Tacoma, WA. It was a drizzly day.

“We” (because I don’t really remember whose idea it was to be surprised – but I’m thinking it was mostly mine, cause I love surprises, and Ben hates them) had decided to wait to find out if we were having a boy baby or a girl baby until the birth. Which was also going to be full of love, bliss, calm and quiet, in a natural environment, with our midwife helping guide us through this journey that my body would be making on its own (ok seriously I am deathly afraid of needles as large as the epidural needle is. And in my spinal cord? no thank you!) But blah blah blah – we lived in granola-ville. The end. Anyways – the day before, on February 26th, I had put in about a ten hour day, bouncing away on my back-saving huge labor ball in front of the computer, filing stuff that had been sitting out for weeks, getting things lined up – I wasn’t having full blown contractions, but I guess it was my mind’s way of “nesting”, getting things ready for the birth. I remember being at the office with one other person there, and my friend Mia was talking me through the “weird asthma attacks” I was having (they were actually super high contractions beginning – that would hit so close to my crushed lungs that I thought I was having an asthma attack when I couldn’t catch my breath), and going home and eating almost an entire box of cereal (I usually despise cereal – that should have been my first clue!). Ben went to work around 3 am like he did at that time of our lives – and I basically stayed up after he left – I could NOT get comfortable! Looking back now of course I see that I was in early labor – but I remember then just feeling like I was never going to not be in pain again. It had just been dragging on so long! (Ok so i had worked myself up into having a Valentine’s Baby and when that didn’t happen I got a bit dramatic about being so overdue…)

And then on the day of her birth, I got up, did my hair, went to talk with my mom at her work who convinced me my “asthma attacks” were probably going to need to be checked out and that I should call Ben home from work. He took me out for a nice lunch that I could eat exactly two bites of, and off to the hospital we went. Funny story about checking in: I had just been at that hospital on the SAME DAY the year before because of a broken shoulder, so when I went in – huge as a hippo, breathing like I had run a marathon, gripping the counter in pain every time the waves of contractions hit, the nurse was like “when did the incident occur?” and I was like thinking – oh my gosh she has to know when we had sex and got pregnant?  “It was roughly 9.5 months ago, I don’t remember the exact date” and she was like – “You injured your shoulder 9 months ago and are JUST NOW coming in???” I was so baffled I couldn’t even form coherent words at that point so I stood up and pointed to my stomach  and she got the picture then. It wasn’t until later that I was able to put together that she had just looked at the date of my last check in, assumed I had been sent to the hospital from an urgent care, and was just there to check boxes on papers!

Anyways – it seemed like a LONG time from that point until I met my baby girl – but it was actually only about 6 hours. I labored on a ball and in the bathtub and i was sooooooo delirious with pain by the time Ben had to literally drag me out of the tub because my legs were one huge contraction. I remember walking to the bed from the bathroom and they had the lights dimmed and the table all set up and the little baby warmer in place and i started to sing “happy birthday”…and then a few of the most painful intense waves of pain I have ever endured in my life, and they put her on my tummy and said – tell everyone what you have!!! And i looked at her and I was so confused because it was all so swollen (as babies usually are) and I was like – “ i have a hermaphrodite child!!!” and started crying and the midwife had to yell out “It’s a Girl!” so my family behind the curtain could all know that she wasn’t really a hermaphrodite.

and I looked into her eyes and told her “hi baby girl – I’m your momma!”

and that is pretty much all I remember about the next 9 months or so.

She made me a mommy. She has taught me how to learn being a mommy at every age and every stage.

She is a beautiful wonderful little girl, with an amazing laugh, and beautiful eyes that sparkle like sapphires every time she is super excited about anything. She carries the weight of a world far beyond her 10 years on her little shoulders. She has seen more, and learned more, and knows more about real life, and real priorities, than most 10 year old little girls I know. I wouldn’t wish a different life for her – because I know these things have made her the awesome person she is today, and the one she will grow up to be someday.

I can hardly believe it’s been ten years.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday  Kealey Grace – I’m so glad your littlest sister didn’t try to ruin your birthday this year by being in the hospital like she has for the past few years! We’ll party it up soon!

 

love,

your momma.

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