Part 1: Accidents & Answered Prayers

I wish I could say that August 2nd, 2003 was a blur.
I wish I could say that I don’t remember the pain my baby felt that day.
I wish I could say that it wasn’t my fault.
I wish I could take back the split second that it took for the accident to happen.
I wish I could forget the sound of the fear in my husband’s voice through the other end of the phone when I called him to meet us at the hospital.

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I wish I could say that August 2nd, 2003 was a blur.
I wish I could say that I don’t remember the pain my baby felt that day.
I wish I could say that it wasn’t my fault.
I wish I could take back the split second that it took for the accident to happen.
I wish I could forget the sound of the fear in my husband’s voice through the other end of the phone when I called him to meet us at the hospital.

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(Kennedy – 12 months old)

It was our first big outing as a family of four.  We were going to our friends’ wedding a few hours away.  I dressed Kennedy, 18 months old at the time, in a beautiful, lavender dress – made of Satin- with a matching cardigan and patent leather shoes.  I fixed her hair with piggy tales and little Velcro bows.  She twirled around the house watching her dress fly up while I fixed my hair and make-up, and squeezed my newly postpartum body into a dress for the first time in ages.  Our 11 week old baby boy was sleeping in his baby swing, the giggles and noises of his big sister jolting him awake periodically.

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(A big sister is born:  Kennedy meeting Konnor for the first time)

I was so excited.  I was so ready to get out of the house and see the friends we moved away from a year prior.  I was so happy to show off our growing family.  I was busy checking things off of my mile-long to do list.  My husband had to work up until the minute we left town.  So, in an effort to ease the stress for him, I agreed to get everything ready for the weekend away, iron his clothes for the wedding, load up the kids and pick him up from work on our way out of town.
It only took 3 seconds.
Baby Konnor was in his travel swing that sat low to the ground.  He started fussing, and in an attempt to delay his feeding until the last minute, I stepped away – 3 steps – from the ironing board, leaned down to give him his pacifier.  “20 minutes, baby…Momma just needs 20 more minutes…”.
I turned around to see the hot clothes iron fall…the cord in her hand.  You see – I ironed Jeremy’s work shirts every day…every. single. day.  Kennedy toddled around the room while I ironed every day.  She had never come near the ironing board.  She repeated “hot” and “no no”  as I reminded her continuously not to come near me while I was ironing Daddy’s shirts.  She pulled the iron off the ironing board and it landed on the top of her right hand.
I was so amazed that her petite little self had the strength to pull the hot iron off of her hand, hold it up, without dropping it on herself.  It was like watching it all happen in slow motion.  I jumped toward her, scooping her up and getting the iron out of her hand.  The skin was burned so badly.  The entire top of her dominant hand was burned.  I rushed to the kitchen and ran cold water on her hand, dialing Jeremy’s work.
“Kennedy got burned.  She needs to go to the hospital now.  I need your help.  Please get here fast!”.
My mind plays this scene on repeat whenever I think of this incident:  my beautiful baby girl, dressed in a lavender gown, pushing the pop machine buttons with her burned hand while I filled out paperwork.  It was unbelievable.  She floated around the ER waiting room, charming everyone she saw…while the top of her hand was completely covered in a 3rd degree burn.
“It was a clothes iron.”, I said, to the nurse taking her vitals.    “I stepped away for a second to give the baby his pacifier.”   What was I thinking?  How could I let this happen?
The next couple of days was a rush of medicine, bandages and a trip to St. Elizabeth’s in Lincoln, NE to the burn unit for our first visit.  I felt myself slipping.  I felt myself losing grip.  I saw the dark cloud forming over my head.  How could I ever forgive myself for this?
I was surprised by the energy and enthusiasm of the staff at St. E’s.  They were so good at their jobs.  They gave Kennedy an oral medication – assuring me that this medicine would give her a kind of temporary amnesia – to avoid her remembering what they were about to do to her, to reduce her anxiety and fear at every follow-up appointment.
She was awake.  They held her down while they took a scrub brush and debrided her wound.  The skin just fell off.  The tears fell, from her face and ours.  Blood dripped from her fingertips.  I was shocked at the color of her newly exposed flesh- the brightest white.  My heart was ripped wide open.  I couldn’t even bare to look Jeremy in the face.  He was so disappointed; I was a disappointment.   We left with pre-op instructions and heavy hearts.
“Would you like us to take the skin from her thigh or the back of her head?” the surgeon asked.  We took into consideration that Kennedy as a young lady would probably prefer not to have a big scar on her thigh, as it would grow with her.  Reluctantly, we decided to have them graft skin from the back of her head to her hand.  “Her hair will grow back immediately”,  the doctor assured us.  They shaved the back of her head and grafted skin from her scalp to her hand.
I watched as they wheeled her down the hallway with her “Dolly” tucked under her arm, into surgery.  I was so angry.  So nervous.  I had never felt such gut-wrenching physical pain from emotional stress before.  It was almost paralyzing.
We sat in a small room lined with chairs, Kleenex boxes, magazines and the buzz of the TV in the corner.
We waited.  We prayed.  I asked God for perspective.  I begged God to ease the pain of the hardest week of my life.  I was desperate for his help, his light.  It was so dark.  It was so heavy.
God delivered.
Minutes later a young couple came in and sat across from us.  The gentleman was bandaged, so many bandages.  I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his wounds, some covered, others not.  We made small talk.   Then we exchanged the details about what led us all to the waiting room of a burn unit on that hot August day.
Their pain was palpable.  They spoke of the car accident.  They spoke of their devastating loss.  They couldn’t save both of their children from the burning vehicle, despite his efforts – the burns, bandages and scars covering his body to prove it.  They lost their baby girl.  She was Kennedy’s age.  My heart, my spirit hurt so much for them.  They had to bury their baby girl…and here I sat – feeling sorry for myself.  They lost their baby girl, and I got to leave the hospital that day with mine.
Thank you, Lord.

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(Kennedy – 18 months old)

Kennedy’s recovery went about as well as expected.  We made frequent trips to St. E’s weekly for dressing changes, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments.
My heart’s recovery (not that it really ever completely recovered) came only by God offering me the pain and perspective of a family much worse off than me that day.  I have carried this family in my heart over the years.    They came up in conversation between my husband and myself many times over the last 14 years.  We wondered how they were doing, if their marriage survived such a loss.  We wished we would have had enough foresight to get identifying details to keep up with them in the future.  I’ve prayed countless prayers for them: anytime I noticed Kennedy’s scar, listened to her explain what happened, or heard a story of the loss of a child.  These people…we sat there broken, hearts open…sharing one of the hardest moments of our lives…together.  My heart was changed that day.  These people changed my heart, my perspective, my life.  And they had no idea.
Part 2 of this story on the blog soon. ❤

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(Kennedy – 3 years  with her coveted Dolly)

Happy Birthday Kennedy Marie -15 years old – Bonus: Birthday Interview

It’s a tale as old as time….the sweet little chubby babies, turn into clumsy toddlers, then into big kids with scraped knees, then into awkward tweens, and  then into something older…yet still young….someone that can hold a conversation with adults, someone that can drive and fend for themselves but still can’t keep the giggles at bay in a situation where laughing is inappropriate.   And yet it always surprises the parents, every time.  As if they didn’t know this is how this works…this is the way it has always worked.  They grow up.  Right in front of your eyes.  OUCH.  It hurts.  I heard it referred to once as looking directly into the sun.  It stings.
Miss Kennedy turned 15 years old a few weeks ago!  She had a great day full of balloons, ice cream cake, Chinese food lunch date with Dad, Mom and Khloe, and our annual birthday dinner out with just her parents…at Olive Garden.


Kennedy is the little Momma (well, not so little anymore, as she’s taller than this Momma) of the Howard Home.  She is assertive and opinionated and happy.  She is organized, which always catches me off guard, as I remember my bedroom (and my childhood best friend Kelli’s room) growing up being a complete and total disaster.  Kennedy is kind, sweet, thoughtful, smart and funny.  She has made this parenting gig pretty wonderful.  I’m constantly impressed with her ability to juggle her insanely busy schedule, between school work, athletic schedules, volunteering at church, babysitting and her commitments at our home.  Kennedy loves the Lord.  She reads her bible daily.  She prays, and she isn’t afraid to speak His truth in a situation that might be uncomfortable for her.   That’s pretty awesome.  She’s pretty awesome.  I have had this post started for a few weeks and just couldn’t find the space in my heart to put into words how I feel about her getting so old!  Well, my words will never do her justice.  But I will continue to watch her grow into her body, in Christ, and into her true self.  Here’s the annual birthday interview:

KENNEDY MARIE – Age 15
Nicknames:  Nenny, Ken


Favorite Food:  Chinese


Favorite Drink:  Strawberry Smoothie


Favorite Color:  Aqua


Favorite Song:  Holy Spirit


Favorite Book:  My Bible


Favorite Subject in School:  Science


Favorite Movie:  A Walk to Remember


Favorite TV Show:  Criminal Minds


Favorite Holiday:  Christmas


Best Friends:  Jersie, Nate, Abby Klammer, Tori Splitt, Amber Hollister


What do you want to be when you grow up?  Jr. High or High School Teacher


Where would you like to go on vacation? Mexico


What is one thing you wish you owned right now?  A nice car that doesn’t scream (her car needs some love 🙂 )


Where do you see yourself in 10 years? With a degree in education, married with a kid or two


What is 1 goal you wish to accomplish in your lifetime?  Run a marathon



God is within her; she will not fall.


– Psalm 46:5

 

Motherhood – my look back

Today I’ve been reflecting on the last 15 years of motherhood…imperfect motherhood. 

I remember in the beginning, I was an unwed, terrified 19 year old.  I remember praying to God that he would show me the way and give direction to my life as a mom. 

Lesson:  Guess what…he did.  God came through, he’s cool like that.  He waiting patiently  for me, guiding me gently.   

I remember wanting to prove to everyone that I was a good mom, a capable mom… and frankly, that helped me make better decisions.  I didn’t want to fail my babies, myself, God, my husband. 

Lesson:  Whatever your reason, just do the right thing…then do the next right thing, and repeat.   Point your moral compass North, and walk that direction. 

I remember it was so hard to find a balance, find a place for Jeremy.  In the dawn of our life together,  we had 3 babies so close together and priorities got skewed and clouded.   The distance between him and I seemed so far apart, even sleeping next to him in the same bed.   Resentment and anger from unmet expectations filled the gap.  This wasn’t easy…marriage wasn’t easy…

Lesson:  Your husband chose YOU, out of 7 billion humans on this earth…he chose you to spend his life with, and care for him and his needs.  What an honor!  Take that job seriously, love him intentionally and  love him hard.  Tolerate his socks on the floor and his untouched honey-do list.  Make time for him.  Make time even when you would rather be curled up under the covers binge-watching Netflix.  🙂   

I remember calling on my friends…A LOT.  I vented.  I complained.  I cried.  I laughed.  I asked for so much advice. 

LESSON: Choose your tribe carefully.  Choose friends that truly see the big picture and want what’s best for you AND your marriage and family.  I am so fortunate to have the best friends and sisters-in-love that I do.  They encourage and bless me continually. 

My life today seems so far from what it was then.  There is so much growing up to do in your 20’s, and even faster if you’re a mother.  The kids don’t wait…they don’t wait until you have you life “together”, until your marriage is better, until you’re done “sowing your wild oats”.  They are there, every moment, seeking your love, your attention, your time, your best.

What a blessing it is to get to the other side of the hard.  I’m so thankful God saw us through the beginning and carried me when the weight was too heavy to bare.  Our life is not without trials,  however, it gets a whole lot easier when I give it up to God, and let him steer the ship instead of trying to make my own way while fighting the current.  He hasn’t failed me yet. ❤

2016 Howard Family Recap

I’m always reminiscent this day of the year.  I think of the last year, highlighting the good and the bad that stick out in my mind and touch my heart.  2016 has challenged me in new ways that I wouldn’t, and frankly couldn’t, have ever expected.  It has been a year… a year of revelations, and scares, and learning to trust in God in big and small ways.
I joke that I have my family tight in a “happy-safe-family-bubble” wrapping my momma bear arms around them to protect them from the outside world, the sometimes scary and harmful world.  I do, and I have for many, many years.  2016 provided us, me with many opportunities to grow and learn to let go.  To loosen my tight grip on my family…to learn that nothing is really in my control at all.  To literally feel my heart stop from fear and anxiety of the unknown.  To pray more than I’ve ever prayed in all of the years of my life, collectively.  This year was definitely not ALL scary and hard lessons.  It was wonderful and busy and challenging.  Here’s a recap:

Kennedy:  became a high schooler,  made the cheerleading squad, wore a boot on a foot for 6 weeks, got her school permit (it’s all fun and games until you’re sitting in the passenger seat with your teen driving! 🙂 ), felt the heartache of her first major crush/best guy friend move 800 miles away, learned to kayak, volunteered at church, swam in a mountain stream,   became the city’s most coveted babysitter,  first overnight in the hospital, went to her first high school dance, survived her first real “finals week”,  cried a lot, laughed more,  had a tonsillectomy-which resulted in a very hard recovery and some time in the ICU, and a revelation of a serious health problem not known of before (We’ve been referred to Children’s hospital for tests so we will know more regarding this chronic problem soon.), spent 3 weeks healing and laying around, spent countless hours on Netflix, spent her year loving on her baby sisters and being Momma’s best assistant.

Konnor:  new school, became a 7th grader, played on the school football team, became a teenager, filled our freezer with deer meat, grew out of every piece of clothing he owned, did 1.3 million bottle flips, tried new sports, made new friends, made lots of jokes, pranked us more times than I can count, got his first social media account, began volunteering at church doing sounds and lights for church service, spent countless hours in the field with his dad and Uncle Brandon hunting, hiked up a mountain, swam down a mountain fall, got glasses, won the Gold in 4h shooting sports, officially outgrew Halloween, effectively dodged 95% of all my photos.

Karson:  said goodbye to Morton school, started new school,  made Sing-Around-Nebraska, caught more fish than any other Howard, dabbed daily, campaigned for student council, won spirit day at his new school, made new friends, played basketball, won $200 for his salesmanship in a school fundraiser, lost a lot of teeth,  made a lot of Musicallys, made the quiz bowl team, started a postcard collection, didn’t break any of his electronics!, bought his first rifle, played Joseph in the Christmas musical at church, charmed every adult he knows with his infamous hugs and contagious smile.

Kollyns:  started her last year of preschool at a new school, cut (and donated) 10″ off of her hair, confirmed that she is, in fact, part mermaid at the waterpark, ate mustard nearly every day, fell in love with bacon, went to the ball with her Daddy, colored 1000 pictures, convinced Daddy to keep his beard, learned to read,  effectively climbed every door jam in our home, dressed in “gyn-nastics” leotards every day, refused any hairstyle but a ponytail, fell in love with lipstick, learned to speak in a British accent, colored herself blue with a marker, shot a BB gun for the first time, went hiking and kayaking for the first time,  cracked a lot of jokes, became cousin Amber-obsessed, giggled for days.

 

Khloe:  potty-trained, gave up her binky, cut 6 inches off of her hair, started preschool, graduated out of the nursery at church, clung to her Mommy 80% of the 24 hours a day, consumed ranch with every meal-every day, fell madly in love with Peppa Pig and all of her family and friends, learned the lyrics to the entire Trolls Movie soundtrack in 3 days flat, danced, and sang, and demanded everyone’s attention while she did so, gave so many hugs and kisses, had her first school picture day, threw her first throw-herself-down-screaming-fit in public,  consumed more popsicles than humanly possible, finally started to grow and get taller!, got a best friend (besides her sister) – Harper

Jeremy:  worked his tail off at work, did a little fishing, a lot of hunting, outfitted our family with kayaks, took us on a great vacation in South Dakota, tried to undo the years of damage to his back and spent a lot of time at the doctor this year for pain management for lower lumbar disc issues, grew a legit beard, taught our oldest to drive, taught Karson to shoot, smoked a lot of meat, spoiled me daily with little reminders of his love for me, poured a lot of beers, kissed a lot of babies, was diagnosed with a serious heath problem, saw more doctors this year than in the last decade combined, advocated for gun rights, watched a lot of football, cheered on his kiddos at their sporting and music events, encouraged me, ran his business successfully.

Me:  started back to college after 15 years, snuggled Khloe to sleep every single night, drove 500 miles to be with my best friend as they laid her brother to rest,  spent a lot of time with power tools and paint, took care of a lot of sick kiddos, studied countless hours, officially coined myself a professional Barbie hair braider, started a blog, taught my first official door hanger party, co-coordinator for MOPS, applied to nursing school, judged a beauty pageant, taught Sunday school at church, made new friends, loved on old friends, took a lot of pictures, sent my last baby off to preschool, cried a lot, smiled more, spent a lot of quiet time with the Lord, learned to say NO, learned to accept the chaos of such a large family, learned so much about the healthcare system and how to advocate for my family, paid a lot of bills, got a Suburban, met Glennon Doyle Melton, hiked up a mountain with a toddler on my back, accepted broken relationships, chauffeured kids to many events, walked in a mountain stream, swam in a hot spring, learned to step outside of my comfort zone, fell back in love with Gilmore Girls.

While we live a pretty charmed life, 2016 certainly wasn’t without its hard times.   Here’s to carrying the perspective gained and lessons learned into this new year.  May I always have eyes to see the love and blessings surrounding me.  I’m so thankful for all of the gifts in my life.  May this year find you renewed and refreshed. ❤  Thank you for your love and support this year.

Happy Birthday Karson R. Howard- 11 words for 11 years

11 Words for 11 Years:

  1. HAPPY:  I pray you are always as happy as you are today, dancing through life with that sweet smile and amazing attitude.
  2. INTELLIGENT:  You know so much about so much.  You are like a walking encyclopedia.   Your bright mind constantly surprises me!
  3. ENTHUSIASTIC:  You bounce your way through life and tackle anything head on and with a smile.
  4. LOVING:  You show love with words and actions, everyday.  You compliment strangers and friends alike, and I love that about you.  You give the best hugs. ❤
  5. SENSITIVE:  There is never any question what you are feeling.  You wear your heart on your sleeve.  You feel with your whole heart, and you are very compassionate.
  6. HILARIOUS:  Your unfiltered thoughts spill out of your mouth almost always!  You are so fun and witty.
  7. TALENTED:   You are talented at so many things,  especially song and dance.
  8. OUTGOING:  You know no stranger.   You have no problem making friends.
  9. DETERMINED:  You accept challenges and do your best!
  10. HEAD-STRONG:   You aren’t afraid to fight for what you want and what you think is right.
  11. ECCENTRIC:  You are an individual, and unlike many children your age.   I hope you always dance to the beat of your own drum.

karson11a
You fill our hearts with so much JOY and our home with so much LAUGHTER!  You were the baby of the family for nearly 6 years until you were blessed with 2 baby sisters.  Now you are smack-dab in the middle of the group-and that’s a hard position to be in!  We love you Karson Robert!  May your 11th year be a great one!

KARSON ROBERT HOWARD: AGE 11 BIRTHDAY INTERVIEW
FAVORITE FOOD:  Pizza
FOODS I’D RATHER AVOID:  Spaghetti
MY FAVORITE THING TO LEARN:  History
MY FAVORITE COLOR:  Blue
MY BEST FRIENDS ARE:  Obbi, Mason
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY:  Tag
WHEN I HAVE FREE TIME I LIKE TO:  Hang out with the family and play on my electronics
MY FAVORITE BOOKS:  The Snicker of Magic, Eerie Elementary Series, The War that Saved my Life
FAVORITE MOVIES OR TV SERIES:  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Scorpion
FAVORITE HOLIDAY:  Christmas
THINGS I DO WELL:  Make people laugh, Music
THINGS I NEED TO PRACTICE MORE:  Trumpet
MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GO:  Roller skating rink, swimming pool
MY FAVORITE FAMILY ACTIVITIES:  Family Game Night
MY FAVORITE THING TO DO OUTSIDE:  Swing on the spider swing
LEAST FAVORITE CHORE:  Washing dishes, cleaning my room
FAVORITE SONG:  I don’t want to know – Maroon 5
WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP:  Actor
A PLACE I WANT TO VISIT:  Rio
MY FAVORITE PART OF LAST YEAR:  Our family vacation in South Dakota
SOMETHING SAD THAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR:  Our school closing and having to change schools
MY FAVORITE PART OF EACH DAY:  Right before the sun goes down because everyone is energetic and not tired yet.
MY FAVORITE DRINK:  Chocolate Milk
MY FAVORITE SPORT OR ACTIVITY TO PLAY:  Soccer
SOMETHING NEW I’D LIKE TO LEARN THIS YEAR:  Piano and Guitar

 

 

Our Unlikely Love Story

Spring of 2001.
I found myself 19 and pregnant.  I found myself questioning my current relationship because of this pregnancy forcing a forever commitment.  I knew in my heart that leaving him was the right decision for me, but what about the baby?!  I followed my heart.  I cried for weeks.  I broke it off.  I cried more.
I moved into a tiny, shady one bedroom apartment, above a noisy bar.  I forced myself into solitude.  I forced myself into a quiet, uncomfortable space to figure out the predicament I had gotten myself into.  I was so young.  I wouldn’t be able to finish nursing school now.  What would this do to my already-broken family relationships?  What will everyone think of me now?  What have I done?

I created a child selfishly, non-traditionally.  I was a statistic.  I was an unwed mother.

I was having a very difficult time wrapping my head and heart around all of this.  I was so wrapped up in how this “pregnancy” was changing MY life, when a friend of mine put things into perspective for me.  My friend Harmoni knew I was struggling and gifted me with some crocheted, yellow baby booties, a note from my baby, some sound advice (she had walked in my shoes a few years prior), and a whole lot of perspective.  I drove myself to the store and bought a baby blanket and a Dr. Seuss book.  I gave this “problem”, this pregnancy, a face, and a place in my heart.Summer of 2001.
Then came him.  The first time that my now-husband met me, he told a friend, who was a co-worker of mine, that he was going to marry me.  Ryan laughed and told him that I was way out of his league.  He wasn’t.  He never was.  He was so sweet, so fun, so loving, the one.  We shared a root beer float and walked around a local-favorite spot on the edge of town for our first date.
Jeremy started dating me despite the fact that I was 4 months pregnant with another man’s baby.  I was always so surprised at how much he adored me, enough to open the car door for me every time and have bouquets of flowers delivered weekly to me.  The thoughts pierced my heart to think about how much pride he had to set aside to answer tough questions regarding his pregnant girlfriend.Fall of 2001.
He started joining me at my doctor’s appointments.  He starting planning for this baby…my baby girl.  He felt her kick, he massaged the charlie-horse ridden calf muscles and went to Lamaze class with me.  He introduced me to his family.  They welcomed me, us, with open arms.  I never once felt ashamed around them.  Isn’t that beautiful?  I never felt judged.Winter of 2001-2002.
Kennedy Marie was born on January 20th, after a very long, difficult labor…my sweet  Jeremy by my side every second, except for the few minutes when he leaned down to me, pressed his forehead to mine, sputtered the words, “I think I’m going to pass out”, and then went limp… falling backwards into a chair that the very attentive nurse caught him in, taking my IV pole down with him.  That made me laugh, and made me angry at the same time.  After she was born, Jeremy presented me with a beautiful necklace of a mother embracing her child, a symbol of his love for me, and his trust in me…his trust to love and care for this baby.
Kennedy was introduced to more family and friends that weekend than I can even count.  I remember being so amazed at how a tiny little baby, could bring so much love and joy into a room and into the hearts of so many people.  It was mesmerizing.  It was beautiful.  She was beautiful.  She was mine.  She was ours.
That drive home from the hospital sitting in the backseat next to this tiny baby was when the nerves and insecurities kicked in.  My mind raced and my heart rate quickened at every stoplight and I prayed that God would gift me the wisdom and heart to be a mother, the best mother.
The first 6 weeks flew by so quickly despite the many trials of new-mommyhood.  The first 2 incredibly painful weeks of nursing a newborn, the physical recovery of birthing a child, the sleep deprivation.  Jeremy continued to love me so well, and I fell in love with him even more, watching him fall in love with Miss Kennedy.
On March 8, 2002, Jeremy got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife.  He bought us a root beer float to share.  He took me to the park where we had our first date and slipped the most beautiful ring onto my shaking finger, promising to love me forever.  I had never seen Jeremy so nervous, or heard his voice crack.  We went out to our favorite spot for dinner where he had our closest family and friends waiting to surprise me for an engagement party.  They had congratulations balloons and champagne.  I had never felt so loved in my entire life.  I had never felt so special.
We were married 7 months later, on October 25, 2002.Our love story is so great, so unlikely.  I feel so blessed that God provided me (+ one) exactly what/who I needed in that moment.  It hasn’t been easy, or perfect, or without pain.  I have learned that it’s in pain that we grow.  I respect that and I wouldn’t change any of the hard times because of it.
I intend to spend my life honoring this love.  Happy 14th Anniversary, Jeremy. I love you more than I can put into words.Whoever lives in love lives in God…
1  John 4:16

 

Kollyns Harper – A whole hand

On a cold January day, your Daddy and I spoke of the idea of you, a number 4, the possibility of another beautiful gift from God.  We prayed and planned and were gifted you a couple weeks later.  Your arrival was much anticipated by 3 anxious big siblings.  We bought books, and big sister and big brother shirts.  They laughed and joked about who would be your favorite big kid.  My pregnancy went fast and you arrived on the windiest Nebraska day I have ever witnessed.  With the help of 3 beautiful souls, women in the delivery room:  Dr. Shaleah Jones, nurse Farrah and her trainee, Kayla (you were Kayla’s first baby delivered!), and of course, your Daddy, you were born at 3 am on the dot.  It was a peaceful, warm and wonderful birth experience.
Your eyes…  Those brown eyes with mile-long eyelashes and the biggest cheeks I’ve ever seen on a newborn, and the thickest black hair, donned with a big bow from minute 1, stole our hearts the second we held you.  You were the quietest, chubbiest, sweetest little baby.  You never cried….I mean NEVER.  I spent 13 months rocking and nursing you to every nap and bedtime, and 5:30 am was your favorite hour…you were happy and excited to see me after an 8 hour sleep.  We spend many uninterrupted hours together alone while the bigs were in school and daddy at work.  You were my best accessory.  You were Facebook famous as I posted a picture a day of you!  And now…here we are….you are a WHOLE HAND!  FIVE beautiful, fast years you’ve blessed our lives.
May you continue to see life as you do now, questioning everything, stopping to smell the flowers, blow the dandellions, watch the airplanes, and love your Daddy (and his beard).  You are so fun.  Your eyes sparkle when you smile. We are blessed to love you.  Happy Birthday, baby girl.  Love you to the moon.

Kollyns: Age 5

What is your nickname:  KK and KK Harper

What is your favorite color:  Pink and Purple

What is your favorite toy?  Horsies and Mermaids

Who is your best friend?  Bubbles (Eliza)

What to you want to be when you grow up? Zoo Keeper

Do you think you will marry someone when you grow up?  No, because you have to date someone, and I don’t wanna.

Will you be a Mommy?  Yes, with 4 kids.

What is your favorite book? Any books about bunnies

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?  Go to the park and play

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? Have a picnic

What is your favorite thing to do with Kennedy?  Paint nails and go outside with her to play

What is your favorite thing to do with Konnor?  Rough-house

What is your favorite thing to do with Karson?  Read bedtime stories

What is your favorite thing to do with Khloe?  Play Family

What is your favorite food? Bacon and Pickles

What makes you happy?  When you (Mommy) don’t leave me.

What makes you sad?  When you (Mommy) go to class.  It takes weeks!

What do you love most about yourself?  My brown eyes, just like you (Mommy).