God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,

a new dream that
when realized will release a new song, sung with tears,

till God wipes them away
and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts

--Larry Crabb

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One Hot Mess

Oh what a complicated mess surrounds us.  We are living day to day, minute to minute in wait.  In the last few days we have had travel orders to return home, had them revoked, Craig has received notice of exemption from the furlough and then had it rescinded.  It is a hot mess, I tell you.  I don't even know where to begin.

For now we are being told to stay put in DC while the lawyers for the Army scrutinize the law to see whether or not Craig should be working.  On Monday, when Craig was advised to travel home, we had to give a seven day notice to the leasing office, which means that next Monday we will have to do SOMETHING, but have no clue what.  We may have to vacate our apartment if they are not willing to extend a new short term lease.  We may have to return to Michigan.  We may have to find a new place to live here.  He may be exempted and allowed to return to work.  The powers that be may reach an agreement and this whole thing will allow us to return to our abnormally normal life.  In the meantime, we are flinching every time Craig's work phone makes a peep in hope of an update.  We are packing a few things that we can do without right now in anticipation of going somewhere.  We are praying for our elected leaders to reach a resolution.  We are keeping things normal for our kids.  We are dwindling down our supply of perishables. We are wondering when we will get paid again.  

On Tuesday, I watched as an elected official gloated about helping break down the barricades so that the veterans on Honor flights could get to the memorials in the National Mall.  While I in no way want to sound like I disagree with the veterans' stance, (personally, I am thrilled that they didn't let the barricades stand in their way) I am beyond irritated that someone who helped put those barricades in place by failing to help find a compromise to the whole situation parades around like they are doing such a great thing by breaking through them.  Furthermore, shouldn't he have been in the senate or house (I don't even know what party affiliation he held, or what branch of government--it's irrelevent) working together with the others to fix it?  I don't know why I was so bothered, but my blood still boils when I think about it.  Grrr.  I guess you could say I'm on edge.

OK.  So I'm going to Totally shift gears and talk about something that makes me happy.  My kids.  Oh how I love them.  I got to facetime with Maddie last night and we are making some plans for the upcoming holidays. I miss her so much and can't wait to see her again!  I wish we could have her all of the time.

 Lauren is a busy busy busy little thing.  She is quite dramatic at times and has been acting so grown-up lately.  "I can do that, Mommy!"  However, the can-do attitude is quite often paired with stubbornness.  If she gets an idea in her head, there is NO changing her mind!  And when Lauren is frustrated, we all tend to get frustrated.  :)  I think that my dad said one time that he had a daughter like that.  Lauren is almost completely potty trained.  She still despises any effort to try to get her to go potty anywhere but at home, though.  Today we were at the dentist and she told me she had to go, but then realized that she would have to use their potty.  I asked her to try, and I guess you could say that she showed me who was boss because I am the one that walked out of the bathroom with wet pants.  Yes, in an effort to get her to sit she somehow managed to pee on my pants in such a way that it totally looked like I wet myself.  Not really the way I wanted to meet the new dentist, but such is the life of a mom.  Sigh.

Carson.  I never knew how much a little boy could steal his mama's heart.  He is such a happy, sweet baby.  He definitely knows who his mommy is and looks for me constantly.  Today Craig was holding him in the chair and trying to talk to him while I was making dinner.  Carson completely ignored him, stared at me and flashed me a huge smile and giggle every time I looked at him.  He has two teeth already and a ferocious appetite.  I can't believe my baby boy is almost 6 months old!  He loves his bath, toys, and watching his sister.

In days like these when our country seems to be falling apart and life has thrown a curveball into our normal, I find myself drinking in each moment of innocence with my little ones.  It is refreshing to me that they don't have a care in the world beyond when Carson gets to eat next or Lauren gets to watch TV.  The fact that we temporarily have no income, that we are totally living in limbo has no effect.  They trust that we will provide, just as I trust that our heavenly Father will provide for us as parents and as a nation.  Once again I ask "where would I be without faith?" and glad I'll never find out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

So Frustrated

So I haven't had much time to blog lately, but tonight I decided to stay up late and write. I had a post all set to go and then blogger did something crazy, and I only had the first little dinky paragraph of my post left. I've never had that happen before. Then again, I had not bleached a bathtub because of massive amounts of baby poo while watching my toddler pee on the floor while my husband did his best to keep from puking either--until last night. I guess it is a time of firsts. I'll try again another time!

Monday, June 3, 2013


I know, I know, it has been a while since I have written.  Who could predict that having a baby and a toddler and moving, albeit temporarily, would do that to you?  I love to write, I NEED to write, and I have so much I'd like to share, but the thing I am lacking most of the time is free hands, as well as a mind that isn't being pulled in many different directions.

Carson Daryl arrived on April 8.  He is such a good, sweet little guy.  Truly a perfect fit for our family.  As I type this, we are sharing a chair.  He is lying next to me and trying to decide whether he wants his paci or his mouth unobstructed to smile at his mama. My heart is melting.

Lauren is growing so fast.  I can't believe how tall she is getting.  At first, I didn't see much resemblance between her and I, but now she is strongly favoring some of my toddler pictures.  She is somewhat ambivalent about her little brother.  She is protective of him, but really doesn't like to touch him.  It is even worse if he touches her.  If you were to ask her what she thinks of her little brother, and she were to offer any words regularly to anyone but her mom, dad, or few select people, she would tell you that Carson is "yittle." (Little) and that he does the following:  "Kicks, pits (spits), hiccos (hiccups), burps, poops, pottys, eats, and sleeps.  Yep, that pretty much covers it.  Lauren is very helpful to fetch a paci, diaper, burp rag, or whatever but just won't get close enough to let Carson kick her, because he did that once and it was "owie."

This morning Lauren woke up when Craig was getting ready for work.  Since she is in a toddler bed now, she feels the need to exit her bed immediately after waking.  Craig brought her in to our bed to lay with me for a while.  I had just finished feeding and burping Carson and he was snuggling with me.  Lauren fell back to sleep and moved in closer to cuddle with me.  She had her arm over Carson and was stroking his hair.  He was wide awake and smiling like he was getting away with something when she woke up with a look of horror.  She quietly said "eew," rolled over and went back to sleep.  Crazy girl!

We have now been in DC for a week and are adjusting well. Our apartment is three bedrooms, but pretty tight. I love it that so many things are within walking distance.  Surprisingly, I am liking the smaller space.  It is easier to keep track of Lauren while being easier to clean.  The thing I don't like is cooking here.  I don't know what happened to me, but I have burnt everything and set off the smoke alarm 3 times.  The biggest problem with this is that I am too short to reset it and have had to start using a wooden spoon, which is just clumsy and awkward.  From the top of our building we can see the Pentagon, Air Force Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial.  We are on the dividing line between Pentagon City and Crystal City, so there are lots of shops and buildings and Craig can even walk to work!

Last Thursday there was some muffled voice echoing through a speaker in our ceiling.  I didn't think much of it until the smoke alarms started going off and I heard it again telling us that an emergency has been reported and to leave the building immediately via the closest stairway.  So as any good city girl would do, I promptly gathered up my children and the diaper bag and fled down four flights of stairs and asked at the front desk what was going on.  Fire drill.  I haven't participated in one of those since high school.  Well, we took the elevator back up and Lauren decided not to get off.  Actually, she did get off, she just ran back on as the doors were closing and away she went.  The other thing that girl loves to do on elevators is push buttons.  My heart was pounding as visions of her exiting her choice of 21 floors and running filled my mind.  I quickly called the elevator back and thankfully she was there.  Wide eyed.  Smiling.  And saying "wheee...fun!"  We now have a new family protocol for exiting elevators. 

We took the Metro on Saturday to see the White House.  I was pretty sure we were going to get invited in for lunch, but the prez must not have seen me in the crowd.  It was a fun little outing and awesome to take in some of our nation's history.  We're looking forward to seeing more sights soon.

That's it for now.  My kiddos are both napping and I need to get a few things done!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wave of Changes

Life is funny.  It seems like in our world , Craig and I find ourselves in times of near boredom with the day to day and month to month passing with very little change and then suddenly there is more than one huge change in our goings on in a very short time.  This is one of those weeks where we are realizing that many things about our world are shifting.  It is all good stuff and I look forward to each aspect, but am a little overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

First there is Baby Riedel.  I couldn't be more excited about meeting this little one.  We are ready.  Lauren is ready.  Baby is ready according to the ultrasounds. Last week (s)he was 7 lbs 1 oz.  At this stage, baby is expected to gain 1/2 pound per week through the remainder of the pregnancy.  In two days from today or sooner I will be looking upon the tiny face of this child that has already stolen another part of my heart.  I don't feel comfortable putting a lot of details on here, but will say that my doctors have said they are shocked that I haven't delivered yet with my current dilation and effacement.  If things don't happen on their own this weekend, I have an appointment first thing Monday morning to get baby moving.  I have been so blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy this time!  Can't wait to meet you, little one!

Second, there is Washington DC.  As you may remember, Craig was awarded a Army Acquisition Fellowship last March.  He has been very successful in completing phase one of the program here at the Detroit Arsenal, and was gearing up for phase two, which means a six month stent in Washington DC.  Then sequestration happened and the funding was not available.  Shortly thereafter Craig was approached by two different commands that offered to fund him out of their own budgets.  This week, travel orders came through and Craig is to report to either the Pentagon or the Taylor Building on May 6.  MAY 6!  MAY THE SIXTH!! That is less than a month away! Argh!

We have secured a 1450 square feet 3 bedroom executive suite that is a 10 minute walk to whichever building Craig may be working in near the Capitol Mall complex.  I'm liking the fact that we will have room service available and a doorman. I am not crazy about but accepting of the fact that I will be spending most of my days there with a newborn and a toddler alone while Craig is at work.  I am 2/2 with moving away from my support systems either during pregnancy or shortly after! Thanks, Craig! :)

With a twist of irony one of the silver linings in this move is actually sequestration!  Although it will cut Craig's pay--our sole income-- by about 20% off the top (closer to 35% take home) until a final resolution is made in September, it will also allow him to work only 8 hour days and be "home" every Friday.  I don't deny that the dent in income will hurt, but if life has taught me anything in the last few years, it is that spending time with those you love will ALWAYS trump the value of money.  Just  another example to prove what The Lord tells us in Romans 8:28 "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."

So, as we enter this next season of life do I feel overwhelmed?  Yes yes, and Yes!  Do I understand how much packing up everything that my growing family will need or six months shortly after giving birth is going to stink?  Yes, although I have probably grossly underestimated it all!  BUT, More than stress, I am feeling blessed.  God has given us some amazing opportunities, and when it comes down to it we have everything we need and then some...Maddie, Lauren, will have a new baby any day, a great marriage, and the chance to spend six months in our nation's capital.  I can't wait to take it all in!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


  • Blame it on baby brain.  Blame it on poor sleep habits.  Blame it on whatever you want, but the fact is I can't put sentences together for anything these days.  Here's a peek into my world.  Matter of fact, I just bullited this paragraph and don't know how I did it, or more importantly how to undo it, so this post just is what it is.
  • Tonight we got Lauren her Easter dress.  I love it and she didn't want to take it off so I think she loves it too.  She is definitely a girly girl.  She watches me put makeup on in the morning, then demands my brushes so she can do the same, but only after she asks me to put lotion on her face. It's pretty cute.  And scary.
  • Baby Riedel is showing more and more signs of being ready to make its grand entrance.  Without going not detail, I will just say that things are changing and I don't think it will be much longer.  Carrying this one has been relatively easy, and I can't wait to hold him/her in my arms, BUT I'm dreading the time between carrying and holding.  Enough said.
  • Today two of my good friends threw me a baby shower.  It was a mix of people from the parenting and MOPS groups that I am involved in.We had lunch, opened gifts, and just hung out.  It was wonderful and I feel so blessed that I am friends with each one of them.
  • Craig is amazing.  He dealt with a very crabby little girl all day so I could enjoy this time with my friends.  L decided that 2:30 would be a great time to start the day and refused to nap.  It was ugly.  This falls on the heels of yesterday when he was nominated to clean up a steamy surprise that L left in the shower.  In all fairness, I tried on three occasions to take care of it but could not stop gagging.  Amazing, I tell you!
  • We are now mini van owners.  I like it, but it makes me feel old.  It has heated leather seats, which is nice, but the controls for them are hard to reach when a one month pregnant belly is in  your way of bending over.  I cried when Craig drove our CR-V away for the last time.  Love that car!
That's it.  I'm tired and that s all the news that is coming to mind.  Soon, I will have exciting news that I can't wait to share! G'nite.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Three years.  In some respects it seems so much longer ago, but in others merely moments, really.  I remember it so clearly.  I was laying in a hospital bed surrounded by amazing nurse and a midwife who earned so much respect in the days that bracketed that moment.  My tiny baby boy's little heart was beating its final beats and all became still within me.  I knew he was gone but refused to confirm until Craig could be by my side.  He was stuck in Alabama for the night and would arrive just before noon the following day.  My mom was with me, but our words were few.  How could this be happening?  It had only been six months before that we lost dad in his tragic accident, and one year since Kim died.  How old this baby that had become a symbol of hope during such tough times be taken as well?

Craig arrived the next day and my guard finally fell.  I collapsed in his arms and begged him to just hold me forever.  Later in the day we had an ultrasound. The Doctor's face is frozen in my memory as her eyes focused on the screen, scanning for the tiny flicker that meant life.  There was none.  The silence of the room spoke volumes.

I chose to deliver our baby rather than have a procedure to remove it.  From the second I saw him there was an odd mix of emotion created within me that has never left.  I became a mom, but one with a baby who didn't ever take his first breath.  He didn't need me, but I needed him so very much.  There was so much raw pain in my heart, and as Craig and I held each other, we made a promise.  Our family's journey would not--could not--end in this place.  We would somehow have another child someday and tell them the story of their big little brother, Christopher Job.

I never would have imagined that three years later we would be parents to a very healthy and very loved almost two year old little Lauren and a few weeks away from a new baby joining out family.  God has been so gracious to us.  We are greatly blessed, indeed, but have not forgotten our sweet firstborn.  We will never forget.

Tomorrow, I'll go through the box of memories we have from that day.  I'll look at the pictures and smell the little hat that he wore...hoping that I can still smell the baby oil he was bathed in.  I'll fall in love all over again with my little Christopher Job whose time with us ended far too soon, and I'll celebrate the day that I held him.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift we named Christopher Job and for allowing us to be his parents.  And thank you for walking with us through those difficult moments and bringing us to a place of healing.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Worship His holy name!  Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just refrain, please.

There are a few things that pregnant women do not want to hear or be asked.  Usually if someone makes such an error one can hold back.  Unless you are my husband, which none of you are.  Poor Craig has said "whoa" or "whoops" a few too many times under his breath lately.  I want to be nice, but my honest thoughts just escape through my lips these days.  He's learning, though.

Today, I nearly asked the med tech at the OB office whether she never took the therapeutic communication 101 class in college or whether she did take it and failed.

Usually at my Monday morning appointments I see the doctor first and then have a non stress test.  Today they did the NST first.  Not a big deal.  As the tech was wrapping the belts around my 34 1/2 week pregnant belly she blurted out "it is getting harder and harder to reach around here."  I laughed. A VERY fake laugh and wanted to rip her hair out.  I know my belly is getting bigger and I'm fine with that, but her comment was just stupid.  I wanted to, but refrained from saying "Oh yes.  It was definitely was not as much fun for me when someone could put the bands on without having their nose in my belly button."  Seriously, I had to bite my tongue.

So my twenty minutes passed and I was taken back to the exam room, where the barrage of normal questions were fired.  Last, but not least, she asked how I was feeling.  I'm tired of downplaying how miserable this head/chest cold has made me feel.  So I told her that baby-wise I felt fine except for tons of low pressure when I cough, but overall, I feel like a slime truck has emptied into my nose and chest.  It has been two weeks since I started feeling crappy.  It gets a little better for a day or two, then comes back with more intensity.  The last three nights, I have not been able to sleep because I have been in this cough til I puke, can't breathe, and need to pee cycle. Then come the contractions and leg cramps.  By this point, I am nearly in tears because I am so sick of it.  The tech turns from the computer and proceeds to tell me that she knows just how I feel because her husband has had a cold for three weeks and recently had rotator cuff surgery. Does she not realize that it s all about ME?  Hello? I'm pretty sure if all this coughing keeps up a baby is going to come flying either out of my lungs or where it is supposed to come out of any moment.  Can her husband say that?!?

I gave her the silent treatment.  On her way out the door, she patted my shoulder and told me that she hopes I feel better before delivery--Gee thanks...that buys me a projected 5 weeks to get over it--and then went on to say that her daughter recently delivered a baby while she had a bad cold, and it was a horrible experience.  Then the baby got sick and had to be in the NICU for a few days. Wonderful warm fuzzy thoughts were everywhere! Puke.

Finally the doctor came in and suggested we do a few days of antibiotics to try to get this cleared up.  She was kind and assured me that even though she could tell I felt miserable, baby is fine, and all the crud is actually probably helping him or her to form a strong immune system.  I found myself near tears again, only happy tears this time.  The hormones of carrying a baby do that to you.  Crying happens very easily...whether it is the result of happiness, sadness, or frustration...there are tears!

The point of all of this?  If you can't say something helpful, just purse your lips.  If you can't do that, maybe an OB office is not the best fit for you.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

On my mind

Random things on my mind in this moment.  Of note, it is 1053 on a Saturday night.  Not that that has anything to do with anything or anything.  Anyway...
  • I really want some ice cream right now.  I have already flossed and brushed my teeth, though, and am far too lazy to do it all again.  But I really want ice cream.  I have been cycling this for the last 1.5 hours.  
  • Today I took a snuggle nap with my sweet Lauren.  There is something so fulfilling about holding my girl while she is sleeping.  I knew I should have just put her in her bed, but couldn't resist.  Tonight I paid the price for our blissful nap as she cried "Mama, I want you" from her crib.  To keep her from going into hysterics, I sat on the floor in her doorway for over an hour.  This is in no way to find comfort in such seating arrangements while 7 months pregnant.  
  • Now that Lauren is finally sleeping and I am laying in my bed, baby Riedel is wide awake and on the move.  I teeter between being so anxious to meet him/her face to face and not wanting to ever stop feeling these movements from within.  So in love with this little one, too!
  • I have another batch of sugar cookie dough chilling in the fridge overnight.  I feel a little bad that I hid the previous batch from my family and have now eaten all but two.  I feel worse that I told Craig that if he found any cookies anywhere that they were mine and I was unwilling to share.  I may give him one from the new batch. Maybe.
  • We have finally decided on names for baby.  For today.  Tomorrow that may all change.
  • I think I have an obsession with vegetables.  I can't get enough of any food that is green right now.  Today I had a spinach, eggplant, and feta cheese thin crust pizza with caramelized onions and tomatoes for lunch at Uno's.  I hope they have those in heaven, because if I ever get out of the donut shop there, I really want some of that pizza.
  • Said lunch was with a good friend.  And no kids.  It was amazing to have a conversation that was not interrupted by toddler needs.  I love my daughter, but felt so refreshed after having a break from her.  She and daddy seemed to enjoy having some time just the two of them, too.
  • I know it is a bad time to be thinking about it, but I can't wait to go on a vacation someday.  Other than trips to see family, we haven't been on a REAL vacation since 2009.  We used to go to Colorado every summer, but haven't been three since...gulp...2006.  We are so due when these kiddos are a little older--or born, in the little one's case!
  • I only have 5 more Weekly progesterone injections.  After giving myself over 100 shots in the backside for this pregnancy, I'm beyond ready to break up with syringes.  For the last 13 weeks, they have burned and itched for 1-2 days afterwards.  I'm tired of candidly trying to scratch my gluts.  (But I do not mean to complain...it has helped the pregnancy go smooth, and that is huge!)
  • Ok.  I need sleep more than I need to blog now.  Goodnight, all!  But I still kinda want ice cream...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I'm spending my time these days feeling humbled.  And amazed.  God has blessed us in so many ways.  Saturday marks week 28 of this pregnancy...the start of he third trimester.  I can't believe how good I feel.  Everything about his pregnancy is totally diffent than before.  I did have a lot of nausea weeks 8-17, and have felt a lull in energy, but that is par for the course for me.  Actually more like a double eagle if we're using golf terms.

I had so many fears and reservations about the thought of trying to expand our family.  What if our infertility treatments don't work and we're out all that time and money?  What if I lose the baby well into pregnancy again?  What if I have to spend week after week on bed rest again?  What if God's plan for us is just to have Maddie and Lauren?  Somehow, God--in typical God fashion--gave me a sense of peace and his spirit told me calm down and trust Him.  He would take care of the details.  Just trust and follow His leading.  So that is what we did and were surprised/thrilled/ecstatic to learn a fairly short time later that there was a strong little heartbeat under my own heart!  Truly a miracle.

We kept the news to ourselves for a while.  I wanted to tell my mom in person and knew I wouldn't see her until about 17 weeks.  Shortly thereafter, we broke the news to the world.

Yet, as I said before, I am very humbled.  It wasn't so long ago that I wasn't sure if we would ever have a child.  Now we have a beautiful, very active, and healthy 22 month old, and an equally healthy and active little one within.  I have not forgotten all of the emotional pain it has taken to get here and my heart breaks for those who are in that place now.  I will never forget how empty my arms felt during those days, months, and years as I waited for The Lord to give us a child to love.  My heart breaks for the dear friends whose dreams finally seemed to be taking shape and faced devastating loss.  It is a treacherous path for so many, and although there is much joy in where we are at today, part of me will always remain in the journey where things were not looking good.

I don't talk in detail about all that we've been through with many.  I tend to be pretty vague with that kind of stuff.  I've learned so much along the way, but the biggest lesson learned~or should I say reinforced~is that God is way bigger than all of the statistics.  A doctor once told me that I had a 20% chance of getting pregnant, and that if I did get pregnant I had a 80% chance of not carrying to term.  Jerk.  Look at my daughter and see how God gave us a 100% miracle.  I really believe that it is because we placed her completely in His capable hands.  Just as we have with is baby.

Each day I am challenged to be a better mom because I've lived the years of yearning.  I can honestly smile somewhere inside (please don't tell Lauren!) when she throws a tantrum and or dumps cereal on the floor.  I've chosen to appreciate even the most frustrating things because they come with the territory of being a mom.  I've chosen to embrace the woes of pregnancy because there is an unending line of people who would gladly take my place. I am blessed and I know it with everything in me.  There is a very good chance that this baby will be our last.  After all, Asking for three miracles is a bit much, isn't it?  Whatever happens, it is well.  God is in the driver's seat.

Yes, accepting miracles is humbling!

Ps...I'm hoping to be able to post more now that I have updating from my iPad figured out.  We are down to one computer  (that I despise) due to the combined destructive nature of toddlers and the apparent inability of parents to keep such devices in a safe place.  :/