Saturday, December 29, 2012


I am just now beginning to process everything that has gone on in my life in the last few weeks. I now know that IVF #5 is complete. I also know that we have no embryos remaining. This means that I will never, ever again participate in an infertility protocol to try to have children.

My blog has been a bit on the "slighter" slide in recent weeks. The reason has been two-fold. The first is that we've been busy. Visiting America for three weeks takes a lot out of you. JB's entire family was in Fort Lauderdale. That in and of itself is a whole lot of people. (He has three brothers and two sisters.) I had hoped to see some other friends while we were home, but with time the way it was, I barely got enough time with the family.

The second reason is that I have been dealing quite prominently with some depression and anxiety. It was as if, upon taking the first shot of lupron back around Thanksgiving, that I began sliding into a deep hole. I knew it was the medication? But knowing why you are sliding doesn't always make the slide easier.

I have learned a lot about infertility treatments. Doing this cycle with three children, meant doing this cycle without grieving my childlessness. This meant I had a very different perspective. I realized that the deep sadness and grief that surrounded each try with IVF we previously experienced was more than infertility. It was drugs. These drugs are no joke. I stopped taking lupron the day after we arrived in Minnesota and I have steadily felt myself return to normal. I am not there yet, but I am getting there.

Many people have asked me how I feel knowing that our last cycle of IVF, of which we should get the results in about a week, is complete. The biggest word I feel is relief. I wanted to give each and every embryo we let the doctors create, a chance at life. We have now done that.

So what am I praying? I am simply praying Thy Will Be Done. That is all I know what to pray. I do not know the future of my family. God has obviously written a story vastly different than any story I can write. I must allow him to write it.

I can honestly say that I am at peace with whatever the result may be. I did not feel this way with the previous transfers, obviously. This time, I truly feel blessed beyond belief with the three children He has given me. If He gives me 1 or 2 more, fantastic. If he does not, that is okay too. I am peace.

There are so many "what if's" that I have had to force myself not to ask those. I cannot even go into the future, especially considering my emotional state, so I am not going to try to. I am going to try to live in the shadow of his wings, right now, at present.

Also I wanted to make sure to leave you all with some previous posts that you may want to peruse. No one can understand the deep and dark place that depression is. No one can explain what it feels like to be plagued by anxiety. The only people who can come close are those who have lived it. I have written posts in the past about these very topics. If you are struggling with either of these things (or are loving some one who is), I pray these posts provide you with some direction and guidance.

Anxiety: What I learned in Counseling

Post Part Depression: My Journey

Friday, December 28, 2012

To those who are grieving

Friday Funnies

Sidge wanted more ice cream after his first serving (which he gets because he ate a good dinner.) When he asked if he could have more, Isaac told him, "You're going to have to eat another whole meal."
Hanging out with Uncle Matt, Sidge was threatened with a wedgie to which he replied, "What is a wedgie?" He also asked Joni what it meant to "work your tail off."
The kids are learning all kinds of things from their aunts and uncles and grandparents, and we keep having to say, "Who taught you that?" When Grama K. was coughing today, Sidge said, "Do you need the Heimlich?" (Apparently Aunt Katie taught him that.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A few motherly moments

Some truths

People ask how it feels to be in America after three years living overseas. There are many things that "jump out" at me. Here are just some interesting things I've noted:
  • I am anonymous. I don't run into people I know. I don't recognize any faces.
  • Super Target is beyond big. The toy aisles are never-ending. How would a parent decide?
  • Stores open early! Oh is this a fantastic treat. I could actually go run errands at 8am instead of waiting until 10am which I have had to do both in Turkey and in the Azores.
  • An American washing machine is big! I can fit everything in it that's dirty at one time.
  • You cannot know what is going to be for dinner and get something at the last minute. It's very strange to live in a place with so many fast food choices.
  • There are stoplights. Everywhere. (The island only has three in total I think!)
  • There is traffic. While driving is like riding a bike, remembering how to drive in traffic takes a bit of time to recall. (Ask my sister-in-law Adrienne who I relinquished the wheel too when the traffic became too heavy and my driving made her too nervous.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Exciting BOI Update

Steve & Teri Fitzgerald and their newly adopted son Alaowei
We are so excited to announce that our second Because of Isaac couple, Steve & Teri Fitzgerald have officially adopted Alaowei! They have raised $7,000 which was enough for the lawyer to complete adoption number one. Steve and Teri still need about $3,000 more to finalize the adoption of their other son Abule. If you are able to donate money to help their second adoption become a reality, please visit our website to find out how to donate today!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from South Florida!

The last time JB and I came home to South Florida for Christmas was 2007. It was about six months before we became parents to Isaac -- parents for the very first time.
First up? Christmas Eve with my "small" family. (It's just me and my brother.) We spent Christmas Eve together. JB cooked an amazing Asian meal despite being plagued pretty badly by food poisoning. (He thinks he ate some bad sushi.) Joan drove down to take some family pictures:
That's my Dad and Mom in red and then my brother Keith and his wife and two daughters.
John's family is a different story. He is the second oldest of six children. All of them are married (except for the youngest Rob who has a girlfriend.) Altogether there are eighteen of us (nineteen if you count Rob's girlfriend.) John's mom's sister joined us which put us at just one under twenty! Quite a crew. (Especially considering we buy a gift for EVERYONE!)
Here is a video of the entire Kitsteiner family (too hard to capture them in a photo.) We spent the entire Christmas Day with them and a wonderful (albeit crazy) time!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Home" (in South Florida)

Home is where our kids are. Where we are a family together. And we are all now in South Florida. My parents picked us up from the airport. We didn't know if the kids would be with them, but they were! What a sweet surprise it was to hug all those little faces this afternoon. My Dad took a video of the kids catching sight of us!

P.S. Temperature in Minnesota: 12 degrees

P.S.S. Temperature in South Florida: 72 degrees

My heart . . .

. . . misses this face so much:
I miss the boys of course. But they understand that we are gone. When we try to talk to them on the phone, they are too busy. They spent the first three days with Grampa and Grama K. Then they spent three days with Joni and Roy. Now they are back at my parents, preparing for our return! When we called them throughout the trip, we were lucky to get a "love you" or "bye!"; they were usually too busy with whatever they were playing with to talk to us.
But Abigail doesn't understand that we are gone. She definitely bonded with each of her grandparents while we were gone (apparently my dad might be her favorite). She stayed with my parents and Joni and Grama K. came to the house to help with her. We knew it would be doubly hard to be away from her brothers, but we didn't want to overdo anyone with all three kiddos at the same time. But I don't even want to talk to her on the phone because she won't understand why she can hear our voice but not see us.
I cannot wait to hug and kiss her little cheeks! We're headed home Abigail (and her big brothers!) See you soon!

Keep remembering

This holiday season, let's remember those families celebrating away from their loved ones. In particular, would you join me in praying for my dear friend Angelica? She and her three kids (Noah, Rowan, and Reese) have four months to go before their Daddy comes home. Please pray for this family and all the families who are counting the days to their loved one comes home.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cousins (before we left)

Right before we left for Minnesota, we spent the entire day with my brother and his wife (Keith and Adrienne) and their little girls: Charleigh and Baylee. Baylee is a little too you young to truly "play" with the boys, but Charleigh, who is just two months younger than Sidge, is totally at their level. She is totally the mother hen with my boys, and they just let her lead them wherever she wants them to go. Here are some fun pics of the cousins.
Moments after we arrived, Charleigh started playing dress up. Their only boy costume was a fireman suit -- so that's what Charleigh put Sidge in.
This just cracked me up.
 This picture is so cute to me. Isaac has never let anyone paint his face. Anywhere. The fact that Charleigh talked him into sitting in a chair so that she could put chalk on his face, flabbergasted me! (You can't see Sidge in this picture but his entire body is covered courtesy of himself and Charleigh.)
Here are the kids coloring anything they could. They had a ball decorating Charleigh's basketball hoop and playhouse.

Cousins painting faces


Thank you to my husband and to my aunt and to my close friends and to my family who have "put up with me" during the last month -- as I have been dealing with the drugs associated with this IVF. I'm sure we can all pass this quote along to someone who has stood by us when we didn't deserve it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Man do I miss these faces

Two shooting stars

Two shooting stars. That's what the radiology tech said as they dropped two little babies into my womb this morning. Now we wait a week and a half or so to see if they are sticking around. It appears the other five embryos have failed to thrive although they will give them a few more days to make sure they are no longer alive. Many emotions today that I can more clearly share when the Valium is out of my system!

Friday Funnies (Grama K. style)

The boys stayed with JB's Dad and Mom the first four nights we were gone. She sent me (via email) a few funnies to share. These were all written by my mother-in-law:

"The park we went to has a small-open pirate ship and the boys saw it right away and started playing in it. There are a lot of high walkway/boardwalks all around (accessible by stairs) above it so pretty soon they took off and ran up there, saying now they had two ships! All of a sudden everyone in the park could hear Sidge yell out 'Captain Isaac!' Isaac turned around and said 'Here I am' and Sidge yelled out, 'I'm the First Mate.'


"At bedtime last night, I was sitting with Isaac and bent over to give him an extra hug and kiss and realized I had an onion on my turkey burger. So, I told him I was going to go brush my teeth so he wouldn't think I had stinky breath :) When I came back he reached up and pulled my face close (to smell:) and said, with the cutest smile ever, 'You smell like ice cream!' How sweet is that? I would love for him to think of me like that. You are so right about how cuddly and cute he is when he's falling asleep."


"We're heading to your folks in just a bit to meet up with Joan and see Abigail. The boys both are looking forward to seeing their sister now. Earlier this morning while we were playing trains, Sidge said 'Sometimes Abigail messes things up.'"


"Isaac was just playing with the toy dishes and held up one of the glasses (stemmed) and said to Ray: 'This is what my Daddy uses for beer!'"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Transfer update

Our transfer has been moved to Friday morning. I report bright and early tomorrow. The embryologist says we have lost 4 embryos. This means we should have 1, 2, or 3 by tomorrow. I will have more to report after the transfer tomorrow. The plan is to transfer 2. Not sure if they'll consider 3 if that's all we have. Game time decision I guess.

Kids are doing great back in Florida. We miss them like CRAZY but know that because we are gone they are getting to spend amazing time with people who love them as much as we do.

Isaiah 40:9-11

This will be my new verse of encouragement during this upcoming cycle. Thank you Beth for sharing this with me (even if, due to Minnesota snow, it couldn't be in person.)
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

To Trust

Help me Oh Lord to remember how many times you have taken care of me before. How can I fail to trust you now, after you have seen me through so much? When will I finally turn my life completely over to you and give you full control instead of attempting to control on my own?

Woah Snowa!

Despite Minnesota being a very, very cold place to live, the amount of snow we got in Rochester when we lived here (2003-2007) was not extreme. I can only remember about a half dozen times that ALL the schools in the local area closed. (At most, you'd get a late start -- enough time for the plows to clear the way.) When I was a teacher our first year here, I think we only had one snow day the entire year I worked there. It's not the norm. (The picture at left is of Lesley and her son Caleb shoveling the driveway this morning.)

But Rochester has gotten a bunch of snow and the kids across the street are celebrating with sledding and romping in the newly fallen snow. While the local amount is estimated to be under a half foot, the areas right around us are forecasted to see up to twenty inches! Woah!

It's a little disappointing as I was supposed to meet with (a) my coworkers from the RLS Foundation this a.m. and (b) an old friend, Beth Bailey, this afternoon. But the weather has forced us to cancel all plans. Beth was going to have to make a drive from Minneapolis and the weather is just too rough. So instead, today will be a lot more "lay low" then I was planning on.

While that part is disappointing, beautiful snow is always a wonderful sight. If it is going to be cold, it might as well snow. I'm going to sit and enjoy the snow. I'm also going to sit and miss my kiddos a bunch. They are doing fantastically with Grampa and Grama K.; Papa and Grama Di; and their Roy and Joni to entertain them as well as their four cousins. But man I miss those little buggers something fierce. I know they are having a great time being spoiled immensely which brings me comfort. But I can't wait to hug them again this weekend.

Transfer is scheduled for Saturday morning. I'll keep everyone posted if anything changes. We won't know how the embryos are doing until we go in that morning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jake & Rana

Our friends Jake and Rana made the two hour drive from Mora, Minnesota to see us. Rana is Turkish. Jake is American. They met and fell in love and lived in Turkey for many years. That is where we met them. When we moved to the Azores, they moved to America. How wonderful to see a dear friend. Maybe the world isn't as big as it feels to me sometimes afterall.
Me and Rana
My only sort-of successful picture of the kids: Mia (almost 3) and Aksel (almost 5)
Jake and Rana spent the night in Rochester. We had Indian food with them on Friday night and then on Saturday, gave them a tour of the Mayo buildings and then let the kids play at the mall.

Wee-wind Wednesday

Flashing back to July 10, 2006 with this post. Can it really be over six years ago that this picture was taken on our old brown couch in the Rochester Towers. Such great friends. We had such wonderful times just hanging out at one of our condos eating leftovers, watching sporting events, playing dominoes, and being friends. They haven't changed a bit!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Embryo Update

I've had a lot of people ask me about our embryos and how this whole thing works. I wanted to take a brief moment to explain what is happening. I think I have explained this before, but here it is again, in as concise a form as I can put it.

We have seven embryos. Starting this evening (Tuesday), embryologists are beginning to thaw these embryos. We do not know how God sees these embryos because, well, we aren't God. Mayo has told us that they freeze before DNA transfer occurs (thus they say that the embryos are not alive.) However, we promised ourselves that we would return for anything we froze, and we want to stay true to that promise. We can't be sure the exact moment life begins so we are going to err on the side of these embryos being already alive.

Over the next few days, the embryos will thaw and will either continue to thrive or not. We do not know how many will survive until our transfer on Saturday. We just have to wait and see. All seven could survive. Two could survive. We don't know.

They will transfer only two embryos into my uterus. (If you remember, my past transfers saw a transfer of two, two, two, and then three.) The decreased number is due to the fact that they are letting these embryos grow longer and my two pregnancies. If there are any remaining embryos, they will be refrozen for a later transfer. We do not know when we would return to do another transfer. Our infertility story has been anything but ordinary. We must try (as hard as it is) to take one treatment and one treatment day at a time.

There is a chance they could call me on Thursday and say something like, "Five of your embryos have died. Only two are left. Let's transfer them today as we aren't sure they will make it until Saturday."

There is a chance that when we get in on Saturday they could say, "We only have one left to transfer. The other six did not continue dividing and thriving."

There is a chance they could say, "We are transferring two and two more are being refrozen. The other three did not make it."

They could say they are transferring two and the other five are being frozen.

We have no idea. Please feel free to join our "who the heck knows" club.

So how can you pray?

If you can just pray the Lord's will to be done, we would greatly appreciate that.

You could also pray for my continued improvement emotionally. I have now stopped taking Lupron which is the drug that most likely was causing my anxiety and depression. I am feeling better, but I continue to have good days and bad days. Good hours and bad hours. Pray that I feel like the "old Wendi" as soon as possible. I am taking estrace and prometrium now and will eventually work my way off of those and just take progesterone -- all drugs that should not cause me to drop as low as I have been.

How wonderful it is to be here with my friend Lesley. She was there for our entire infertility journey during our time at Mayo. She prayed with me today and reminded me that I did feel like this in the past (I feel like I never felt this bad) and she reminded me that she remembers a Wendi that was happy a lot and plagued only now and then. How encouraging! Sometimes it feels like I have felt this way for seven years. I know that isn't the case but it is difficult to remember.

I will keep you posted of new information as it becomes available to me. For now, we wait for Saturday -- unless something changes.

Old friends

So, despite bringing our camera here, we have not yet taken a single photo. So I snagged some Facebook photos to show you who we are actually seeing during our return to the Polar North.
We are staying with Dave & Lesley Jones. Dave & Lesley lived a few floors above us in the condominium building we lived in. We owned #202 and Dave & Lesley owned #406 in Rochester Towers. They bought a house right near the downtown. Dave is in his fellowship for orthopedics with a hand specialty and Lelsey, a pediatrician, is now staying home with their two boys: Caleb (2.5) and Josiah (9 months). Here is a picture of their family:

Last night, Dave & Lelsey had a few friends over so we could catch up. Here is Erica and Christopher with their little girl Annabelle. Erica is expecting a little boy any day now. He was a fellow Mayo medical student (a few years behind JB and Dave and Lesley.)

And here are the Yuans: Brandon, Kristen, and Halle. They have a three week old little girl now too. Brandon was also a medical student with Dave and Lesley:

We are going to stay with Dave & Lelsey for a few days and then switch and stay with the Ray family for a few days. But Ron and Ebby and their boys: Hunter and Cole stopped by to see us last night for a few minutes. They have been our friends since we all lived together in Kentucky. And if you remember, Veronica (second from right) was the gal who came and lived with us for about 10 months in Turkey:

Much more to come. Today, our friends Jake and Rana (from Turkey) who now live in Minnesota are driving 2.5 hours to see us here in Rochester. So wonderful to see so many great people!

Monday, December 17, 2012

All Systems Go!

Ultrasound went great. Everything looks fantastic. Scheduled for a Saturday transfer. Thank you for the prayers. Please keep them coming.

It was incredibly surreal to walk back into the Charlton Building. I couldn't help but feel a wave of emotion as I pressed the elevator button to go up to Charlton 3A. Walked in that room. Waterfall flowing in the middle. Women spread throughout the waiting room, avoiding eye contact.

But then I saw Roxy, the same ultrasound tech who had been there for five years during our infertility journey. She called me back. I wasn't sure she would remember me. She sees so many people. But boy, did she. She was so happy to see us. So excited to hear about the direction our lives had gone. Dr. Coddington came in -- same calm demeanor and comforting gradfather persona. I saw Nancy, the only nurse still there from when I was being seen. They all came to see me.

My lining looked fantastic. My body responded perfectly to the medications. They will start thawing our seven little embryos tomorrow evening and depending on how they are doing, transfer Saturday, or possibly sooner.

I continue to feel better emotionally as I finish taking Lupron and continue estrace. Now I'll begin two other medications. The headaches are much better. The depression quite lessened. The anxiety, still prevalent. But I so feel people praying for me. Thank you for surrounding me with your prayers, comfort, and love.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


We have arrived in Rochester, Minnesota. So wonderful to hug our friends Dave and Lesley and meet their boys: Caleb (2.5) and Josiah (9 months.) The last time we saw them was in July of 2008 -- the weekend we came up here with 6 week old Isaac and found out we were expecting Elijah.

Ultrasound in the morning. I know people are praying because I have had such peace today.

And it isn't quite as cold as I imagined it being!

Dear Jesus,

By: Max Lucado: 

Dear Jesus,

It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from a

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.


Your Children

P.S. If you could pray for us as we head to Minnesota we'd appreciate it. We also have an ultrasound on Monday that will give us the "green light" to move forward. Thanks all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day with Big Keith (and family)

Today, I finally got to see my brother. My parents and our family drove the 40+ minutes to Keith and AD's house. This picture above is of my mom with all five of our children in the playroom.

I have purposefully stayed away from watching the news. It's just impossible to make sense of the school shooting that is obviously the top of the news throughout our country and around the world. May we all continue to pray for those whose lives were changed forever by a senseless tragedy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Extra prayers?

If you read my blog, know me personally or just know me from the online world, would you mind offering up some extra prayers on my behalf? I am here in Florida with family and just still struggling with some depression and anxiety. I know in my head that it is from the drugs I am taking but your heart has trouble thinking that I can ever feel better or that I will eventually feel like myself again. I know the real Wendi is in there somewhere, but she just feels a bit far away. We leave for Minnesota in a few days. I am leaving my little ones behind and this is difficult for me, especially leaving Abigail who has only been away from Daddy and Mommy one night ever. Thanks all -- I can really use prayers for peace.

Friday Funnies

"I actually did not know Silver Sable was a girl. And Sidge did not know that Spider man uses his webs to fly even though I told him that many, many times when we were in the Azores."
After giving JB pretend coffee and tea (over and over again) with his pretend coffee machine, JB asked Isaac if he could have a Cafe' Mocha instead. Isaac said, "Daddy, this thing can make a lot of drinks, anything I say, but not that thing you just said."
JB started singing the words to a book Isaac and Sidge wanted him to read to them. Isaac said,"We just want yo to read it and not say it." John started talking and said, "This is singing." Then JB started singing and said, "This is talking." He followed it up with, "Today is backwards day." Sidge responded by saying, "Daddy, we just want today to be frontwards day please."
While counting by tens with Mickey Mouse on a video, Sidge joined in by saying, "fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety," and then when one hundred popped up on the screen he said, "Ten-ty."
Me: "We will get something more to eat when we get to Grama Di or Papa's."
Sidge: "You said or Mommy. They have the same house."
There are a lot of amazing vehicles on the road here in South Florida -- most cost more than people's first homes. The boys like to ask what each of them are.
Sidge: "What kind of truck is that Daddy?"
JB: "A Ford F150."
Sidge: "Wow. That's a lot."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cousin time!

Here is a pic of the boys with my brothers' girls: Charleigh (almost 4) and Baylee (almost 2). Charleigh is a little mother hen and the boys loved all the reading and mothering she gave them.

Charleigh and Isaac reading books
Here's a video of Grama Di with her boys.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Visit with Bri

We got to have short visit today with Joni and Bri (Isaac's birth grandmother and mother). While we see Joni a lot, Bri lives on the west coast of Florida, and we haven't seen her since we were home last February. She is engaged to a wonderful guy Robert who has just joined the Air Force so chances are, visits will be hard to come by. GREAT to see her! Lotsa hugs to be found. Here are two pics of her and Isaac (a) reading a book and (b) building with his Magnatiles and some Dominoes.

Wee-wind Wednesday

What better to "rewind" to, today, while in America, then the last time my kids were in the U-S-A. In early February of 2012, I made the trip from Turkey to South Florida, with my three kids, by myself. Here's a look back at this adventure.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

America To Do List

Over the last 48-hours I have been able to cross off some major things from my "America To Do" list. These things include:

1. Eat Checkers french fries (yum!)
2. Eat a Chipotle burrito (could only eat half)
3. Get my hair cut at Je Suis hair (picture shown above)
4. Have the kids see all four cousins: Charleigh, Baylee, Grace & Nate
5. Listen to Christmas music on the radio

Seeing our friend William

Six hour flight to Baltimore was well worth this moment: getting to see our friend William and his Daddy and Mommy: Ryan and Mrs. Sarah Stebbins in Baltimore. Check out this video of the moment Sidge and Isaac saw their old friend -- their first real friend.

On the Way

Here's a picture of our three backpacks before we left on Sunday morning! Ready for an adventure!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cousins & More

It was a busy day. I spoke this morning at a MOPs group about 90 minutes from my parents' home. My sister-in-law AD went with me. She's becoming a professional at running the PowerPoints for my talks when I am home to visit. This will be my only talk while I am here. The rest of our time is jam-packed with family stuff.

Today the kids were able to see all of their cousins. This includes my brothers' kids: Charleigh and Baylee and JB's brother Ray's kids: Grace and Nate. Life is very busy. My mood took a hit today due to fatigue, but we are loving being able to catch up with those we love!


Say what you want about the U-S-A. Complain about it's leaders, it's traffic, it's decisions. But when you haven't been in the country in a long time and you come back, it is emotional. We are home! Much more to come but for now, back in the good ol' United States of America!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

What it takes to struggle with something hard

Just read a fantastic devotional entitled: "What it Takes to Struggle with Something Hard" by Rachel Olsen. (Thanks for sending it Aunt Connie.)

To those of you living or dealing with something difficult in your life, may the Lord provide you an extra dose of His love tonight. I am so sorry for those of you who are in pain right now. If you are seeing things a little dark, if you are body is physically hurting, if you are grieving the loss of someone or something, may you receive an extra dose of understanding and love.

"I don't know what your story is today—what you are struggling with or against. But I know this: God knows your situation and He is not indifferent toward it or you. He loves you mightily! And His right arm is not too short to save you. So lean into Him because you need His strength until His deliverance comes. Lean in, pray and persevere despite the pain you are in. And keep hope alive in your heart. For this is how we struggle with something hard while holding the title 'More than Conquerors in Christ.' In Him overwhelming victory is ours."

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

You’re Kidding! Medical Clown Increases Pregnancy Rates with IVF

A study of 229 Israeli women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to treat infertility found that a 15-minute visit from a trained “medical clown” immediately after the embryos were placed in the womb increased the chance of pregnancy to 36%, compared with 20% for women whose embryo transfer was comedy-free.

Read more by clicking here. 

For Patty

While watching the Sleeping Beauty ballet on our Portuguese television, Sidge became fascinated with the women standing on the tops of their toes. He decided to try it all by himself which was quite comical. Our friend Patty, a professional ballerina might have quite a few pointers. I don't think ballet is in his future. :)

We only stayed up to watch part of the ballet but the first half was gorgeous! Simply breathtaking. We read Sleeping Beauty in one of our books later the next day and then decided to watch the movie. Hmmm ... those early Disney movies are a lot darker than I remember. I don't think I will be letting the boys watch it anytime again soon. Malificent is just horrid!

I'd much prefer the ballet!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Urgent Because of Isaac Update

Our third Because of Isaac couple: Ryan and Briana Huisman have reached another speed bump in their adoption journey. They need to raise just over $2,500 in the next 45 days to be able to complete all of their home studies without rescheduling for a later date. 

This may seem like a lot, but it is just 25 people who can donate $100! (Or more people who can donate less of course.)

Because we are going out of town and the money is needed so quickly, we are asking anyone who can, to please send a check directly to Bethany Christian Services. 

Checks can be written to Bethany Christian Services. Please put Because of Isaac: Ryan & Briana in the memo line. If you can, please also send me an email at to let me know you have sent a check.

Please mail your check to:

Bethany Christian Services
3000 S. Race St.
Denver, CO 80210

For more information on this awesome couple, please click here. We have been so blessed that our first BOI couple: Grant & Elizabeth have raised all their money. Our second couple is almost there. But our third couple needs your help! Please consider making a donation today!

Friday Funnies

We've been excitedly talking about our trip back to America. One of the exciting things is that on the way to and from Baltimore, we are planning on seeing our friend William and his mom Stebbs. This past week Sidge talked about how excited he was when he said, "That makes me smile to see William."  Isaac also said, "We are going to go see Mrs. Sarah Stebbins and William."
We got in the van during a bad wind and rain storm and Sidge said, "Man I am glad our car has a roof."
Wendi: "Hey Elijah."
Sidge: "Mommy, please call me Sidge."
Isaac: "I'll just call you spiderman."
Sidge: "Okay, that's fine."
Sidge: "How old is I'm?"
Sidge: "Be kind bun to another .... ha ha, I said bun."
On a day I wasn't feeling good last week, I let the boys watch a movie while Abigail was napping. I napped on the couch (successfully!). The next day, Isaac asked me if he could do it again.
Me: "No, that was just a special occasion. But you can read books in your bed during nap time today."
Isaac: "Any book?"
Me: "Any book you like."
Isaac: "And any book I don't like I don't have to read?"
Me: "Exactly."
When Sidge is being Daddy's sou chef there are three rules:
(1) Have to wear an apron
(2) Must taste test everything
(3) Must have a drink
Sidge: "I want to be your sou chef tonight."
JB: "Okay. We are in crunch time now."
Sidge: "What is crunch time?"
JB: "It means dinner is almost ready, and we have to hurry."
5 minutes later.
Sidge: "Daddy, we forgot to get a drink tonight."
JB: "We don't have time. Remember: we are in crunch time."
Sidge: "Oh yeah. Uhhh ... what's that mean again?"
JB was taking Isaac's shirt off for a bath. "Daddy, you almost popped my head off."
We are making Christmas cards this year -- gluing a picture on a little piece of foam and decorating it together. While making them, Sidge said to me, "But all these pictures are the same." A few minutes later, Isaac wandered in and reiterated saying, "Why are all these pictures the same ones, Mommy?"

A Hug

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Why Does It Hurt So Much?

I found this online article and really related to what it was saying and how it explained the loss that infertility creates. I am speaking again when I return home to South Florida and am in the midst of IVF #5. I am therefore busy "thinking" about infertility again. Hope this article ministers to you.

Study by Sandra Glahn

A couple sat to eat lunch with me after I had spoken at an infertility symposium. As we began to talk, I asked the wife, “When you grieve over your infertility, what is your greatest loss?”
She didn’t have to think about her answer. “It’s the loss of a dream; my heart’s desire is to have my husband’s child and raise it together.”
I turned to the husband and addressed him. “And you?”
He looked at her, then back at me. After hesitating a moment, he spoke to her gently, and stroked her arm, “Don’t take this wrong, honey, but…” Then he looked at me. “It’s the loss of my wife—she is not the same woman I married. Infertility is really taking a toll on us.”
“You’re normal,” I assured them. After enduring a decade of infertility treatment that included multiple pregnancy losses, three failed adoptions, and an ectopic pregnancy, my husband and I had talked to numerous couples. And I recognized their stress, which—though different in each couple’s case—was still a normal response to an abnormal experience.
Infertility is hard stuff. In fact, “The depression and anxiety experienced by infertile women are equivalent to that in women suffering from a terminal illness,” says Alice Domar, Ph.D., director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School .
Why is it so difficult? We’re not talking about buying a new living room set here. We’re talking about having a child—someone who will throw her arms around you, even throw up on you. The idea of conceiving child as the product of two people’s love is a precious dream, and a deep longing. Thus, what a comfort it often is for couples to discover Proverbs 30:16, which tells us that a “barren womb” is among four things on earth that are never satisfied. The intense desire to have children is part of the way God structured the world. The drive, the longing, that “unsatisfied” feeling—these are part of the design.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wee-wind Wednesday

Today I am flashing back to December 24, 2008 -- the day before our first Christmas a parents. I am very pregnant with Sidge but am busy celebrating our little Isaac waving for the first time. A perfect wee-wind as we head into this Christmas season. You can read the blog and see the wave (and my very pregnant self) by clicking here. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Call from Mayo

Talk about making your stomach drop.

Got a call from a doctor at the Infertility Department at Mayo Clinic today. He said that they received the images I flew all the way to Germany to have taken. He said the quality of the images was not fantastic but that they think they saw a polyp in my uterus. Then he said they would often recommend ceasing to move forward on the transfer and instead having surgery to remove the polyp (which is usually very benign and not a problem other than possibly decreasing chances of the IVF transfer being successful.)

I listened to all he had to say and then I asked him the million dollar question. Do I have to have the surgery to remove the polyp? 

The answer? No. He, in fact, said that in our situation, coming from halfway across the world, trying to time this nearly perfectly, with so many minuscule factors at play, he would understand if we just wanted to "let nature take its course." He said they could lower our chances of success but that the research is still very unclear as to whether that is actually true.

We both shared a laugh. This isn't very "natural" and my infertility and pregnancy journey has gone far from the way anyone would have thought. I told him that I'd need to talk to my husband but that I was pretty sure we'd take our chances by leaving the polyp in place. (JB agreed ... without hesitation.)

So for now, things are moving forward as scheduled. Please join me in praying that when I get to Mayo  later this month and they do an ultrasound before the transfer that everything looks okay. He said there is a very good chance that there won't be a polyp at all. (That the images were just too difficult to read.) But we do need my uterine lining to be a certain thickness to proceed and some other things need to come together to assure a successful transfer. This call reminded me that we aren't guaranteed the ending to the story that we'd like so your prayers for the Lord's hand to move along this journey would be greatly appreciated.

Stay tuned ....

Believe it or not ...

... I did not set this picture up! Abigail climbed up on the bench outside our garden, her brothers joined her, and then their two great friends: Jackson and Max jumped on as well. Only Scrubs failed to participate appropriately. I tried to get him either out of the picture or full in the picture, but he decided to do it his way, and I didn't feel I had the opportunity to wait any longer lest I lose my opportunity.

Lately I have been missing my friends in Turkey and my life in America greatly. I feel so homesick and so nostalgic for my girlfriends in the Middle East. I am so thankful for my new friend Carla and her boys Max and Jackson as well as my continued friendship with Kristy and her boys Noah and Jonah. Having these two ladies living right around the corner from me is such an amazing blessing.

Popular at Present

Abigail has finally gotten into books. Man oh man is she slower to fall in love with the written word than my boys were. But now that she is getting into them, she is definitely picking her few favorites and wanting to read them over and over again like they did when they first fell in love with books. Her current two favorites are:



I also must put on another plug for the Magna-tiles that my boys received as a gift about 6 weeks ago. They each got a 32-piece set and they have played with them every single day since receiving them. They are incredibly durable and so good for the imagination and learning. In addition, while it says they are a choking hazard, the likelihood is very low, and Abigail, while uninterested in them, holds them and throw them around frequently. They have been thrown, walked on, and fought over while suffering no apparent duress. I know they are very expensive, but I can guarantee you that your child will love them. I can vouch for the boys, but I have many friends with girls who have been equally enthralled by this little pieces of goodness.

I also have to recommend the "Portable North Pole" video again this year. This is completely free. If you want to see the one we made for Isaac, you can click here.  Click here to if you want to make a video yourself. It takes about five minutes. You answer a few questions about your child, download a photo, and Santa sends a personalized message to your little one. The look on their faces is priceless as you can see by this video we took of Sidge hearing Santa say his name.