Babies Don’t Keep. It’s so true. So sit down and rock your sleeping one.

babies don't keep

After my daughter’s end-of-the-year ceremony at school, I held my youngest as she slept.  I initially felt HORRIBLE sitting and holding her.  I had a mountain of dishes and laundry to do.  When you have two toddlers at home, every precious moment they sleep is a small miracle that needs to be used and abused by doing what you CAN’T === absolutely CAN’T do when they are awake.  Because, if you have lived with toddlers, you know that when they are awake they take over the world.  Serious world dominion takes place.  Especially when they are only a year apart, can’t breathe without the other, have no boundaries on climbing walls, and LOVE to take everything out of the trash.  And the mystery of it all is that they seem to do it all in one breath!

But I sat anyway.  And within moments, I felt so completely at peace with my decision that I held my daughter for an entire hour while she slept.  I literally did nothing but hold her and enjoy the peace of her being.  Her breathing.  Her cherub face.  Her small fingers.  Her chubby legs.

And I took in the warm breaths against my chest and I savored the feeling of completeness that my children bring me.

I loved it.

And I am so glad that I don’t look back at that moment with regret.  Regret about not using my time to do the dishes.  Regret about the time to do the laundry.  Regret about the time I had to sip a coffee and have a few mommy-alone moments (because right now I don’t even get those in the bathroom.  haha!).

Most of us have probably heard the story of the nurse from Australia that worked with hospice patients at the end of their lives—and the one thing she learned from them was that their lives were full of only 1 regret:  Not spending enough time with their families.

Therefore, I sat.  I smelled.  I held.  I cherished.  Through my baby’s sleep, I lived.  And through my quiet moments with her, I learned.   I learned that time spent with my children is the most valuable time I will ever spend.

I encourage you today—choose your children because Babies Don’t Keep.

“Babies Don’t Keep”
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Author Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

This is my life…

well, i just always want to write, but my mind is one huge blank sheet of paper.  so tired.  and pretty much filled with only toddlers.

yes, i would love to say that they are inspirational writing prompts—but, really, they are simply just inspirational life suckers 😉

take last night—we finally arrive home after an entire afternoon celebrating children’s day in kalisz (a couple hours from our home) when i throw them in the bathtub thinking that they’ll love to play.  before long, the bathtub stinks and the water is colored.

sure enough.  josephine soiled our tub.

so i pull out two wet babies and take them to the shower now—draining the tub.  then they play for an hour in the shower.

as i pull them out, wrap towels around them and bring them to the living room to diaper them and put them in pjs for bed, josephine promptly went number one on the carpet.

then max—unpottytrained max—decided that peeing on the carpet looked like fun, so he said, now i go pee pee here (and proceeded to pretend pee on the carpet).

yes.  my mind is blank.

but happy.

and my children are poopy messes.

but happy.

and this is all i can write—because my brain functions not.

oh—and our dogs are locked up all day during our home renovations and the minute they got out they broke the neighbor dogs leg by jumping all over it (yes, the dog is fine and the vet fixed the leg and we paid for the leg and the dog is still happy—so PHEW there :)).

yes…i wonder why i can’t write?

no, i pretty much know why 🙂

hope you enjoy our photos anyway.  haha!

xoxo from here to there,


(messy josephine after a good day of playing in the dirt and eating oreos…and the new life center—see bread of life ministries on Facebook—and max butt naked but phased out.  yes.  this is my life and i THANK GOD for it.  truly.)


newlifecentercrew (1)

You can’t lift your arms above your head. If you do, you will miscarry your baby.

When I was pregnant for the FIRST time in my life at 29 years of age, I was living in a foreign country.  FAR AWAY from my family to help walk me down this MIRACULOUS first path of pregnancy.

And the internet was not that widely used.  And I really had no clue what was going on.

On top of that, I had already been jumping off extremely high platforms into lakes and off of mountains—apparently pregnant (but, as most 1st time pregnant women, sometimes we are utterly clueless as to what is taking place in our bodies).

Apparently, my baby still survived all of the crazy extreme I was living through.

YET—yet with my family so far away, all I had left were those that surrounded me in a different culture—telling me things like, “You CAN’T lift your arms above your head because you WILL lose your baby!”

And I thought—Is this true?  Is this not?  HOW do I know?

The thing is—I also snorkeled pregnant with that very baby belly and was stung by a jelly fish AND swam with manta rays AND … and my baby came out healthy and 2 weeks late.

YET…YET I had been told simply lifting my arms above my head would cause the loss of my baby.

THEN…Then I had a second JOY!  A pregnancy stick that said “YOU ARE PREGNANT!”

Woot.  And then without even doing ANYTHING crazy INCLUDING lifting my hands above my head, I began to bleed and cramp and spot and had to weekly go to the doctor and watch and make sure this little baby would live.

Believe me.  I was barely walking.  I was barely moving.  No snorkeling, mountain jumping.  No stinging jelly fish or electric shocks from unexposed wires…

And I still lost our baby.

How is that possible IF I did not lift my arms above my head?


That, my friends, is because miscarriage is SILENT and UNKNOWN (for the most part) and SO many of us don’t understand it.  Doctors are trying.  And there is still a LONG way to go.

And because no one really knows, we share our fears.  PERHAPS one woman in Poland lifted her arms above her head and lost her baby.  And then the story was shared.  And then the fear of what is the protection of the precious life inside of you got passed to the next mom who wanted to make sure that she would NOT do that so that she could keep her baby as safe as possible…

And then the next woman was told.

And the next.

And the next.

Until it was well known that you simply DON’T lift your arms above your head or else you will lose your baby.

This is what happens all around the world.  Every culture.  Every country.  Every person has advice to share that seems like wisdom but, really, is wives’ tale.

Here is an article that came out today that shows what a long path we still have to travel to understand such sadness and loss:  What people don’t understand about miscarriages.  

So, my friends, for you that are currently going through this darkness of miscarriage, please know that you did the best you could.  You tried hard.  You loved hard.  You fought with all of your being.  And sometimes we still don’t win.  But it was not—is not your fault!

My daughter was in the car with me the other day (the one that was not only stung in belly by a jelly fish but also jumped in belly off the mountain with me AND was electrocuted in belly with me while I helped build a wooden deck to a home…This same daughter is 9 years old now—yes, that means I am now 39 years old ;))…She was asking me ALL sorts of questions I didn’t want to answer yet at this crazy age.  But since she was addressing them, I was responding.

One question was “Why when we prayed SO hard for our baby, did God let our baby die?”

You can’t dismiss children when they have questions, and so I began.

“Adelyne, a lot of sadness takes place in this world because we are not robots.  And sometimes good things happen.  And sometimes bad things happen.  BUT do you want to know what GOOD things happened because God gave us our baby in our belly to begin with—even though we lost our baby too soon?”

“What, Mommy?”

“That baby we lost—that baby gave mommy a new light of hope.  A hope that maybe one day we would ACTUALLY have another baby.  A baby I had no clue I would ever have.  I thought you were our only one!  And because God gave us Sam (we named our baby even though we lost baby in 1st trimester), we now have Max and Jo!  We have two more gifts because of Sam.  TWO!”

My friends—there is no answer for the loss.  Because it was not a loss we ever asked for nor wanted.  But when the storms occur, how do you see the impending light?

Our lights through the storm are Max and Jo.  The two that popped out 2 and 3 years after our loss of Sam.

Pregnancy is difficult enough—and then with everyone sharing the should and should nots of it—couple that with the endless reading materials—and then pair that with a mommy and daddy trying their best to incubate a baby until that miraculous due date—

When BAM!  All of that is stripped away at the stop of a beating heart.

You really do suffer guilt.  Shame.  Loss.  A sense of NO understanding.  And so much more.

And that is why wives’ tales live.

Because even in today’s extremely advanced medical world, IT (miscarriage) is still being discovered.

In the meantime, we now live the rest of our lives with the wonder—What if?

What if I hadn’t lifted my hands above my head like I was told?

And even though we KNOW in our hearts we did all we could—

It will never be enough.

Because the loss of this silent but thankfully gaining ground tragedy continues to be so unknown.

And even when that day comes when we ACTUALLY scientifically know more, it still will not have made a difference for those we lost too soon.

Will it in the future?

No one knows.

“Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 

Laundry with an 11-month-old

Laundry with my daughter Josephine next to me goes something like this…

I put 3 items in (we have a front loader since we live in Europe).

She takes 3 items out.

I put 1 item in when she is not looking.

She still manages to magically take 3 items out.

I distract her again and throw handfuls in.

More piles on the floor before I blink my eyes.

And, before I know it, there is more laundry on the floor now than there was to start. Mom is tired. And it’s time for Josephine’s nap. But where is she?

Oh no! She’s heading for the bedroom next!

Quick. Slam door. Scoop up baby. Nurse her to sleep.

And, since baby sleeps in your room where you do laundry, laundry is officially over for the day.

So, the age-old question is: If there is laundry in a house with a baby, does the laundry ever get done?

When I am not too tired to figure out that equation, I’ll get back to you.

Probably while holding a baby in one hand and dirty socks in the other. Which should, then, technically answer your question 😉

A tummy full of second helpings.


josephine was tossing and turning in her pack n play tonight while i was climbing a mountain of laundry. i would say conquering it, but it is so high, first i must climb it to conquer it.

and as much as i would return to her and stroke her face and shush her sweetly, her eyes would not remain closed, and she would not go to sleep.

i had literally just nursed her.

you have to understand.  my daughter is off the charts huge.  but for as big as she is (6 months old), she hardly nurses and eats very little solids.  i am just a solid cream cow.  all 3 of my nursing babies proved it to be true.  my sister always said i produce whole milk.  i believe her!

so, when i say i had just nursed my baby, that means she was probably fed a 5 course meal in one sitting.

yet, tossing and turning and turning and tossing took place.

and crying.  she kept looking at me and would cry.

technically i could have just let her cry herself to sleep.  or i could have rocked her to sleep.  but i did something else that i have not had to do too many times in her 6 short months of life.  i nursed my baby again.  she cradled right into my bosom, falling asleep.

and while she nursed, i rocked her.  i cradled her.  i hugged her.  and i cherished the moment.

and while i was holding my baby against my chest, i thought, “how blessed josephine is.”

not because i am her mom.

blessed because my baby was hungry, and i could feed her.

so many babies go to bed every night hungry, and here my daughter got a second helping of what it was she so obviously needed.

and it made me sad and grateful simultaneously.  sad for the children that are hungry.  and grateful that my daughter got exactly what she needed.

and so what remains is for me, for rich, for my children, for our foundation to work on the other part—work on making sure that other children, to the best of our ability, also go to bed fed…


stay tuned for more about this later and how you too can be involved!

Plans for Valentine’s Day. Or do you have children?


I’m innocent I tell you.  Innocent!

When we only had one it was still so easy…

No, we didn’t often go out to eat.  First of all, we were in Poland-it is very cold there.  And we had next to no money.  Therefore, we did a lot of “at home” dates.  Which are, by the way, sometimes the most awesome kind you can have.

But once you add a baby to the mix, you have to get more creative.  Like…At home dates AFTER the baby goes to sleep.  And that is exactly what I did.  I planned a special date for my hot husband!

I made sure to have all the proper ingredients for a fabulous evening:

Great dinner made by me (sometimes I can actually cook)!

Candles for lighting and setting the romantic mood.

Soft and romantic music playing in the background.

A washed, fed, and put to bed baby (a must for a romantic stay at home date)…

And then I slipped into something small, black, and pretty.

We sat down to eat our meal, enjoy our conversation, and have a generally relaxed evening when it happened…


Uh-oh.  Baby’s awake.  Perhaps we can ignore the cry?

Nope.  Impossible.  Because, at this time in our life, the flat we were living in had our daughter’s room literally connected to our kitchen which was connected to our table—and our daughter’s room had no door.  Literally no door.

So we heard it loud and clear again, “WAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Yep.  She got her mightily impressive lungs for screaming from me.


Begrudgingly we get up (sounds like we are GREAT parents, eh?!) and go get our crying (screaming) daughter out of bed.

“Here, here, Sweet Adelyne,” cuddle, cuddle, cuddle!

That’s when it happens!


All down my something small and black and pretty.

Gag (me this time).

In my mind I had planned the perfect stay at home romantic date.  Instead, however, baby gets cleaned up.  Mommy gets cleaned up.  Food gets covered up.  Mommy goes out into the cold to find medicine for the baby (walking all over the city to look for an open store, of course)…

Candles get blown out.

Music gets turned off.

Daddy rocks baby.

And, eventually, we all fall asleep.

Now, isn’t that romantic?

Hope your planned Valentine’s date stays germ free 😉

Have a great day of love!

xo b

Living One Minute at a Time…


Okay.  I lied.  Sometimes it’s Living One Second at a Time.

You see…we walked to the doctor’s office today.  It’s across the street, about 1/2 a mile away.  It was our little chub-a-love, Josephine’s, 1-month appointment. 

Trumpet sounds for making a month.  Woot-woot.

And on the way back, we said, “Why don’t we stop at the park for 30 minutes.  Maxwell (our 1-year-old) would love that.”

And we said, “And, he’s already pooped two times today, so, despite the fact that we FORGOT his diaper bag, we should be okay.”

We arrived at the park.

Grunt, groan, grunt.  Red face.  And voile!

He was NOT okay.

We were NOT okay.

The smell was NOT okay.

But we stayed at the park for 30 minutes anyway.

Then we make it home.

Perfect.  Josephine will sleep.  Max will eat and sleep.  Adelyne (our 8-year-old) still has a few hours left of school.

Change one diaper.  Leave one infant sleeping in her car seat, and make one hot dog for the freshly changed 1-year-old.


Goodbye to the husband who is off to work.

Good sleeps to the son who is off to nap.

Good job to the 1-month-old still snoring in her car seat.

Good seats to the Momma who is now typing this blog.  2 free hours just for M.E.  Me!

And then it happens…

The doorbell rings.

It’s the scorpion-spraying bug guy.


And then the baby starts fussing.

The toddler starts howling.

The 8-year-old arrives home.


THREE poopy diapers, a double-sided nursing, and an afternoon snack later—I am all down with that.

Now I have 1 sleeping infant.

One 8-year-old playing on her Nook.

One 1-year-old holding his ba-ba (blankie), Elmo (stuffed doll), and watching Elmo’s world on his elephant seat.

How long with this last?

Well, let’s just say that I’ll take One Minute at a Time 😉

How about you? 

Happy week to all.  Like I heard on the radio the other day—Only the first 5 days after the weekend are the hard ones!

Ciao for now.

xo b


I’m Superglued Together…My C-Section Adventure.

From Baby Belly to Belly Jelly…

Welcome, Josephine Diane!

So, I did not intend on a C-Section.  In fact, we went in to be induced on January 1st.  We were SO excited.  We had packed bags and big, big smiles!  Our children (Adelyne and Maxwell) were already dispersed to the cousins, and we got lots of family hugs all around.  My momma, whom the little J girl is named after, Josephine Diane (Diane being my momma’s name), got all dressed up for the hospital to meet her precious namesake.

My husband ate his last meal—and got me OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE for one of my last “pre-induction” meals.  Since we all know that ya can’t eat once induced.  And, if you know me at all, you know how much I LOVE my food.

So, my handsome hubby got me a “rocking” last pre-baby meal.

I tell you.  We had it all together and ALL planned out.

EXCEPT…When we arrived something completely different took place.


We were told, “Um…Why are you carrying your hospital bags?  You’ll be going home tonight.”


“Yes.  We induce you, and if you don’t progress 2 centimeters in 2 hours, we send you home to labor.  And you have 3 chances for this.”

SAY WHAT?!  You induce me and send me home to writhe in pain?!  Doesn’t sound like a jar of jelly beans to me.

Now—if I had progressed…And believe me, my contractions were every 5-10 minutes, I was 3 centimeters dilated, and my cervix was practically 0.  So, there was a SUPER GREAT chance that I would be one of the women that goes into labor, gets to stay in the hospital, and have the baby that night.

BUT…I don’t like pain, and not being near pain meds or professional anesthesiologists was so not for me.  In fact, the very thought of being induced, not progressing, and being sent home sounded like a small form of TORTURE.  And I’m not pro-torture Brooke.  Therefore, Rich and I said, “Thanks for this info.  We’re outta here.  We’ll come back next week when it’s Pitocin induction and I can’t be sent home.”

But something else happened between then and the “next week” .  I had an ultra sound on Friday (part of the Stress Testing that I had been doing twice a week since 30 weeks).

The Ultra Sound lady looked at little Josephine, and measured her.  And measured her.  And measured her.  And finally said, “Your baby measure 10.8 pounds to 10.12 pounds.  I need to call your doctor.  Stay here.”

And she did.  And Rich and I didn’t know what was going on.  And then the doctor said, “Come in first thing Monday morning.  We need to talk about a C-Section.”


Absolutely NOTHING was taking place this week like I had planned.  No induction.  Baby far bigger than anticipated.  No baby—yet.  I felt like hyperventilating.

But, instead of sticking my head in a bag and/or passing out, Rich and I and a whole slew of really awesome peeps came to our house the very next morning and helped up pack up our little farmhouse and move the entire house and all of its contents into a bigger house in three hours.  And, yes…I had contractions every 5-10 minutes the entire moving day.

Good thing the crowd of awesome friends let me eat donuts and direct traffic all day.

So, instead of being induced—instead of looking at a future induction, I was moving homes, having contractions, and starting to talk to all sorts of women about C-Sections.

To make a long story shorter…we agreed with the doctors.  And so all wheels were set in motion.

C Day…January 8th.  Her daddy’s birthday!


Now, mind you, I may have terrible pregnancies, but I was 2-0 for rocking labors.  My daughter came 11 days late, I was induced, and labor from start to finish was 8 and 1/2 hours.  It was like a party.  My son came 5 weeks and 6 days early, but labor itself was 4 and 1/2 hours.  It was not a party—because I had no pain meds.  But you really can’t beat a 4 and 1/2 hour labor.  I bounced back from that within 5 minutes.

But here I was about to embark on a different path.  And it was a very STERILE path.  Have you ever been in a surgical room before?  SCARY!  Freezing cold.  Sterile environment.  Anesthesiologist.  And lots of prep work for surgery—without my husband in the room.   Finally—lots of paperwork and signatures, signing your life away while letting you know of all the bad things that could go wrong.

YIKES!  Surgery was definitely not for me.  But we were there—and my belly was not getting any smaller.  Let’s rock this joint!

They finally let my husband in and started immediately.

Now—my husband and I are some of those people that take pictures and videos throughout my labors so that I can actually enjoy the moments post fact. With our C-Section, however, he wasn’t allowed to take pictures or video of the procedure.  I was a bit bummed about that.

But within minutes, I felt this unbelievable suction out of my belly.  It was like a huge balloon being pulled out.  And then we heard a loud ruckus of murmurs…”Wow!  Look at those cheeks.  She’s huge!”

And, before a moments notice was up, there she was.  Our little Josephine Diane right next to me.  And you are not kidding.  Her cheeks were HUGE!  And she was the spitting image of her ultra sound pictures.  And she was all dirty and screaming her lungs out.  And she was perfect.  And safe.  And we were so happy.

Then they put her on the scale.  10 pounds 10 ounces.  For those in the other measurement world, that’s roughly 4.82 kilograms.

Whoop!  There she is.  In all of her chubby glory.  Perfect.  Screaming.  Safe.

Thank you, Lord.

Now for the finale—putting me back together.  I was a bit bummed that I didn’t get to see any of the surgery, so I remember my sister-in-law telling me that if you look up at the lights, they act as a mirror, and you can see your reflection.

Sure enough, I glanced up and noticed that the metal bars of the large surgical lights above had a great reflection of the surgery taking place below.  So I got to see all of my inners—all of my guts and glory.  At first it was like, “Oh, wow!  That’s fascinating!”  With my second look, however, it was like, “Oh, yuck!  Scary.  That’s my insides.”  And so, I stopped looking after that and just appreciated the doctor as he verbally walked us through all the steps.

Truth be told, a combination of the anesthesia and then the rocking of putting my inners back in rendered me seasick.  And thus the puking began.

Of course, my hubby is with baby at this point.  So it’s just the anesthesia doc and me in all of my guts and glory—he’s catching my puke and wiping my face while on the other side of the curtain the doc and the nurses are reinserting my inners and working on gluing me back together.

And, of course, in the midst of the vomiting it did not hit me, but later it did…

Sometimes in life we take different paths or go in different directions than we intended.  If you had heard the conversation I had with the nurse on the Friday that we were told the doctors recommended a C-Section, you would have heard me at my worst.

I was upset.  I was angry.  And I probably wasn’t kind.  I was crying.  And I was not at all about to agree with the path that they recommended for me or our baby.

But I called many women and confronted all of my questions and fears.  By Monday, we walked into the office in peace.

The doctors shared their concerns.  If the baby got stuck, there would be an emergency C-Section (15 inch head, by the way, is what our little gal measured).  Or there was the possibility of her shoulder being broken, nerve damage, and, ultimately but very seriously, potential neurological damage if delivery did not go smoothly and something went wrong.

They didn’t try to scare us.  They shared with us.  And we both had great peace that yes, it was not what we had wanted, but it was the direction we were willing to go.  Down the surgical road of the big C.

Then the best part took place.  Since I reached my due date, they were wanting the C-Section the next day.  But we asked, “Um…If we are going to go C, anyway, can you wait one more day?  It’s my husband’s birthday on Wednesday.”

Sure enough.  They were willing to wait another day.  And I got to plan not only for our baby—but a double birthday party!

I never intended on being superglued together.  I never intended on a C-Section.  I never intended this pregnancy to end the way it did.  But that’s life.

Sometimes our insides have got to come out.  We have to be gutted.  We have to be cleaned.  And we have to be put back together.  And only then do we truly have what is best.

For us, the best was a safe and healthy baby placed into our arms.

You may have to endure your own surgery.  Perhaps your guts have to come out.  Maybe you will need a little suction or cleaning.  And then your world may rock as you are put back in place—causing great discomfort (in my case puking)…but it may also be the best for you.

After all, the most important is “Are you okay?  Are you safe?  Will you make it?”

And then, in the end, you may be superglued together.  But you know that everything is okay.

You will heal.  You may scar.  But you will live.

God is good.

And so is our baby, Sweet Cheeks 2, Josephine Diane!

View More:

One week before our Sweet Cheeks joined us outside the Belly


And now you can see how she got her name

(But she is #2 since our 1st daughter was also called Sweet Cheeks)

Throwback Thursday…Nearly 2 years and two worlds later. Whoa!

It’s amazing how time flies and can change life so quickly…

Two years ago, we were a family of 3, living in Poland…baking Maxwell.

Two years later, we are a family of 4, living in Arizona (for the time being)…baking Josephine.

Two years ago, my little gal did not have an American accent—and had never spent more than a total of 3 months in all of her life in the States.

Two years later, she has lived in the United States for an entire year—and, although she is still learning the art of the “American smile”, she no longer sounds like our own personal version of Mary Poppins.  Slightly a bummer.

Hope you enjoy her precious (1 minute) video wishing you a Merry Christmas in English and Polish.  And hope you also enjoy our throwback photos from life before Maxwell and Josephine.

Amazing how time changes things…

Many hugs for today—looking forward to writing tomorrow about “The Impossible Task”!



ImageImageImageImageBaking Maxwell:  Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany…2011