Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas - our Christmas Letter.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
First I want to thank you all for sending us your lovely Christmas cards last year. I love getting all the friends and family updates. And seeing your cute pictures. Last Christmas was a crazy time for us and I was not up to sending cards. To be truthful, we were at the beginning of one of our greatest trials/blessings. Dec. 1st last year marks the day we found out that our unborn son had Edwards Syndrome. The doctors told us this condition is “not compatible with life”. I found it too hard to focus on well wishing greetings when the biggest and obvious trial was the only thing I could see in my life. One year later however, I am now excited to send out well wishing greetings.

The Lord has truly blessed us in our trials. Our son Zeke Ellis Stanger was born March 26th, 2010 at 11:13 p.m. He lived a moment. He lived just long enough to take a breath and blink at his daddy. This moment was an answer to many prayers and many fasts. As you can guess I am NOT a fan of the words “not compatible with life” as I have found that there are many children with this condition (also called trisomy 18) that do survive their birth and actually live for quite some time. We have experienced many miracles with our Zeke. We know that his challenges and disabilities were all a part of the Lord’s plan for him.

Our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His church here on the earth have been deepened through our experiences so far. We know our Savior, that he lives, and he loves us. We are so grateful to have had Zeke Ellis Stanger in our lives. Our lives have been forever changed because of our moment with him.

As for the kids, they are doing great and taking everything in stride. Wesley has just turned 8. He was baptized earlier this month. That was a great occasion, and a special “spiritual payday” for mom and dad. He loves to play basketball and is taking piano lessons. He also had a chance this year to wrestle and really enjoyed it. We got just a peek into the world of wrestling. This is a world which was totally new to us. Lily is 5 and has started kindergarten. She loves school, is learning a lot and loving it. Madi is 3 and spoiled rotten ( in a good way). She loves to sing and dances all around the house with Lily in their pretty dresses.

Kip is still elder’s quorum president, and I’m the secretary in the stake young women’s program. I have to admit that this has been one of my favorite callings. I work with awesome women and get to plan and play at girls camp in the summer. It’s so much fun. This is my third year as PTO president, and I’m definitely learning a lot there. This year because of budget cutbacks our school cut their music program, so a friend, and I have volunteered to teach music once a week in the elementary school. We just had our Christmas concert and all went well, the kids sang and Santa came, yeah!!! Life is full, crazy and definitely an adventure.

May the Lord bless you this Christmas season. Lots of Love from the Stangers. Kip, Leejean, Wesley, Lily, Madi, and Zeke

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A project!! yeah a project!! it's homemade. :)

Two blocks with many messages.   Let me know what you think. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas is in the air!

I love Christmas time!! It's in the air.  People are nicer, Christmas music on the radio, and HO HO HO every where you go.  ok maybe just a giggle or two thinking of how I'm going to try and surprise my husband with a present this year.  What to surprise the kids with.  It's just soo much fun.  Merry Christmas everyone.  lots of love to you all!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Spiritual Paydays

I was sitting in the temple last week and had the opportunity to be sitting by the mother of a youngman going for the first time in preparation to serve a mission.  As we talked just a little about being a mother she mentioned that these times, watching your child make good choices, are paydays for mothers.  Well today I had a mother's payday, and I suspect that my mother and my husband's mother were also experiencing a great payday as we watched my husband baptize and confirm our son.  I felt so happy my body could not contain the immense joy as it spilled over my eyes.  My poor Lily, who has seen me cry too many times to count was worried at first, and told me not to cry.  I promptly let her know that these were tears of joy, as I was able to watch my young son making the choice to follow Jesus Christ, and could also feel the presence of our Angel son, Zeke, there as well.  What a GLORIOUS night.  The spirit was so strong.  I'm so greatful for the Gospel. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remembering December 1st 2009

One year ago today was a crazy day, but it does help me to remember some of the Lord's tender mercies on such a hard day.  We were scheduled for our first routine ultrasound for our pregnancy.  I felt sad and unsettled but did not know why.  I desperately wanted Kip to come to the appointment with me.  But due to work it looked like he wasn't going to be able to make it.  He also had no way of knowing how distraught I was feeling.  Kip was trying to see if he could make it, but called to tell me that he really couldn't do it.  I broke down on the phone and just cried.  My dear husband realizing the terrible state of my emotions was able to put emergency status on my needs and was able to get out of whatever work he was supposed to do.  We made it to the appointment together. 

The Lord knowing that we would both need the emotional support of each other made sure that we were there together.  I finally understood why I felt the way I did.  It was His way of making sure that we were both there to hear the news together and be there for each other. 

The doctor was one that I had not met before, so when he was so quiet at first I didn't know if it was his personality or if there was something wrong.  He continued to look at everything for quite a while and still was not saying much.  I was able to see a few things for my self but had no idea exactly what they meant.  The Lord had prepared me for this.  I had a feeling that everything was not going to be exactly perfect some time before this.  But I figured in my head that perhaps I would have a downy (downs syndrome).  But I did not discuss this with anyone.  So I was not surprised by there being something, but I was surprised by what it was.  Also I had for sometime not felt comfortable about praying that our little one would be healthy with no problems or complications.  This I also kept close to my heart and did not speak.  How do you tell someone else that you don't feel like it's right to pray for a healthy baby. 

When the doctor finally did speak he started pointing out things that were "wrong" with our boy.  A boy? yes a boy.  oh we are having a boy.  I knew it.  But our boy was not "perfect".  He had fluid on his brain, a hole in his heart, and his intestines were on the outside of his body (kind of like a big hernia).  Of course they offered termination, which we quickly let them know was NOT an option for us.  Another ultra-sound was set up for the next day with a specialist in Boise.  It was here that we found out more and I had an amniocentesis.  (a whole other story since I'm very needle phobic)  here again the Lord blessed me and helped me through this ordeal.  2 weeks later we received the results of the amnio that confirmed what they all thought all along.  Which to be quite honest felt anti-climactic.  I wanted better news.  Tell me we were wrong, everything is going to be ok, anything, but yep we were right.  Our sweet boy was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 or Edwards Syndrome. 

As we came home and shared our news with those closest to us, we found more instances where the Lord had already put into place those people who would be able to help us with this trial in our lives.  Our doctor was a wonderful religious man who was sensitive to our needs.  I found that my Visiting Teacher from church had also had a little boy with Edwards Syndrome.  One of my aunts had had a little girl with Pa tau's Syndrome, or Trisomy 13. 

Our Journey had begun.  There are many many more miracles given to us as we came to know our little man.  He was exactly as he should be, perfect in his own way, beautiful beyond comparison, our son Zeke Ellis Stanger.  He was born March 26th.  He lived just a moment, long enough to take a breath and blink at his daddy, and change our lives forever.