Monday, April 30, 2012

Daddy vs. Lila: the sword-fight edition part 2

Remember this?

It happened again, but this time Lila could hold her own:

Friday, April 27, 2012


Continuing our week of injuries, I've got another one to add to the list.

Monday afternoon, we came home from having lunch with Daddy and started collecting Lila's many comfort objects before her nap (Lambie, Snuggle, Birdie Blanket and Bink).  Lila found her Birdie Blanket and spread it out of the floor and sat on it.  Franny saw this as an invitation to come lick Lila's face which usually is welcomed by giggles.  Instead, Lila screeched and then wailed.  And then kept wailing.  At first I thought she was being overdramatic because she was tired.  And then I realized she was holding her left eye.

"What happened, Peanut?"
"Franny lick my eeeeeeyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!!!!"
"Franny licked your eye?"

She wouldn't let me look at it, wouldn't open it.  It clearly hurt, but I wasn't all that concerned so I put her to bed thinking it would be better when she woke up from her nap.  However, she woke up two hours later crying and holding her eye.  When I asked her if it hurt, she said yes.

"Does your eye still hurt?"
"Yeeeeaaahhhhh," she whined.  "Da doggy lick my eye!"
"The doggy licked your eye?"
"Yeah, DAT doggy," she said in an accusatory voice, pointing forcefully at Franny, "FRANNY."

Clearly she was holding a grudge.

I was starting to be concerned since it was two hours later and she was still not wanting to open her eye.  I said out loud mostly to myself, "I wonder if we need to take you to the doctor."

Now I should back up and tell you that we had been to the doctor that morning for a follow-up appointment after Lila's ear infection last month.  And at that appointment Lila was given a sucker.  Lila NEVER gets candy so she thought this was the most awesome thing that had ever happened to her.  I made her wait to eat it until after her lunch and she devoured it in the car on the way home.  This was, of course, pre-eye-licking.

So when I wondered out loud if I should take her to the doctor, I believe all she heard was, "Blah, blah, blah, blah-blah, SUCKER."  

And thus she began chiming in her opinion, "I need ta go to da doctuh."
"You do?"
"Because your eye hurts?"
"Yeah.  And I get a suckuh?"

Ah-ha.  Doctor=sucker.

Without giving much weight to Lila's opinion, I decided to call my eye doctor to see what they said and of course they told me to bring her in.  The last appointment was in 20 minutes, could I make it?  Last appointment! 20 minutes!  Here's what I was thinking: On one hand, she might be fine and it would be a waste of another $35 co-pay (remember, we'd already been to the doctor that day), on the other hand, if something was really wrong, I was risking missing the last appointment of the day and might end up in the ER or something dramatic like that!  In a mini-panic, I said I'd be there and ran around shoving diapers in my purse and grabbing a snack for Lila while she whined and whimpered on the couch, secretly planning what flavor sucker she would choose.

I buckled her in the car and as I pulled out of the driveway, I turned to check for cars and noticed that she no longer had her hand on her eye.  In fact, besides looking rather grumpy, she looked completely fine.  And then I started to feel rather foolish.  She was fine.  Her eye was fine.  She had hoodwinked me into thinking she was more hurt than she was and was going to get rewarded for her little stunt by receiving another sucker.  I was the sucker.  I was THAT mom who freaks out at every little thing and brings her kid to the doctor because THE DOG LICKED HER.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?

I called the Husband to get another opinion and he confirmed my suspicions.  I believe his words were, "She's fine, you ninny."  Just kidding, he was much more supportive than that, but he did say that she was probably fine and that I should call Nurse Aunt Jess to make me feel better.

I took his advice and sheepishly called the eye doctor back and cancelled the appointment.  By this time, Lila was crying again - not because her eye hurt, but because she realized a sucker was not in her future.  So, naturally I got out my camera and took these pictures:

And that my friends, is what we call retribution.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

on expectations...and birthdays

Hi.  I don't know what to write, but I feel like I should write something to document this, the beginning of my 30th year.  That's right.  I am now 29. Gasp.

Actually, I don't mind.  With age comes GREAT wisdom, right?  And humility?  Got it.

I have a problem with having high expectations for my birthday.  To be honest, having a kid totally messes with your birthday celebrating.  Even before she was born, Lila disrupted my birthday by making me miserably sick my first trimester of her pregnancy.  I don't remember my birthday her first year, and last year my birthday was tainted with dropping about three grand on a new sewer pipe.  I mean, every girl wants a $3,000 birthday present, right?  Just not one that has more to do with poop than anything else.

So this year I decided that I was going to lower my expectations.  Instead of having a list of things I wanted to accomplish, I decided to have one goal: to not feel stressed.  Operation: Failure.

Lila started it.  She had the NERVE to catch a cold.  So on my birthday eve at midnight she woke up wailing and when I went in to see what was wrong, she was inconsolable.  Not because she was that miserable, but because she apparently had decided to be inconsolable.  After a few minutes, I figured out that her nose was a little stuffy and her cries made this very distinct change from truly sad to "I'm gonna keep crying for as long as I can keep myself awake" cries.  You moms know the kind.  It's more of a yell than a cry.  And in addition to that, every time she tried to breathe through her nose, she would get all flustered and start crying again.  This went on for TWO HOURS.  Those two hours saw me snapping at the Husband for no good reason, sighing dramatically, rocking Lila for 45 minutes only to have her start wailing again as soon as I put her back in bed, and muttering, "Come ON, Lila.  It's a STUFFY NOSE!"  Then when the Husband said in response to her cries, "Poor Peanut." I said, "You aren't allowed to say that."  To which he said, "What?  I'm not allowed to say 'Poor Peanut'?"  And I said, "Yes, because you didn't rock her for 45 minutes."  That's logic right there, folks.  Exhausted 1:00am logic.

Maybe I should back up and preface this post with the warning that I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY.  I read this post and identified with every sentiment in it (go read it and you will know me just a little bit better).  Also I love presents.

Okay, back to the tale of the birthday of dashed expectations.

Lila was just whiney all day long.  I mean, didn't she KNOW it was my birthday?!  What kind of daughter gets sick on her mom's birthday?  Sheesh.  So rude.  Anyway, my plan was to take advantage of all the free birthday goodies I could find.  I was going to have a free smoothie for breakfast, a free sandwich for lunch, and free fish tacos for dinner.  FREE!

Unfortunately, I was too tired from our late night shenanigans that I slept through breakfast.  We did get our free sandwich for lunch (and it was awesome) and then I bought myself a little birthday gift - a mirror for the end of our hallway:

Pretty, right?

Then it was home to put Lila down for a nap.  She only slept an hour and ten minutes.  NOT long enough.  But no matter, I had a massage scheduled at 5:00.  Which was awesome.  Except that the lady talked the entire time.  She asked me about my family and of course adoption came up and that's when all the usual questions started, "Why are you adopting?  Why from Ethiopia?  How long will you have to wait?  Why so long?  Is it expensive?"  And on and on.  Now, I usually rather enjoy educating people about adoption.  I find that it's much better to view my role as educator rather than defender.  (If you read adoption blogs at all, you will quickly find out that adoptive moms can get all up in arms about things clueless people say to them - some for good reason!)  But that's another post entirely.  My point is, I usually enjoy those conversations.  But NOT while I'm getting my birthday massage!  Come on!  I just want to relax and maybe fall asleep while a stranger rubs oils on me.  Boy, does it sound weird when I describe it like that.  But you know what I mean.

I do not get massages very often.  In fact, I have had two since Lila was born and both were purchased with gift cards.  And the last one I had was interrupted when the woman massaging me had a coughing fit.  No joke.  But at least she upgraded me to the fancier hot stone massage for free.

But I digress.

Anyway, after my massage is when things really started to unravel.  I came home all oiled up and realized I didn't have time to shower before my date with Eric because my mom (who was watching Lila) had to pick up my dad from the airport in two hours.  And Lila was in complete meltdown mode by this point.  Oh, and by the way, I realized that to get my free fish tacos from Houlihan's I had to have signed up for their email club and been emailed a coupon.  Which I had not.  So with an indention on my forehead from the massage pillow thing for your face (I can't type that without hearing Phoebe say, "Put yer face in dee hole, Lassie!") some oily hair, and t-minus two hours with which to enjoy a *relaxing* birthday dinner date with my Husband, I had to come up with another restaurant.  I do not operate well under pressure.  Especially birthday pressure.

We ended up at Jerusalem Cafe (where we had our first date) and I was sorely disappointed.  You know when you crave one thing and then you settle for a substitute and it's just not worth it?  Yeah.  We ended up eating in 45 minutes and going to pick Lila up from the birthday party my mom had taken her to so that she could get to bed early.

There you have it.  My birthday.  Wah-wah. (that's sad music).

I know I totally sound like a spoiled brat and that none of the things that happened on my birthday were really that bad.  I could easily retell the story like this:

My awesome husband took the day off for my birthday and I got to sleep in!  Then we had a nice (free!) birthday lunch as a family, Eric bought me a mirror and we got an hour to ourselves while Lila napped.  Then I got a massage and went out to dinner to the restaurant where we had our first date while my mom watched Lila.

Doesn't sound so bad, does it?

But it was my BIRTHDAY.  I only get one day a year where I get to pick what we do all day and people think about me and tell me what they like about me and give me presents and take me out to dinner.  And it's over.  And it just fell short of my expectations, that's all.  Even though I tried to not have high expectations.

But if you know me at all, you will know that I have a knack for making my birthday last as long as possible.  Which is how I finagled having an entire birthday week.  My best friend came in town Friday to play (mentioned here), my parents took our family out to dinner Friday night, my sweet friend took me to breakfast Sunday morning, and next weekend we're having dinner with a few friends to celebrate some more.  If one day doesn't cut it, stretch your birthday over an entire week, that's what I always say!

But even if My Birthday Take 2, 3 and 4 are all tainted by a sick kid and other atrocities, this is just year 29.  Next year's the big one.  And it's gonna be AWESOME!  (Anyone else sensing the impending doom/irony of that statement?  Me too.)

Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lila's week

It's been a rough week for my Lila girl.  An injurious week.  I'm actually surprised we don't have more injuries around here considering this is a common occurrence:

Here's what happened to Lila this week:

Monday: She was rough-housing with Daddy, wrestling on our bed.  I knew from her delighted squeals that things would end in tears.  Sure enough, she somehow flung herself off the bed and hit her temple on the leg of a chair that was in our room.  It looked like it might swell up to a really nice goose egg, but we got ice on it quickly and it just bruised slightly.

Tuesday: No injuries

Wednesday: At school, she was climbing up the slide on the playground and slipped.  She whacked her face on the metal slide and ended up with a bloody, fat lip.  It was very sad.  But it made me extremely grateful for my awesome job where she is cared for on sight where I work and her teachers could just bring her to me to comfort her.  Have I mentioned how awesome my job is? (It's awesome.)

Wednesday evening: She was wearing her new flip-flops and she was jumping outside on our driveway (about 40% of the time that she is awake, she is jumping) and got a little tripped up.  She skinned both her knees pretty badly.  It took four Princess Bandaids (two on each knee) to cover the wounds.

Thursday: No injuries, but she came down with a cold and whined all day that her nose was "suffed up."

Friday: No injuries, but lots of snot.  Also, this happened on Friday (proof that the whole week wasn't horrible):

My best friend and her kids came in town from Manhattan to play for my birthday!  Lila was in heaven as Lucy schooled her in all things little girl.  They had tea parties, played dress up, colored, and played house.  And Oliver (a year older than Lila and Jude's competition for future husband) and Lila had sword fights, played with play-doh, threw things around and pushed each other's buttons.  It was awesome.  But I digress.

Back to our Week O' Injuries.

Where were we?  Ah yes.  Today.  Saturday.

This morning we were at some friends' house (Lila was playing with their kids while we had a meeting with the parents) and our meeting went long so we got home late for Lila's nap.  Recently if I miss what I call her "Nap Window" she revs up for an all out protest and refuses to nap.  I was tired so the Husband took round one.  When he was sufficiently frustrated and she was still awake - two hours later - I took over.

I took away her bink, Lambie, Snuggle, etc and told her she could have them back when she was ready to take a nap.  She began to employ her newly acquired negotiating tactic: pterodactyl screeches.  I sat patiently on the couch in the living room waiting for her to stop at which point I would bring her nap-time soothies back in and try to rock her to sleep.  However, my plan was thwarted when I heard a colossal THUMP and then an immediate wail.  I ran into the room to find her out of her bed and on the floor looking thoroughly terrified/injured.  As I scooped her up, she gave me an accusatory scowl in the midst of her tears as if to say, "If you weren't so mean to insist on me taking a nap, I wouldn't be sitting here crying!"

There was no blood, no bumps I could see.  I felt her head and body and everything seemed okay.  She was hysterical crying.  I gave her her bink, offered her milk and in a few minutes she had calmed down enough to answer my questions through her tears and recovery breathing.

"Lila, can you show Mommy where you hurt?"
"Wight *gasp* heeeeeyyyyyyaaaaaaa!!!!!!" She said, indicating the top of her head and allowing that last word to dissolve into a wail.
"Right here? It's okay, Peanut.  Can you show Mommy where you hit your head? Did you hit it on the bed? Or on the floor?"
"Wight *gasp, gasp, whimper* derrrrrrrr!" She said, pointing to a spot on the rug where I had discovered her upon entering the room.  And then she added between sobs, "I saw my monituh.(translation: monitor; translation: noise-maker)
"You saw your noisemaker?  When you fell?"
"Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" Again, her answer trailed off into a pathetic wail.

So from what I gather, she was mad at me for taking her beloved comfort objects (which was kind of my point) and in the midst of her screeches, she must have climbed out of her bed and fallen to the floor.  And evidently she could see her noisemaker (which lives under her bed) in her line of sight from where she landed.  I was concerned about a head injury or something dramatic like that, but she seems okay.  I think it scared her more than anything.  Her cry was more of a scared cry than a hurt cry.  (But of course, I called my ER nurse sister just in case.)

We've known for awhile that she could get out of her bed if she really wanted to, but she's never actually attempted it.  I've kind of been dreading this day.  But now that it's here, I might, just might benefit from the traumatic nature of her discovery that she can get out of her bed.  I'm really hoping that her scare this afternoon will make her nervous enough to prevent her from attempting another escape any time soon.  I'm so not ready to switch to the big bed and all the freedom and retraining it necessitates.

So, did she ever fall asleep, you ask?

Yep.  It's amazing what a tumble out of her crib, a cup of milk and some Mommy comforting can do to lull a stubborn toddler to sleep.  I rocked her for four minutes and she was snoring in three.  She slept for an hour and a half and was a real grump when she woke up.  I put her to bed for the night two hours later and she went right to sleep.

But just in case this is the beginning of the end of a crib for my Baby Girl, what can you experienced mamas offer me by way of advice?  Any tips for the transition?  Any tactics for keeping them in the big bed?  Ay-yi-yi, I'm not ready for this.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

a story about a drain, a disposal and a dishwasher

This is the gripping story of how a clogged drain led us to get a new-used dishwasher.

Once upon a time there was a little family who has always had just what they needed at just the right time.  One day, they received their tax return and they began to make plans about what to do with the money.
Should they buy something exciting and fun like new gutters for their house?
Should they put the money in savings in case something unexpected breaks?
Should they give the money all away?
Should they take a shopping spree on the Plaza?
Should they finally put up that fence that they get a bid for every year, but never end up buying because they always end up spending their savings on something else that breaks?
Should they put their money in their adoption fund?

The possibilities were endless!

Fortunately/unfortunately, some little decisions were made for them.  One of those little decisions was fixing a clogged drain in their kitchen sink.  The Manly Husband tried to fix it by himself, but the clog was too deep into the plumbing and his tools couldn't reach around the bends in the plumbing.  So they called their plumbing heroes, Bob Hamilton (they were very generous to the little family when they had to replace their sewer line last Spring).  Bob Hamilton plumbing came out and unclogged their drain and in the process discovered that the little family's garbage disposal was old and rusted.  The plumber told them a broken garbage disposal doesn't do it's job of breaking food up and that's how the drain was clogged.  And so it was that another little decision was made for them: they would have to use part of their tax return to buy a new disposal.

So the Manly Husband bought a new garbage disposal and installed it himself because he is awesome.  And the little family was feeling pretty good about how they were using their tax return money.  They even decided to take a leap of faith and pay off a lingering student loan, which left them with just a little tiny cushion of leftover money to put in savings.  The Mommy-Wife was a little nervous about that big decision because she just had this feeling that something else might break.

And then it happened.  The Mommy-Wife's premonition came true: the dishwasher broke.  The Manly Husband noticed that the dishwasher wasn't draining so he pulled it out and tried to figure out the problem.  Initially the little family thought it must have something to do with the clogged drain, but that wasn't it.  Eventually, the Manly Husband diagnosed it to the best of his knowledge as having a faulty drain pump.

A new drain pump would cost about as much as buying a working used dishwasher, so the little family decided to look for used dishwashers on Craigslist.  The Mommy-Wife also sent out an emailed plea to her coworkers asking if they knew anyone upgrading their appliances who might be willing to let the little family adopt their dishwasher.

The little family had limited success with Craigslist, but eventually found a dishwasher that looked promising.  They arranged to pick up the used dishwasher one evening, but earlier that day the Mommy-Wife got a call from one of her coworkers - she had a friend who was renovating her kitchen and the friend had a working dishwasher that the little family could have...for FREE!  The Mommy-Wife was so excited and she called to cancel the pick-up of the Craigslist dishwasher.

A few days later, the Manly Husband went to pick up the new-used dishwasher from the wonderful generous friends of the Mommy-Wife's coworker.  Then, he set about installing the new-used dishwasher.  He ran into a few problems with tubes and connectors being the wrong size for the new-used dishwasher, but after several trips to Home Depot, the Manly Husband got everything installed correctly.  In triumph, he turned it on and... wouldn't drain.  Could it really be that the new-used dishwasher had the exact same problem as the old dishwasher?  But the generous friends of the Mommy-Wife's coworker had just used it the day before with no problems.  So the Manly Husband turned once again to his trusty companion, YouTube for the answer.  And he found this video:

My Dishwasher Won't Drain -- powered by ehow

And that's when he realized that the little family's old dishwasher wasn't actually broken.  And the problem wasn't with the clogged drain.  The problem was with the new garbage disposal.  As it turned out, new garage disposals come with a hidden plug where a dishwasher would be connected in case someone doesn't have a dishwasher.  The Manly Husband was unaware of the plug, so when he connected the old dishwasher to the new disposal, the water couldn't drain from the dishwasher and flooded back into the bottom of the dishwasher.  And when he connected the new-used dishwasher, the same problem occurred.

In the end, the source of the problem was this:
A small, black, circular piece of plastic no bigger than a nickel.  Sneaky little bugger.

Once the Manly Husband knocked the little plug out of the disposal and reconnected the dishwasher, everything worked perfectly!  The Mommy-Wife was so proud of the Manly Husband for sticking with the project despite the frustrating complications.  And the Manly Husband had an excellent attitude about it all, despite feeling a little embarrassed that a nickel-sized piece of plastic could best him for three days.  (He even said that the Mommy-Wife could write a blog post about it!)

The little family was so excited to have a working dishwasher again, especially because their kitchen had devolved to a horrendous state of disaster and messiness:

(Don't worry, once they had their new-used dishwasher installed and working, they got to work cleaning up their messy kitchen)

And now the little family has another decision to make, what to do with the old (not broken) dishwasher?  Well, they'll leave that up to the generous friends of the Mommy-Wife's coworker.  But maybe it will end up in the little family's garage sale?  We'll just have to wait and see.  Until then, the little family is thankful that once again, they had just what they needed at just the right time.

The end.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Mornings are for Pancakes and The Muppet Show.

One of my favorite things about the Muppets (of which there are so many, but that's for another post) is that I now, as a twenty-first century father, get to pass down to my kids a glimpse of the Golden Age of broadcast entertainment. With full awareness of the fact that I kind of sound like one of my crotchety old film history professors, I'm a little sad that Lila and her generation won't know Vaudevillians like Milton Berle, or Broadway starlets like Julie Andrews, or even comedy and variety show icons like Carol Burnett. Who am I kidding? I'm a product of the nineties and had to seek that stuff out myself. But thanks to Jim Henson, and more importantly DVD (we're still waiting for seasons four and five, Disney. Get with it already), Lila is getting trained up right. So it shouldn't be any surprise to me that she talks about performers like Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller and John Cleese as often as Dora or Elmo. Well, nearly as often as Elmo. 

On the way home from Easter with Kelsey's family, Lila must have been remembering an episode she watched over pancakes this morning because she started asking about the current locations of her favorite Muppet stars. "Where's Kermit? Where's Fozzie? Where's Mishpiggy?" to which the answer was always, predictably, on The Muppet Show.

She gave up for a while and then several minutes later, for a good four or five blocks, she stumped us. It sounded something like, "Where's Mary's kind?" I asked for clarification. "Where's Mary's kand?" Once again, I asked her to repeat herself and she was clearly growing tired of my inability to not only answer, but comprehend her earnest inquiry. I asked who Mary was. "NO. Where's Maddydid Kahnd?" Kelsey, remembering the line of Muppet-related geography questions from earlier, arrived while I was still trying to sort out the syllables. She said "Madeline Kahn?" to which Lila exhaustedly but happily replied, "yeah." I can only assume that not every toddler knows the comedic genius of the great Madeline Kahn, so thank you Muppet Show. But since we weren't ready to walk down the avenue of explaining mortality to a two year old, we fell back to the familiar she's on The Muppet Show.

And for your enjoyment, Lila watching one of her favorite episodes and singing along with Elton John and Piggy:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

the best I can do

I'm not sure how to break back into blogging after the events of this week.  I'm sure I'll have more to say as we grieve the loss of our sweet friend and suffer alongside his amazing wife and sweet daughter.  But I'm still not exactly sure what the Lord is doing in my heart right now, so I'm going to wait before I try to put anything into words.

So I'm not sure how to transition from there to here.  Here's the best I can do:

Lila's week has been all out of whack because our week has been out of whack.  Her naps and bedtime has been unpredictable and I've been gone a lot and she's starting to show those telltale signs of a toddler whose schedule and routine were messed with.  We had an explosive morning (which I handled with surprising composure and grace, if I do say so myself) and a frustrating afternoon due to the fact that she fell asleep in the car for 8 minutes (she NEVER does that, I was shocked!) and then refused to nap after that.  The latter, not surprisingly, I did not handle with as much grace and composure, as I've learned in motherhood that nap-time struggles are my kryptonite.  (Yes.  I'm Superman in this analogy.  Go with it.)

Anyway...I think I uttered our most common nap time phrase, "It's not time for play, it's time for sleep," about 12 times during the course of our nearly 3 hour struggle.  At one point during my many strategies and attempts to get her to sleep, I told her she needed to sleep because otherwise she would be a very sad girl this evening because she would be so tired.  To which she responded stoically, "It's not time for sleep, it's time to dance."  If I hadn't been so darn desperate for some rest myself I would have found that hilarious.

Now, armed with the knowledge that she did eventually fall asleep for an hour, I can see the the humor in it.  And I think this will be my ticket to survive what Molly calls "the grief crazies" (although it hardly seems right to borrow that phrase from her considering the depth of her grief compared to mine): the relief of unexpected moments of lightness provided by my daughter who has a knack for such things.

I will say one thing about this week.  Matt's dad spoke at the memorial service and his words were beautiful, inspiring, hopeful.  One of the things he shared was an encouragement to parents - that they would parent with no regrets.  No regrets parenting doesn't mean you never mess up, never lose your temper, never make a mistake - it's more the bigger picture. His message was be involved, be present, take time, invest in your kids.  He clearly did so with Matt and his brother Mark, and Matt clearly did so with his girls.  We personally witnessed it.  Multiple times, Eric and I ran into Matt and Harper having their weekly Daddy-Daughter date at Panera.  What a gift that Matt followed the example of his father and was intentional about his time with Harper.  He couldn't have known how limited that precious time was.

I will take this - among many other things - with me from the experiences of this week.  Of course Lila is more important to me than anything in the whole world (excepting Jesus and the Husband), but how often do I give her the impression that the game on my phone, an extra hour of sleep, writing a blog, talking to a friend, etc etc are more important to me than she is?  I'm not saying I will make my world revolve around her - that's not healthy either.  But what I am saying is I will try to be intentional about keeping her in her rightful place on my priority list.

So this afternoon, as I was trying to figure out how to write this post, Lila came up to me and said, "You want to play with me?  Come on, Mommy.  Play room!"  And a small voice in my head whispered, "No regrets," and I shut the computer without hesitation and with tears in my eyes following my precious one to the playroom.  Then we had a pretend picnic.  A hilarious, hilarious picnic which consisted of pancakes, cookies, chicken, and a plastic steak that looks like dog poop that Lila calls a hamburger.  And I couldn't keep my eyes from tearing up as I considered the reality that perhaps my years with Lila are more limited than I know.

And whether it is me sharing at her funeral (get real, I could never be composed enough to do that as beautifully as Matt's dad did), or her sitting in the front row as Harper did listening to people tell her about my devotion to her, I want it to be clear that I have no regrets.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have given her her bink.  I wanted her to be sleepy, but she ended up asleep.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

with great sadness

It is with great sadness and tears dripping onto my keyboard that I write this.  Sometime today, Matt will see the face of Jesus.  His body cannot recover from the things it has suffered.  His family has made the decision to shift his care from healing and recovery to comfort and rest.

We are truly at a loss for words.  We are devastated and heartbroken for Molly and Harper and their entire extended family.  The reality seems too bitter to believe.  We have no words.  So we will rely on the Living Word to bring us comfort:

For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.  He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. Psalm 33:4-5

Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not really slow to do what he promised, as some might think.  Rather, he is patient for your sake.  He does not want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.  2 Peter 3:8-9

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, 
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3

I will leave you with the words from the Caring Bridge post because they are beautiful and peaceful and perfectly reflect the Nagels for the people of faith that they are.  Please keep this sweet family in your prayers.

TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2012 11:52 AM, CDT
important update
I must admit – I’m not sure how to say all of this…
I’m not sure how to say how mighty and loving our God is… how he is wrapping his arms around us.
I’m not sure how to say that he has answered our prayers – the ones that we barely dared to utter…
Thy will be done.

We knew God would reveal himself in this ordeal.  We knew it.  We just didn’t know WHAT he would reveal about himself… his healing power?  His gracious love?  His peace that passes understanding?
He is revealing himself to be a loving father – who comforts those who mourn – who is near to those who suffer.  Who is tender with those who are broken-hearted.

Matt’s body has suffered too much.  Jesus is calling him home.  This afternoon they will shift his care in a different direction – to comfort and rest.

Pray for Harper today – she gets to see her Daddy – pray that she would not be frightened by tubes and beeps, but would see only his loving face. 
Pray for Molly – courage and strength to endure the unimaginable this day… for rest when rest comes.
Pray for Brian, Vicki and Mark (and their families).  Treasured, quiet moments with Matt.
Pray for Molly’s family – they are an invaluable support to Molly and Harper and will need strength in the days ahead.
Pray for Matt’s care-giving team today – Dr. Husmann, Dr. Porter-Williamson, Lauren, Bryan, Becca and Ashley.  We are missing some names, but the team has been great and will need strength and wisdom today.

Pray for us all to hold Matt with open hands today – hands raised in grief and thanksgiving, confusion and hope, in trust and expectancy.

We will continue to keep you updated today.  There will again be a prayer service in the Spencer Chapel at 4pm on the campus.  Please come if you need/want to, or pray from wherever you are…
Obviously there will be needs and support requested – we will let you know about those as they come up.
Thank you – for the outpouring of faith, prayer, love and service.  God revealed in the body of Christ.

Monday, April 2, 2012


The Nagels are still in desperate need of our prayers.  Rather than write my own version of events, I will simply copy and paste the information from their Caring Bridge site.  If you are prayerfully inclined, please join us in praying for a miraculous healing for Matt from 4-5pm today.  If you are in the Kansas City area, you can join us in person at the Spencer Chapel at KUMed.

Main prayer requests are:
- for the swelling in Matt's brain to decrease (or disappear!)
- for Matt's vitals to be stable and within healthy range
- for strength and peace for Molly and their family
- for protection over Harper's (their 5-year-old daughter) heart during this frightening time

Please read the updates from the family below.  You can also sign up to receive emailed or texted updates via their Caring Bridge site here.

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012 8:22 AM, CDT
day two
Good morning,
Molly updating here.  Matt’s brain is continuing to swell.  Matt struggled through the night, and I am writing this in a lull while they set him up for a cooling procedure where they will try to create hypothermia-like conditions in an effort to bring his swelling down.  On a scale of 1-20 (with 20 being the highest the swelling can be in his brain without putting him at significant risk) Matt is currently at a 32.  His pupils are not responding, he is currently unable to obey commands (like wiggle your toes, give a thumbs up, squeeze my hand), his heart rate is low, his blood pressure is not where they want it to be.  The swelling from the damaged side of his brain is putting great pressure on the functional side of his brain. 

The doctors have exhausted the surgical options and are now treating him with medication and cooling.  His swelling is expected to increase over the next couple of days.

Please pray for a miraculous decrease in the swelling in Matt’s brain.

As for me, I am scared.

I am immensely grateful for the support that is completely covering us.  I can’t imagine doing this without our tribe.  Thank you for the prayers, Dr. Peppers, company, comments, supplies, and more prayers you have showered on me.  I am grateful on Matt’s behalf.  His parents are also feeling loved and supported.  Thank you for following Matt’s progress and for your continued prayer support. 

With love and thanks,
MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012 12:13 PM, CDT
prayer service
For those of you who are able - there will be a prayer service for the Nagels today at the Spencer Chapel on the KU Med Center campus from 4-5 p.m.

The chapel is located right off Rainbow Blvd with parking across the street (at various businesses).  A campus map can be foundHERE

We anticipate this being a daily gathering - we will update you on that as well.  If you cannot attend - please be in prayer at your home / place of business.

We hope to give an update shortly on Matt's condition.  Thanks for hanging in there with us...
MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012 2:20 PM, CDT

" will cry for help, and he will say:  Here I am." Is 58:9

There are only a few things to report right now - some encouraging and some discouraging - that seems to be how it goes.

Swelling - we've seen a slight decrease in swelling (critical in the first 72 hours) but there is pressure even on the uninjured side - the midline doesn't look so hot right now.

Vitals - temps, blood pressure, heart rate - all responding to medicine, but not stable on their own.  They were able to bring his temp down within range with the cooling therapy.

Responsiveness - Matt is not "presenting well," as they put it.  

Please pray.

Molly asks for prayer for wisdom on how to protect Harper this week - she IS enjoying her new Barbie horse...but pray for healthy sleep and her stress level while Daddy is sick.  

We will post a prayer guide right before the gathering today (4pm) for those of you who can't be here in person.

The whole family is overwhelmed and encouraged by your prayers. Thank you ALL for your comments and emails and offers of help.  We are tracking it all and will let you know when practical needs can be taken care of.  Meal planning, schedules, links and things from the family will always originate from THIS (caring bridge) site.  You will not miss an opportunity to help!  See our "My Story" tab for more information.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Prayers needed for the Nagels

Once again we need your prayers for our sweet friends, the Nagels.  This morning, Matt collapsed while running the Brew to Brew race with friends.  He was rushed to KUMed and admitted to the Neuro ICU where it was discovered that he had a stroke.  While in the hospital, he had a second stroke and they decided to take him into surgery to try to remove the blood clot in his neck.  It was a very risky and serious surgery, but it was successful.  However, he is still in very critical condition as it is possible he will continue to have strokes and there is a risk for swelling of the brain.  Around 7:00pm they did an MRI to check for swelling and to try to assess the damage done by the stroke.  The MRI revealed that there was some swelling so he is being taken back into surgery to remove a portion of his skull which will give the brain some room to swell.  That's what we know so far.  The harsh reality is that Matt is in need of miraculous healing. UPDATE: I've added the latest update from the Caring Bridge site with an urgent prayer request - the doctors are very concerned about the swelling in Matt's brain.  Please pray for the swelling to go down immediately. 

Obviously, for any family, this would be a shocking and traumatic experience.  But our hearts break for the severity of the grief and fear that Molly and Harper (their 5-year-old daughter) must be feeling as the threat of losing their husband and daddy sinks in just a year after losing their daughter and sister. (Click that picture on the right of that dimpled cutie pie to read the posts about Waverley - Matt and Molly's daughter and Harper's little sister.)  It seems cruel and severe that this little family, who has already suffered so much, should have to endure more heartache and worry.

I have struggled in my prayers today as I have felt recently that not many of my fervent and specific prayers for different families in our community have been answered the way I would have hoped.  The past 12 months have been marked by significant tragedy and loss in the lives of the people close to us.  It is hard to not ask those difficult "Why God?" questions.  Not that there is anything wrong with those questions, it's just the frequency with which I feel like I am asking them on behalf of my friends is heartbreaking and discouraging.  

I am putting my hope in the things I know to be true: God is good.  He is able.  He knows the whole story.  He loves his children.

My prayers today have been simple:

Lord, have mercy.  Lord, you are able.

I have found hope and strength in several verses:

Ephesians 3:20: Now all glory to God, who is ABLE, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

2 Timothy 1:12: For I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is ABLE to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

Romans 4:20-21: Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise.  In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.  He was fully convinced that God is ABLE to do whatever he promises.

So in light of those things, I am believing that the greatest thing that my imagination could muster pales in comparison to the things God might do in Matt's life.  

I am choosing to release the people I love into the Lord's care, knowing that he is trustworthy to guard them.

I am hoping in the promises the Lord has made to me and the rest of his children (specifically those dear to our hearts in Lila's Bible verse ).

Please join us in praying for a miraculous healing for Matt and for peaceful hearts for Molly and Harper.  


The Nagels have set up a Caring Bridge website to keep people informed.  Click here.  (If you do not have a Caring Bridge account, you will have to set one up first)

Here are the first few posts from the Caring Bridge:

SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012 5:27 PM, CDT
day one
Thank you for all your calls, prayers, texts and emails on Matt's behalf. It has been quite a day...
Matt was running this morning with some buddies and began to show signs that something was wrong - basically (in his words) his legs stopped working. They thought it was heat exhaustion, but weren't sure. He was rushed to KU Med and after batteries of tests and scans, they realized that he was indeed suffering a stroke. A big one.
He was given "stroke busting" meds and, after reassuring hugs and words with Molly, was taken into surgery at about 2 p.m. Their goal was to pull out the clot that was blocking blood flow to the right side of his brain. It was deemed risky but necessary. The doctor used the words "heroic measure."
The surgery was deemed successful - so much is unknown still - but the arteries are open. They are scanning, waiting, watching.
**Matt has just given thumbs up and squeezed Molly's hand and wiggled his toes - all such good signs.***
Pray for Matt. Pray that the swelling would be minimal and that there would be no more stroke activity. Pray for wisdom and discernment for his care team.
Pray for Molly. Pray for strength and wisdom in decision-making for Matt's care.
Please feel free to forward this site to friends who can be in prayer...
For inquiries on how to care for Matt & Molly (and Harper) please email jay.lavergne(at)gmail(dot)com. Meals, gift cards for food or gas, lawn mowing... whatever you'd like to share - will be greatly appreciated. It would be great at this time to utilize this site for updates and not bombard the family as they deal with the immediate crisis.
Thank you SO much.

SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012 6:38 PM, CDT
matt is having an MRI right now - which will tell us 2 critical things...

1.  The amount of swelling - and whether another surgery is necessary to allieviate it.
2.  The extent and location of the damage...

please pray for a clear scan and for limited swelling, for strong hearts and clear minds.
SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012 8:47 PM, CDT
update 2
MRI results and other signs (decreased heart rate) are showing that Matt needs to go back into surgery.  The craniectomy will allow the swelling somewhere to go, which is important as the swelling usually peaks at about 3 days.  They may put in a shunt/bolt to help as well.
The MRI did show the area that is affected, but it is difficult to tell at this point what sort of deficit(s) there will be. 
Matt is still under sedation, so it should be a quick transition to the procedure.  A fresh shift of staff has come in here at the hospital - pray for their tender care of Matt and skilled hands in surgery.
Pray for rest (somehow) for Molly and family tonight and wisdom.  Peace that passes understanding, and comfort.  Molly is feeling the fatigue of a long, long day.  Pray that Harper sleeps well tonight at home with Grandma.
update 3
Matt's craniectomy has gone smoothly, but the dr does NOT like what he sees where the swelling is concerned...  the whole right hemisphere is just very swollen.  This is urgent - this is pressing - pray for the swelling to go down.
Pray for Molly & fam, for Brian and Vicki - for Matt's life to be spared.  Pray for the surgeons, for the shunts and bolts/drains to be effective. 
Pray that we all would be aware of God's arms around us and the Nagels in this frightening time.