I put my trust in your mercy, Oh Lord.

Today in church the readings and the sermon centered around the story of Abraham and Isaac. You know, where the Lord tells Abraham to sacrifice his son and when he does, the Lord stops him and allows him to sacrifice a ram instead b/c he had proven his complete and total trust in Him. That’s obviously the abbreviated version!

Anyway, it hit home. Grayson is the Lord’s. And God not only has counted the hairs on his head, he also already knows what the outcome of his birthmarks will be. He knows if the one on his head has affected his brain and He knows if and/or when he’ll need laser treatments.  And I need to trust in His mercy.

It’s so easy for me to forget that God is in control when situations like this arise and although getting out of the house for church this morning was a struggle, it was so so worth it to be reminded of this.

So I will work on laying my worries at His feet and putting on a brave face when I answer questions about his little face. Like I did this morning when people asked. And we’ll get through this time like we did with Bailey. And I’ll get through this time and come out, hopefully, even more trusting in the Lord.

On a side note, I honestly don’t even know the words to tell you all what your comments have meant to me today. I have smiled and cried and felt so surrounded by love and support. Thank you to all of you that commented. Thank you for the emails too. Like my sister said in her comment, when I started this blog it was to update family with current photos of the kids and I never could have imagined how it would bless my life. 

Today is a good day.

ten fingers? ten toes? perfect!

I’ve been struggling with this post all week. Do I write my inner-most thoughts and bare myself to the world or do I pretend that nothing is wrong and leave it at that?  After wrestling all week with the dilemma of to-post or not-to-post I decided that it was time to start writing and just see what tumbles out. SO here goes.

When Bailey was born she came out perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, two big beautiful blue eyes, perfectly pink skin and an already slightly chubby baby body you wanted to eat up. On day three or so a red mark started to show on her bottom lip and I thought that maybe she was sucking too hard on her bottle or something. At her 2 week check-up I asked the doctor about it and they informed me it was a Hemangioma and would continue to grow. Having never heard of this kind of birth mark before I asked a lot of questions and was basically told that there was no way to know how big it could get but that they start to go away in most babies between 9-12 months. So we couldn’t do anything about it but pray that it didn’t get too big.

This is Bailey at 5 weeks old… there is just a hint of a red mark on her lower lip:


This is Bailey at 4 and a half months and you can see how much it grew:


That’s just about as big as it got… here she is 15 months old and just days before her surgery to remove it, which we elected to have b/c hers wasn’t getting smaller and they said having cosmetic surgery this young would make the scar less noticeable later in life. The scar is already all but invisible unless you are looking for it and we’re very happy we went ahead with the procedure.


Bailey was the best baby. Truly, she is one of the sweetest kids to this day that I have ever met. Her personality, from day one, helped people not notice her "bubble" so much b/c she could win anyone over with her little heart. But that’s people that knew her. For that entire year, almost every time we went somewhere, people asked me questions about it. "What a cute baby, what’s on her lip?" was one of the nicer ways people asked and the worst thing anyone ever said was in CostCo; "what’s that nasty thing on your baby’s lip?"  I cried all the way home that day.

If I told you it wasn’t hard on me I would be lying. And if I told you I wasn’t racked with guilt b/c it was hard I would be lying too. As much as I loved my little girl I hated her birthmark. I hated the looks and the questions and the fact that someday as an insecure teenager she might look at photos and think she wasn’t a pretty baby. My heart ached in advance for her just possibly feeling that way about herself.

Every mom wants a perfect baby. You want them to be smart and kind and faithful and funny and sweet. But if you are honest with yourself you also want them to be beautiful, and not just to you as their mom, but to the world. You don’t want people to look at your baby and say out loud how cute they think she is while wondering silently (or out loud too) what that thing is on her lip or what a shame that she has such a big birth mark.  And if you have never had a child with something cosmetically wrong with them I honestly don’t think you could ever understand.  Because I’m sure a lot of you are thinking how shallow I am and how grateful I should be that she was actually healthy and smart and kind when there are so many other things that could have been wrong with her. And when I pray daily for little Noah I know how blessed we are to have 3 healthy kids and I feel guilty for feeling that way at all.

But although you may hate them, you can’t really help for you feel and those feelings were real for me back then.

So why do I bring all of this up?

Grayson was born with birthmarks on his face and head. And when the doctors told us they were birthmarks (because at first we just thought the marks were from delivery) I cried. I cried not b/c he was ugly or b/c I didn’t think my new baby wasn’t adorable, I cried b/c I’d been down this road before and didn’t want to head down it again.



He has one on each eye lid, a few little dots on his forehead and nose, a dark one above his upper lip that goes into his nostrils, a large dark one on the back of his head and one on the back of his neck.  They are red in color and are flat which will not change… they won’t grow like a Hemangioma… and are commonly called "stork bites".  The doctor said that the lighter ones will fade quickly but is sending us to a pediatric dermatologist (the appointment is August 1st) b/c she thinks he will need laser treatments on the one above his lip and may possibly need an MRI b/c apparently when they are as large and dark as the one on his head they can potentially effect the brain. We are fervently praying that his brain is fine and they are all cosmetic.

I haven’t posted photos of him in color because I felt the need to be honest first about why I was hesitant. It breaks my heart a little for him to go through testing and possible laser treatments just to make his little face "perfect".  And I’m ashamed for being sad about him having so many birthmarks. And I’m really ashamed for always wondering what people are actually thinking when they see him.

So. This is as honest as I can be. As bare as I get. Selfishly I want perfect babies. Rationally I KNOW I have perfect babies and thank God multiple times a day for giving me healthy babies. Emotionally it’s still hard sometimes.

If you think I am a terrible person for feeling this way or admitting I feel this way, please don’t leave a mean comment. I don’t need that. The reason I even wrote this post is because if I feel this way then there are other moms or dads or grandparents out there that feel this way also and sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not alone. But this is hard to admit, hard to write and will be even harder to hit the "post" button… so please don’t leave mean comments.

we’re already at the end of this first stage. amazing.

the first big hurdle in my mind that we had to get over was having three kids under the age of three. i’m not sure if any other moms of young children think like this, but I’ve sort of divided up our life in chunks and although I work everyday to enjoy the moments, I also like to think about the big chunks we need to get through. Like having three in diapers I want to get through and I’m looking forward to having all three potty trained. I hate to admit that I already dream about my life when all three are in school full time!

Anyway, we’re already crossing one of the chunks off our list as Bailey turns 3 on July 8th and that’s coming up faster than I think. This year we’re only having a dinner with immediate family to keep it simple after her big kid birthday party last year but I still felt like she needed a cute invitation. Of course. Although rather than pay to print them for only our parents and siblings I just emailed the invite to everyone… a great solution! 

I will get sappy about my baby turning three when it gets closer and I’m hopefully not operating on only 2 hours of sleep, AGAIN. But for now I’ll show you the invite which will be added to the "birthday" album on the right.


TUESDAY. Once my mom drops off Bailey in 30 minutes I will officially have all three kids by myself for the first time. Yikes. I wish I wasn’t so exhausted so I felt more like Super Mom or something because right now I just want to make them all take naps so I can sleep. I do have a GREAT craft project idea to (hopefully) share tomorrow that I’m planning on doing with the girls this afternoon. But to do that I need an IV drip of Mountain Dew and maybe even a nap. Here’s hoping Grayson times his sleep with the girls later. It’s getting harder and harder to feel the need to GO… someone tell me when breast feeding all night gets easier b/c I’ve always been able to hand the baby and the bottle to Chris when I was too tired!

vikki and john

In just about one month I will be photographing my very first wedding! Nervous excitement is already flowing through my veins! Vikki came across my blog from a friend of hers who hired me for family photos last fall and liked my work enough that she was willing to hire me even though I have no wedding experience. She’s totally laid back and I’ve loved working with her so far so I know her big day will go perfectly. And as a back-up I’ve hired Erin to work with me since she has lots more wedding experience than I do!




A few weeks before baby, Erin, Vikki, John and I headed to the Botanical Gardens for their engagement session and I just posted the photo album over on the left… go check them out b/c they are ADORABLE! I love engaged couples b/c they are so in love and so excited to start their lives together! Kids haven’t sucked the energy out of them yet! :)

I’m hoping to post some work things this week, items I meant to post 2 weeks ago when I was interrupted by Grayson. 

It’s 7:30pm… is it too early to go to bed?


Do any of you watch TLC?

Since Grayson joined us I spend a big chunk of my day and night sitting in our bed breast feeding (which is going amazingly well by the way!) and watching tv or blog hopping or both. Anyway, TLC is one channel that I can keep on almost all day and there is a commercial on there right now that makes me smile every time. It’s advertising the new show about Ashley Paige the bikini designer. In the commercial her mom says to her…

"try not to worry about the bills, here’s a biscuit for ya."

It makes me smile b/c I could see my Grandma telling me that. "Don’t worry about the bills and three babies and work, I made you a pot roast."  I just love it.

So this weekend was great. So great to see Abbie and Sam and Pat. So great to go to the mall and survive my first time breast feeding in a fitting room. So great to stock up on socks for the kids (I only splurge on socks and buy them exclusively at GAP, they just fit better on babies/toddlers). So great to just hang out with family and friends.


Friday night was the Episcopal City Mission Summer Solstice which is an amazing event that my mom is in charge of… Parker loved the face painting!


I adore this photo of my mom and sam!


Ab and I spent lots of time breast feeding together!


the babies had a mini photo shoot…



and my favorite series of photos…





I love the last photo b/c I was concentrating on the girls not dropping Grayson instead of my camera so my settings were completely off! But hey, that’s life.

Notice how out of it Bailey looks? That’s b/c yesterday she woke up, started watching her shows, had her snack and juice and then threw up everywhere. So at 5:45am Chris had her in the bath and I was scrubbing puke off the couch and out of the carpet. At 6am I called my mom to come get Parker b/c we couldn’t keep her away from the throw up or from bailey. The rest of the day she was tired but acted normal for the most part so we just thought it was a fluke. Until last night at 10:30pm when parker started throwing up. She finally was back asleep (on the pull-out couch with Chris) at 1am but with Bailey awake at 5:30am and Grayson feeding I got no sleep last night. I think they both are feeling better today.

A BIG shout out to my mom and mother-in-law b/c today I was supposed to have all three kids by myself all morning while Chris had soccer camp but I was worried about having the girls near Grayson if they are sick. So my mom took Bailey and Terri took Parker for me. It was so nice to be able to stay in bed and doze between feedings for a couple of hours. THANK YOU!

Speaking of feedings, here we go again.

7 days.

A blogger friend, Maureen, emailed me today with a link to the website of Elizabeth Mitchell, an incredible folk singer. She has a few CDs out that you can buy on iTunes, we have "Catch the Moon" (where she sings with Lisa Loeb… a really great children’s CD!) but the song Maureen wanted me to hear is from her album, "You Are My Flower", and I hadn’t heard it before.

It’s called, "1 Day, 2 Day, 3 Days Old" and I can’t stop thinking about it. I found it on iTunes and immediately bought it. And then I sat here and cried. Then I listened to the song again and cried some more.

Go HERE to listen to it (click on "flower" and then listen to the song) or look it up on iTunes and if you’ve ever had a baby you’ll understand.

And as I type this and listen to it again, with my 7 day old laying on my chest, the tears are falling still.

How do you cherish every single second with a baby you know is your last?  How do you enjoy every moment in the middle of a crazy life? How do you not mourn all the "last times"?

I don’t want to be sad that I’ll never again hold a sleeping one week old baby again, but I just can’t help it.

Time goes by so fast that I know these days are limited and fleeting. I also know I won’t remember much of them b/c of the chaos of our life. I want to hold this time in a bottle that I can open again years later and remember the smell of their baby skin, the sweet gentle weight of them on my chest, the even deep breaths of sleep and the way their bodies almost become one with mine. But there isn’t a bottle big enough and so the days will slip by and the time will pass.

These are my three babies. This is our time together. I pray to God that I am able to stop every day and enjoy the details of this life.


baby sam is in the house.

Baby Samantha and my sister are in town! Chris had a workshop so he was gone all day and Abbie and I spent our time managing 4 kids under three. It was an adventure! The hardest part was keeping the big girls from smothering the babies with kisses!

Busy days ahead with the girls in town and my mom’s bff Pat here also so blogging might be limited. But let me leave you with my beautiful niece…



Love this little girl!

Working on Grayson’s birth announcement tonight… can’t wait to share it!

Tomorrow is Friday and then it’s the weekend so get out there in this heat and enjoy it!

lesson learned.

Six days postpartum +
one hour trip to Sams Club =
Bad Idea

* I wanted to stock up on some things like trash bags and snacks and cookie dough and paper towels so that when I make a run to the grocery store we have lots of everyday items and I don’t have to buy so much. So I planned this big trip to Sams with my mom today and took Grayson. He did great in the sling and I bought lots of good stuff but I am in so much pain tonight I feel like I delivered him yesterday.

Because I’ve done this so many times already my OB assumed I remembered the rules of taking it easy but I honestly don’t. Anyone out there remember? I have no stitches (thank you Dr. Smith!) so I really just assumed I could do whatever, but my pain level tonight speaks otherwise. (Nancy or Lindsey, are you out there?)

So for all of those reading to learn from my idiot mistakes, here’s one! Pushing a cart at Sams loaded to the MAX is NOT a good idea six days postpartum.

race for the cure.


The Allen family walks in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure every year and this is no exception. Unfortunately, the race this year is on June 21st, one day after what was my due date and although Grayson is here, he and I are definitely not up for walking the race! So Chris will take the girls and along with C’s entire family they will walk.

It’s really amazing what an event this is in his family and I hate that I have to miss this year, as I think we’ve walked every year since we were engaged. We even walked in Spokane and made a scrapbook for his Grandparents to show them our experience out there. I just love that his Grandpa makes this walk so special for everyone, even out of town cousins come in for it.

Anyway, if you have your Saturday morning free I want to encourage all the St. Louisians out there to walk. Our family just goes to the walk at Des Peres Park b/c getting everyone down town and staying together is hard now that our group is so big. It also makes it a lot easier for those of us with small children. The Race is at 10am at Des Peres Park but HERE is the website link so you can check out the other walks also.

And speaking of the Allen family, I have a cute photo of Bubba (C’s dad) with Grayson and it reminds me that he’s the only grandparent I have a photo of holding him! I seriously need to get my camera out and get some shots of this little life! 


I think there is a family resemblance! Really, he looks just like Chris I think.

Anyway, today has been GREAT! Grayson slept like a champ last night: 12am-4:30am and then I actually woke him up at 8:30am b/c I felt like my breasts were going to fall off my body if he didn’t eat soon (MEN, I will warn you that in the early days of nursing I will talking about my breasts an awful lot and I apologize now for that). It was amazing that he did so well. After a good feeding we went and picked the girls up so we could head to Target. Isn’t Target the best place for a family outing? Seriously. We got a new sprinkler for the girls and some new yard tools for Chris and the three of them have been outside since we got home playing in the pool/sprinkler/slide while C has been chopping away at some of our weeds. So great.

And me? I’ve been inside putzing around and enjoying the air conditioning. And really enjoying my sleeping baby.

I have a SAMS trip later and I feel a photo shoot coming on. Somehow I want to get a cowboy photo for his nursery (maybe incorporating the beautiful bedding Terri, C’s mom, made for us?!?) and something with a soccer ball… the ideas are brewing. The day is half over so I hope you all are well on your way to a great day as well! Mountain Dew is pumping through my veins so let’s go!

learn as you go.

A friend of mine about to have her third child mentioned today that she’s looking forward to reading this blog in the coming months as I untangle the mystery of having three young kids so that she can watch and learn from me. It made me laugh b/c she made it sound like I have a clue!  Which, in case any of you were wondering, I don’t. No clue. Absolutely no clue as to how this new life will be or where it will take us. But what I do know is that I will blog about it. And if that helps anyone learn anything from me and my mistakes than I guess it’ll all be worth it! So in that vane, here is what I’ve learned so far…

1. It’s ok to cry.
2. Accept any and all help offered.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for more help.
4. Rest when you can but don’t get it in your head that you’ll have time to rest like you did after your first.
5. Never stop moving if you want to keep up with the house chores.
6. Sit and just hold your baby.
7. Live close to family.
8. Keep up with the laundry so you have clean blankets/burp clothes/clothes.
9. Take the maximum pain meds the OB will give you, don’t try to be tough.
10. Keep your camera handy and charged at all times.





Day five today of this little life and I feel like he and I are starting to get to know each other better. I know that he doesn’t much care if he’s wet or poopy so I have to remember to change him. I know he loves to eat and will stay latched forever unless I cut him off. Today I learned that he will sleep by himself as long as his arms are out of the swaddle and stretched up by his head (I need to capture this b/c it’s so cute). I know he doesn’t mind that his sisters are obsessed with kissing and holding and hugging and singing to him. I know he likes to hold his head up by himself already and look at me. And I know that so far he has been my easiest and most laid back baby.

Day five today has been pretty good. Really good in fact. Days 2-4 were a whole lot harder. Getting to know someone takes time and the fact that I know him this well on day 5 makes me happy. But man, the last few days were rough. In the first three nights I got a total of about 5 hours of sleep and by Sunday I was a mess. Emotionally and physically stretched to my limit. When my mom came after church to drop off the girls I was in tears from engorgement and the fact that he hadn’t latched in almost 7 hours. God bless my mom when rather than leaving the girls with us she saw that I wasn’t ready and took them back home with her. By Sunday night Grayson was eating again and my pain was slightly reduced. By Monday morning he had eaten well all night and I actually got about 4 hours of sleep, and although it was scattered sleep, it was still enough to make yesterday bearable. Grayson and I ventured to Target yesterday and I even took him and Bailey to go get Bails hair cut. It was a big day. My mom kept the girls again last night so that we could get rest, as it seems his longest sleep time so far is from 6-9am but with the girls here we wouldn’t get that extra bit of sleep. Today Chris was a champion dad and took the girls hiking in the woods this morning and to the pool this afternoon. I haven’t left the house but I managed to pack away all my maternity clothes, do 6 loads of laundry and vacuum the house. Grayson also napped great today and has been eating like a champ (I massively over-produce milk so him eating all the time is making nursing bearable for the first time ever). Tonight is the last night my mom has the girls so tomorrow morning will be our last day to sleep past 5:30am… and when G eats at 4am it’s going to make for some early mornings. But we will survive.

So that has been my last few days. And although the pain from delivery or nursing isn’t gone, and the sleep deprivation is just starting to set in, and we’re learning every day a little more about being a family of five with three children under three, we’re going to survive. And every day it’s going to get a little bit easier and we’re going to learn a little bit more.

And as I learn how to survive, I’m sure in the next few months this blog is going to be a lot more about family and a little less about work. But that’s a good thing now and then isn’t it?