Saturday, December 31, 2011

God is Good

Her name is Maddie.

She is four years old with a rare form of cancer.

They were dear friends of ours when we lived in California.

Her diagnosis came about a month after we found out about Tessa. Her mom just had a baby, and their family all lived in the mid-west. The shuffling they had to do between appointments and hospital stays, the unknowns of how chemo was going to affect Maddie- my heart immediately went out to them.

I wouldn't say misery loves company, because I would never want anyone to go through the year either of us had.

Misery loves understanding, and there is something about someone knowing where you have been that is so comforting.

Around 22 weeks, I got a note in the mail from Maddie's mom.

Scrawled across a plain white sheet of notebook paper were the words "God is Good".

I will be honest.

At that point, I didn't feel like God was all that Good to me.

I felt abandoned.


Forgot about.

But that little message, from someone who was in the "pit of despair" with me, spoke volumes.

As time marched on, I felt God revealing his plan.

Bringing peace while I was waiting.

Giving hope.

Her miraculous birth.

Watching her grow.

Family and friends who were the feet of Christ.

I can say with absolute certainty.

God is good.

Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

As I reflect back on the roller coaster year of 2011, I praise God for keeping me safe in His grasp, even when it felt otherwise.

Wishing you a wonderful 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tessa Update

It's been a while since I have updated on Tessa.

No news is good news, right?

Overall, this girl is a delight to my soul. It's no secret I love this baby stage. I am reveling in her little grunts and baby noises, bath time and burping. So often, I find myself starting to pray for someone else, and ending up praising God again for her life.

She smiles and coos easily- the boys are finally seeing that it can be fun to have a baby around.

Tessa girl is weighing in at a whopping 11 pounds, 4 ounces. She got her second RSV shot this past Sunday. She absolutely hates it (I have heard it is thick because it is antibodies as opposed to a vaccination), but Walgreens makes it very convenient by coming to our house. Her home healthcare nurse is very nice.

Caffeine was discontinued two weeks ago. If she can make it the next week or so without an alarm, we will be wireless. I am not sure how I feel about that. I have come to rely on the monitor. I have watched her stop breathing enough times that it still scares me, even though it hasn't happened in a long time. Dressing her will probably get easier, though.

She had her first cold the week before Christmas, and managed to make it through without a hospital visit (praise the Lord!)

Sleeping is much better. She now sleeps about 6 hours straight, wakes up to eat, and then goes back down for two more hours. Amazing what a little sleep will do for a person! :-)

We have four doctors visits in the next two weeks. The biggest and lengthiest one is her developmental progress check on the 9th. She meets with six or seven different people to make sure she is on track for her adjusted age.

Please keep Tessa in your prayers, that she is developing normally. As always, that she remains illness free.

I hope you had a joyous holiday. Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
and the future is unclear....I will be here

Words sung 12 years ago to the day, never more clear to me than during this past year.

A few random thoughts while looking through photos tonight...

~our wedding was the first and last day that Josh wore his ring
~child bearing takes quite the toll on one's body
~I really liked gold apparently
~15 pictures (out of 150) were of our marriage certificate. Wish there were digital cameras back then!
~the bouquet looks awfully heavy. Right, mom?

Happy Anniversary to my husband, my partner, my best friend, my shoulder to cry on.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nobody's Fool

I have promised to dig this out for a while.

Okay, three years to be exact.

Don't get too excited.

I am a glorified extra.

From Wiki:
The Parkers is an American sitcom . A spin-off of UPN's Moesha, The Parkers featured the mother-daughter team of Nikki (played by Mo'Nique) and Kim Parker (played by Countess Vaughn). The Parkers' signature "Heeyyy" greeting made its way into popular vernacular in the early 2000s (decade).

This episodes premise: Nikki has been selling Lady Egyptian cosmetics and finds out that Lady Egyptian is a complete fraud. She sets out to expose her at a taping for her cosmetic line.

Warning: the foul language is beeped out, but you can still tell what they are saying.

Fast forward to 7:37 to see the segment...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Two Slices of Bread

Lunch is kind of a non-event around the Bird house.

Most often, I serve Bryce chicken fingers or leftovers.

Sometimes I get creative and boil up mac and cheese.

Every once in a while, it involves a toy in a box.

You get the idea- no fuss.


Easy to do with a baby sleeping in my arms and two dogs under foot.

Lately, Bryce has taken a liking to bread.

Plain bread.

No cheese.

No meat.

No PB or J.

Just bread.

He probably would like honey drizzled on top, but Josh and I keep forgetting to purchase it on grocery day.

And you know I am NOT going all the way back to Meijers for a bottle of honey.

I digress.

A few days ago, Bryce yet again went into the fridge for his two slice main course.

As he was walking to the living room to sit down and have a "carpet picnic"- which is my term for him eating on the living room floor so I can relax on the couch while he eats because it takes him forever to gobble up two plain pieces of bread- I had the idea to surprise him with one of his favorites, an individually wrapped package of goldfish.

Due to expense, they are normally saved for Kayden's lunch. Bryce had been such a great kid, and so helpful, that I really wanted to reward him.

Plus, I feel guilty he eats like our ducklings.

My stubborn child did not want to see what I had for him.

He wanted what he wanted, and that was all there was to it.

He clutched one piece in each hand and, almost to the point of crumbling both of them, held on tight.

No amount of coercion would get him to see that something better might be in my hand than the bread in his.

I know I have done a lot of reflecting around here lately, so I hope I have not tired you with my anecdotes.

Of all my blessings from God, I would have to say my family tops the list.

I don't think that is a bad thing.

On January 17, I admitted that I had finally surrendered trying to control my family to God, after a long struggle with clutching them ever so tightly.

With both hands finally wide open, God gave me more than I even asked for bringing Tessa to our family.

Don't get me wrong. Looking at this from the top of the mountain is so much easier than from mid-climb. Many days, I questioned if I would ever get here. No doubt about it, I would have chosen an easier path in lieu of the extra blessings we received along the long and arduous journey.

See this beautiful dress Tessa is wearing?

My good friend Chelle reminded me of the significance this tulle and satin represents.

Two days after Tessa was born, Heidi and Kristi brought me a bag full of girly goodies, including this outfit.

Visions of her much, much larger and able to wear this were simultaneously uneasy and yet incredibly wonderful. Her future had been uncertain for so long that it was strange to immediately flip that switch and believe she was alive and thriving. For the first four days, I asked every medical person that I could find about Tessa's lungs. I needed constant reassurance that they wouldn't all the sudden become hypoplastic.

As I put her in this dress, my heart sings with a gratitude and joy that last Christmas I never thought I would experience. I am reminded that sometimes I need to stop clutching and open my hands wide for all the blessings God wants to bestow.

Psalm 31:19 How great is your favor, which you store up for your loyal followers! In plain sight of everyone you bestow it on those who take shelter in you.

Friday, December 02, 2011


When I took this picture of Tessa yesterday, I could have swore I had seen it before.

They certainly have the double chins in common:-)

Monday, November 28, 2011


Kayden: Mom, when is your baby going to be born?
Me: What do you mean, K? Are you talking about Tessa?
Kayden: No, not Tessa. Your other baby.
Me: Honey, there is no other baby. Tessa is mommy's final baby.
Kayden: Well, then why does it look like there's another baby in your belly?

I might need to rethink my decision to wait until after the holidays to lose my remaining ten.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It was my fault, really.

In true fashion, I waited until the last minute to start preparing my dish to pass for today.

Everything fell apart when I realized I had to get all three kids dressed, finish the Apple Crisp, change my clothes and put makeup on, and get the car loaded in a half hour.


Of course I needed a picture of all three of them to mark Thanksgiving 2011 on the books.

All three were bawling for the first 10 pictures. I may or may not have bribed them with candy.

Although our "photo shoot" was a bust, it's pretty clear what I am thankful for.

Psalm 145:7
They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sewing and Sitting

Have I ever told you how my love affair with sewing began?

We were newly married, living separate lives. Josh taught during the day. I was waitressing at night.

There were many long, lonely hours in our apartment.

Shopping is only fun when you have money.

My mom suggested I find a hobby.

Long before Project Runway made it cool, I watched a friend of ours sew a crisp red banner for Redlands Christian and it looked fun.

Excitedly, I told my mom about the new craft I wanted to master and she offered up her machine. A 15-year-old Singer, solid metal hunk of a machine. As I lugged it through three airports and two car rides, I am pretty certain it weighed at least fifty pounds.

"The next time I come out to California, I will teach you," said Jan.

Visions of new dresses, fabulous tops, and fashionable hand sewn accessories flooded my mind. My patience couldn't wait long enough for my mom's tutelage. Seven library books taught me the basics of about gathering, basting, buttons, and back stitch.

A new robe was the first thing I wanted to assemble, so I headed to JoAnns. To my surprise, the fabric would cost me $30.

I could purchase it new for that.

Futhermore, I didn't want to spend all that money to mess up and have to throw it out. We could go to In and Out three times for that kind of dough, after all.

Without a baby on the horizon, I decided that would be my first style to master. One yard would yield an entire outfit with booties, hat, and bloomers to match. I found a great deal on pink flannel and lace, and set to work sewing this:

Side note: Nastalgic to a fault, it was the first blanket I used with Tessa girl. I cherish this, although there are so many flaws and mistakes.

I wish you could see it in person. I actually hand sewed the entire binding. If you know anything about me, you will know that (now) I would rather break ten needles trying to shove it through my machine than hand sew a single stitch.

The next year was spent sewing everything. Nothing was off limits. I loved purchasing a new pattern from the store, picking out just the right material, and sitting down with a cup of hot chocolate and my Singer.

Josh parents gifted me with a brand new embroidery sewing machine on Valentine's Day in 2003. Working with a machine that threaded the bobbin without me hand reeling it was a treat. It remains one of my most treasured gifts.

Then I started sewing for work.

It was fun at first. The thrill of seeing something sell.

Three years and hundred and hundreds of hours into it, somewhere it lost it's luster.

I rarely wanted to sew on my time off.

I did not want to create.

Sitting behind the sewing machine for pleasure reminded me of the many projects sitting next to me that had to be finished. It was easier to get those completed than sit down with a fresh yard and an idea.

Even the fabric store, which I previously loved to peruse, lost it's appeal.

Being on bedrest forced me to, well, rest.

Let go of obligations.

Clear the schedule.

And as much as I miss going out and about with Tessa, there is such beauty in this season.

Before this happened, I would describe my life as a constant state of running (aren't we all?!)

23 round trips to Ypsilanti, regular OB visits, Kayden's basketball practices and Saturday games, Josh's coaching, church obligations, volunteering, room mom, class projects, committees, field trips, keeping the house clean, bringing meals, dinners, coffee dates, MiniMe BabyGear....the list goes on and on and on.

I never said No.

By the end of the day, I would lay down to start praying, and crash in the first few minutes of prayer. My intentions were good, I was just so stinking tired.

Running so much, I didn't have time to sit down with God. Relax in my favorite spot on the couch and read my Bible. Pray for others. Listen. Write things down I want to work on.

There is great fellowship with God in the quiet. Rather, the quiet and conscious. I didn't even realize what I was missing.

Two years ago, a lot of my friends did "Activity Buckets"- you put a bunch of ideas of things you can do together on crumpled up on slips of paper inside a bin, and then draw one out each day to complete.

I always wanted to do it, but was too busy.

We have instituted a new after dinner routine:

Each picks an activity and we play together until they fight:-)

I can say with certainty that I am loving this season of staying home. Although I wouldn't characterize our lives with a very feisty newborn as idle, there is charm in this stage of our lives.

I am even sewing again for fun:

"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." E.M. Bounds

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have been working on a bit more substantial post.


I was messing around with my camera tonight, and Bryce wanted his picture taken. Looking through them, I realized my poor little boy looks homeless.

The two hours between Josh coming home and bedtime leave little time for Super Cuts.

Kid needs a haircut, stat.

I mean, other than the one he gave himself.

PS- isn't the " blue mustache" a special treat?

Oh, the joys of being outnumbered:-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

This rarely happens.

Josh was right.

9 lbs 1 ounce, and doing fabulous for her corrected age of six weeks (4 months actual).

Her height is 21 1/4", which is six inches longer than she was at birth.

She is in the 25% all around.

Dr. Kruggel says she thinks her cheeks might just be a little bigger.

Good thing I love fat babies:-)

Oh, and I am kidding. Josh is right far more often than I am!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The outfit

The talented Katie DeBoer's gift to me when Tessa was born was the fabulous photo shoot she did, which captured our NICU stay so perfectly.

I cherish those photos, and am so thankful for that gift.

It was more than I could even ask for.

Imagine my surprise when she handed me a gift bag at school one afternoon, with this adorable outfit.

"Well, there is a story behind it," she said.

It has to do with the receipt, specifically the date on the receipt.

It took me a few minutes to figure it out.

Anyone want to guess why this outfit is so special?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Familia update

So, how is Tessa girl doing?

Other than her lack of sleep at night, she is awesome. She sleeps between 2-3 hours between 11pm-5am. Around 4:30-5, I hand her off to Josh to catch some ZZZZs before our day starts.

This morning, I missed preschool.

Oops. Sorry Bryce.

She is still on caffeine, thus still on an apnea monitor. Once she has zero alarms for two weeks, they will take her off the caffeine, and then monitor her for another 2 weeks.

In all truth, I like the monitor most of the time. Especially when she is sleeping.

Tessa is not allowed out, except for doctor's appointments. The biggy for her is RSV. Because her bronchial tubes are already more narrow, it could be very detrimental to her. This month, she will start getting the ever expensive Synergis shot. At $1500 a pop, these monthly shots run through April and are supposed to help minimize the seriousness should she get it.

That girl has been feisty since the day she was born, and I think she gets more stubborn every day.

She hates to be put down.

Still in newborn clothes, but probably not for long.

In all seriousness, she farts louder than an old man. I cannot believe this girl's bottom. Her features are so dainty and she just lets them rip.

Already, you can tell she has brothers.

We take illness pretty serious around the Bird home.

Josh has worn a mask for the last week because he has bronchitis.

These boys are so happy we are home.

They missed their momma and I missed them.

My one goal lately is to spend more time in active playtime. I can easily get caught up in housework and tasks and to do lists, but the fragility of human life was never more present to me than with Tessa girl.

Tomorrow is not a guarantee.

We have a weigh in on Friday. My guess is 8.5 lbs.

Josh says closer to nine.

Any other guesses?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Hello again.

Wow, it's sad that I didn't even remember my password for this blog.

Been a while.

My apologies.

As such, I also apologize in advance that this post is going to be a little all over the place.

You were warned.

I have mentioned here before that getting pregnant with Kayden was a surprise.

To be completely honest, I did not think much would change when he was born.

My mom came out for two weeks to put the remaining touches on the nursery and help once he arrived. She looked at me so funny when I told my dog Tia how much I loved her and that Kayden wouldn't take her place when he was born.

Naviety at it's finest.

I had no idea how intense my love for him would be.

The day I came home from the hospital in October of 2004, a Walmart run was neccesary. Blankets, bibs, baby shoes, diapers were all overflowing in his nursery. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about MY needs- aspirin, nursing accessories, etc.

Guess that happens when you are a first time mom.

With Josh holding a sound asleep Kayden, he repeated over and over "It's going to be okay. I got this" while trying to push me out the door.

I will not get into the nitty gritty, but Kayden's birth was tough. And long. And horrible.

Getting hit with a semi might have been easier.

I couldn't walk any measure of distance for about three weeks, so the challenge was how I was going to navigate the rows of discounted goods and racks of low priced bargains.

Enter: motorized shopping.

It is just as much fun as it looks.

Every last elderly person looked at me like I was very, very strange

After we checked out I remember sitting in my car, waiting for Josh to pick up the phone to tell me everything was fine. Afterall, the last six times I checked hadn't quite pacified me.

We hung up, and I started bawling huge crocodile tears, asking my mom how could I ever live without that kid now that I knew how great it was to be his mom?

I did not know what to do with the love pouring out of my heart.

Motherhood changed me.

Everything was different.

Since my last post at MiniMe Mom, so much has changed. I look at this blog and don't even feel like the same person that posted in April before our world fell apart.

I used to always feel that when I blogged about my relationship with God, it seemed forced or an afterthought or like I was trying too hard.

A red stool in my bathroom sits directly in front of my linen closet, and sometimes I use it to sit and pray on. Somewhere in February or March, I remember praying that I would be able to share my faith in a real way through my blog.

Be careful what you pray for:-)

Going through this past six months, I feel deeper. God isn't an afterthought or something to add on to appear more "Christian". Almost every relationship in my life has gotten richer because of this refining.

I wouldn't necessarily say I want to go through it again, but I can see so much beauty looking backwards.

So why close out Tessa's blog and come back here?

When Bryce was a baby, I was talking to a friend whose brother died after a long battle with cancer. She was in high school at the time and I asked her how her parents did at balancing time between kids.

She relayed that she understood why her parents spent so much time focusing just on her brother but knowing did not make her feel any less good about them missing her prom.

To say that I replayed that conversation mentally is an understatement.

I struggled all summer to try and make my other two kids feel loved and important, even though this has definitely been the year of Tessa.

Tessa's blog was hard to walk away from. I poured my heart out. I loved reading comments. It became an outlet and a support system simultaneously.

But it didn't include my boys.

So, here is to NEW beginnings with all three of my kiddos and Joshy B.

and maybe every once in a while the dogs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trains, Helmets, and Memory Lane

I love three.

Full of mischief, excitement, and surprising comments; not a day goes by that I do not chuckle at Bryce. I adore this know, minus the whining and destruction part.

Three years ago, he was this little bundle of ooey gooey goodness.

And now, he wants to wear a bike helmet to bed.

Opening presents in the morning.

After ripping open a present, Bryce would say "What's next?"

Kayden opening their joint present from Justin and Amber.

Birthday cake complete with working train, thanks to Gma and Gpa Bird.

All in all, a great day.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dutch roots backfired

Birthdays were always made a huge deal growing up. My mom and dad always took great care to make us feel special on our big day. They still do. During teenage years, my mom even let me skip school to spend one on one time with her at Woodland Mall every November.

As I have gotten older, it is definitely more fun to celebrate the boys' birthdays than my own.

Great Wolf Lodge has become the place we gravitate to celebrate. Kayden requested it two years ago, and the tradition has carried down to Brycer.

The only problem: it is far easier to get a room mid-October than first of April.

The closest we could get was last weekend. We banked on staying two nights, but only booked one. Every other time we have gone, a slip has been placed under the door offering a great deal if you extend your stay to the second night.

Josh awoke at 7 am and headed to the front desk to partake in our good deal. $369 for the same room we had just paid $160 for. Guess we will have to book two nights next time. The Dutch roots backfired on me:-)

Kayden was so proud that he rode the slides by himself, and Brycer had a great time hopping the slides in the kiddie pool. Both boys favor the basketball hoops, although it was out of commission the first night after a Code AFR.

Upon leaving, Kayden burst into tears, wanting to know when we could visit again.

Overall, it was a great overnight trip to celebrate Bryce's upcoming birthday. Cannot believe my baby is about to be three years old!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pet Peeve of the Week

Perhaps having the flu made me cranky, but these things annoyed me this week.

In descending order:

3. Wearing your sunglasses indoors. At ten o'clock at night. I might understand if we, you know, actually had sunlight here in Michigan.

2. Using text language in real life. Hearing WTH? or LOL or TTYL roll off a person's tongue just doesn't seem natural.

1. I am not opposed to dog sweaters, or canine clothes for that matter. I don't mind dog purses, but I don't love puppy strollers. What really annoys me most of all shoes. It just seems inhumane. I have yet to see a dog walking normally while wearing a pair of boots.

I suppose it could be worse, though....

I am guessing they are not Louboutins.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Something dawned on me tonight

Upward Basketball

Our Saturdays this winter have been spent watching Kayden play basketball.

One phrase has pretty much summed the experience: "Pass the Ball!"

We have quite the ball hog on our hands.

It is a process.

I could not be more impressed with the league.

Ever week at practice, the final few minutes are spent in devotions. Each child gets a Bible memory card. If they remember the verse, the next week they get a star to iron on their shirt.

Coming out of the "pre-game locker room"

As each kid gets their name announced, they run from behind the curtain. A spotlight shines on them, with smoke billowing as they enter. I think this is my favorite part. The never ending chaos of confusion of where to run provides a good laugh each week.

At half-time, a short devotional from the weekly verse is preached. I have really enjoyed the devotionals- the leaders have made them interesting and relatable.
After the game, more stars are handed out for Christ0like behavior, good defense, etc. A snack is provided in the "post-game locker room".

Kayden wore the uniform for three days straight when he got it. He loves this league, and I am so disappointed it is almost finished!

Friday, February 18, 2011

All Clear for Takeoff

My kids are absolutely fascinated by airplanes. All summer, we went to the Grand Rapids Airport overlook to watch planes. Many an afternoon was spent eating lunch on the grassy space south of the runway.

The treat of all treats came today, as a friend of the family took the boys up to the control and radar room. I can honestly say that I enjoyed more than they did! It is interesting to see what all goes into moving airplanes in and out.
In the tower, you can see for miles and miles--all the way downtown, and out to the smoke stacks on Port Sheldon. It was neat to hear the pilots talking to the tower and see airplanes taking off and landing first hand.
We also got to go into the radar room, which is unlike anything I expected. Completely black, with just the lights from the radar screens and clocks illuminating the room. I felt like we were on a space ship LOL
It was one day the boys will never forget! Kayden already asked me if we can go back on Monday, to which we told him this was a one-time deal.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

This lady

ADVANCE NOTICE: I am about to get sappy.

I mentioned in my last post that this pregnancy has been an uphill journey for me. The support of my friends helped me tremendously.

I wanted to devote an entire post to these people, though. My parents.

Going in to egg retrieval, the doctor's knew there was a pretty good chance I would get really sick with OHSS. And oh, did I get sick. A good, solid 5-6 days of being sick. About three days into it, I could not keep any food down, so they wanted me to come in for an ultrasound and IV fluids.

I will never forget the love and support I felt as I was sobbing on my bed, and my parents loving embrace as they tried to comfort me. I was beside myself that, on top of all the money we had to pay, I might have to pay $1500 more to have fluid drained from my abdomen.

Time and again, they have stepped up to the plate to help me out. Only in my adult years have I learned that not all parents are like this. Not all parents will drop everything in their own life to support their kids.

Throughout these last few emotional weeks, my mom has been by my side every day to keep my mind off things.

Blessed beyond measure, I am.

A little late

...but I guess better late than never!

Christmas was weeks and weeks ago, and I just recently dusted off the old camera to take a peek at the pictures.

Unfortunately, this one represents Christmas all too well. Kayden playing keep a way with Bryce's pipe.

With Token (Amber and Justin's new dog). The kids are in love.

Papa and Grandma always spoil!

New Lego shoes from Justin and Amber

Yes, this was the best picture I got with my boys.

What color is the theme of the day?

So thrilled with their Legos!

Birthday Cake for Jesus

The best picture I could get of all five of them. Bryce was At all.
We had a great Christmas, and are so thankful for great friends and family, and especially Jesus birth over 2000 years ago.