2/26/2017

A Heartfelt Apology to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

A Heartfelt Apology to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin
It's been five years.

Five years ago this very minute -- at 7:17 p.m. -- the bloody body of your precious son lay face-down in the grass after he was shot and killed in cold blood by a man who saw him and -- with no evidence -- deemed he was "up to no good."

I'm sorry that days later you were forced to review gruesome crime scene photographs to confirm the dead body stored in the morgue and tagged as "John Doe" was actually that of your beloved son.

I'm sorry you had to hear painful details of the bullet shot straight into your son's chest by his killer who, according to the autopsy report, stood just inches away from the boy you loved more than life itself and pulled the trigger.

I'm sorry you didn't get to watch your son, an honor's English student who loved math, walk across the stage and receive his high school diploma.

I'm sorry your chances of sending him off to college were robbed by a man who claimed he was scared of your son who had nothing but teenage innocence, a hooded sweatshirt, a bag of Skittles and brown skin on him.

I'm sorry he'll never get to be a pilot like he excitedly talked about and set goals to achieve.

I'm sorry you'll never know what Trayvon Martin would've accomplished in his 20s.

I'm sorry his life was unfairly and unjustifiably cut short.

I'm sorry so much of the world still doesn't understand the magnitude of your loss and what it represents in this country about our dangerous and prejudiced perceptions of Black people.

I'm sorry that not much has changed in these past five years with our deadly policing, racist legislation, violence and continued devaluing of Black bodies.

I'm sorry that even here in Iowa, our Republican-controlled legislature is pushing the same racist "Stand Your Ground" legislation that has unfairly protected and allowed your son's killer to walk freely.

No parent should have to bury their child. No parent should have to go through what you've gone through these past five years.

And I am so, deeply sorry.

To honor Trayvon's memory, I encourage you to learn about him. Order this book written by his parents:
To join the family's commitment to ending gun violence, please consider making a contribution to the Trayvon Martin Foundation here.

And finally, if you live in Iowa, I encourage you to contact your legislators NOW and urge them to oppose HSB 133 which would allow senseless shootings like this to take place in our state by the passage of "Stand Your Ground" legislation. Click here for more information.


Related content:
Talk About Trayvon Toolkit
What I Want My Daughters to Know About America
Why Iowa Lawmakers Need to Hear Your Opposition

2/19/2017

Life is Full of Exciting Surprises: Our Fourth Miracle is On The Way

My stomach was churning all day. I was exhausted.

But our kids only turn two once, and those Minnie Mouse decorations and special birthday sprinkles weren’t going to be delivered to our house before her party.

As soon as we tucked our daughters in for bed, I left – queasy stomach and all.

I parked the minivan in Row 10, turned off the ignition and walked inside. Apparently post-toddler-bedtime shopping is the thing to do around here because EVERYONE was doin' it.

I took a deep breath and convinced myself I couldn’t get sick for my daughter’s birthday. Moms can't be sick for their children's birthdays, amiright?

Once I walked into the store, I grabbed a disinfectant wipe, swiped it across the shopping cart handle and off I went.

First stop: Toilet bowl cleaner. Because who wants dirty toilets with company in town?

Crossed that off the list.

Then I got a whiff of some guy wearing far too much cologne. Whew. It was so overpowering, I nearly hurled myself over the metal wires of the cart and onto the toilet bowl cleaner I had just thrown into it.

And then it happened.

As my eyes scanned back and forth searching for my husband’s shaving cream, they stopped point blank at dozens of boxes: PREGNANCY TESTS.

I got hot. My cheeks felt like they were burning. I felt myself breaking into a sweat in the dead of winter.

BUY ME. BUY ME.

The more I stared at those white cardboard boxes, the more they jumped out at me.

My mind raced.

This couldn’t happen again, could it? My cycles hadn't been regular since giving birth to our daughter nine months ago.

Plus, after all those years of infertility treatments, then adopting two kiddos and spontaneously getting pregnant with our third all within three years…

Nah. Couldn’t be.

RIGHT?

I scanned the prices listed for those white boxes, picked up the cheapest brand and threw it in my cart. It could apparently detect a pregnancy days before a missed period (whenever THAT would be), and it was only $3.94 so no big dent in the pocketbook if it was all in my head.

I buried the box underneath my husband's shaving cream, the toilet bowl cleaner and party supplies so no shoppers could see it.

I went through the self-check-out line (again, so no one could see it).

And when I made it home that night, I discretely brought it up to our bathroom so no one could see it.

I chugged water and waited. Chugged more water, and waited.

It was just me and that white cardboard box in the bathroom. My hands shook as I opened it up and read the directions.

I unwrapped the plastic test, let my stream hit the tip for a few seconds, and then I set it down.

I blinked, and I saw the plus sign.

IT WAS THERE.

I did a triple-take. I didn’t have my glasses on and thought I surely wasn’t seeing straight.

That can’t be a plus sign, can it? It’s faint. Oh my God, it’s dark.

IT WAS THERE.

And so here we are. Pregnant.
Pregnant After Infertility
Our fourth miracle child is on its way, and we couldn't be more excited and terrified and grateful for this amazing gift.
Pregnancy Announcement: Tess Irene Photography
Our family's journey is about to get even more exciting (and exhausting, but mostly exciting!) -- proof that prayers are always answered, just not in the exact ways we expect them to be.

In the coming days -- and months -- I'll be writing more about the chaos and real-life experiences of expecting our "littlest little" while raising our still-little daughters; I know we've got our hands full here. I know this is CRAZY. I also know God has a sense of humor because we most certainly would've never dreamed of a family like the one we've been blessed with.

Also, as a side note: I understand this news may pour salt in wounds for my fellow infertility warriors; I fully understand some you reading this will feel angry or sad or bitter, and I want you to know however you're feeling about this is okay. It really, truly is. While I hope you stick around, if you decide to step away and unfollow my blog or Facebook page, please know that's okay. I recognize the difficult season you may find yourself in, and I believe self-care is important. I've chosen to embrace this pregnancy, just as I did the last one -- yes, the nausea, fatigue and impending gestational diabetes -- because I fully comprehend this gift does not come freely for many of you, and I so desperately wish it did.

Our hearts are incredibly grateful for the ways we have been able to grow our family, and I hope our twisty, non-traditional journey to happiness offers you much hope.


Related content:
Our Journey to Addison
Wishes For My Third Daughter
Announcing Our Pregnancy

Many thanks to Tess Irene Photography for photos of the gorgeous + proud big sisters. 

2/02/2017

The Important Lesson I Learned At The Playground

"Look, Mommy! Look!”

Her beady brown eyes peer up at me, she flashes a toothy grin and points toward the distance.

Her little legs have only been walking on solid ground for two years, but she’s eager to explore the world around her.

The soles of her hot pink light-up shoes flash while she skips across the playground.

Wide-eyed, she stands at the base of 15 steep, metal steps. Her little brown hands clench the old, narrow metal railings beside her.

Right foot. Left foot.

Slow and steady, she carefully makes her way up the tall, twisty tunnel slide.

My heart pounds.

The gaps between the railings and those cute little light-up shoes are wide. One misstep will send her petite 30-pound body plummeting onto the rocks below.

THUD. Thud-thud.

Click HERE to read "The Important Lesson I Learned At The Playground."

Related content:
Surprise At The Supermarket
A Tremendous Honor For My Favorite Story

2/01/2017

Top 24 Books to Celebrate Black History Month

This post contains affiliate links.

"Mommy, I have brown skin and you have white skin!" my 3-year old daughter says excitedly as we read our 238th book today.

She's smart, observant and doesn't yet understand the complexities that come with our differing skin colors, but she knows a difference exists. I love that innocence about her.

The reality is it won't always be this simple, though. I know there will be a day where she'll have questions -- lots of questions -- and experiences -- different from my own -- that cause her to stop and wonder, and maybe even hurt. That's why I feel like it's our duty as parents, regardless of what race or ethnicity our children are, to teach them love and acceptance from the earliest of days.

Here are 24 books to celebrate diversity and Black History Month with your children (click the book's image to read more):