Friday, May 25, 2012


Today I blogged over at our Homeschooling Blog!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Some places just do it right...

There has been a steep learning curve to feed our Xander. We are currently avoiding: Corn, soy, dairy, peanuts, almonds, blueberries, eggs, and carrots.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... Have fun making a grocery list for that one. ;) Coupons? Schmoopons. Most of what we make for him cannot come out of a box or bag.

As you can imagine, it is difficult to feed him at home and eating out makes it even more difficult.

But some places do it right and save the day.

Here is a little list:

1. Chick Fil A- Chick Fil A now has grilled nuggets and applesauce. He still gets his little kid's meal bag and doesn't feel left out. He scarfs his nuggets down in a flash. "Shicken- A" is a favorite around here.

2. Moes- The folks that work at our Moes really go above and beyond. At first, we were scared to try. (HELLLOOOO CHEESE AND SOUR CREAM EVERYWHERE!!!!) But Brandon struck up a conversation with the manager one day and he let us in on a few tips to help. First, we explain that we have some food allergies and ask for them to change their gloves. Since we can SEE them make Xander's food, it is very easy to make sure that he only gets what we ask for. We can also see if the ingredients are contaminated-- you know.. that gob of sour cream sitting in the lettuce.

3. Jason's Deli- Jason's Deli's regular kids meals are not allergy friendly for Xander. BUT, again, Brandon stepped out of his comfort zone and asked what we could do. The manager made Xander his own little wrap that IS allergen friendly for Xander. He personally made it and delivered it to our table to make sure that we didn't have issues. In fact, Jason's Deli was our pick on Mother's Day this year because of the excellent service.

4. Sweet Frog- Be still my heart. I rarely have a sweet tooth, but frozen yogurt hits the spot when I do. Sweet Frog ALWAYS keeps a dairy free option available. Their website has a very detailed ingredient list for each flavor. The one dairy free option that Xander cannot have is Very Berry (because it has blueberries.) Xander gets SO excited about getting "real ike-ceam!"

Basically all of our eating out is limited to these four choices. It is very different, but Xander is doing the best he ever has.

He's worth it!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Da Nile... or Denial...

I've noticed that I've been a TOTAL slacker in the preparation department here lately.

Some friends and I joke about it. With baby #1, you register as soon as (or maybe even before) you have your big ultrasound appointment. Your carseat gets installed early, baby showers happen early and then you sit around and wait.

With baby #2, everything seems to be pushed back a little. There is a bit less intensity.

With baby #3, you might be ready in time. In our case, we had NO BOY CLOTHES. Our crib was set up and dresser set up with GIRL CLOTHES the weekend before we got our call. We bought a carseat a few days before he was finally discharged from the hospital. (In our defense, our adoption process was super speedy and Xander was already born when we got our call.)

And it seems to get pushed back later and later for each additional child.

It's not a lack of love thing, or a lack of excitement. Maybe it's a life is going 584327329 miles an hour now that we have four, 9 and under, and I just can't quite get around to it yet.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'm in denial. LOL!

You know.. like the time that my suitcase wasn't even packed when I went into labor with Solomon. I had already been admitted to the hospital once for preterm labor, and been put on bedrest and would you know that my bag wasn't even packed when the time came?

So far for Isaiah, I've done two things to prepare for him. I opened our pack and play with the infant insert (yes, I have more than one pack and play.. I actually have three in my possession, though I only own two. *blush*) to see if it fit on the wall between our closet and master bathroom. And we found the cord to the baby swing. (Electric baby swings are the BEST invention ever. Batteries always die in the middle of the night.)

That is it. I've not even pulled out the bins of baby boy clothes. Usually by now I've already bought a coming home outfit, but Gymboree discontinued my favorite little type of outfits and I just haven't seen anything else that I love. Boo.

I really ought to make a list and get busy. But, but, but.... I'm only 26 weeks, so I have plenty of time right?

Or... maybe it is denial. LOL!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Not Your Typical Mother's Day Post

This post will not be the upbeat positive post that many of you have come to expect here at The Simple Bees. It is honest and real. Please be kind with your comments.

Mother's Day is a whirlwind of emotions every year for me.

Let's face it, I'm not the most holiday observant person. In fact, most holidays hold awful memories for me, so I like to keep things low key and spend most of the time leading up the various holidays compartmentalizing memories of my life. It's a method of self-preservation. And I've only gotten this far in life by the Grace of God and because I have discovered coping methods to keep me (mostly) sane.

I wish I could tell you that I have an amazing relationship with my mother, but that would be probably the biggest lie I could ever tell. We haven't had a relationship since 2006 and I am much healthier this way. But even though it is healthier for me and my own little family, it still hurts. It's raw. Especially on Hallmark Holidays devoted to the woman that gave you life and was supposed to build you up and mold you in a healthy way. She was supposed to be my protector. She did give me life despite telling me over and over she never should have. And she also tried to break me and my spirit in almost every way over the 22 years that we had a relationship.

Here's the truth: Almost everything I do as a mother is the complete opposite of how I was raised. And sometimes when I'm not quite sure how to react to something, I ask myself how she would react and do the very opposite on purpose.

Don't mistake my honesty for bitterness. God has brought amazing women in my life to fill the gap in an amazing way. I hold no bitterness towards my mother, though I am sometimes wistful about the way things could have been. I've accepted that this is the way my life is.

My biggest goal in life is to break the cycle created in my family. See, my mom has a very strained relationship with her mother. And her mother had a very strained relationship with her mother. I didn't meet my maternal grandmother until I was 12 because simply put my mother and grandmother had no relationship until then. Even then it was very strained.

I look at the little people I've been blessed with and can't imagine ever putting them in a situation where they feel that they need to end our relationship in a method of self preservation. The very thought of them doing so, makes me feel like I can't breathe!

So each day, when I wake up, I ask God to let me see my children the right way... as blessings. As individual children that grow and develop each day. Blessings that I never want to take for granted. Each day I point them lovingly towards the Lord. Not for selfish or manipulative reasons, but because He is a better parent than I could ever be. I pray for wisdom and grace often. And so far, it seems to be working.

God is good.

So today when Julianne carried my coffee to me, Lainey brought me waffles, Solomon carried my card and Xander kangaroo hopped down the hallway to our bedroom, I compartmentalized my own feelings about my own mother. Instead I looked at the bright eyes that were so sweetly loving me the best way they knew how. I remember the fight to get each one of them here and all the times I begged God to pretty please bless us with children.

I look at Lainey and remember my time as a young, single mama. She has taught me so much about how strong I really can be.

I look at Julianne... our baby after fighting a secondary infertility fight. My hardest, most high risk pregnancy to date. My csection babe.

I see our gap.. where we lost a precious baby and then a three year gap to another biological baby. Secondary infertility struck again.

I look at Xander and see two mothers that love him so! One gave him life, and one is molding every day of his life.

I see Solomon, our surprise and my squishy mama's boy.

I see another missing child, our Annalise. Tears still come to my eyes at the mere mention of her name. Some days the grief feels so raw and fresh...

And I feel little Isaiah kicking me within. My little miracle.

Despite my own issues, I am extremely blessed.

Today, I am saying special prayers for my friends fighting so hard to become mothers. Either through adoption, a struggle with infertility or the sadness of repeat miscarriages. I am praying for those that lost their mothers too soon, either to illness, death, strained relationships or abandonment.

I acknowledge that this holiday isn't a simple one, wrapped in a neat little bow. ((HUGS))


Thursday, May 10, 2012


Maybe in 2013?

We've been bitten by the vacation bug.

A certain reader (Erika, cough, cough) has not helped me recover from said bug. In fact, I think she was contagious.

I'm overwhelmed though with the choices. Geesh...


Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Shift in Perspective...

Yesterday was a very frustrating day. I could run through the long laundry list of petty and more serious offenses that were commited. In addition, Brandon and I deviated from the regular rhythm of our family and it only compounded the frustration that was surging through me.

And then Xander did it.

He drew on the wall. Can you believe that he was my FIRST to draw on the wall? I've been a mama for 9 years... and my THIRD child is the one to do it.

In a moment of self preservation, I put all the children to bed early and ordered chinese food. (Don't worry they had already had dinner.)

And I sat in a puddle of self pity, frustration and anger as I sipped my ridiculously hot egg drop soup.

I vented. And I even cried.

And then when Brandon got home, I showed him our little artist's work and we went to bed.

This morning while I was getting ready for church something happened. Xander asked, "Can I have a second cup of milk, pwease, Momma?" And in a split second, it all shifted.

Instead of seeing my little trouble finder, I saw a little boy that has beat SO.MANY.ODDS!

See my little boy with his amazing vocabulary? We were once told that he may never talk.

My right handed artist who used fushia as his color of choice last night is the same little boy that we were told may never develop his fine motor skills.

My little kangaroo that jumped all over my bathroom as I fixed my hair this morning? We were told that he may never walk, run or jump.

Xander was born 3 years ago-- unfortuately he was born drug exposed and I watched as he painfully withdrew for over three weeks.

And during those three weeks, almost every medical person I had contact with made it clear that they were going to tell me about the worst case scenario of what life is like for a child born with drug exposure. They expected me to cave to fear as I sat there alone. (Brandon was out of town for work and we didn't have a support system here yet.)

I think they expected me to back out of our adoption. Instead, I clung to the truth that every child is a blessing, no matter their circumstances. Every child matters. And God will gift each of us with the specific gifts and callings that we need for our journey on earth.

I clung to the promises of God as I rocked in that rocking chair as fast and hard as I could make it go. It was all that soothed him and I rocked him for hours on end like that. Every time someone brought me a worst case scenario, I immediately began praying over Xander.. I had accepted the possibilites but I begged and pleaded with God to please allow my new little boy to reach his full potential. I claimed healing and victory on his behalf.

This morning, what shifted was my perspective. Xander is the same little boy that he was last night, although now he says, "Mommy, Gan-ger not color on da wall, no more!"

Instead of seeing my defiant toddler artist, I see the little boy that I have clocked a bazillion hours in prayer for.

Today, I'm choosing to be thankful that he is even here to color on my wall. I'm thankful he is developmentally on target and doing NORMAL things-- like coloring on a wall.

He is a blessing and so far, has beaten all the odds put before him.

Praise God!

Is there something in your life irritating you that could be changed with a perspective change? I urge you to do it. Life is so much sweeter when you quit sweating the small stuff... and in the grand scheme of things, lots of what we deal with here on earth, is small stuff.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Pregnancy Update- Week 24

Today, I am officially 24 weeks.  It's a huge milestone in high risk pregnancies because 24 weeks is the accepted line for viability and many hospitals will begin to fight for your baby.  10 weeks ago, when I was in the hospital with the subchorionic hemmorhage, 24 weeks seemed so very far away. 

And here I am.  Praise God!

I think I failed to mention some of the great news we got about baby Isaiah and our pregnancy on our blog. 

I was allowed up off of bedrest after 2 weeks, because when I had that next ultrasound there was no evidence of a subchorionic hemmorhage and the placenta had reattached.  They noted I had a marginal previa but also told me that they normally don't even check that early for previa so there was still time for it to correct itself.  If it didn't correct itself, I'd have to have another csection.  (Which I know from experience is not the end of the world, but I was hoping not to have to go that route.) 

That ultrasound was when we found out that we were expecting a little boy! 

By the next ultrasound (the big anatomy scan), the placenta had been pulled up and I no longer had a previa.  My doctor told me that I am back to being listed as a normal pregnancy!  This was music to our ears and we walked out of the office on cloud 9! 

I continued to measure wayyy ahead but as of my 23 week appointment, I am measuring more on target.  *smile* 

My doctor would like me to continue getting the P17 shots until I am 34 weeks.  The shots are NOT kind to me, but I'm taking one (or 18) for the team.

We are so very thankful that things have seemed to settle down around here healthwise. We are still very thankful for your thoughts and prayers. ~Stephanie

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homeschooling Blog Officially Started!

I finally got around to posting on my homeschooling blog. You can see what the Bees are up to here: Homeschooling Hearts for Him ~Stephanie

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

8 Years at the Zoo

April 4th we celebrated our 8th anniversary. I can honestly say that I am more in love with my husband than I was the day I married him. But 8 years ago I didn't think it was possible to love him more than I did as I stood barefooted in the sand as we exchanged vows.

2012 has been a heck of a year so far.  It's been rough and honestly, I think that is why most of my endurance is gone. I'm zapped. I'm emotionally exhausted. I'm tired.

Brandon knows this. He feels it too. Except he admits he also doesn't have the side effects of weekly 17P shots to deal with or the exhaustion of pregnancy.

But he also knew that if he really did nothing for our anniversary as I originally asked, that there was a chance we'd look back and feel disappointed.

So he did what he thought was best. He thoughtfully made plans and quietly did the logistical work in the background.

We went to the National Zoo in Washington, DC. We've never travelled to DC for the day, we've only driven through on the way to New Jersey.

We had a fabulous time.  The zoo is kept up very well and it appeared that the animals were well cared for.

They had a ton of picnic areas and it was so easy to have a picnic which made any anxiety we had about Xander's food allergies disappear.  It appeared that there were more people eating packed lunches than ordering lunch, so it didn't stand out.

The one downside is that strollers are only allowed in one one of the buildings.  All the other buildings you have to leave your stroller outside.  There were long lines to go inside, so we skipped quite a few of them. 

Inside one of the buildings, I realized that a former teacher of mine was standing about 5 feet away from me.  She was my business teacher and taught me how to type in middle school.  Believe it or not, that was not an easy A and I didn't truly excel at typing until 9th grade. 

She recognized me after Brandon said something to her and we chatted for a bit.  How funny that I run into someone I know from back home in Washington, DC?

When we left, we googled DC Cupcakes and found the address for Georgetown Cupcakes.  I sat in the van with the sleeping children and Brandon got in line and then called me when he got a menu.  Thankfully the line went quickly because Xander was not happy that he was in the van and it wasn't moving when he woke up. 

My favorite cupcake was the Cookies and Cream one.  Delish!

We came home and fed the children Chick Fil A and as I put them to bed, Brandon went to go get takeout for us to have a meal on our own.  We ate, watched Survivor and then went to sleep. 

It was a lovely day!

Bran, 8 years ago, I never imagined we'd be expecting baby #5 or that we'd be living right outside of Richmond, Virginia.  I never imagined we'd be homeschoolers.  I never imagined any of this.  But God has blessed our willingness to go where we are called and do what He calls us too.  I can't wait to see what the future holds. You are still my Prince Charming and I can't imagine my life without you.  Love you to the moon and back, times infinity.  ~Babycakes

PS: Sorry readers, I have no pictures because my cell phone won't transmit them anywhere!  It is super frustrating and I hope to find a solution soon!  This post has been in the works since the 4th and I'm just getting around to posting it because I was waiting on the pictures! :(