the Bean


In the spring of 2011, I went into labor with my first born. I paced back and forth as I waited to see what was going to happen that evening because a crackpot predicted the end of the world. Once Fox News confirmed that nothing catastrophic was happening I headed to the hospital. Knowing my stubborn and defiant girl now, it’s no surprise that labor was awful, the epidural didn’t work, and she forced me to push for over two hours because she refused to come out. She was a difficult infant, crying, forcing us to play vacuum cleaner noise for the entire time she slept, while in a swing on high speed, swaddled, with a pacifier. It was a whole thing.

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When she finally came out of her terrifying infant period, she was a wickedly smart, fast developing spunky girl. She talked super early, even telling me “no” very dramatically before her first birthday. She began fighting me on clothes and hair when she was 18 months old.

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However, in addition to all of that stubborn sass, Jillian is a brilliantly funny and sweet girl. She is incredibly observant, and insightful, way ahead of her time. I adore and admire her. When we’re in stores she says hello to everyone she sees, takes charge of the room, has a sense of confidence that I wish had, and you are never left wondering where you stand with her, she’ll tell you, and loudly. Girlfriend has charisma and it’s contagious.


The look says it all.

We always say that she’s an old soul, and her brother came out new with tags on. 🙂 She is wise beyond her years, understands sarcasm, has an out of this world vocabulary and she is incredibly observant, noticing the finest details, in terms of things and people. She is perceptive and nothing gets past her. Nothing. I can not wait to see what God has in store for her.




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Though Mark’s diagnosis presents some obvious challenges, I pray that it instill compassion, patience, and grace in our daughter, who by all accounts, has demonstrated that she has a fierce, stubborn, intensely emotional personality. I think the combination of her inborn sass and the circumstance of having a little brother with special needs, will make her a magnificent advocate for the underdog. At least that’s how I hope she turns out.

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From day one, people have asked me how Jillian likes having a baby brother. By all accounts, she has pretty much ignored him but then every once in awhile she will surprise me. I can see this happening in small ways like when she sees her brother start to spin and she goes to retrieve his vibrating star for him to bite on, or in larger ways like when she told me that she had to be Marky’s words because he has none. I love her soul.

Having a child who commands the attention of the household and another who could be easily forgotten is a daily challenge. I sit with Mark to work on a simple gesture game to elicit communication and Jillian will become instantly jealous demanding that I pay attention to her. If it’s a particularly turbulent evening, she will yell, he will then cry not knowing why someone’s yelling, and then I’m the one who wants to retreat to the corner of the room and avoid eye contact.