Thursday, December 27, 2007


What....coal? No stockings? "I don't understand" TJ said. "it's cuz we've been naughty silly" exclaimed Jacob.
Whew...we did get stockings after all. Those tricky parents!

Above: What our living room looked like after all the presents were opened. Nothing deterred Owen from getting where he wanted to go.
Jacob's prized gift this year: a "ben ten watch" doesn't even tell time. Oh well, not bad for $4.99;-)
Owen really wasn't much for opening gifts, but I did get this shot. You'd have thought he like it more since we had to keep him away from the tree for a month!

You can't beat this expression;-)

Off topic: TJ built a snowman out of our "blizzard" snow a few weeks ago;-)
This was Owen watching him!
What do you think of our house lights this year? Just kidding. It's really a close by neighborhood home that puts on quite a show to music and all...very neat-though WAAAAYYYY out of our league.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!!!! I'm looking forward to a blog-filled '08!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Owen's year in review...

And today....

See the teeth?
Bad hair day?

What's with me?

I know I haven't posted in a while. No good reasons...just excuses. I've never been "really faithful" to journaling and I consider this blog a "journal". With Christmas stuff, it's just not been a priority;-( I hope to post after Christmas about our experience and include pictures. I think all 3 boys will be a lot of fun... so far, we did see Santa and even got a picture---Owen was about to cry when his genius mommy saw the ginormous basket of suckers and shoved one in his hands. Which meant, he stared at the sucker salivating and not the camera or the big guy.

Owen now has 2 teeth as well (on the bottom). He weighed about 17 pounds at the ER recently (I'm going to skip this story) and he's about 27 inches I believe. Which, as usual puts him well below the growth charts with no trend towards the "supposed catch-up growth" we should be seeing.

But one thing I can say, is this kid can dance-my goodness-he makes the dancing with the stars cast look bad. Give him a beat or jazzy commercial and he'll go to town with the cutest little bee-bop you've ever seen.

I pray you all have a Merry Christmas and Safe New Year!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A beautiful tribute to Lydia

Yesterday was the memorial celebration for Lydia Grace Focosi (Lydia's web page). It was the MOST lovely memorial service I have ever witnessed. I have many photos from it below. The first are of the balloon release which was one of the most special part's of her service. As you may notice from the photo, we released pink balloons-except there was one white, which was representative of Lydia, released by her big brother Alex. I could've watched the balloons as the gracefully floated off to the heavens until there was nothing left to see but clouds. It was truly lovely.

I also thought Amy looked lovely and she was as graceful as you could imagine all throughout the visitation and service. For a gal who claims to not be creative, she certainly made a special and memorable event for us to be blessed by. Amy assured me that all of it was from the Good Lord and I know what she means.

Above is the table where they had Lydia's urn, which was the perfect heart shaped item in the photo. They had it engraved and even the funeral director was in awe of how perfect it was (they did not get it from the funeral home's selection but on their own).

This is the lovely stepping stone Lydia's Nonna (Grandma Lora) got for Amy and Mike. I don't know where it came from other than online but it is one of the most precious gifts I saw. I LOVE STEPPING STONES!

This is the tree some of Amy's friends gave to her when she was in the hospital. They had all made the precious ornaments in honor of Lydia and wrote beautiful notes on the back of each hand painted ornament-creative friends too!
Amy had many of the generous gifts they had been blessed with on a table at the service. I thought that was a very touching and precious thank you even without a word.

And of course, there were many beautiful flowers sent as well. I loved how these were displayed with a simple set of Lydia's footprints.
Please visit their web page for Lydia as it has many wonderful links including their story, more info on anencephaly, and the Now I Lay Me Down to sleep Foundation. They will also be adding the video (soon, but no pressure Mike;-) we saw during the service which was a beautifully orchestrated visual of their journey of expecting Lydia as well as her birth and photos of them cuddling her and allowing a precious few to meet her also. This was one of the most special parts of the service for me but I also really was blessed by Amy's friend Lindsay (and Lindsay's husband Mike) singing at the service. They sang "it is well with my soul" and "wonderful merciful savior". Again, lovely.
Thank you Amy, Mike and Alex for allowing us all to be a part of such a special day. Lydia was an incredibly special baby girl! I love you guys!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Touched by an Angel

Please note this entry was written a few days ago and is just now being posted.

Few of us can say this. That is, that they were touched by an angel. I haven't been around much lately for many reasons of hustle and bustle of the season, but more so because, I've been touched by an Angel.

I have had the tremendous honor and privilege to be a part of the lives of a family who let me meet their Angel. This post is about Amy, Mike, Alex, and Lydia-may it bless you too, to be a part of their story.

It's just CRAZY to me how God works. How God brings people together. Amy and I are in the same moms club, we attended a retreat in the spring and we attend the same Bible study. Through all this, what brought us together though, was a dining table. Yes, this sounds silly but it is how I came to know her "better". She wanted to sell her dining table and I, very annoyingly, badgered her about it before finally deciding to buy it (I absolutely LOVE it, BTW).

She told me when I bought the table that she was expecting their second child, so she wouldn't be able to help me move it. Through our brief conversations, I thought to myself, I really like her-maybe I should actually attend some MOMS club stuff;-)

Anyway, as time passed and school began, I got an email from her one day asking for prayer. She had been to the doctor for her 20 week check up and ultrasound and got some truly unthinkable news...her precious baby that she was carrying had a rare condition called anencephaly and this condition is not compatible with life outside of the womb. I instantly called her but she did not answer. I was not surprised-she hardly knew me, why would she now answer the phone and pour out her broken heart to me. SO, I did the next best thing in this technological age and e-mailed her. I shared with her our story, which I knew was not the same as hers but I told her that I would like to help in any way possible as I knew that when I had a difficult pregnancy, help that was offered to me meant SOOO very much. And, I really felt a connection to her.

She responded to the email and our friendship grew-I wasn't there for her as much as I should have been in the weeks following but I thought of her constantly and prayed. I had also offered to care for her as her nurse when she had the baby if she wanted and she decided she would like that. I was honored. I prayed the Lord would work things out and make it possible for me to be there as her nurse and friend.

Amy was due January 11. Never really knowing, we all thought we had some time...but as things would have it-we didn't have a much time as we'd of liked. Amy began leaking amniotic fluid over the weekend and told me about it Saturday night. She called her doctor and he said he would see her in the morning just to make sure- none of us were really convinced that at 34 weeks it was "time". I forgot to mention, over the course of these past months, Amy was blessed by the gift of an elective ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby so they could bond and spend sweet and precious time preparing for the birth of their daughter. They were able to also give her a name-Lydia Grace.

So, I awaited a call on Sunday morning to find out if Amy would need to be delivered due to the amniotic fluid leak, and indeed, she called me and told me they would be heading to the hospital. God is so good. I was able to head up to the hospital and care for her and her husband Mike and wait out the delivery of Precious Lydia. While things did not go as fast as I'd hoped for Amy, her labor went smoothly and when Lydia was ready, she came quickly (almost too quickly). She was born into this world Monday December 3rd at 4:47pm. I was able to help Amy and Mike thru some of the deepest waters they will ever tread-but I am not writing this because I am "proud" or think "I'm so great" but because I am so humbled by the goodness of our Lord.

Few of us will ever experience such a situation, but I know I am a better person because of it. Blessed beyond measure, actually. Many of us think we may say, "no God, it's too hard". It was hard. But it wasn't about me-it was about helping Amy and Mike and doing for them the same thing I would want someone to do for me-show them love in their darkest hours. Lydia's birth and short life were so beautiful. It's hard for most of us to imagine packing a lifetime of love into 28 short minutes, but Mike and Amy did and they did it so gracefully. At 5:15pm Lydia's heart was no longer beating. She went home to be with our Heavenly Father.

I will never forget holding her and cuddling her. Being so blessed to be able to help with keepsakes like pictures, footprints, and hand and foot molds. Who is blessed like this? I feel so unworthy-yet know that I did it lovingly as if Lydia were my daughter. I had a few others nurses ask about it-how hard it must be. I tried to be God-honoring and explain it's what I'd have wanted and it was actually easier to care for them knowing them than when we take care of patients whom we don't know and don't know how to best serve.

Can you imagine cuddling your newborn and having to say good bye as soon as you've said Hello? It's indescribable. Little Lydia was incredibly precious. She had perfect hands and feet-in fact, she was perfect in every way, maybe not in Wordly terms, but to God, her parents and those who were blessed to be able to meet her. Her body was just not made for this Earth.
I liken her to a butterfly-her delicate and precious body touched the lives of many but was not intended for long life on this Earth. I will probably never see a butterfly again that I don't think of Lydia. As they softly flutter by with their delicate wings and graceful presence-I pray I never forget.

Not many of us can say that we know what it is like to grieve over the loss of a child. I know I can't truly say that. I've never lost a child. I know when I was pregnant with Owen, I feared the loss of his life GREATLY and went as far as to thinking about funeral arrangements, etc.

This experience has affected me more deeply than I was prepared for. I feel blessed, though sad. I've spent these last few days constantly thinking about Amy and Mike. And praying...

I've also thought {even} more about God. He also lost a child-actually, He did something even harder-He gave His only son's life---for us. This very time of year His son came into this cruel World and 33 years later, the Lord gave-SACRIFICED His son's life as a payment for the sins of this World-MY SINS! Speaking of unworthy-WOW!!! The grace I'm given, though don't deserve.

Amy and Mike's choice for Lydia's name is a really neat thing to me-Lydia means beauty and Grace means unmerited favor. How fitting.

The Bible says "the King is enthralled by our beauty"...I rarely feel beautiful but yet God tells me He's ENTHRALLED by my beauty. He's enthralled by Lydia's beauty also-He created her.

Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

They are planning a glorious memorial service for Lydia. They have been so brave and inspiring through this all. I'm so honored they allowed me to be a part of their lives-and Lydia's life.

Mike, Amy, and Alex-I love you guys!

Please keep this dear family in your hearts and prayers. I know in the days, weeks, and months that follow they will have a lot of physical, emotional and spiritual healing to deal with.

Read about their story at

Cry Out To Jesus

Words by Mac Powell / Music by Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love

Long before it was their time

You feel like the days you had were not enough

when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains

Keeping you back from your life

You believe that there's nothing and there is no one

Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He'll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

Sunday, November 18, 2007

too long...

I can't believe I couldn't get a post in before now.

I am not in the "mood" to post for some reason, but I have the time so I will try to get some recent stuff down for the history books.
First off, a very belated Happy Birthday to TJ! My first born is now 8 years old! It was a fun time celebrating with him on his actual birthday November 9th and then having some family by to celebrate both Owen and TJ's birthdays on the 10th. The emotion I feel thinking back to the births of my children-wow...I could bawl for a while on that one.

TJ on his birthday morning with his traditional breakfast of choice, french toast;-)

My, how big he's gotten! (sniffle, sniffle...).

The boys and I took a birthday treat into school for him since his birthday fell on a school day.

And we finished out the day together at chuck-E-cheese. I let TJ take his friend Austin and have a sleep over. They had a blast!

And now onto the birthday party...

Wow, this is one told me there would be presents here!!!

Owen had plenty of help opening up his goodies.

He cheered his way through!
And my favorite present...this awesome soft, but sturdy cube that is PERFECT for Owen's height. It is interactive and has lots of nursery rhymes. My description doesn't come close to doing it justice but it is phenomenal. Thanks Grandma Debbie!

My birthday fun, how great! Owen's one and TJ's eight!!!

One would think an eight year old eating cake would be a bit more civilized...

Maybe more like this smart baby with a fork???

Naaa, we were given hands by the good Lord to eat cake!

Got Milk?

I had all three boys check-ups done with our great pedi, Dr Ho. All of them are great! As in my obsession with growth charts, TJ is our medium size box in the 50% percentiles for height and weight, Jake is our small box, in the 25% for height and weight, and rounding out our packages is our smallest gift "box"-Owen is steadily trucking along on his own growth curve. He weighed 16 pounds and was around 26 inches (I think it was 25 3/4-but it was REALLY crazy having all three boys at the same appt!!!). His head circumference did jump up quite a bit-the MD even remeasured it himself. He confirmed the finding and said it would be something to watch closely;-) Nonetheless, he's not on the growth charts, but hat's no surprise. Owen is cruising along and doing so well. We are even dropping our threrapies to every other week. So now we will see OT this week and PT next week and so on and so forth. He babbles and babbles and babbles too!

***Milestone alert*** He is cutting his first tooth! I don't know much about tooth names but it's his lower left-and it's so cute to see the pearly white nudging thru!

Call CPS! (again)...Today, Tim woke me up from an afternoon nap saying, Owen is out of his bed. Me in my sleepy stuper jump up and ask what he is talking about. He said, I found Owen crawling around his room. Hmmmm....that's not how I left him 2 hours ago-I left him safely in his crib-so we dash back into his room to find him smiling and crawling around-unscathed. The crib latch on the lower left is busted out-so my Owen is now on his 3rd or 4th of his cat-like nine lives. Because the crib is broken, and we don't have a spare lying around, we had to turn it around and wedge against the wall. Yea, safe huh? So, my little light weight is really a brute and busted outta his baby bed already!

TJ is really into his "webkinz". For those of you who don't know, in our house a webkinz is the closest thing our kids will EVER have to a REAL pet. They are little stuffed animals that you log in to the web to care for each day. You feed them, play with them, put them to bed, and of course buy them things-there's even a clinic. They are really great to teach about time and money mgmt. TJ has to earn "online webkinz money" (doesn't cost anything but effort) to pay for things for his pup-he even gives him vitamins;-) I don't have any stock in webkinz or anything, I just think they are a worthwhile gift idea this year. Oh, and the cutest thing about his webkinz experience so far is his beach themed room he has made (online) for his pet, Rasky. I was complimenting it and praising his work when I noticed a gingerbread house-like TV in the room. I inquired about it and TJ said with the CUTEST expressiveness, "yea, it was on sale!" (embarrasses that it didn't match the sunny beach theme;-) Ahhhh...mommy's good and frugal boy!

Jacob is our little problem solver. Simple things that TJ grumps about Jake solves. For instance, we asked TJ to put a little science kit away and gave him a baggie to put his stuff in. Everything wouldn't fit and TJ began to grump. Jake quickly said, just ask for a bigger baggie;-) Genius! Jake's also into team work right now. He's also REALLY excited about our church's living nativity that is being set up all around the building right now. It recounts the events of Jesus' birth, life and Resurrection all in a convenient walk-thru &/or drive thru path. We have it every year and on 2 weekends to make sure you have an opportunity to stop by. It opens December 7th, and is also open on the 8th, 9th and 14th, 15th, and 16th from 6:30 to 8:30pm and it's FREE!!!!. It is so neat to hear Jacob with his excitement about the extravagant sets that are being constructed.

Jake is cutting a few teeth too;-)

Speaking of call latest new bad habit:

Note the 3 different outfits=3 different days IN A ROW!!! Yes, bad mommy. I would put him in his seat for lunch and before I knew it he'd fall into his narcoleptic state. I guess maybe he's not ready to give up his morning nap quite yet?
More tangents...We have also decorated for Christmas and watched our traditional movie Christmas Vacation while getting out our decor from storage, etc. We laugh and learn new lines each year, this year Tim is stuck on "Whatever Russ". So, we say that to each other frequently to cut tension, etc in our daily ongoings.
Anyway, my sister Heather and I, plus our gazillion kids are traveling this week (Weds.) to Wisconsin to our mom's for Thanksgiving. We have tried to go up there every year for sometime now, since Tim's busy in retail bliss and such. So, please pray for our safe and blessed travels and also for our spouses while we are away. Tim plans to make a delicious meal for his cowokers and employees who have to work on Thanksgiving (so sweet!). I'm not sure what Lee will do at the fire dept-but I'm sure there will be food involved;-)
Happy Happy Happy and BLESSED Thanksgiving to everyone!!!