Monday, January 7, 2013

Joshua's 5th Birthday

5 years. Half a decade. How did this happen 'Shua? How could you possibly be 5?

Sweet boy, words fail me. I love you so much and I wish you were here. I wish it every time I think of you. But in your absence, we still celebrate you. We celebrate the time we did spend with you.

Happy Birthday Joshua!

Your sisters love you.

Oceana says she remembers you, she talks about you a lot. She calls you her LBBFF --- Mommy needed a translation, "Little Brother, Best Friend Forever".

Naomi knows about you too. She was excited to send you balloons today.

And Cora will learn. I tell her about you - we look at your pictures and I tell her who you are. She cuddles with your teddy bears sometimes.

I still smell your clothes. Your scent is long since gone. It stayed for about two years, but it's gone now. I miss that scent. Sweet boy I love you so much.

Here's a few pictures of your birthday party.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Joshua's 5th Birthday

5 years ago we were preparing for the birth of a beautiful little boy. 

And today we remember that it's been nearly 5 years since we held him in our arms. 

On his 1st birthday, in 2009, we let go of a blue balloon. We told Oceana, who was only 2 1/2 that we were sending Joshua his birthday balloon. Every year we celebrated his birthday by letting go of a balloon. On his 4th birthday it was too dark to take a photo, as we waited until it was too late in the day. Every other year we documented the occasion with a quick photo. 

This year, in celebration of a milestone birthday, I'd like to ask you all a favor. 

Would you send Joshua a blue balloon? And would you send a photo of it to bouncingblossom AT gmail DOT com? 

I'd love to put together a photo book of "Joshua's First Five Years". A history of his birthday celebrations and balloon releases, and a history of the siblings who joined his family. 

Thank you all dear friends. Thank you for loving him with us. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

I was reading back through the blog this morning and came across these words, posted originally in March of 2009 right before Naomi was born. Hard to imagine life with Naomi.

I'm extremely excited about the arrival of this newest little Sams baby. We are all prepared for her, at least to the best of our abililties. I have the clothes all set - washed, dried, folded, put away by size. I have disposable diapers and wipes for her, until she fits in her cloth diapers. I have the baby food mill and the blender ready for when she eats solids. I have the blankets, the receivers, the bouncer seat, the pack and play, the crib, the nursing pads, the diaper bin, and the slings. I am taking Evening Primrose Oil and I have my Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. I've got my Swiss ball to sit on, and my midwife on standby.

But the what ifs keep popping up. I can be doing something normal, like washing my dishes, when suddenly I'm thinking about the what ifs. And the what ifs bring fear.

I know that fear is not from God. I know that fear is not something I have to live with. But it's very real and it's very obvious to me.

Ignorance was bliss. When I got pregnant with Oceana my biggest fear was that she would arrive via C-section. Second on the list was, what if the gender was wrong? We'll have to return all this pink stuff! Our friend's lost their son who was born at 26 weeks, after spending 6 weeks with him in the NICU. But it still didn't hit home with me that sometimes the ending's not as happy as you want it to be. Then a year later, our friends Jevon and Jenn had their son and he passed away less than a week later. This was my first introduction to Trisomy. My first introduction to something that went wrong from the very conception of the baby. And yet, it still didn't make sense to me. I just thought he had a "bad form of Down Syndrome" (that's literally how I explained it to people, for lack of understanding).

And then one fateful day in August 2007 we learned what a neural tube defect was. What an encephalocele was. What else could be wrong with our son. A long list of possiblities. None of them were good.

And then I sought out people on the internet with similar stories. And I learned about microcephaly, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13. I learned about fatal forms of dwarfism and heart issues. I learned about stillbirth. I learned about extended NICU stays. And I learned that sometimes women walk out of the maternity wing without a carseat in hand.

Ignorance was bliss. Before I knew all this, I could just be excited about blue and pink.

But now? Now, I have to work to "forget" all the possibilities. All the problems. All the potential issues. And some days I do better than others.

I have very real fears. And at the forefront of those fears, is the fear that I won't get to keep her. Just being honest my friends, just being honest. I have no reason to think there's a problem, just simply the fear of past experience.

Keep us in your prayers, dear ones. It's a difficult road to walk, even though it should be a happy one. I'm quite happy to stay pregnant for another week. In another week, I may not be so thrilled. But at 39 weeks, I can handle it for one more week. She's safe. She's sound. I just need to get my head in the game. Maybe she hasn't arrived yet, because I'm not emotionally ready for her to arrive. In some regards, I don't know when I'll be ready.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cora Rose - Birth Story

It's already been 12 weeks since Cora was born, so I thought it was high time I wrote out what I remember of her birth story before I forgot it.

I should have expected it, but my labor seemed to start and stop a bit after my due date. I had a stretch and sweep the day before my due date, because I was getting anxious to get things going. As much as I told myself I would have zero interventions, I was *over* pregnancy. I was in a lot of pain for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy. I sprained my foot at 36 weeks, and my hips ached from about 30 weeks forward, getting worse after my sprain since I had to compensate for my limp. Stairs became agonizing. I was told to do as few stairs as possible. Um... My washer and dryer are in the basement, kitchen and living room on first, *only* bathroom on 2nd floor along with the girls' room and the sewing room, then our room on the 3rd. Stairs were a necessity. I was a hurting unit... I limped for about 4 weeks. Even after Cora was born I had about a month of limping.

On Sunday the 8th (Easter) I decided to try hand expressing to see if I could keep my erratic and easy contractions into something else. It worked, but if I stopped, they stopped. Around 4am I got out of bed and went downstairs to hang out on the couch since I couldn't sleep. I woke up and watched Matt get ready for work. I told him I thought today was the day, but he said I wasn't "that far" and that he was going to work. I was shocked, but since he works relatively close by, I let him go.

At around 8 I called a friend to tell her where things were - 3 minute apart and getting stronger - she freaked out on me. I called Matt to tell him to come home and he told me he was an hour and a half away on a delivery. The friend decided she was coming to get me and take me to the hospital. Since it was Easter Monday, my neighbor was still home from work (middle school language arts teacher), so it was no big deal to have her come over to take care of my girls. Christina arrived around 9am and we left for the hospital (about 30 minutes away).

We got into triage around 10am and wouldn't you know my contractions all but stopped. 20 minutes without a single blip on the contraction monitor. I was thinking, that's it, I jinxed it. Should have stayed home longer. But I was dilated to 4cm, so they admitted me. Matt arrived somewhere in that hour or two we spent in triage.

I met my nurse, Sue, and decided she should have been my nurse for all of my babies! She was wonderful! Sue had birthed all of her babies naturally; it's such an encouragement to be surrounded my natural birthers when you're in the midst of it. Sue got me in the tub to get my body to relax and get the contractions going and was ready to bust out the electric pump when I got out. My midwife Lisa came in and offered to break my water since I was far enough dilated and contracting regularly. I felt like I was on a timeline now (Matt had left work for the day and I just felt like "Ok, time to get the show on the road"). So I had her break my water to get the contractions stronger. That was around 1 or 2pm.

My water breaking was when things really kicked in. I'm fuzzy from there on timing and details. Project Runway was on TV. Matt was watching - I think he knew better than to change my show when I was in labor. It was Season 1 reruns. Ohhh Austin Scarlett, you've always been 97 kinds of eccentric.

My midwife Sue kept talking to me about the waves at the beach. You have to ride them. No use fighting them, they'll just bowl you over. I have every intention of being up during my labor, but once my water was broken I don't think I stepped out of that bed! I laid back and went limp during contractions. I could tell things were progressing because I was becoming less aware of my surroundings and getting more vocal (read: LOUD). With Oceana and Joshua I held Matt's hand during transition. With Naomi I held onto my yoga ball. This time I turned my head toward Sue - Christina and Matt were nearly completely ignored - sorry guys. I laid my head into my pillow and vocalized through the contractions.

I saw Sue begin to prep the room - such an encouragement when you feel the contractions are never ending. Then she heard me change and get grunty. I knew I was getting close too. I was sitting there thinking, "Maybe I should get on my hand and knees?" Before I could say a word, Sue said, "Maybe you should get up on your hands and knees." Talk about a kindred spirit! Even got the same name.

I slowly moved to my hands and knees, leaning foward onto my pillows and I felt something change. I'm sure that was the last little movement needed to settle Cora into my pelvis because I *knew* it was time. I started shouting about feeling ready to push and asked Sue if I could push. Love it! She says, "No you may not. You know just as well as I do that if you push on a 9cm lip you'll get your cervix all swollen and this will take forever. Roll over so I can check you." It took a few contractions, but I turned back around and she checked me. "9cm and a lip," she said. And I gave a really ticked off "Gahhhh!" in return.

About 2 minutes later I felt a *real* urge and I was at 10. She had called in my midwife somewhere in there. Sue had told me Lisa was her favorite to deliver with. She said, "She'll lower the end of your bed to the floor, kick her shoes off, and sit down on the end of your bed and birth that baby barefoot. And she did. I saw her kick her white crocs off toward the bathroom door and I knew we were in business. :)

Lisa sat down at the end of the bed and asked, "How long did you push with your other babies?" "10 and 15 minutes". She laughed out loud and said, "We won't be her that long." 5 minutes later she said to me, "Susie, reach down and take your baby." So I did! I picked her up quickly and suddenly there were nurses screaming, "SHORT CORD SHORT CORD! Susie, lower her down!". I brought my hands way down and they clamped her and me immediately. Afterwards they explained that when I snatched her up the cord had completely severed between us. She and I were perfectly fine, but there was blood everywhere because of the rupture.

After the initial freak out over the cord, the comments started "Wow. She's a big girl!" I admit, I slid my hand under her bottom before anyone had said girl. I didn't want to ask if it was definitely a girl, but needed to be sure. when they took her to be weighed, the nurse looked to me and said, "Do you want to take a guess?" I knew she was a bit bigger, so I guess much larger than I though she was - 8lbs 14oz. She was 8lbs 15oz. Oh my word.

When the nurse was checking Cora out, she measured her head at 14", then her chest at 14". Everyone in the room was shocked. I knew I had pushed after her shoulders were born and I never remembered pushing past that initial shoulder pop. But I had to actually push her all the way out. 14" and 14" - makes sense! It was then that I looked up at Matt and we had our final conversation about her name. "Cora?" *shrug* "Cora Hope?" *head shake* "Cora Rose?" *shrug*. "Ok. Cora Rose. Cora Rose Sams." Talk about last minute!

Our recovery has been so great. Cora fed well, never a problem with that. They did insist on blood sugar checks because she was "large for gestational age". I thought that was ridiculous. They had said it needed to be done for 24 hours. But after 12 hours without a bad BG level, they discontinued them. She was perfectly fine. No jaundice, good sleep, great nursing. It was a breeze. Minus that whole, "I just had a baby" thing. My recovery was much better after  Cora than with Naomi. More like Joshua's labor. I was up and around an hour or two after he was born. I walked really slow the first night, but by the next day I was up and around without feeling weak or a lot of pain. We had a quiet day and a half in the hospital and then came home to brave life with 3 girls.

She's almost 12 weeks old and smiling and laughing now. She's getting close to being ready to sit up in her Bumbo. She loves "talking" to us and loves to be carried. I am in love with this little girl. She is so precious!

Cora Rose
Born April 9th, 2012 @ 4:52pm
8lbs 15oz, 21in

And yes, for the record: Oceana's birthday is April 11, 2006 and Naomi's is April 10, 2009. The girls are one day short of three years apart. We couldn't have planned this if we'd tried. Oceana was an scheduled induction, but Naomi and Cora were spontaneous labors. So funny!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I took down my Moby back wrap tutorial months ago because it's not considered safe by Moby anymore. There are plenty of YT tutorials out there, but I was sick of all the attacking comments on the video, so I took it down.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A few thoughts for you tonight

"Is everything sad going to come untrue?" - Samwise Gamgee, LOTR, Tolkein

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Behold the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.'

"And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.'" - Revelation 21:1-5

My beautiful girls

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cora Rose

My "little" beauty arrived Monday, April  9th at 4:52pm. She weighed a very surprising 8lb. 15oz, and is 21in long. By far my biggest.... a whopping 13oz bigger! She is absolutely precious and her sisters adore her.

***Edited to add: And yes, to the commenter to spotted it: This means our girls' birthdays line right up. Cora - 04/9/12, Naomi - 04/10/09, and Oceana - 04/11/06. One day short of 3 years apart. We couldn't have planned that if we'd TRIED!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cleaning house, getting bigger, and waiting.

Hi all - I thought I should probably do a quick update before baby's photos show up. Sooner? Later? Sometime between now and mid-April. I'm certainly hoping she comes closer to her due date, because the idea of heading into mid-April is a little (a lot) daunting.

37 weeks

Oceana is *thriving* in school. She's reading like a maniac and loving it. I tried to read the Little House books to her last summer and she was only minimally interested. We made it through the first 3 books last summer, but we started with On The Banks of Plum Creek just a few weeks ago and her opinion has completely changed. I love how interested she in the stories. She has read Great Day for Up, The Foot Book, and a few other books already. So proud. Seriously - SO proud. 

Naomi is nearly 3 - how did that happen? She looks so much like Oceana it's ridiculous. The other night she was in our bed wearing hand-me-down jammies from Oceana. Matt used his phone light to check which kid was in our bed and for a minute thought it was Oceana - that's how much alike they look. :) She's so talkative (they both are). So talkative in fact that Daddy may start wearing earplugs in the car so he can stay sane when stuck inside the car with three chatty girls. The "I-Spy" game drives him crazy.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Trucks, trains, dirt, and noise

Oh how I wish for trucks, trains, dirt, and noise.

Joshua, it's your 4th birthday today.

You would have been fully of energy, loud, rough and tumble. Everything your cousin Evan is. Evan will be four in just 6 weeks. Every time I look at him, I realize what we lost. I miss you every time I hold him in my arms. Evan is loud. He wants to wrestle. He wants to jump off everything, and hit most everything with a stick. But he has a beautiful soft side that comes out when he's tired and missing his mommy. Almost every week when he's here at our house, he sheds a few tears at bedtime because he wants Mommy.

Joshua, I want you; I want you like Evan wants Mommy.

Last night we read Heaven Is For Real, the kid's version. It was your birthday present from your Auntie Christina & Uncle Bryce. Oceana, Naomi, and Evan sat with me in the girls' room and we read about your new home. A place where the angel Gabriel is as tall as a giant and he has a big, flaming sword. We read about how people in Heaven know their family when they get there. I thought about your two siblings, I think they were brothers, who joined you there with Jesus last year. I'm glad you three are together. We read about the animals in Heaven, andabout how much God loves children. We're glad you are well.

But we miss you sweetie. We miss you every day. Our family will always have a missing piece. Even though there's a new little baby coming to join our family this year, she won't replace you. There will always be a space for a fun-loving little boy right between Oceana and Naomi. A place that you will always belong, but never be physically.

We miss you and we love you.

Watch for your blue balloons today... Nana, Baboo, Uncle Drew, and Auntie Cate sent you one yesterday. There are more coming this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day

Our little girls gave us until just around 8am to sleep. Thanks to a late Christmas Eve service.

They really loved their new sleeping bags Momma made.

Naomi is over the moon with her new Rapunzel doll.
Oceana loved everything she opened. Especially the "cowgirl" clothes (hat, shirt, bandana, and boots) that she asked for.

But one gift we weren't counting on, was this new cast. Just about bedtime (Ok, 15 minutes past bedtime, I was running behind), Naomi tumbled down at entire flight of (thankfully carpeted) stairs. I looked up when I heard the tumbling, just in time to see her in a full upside down cartwheel about halfway down the stairs. :( My poor baby broke both bones in her lower arm (radius and ulna) with at least one, maybe two buckle fractures. I understood it was 1 buckle, 1 greenstick, but then at the ortho yesterday it sounded like she had 2 buckles. Irrelevant really, she has a broken arm. She has to wear a sling for at least 2 weeks, and the cast for 4. The sling attaches to that D-ring they plastered right in with the fiberglass. Thank you Mr. Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon for knowing that if it's not attached to her cast and tied to her neck at all times, she won't be wearing it. :) (PS, the D-ring is in her mouth because she thinks it's a phone). Poor baby....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Naomi according to FB statuses

‎"Naomi, get your bumbum off the table." "I not bumbum on da table. I have undies!" "It's still rude, even with undies."

Bye bye penny. We'll see you in a few days..... "Mommy! Da penny! In my mouff! It gone! Oww... I'm ok."

Naomi, while looking up at the Christmas tree: "Can we get more bingle bells?"

"Mom! Wook at me! I'm a pirate!" Ok diaper-wearing 2yo, whatever you say.

What *IS IT* about the hour before bedtime that makes my kids act absolutely bonkers? #mommysgoingtohaveanervousbreakdown

Naomi "Da wights! Da wights not on! (tree lights)" She runs over to plug them in and then says, "Dere, now it Kissmas!" That's right baby, it's not Christmas 'til the lights are on ;) She's so fun!

‎"Mom, can I wear boots to church?" "Uh, yah. Sure." ---- I've given up the "reasonable" clothing thing .... sweatpants, stained shirts, rain boots. Whatever....

Dear Sweet 2yo,
4:30am hurts, doesn't it? Let's try early to bed and not repeat the mistake.
your frazzled mother.

Thanks pregnancy nose for saving my carpet: "Hmm... I smell nailpolish. WHY DO I SMELL NAILPOLISH!!??!" Foiled again Naomi....

So, in case you've missed it over the last 2+ years of reading about Naomi's antics .... she's a busy kid. In fact, words used (by others, including strangers) to describe her, include but are not limited to:

Ball of energy
Something (As in: Ain't she something')
Full of energy
The boy (my father-in-law)

Life is never dull. Never. Ever.

I'm just a little worried about how Little Sister is going to do with her antics.... Time will tell.

Photo credit to Emily at ELFotography.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The wane in blogging

In the past when I've neglected my blog, I'd run back and apologize. I'm sorry I left you! I'm really here still! Here are the reasons for my absence...

But the truth is I've lost some of my enjoyment of blogging. And the truth is that this is *Joshua's* blog. I feel strange when I post anything about my business, anything about sewing or things of that nature. And that's what fills my life right now, besides my girls.

I don't want this to become "The blog about her son that turned into her sewing blog". It just doesn't seem right. Continuing on with our family story, yes. But I want to blog about sewing, about aprons, about crafts. I don't because this is Joshua's place.

I started blogging here 4 years ago. I'm not saying I'm done. But I'll probably start to concentrate my efforts over at the sewing blog ( It feel bad putting things here.

That said, there's an update going up over there in just a minute. I hope, in the next little while, to start doing more fun things there. I still love you all. Check in occasionally - I'll post about the baby and my girls as I feel the need. Maybe just writing this post will take the pressure off? I don't know. We'll see what happens.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Etsy Sale

I tried going out to Kohls and Bed, Bath, and Beyond at midnight on Black Friday, came home to sleep for 2 hours, and then went back out to KMart and Joann Fabrics at 5am. It took me 2 full days to recover. Of course, I don't recommend coming down with a stomach bug in the midst of it all.... Yeesh! At least shopping from your computer is less painful and doesn't waste your hours of sleep away. :)
I usually shy away from advertising for my Etsy shop here on Be Strong & Courageous. I'm working on creating a second blog - Bouncing Blossom Designs - but since there's not much traffic there yet (I think there's 2 followers just yet...) I thought I'd pop this info up here too.

I'm offering 20% off to blog readers & Facebook "Likers" (Facebook Page ) through tonight for Black Friday through Cyber Monday. I'll take the code down tonight, so this is your last day to snag something. Anything ready-made in the shop is 20% off. And if you order an apron today - either through the Facebook page or by email (~~bouncing blossom at gmail dot com~~) shipping is free. ($32 total).

Happy Shopping!