Like all the other holidays since Noah died, today was both happy and sad. Easter holds a special meaning for us this year especially when we think of Heaven. We are SO grateful that Jesus died on the cross so we can spend eternity in Heaven. We have the glorious hope we hold onto during the tough days especially, knowing that we WILL see Noah again!

I wonder what today especially is like in Heaven as everyone celebrates the resurrected Christ. Oh the celebration Noah gets to be a part of!

I miss the fact that I didn't have a little one to dress up like I should've had. Noah would've enjoyed playing with the plastic eggs from the egg hunt I'm sure. When the older 4 kids were little, I started a tradition of dressing them up in bunny costumes every year until they no longer fit into them (oh they will love those pics when they are older!)

Last Easter, I was looking forward to this Easter & breaking out the little bunny costume for Noah. It's those little things most people don't think about that we also miss.

Today while we were at church, we went to visit Noah's grave. This was the first time we were there as a family since Noah's funeral. We've all been to his grave at different times, but not together. Tears were shed as we all stood there with our arms around each other, each of us quiet with thoughts of our own. Oh how we miss you Noah!

I had my camera along so I asked the kids if they'd like their picture taken with Noah and that cheered them all up. I realize that may seem strange to some of you, but this is all they get to do with their brother. This is as close as they can get to his earthly body & it meant a lot to them to have Noah included in the annual Easter pic(even if it was only his grave marker that can be seen).

I hope you all had a Blessed Easter!

3rd trimester

Today marks the first day of my 3rd trimester. Hard to believe actually. I have mixed emotions, it's definitely bittersweet. For those that don't know, over 5yrs ago we started the journey to add onto our family as we felt called to do. We became foster parents & had 2 little boys for almost 2yrs. We went through the adoption process & were approved.

But all that was taken from us by a few jealous, hurtful family members.

Then we had Noah.

And he died.

So you can see why in some ways I feel like this baby is still a dream. And partly why I am a bit scared to do too much planning. I guess I just won't be able to believe I am having another baby until this baby is in my arms here at home. I admit my human side of me is scared that yet again something will happen. I try to push those thoughts out of my head. I know I just have to have faith. But at times it's hard.

"Do unto other as you would have them do unto you."
Most often quoted, least often practiced.

Rainy day

It's been a rainy, cool, & windy day, with a few storms thrown in for good measure this evening. Since Noah died, these sort've days have been depressing for me. I wanted to try & keep myself from getting in a funk so I decided to spend some time in my kitchen.

I LOVE cooking & baking but I just haven't done as much of it lately like I use to. Well, I made up for it today! lol It started with hubby bringing me home a pound of shrimp that was on sale that I wanted to get a little creative with. So, today I made:

~1/2lb of shrimp ceviche
~1/2lb steamed shrimp
~pot of chili soup
~white chicken enchiladas
~baked blueberry oatmeal for breakfast the next few mornings
~homemade caramel popcorn

Look for future posts & pics about some of these recipes! ;)

Some of this will be frozen for future meals, gotta love cooking ahead! Even as I sit here waiting for the caramel corn to finish baking, there are only a few dishes in the sink from the kids snack of homemade applesauce. I kept on top of the dishes as I was cooking which just made things so much easier. All this cooking got me brainstorming for my cooking class I am teaching next year at our homeschool co-op. I'm looking forward to putting together a syllabus for that class!

So what do YOU do on a dreary day to keep the rainy day blues away??

~Your soul friend is someone who loves you for what you are, accepts you for what you lack, and still gently invites you to grow~

Update on baby #6

This update is a little past due but I've had a few tough days again lately. Praise God for many compassionate friends who stuck by my side & helped me get through these days!

Earlier this week, we had another visit with the maternal/fetal specialist as well as an ultrasound. These appointments always trigger a barrage of emotions, both good & difficult. Thank you to many of you who upheld us in prayer as well as the messages & even texts we received on our way to the appointment. It definitely helped calm our nerves.

Baby is still looking good. In fact, he/she is measuring on target and weighed 2lbs 2ozs. Makes me wonder if this one will be bigger than my others or maybe for once, I'd actually have a baby on time or early! HA who am I kidding, my track record is going 2-3wks late. Noah was my "earliest" at 9 days late. Ah well, a prego gal can dream. :) But to put the weight into perspective, at 33wks, Noah's estimated weight was 2lbs 13oz. And he weighed 6lbs 10oz at birth, just a few ounces shy of my biggest at 7lbs 1oz (both Hannah & Erik). So this baby is close to his weight at almost 6wks earlier. My babies usually put on weight at the very end of pregnancy which is why they think I carry late. So who knows!

The doctor we saw at this visit was the one who had diagnosed Noah. While I saw him throughout my pregnancy with Noah, I had not yet seen him this pregnancy. Seeing him brought a rush of emotions over me. I had a hard time holding back the tears. He is such a kind, caring doctor & we couldn't have asked for a better person to have been the one to have deliver the news of a fatal diagnosis. Even when we saw him this week, he took his time with us and even spoke to the kids to see if they had any questions. Dr. T is one of those few doctors I'd whole-heartedly recommend to others! He is having us come back at the end of May for another check-up and ultrasound just to keep an eye on the baby for the well-being & peace of all of us and our providers. It's refreshing to have someone acknowledge the mental side of all we are going through & not brush it off, as well as doing all that he can to help us.

We got some great pics of the baby! We got to see him/her open their eyes & mouth, suck on a thumb, even gave us a thumbs up that was too cute. And once again, this little ones hands were always by the face just like they've been at every ultrasound we have had & just like Noah. ♥ It's neat to see the similarities between the 2 of them. The baby has the same cheeks as Noah (as well as Erik & Hannah when they were babies). And now for pics & a video clip.....

9 months old today

Today Noah is 9 months old. Wish it would've been nice & sunny today so we could've went out to start working on his memorial garden as a way to lift everyones mood, but instead it was cool and rainy out.

Here are a few pictures of the kids & Noah after they each took turns dressing him in the outfits they had picked out for him then spent time cuddling him individually. ♥




The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.

We love and miss you so very much Noah Alexander!!!

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." ~Rom 5:3-4

Mother's Day

I am dreading Mother's Day this year. There, I said it. It's not just because Noah isn't here, although that is part of it. Mother's Day is an anniversary of sorts for us. It's when we got Noah's fatal diagnosis. The one where we were told he is "incompatible with life". Those piercing words just never leave your soul. So of course Mother's Day is forever linked with that.

In addition to it being 1 year since being told Noah was going to die (which I can hardly believe it'll be a year, it seriously feels like yesterday), Mother's day is also the day our church does baby dedication. And it hurts knowing we can't be a part of it this year like we had been planning.

We just got a message from our church that they are wanting pictures of moms & their kids to use for the service for Mother's day. When I read that, it hit me that I never thought to take pictures of just me and the 5 kids. Which of course sent me into a pile of tears that I don't have that special picture & I feel excluded. I mean, we tried to think of SO much to do during our short time with Noah, but it doesn't matter how much we tried to think of everything, I am often reminded that we have missed out on so many "little" things that most people take for granted. So I am trying to figure out if I can edit a picture to submit.

Life is still a rollercoaster. We have good days & we have tough days. Just because Noah didn't live to be 6 wks, 6 years or 16 years old, does NOT make his life any less worthwhile than those who lived longer on this earth. A persons eternal impact is what matters, not their earthly years. Praise God for Noah's legacy as his life reflected Jesus more than some who live far longer! Unfortunately, not everyone see's his life as such and have tried to diminish this & say we shouldn't still be grieving because Noah didn't live very long. We grieve the same for him as someone who grieves their son that lived longer. Our sweet son has definitely taught us to be more Heaven-minded in our daily living.

I guess I share all this in just trying to be open & honest as I know so many of you continue to pray for us & support us and wonder what specific things you can help with or uplift us in prayer about. We have Mother's Day, Noah's birthday, his homegoing anniversary as well as anticipating this new baby's arrivial all within a period of 2 months. A huge mix of rememberance days & emotions, both happy & sad. Not to mention all the preparing we have to do for this baby that includes reorganizing Noah's nursery which I haven't been able to bring myself to do yet. We pretty much put all his things in there from the hospital and funeral & closed the door. I still have his hat & blankets he used laying in the crib. 

I know in time, it'll all come together. And I know as each of those days comes up, we'll get through them. For now, we just try focus on one day at a time & chose not to worry about tomorrow!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matt 6:34

~Faith is like a muscle; the more you use it, the more powerful it becomes.~

Zuppa Toscana Soup

So the kids & I made another one of our favorite soups. In fact, we made a double batch of it so we would have plenty to not only eat but freeze for later meals as well. Pretty much any soup we like I am able to freeze so I always make plenty for that very reason.

This soup is a copycat recipe to the Zuppa Toscana you can get at Olive Garden.

Here is a pic of a few of the ingrediants. And yes, I used a lot more sausage than you see (the rest was cooking as I took this pic)

This soup is SOOO good!! A few things I change, I don't add quite the amount of cream it calls for. ( I try to cut out a few calories where I can without compromising taste). I also use whatever sausage I get  marked down on sale. lol! This batch of soup had a combo of Shady Maple's onion & pepper sausage & some regular sausage. I also tossed in a little bit of crushed red pepper because we love food with a little spice to it.

The kids could hardly wait to dig into it! They would even eat this as a snack! And yes, it tastes even better than it looks! Oh, and for those who are paleo or low carb, I have also used cauliflower in place of the potatoes with wonderful results!!!

Zuppa Tuscana, soup, olive garden soup

1 lb Italian sausage (or whatever flavor you prefer, spicy is good!)
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 can oscar meyer bacon bit (I used some real bacon, cooked, since I happened to have some on hand but you can skip this ingredient as well)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (though I use light cream with no problem)

-Cook sausage either by baking or sauteeing
-Drain sausages on paper towels and cut into slices.
-Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, garlic in pot, and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
-Add sausage and bacon.
-Salt and pepper to taste.
-Simmer for another 10 minutes.
-Turn to low heat.
-Add kale and cream.
-Heat through and serve

 ~Your integrity will always be remembered longer than your prosperity.~