Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grandma & Grandpa Lodeserto's visit

Frank's parents came to visit and stayed with us for a week! Natalia was so excited to spend time with Grandma & Grandpa L as were we. It is always heart warming when family is here.
It is nice to see her get lots of hugs and kisses when our families are here as well
Natalia is just pulling herself up every chance she gets. She rather play standing then sitting and when she is sitting she is crawling off somewhere within seconds. I am very proud of her but all these early milestones are more work for the mommy! : /
Her smile just makes me melt
Daddy is a great cook! He makes breakfast and dinner often and it is really nice actually. Here he is eatting yummy pancakes that he made for everyone.
Grandpa L : )
One night we decided to go to a basketball game at East Carolina Univeristy (the school that I currently go too- only one class left by the way, internship!). Then I will finally be a Child Life Specialist . Well actually I will still have to take a certification exam but then that's it!
As you can see, we were really high up in the stands and I did NOT want to bring Natalia up there because it was so high and I was very nervous. I felt like she was just going to jump out of our laps and tumble all the way down to the bottom. But, there comes a time when you just have to trust your husband because he told me he would hold her the entire time and she would be fine. He was right. Not to mention, Natalia actually really enjoyed the game. She just watched and we stayed for the entire game as well. Now, I realize when she is two, we won't be able to do something like this because two year old's do not like to be restricted, so needless to say, I am enjoying these moments now : ) Taking a bottle! A nice brake for the mommy who is still breastfeeding.
Grandma L reading to Natalia
Natalia got to open Christmas presents from Frank's sister (Aunt Karen) and her family. She got her two different riding toys that she absolutely loves!!! Technically, she is still too small for them but she seems to be okay and having fun : )

The morning Grandma & Grandpa L went home. Thank you for staying with us and bringing lots of smiles our way. Also thank you for all the gifts and yummy meals while you were here. We had a *great* time!! Can't wait to see you again soon!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Terrible things happen to good people

Some of you may or may not have noticed the link I have on my blog titled, "Praying for Jonah" with the picture of the baby boy who was born with an extremely rare genetic skin disorder. Well, I have been re-constructing our blog for the past 2 days (but have been doing so in-between studying and taking care of Natalia) so I've had to save it a few times before it was finished. Before I even had a chance to put the link back up for "Praying for Jonah", my Aunt Cathy messaged me on facebook asking where she could find it because she has been reading their story since the summer. It was *so* extremely encouraging to hear this, that someone so far away, in New Jersey, who does not know them is reading their story and supporting all that this family is going through.

If you scroll down on my blog, under Jonah's link you will now see a new link titled, "Adyen's Story". Not too long ago, I met a couple the same age as Frank & I that also have a baby Natalia's age. Just like us, there were a bunch of couples in their church that all had babies at the same time. One of which was Lindsay & Jeremy Jones, a young couple who just had their first baby, a beautiful healthy boy named Ayden. Just like I would with my friends she told me about how she would get together with Lindsay and baby Ayden for playdates and all. Then one day, without any notice, little baby Ayden was 4 months old and died of SIDS. This little boy would have been Natalia's age if he was still alive right now.

With both these families going through hard times, on top of everything that has happen in Haidi, I just don't understand why some people go through these things and why others do not. I guess these are questions we can ask when we get to Heaven but it just doesn't seem fair. Why did Ayden die yet I still get to hold my baby? Why do terrible things happen to good people? I don't know the answer. But I guess if we reversed the question would it be any better? What if God allowed bad things happen to bad people? What if someone in your family was bad so God allowed bad things to happen to them? That wouldn't be fair either. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime. But is it fair? Is it fair when terrible things happen to good people? Well, if this life were "it", if this life here on earth was ALL we had, then no, it wouldn't be fair. But God knows more and has promised his children eternal life. Like when we as parents see our children so upset because they did not get to go on that 50 cent ride at the mall yet we know we are bringing them to Disney World instead.

Little baby Adyen, though he was only here for a short time, made a huge donation to his parents life. A donation that changed their life, and one that will forever be in their hearts. In some ways, it's not the duration of someones life but rather the donation that was made. Does it make everything okay? No. I'm not saying everything will be fine. But I'm saying that everything can be fine. I can't even imagine something like that happening to me but I do know one thing and I realize that it is easier said then done. I believe (and these families would agree with me) that when bad things happen we can either fall apart or we can stand strong. We can either crumble or we can persevere. Which do you think more honors God? Romans 8:28 says that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Somehow God will use these families (Adyen & Jonah's stories found on my blog) to touch peoples lives and draw them closer to him.

Like the story of Job in the bible. Job loved God and he had everything anyone could ask for. Then Satan said to God that of course Job loves you God, you've given him everything he ever wanted. God said to Satan that even if Satan took everything away from Job, all his possessions and his entire family (including his kids) that Job would still love God. God knowing Job's faith basically allowed Satan to destroy everything of Job's as long as he didn't harm Job himself. After everything was taken away, all that he ever had, Job still praised God. Even when his children were taken from him, he still praised God. He knew that they were not even his children to begin with, that they were God's. Everything we have is actually not ours, it's all God's. He created everything and anything. We just have time that we can use some of his creations but it is really all in his hands and we have to trust that he will know what to do with everything he created.

Through their devastations, in Adyen's story, through the loss of a child and in Jonah's story, through the loss of a "healthy" child that we all envisioned we will have. Both losses in their own way~ yet both families are still very strong and faithful to God. God will use these families for the good and bring others to him through their faith. In every way, suffering is an opportunity to display Christ's character and grace.

1 Peter 2:20 "But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is comendable before God"
Romans 5: 3 "...rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope"
New International Version

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My family visiting us in NC!

Happy New Year everyone!! We are so excited to see what God has in store for us this year. As you may remember, Frank & I were not able to go home for Christmas but instead, my family came to us for New Years! They were here for a week and we had a *great* time. We played family games together, made home-made pizza's, laughed, talked and spent quality time together. Oh~ and my parents traded in my car and surprised me with a Caravan while they were here as well! I was so excited and extremely thankful. It is just perfect with the baby and all the traveling we do. I *love* it!! Here are some fun times during their visit to NC. Enjoy!
Out to dinner for Hibachi~ my brother's favorite
My cousin Chez with his girlfriend and my brother and his fiance'
Frank & my nephew Anthony with Natalia
In the high chair like a big girl : )
My mom & dad : )
Natalia got to spend a lot of time with my parents and everyone while they were here
More Christmas presents to open from our family back home : )
Of course Grandpa Santoro had to get something "baseball" for her, hehe. She loves it.
My brother's fiance with my sister Danielle & Natalia

More presents to open : )
Just playin'..."the work of childhood"
Oh! Guess who is crawling all over the place AND standing up on things! I can't believe it, I wanted to cry when she did this for the first time while my parents were here. I want to keep her little but she is just growing so fast. After this picture was taken I wanted to go and swaddle her again.

We did so much while my family was here~ my brother and his fiance' even got professional pictures taken by my good friend Lindsay Moore. Here is just one of many many great shots.
Natalia is finally taking a bottle!! I am still nursing her and I absolutely love it but it is nice to also get a brake once in a while. The trick to getting her to take it was that I had to warm the nipple. Now she is okay with it even when it's not warm. Here is my sister feeding her.

My sister and her son, Anthony. Natalia had so much fun playing with them.
And she just loves her sippy cup. Although it has a "bottle" top to it so I'm not sure it that counts.
Grandma Santoro & Natalia
Cousin Chez : )
Each year on Christmas Eve my family makes home made pizza's. They are soooo yummy and so much fun to make. This year since Frank & I were not there, my family decided to make pizza's with us on New Years Eve.
Happy New Year!! 2010
Me & my mommy
My mom & dad
One night me, Frank, my sister, my nephew and my brother and his fiance' all went out to a place in Raleigh called, "Hope Cafe". It was really cool and we listened to some very inspirational LIVE music!! We had a great time and I can't wait to go back to this place again soon.

My sister Danielle : )
My brother and his fiance' While we were out, Natalia was home with Grandma & Grandpa. It seems she was practicing her standing skills while we were gone.
She is only 6 1/2 months old and trys to stand up on everything. Even Grandpa's belly. Lol. I am so proud of her but I kind-of wish she wasn't standing like this yet. I just want to keep her little.
Well, we had a great time while everyone was here and we miss them so much!!! Next week- Frank's parents are coming to visit as well. We're very excited and so is Natalia : )