Wednesday, December 3, 2014

...so then I started selling these silly little nail stickers...

...I know, I know...you turned to your spouse and said, "Eva's doing WHAT?!?" 

If you haven't known me for long, it might not be as shocking that the makeup-lacking, trendy-challenged, polish-avoiding girl would jump into this little biz! For the rest of you, I thought it might be helpful to address my new adventure so you'd call off the men in white coats...or call 'em...there's plenty other reasons for them to come a-knockin'! I'll meet them at the door with my bag packed!!! :)

For those of you that have NO CLUE what I'm talking about...let me explain. I became a Jamberry Nails consultant in June...June 8th, to be exact. In case you're tracking with me, calendar-wise, that was the day following the anniversary of Zoe's death.  Much like not chopping off your hair when you're pregnant...trust me, don't do it...you may think it would've been better not to make life-altering decisions when you're on such a insane emotional roller coaster! I went the opposite direction. :) (I'm clearly the rebel of the group here.)

As I've shared before, I found myself struggling in many, many ways when approaching that fateful day. There was just no way around it. Everywhere I looked, every thought I had, every step I took...reminded me of our sweet Zoe. It seemed like we were all coasting through that month...coasting, floating, trudging...however you want to put it. We stayed busy, as always...and had many smiles and laughs with our family, as always, for which I'm so grateful. But when our normal chaos ebbed...in those rare moments when there were a few moments of "downtime," it was then that the pressure of grief seemed to press in so thick, I wondered how we'd ever not be consumed with sorrow.

I needed a distraction.

I needed something that wasn't attached to Zoe in any way...something that was FAR out of my norm.

In a bizarre twist of events, I found myself home one night...alone...with the freedom to chill on the couch and just scroll through everyone's incredible life stories on good ol' FB! :) I happened across a post of Chris' cousin's wife, Karen...she was having her launch party for Jamberry. I began to check out the product and company and was intrigued about the possibilities. I checked out some samples and realized if these things actually worked, it was going to be very popular. 

You just go ahead and use your imagination about that first conversation with the hubs...it was as funny as you might imagine. In the end, he said, "Listen...the join fee is the same amount of money as 2 pedicures! At the end of the day, this'll save us money by you not getting pedicures with your friends"...namely one friend...ahem...(you know who you are). 

And just like that...I had my own little biz...a nail biz. (Insert gut laughter here.)

Bottom line: I needed a distraction...something that didn't have Zoe memories around every corner. While I'm 100% positive that she would've LOVED her some JAMS, I was able to focus my idle thoughts into something that was new to me and, therefore, not intricately attached to Zoe. This was the perfect idea!

It didn't hurt that I'd found a way to provide for all those little extras that tend to put a big strain on our family pocketbook! The business has taken off like wild fire because people think they're an amazing alternative to the salon...cheaper, DIY, long-lasting, and stylish...just like I did! I have even developed a team of 8 girls, and we are called, (are you sitting down) "Eva's Divas." Not even joking. HAHAHA!


Of course, there are always people who say, "You are supposed to find your purpose and direction in God and His plan for your life! You shouldn't need a distraction!" To that I say, "Yes. Nailed it." 

BUT I firmly believe He's the One who provided this little side biz for all the reasons I listened above. In my humanness, I was just floundering. Distraction, and her kissing cousin, Avoidance, tend to give me the time I need to adjust to the heartache and my new normal. I want to find my peace in Him...to not be living in the wounds of the past. I'm working my way back to turning to Him FIRST and finding all my fulfillment in Him. In the meantime, He's continually reminding me that He's my provider...He's my comforter...He's my Healer...

...and He can even use something like NAIL WRAPS to prove it to this thick-headed, tender-hearted, weary momma. 

Maybe someone you love is struggling and just needs a distraction to help them round the bend...as they settle into their new norm after suffering and heartache. Maybe that person is you. Can we all just cut each other some slack? Can we love on each other so much that it can truly be said of us, "They are bearing one another's burdens." No more cookie-cutter responses to grief and pain. No more standard plan. Every person's recovery is as unique as their DNA...designed by a Creator to be an incredible one-of-a-kind masterpiece! Breathe, friends, and then meet the hurting right where they are...even if that's at the end of a nail file.

So there ya go...I'm your Jam girl. Still no makeup and no fashion sense...but my nails look amazing!!! :) Or as my counterparts would say...JAMAZING!

(HAHA...for real...apparently there's this whole lingo that's simply JAMTASTIC! The Carr crew have had a good time with that one, but mark my words...not gonna happen here. I'm kinda partial to real words...:) )




Thankful in My Suffering

I’m not listening to you…you’re crazy!”

This favorite movie quote brings a smile to my face (and to the face of all who’ve been lucky enough to view this stellar film), but I think it also summarizes my thoughts on our topic:

BEING THANKFUL IN MY SUFFERING

We’ve had our fair share of suffering these past couple years…so have you. So has everyone. I tend to err on the side of…”It is what it is.” This is true, of course…I can’t change what’s happened or the circumstances in which I’m forced to live. So, it is what it is. That whole, “No use crying over spilt milk” adage. (You know the parent of a WHINER came up with that one out of their frustration because, let’s be honest, somebody’s got to CLEAN UP that milk! You’d be crying too if you’ve seen some of the milk explosions with which I’ve had to deal. Cry all you want, momma…just let it out.)

BUT…to say, “I’m GRATEFUL for this pain…” Excuse me, what?!? “I’m not listening to you…YOU’RE CRAZY!” J ( Nachoooooooo J)

So much suffering. So much injustice. So much heartache.

It goes without saying that such difficult times serve to strengthen us…to grow us, but if I’m being honest, I’d chime in with, “Thanks, but no thanks…I’ll take pain-free rather than stronger and more mature.”

The struggle is real. The day we STOP PRETENDING it’s not, is the very moment the Strong One begins to plant a portion of Himself smack into the middle of our suffering.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road: erHereHIt’s not my thankful spirit I’m after…it’s His. I just don’t have it in me, but I do have Him.  

So what I’m really saying when I ask God to make me thankful in the midst of my suffering is this…”Father, please give me more of You in the midst of all my junk. I need You to come in and plop Yourself in the heart of all my heartache so I see You more than I see my pain.”
That’s the only way to ever be thankful in our suffering because we just don’t have it within ourselves to see past ourselves…and who wants to see more of Eva…bleh. (In case you’re wondering, dear husband, it would be wise to remain silent.) I’m SO OVER trying to get my attitude in check and my heart in line so I’ll be able to approach my suffering in a godly way. I’ve missed it…maybe so have you. I CAN’T FIX ME. Sounds so simple…duh. Then why do I keep trying?!?

John 3:30-31: He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all.

He’s above my pain. He’s above my heartache. He’s above my grief. He’s above my fear. He’s above my tormentors. He’s above my insecurities. He’s above my sorrow.

HE’S. ABOVE. IT. ALL.

He’s not messin’ around. How’s about we just give it a whirl and LET Him give us more of Himself. That’s how the system was designed to work in the first place.


For the record, here’s where I’m going to snuggle up all warm and cozy this Thanksgiving: I’m so THANKFUL He’s willing and ABLE to change my heart. Now that’s something I can be thankful for…all day, every day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

June 7th...1 year anniversary

I've been sitting on this post for 6 months. Some ideas need marination. Although you might not be ready to read it...I'm ready to share it.

May you appreciate the power of a dream...whether it's the dream you've always dreamed or the dream you've been given by a God who knows what you need more than you know yourself.


I dreamed a dream. That infamous song haunts me with images from the musical itself and of dreams that have been loved and lost. As the anniversary of Zoe's death hit me like a Mac truck, I found myself entranced with my very own version of the Les Mis classic, not too different than the original:

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving



It went something like this:


I dreamed a dream of pink tutus and ballet slippers...now the color pink makes me nauseas. 

I dreamed a dream of my sweet angel singing about her love for her Savior...now the only sound of her sweet voice is the one recording of Jesus Loves Me.


I dreamed a dream of snuggles and eskimo kisses...now I sit alone on the couch, my arms empty.


I dreamed a dream of healing where you would be a testimony of God's amazing power...now I'm forced to be the testimony of His sustaining grace.


I dreamed a dream where every new morning brought refreshing breath to fill my lungs...now every breath is taken with pain and suffering.


I dreamed a dream where I'd find you curled up in a cozy bed...now I only find your memory under a cold slab.


I dreamed a dream where I move through the day with purpose and conviction...now I float aimlessly, wondering as I wander.


I dreamed a dream of hair bows and frilly dresses....now they're packed away and hidden from view.


I dreamed a dream of sparkles and glitter...now the world seems dull and drab.


I dreamed a dream of tickles and giggles...now I feel guilty when I've had a good gut laugh. 


I dreamed a dream where hundreds, even thousands, of orphans would find their forever families after people heard your story...now I wonder if parents will be too afraid of the pain to answer the call.


I dreamed a dream of prom dresses, wedding dresses, maternity dresses...now I'm left with the image of your final wardrobe.


I dreamed a dream of long life...now I'm confronted with a very, very short life.


I dreamed a dream that we would have the privilege of sharing the story of God's miraculous healing power...now we carry the weight of sharing how God did heal Zoe by bring her to Himself in the ultimate healing.


I dreamed a dream that the best for Zoe would also be what we desired...now we know that the best thing for Zoe was to curl up in the arms of Christ, instead of the arms of her Mama.


Yet, as the words of that song haunt my mind, I'm stunned to find comfort in the midst of such sorrow...here's why: 

Hope is still high. Life is still worth living. Love will never die. And God will ALWAYS be forgiving. 

So. Very. Grateful.


I dreamed a dream that adoption would change our lives forever...that dream came true. 


Are you telling me that this isn't a Chinese to English thing...sounds about right.

Here we go, ol' buddy...a "final" installment in the health update for Big Z...until the next thing. :)

In the extensive testing done at the AEA, they also evaluated his speech. We assumed he was still transitioning from Chinese to English, and we also wondered if that missing 
"surround sound" was contributing to his struggle to communicate. Apparently, Zane also has a typical speech developmental delay...more new territory...and although it doesn't directly cause the speech intelligibility, the hearing issues just add to the existing delay. 

Here's the kicker: because he has good hearing in the one ear...and even though he's literally missing an EAR...he doesn't qualify for any assistance in school. Great. 

BUT he does qualify for speech assistance with the significant delay. Ironic, huh? SO...to date, we completed 2 different installments of speech therapy outside of school, and he now meets with the speech therapist during school hours. 

The therapists all claim that he's doing great...and then there's me, "Dude, consonants are our friends! Cozy up to a 'K', for the love!" But he acts like they're nuclear bombs and steers clear...especially on the end of words. Sigh.

If you thought (correctly) that we were big-time ENABLERS with the glasses, you should be in our house whenever he's rambling on and on...oh, and ON! Once you've been around Zane for a long time, you can understand him, for the most part...unless you're a certain dad who continually turns to me (and ANYONE else in the family) and says, "WHAT did he just say?!?" So while it's great that we can communicate with him, it doesn't really help him in the long run. Imagine his frustration at school and church when most people have no clue what he's saying. The only saving grace is that he's so OCD, he repeats the same things OVER and OVER. A better mother than I would continually remind him about all those pesky consonants...this mother tends to just roll around in all of his vowel-glory. Friends...it's this or the rubber room for me. 

Pretty sure this is one of those things that will seem insignificant in a year...right now, it's fairly consuming. So you can pray for my one-earred bandit and his battle against the consonant machine, and we will look forward to that day far down the road when our sweet boy can stand (preferably without jumping around...we're still working on that) and give a speech to the masses where the crowd can understand every word, and Zane can hear and see them at the same time. That'll be a big day...a day to highlight the awesomeness of a Creator that never abandons His children. A good reminder...no matter the outcome.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How's about we throw a $4k piece of equipment on Wild Man's head and just watch what happens...yea

I seriously have no idea how we initially found ourselves placing a four THOUSAND dollar piece of equipment on a piece of ELASTIC and strapping it around ZANE'S head. 

We did WHAT?!?

I'll try to abbreviate the process. Roughly 6 months after the adoption, we realized that Zane's hearing was, indeed, faulty. Now you're probably thinking to yourself that ever-popular teen swag, "DUH!" Oh wait...maybe teenagers don't say that anymore...I'm so old, I wouldn't even know! Ah well...back to, "No joke, Sherlock!" I like it. 

Honestly, though, it wasn't obvious that Zane had no hearing in the "nub" ear. He could hear a pin drop, is the lightest sleeper that's ever pretended to sleep through a slight breeze, and never EVER misses anything. We were convinced that he could somehow hear through all that scar tissue and obstructions...

...until that infamous game of hide and seek. Suddenly it was all crystal clear. No matter where you were hiding, you could yell, "I'm upstairs!" (or wherever you weren't), and Big Z would run to that place. At one point, Bryce was hiding behind the recliner, and Zane was standing BESIDE it! Bryce would whistle, and Zane would go running in every random direction, insisting that he was heading towards Bryce. At first it was hilarious, but soon, we knew we had a problem...other than the obvious missing EAR! :)  He basically has no surround sound...no clue about sound location. We also wondered if this was a major factor in his speech issues...immediate family and close friends are the only people who can consistently understand his ramblings. (More details on that in the next post.)

We eventually began having some testing done with the local AEA...more new territory for this momma. They determined that his good ear had close to perfect hearing, but that no readings were notable on the right side. Thankfully, they discovered that he had next-to-perfect hearing on that side in the bone conduction tests. This means that he will eventually have the possibility of getting a permanent hearing aid implant, if we choose to pursue that. They said he's too young now and without the reconstructed ear, they'd have nowhere to place it. Of course, with such good hearing in the left ear, it would be a significant decision whether we'd want to do the implant anyway. It's kind of a big deal. Regardless, the ironic part is that since his hearing is so good on the one side, he doesn't qualify for any assistance in school. Awesome.

At the time of all these tests, we began to talk to the docs back up in Iowa City about hearing aids. As I mentioned last time, the poor kiddo already has glasses strapped to his head so we just weren't sure about the soft band hearing aid being the way to go. Once again, the U gets an A+ for quality service...and yes, we will hit almost every specialist on campus before this is over...but the hearing aid clinic staff is awesome. They indicated that the Baha may or may not help Z in his broken "sound system," but it was worth a try...a **GULP** $4k try. 

It was nothing short of comical the day I took Zane in to try out the Baha. Once the doc got the hearing aid ready to go, she strapped it on his head and turned it on. She asked if he could hear her from that ear...you should've seen the look on his face when he heard himself answer! It was hilarious. Then he started saying, "HELLO!" in every voice and accent you could imagine. He started saying everyone's names and acting all slap-happy. Think of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry and crew kept talking funny the entire time...probably hard to isolate...but if you could, you would've been in that moment inside the clinic that day. It was crazy...even for Zane. Take a moment, friends. It's hard to process...but hilarious.

After much anticipation, Zane began wearing these sci fi contraptions...like I said, the glasses band runs east to west...the hearing aid runs north to south. The mental picture your mind is just tossing around is only the tip of the iceberg! If he ever gets braces, the poor kid is gonna need a bodyguard. Of course, he's still just as cute as can be! As you can imagine, the hearing aid (and glasses) have been thrown, stepped on, abandoned, and hidden...and I'm sure we're still in the honeymoon phase! 

Adding insult to injury for Zane, the device also came with clip-on mic that we gave to Mrs. Franklin, his teacher at school. Going from zero hearing in that ear to amplified hearing isn't his favorite, but we are adjusting as needed. I may or may not find some morbid satisfaction in that. :/

Wanna know the hubs' favorite?!? The pre-certified purchase of said appliance is now being questioned by the insurance company. Shocker. 

OK friends...we're close to being caught up with Zane's health issues. I'm happy to move on and share with you all the things that have been going on this past summer...after one more update on his health...stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

...You have until age 9 to correct the problem...after that, the damage is permanent

Yea...you read that correctly. I think my new plan is to just avoid new specialists...no more bad news! :) Who's with me?!?

I think I've shared before that Zane's vision is the only other major issue that has come from his Golden Har syndrome. Besides the cranial/facial deformities, it can also affect the heart, the kidneys, the liver, and the eyes. 1 out of 4 ain't bad, I guess. 

The few of you that have been riding along with us for awhile now will recall when little man got his first pair of glasses...we had to go with the sport goggles because he's missing an ear and all...or you might not have realized because his personality is bigger than the Statue of Liberty...for the love. SO...the goggles had a strap from eye-to-eye. Perfect solution. Except for the complete and utter smashing of his poor little face, eyeballs touching the lenses, etc. He sure looked cute, but he was in constant pain and aggravation. I found myself telling him, no less than every 2 minutes, PUT YOUR GLASSES BACK ON!!! I may or may not have even resorted to, "Don't you realize you'll go BLIND in that eye?!?!?" He pretty much thumbed his nose at the Blindness Kings and shoved them up like the coolest pair of shades ever! 

We called in subs, we scolded and punished, and then we...well, we basically just gave up. Blast it all. 

The glasses persecution lasted Feb-June. Then it was time to revisit the eye doc. Since I knew I'd be in the fetal position if I walked into that hospital in the month of June, Captain America took big Z in my stead. Unfortunately, his eyes had gotten worse. I was completely shocked after we had given up all efforts to correct his vision. Just shocked. 

Guess what happens when your eyesight worsens!?! You get a new prescription! 

Guess what happens when you get a new prescription!?! You...say it with me now...GET NEW GLASSES. 

For the love. I can't even. Ain't nobody got time for that...and every other overused catch phrase of our day.

We won't even go into the time lapse between that dr visit and a certain Mother of the YEAR actually going in to get the glasses...maybe a couple weeks...give or take 3 months. AND that was only after our primary doc said, "Eyes. Deal with that NOW. Nothing else. Focus on the eyes." Pushy people, over here in Iowa. 

Of course, when I finally meandered into the vision center and begin to pick out frames, the sweet gal said, "Oh, you really should bring Zane in so we can fit him for the glasses." You remember him, right, lady?!? Cute little Asian dude...one ear...was running laps around your little store filled with GLASS?!? So how's about you and I just wrap this thing up, shall we? 

We went with regular frames and a band that slid onto the stems...hoping that he might cooperate more if they didn't hurt so badly. Again, more insanity as they tried to deal with the cranial malformation that most people never notice because of his hair...I felt like just calling the ear dude in Iowa City and whispering in my best stalker voice, "Give the dude his ear. Now. And no one gets hurt." 




So here we find ourselves...Zane seems to not fight the glasses issues quite as much because they aren't killing his face. But it's just tricky because he's got a strap going east-to-west around his head, for the glasses...and a strap running north-to-south for his hearing aid. Yikes. Sounds like that leads us to another post...soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gotta love our little terrorist...we sure do!

Where oh where to begin on the little man...

Here's the funniest part: I scrolled back through the blog to find out where I'd left you on the Z updates, and I was seriously laughing out LOUD at the last entry. Go back and read it. Just for kicks. It'll brighten your day. (To be clear...I recall that day like it was yesterday...with no fond memories, I can assure you! But sometimes...or always...ya just gotta laugh! Maybe it's so when he's smearing poop all over the car, I can think, "Hey, at least he's not terrorizing an entire hospital right now! Nope. Just me." (That story is for another day. I'll give you plenty of warning.)

Anyhoo, I thought the quickest way to get back in the swing of things would be to update you on Zane's mouth/surgical recovery, since that's where we left off in his story!

For the most part, Z healed nicely from the surgery with the mouth closing nicely. Unfortunately, that same spot where they removed the pit continued to be stubborn (shocker) so Dr. K had to do the needle-less injection several more times to convince the scaring to just chill and obey. More pain for the little dude, more strapping down for the 'rents. 

We began working on the following vocab word: KARMA. So far so good. Pretty sure he's gonna get that one on a tattoo instead of the "I love Mom" one that we had planned. Whatev.

The biggest concern in regards to the mouth/face surgery is nerve regeneration. Oh the things you learn about the human body when yours doesn't perform the way it should! As always, here's the Eva-version of the state of affairs: Apparently the nerves that allow you to control the function of your mouth, run down the side of your face. You might say, "DUH!", where someone else (yours truly) might say, "Interesting!" So these nerves...

In order to close the side cleft properly so that Zane would be able to completely control keeping food and drink INSIDE where it belongs, they had to "weave" those nerve fibers right into the muscle tissue and lines they created. Therefore, it looks great...until he smiles and you realize that side of his mouth (where once the Grand Canyon resided) doesn't "open" the same as the other side. In effect, it initially appeared like they'd made a mistake and closed it too much. But the true culprit is...say it with me, class...nerve regeneration. It takes time for that to happen so that his smile and basic mouth function appears balanced on both sides. The only distressing element here...it may never return. So they chose the lesser of 2 evils, so to speak, and we began watching and waiting to see if it would gradually come back. If it doesn't come back fully by 6 months or so, the "damage" is permanent. Bummer. And so we waited. (The benefit of my prolonged blog absence is that you no longer have to wait for unfolding details! That's how much I love you.)

As it now appears, Z has regained some, but not all, of the nerve sensation on the right side of his face. Most people cannot tell as it's definitely less noticeable at this point. 

I may or may not have told Chris that I regretted the surgery, after a month or so, because I missed the gigantic smile of Zane's. Yes, it was that big because of the gapping side of his mouth...but, man, did he have a great smile! He still does...I love it...it's just a little smaller. 

Good thing his personality makes up for that! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's time.

Yes, it's time. Time to re-enter the land of the living...or the blogging, as it were. 

You'll notice that you haven't heard or seen me around the blogging world since Zoe's birthday, the end of April. I thought I'd keep you updated through those following months, but truth be told, it was more difficult than anticipated...and I was thinking it was going to be a nightmare, so...

Although I would never claim to be on the other side of grief...is there such a thing?!?...I have been able to process through a great deal of heartache over these past several months so I'm grateful for your patience with me. 

There are a million updates on Zane's antics, plenty of family updates, and even some specifics thoughts about the anniversary of Zoe's death. I've been saving all these for you...until I felt strong enough to share them. Thanks to my longtime friend, Christina Widup, for the courage to allow you to grieve and pray with us.

Ready or not...here I come. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

April 30th was one of those days you dread when in the throws of grief…a momentous day that comes, no matter how comfy you find yourself in Denial-ville. I mentioned to a few thousand of my closest social media friends that this was one of the top 3 most-dreaded days. I stand by that statement. 

May 21st was the day of Zoe's heart surgery…it was also the last time we heard her giggle, saw that beautiful smile, and felt her arms around our neck. That's gonna be a tough one. 

June 7th will be the anniversary of Zoe's death. That day will probably be the ultimate trump card. There's no forgetting the awfulness of that day. I can still hear the doctors words and see their looks of overwhelming sorrow as they said there was nothing more than could do. Valium will likely be on the short list.

But, yesterday…yesterday rounds out the top 3. Yesterday was Zoe's 4th birthday. There was no escaping the lack of balloons…the absence of presents and cake…no friends and family gathered to celebrate. The joy vacuum seemed to suck the happiness out of every second. 

I bounced back and forth between avoidance and celebration. 

8:00 am-Eva decides we should just let our busyness distract us from the grief of the day. 

8:02 am-Eva decides we should have cupcakes and balloons in Zoe's honor…the whole nine. And so went the entire day, in 2 minute increments. Yea. 

So many sweet friends gave ideas of how to remember Zoe's birthday, but nothing seemed to "fit" our family. Sentimental is difficult for us…primarily, I assume, because it's most difficult for the one who's "supposed" to lead the charge…the mom. 

Another interesting turn of events made the day brutal. Our family has been fighting sickness for about 2 weeks, and it all met a breaking point when the king of our castle bit the dust. Zane started hacking about 10 days ago…screaming in pain with every cough…much worse than his double surgeries. High fevers led us to the doctor where I was sure they'd find strep or the like. Nada. All that progressed was his need to share it with yours truly…so then I was down for the count. (Chris took off most of the week following Easter…all he did was take care of me and the little man.) A couple days later, Chris began to "feel it"…it was bad…then it grew into pneumonia. He hasn't been to work this week either, for the most part. (If you know Chris, you realize how bad it truly is for him to miss that much work! This is nasty stuff.) The girls are beginning to feel the sore throats and fevers, while the boys are avoiding the rest of us like the plague. Moral of this side story??? We had a massive distraction handed to us on a silver platter. It's not what I would've chosen, but this virus straight from the pit has definitely kept our attentions diverted.

Of course, I still want to acknowledge this special day! (Remember that whole back and forth deal.) I think I've found a happy medium that'll be a sweet celebration for our crew. We are in the process of making some sweet mini panda cupcakes (the process comes into play because of all the sickness I mentioned…ugh)…we will place some pink flowers at Zoe's graveside…and we'll spend some time talking about our fun Zoe memories over dinner. Personally, my favorite times lately are when we watch the few videos we have of Zoe…probably because the most crippling factor at this point in the grieving process is that I'm struggling to remember her voice and her laugh. Those videos are like salve to my open wounds.

Zoe's special friends, (and ours too) the Davis family, sent a beautiful flower bouquet yesterday with the following card, "Celebrating a beautiful life!" I think that's the key for us. Celebrating a precious baby girl that we had the immense privilege of loving intensely in her short life. I always tell my kids they should be grateful for what they have and not complain about what they don't. The enemy is sneaky with that one. Sounds like this is yet another instance when Mom needs to take her own advice. Because Zoe's life was beautiful…and it is worth celebrating.

The best way I can think to do that for you all is to bring you into one of these special moments. Big sister, Landry, gave me permission to share one of the many clips we have of Zoe. In spite of her heart/oxygen issues, Zoe LOVED to be chased…and LOVED to be scared! She would scream and waddle away as fast as her little legs could go! She thought she was Speedy Gonzalez. It was awesome. This video was shot about a month after we brought the kiddos home from China. You'll notice the Chinese/English language combo. "Be-ow" (totally not spelled that way) means something like, "I don't want that/I don't want to." We heard that constantly from Zoe while we were still in China…she wasn't happy with shift in power we had going on! As you'll see…once we got to the states, she continued to say that, but in a teasing way. We may or may not have taunted her with it as well. So wrong. 

Anyway, back to the video…Landry is trying to carrying Zoe down the stairs…Zoe's not having it. Then Landry goes ahead of her and hides…keep watching when it goes black…Zoe was loving it. 

Happy birthday, baby girl. We celebrate the beautiful life that you were. We will giggle with you. We will smile at your sweet face. The joy you brought to our family will always provide such sweet memories.


We remember you on this special day. Happy #4, Cha Cha. We love you so and miss you dearly.




Monday, April 14, 2014

more news on the little man

Hey friends. How 'bout a brief, and hopefully, final, update on Zane's recovery? I say "final," because if all goes as planned, his mouth surgery will soon be old news. And can I just say…with his terrorist plots in full swing, this little mouth thing NEEDS to be old news. Ain't nobody got time for that. Yes, I just went there. 

Little man and I made another trek up to the U, roughly 10 days ago. Dr. K wanted to check on the scarring and that pesky hole in the mouth. We'd already gone to soft foods but were counting down the days to normality…as if. 

Let me just say…somebody slap me next time I get lofty ideas of taking Zane anywhere by myself. Seriously…SLAP me. I set expectations of a short dr visit, followed by a yummy trip to Chick-fil-A (because the restaurant gods continue to frown upon SE Iowa), and then a fun time at the children's museum in the mall. DOES THAT SOUND SO WRONG?!? Call me crazy. Instead I spent my time full-blown RESTRAINING this cute little hoodlum. If you've ever been at an event and saw Z sitting in my lap (his least favorite family member) with my arms completely encircling his sweet self, then you know what's going on. One moment, he's entertaining the masses with his enchanting charm and astounding wit. The next, he has flipped the switch into full terrorist mode. Then you better hide your wife, hide your kids…you get it.

That's exactly what happened the morning of our adventure into the city. Switch was flipped. So with my dreams…and soul, apparently…crushed, Zane and I got some precious cuddle time at the U! :) (How's that for your daily dose of sarcasm?!?)

I'll give you one small example. Every now and again, big Z will twist the truth. (Sounds better than lying, right?) The downward spiral started when he insisted that he had to go potty on the way up to the hospital. After my own demands that he would have to wait until we finished our hour+ drive, I shifted into "save the van" mode and desperately began looking for a handy toilet, amidst the back seat panicking about having to go NOW…and me yelling from the front, "YOU HAVE TO WAIT!" You get the picture. Even though it was going to make us late, I finally found a gas station, jumped through car seat hoops to get him inside, accomplishing what could only be classified as an Olympic event. You can see where this is headed. Plop him down…nothing. "I was just kidding. I no have to go potty." Somebody hold me. 

This was at 9 am. We have a flag on the play. 15 yard penalty. This dude plays dirty, and the refs aren't calling a fair game.

This little smoke screen happened 3 more times…before we ever saw the doctor. I'm sure the hospital security had been called by the last time we were in the coveted bathroom, and the words, "So help me…pee better be coming out of you in the next 2 seconds," came out of my momma-humiliating mouth. Zane added to our joy by attempting to destroy the doctor's room like a little tornado. So you can imagine both of our state of minds by the time the doctor got into our room. I want my mommy.

Best news of the day…the hole inside the mouth had closed. Sweet molasses…that was awesome. (Of course, given the above information, imagine what had to happen for us to figure this out! Yea.)

The scars at the mouth itself looked really nice. Remember I mentioned before that he was going to have a pretty sweet initial tattoo at the corner of his mouth. The envy of the playground.

Unfortunately, the scar where they removed the pit was looking pretty angry…so they fought back with a needle-less steroid injection. I didn't tell you about his demeanor for nothing. Just try to imagine with me, the team of medical professionals it took to accomplish this little pop of an injection on his tender face, especially on a day such as this. For real. I will admit that I told the doctors this must be karma. But I was kissing his sweet head and comforting him in my best Julie Andrews. Does that count for some mothering points? Maybe 1…2? I'm pretty confident it doesn't outweigh the rest of that debacle of a morning. Say it with me…MOTHER OF THE YEAR! (I'm a shoe-in this time.)

Of course, the morning wouldn't be complete without several follow-up visits added to the books…something to look forward to! :) 

Because of the scarring issues, we will have to return the beginning of May to see if he needs another injection. That should be fun since he now knows what that means. Super. We will also meet with the hearing aid peeps to discuss a soft band hearing aid (Baha). That would mean he'd have a band going front side to side with his glasses and another going top to bottom with the Baha. I did ask if there was such a thing as a clip-on Baha that could attach to his glasses. They looked at me like I'd broken the 11th commandment. I did cancel the endo appointment they'd set to check on his slow weight gain. He's fine. I need a sedative. 

Any wonder why I waited 10 days to share this update with you, my fine friends?!? Let's all go eat some peanut butter and forget this happened…except the part where we have our amazing little Asian that we adore and couldn't imagine a day without…yea, except that part.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

news on the home front

Hey there, old buddy…old pal!

Just wanted to let you in on a little secret. There are a several blog posts in the works right now…some to make you laugh, some to share a tear, and some to keep you updated. But those posts are not for today. 

Today I'm just telling you that there is no specific post for today. 

Keep 'em wanting more…that's my motto. I'm aware at some point, you'll want to collect, but for now, we'll just roll with it.

Nope, this post is to simply tell you that new things are on the horizon. A new look, some new content, a new vibe…the suspense is palpable. Keep on eye out for the nail-biting unveiling! You can cut the tension with a knife. 

Yea. That's all I got. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

woulda…shoulda…coulda…

It's April. 

I should've been planning a birthday party…instead I took Zoe's name off the bedroom wall.

I could've been picking out princess party favors…instead I put away the rest of all traces of princesses at the house.

I would've been finding a puffy party dress for our sweet Zoe to wear…instead we took her bed out of the room she'd once shared with Zane.

Please don't confuse these actions with the much-awaited "moving on" that keeps floating around my ears. They needed to be done…whether I wanted to do them or not. Moving on, however, is way overrated. As much as you wish the grieving parents would move on, please stop suggesting that they do so. This is not helpful in any way…for you or them. It implies that there is a magical moment when this won't be the most awful thing a parent could ever experience. It also adds insult to injury by adding guilt to their already full plate of disappointment, anger, heartache, inadequacy, depression, and more.

In a few days, we will mark 10 months since Zoe's death. In the amount of time a tiny human grows inside its mommy, we've had to get adjusted to the loss of another tiny human…our human. It doesn't get worse than that…until somebody says, "Enough already. Get over it." 

We have to stop trying to push people past their pain and heartache. It's part of who they are now, and you're letting them know they're not good enough anymore…not if they have the nerve to bring their baggage with them. You're basically saying, "I'm good with part of you…the part that doesn't make me uncomfortable…but I don't really want to be around that other part. It makes me too sad. I don't like not knowing what to say, so could you stop talking about your sadness. I'll feel better then." 

Yea. That's the message you're throwing down, hoping they'll be strong enough to pick it up and swallow it…for your sake. Cut it out. For real. 

It's April. I should be planning a birthday party for our miracle baby. Instead…I'm spring-cleaning. In case you're wondering, I'm more of a party-planner than a cleaner. 

The hubs says Zoe will have the best birthday party she's ever had this year. I believe that to be true…100%…I just wish we could celebrate with her and all her heavenly homies. That's a party I could get into…

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A long rant about something that has no merit whatsoever…because you need a break from reality

The bounty lady…yea…she’s on my hit list. Figuratively, of course.

Not really. I lied. It’s a real list, and she’s on it.

Here’s the deal…everybody else rants about their pet peeves! Why can’t I? (I'm aware that I do this all the time…just roll with me here.) Ok, I can think of all kind of reasons why that may not be the most “Christian” thing to do, but clearly I have issues since I put the very word in quotes. Point made. Still, I don’t think I’ve ever just posted nonsense drivel…EVER…so here ya go. 

Ode to the insult-to-all-the-normal-moms commercial.

Have you seen this Stepford mom on the new Bounty commercial?!? Yes, I’m watching way too much tv these days. It’s Zane’s fault…at least, his prison term’s fault. What’s a girl to do? Cut some slack here peeps. Ok, back to my arch nemesis. So the commercial opens up with a boy around 7-8 yrs., sitting at the kitchen counter. He’s got a very full glass of dark liquid and a straw. Much to the amusement of his younger brother, approx. age 3-4, he’s blowing bubbles with the straw as his drink spews all over the counter, then pouring all over the floor. We're talking a LARGE amount of sticky goodness. As the little dude grins and says, “Again!”, the camera cuts to the mom who’s been observing this whole scene. Then with an angelically sweet smile on her face…and a silent "awwww", she pulls her one square of Bounty off the roll and comes over to deal with the spill. She wipes the entire counter and floor with her itsy bitsy square of miracle cloth…even scrubbing a stuck-on glob…and it never rips. It’s a Christmas miracle. She might as well have been whistling Spoonful of Sugar as she wiped. Then as if that weren’t assaulting to your brain cells enough…and all those other vital organs that wouldn’t buy it…the next camera shot just might do you in. Now we have the younger son blowing in his own drink (because big brother taught him well), spewing large amounts of liquid all over the place while Mother Theresa sickeningly sits right beside him smiling and says, “Again!”

Are you kidding me right now?!? Who’s buying this? If I didn’t need that tv to get me through the duration of Zane’s recovery…ok, and my lifetime…I’d have thrown something at it! Side note: I have fond memories of my dad threatening to kick a hole through the tv innumerable times throughout my childhood. Now I GET it. Although I’m fairly confident he felt the offending parties were far more…well, offensive. BUT he probably hasn’t SEEN THIS COMMERCIAL! Dad, it's the same thing. For real.

Come on already!!! Just once, I’d like to see a commercial where the mom has a kid hanging from every limb as she wipes up their incessant messes with her sock…then she tosses chicken nuggets across the kitchen straight into their mouth because their hands are covered with only-God-knows-what…all while rocking another baby with her foot (yes, it’s the same foot that just wiped up the mess…bonus)…as she calls for an immediate QUIET GAME. They could be advertising anything on the planet…I'd buy it. Anything. Could come with a million dollar price tag. I'm in. THIS is a woman with whom I can identify!!! 

I'm pretty sure I'd feel compelled by righteous indignation to just flatten the Bounty momma…my self-preservation clearly strong-arming my sense of right and wrong. I'm even struggling to feel shame for my lack of shame! Can I get a witness?!? Is there any one out there in the masses of motherhood that LOVES when their toddlers and beyond spew sticky liquid all over their kitchen…because they've got NOTHING BETTER to do than clean it up?!? The biggest problem with all this is that a weaker woman (present company excluded, of course) gets the message, "If you simply have the right PAPER TOWELS, those big messes of your day won't bother you at all!" Fo' snizzle. See…now I'm reverting to good ol' Christian cuss words. Look what you've done to me, Bounty!!! 

Sure, we love these little hoodlums no matter what…in SPITE of all the whacked out messes we find ourselves in the middle of…that's a given. (Well, most days!) But is anybody ENCOURAGING them to throw poop on the wall?!? Seriously, Bounty?!? 

Can you imagine landing the gig for this commercial…WOO HOO…then you show up for the filming and get this script…OH CRUD. I'd like to think that I'd toss the script back to the director and say, "Thanks, but no thanks. I have my dignity and the mental stability of every momma out there to consider." Solidarity, sister. (Because I'm sure all the other moms find their identity in the tv moms…ahem…just messin…not me…really. But still…ok.) 

Now I'd not dare call for a Bounty ban. Who cares what I say anyway…little miss nobody sitting amidst what could easily be classified as a Bounty 911. I'm actually staging a sit-in-the-mess protest. But I don't think I'll ever be able to erase that image of the mom I could never understand. "Aliens" don't market things well. The Aldi or Walmart brands are looking better and better to me these days. Even if I have to use 2 squares…or 20.

Hopefully you needed to feel better about yourself today. You're welcome.