Sunday, March 29, 2009

I know I'm biased... but seriously... I DARE you to not melt...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's about time...

I've been trying hard to get my act together and get some updates on here! There is much to blog about... Ella's first experiences with swings, a trip to Colorado, new teeth, etc... of course I ran out of time before coming to work and didn't get the pictures uploaded to post. There are so many, that I'm considering throwing them all into a quick little video. Stay tuned to see if laziness gets the better of me on that one.

So Ella and I ventured off on our own last week to visit my BFF Susie and my sister in Colorado. I'd like to say the trip was effortless... but it turns out pregnancy, puddle jumper planes, and 11 month olds don't mix well. We had a short flight from Indy to Chicago before heading to Denver... not a big deal one might think... until you see that the plane holds maybe 30 people. Factor in some light rain and you have a recipe for misery. Ella was a peach - she was out cold before take-off (OK... I admit it... the secret is Benadryl and I'm NOT ashamed). Let me just sum things up without getting too graphic - by saying that puking in your mouth is just not very fun. However given the proper determination and will-power, it is possible to keep the majority of your cookies down where they belong. All you need, is a child plastered on top of you sound asleep, and numerous strangers surrounding you threatening every ounce of your dignity. Landing in Chicago has never been a happier experience for me... and had I not been reassured that the plane to Denver was going to be 20 times the size of the one we had just experiences, we very well may have stayed there.

The rest of the trip was thankfully far less eventful. Ella loved Miss Susie's daycare and the plethora of toys at her disposal. We had a fun little girl's trip to a beautiful mountain cabin, and lots of bonding with little Kira. Then it was on to Colorado Springs to visit my sister and "the dogs"! My sister has 4 very beautiful but very large dogs (at least in comparison to our little dwarf Max). It was pretty funny to watch Ella's reaction to them, and vice versa. She has a small obsession going with doggies... however she prefers to "look" and not "touch"... easier said than done when the dogs themselves are concerned. We did some shopping (always a must), and had a very fun excursion to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo where you actually get to feed giraffes!! I'm not really sure who was more freaked out when the 10 inch tongue wrapped around our hand and the snack - I know I was - but Ella was less than pleased for sure. Nevertheless... a very fun experience. Is it bad when your favorite form of entertainment revolves around watching your kid get traumatized???

It was fun to get away for awhile - but Daddy was definitely missed and I have found that I have a "thing" about getting my baby home to sleep in her own bed. I'm a pretty relaxed and layed back mom, I think. But for some reason I find myself feeling really guilty when Ella is forced to go for so long without her usual naps... and without her own bed. While she truly does adapt beautifully in these situations - I know it affects her, and it shows when upon entering her own room, she looks at her bed and takes an excited breath in... so cute!

Life otherwise is moving along quickly! You may have noticed I went from 15 to 17+ weeks gestation in one day. I saw the doctor yesterday and despite a disagreement in when each of us believes this baby is due... I have been told I might as well change my mindset. In a way it's pretty nice... I'd rather they think I'm farther along than not as far... and time will tell in the end. My due date will be September 1st for now... and while I am quite sure that means this baby will be LATE - it means we will hopefully be finding out in just 2 short weeks whether we're having a boy or girl. (Sorry - we're not much for keeping that a surprise until the end).

In the meantime, Eric begins his FINAL Pharmacy rotation this Monday!! 4 more weeks and then graduation! I'm so proud of all that he has accomplished. It has not been an easy road, nor has it been one that most people could manage... but he stuck it out and has done so well. I'm planning to have a scrub burning party following Graduation... (it is all about me, right?)... "Hello, Retirement"!!!

OK, so maybe not official retirement... I plan to stick it out for a couple more months so we can afford diapers. We'll see how it all goes... :)

Think that's about all I can say without pictures... I'll try to get those up tomorrow. In the meantime, please continue to pray for Mikayla. She received her second dose of chemotherapy yesterday... and we're praying hard that the side effects are less severe this time around. If you haven't noticed the link on the left already, you can click here to register for updates and view her care page. Drop her a message - it brightens her day...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I was blessed with an incredible youth group experience throughout my high school years. We had a tight knit group, never lacked for good clean fun, and had a group of youth leaders that proved to be the most ideal role models any of us could ask for. Many of us remain close friends still today... many of you read this blog... and I think I can pretty much guarantee that all of us attribute the awesomeness of those years, #1 to our Heavenly Father Who was blessing us, but then to the Rietgrafs who He provided as Youth Pastor, and Wife. Marty and Deanna made us all feel loved, and we loved them. A couple years after I graduated, Marty accepted a Senior Pastor position at a church in Iowa. We all were so sad to see him go... yet so proud to know that he was following God's leading for the next steps in his and the family's life.

Marty and Deanna have four amazing kids. During the years that they led our youth group, I babysat often and am proud to remind their oldest 3 boys that I changed their diapers and wiped many boogers from their noses - often! After their move to Iowa, we were all crazy excited to hear of the birth of their 4th child... a baby girl... Mikayla.

Over the years and despite the distance, I have maintained my relationship with the entire family. A few visits, pre-marital counseling, and Marty even agreed to marry Eric and I despite the fact that I hardly knew the guy!! And Deanna was my most favorite baby shower gift as she showed up quite unexpectadly at one of my showers last March. This past August... we were so thankful to have the opportunity to introduce the whole family to Ella, when they passed through the Chicago area. Mikayla especially was excited to hold her, and although Ella was quickly moving into the "squirmy" phase of life... We did manage to grab a photo op of the two of them when she passed out. (see above)

The beautiful girl you see in the photo above, is the source of my "unspoken" that you read below. A month or two ago, Mikayla began experiencing some pain in her leg and hip... it was the beginning of a nightmare for a family that I absolutely adore. Just last week, Mikayla was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. They found a large tumor on her pelvis... and it is cancer. It is inoperable... and some has spread to her lungs.

Chemo is the only treatment at this point... it will probably begin tomorrow. I know for myself, the questions come fast and furious as I ask the Lord why on earth a family who has done nothing but serve and share Him with all those around them, must go through such a horrifying experience. Why this little girl... why - any little girl. Why such terrible illnessess... to such precious children. And then I remember a little boy - who spent his entire 13 months fighting illness after illness... and for what? "I don't make this stuff happen", God reminds me... "and while I do allow it... I am closer than you can even begin to imagine - and nothing at all... is out of my control".

I want more than anything to be able to do something for them right now... but the reality is, only God has any control at all over this situation. All I can do, is pray... beg... plead with God to comfort them all in this situation... and to perform the miracle that we know He is fully capable of. It seems like such a little thing - but I was reminded at the Women's Retreat this past weekend, that prayer is nothing to take lightly. It's real... and it's powerful. And that's why I'm asking you all to join me. Their church is thankfully taking good care of many needs that they have right now... but you can never have too many prayers. If you know them, would like to send a card or something, but maybe have misplaced their address, email me and I will give it to you.

Your faithful prayers for Marty, Deanna, Andrew, Peter, Joshua & Mikayla - will be so greatly appreciated. We know that as big as this is... our God is far bigger.