For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Well. I did it. I sent my oldest off to college. To be honest I am pretty sure I looked like a parent who had just sent their baby into an OR to have some kind of major surgery to save their life. After hugging McKenna goodbye in her dorm I walked into the hallway only to run into two RA's. They are the resident students who are sort of "parents" to the kids in the dorm. Both RA's looked at me with a pathetic look and one said, "Your oldest and she's a girl? Ouch, that's a double whammy!". Yes, I cried like a baby. As I walked to the car with my new baby in my arms my mind and heart were filled with all kinds of nostalgia about Kenna. I remember when she was small enough to fit into the crook of my arm. She was my first, I was a fledgling. Every step of her life has been trial and error for me and there have been times when I have had it all together and there have been times when I have felt very sorry for her. I can be a screw up too! I still remember the first time I nursed her. The first time I left her with someone else. The first time she cried and I couldn't fix it. Just the other day when we dropped off a kiddo at the Elementary school together she said,

"Man, I have the worst memories of this place!"
"What are you talking about Kenna? Weren't you happy here?"
"Mom, I was tortured and teased everyday I was here...it was miserable!"
"Kenna, why didn't I know this? Didn't you have any friends?"
"There were these two other girls that were also outcasts and we used to sit under the big tree together at recess..."
"Kenna, I am so sorry, I don't know why I didn't know this. Did I ever try to help you? I don't even remember this happening!"
"I don't know mom, I just know how much I hated being here!"

My heart broke when I heard this, I almost cried. I thought I was such an "on top of things" kind of parent. How did I miss the fact that my baby was so miserable for more than 3 years of her life? ( We moved into this school when she was in the 3rd grade). Was I not listening? Did I miss the signs of misery? Was I too engrossed in my own life to notice how my child felt?

After that conversation and dropping her off in a flood of tears I looked down at my new baby and wondered how much I was going to miss with her, and the other eight above her? I know I am not perfect, but I really think I try my best. At least most days I do. I am glad that this time has come for McKenna. She deserves to go out into the world and find her own kind of happiness. That is the sweet part of my post. I am excited for her, happy for her and almost envious of her. The bitter part is knowing that she is on her own now. She is no longer drinking soda with me and watching The Adams Family late at night with me. It's also bitter knowing how much I may have screwed up, and knowing that most likely I am missing with the others as well. I know I am only human and I can only do what I can do, but I wish I was more than that. I wish I could see every need and fulfill it. See every dream and help it come true. See every bit of heartache and make it better. I can't though, but I hope that through all of this they someday come back to me with some understanding and love knowing I did my best.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My own private miracle

Nights are best. I know most moms count the days from the time their newborn comes into the world until the day they sleep through the night, but not me. Maybe it's all the chaos around my home during the day, maybe it's the quiet, the dark, I don't know. All I know is I love my nights with my babies and this one is no different.

She only gets up once a night these days. That's nice I will admit. Last night she got up around 2 or so and I dragged my sleepy hind end out to the couch. I grabbed a few snacks and my water bottle on the way and made sure I had all my "nighttime supplies" ready to go. Diapers, wipes, boppy pillow, remote control...you know, all the essentials. Usually I nurse the baby on one side, change them and let them nurse on the other side till they are sound asleep. After going through this entire routine last night I let the light from the tv flicker while I examined every inch of my new miracle. She has really long feet and toes, although so very tiny. Her fingers are long and skinny too, but I love those soft fingers on my face when I bring her up to me. Her sweet eyes that see so much, so much more than I can even imagine. I believe the veil between this life and the other side is so thin at this age. I often wonder who she sees in the room with us. Her guardian angel? Grandparents who have gone before us? Her own future family? I can only imagine and that alone makes her a miracle. The back of my babies neck is one of my favorite spots to smell and kiss. So so soft! Every little feature is perfectly formed down to the curvatures of her ears to the wrinkles on the bottom of her feet. How can we call her anything but a miracle?

I now believe, have always believed and will always believe in a higher power. There is a God and he loves us. He doesn't make our choices for us, or those around us, and this is where some of our heartache and pain comes from. Sometimes it's just life that knocks us down, but these can be chances for growth. But through it all if we will take the time to slow down, look around us and soak it in we will find our miracles. We are all blessed with them. I think I may name a few just for the sake of it.

My parents, and Jon's parents. Our children are blessed to be able to have both sets of grandparents alive, well and living life to the fullest. How many kids grow up with that? When we have a birthday party we often have all four of them here and it's a miracle.

McKenna being able to go off to college. This is no easy task for us. She needs grants, loans, her own savings and some help from us to make it happen, but she gets the opportunity to go. She will someday see this for what it is, a miracle. To be able to have these experiences and grow and learn is truly a miracle.

My family. I have the best family around. I speak of all my family. My brothers, sisters, mom and dad....they are all the best. Having Kara and Sid come over to make sure to say hi and goodbye to Kenna. Karlee and all her love and sweetness. She has to be one of my favorite people on earth! My sisters in Vegas who are cheering Kenna on from afar! They are all the best and I love them all with all my heart. I have been truly blessed with the family that I have, I have been blessed with my biological family and how close we have become over the years and I will never see any of them as less than a miracle.

This is one of the biggest miracles for me. We have ten children. That alone is a miracle, but what I speak of here is the miracle it is for me to be able to be home with them all these years. Raising children in today's day and age is hard. Really hard. A lot of women have to work outside their homes to make ends meat and I am not one of them. I have been blessed with a husband that works himself to the bone to make a living so that we don't have to put our children into daycare. Don't get me wrong, it has been hard. Money is always short, we often go without the luxuries, like new school clothes for kids, but we always somehow make it and that's what matters. Are we rich? No! Do we go two weeks without worrying about where the money is going to go? No! But do we have the means to make it? Yes! Do we have to best support system around? Yes! This is a miracle to me!

So as I sit and cuddle and cradle my latest miracle my heart is full with the things and people around me. This sweet baby has reminded me of some of the simpler more important things in life. The loss and heartache I had to go through to get her here have started to fade away and her spirit has taught mine to be right again.
She is the most amazing miracle wrapped up in a teeny tiny body, and I get to be the one to love her, hold her and help her find her place in this family and in this world. I am truly the lucky one! Or rather the blessed one!

Friday, August 26, 2011

She's here! She's here!

Brynlee Sue Loutensock came into the world on August 17th and 5:46 pm. She weighed in at 8 pounds and 8 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. Big baby! :) She is the sure light of our lives. After what has been two of the longest years of my life, I hold her and soak in her spirit. She has made all the pain and heartbreak worth it. I will forever miss my four angels and will never forget their souls in Heaven. They helped bring me to where I am today and I have a much greater appreciation for my children that are living, for my body's ability to bring this last baby into the world and for all things spiritual. I will see them again someday and what a sweet homecoming that will be. Our family will be reunited and we will rejoice. In the meantime we will enjoy each other here, and let me tell ya, as long as my kids don't kill each other trying to get turns with Brynlee we will be good!

I will write more about my feelings later, but today I wanted to get some pics up of my newest addition and let her strong spirit fill the world around us!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just a few more days

That title can mean a lot of things. There's only a few more days of summer. This statement truly depresses me. I love summer. Warmth, swimming pools, beautiful evenings sitting in a lawn chair watching the kids play, no car pool, no homework....I could go on and on. I won't though for two reasons. Number one, summer is going to end and school is going to start no matter how much I complain. Make the best of it is what my mom would say. Second, there are a few perks to school being in. The kids are not only gone, but occupied all day long. They work hard, play hard and socialize intensely all day long so that when they do get home I rarely hear "I'm bored!". I have quiet days with just a few tiny kids and this year my 8th kiddo starts kindergarten. So really, my afternoons this year are going to be nice and quiet. Just me, Skyler and the baby girl. That will be very nice. Of course it will get really chaotic after school when everyone else gets home, but I guess it can't be perfect all the time...right? :) Plus this year I won't have a high school er. That is going to be weird. No school dances, no asking for the car, none of her friends coming over after school. I am actually kind of sad about this one. I really liked Kenna's friends and will miss them. But, she gets to start her own adventure and for that I am happy for her.

Just a few more days also applies to this pregnancy. Six more days to be exact, unless she decides to make an early debut. I have to say on that though it has never happened with any of my other nine kids, so I have little to no hope it would happen this time, but one can dream, right? In fact, it's kind of what keeps me plugging along at this point. If I am in constant dream mode it takes away for the nagging reality before me. Six more days of swollen feet, sleepless nights, pain in my pelvis, horrible heartburn, shortness of breath, people staring at my belly, not one comfy position to sit or lay, hard contractions that lead no where, people asking "is she here yet?" or "are you in labor?" every time I call them, and just so much more. But, on the up side, only six more days. It's less than a week. By the end of next week I will have my baby in my arms instead of in my tummy. By the end of next week I will have the cute little clothes on her instead of hanging in the closet. She will be here and the time will go by so fast at that point that I am sure I will be posting about her first birthday shocked that it went by that fast.

Thank you family and friends for being patient with the emotional pregnant woman. The next few days might be worse, so go ahead and just ignore me if you want, I won't be offended. I will understand. Just a few more days and I get to be Julie again, not pregnant Julie. I always feel better once the baby is on the outside and I am all that's left on the inside!