Category: my heart

my miscarriage story

I have gone back and forth and debated with myself about whether or not I should share this or not since the moment I learned we were miscarrying. After sharing on facebook, I received so many messages from friends saying they were so glad I shared and that they, too, had been through this before. The saddest part about miscarriages is that they seem so shameful and you never hear about them. So, I decided after hearing from so many that I would go ahead and share my story so others could relate and have somewhere they could come to and say, “this happened to me too.” I guess my wish is that someone out there feels a little less lonely after reading my story.

Obviously, this is deeply personal and although I have shared so many things with you that most would not because I truly have a heart that craves transparency in life, this is a stretch for me. I could write this and skim the surface but if I want someone to feel less lonely that won’t help. So I am going to try and be as transparent and open my heart which is truly terrifying to me because the grief is so tangible still. This won’t be an eloquently written essay, it will be a timeline of sorts and just my story and what happened to me. So bear with me, please.

Over Christmas break I was incredibly nauseous and sore in places that early pregnancy brings on. I honestly did not think I was pregnant but the symptoms continued for a week. Finally, on December 29th I took a pregnancy test. I literally peed on the stick and turned it over to put the cap on and it already had a BRIGHT positive line. I’ve had two other babies and neither pregnancies did that. There was a waiting time. This time, immediate.

Because I am a crazy person and one test was not enough- I mean, WHAT IF IT WAS DEFECTIVE?!- I drove myself and the girls to the nearest Dollar General and bought another test. I would have bought 20 tests but I had to ask the 15 year old boy behind the counter for the test and it was painfully awkward. Basically, I was a big ol’ redneck with my kids and my Dollar General pregnancy test. I had shoes on though so I didn’t totally go white trash.

I took the test as soon as I got home. Immediately positive.

I was hysterical in the best way you can imagine. I was crying and laughing and giggling and panicking and laughing some more. I cannot possibly describe to you the smile on my face. It was a true Christmas miracle. The girls both had been praying for a baby for Christmas. I’ve never once discussed us having another baby with them, but they have asked every day for so long when they can have a baby in the house. When talking about what we wanted for Christmas Ryder said, “I know what Mommy wants! She wants God to give her a baby!” Seriously y’all, never discussed it with them.

I put the two tests in a little Christmas tin and wrapped them up with tissue paper to surprise Andy.IMG_2538

When he got home I told him I had forgotten about a present and let him open it up. He was shocked and giddy. I know y’all don’t believe me but seriously, Andrew was giddy. I got it on video and will treasure it forever.

Andy and I talked and said, “can you believe we are having another baby?!” two million times over the next week. We discussed names and how we would tell Rory and Ryder the news. We downright giggled at the thought of getting to tell the girls.

On Sunday night, Jan 3rd, I went to the bathroom and was spotting. I did freak out because the reality of “oh yeah, people sometimes miscarry” hit me like a brick. But, I bled with both girls so I didn’t panic completely. On Monday morning I went to the doctor. My hCG counts were great. The ultrasound didn’t show much because it was too early but everything looked completely normal for how far along I was. On top of all of that, I stopped bleeding.

I went back Wednesday for more blood work. From Monday to Wednesday the hCG levels would double or more to indicate a normal pregnancy.

Friday morning, January 8th, I got the call. “I’m so sorry but your numbers didn’t go up enough. You are having a miscarriage.”

I sat in the chair completely paralyzed for a good 30 minutes. I sobbed deep sobs you can only do when you are completely alone. The hardest thing I had to do was call Andy and tell him. I knew he would be heartbroken too and I didn’t want to be the bearer of such sad news.

In just one phone call life went from planning to ending. It was such an abrupt halt to happiness.

I drove to the doctor’s office that afternoon and I honestly don’t even know how I made it. It is all such a blur. The only thing I remember was turning on the radio for some noise and this song came on. You’ll never convince me that it wasn’t on at that time for me. I so desperately needed to hear the words- “Whatever may come, His strength is enough… my heart is at peace for greater is He…”

At the doctor they confirmed the miscarriage diagnosis. I cried some more and they were so sweet and comforting. They told me I would start to really bleed and cramp over the weekend. Andy called his parents and met them with the girls so I could spend the weekend in bed because we knew there would  be a lot of pain, emotionally and physically, that I didn’t want them to see.

Over the course of the weekend I cramped and bled exactly zero amount. Absolutely nothing happened. I did, however, cry a lot and sleep a lot. It was so nice for me to get to do that without having to worry about the girls.

On Monday I went back in to see my regular doctor since he wasn’t in on Friday. He once again checked and confirmed the miscarriage. I once again sobbed. We discussed my options and both decided a D&C was the best option for me. I scheduled it for that Friday to give time for it to be able to happen naturally that week as a possibility. Cried all the way home.

During this time I’m having to get blood work done and every time my hCG was still high but not doubling. It did such a number on my mental state because I kept wanting them to be wrong since the pregnancy hormone was so high. Maybe they missed something. I am so incredibly pro-life so it messed with my mind pretty badly. The entire week was a blur of doctor appointments and going about life as normal. Absolutely nothing happened “naturally” as we had hoped.

Friday morning we got up early and drove to the hospital in Chattanooga. Andy and I didn’t really talk. We were tired and sad. I didn’t cry the entire way there, which is a surprise. I felt like I had a better grip on things. I was so ready to move on and get this over with.

Once back in the surgery prep area/room things started to sink in.

I shed a few tears but thanks to a dose of Valium in my IV, I was okay. My doctor came and talked me through surgery stuff and then he grabbed my hand and prayed for me. I cried like a baby.

I was rolled to the operating room and once on the table something clicked with me. This was it.

This precious life that I celebrated so much was over and was about to be gone forever. 

For some reason it took a little longer than normal for the anesthesiologist to get in and put me under (like two extra minutes at most). The mixture of medicines combined with me laying on that table alone while people rushed around me made something snap. Reality set in and hit me hard. I started to sob and I couldn’t wipe my tears so I could hear them falling on the table. A nurse saw me and rushed over. She held my hand and wiped my tears for me. I apologized a thousand times and another nurse came on the other side. They both wiped and wiped as I continued to sob. I started hearing scripture in one ear from a nurse, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…” and on and on it went. In the other ear I heard sweet prayers of comfort. I continued to sob pretty hysterically (if I’m being honest) until the anesthesiologist rushed in and quickly put me under. It was absolutely humiliating and lonely, but through that terrible feeling God showed up through those nurses and their faith. I remember thinking, “God, make me brave enough to do this for a friend or stranger. To be unashamed to whisper scripture and prayers in their ears.” I cannot possibly tell you how much that meant to me to hear that when I truly needed it the most.

I woke up from the surgery still crying. Apparently the tears never stopped. I’m blaming the medicine. When I woke up another sweet nurse rushed over. She said, “oh honey, I’ve been watching you cry in your sleep, are you ok?”…. I said, “I just need you to tell me I didn’t fart today in the surgery.” She howled with laughter and said that was absolutely NOT what she expected me to say. I fell back asleep with a smile on my face. When I woke up again the doctor was there. My pregnancy was confirmed to be ectopic. That meant the struggle wasn’t over yet. I cried a tiny bit more and dramatically said, “THIS WILL NEVER END.”

I was given a giant shot to help shrink the pregnancy out of the tubes. If it doesn’t work they will have to do another surgery to remove it. BUT I am praying strongly and with belief that I won’t have a need for another procedure. I’m still having to go in three times this week to check numbers. So this truly hasn’t ended yet. But it will soon and the hardest part is over.

This is what I can say about a miscarriage.

It is a club you do not want to join. I took great comfort in so many contacting me with their stories and encouragement. But I did not want to be in this club.

It is by far the loneliest experience of my life. I cannot tell you how alone I have felt through all of this. It isn’t anyone’s fault or anything that happened to make me feel alone, it just is so gut-wrenchingly lonely.  Every single thing that happened made me feel that much more alone.

But.

God was so clearly with me each step of the way. I have been prayed for and prayed over. I have had friends from far and wide coming to me with their stories and encouragement.

Miscarriage is a very dark place, but God’s light has shown through so much. I don’t know what I would do without the hope I have in my faith. This has been hard enough with my faith.

God truly is close to the brokenhearted, He has proven that to be true so many times in my life.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

 

the fight just isn’t cookie cutter

Do you ever wonder how we became so cookie cutter?

Lately in my struggle to fight for Rory, I have found myself desperately wanting to put her in a box of “this is how it is going to go”. Me, the person who prays so hard to never have her put into a box…. I’m the very one trying to do it.

Rory has been counting down to the day she went to Kindergarten for what seems like years now. She was so ready and so eager to get there that it drove us nuts all summer, ha!

Then a funny thing happened. Kindergarten started and the first week was amazing. And thennnnnnnnn, well we all know how fast that went downhill.

As we have already discussed, Rory is the definition of strong willed. In fact, when you google “strong willed”, I am certain that her face will pop up.

Rory struggled so hard for a few weeks. She had so little self control and so much strong will. That is not a good combo. It leads to things like, oh I don’t know, gluing your neighbor’s hand to the desk. Or cutting their paper. Or getting into a fist fight on the playground. Just hypotheticals, of course….

Life for those weeks was not fun. She would have a terrible day at school and since I am her mother, I disciplined her when she got home. We were both frustrated and agitated and feeling like failures.

It all came to a head one day, as things spiraling out of control seem to do, and I just broke down. I was so weary and burdened by parenting my precious girl. I didn’t know what to do. I cried so many tears I didn’t think I had anymore in me.

Because I can tend to be strong willed and stubborn too, it took me a long time to figure out what was happening. When I realized what I was doing it knocked the breath out of me. I was trying so hard to put her in the box.

I was desperate to fix all the problems by making her be that kid that sits in her chair and does all her work and never says a word.

I mean, can you imagine a world where Rory Harris didn’t have her spunky personality? The thought alone causes a giant lump in my throat.

Do you know what would be more devastating than some hard days with bad colors on a chart?

A world without Rory exactly how God made her- strong willed, hilarious, unique, fabulous, and absolutely stunning inside and out.IMG_5446

I’m so ashamed of myself- what an epic parenting fail. I spent weeks torturing Rory and myself while I was trying to enforce the worlds’ view of “normal kid behavior” on her.

So here is what happened that has changed everything:

1- I apologized. I got on my knees in front of Rory and told her that I was so sorry for not trying harder to understand what was going on at school. I apologized for not showing her enough love and for being too harsh. I asked her to forgive me. And then we prayed together and asked God to forgive us both.

2- I talked to Rory’s teacher as a mom desperate to help my kid. Not in the defensive way most parents go at teachers. I just flat out said, “I know my kid is a great kid and I expect more out of her.” Because I do not want to put Rory in a box, but if I don’t discipline her and let her know that I love her too much to let her act the way she was acting I will be putting her in another kind of box- the box that labels her forever as a problem child whose mother won’t step in for her. I am so incredibly thankful because Rory’s teacher has not once told me she was a bad kid. She has encouraged me and Rory. She, like me, expects more out of Rory because we know she is a good kid. She is committed to letting Rory’s personality shine but also directing her to make the right choices. Again, I am so incredibly thankful for her teacher. God answered my desperate pleas to place Rory with a teacher who would love her and encourage her.

3- For the most part, I let the discipline at school be enough. If she had an especially bad day she would write a letter to apologize to her teacher and lose TV. But that is as far as I would go. I realized that Rory’s spirit was being crushed by me because I was berating her about her behavior when she got home. I trust her teacher and respect her so much after speaking with her so I trust her discipline to be enough to help Rory realize bad behavior is not okay. Now. The next thing I’m going to tell you isn’t for everyone- but I know my child and know that this was completely needed- I told them to paddle her. Rory, her teacher, and I talked and we explained to her that they had permission to paddle her if she needed it. Rory’s eyes grew so wide I thought they were going to pop out of her head. The knowledge they have my permission alone has made Rory turn a complete 180 at school. They have never come close to needing to paddle her, but they have my permission to do so and Rory knows it. *Again, I know this is not the path everyone agrees with and I whole heartedly believe this is a child by child decision.*

4- Prayer. I cannot stress to you enough that this is the most important and crucial part of the equation. My biggest failure in all of this is that I didn’t have the wisdom to start this on day 1. Sure, we said short “bless this day” prayers before school. Sure, I prayed over her and her school the first day where she could hear it. But that wasn’t good enough. So now, each and every morning Rory sits in my lap in the living room and we pray. I snuggle her up and kiss her face until she rolls her eyes and then I put my hand over her heart and start to pray. First I pray something like this- “God bless this day. Help Rory to have a wonderful day today. Lord, we know that Rory is such a great kid. We are so thankful that you created Rory and gave her to us. She is so precious to us. God, we are so thankful that you have given us another day. We pray that we will use it well and show others love and kindness. Lord, control our hands and our mouths today. We are so thankful that the Bible promises that you will help us and we are praying that you will help us today to make great choices. Please bless our teachers today and help them to have a great day. We love you and praise you for giving us another day. Amen.” Then Rory says her prayer. It varies every day but she always, always asks God to help her have a good day and to help her make good choices. Since we have been starting the day off like this, we are all so incredibly blessed by it throughout the day. Our hearts are lighter because the burden of carrying the behavior is off our shoulders. We start the day fresh and confident that we aren’t alone in our struggles. Again, I cannot stress to you enough how this is the most vital change I have made to help Rory and her confidence. She has to know that we all struggle and all fall short but God is always here to love us and help us. If I do nothing else, I have to at least teach her that.

The thing I’ve been asking myself the most over the last few weeks is this – when did the fight for our kids and our families become so cookie cutter?

I want more than anything for Rory to be strong, independent, and confident in herself because of the way God made her. But how could I ever expect those things to be instilled in her if I’m trying to make her into a cookie cutter child? She needs to know that we mess up and we ask forgiveness and we move on. She knows that consequences for poor behavior are going to be hard and that we expect more from her.

She has to know that we love her too much to let her keep sinning and keep making bad choices. If we don’t teach her this now, when will we? This is the most crucial time in parenting. We have to show her how much we love her and how unconditional that love is. We have to show her that it is okay to mess up but that we are not going to stop her from having consequences. We have to teach her how to apologize and how to forgive by always being willing to do so ourselves.

I’ve said this a million times, but I will never, ever stop fighting for Rory. I will never stop fighting for Ryder. I will never stop fighting for my marriage and for Andy. I will fight until I die for their hearts and I pray that I’m never cookie cutter about it again.

Let us start fighting for our children’s hearts instead of fighting for their behavior. The heart is so much more important and the heart will lead the behavior in the right way.

Rory goes to Kindergarten.

It is finally here. The day she has been counting down for over a year…. and no I’m not even kidding about that.

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Rory is a Kindergartner.

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It took four outfit changes last night for her to finally decide on this outfit. And I am not gonna lie- I could not have been more thrilled to see that tutu. Some things will never change. I needed that tutu to remind me she’s still the same girl, just now at big school.

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Rory,

Last night when I was making your “first day” sign, I cried huge crocodile tears for so many reasons. Memories flooded me at that moment of all these years we have had together. I’m so thankful that my #1 job has been to be your mom. Nothing has made me feel more proud than to have you as my daughter.

You have tested me and made me giggle all within seconds for years. There were many times I couldn’t wait for you to go to Kindergarten so you could test someone else, ha! Your toddler years were hard at times because I just wasn’t ready for a child as magnificent as you. You have blown my mind with how you like to experience every.single.detail. of every.single.thing. you see. For so long we battled because I wasn’t wise enough to let you be strong willed. I didn’t understand your “engineering” brain and tried to make you have a brain more like mine. That was a failure on my part because I wouldn’t want you to change one thing about your personality or the way you think.

That is my biggest fear and therefore my biggest prayer for you as you start your new journey into school. I don’t want anyone to ever try to put you into a box again. I want you to soar with your own uniqueness.

I want your teacher to love you for YOU. I want her to love every quirk and every detail about you. For so many years I have been your main caretaker and your biggest cheerleader and I’m going to be real honest- it is so hard to pass that torch onto someone I don’t know. That right there is the hardest part to me.

I’ve been praying for your teacher for a long time now- that she will let you be yourself and love your strong willed nature. That she will nurture and love you like your momma does. She’ll never love you as much, but I’m hoping she is a close second.

Today is hard because I know how ready you are, but I’ve found myself not so ready. The house is so quiet without you in it. But I know with everything in me that Kindergarten is going to be amazing for you. You are going to soar at school. You are so much like your daddy and you absolutely love to learn. I am so thankful for that.

Driving you to school today was like torture. I knew I needed to be brave, just like I’ve told you to be for so many years now, and I knew I couldn’t cry before dropping you off. So I choked back the tears on the two minute drive to your school and just prayed for God to stop the stinkin’ tears until later.

When we got to the school they had us all go into the cafeteria to sit for a minute and it was so cold in there. You immediately asked if you could snuggle in my lap and IT TOOK EVERYTHING IN ME TO NOT BAWL LIKE A BABY. Oh, how I needed just one more snuggle before Kindergarten. So we sat there and I put on a smile and kissed your head and smelled you (moms are freaks) and savored every second of that snuggle.

Then we went into your classroom. You found your name and started to play and looked at me like, “when the heck are you going to get out of here?!” All the other parents were standing around and some kids were crying. Not you. You immediately dove into the play-doh and starting making something with the intense concentration that makes your tongue stick out. I knew it was time. Even if all the other moms were still there, I knew it was time.

I bent down and gave you one last hug and kiss. I told you how much I loved you and how proud of you that I am- you weren’t paying me any attention but I said it anyway because I always need you to know that.

Then you looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, “Mom, I got this,” with a huge smile on your face.

You are so right, Rory, you got this.

You’ll be proud to know that your momma didn’t cry until she got to the car. And then I sobbed HARDCORE. I cried all the way home. I cried into my cup of coffee. And now I’m crying into my keyboard.

I’m so incredibly proud of you. You were made for Kindergarten. This is the time I get to sit back and watch you shine. I cannot wait to see what God does in you this year.

No one will ever, EVER, love you as much as I do Rory- don’t ever forget that.

To the moon and back,

Mom

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use this for something great

About a week and a half ago, an event happened that left me devastated and feeling hopeless. I won’t get into the details because 1) it isn’t important to anyone else and 2) I want to protect people that I love (and myself)- just know that I’m not being dramatic when I say this is one of the hardest things I’ve been through.

It took a week of tears and fear and complete hopelessness to get me to breathe properly again.

And a week to open my Bible.

I don’t know why it took so long. Maybe I wanted to continue to wallow in my pain. Part of me was wishing I wasn’t a Christian so I didn’t feel so devastated and that would make things easier for me. So picking up my Bible seemed like an assault to my wounded pride.

When I finally picked it up, I opened it and decided to turn to 1 Thessalonians. I have no idea why and it sounds like a cliche, but it just happened that I turned there and wanted to just read a minute without actively pursuing comfort. Again, I wasn’t ready for that yet.

I read the entire book – just numb to most of the words, but it was when I came to a certain verse that I realized why 1 Thessalonians had been chosen for me –

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

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I have made that my mantra, my cry to God this week.

I will rejoice even if it hurts because the Bible tells me I have hope in Christ. That this circumstance would be hopeless if I didn’t know Him, but I do know Him and He loves me and cares for me and is hurting with me.

I will pray continuously because the Bible calls me to do this even when I don’t want to. Sometimes my prayer is, “God, please.” That is it. Sometimes that is all I can muster. Mostly, though, my prayer is that God will use this for something great. Praying that is what helps me to hurt less. If I can have the hope that this will be used for something amazing it hurts just a little less.

I will give thanks in this circumstance. I will give thanks for this event in my life because I know it can help me to be the person God wants for me. It will help me to be more compassionate towards others. It will help me to be less callous to things that are clearly not right. It certainly has helped me see the sin in my own life. I will be a better mother, friend, and wife when I get to the other side of this. I will give thanks because God chose for me to have to go through this storm because He wants better for me and wants my life to mirror Him more than it currently does.

I feel like a wreck right now. One minute I’m the same person and I forget. The next minute I find myself unable to get out of bed. Luckily for me, I have two precious girls that need me and love me unconditionally and that helps me so much. Seeing their smiling faces helps the worst days seem like they aren’t so bad.

I am determined to let God do something amazing with this time in my life. He already has opened my wounded heart up and poured Himself into me. I’m honestly looking forward to the growth I know I will experience and seeing the other side of this thing.

God has always been faithful to me, and I will be faithful to Him. Even if it hurts right now, I know He will use this for something great.

dear Jacy, on your 16th birthday…

Jacy,

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Today is your 16th birthday. At the risk of sounding completely cliche…. HOW?!

I will never forget turning 14 and knowing you would be born at any time. I couldn’t wait to hold you. I couldn’t wait to dress you up and play with you.

The first time I met you was the first time I realized what babies did to people.

For starters, you made me fall madly in love with the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I was giddy the entire time I got to hold you. I immediately was sad knowing I would have to leave in a few days.

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But man- nothing could have prepared me for what I saw in your mom. Your mom has always been one of my biggest heroes, but that day I saw her happy – unconditionally happy and in love – for the first time. I wish I could describe adequately how her face looked when looking at you, holding you, feeding you, showing you off to others…. I have never in my life been more proud of your mom than then. She was a changed woman. And even at 14 I knew that you were the best thing that had ever happened to her and that you two would have an incredible bond.

I’ll never forget when y’all came to live with us and how exciting that was for me. I always wanted a little sister and now I had one! I remember rocking you for hours (and hours……) and singing to you. You would look up at me with those big blue eyes and just giggle. Oh, how I adored you. I loved putting your hair in a water spout on the top of your head and buying you cute clothes with the babysitting money I would make. 10354145_1446410642343120_2697102144342400222_n

 

Seeing you grow up has been one of the highlights of my life, Jacy. I think about how tiny you were in your preemie Gap overalls Tasha and I bought you. And now, 16… with your license! With your own car!

There are some things I want you to know as you turn 16. I know you’ll probably roll your eyes but just hear me out, okay?

You are beautiful. No but seriously. It isn’t at all fair that you skipped the bad hair and the bad outfit choices. WE SHOULD ALL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT STAGE, OKAY?! But you didn’t. Instead, you blossomed into the most beautiful teenager I’ve ever seen. (Also. It isn’t fair that you have those long legs when I’m stuck with these stubby disasters.) I look at you and hope that you know you are beautiful. Not in the conceded way that no one wants to be around, but in the way that you don’t try to find that validation from others. I just wish that you could know in your core that you are beautiful and never seek anyone’s approval about it. I spent way too much of my life (especially teenage years) trying to find my beauty through others (read:boys) and well, that never worked out for me. I don’t want you to struggle through that like I did. So just listen to your wise aunt and know, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

You are loved. More than anything else, I cannot stress to you enough how loved you are. I know that this is something I should say more often to make sure you know- but I love you. Unconditionally love you. And that’s not even important compared to your mother. Jacy, your mother loves you more than she loves herself. She loves you more than you could ever know. She loves you enough to make up for the lack of love you could have ever felt from other parents in your life. You never needed him because YOUR MOM LOVED YOU ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF THEM. And the greatest loss is his because, man, did he miss out on the most wonderful kid on the planet. When Josh came into the family like a saving grace, I saw how much he loved you too and I knew he would be one of the best things that ever happened to you. One of the best decisions your mom ever made for herself and for you was choosing to let Josh love you. Then there is your grandparents. You couldn’t possibly know the love from them. Of course there is your amazing aunts too. We all love you enough that you should never have to feel like you missed out on anything because you haven’t. We have all been so madly in love with your big blue eyes and beautiful soul since the first time we laid eyes on you. Unconditionally, we love you. The best part is that we don’t hold a candle to the way God loves you. Even when we fail you and you feel unloved by us, God is always there showing you how much He loves you.

I hope that today is a wonderful birthday. I hope you enjoy driving as much as I did when I turned 16. Remember to pay attention and DO NOT TEXT. (Sorry, the mom came out for a minute.)

Oh Jacy, I am so insanely proud of you. You are growing into a wonderful woman and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

I love you so very much,

Crazy Aunt Tiff

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bless this house

Today we bought a house.

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A beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a gorgeous deck and back yard for the girls to play in.

Rory has a chandelier in her new room and a wall of mirrors to dance in front of. What could suite her better?! Ryder’s room has the perfect nook to create worlds in with her vivid imagination.

Andy and Ryder went to get the power and water turned on while Rory and I went to the new house to unload a few things.

But most importantly I needed some time to bless our house.

I know a lot of denominations have priests or pastors to come bless the house and I think that is wonderful.

For me, I just knew that it needed to be just me. My heart. My words. Just time for me to bless the house.

I walked through each room of the house and touched every wall.

“Lord. Bless this house.”

My words were soft and genuine. The more I walked and said those words, the harder the tears fell and the louder my cry was.

“Please, oh Lord. Bless this house.”

I got to the front door and put both hands on it as tears started flowing hard down my face.

“Lord, bless this house and everyone who walks through this door.”

I started thanking God for every opportunity we have had to lead us to this house: married young, college, first job and move to Louisiana, pregnant with my first baby and the big move to Texas, all those sleepless nights and two babies, Ryder’s surgery, Rory’s ear tubes and night terrors, our decision to move to TN, moving into our dream house in Savannah, two very hard years and being broken over things I could not change, Andy’s surprise phone call for a new  job, moving to East TN, nine beautiful months in a tiny apartment, and finally home in a gorgeous neighborhood and a beautiful house.

“Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us here. Thank you for every single hard thing we have endured along the way. Thank you for every single victory. Thank you for Andy’s job and his work ethic. Thank you for letting me be the ‘manager’ of this home. Thank you for this gift. Lord, let me lead well here. Let me create a joyful atmosphere for my family. Let the laughter and love run rampant in this home.”

I walked upstairs and saw Rory dancing in her room. Such joy on her face. The tears fell harder.

I went into Ryder’s room and touched every wall.

“Lord, bless this house.”

Then I literally fell to my knees. Put my face on the ground. Sobbing. Tears of joy and thankfulness.

“Lord, thank you. Thank you for Ryder. Thank you for saving her. Thank you for every single hard and terrible thing she has endured and that we have had to go through to get her where she is now. Thank you, Jesus, for Ryder. My joyful, precious baby. Lord, if there is anything evil and not of you in this room GET IT OUT. Anything that is not of you is not allowed in this room. Lord, help Ryder to feel safe in this room. Let her sleep well in this room. Please dear Jesus, let this be the room she grows in her desire for you. Lord, let this be the room we pray together in. Let this be the room she that she asks for her Salvation in You in. Let this be the room that she grows in her relationship with You. Let this be the room she finds her confidence in through You. Oh Jesus, bless this room. Bless this room.”

Rory is no longer in her room so I take the opportunity to go into her room. The tears fall even harder. I have fought for Ryder’s health, but I’ve fought harder for Rory in every single way. Again, I fall to my knees and choke back sobs.

“Jesus, oh Jesus. Bless this room. Thank you for my gorgeous, smart, precious Rory. Lord, thank you for her life. Thank you for every hard thing we have endured with her in her life. Thank you for every single time you made me fight for her. Thank you for her tenacious and strong-willed spirit. Thank you for her charm and witty nature. Oh, Jesus, bless this room. If there is anything in this room that is not of You, make it leave NOW. If there is anything that could cause harm to Rory, get it out. Help Rory to feel safe in this room. Help her to finally sleep well in this room. Please, oh Lord, let her sleep. Oh, Jesus, let this be the room she gives her heart to you in. Let this be the room we pray together in and that she asks you for Salvation. Lord, let this be the room that she flourishes in. Let this be the room she discovers and explores who she is in You. Let this be the room where her mischievous spirit is warped into wanting knowledge in good things. Lord bless this room. Oh, God, bless this room.”

I walk downstairs to go into the master bedroom to pray and find the most beautiful sight on earth.

There she is, my tender-hearted Rory, on her knees in the middle of the room. She has tears on her face. And then I hear it.

“Jesus, bless this room. Thank you for this room for mom and dad. Help them to be happy in this room. Help them to sleep in this room. Help them to feel safe in this room. Thank you for the two closets and the bathroom just for them. Thank you for the tub mommy can relax in. Lord, bless daddy and mommy’s room.”

I’m not sure if I have ever cried such tears in my life. Tears of joy, thankfulness, and pure love.

Rory watched me bless the house and she blessed me the most by going to my room and blessing it for me.

Then she asked me if we could go bless the bedroom Papa, Mimi, Gigi and Grandpa would stay in.

“Lord, let this room have my Papa, Mimi, Grandpa and Gigi in it all the time. Let them come to my house and love coming here. Let them sleep good in this room. Let me have slumber parties with them. Let this be happy. Let us always have friends and family in it. Thank for for this room. Bless this room, Jesus. Amen.”

I could not have asked for a more perfect day blessing my house with my precious Rory.

“Oh, Jesus, bless our house.”

 

the best parts of motherhood

This past week I’ve been contemplating my mother’s day post and how I would approach it this year. Mother’s Day is so tricky. We definitely want to celebrate moms loud and proud, but the pain of infertility is at its height on this day too, so you always want to be sensitive to those suffering.

Here is what I know. Motherhood is the most beautiful, amazing, and hard thing I have ever done. As each year passes I appreciate it even more. I realize what a gift it is and how precious life is.

So today, I will tell you my very favorite things about being a mom.

First picture with Rory

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First picture with Ryderfirstryderpic

The snuggles. OH. THE SNUGGLES. I remember having Rory and it being just me and her all day every day of the week and I’m pretty sure all we did was snuggle. I remember just staring at her for hours and thinking IT COULD NOT POSSIBLY GET BETTER THAN THIS. And I was so right. There is something so magical about that time with your first baby in the first weeks and months. There is nothing like it. And now I’m five years in to the snuggling and still enjoy the more rare opportunities to get on the couch and all snuggle up.

The firsts. Every.single.first. gets you so excited. First time you hold them, first feeding, first poop (no joke… you have a baby you’ll be excited about a poop), first smile, first family outing, first giggle, first words, first time they eat baby food and solids, first crawl, first words, first steps, first boo boo, first birthday….. AND I DIDN’T EVEN COVER EVERYTHING. Every single time they do something for the first time is the most exciting thing of life! I felt that way with BOTH my girls. I enjoyed every single first so very much. The best part is that even though they aren’t as frequent as they are the first year, you always have firsts. Rory’s first day of Kindergarten is coming up soon! My niece, Jacy, will be 16 next month and my sister will experience the first time she drives off by herself. *sob* Firsts never end and I love that.

The humor. I thought I lived a humorous and fun life before kids. OH HOW I WAS WRONG. There is so much humor in motherhood. And let me just say- if you can’t find the humor in motherhood, you need to seek medical attention. Every single day, multiple times a day, I laugh until I cry (or pee my pants because let’s be real… I am a mother of two). From things my kids say, to getting crapped on at the doctor’s office, to potty training woes…. there is just never a day that is dull. Even when Ryder was so sick, there was still so much humor. Laughter has saved me from drowning in diapers and sicknesses and all the crazy that comes with having two little girls 15 months apart. The most important advice I have for moms is to keep the humor. Because you can either cry or laugh, and y’all know I’d rather be laughing at the crazy that comes with having kids.

The unconditional love. Some days with my girls are hard and ugly. But even when they deliberately disobey and do things that disappoint me- I love them just the same. It is so true that once you are a mom, you loved your kids no matter what. Mothers see beauty in their children and in their hearts even when they do the very worst things.

But you want to know what is more beautiful than loving your children unconditionally? Being loved unconditionally by your children. 

Every single day I struggle with loving myself. It is something I have always struggled with. There are times that I just hate, HATE, hate the way I look. There are times that I don’t like my attitude. There are times I hate how I gave up on some dreams and ended up “just a stay at home mom”. There are times I want to run away.

But every single day, my precious girls remind me of just how important I am to them. They love me even when I don’t love myself. They look at me in my nightgown with their snot rubbed on it and tell me how beautiful I am. And when I dress up? “MOMMY!!!!! YOU ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOM EVER! LOOK AT YOU! YOU ARE SO FANCY!” Who could feel ugly after all that?! They see me lose my temper. They see me frustrated. They forgive me and love me anyway. They want to be with me. They want to make me proud. They love me even though they see all my flaws.  They see me for who I am and that is so dang scary- and they love me with their entire hearts anyway.

I always expected to love my children unconditionally, but man, I never expected the beauty of being loved unconditionally by them. This is, hands down, the best part of motherhood.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful moms in my life. Each of you have encouraged me and helped me to be a better mom. I love you all so very much.

And to my mother- I love you more than I could ever express. Thank you for teaching me the importance of laughter and grace in motherhood. You are the best example of both of those things. I’m so blessed to have you as my mother.

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careful to label

I posted on Facebook earlier about a situation going on at the girls’ school.

Ryder is in a bit of a situation where she is being “bullied”. I’m so careful to even say that word because I think we live in a society that is quick to cry “bully” and not quick to teach their children appropriate behavior or how to stand up for themselves.

Ryder has had a few accidents of peeing in her pants at school. She told us she just didn’t know why she did it. She said she forgot and did it in her pants. There were several off the wall explanations. After the third time I thought maybe she even had a UTI or something but she wasn’t doing this at home. What breaks my heart the most about this is that I disciplined her for it, thinking she just wasn’t going when she needed to (on her designated potty breaks) and possibly playing in the bathroom instead.

Turns out, she got very scared in the bathroom last week because the lights were turned out on her.

Ryder FOR SURE has mild anxiety- and sometimes it goes to extreme anxiety. I don’t deal with anxiety myself 99% of the time, so this has been a new deal for me.

Today she came home very upset because apparently her pants had been pulled down in front of everyone. I’ve had this happen to me before and know how mortifying it is.

I am beyond mad. Furious. Ryder is about 1/5th the size of this child who has picked on her. So it makes me even madder and more protective. I want this solved like YESTERDAY. I can’t even begin to express how my heart is burdened for my child who already deals with anxiety.

But then….

I have a child who at one point (in Savannah) was labeled the “bad child”. When I say Rory struggled her 3rd year of life in school, I MEAN SHE STRUGGLED. She had a teacher who wanted her to be in a box of perfection like the other kids. She made it KNOWN that Rory was bad. Rory would come home and say, “I want to be a good girl but I’m just bad.”

One of my biggest regrets in life, not exaggerating, is that I didn’t pull Rory out. I went to the church that the school was at and went to the principal and director several times about the issue. It was never addressed. WHY DIDN’T I PULL HER OUT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am my child’s voice! I completely failed her on that. She struggled until we moved and still for a few months after to build her confidence in herself back up. I am so thankful for her teacher that celebrates Rory for exactly who she is.

Man. That is such an understatement. I am literally sobbing thinking of my stupidity of not pulling her out and how much I failed her as her parent and her advocate. I’m sobbing because I am so beyond thankful that God sent us here… for Rory. Y’all, I’m not even kidding…. I’m about to burn some bridges saying this – but when we lived in Savannah, I was so scared that Rory would be so stifled in that town that she WOULD be a “bad kid”. I knew she was bigger than that town and that she needed more for her life. I prayed every day that God would intervene because of that.

So this is where I play devil’s advocate a TINY BIT.

I do not want this child to be labeled. I do not think it is the same at all because Rory has never had issues with hurting others constantly or “bullying”.

But maybe she doesn’t have an advocate standing in for her? Maybe her home life isn’t great? Maybe she has something going on psychologically?

What if she isn’t meeting her potential that God has for her because there is no one pushing her to be the best kid she can be?

What if this is a cry for help?

I do not think this kid is a “bad kid”. I think she doesn’t even know where to begin on making the right choices. I think  maybe she gets away with things that my children never would because she doesn’t have a mom and dad that say, “SWEETHEART I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH TO LET YOU BEHAVE THIS WAY.”

Where do we draw the line on labeling? The child is YOUNG. No more than 4. So she obviously hasn’t been “trained up” to behave the way we expect 4 year olds to behave, OR, she obviously is having some issues that are coming out through poor behavior.

I don’t want Rory to be labeled as a bad kid because she is strong willed and too smart for her own good.

I don’t want Ryder to be labeled as difficult because of her anxiety.

I don’t want this child to be labeled because of her actions either.

This is not to say that I won’t be standing up for Ryder. I WILL NOT LET MY CHILD BE TERRORIZED.

I will never, EVER EVER EVER, make the same mistake I made with Rory again. Ever. I will ALWAYS advocate and fight for my child. If that means maybe Ryder needs to go to another school next year, then so be it. I will be sad, yes, but will not put her through this another year. I hope that it doesn’t come to that because I love the school, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

I’m going to be praying for the other little girl. Praying for her heart and for her parents’ heart to be changed. I’m going to be praying that she gets the help she needs.

And I’m going to be praying for my precious Ryder, that she recovers from this and that her anxiety won’t be taking over anymore because of this situation.

I appreciate all of your feedback and encouragement. Thank you for always loving my children. FullSizeRender

finally a soccer mom

The dream has happened. It is finally soccer season which means…

I am finally a soccer mom.

*Insert spirit fingers.*

This is not something I anticipated being so excited about. I played soccer until 9th grade (would have played longer but our high school didn’t have a soccer team…… #smallschoolproblems), but softball was my thing. I don’t even think I was better at softball over soccer at all. I just think I went into HS knowing that I wanted to play and make a difference on a very, very young and new team. I don’t know if I did that or not but I sure did try.

Side note: I also think I was determined to play softball and hopefully be decent at it because my middle school coach told me that I “just wasn’t a star” and “probably should pick another sport”. Nothing gets a McIntire fired up like telling them you can’t do it.

Okay back on track. Whew. That was a tangent wasn’t it?!

When we signed Rory up for soccer I realized HOW MUCH I WANTED HER TO PLAY. She played Tball last year and I knew then that it probably wasn’t her sport. She got bored and there wasn’t enough constant hustle for her. (If she wants to play later when she has more patience we sure will go that route.) Before her first practice I just thought that soccer would be right up her alley.

And I was so right.

Rory is a hustler. When I tell you she is fast I mean SHE IS LIKE A LIGHTENING BOLT.

Saturday was Rory’s first game and she did amazing. She scored 5 goals and had great control of the ball. She was so cute with her ponytail and uniform. She would look over at us and give a big thumbs up.

IMG_5233 IMG_5289 IMG_5267 IMG_5269 FullSizeRender 2 FullSizeRenderSunday’s game was a bit different. We had some attitude problems and just didn’t have our head in the game. I’m suspecting it was because she was up THE ENTIRE NIGHT on Saturday. But what do I know about life?

Ryder is not what we would call an “outdoor person”. (Understatement of the century.) So keeping her happy during the games is a bit tricky. She has been packing her purse with snacks to bring and a drink. But I’m thinking I’m going to need to bring an umbrella and a personal fan for her too because OH MY WORD I CANNOT HANDLE THE COMPLAINING.

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(In fact, complaining was at an all time high on Sunday from both girls that I said ENOUGH ALREADY and took away the TV until further notice.)

One thing you can be sure of though, my girls are die hard fans of each other. Rory is always encouraging Ryder to try new things and to push herself. I am always so proud of Rory and her encouraging spirit, especially towards her sister.

And this weekend the tables turned and Ryder got her chance at encouraging Rory and SHE BLEW IT OUT OF THE WATER. Ryder cheered for Rory so hard I thought she was going to pass out. She jumped and cheered and yelled, “GO WHOA-WY!!!!!!!!!!!!” over and over again.

I do believe the pride I have in my children was at an all-time high on Saturday. Between Rory doing so awesome and Ryder cheering her on- I JUST BEAMED LIKE A CRAZY PERSON. There was nothing you could do to wipe that silly grin of pride off my face.

Somehow I managed to get the best part on camera. I mean I couldn’t have planned this even if I tried.

I’m so excited to see how the season turns out. Rory was back on her game last night at practice, so I’m hoping Sunday was a no-sleep fluke.

And maybe one day I will turn the TV back on for the children.

 

 

maybe sometimes we need to lose it.

Do you ever have about a million things hit you at the same time that are just so discouraging and ugly and seem hopeless? Do you ever feel so beaten down you just want to beat someone back? Do you ever just crack under it all and lose your shiii cool?

That is where I’ve been this week.

I’ve lost my cool. Too many times.

In fact, I’m going to be really honest with y’all. (Like I ever have a problem with honesty here?! ha)

But things got ugly.

I had enough of bad attitudes, disrespectful mouths, and the absolute carelessness of others and I LOST IT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

I have never lost my cool and yelled like that in front of the girls. Ever. I mean I LOST IT. It didn’t last long but it was like a mighty storm that comes in and shakes the entire house.

My family knew that Mama was D.O.N.E.

My immediate reaction was one of severe guilt. I’m talking severe, y’all. I was shaking from guilt and feeling like the worst mom on the planet. I immediately grabbed the girls and wrapped them in my arms and begged their forgiveness. I prayed whiled holding them that God would forgive my outburst and to help me handle things better. I prayed that loud and clear so the girls could hear.

We all sat there and loved on each other.

Immediately after the guilt was washed away and I saw the girls faces I realized that maybe this was the best thing I had done in a while for myself and for my family.

I know, I know. This is so not what we are used to reading on mom blogs. We are used to people telling us that we need to be quiet and selfless at all times. We are told to never have an outburst.

While I think that can be good advice, I also think that if we don’t have the very rare outburst when we aren’t being treated the right way or the kids are deliberately disobeying, our children won’t ever know its okay to say,” ENOUGH.”

I want Rory and Ryder to always feel like they can say “enough”. If they are in bad relationships of ANY kind, I want them to be bold enough and strong enough to say, “I WILL NOT TAKE THIS ANY LONGER.” I tell them all the time that if someone is being mean to them at school they need to say, “I do not want you to do/say that to me anymore.” I teach them to be kind always, but to also stand up for themselves.

So if we, as mothers, are constantly being selfless and letting our kids see us never say, “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH,” then how are they going to learn by my actions the very things we have taught them?

Not to mention that they are my children and SHOULD NOT be acting that way. What I say goes. PERIOD. I shouldn’t be dealing with arguing and disrespect.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am certainly hoping I never have to lose my cool again. But so what if I do?

Since my outburst and declaration of ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, my girls have been so much more caring. It has done a complete turn around. They are not running around trembling and scared that mom is going to have another outburst AT ALL. They have just realized that I’m not taking the behavior anymore. Rory hasn’t been pushing every limit and Ryder hasn’t been saying, “no,” to my every word.

Today they ran to me and told me they missed me after just one night away with grandparents. On the way home from the park they both talked to me and sang with me and we haven’t done that in forever. Weeks, y’all. Its been several weeks since the bad attitudes have been around.

Today Rory drew a picture for me and told me she was sorry because she knew she wasn’t being nice to me lately. Not in a scared way, but in a way that made me know she truly understood she had been acting not-so-good.

So moms, if you have the occasional outburst of “ENOUGH”, don’t beat yourself up over it.

The key is to apologize for the outburst and to explain why it happened.  Never call names or say things that tear anyone down. All you need to say is, “I have had enough.”

We need to start sticking up for ourselves in a way that is loving. “I love you too much to let you treat me this way.” We would want our kids to do the same for themselves, wouldn’t we?

I just love all of you mom friends so much. After a long winter indoors we are all weary and ready for the sun to shine through into our kids’ hearts and attitudes. I want to encourage you to say “enough” when you need to and to love your people hard through it.

Sometimes you just need to lose your cool in order to get their attention and in order to show them you love them too much to let them continue on with their poor behavior.

And then remember that every moment is a new one, so move past the outburst and show them grace and how attitude is truly everything.

Love you mom friends. Hope this encouraged you today.