Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Goodbye

Today after eight years, I say goodbye to Westwind Church.

It's hard to put into words what saying goodbye to such a place is like. This church has been my home, my family, my support for the last eight years.

This place, these people, they have rejoiced in my joys; they have mourned in my sorrows.

They have seen, they have experienced, they have been with me

the death of my mom

engagement to my man
   the first years of marriage
   a move to the country

journey into foster care
    cries of redemption
    hard moments
    and then into adoption

a baby born
    a baby diagnosed with an incurable genetic disease

and then another baby
    and a beautiful peace

This church has seen this all. They have carried me at times.

They have brought meals, they have showed up, prayed for me, sent cards of encouragement, came at a moments of notice as the world seemed to be falling apart, they have given me many hugs, they have welcomed my family with arms open, they have cuddled my babes, they have rejoiced at first steps and first words, groceries bought, a home improvements projects completed, anonymous gift cards, they have shared their wisdom, listened, challenged me to know Jesus more, taught me to love deeply.

I have been changed by you.

My heart is overwhelmed.

Thank you Westwind. Thank you for being the body of Christ.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Big E is seven!

You're seven.

You love music. You love singing. You love dancing.

You laugh. Joy radiates from you. You are growing such a fun sense of humor.

One day you will wear a fancy frilly dress to school and the next day athletic pants and a t-shirt.

You want to take care of your younger siblings all the time. You want to change their diapers and feed them. I remind you often to go play and be a kid.

You love art. You could color all day.

You are a quality time girl. I should say you could color all day if mom or dad was sitting right next to you.

You love to talk. You could talk on the phone all day long.

You are kind hearted. You would give away your last bite of your favorite candy just to let someone else experience it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whole 30

Ryan and I just completed the Whole 30. We are always up for a good challenge to self control like such and such.

The Whole 30 program has you cut out all foods that could possibly have harmful effects on your body. Gives your gut 30 days to heal and helps your body reset.

Foods that are eliminated are sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy.

My random observations over the last month...

Sugar is in everything. Soy is in everything. Corn is in everything. Well everything that is processed.

I am an alcoholic in regards to Mountain Dew. I love the stuff but there its an all or something beverage for me. I went several years without it and every day of those several years I thought about Mountain Dew. The Whole 30 was a great excuse to go back to no Mountain Dew.

They say it is supposed to help your sleep tons. Yeah that didn't know the three month old.

I have a sugar dragon as they call it. Did the whole 30 slay it? It's still hiding in the corner. But I am aware it exists now.

I thought I would miss dairy a lot. I don't.

I enjoy making homemade mayo, ranch and ketchup. I hope to continue this. They are all super easy to make and soooo much better for you and simplier.

I lost a lot of weight for 30 days. The Whole 30 isn't a weight loss program, nor did we do it for that reason. But with cutting out A LOT of soda and breastfeeding led to atypical results and a bunch of baby weight.

I read this or watched this somewhere that it isn't fat that makes you fat but it is sugar. Sugar does crazy things to you.

I love avocados. I love using good fats confidently.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lil Ev's birth story

here's a way too detailed account of Miss Everton's arrival...

On Thursday December 4th, we went to Abel and Erni's Christmas concert. My back hurt when I sat on the bleachers but I just figured that was 39 1/2 weeks pregnant pains sitting on a hard bleacher. When we were leaving, my neighbor asked me if I needed someone to come by if I went into labor in the middle of the night. Sarcastically I said I would call her at 1am that night when I went into labor.

I went to bed that night and then woke up at 1am with my first contraction (It was 100% back labor which I did not have at all with Porter so I was unsure.) I woke Ryan up and told him that I think I had my first contraction and wanted to let him know but he could go back to bed. My plan was to hopefully go back to bed also as I was expecting a longer labor.

Two minutes later Ryan woke up. He later stated "you really thought I was going to be able to go back to bed with my wife in labor." We had a couple of things we wanted to get at the grocery store the next morning, so he decided to make a quick run to Hy-Vee. I had to call my brother anyways to come stay with the older two.

I took a quick shower. The contractions were quite strong, but the timing was not predictable at all and were not consistent. I called Rick and then his wife and possibly Rick again. One of them finally answered and Rick headed to our place. (Somewhere in here I started my lovely throwing up.) Ten minutes later I decided, I think these are really for real and really coming pretty quickly. I called Ryan letting him know, he should probably head back asap. When Ryan got there, I definitely could not walk or talk through the contractions anymore. We packed up the van with Porter and headed out at 2:10ish.

On the car ride, I could not sit down at all. I was on my knees facing the back of the van. I remember thinking where could I dive or what could I do, to make this awful intense back pain go away. The wonderful part about the contractions though was at that point they distinctly came and went. I was able to relax for the short time they were gone. I have absolutely no idea how close they were at this point but they felt pretty darn close with a few seconds of relief in between.

We dropped Porter off at our lovely friends' house in Waukee. Then headed to the hospital. We got to Mercy at 3:10am. We went upstairs and the lady let us in and I immediately curled up in a ball on the ground. The receptionist was super confused. Very soon, several nurses came to my rescue. They brought a wheelchair, I attempted to sit down, but they was unbelievably painful. I'm sure Miss Everton wasn't a fan of me sitting on her head either :)

I walked back to the room. As soon as I walk in, I saw six nurses ready. (With Porter there was only one and the one was very calm.) These six looked like they were ready to catch a baby. I of course immediately said "Can I get an epidural?' The nurse looked at me with pity and said "oh sweetie you are far too gone for that." And how else would a pregnant woman respond...."This is my worst nightmare coming true." (I'm a bit of a drama queen apparently.) 

I was at a nine with a very very bulging water sac. Due to me being positive for Group B strep, the nurses needed to put an IV in me. It took five pokes (I had had a stomach bug for four days the day before I went into labor so I was definitely dehydrated.) Those five pokes were by far the worst part of labor.

I continued the whole time to have only back labor and it never moved to the front. I remember feeling the need to push oh so many times but the nurses were waiting for the doctor to arrive and for the antibiotics to be in as long as possible. I would start pushing as it would make the pain go away and would be reprimanded to keep breathing :)

At 4:00ish, the doctor finally gave the go ahead. 5-10 minutes of pushing after only three hours of contractions, little Miss Everton arrived at 4:10am.

A few days before the arrival.

A few minutes old!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Introducing Number Four

On December 5th, Miss Everton Lynn Kennedy entered the world. We are in love.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Do You Buy Anything Ever?

I'm a woo-er. I can't help it. When I find something that is amazing, I must tell others about it. So check this out and be convinced on how awesome this tool is.

When you have anything in mind over $20 that you want to buy, but you are not in a super rush to buy this item this website is fantastic.

(okay most ridiculous website name ever.) (But stay with me, it's good.)

You go to, find said item, copy the link of that items page.

Then go to and paste the link of the item into their search engine.

This website creates a beautiful graph (I'm from a family of math nerds...yes beautiful graph) of all the price changes on amazon in the last year (sometimes less if the item has not been on the market that long. Sometimes more like example below goes back since 2012) You can then see if the price listed is a price you really want to pay.

Let's say the price isn't right for you yet. You can set up a very simple "Price Watch." You enter your desired price and then they email you when that price is hit. (They also don't send you unnecessary emails that clutter up your inbox which I appreciate greatly.)

For example, last spring I knew I wanted to get my nephew Ticket To Ride for his birthday. I put in a price watch for when the price went below $32. I then got an email one day (on April 5th according to the beautiful graph) where the price went down to $29.99. Woot for me!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Today's Numbers

There is something about knowing your child is delayed. It isn't as heart wrenching if it is just you and google trying to figure out where they are developmentally and what you need to do.

Don't get me wrong, Google has seen my share of tears, but Google doesn't judge those tears. Google doesn't feel the need to awkwardly comfort those tears.

It's something else when an expert tells you. When they tell you the numbers. Tell you not to pay attention to them. When they tell you with certainty that insurance will cover this or that therapy because the numbers are so low. That the numbers aren't even on the chart.

When you hear this, its hard to physically swallow. But you must because if you don't tears will stream down your face. And you would be a fool for crying because these numbers didn't tell you something you didn't already know.

The numbers feel more real though. The numbers you can't hide behind. The numbers try to strip my hope. The numbers show me we need to fight. I'm tired and weary. I don't want to fight but I must and will. We will fight for you Porter. We believe in you.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

One Year Ago

One year ago I took Porter to the Cardiologist due to a heart murmur that his doctor heard at his follow up appointment from his hospital discharge. We were assured by many friends that lots of babies are born with heart murmurs. They are common. They heal themselves. It's no big deal.

Ryan didn't come with because we so believed it would be no big deal.

We had a friend watch Abel and Erni in the waiting room as we thought it would be a quick appointment. That poor friend. The appointment wasn't so quick.

The doctor came in and said he saw something. I immediately called my husband and put him on speaker phone.

Multiple Cardiac Rhabdomyomas.

The doctor has seen this a few times. Only ever associated with the disease Tuberous Sclerosis. He said be careful what you google. Only go to legit medical websites.

Then came the neurologist. The nephrologist. The ophthalmologist. The geneticist.

Tuberous Sclerosis it was.

As I reflect on this year, I've learned a whole new vocabulary. tuberous sclerosis. cardiac rhabdomyomas. tsc2. subependymal nodules. SEGAS. cortical tubers. retinal hamartomas. shagreen patch. ash leaf spots. facial angiofibromas. infantile spasms.

I've learned to love every moment with this child. I've learned that he is a precious gift from the Lord. I've learned to love every little milestone he has, even if it is as small as intentionally letting go of a toy. I've learned happy tears are in place when he finally turns his head to your voice. I've learned Ryan and I are the best advocates for him. I've learned it is hard to figure out how to always advocate the best for your child. I've learned to be amazed at how strong my child is.

I've met a community of women who are walking the same path. I get to cry happy tears with them as their two year old finally takes their first steps or their one year old smiles for the first time in months. I get to cry tears of sorrow when the seizures come back in their little ones as they fight to find the perfect combination of drugs to stop them or at least slow them down.  

I wish I could say I've learned not to google so much, but I'm not quite there yet. I wish I could say I've learned not to compare him to other children. I'm learning this slowly. I have learned to love every moment, every smile, every cuddle.

The day before. Big brother holding the little man.

Little did I know in ten minutes after I took this photo my life change.

Daddy soaking up cuddles that afternoon. Such a precious little man.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My loves

Three of my loves with two of their cousins.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Innocence Questions

I often read articles 'Things you Should Never Say to...' I fall in many of these categories. I hear many of these comments, many of these questions.

I could be hurt.

I could be defensive.

I could be offended.

But I try my hardest not to be.

I really believe 99% of people who reach out, who ask questions, who comment really care, really love. They are trying to show it the way they know how.

I pray I always respond to these comments and questions with grace. I have a beautiful example before me of a mom who I have always seen respond in such grace. I want to be like her.

The times I realize they hurt me, they annoy me, they sting me. It's because of my own junk. Me not believing who I am in Christ and who my children are created to be.