Friday, December 30, 2011

Sharing HIS Blessing

This year when sending out our Christmas letter I sent it to almost everyone.  I wanted each and everyone of you to know about Elliott.  To hear his story.  To know why we are the way we are.  I believe that's part of being bold and courageous...sharing how our faith has carried us through this extraordinary journey.  Over Christmas numerous friends and relatives have shared with me how the letter has touched them.  How they read it with tears in their eyes and in a lump in their throats.  Aaron and I have accepted many extra hugs and kisses and "I'm so sorry" has been shared with us more times than I can count.  And we greatly appreciate this.  We've had two offers from amazing women who wanted nothing more than to carry our baby for us.  Being a surrogate Mommy.  WOW.  The same day I had the first offer for surrogacy a dear friend of mine offered money for our adoption.  That literally brought me to tears.  Offering to give what little extra they had.  I didn't send out that letter for pity.  I only wanted to share what words Jesus gave me to share.  Our testimony.  Elliott's short yet, so meaningful life on earth.

On Christmas Eve, my Aunt shared with me how her brother had picked up that letter and after reading it let her know what an impact it had had on him.  He shared with her how "it put everything into perspective".  I saw her brother a few days later and he thanked me for writing my words.  He explained how it had made his Christmas...in fact, it had made his week.  He ended his conversation with these two words, "Be blessed".  AND you know what....we are.  I shared with him how I had hoped it would minister to those who read it.  Another friend of mine shared our testimony with her Mom's bible study group.  When she received our letter she asked if it would be all right if she shared the letter with the same group??  I did not hesitate.  If this letter ministers to just one person I have done my job sharing the love of Jesus through sweet Elliott's birth.  And that is exactly what I had prayed for.  If you haven't read our letter you can find it here.  Be blessed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grief through the Holidays

I read Jessica Turner's blog "The Mom Creative".  Her blog is choked full of fabulous deals....it's where I get my coupon codes for Paper Coterie to make Memory Keepers and photo books...and browse the Day Spring deals....she also is a fabulous scrap booker and memory maker!  I was just reading through some of her previous posts and came across this one all about grief and getting through the holidays.  If you, like my family, have experienced great loss this year.....or, if you also are experiencing infertility this is a great read.

ps....want extra fabulous deals??  "Like" The Mom Creative on Facebook!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wrestling

In my mind lately I've been wrestling with a few things.  Praying through them...talking with Aaron.  After, I decided this was silly and why was I keeping this all inside when my husband may very well feel the same way?  I needed to talk with Jesus....and rest in HIM.  I'm sure you're wondering what I've been wrestling with.  Well, should we or should we not try again to grow our family the conventional way....with me carrying that baby in my belly?  Right after Elliott I was so ready to be done...and move on to adoption.  We even had a phone conversation with our adoption agency.  We were ready.  I don't know what happened after that.  I'm guessing it was that mean old doubt.  Creeping in.  Who was I to decide what God was going to do in our lives??  Did we have a right to make this decision?  Would others think we were selfish?  Are we without faith?  I read blogs of women who had lost their first babies near the same time as me and now were pregnant again.  They were required to be on bed rest for enormous amounts of time, living near hospitals.  This could be me.  Could I do that??  Leave my home, my daughter, my husband and my job?  Just to carry our child knowing even that may not work.  The more I thought about it the more I wrestled. Did I want to be pregnant again?  Holding my breath for the first 12, but more likely, 20 weeks?  Would I have gestational diabetes again? Could I even get pregnant?

Finally, last Saturday I sat down and talked with Aaron.  I approached the subject with a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. "Are we making the right choice?  Should we stop trying?"  His answer was quick and without hesitation.  "Yes." He then explained that Jesus had spoken clearly to him a few Sundays ago at church.  Our Pastor had been talking about an impromptu offering we had taken specifically for orphans....to feed them, as the cost of this had gone up hugely and the organization that did so was very short of funds.  That Sunday we raised thousands of dollars for this very cause.  We gave money to that offering because Jesus had prompted Aaron to get cash back when at the bank a few days before that.  While our Pastor stood before the congregation thanking them our Jesus whispered to Aaron, "I'm proud of you both and the choices you have made...choosing adoption." I'm paraphrasing here as Aaron did when telling me, but...that was definitely the gist of the conversation.  The next day we went to church and it felt like signs from Jesus were everywhere.  Our Pastor mentioned adoption many times in his message.  But, he was speaking about how God adopted us into his family.  To me that was all I needed.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt what our Jesus wanted us to do.

We are passionate about adoption.  Not just because we are unable to carry biological children.  This is not just another means for us to grow our family.  As Christians, we all should be....Jesus clearly tell us to in James 1:27.  Just yesterday we received a newsletter from our adoption agency.  I poured over it and read how adoption had changed many lives.  I hope to share with you some of those stories.  As we approach CHRISTmas in two days, I am in awe of our Savior and all He has done for us.  Ever mindful that it all began with a little baby boy.  Our Jesus.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CHRISTmas Letter 2011

This is the letter I sent along with our Christmas card this year.  Enjoy!!


Hello Dear Friends and Family,
We hope this finds all of you well, happy & blessed!  I’m going to change it up a little so….this will not follow the typical Christmas letter format you’ve been used to.  Trust me when I say change is good! This year has been extraordinary in many ways.  Halle is growing by leaps and bounds and still the light of our lives. This silly little girl never ceases to amaze Aaron and I with her singing, dancing, quick wit and sweet spirit.  She is such a gift!  She started Pre-School/Day Care at the Gingerbread House this year two days a week and absolutely loves it!  She loves her teachers and is always talking about all her little friends there.  Not long ago, Halle had her first sleepover with her Grammie & Titi (April’s sister) and a few short weeks ago she stayed over at Papa & Nana’s, of course, she loved it so much she didn’t want to come home.

I know most of you know our struggles with infertility that led us to adoption and our sweet Halle girl.  In July, Aaron and I were ecstatic to find out I was pregnant and due in March.  We approached this new journey very cautiously, with lots and lots of prayer.  Having three previous miscarriages will do that to you.  As I neared the second trimester we felt like we could finally breathe and enjoy the precious life Jesus was knitting together in my womb.  I began to experience some complications at a few days shy of nineteen weeks that led to Doctor’s appointments, unexpected ultrasounds and a trip to the University of Washington Medical Center.  It was then we learned our precious gift was a little boy, who we chose to name Elliott Aamodt. We do not know why, but these complications, unfortunately, caused my cervix to open up early and Elliott was born on October 13, almost five months too soon. You may not think extraordinary is a word to describe what we have experienced.  I would ask you to re-think that.  Our Jesus gave us a precious, unforgettable gift in the form of our little, tiny 10.4 oz boy that was just 9 ½” long.  From the moment Elliott was conceived our Jesus knew the plans He had for him.  Plans for greatness.  Plans to teach others about His love.  As Aaron and I reflect on the days following Elliott’s birth, one word always comes to mind faithful. Our Jesus has been so, so faithful.  We have grown so much spiritually because of Elliott. I have become bold and courageous to share my faith, for it is the only reason I have made it through this trial. Without our Jesus we would not be able to live this life without our son.  We know without a shadow of a doubt where our son is.  We know we will see him one day.  We also know that Jesus does not promise us a world without trials and tribulations. “Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV 

This Christmas finds us loving our Jesus more and more everyday.  We are finding such joy in seeing Halle’s love for this season and trying to remind her daily that Jesus is truly the reason for the season. We pray you will experience Jesus this CHRISTmas as you never have before!

Blessings,
April for all three of us J


I have kept our blog updated through this time and would love for you all to follow our continued journey there.  You can find it here:  www.aaronandapril.blogspot.com

Prayers Answered

I have waited an incredible amount of time for one of these to be placed on my fridge.  I consider these a "stamp of Mommy approval".  When I was in High School and Middle School for that matter I taught the 2-3 year old Sunday School class at my church.  Later after I graduated from High School I taught Pre-School for two years....I so envied those Mommy's receiving their treasured artwork from their son or daughter.  I could not wait for the day I would be a Mommy and have artwork to put on my fridge.  My road to motherhood has been ever so long and quite bumpy at times, but...when my girl brings home these treasures I melt.  I will display these proudly for all to see.  Yes, my fridge may look messy and I might need to buy more magnets, but...my heart is full and Halle is so very excited when she gets to see these everyday.  


This Thursday Halle had her very first Christmas Program at our church.  Of course, with all the kids it was so hard to see our girl.  Yes, I was that Mommy that grabbed her camera to trek to the other side of the church just to get a better view.  I'm so glad I did.  I will tell you it was hard to hold the camera, take pictures and control the tears from flowing.  Little kids in Christmas Programs have always made me emotional....now that I have my own little girl in the mix I was even more so.  WOW.  Our Jesus is so faithful.  Sometimes, it felt like I would never have a Christmas Program to attend as a Mommy.  When she was singing those songs and doing every.single.motion. my heart was bursting with pride for my little girl.  AND...she's pretty cute if I do say so myself.  I was so glad the dress her Foster Mommy made her last year still fit.  It was perfect.  And yesterday Halle wanted to do the very same thing all.over.again.  I love that girl!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Easy??

Tuesday this week marked two whole months since we had said good-bye to our sweet Elliott.  I have to be honest and say I didn't even think of it...until about 4pm that day while I was sitting at my desk at work. Then it suddenly hit me.  It was December 13.  Two months ago I held my sweet boy for the first time and said good-bye to him as he joined his Grampie in heaven.  Even now, it so very fresh in my mind.  I'm sad.  My heart is heavy.  Others around me are pregnant and I'm so very happy and excited for them.  I truly, truly am.  So, dear friends and sweet sister-in-law if you are reading this....please, please do not think you must hide from me your joy of expecting another gift into your family. New life is precious.  So very so.  And...a miracle straight from our Jesus...whether those gifts are planned or not.  In fact, surprises are the very best.  Elliott was a huge surprise to us.  Maybe that's why it so very hard to grasp what is Jesus is planning here.  The plans he has for our family....I know they are good and just.  I know they are BIG.  Here again is where patience comes in.  Over and over our family has been hit with trials and tribulations.  So, when my husband was holding me as I sobbed on Tuesday night and my sweet little girl was asking me if I was sad because I missed Jesus (She has Christmas and Jesus on her brain...and that is fine by me!)....I wondered aloud "why can't anything be easy for us?"  I just can't get that part.  I watch as others around me are blessed beyond measure with a quiver-full....while we struggle to grow or family by one.  

After our third miscarriage I was so ready to stop the whole trying-to-conceive roller coaster...no more Dr's visits, infertility drugs or tears.   I had definitely prayed through all my feelings of "needing" to have a biological child.  Aaron and I had cried many, many tears over the loss of our three babies.  And talked much about our next step.  We joked as we filled out adoption paperwork where it asked about race.  To us, it did not matter...could we put purple?  Do you see my point?  Our arms ached to be filled with a little, breathing person.  One that Jesus had picked just for us.  It did not matter that this baby could very well be brown, have curly, curly hair and wouldn't look a thing like either one of us. Now, we are coming to the place again in our lives.  I, personally, am having to pray through those very same feelings again.  I'm not going to lie. It's a very, very hard place to be. I know my Jesus made me to be a Mommy...and my arms ache with wanting to hold a child. My child.  Let me just say I don't differentiate between biological and adopted.  Both Halle and Elliott are my children.  One grew in my heart and the other grew in my belly. I want to smell that sweet baby smell and wash those cute, tiny clothes.  And you know what?  I want a little boy.  Our girl needs a little brother, my husband needs someone to work in the garage with and pass his Bronco on to....a little boy to learn about tube amps and guitars....how everything works. Yes, Halle does love her Daddy's Bronco and she would probably work in the garage, gladly.  She will do anything if it includes spending uninterrupted time with her Daddy.  But, you understand my point.  I have his name picked out and I'm praying for him, specifically.  Jesus knows the desires of my heart.  But, that doesn't make this any easier.  Adoption involves much cost and prayer. The first we don't have much of, thankfully, the last we have lots and lots of, along with friends and family that will come along side us.  We spoke with our Adoption Agency last week and were encouraged by our sweet, kind contact Margaret.  But, the fact still remains....it will cost us money that we don't have to bring home our sweet baby.  This is how Jesus wants us to grow our family and we will gladly walk this road again....because he has asked us to do so.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" James 1:27

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday -- Christmas...with a Three Year Old




We love how Halle is really understanding Christmas this year.  You should know the kitty, yarn & random toys are no longer in our tree!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Our Sweet Elliott



A few more photos for you to enjoy.  Our precious little boy.....this will give you a better idea of what size he actually was.  I am holding him in the middle picture.  AND...the bottom he has his Daddy's ring on his hand.  Again, I am reminded of how Jesus knits these precious gifts together in our womb's.  We serve a truly amazing Heavenly Father.  WOW.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Memorial Tats

Yes, we did it.  In honor of our son, both Aaron and I got tattoos last friday.  Which just also happened to be the anniversary of my Dad's heavenly graduation.  Yes, the footprints are true to size....and the three hibiscus represent the other three miscarriages I had.  The verse is significant to me because without a shadow of a doubt I believe all my babies were a gift....straight from our Jesus.  And...their sister Halle also has a sign in her bedroom with James 1:17 on it.  "Laus Deo" means "Praise be to God" in Latin....Aaron has had this phrase on a post-it-note attached to our printer for months now.  I think even before we found out I was pregnant.  It is so important to him.  Just because my husband is creative and all that stuff, he designed both of these tattoos.  Did I mention I love him very much for doing this?  It is definitely his way of processing October 13 and the days that lead up to it.  You know what? We will show these off proudly.....and what a testimony.  I have already ministered to many with these tattoos.....do I believe Jesus works through these??  You bet I do!  And...my Dad would be proud!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Son


Let me take a moment and introduce you to our Son....Elliott Aamdot.  It's important to me that I do this.  He is still our son even though he's not here with us.  And we want all of you, those we love to know him just as we do.  Last week we got his pictures back from the photographer. Oh.My.Word. What an incredible job she did.  This is my very favorite one.  Why?  Because I can see his sweet button nose and that little mouth. After studying this multiple times....I can see pieces of Aaron and I in our precious gift.  His nose, could be like his Titi's (my sister, Amber...she has a button nose), but...then again, the Benner's also have cute button noses like Elliott's cousin Hayden.  And his mouth...every.single.time. I look at it I see his Daddy.  And...this face he's making is also just like his Daddy.  I'm so very thankful for the way Jesus is showing me these things. When I looked at him on the day he was born it was hard to tell if he looked like either one of us.  He was so little and I was so caught up in the moment...seeing this precious life that I had carried for 19 weeks...that Jesus had knit together in my womb. How simply amazing.  I don't know how anyone could look at this picture of our Elliott at just 19 weeks gestation and not know that a human life is a miracle.  One we should never ever take for granted.  Only our Jesus could make something as precious as this.  Let that sink in.  From the very moment Elliott was conceived our Jesus knew him and the plans He had for his life.  Plans of greatness.  Plans to teach other's about the love of Jesus.  I am so thankful for this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

As the days move on things are becoming more normal at our house.  We are living and enjoying every day.  Remembering to be thankful, thankful for those 19 weeks Elliott was in our lives.  Thankful we got to hold him and count all his fingers and toes. Thankful we will receive his pictures today.  Thankful that my co-workers are letting me talk about Elliott and love to hear about him and his birth.  Thankful that November is National Adoption Month and the very month that our Halle came to live with us.  Thankful that our dear friend Rachel is pregnant with a little boy after many, many years of trying.  She and her husband, David and their son Hudson hold a very special place in our hearts.  We stayed with them in Austin, TX when we picked up Halle.  Thankful our friends and family are helping us search for the "perfect" gift for Halle...the Leap Frog Leappad Explorer Tablet.  They are, unfortunately, sold out every where.  Our hearts are healing slowly and we are aiming to be more intentional with our time and those we spend our time with.  Aaron and I are both looking forward to our appointment on Friday to get memorial tattoos celebrating Elliott and for me....the other three babies that are in Heaven with our Jesus.  The month of November holds many happy memories for us...the phone call from our adoption agency to let us know that we had been chosen to be Halle's Parent's, booking our plane tickets, flying to Tyler, Texas, meeting Halle and her Mommy Michelle, not to mention her fabulous Foster Family the Jones', staying with the Clark's who we had never met until the day we arrived at their house.  We instantly became fast friends.....knowing our Jesus brought us together for a reason.  The culmination of that week was flying home to arrive early on Thanksgiving morning with time to sleep and head out to spend the day with our family.  The best part of that day??  Introducing them to our daughter, Halle Grace.

But, this month is also bittersweet.  My Dad graduated to Heaven on November 25, just five years ago.  I know he is happy and whole, praising His Jesus and taking care of all my babies, but...that doesn't stop the sting, the hurt and the longing.  I know if he was here he would have so many faith-filled words of encouragement for Aaron and I.  I know he would race around with Halle and make her laugh, he'd probably teach her how to play all things sport related.  He would understand my struggle I'm having right now.  Yes, I'm still trying to understand why, if Elliott was going to heaven, did Jesus allow me to become pregnant?  I don't know if all of you know our history of infertility.  Never before was I able to conceive without infertility drugs.  Never. In November 2010 I felt Jesus was telling me to just trust Him and have faith.  So we stopped using birth control and 6 months later I found out I was pregnant with Elliott.  Our Jesus works in miracles....and Elliott was just that.  I have a close friend that I called when I found out I was pregnant.  She had been having a rough go of things, her Aunt had recently passed away unexpectedly and her cousin (her Aunt's daughter) who is also a classmate of mine,  had just found out she had breast cancer at 36.  Not easy things to take.  I knew she needed some happy news.  She was ecstatic when I told her our news.  Now, she like me is really struggling with the why's. She hugged me at church a few Sunday's ago with tears in her eyes.  Telling me she just didn't know what to say.  Sharing that she was having a hard time processing this.  You know what?  I love that about my friends.  They are honest and forthright.  I am so glad she told me that.

The message series at our church has been "Honest Answers for Hard Questions".  It has been so very good.  The other night I was reading my bible, going over some scripture I had marked during the message series.  It was hitting me right between the eyes.  Everything, I do mean everything I was reading was quietly saying patience. comfort. faith. perseverance.  Wow!  Aaron and I are often reminded of these things.  And we often think we have patience.  Sheesh, God has been working on that with us for at least six years.  You would think he was done teaching us.  Apparently not.  It's becoming clear He is teaching us many things through our sweet Elliott.  And you know what?  I'm also very thankful for that.  So, on this Thanksgiving Eve, would you join me in practicing thankfulness?  I'm certain there is at least one thing you can be thankful for.  If not, be thankful for Jesus and his unending faithfulness.  I know I am.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One month....

One month ago today at 4:50pm I gave birth to our son, Elliott Aamodt.  Do I miss him??  Of course I do.  Do I remember him, most definitely. Today I'm remembering him so fondly.  Wishing I could just hold him again....count his fingers and his little toes.  Kiss his little button nose. But, he is in heaven with my Jesus and his Grampie.  Yesterday, was kind of a sad day.  I knew Aaron was all set to go to "Pipe Club" with his buddies.  I also knew, and remembered that the last time he went was the fateful night/early morning that I coughed when getting into bed and felt that gush of blood...this led to our trip to the ER and eventually the delivery of sweet Elliott.  So, it was bittersweet for Aaron....spending time with his friends, enjoying their company and remembering what happened that last time.  When he got home from work last night I asked how his day had been....he told me he was sad.  Sad remembering that it had been one month.

I'm sad that Elliott is no longer here on earth.  But, I've decided I'm so glad he was born in the fall.  Fall is my most favorite time of the year.  I love, love, love the changing leaves,  the crisp fall days and the smell of all things spicy and pumpkin.  Eggnog latte's arrive and so does Starbuck's "Pumpkin Spice".  I will always remember this time of year as Elliott's time.  October 13 will be etched in my mind forever. The day I became a Mommy again. Now, when I see the leaves changing color and the days getting shorter and colder.  Elliott will definitely be in the forefront of my mind.  What a sweet reminder for me.  That night seems like just yesterday.  When I close my eyes, unfortunately, it all comes back to me.  The phone call to my Mom to stay with Halle, the trip in the car to the ER, the Dr. telling me "Looks like you're having a miscarriage"....the cold harsh reality that I was going to give birth to our son that day.....four months too soon.  So, there you have it.  Here is how we are doing one.month.later.  If you asked me today, "How are you?" Because that seems to be the question of the hour...I would say "good".  Three weeks ago I would have said, "ok".  It's getting better.  I cry less....I'm still grieving....I still miss my son....my arms still ache without him in them.  But, I'm thankful, still so very thankful I carried him for 19 weeks.....11 weeks longer than I had carried any baby before.  I felt him move...all over the place (he was a mover & shaker...and did not like to be still).....I experienced childbirth and I get to see my sweet Elliott Aamodt again!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Meeting Halle for the FIRST time!


As long as I live I will not forget this moment.  It's frozen in my mind....the look on Halle's face as her Daddy held her.  Believe you me, she loves her Daddy with every ounce in her body!  He is her hero....November 19 is National Adoption Day and November is the month in which Halle came to live with us just three years ago.  This month brings back so many exciting, extraordinary memories for me.  I want to celebrate Halle and the the life her Mommy Michelle gave her.  We are so thankful for the gift of adoption!

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" James 1:27

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just Because

I'm very thankful for this little brown girl in her penguin jammies loving on her pillow pet!!  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bold and Courageous

Last weekend....I read this book by an extraordinary women named Angie Smith.  Wow. This book knocked my socks off.  It was exactly what I needed at this time.  I have been following Angie's blog since 2008 when they began to tell their story of sweet Audrey Caroline....she too is heaven with our Elliott Aamodt.  Before Elliott graduated to Heaven,  Aaron and I had suffered three early (8 weeks or before) miscarriages...so, when "I will Carry You" came out I chose not to read it.  I didn't think I needed it...at the time our situations were different.  The week after I delivered our boy I knew I needed this book.  As I sat in the bath tub while Halle slept and my husband "tinkered"in the garage (he loves to do this!) I laughed cried & prayed all because of this book and how Jesus was working through Angie and her writing.  I found myself identifying with her in an uncanny way.  She had carried Audrey longer than I carried Elliott, but....we both left the hospital empty-handed without our sweet babies who had went on to be with Jesus.  This book is so faith filled and stuffed with scripture, but...in a way that I can follow and understand.

In the book Angie talks about how Audrey made her strong and able to do things she would have never done before.  I really don't want to give everything away in case you too decide to read this book.  And...my friend you should.  If you have ever experienced a loss of a child or if you know someone who has please do yourself and your friend a favor...pick this up.  I knew exactly what she was talking about.  Delivering Elliott has made me stronger, more bold and certainly courageous.  I know it was not a coincidence that the Saturday before Elliott arrived Aaron and I went to see the movie "Courageous". Though nothing could prepare us to say good-bye to our son before we got to say hello this movie gave us the added faith boost we needed.  Angie writes about having such a peace upon entering the hospital for her scheduled c-section with Audrey.  I too felt that.  I did not like hospitals and the whole time I was pregnant I was so nervous to give birth.  My Dad was 53 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had already spread to his bones and his prognosis was not good.  He spent A LOT of time in that hospital and that is what I had remembered.  It scared me. Make no mistake that Jesus gave me that sense of calm I needed on October 13 to deliver our son.  HE carried me.  I'm not asking you to understand this I'm only asking you to consider it. How else could I do what I did??

I have never been one to be bold and courageous when speaking of my faith and love of Jesus.  I'm very, very sad to admit this.  My Parents taught me at a very early age what it means to love Jesus and when I was just seven I asked Him to live in my heart.  I grew up in a Christian home attending church on Sunday's and taking part in all church activities.  This is what we did.  This is what I knew.  When my Dad was diagnosed with his cancer he took a very bold approach to witnessing.  Not a fanatical, get in your face approach, but...I believe he knew his time on earth was limited.  He took his faith and his Jesus VERY seriously.  It was not uncommon for him to pray for others when they came to visit him either at home or in the hospital.  He sang worship songs while waiting to be seen by a Dr in the ER, he laid hands on and prayed for a Nun while waiting for a CT Scan, and he believed Jesus would heal him.  I have never been more proud to call him my Dad.  He is and will always be my Hero.  I'd like to think he was there with me that day, but...I know it was Jesus.  I could not help but remember how my Dad's body was broken and still he pressed on.  HE carried my Dad.  So today, if you tell me I am "so strong", "amazing"...."courageous"...I will not hesitate to tell you, whoever you may be, why I am this way.  Because of my Jesus.  I find myself speaking more freely about my faith these days.  I'm more thankful.  And can I just tell you? Jesus is working in our lives.  All of us.  Even my sweet little three year old Halle girl.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Deep Thoughts

The Sunday after I delivered Elliott, my sweet friend Dena came up to spend some time with me.  We went out for dinner and to see a movie with our friend Jessica and just spent time being together talking about the things women do after giving birth.  Dena spent the night with us and Monday we had an appointment to meet with the Funeral Home and arrange Elliott's service.  Dena graciously agreed to come with us and we were so glad.  After the arrangements had been made I asked Dena if she would like to see our sweet boy.  I knew Elliott was already there and knew that Auntie Dena would want to see him...she nodded yes and we waited while they got Elliott ready.  How did I know??  I knew not everyone would want to do this or see him, but...Auntie Dena had commented earlier on that it just wasn't fair that Grampie (in heaven) got to meet Elliott before she did!  We entered the viewing room and took our last peek at our sweet boy.  We checked out his fingers and toes and his long legs.  Dena asked if she could take a picture to show her Mom.  I agreed as I knew that this was exactly what she would do.  Fast forward about two weeks later.  Dena's daughter Jessica (age seven) is flipping through the pictures on her phone.  She stops on the picture of Elliott and says, "Whoa Mom, what is this??"....it's understandable that Elliott looked different.  Not like a full term baby would....and days had passed since his graduation to Heaven.  Dena took a deep breath and knew she had to tell Jess more about Elliott.  She explained what had happened, how I was feeling and answered questions for her.  When Dena was done Jess turned to her Mommy and said, "I get it!".  Perplexed Dena said, "You do?"  Seriously, this seven-year-old little girl got it?? Wow....she turned to Dena and said, "Yes, sometimes you get Isaac, and sometimes...you get the lamb." Let it soak in.  Yes, friends....the lamb.  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halle Berry Fairy

Happy Halloween from our Halle Berry Fairy....love that costume??  She has her Nana to thank!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now I Lay me Down To Sleep

I would like to tell you about the extraordinary care we received at the hospital when I delivered Elliott.  My Doctor (Dr. K) was not on call that early morning, but....another of her associates (Dr. M) was there to meet us in Labor and Delivery Triage.  He was kind, informative and sensitive to our situation. We needed that.  I asked a lot of questions.....can I have an epidural?  I've never delivered a baby...what would this be like??  He explained that I was dilated to almost three and Elliott's little foot was already coming down.  We knew from our appointment at the University of Washington just two days earlier that our little Elliott was not viable.  They would not be able to use life-saving measures for him after he was delivered...we would have needed to wait until he was at least 23 ideally 24 weeks gestation....he was only 19 weeks.  For health reasons this was not an option for us.  Keeping my cervix open for four, possibly five weeks was just not going to happen.....the risk of infection was too great and with E's little foot coming down that would also cause many problems.  I think it was at the moment that I truly chose to cling to my Jesus.  A sense of calm came over me.  I knew that without my Jesus I could not do this. When I asked Dr. M how long this would take he thought I would deliver on Friday.  That was a FULL day away from where we were.  I didn't like that idea too much.  Waiting to deliver a baby who is full term that you will bring home with you is one thing...knowing you'll be waiting that long to deliver your baby that is moving on to heaven is another.  

We got all checked into our room and I had all the standard care....IV inserted, blood pressure taken -- let's talk about this.  Can I tell you how much I don't like those automatic blood pressure taker things??  I'm sure there's a technical term for them.  But, let me tell you when you are in the midst of labor and this thing is taking your blood pressure automatically every 15 minutes...it's not too fun.  It literally squeezes your arm so very tight and you have to remember to straighten your arm just so they can take it.  Crazy!  Anyhoo...My guess is at this time I was probably having contractions....just not feeling them.  The Dr.'s explained that when your uterus is this small you can't feel them and they don't register on their monitor. HMMM.  Aaron literally fell onto the extra "Daddy" sleeping bed and began lightly snoring.  I could not for the life of me sleep.  I know it was adrenaline and everything else going through my mind.  I prayed....laid still and felt Elliott still moving in me....I was thanking Jesus for Elliott and his life....I was praying for my husband.  He is such a sensitive, loving big Teddy Bear.  I knew this would crush him.  

This is where I will tell you about our nurses...Catharine & Lauren.  Oh.my.word.  Such sweet, caring, kind women.  They were with me for the entire day.  They have 12 hour shifts so from 7am-7pm these two cared for me.  They answered more questions for me and explained what it would really be like to deliver our sweet Elliott.  I signed a consent form for an epidural...so everything would be ready when the time came.  They encouraged us to celebrate Elliott's life, to hold him, take pictures and rejoice that we had a little boy.  They told us about "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep".  An organization that volunteers to come in and take pictures of babies that go on to live with our Jesus in heaven.  We didn't want to take pictures ourselves...that would have been just too hard.  But, to have someone else come in and professionally take pictures of our Elliott would be so special.  We would cherish those FOREVER.  Catharine & Lauren also explained that an organization called "Mary Madeline Project" makes gowns for babies from donated wedding dresses.....not only do they make gowns, but...blankets as well.  When Elliott is born, they would bathe him and put him in one of these gowns.  Precious.Perfect.Special WOW!  What an amazing gift. 

At 4:50pm on Thursday, October 13, 2011 I gave birth to our son Elliott Aamodt Benner.  He weighed 10.4 oz and was 9 1/2" long.  He was perfect.  He had all his fingers and toes, long legs and big feet....and the thing that will stick with me forever...his sweet button nose.  Even now I can picture it!  I'm so glad.  From day one this little guy was a huge surprise and he certainly didn't disappoint with his delivery.  Dr. K was in another room and Catharine knew I was getting close....she had run out to get my Dr. as I was bleeding a bit too much for their liking.  It was then that Elliott decided to make his appearance.  Catharine delivered Elliott.  Daddy and I cried and cried.  What a tremendous journey this had been.  It was at this point that I knew I could weep and rest in Jesus' loving arms with my husband.  I had done my job as a Mommy.  I had delivered my sweet boy.  Catharine, Lauren & Dr. K looked over Elliott, wrapped him up and presented him to me.  Aaron and I marveled at this little guy created by our Jesus.  Elliott was bathed and put in a gown with a sweet yellow and cream blanket wrapped around him.  The photographer came to take pictures of our sweet boy.  I can't wait to see those.  Amy Van, came to spend some time with me as Aaron took a breather and went to get us some real food.  Amy, thank you for loving on my sweet boy.  For not being afraid to help place that sweet hat upon his head.  That blessed me so much as Elliott's Mommy. 

I would be forgetting something if I did not also thank, Alisa my night nurse & Michelle who was with me the next day.  Incredible.  Thank you Pastor Kurt for coming to see us on this extraordinary day.  And our dear friend Sean Taylor for coming to support my husband.  We love you both so much...it is sometimes not comfortable to be in a situation like this with people you love.  Kurt & Sean we will never forget what you did for us that day!

Phew...this is a marathon post.  If you are still with me....bless you!!  The video above tells just one story of a family touched by "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep".  As I watched this I can so identify with the photographer, Jessica.  Elliott was here.  I will never forget him.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Faithful



When Aaron picked me up from the hospital the day after giving birth to Elliott....I walked out of "Labor and Delivery" proudly carrying Elliott's memory box.  It is filled with lots of reminders of him.  His hand and footprints, a sweet, sweet card from the nurses, a small blue teddy bear and now it holds his ultrasound pictures and our hospital bracelets.  Lots and lots of memories in there.  I was thankful for our sweet nurse Michelle who lead us down the hallway and opened the door as we left.  I walked outside with my husband on that sunshiney day and got into our car.  Let me tell you about my husband.  He is a man of few words.  The words he says are profound and have much, much meaning.  AND...music means the world to him.  Jesus first, his family and then definitely music.  He had prepared for this trip home by having Chris Tomlin's CD "All to Us" in the ready.  Oh does this CD minister.  If you don't have it...get it.  On our drive home the song above "Faithful" came on.  We both sat with tears streaming down our faces as we worshipped our King.  Thanking him for being so faithful to us even in this situation.  We knew without a shadow of a doubt that we needed to have this played at Elliott's service.  And we did.  Now, fast forward to a week later.  Halle and I are driving to a pick up my Mom to attend a volleyball game of our cousin....this CD is still playing in our car and I'm sure it will be for many more days to come.  "Faithful" comes on....Hal listens to about two bars and then says, "Mommy, we sing this at church"...."Yes, Sweet girl, we sang it at Elliott's service...do you remember?  Uncle Joel played his guitar and Miss Becky sang?"....."Yes" she says, "Let's sing it again"....and so we did FIVE more times. Our girl also has passion for music like her Daddy.  She knows what she wants to listen to and will ALWAYS make that known.  What a healing moment this was for me.  Our sweet big sister singing the song that means so much to her Daddy and I.  I will gladly sing that song with her......ONE HUNDRED more times if that's what she wants. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

A jumbled mess....

That's me today.  a.big.jumbled.mess.  I'm happy one minute when my sweet Halle girl climbs in my lap while I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor and quietly says "I love you Mom"....I'm sad, so sad while I sit here smelling the beautiful flowers that were given to us upon Elliott's passing.  I can't quite keep it together.  I'm crabby when I remember someone telling me "Next time you just need a cerclage!" Seriously??  That would not fix that fact that I have had three previous miscarriages prior to 8 weeks.   I'm afraid I'm going to forget Elliott, I'm afraid we'll never again have enough money to adopt another child because frankly, I can not have this happen to me again.  There is only so much one can take both physically and emotionally.  I feel as though my body is broken because I have been unable to carry a baby to full term and my heart right now has a big tear in it....I did not ask to be a member of this club.  Who would want to??  No one.  I know my Jesus did not make this happen.  Because I know this He and I have been talking lately about this very thing.  Why would he allow me to get pregnant if this was to happen??  I'm really having a hard time wrapping my brain around this. I'm remembering how it felt to have Elliott moving in me and how happy I was to wear maternity clothes and talk to my friends about actually being pregnant for longer than 6 weeks.  I know this is so much to process in such a short time.  It's only been a little over a week.  But, again I'm that girl.  The one who likes to have a plan....likes to have the whole story.  Where do we go from here??  I'm looking to my Jesus to provide me with answers that I need.  I know, I know...I may never have a definite answer to some of my very hard questions.

We are overwhelmed in a very good way with all the love, support, prayers and encouragement we have been getting from all our friends and family.  Our church and friends have provided endless meals, goodies and even a bottle of wine (Thanks TenKley's!)....we have eaten more sugar over the last week than we did in over 5 months!  The Facebook messages I have received from friends have literally carried me through some rough patches.  I have connected with girls that had the very same thing happen to them.  And for that I am truly grateful.  Just typing this post is starting to make me feel better.  I need to process.  I have been reading Angie Smith's blog again...back to her old posts about her dear, sweet Audrey.  And I ordered her book from Amazon today.  I also ordered "Heaven is for Real" for kids.  I have read the one for adults and I thought this might be helpful for Halle.  She is asking all kinds of questions about heaven and her baby brother being there. She asked us on Friday before Elliott's service so matter of factly, "What is heaven?"  Aaron and I just looked at each other and did our very best to give her a few answers.  I told her we would tell her more when she was a little bit older.  So friends & family, this is how we're doing.  Good some days and bad on other's.  Please continue to pray for us.  We'll take all the prayers we can get!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My words....

This will be read at Elliott's service tomorrow, I wanted to share it with you all --

On July 8 I learned I was pregnant.  After three miscarriages, infertility treatments and the adoption of our sweet Halle girl, Jesus had blessed us once again…with a miracle.  Cautiously, Aaron and I entered into this new journey.  From day one our Elliott was always a child of Jesus.  Every time I would have a bump in the pregnancy I would pray, “Jesus, this is your baby.  Your gift you gave to us. YOU are in control”.  Countless times I prayed this very same prayer….when Satan was trying to steal my joy I was pressing into Jesus.  Aaron and I picked out names for our baby….each of us secretly praying that we would have a little boy to carry on the name’s of two very important people in our families who had gone on to be with Jesus.  Elliott Aamodt Benner.  What a strong, courageous name to give you.  One that is deep in tradition….one that your Grampie Davis carried as well as your Great-Grandpa Davis…the other that your Daddy was given, your cousin & your Great Grandpa Craner.  When we found out you were a boy your Daddy and I rejoiced!  We were so excited to see who you would look like…what color of hair you would have….would you have short legs like Daddy, or maybe longer like Mommy’s side of the family?  Our joy was short-lived as just three days later we got to meet you sweet Elliott…. Four months too soon. Now you are in heaven with Jesus, your Grampie & Great-Grandpa Craner.  We know they are taking such good care of you there!! 

I know many of you, like countless other’s I have talked with this past week, are wondering how I could do this.  How can a Mommy give birth to a son she will not see on this side of heaven?  My dear friends and family I will tell you.  The answer is simple….it’s one you should all know…Jesus.  He sustained me through Elliott’s delivery and is still doing the very same thing right now.  I’m not saying I don’t have rough days or moments.  I cry, Aaron comforts me and talks me through these moments.  We pray. We worship. We hug on our Halle girl.  And yes…we even eat ice cream and chocolate together.  But, we know without a shadow of a doubt this did not happen because of something Aaron, Halle or I did.  We know that our Jesus does not promise a world without trials and tribulations.  We know that only through HIM we can endure the loss of yet another child.  We know we will see our sweet Elliott again.  Jesus knows Elliott.  We know Jesus.  Elliott will always be a part of our lives.  We want to talk about him and tell you what he looked like with his tiny button nose & long legs and feet.  We want to share with others how Jesus gave Elliott to us as a precious gift. One that will never be taken for granted.  So friends and family this is not “good-bye”, but thankfully, “see you later”.  Until we meet Elliott in heaven one day!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One week


One week ago today I was still in bed, confined to bed rest with sweet Elliott still moving around in my belly.  I was anxious, sad and very unsure of what would happen to our sweet little boy.  The day before I had started bleeding and had once again made an appointment with my Dr. to check things out.  One ultrasound later I was sent home with progesterone and a very short (less than 1 cm) cervix....put on bed rest and awaiting an appointment at the University of Washington Medical Center with a Perinatologist.  I'm a girl who likes the WHOLE story, I don't want Doctor's to mince their words and make them sound good.  I wanted to know where we stood....what were the chances of this little boy making it to full term.  My sweet Doctor could only say she was very worried.  The news at the U of W was encouraging and my cervix showed it was longer (2.5 cm), but....my placenta was almost touching my cervix...this most likely, was the cause for the bleeding.  I was sent home on pelvic rest and would be seen today, October 18 for a follow-up appointment at the U of W. Today instead, I'm home with a marginally flat belly, "Mommy" b**bs (as my dear sweet Dena calls them) and the promise that one day I will again see our sweet Elliott Aamodt in heaven.  We did not ask for this.  Jesus did not "make this happen" because of something Aaron, Halle or I had done.  We do not know why my cervix that was looking so promising decided to open up and dilate to three upon my admit to the hospital on early Thursday morning.  We only know that Jesus does not promise a world without trials and tribulations.  We know that only through HIM can we make it through the loss of another child.  We know where Elliott is.  We held him....we saw his sweet, sweet fingers and toes and the cutest button nose you have ever seen.  His life, though short lived is very precious indeed.  Jesus knows Elliott.  And we know Jesus.  Be patient with me as I pour out our experience on this blog.  I need this and I think you all do as well.  I pray that through Elliott's short life people will come to know our Jesus and the peace only He can bring.  Can I share with you a portion of scripture my husband handed to me this morning?  This really does sum up how we are feeling.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness.  We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.  That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.  As it is, there's not much chance of that.  You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at.  We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.  What they did  to Jesus they do to us-trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us-he lives!  Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us.  While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best! 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (Message)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy THIRD Birthday!


To our sweet, silly girl on her birthday,
Today you turned THREE.  As I just read your birthday letter from last year I cried.  Mommy is a bit of a crier lately.  That's because she's growing your little brother/sister in her tummy!  What a GREAT big sister you are going to be.  As I look back on this year I can not believe how much you've grown up and out.....your vocabulary astounds even me.  It seems like over night you have started carrying on whole conversations with ANYONE who wants to listen.  That includes all your stuffed animals and each and every person we pass while in a store.  You still love to sing and are very demanding when choosing music to listen to....you currently are enjoying your Veggie Tale's sing the 70's CD with great gusto!!  Mommy and Daddy kind of like it too.  Eating your meals is still a chore.....maybe you'll just learn to like it someday.  For now, we urge you on and try not to get to impatient...hmmmm...I need to remember this.  You started a new Pre-School/Daycare this year at the Gingerbread House....and you ABSOLUTELY love it!  As I type this your birthday treat bags are packed and you're all set to celebrate your birthday with your friends.  You are recognizing lots of letters and love to learn more about them.  AND finally, have your colors down....that's when you want to!  Sometimes you just trick us.  This year you mastered the swings at the park.  You've always loved the slides, but...for some reason those swings scared you.  Not anymore...now if only you could learn to pump your legs.  AND...we passed a big milestone in May when you stopped wearing diapers!  PHEW!!  I'm so proud of you big girl...and I'm so glad I don't have to change your diapers anymore.  Now we just need to get rid of your binky.....Halle, Mommy and Daddy pray Jesus blesses you this year and that you continue to grow in HIM.  Becoming the woman of God we know you'll one day be.  For now, we'll take our silly little brown girl who still likes to rock-a-bye for a few minutes each night before bed...who repeatedly gives us hugs and kisses and loves to see our faces after a long day away!
Hugs and Kisses,
Mommy & Daddy

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our guitar playing girl....


Our girl LOVES music.  She loves it even more when her Daddy plays the music on his guitar.  I was gone this night and Halle and Daddy were spending some time together.  Some guitar playing passes the time away!!  And YES, she likes it LOUD!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sprinkler Fun!

This day had been HOT...we have had an incredibly cool June and because the sun was shining all day....it was still close to 75 degrees when we got home from work.  Halle quickly ate dinner, changed it her swimsuit and set outside to have some sprinkler fun.  This little girl has certainly grown more fond of the water.  Daddy and Mommy enjoyed their dinner on the patio watching our little brown girl!  What a perfect way to end the day!!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Mommy & Her Girl

This could quite possibly be my new FAVORITE picture of me and my girl!!  Taken on Memorial Day....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

We had a lot of fun coloring eggs...can't you tell??

Friday, April 15, 2011

Growing UP!


That's right....this little, itty, bitty ladybug is growing up to be a VERY tall little girl!  Our friends returned our infant car seat and Halle thought she should try it out!  This comparison makes me laugh!  I think it's time to fill our infant car seat with another little, itty, bitty baby.....praying for God's timing and HIS provision....having faith that He will help meet our needs!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Andrade Aamodt Elias

This is our nephew & the newest member of our family born to Aaron's sister Leah & her husband Eddie.....they live far, far away in California so we were so excited when they all came for a family visit last week.  We packed so much time in just being together.  It was so much fun and Halle just LOVES her cousin.  Of course, all of us do as well.  We have lots more pictures....but, I don't want you all to get overloaded with all his baby cuteness...stay tuned for more family fun!!

 This is my favorite picture....look at those eyes!!
 The two Aamodt's: Aaron Aamodt & Andrade Aamodt
 Hmmm...the little brown girl says, "I think I want to touch his hair"....
 Insert binky...touch "Baby Andrade"....ahhhh, so soft!
I think he really wanted Cousin Eden's bunny.....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Where is she???

This is how we may find Halle on any typical night....she's kind of a CRAZY sleeper!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feeling Better!

It's been a rough couple days at our house...I've had a cold and so has the little brown girl....now, Daddy has it!!  I think we're on the mend and yesterday I was able to leave the house for hair appointment and errands!  Hoooorrrraaayyy!  Fresh air and sunshine made it WONDERFUL.  We also got a new camera and I wanted to share some of my new favorite pictures.  Boy, does it make a difference.  Halle and I were tracing our hands yesterday and passing the time!!



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hooray for a Sewing Nana!!

Halle has been in her BIG girl twin bed now since the end of October.  She is doing GREAT....and doesn't even need the extra side rail anymore. In the beginning she was using Mommy's old denim duvet cover.  We were waiting for Nana to have some extra time so she could put together a duvet cover for us.  She stopped by last week with this FABULOUS set!  Can I just tell you...she ROCKS her sewing machine.  I provided the striped fabric (two queen flat sheets) and gave her a few ideas of what I would like.  Check out the final results!  It should be noted that Halle LOVES all of this...in fact she laid down on it and exclaimed "PERFECT!!"

"PERFECT!"

All set up on her bed....the headboard and frame were Mommy's...we just gave it a fresh coat of paint.


AND...extra special...Nana made a matching set for her baby bed...now "Ruby" & "Chole" can sleep in comfort as well!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grief

Today I attended a funeral for a young man who was tragically killed while walking to a friend's house last friday night.  This has rocked our little community, church and his High School where he was Senior ready to graduate in June.  This young man's Mom was a co-worker of mine and she and her boys attend our church.  I do not know her super well, but....I am grieving with her.  Today was a celebration of his life and the legacy that he leaves behind.  He played football and soccer, but also had a creative side which loved music and playing the drums.  Most importantly he was a "Friend to All".  In his 18 short years, I learned today, he touched so many lives....he had compassion for those less fortunate, less liked and somewhat different.  He was a friend to other's when they had no other friend.  His smile could light up a room and he plainly loved to have fun with his friends.  He was incredibly giving, even through his death.  EIGHT people's lives, including two babies, were saved due to his generous organ/tissue donations.

I learned of this awful tragedy when it was announced at church on Sunday morning....I physically gasped when our dear Pastor announced his name.  I immediately thought of his sweet, thoughtful Mom.  Her boys are her life...she spoke of them and their accomplishments so often.  My heart just ached for her.  But, I knew without a shadow of a doubt where her boy was now.  He was in heaven with his Heavenly Father, whole and healthy...most likely playing soccer and having a sweet time with our Jesus.  I knew this week would be hard for our small, close-knit workplace. We are a group of about 22-25 women...all WOMEN. We share almost everything with each other...and are a lot like a group of sisters in a way. More than one of us wears our heart on our sleeve.  Not all of us worked closely with Tammy, but...a fair number of us did.  And some of the gals I work with have kids who attend the very same high school this young man went to.  You can imagine what this was like.  But, since Monday I've been really processing all of this.  I have that eternal perspective and I know that Jason will be in Heaven...his family and friends will most definitely see him again if they choose Jesus and what He has to offer.  But, other's process grief differently...death to them is so final.  I've been praying for those I work with that were hit so hard by all of this.....that Jesus would bring them peace and if they heard only a small portion of the message at his funeral it would be the truth about our Jesus and Heaven.  And ultimately, how they too could have the assurance that when they died they would join Jason in Heaven.  At least 350 students from the High School attended this service today...so many of them hurting and unable to process what has happened.  This young man died tragically, but today....over 100 people prayed the sinner's prayer at his funeral.  I believe my friend Kim said it best in her FB post today "One life given for so many.  What a beautiful and ULTIMATE expression of Christ. Wow."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Twirly" Skirt Tube Top....

This is a typical Sunday morning at our house.  Who says you can't wear your "twirly" skirt as a tube top??  With your pajama bottoms no less. When you're almost two 1/2 the Fashion Police aren't so quick to critique you.  Thank goodness...I'm sure she will be concerned with fashion soon enough. Creativity is what we encourage right now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Made of Chocolate

This is Halle and Issac during our camping trip this past July....he is the son or dear friends Josh and Dena.  Unfortunately, Josh and Dena live TOO far away.....it's at least a three hour drive for us to reach their house.  We certainly don't see each other nearly enough.  We keep up via e-mail and Facebook & lots of text messages.  Just last week I got the cutest text from Dena.  She had been reading a book about Abraham Lincoln to Isaac, while reading the book he stopped Dena and said, "Some of those guys are made of chocolate....like Halle!!" The next day he added that only her face was made of chocolate because her hands are pink!  HEHE!!  Oh Isaac Lawrence....we love you!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Catch Up!


This is going to be my attempt at trying to catch up!  Sheesh...this blog is sadly neglected.  I guess that's because I'm a busy working Mom of this busy, silly toddler.  I'm sure you would have never guessed this by looking at the above picture.  HEHE!  That's a doll bed that my Great Grandpa made.  Hal thinks she fits.  Trust me...she definitely keeps us RUNNING!!  I certainly should weigh a heck of a lot less than I do.  We have been busy, busy, busy since January.  Busy playing with play-dough, coloring, playing in Hal's kitchen...helping Grammie get her house ready to put on the market, folding laundry, bowling with family, holding Demarle at Home Parties (that's me!), trying to potty-train, working a few hours from home so I don't have to go in so early, getting root canals and subsequent crowns....starting Weight Watchers and losing 11 pounds so far, trying out new recipes, attending Women's Bible Study and just being a family!!  My house is usually a wreck, the dryer is most definitely ALWAYS going and I always have a full laundry basket with clean clothes waiting to be folded.  But, every night when I go to bed and kiss this little girl good night..it's all worth it.  Can someone please remind me of that the next time I burst into tears after cleaning up a small flood in the bathroom during her bath??

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New LOOK!!

Again, this blog has a long over due new look.  I have wanted for so long to make my own banner and make this blog a little spiffier...is that a word?  Well...it is now...it's an April word...so too bad!  I didn't know how to do and we don't have Photoshop or the money to purchase it.  So...I found a tutorial that helped me out....AND I downloaded the FREE Picasa software.  GENIUS!! AND...so very easy!!