Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Grandbaby #2 on the way!

Today is the day that we go to the hospital so that they can start inducing labor so that our 2nd oldest daughter, Sapphire, can have their baby boy. It was just a week ago today that I had, and lost, my baby boy Samuel. We will be at the same hospital, with the same nursing staff. That could make things so much easier, or harder, depending on how you look at it. You see, my son's heart stopped beating and we don't know why. I was only 5 months along with him. Kaden, my new grandson, will be full term though, and at his last ultrasound they were estimating that he weighs somewhere around 7.9 lbs. already. I am looking forward to holding him, and yet I know I will think of Samuel as well. So, for anyone reading this, if you could say a prayer that we will make it through this with a healthy new grandson, an easy delivery for our daughter (this is their first baby), and that nursing him will go well for her. And as for me...please pray that I will have the strength to be there physically and emotionally for them, and that I will do well mentally through this joyous and yet hard time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Daddy please don't look so sad, Momma please don't cry cause I'm in the arms of Jesus and He sings me lullabies. Please, try not to question God, don't think he is unkind. Don't think He sent me to you, then He changed his mind. You see, I am a special child, and I'm needed up above. I'm the special gift you gave Him, the product of your love. I'll always be there with you, and watch the sky at night. Find the brightest star that's gleaming, that's my halo's brilliant light. You'll see me in the morning frost, that mists your window pane. That's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain. When you feel a little breeze, from a gentle wind that blows. That's me, I'll be there, planting a kiss on your nose. When you see a child playing, and your heart feels a little tug, that's me, I'll be there giving your heart a hug. So daddy, please don't look so sad, momma don't you cry. I'm in the arms of Jesus, and He sings me lullabies.
By Claudette T. Allen

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Samuel Jacob Benedict

Samuel Jacob Benedict
Weight: 8 oz.
Length: 7”

Date: Jan. 22, 2008
Time: 12:50 p.m.
Blond hair
Blue eyes

Our baby boy, that I was carrying, died this week. He died on Monday, but I didn't deliver him until Tuesday after being in labor for two days. I was 5 months along and he was kicking, turning flips, etc. Now he is gone. I got to hold him until about 7:30 Tuesday night though. Then before they took him, we had him baptized. We had a memorial service for him Friday.

Samuel won’t actually be buried until March or April when the ground isn’t frozen, and all the newborn babies who have died at the hospital will be buried, and then they will have the graveside service. We will go to that one so that we will see where he is buried so we can visit him there. Yes, we could have bought him a plot of his own, but we don’t have the extra $4000.00 to do that. So, this way we had our own memorial and will still have the graveside service. I wish we had the extra money lying around, but this so wasn’t planned. I think Doug (my husband) did a very good job picking out songs, he had a picture of him printed and in a frame up front, they had nice little handout with his name and all…

As I told a friend of mine, I know that Samuel was here for a reason. I believe he must have been, though I don’t know why? But, even for the short time that he was with us, I am still glad that he was. And I think Satan thought that I am so weak that I would hate and turn away from God for taking him from me, but I don’t and won’t. Oh I am mad that he isn’t with me, and sad, and hurt, and disappointed, and even standing in the shower without him moving in my stomach, having my chest hurt from needing to nurse him, the cramping, bleeding…just like if I had given birth to him alive…it is all so hard, but I still don’t hate God for it.

I would rather have had him, and loved him, than not had Samuel at all.

I will think of Samuel every day, and I will always love him, I still want to have him to hold, love, and smell the sweet baby smell that I so love. I have Samuel’s little blanket that they had him wrapped in and gave me to keep, and it still smells like Samuel. I have it in a plastic bag to keep it safe. I take it out and breathe in the sweet, sweet smell of my baby. If I could bottle that smell up, I would, in a minute. But it does smell like my sweet baby boy, and I so love that.

Friday, January 18, 2008

An Interesting Pregnancy So Far?

Well this pregnancy has proven to be an interesting pregnancy already and I am only 4 1/2 months along so far!! At first my hormone levels were too low, according to the doctor. Then at 13 weeks, much earlier than most, I got gestational diabetes. Generally this doesn't start until around the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. I now have an OB doctor and a High Risk OB doctor. I see one or the other each week now. I also have to take insulin pills twice a day, and check my blood sugars 4X a day - before breakfast, lunch, dinner and at bedtime. I have to try to maintain my blood sugars to stay at 120 or less. This means poking my fingers each day to draw the drop of blood to put into the meter. At first my fingertips were all very sore, but I have now done it enough that they are toughening up. So far, I can take the insulin pill by mouth vs. the insulin shots in my stomach. With Sheyenne, our 8th biological baby, I had to use the insulin shots. This is the 4th time I have had gestational diabetes. The first time they caught it too late and so we didn't do anything specific for it. Then with our 7th baby, I was able to control my blood sugars with a religious diet. Then with our 8th child, I too started with the special diet, but then it went to insulin shots. This time they are trying out the pills first. I pray that I can keep using these. I really don't like giving myself shots in my stomach while I'm pregnant! I can deal with regular shots, IVs, etc., but there is something about giving yourself a shot in my stomach while being pregnant that is just hard for me. I don't know why for sure? I know that the needle won't stick the baby, but it still bothers me.
On top of this, we got a call from the doctor's office this week. They have done my Triple Screen tests twice now, and both times it came back saying it was positive for a baby with Down Syndrome. I was at a loss as to how to respond when they first called. I was in shock I guess. They asked if my throat was in my stomach? I guess that was a good way to put it?! I didn't even know what questions to ask them. She told me that the chances of a baby with Down Syndrome is 1 in 80. So part of me says, "Doesn't that mean that there are 79 babies that won't have it?" I don't know? They have me scheduled for a special 3-D ultrasound on Thursday of next week. They said that we will find out then for sure. There is some way to measure the fluid in the baby's neck that will tell us if the baby does or does not for sure. So, I have done a little research on the subject, but I don't also want to go overboard with it because God is still in control and maybe the baby won't have it, right??? If we have some information, I feel better equipped to make some sort of a game plan. They asked if our aborting the baby was an option for us. We both said no. We do not believe in abortion! They said that about 90% of couples finding out that they are having a baby with Down Syndrome will abort. We are not the average 90% then. If that is what God gives us, then we will love the baby, boy or girl, no matter what. But...I also think that I am in shock and don't want to believe this yet. I want to wait until after the ultrasound next week to really start coming to terms with it. I hope that's not wrong of me, but it is the best way that I know to cope right now with this possibility.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Makeover Home Edition anyone?

Kitchen After -----------------------------------Kitchen before

Have you ever watched the television show "Makeover Home Edition"? It's on ABC at 7:00 on Sunday evenings. I have been inspired so much by what this team of people do for some many families across the U.S. God has opened up so many doors for these people to get a house that they so desperately need for so many different reasons. Yes, Sears Department Stores are their biggest contributors, which in my book makes them a pretty special store (though a little pricy and we can't afford to shop there)! There is very seldom ever a time that we watch this show together as a family that one or all of us don't end up in tears at the awesomeness of what these people do on this show. There are so many wonderful, needy truly families out there, and it makes me see how much we are blessed with compared to how difficult it is for many families to survive. We have had several people ask us if we, with all of our children, living on one income, would mind if they turned our names in to Makeover Home Edition? Mind, no, of course not! But are we as truly needing and deserving as so many, many other families are? No, not even close! God has blessed us! Even having to live in an old house that is still currently in the restoring renovation process while we live there. Some days I get depressed and frazzled by the fact that there is so much to still do, it is cold in the house on many days (colder than we really like), the floors are in terrible shape, the walls almost all finally have drywall now, etc., not including the need to be taped, mudded, and painted. This all does not include that we need trim around the doors and windows, our bathroom completely working on the main floor (right now it has a toilet), windows in the living room and dining room that need to be replaced, a new roof (because it has just started leaking), a new septic system put in... And we are a family of 11 people living there, and this does not count the new baby our daughter is having, or our new baby! That will make 13 people in a 3 bedroom house! But, God has stretched me in ways that I swore I could never live with. I am by temperament a person who hates to have things half finished. I hate half done projects no matter what they are, but to live in one, that takes a lot for me personally. When my husband asked me what I needed to be able to move in to this house so that we could use the money to keep fixing up this one up, and not keep paying rent at another one, I wasn't sure what to say. After much thinking, I said that I needed a functioning kitchen and one bathroom that had a sink, shower and bathtub. Well I have this. It seemed like the most important things with having a large family, but I have to admit, sometimes I so wish the rest could be done, that the money would just appear and we could hire someone to finish the work 100%, but that is not realistic. I know that. And I know I am blessed beyond measure, but I will so be glad when our house is 100% finished, and Doug and I have our own bedroom space for just the two of us (and the baby of course), finished walls so I can hang up pictures, and so forth. Some day...but for now, I will take the blessings that I am given and choose to daily rejoice!

Meet My Family...

Saph & Andrew's wedding reception.
May 2007

Hannah not pictured.

Now that I have talked about my children, I suppose I should "officially" introduce you to them.

First, we have Niki (Nicole), who is soon-to-be 23 and having their 2nd baby in February (a girl). She has a gorgeous head of long red hair! (Of course I'm partial to her red hair I'm sure). She and Dustin adore Landon, her first child, and Landon is our family's pride and joy. He is our first grandchild and has such a great personality! He is very loving and affectionate! Niki is currently going to college to get her degree in Social Work. She has one more semester before she will graduate. Dustin is a hard worker and loves Niki and Landon ever so much!

Second we have Saph (Sapphire), who will be 20 in May, and she and her husband are having their 1st baby, a boy. The baby's name will be Kaden Andrew Taylor. Saph has very long beautiful brown hair. She is married to Andrew, a really great guy, very hard working, with only one semester to complete in college, but is currently working for my husband at the distributorship as a merchandiser. They are due to have their baby this month. They are currently living with us out in the country and want to soon be able to get their own place close by.

Thirdly, we have Ash (Ashley). She will be 18 in April. She loves children (especially babies), and loves animals of almost every kind. She has a Saint Bernard, a parakeet, a kitten, and three horses. Ashley struggles with dyslexia and so schooling has always been a challenge for her. She has overcome many, many obstacles though, and continues to plunge along in her school work. She has several goals she wants to accomplish in her lifetime...going on a missions trip to S. Africa, adopting children from other countries, being a Crime Scene Investigator, a photographer, a mother, wife...

Fourthly is our first and oldest born son, Zach (Zachery). He is 16. Zach was homeschooled his whole life until the end of last school year. Long story short, he is our child who has currently slipped away from the Lord and taking his own path. I think one of our biggest mistakes was allowing him to convince us to let him go to the public school at the end of last school year. He met several kids, most of whom are bad influences and encouraged him to start smoking, one boy brought over a beer to our house for them to share, another started hiding his drugs in our basement since he couldn't keep them at home (which we purely found by accident), and Zach's attitude started to get worse, he became disrespectful, argumentative, and so forth. Actually the latter attitudes had begun to start before he went to the public school, and he started refusing to do any school work for me, argued with me daily, etc., and that is one reason we thought that him going to the public school would be good for him to have to be under someone else's authority for a time. This was not the right choice, and we did so almost out of desperation to try to bring him out of this funk he was in. Well I won't go into the whole long drawn out story over what this last year has been like, but suffice it to say, Zach is still in the public school for the rest of this year anyway, he has moved back home from my sister's, his aunt's house (who was promising to offer him a better life than he had at home, which lasted only 4 short months), he is back at home and we are taking one day at a time, literally. It has been one of our hardest challenges as parents. We love him though, and he has a lot of love to give, but shows it only rarely.

Fifth is Buggy (Cory Matthew). He is 10. He is a first vasectomy reversal baby. This is why there is such a span of age between Zach and Cory. Cory is a good boy, a hard worker, isn't thrilled with school as he'd rather be outside doing a project, and loves his mama a lot! He can be the most helpful child in the world when he wants to be. He desires to be a farmer or cattle rancher one day and wants 16 children. He also hopes to have his own tractor by the time he is 16. He is a great help to me with my dog business and I pay him a quarter for each time he cleans their dirty papers for me. It isn't much, but enough to buy a 2-liter of pop every now and then for a treat.

Sixth is NP (Noah Patrick). He is 8. Noah is our fearless child...our daredevil. He has been missing his front four teeth since he was 18 months old. He lost them on a bottom rung of a scaffolding while we were adding on a new dining room and bedroom to our house in Omaha. He loves being outside and driving our 4-wheeler and riding lawn mower to the burn pile. He also loves our dirt bike and will be jumping ramps every minute that he can if we let him. Winter is hard for him as he can't ride as much as he'd like to, and so he plays inside with his race cars, annoying his siblings, etc. He has a lot of love to give, but is also our most melodramatic child when he gets hurt too.

Seventh is Hannah Banana (Hannah). She is also 8. We adopted Hannah almost two years ago. This too is a very long story, one that maybe I will share some other time. Hannah came to live with us shortly after she turned 4. She was our first foster child. We the opportunity came up for her to be adopted, we took it. Then almost a year ago, she began acting out in ways we cannot share. Needless to say, she is in a foster home now. We are struggling with this as we love her so much, but cannot put our other children at risk again. It is so hard. She calls us almost every day still or we call her, she writes us letters and vise versa, we send her pictures (almost 3 albums full now), and we have visits as often as we can with her. So, we are having to terminate paternal rights this coming week so she can be adopted by a family with no children. How does one do this without hurting? Without pain for all of us involved? She is such a loving girl, sweet by nature most of the time, loved to home school, etc. So how does one do this? I don't know.

Our 8th child is Colt (Colten). He is 6. He has Ashley's natural gift with animals, especially cats. He is a loving boy who just "officially" started schooling this year. He likes me to know that "he is still little and needs time to play." We have a schedule that I want to work harder at sticking to as Colten especially does better with having one. When he gets tired or overwhelmed, I have to take a break and give him some free time. Colt is one who likes to spend a certain amount of time alone in the evening having what he calls, "his quiet time alone." He really needs this. He is a sweet, loving boy who likes to be held and cuddled still. He loves being outside in the summer, but can also enjoy sitting and playing with their Playstation racing games as well. We have to limit his time though or he will easily become stressed and grouchy!

Our 9th child is Shey (Sheyenne). We also call her our little Missy girl. She just turned 4. After having four boys in a row, we were excited to have another little girl! She was only 3 weeks old when Hannah came to live with us. I used to pray and ask God that if this was to be our last child, then could we please have another little girl again, maybe one with red hair like her oldest sister, and who stayed small for a while. God gave us exactly what we prayed for! She weighed 7.7 lbs., whereas the other kids all weighed 8. 12 lbs. or bigger. She is still a little peanut only now weighing 30 lbs. at age 4. She is very affectionate, loves her siblings ever so much (especially her older sisters), loves animals, and loves her mommy and daddy very, very much! She is one child that I would say is a favorite amongst all her siblings. There's just something about her. Now that she is going to have another brother or sister, she is thrilled to be a "big girl," but says she wants us to still call her our "baby." She's a sweet, funny little girl to be sure. She reminds me of Beth off of Little Women personality wise.

Our 10th baby is due is June. We don't yet know if this is a boy or girl, but whatever God gives us, well will gladly take! The Bible says, "Children are a gift from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is his reward." Our children are certainly, "Gifts from the Lord!"

Our Homeschooling Adventure

Our homeschooling adventure begin 15 years ago when we were living in Omaha, NE. Our oldest daughter, Niki, was just finishing up the 1st grade and we were certain that God wanted this for our family. Actually, I was pretty sure that we were to start the previous year, but I was pregnant with our oldest son at the time and thought that "Surely God doesn't want me to home school with a new baby on the way!" Wrong! Isn't that funny, the misconceptions we can have that really make no sense at all?! So, we sent Niki to the 1st grade that year as we thought we should, and by the end of that year, it was obvious that it wasn't the right thing to do. She came home with several odd beliefs over that year. Things like - "white people don't tie their shoes," - "that if you had a black bus driver he would kidnap you and take you somewhere else," etc. And wouldn't you know it? She had an African American bus driver at the end of the week who happened to take a different route and just happened to drop off Niki last. She came home in tears just knowing that she was being kidnapped! This was traumatizing to a 7-year-old! Well that was just the beginning. We were told during Parent Teacher Conferences several weeks later that she was doing very well, was learning Phonics quickly, and was very smart. They suggested that we go look at her classroom at all the artwork and schoolwork that she had done that was hanging on the walls and at her desk. My husband and I went to what we thought was the correct room, but couldn't find anything with Niki's name on it. So, we went back to the gymnasium and asked the teacher again what room it was that we were to go to. So, back we headed to the same room we had previously gone to. That's when Niki came in to show us her things. Do you know what the catch was? Everything that was "Niki's" said "Hop". "Hop" you ask??? Yes, HOP. Well boy was she proud of all of her school work, her nice neat desk, and her pictures on the walls. Well confused by the name "Hop" on everything, we went back to gymnasium once again to talk to her teacher. This is when she told us that yes, Niki writes her name "Hop" on everything she does. Her teacher told us that, "It was so cute seeing her write her name like that, that she couldn't help but let her keep doing it!" So when we got home that night, we asked Niki to write her real name on a piece of paper for us. She did...HOP. We told her that we wanted to see her real name, not the play one she uses at school. She wrote again, "HOP." She really did not know that she was supposed to be writing either Niki or Nicole. That made no sense to her at all!

The final straw was when she was in Art class one day and came home very upset. We asked her what was wrong and what had happened? She told us about the movie she'd seen in Art class that showed the children that when someone died, they cut out your heart, put it into a big black kettle of boiling water, and then place a feather into it. If the feather floats upward, you get to go to Heaven. If it floats downward, you have to go to Hell. We had always taught our children to give their heart to Jesus, accept Him as their Lord and Savior, and believe that He is God's son...that without Him dying on the cross for us, our sins would never be forgiven. That was the only way they'd ever get into Heaven. So Niki's understanding was that she couldn't go to Heaven if they were going to cut out her heart and put it in a big kettle of boiling water! So, we called the school to ask a few questions about this movie they'd been shown in class. Apparently several other parents were calling also, and the teacher "was too busy to return our phone calls." We tried for several days...nothing. It was Track & Field Day that next week and Doug was going to go to spend the day with her as I was feeling incredibly miserable and getting closer to the day our baby was going to be here, so Doug said he'd spend the day wwith her cheering her on. During the day, he just happened to see Niki's Art teacher, and made his way over to talk to him. That is when the teacher tried to explain that it was a movie about how other cultures deal with their dead. Other cultures? Why was it necessary to show 1st graders what it was like to deal with their dead in other cultures?!?!

As I said, it was at the end of this year that we decided that next year would be our first year of homeschooling our children. That was the best thing we could ever have done! Not only for many obvious reasons, but because there was a Desegregation Policy in the Omaha Public School System to mix interracial children and white children. Niki would have to go to a school in an unsafe part of Omaha for 2nd grade that year, where the school kept their front doors chained closed to keep drug dealers and users out. If we wanted to take her out for a doctor or dentist appointment, we'd have to go through the back where the kitchen staff would show us to the front office? And do you know, that in what would have been her 2nd grade class that year, two boys were randomly stabbed after school one day, and one girl was shot by her older sister because she didn't want her sister to tell her parents that she was pregnant!! So you ask, are you sure this was the right choice? Oh yes! 100%! And to think that my huband had originally said, "Let's just try one year at a time and go from there." The next year he said the same thing. And now, 15 years later, it is just a given! :+)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Petite Le Fleurs???

Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to go into what I call my new hobby business...dog breeding. I have wanted to breed dogs of some sort for many years now, but didn't have the time, money, room or energy to do so. However, now seemed like the right opportunity to do this. I have a Yorki-poo, named Sheeba, that I wanted to breed and started checking in to finding a dog to breed her with, or getting another puppy to raise so that I could eventually breed her with. In the process of looking, I met a really neat lady who breeds several breeds of dogs. I started asking her questions one after another, all of which she gladly answered and didn't make me feel dumb for bringing up. Before I knew it, she asked if I would be interested in helping her breed a new breed of dog that she has been working on for over 10 years now. It is a mix of a Pomeranian and a Toy Poodle. The new breed is called "Petite Le Fleurs." PLF stands for Tiny Flowers. In order to make a new breed of dog, you must establish several generations that make up this breed, with certain specific characteristics and qualities. Genetics obviously plays a huge part in this, and my breeder friend has been studying genetics for many years now and has been working to bring out different qualities from each breed to make this new breed of dog. The dogs stay under 6 lbs. in size, are non-allergenic and non-shedding. Their hair is less curly than a toy poodle, and not as long and fuzzy as a Pomeranian. Their ears stand up beautifully and they need to have nice shaped head, back end and tails.

I was thrilled when she asked me to help her!! I felt this was an opportunity worth reaching for. I now have 5 PLF's to breed from my end of the business, and my dog Sheeba who was recently bred with one of my friend's dogs. Sheeba had her first litter of puppies a week ago. She has two little girls, one pure black puppy and one black one with a brown stripe down its back. I will be selling both girls and posting their pictures on this site as soon as I am able.

This is has been a blessing to me, and I am so happy to have this opportunity!!

*Heaven's Tiny Petals does NOT sell to Puppy Mills or Pet Shops!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my first time trying my hand at blogging. A friend of mine inspired me to give this a try, so here we are. I have seen some really awesome blogs, and been really inspired by them, so I pray that I can live up to something worth reading.