Saturday, May 28, 2016

True Stories About Our Marriage

Today is our Ten Year Anniversary.

The easier post to write would be the one where I post the adoring picture of us and caption it with something along the lines of...

Happy anniversary, babe!  It's been the most amazing ten years!  Can't wait to see what the next ten years holds!  Love you BIG!

I just can't type that without feeling awkward about it.  It would portray my marriage as glossy and superficial.  And, not only is our marriage not glossy, but there is nothing superficial about marriage. Marriage is complex, refining, and beautifully brutal.  It's loving despite

There have been many times in the past ten years that I didn't think we'd make it another day.  Where loving despite seemed like a challenge we no longer wanted to endure. Because that adoring couple you see above, they only sometimes exist.  They've disagreed and said hateful things to one another in heated arguments.  They've gone to bed angry and been on the giving and receiving end of The Silent Treatment countless times (such an unfair game to play, btw). There's been shouting matches where no one wins, and there's been times where leaving seemed like a better option than staying.  

Marriage is work. Every. Single. Day.

But, it is worthy work.  I have to remind myself of that daily.  It's a sacred covenant that God intended for His good.  Marriage is an enduring, undeserving, sometime one-sided love that requires less of me and more of Him.  It's accepting that 50/50 rarely exist, and that we're given each other to offset that imbalance.  Loving despite.  

While each of these pictures shows a smiling Brandon & Abby, the back stories contradict an always-happy-always-loving couple.  

True Story: We were in Hilton Head and spent a large part of our time there arguing with one another.  I couldn't wait to come home. 

True Story: Brandon had just quit his job of seven years.  The future was uncertain.

True Story: We were headed to the fertility specialist, hoping to get pregnant. SUPER stressful.  Hormones were TERRIBLE and I was NOT a nice person during that six month stint!

True Story: We took Becks to the pumpkin patch. I took the day off of work after finding out the mother we had been matched with - and were expecting to bring her baby home to our house in a matter of weeks - had changed her mind. I was devastated and could barely function for days.  

True Story: We were at my grandpa's 80th birthday party and  it was a challenge to hold a conversation without crying about our failed adoption. Ironically, we'd leave this party to find out our daughter had been born the week prior :)

True Story: Faith had been in the hospital for a little over a month at this point and was enduring a second extremely intensive 4-hour surgery.  We were just trying to keep our heads above water at the hospital and at home.  I still don't know how we survived.

True Story: We were headed to look at Christmas lights with the kids, and almost didn't make it after getting into a ridiculous argument in the car.  

True Story: I'm about six months pregnant here and we're at Graeter's for ice cream after a session of marriage counseling.  One of the best things we've ever done for our marriage and each other. Counseling, that is.  Not Graeter's ;) 

True Story: I'm about six-weeks postpartum with Ben, and am heavier than I'd like.  But, I LOVE this picture. Even though we aren't like this ALL the time, there are plenty of times when we are.  When we look at each other as if we're the only two people in the room.  When we know that the decision we made to stand by each other forever ten years ago was the right one. 

I am a better person for being married to Brandon.  He is my best friend, my confidant and lover.  I would stand next time him today and do it all over again.  

Happy Ten Year Anniversary, B. I love you BIG. 

(PS. We are staying in downtown Cinci tonight WITHOUT kids, and will probably sleep through the night for the first time in almost three years!  Wooooo to the hooooooo!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

These three.

As soon as the picture above loaded into the blogger template, I couldn't help but laugh a bit.  And simultaneously blink back tears. It still startles me - in the best possible way - to see three sweet little faces staring back from the screen. 

For a long time, it seemed like I'd only be blessed to be the mama to one kiddo. Yet, here I am, happy mama to three :)

Becks is my spirited, sensitive, strong-willed,  and smart as a whip 7-year-old.  He's in a self-made band, Wikkid Vömit, takes guitar lessons once a week, plays baseball, and loves school.  He is the best big brother to the babies and still loves to be snuggled into bed a night. His two front teeth have grown in recently, a reminder of how quick this parenting thing goes. 

Faith is my fantastically adorable, ridiculously sweet, happy little joy bird. She'd spend all day outside if it were up to her, awaits the return of her Bubba from school everyday, still sneaks pacis at bedtime, and reminds us all what a blessing life is. She'll do big things someday. 

And, sweet Benny is my squishy little baby muffin.  He will be nine months in a couple of weeks.  Bathtime, graham crackers, and running the hardwood in the walker are his jam. I don't mind the 4:30am nursing sessions, knowing those precious moments are limited. He refuses to belly laugh, and instead chuckles like your old fat uncle. 

Thanking God they're mine.

Happy Wednesday :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

monday in a snap...

...a snap of this cute boy sleeping, that is.

Hope yours was happy :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Turns out, I LOVE normal!

The remnants of our dinner table probably don't mean much to you, and I'm well aware that if I left those fries sitting out for the next year they probably would look exactly the same. (I know these things because our family time capsule, The Minivan, has preserved several beyond their typical shelf life in the past year or so.)  

But, I slyly snapped this picture as we were finishing up tonight because it symbolized so much more than the quick meal that it was, grabbed by B and Becks on their way home from guitar lessons tonight.  (He's started a band.  It's called Wikkid Vömit. It is awesome.)

Something about it seemed so completely normal.  

Because normal, busy families compromise their dietary values for a value meal at Mickey D's when life got too busy that day to thaw chicken or click through Pinterest for something healthy.  They sit around their dinner table with their little ones, opening cardboard clamshells and spilling fries into their compartments.  They look at the lids to fountain sodas to determine which beverage belongs to who based on which button is pushed down to indicate diet.  They peel cheap toys from plastic wrapping and serve bites of french fry to the baby.  Normal family stuff.

So many days, even weeks, have felt very, very far from normal lately.  Even a year after I wrote this post, I still don't feel the steady equilibrium that I felt before parenting a kiddo with a chronic illness. 

 In fact, the Abby that wrote posts before November 2013 isn't the same Abby that writes now.  

I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for life.  A wisdom that comes from knowing another world that is foreign to most.  A strength and endurance I can only attribute to my Heavenly father.  The wholeheartedly ability to admit that I cannot do this life on my own.  

A greater love for the average, normal day.

(Thanks for the awesome new saying, neighbor!)

Happy Tuesday :) 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hello. It's Me.

Well, stop the world. 

I am writing a blog post. 

Two years to the date of my last blog post, which I wrote less than a month after Faith came home from the hospital in 2014.  2014 was TWO years ago.  Oh. My. Word.  So much has changed! I use emojis and hashtags in everyday dialogue, had a baby, and drive a minivan!  #allthehearteyes

And, how pretty are things?! Things being the little facelift sweet Becca gave Babbling Abby, of course.  She's a doll and I highly recommend her.

At one point, I said I was going to close this space and print it into a book for posterity's sake, closing this chapter of my blog life.  I didn't do either.  And, I'm glad.  (Though I really would like to print and bind it all someday. Have you done that?)  I have continued to write about life and school-related fare over at The Inspired Apple, so I haven't been completely gone.  It just became a little overwhelming to maintain two blogs.  

But, here I am with good intentions to set the bar very, very low for the upkeep of online journaling.  Low expectations are everything these days.  Helps me cope with the massive amount of crumbs throughout the kitchen (but the dishes are clean!), piles of laundry (again, clean!), and normal days (turns out I love normal!).  
Here's to more random babbling!  Happy Saturday, friends!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


So, the first sentence I typed and then deleted was this:

I don't want to come across as complaining, but...

Then, I realized, complaining is exactly what I want to do.


Why, as women, do we not want to complain?  Is there a biological reason we want to preface our conversations with phrases like:

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but...

I don't want to complain, but...

Don't think I'm unappreciative, but...

Seriously, this is something I do all the time.

Now, I don't mean complain in the whiney, all-the-time, annoying kind of way (friends on your FB feed are probably popping into your mind right now).  Just in the, Hey!  I lead a real life where everything is not perfect all the time! kind of way.  

So, I'm going to complain!  And, I hope you don't think I'm being ungrateful.  Because that would be the understatement of the year.  

Here goes...


I hate setting them up, I hate lugging them around everywhere, I hate that Faith can't lead a normal baby life because she's attached to them all the time, I hate that I feel stressed when we go into public, I hate dressing and cap changes and anything else that requires sterility, I hate the risk of infection, I hate planning life around IV windows.  

The bag I've converted into our IV tote.  Make note that they make no cute bags for the purposes of toting around IV bags and pumps.  So annoying!

I know they are life-saving and allow us to be home with our daughter instead of in the hospital.  I get that.  

But, they can GO AWAY and I will NOT miss them.

It's not a fun aspect of life right now.  

It puts regular old childhood illnesses into perspective.  Give me an ear infection ANY DAY.

All of this comes after a particularly challenging day where Faith cried the entire time I performed some necessary central line care.  Unfortunately, I have to 'reverse swaddle' her, if you will - meaning, I use a blanket to hold her arms down, tucking it underneath her back so that the weight of her body keeps her arms from flailing while I'm working on her chest.  Yeah, not fun for anyone, especially Faith.  Sometimes, this puts her to sleep.  But, not yesterday.  

Then there's the bubble flicking.  Before you run the IV you have to rid the line of any air, and this is accomplished by flicking the line.  This is never an easy process, and I'm sometimes sitting on the floor praying that gravity will allow that last bit of air to run out.  Ya know, to avoid pulmonary embolisms.  No pressure.  

Dressing changes are my least favorite thing.  Her central line site is completely exposed, running the risk of infection every time we access it.  Hate. That.  She has to be reverse swaddled, it's time consuming, and makes me have a minor panic attack until it's redressed.  


Okay.  I'm finished.  Thanks for listening and not judging.  Little Sis is worth every single second of every single procedure we have to do every day.  But that doesn't mean it won't be a glorious day when the docs tell us it's all over.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Manic-est Monday.

I didn't really expect today to be manic at all.

It was rainy.  I had a quiet cup of coffee.  Worked a little bit.  The day was slow. 

Until it wasn't.  

Until suddenly the home health nurse was at my front door and my hair was half dry and my face only half done.  And, of course, it was at that very moment that the doorbell rang that I realized I was supposed to throw a couple of cotton balls in Faith's diaper before the home health nurse arrived so she could collect a urine sample.  


I threw the cotton balls in anyway and apologized for my forgetfulness, praying that Faith would pee sometime during the visit.  Well, sister one-upped me and did #1 and #2, thus contaminating the specimen.  At that point, I had to leave to get Becks, and was going to have to collect and drop of the specimen myself.

So, go ahead.  Ask me if I squeezed pee from cotton balls into a specimen cup in the parking lot at tae kwon do today.  

Oh, yes.  Yes, I did.


The good news?  (It has nothing to do with pee.)

Becks got his new orange belt and his gear at TKD today.  The squishiness of his cheeks in that helmet thing make my heart happy.  Bless it.  

I wish you could've seen his face when he realized the purpose of the included protective cup.  You mean this is for...oooooooh.  It was an ah-ha moment of epic proportions.  Big eyes and all.  I told him daddy would help him figure it out.  Cups, in my world, are glass and filled with ice and Diet Coke.  

Anyway, after dropping off the cup-o-pee to the lab and booking it home on time to reconnect Faith to her IV, I somehow managed to cook a really lavish dinner of omelet and hash browns.  A large, singular omelet.  Take out your parenting notebook and write that little token down under Time Saving Parenting Dinner Advice.  No one gets to pick what his omelet will contain, as everyone gets the same omelet with whatever vegetables happen to be chopped in the fridge (red and yellow peppers) with cheese!  Yum!  Oh, you don't like peppers in your omelet?  Sorrynotsorry.  EAT IT.

The night ended with a failed attempt at molding a plastic mouth piece, two episodes of Full House, and a sassy little sweetheart giving me a run for my money.  I'm afraid to tell you just what a good baby she is, but it's true - she rarely fusses.  Except tonight.  She had the fussing turned up to mega-fuss.  To test me.  To see if I've still got 'it' almost six years out of babydom.  

Turns out, I do.  The rock-bounce-shush combo (and twelve pacifier reinsertions) prove to be just as effective as they were back in 2008.  

And, now, B is on his way home from work, and I'm praying he walks in the door with two scoops of Salted Caramel Brownie from Graeter's.  Momma squeezed pee in a parking lot today and she needs it. 


{PS.  I totally jinxed myself by posting about my non-manic-Monday early this morning over on my teaching blog!  What was I thinking?!  See HERE.}