Welcome to the World of Norwex

Prior to everything happening with Sarge, I had heard of Norwex.

Never heard of Norwex? Let me fill you in!

Norwex is a way to clean your home without using any toxic chemicals. After getting into Essential Oils last year, I really wanted to make the effort to stop using toxic cleaners to clean my home. But making my own cleaners with Essential Oils just wasn’t happening.

When I came across Norwex I knew I had met my match. I ordered the Household Package which includes the Enviro cloth (for sanitizing), the Window cloth (for washing windows) and the Dusting Mitt (for dusting).

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The day I received my Household Package, I dusted my entire house (minus the master bedroom) and cleaned the outside of the windows in the kitchen and living room and two sliding glass doors in 30 minutes. That is A LOT of cleaning in a little amount of time and, in this phase of my life, I only have a little bit of time to clean. Look how CLEAN my sliding glass door is after using the Window Cloth:

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Beside the fact that Norwex cuts out toxic cleaners, it also increases productivity in cleaning! Since these clothes last 8 years (or 500 washes), you can’t beat the price especially when you take into consideration you will no longer need to buy paper towels and chemical cleaners.

I have just begun switching over to Norwex and I can’t wait to have ALL toxic cleaners out of my house for good.

Here are a few good YouTube videos to watch about Norwex:

The Enviro Cloth

Does Norwex sanitize?

Bathroom Cleaning

Rebecca is hosting a Norwex Party for us to help raise funds for Sarge’s unexpected adoption! 30% of purchases during this party will go directly to our adoption fund!

Party goes from now until November 18th! Click HERE to join the Facebook group to learn more and to enter for Giveaways!

A Slice of Normal

Tonight, in the midst of all the constant chaos, we decided to be brave and head out to a Fall Festival that we have attended for several years now. I had no idea how Sarge would do because….you never know how Sarge will do. Since he had had a really rough night and morning, I had my suspicions if that bout of pain had finally passed, he might pass out in his car seat and be good to go for the evening as he finally caught up on rest.

I was right! We had a FABULOUS time. I was soaking it all in because for the first time in over two months my whole family – all FIVE of us – went out together and enjoyed a wonderful fall evening at a Fall Festival. So much so that I am taking the time to document this evening on the blog before I go to bed!

All five of us driving in our new car for the first time:

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(Yes, we had to buy a new car…for the second time this year. Back in February we went down to being a one-car family. Dave sold his car. We sold our family car and we bought a new car that we planned to keep forever. And then Sarge came along and no matter what we tried, we could not fit three car seats in the back. So shortly after we got home from the NICU with Sarge, we started car hunting again. We didn’t want a van so we went with a Santa Fe and we love it. Sweet Pea and Sarge are in the middle seats and Little Bug sits in the very back.)

The girls enjoyed a hayride with Grams and Gramps.

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I loved getting to see my big girls have fun playing games!

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Finally, we were doing something normal and I cannot tell you how good it felt!!

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After we had left I realized we never took a family picture together. Oh well. I did have Dave snap this picture of me with Sweet Pea after we had finished her craft.

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We are no where out of the woods with Sarge, but I do think we are finally at a place where we can leave the house with him…maybe. A month or even just two weeks ago, I would have not even thought about trying to go anywhere (besides dr appts) with him. Even though I am an introvert, the isolation was starting to get to me.

I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness in giving us this evening…even if it is just a slice of normal life that eventually will come.

It’s not a cake walk.

Sarge has been on Zantac and a prescription formula and there has been no change to his level of pain associated with eating. It’s quite disheartening to see this baby continue to suffer, and to know that his issues stem from being exposed to drugs in the womb. If this was just a reflux or sensitive stomach/allergy issue, the Zantac and prescription formula would have helped by now.

I spoke to a woman yesterday who gave me the name and number of a doctor who works with babies and children that have been exposed to drugs in the womb. I called this morning to get Sarge an appointment. I am waiting to hear back when they can fit us in. The doctor is booked out months in advance but when a case like us calls in, he does what he can to see the infant as soon as possible. Please pray we can get in as soon as possible.

Speaking to this woman yesterday, who is a mother to three children exposed to drugs in the womb, was a big source of encouragement yesterday. To speak to someone who has walked in my shoes and validated every single feeling I am feeling as we walk through this was just what I needed yesterday.

I am pretty much homebound with Sarge as I learned the hard way on Friday night. Every fall, the family takes a trip the mountains to the family cabin. Since we got the phone call about Sarge while there in early August, I desperately wanted to go there this fall. It was going to be full-circle to take him there. After speaking with his birth mother in the living room of the cabin and then the family immediately going to prayer when I hung up with her, I wanted to take a picture of Sarge in my arms after asking the Lord to place him in my arms during that time we didn’t know where Sarge was going to end up.

My parents asked to take the girls up to the cabin with them, and because I am relying so heavily on their help these desperate days, I had no choice but to say yes even though there was a tinge of Mommy Guilt thrown in there about sending the girls away for a week after having been away from them for four weeks while Sarge was in the NICU. But, I knew I had no other choice but to send them.

And then I thought, Why not go up for a long weekend? And that became the plan. Dave, Wesley, Sarge and I would drive up on Friday after work and stay through Monday! Perfect! I was so looking forward to a bit of “normal”.

We pulled out at 4:45pm. Sarge was due to eat between 5-5:30. We made it to the north side of town and stopped to eat dinner and feed Sarge, so we really didn’t get on the highway until 6pm and we had a 7-8 hour drive ahead of us NOT counting the stops we were going to have to take to feed Sarge along the way! It can take anywhere from 45-75 minutes to feed him. That’s a lot of lost travel time on the road. I was beginning to second guess our decision in trying to make this trip.

But I just chose to make it an adventure…until Sarge was extremely uncomfortable in the car seat. After eating Sarge writhes in pain. We hold him until the pain passes and he can relax and fall asleep. This takes anywhere from 1-2 hours after he eats. If I held him until his pain had passed before putting him in the car seat to continue our travel we would literally NEVER make it out of our state, much less all the way to the mountains! So I tried to comfort him as best I could with him in the car seat, all the while thinking this was going to be a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG night.

Then, around 7:30pm, after we had only been on the road 1.5 hours and would need to stop again to feed Sarge around 8:30pm, my dad called to tell us that Sweet Pea currently had a 102 temp and had thrown up. Say what?!?!

I felt SO defeated at this point! Little Bug had been plagued with a horrible stomach bug that had lasted 4 days the week prior and now it appeared it was Sweet Pea’s turn! Sarge could not be around those germs. We started talking about our options, one of which was to just turn around and go home.

After 15 minutes of talking it over, we decided to just go home. We were asking too much of Sarge to make this trip in his condition. Later I was kicking myself for even thinking this trip was a good idea! I should have known better and had I thought about the logistics and the fact that being in the car seat for 8+ hours probably wasn’t going to be the best for Sarge, let alone being out and about while we were in the mountains, I would have realized even attempting the trip was a dumb idea.

Defeated we drove the 1 hour 45 minutes back home and we were home by 11pm. I was unpacked by midnight because I was so mad and didn’t want the chore of unpacking to hang over me.

God is teaching me much in this season of my life. One of which is the fact that we are so not in control of our lives!! It’s a lesson I’ve been taught many times before.

Life is NOTHING like I imagined it to be this past summer as I was preparing for our first official homeschool year! But- God is faithful and He is giving us the grace to move through these days in His strength. There is no doubt in my mind that this is God’s calling on my life right now. To love and nurture this precious baby boy to health. God made it abundantly clear that His Plan all along was for Sarge to be our son and it is one my highest callings in this life to be the mother of Little Bug, Sweet Pea and now, Sarge.

Once again, life has turned out to be anything but what I expected. As always, it’s a wild ride and as hard as life is right now, I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

I remind myself daily – if not multiple times a day – that all of these circumstances are temporary. This is all a season. A season that will pass.

As I was sharing my feelings with the woman I spoke with yesterday she validated the one thing that has just been nagging me from the beginning of all this. It goes against every grain in my body to not be capable of caring for all three of my children at the same time by myself. I feel like I should be able to. I want to more than anything, but logistically it is just not possible because of Sarge’s delicate state. I was sharing these frustrations with her yesterday, telling her I feel like a wimp or something. She said, “You are not a wimp! Adding a third child to the family is hard enough under normal circumstances. But you have a drug baby on top of all that! It is NOT easy. When my third came along, my two cousins moved in with us to help take care of everyone for the first several months because I COULD NOT do it alone. It was impossible to care for two little ones on top of a drug baby.”

Do you know how much that was music to my ears?!? I am not crazy. I am not weak. I am not being a wimp. I am doing the best I can do given the circumstances. And I am blessed that God has given me parents who are so willing and capable of stepping up and helping us through this time. And we will get through this. She told me, “Things will improve. Life will get easier.”

I know it’s true. Right now, life is hard. I feel pulled in twenty million directions 24/7. It is extremely difficult watching a baby suffer and knowing the reason was completely 100% preventable. I can’t dwell on that too much. It is what it is. This baby is right where he needs to be and I am going to do EVERYTHING in my power to get him the help he needs so that his body can heal and these drugs don’t have a lasting effect on his little body. By God’s grace, I know he will be healed. The alternative is not acceptable to me.

It is taxing and tiring trying to figure out what to do next to help him! I am praying this doctor is our God-send and will give me the tools I need to help Sarge recover.

This summer I had wonderful plans in place for our first year of homeschool! I was so looking forward to this season of our life. God had other plans and now my focus has shifted although we are still very much homeschooling Little Bug. (I just love the flexibility homeschool provides.)

I want to write a post soon about all that I have learned from everything we have gone through in 2014. Perhaps the biggest is a reminder that our lives are not our own. We make plans, which is a good thing to do, but ultimately we must keep our hearts attuned to God and His plan for our lives and be ready to surrender our plans for His plans if His plans are different from our own. God’s plan for our lives is rarely a cake walk because He takes us places to make us totally dependent on Him! It’s truly a good place to be.

In the midst of all the chaos, there is peace because I know I am right where God wants me doing exactly what He wants me to do in this season of my life.

It’s just hard and I truly appreciate the support and prayers during this time.

PS: Sweet Pea was sick that one time. She immediately asked for applesauce, ate it, kept it down and slept all night. She was perfectly fine the next morning and went on a long hike. I am convinced God used that to make us turn around because He knew the trip was too much for Sarge.

Tummy Troubles, Take 2

We are back in the land of “tummy troubles”. Little Sarge is having pretty much identical issues that his big sister had. Which leaves me pretty much zero time to blog, but I wanted to get a quick update posted while I am sitting here holding him after he went through a bad spell of discomfort.

Life is pretty challenging at this time as we try to figure out what Sarge needs to make him as comfortable as possible through the worst of all this. We’ve had differing opinions from different doctors which has made things interesting and confusing. In the end, we made decisions based off what we have already seen be successful in the past.

Bottom line is this: I have absolutely no control over what my babies are exposed to in the womb. All three of my babies are products of very toxic wombs. However, once my babies are born and placed in my arms, I do every thing within my power to give them the very best. Figuring out what is best is hard especially when I have two different doctors, both of which I respect, telling me to do different things!

Another bottom line: All of this is temporary. Sarge’s tummy troubles, our chaotic lives and the crazy circumstances 2014 has been for our family. It’s all temporary. Sarge will not be a little writhing-in-pain-infant for forever. Our family will find a new normal. And God continues to have His hand on us as we navigate these waters He is bringing us through this year.

I really hope I can find the time soon to write Sarge’s monthly updates! I really want to have record of that. I hope to find time for that this week.

saying no

Even if I could begin to tell the story of how Sarge came to be our son, I don’t know that I would even know where to begin. Well, I do know the story begins on January 22, 2014 – one of the darkest days of my life to date. And it wasn’t because we had to say no to adopting Sarge on that day. That day would come on March 26, 2014.

We said no, we could not and would not be adopting Sarge and the main reason why was because of what had happened on January 22nd.

Saying no to adopting Sarge on March 26th was the right thing to say on that day. It did nearly break my heart in two to have to say no, but we knew there was no other way but to say no.

One of the profound truths about God that we have learned through the events of this year is that God’s plans prevail no matter what.

It’s right there in Scripture. Proverbs 19: 21 says Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.

We said no. We had to say no. It was the right thing in that moment to say no. But God knew all along Sarge was our son and He was going to have to move mountains to place him in our family.

And He did it. He performed not one, but two miracles, to place Sarge in our family. If you are following the Lord and truly desire to live according to HIS will for your life, God leads you exactly where you need to go. You can’t make a wrong choice because as only God can do, He weaves the mess of our lives into His perfect plan.

That is what we have seen over this past year and it is astounding to see God work like that.

As I saw these miracles unfolding before my eyes I knew one day I would need to proclaim to anyone willing to listen what God has done. That time is coming. The story I will have to tell will be extremely hard to tell at certain parts. I am going to have to be extremely vulnerable but it’s all for God’s glory and I literally can’t keep quiet about what God has done.

January to April of this year I operated in survival mode and here I am again operating in survival mode. Anytime life changes in the blink of an eye, it throws our lives into chaos for a season and it just takes time to find a new normal. Our family has had to find its new normal twice this year and I know it is just a matter of time before we settle into a family of five and Sarge overcomes these obstacles.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us.

mother to three

Sarge will probably be coming home within the week which is both exciting and terrifying!!!

After three weeks of being away from home and being in a hospital, Dave and I are more than ready to be HOME.

It is still pretty surreal to us that we have a third child and it is slightly terrifying to think about the adjustments our family will have to go through to bring a newborn into our little family.

In our minds, these newborn days were over! Diapers, formula and feeding schedules were a thing of the past. Our youngest had just turned three years old and we were beginning our first official year of homeschooling and were moving to a new stage of life.

I just have to chuckle at what God must have been thinking when we decided we were done with newborns and sold all our baby stuff in March and used that money to purchase our homeschool curriculum this year! At that time, my heart wasn’t completely sure that our family was complete with two children but Dave and I had been thinking about all the children in foster care waiting for their forever homes and we were thinking maybe in a year or two (once we had a year or two of homeschooling under our belts) we would possibly look in to adopting a child from the foster care system under the age of four.

Those were our plans. And they did not include a newborn. There was one thing we were confident about: We would most likely NOT being doing another domestic infant adoption to grow our family.

We make plans that we can handle. I figured in 1-2 years we’d have a good homeschooling routine going and be ready to throw a curveball again at adding another child. A child that desperately needed a family and could join right in with our homeschooling. A newborn would cramp my homeschooling style.

Do you see the problem there? We make plans that we can handle.

Where was God in that plan? I had everything in control! I didn’t need God for that plan – MY PLAN.

As always God’s plans are so much bigger and so much better than we can ever imagine. And His plans always require us to rely on Him…for everything!

A few weeks before we realized that God just may be placing Sarge with us, He began to work on my heart concerning the whole newborn-thing. I can’t go into details yet about what He did with me but there was the definite work of God on my heart as He began to prepare me for what was to come.

That doesn’t change the fact that I am a little bit terrified about having three children ages 5, 3 and a newborn!

But, you know what? This makes me rely on Him because I know I can’t do this in my own strength.

With the births of each of my children, God has used them to refine me as a woman, wife and mother. Sarge will do the same. And probably even more so, because this time, I won’t even begin to think that I am SuperMom and can do it all. Because I can’t. No one can do it all.

All we can do is what God calls us to do and equips us to do. This experience for me has only reiterated to me how dependent on God we should be.

I can do NOTHING apart for Him, including caring for and raising Little Bug, Sweet Pea and Sarge.

I’m prepared for a wild ride! Being a stay-at-home-homeschooling mom to a Kindergartener, preschooler and newborn is going to have it’s challenges but I am prepared to offer myself A LOT of grace this time around.

This is just another season of my life that will, before I know it, be gone. I know the days (and nights) are going to be long, but in the blink of an eye little Sarge is going to be a pudgy toddler running around chasing his sisters and I will look at the three of them and wonder what I ever would have done without my little Sarge.

Because I already think that and he is not even three weeks old.

I am the mother of three now and by God’s grace, He will give me manna for every day to come.

be merciful to people

Things have been rough for Sarge over the past few days. There have been weaning from the morphine issues as well as feeding issues. I think the feeding issues have been sorted out and please just pray for his little body as he is weaned from the morphine. We think he was weaned too quickly over a short period of time and we are seeing the affects of that now.

It is heartbreaking to see an innocent baby go through this.

God has taught me so much after going through what I’ve gone through this year. I will be writing posts about what He has taught me for a long time to come.

Probably one of the biggest lessons I have learned is to be merciful to people because you just don’t know what they are going through.

This life is hard. So many people are living in crisis mode and we don’t even realize it. Be kind to people because you just don’t know what they are going through.

There is so much sadness here at the hospital. I witnessed a family walk in with tear stained faces. A couple, a set of parents and a toddler. I have no idea what was going on but they all hugged each other and then the grandparents took off with the toddler in one direction and the young couple headed off in another direction.

And then another day as we were pulling out of the parking garage, I noticed a woman sitting on a bench outside the parking garage, tears just streaming down her face.

It was such a reminder to me that there is so much sadness, heartache and pain in this world!

I don’t know exactly what was going on with those people but I am aware of many friends going through some very tough circumstances right now:

-a friend’s baby battling cancer and going this week for scans.

-a friend’s health. She is dealing with something very scary.

-a friend whose heart is broken over a girl who is her daughter, but not officially.

-another friend’s heath. She is dealing with debilitating migraines.

-a friend’s mother diagnosed with cancer.

-a friend who has been going through mold battles with her home for over a year now.

-a friend whose son has had a fever daily for 12 weeks and doctor’s have not been able to figure out why yet.

I am sure there are more I could list.

No, life isn’t all tragedy but the fact of the matter is, if we live long enough, tragedy will touch our lives at some point. I cannot imagine going through what we are going through right now without the knowledge that GOD, the creator of the universe and the One who created little Sarge in the depths of his birth mother’s womb, is fighting for us.

If He is Lord of your life, when these tragedies strike, you can find peace in the midst of the storms. Because He has promised His love will endure forever, He has promised He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us and He has promised that His plans will prevail over all.

Things may not go as we planned or even wished for them to go, but we can rest in peace in the Sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every Single Battle

Yesterday was a wild and crazy day as we spent the day getting adoption paperwork in order on our end. We had 24 hours and Dave and I both needed physical exams from our primary care doctor. We called first thing in the morning and were told we could not be seen until the next day.

That just wouldn’t work, so we went to the doctor’s office anyway and Dave pleaded our case before the woman at the front desk. She sent us to someone else in the office who told us our doctor was not even in the office today, but then as she was looking at her computer she said, "Oh! We have TWO open appointments with her at 10am at our other office location! Would you like those?"

It was 9:30am. God’s timing is ALWAYS perfection. We jetted out of that office and went to the other office for our 10am appointments.

Meanwhile, I was suppose to be taking Little Bug and Sweet Pea to their well-check appointments at 11am with their pediatrician, an appointment I had made months before! I knew I wasn’t going to make it on time, but my wonderful mother-in-law and friend got the girls to their appointment on time and then as soon as I was finished with my exam, I rushed over to the pediatrician’s office.

As I was arriving at the pedi’s office my cell phone rang and I knew it was Sarge’s doctor. I was expecting the call and knew she was calling about his CT scan. The CT scan had come back normal. Praise the LORD!

Since I last wrote, Sarge  has made much progress with his withdrawals. He is showing signs of improvement. His NAS scores are remaining between 4-7, which is excellent. Because of these low NAS scores he has begun the weaning process from the morphine. It’s a slow process. He is still not taking much of his feeds through the bottle. He will eat well from the bottle and then it is just like he collapses from exhaustion and refuses to eat another drop. But his OT continues to work with him daily, and it’s just a matter of time.

God continues to fight EVERY SINGLE BATTLE for us through this. He is taking care of every single detail and aspect of this entire crazy process.

Man makes plans in their heart but it is truly GOD’S PLAN that prevails. There is no other way to explain why we have a SON, because when we first learned of Sarge back in March, we said no, we could not and would not be adopting him.

One day, when the time is right, I will share the details as to why we had to say no. It’s mind-boggling, but it is a testimony to the power and Sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has performed not one but two miracles in our family in the span of just 7 months.

Our God is a God of REDEMPTION.

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To GOD be the GLORY, Great Things HE has done!!!!

How you can pray for Sarge.

Sarge is going through drug withdrawals and it is a pitiful sight. He is receiving morphine every 3 hours to help with the pain of withdrawal. He is also feeding from a feeding tube because he cannot eat from a bottle efficiently yet. He did take 15cc’s from a bottle. His feeds are 60cc’s at this time.

We are 2.5 hours away from home, which means we are not with the girls. While we know they are absolutely fine with their grandparents, we miss them terribly. This was so unexpected and we left in the middle of the night to come here, so I didn’t have time to even talk to the girls and prepare them for what was going to happen. They are doing well though and miss their mommy, daddy and baby brother.

They are both absolutely smitten with Sarge.

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Sarge was on a ventilator at birth, but he no longer is now.

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My baby is a big sister?!? The fact we have a third child, and a SON, is still sinking in!

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The moment we learned his birth mother had signed her rights to us.

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The protocol for taking care of babies in this condition has changed drastically since Little Bug and Sweet Pea went through this. We are able to hold him and I am even able to do kangaroo care with him for multiple hours per day. He loves that and so do I.

Right now, you can pray for Sarge as his little body goes through these withdrawals. Pray for his feeding issues. And pray for strength for us as we are by Sarge’s side as he goes through this while missing our girls terribly. This is hard. Very hard.

But God’s grace is sufficient and due to the circumstances of how he ended up in our arms, there is no doubt in our minds that God is still walking this journey with us and is NOT leaving us. He is giving us daily strength and He will bring complete healing to Sarge.

Thank you for your prayers.

a monumental year

The year 2014 will forever be a monumental year for our family.

There have been not one, but two, huge miracles that God has performed in our family over just the past seven months.

These events are interconnected and were used by God for His redemptive purposes.

Both of these miracles began in a moment where life was spiraling out of control. Moments where God striped us of all we knew and we were left with choosing to trust God or choosing to figure things out on our own.

God has taught us much about forgiveness and fully, completely trusting Him throughout these events.

We were not seeking to adopt, but it became abundantly clear just three weeks ago that God just may have plans to grow our family in a way we were totally not expecting.

God called us to take this leap of faith and we stepped out not knowing what God was going to do.

The very month this baby was conceived I was out shopping with my aunt. I came across this plaque with the verse, “The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14”. I bought the plague and for over half a year, it sat in the corner of our bedroom because I didn’t know where I wanted to hang it.

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During this adoption process, I would repeat that verse to myself over and over and over again.

The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.

We had peace knowing if God wanted this baby in our family, He would make a way, even though from outward appearances, it wasn’t looking likely.

When I began to see the miracle unfold before my eyes I told the Lord I would proclaim His works until the ends of the earth. God has given me this blog as a platform to declare His works to the world and I will declare the work the Lord has done here.

However, due to the dramatic nature of this particular adoption process, I am going to hold off on sharing this story until after the adoption is finalized. I also will not be posting pictures of Sarge’s face until finalization.

Until then, I do plan to write about life with three kids.

Something I am still trying to let sink in!!!