Monday, December 27, 2010

No More Sorrow, No More Pain

This year I have been given hearing, gained a brother in law and lost a son. 2010 certainly was a year I will not forget anytime soon. And since we often find ourselves reflecting on the year we have just been given, I wanted to share some thoughts I had when I was preparing to sing at the Women's Dessert we had at our church. Carol LeBeau was the speaker and I was honored to be asked to sing. I felt like I was supposed to share something about the year and assumed it was supposed to be about Elijah but as I sat down to type my thoughts into words, I saw on the screen what it was God needed me to share that night.

So I am typing it out for you here. I am even inserting videos of the songs I sang (but you get to hear from the original artists.) There is a bit of the story I haven't shared with very many people at all and certainly not here on the blog. I said more than was written here, of course, I don't think I could ever actually stay on script. But this is the general idea and the message I think God had for me to share at the beginning of this month.

As you read, I pray that no matter what you gained or lost this year, you will find hope in the coming year. A Hope that can outlast any sort of "positive thoughts" you may thrust upon yourself. Because the Hope that comes from Jesus Christ is the Hope that lasts a lifetime.

Tonight we are going to be talking about Journeys, and we all are on one, of course. Right now, this very moment. You being here in this seat is part of your journey you are on. And at Christmastime, I pay attention to Mary. And the Journey God put her on. To carry and then mother and nurture a baby who was born to be a Savior

When Jesus came thousands of years ago, the promise of a Savior who would set people free was the promise of being rescued from the oppression the Jewish people were under.

For you and me, it means something different.

2 years ago, almost to the day I lost almost all hearing in my left ear. And the ability to hear and decipher words was replaced by only muddy tones and a loud, high pitched ringing that never goes away. As a singer and a mother, this rocked my world.

I visited doctors and had treatments done and finally had a surgery done that would allow a device to do my hearing for me.

Around the time that I recovered from the surgery to get the device, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our fourth child.

Unfortunately, the pregnancy complicated my use of the new hearing device. I did my best to push on but one day I was very discouraged with my body and I carried that discouragement around with me.

I found myself on the way to rehearsal with our Worship Band, practicing a new song we were singing that Sunday. I got to the chorus and sang along, “I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain…” and I broke down. Crying and driving and praying I didn’t drive myself right off the road, I heard a voice. It reminded me that all I had to do was make it through this life and that God had something amazing for me planned in heaven when I got there for all eternity. This life is a blink of an eye compared to what waits in heaven for those who believe.

I wanted to share that song with you tonight….

Jesus came not to deliver us from the oppression of a government, a king or a system. But He came to deliver us from the oppression of pain. Of sorrow. Of the anger and bitterness that comes so easily in this world.

3 months ago, the child I was carrying didn’t make it to this world. We lost him while he was only 16 weeks along in his growth. And even though I struggle daily with the pain and confusion and oppressing sadness that comes with losing someone I hadn’t even meant yet-but who I know would have been a wonderful addition to this world, I remember that, first of all, my son is in heaven, in a place where he knows no pain or sorrow or sadness. And, second, that Jesus came once as a baby, he walked this earth experiencing that pain and sadness that comes with being human and He did all that so that I could go live in eternity with Him.

No more sorrow no more pain.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Great Shot Kid, That Was One in a Million!

Grown ups are in the kitchen making dinner.
Girls at the table coloring.
Nate in the living room: Star Wars is on.

Sitting about a foot from the screen he is perfectly still. The mission to blow up the Death Star is being explained, plotted and prepared for.
Luke and his team get into position.

So does my son.
And as Luke's X-Wing fighter lowers to fire those oh-so-important shots, my son's x-wing is raised.

Back and forth, side to side, Nathan and Luke in perfect synchronization and then, using The Force of course, they make the shot that sets off a chain reaction resulting in the destruction of the Death Star.

If Queen Amidala had been alive, I think she would have been just as proud as I was.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All of Life's Answers

Or, at least the answers to my little quiz...

1. "Don't say 'stinks,' darling. If absolutely necessary, 'smells' - but only if absolutely necessary."
The Philadelphia Story
Only my favorite movie of. all. time.

2. "We got no food, no jobs... our PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!"
Dumb and Dumber
This movie always makes me think of the time when David and I were dating, we watched this constantly. And we quote it very often. We are so cultured.

3. "My name... is MUERTE!"
Undercover Blues
This is just one in a long line of "family movies" we watched when I was growing up that really weren't very good. But we loved them. And this particular movie had one main thing going for it: Stanley Tucci. As MUERTE. And you have no idea how hilarious his character is. Oh wait, now you can see.....

4. "Horses, horses, horses."
You've Got---nope!! A couple of people thought You've Got Mail and to them I answered "Wrong, but CLOSE." It's that OTHER movie with Tom and Meg. The one lacking in volcanoes but plenty in Rita Wilson: Sleepless in Seattle.

5. "Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops."
Arsenic and Old Lace
David's favorite black and white movie. My second favorite Cary Grant movie. Michelle and I imagine ourselves going this route when we are old and alone. We will need a crazy brother to think he's Teddy Roosevelt.

6. "Chris I'm begging you, it's really scary here. I've just seen three people shoot up, a bald Chinese lady with no pants on, and there's this old guy outside who wants his bedroom slippers!"
Adventures in Babysitting
Another Shumate Family Classic. My Dad was well known for stopping you at the door and informing you, "Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues." I was just going to link that, but I couldn't. It deserves better treatment than that. So, look, another movie clip to watch!

7. "Eunice? That's a person named Eunice?"
What's Up Doc?
Babs at my most favorite. Seriously, you must go watch it.

8. " hopping sir."
The American President
Another commonly spoken line in the House of Zab. It just sounds so funny coming out of Michael J Fox's mouth.

9. "Conversation like television set on honeymoon: unnecessary."
Murder By Death
Neil Simon written. Starring the likes of Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Maggie Smith, SIR Alec Guiness and Eileen Brennan...this is one of the ones we almost have memorized. And you hear it a lot around here.

10. "Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives."

Stranger Than Fiction
I have Sooz to thank for the intro. And this movie really did change my life. I watched it at the end of one of the hardest years I ever had (at that point) and the part I quoted just changed me within. It gave me hope. I looked around and saw that my life was filled with Bavarian Sugar Cookies. And was able to look beyond that and see the hand of The Maker in my life, giving me those things along the way. I cling to this quote not unlike I cling to some of my favorite verses. Because it speaks Truth. It really is a quirky movie, not really for everyone. There are some extremely odd characters in it but I'd say give it a try. Maybe on a day when it feels like someone is narrating your life that suddenly seems like it is nothing of any worth. And when you finish, I do hope you find yourself thanking God for your Bavarian Sugar Cookies.

NaBloPoMo has been fun, my friends.
It reminded me to take the time to write.
And I plan to do more of that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wanna Play a Game?

I love movies.
I speak movies.
Meaning that most of what I say out loud is lifted from a movie of some sort. Well, from a movie or from "Friends."
So I thought I'd toss some of those oft used quotes your way and see if you can pick what movies they are from. I have also just thrown in a few random quotes from some of my favorite films just because I love them so much.
Hint: I have purposefully excluded any Star Wars or Indiana Jones Movies because, frankly, that's just too obvious.

(This post inspired by friend Sooz at Facts and Circumstances who also inspired Michelle over at Snow Comes Up.)

Here we go! (No Googling!)

1. "Don't say 'stinks,' darling. If absolutely necessary, 'smells' - but only if absolutely necessary."

2. "We got no food, no jobs... our PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!"

3. "My name... is MUERTE! "

4. "Horses, horses, horses."

5. "Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops."

6. "Chris I'm begging you, it's really scary here. I've just seen three people shoot up, a bald Chinese lady with no pants on, and there's this old guy outside who wants his bedroom slippers!"

7. "Eunice? That's a person named Eunice?" (That one is for my Pop.)

8. " hopping sir."

9. "Conversation like television set on honeymoon: unnecessary."

And this, this is my favorite movie quote of all time. From a movie that seriously changed my life. It moves me each time I see it and this quote will always be in my mind on the days I need it most. I can't tell you to go see the movie because I don't know that it will have the same effect it had on me. But I don't think it would be a wasted 2 hours if you gave it a try....

10. "Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taking Care of the Mail

Dear Inventors of the Pipes That Bring Water Into My Home and the Systems That Heat the Hot Water That is Brought Into My Home,

I hope you don't mind me lumping you all together into one letter. You see, I don't really know how many of you there are. I am pretty sure at least two guys. I would check Wikipedia but there is a good chance they will try to convince me that something as amazing as hot water was invented by Scrappy Doo and everyone knows that dog really wasn't good for anything.

And I am really hoping that you are somewhere hanging out with each other, patting one another on the back in congratulations. "Hot water! Let me buy you a drink!" or "Indoor Plumbing! You are the man!"

Seriously though, you figured out a way for water to be heated and then brought into my home!

I don't have to go outside to fetch water.
And not only that, but I can make the water HOT if I want it to be! I get to take looooooooong showers till the hot water runs out. This is a beautiful thing.

So as I prepare to enjoy your invention, I wanted to be sure to be thankful for your forethought.

Bethany Zabrosky

PS: Now, what did you invent that will keep my children from bugging me while I enjoy that invention?

oh, wait.

Dear Inventor of Duct Tape,

You. Are. Awesome.
(And effective.)


Saturday, November 27, 2010


I have nothing to say today that doesn't involve a conversation involving photography, some volunteer work for the kids' school, the Christmas Eve Service at Vista Grande Community Church, or how generally sick I feel.

So I direct you to these friends instead....they are interesting and witty.
Tell 'em I sent ya.

Beyond Black and White
She's blogging about the things she's thankful for this month

Snow Comes Up
Today she's running a little Movie Trivia Challenge!

Stilettos and Grace
Always something amazing and challenging to say...and some of the best fashion advice around.

Le Musings of Moi
She does muse and she's funny and thoughtful and ALSO gives some of the best fashion advice around.

I think the NyQuil is about to kick in and who knows what I will type once that happens. I suspect it would look something like fndwuio;gvrbuwioqavbvds.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Luke, I am Your Tater.

Last year was our first entry in a friend's Pic of the Plate Contest. It is, simply, a contest picking the best looking Thanksgiving Day Plate.

Last year we entered with this....

(You can see the whole story here: May the Yams Be With You.)

When I first posted the picture, we had not heard our result but we found out later that we WON! First place!

We looked forward to stepping up our game this year but after a long couple of days and eating out for Thanksgiving, we didn't think we had much of a chance to submit anything original. Additionally, last year's build team was scattered as near as Santee and as far as New Mexico. We had till 10pm to enter and we were half passed out on the couch with happily fed children fast asleep upstairs.

Around 9:40 I decided we owed it to ourselves to at least ENTER. I happened to have a small box of leftovers. After staring at the box for about 3 minutes, I came up with this....

I titled it, "Luke trains to become a Jedi Master on a bed of C-Level leftovers.....DAGOBAH!"

We didn't win, and I would have been unhappy if we did. We needed an original idea and there were some really creative entries this year. And one of the winners took a picture of her table that was completely stunning.

But I can sleep better knowing I represented.
And I think I will begin working on next year's theme....but what's better than Star Wars? hardly anything, really.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Because a Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

It only seems fitting, right?

I could probably copy almost anyone's list and many of our things would appear to be the same...but I write this anyway. Because some days I am not feeling so thankful or not feeling very blessed or just feeling low and I need to be reminded that I have been blessed over and over again.

Family....I have the best. Parents who raised me with love and Jesus. A sister who has walked through the fire with me and won't ever let go of my hand. All of the people who are family through marriage.......adding them only completed the tribe and I am thankful for what each of them bring to my life.

My husband ever. And you readers know it's true. 13+ years together and there will be a whole lot more. My Zablets are beautiful. They are so very funny and full of life and love. They drive me bonkers sometimes (and I think on purpose) but the crazy really is inevitable so might as well have fun with some short people while it's happening!

Friends....I have people in my life who have stepped up beyond what anyone could ever ask of someone else. And they STEPPED! They have made me laugh, they have watched my kids, they have fed my husband, they have cleaned my house, they have gone jean shopping with me. Seriously, jean shopping!

This year has had some incredible ups and the lowest lows I have ever experienced but my God has walked me through each step. He has been faithful. He loves me no matter what. He sent His Son to die on a cross for my sins. All the things I have done wrong and all the things I will do wrong just so I can be with Him forever! (And that's not something that's just for me! You too! Let's talk sometime.) I am thankful that along with that love came a church family and forever brothers and sisters.

I find myself thankful tonight for the things I get to do to express myself. I get to photograph beautiful families, sing weekly with some crazy talented people, work with some totally fun actors and even hop on stage every once in awhile. I have this place to write and sometimes even write things that have substance or just make people laugh.

Thanks, readers, for sticking it out through the times of plenty (NaBloPoMo) and and the lean (any other month that isn't November) and encouraging me to keep writing. We will have some fun together, you and me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Pie Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

I don't usually share recipes here usually because I don't cook very many things worth sharing. I have many more people who can help you with that. Specifically my super talented sister in law and her friend at Taste Buds and Blossoms.

But this I had an idea for a cupcake and then found the recipe on the internet, tweaked it a bit and it turned out yummy. It was super easy--if you can make a cupcake, you can totally make these!!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Pie Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

1 18.5-ounce box spice cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
2. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Effectively Cover Every Square Inch of the San Diego Zoo With 3 Adults and 9 Kids

Plan to meet at a reasonable time. 11am is a good one.

Run late. Need gas. Pack a lunch. Spend time on the phone with a friend.

Decide that you REALLY meant to meet at noon!

Eat lunch right away, the kids will need all the energy they have. There are about a million animals to see. (I counted.)

Then, you are gonna want to take the Skyway. The buckets. All 9 of the kids are jumping up and down, its free and it gets you to the back of the zoo really quickly.

Be sure to arrange all the moms in 3 different buckets with the right combination of kids-friends with friends and fighting siblings away from fighting siblings.

Watch the first bucket of 4 people take off....

Ride in the second bucket of 3 people taking off...

Do some quick math and realize... there are 5 people left. And only 4 people are allowed in 1 bucket at a time.

Answer the phone call from the 1 mom left with 4 kids and zoo workers not letting her on the buckets.

Hop off the buckets, leave 1 mom with kids who want to see polar bears and drag 2 kids that wanted to go back on the buckets back in line to ride to the front of the zoo.

(Thank Jesus that the buckets are free for annual pass members.)

Bucket your way back to the front of the zoo, redistribute children and hop in line. Realize you don't have enough kids' annual passes for the amount of kids you are trying to get back ON the buckets.

(Thank Jesus that the bucket worker lady didn't pay very close attention when checking for tickets.)

Ride the buckets back to the back of the zoo and meet up with.......

You know, I guess this really isn't an effective way to see every animal at the zoo. But it is a way to have a funny story after a full day at the zoo. And you will probably fit in a couple of monkeys, a hippo fast asleep on a rock and a tiny, precious, colorful bird bathing in a small puddle of water so that really isn't so bad after all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Donald Trump-ing Myself

We have an open position here at Zabrosky Photography.

Necessary skills include general knowledge of a camera (we are a Canon Family) and Photoshop. Must be able to handle scheduling photo sessions, entertaining the crankiest of non-smiling client family members and the ability to communicate effectively with clients.

It's over that last qualification that we had to let the last employee go.

See, I fired myself today.

I was distracted while on the phone with a new client and misspoke so many times that a whole additional phone conversation was needed to clear everything up. (Thankfully the ZabPhoto clients are amazingly patient and only find our employees charming and adorable.)

So I will have to go stand in line at unemployment while I wait for the applications to flood in.

Oh, forgot to mention: Applicants must be able to attend to all the duties listed above and make a wicked peanut butter sandwich.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hans, Han'se, Han S.....Solo

It was a good day.....just long.
And I am sleepy.

But I will say that I had a super cute hat to wear to church today.

And that fulfills today's obligatory blog.

I will return tomorrow--that's a promise.
I might even have something interesting to say.

Man, I feel bad that this really doesn't have a whole lot of interesting stuff in it.
I'm gonna leave you with another video....

Here is Star Wars told from the perspective of someone who isn't familiar with the Star Wars Trilogy.
It's all kinds of funny.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"I Think I Might Cry!"

Ever surprised a kid with a trip to Disneyland?

We had the chance to do just that on Monday. The kids got themselves all ready for school and we told them we were going to Starbucks first but then, Dad lowered the boom.

It was, um, received interestingly by both my big kids. While it is hard to stop looking at Nate, be sure to see Lucy's face and her lack of expression. David says Nathan just sucked all the emotions out of the car and there weren't any left for Lucy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There Were Possibly More Than Ten Steps But I Kept it Easy For You

Welcome to tonight's cooking lesson:

How to Break Down a Young Chicken for Soup in Ten Easy Steps

Start with a wondeful friend blessing you with a bunch of food when you are in a time of great need.

Realize that you have a whole, frozen Young Chicken you get to do something with other than fill up space in your freezer.

Decide that you are gonna do more than toss that thing in the oven.

Chicken and Dumplings call your name.
Ready, set: GO!

Step One: Thaw out the chicken in cold water in your sink. Wonder how much bleach you will need before you feel that the inside of your sink isn't covered in chicken juice.

Step Two: Call your Mom. Relax about the invisible chicken juice.

Step Three: Unwrap the chicken and fling it across the room to the other counter to begin the breakdown.....of the chicken. Not your personal breakdown because you are dealing with a raw chicken because YOU CAN DO THIS!

Step Four: Pull out your reliable Betty Crocker Cookbook and follow the easy pictures....

    Step Four, Part Two: These are supposed to be easy, right?

    Step Four, Part Three: Wait a minute, is this even a chicken I am looking at in the picture?

    Step Four, Part Four: Bye Betty.

Step Five: Find your sharpest knife and just cut. Realize that you are TOTALLY doing this! But then, ack! You cut through a bone! (Seriously sharp, Cutco!) Is that okay?

Step Six: Call your Mom. Be assured that you are not poisoning your family by cutting through the bone of your chicken.

Step Seven: Check you out!! You have your chicken all cut up! Now you have to deal with the little bag on the inside and......oh my freaking gosh what is that?

Dear young chefs, it is at this point of the breakdown you will feel the need to reach out to a power that is higher than your mother. Because she does know a WHOLE LOT but your husband is really the one who SHOULD be doing this. He's owned goats once. He doesn't mess around when you bring home the Rotisserie Chicken from Price Club (and why didn't we use one of those? Oh yes, because we decided to grow as a person.) and just should be doing this. So you might send him a text message like this....

I need you home! I just cut up a whole chicken! And I didn't throw up. But I almost did. I don't know what parts are what and if I scream, the kids will want to come see!! I won't scream. But I want to. I can't do it this way again. I LOVE MY FAMILY!! (come home?)

And you might attach a picture like this.....

And then call your Mom. She will say things like, "This WILL taste good. This is totally going to turn out."

What you won't do is freak out because you ripped some of the bag that possibly is holding a former live chicken's neck or something. There are two thingy-s that might be a gizzard? Or a liver? Two livers?

Step Eight: Look at the chicken you have already cut and placed in your big pot....yeah that's probably enough. Toss the rest of that stuff and don't look back.

Step Nine: Clean up the chicken juice everywhere. Twice. Well, maybe three times just to be safe.

Step Ten: Call your Mom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Just a Flesh Wound

I had a procedure done on the side of my head today that involved a scalpel and removing parts of my very own scalp. I am now 2 Vicodin to the wind but still need to meet my NaBloPoMo-ness. I have been searching the archives to repost something brilliant for you to re-read (or simply read for my new friends) but I can't decide which post is worthy of a rerun.

I started by reading various posts to David so he could help me pick something while he lounged in the bed and we listened to the new Chris Tomlin album. I eventually stopped reading them out loud started to get a little mad at myself for being so indecisive. (Just pick something already!)

Well, I just heard snoring.

He is fast asleep...on my side of the bed.
How in the world am I going to get the man who won't even wake up for the birth of our first child to move back to his side? (And I am not sleeping on his side-his side has a weird dip in it AND an alarm clock that starts going off at 5:15. I don't care HOW deaf I am, I will still hear it!)

What do you know? I guess I snuck a rerun post in there after all!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kids Snack Food and a Random Kids' Movie Quote

We have a new favorite snack in our's a Goldfish Cracker Trail Mix that I created all on my own. (I may not be able to cook well, but I can blend dry goods in a bag like a Master!)

Because I know you want the recipe, and because I really need something to blog about, here it is.
With pictures!
And, if you hang on till the end, you get a view of a sweet plane. Who loves her readers?!

Step One....Gather the Goldfish.

Step Two...Gratuitously display the Secret ingredient that makes this Goldfish Mix Magical

Step Three...Add Regular Cheddar Goldfish

Step Four...Add "Saltine" Goldfish (I often buy an extra bag to eat all on their own or in soup....yum!)

Step Five....Add Whole Grain Cheddar Goldfish

Step Seven...Admire the beautiful layers of Goldfish Goodness, Seal Bag and Shake!
Deliciousness is sure to follow.

"Hey Mom, get a shot of my plane flying above the bag and then you can say to your readers, 'Oh! A plane is flying over the bag of Goldfish!' That will be funny, Mom."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Better Than a Souvenir

With about half the day under our belts, we'd just come out of Fantasyland where the big kids and I tackled a number of rides and David took Ella on the carousel 4 times. Ella and I found ourselves sitting in the shade waiting for the rest of the family to finish the "Restroom Ride." (Very popular! We visited it the most times!) So, we had a little chat..........

Me: Do you like it here?

Ella: Yes. But..... (tilts head to the right) what’s his name.......?

Me: Darth Vader? (She'd been talking about him non stop after we watched him at the Jedi Training Academy)

Ella: Yes. He was very very scary.

Me: Well, what at Disneyland made you happy?

Ella: Ummm.......Daddy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Permanecer Sentados, Por Favor!

If you are reading this Monday morning around breakfast, I am probably in the car.

If it is around lunchtime, I am probably riding "Small World."

If it is late afternoon, I bet my family and I are at the Hungry Bear Restaurant having a snack.

Around dinnertime, I suspect a ride on Pirates will be taking place.

And if the hour is dark, then I am probably on my way home from the Happiest Place on Earth and I will be the Happiest Mommy on Earth.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Swiped from Mindi who borrowed it from here.

listening: The Winters "Yuletide Songbook"*
eating: Tostitos Chips and Neighbor Salsa** mixed with Cream Cheese
drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper
wearing: AWANA Sparks shirt and Mom Jeans***
feeling: Sleepy
weather: Absolutely beautiful!
wanting: To add a few more hours to the night for sleeping.
needing: More hours to work!
thinking: About packing.****
enjoying: Laughing with my Mister
wondering: How busy it will be tomorrow at....DISNEYLAND!

*= An amazing Christmas album featuring a great friend in addition to some SUPER great music. YOU can hear this amazing music for free at the CD Release party at VGCC December 18 at 7pm. Added bonus? I get to sing backup!! Seriously, you should come.

**= Neighbor Salsa is made by my amazing neighbor Kim who is known around church as "Salsa Neighbor" or "Salsa Kim" to her really close friends. Her hubby Jeff has been featured in the blog before.

***= I grabbed some jeans from Target the other day and when I was wearing them, realized they were a little, um, high waisted. Like the height of Mom Jeans. Now, mine don't feature the 9 inch zipper or casual pleats. But they do just make me wonder a bit if I should be wearing them. Kristy gave her I will just wear them until my children tell me they refuse to let me walk them into school until I throw out my Mom Jeans.

****= Disneyland tomorrow!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Brought to You By the Number "6" and the Letter "S" for "Sarcasm."

Apparently, my body has decided that we are going nocturnal now.
I mean, that is the least I can gather since it kept me up till 6am this morning.
And 4 the night before.
And the night before that.

So cool then. Nocturnal.
I will work at night and sleep at day.
This has "Success!!" written all over it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Firearms Friday

I am under the gun to get this post written in I thought it only fitting to show you other times I was under the gun.

Frequent Shooting Friend Russell...

L to R: David, Me Russell and Uncle Jim

Good heavens, I am wearing leggings under and oversized denim shirt.
That shouldn't be done near firearms, lest someone think I need to be put out of my fashion misery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Thank You to The Veterans

I posted this last year on Veteran's Day and really felt it appropriate to post again this year.
But the one thing that is different this year is my active attempt to actually thank those who have sacrificed so very much. I am trying to say it to the stranger I see at the store, or to my friends or their families. I want them to know that I appreciate them. And while posting my appreciation on my blog is great, it doesn't compare to the words coming directly from me to them. I encourage you to thank someone you don't know for putting their life on the line so you can live in freedom. Even if it is just one person. It it the least we can do.

Dear Veterans,

A letter of thanks could never suffice to express the thanks and appreciation I have for you. Your choice of career lends you to putting your life in the line for people you will never meet and people who might treat you poorly because of that uniform you are wearing. You and your entire family go for months at a time apart with an element of unknown and potential danger where your family and loved ones can only pray for your safety in response to your absence.

You are exposed to some of the most horrific images a person could see, endure a training so grueling and taxing and are expected to have a mind and body that can react to a myriad of situations in a split second requiring the correct response every time or lives can be lost.

When I see you in uniform, it moves me. I may not say it to those of you whom I see regularly but I hold you in very high esteem. I also hold your spouses and children in a very special place. Your sacrifice is for me! So I can speak freely. Make decisions for myself and not have to submit to an authority that doesn't represent me. Because of you, I get to speak up when I don't like something our government is doing. I get to choose everything from the kind of bread I eat, to the channels I watch to the man I want leading our country. And even when I don't agree with the bread available or the man in office, I still respect the process. The ability to stand in a tiny booth, expect total privacy and get to choose the circle I darken.

So today is your day. And there are some cool businesses that are thanking you for your sacrifices by giving you a free meal or free admission and I hope you take it. I hope that when people see you and recognize the gift you have given them, they say thank you in person.

We thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I recently picked up a pair of super cute black flats from Target.....that put holes in the back of my ankles.
Like, actual holes.

Still, it's worth it to wear them, right? Because of the super cuteness?

Wearing them will teach them to not hurt me, right?

Or am I possibly in an abusive relationship with a pair of shoes?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Siren Call of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Make a Person Do Crazy things.

Today I have consumed more Resees Peanut Butter Cups than any person should consume in a 24 hour period....or even a 48 hour period.

Which brings me to my question: How much do you tax your kids' Halloween Candy Hauls?

Do you do a one time tax and just demand a handful (or three) of candy the night of the haul while the kill is still fresh and the flavors of Starburst and Milky Way have not mixed and tainted one another?

Do you tax on demand like a hungry tyrant whose blood sugar has dropped and the white blood cell to nougat ratio has reached dangerous levels?

Do you sit down to rational negotiations and demonstrate the give and take of living in a democracy?


Are you of the Night Raid variety? Pillaging your child's bag of candy with abandon, knowing full well the rightful owner sleeps in a room far away from the carnage of Snicker Snacker Wrappers but still taking care to clean up each crumb of Butterfinger bar?

David and I live the blissful existence of children who forget just how MUCH candy they brought in by the day after Halloween so we happily live by the Pillage Method. Although I'd like to think it is more of a Robin Hood (with a nice muscle-y Russell Crowe) Method since we are robbing the Candy Rich to feed to the Candy Poor.

Monday, November 08, 2010

...Give Me Something Good to Eat!!

Did you know we had Halloween over a week ago?
And that the Zabs totally dressed up? AND Trick or Treated?

AND-this is the most important-we had NO major accidents or freakishly weird things happen! Hooray!

We did have some cute kiddos though.
Ella was an alien. She named herself "Baby Alien" and if she said it to you, the only word you would understand was "Baby." Trust me. I speak "Ella" and even I didn't know what she was saying for a long time. She loved her costume and I did too. I made it 4 years ago for Lucy when she was Ella's age.

Nathan decided he wanted to be a ninja. I don't know where he got the idea but we got him a black "UnderArmour" shirt and black sweats with a tight black hood from my mom that she wears when she's riding the Harley with Tim. The plan was for him to wear his black Jedi Cloak and while I know it isn't very "ninja-y" he needed more than he had. But the cloak was nowhere to be found! I did find a black sheet I use for photo shoots...but no matter how I draped it, he looked more like a terrorist than a ninja. After a few more tries, we figured out a way to drape the sheet without disturbing our neighbors. A black scarf around his waist held his sword perfectly.

Lucy declared she wanted to be a butterfly early on in the year. But as we got closer to the big day, she specified a MONARCH butterfly. A friend of ours is a lover of all things bug and his passion has sprouted this serious interest in my kids so I really shouldn't be so surprised.

After wandering the aisles of Jo-Ann's Fabrics, I came up with the idea of using their monster material (think the tattered clothes of Frankenstein) and bright orange fabric to sew together as wings. Thankfully, my mother is a sewing champion and she easily rigged together the wings and attached them to Lucy's arms. (Thank you Mom!!) We paired her black shirt with black shorts and orange and black striped tights just for fun. Unfortunately many people thought she was a witch so while we were raiding our neighbors' homes for candy, we also talked about how to inform people she was a monarch butterfly while remaining respectful.

Here's the digital proof of our night of plunder.....

The Obligatory Shot on the Stairs

The Cutest Alien!
(That's glitter on her face....but it photographed more like dirt.)

The Terrifying Ninja

And the 2 Sides of the Monarch Butterfly
(also with glitter on her face--my children were clean on Halloween, I promise!)

We ended up threading the criss cross straps under her shirt for a cleaner look...

After Trick or Treating, we continued our tradition of coming home and watching "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" while eating 2 pieces of candy. This year we weren't out as long as usual so we had trick or treaters coming to our door and the kids LOVED handing the candy out--and I give goood candy. This year in our overflowing paper bags, we had Pixi Stix instead of Smarties which was fun but I missed having Smarties around.

Then there was general cuteness that needed to be captured....

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Post My Sister Promises She Will Never Read

Today was another day of photo shoots-about half as many families as yesterday so I apparently I should only be half as exhausted.

But I'm not here to talk about the beauty of photographing, instead I am here to tell an embarrassing story about myself-yay!

I had a 2 hour break in the shooting this afternoon and came home to grab some lunch and upload the memory cards I had. I started nuking my soup and decided that I was going to use my Neti Pot. I had been a little stuffy all day, it was more than my regular allergy medicine regime could handle and I figured that pouring a little warm saline through my nostrils was just the ticket.

About an hour later, I was photographing a family (who also happened to be dear old friends as well.) We were all over the beach and had found a perfect rock with the perfect shade to catch some shots of the sweet three year old of the family. In trying to get her to smile, I tiled my head, and the camera, alllllll the way to the right.

That's when I felt it. It was running down my face, onto the camera just a little bit and down my shirt.
It was Neti Pot Saline...RUNNING OUT OF MY NOSE!!

Thankfully, the three year old was being incredibly cute and all eyes were on her.......not on the photographer wiping saline off of her face.

When telling the story to my sister and her hubby on the phone later, Kris figured it out: "The saline sensed the presence of it's own just wanted to go home!"

Saturday, November 06, 2010


I had a full day of photography mini sessions for a playgroup at a nearby church. I have been photographing some of these families for 4 years....I have become so attached to some many of them. They have added family members, grown inches and feet and some of them (the dads!) have even become better listeners over the years. And when a tutu'd, pink pearl-wearing, pigtail'd 5 year old runs up to you shouting "Miss Bethany! Miss Bethany!" and then gives you a hug, you might decide right then and there that you have the best life anyone had ever lived.

There were 14 families today.
6 hours of photographing.
1300+ pictures to sort through.

It is a lot. I have only (only!) half that tomorrow and it increases the work load, that is for sure. And it will be a little stressful on my time management skills. And parenting skills. And my "balance my life so I can do it all" skills. (But I don't think anyone actually possesses this skill.)

But one of the things that keeps me coming back to this playgroup, to this little side "hobby" of mine, is seeing families. There was a family of 3 snuggling on a rock with the golden light of sunset on them. The mother, father and son were looking off in the distance and for a split second, the mom turned her head straight to the camera and her face, filled with peace, said "This is my Family." And I absolutely started crying.

Family photos can show who you are (the one year old eating mouthful and mouthful of sand) or hide some of your flaws (the boy who gave his brother a bloody nose and then stood next to that brother with smiles all around.) But every once in awhile, a photo can completely sum up who your family is when they are together. And, as a photographer, I live for those moments.

Especially since, many years ago, I was the recipient of one.......

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Four Corners of Life

While wandering the beautiful aisles of Target (two stories! kid free!) with my sister recently, I decided that from now on, I am going to life my life according to the cliches, um, WISE WORDS written on picture frames. After all, if it is important enough to be written next to your favorite picture of your family, it must really be something to live for! So here are just a few key life lessons.....

The first thing you have to learn when living Life By Frames, is that it is important to Live and Laugh and Love. In fact, you are told this a lot. Over and over again. But sometimes you are told to Live and THEN Love and then Laugh. I am very unsure if this is a recipe and therefore the order of the ingredients matters or if you can choose the order in which you laugh or live or love.

(Occasionally you are told to Live and Laugh and then DANCE! Like no one is watching! I feel that can be left as a personal decision. Because you really don't want me to dance like no one is watching--it just isn't pretty and there's more jiggly-ness happening than most people can stomach.)

I have been married for 13 years now and it was only today that I found the key to being in love. Because if Two Hearts in Love Need No Words then I don't have to talk anymore! This means I have more time to....

...measure my life. But how do I go about doing that? Is it by the breaths I take? Wait! The Frame Has Spoken! Because Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. I am so glad to know this. Counting breaths was tiring.

There are a lot of definitions. Definitions of what a sister is, what a grandparent is, what a grandchild is and I think that is so important. Just the other day, I had a ton of people gathered around me and I wasn't sure who was whom...but the frames helped me sort it out through their definitions. This is also helpful once the picture is in the frame and I am an old lady. One glance at the frame and I will remember who my friends are!

Next time I go shopping, I am going to keep my eyes open for advice on children. I am quite anxious to see what The Frames have to say about how I should parent!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Scary Mary

I really don't have anything to say about this....other than how fantastic it is.
And how I wish I'd seen this in time to share on Halloween.
And how much I love love love love Mary Poppins.
And Julie Andrews.
And Dick Van Dyke.
And David Tomlinson.

I think that's it.
Wait, one more thing!
Michelle, don't be mad about this. This is funny, not sacrilegious.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Waterproof Uncle

Well friends, it is the Busy Season for Family Photographers. We have been taking pictures of some very beautiful people and even had an all day shoot recently. So we had to call on the assistance of AUNT TEE TEE (who comes with her own superhero theme music) and now that she's a married lady this also includes UNCLE KRIS (who will one day have his own theme music, but for now only gets his name in all caps.)

The plan was for Kris and Kristy to wrangle Zablets while David and I wrangled other people's kids and attempted to get that ONE SHOT for the family Christmas cards. But since David had to call in sick with the flu and was barely coherant enough to put on his own socks (I really wish I was kidding about that) the plan changed to Kristy assisting me with the shoot and Kris wrangling Zablets and a 102 degree David.

The shoot went really well and we had a TON of fun with our families and when we called on the way home to see how things were, we heard a lot of giggling. Ella was put on the phone telling us she was drawing on Kris's head. Thinking we misheard, we spoke to Lucy who confirmed the story. And finally we got Kris on the phone who said, indeed, he'd allowed the girls to color with my (brand new and special gifted from Michelle) markers atop his bald-tastic skull.

And, well, they were all telling the truth.....

I was so sure that David was completely surrendered to his fever and out of it because "there is no way he'd let this happen if he had his wits about him" I reported to Kristy on the way home.

Wrong again. His fever had dipped, he was up watching Fox News and laughing at his brother in law. Just when you think you know someone.......

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Proper Echo Punctuation

I know, I put a mustache picture up for my header. I'm kind of obsessed with the 'stache and since that adorable 2 year old in the picture carries my homemade mustache around all day, it is just hard to get out of my mind.

Let's use this time to talk about things that are hard to get out of our minds, shall we?

*cue big voiced announcer*
(Should I have put quotes around the echo? Is an echo still considered a quote? Could this train of thought possibly totally derail the direction in which this blog was heading? No! Because this is all about things that are hard to get out of our minds so it's still there! In my mind! And we are moving on now.....)

That awesome segue provides me with the opportunity to blog my annual "Hey Old Lady at My Polling Place, You Have Too Much Cleavage Showing" comment. This is terribly exciting because it is the sort of thing that I usually publish on Facebook but today I am posting it HERE! Okay, here goes....

Hey Lady at my polling place, you have too much cleavage showing.
And when I say that I mean, too much for an old lady and too much for a young lady. And as much as I would like to go into the actual logistics why it would be inappropriate amount of cleavage even for a young lady, this is a family blog and I will instead simply suggest trying a new kind of bra. Although props this year for dressing up the droopy girls in a little bit of red, white and blue.

Voter B Who Will Always Vote and Will Probably Be Subjected to Your Cleavage For at Least a Few More Years Since You Look to Be in Excellent Health and Are Probably Not Moving Anytime Soon.

PS: Thank you for your service at my polling place.

Many people might find a blog of this kind distasteful. To them I ask one question: What is more American than showing off too much of The Girls? Well, I will tell you:

BLOGGING about how some lady is doing exactly that.
Ahhhhh. I love America.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I Might Knife Someone for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

Is it possible to have a candy hangover?

Additionally, there is a big dent in the bowl of candy I had on the counter as if someone who, whilst walking out the door for work, grabbed a whole sandwich sized Ziploc bag's worth of mini Snickers and the like, and stuffed it all in his laptop bag. And if I was the sort of person who counted her sandwich sized Ziploc bags, I could tell you if that is what really happened. But I'm not.

But perhaps I should be......hmmm.

It's now NaBloPoMo and it means I will be writing in this here place. And I have things to say, let me tell you. Things kids, television and um, diplomatic policies. (That's right, more than ONE policy!) But most of the time you will get whatever comes out of the tips of my fingers and the top of my head.

So for today, I offer this: It's Ella. With a mustache on a stick. Isn't that interesting and cutting edge and will keep you coming back each day for more!?

I knew it.
See you tomorrow!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Psalm 139:13

You can Read Part One of our story here

*This part of our story includes medical information that may make some people uncomfortable. I will, of course, aim to be as tasteful and modest as possible. But I also wanted to give fair warning before we continue.*

I woke up the next day-Sunday-morning and heard David taking a shower. Ella was talking and playing in her bed and Nate was probably off reading a Calvin and Hobbes comic book somewhere. I needeed to get up becasue we had decided to take Nate to his baseball game. But first I just laid there with my eyes shut. I forced myself to feel everything Iw as feeling. I told myself, "This is what it feels like to wake up in the morning knowing your child is dead." And then I began crying.

I sobbed into my pillow. I cried for my loss, the loss of my children of their sibling. I cried knowing that this was a child who had the potential to be one of the most fantastic people on the face of the earth--but no more. I would never know this child. I hadn't even felt this baby move.

I felt safe to cry because David was in the shower. He needed a break. He needed to go a few minutes without having to hold me and mop up after me. But I forgot about Nathan who has some sort of radar built in to come and find me when i am crying. I felt him climb into bed with me and wrap his arms around me and beg me to tell him what was wrong. I heard the panic in his voice and I pulled myself together enough to tell him, "I miss our baby." I cried some more and Nathan didn't let go. He held me and said he understood.My wise 7 year old just let me cry some more and then offered encouragement, "You know Mommy, in 20, 30 or 40 years, you will get to see the baby again in heaven." I wanted to slug him (20 years? I will only be 53!) and smooch him all at the same time. (Thank you God for Nathan!) (Remember, you are keeping track of all of these.) When David came out of the shower, I felt better for the moment and we gathered ourselves off to baseball.

The rest of the day was a blur. There were a lot of tears. I didn't talk on the phone a whole lot but texted a few people. My Mom kept Lucy who was really doing well and loving her one-on-one time with Grandma Sisi. that evening, our next door neighbor who just started teaching AWANA at our church took all of the kids with her to AWANA so David and I could be alone. (Thank you God!)

We had some hard conversations. We had to talk about the practical side of things. My child was still inside and was going to have to come out one way or another. But what was right? Go to a hospital, do things clinically, cleanly, with experts around us and risk that we'd be in a room of people who would not regard our child as a being with a soul? Or do we opt or fight to have the process occur naturally at home and run the medical risk plus the emotions of associating a room in our home with losing our baby? We were overwhelmed. We handed the decision to God. Begged Him to make it clear what would be best for the two of us. And then we talked out both scenarios so we would be prepared when the time came. I had a doctor's appointment Monday evening but a friend who had been sharing her wisdom and experience with me guessed that Nature would take it's course before then. My gut agreed. The same gut that was feeling crampy all evening.

I cried myself to sleep that night. I had survived another day.
I still did not feel alone. I still felt some peace, bits and pieces of it. But I still didn't feel like anything that was happening was real, either.

Monday morning we all got up and got the big kids ready for school. David got to see the crazy process and go through the steps I take every day as one of those moms who stands on the campus watching her kids walk to class till there isn't anything left to watch. while talking to some girlfriends who knew about Saturday, the cramps I had been feeling began to grow stronger.

When we got home, I sat next to Ella in her high chair and watched her eat breakfast. the "cramps" were beginning to feel familiar-more like contractions. David called the clinic and wondered what to do when suddenly I had the feeling of my water breaking. We had already discussed that I would go to our upstairs bathroom and we met up there. By the time I had removed my pants and another gush of blood came, I was pushing. It was a very strange mix of both the totally familiar but completely unreal.

I knew when the baby had come out and-as we had discussed-David looked the baby over to see if it was intact. This was something I had been warned about and had decided I only wanted to see if the baby was whole. It was. (Thank you, thank you, thank you God!) I looked down at my....son. Yes, no doubt it was a boy. Just as I had suspected. He had tiny little ear flaps and dark black little eyes, he had a miniature button nose and a sweet mouth turned downward. One hand was on his chest and the other was laying to his side with his palm open and David saw all 5 fingers. He looked like a baby. This was our son.

David and I sat and held each other again just like we had been doing for the last 2 days but this time we were thankful, joyful even, and yet grieving. We cried and prayed and just looked at him. We knew that our prayers had been answered and as we sat there totally alone, with Ella perfectly happy in her high chair eating breakfast downstairs. (Thank You God!) We were so thankful that this morning had been put together to fit exactly what we needed. We needed to do this in private, we needed to have time with our son. What a gift this moment was.

We hadn't discussed what to put the baby in but made a decision and I insisted that he be wrapped in a baby blanket. David was not sure where to look for one and with my organizational skills, knew it might not be easy to find. However, just the night before I walked into the kitchen to find a baby blanket on the kitchen floor. I don't know why it was there. Ella or Lucy probably dragged it downstairs to play with. I'd picked it up and tossed it on the counter. I gave David specific directions and we had our blanket. (Thank You God!) I found out later that there were TWO baby blankets on the counter. David got to pick which one to wrap our boy in! Just explain that to me...I can by saying: Thank You God!

We needed to go to the doctor so I made a few phone calls while David attended to the baby. Michelle was coming for Ella and my mom had amazingly offered to clean up our bathroom while we were gone. (Thank You God!) David helped me out of the tub and suddenly I felt dizzy. I was sure it would pass and I lowered myself back down. The tunnel vision began and I kept saying, "I'm fine! I'm fine! Don't call 911, I'm fine!" Apparently those words turned into something more of an "ImfiiineI'mfinefinefine." The last thing I remember is hearing David, "That's it." and the sound of his phone dialing 911.

I had dreams....dreams of throwing up, (ewww!) dreams of a taalll man in dark blue standing over me and not feeling afraid (the paramedic standing on my bathtub while getting me out) and a mustache with kind eyes asking me what day it was and panicking because I actually didn't know-not because I had brain damage. On the way out of my house, I saw Michelle who had been called to come over when everything was fine and met the paramedics at my door. I couldn't stop apologizing to her because I knew my body's actions were making her face look so worried. On our way out, David handed our wrapped up baby to the paramedics. I was told later that as he did, he said firmly to the men, "Don't do anything distasteful in front of my wife."

I can't tell that part of the story without crying. When I heard those words I was struck and overcome with the amount of selflessness my husband was displaying in that moment. We both lost a son. We both had seen him and felt the pain. There wasn't one grieving more than the other. But he knew how important it was to me for our baby to be treated with dignity. I have an amazing husband (but that is a whole other blog for a whole other time.)

I spent the rest of the day in the hospital. My amazing amazing school mom friends took my big kids from school to Chuck E Cheese. My mom, sister, sister's husband, and bestie Michelle cleaned my downstairs and kitchen. Folded and washed a ton of laundry and I still can't find the little pan I cook my eggs in. And then they fed, cleaned, jammied and loved my 3 kids while I was gone. My pastor came up and visited with book in hand to read out loud. And the text messages and phone calls and e-mails poured in. The love, support, kindness--all overwhelming. It was impossible to overlook as anything but a blessing. Thank You God! (And thank you to all our friends!)

When I was young, my mom had a book called "A Child is Born" that had amazing pictures of real babies while they were still in the womb. I was delighted to find my own copy of the same version of that book right after I got married. And then only a few years ago, I found an updated copy. the pictures are stunning, moving (sometimes distrubing and not fit for the young children in your house) but all of it is an amazing display of the details that God has put into the making of a human. A week or two ago, I wnated to see if there was a photo that represented where our son was in the development process. The kids were interested and I knewmy family would want to see but mostly so I could have an additional image in my head of what he looked like. I wasn't sure if I would find one that was exact but I looked through every single page.

And, I am thankful and pleased to be able to share this picture with you. Because this is what my son looked like....

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

My dad called for an update while I was in the hospital and since I was stable, we got to talk. He was grieved and I could hear the pain in his voice as I told him everything that had happened. He said to me, "I can only imagine that this is the worst day of your life."

I paused and told him, "No. Saturday was the worst day of my life. On Saturday, my baby was dead. But today? Today I got to meet my son."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Psalm 34:18

It was mid July when we found out that we were expecting...again. And it was a surprise to us....again. And as I wrestled with the direction that God was taking our family, I really honestly did have faith that He knew what was going on. Because I have been through a number of things in my life that have been a roller coaster of events and God has never, EVER let me down in the midst of pain and confusion and a slew of other emotions and experiences. So I was ready...well, mostly ready. Okay, kinda ready.

By August, after I had survived crazy weekends, crazy hormones and Vacation Bible School, I really WAS ready. My tummy was popping out a little bit. I was puking all the time. This was the real deal baby! Ohhhh, baby. A Zab baby. Yes. I love those Zab babies. I love my Zab Mister. This is good.

At least, that's how I felt most of the time. Other times, I wished I wasn't pregnant. The pregnancy was bringing some insane complications into my life and making it VERY difficult to function. I wrestled with depression, anger, and a little bit of bitterness. However, I never felt alone. God was there. My amazing friends were SO there. And my husband...oh he is the best. So onward we went.

Saturday, September 25, I awoke with some spotting. Nothing that was a big deal. But enough to puzzlingly tilt my head at. At a split moment of panic, collecting all the struggles I'd had with this pregnancy and adding them up to equal a whole lot of "Mom Guilt" I said to David, "I really really need everything to be okay right now." David and I decided a trip to the ER might be a good idea. Kids were easily squared away (thank you God!) and we were off. David even brought the camera for when we were done thinking it would be fun to wander around downtown and take pictures of stuff.

The ER wasn't crowded (thank you God!-keep track of these) and we were shown to our bed right away. And moments later, we were whisked away to Ultrasound. "Maybe we will get to see if it's a boy or a girl today!" When the tech pulled up our images, I saw the baby. Our baby! This was David's first time getting to see our little Peanut. But the baby was really really still. And I didn't see anything in the baby's middle that looked like a heartbeat. I dismissed it. But that gut feeling spread all over when the tech quickly jumped to take pictures of ovaries and then got up to consult with the radiologist.

The radiologist came in and asked me some questions regarding baby movement, other complications during pregnancy and the like. She then told us that from what she could see, the baby was no longer alive.

I think I blinked at her a whole lot and wondered whose life I had wandered into because THIS was not happening to ME. Remember, I had called for everything to be okay just that morning. Remember? The next 30 minutes contained a lot of crying and holding each other and staring and more crying. I was shocked how quickly my tummy could go from feeling full with life to empty and void.

The rest of the day at the hospital had us seeing more doctors, being told of all the decisions we would have to make and many many heartbreaking texts and phone calls to our friends and family. I prayed Jesus would come back. I prayed that somehow I would never have to leave the hospital room I was in. I prayed that these doctors were wrong and by the POWER of CHRIST may my baby be ALIVE.

None of those things happened. Instead I found myself surrounded by caring doctors and nurses offering their condolences. Treating me kindly as a human being (thank you God!) and treating our baby as a human being as well. (Thank you God!) We checked out of the hospital feeling "crushed in spirit" and unsure what life looked like on this side of a great loss. The headache I had been nursing all day long was pounding all kinds of thoughts in and out of my head and finally beat me so badly that David had to pull the car over so I could be sick on the side of the road.

We drove to my mom's house where she and her husband Tim, my sister Kristy and her husband Kris had been wrangling kids all day. There were a lot of hugs and tears and some bits and pieces of normal conversation. And the time came to talk to Nathan and Lucy about what had happened. Ella was napping so we all gathered around in the living room. As we told the kids, Nathan began crying. At 7 years old, he understands death and loss on a greater level than Lucy. We told the kids that our baby was in heaven with Jesus. Joked that the baby was possibly riding around on Grandma Great's walker like Nathan used to do when he was little and how our baby was now living with no pain or sadness. Nathan, who was sitting on my lap, looked at me and said, "You mean like the pain and sadness we are feeling right now?" I told him he was exactly right. My family then prayed over us. We were lifted up to the Father to be cared for. We sat there empty and shocked and grieving. David broke down in a way I have never seen in 15 years together. That prompted Lucy to also start crying. I held my daughter in one arm and my strong husband in another. This whole situation feeling so foreign and ill-fitting to me as Kris poured beautiful words of healing over our wounds, lifting us up in prayer.

When we were done, Lucy looked up at me and looked deep into my eyes. "Does this mean we won't get to go swimming at Grandma Sisi's?" And when she was told we wouldn't be swimming, a whole new batch of tears began. My mom, recognizing the need David and I had to be with our kids but also needing a bit of a break (and also her own need to have a freckled five year old to squeeze) offered to keep Lucy overnight. (Thank you God!) We bundled everyone else up, went home and tucked them into bed.

Our Saturday was over. We survived the worst day of our lives.
We fell asleep holding one another, crying and praying for strength.

But this was not the end of our story.....