On the day I was married, I thought to myself... The is the best day of my life EVER!
On the day Elisabeth was born I recanted that statement when I saw Jake holding her in his arms looking so excited to be a Dad.
Though the day Nathan was born was very scary and many tears were shed for the unknown, I counted my blessings and thought that his life was going to help make mine happier and more complete.
I again recanted my statement when Emmaline was born. I was excited for Jake to once again hold a healthy baby and for Elisabeth & Nathan to have a sister. As I watched Elisabeth and Nathan hold her together for the the first time again I found myself thinking "This is the best day of my life EVER!".
I took these pictures on a Sunday morning when Emmaline was one month old. Though I was a little frustrated that each child wasn't entirely cooperating with me and the camera, I had this feeling of love come over me for each of my children. I am very much in love with each of them and cannot wait for all of the good days to come when I can think "This is the best day ever!". I feel very blessed to have them in my life.
Monday nights for the last three years have ALWAYS been hectic at our house. Its hard when I get home at 6:00 p.m. from work and bedtime is at 8:00. We rush through dinner, try to clean up somewhat, and then pull together a family home evening lesson or activity. Since yesterday was the first day of school, it was particularly hard to get everyone moving to have fun. Everyone was EXHAUSTED from Jake & I right down to Emmaline. We had a fun family activity of making sand art in leftover orange cream soda bottles and then got the kids into bed.
Our children are usually pretty good about going to bed when they are supposed to, but last night they were having a hard time. Nathan, especially, was so tired! Jake tried to put him in bed and Nathan just ran into Ellie's room. He was crying that he wanted to sleep by her in her room. I guess Ellie has been reading stories to him at night before bed and he wanted to cuddle by her and listen to a story. He was crying so hard that Ellie put her arm around him and proceeded to tell him to just go in his room and that when Mom and Dad weren't watching he could come back and cuddle with her. I was standing right in the room when she told him that! I'm not sure if I should have been mad at her or pleased that she wanted to make her brother feel better. So Nathan walked back to his room and got into his bed. I went downstairs for a couple of minutes and when I came back up Nathan was on Elisabeth's bed asleep and Ellie was on her floor with her head on a bean bag also asleep.
I love that my children love each other and try every now and again to make each other happy. I wish I would have taken a picture of them last night, but I didn't want the flash from the camera to wake them. It was very satisfying to see them together like that.
Elisabeth is officially a "grader", the term she gave to the older kids while she was in kindergarten. She wanted desperately to be a "grader" and be at school all day long with her dad and her friends. Today she got her wish. She woke up very excited and ran into my room at 6:15 a.m. to wake me up. She was quite upset at me for not already being up. It had been a long night with the baby and I just couldn't pull myself out of bed! She matter of factly told me I had to help get her ready for school so that she wouldn't make her dad late!
I pulled myself away from the clutches of my soft pillow and a warm baby I had cuddled up next to after feeding her at 5:00 a.m. and proceeded to help Elisabeth get ready. The first drama was that her socks (which were knee length for her skirt) did not EXACTLY go to the same length on each of her legs. After a little adjusting, we moved on to the next problem... her hair. I brushed her hair and flat ironed it to put her headband in. She was very perturbed that her hair length on each side wasn't EXACTLY the same length either. I ended up adjusting the headband and straightening out her hair a bit more and for some strange reason her hair length was the same again! She also needed the perfect breakfast of scrambled eggs. Jake made the mistake though of making YUMMY eggs instead of the plain eggs Ellie had asked for. Oops. Mental note - she is not a fan of fresh tomatoes and ham in her eggs for breakfast. After she picked at her breakfast Kathleen and Shanowa came over. I quickly took some pictures of Ellie outside, Ellie called grandma, and then Jake and Ellie were on their way for the first day of school. I should have taken a picture of her and Jake together, but Jake was frantically trying to pull his life together to get out the door! It was so cute to see them leave together and I'm so grateful that Ellie gets to go to school with her dad.
Even with the drama of the morning, I have to be grateful that Ellie didn't take it as far as my other niece, Jessica. Jessica was such a perfectionist that some days she would refuse to go to church or school because her hair wasn't just right, or her clothes were wrinkled, or she didn't like what she had to wear! There must be something about those girls who are headstrong. Jessica starts medical school next week in St. Louis. I wouldn't mind if Ellie followed in her footsteps! First things first... gotta make it through the 1st grade!
Emmaline was blessed on August 7th in our ward. You would that by having 1:00 church that it would be a piece of cake to get 3 kids ready, take some pictures, have the food for the luncheon ready, and make it there on time. Easy peezy-super cheesy (which is Ellie's new favorite term). Not so. Getting all of the kids bathed and dressed tended to be more of a problem than it should have been. Nathan's dressing needed changing, Ellie had wet the bed, and sure enough just before putting Emmaline's dress on she had a blowout. To the tub all 3 children went, even though they were all bathed the night before so it wouldn't be a problem! It wasn't that getting dinner ready was hard, it was just took time. Emmaline must have sensed that we were in a rush to get ready so she put a halt to all of that by needing to be nursed more than usual. And the list goes on and on...
We were at the church at 12:50. I count that as a small miracle, especially since I had to play the organ that day. After everyone was seated I breathed a sigh of relief that we were there and in one piece!
Jake blessed Emmaline and thank goodness after much teasing that her name ended up being Emmaline Reagan Ellinger. It was a beautiful blessing. Jake was very calm and collected in his thoughts. She was blessed that she would be a leader. She has such a calm personality and I believe that she will be some day.
After sacrament meeting, we went to the clubhouse and had small luncheon. It was so fun to show off the baby to everyone. After we went home that evening and I had a moment to think while nursing the baby, I decided that was the perfect way to end my maternity leave. We celebrated being a family, which in my book, means more having all of the diamonds or gold in the world. My husband and children are the crown jewels of my life.
It feels so nice that for the first time since having children I am not afraid of my baby. You know that first time you brought home your first child and the thought of "What on earth am I doing?" haunts you? I loved Ellie, but it was very different being a first time parent. Then Nathan came along...if I thought I was scared of Ellie, I felt that I had just walked out unarmed on the front line of a battlefield in the Civil War. It was new and very scary territory. But just like with Elisabeth we were blessed with the ability to be able to learn and appropriately respond to his needs. Emmaline's birth was so much different in that respect for our family. We were excited and felt prepared for her. I can hold her and am still in awe of being her mother, but not afraid to face the challenges that might come with her. I feel very blessed beyond what I truly deserve to be the mother of Elisabeth, Nathan, and Emmaline.
1 in every 120 babies are born with a heart defect. What if that ONE was YOURS?
Our Little Man
We unknowingly became elite members of a world no one wants to be a part of on January 22, 2008 with the birth of our little boy, Nathan, but looking back we can't imagine life any differently. Nathan has had to endure 21 surgeries in the first 25 months of his life including open heart surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot, jaw surgery at 3 days old, 5 cleft surgeries and many surgeries involving his airway, ears, and eyes. He has a g-tube which he uses as his sole source of nutrition. In February 2010 he underwent a second jaw distraction as he was showing signs of right heart failure.
Nathan is our little hero; our witness that prayers are answered individually and that we couldn't be blessed with better family and friends to support us.
One day my world came crashing down, I'll never be the same. They told me that my baby was sick. I thought, "Am I to blame"? I don't think I can handle this. I am really not that strong. It seemed my heart was breaking. I have loved him for so long. I will not give up on this child. I will listen to your advice. I will give my son any chance. No matter what the price. I will learn all that I need To help my baby thrive. I'll even use that feeding tube. My child must survive! Will he need a lot of therapy? Will he gain the needed weight? Please God, help me do this. As I accept our fate. When the monitors beep at night, it serves as my reminder. How many parents would love that sound. Tomorrow I will be kinder. As another Angel earns his wings, I run to my baby's bed. I watch him sleep for quite a while. I bend down and kiss his head. I cry for the parents whose hearts have been broken. I look to You wondering why? Oh Lord, I just can't know your ways.... no matter how I try. And yet, I trust you hold his life, and guide us through each day. My mind says savor each moment he's here, but my heart begs, "PLEASE let him stay"! From pacing the surgical waiting room, to sitting by his bed. From wishing for a good nights sleep, to learning every med. From wondering, "Will he be alright?", to watching him reach out his hands. With every smile my heart just melts, despite life's harsh demands. For all who see that faded line. I look to them and smile. You see my child is loved so much. I would face ANY trial. That scar I trace with my finger (It's the door to his beautiful heart). God must have known how much I'd love him (Just as He loved him from the start). A heart mom is always a heart mom. Now wise beyond her years. For those who have angels in heaven, Our hearts share in all of your tears. Every day I will try and remember, I was chosen for him (and no other). I will always embrace that beautiful day....... When I became a "Heart Mother".
~Stephanie HustedMommy to Braeden HLHS post FontanCarepage name: babyhusted
I "borrowed" this poem off of another blog. I'm not sure who the author is, but it truly touched my heart.(Original version found at http://garyandcamille.blogspot.com Thank you!) Heart Poem:
It's a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is rounding up his tiniest angels, to go live on earth, and be born. One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus "I don't want to leave, I like it here, and I will miss you". He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be okay, and that she is just going for a visit. She is still not swayed on this idea. So Jesus kneels down, and says, "How about if you leave half of your heart here with me and take the other half with you, will that be okay?" The angel smiles and says, "I guess that will work". But the little angel is still a little scared. She asks,"Will I be okay with only half of my heart?" Jesus replies,"Of course you will, I have other angels there that will help out, and you will be fine." Then Jesus gives the angel more details about his plan. He says "When you are born, your mommy will be scared, so you have to be strong, and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart. Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday. And when its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again. Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves."