Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I don't know how women could stand pregnancy before ultrasound.  What a tremendous use of technology-to be able to view your baby in various stages of development.  Even though, at this stage, mine looks like an alien with a ginormous head and a tail.  But it's my alien.  And it's heart is beating at super-speed and I'm shocked that something so small can wreak such havoc in your body.

When the doc started the ultrasound, he did one of those hand over his mouth, "hmmm..." things that makes your heart skip a beat.  "Well, my dear," he said with an amazingly sweet bedside manner, "you've have had what we call a Vanishing Twin."

I knew it.  I was so much sicker this time.  I mean really sick.  The thought of smelling something before I actually did was enough to send me running for porcelain.  I was so fatigued that I was really worried Audrey would have to learn to make herself breakfast and lunch at 18 months.  I got the kids off to school, put Audrey to bed and went back to bed myself.  For weeks.  At first, I blamed the adjustment to altitude.  But I guess there was more...

So, there were two sacks.  The one that was clearly inhabited and the other, just as big, that wasn't.  At some point, the other baby just stopped growing and there must've been a good reason.  At least, that's the way we're looking at it.  It's hard to know how to feel.  I was disappointed and sad at first.  Twins would be so much..."fun", but it just wasn't meant to be.

The doctor said this isn't uncommon.  It happens quite a bit.  And with the invention of ultrasound,  it gets detected.  Years ago, I never would have known.  I'm glad to have seen our solo little healthy baby, thriving and wiggling around.  But I could have done without the other information.  Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss.  

Sunday, March 23, 2008


during all of the chaos before the move, at least i had my ya ya's. three soul, spirit and mind beautiful women that i would eat bugs for. for the last two years, we shared our hi's and low's, our thoughts and our dreams, our lifestorms and our god whispers together. wednesdays at dawn's 7 p.m. although by the time i got kids to bed and popcorn made for the sitter i was usually there by 7:45. and i hated missing even a second.

i met vickie first. she was my children's pastor, but more than that she and i instantly connected on a girlfriend level. i remember sitting in her office and feeling like i could be the authentic, strung out, stressed out mom that i was. i didn't have to button up and be perfectly "churchy" just imperfectly human and i didn't need to pretend to know every bible story my kids were learning with her that month. i think she saw a need in me that she knew the ya ya's could fill. there were just two rules she said: you have to be broken and you have to be fun. i fit the bill.

meeting nancy and dawn was just the icing on the cake. four very different women with hearts knit together. god smiled down on us, took our hands and led us on the most intense, hilarious, deep, difficult and transforming journey together. we traveled and dined and cried and shopped and lunched and read and journaled and snacked and laughed and held our breath and sat in the quiet and skinny dipped and buried loved ones and birthed a baby and sent kids to college and kindergarten and quit jobs and started new ones and finished a book or two and drudged through others and prayed and prayed and then begged that vickie would be healed.

she got cancer and it came back and then it came back again. but on wednesdays, her cancer was never invited in. we were ya ya's first, fighting cancer got put on the back burner until we were done ya ya-ing. and then it was at the forefront of our prayers, the next doctor's appointment or scan on all of our calendars. waiting for tumor markers. waiting to see if the new meds worked. praying for it to just go away-a miracle. we prayed for miracles. but it just didn't happen. and he took her. and it was not even a year after walking on the beach and eating blackberries and shrimp and shopping with pirates.

i have never known someone with such a clear vision of god's will in her life. and she worked at lightning speed and with a sense of urgency because she had to. she worked hard and loved veraciously. she was fast paced but never frenetic. she listened intently and spoke confidently. she felt your pain deeply but remained able to speak into your life honestly. she loved my kids with a passion and knew little things about them i was too close to see. she let them be who they were and put her finger on what their struggles were without making it seem like a mountain to climb. she came to the dance recital that wasn't meant to be, she drove ear drops over at bedtime, she picked up kids from activites in electrical storms, she brought over starbucks just because, she cut audge's cord, she gave olivia anything fancy that caught her fancy, she hugged and kissed them like she hadn't seen them for months every time she saw them, she smelled them like they were warm cinnamon rolls, she laughed at everything cute they did, she could write a dissertation on a one second observation of their behavior. she held them when they cried and she held me when i cried.

and now it's just three. we are still ya ya's but in a new chapter. still in shock that she's not on her couch, feet tucked under her, glasses on, reading next to the fire with patches cleaning herself on her doggie bed. i got an email from greg her hubbie using their shared account the other day, with her name as the sender. i gasped and got really excited and then realized what i was thinking and started to cry. okay, vickie. you've been gone long enough. come back now. answer your cell phone damnit. just one more conversation. there's so much i want to say, but none of it was ever unsaid. i just want to say it again. right now. in the context of knowing it will be the last time. all drama-ful and 4-ish.

one of the last conversations we had she told me to use my gifts. that whatever i do, i have to figure out what that means in my life. ya ya's never give each other the answers, but speak truth in love into each other's lives. so, she left me with this cliff hanger. and if it takes till my last breath on this earth, i'll honor her request. i'd really have loved a bit more direction, clues, well, the answer. growing hurts. she knew it better than anybody.


so, i'm lauren. and i'm fulfilling a personal goal by starting this blog. well, my goal wasn't exactly to "start a blog", but to do something to express myself creatively without ridiculously expensive trips to hobby lobby. it's also maybe a venue to discover more things about myself that i haven't had a chance to look at in a while. not that i have the time now. if i'm doing this, something else gives. chances are it's laundry.

first and foremost, i'm a wife and a mom. and i'm addicted to my family which consists of my husband marcus and our four children: sam, ethan, olivia and audrey. we are expecting our fifth bundle of busy-ness in october. and i think i can safely say he/she will be "the caboose". the last of the mohicans. the last stop on the maternity train. we can finally have one of those finely manicured family portraits where everyone is wearing jeans and white shirts, knowing full well our investment was worth it and all particpants were present.

let me catch you up. we've been busy. over the last six months marcus accepted a new job in colorado, i single parented in his absence for four months juggling soccer games, school projects and the dreaded dinner hour solo, sold our house in 23 days in the worst real estate market ever, did christmas, did new years, drove from illinois to our new home with four kids, my sister, a cat and a tortoise, got pregnant about five minutes after our arrival, managed to unpack all but four boxes, we painted a bathroom, laundry room and the boys room, settled three kids into three different schools, had the stomach flu run it's course with every single member of the family and ended up in the hospital on i.v. fluids after throwing up 15 times a day for 5 days straight.

am i loving colorado? let's just say i haven't had time to look up yet. but when i do catch a glance of the mountains (they're hard to miss), i get a sense of belonging and promise. i'm not at all sure what my journey entails here. i've never been one of those people who knew from the age of six what i wanted to "do". i'm not even sure i have one particular "calling". i recently prayed for god to dazzle me with what's next. to put it up in lights. to scream it so loud, i couldn't miss it. sometimes i can be so frenetic, i think i miss him. frustrating, but i'm learning to be still. what i do know is that i'm excited about the prospect of actively waiting. and while i wait, daily life is preparing me for everything from being a drill instructor to a manicurist. being a mother is certainly a calling, but i don't think i was put on this earth to solely repopulate the foothills of the rocky mountains. although, we've got a good start. i'm just going to do the next thing. live in the moment. look towards the mountains. listen for god's whisper. or wait for the light show.

so, follow along, if you will. i'd love the company. all journeys worth taking require somebody riding shotgun.