Saturday, January 28, 2012

..week 19..

sweet baby boy...
i have been feeling fantastic. and since i've been down this pregnancy road before, i know to enjoy every day of feeling fine. there are many uncomfortable and sleepless nights ahead. so for now i am enjoying being able to bend over and put on my shoes. i am enjoying my full nights of sleep. i am enjoying having energy and [mostly] keeping up with your daddy on walks. although i can no longer button my snowpants...
we look forward to bringing you on walks and hikes and hope you enjoy the great outdoors as much as we do!

photos by baby daddy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

foodie friday! mac & cheese - southern style.

by popular demand, here is the macaroni & cheese recipe i made for our gender reveal party. it took me many years to attempt real macaroni & cheese. i'm not sure why, it's one of my favorites. come to find out, it's also incredibly easy to make. my hubs has very fond memories of lots of yummy food growing up, so there's always pressure when attempting a southern style dish. this recipe comes from a cookbook passed down from my mother-in-law titled "Butter 'n Love Recipes". good start, huh? ...then again, i'm pretty sure all southern recipes include butter 'n love. this particular cookbook is a compilation of recipes from a church in south carolina, so i knew i couldn't go wrong. cause have you been to a potluck in the south?

old-time macaroni

1 box elbow macaroni
1 lb. cheese
3 eggs
1 can evaporated milk

boil macaroni in a medium-size pot in salted water until tender. dice cheese [i used sharp cheddar shredded]. when macaroni is done, drain. place hot noodles in a baking dish large enough to serve the purpose [a large iron skillet works great]. mix in diced up cheese. then add milk and eggs together and stir into noodles and cheese. season to taste with salt & pepper. dot the top with butter [if you watch my mother-in-law cook, there's a lot of dots] and bake at 375° until top is lightly browned.

Monday, January 23, 2012


i am pregnant. i am hormonal. i am exhausted. this guy loves me anyways and i am entirely grateful.

we are getting our house ready to sell. somebody please tell me how 2 people can collect so much STUFF in 6 years?!? this morning i am working on cleaning out christmas tree cakes from the cupboard...

i realized this tiny tot could sport pigtails and i could not be more excited! i giggled every time i looked at her yesterday. it's fantastic.

i am dreaming about this house.

Friday, January 20, 2012

it's a....

j & i decided to have the ultrasound tech write down the gender of our baby so we could find out the gender together with our family. party on. we actually had the ultrasound tech email a friend whom we had asked to make a very special batch of cookies. cake ball stuffed chocolate chip cookies. how amazing is that for a pregnant girl?! the cake ball inside would be either pink or blue. i came across these amazing cookies here.
as i started planning the party menu, it kind of turned into my cravings menu...
fried pickles
homemade soft pretzels with jalapeƱo cheese sauce
sweet potato fries
fruit salad
spinach salad with gram's homemade dressing
southern style macaroni & cheese
orange creme pop

my sister made the fried pickles and soft pretzels. i'm pretty sure i've had dreams about those soft pretzels. totally amazing. commander, please make them again. tomorrow?
we tallied up the votes and it was pretty much split. j & i were both thinking girl, though we were not confident like we were with fabienne. fabs wore a blue dress to the party, so i guess she was thinking boy.

my little sister skyped in from santa barbara, which was amazing. i love this picture she captured...

aahhh! i can't believe the cake ball was blue?!  i am going to have a little boy! i feel like i am still trying to wrap my mind around that. we are so excited for this little guy to join our family. he's gonna have an amazing big sister.

Friday, January 13, 2012

birth story: part deux

i felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. but it wasn't in the joyous-love-at-first-sight kind of way that i had expected. instead there was fear. fear of the what-ifs. fear of the unknown. this was suppose to be one of the happiest moments of my life and i felt totally numb. my eyes scanned the room, hoping for a sign of reassurance on somebody's face. wishing that someone would tell me i was wrong.
but i already knew.
in my heart i knew.
my baby was born with Down syndrome.

her little button nose was adorable. her tiny rosebud lips were perfect. but all i saw were her eyes and i knew they were different. they were not like ours. "why are her eyes so puffy?", the only words i could muster up. even though i knew, i simply could not bring myself to say it. they told me it was from the labor and carried on with their weighing and measuring.
i looked at my husband and i knew that he knew.
my heart broke.
...for some reason i felt like i had let him down.
i heard my mom on the phone sharing the news that our sweet baby had arrived. i was totally overwhelmed. i felt like i didn't want to tell anyone that she had arrived because i knew that they would be excited and happy and all i felt was fear and despair. the nurses and midwife left the room and we were quiet. finally i broke the silence, "i just don't know about her eyes, something is different." the three of us agreed on this and when my midwife came back in the room i asked her again. finally the words came out, "your baby has some characteristics of Down syndrome, but we need to wait for your pediatrician to confirm that."
i couldn't believe this was happening.
i felt like i was looking in on someone else's story.
she said something along the lines of God has given you a beautiful baby girl. my head was spinning. i tried to nurse fabienne, but she was not having it. then they whisked my baby away saying something about needing to warm her up.
that was the last time i would hold my baby that day.
the next few hours are a bit of a blur. the pediatrician came and confirmed that she had characteristics of Down syndrome, which would be confirmed within a couple days with blood work. she was kind and encouraging, i was so glad my midwife had called her [we had planned on just using the pediatrician on call]. she was on the phone with doctors from strong hospital and mentioned things to us about echocardiograms and other things we had never heard of. we kept asking when they would bring our baby back to the room and they kept saying she just needed to warm up a little more. this was extremely frustrating.
i just wanted to hold my baby girl.

we would walk down the long hallway to the nursery, she was the only baby in there. she jumped every time the big metal door to the nursery closed. completely exhausted, i stood next to the warming bed, stroking her soft skin and leaning over for kisses. this was not how it was suppose to be. all i wanted was to be in my bed, holding a healthy baby girl. back in our room i could hear a baby crying across the hall. i wondered if the parents knew how blessed they were, to have their baby in the room with them.
and then our pediatrician came and delivered devastating news.
they wanted to transfer fabienne to the NICU at strong hospital that night and they were recommending i stay in batavia to rest and recover.
my head was spinning. could i let them just take my baby?
i felt completely helpless. my body was sore. i was exhausted.
we talked things over and decided it was best to get fabienne to the NICU as soon as possible. my heart ached. more than anything, i just wanted to hold my baby and know that everything was going to be okay. very reluctantly, i agreed to spend the night in the batavia hospital. my mom and dad offered to ride to strong to make sure fabienne got settled in, which was a huge relief for me.
the neonatal transport team arrived from strong. finally they brought my tiny baby to my room. but it was only so we could say goodbye.

the worst moment of my life.
i kissed her soft cheek and handed her away.
(to be continued...i'll try to finish it in less than 3 months.) ;)

some of these words are hard for me to see on the screen. but this is real. it was an emotional day and we were scared. scared about the unknown. scared about the health of our baby. scared about the future of our baby. it is difficult emotionally to relive this day because i still feel some guilt about my initial reactions and feelings. i wish there was some way i could go back and tell myself about the tremendous joy this little girl would bring to our family. how her smile and sweet dimples would melt my heart. how she may not be the baby i expected but she is perfect in her own way. how she would teach us to be more compassionate and accepting of others. but there was a grieving process we had to go through. it was heart wrenching. it was raw. it was confusing because we had a precious baby girl and yet we were fighting an overwhelming sense of loss. we are entirely grateful for the support of family and friends in these first days as we worked through all this. a year later i can honestly say we love this little girl with everything we have.
just the way she is.

part one here

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

..week 18..

sweet little baby... the last week before i can call you baby girl or baby boy!! we have an ultrasound friday and we are so excited to see you. we are going to have the ultrasound tech write down the gender and give it to a friend, who will be making special cookies for a party on sunday. we will have to be good and not peek! daddy and i are both leaning towards girl, although we aren't quite as confident as we were with your sister, so we will have to wait and see! i have been feeling quite well, with an occasional day of exhaustion here and there. your movements are getting bigger and stronger and i love to feel you move.

photos by baby daddy.
vintage dress from cait.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


in 2012 i hope to::
..document more content & compassionate.

..knit more

..make sure this guy knows i'm crazy about him. every single day.

..send more letters.
[please tell me you remember folding notes like kids even write notes these days??]

..connect more.
..bake more bread.

..take time to be creative.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

what a year...2011.

one of my favorite things about blogging is the ability to look back. i've never done a good job journaling and i love that this blog holds so many wonderful memories and pictures. hopefully in 2012 i'll take time to preserve even more memories...looking back i see many months were rather sparse.
i finally got around to posting our christmas picture

i didn't take many pictures or post much because i was too busy holding this tiny bundle

i saw from the beginning that our baby girl was crazy about her daddy...just like me...

we had a lovely valentines dinner at home.

i shared what a visit to the cardiologist looks like for us.

i shared some of my worries and thoughts with her upcoming heart surgery.

we truly celebrated 03.21

shared a favorite grilled sandwich...

my ladycakes rolled over!

faba celebrates her first easter. with shiny black mary janes and the most perfect easter bonnet...

i celebrated my first mother's day.

fabienne has pre-op and surgery

more. surgery. updates.

quite possibly the best picture ever...

our first family camping trip.

a favorite breakfast.

our cloth diaper experience so far.

first father's day.

baby girl rocks her headphones at daddy's concerts.

a lovely outdoors party for one of my favorite people.

my little firecracker.

a family tragedy.

road trip of a lifetime! j and i went through these pics recently, i must share more. we traveled through 6 states, drove over 2,300 miles, visited 5 national parks in 8 days.

fall. fashion. week.
jackson hole, wyoming.
marble canyon, arizona.
bergen, new york. :)

family photo shoot at my cousin's wedding.

shared my birth story. i promise part II is sitting in my drafts, almost done...perhaps my goal for 2012 should be to finish what i start?!

my baby turned one 10.21.11! ahh. shared photos from a lovely fall party.

all the amazing desserts and cakes made by my super amazing seester.
a little announcement...

a christmas tree hunt with a little bear.

a favorite drink...nutella hot chocolate.

what a year. j and i have said that so many times about 2011. anticipation. fear. growth. tragedy. hope. death. celebration. adventure. new life. ...if there's one thing i learned this past year, it's this: there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. God's love never fails. He makes all things work together for my good. [your love never fails, jesus culture]

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. 1 John 4:16