Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our friends out there! Sitting here being thankful for our friends and family, but especially for our God who is ever faithful to us. Christmas has a way of bringing both joy and pain to the surface. I am thankful for that. It always feels good to have a long conversation with someone that you know is real and to the heart of how you really feel.

Josh and I had a great heart to heart in the car today. We took a 2 day trip down to Orlando with my parents, Holly and Jay, and all the kids (no we don't smoke crack). It went surprisingly well. It also gives you a lot of time to sit in the car and talk. I love feeling like my husband understands me and knows how I feel. I realize this is probably part of the job expectations but it's appreciated all the same. We had some great conversations about our 3 kids and the fourth on the way.

We are now in Orlando in a great 6 bedroom house I could easily move into. All the kids tired themselves out swimming tonight. They are now all snug as a bug and looking forward to our Christmas together tomorrow morning. Blessings to you all and Merry Christmas!


So who's surprised to hear from us? I've been slacking in the area of updating the blog because I never have any new pics. One of our girlfriends took a family picture a few weeks ago (mommy is looking a little rough but the rest of the fam looks great!) and we just got it on Josh's computer. Not a huge amount of stuff going on here. Noah is on a new med the last 2 days and it seems to be working very well praise God!!! Our doctor is amazing and a huge help to us!!! Zoe is a sweetie as always and full of sass (trying to keep that under control). Last night Josh was putting her to bed and she was crying and screming like a typical three year old and Josh says to her "Why are you so sad?" Zoe's response: I'm not sad, I'm grumpy!!! (with all the passion a three year old can muster!) The baby is growing well and Mommy is getting over the pukies and tiredness. My tummy is growing a bit too fast for my pleasure but our little poppy seed is now almost 3 inches long!!!! God has kept our baby safe thus far and pray he has big plans for this baby. Josh is staying busy with Greenhouse and getting ready for Christmas. We have Decemberfest tomorrow night as an outreach to the community. Please pray that we will reach the people who God places in our path.

Who needs a little medicine?

I am not the type of mom to try all kinds of fancy herbs, vitamins or the like to try and solve our health issues. But when it comes to Noah we are willing to try anything short of crack cocaine! Okay, maybe a bit far. Anway, Noah has been through some more substantial testing and they have nearly sworn to us that he does not have autism. Praise God!

Back to the meds part. We have tried Noah on the no sugar diet- do you have any idea how hard that is? We even tried this weird root a little over a year ago that was supposed to help the brain. So, we've tried a lot of things to say the least. These are just a few of our failed attempts. So, we were sent to a behavioral neurologist who says that, no question, no has ADHD- and pretty severe. Said we didn't absolutely stink as parents (Mommy needs to hear that every once in a while) and thinks Noah would benenfit greatly from a trial course of meds. So, tomorrow is the start of the trial of Adderol for our little Noah. The doctor says that it will hopefully slow his brain down enough to give him a second to think before he does something. My impulsive little boy needs a little assistance in this area. He touched the stove Saturday at Grandma Bucks house- how many times has he been told not to touch? He just has a greater tendency to do things without thinking. The doctor said hopefully this will help us in keeping him safe. So, we got the prescription today and we start tomorrow. Pray that this will be a breakthrough for Noah. That he will have enough attention to learn to listen, learn, and be the all around amazing boy that he is!!!

Zoe continues to keep us on our toes with personality to boot!!! (What does that really mean anyways?) Night before last we were coming home from Holly's house and mommy had to run inside quickly (early pregnancy emergency bladder) so one of the girls from church went out to the car to get her. Zoe did not want help to say the least. She ended up telling the girl something along the lines of "Don't help me. I don't like you." all with this nasty little scowl on her face. Okay, very naughty but kinda funny too. So, we told her that she needed to say she was sorry for hurting Rachel's feelings. She ended up sitting in time out for a bit over half an hour before finally buckling down and apologizing. Wow. They can be so naughty but why do they have to be so cute? Kids...


We need a new camera. It is always on the fritz and driving me crazy. I wish I could post some pics of the kids on Halloween night, but they are on my sister's camera. Good place huh? She hasn't posted any pics yet (slacker) but I'm sure she will soon enough. They all wore the same costumes they did at the fall camping fest so nothing new. Zoe was the cutest unicorn rider. She had a pink unicorn that was supposed to look like she was riding, only it looked like the unicorn was either dead or sound asleep. One thing to note, I was watching the news on Halloween night and saw a little girl with almost the exact same costume and I realized that I didn't put it on her right at all!!! Here I was thinking that her costume stunk when it was really her mommy that stunk and maybe should have looked at the picture included in the packaging!

Noah was a little cowboy, red bandana and all. He did not like wearing the cowboy hat and clomped around in his cowboy boots 4 sizes too big (they used to be his daddy's when he was a little boy). Instead of walking around trick-or-treating he had Grandpa carry him. He has his grandpa wound around his little finger.

Both kids were sugared out and not at all ready for bed when mommy was. Little stinkers. It turned out to be a very fun night with family and friends and we all gained a pound or two.

Some updates...

Life has continued at it's ever popular fast-forward pace. Nothing major happening here just lot's of little stuff. We went in for our first ultrasound this week and saw a tiny little heartbeat. We were so excited. Zoe came with us but she doesn't know that I'm pregnant yet so she kept saying we were looking at mommy's tummy. Yeah, sort of. We are keeping the news to ourselves until we get out of the first trimester danger zone. They have had enough loss and confusion in their lives to find out we're having a baby and then have something happen. I'm at the puking stage right now. We were having a meeting here at the house on Tuesday night and I was upstairs making some disgusting sounds. I thought I was being all quiet but obviously not b/c as I walked downstairs everyone was like "Are you okay?" I wasn't exactly being the hostess with the mostest. :-)

We got the kids a new pediatrician here in Grand Rapids. She is great and I was very encouraged as she spent an hour in the room with Noah and me. She saw a few temper tantrums and a good view of the real Noah so that was a blessing. She is setting up numerous appointments for us, even one that I have been trying in vain for three weeks to make. It's nice to find someone to tell us what to do and not have to spend hours on the phone getting it taken care of. She had some great suggestions and a few difficult things to hear although they don't come as a shock. One recommendation is to get a safe time out area on the first floor that he can't escape from and can't hurt himself (doesn't she realize how small my house is?). This could be a challenge but we're going to be doing some brain storming. The other thing she said was that she would not be surprised and per her exact words "get us ready" for him to eventually get a diagnosis of a pervasive developmental disorder. In most circles this is otherwise known as autism. Not a huge shock but not what you want to hear about your little boy. He has such a sweet personality 99 percent of the time. Funny how that other one percent puts such a shadow over the rest. All to say: please pray for our little boy. That Josh and I can know how to handle him and make him understand boundaries. Please pray for Zoe: that she doesn't get lost in the shuffle and can continue growing into the amazing young woman she is already becoming. Please pray for our poppy seed: that it will continue growing and be a healthy baby.

That's all for now. Back to watching the Tigers (who are actually winning at this point in the game).

A Much Needed Post

So, Josh's computer has been in the shop for over two weeks so this post is long overdue. Much has been going on in the past few weeks.

We had a party in the park for the community of Eastown. It was an absolute blast and we really saw God working. For the party we ordered one of those bungee runs and Josh had a little accident. :0) The bruise is from the bungee cord breaking away and smacking his leg. The bruise was from the back of his knee to almost his butt. It was disgusting (the pic is a little graphic but I couldn't resist!).

A few days ago I woke up to the sound of sirens
at about 7:15. It sounded really close, like right next door, so I decided to investigate. Low and behold, a car had made it's way into our neighbor's house (ours is the one to the left). Woopsie poopsie. :-) I woke Josh up who went over and took pics on the "down low" (we thought taking pics might seem a bit insensitive but I had to put this into blog-land). Everyone was fine and the car only got the foundation and outside of the house.

Last but not least, certainly not least. I peed on a stick. The stick is mine. It's a pregnancy test. I took 3 of them. They were all positive. It's official. We're having a baby!!! Josh and I are beyond ecstatic. My due date is still a long way off - june 17 to be exact. I'm barely even sick yet. I know we are telling people a bit early but I was hoping you could all pray circles around this little poppy seed otherwise known as our baby.

So, you wonder how this makes us feel in regards to ava? A few things to note: it is a bit bittersweet. A new life is being formed and we cannot get back the one we lost. God has given this little person to us for the time being, and we pray that it is for a longer time than the last. Only God knows his plans and that is a little scary to accept. It's when I don't remember that God loves my kids more than me that it's scary. Does that make any sense? In some ways, I am a bit hesitant to use the stuff with a new baby that Ava used. Ava was the third in line and we used all the same things with Noah and Zoe. The shortness of breath, the ache in my heart, and all of the like is hard when I see the bouncy seat, the car seat, or the new high chair we got specifically for her but she was never big enough to use. I did warn Josh that this baby may be a bit more expensive cause we are going to need some new stuff. I need to keep those things for Ava because I never want to lose the specialness of them. I don't want them to become "just" the bouncy seat or "just" the car seat. I also hope this baby can share a few of the things that were Ava's, be it a blanket or an outfit that Ava wore- depending on the sex of the baby.

All to say, that yes it's a blessing and yes, it's bittersweet. The day after we found out, a girl at church asked me if it was bittersweet, and I said no. I have since changed my mind. After a week and a half of processing, we are just as excited for this new little life, but more aware of what we have lost. Our sweet little Ava and our sweet new little baby.

God is good.

Abuse Part 2

Remember the black eyes from about a month ago? Well, we thought our life had been a bit too quiet for a few weeks with no ER trips, so Noah decided to fix that. We were all walking out the door to run some errands and Noah's feet slipped out from under him and he wacked his head on molding on the wall by the floor. Popped the back of his head right open and bled like crazy. He whined for about 30 seconds and then was fine. We went to the ER where they recognized him from the last time we were there- said his nose looked great (see post from end of August). They numbed him up, no complaints from Noah whatsoever. He just layed there talking the whole time. Good thing the ER is not too traumatic for him. Ended up with 3 staples that you can't even see with his hair covering it up. Makes me wonder what the next trip to the ER will be for... hmmmm...


For those of you have that been keeping up with the Hummel triplets- they're here!!!! They were born yesterday at 4:46 and 4:47 pm. They have three beautiful babies, but baby Breckin was not matured enough to survive outside the womb. JoEllen and Burke did get to rock him and be with him. He went to live with Jesus after only a half hour on this earth.

My point of this blog is to get in touch with those who may have interest in sending flowers from a group of us, both as a congratulations and to remember Breckin. Let me know if it's something you're interested in. I know this goes without saying but please remember them in your prayers. Pray for peace, clarity of mind, and joy over the two babies in the NICU, and the babies that have a long battle ahead.

Our heart ache for the Hummels yet we know God is with them and guiding them every step of the way.

The ramblings of a desperate mother...

Have you ever been so desperate to get away from your kids you thought you would do anything? Josh has been adding to our deck in our backyard and has been busy, busy, busy. Well, he came in from out of the rain because it had turned into a monsoon. He had yet to lay the weed barrier under the new deck and it was now a mud pit from all the rain. I was yearning for a break from my chillins so I decided to go and do the job. I got absolutely drenched and could hear the kids screaming at each other from outside, but was I ever satisfied. I got the barrier down, got a break, and felt rejuvenated. When I came back in the house Josh asked if it was fun. After I got over being a bit offended that he would think it was fun I was like, "Yeah, I guess it was" (said with a little giggle).

Living Room Pics

Here are a few pics of our new green wall that I promised. I couldn't love it any more. Every time I walk into our house, I get this yummy feeling like, "I love my living room!!!" Isn't it so much fun AFTER the work is done????

Noah's update

Just a little heads up to all of you who are keeping up on our busy man Noah:

The appointment went great on Thursday. Both Josh and I left feeling encouraged and less discouraged than when we walked in the door. The doctor seemed very capable and connected with Noah immediately. Noah was talking a mile a minute and telling him about his swing at home every time the doctor would give him a chance! Josh and I felt good about the fact that Noah's real personality was evident from the start and that the doctor saw that, not the shy, passive Noah. That Noah is not around very often, but sometimes he appears when he is unsure of a situation! :-) Anyway, after an hour and fifteen minute appt. the doctor decided to meet with us again next week Friday without Noah so he could get more information before deciding how to test. He says that testing Noah will be a real challenge as his attention span is so short! Duh! He went to college for 10 years to figure that one out?

As we were wrapping up on did push the doctor for his initial thoughts (me Pushy???). He did say that he was definitely leaning AWAY from autism as Noah has eye contact with others more than most other kids his age. He said at this point he is going to be looking at something called sensory integration disorder. After doing a little research on the internet it definitely seems possible. It is a disorder where you do not correctly interpret your five senses. Most of the time you shy away from sensory input or you try to get even more of it. The second would be Noah to a T.

That's all for now. We'll post later when we know more. Thanks for all your prayers and love.

Laborious Day

Happy Labor Day. Don't you just love the lack of labor that is expected of us on Labor Day? Josh and I had a very productive weekend. After going out on Friday night with some girls, I came home and got it in my head to start a painting job in our living room. I painted from 10:30 to 1:30 and then crashed for a few hours. I continued all day on Saturday- trying to wrangle your kids and keep them away from the living room walls proved to be quite a challenge. My tall husband assisted me in painting up by the crown molding. Our biggest challenge was the number of coats that this paint required. I decided to buy some more expensive paint in the hopes of not having to do too many coats. Wrong. The color is a dark green with sort of yellow undertones. In some areas it took 5 coats and no, I am not exaggerating. I am exstatic with the results. I left the other unattached walls creamy white so that the color didn't get too overbearing. We then also recovered the toy box with an orangish-reddish fabric and did some rearranging of furniture. The living room is now all put back together and the rest of my house looks like it was his by a tornado. I'll post pics later.

Noah is back to school tomorrow. He is so excited to go back to riding the bus and hanging out with Miss Judy and Miss Michelle at school. He doesn't get to ride the bus til' Friday which is a bit of a disappointment to him. He doesn't get the whole waiting thing just yet! :-)

On another note, I was not going to post this but I figure most of you who read this are Christians and can be praying for us. After some difficulties with Noah over the last few months, our doctor has suggested we get Noah in for some more substantial testing. He goes in on Thursday morning for a one hour consult with a neuro-psychiatrist that works primarily with the many forms of autism and ADHD. We are hoping that the doctor may have some answers for us that may help us with Noah. The process of figuring out what is going on can be pretty long-winded b/c it is difficult to test a 4 year old with such a short attention span. We are just praying that whatever is best for Noah and will benefit him most will be the outcome. Whether that be a label we don't like, no label and still no clue as to what is going on, or just the doctor saying we stink as parents, we are praying that God's will be done. No matter what, we know we have one of the sweetest, most kind hearted little boys on our hands. God has blessed us with a little boy that we can just not get enough of. So many people say that there is just something a little different about Noah that is so endearing to others. He has a way of watching you and almost looking into your soul. Please pray for wisdom for the doctor, understanding and acceptance for our family, joy that we have such an amazing little boy, and patience as this whole process is waded through.

Zoe continues to be a little joy. She is such a little fireball and is still mad that she is not going to preschool this year like some of her friends. After looking at the financial aspect of it and realizing that I would be home with no kids for a few afternoons a week, we decided it was a no go. She would love to get a Dora backpack and new clothes from her favorite store Baby Gap. It cracks me up when we go to the mall (we love to shop the clearance racks at Baby Gap for next years clothes) she always gets excited to find out we will be going to Baby Gap. She also loves to shop for clothes at Target and says "It's sooo cute" to almost everything we look at.

Zoe has a great little friend from church named Lily and they are like two peas in a pod. We went over to their house for a cook-out today and they played all day long. It's so neat to see her personality forming when it comes to friends and figuring out that give and take in a relationship. I love watching her notice when Lily wants a toy she has- she may not always give it to her- but her little personality continues to grow. Much of her girliness is sufficiently guided by her big cousing Emmy who has been practicing for 5+ years. She looks up to her like a big sister and also fashion extrordinaire.

Josh has taken up running over the last few weeks. He has all of a sudden decided he is tired of being out of shape and too big for his own liking. By the way, I think he looks great, but if losing some weight makes him feel better I am all for it. If he also wants to get a lean tummy in the process you'll hear no complaints from me! :-) I am so proud of him as he gets out there to go running. He has been getting up before the kids so that it's out of the way and doesn't take away from the rest of the day. Coming from this mom, that is really appreciated.

No other big changes going on. Sorry it got so long. Love to you all.


Noah had a little adventure in store for our whole family. On Monday afternoon he decided to try and play Superman on the swing and took a little spill. He went face first into the ground from about 6 feet. Needless to say, we took a little trip to the ER. After a head CT and a craniofacial CT, they said he was okay and could take the little guy home. I wasn't so sure they were going to let us considering how rough the little guy looked. I thought they might try and find some new parents for him but they seemed to think we could do the job (I'm not always so sure). Anyway, no visits from CPS so I guess we're in the clear.

Poor Noah looks so pathetic. It's not quite caught on the picture. I think he looks worse in real life but I thought I'd post him so he could get some much deserved sympathy. He was looking in the mirror saying, "It's okay Noah." He also isn't talking so clearly cause he's so stuffed up and swollen. When we were at the hospital he kept saying "I wha ing Ek." We finally figured out he was saying "I'm watching Shrek."

He is now back to his naughty self so we figure he's not feeling too bad. Quite the adventure for our little boy.

Josh is 30!!!

Holy Smokers!!! Josh turned 30 today (really yesterday as it is now after midnight). Josh was born at about 8:35 p.m. on the 18th of August. I have had the joy of spending the last 11 years of my life with him. He always seems to keep things exciting for us around here. I think of our time at IWU and think how complicated I thought life was at that time. Oh for the joys and carefree times of college...Our first kiss, the first time I wrote my mom and told her he was the guy I was going to marry (I think this was like 2 weeks after we met and not even really dating yet). I think it took him a little longer to figure this one out, maybe like 4 years longer but, hey, who's counting? :-) I think of our wedding and how amazing it was to stand at the altar and feel like I was standing in front of the most special, amazing guy in the world. I remember finding out we were pregnant with Noah and realizing how much our life was going to change. I remember sitting on our couch in our condo in California and telling him numerous times that NO I was not joking and yes we were having a baby. Three more quickly followed with a few more moves and job changes. Yet Josh always seemed to be the one to keep the positive attitude, the humor, and the one focusing our eyes on God. Then the unthinkable happened when Ava died and we needed to be strong for each other and hold each other up when the other thought they were dying. I was blessed with the most amazing husband. The one who can hold me when I cry and let me hold him when he cries. He's pretty incredible.

So I wanted to let him know I thought he was incredible so I threw him a surprise 30th birthday party. We went out to Carraba's with Mom and Dad and Holly and Jason and then headed home. Everyone was out in our backyard and surprised him. We had a cookout, waaaay too much to eat, cake, a toast to the birthday boy and just some quality time with friends. People left about an hour and a half ago. It was a great mix of friends, family and a few too many kids eating too much chocolate cake (Noah just fell asleep like 45 minutes ago) and turned out to be an enjoyable time together. A great friend of mine helped me throw it together and did a lot of the scheming with me and helped get it all put together while we were out to eat.

Times like this make me appreciate my family. I have an amazing mom and dad who take orders from me such as "Mom, You need to take us out for Josh's birthday and then go back home with us for the surprise. Holly and Jason too. Oh yeah, and you're paying." Aren't parents great? Then I have my kids who couldn't be sweeter. Noah kept saying "it's my daddy's birthday!" and sang his own little rendition of happy birthday with the whole party listening to him. Zoe was her sweet little self, following all the older boys around and trying to sneak all kinds of extra pop and sweets. Then my sweet little niece and nephews played out in the driveway in this big plastic bubble that Josh built for the kids this week. Everyone was so well behaved. I had fun just watching Josh interact with everyone and enjoying being the birthday boy. Even Tico (the dog) had fun being at the party and left a little present behind for us all to enjoy. Aren't dogs great?

All to say that my hubby is now the big Dirty 30 and I could not be more proud to be his wife. Yeah, he still does drive me a little crazy at times (he keeps insisting I sing this random song "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" right now instead of finish my blog) but I enjoy our lives together all the same. So, if you see him and you didn't already, wish him a Happy Belated 30th Birthday!!!

Naked Cowboy Alert!!!

Yeeee-Haaaaw!!! Okay, so I walked into my parents backyard and Noah was going "buck wild" on the rocking horse. I absolutely cracked up and had to snap a picture. He did us proud by displaying a very obnoxious face that cracked me up!!! I'm sure he'll be very unhappy about this pic someday but at least nothing shows!!!!

I thought I'd post a few other pics as I have been taught how to post pics. They may not show up how I intend them to but hopefully they'll be there all the same.

Here is a family picture of us at the end of June. It was Noah's birthday and was he ever excited!!! We were only missing two people, Uncle Derek (off in Japan trying to be cool flying fighter jets) and Ava.

On that note, I'm going to sign off. I just spent a half hour trying to get a few more pictures to post, but to no avail. You know it's bad when Josh can't get it to work. :-) He said to give it a try again tomorrow.

Just wanted to take a sec and tell all of you that keep up with us through this blog how much we appreciate your prayers. I have heard from so many of you through this and it is so encouraging to us to know how many of you are praying for us. Much love.

One year later...

Yesterday was one year since our little girl left us to live with Jesus. Wow... I can't believe a year has passed so quickly yet I can't believe it has only been a year. I feel as though I have lived a thousand years in the past year. Everything that has happened this past year is shaded with thoughts of Ava. We have celebrated every holiday, every birthday and now the first anniversary of her death. No more real firsts. For this I am thankful, for this I want to weep. I am sad that life is moving on without her. I am sad that we are thinking of new babies and new life. I want our life to move on but I'm afraid that if we move on she may be forgotten. I know Josh and I will never forget her, what joy she brought, the feeling that she completed our family, and the way that her death brought us closer together and closer to God. How do you thank your daughter for allowing you to see life in a whole new way. Yes, I still get frustrated with the small stuff and my kids still have a tendency to drive me crazy at times, but the between now and then is very different.

The faithfulness that God promises throughout the Bible was truly experienced this past year. There have been many times that I thought I could not take another breath cause I thought my heart would break. I sometimes thought that would be a lot easier. I remember thinking that if one of my kids ever died, so would I. I now realize that to shut down and let the world go on around you would be one of the most selfish things I could do. I still have two children that need to have a mom praying for them, playing with them and just being a mommy. My husband still needs a friend to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, and a decent house to come home to. These are the things that now take up the majority of my time. Without having God to lean on through this entire ordeal would have made the journey impossible. The prayers of friends and family have been nothing short of miraculous many times.

About a week and a half ago, I was having a really rough morning. I was feeling on the brink of breakdown and needed to get out of the house. I decided to take the kids to Target to walk around and have popcorn and pop. (They love to do this.) I was taking a few things out of the car when a cop car pulled up into our driveway. Inside the car was the police officer that was here the day Ava died. On that day she got us water, sat next to us, let us cry on her shoulder, answered all of the questions we had, and told us who everyone was as they were coming and going. She also was the one that encouraged us to see Ava after they had pronounced her dead and I was petrified to see her again. I had visions of how she looked when I found her. She said that she thought it was best to err on the side of seeing her rather than never knowing. We decided to see her again and for that I will always be grateful. Anyway, all to say that she was the police officer here on that day. When she stopped by it was an answer to prayer. She was just here a few minutes but for some reason she brought me such a sense of peace. I can see that our experience really made an impression on her which means that Ava made an impression on her. On that day, I talked to a friend later. She called to see how I was doing and said that I had been on her mind and she was praying for me. This was the day that Diane, the police officer showed up. Sometimes God works in rather odd ways.

I miss my little girl. I wish there was something that could be done to change everything back to the way they were. I wish many things. But the one thing that I can wish for that is possible is that we can be happy again. I want us to be a family, even though one of us is missing, I want us to be happy again. That is my prayer.



Noah and Zoe dancing at Chuck E. Cheese.

Now that I'm out of school, it seems like I don't have enough time in my life to learn new things. I started in my last blog on how I need to learn to add pictures. I still need to do that. I did learn how to add a bunch of friends to our list of links. If you know how quickly I grow frustrated with computers you would think I had accomplished quite a feat. Josh says it's the only time he hears me swear out of frustration. Me? A pastor's wife? Swear? Noooooo!!!!

Another thing I'm learning...that God has plans for us that we just don't understand. I am sitting here at Josh's family's house in Indiana and thinking how much my life has changed in the past year. A year ago I was living in Kalamazoo with three children and my husband had a typical pastor's job. We now live in Grand Rapids, with two children (and one still in our hearts) and my husband does not have the typical pastors job. I think that's why he loves it so much. We get to hang out with all our friends all the time and they call it work. Cool huh? So with so many changes in my life it's no wonder I feel melancholy. Josh and I layed in bed a few nights ago and talked about how much we miss Ava. We talked about her sweet smile and how she loved to watch her big brother and sister and how she would probably be a stinker by now. Which leads to another change...
Zoe ready to go inside- she's sooo excited!!

Two weeks after Ava was born, Josh went in for the snip, snip (otherwise known as a vasectomy). :-) Yesterday, we had it reversed here in Marion by a friend of the family. The surgery is usually around 10 grand and it was pretty much a charity surgery. All kinds of people donated their time from the surgeon to the anesthesiologist to the scrub nurses. Everyone was so kind. Our God is an awesome God. Had this not been given to us, we would never have been able to have the surgery done. Now we may have the opportunity to add to our family. There is about an 80-90% success rate. Please pray that God's will will be done in this. He knows what is best for our family although we are praying fervently that it works!!!

Josh is pretty much flat on his back the next week to 10 days so he will get some much needed rest time. He has played X-Box 360 for about 13 hours already today. A friend let him borrow it while he's down here. He's psyched. Some boys never grow up... I think I like him that way.

p.s. sorry to those who are thinking "Too much information!" I've never been one to keep things to myself!

Noah found Mommy's mascara. He thought he'd try it.
Someone needs to sit me down and teach me how to put pics on our blog. nothing makes me frustrated as quickly as a computer, especially one I don't understand.

Today was Memorial Day. The day to remember the men and women who have died for our country and the day to remember all our loved ones who have gone on before us. Makes me miss my little girl. Our little one year old who seems as though she will be perpetually 3 months old in her mommy's mind. I spend a lot of time watching little girls who our around what Ava would be. Like when we're at Target and a mom is in her own little world with her one year old. Just trying to get a few errands done. Perspective is a crazy thing. Yes, my kids still drive me crazy (Zoe seems to be perpetually on speed as of late) but I hold them each a little closer and realize that they are just a gift to me. They are not something owed to me or something that is always a sure thing. They are God's kids and God has just entrusted them to me and my hubby for the time being.

On to Zoe on speed... I'm not kidding. If I didn't know better I would be convinced she has a chocolate stash under her bed. This past Thursday night the child would NOT go to sleep. She knows she can't get out of bed so she was trying to do everything short of getting out of bed to keep herself entertained. She loves to hang off the side of her bed upside down and tell me that I look silly. She walks around the edge of her bed on the metal side rails but you know how a 2 year old is- she is not out of bed. I was in my room next door putting laundry away when it got a little too quiet. you know the sound or lack there of. I proceeded to her room where it was quite dark and I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but no. She had completely broken off one of the posters on her four poster bed. I was lying on her book shelf and the other post was hanging on by a thread. You know what her comment was? "No spanking." I had no idea what the heck to do. It seems as though these little incidents happen more and more often lately. Wow does she keep me on my toes.

Noah continues to be his sweet little self. Continues to love school and doesn't want it to end for the year. Poor little guy, no bus to pick him up everyday. He hated it so much at the beginning of the year and it made it so hard for us to put him on it every day with his big crocodile tears. Now, that's the highlight of his day. He is getting SOOO close to potty training. we even wore "big boy underwears" today. He did so good and he gets so excited when he goes in the potty. He claps for himself and yells at the top of his lungs. Then he says "mommy happy?" with a big old grin on his face. little doll.

that's all for now. my computer is like 150 degrees sitting here on my lap and that doesn't mix well with the 90 degrees it is up here in our bedroom. hopefully i can breathe through all this humidity in the air...


Happy Birthday Ava!!!

Today would be Ava's first birthday. My little peach would probably be a walking, semi-talking little doll. We spent the day being reflective and having a fun time celebrating. Both sets of grandparent, Holly and Jason and the kids, Uncle Geoffrey, and even Uncle Derek (all the way from Okinawa) got together. We started out at my parents house in Allendale and planted a magnolia tree in the front yard in memory of Ava. It grows gorgeous pink blooms and blooms in May, right around her birthday. We then went to the cemetary and we put some little things around her grave. Then we each had a pink balloon and let them go. The wind was whipping up a storm and they all took off quickly. We were planning on having a birthday cake and ice cream out there but it was too cold so we went back to my parents. We then had cake and ice cream and each of the kids had a turn to blow out the one candle for our little Ava. We then headed off the Chuck E. Cheese's and each of the kids had a ball playing games and riding rides.

When we got home and I was putting Zoe to bed, she was looking at my locket I wear around my neck and she says, "I love Ava." I told her Ava used to sleep right here and pointed to the area in the room where Ava's bed was. She then proceeded to tell me that Ava sleeps with Jesus. Just so matter of fact that it brought tears to my eyes.

Many times through out the last 24 hours quiet tears have come. Last night, starting at about 5:15 to now has been difficult. Remembering going into labor, the emotional rush and joy of her arrival and the exhuastion after, all make this day bittersweet. We are so lucky to have known her, to have had her here with us yet losing her is still so difficult. Life is just not as colorful or as vivid, especially the past few days. It makes me realize that life is moving on and that we are becoming happy again (whether we choose to or not).

It has been a real blessing to feel like it is okay to openly grieve again. Some of the notes, e-mails, phone calls, etc. from friends made were very thoughtful. Having her birthday makes people think of her again and talk openly about her. It's nice to feel like it's okay to cry and feel sad.

Through this whole ordeal, as difficult as it has been, nothing has been more apparent than the faithfulness of God. Even when I feel like my heart will break or I will scream out of anger God is still the one thing we can come back to. To know without a doubt that one day we will see Ava again makes heaven a reality. Before this I never really yearned for heaven, yet now I yearn for it daily.

We continue to rejoice in the fact that we have two living children to bring us through this difficult time. The joy and comic relief is unending. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

A Sunny Day

It's been a beautiful day here in Grand Rapids. I took the kids to two parks today and they were in heaven. Josh spent the day building a deck off the side of our house to accomodate our new hot tub!!! Yeah!!! I can hardly wait.

Life continues at a strenuous pace yet we continue to take time to grieve. We are finding more time passing without thoughts of Ava. Instead of every 5 minutes it seems to be less often. That leads to some relief and also some guilt. We want to recover but we don't ever want to forget our little girl. I find I miss missing her. Sounds a bit weird but according to many parents who have lost children, it is pretty normal. I continue to be amazed at how God has gotten us through this nightmare. In some ways, it makes God more real because I realize that without him we would be in a completely different place.

Ava's first birthday is coming up on the fifth of May. We want to celebrate her life and make it a celebration that our kids and family look forward to. We plan on going to the cemetary and letting off balloons and then taking all the family to Chuck E. Cheese's. We think every kid loves the place and it is a place Ava would have learned to love. We figure the anniversary of her death can be a bit more reflective and somber. Today, we were at one of the parks and there was a mother there with a little girl who was 3 and a half weeks old. Zoe was intrigued by her and went on to say "We don't have a baby at our house. I want one of those." I wanted to agree with her. We're getting to the point where we know we are not wanting to replace Ava but consider moving forward in the family way. Hmmm...

The kids: Noah is doing great at school. He loves riding the bus and loves playing on the playground. His favorite activity is painting, he often forgets he is not supposed to paint himself or suck on the brushes. He is talking more and more and getting himself into trouble at times which cracks us up. When I think he may be into something he is not supposed to be and I say "Noah what are you doing?" If he is doing something naughty, his answer every time is "Nuffing!" Total giveaway. He's such a doll.

Zoe is keeping us on our toes. She is convinced she is at least 5 and wants to hang with the big kids. She is our little boss and is always trying to even mommy me. Today, I smashed my finger and she says "Oh mommy, I'm sorry. It's okay, let me kiss it." Little honey. She forgets she's not in charge all the time and is not afraid to tell anyone that she thinks she is. Pray for us. :-)

Josh has finally admitted to the fact that he is balding. Yes, it stinks but it's the truth. So, as of almost a month ago, he shaved off his locks of amber. He is now completely bald and looks great. I love it and am so glad he did it. The first few days it was a bit shocking, but now that I'm used to it our lives have gotten so much easier. No longing looks into the mirror wondering if the hairline has receded a bit more and no more expensive hair product to buy!!! Yeah!!!

That's all for now. I know we are not very consistent with the blog but we are going to try a little harder. Thank you to all of you for your love and prayers over the past nine months. Love to you all.

Half a Year

Today has been half a year since our baby girl left us. Seems incredible how much time has passed and yet there is little reprieve. The intensity of our grief seems to have subsided very little. The frequency may be bit by bit. I realize that I may not think of our little girl for small amounts of time, usually when I am caught up in life and being entertained by the kids. Then I realize we are missing one and the loss seems so obvious, so poignant. My mom and I went to the graveyard today and the wind was whipping my hair all over and reminded me of how hard the wind blew the day of Ava's funeral. It made me feel close to her.

I packed up all the cards that we received after the accident. I bought a rubbermaid tub to put them in. I want to have them to look at them years from now. I was cleaning out the closet in the girls' room when I came across the diaper bag that I bought before Ava was born. I remember how it hung in Zoe's room, waiting for the big day of Ava's arrival. Her homecoming outfit was in there along with new pacifiers, socks and her new blanket. That bag is very hard to see now. I decided to pack it up so I wanted to make sure it was empty. In a zippered pocket I found her immunization record. Might seem a bit exaggerated, but thinking of how we immunize our children to protect them from danger and I couldn't save her still.

These past few weeks have been eye opening to me. Being a Christian, I realize that our children our not ours the way we humans think they are. They are given to us for a short time, and we are to show them Christ's love and try to raise them to love the Lord. I think of Hannah and how she promised God that she would give Samuel to him if he would only give her a child. I wonder if I would ever do that. I doubt it. I want to feel as though I would. I look at Noah and Zoe and see them a bit differently. I now actually know that they are not mine the way I think they are. It makes me enjoy them a little more, makes my tolerance level a little higher- realizing what a gift sits before me (even if they do drive me nuts at times). Knowing that God entrusted them with Josh and me is pretty incredible.

Well, I've just realized that we have passed midnight so this will officially post on the 2nd of February. All this about it being 6 months and now it's six months and one day. Thank you to all our friends and family who continue to hold us up in prayer. With love,

As Time Passes...

Zoe in the morning

Things are okay at the Buck household. So what does okay really mean? Not really sure. We continue to breathe, grocery shop, eat dinner together when we can, play with the kids and go to expected events. Although we are surviving it really doesn't feel like living. I'm looking forward to the day where my feet hit the floor before I remember that Ava is dead. Sounds sorta shocking huh? A little vulger? Morose? I think I feel all these things at certain times. Josh and I are seeing a counselor which is helpful. He's a neat guy and has made us aware of some things that we needed to see from a different perspective.

I've decided that I'm done acting like everything is fine when they're not. Yes, there are times when I feel half-way normal for a few minutes and I'm happy about that but sad too cause I feel like every time that happens we've lost our little girl a little more. I feel like I've lost a lot of myself and not sure how to find this piece that seems to be missing. It seems to affect who I am, how I parent, how I love my husband, and how I view God. It's been hard to try and understand a God that would allow something like this to happen. And then I remember that I will never understand God nor will I probably ever know why this happened. I do cling to the fact that God has a greater purpose and a will that I don't understand. I do know what my first question will be when I get to heaven.

The kids are doing well. Zoe is missing her little sister more the past week than she was for a while. This makes it a bit more difficult when she goes to sleep looking at her picture and talks about her more often. She is really into babying her dolls and it makes me sad to see her have to baby an object instead of her sister. It makes our loss seem so apparent. About a week and a half ago, Noah and Zoe were going down the stairs and they were talking in their own little babble about Ava and then Zoe says "Ava coming home soon." Noah says "No, baby Ava in heaven". I'm glad he seems to be understanding that Ava won't be coming home but it's difficult to be so black and white so they understand.

Josh and I have been trying to spend some time together. It is hard to find the time and a babysitter where we can be alone just the two of us to be able to talk and process together. We have had numerous people who have been so giving with their time to help us out in this aspect. Most evenings, by the time the kids are asleep, we have little energy to talk about things that actually matter. Most of the time we just want to veg and not have to think or talk about everything. Everything seems to take so much energy- even sitting here and putting my thoughts down where I know people will be reading them! :-)

Thank you to all our friends and family that continue to hold us up in prayer as we continue on this journey. Love to you all.
Haloween 2005