It’s a new year and a “new” me

I think I tripped and fell into this year and I’m still struggling to get up. It has been the weirdest transition for me. Normally, I am all about setting up goals for the coming year and am so excited to have a fresh start. But this year, I was not ready for it. I had no time to think about anything. I woke up and it was a new year.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still excited about it being a new year but frankly, I am still trying to process last year.

For me last year had many highlights, but it came with a lot of health issues and some major healing. It’s was probably the hardest year of my life but the year that has given me the most freedom. The hardest times produce some major growth, right? In a nut shell, taking soy, dairy, corn and gluten out of my diet made me feel better than I ever had in my entire life. My hands didn’t swell or ache, my feet didn’t cramp, my skin cleared up and wasn’t itchy. I could actually think clearly and had energy to make it through the day. I could tolerate the sound of my children’s voices and not have crazy outburst of anger. All of these are reasons for me to stay away from my food intolerance until my body heals. I would workout and sweat a bunch and feel amazing, so I also need to find out why my body was so stressed.  I couldn’t figure it out. Nothing in my life had changed and I felt like I had a good grasp on our day to day life. One of the major blessings of the year was that the kids were stable. I realized that that was “the problem”, like having stable kids should be a problem! It was like being in the eye of the storm,  I was inside the calm and could see the chaos around me.

In late October, one of my friends had a baby and he was in the PICU, I was actually able to visit him without feeling overwhelmed. I felt useful in the situation because I could understand what my friend was going through. Thankfully, he was healed and released quickly. But then it set in their baby was well and mine were not. Most likely they would not get better, but actually it was going to possibly get worse. It made me feel very lonely because I could relate to my friend but I had no one that could relate to me. It made me wish that I had not given away my copy of  Hearing Jesus Speaking into Your Sorrow. Shortly after these thoughts, by now it was November, I had a dream about Bentley not surviving his kidney transplant and what my life was like after him. I woke up very upset but didn’t know what to do with such a dream.  A few days after the dream, during a book study with some of the fabulous (I sincerely mean that) women in our church, we were talking about how Jesus wept for the injustice of sin and sickness. Then it dawned on me. I had never once cried about the kids diagnosis.  There was so much to do and get done that I didn’t think about processing it. I trusted God with the situation and so I felt that there was no reason to cry. Well, after 4 years of carrying all that internally my body was breaking. It couldn’t handle it anymore. Let’s just say I had to compose myself for the rest of that book study and lost it a couple days after. I cried on and off for a good week and then I felt like a brand new person. I literally felt 20 lbs lighter! I have never felt angry or questioned, anxious at times because of the waiting, but trusted that this is best for our family and that is God’s amazing grace on me.

Since this healing, I have had two dreams about Bentley having his transplants. One I am laying in the hospital bed with him reading and the other I was doing yoga in the room for him (funny, huh?) But I realize that these dreams, are so kind of God. I don’t see the dream when he doesn’t survive as a nightmare but rather as God coming along side of me and saying, “We can do this, it’s going to be okay.” And I believe that it’s true because no matter the outcome God is still God. He is good and he is loving. I cherish these dreams because they have seriously caused me not to be fearful of the transplants when they come.

So, with all that going on right before the bubonic plague the kids and I had at Thanksgiving, then hustle and bustle of Christmas, it is no wonder that I have not had time to focus on the new year. I am still recovering from the last one. I really have one goal for 2014 and it is to relish life. I want to enjoy every moment. I want more out of life; more fun, more memories, more living, more flossing, more crafting, more painting, more French studies, more friendships, more yoga, more reading, more love, more God. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for us! As always, thanks for reading!!

xo, nikki :)

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Summer?!

This post is shamefully overdue, but I’m not going to make excuses of why I haven’t blogged in a while because I only have one: I haven’t felt like it.  That is the truth. My health has been the main reason I have not felt like it. So, instead of using this blog to “complain” about how I feel or the lack of feeling, I just stopped blogging. I was so tired and hormonal that the last thing on my mind was keeping up with the blog.  Which isn’t really fair because that is how many of you find out about the on goings of the kids. (Btw, I am doing much better now. I have cut a lot of stuff out of my diet and working out regularly to help manage stress.) Time is also factor, but you can make time for things, right? So, putting that aside I would like to update you on our life… if you are still interested ;)

The summer has gone by way too fast, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being overly excited about this upcoming fall. I am turning 30 and my old soul is so excited!! I actually had the thought, ‘Wow! I am going to be 40 is 10 years. That is so cool!’ I know, I know… I’m weird. Any way, back to this summer. I feel like we just survived.

-We had my grandparents, my parents and my sister come by in the late spring, which was a lot of fun.

-It rained most of the summer, so we didn’t get out too much.

-My dad came back through for business and celebrated Marseille’s 4th birthday. Yup! No babies here! I cannot believe that she is four. She woke up on here birthday and said, “I’m four, I am not 3 a-n-y-m-o-r-e!!” Went to the Children’s Museum for her birthday.

-Danny’s parents made a day trip here to have a birthday dinner with us for Marseille.

-I went paddleboarding… If I lived near water, I would want one sooooo badly. I loved it!!

-The kids went to FL with my parents and Danny went to Chicago for business and I had a wonderful stay-cation.

– We too various hiking and picnic trips. Especially trips to the Biltmore.

– Brought the kids to the train fountain downtown and let them play in it.

-My sister came for a quick visit before heading back to FL

– Went to the zoo as much as we could, and fed the ducks and ducklings a couple times too.

-We did the summer reading program again, but the baseball game got rained out… not sure if I am going to do the library one anymore.

-We had a few doctor appointments early on in the summer and everything is looking good.

-We started homeschooling the last week of August. The kids are loving it, and I am loving the structure in our day.

-We just had a family vacation for just the 4 of us. It has been 3 years since we have done that and it was fun! We went to Charleston, and ended the week with a couple days in Charlotte, so the kiddos could hang out with their grandparents. Danny and I went to Carowinds for the day.

And now, we are at the present moment! I’m sure that I am forgetting stuff… but that is what happens when you wait so long to post!! I will try to get some pictures together and post them later a long with some news that needs another post… no we are not pregnant!

xo, nikki :)

Fall Fun!

So far we have had a busy and fun Fall. A couple weeks ago, we went apple picking with my mom. I made apple butter with about 4lbs of apples and canned them. It was my first attempt canning by myself. I am happy to report that all the cans sealed… and the apple butter tastes good too!

Last weekend, we went apple picking with our care group. We just helped pick that time. It was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went to a Farm Day. There was bluegrass music, booths, fire and rescue trucks, tractors, and 4-H demonstrations.

The kids have had fun playing outside and enjoying the cooler weather. Last night, we ate dinner outside, had a bonfire, and of course we had roast marshmallows ;) Fall is such a fun time of the year!!

Next week, I am headed to NJ, NY and NYC for a visit with my uncle and my grandma! I am so excited!

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!! Then the kids and I will be headed to my parents new place for a week! We have an exciting and jammed pack Fall!!

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xoxo, nikki :)

 

Oh my goodness…

Where has the time gone?! It seems like this has been the gist of my posts lately!

We are still alive and living… and doing! What exactly, I’m not 100% sure.

Here are the rest of my Olympic dinners:

Passport Olympics: Brazil

Passport Olympics: Cuba

Passport Olympics: Germany

Passport Olympics: China

Passport Olympics: France

Since the Olympics, we:

-have been doing school here and there. We started a version of Five in a Row (FIAR). This is Goodnight Moon, and homemade moon phase oreos.

-went to a baseball game– that was a disaster! This is before the game started :)

-went on a beach trip (which takes a good week to get ready, then go, and a good week to get back into a routine!).

 

– my Mom came to visit — it was a whirlwind trip. She took tons of pictures, so I don’t have any on my camera. We had a great time apple picking, going to the zoo, and eating out :)

– book studies and visits with friends

– celebrated my birthday– I wanted to cook a live lobster… Julia Child recipe of course :) the count down begins!! 369 days until I’m a 30!!!!!! YaY!!!

 

So that is a quick update. I hope to go back a do a few posts on school, the beach and my birthday ;)

xo, nikki :)

A little of this and a little of that

Okay, it seems like a long time since I have sat down and wrote an update! Probably because it has been! We have been keeping busy!

Marseille – She is doing so well. I’m so grateful! I just LOVE her. I think that I kiss her constantly :) Her last check up went well. She was 10.5 lbs (I’m pretty sure that she is over 11 lbs now!) She’s getting a huge double chin and a lot of rolls. She loves to talk and smile, even at Bentley. They are so cute together! When we are holding her, she prefers to be facing out so she can see. She’s nosey (sorry- curious) just like Bentley was!
Her little temper has already begun to show. Attention is her main priority, if we aren’t around and talking to her she will let us know! She is pretty strong and loves to push herself up and look around. She has rolled over from back to front once, but I think it was a fluke. I have got her sitting on the ground a couple of times… I think she is learning pretty fast! She has found her thumb, and is constantly finding it so I think that she will be like Bentley. I see so much of Bentley in her already. Some of the faces she makes are classic Bentley. Hopefully, his sweetness will rub off on her!
She is a little turtle. When she wakes up, you see her head pop up as she looks around! It’s so cute! That’s how I know she is truly awake.
I’m excited about her hair coming back in on the top of her head (that was the only place that she lost it!) Overall, she is doing well, and I can’t believe that she is just over 3 months old! She is already in 3-6 months clothes! The 3 month is a little tight! I feel like she is growing too fast! Did I mention that I love her!!!

Bentley – Gosh, where do I begin. This boy is growing WWWAAAYYY to fast! He makes me laugh all the time. He runs around like he owns the place. He loves for us to scare him. Though, he closed himself in the pantry two days ago and popped out. It scared me! He mimics us. A few weeks ago I took him to see the trucks at some property that is being built on a couple of houses down from us. He loves trucks. Well, the truck began to lift the back up and dump out dirt and Bentley dropped his jaw and said, “Aye Yi Yi!” Which he hears all the time from us! It was so cute to see that he knows how to use it!
Bentley loves to hold Marseille. Last night he was giggling/ laughing with excitement while he was holding her. He loves to kiss her and tell her “Hiiiiii!” He loves to get a burp cloth and wipe her mouth as he says, “Spit, spit.” He is very sweet and fairly gentle with her. Though, he did poke her in the eye when she was sleeping. That didn’t go over well!
He loves Mickey Mouse. Mickey is one of his clearest words. Which I think is crazy because that isn’t very easy!
He’s getting pretty brave. Yesterday, he climbed up our garage stairs by himself. Saying pup-pup-pup — supposed to be up-up-up! Also, last night he turned his clear toy container over and stood up on it. Which is pretty high! He was dancing and everything!
He is doing so well with his therapy. He loves the therapist and is never hesitant to go and play. As soon as he sees her, he says, “play.” Which is great. Actually, he has begun to apply what he is learning there at home. Partly, why he is getting brave about standing on things! But, I noticed that he kept leaning on things and putting his arms by his side. Not really normal for most people, but I asked Stacy if she had been teaching him to do that. She said, “That’s why it was so easy today! Normally he resists after a while, but today he just did it!” She has him lay over a peanut shaped exercise ball with his arms by his side. So that explains why he has been doing that! Smart boy!
Health-wise, he is still stable. His recent blood work came back normal. We are just waiting for his genetic testing results to come back.

Danny is doing well. He just made bonus again, and so far on top as an A tech for this quarter. Which is God’s grace because they are extremely slow right now. He’s been keeping busy and even some side jobs for a friend. It’s been fun to watch him grow as a father. Bentley adores him and always gets a smile out of Marseille!

We recently had Shannon and Krista up from FL to visit. We had a great time together. It’s so nice to have friends come around. We took them downtown and had Jessica and Katie Britt over to visit with them too! Their visit went by fast!

Next, Amy, Danny’s sister will be here and then my family for Thanksgiving! We are so excited about both visits.

Now as for me! I’ve been keeping busy. God had been showing me a lot of things, mostly remembering how far that I have come! Around my birthday, I began to remember that this is when I thought I would be getting married, at 26! That’s completely different from my life! I’m so glad that I already have a family and a wonderful husband. Who knows what I would be doing or pursuing right now if I didn’t have them!
I am so grateful for where God has me right now, even with all that Bentley is going through. I’m even grateful for that. I really think and know that God allows us to endure these sort of things to grow us closer to Him. My dependence on, trust in, and love for Him is greater because of it! I can honestly say that I am grateful and thankful for our suffering because if we didn’t have this in our lives I think I would take so much for granted. Each day, I am so thankful for Bentley and to hear his laughter and see his joy. Plus, I think about what we would be doing with our finances. As we trust God for the ability to pay all of our bills and meet our needs, I think about how we would probably be using the money on things that moth and rust will destroy and am amazed that He has been providing for all of our needs. All of these things are areas where only God’s grace can change me. God has really taught me that our children our not our own. If life is a vapor, what is the amount of time that we have our children? Each day I thank God for them, but I am also not fearful of losing them. My love for God and thankfulness to Jesus are greater than my love for Danny or my children. And going through all of this has taught me that! How can I not be thankful?! I’d rather go through this and learn than be oblivious!
Other than living out the Gospel, I have been doing a lot of laundry :) Cooking is still doing well. I really love to cook! Though, I still really want to learn how to bake good bread! Thanks Ann for being willing to teach me :)Also, Cam, soon to be a new member in our church is teaching me how to knit and crochet properly. She said that I am doing it right I just needed a boost in confidence. It’s true when someone tells you that you are doing something right, it makes things go easier! I am also in the middle of making Christmas presents. I love doing that!

Well, I’ve GOT to go. I hear Bentley and it’s lunch time!! Sorry that this is so long! I need to make sure that I post more frequently!!

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It’s Fall!

Well, the month of September flew by. It’s always a little scarry when September ends because it seems like the rest of the year comes and goes! I have been feeling myself again and so I have been baking and cooking up a storm. I LOVE to cook. I think it is one of the most fun and statisfying things to do. You make something and get to eat it! Not just look at it, but smell, taste and see it!

A lot of these are pictures of my baking. I take pictures so I can look back and remember that I did it and push me to try more things. I really want to learn how to make all sorts of bread. This month’s baking has inspired me to try it. So soon I hope to make baugettes and crossiants. I don’t know how long it will take, but hopefully it won’t be too hard!

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It’s been too long!

Whew! It’s been so long since I have had a chance to sit down and blog. And even still I really have to make this short. We have had so much going on recently.
Danny, Bentley and I went to TN for a week. That was interesting, and fun.
We had a great Thanksgiving with my parents, sister and uncle.
Last Friday we had our annual skating event for the church.
Plus, all of the hustle and bustle this time of year brings.

Here are some highlights of our TN trip in pictures:

Bentley’s First Trip to Toys R Us

Bentley and I checked out the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

Bentley and I also went to visit Franklin, TN and toured Carnton Plantation that was used as a Civil War Hospital… complete with blood stains! It was very interesting!

We went back to the Gaylord Opryland with Danny and saw all their wonderful Christmas lights.

Bentley all bundled up walking downtown Nashville. We went to the biggest free state museum ever!