Tuesday, February 21, 2012


  • Two weekends ago, my Mom and Grandma came up to visit and help while Brandon had the annual Sr. High Snow Camp up at Word of Life Owen Sound with his youth.  It was so great to have them up!  My dad would have liked to come up I'm sure, but now that my grandpa (dad's dad) lives with them half of the year my dad needs to stay home to care for him.  Aiden especially had so much fun ..... he played "hide and seek" with grandma and great-grandma, showed off his trains and with just generally soaked up all the attention.  Grandma (the boys' great-grandma - mom's mom) got to meet Hudson for the first time.  It was special too because Hudson's middle name (Loyal) is after my grandpa Loyal.  Thanks so much Mom for saving the day again.... we love having you up!
  • On Tuesday, February 13th, Hudson's first tooth finally broke through!  I knew it was coming as he has literally had anything and everything he can get his little hands on in his mouth for the past several weeks, and is drooling like crazy. 
  • I've been working away on my second online class that is needed to renew my Michigan Professional teaching credentials.  I'm taking a 19th Century US History course, and it's reading-intensive, but the marks are based solely on weekly quizzes and two mid-terms and a final exam. I don't actually mind this.... give me a test over a paper any day! (maybe I'm weird?)  For me, papers tend to get drawn out with all the research and I feel the need to find the perfect sources that are as current, scholarly and relevant as possible, and then I go into crazy revision mode because I can never just settle for a normal paper... why am I like this??  I hate writing papers! 
  • Bran and I had two different days to celebrate Valentine's Day this year.   We don't usually exchange gifts but rather focus on doing something special together.  But we always give cards, and Brandon's are always so sweet and heartfelt and always make my day.  Anyway, since V-day was on a Tuesday, we just had a "couch picnic" after getting the boys' down.  We so rarely watch any TV (except for PBS kids :), so it was a treat to have Armando's delivered and just park ourselves on the couch with the pizza and talk/watch Les Miserables together.  Then this past Saturday, Brandon's mom came over to watch the boys and we got to go out to The Keg for a late Valentine's dinner.... such a treat just to get out these days, and doubly nice getting to have a nice dinner and good conversation free of children. 
  • I love Sundays...they're crazy but so good to fellowship and worship with our church family!  I think our neighbors wonder why we're always rushing about, and heading in and out.  We're currently doing the "Love and Respect" series in adult Sunday School.  Brandon and I had read that book in our first year of marriage and have found it helpful, but it's the kind of thing you can always go back to and learn from others that we all deal with these things in our marriages. We came home and did the normal routine of trying to get two over-tired, cranky boys fed and down for much needed naps.  Brandon and I teach the SK- grade 2 Kid's Club once a month on Sunday night, so we had that this Sunday, and taught on Martin Luther.... I think it was a little advanced this week but hopefully they got the basics that he taught that salvation is through Faith Alone!  There are some fun, very social kids in that group! 

Verse of the week:  "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hudson's Birth Story

Hudson surprised us by arriving exactly 1 month early. I had not felt any movement all day Sat May 21, and so was told I needed to come into triage. I arrived around 7pm.. They hooked me all up and found Hudson's heartbeat no problem. Then his heartrate dipped very low, and they went into emergency mode throwing an oxygen mask on me and calling the doctor. His heartrate went back to normal. Dr. Hasen did a quick ultrasound and found that my amniotic fluid was very, very low, and told me I couldn't leave. He said Hudson needed to come out as soon as possible. So I called Brandon and he called his mom and arranged for her to come over to care for Aiden and then he packed up and got to the hospital. Dr. Hasen was wonderful and so comforting and the whole delivery was amazingly easy. They got me right in a room, put a foley catheter in to get things going, started pitocin, broke my water. This was all by maybe midnight. I was dialating, but not extremely fast and started feeling some pain. I told them I wanted the epidural earlier this time because of how painful Aiden's delivery was. Even though this epidural was delayed about and hour or hour and 1/2 after I asked for it, I was able to work through the contractions with Brandon's encouragement. I got the epidural maybe around 1 to 2 am, and felt so good after that. Brandon slept but I was just too excited to sleep and also wondering how Aiden was (it was the first night we'd ever spent away from Aiden). I was still only dialated to about 4 cm around 5 - 5:30am, so the nurse and doctor told me he wouldn't come until maybe that afternoon. Soon after that though I started feeling alot of pain very low that came on very quickly and got worse and worse very fast. I started crying and calling for Brandon to wake up and get the nurse because seemed to be quickly. They talked about topping up the epidural but didn't check me because they just had like 15 mins earlier. Finally I was really crying and feeling like pushing so one nurse said, "maybe we should check her again". Sure enough, I went from 4 cm to 10 cm in about 45 mins. They called for Dr. Hasen and once he got in I pushed once right away, he said not to push too hard because the baby was coming out so fast. I pushed one more little push and Hudson basically fell out. He was born at 6:36am.

He cried and we were in love immediately. It was so amazing to hold him and just look at his sweet little face .... he was so tiny.  He was 4 lbs, 9 oz, and measured at the weight of a 33 week old, even though he was 36 weeks.  A few minutes later he was being taken down to the NICU because he was so small and his blood sugar was a little off. He ended up spending 15 days in the NICU for low birth weight and not eating. God provided wonderful nurses and Dr. Adie (who was Aiden's neonatalogist already!), and gave us the strength to somehow care for Aiden at home and Hudson in the NICU, even while Brandon could only take about a week off from work at the church. We were so thankful for the help of our parents and siblings and church family at this time in caring for Aiden, when I had to be in the NICU with Hudson, and in bringing meals. We couldn't have done it without their help and prayers for sure! I pumped and pumped milk during this time, around the clock every 3 hours and tried to breastfeed/bottle feed every three hours.  We went back and forth from home and the NICU, and we couldn't wait for the day we could bring Hudson home to be with his brother. Hudson needed tube-feeding for quite awhile (because he could only take a few mls sometimes by breast or bottle at the beginning) and he also had to have a spinal tap to check for infection because he was eating so little (thankfully it came back fine!). Finally he started eating enough to not need the tube, and came home on June 6th!! My mom was able to come up on that day to be with us and help us... she was truly amazing! God provided for us in so many ways during the whole NICU time and gave us strength we didn't know we had to keep caring for our two boys even though they were apart, and we're very thankful. We were so happy to finally have our two boys under one roof!! Hudson weighed just over 5 lbs when he was able to come home, and I'm so thankful that I was able to keep up with all the pumping (despite not being able to breastfeed) and provide him with all breastmilk until almost 4 mos.   He is such a sweet joy in our lives, and so loved by daddy, mommy and big brother.  We pray that one day he will grow to love and serve God.

What we've been up to (so I can look back and remember)

Highlights from the last year and a half.....(so we can keep record of all the things that have gone on in our family)........

  • July 2010 - I started working full-time teaching an intensive Business ESL summer course at the university (teaching M-F, 9am-3:30pm; then lots of marking essays, prep every night).  My students in this program were so great and worked very hard.  Aiden started Montessori. 

  • July -Aug 2010 - Brandon led the youth mission trip to NYC with Urban Impact, and also did day camp and VBS.  Aiden got really sick a couple times in the summer, including while Brandon was in NYC, and had to overnight in the hospital.

  • Sept - Dec 2010 - I started working part-time in the ESL program at the university, teaching 4 hours of class four days a week (though still spent hours every night in grading essays, and prepping).  Justin and Sherri had Elijah in Sept! 

  • Oct 2010 - We found out we were pregnant again!  I had more morning sickness this time around, and found it hard to keep up with all the marking at night while caring for Aiden and feeling tired much of the time. 

  • Oct 21, 2010 - Holly and Dan had their triplets - Maddie, Josiah and Jackson.  We were able to visit them while still in the NICU - they were such little troopers and did so well!

  • Nov-Dec 2010 - We missed Thanksgiving with my family since I was working, but had a nice time over Christmas with Brandon's family and then down in Indy with my parents,  Nate, Andrea and Max, and Haeyoon and her family even came down!

  • Feb 2011 - Brandon took the youth to Word of Life Snow Camp and I took Aiden down to Indy to be with family.  Holly and Dan came down as well with the triplets so we had a mini-family reunion.  I started to feel more pregnant, so it was rough making the trip in the winter by myself. 

  • March 2011 - Brandon and Dan went together to a Youth Conference in Chicago and Aiden and I joined Holly and the triplets at her home.  Mom came up to help.  I started feeling more and more pregnant.  Brandon, Aiden and I took our first family vacation to Disney World and had an absolutely amazing time!

  • April - May 2011 - I started having more pregnancy complications and was put on bedrest.  Aiden was so fun and active during this time and I felt overwhelmed not knowing how to be there for him when it was so hard for me to get around.  God brought us through this time though and I was stretched in many good ways.  Brandon was an amazing help during this time at home!

  • May 2011 - My blood pressure was high and I was having weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests because of IntraUterine Growth Restriction (Hudson was measuring very small and not growing very much).  I felt very uncomfortable.  It was a rough time and Aiden could sense the changes. 

  • May 22 2011 - Hudson was born a month early! (full birth story to come)  Brandon's family (especially his mom) and my parents, and our church family and friends were so much help during this time, and we're so thankful for how they helped us care for Aiden and all the meals provided, etc during the two weeks Hudson was in the NICU. 

  • June 2011-  We celebrated Aiden's 2nd birthday (June 2nd) 11 days after Hudson was born.  What a joy Aiden has been!  We had a party for him with friends and family at Monkeytown mid-June and even brought Hudson! 

  • Since then - Having two in under two years has been a crazy, fun, often chaotic, sometimes hard, whirlwind, and I actually don't remember alot of details from the first months Hudson was home.  We were in survival mode.  Nate, Andrea, and Max came to visti over 4th of July, my parents came up several times, and Holly, Dan, and the triplets came up to meet Hudson the first week of Sept. Brandon led an outreach Day Camp and Church Day camp as well as helped with VBS at church. We spent a week at the cottage in Aug.  Nate and Andrea had Bennett on Sept 7. I started taking online classes in the fall to renew my Michigan teaching licencse.  We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families.  Brandon has continued to serve faithfully and diligently at Campbell with the Youth, teaching Sunday School, preaching at times, and coordinating all the children's ministry workers and summer missions.  I admire him so much and love how he comes home and loves to tell me all about what he's been learning from God's Word and doing at church. I pray God continues to use him greatly.  We love our church family! It's been weird not being as involved in youth stuff with him like I used to be, but we know that God has an important ministry for me to do right now in the home every day taking care of our boys. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Brothers and a Bible Verse

Brothers - January 2012.  Aiden - 2 1/2 yrs.  Hudson - 8 mos.

Children are a heritage from the LORD. Psalm 127:3

Our church has a weekly memory verse.  I want to try to commit these to memory every week, so plan to record them here weekly to help me. 

January 22-29, 2012 - Psalm 20:6-7

6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I guess I need a new name for this old blog...

Whew... I have this funny habit of blogging for a few months, stopping for a couple years, then starting back up ... hmmm.  I guess I've been busy. 

Since I last wrote, we've added a second little boy to the family.  Hudson Loyal - born May 22, 2011.  "Hudson" because both Brandon and I love the name.  It means "son of Hud" .... how profound, right? :)  But to us it also represents the famous missionary to China who also had the same last name.  Loyal was my maternal grandfather's name.  He was a faithful, "loyal", quiet, hard-working, outdoors man who lived all his life in Wisconsin and worked on the farm and in the fire tower (do I have that right, mom?). 

Hudson is not so little anymore - he's 8 months now.  He is our sweet gift from God.