Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I've created a monster...

Henry asked to watch a highlight DVD of the Orioles 1983 World Series. He seems to be a little transfixed by it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Modified-Modified Bed Rest

Well, we've added another "modified."  So that must be good!

Andrew & I had a check up at the doctor's office today.  It went very well.

To be honest, my biggest shock was that I haven't been gaining 5 lbs per week with ALL of the amazing food that is being delivered to our home.

The baby is doing great!  The doctor found his precious little heartbeat right away.  And everything is measuring perfectly.  No signs of labor at all.  Hooray!

As far as bedrest goes, they aren't taking me off of it.  I have been given the okay to "dip my toe" into activities.  This means, take a short walk outside, spend a couple of hours in the office once or twice a week, etc.  He did warn that since I've been on bedrest nearly 4 weeks (I can't believe it will be 4 weeks from Friday that this all started!) that I will get exhausted very quickly.

I'm calling this modified-modified bed rest!  :)

So, I'll still be taking things very easily for the foreseeable future. 

We're so very thankful for being here.  For being SO (and I mean--SOOOO) well taken care of by our friends and family.  For me being home and not being the hospital.  For baby #2 to still be baking away.

Thank you for your prayers.  They mean so, so much to us.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


At bedtime last night.

Andrew:  "Henry, who should we pray for tonight?"

Henry: "Um, the 3 wisemen, the 3 kings, and the 3 basketball guys."

There you have it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hooray for Regular Checkups!

Andrew & I just spent about 10 minutes with one of the OBs at our practice for a check up.  I'm not sure what we expected.  But a "regular" check up wasn't it.

Once the doctor left, we looked at each other and thought, "Well.  I guess that's good!"


Basically, the doctor said everything looks great.  We are staying in the wait-and-see mode.  So, another week or so on bedrest is the order (which we knew already).

Baring no surprises, we'll head back to the doctor next Tuesday and discuss the next steps.

In the meantime, we're celebrating reaching the 31 week mark!

I will ask for your continued prayers.  Both for me & this sweet baby, but also for Henry.  It really is amazing how much these last couple of weeks are still very much with him.

This morning, he called out to me and said, "Mommy.  Don't go ANYWHERE.  Ok?  Don't go ANYWHERE."

It absolutely broke my heart.

I hate not really being able to promise him I'll be here when he gets home from school.  I sure do hope so!  And I'm sure I will.  But we just never know from day to day, moment to moment, which makes things kind of tough.

Here are a couple of super cute pics.  Here's Henry enjoying his first cup of homemade hot cocoa.  Yummy!

And here he is (before his latest hair cut) all bundled up for a walk in the woods.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Before the weekend gets away from us, I had to document a few Henry-isms that I think are particularly hilarious (and, yes, I understand I'm completely biased).

1.  Henry is now taking a book, opening it up and "reading" to us.  My favorite part?  How he starts:  "One Uponce a Time..."

2.  On Wednesday, Henry was snuggled up next to me and we were talking about his baby brother.  He likes to rub my tummy and give kisses.  This time he looked at me, cocked his head and said, "My brother...he's a nice guy."  Oh good heavens.

3. During the Thanksgiving festivities, we were trying to get a picture of Henry and Charlie together (Greg took the pics.  Once I get them, I'll post them.)  We couldn't get them to stand close enough together.  So Andrew said, "Henry, put your arm around Charlie like we're singing the Good Ol' Song."  Henry knew exactly what that meant and immediately put his arm around Charlie's shoulder.  What we couldn't figure out next is why, with his other hand, Henry was holding his ear.  Then it dawned on Andrew: the video that Henry watches ALL THE TIME of the (old) B'hoos singing the Good Ol' Song shows one of the guys holding his ear so he can hear what he's singing.  Henry just thought that was part of the song!

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were surrounded by family, friends and yummy food.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prayers, Food & My PJ's Drawer

I'm re-learning a huge lesson throughout all of this.

There are milestones in my life where I have been taught what friendship really is.  To experience this once in a lifetime is a true miracle.  I'm amazed to say that I am recalling having experienced my friends rally around me in an amazing way twice before: back surgery and the birth of our sweet Henry.

On Saturday, we had friends show up in the most special of ways.  At All Souls, there is a precious group of praying women.  Now, I have a lot of praying friends.  And I am eternally grateful for each prayer that has been uttered on our behalf.  I am amazed to say that we have heard from communities of believers all over the place praying for us.  Amazing.

But these women, these are the show-up-get-in-your-space kind of pray-ers.  They are the hold-your-hand, cry-with-you, anoint-your-head kind of pray-ers.  Andrew, Henry and I were beyond blessed when five of these amazing gals showed up at the hospital to sit with us, pray over us, bless us.  There are few things in this broken world as beautiful as a moment like that.

At All Souls we talk a lot about hospitality and food.  :)  We think those things go together.  Meeting a friend where they are with food is a heavenly act of service.  Once we got home, we had a precious friend create a meal list for us that was filled in moments.  The food is already pouring in and it is, not only a huge help, but a nourishment to our hearts.  We are LOVED.

My boss actually asked if she could create a meal list for me and when I told her that 1) it had been done and 2) was completely filled, she wouldn't take no for an answer and asked for the contact info for the organizer of the list.

PJ's Drawer
Then there are the friends who are willing to do whatever it takes to help out.  When I was in the hospital, I realized that I'm in that awkward, late-pregnancy stage where I've outgrown some maternity clothes but not others.  And when Andrew was trying to figure out what to bring me to the hospital, he didn't know which was which.  And I didn't know what to tell him.  My drawers and closet were a disorganized mess.

So what do real friends do?  They show up, sit me up on the bed, and go through all of my clothes, pulling out what doesn't fit, organizing what does.  Getting out postpartum clothes, just in case.  Even packing another emergency bag if we were to rush off to the hospital again (and yes, that includes refilling my travel toiletries with more shampoo & conditioner).

This life is so messy.  To have friends who come and sit in the mess with us is, well, that's Jesus, isn't it?  They are being Him for us, to us.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hospital Stay #2

Well, here we are again.  Back in the hospital.

First, let me say that if one has to be stuck in a hospital, this is the one to be in.  It's just a year and half old and the views!  Oh my, this morning we watched Charlottesville's famous hot air balloons flying over the mountains.  Gorgeous!

Last Friday, we had our first, and relatively quick, stay at the hospital due to some unexpected bleeding.  That is not something you want to see when you are 2 days shy of being 29 weeks pregnant!

After a series of tests and ultrasounds, all things seemed just fine.  I was totally stable and the baby was just perfect!  After a check up at the doctors on Wed, we decided I should go on modified bed rest (I can get up and round, just need to stay home) to be on the safe side.

Well, we had another episode on Thursday evening and went straight back to the hospital.

You know what's amazing?  Thursday was UVA's first Thursday night game in 6 years.  That means my PARENTS WERE IN TOWN!!  They, of course, have season tickets and had just driven in from Virginia Beach.  That, dear ones, is God's providence--He really does care about the details.  What a beautiful gift it was to call them and have them at our house in a matter of moments so Andrew and I could get to the hospital. 

And I have to give a HUGE shout out to our neighbors the Smyths.  I love that Henry adores them and their sweet boys.  We dropped him off there before my parents could arrive and within minutes of our departure, Kim had sent us a pic of the boys on the floor playing blocks.  I'll tell you, Andrew and I both cried when we saw that pic.  There is nothing scarier for parents than rushing around the house trying to get to the hospital, worrying you're freaking out your toddler.  Kim and the boys were a HUGE comfort.

So, what is going on?

Well, the good news is that it isn't any of the scary things that worry doctors most.  No placenta previa. No major placenta abruption.  No eminent signs of labor--no contractions, baby is moving like crazy, cervix is looking stable.  ALL good news.

The best guess is that there has been a very slight, teeny tiny tear in my placenta.  PLEASE do not Google that.  (I was warned by the docs!)  While that sounds scary and it really can be awful, what is going on here is so tiny that they can't see it at all on the ultrasound. So, we're talking super duper small.  It doesn't pose any eminent threat to me or the baby.  I'm just at a higher risk now of something more significant happening.  As such, we're taking it slow and monitoring the situation diligently.  It looks now like I'll be at the hospital until Sunday late or early Monday.

So we ask that you join us in praying that there are no more episodes of bleeding.  If nothing else happens, I'll likely need to take it easy the rest of the pregnancy at home and will carry this active boy to term.  Sunday, Nov. 18 I'll be 30 weeks.  So we're praying for at least another 4 or 5 weeks but would LOVE another 8 or 9.  That's our prayer!  Thank you for joining with us in asking our precious Savior for these things.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Audrey and I aren't huge into Halloween, and that's probably rubbing off on Henry some. He eventually got into the spirit, though. "One more house!" "More candy!"

I actually took some pictures with the real camera, which I will upload and post later.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Old Farm Day: Henry's 1st Pony Ride

Today is Old Farm Day in Palmyra, a little town close to Charlottesville.  It's an annual festival featuring antique farm equipment, antique cars and all sorts of animals.  We could have spent the entire day there, but were only there for the morning so Henry could get home for naptime. 

 Henry's favorite thing was getting to ride Rosey, the show horse.  The two of them got along quite well!

Check out Henry's first pony ride:


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Its a BOY!

This was the envelope we received after our ultrasound on Wednesday.  SEALED...with the gender of our baby tucked safely inside.  We wanted to find out this go 'round.  But wanted to do it in a fun way.

So we handed off the envelope to our dear friend, Miska Collier, who was charged with wrapping a box filled with balloons--pink balloons if it were a girl, blue for a boy.

My parents joined us; Andrew's parents Skyped in.  The video is absolutely adorable!  But, alas, it is too big for us to post at the moment.  We'll work on it. 

Henry has been quite confident for pretty much the entire pregnancy that he was having a baby brother.  So when we opened the box and he saw blue balloons, he wasn't nearly as hyper about the result as the rest of us.

 He was very proud of the idea of having a baby brother.  Here he is with his BLUE balloon!

We bought a celebration cake.  But we could only have them write "Its a" on the cake.  I bought pink and blue icing so we could write in the rest once we knew.

After the celebration came to an end, Andrew and Henry collapsed on the couch.  I couldn't help but snap a quick picture of them...imagining our second boy there, too.  My boys! All 3 of them!  :)

Fall in Va. Beach

While Andrew enjoyed a weekend with the boys, Henry and I spent a fantastic weekend in Va. Beach, where my parents spoiled me more than Henry.  I didn't lift a finger and even read an entire novel.  Amazing!

One highlight of the trip was our ride on the new light-rail train that now runs from Va. Beach to downtown Norfolk.  Henry talked about it every day for a week until we got there and was SUPER excited to finally get on the choo choo train.


Henry had this mega smile on his face the entire ride!

After our train ride and a much-needed nap, we enjoyed a visit from and dinner with my grandparents.  When Andrew and I were debriefing our weekends and he asked me, "What was your favorite part of the weekend?"  My answer, without hesitation, was watching Henry play baseball with my Grandaddy.  89 years between them.  Absolutely priceless!


Monday, September 10, 2012


Testing new blog app

Monday, July 23, 2012

Henry's First "Homerun"

Last week, the family made a quick trip to Virginia Beach to say goodbye to my dear great aunt, Violet.  We arrived in town early enough to have a quick game of "Baba pitch the ball."  I must actually admit that Momma was pitching the ball for a little while.  But Henry was hitting it so hard that I worried about him hitting my now-inhabited-with-a-teeny-person belly.  So I handed the pitching duty off to my dad.  Apparently, Henry can read his pitches pretty well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baseball. His first love?

I'm going to venture to say that beyond his momma and his daddy, baseball has become this kid's first love.  

For example, if he can't play baseball outside with dada, he'll ask us to turn on the Orioles.  Oh and by name.  It's not, "Watch baseball, mama."  It's more like, "Watch Orioles, mama."

After recognizing players like Adam Jones by name (That's Adam Jones!), he'll pick up his plastic yellow bat and watch the pitcher.  When the pitcher pitches, he takes his swing.

He also adores the baseball song.  Here he is giving it his best.

Speller? Already?

Yesterday morning was the first time in 3 weeks that Henry and I didn't have to drop off Andrew at 8am for class.  This also meant that we wouldn't be driving past the football, baseball, lacrosse and basketball stadiums. 

When we were getting Henry ready for the day, Andrew said, "Henry, I'm so excited about getting to take you to school today!"

I chimed in with, "Hon, do you think he'll miss the s-t-a-d-i-u-m-s?

At which point Henry shouted with enthusiasm, "STADIUMS?!"

Good heavens.  I'm not ready for this.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Long Time No Blog

Sincere apologies to the two or three of you out there in internetville who have been waiting for more Breen-fambily photos and anecdotes.  There is plenty to come, as soon as our lives slow down juuuuuust a smidge.  Suffice it to say that it's ironic that I'm currently getting my tail kicked by a class called Management and Planning while Audrey is getting hers kicked by the first trimester of pregnancy.  Clearly this was poor "planning" on our part (tongue firmly in cheek) and I ain't "managing" a daggum thing.

This video is for Grandpa, who sent Henry the sweetest gift.  We just couldn't wait for a holiday or special occasion for the unveiling.  Henry's expression is priceless.  Thanks, Grandpa!!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Henry apparently did not inherit Andrew's dislike for popsicles.  

Last night was gorgeous outside.  We ate an early dinner at a UVA picnic and found ourselves home with over an hour to spend outside together.  

After the three of us stretched out on our backs in the driveway, watching clouds and trying to find the first traces of the moon, mommy had the brilliant idea to share a popsicle.

I got to enjoy one teeny tiny bite.  

This guy ate the rest:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hammerin' Henry.

.667 ain't too shabby.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy 70th Anniversary

Today marks an astounding milestone in my family. My paternal grandparents are celebrating seventy years together.

This deserves great attention and reflection. And I will give it that in time. But now, while I'm in the office attending to a wide variety of matters, I just wanted to stop and wish them a very, very happy anniversary.

Mema & Grandaddy, we can't wait to be with you this weekend to celebrate YOU! Your love. Your family. Your legacy. Your four boys, their beautiful wives, your six grandchildren & their spouses and your 13 great grandchildren are evidence of the amazing life you have had together.

We love you so, so much.

(And just for the record, at the time of this photo Leigh & Glenn's precious twins Mary & Ainsley had not yet been added to this family tree.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter egg hunt at school

On Friday morning, Henry's school hosted an egg hunt for the kiddos and invited the mommies & daddies. Henry's hunting skills have GREATLY improved from last year, when he was much more interested in throwing them than collecting them.

Here's a quick look.

More Easter pics to come!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Game of the Season

We've wrapped up the men's basketball home games. (They're heading to Omaha for the big dance!).

So now we move on to the next sport: BASEBALL!

I cannot tell you how much I LOVE going to UVA baseball games. They are very kid friendly and relaxed. Friday, we headed to our first game. It was beautiful. And, we managed to score some great seats, just behind the backstop.

Henry was amazingly into it. He has been wearing his little baseball glove at home all of the time. And was so excited to actually see big boys catch the baseballs into their gloves.

Here are a few pics.

We only made it through the first 5 innings or so. Then it was night time.

But we will be back again soon! With the weather looking to be in the 70s this week, it might be very soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Two Snowy Days

It's been a very quiet winter up and down the east coast, really. But in the last two weeks, we've finally seen some snow.

Here are some pics from the couple of inches we got on February 19:

Our little cul-de-sac. (Henry actually called it a cul-de-sac today. Too sweet!)

Ready to take on the snow!

For my birthday, Andrew gave me a birdfeeder for our back deck. To say that I LOVE IT is a terrible understatement. I can watch these precious little creatures while I cook and even while we sit at the dinner table. Here are a couple of our favorite friends escaping the downpour.

And, perhaps, one of my favorite views: the woods in our backyard blanketed in snow. Just makes you want to go, "Ahhhhhhh."

Today, ALL of central Virginia was caught by surprise by an early morning snow storm. We easily got 4 inches or so at our place. But nearby towns got 8" and counting!

We managed to get into work this morning and I snapped a few pics just outside of the building where I work.

This is a view of the "Addie, Kesiah, Uncle Greg, Aunt Krista, Gwenny, Charlie" parking lot. This is where we tailgate and Henry has a very keen memory of our tailgates!

This is the view outside of my office window. I know. I'm very grateful and try not to take it for granted.

This is the courtyard between the two buildings at the ed school. I ran this through the app Instagram; that is why it looks so old timey.

When I got Henry home, and after his nap, we headed outside to make a snowman. Turns out, I am way out of practice. He called it a snowman anyway (he is so sweet to his momma). But he was very gracious, as it was really one mound with a small ball on top. He squealed with excitement anyway. JOY!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


As I've wrestled with this new issue of human trafficking that is heavy on my heart, I have been praying for clarity as to how to serve as a suburban Virginia abolitionist.

One of my very best friends, Kristen, shared with me the beautiful work being done by Compassion International.

I've been doing some reading on Compassion's website and I came across a blog post. A woman was talking about her sponsorship in light of the epidemic of human trafficking among the world's most impoverished. And she said that by sponsoring her little boy, she was keeping him from being trafficked.

He was learning to read and write, he was being well fed and clothed. As he learned more, he became more aware of the traps set by traffickers. With the help of his sponsor, he was also less of a drain on his family's very scarce resources.

That's when the author declared herself a preventative abolitionist.

How much do I LOVE that! A preventative abolitionist. THAT is something I could do!

In the mail today, we received our packet about Mikael. He is ours. Ours to sponsor. Ours to encourage, to pray for. Ours to introduce to Henry as his buddy in a far away place called Africa. Ours to write to and love.

If you, like me, get overwhelmed by the amount of need in our broken world, I invite you to pray for Mikael. Your prayers can make a difference is this one precious little life. He is 5 years old and lives with his grandparents, who--when they can be--are employed as farmers.

I love this quote that was in one of our All Souls worship guide a few weeks ago (from Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission):

While there are millions victimized every day, our work will always be about the one. To succumb to the enormity of the problem is to fail the one. And more is required of us.

Mikael is our one.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Funny Things Henry Says: Part 3

One more post about his funny sayings.

When I walked into Henry's room after he woke up from today's nap, he stood up with great enthusiasm and said, "Happy birthday to YOU!" (Melt my heart!!)

Then, after a period of hysterical giggles, jumping and crashing back into his crib, he pointed to a picture across the room and said, "Look! Firefighters big hat! BIG dump truck!"

Huh? Firefighters. I wonder if the angels have vocabulary lessons during his dreams.

Seriously. I don't even call them firefighters.

He LOVES to count. He counts everything. He especially likes to count to the number 11. He's a pro from 1-11. After that, the numbers get a little...creative.

He sings his ABCs constantly. Other than "double x" instead of W X , he's getting pretty close to having them right.

And he's getting pretty close on his colors. He knows them all and loves to declare what colors are, he hasn't always picked the right one.

He's kind of freakishly good at shapes.

Finally, he pays amazing attention to books that we read and he can now complete the sentences in many of them.

Funny Things Henry Says: Part 2

This is way, way, way overdue! Henry basically says everything. He tells us about his day, what things they ate and what they did (including if he got in trouble by pushing someone). He even tells us how he feels and knows if he's happy it means that he is NOT sad.

Just yesterday morning, I walked into his room and he said, "Dada!" I said, "Well, dada's still sleeping." After thinking about it, Henry said in a very assuring voice, "Um, dada coming." As if to say, don't worry mama, he'll be here soon!

Here are some of our favorite things he says.

When he wants us to follow him, he grabs our finger and says, "Mon on, dada!" for "Come on, dada!"

He now uses the word, "um". "Henry, how was your day?" "Ummm…good."

He knows that "and" is some sort of conjunction, using it a tad incorrectly. "Momma and cereal and milk and up der (pouting to the counter)."

For those who may not know, we have major construction happening in the back yard. They're putting in a new sewer line. This means, H is a very spoiled boy. We hear multiple times a day, "I see TRACTORS!!!!"

When I ask him what he's thankful for during prayer times, he almost always includes "Choo choo train!"

He's very picky now about what he wears. His favorites are: big-truck shirt, tractor shirt, race car shirt, Winney Poo shirt, stripes!

He now can climb up into the car seat in the small car all by himself. It is awesome. Anything he does without help or with a tad bit of assistance, he declares, "All by self!"

"Colors, momma, dada!" is his way of asking us to color with him.

"Dadaschlap" or "Mamaschlap." That's when he wants to climb up into our lap when we're coloring.

He has gotten into videos a little bit. So he often asks (but doesn't always get) to "watch choo choo train show!" or "watch car show!"

And, no matter what you do, don't ask him the question, "This one?" Because no matter which one you pick out from the stack (it could be a plate he's pointing to, a video he's pointing to, a shirt he's pointing to) it will not be the right one. Then, the two of you will get into this hysterical (and often, frustrating) game of:
"This one?" "No. This one!" "This one?" "No. This one!"

He loves to play in the basement: "Downsters, momma!" "Downsters, dada!"

"Hi momma!" "Hi dada!"

"Look, dada!" "Look, mama!"

When he wants me to carry him upstairs, he says what he has always heard me say. He'll look up to me and say, "Mama carry you!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Andrew and I have become huge fans of a new blog. The writer's story is amazing...full of redemption. And her writing is both soul inspiring and hysterical.

My parents came to visit a couple of weeks ago and after we put Henry to bed, I read a few of her posts out loud. At one moment my mom and I were doubled over in tears laughing so hard I couldn't finish reading.

But one post has changed me in a beautiful way. I work in education and find myself thinking about the best schools for Henry and the best teachers and blah, blah, blah. This post was the perspective shift I needed in a desperate way.

Please grab some tissues before reading.

I pray that is my wish for my precious Henry.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning. While we were shortly going to be hosting several friends for Christmas brunch, we managed to have a beautifully quite and wistful Christmas morning. Henry, with all of his birthday practice, had gotten pretty good at opening gifts.

Along with a new train table, Henry received a beautiful hand-carved train.

Henry also received a beautiful Christmas sweater and a fabulous felt sandwich-making kit (funny video of that to come).

Henry is, officially, totally in to Thomas! (Thanks, in part, to a surprise gift from the Dechary's). Mom and Dad got suckerpunched at Toys R Us when this was on the end of an aisle. Turns out, it is a pretty fabulous long as Zipporah isn't curled up in it. That freaks him out (as it should).

Happy Birthday, Henry!

I'm sorry to say that we have no photos of Henry's actual birthday gathering ON his birthday. Our friends, Mike & Barb and the Stricklands came over to celebrate. Henry was very excited to see his buddy Brendan.

We also continued the celebration the Saturday following his big day with the Dodson clan. Here we all are. What a crew!

Kesiah Rose is always so helpful in keeping all of the little ones out of harm's way.

Sweet Gwenny.

And our dear Addie. She is so grown up!

Henry enjoyed his birthday cake a little less this year than last.

Here are a couple of pics of Henry opening gifts the morning of the big day:

Henry LOVES his teeball set! Because its winter, we mostly play in the garage.

And THE firetruck. The H man just adores this one (courtesy of Grampa!).