Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Two things today.

1) To the people who love to ask why Kole is not wearing socks:
She is not wearing socks because I do not find it necessary. Her pediatrician told me it was not necessary. No, it has nothing to do with her not leaving them on. In fact, Kole leaves her socks on just fine 90% of the time. No, the fact that you mention it to me every time I see you will not make me change my habits. Her feet are covered in her snowsuit when we go outside, and inside almost every building it's a balmy 68 degrees. If it is not, the snowsuit stays on: no socks, no problem.

It isn't that I'm anti-sock. I'm just anti people constantly coming up and squeezing my child's feet, declaring her toes are freezing (they're not. I can guarantee every time someone has said that to me my feet would be more chilly to the touch) and then treating me like I'm a clueless mother. I appreciate that you care about my daughter's well being, but trust me, so do I.

2) Now for a story to follow up my rant. I can't wait to tell this one to Koleen when she's 14. We were in Wal-Mart looking at socks for Matt. A teen boy was also in the aisle. Kole farted loudly. I said "Well Kole, excuse you!" Teen boy laughed. As we were leaving the aisle we walked right past teen boy. He smiled at me and said "That's a cute kid." It made my night.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Every moment a miracle

I got to feed you supper tonight. I got to give you kisses, whisper "I love you" in your ear, and rock you to sleep.
Not all parents had the great blessing of that today. The lives of 20 children began in heaven today, after evil entered their school in Connecticut. Although they are safe with Jesus, 40 parents go to bed tonight with empty arms and broken hearts.
Kole, I feel so blessed you are here with me.
As I prayed over you tonight I skipped the normal things I pray for: guidance for Matt and me parenting, guidance for you in your future, prayers for your relationship with Jesus, and things of that nature. Instead I prayed only two things. First I prayed that God would cradle those families in Connecticut in his arms. Then I prayed thankfulness.
Echo, every minute I spend with you is a priceless blessing. Every hug, every kiss, every game of peek a boo, every fishy face, every poop-filled diaper is a moment you bring joy to me.
Thank you for being my daughter.
Father, thank you for the gift of Koleen. Allowing me to be her mother is the biggest challenge and privilege of my life. Please show your love to the families in this Connecticut town tonight and in the months to come. I'm out of words, but you hear the great cry going up tonight from this country. I don't want to take another moment for granted.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


<p>Some mornings I stare at the clothes hanging in my closet. I have plenty of them, but I can't decide what wear. The reason for this? Picking things that go together.</p>
<p>As I choose outfits for Kole, things are much easier. her clothes come color coordinated, pattern coordinated and style coordinated!</p>
<p>The simplicity of dressing Kole has pointed out to me the places in my life that need simplified. It goes beyond realizing that when I shop, I should shop outfits vs items.</p>
<p>For instance, I can save precious time by getting the same kind of bottles. when I need to put them together I can just grab whatever is quickest!</p>
<p>I can save space by only keeping what I need. Those sheets I store and only use twice a year? Gone!</p>
<p>I can focus better by only doing one Bible study at a time instead of each one I'm invited to join.</p>
<p>lovely Koleen, thank you for teaching me about simplicity. I hope to be able to teach you the same!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On this day in history

On a different Tuesday eleven years ago my world changed.

This change wasn't a difference in my home life, or in the sweet little town I called home, but it was a change of the very atmosphere in my country, the great USA.

At no other time in my life was the country so united. First in fear, then in grief, but throughout in heroism. The actions of so many people showing love and compassion to one another will forever show me what this country is capable of when her people pull together.

I know my daughter will never see the meaning in 9/11 that I do. It was so clear to me today as I witnessed the generational divide. Those about my age tweeted, posted status updates and pictures, and mentioned the event that stands out so vividly in many of our minds. Yet those even a few years younger don't seem to notice this as different than any other fall day.

That doesn't mean the lessons I learned have to grow up and fade with my generation.

I want to teach Koleen what I learned from 9/11. Hate does not prevail, but bravery and love always will. A group of people, no matter how diverse always can work together, and in doing so change a situation. Any one person may not be destined to change the world or the face of history, but that person can change the world to a single person.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. --Edmund Burke
If the good men and women who rose to the occasion on 9/11/2001 had done nothing, my list of lessons would have been entirely different. American citizens, soldiers, firefighters, first responders, medical staff, and all the other people who stood shoulder to shoulder and silently shouted to the world that day, I thank you. Not only did you change my life, you will teach my child and countless other children the true meaning of the word HERO. 

God continues to bless America.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Just to see you smile

I love music. I think most people do. Kole is one of those people. she responds to music, and I often find myself singing whatever song happens to pop into my head, since she appears to enjoy it. Songs about love play on this human jukebox pretty regularly. When I sing these songs to Echo, they take on a whole new shine. While meant to be taken romantically, I now can see them in a maternal light. a few of our favorites are "I don't want to miss a thing" by Aerosmith, "ours" by Taylor swift, and "a whole new world" by whoever sang it on Aladdin.
In the past couple days the song "just to see you smile" has been added to my repertoire. Whoever wrote this song must have known a mom. In order to make this beautiful gift from God smile, I do all sorts of crazy things, from using the hated baby voice, to making crazy faces, to singing "head and shoulders knees and toes" for the 385th time, to stopping in the middle of a task that was important in my past life to pick up a crying Echo and snarf like a pig in her neck folds. All things that would normally make me feel like an idiot to do (or admit!) But in order to make Echo smile, they seem  perfectly normal.
I received a book of poetry about babies as a gift. One of the poems talks about working hard to become the person God wants me to be, so I can be worthy of that baby's smile. That struck a chord with me. Every day I have these opportunitues to see just how much God has blessed me, and how little I deserve any of it, so grace is very real to me. I don't deserve to see those baby smiles, which showcase absolute confidence, total innocence, and boundless joy. Yet each smile is added to a long list of priceless blessings the Lord has poured freely into my life.
I also try to think of God as my parent in this. If I get such joy from my child offering up a smile, can I show my love for the Lord by  metaphorically smiling up at him?
have you heard smiles are contagious? I know that to be true, because I caught Echo's and I want to infect as many people as possible. I am seeing more clearly than I ever have that my example to live for Jesus should be a child.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One lovely Sunday

We went to Ludington to pick blueberries and then visited the beach. Kole has wonderful people in her church to grow up with, and Matt and I have great examples of parents in our own, of course, but also in the parents of our youth group kids. we have much to be thankful for!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

3 months

Koleen is 3 months old.

The last three months seem like a blink. I feel like I opened my eyes one morning and this tiny, red, sleepy little baby had transformed into an energetic and interactive personality.

the things the last 3 months have taught me:
Patience. things take time. the most important will get done one way or another.
Flexibility. My way is not always right and sometimes we do things in a different order than I had planned. But that's ok, my way is not perfect.
Purpose. caring for a baby gives me a whole new sense of purpose. since I am responsible for her, it makes me think more than once about all my decisions, from my driving style to our finances, to the way I spend my evenings.
joy. I have learned that joy is an attitude and not a circumstance. I have a lot to be happy about, and realizing that has helped me to see that every new situation is a moment to choose my attitude, and I'd like it to be perpetual joy.
overrated. The following things you actually can live without: sleep. Coffee (ever tried to make a pot with one hand?). Clothes free from baby drool. Making a quick get away.
priceless. the following are things you can never have enough of: hugs. Baby smiles. Watching Matt be a great Dad. Family snuggle time. Taking pictures. Bath time.

I pray as I continue down this path that God continues his work in me.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Chin implants are the fastest-growing form of cosmetic surgery, according to CBS This Morning. I was fascinated when I saw this story come on, but that fascination soon morphed into indignation.
According to this story, since the end of the recession, cosmetic procedure numbers are on the rise. One, when did the recession end? Did someone forget to mention that to Michigan? Two, was that what people had to do without during the recession? If so, why are we complaining? But back to my rant, which I will lovingly refer to as "commentary" for the remainder of this post.
The Dr they interviewed for the story talked about how what he did was important, because by fixing people's "defects" he was giving them confidence. Whoa. Now I'm all about confidence, but this is messed up. Of all the things I don't want for my daughter, someone telling her she has a defect in her face she needs surgery to correct is at the top of my list.
Also, is having a defined chin, pert nose, or full lips where our daughters' confidence should originate? Um, no, Malibu Dr. How about intelligence, kindness, responsibly, and work ethic? How about knowing her parents love and respect her? How about caring for the needs of others and finding purpose outside of herself?
As a mother, my goal is to teach my daughter she is flawlessly created in God's image and to gain her self-worth from the things in life that matter. Defects in her facial structure? I think not!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And so it begins

My due date of April 7 had come and gone. I'd been dilated to 2cm for weeks. I couldn't eat or roll over, and I thought there was an especially deep circle of hell for the people who made such observations as, "you're still here," "you're still pregnant," and "no baby yet." My doctor offered me the option to induce on April 14 at one week past my due date. My husband (who was one big ball of fried nerves at this point) and I decided against it based on the fact the baby would come when she was good and ready, and my desire for a natural childbirth included as little interference as possible.
 Here I am, about 6 months pregnant

April 14th came as a beautiful Saturday, which Matt and I both had off. We set out to enjoy a relaxing day. We gardened, chased and caught chickens, and went for a sunshine-saturated three-mile walk. After a delicious supper of French dip subs, we sat down to relax.

Once we were settled on the couch for the evening I started having stronger Braxton Hicks, which Matt insisted I time. They were about four minutes apart, but irregular and I was having a hard time charting them. Matt called the hospital at about 10:30 and they told him it wasn't urgent, but since I was past due to come in so they could check me. For weeks women had been telling me I would definitely know when I was in labor, bu I was far from knowing so I didn't want to make the hour-long drive to the hospital. We leisurely packed, and I felt mostly fine, although I did get to the point where I wanted heat for my back.

The drive to the hospital was uneventful, except for me scolding Matt for making me go instead of letting me go to bed, which I had wanted to do. During the last 10 minutes of the drive, I changed my mind. The contractions were getting uncomfortable and I wanted to know what was going on.
We parked at the hospital and had to enter through the ER. My contractions immediately stopped. "Here we go," I thought. "I'm going to be one of those women who comes to hospital in false labor seven times." Then the nurses who came to guide me to the birthing center showed up and I had the strongest contraction yet. I got up and followed them through all the hospital hallways. I found out later they thought there was no way I would stay at the hospital from the way I was walking and talking just fine. They still graciously took me to a room to check me out, while I was getting more serious by the minute, as my body started working harder. I still wasn't prepared for the news that I was dilated to 6cm. I was in labor!

The nurse left to find me a room. While she was gone I started throwing up. Awesome. When nurse Stephanie came back, she very sweetly patted me and said it was what they called "the 7cm pukes." I was willing to take that as confirmation I had made a cm of progress in the past 15 minutes. Stephanie went ahead of me to show me my room and I struggled down there, now more miserable than uncomfortable. Stephanie checked my progress again and I was 9cm and she went out to call Dr Parks.

He appeared in a flash and got me settled back against the bed (I had been on my hands and knees and not very happy.) In this position I was able to actually relax. Within minutes he said I was ready to push. It was about 2am.

Now here is what they don't tell you about childbirth. It gets easier. Seven to 10cm I felt like I was dying, true, but once I got to the point of pushing, the pain was almost entirely over. So push I did, and Matt held my hand, told me I was doing great, and told me what progress I was making. I had turned down the mirror when Dr Parks offered it, which surprised me. In the moment I felt it was the same principal as getting a shot. If you can't see it, it doesn't hurt.That seemed to work out for me. Between pushing contractions, as long as I relaxed and breathed deeply, there wasn't much pain. And during the contractions I was working too hard to notice if there was.

Then it came down to the last push. Matt later told me Dr Parks and Stephanie were instructing me to push gently, but I didn't hear them. I mustered all my energy and attacked that last push, shooting my baby girl into the world like a very small, very red human cannonball at 2:57am.

Dr Parks placed her on my newly-deflated stomach. **Pausing for a side note here: I realized the OB doctors spend all this time with hormonal pregnant women, then have to participate in delivery where the women get even more emotional, then get to hold the new babies for about 10 seconds. What a let down! So think about that the next time you're at your OB or midwife's office and be very nice to him or her. The regularly scheduled blog now resumes** I looked at my beautiful baby and exclaimed "Oh, she's so tiny!" Dr Parks and Stephanie both laughed a bit. My tiny little girl turned out to be an above average 8lbs 2oz. And that was after she peed all over me, which happened at this point in our story. Also going on, Matt slightly hyperventilating and sliding down the wall to the floor. This is the part where he called our parents, from somewhere inside the shaking mass he had become. I'm glad I was lying down, or I probably would have ended up beside him. The emotions of having a perfect, tiny, sweet life to parent proved to be wonderful and exhilarating, but without a doubt overwhelming.
My not-so-tiny baby weighing in

This is the beginning of my motherhood story. Bring on the adventure.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


My purpose with this blog is to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences during motherhood. I named this blog after my daughter, an interpretation of her name, Koleen (a take on the Irish word for girl) Echo (repeated sound.) My greatest wish as a mother is to be a good example and to be someone my child admires. I have the benefit of having a wonderful mom with whom I love to be compared, so the legacy of being repeated is one of my greatest concerns.

Kole, this one is for you.