conversations about Jesus

Last week I had a conversation with Eliza that I want to remember forever. It went like this:

Eliza: (sees man on the side of the road with a cane) Is that your Poppie? (Poppie is what we call my Dad who passed away almost two years ago).
Me: No, baby. Poppie is in heaven with Jesus.
Eliza: I want to be in heaven with Jesus.
Me: Well, someday you can be in heaven with Jesus. If you have Jesus in your heart, someday when you die you will get to be with him in heaven.
Eliza: Jesus is in my heart?
Me: Yes, if you want him to be.
Eliza: What is he doing in my heart?
Me: (stumbling over this answer) Well, he helps you to love people even when you don't want to. He helps you to share things, even when you don't want to. He helps you to be kind to your friends, even when you don't want to. Jesus is perfect and he helps us to be more like him.
Eliza: Well, I don't want Jesus to be in my heart, because I want to see his whooooooole body. I want to touch him!
Me: I know baby, that's hard when we really want to see him and can't in person but someday we will get to see him everyday and that will be so great.
Eliza: Okay...

Later we get to the coffee shop we were heading to and Eliza says to her buddies, "Guys, Jesus wants me to share my toys with you!"

Love this girl.

christmas presents & squinty eyes

 This year I've been trying to buy Christmas presents throughout the year. Over the weekend I bought two Christmas presents for a Eliza- an old school phone and a wooden highchair for her dolls. I caved the night I bought them and gave her the phone. Then, yesterday she discovered the highchair. Moral of the story: I should probably just wait to start buying her gifts in December.

Also, Chris tried to take photos of us over the weekend. It was a fail all around. Partially because Eliza didn't want to but also because of my squinty eye problem. (I inherited this from my Dad).

Just look...
 major nope!
good but not great.

I'll settle for that. Happy Tuesday, folks!

the picture on my mantle

Changing up our mantle and I came across this photo today. Oh, if I could just go back in time and hug that 30-year-old Aimee girl that smiled for the camera at 19 weeks along. Really, it's not that long ago (less than a year), but oh how it feels likes ages. 

I would hug her and weep with her and pray with her and tell her it really is all going to be okay. Not easy. Not clean. Not ideal, but okay. Promise.


We didn't have a prenatal diagnosis with Lindie. Initially, when people asked, I told them I was glad we didn't know ahead of time. I was able to prepare for my baby thinking of her as just that- my baby. I didn't put any extra stress on her little body in the womb. I didn't put any extra stress on myself. At first it felt like it was for the best.

But the more I think about it, the more I kinda wish I had known. Yes, it would have been hard and yes it may have put some extra stress on her little bod, and yes I would have still grieved and cried my little heart out and felt all the feels, but I would have also researched the crap out of things. I would have still trusted in the Lord. I would have made a little more peace with the hand the Lord dealt. (This is a work in progress). I would have been a little more ready to welcome Lindie Fern into the world as she is, the daughter the Lord gifted me- Lindie Fern who is beautiful and cute and petite and full of smiles, Lindie Fern that is all mine (and even a little extra mine [that 47th chromosome 😉], Lindie Fern my daughter, my gift, my daughter with Down syndrome. 

Instead she was born and I grieved and sat in shock and I wished she was someone else. I struggled to hold her and love her and believe that she was mine. 

This is my flesh. This is my sinful nature. This is why I need Jesus. 

But my heart breaks wondering if she didn't notice my hardened heart those first few days. I wish I could have those days back and welcome her with balloons and unconditional love and praises of her beauty knowing all the while that she has Down syndrome. That's what she deserved.

In the end it is what it is. What happened happened. The Lord has my back whether I found out at 20 weeks or on her birthday. And the Lord has her back too. I have no judgement toward any Mama, finding out before or after, those are just my thoughts 5 months out. 

(And give me grace in my humanness please).

things lately

(Saturday at Tia and Marquis's wedding in SPFD)

Life lately has been busy and out of routine but still good. I am a planner at heart, so I am of course eager for routine and more normalcy. We've intentionally given our family some grace in this area because summer and because our crazy past four months, but we're looking forward to getting back into a routine this fall.

Some of our routine goals for the fall include:

  • Getting Miss Rosie back to her regularly scheduled bedtime program (bedtime before 9pm [you don't even want to know what time she's getting into bed now] and sleeping full nights in HER bed)
  • Meal planning Sundays and grocery shopping Mondays [a pre-Lindie routine Eliza and I once had]. (Can you believe I still have yet to grocery shop with the two girls?! I haven't been to Aldi since the Monday before Lindie was born. Don't pity me though- I've definitely been milking Walmart Grocery Pickup and Trader Joes in the meantime and it's been reaaaal nice. Our budget will be ready to go back to Aldi shopping soon).
  • Preschool! Starting this fall I plan to start at home preschool with Eliza 2 days a week. Nothing major, just working through a lesson book to learn the alphabet and numbers and work on reading.
  • Dance. One of the things I am most excited about this year is Eliza's dance class. The girl looooves to sing and dance all the time, especially when her favorite movies are on singing their songs (Frozen, Tangled, Moana, Trolls). Over the summer we enrolled her in a week-long dance class as a trial run and she loved it. So, starting this fall she will be doing dance one day a week from August to May. I am excited to watch her learn more in dance and I am SUPER excited about those recitals in our future. OMG. Heart eyes.
  • Quiet time. One thing that has been really lacking in this season is my alone time (something I desperately need) and time with Jesus (something I even more desperately need). Usually I pair these things. I'm still trying to figure out what this looks like, but its probably going to mean going to bed early and getting up early (something that used to be easy for me, but now is super hard). Still working on what that looks like.
We've still got a few weeks of summer though. So I'll keep milking it a few weeks longer...
love this man
 those arm rolls!
 Miss Rosie playing at Lindie's doctor's office
 "Am I Rockin' this extra chromosome or what?"
 first road trip in FOUR MONTHS! It only took 2 days of packing and prep work. (insert eye roll)
 this face

And the cutest video you ever did see...
"Come on! Hop on the bus. Today we're going to Chick-Fil-A!"

a birth diagnosis of Down syndrome: four months later

A little over four months ago little Lindie Fern came into our lives expectedly unexpected. I was more prepared than ever for our sweet babe but not at all prepared for the babe that arrived.

She was born on March 4, 2017 with a birth diagnosis of Down syndrome. At thirty years old and not a bit worried about things that were unlikely to happen, I hadn't even considered the thought of having a child with Down syndrome.

I remember years ago listening to a story told by one of my dear friends of the day their parents birthed their son to a birth diagnosis of Down syndrome and my heart couldn't believe the difficulty of getting that news in that way. I couldn't imagine bearing that weight, being overwhelmed with that kind of sorrow. It seemed an impossible day to bear.

And there I was on Lindie's birthday bearing it.
Recently the DSDN shared a blog post I wrote shortly after returning home from Lindie's 35 day NICU stay. She was a little over a month and a half old and had officially been home from the hospital a little over a week. Rereading the words I wrote just a few months ago was painful, yet freeing.

It was painful to read the words of a mother still in the thick of her grief- a mother who so needed to be reminded minute by minute in those early days that it was going to be okay and life would surely go on and (can you imagine it!) be joyous again. (Thank you to all those in those early days who spoke truth to me).

But it was also freeing to read the words I had written such a short time ago to see how much has changed- how the Lord has softened my heart toward my daughter, how I can go long periods of the day now without even thinking about Down syndrome, how I can snuggle and kiss my daughter and tell her I love her and truly mean it and how our lives (just a short while later) do feel joyous again.

(Although, don't get me wrong- I'm still doing daily life with a threenager and a newborn! It doesn't always *feel* joyous). 
So much has happened. Yes, she has grown and is developing more into the little girl she was born to be, but so much more has happened at the root of things. In my heart. In our families hearts. In my capacity of what I can handle in a given day. In what I see when I look at Lindie. In how Chris and I care for each other. In how we think about our future, Eliza's future and Lindie's future.

One of the biggest things that has happened in my life is Lindie has exposed my need for Jesus because despite how decent of a human being I thought I was before Lindie was born, despite how kind and accepting I thought I was of all people, despite how much I encouraged others and myself to love like Jesus loves, when it came down to it on the day Lindie was born I still struggled to accept her. My own daughter. My own flesh and blood.

And I know why. Because I'm human. Because I'm flawed. Because no matter how good I think I am or try to be, I still need Jesus. And Lindie has reminded me of that.

So much has happened in such a short amount of time- in our hearts and in Lindie's development- it excites me to think all the Lord will do in the course of Lindie Fern's lifetime.

So many people early on told Chris and I how fortunate she was to be born to parents like us. But now when I look at my baby girl I can't help but think it is the other way around- how fortunate we are that the Lord put Lindie Fern in our lives and that we get to serve her by being her parents. Don't get me wrong- there are still a lot of things that are hard and I wish were not the case, but despite all those things I am so thankful for her. She really is a gift.

Also, check out her four month update HERE!

little lindie fern: four months

Yesterday on the Fourth of July we celebrated four months of life with the sweetest #littlelindiefern!

At four months Lindie Fern loves her family, especially her big sis. She is happiest in the mornings. She loves sucking on her thumb, sleeping, grabbing toys on her play yard and breastfeeding.
She has made so many great strides this month: one of her heart defects (PDA) closed (!!) and the other (ASD) is smaller. She gained two pounds this month and started breastfeeding most of her feeds this month (although we're still g-tubing regularly after breastfeeding). She laughs now (mostly at her Dada), and smiles with her whole face.
We love our girl so, so much! 
Since re-introducing breastfeeding, Miss Lindie has been protesting the bottle more & more. So... we're going with it and changing plans. Instead of bottle feeding + G tubing most feeds we're switching to breastfeeding + G tubing most feeds. Thankfully Saint Francis came through with a scale rental to help make this happen.
Part of me is giddy with excitement that we are to the point where I am actually able to consider breastfeeding as an actual means to mostly feed Lindie. She has worked so, so, SO hard to get to this point, and I am just so proud. Part of me is super nervous because it's new and less controlled.
We're not 100% this is going to work, but man, it's so great. It's like Christmas morning. And I just wanna hug all the moms and tell them not to give up. 😁😁😁
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