Family of 4

Family of 4

Friday, July 15, 2016 changes....

Whoa, now!  Hello July!  I think the saying is for March, but this month came in like a LION!  There are SO many things happening in our little family.  I've really been struggling with anxiety and trying so desperately to place my everything in the hands of the only one who can calm the storm in my heart.

We sold our house.  Our little 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home.  Our 1st home that we purchased just a year after being married.  It has been such a lovely little place to grow and change.  We made some of the best memories here.  We've gotten to know wonderful neighbors, had dinners with friends and family members around our table, baked lots of Christmas goodies, adopted a puppy, had major growing pains and heartaches, and some of the greatest joys our hearts have ever known.  We brought our babies home from the hospital to this house.  We tore down wallpaper, changed out light fixtures, painted EVERY room, scraped paint from a bathroom floor, and made it ours.  We've loved living in this house.  But now, we're packing it up in boxes and moving on.

We bought a new house.  James's office will be moving within the next year and we are attempting to cut down on his commute.  Our new house is slightly bigger and in a different town.  We hope to still be close enough to stay involved with our church and our community here.  Embrace Grace will be starting back up in August and I'm terribly excited about what plans the Lord has for us and those he loves so dearly.

I didn't know how much buying and selling a house entailed.  The selling part wasn't too bad... it happened in approximately 3 days and would have gone faster if we'd allowed it to.  We just had an open house, accepted offers, and then picked one.  The finding a new house was a little more tricky.  It seems we are in a sellers market and not so much a buyers market.  All of the properties we looked at went incredibly fast!  We settled on a smaller lot in a neighborhood with a community pool, walking trails, and playgrounds.  James is excited to mow less grass and I'm excited that the kitchen has SSSSOOOO many cabinets!  I can't wait for the sippy cups to not fall out on my head every time I open the door.  It's 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and lots of room to make new memories.

We celebrated 9 years of marriage yesterday!  How in the world can that be true?  Am I old enough to have been married for 9 years?  Don't answer that... it was a rhetorical question.  That picture of me on our bedroom wall in the white dress was taken long enough ago that sometimes I don't recognize myself.  Not only are there fine lines beginning to appear around my eyes and other bodily changes I won't go into details about,  but my heart condition has certainly changed as well.  I'm not talking about a disorder or disease. I'm simply referring to the journey that God has carefully orchestrated for us to walk together as we begin to see him more clearly and though incredibly painful at times I am ever grateful for the perspective gained.

The last change I'll mention, if had been written about in chronological order would have come first in this list of events and I suppose technically it wasn't a July event, but actually happened sometime around the end of May...

We went to the doctor today and though I've held my breath, hoping and praying and worrying and trying not to worry, baby #3 is due to arrive mid February.  We saw the sweetest little heartbeat and wiggly little arms via ultrasound today and tears of joy streamed from my eyes.  The sweetest of surprises and the most wonderful of blessings comes in the form of a baby.  I guess that bigger house was just in time.

Baby "shrimp" due to arrive Feb. 16, 2017- Heartbeat of 180 

If you ask our oldest about any of the changes listed above he may say something like this (try to read it in your best "Andy" voice adding in some extra syllables and with slight mispronunciation) :
We still live in an old house right now, but we are getting a new house.  I wanted it to be a black house, but momma said I'd have to wait until I got big to get my own black house, so my new room has a black wall in it.  My new house is going to have a pool so you can come swim with me.  Momma and daddy had an anniversary, whatever that means.  Momma says it's sort of like a birthday, but it's when she and daddy got married.  My birthday is going to be an ocean party with a shark cake.  My momma has a baby in her belly and I think I've figured out that it is going to be a boy.  I need a baby brother because I already have a baby sister.  I've always wanted a baby brother.  Momma and daddy say we won't know if the baby is a boy or a girl for a little while still and that God is the one that gets to choose. My new baby doesn't have a name yet, but we call it baby shrimp.  I think that's a funny name.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Egg Countdown... An Easter Tradition

Well, I posted a little bit about our Easter countdown yesterday, but thought some of you might like to make your own and thought it would be good to share a few more details.

We used The Jesus Storybook Bible as a continuation of our Jesse Tree Advent calendar that we use at Christmas. There are a total of 16 stories from the birth of Christ (where we stopped at Christmas) to the resurrection of Christ.  So, naturally, I glued 16 Easter eggs in the bottom of a basket and then filled each egg with some little piece of the stories they represented.

Here's my list:

1.  "Heaven Breaks Through" - the story about John the Baptist
     - inside our egg: plastic grasshopper (from a set of toy bugs that we already had)

2.  "Let's Go!" - This story starts off with Jesus in the desert and finishes with Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, James, and John out of their boats to be "fishers of men"
     - inside our egg: tiny fishing net with fish inside (ordered from a dollhouse supply company and then I glued some paper fish inside)

3.  "A Little Girl and a Poor Frail Lady" - The story of Jarius's daughter and the lady that touched Jesus's clothes for healing, from Luke 8
     - inside our egg:  Jesus's robe/clothes (I made these out of felt and hot glue)

4.  "How to Pray" - about the Lord's prayer
     - inside our egg:  a little praying child (ordered from a dollhouse supply company)

5.  "The Singer" - The Sermon on the Mount
     - inside our egg:  a fabric flower and a little blue bird (The flower was a little random tidbit we had lying around and the bird is a little glass bead from my jewelry making days, it was ordered from oriental trading long, long ago)

6.  "The Captain of the Storm" - Jesus calms the storm
     - inside our egg:  a little paper fishing boat  (a sticker bought from Michael's because I couldn't find anything else;  I glued it onto a piece of felt in hopes that it will hold up a little longer)

7.  "Filled Full!" - Feeding the 5,000
     - inside our egg:  a little fishing basket (a sticker that came with the sticker fishing boat mentioned above), two small glass bead fish (from my jewelry making days), and five various pieces of bread ( 2 crescent rolls, a donut, and 2 dinner rolls that came in a set of dollhouse items from Michael's; it was cheaper than ordering online and they were a good size)

8.  "Treasure Hunt!" - the parable of the hidden treasure
     - inside our egg:  a tiny treasure chest (ordered from a dollhouse supply company; this was a bit too small for my taste, but I wasn't about to send it back to the company... more about why below)

9.  "The Friend of Little Children" - Jesus and the children, found in Matthew 18 & 19
     - inside our egg:  a little plastic child (ordered from a dollhouse supply company)

10.  "The Man Who Didn't Have Any Friends (None)" - The story of Zacchaeus
     - inside our egg: a little bottle brush tree (ordered from a dollhouse supply company; I'm sure you can imagine the difficulty of finding a tiny Sycamore tree)

11.  "Running Away" - the parable of the prodigal son
     - inside our egg:  a small pig (purchased from Michael's in the miniatures section)

12.  "Washed With Tears" - a sinful woman anoints Jesus
     - inside our egg: a tiny perfume bottle (purchased from a dollhouse supply company)

13.  "The Servant King" - the last supper
     - inside our egg: a tiny bowl with a tiny bar of soap and a tiny wash cloth (purchased from a dollhouse supply company)

14.  "A Dark Night in the Garden" - the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus is arrested
     - inside our egg: a tiny pair of handcuffs (ordered from a dollhouse supply company)

15.  "The Sun Stops Shining" - the crucifixion
     - inside our egg: a tiny cross (ordered from a dollhouse supply company)

16.  "God's Wonderful Surprise" - the resurrection
     - inside our egg: nothing (the tomb was empty too!)

I glued some of the smallest items onto a piece of felt as to not lose or swallow them... 

I mentioned above that many things were ordered from a dollhouse supply company.  I would like to add that we DID NOT have a good experience with  We had to beg to get the things that we ordered... we paid at the time of order and then it took a couple of phone calls and two weeks just for it to ship.  We paid for priority shipping, which was not done... it's a very long frustrating story, but I would recommend using a different company for sure.  No apologies or compensation were given, the owner lied to my husband about a shipping date over the phone, and there were a LOT of excuses for the problems.  Anyway... it was the first that popped up when I googled, so just to spare you the trouble.  James is making a report to the BBB... it was that yucky.

I hope you enjoy the eggs if you decide to do them next year.  I truly hope this is something we can make a tradition and do each year with our children and then our grandchildren if we are so fortunate.  

Happy Easter!  

The Labor Continues....

I wrote this quite a while back, but never published it.  I feel like now is the time... today, as yesterday I was reminded that I have victory here too.

My heart aches today.  As I sit in my living room in such comfort and surrounded by things that make my life easier, all I can think is... why isn't it easier?  I've been struggling with feelings of inadequacy. Feeling like no matter what I do I will never live up to the standards I've set for myself as a momma. I feel so very responsible for the actions of my children.

My little mister has been having a hard time at Mother's Day Out.  Last Thursday I got the dreaded phone call... We need help, he's having a terrible day, time out isn't working.  I know, believe me.  I am struggling to know what is best for him.  Do I continue to send him to school (which by the way, he loves to go... still gets so excited to be there... and when he hasn't been for a while asks when he can go again) only to be in time out all day long because he cannot control himself -OR- do I keep him at home where sometimes he's better than that, but still often cannot control himself?  He's headstrong, loud, demanding, attention seeking, loud, loving, affectionate, wants to please, loud, and impulsive.  Did I mention that he's loud? To top it all off he's extroverted and I.... well, if you are reading this, you probably know that I am quite the opposite of extroverted.  I'm mostly quiet, sometimes timid and trying to learn to be bold, pretty observant, uber sensitive (like I cry at the drop of a hat), a recovering sometimes still struggling perfectionist, and have a difficult time when people yell at me a lot (hence why loudness is a problem.)  I too can be headstrong, demanding, attention seeking, and impulsive... I wonder where he gets those things?   While I know these characteristics can serve you well in the right situation, how do I help my three year old channel them so that I don't go insane?

I know I am not alone.... I know this momma job is the hardest.  I know I prayed and begged and prayed for it to happen to me... I waited and longed for that precious baby to grow inside my belly and then to be able to welcome him into the world.  It is and still can be so glorious.  I expected it to be hard, I did.  I think I just didn't know what that meant.  I definitely thought I knew how hard it would be.  And I'm not wishing to undo it all... I would never give them back.  God knows it would be my end if I had to.

Ann Voskamp says, "a mother's labor and delivery never ends, and you never stop having to remember to breathe." I think she must be very right, indeed.  Everyday I feel the figurative labor pains of my heart trying to deliver my baby into the hands of the Lord, but I hold tight with such a strong grip because it brings fear and anxiety to let go.  I want so badly to be able to do it "all by myself."  That is the expectation I have placed on my own head.  If my days are not filled with rays of sunshine and happy giggles and compliant children, then I have failed... I am not a good momma.   My children suffer at my hands because I have not given them to the Lord.

P.S.  Behavior at school has improved tremendously... I am so thankful!  Not just for the grown-ups... the teachers that so lovingly care for him while I am not there and for his momma and daddy who were terribly discouraged, but also for the boy.  I can only imagine that he himself may have been the most discouraged of all.  His little boy self is much more pleasant whenever he's had a good day, he knows it, and is proud of the choices that he was able to make.  :)

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Oh, my friends... What a glorious day that Easter represents.  I am so tired right now, but my heart is so full.  We had muffins with our church family, there were two baptisms during our Easter service, drove to my aunt's house for lunch with family, watched our children hunt eggs, drove home, ate dinner, gave baths, and put tired babies to bed.  It was a big day... but something happened to me this morning that I did not expect.  Let me go back a little bit, so you'll understand better....

You see, a couple of years ago James and I decided to start a Christmas tradition around Advent.  You can read about it here.  Last year I dreamed about doing something similar with Easter, but couldn't figure out just how I wanted to do it.  So, this year, I got myself moving early and came up with a plan.  Sort of as a continuation of our Jesse Tree activities, we kept with the Jesus Storybook Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  There are 16 stories from where we left off at Christmas (we ended with the birth of Jesus) until the resurrection of Jesus.  So, I took 16 plastic eggs, glued them in a basket with some easter grass and put a little piece of each story in the eggs.  On March 12th, we started reading 1 story each night at bedtime and opening the matching egg....  You guys, my 3 year old son knows every story mentioned in the Jesus Storybook Bible.  He was so intrigued by this!! He has always loved reading with us, but his focus was pretty much amazing.  If you know my Andy, you might understand why this sitting still time was a miracle in its self.

All eggs, 1-16 prepped and ready to go!

We don't do Easter baskets from the bunny at my house... we just don't really feel like it is necessary.  Jesus is really all that we need, so we like to keep it simpler.  ( I know... some people think that's just crazy and I could take the time to tell you why we don't do Santa either, but it's a whole different story... )

So, last night, before bed, we ready story #15... "The Sun Stops Shining."  If you are familiar with The Jesus Storybook Bible, then you know this is the story of Jesus dying on the cross.  After we read, we made resurrection cookies.  It was a last minute addition to the evening, but lots of fun and super easy.  

Resurrection Cookies
To be made the night before Easter Sunday
You will need:
1cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
A pinch salt
1cup sugar
Zipper bag
Wooden spoon

1. Preheat oven to 300
2. Place pecans in zipper bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him. Read John 19:1-3.
3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
6. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1c. sugar Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
7. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
8. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.
9. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt.27:65-66.
10. Time for bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
11. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.

Just like #10 says, Andy was a little sad that we ended the night without a cookie... That Jesus was sealed in the tomb.  We explained that when he woke up in the morning that we would check on the cookies, open our last egg, and read our last story.

But this morning, after our resurrection cookie breakfast, we read.... and this is when IT happened.  You see, my sweet husband has been reading a lot this week because I've had a cold that has zapped my voice and made my throat sore.  He was reading the story titled "God's Wonderful Surprise" to our intently listening three year old son (who was not at all bothered that the 16th egg was empty) and our very wiggly one year old daughter (who was trying to destroy our Easter egg count down) and he got choked up.  Yes, that amazing man that I married... the one that was crafted, hand picked, and divinely appointed to be the father of my children... he taught me something today, as he does so many times each day.  He showed his heart for Jesus through his tears over a version of the Bible written for children.  The crack in his voice surprised me.  The tears in his eyes overwhelmed my spirit... in the best way.  He showed me, without one word directed at me, that maybe, in all my "keeping it focused on Jesus" hoopla that I'd lost just a little bit of the significance of this moment.  That maybe in my attempt to keep it simple and real, that I left my Jesus in the tomb.  But folks, He is not there!!  In so many words, I looked for him there this morning, but the angel spoke to me and asked, "What are you doing here?  This is a tomb and tombs are for dead people."  My Jesus wasn't there... He has overcome the grave and I shouldn't search for Him there anymore!  Praise the Lord!  
"'What are you doing here?  This is a tomb and tombs are for dead people.'  The women couldn't speak.  'Jesus isn't dead anymore!' he said.  'He's alive again!'  And their hearts leapt.  And then the angel laughed with such gladness that they felt, for a moment, as if they had woken from a nightmare."
All the eggs opened.  

So many times, with all my good intentions and good behavior, this is exactly what I do... I leave my Jesus in the tomb.  Folks, I don't know about you, but life isn't worth fighting through if Jesus didn't get up and walk out of that grave.  There's no victory in that.  Our pastor said this morning, that EVERYTHING hinges on that truth.  Now, I have to learn how to live like that everyday.  I'm so incredibly thankful for the lesson today.   The reminder not to leave Him behind.  THIS Jesus is the one I want to live for.  THIS Jesus is the one that claimed victory over death and made it so that I too can LIVE victoriously.  


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Jesus, The friend of little children... and mommas

So, I have about five thousand four hundred and seventy-seven things rolling around in my head right now... You see, My James has been out of town for a couple of days and my kiddos decided that this would be a good time to be sick.  So, in true mommy fashion.... I'm TIRED.  I'm not just a little fatigued or even just the usual mommy tired, but truly, undeniably, burnt out... maybe crispy (No, not a crunchy momma... I mean crispy like the pizza I burnt tonight for dinner).

We had a good couple of days.  My Andy, though sick - and I really and truly hate that - was a bit more subdued than usual.  If you know my Andy, you know usual is wild with a capital "W."  And my sweet Lillian, well she's just super snotty and a little emotional about it. So, I was soaking in the sickie snuggles and being the good patient momma I'm supposed to be.  But then, just when my patience is slightly thinner and I really am getting sleepy because 1.) I don't rest well when James is gone & 2.) I don't rest well when my babies are sick... My Andy decided it was time to get his energy and evidently his contrariness back today.  TODAY.  Not tomorrow when James will be here to share the load, but TODAY.  And I tell you friends, there are times that I truly don't know how to do this parenting thing.

I said, "Yes" & he'd say, "no." I'd say, "be gentle" & then he's hitting his baby sister with a truck.  I'd say, "It's time to start cleaning up" and sure enough I turn around to more toys out than before.  It was just one of those days.  I needed the agreeable, snuggly, sweet boy today and what I got was the high-energy, hard-headed, not-listening-to-a-word-his-momma-said boy instead.  I don't know what to do on days like today.  Time-out, spankings, taking toys away... that's what I feel like I do all day long to no avail... I feel as though I'm losing every battle and it drains every ounce of hope that I am raising up a boy to love the Lord and His people.

In a world where hopelessness is the norm and love is scarcely given without condition, I want our home to be different.  I don't want my boy to think he has to be good to be loved and I don't want him to think there is no hope for him.  So, how do you turn the feeling of failure, as a parent, into hope and erase the lies that are so carefully planted in your heart by the enemy?  How do you remember that the war is already won when you're losing the battles?  Or that His divine plan is to prosper my family and my children and not to harm them?

Today I not only lost battles, but I lost my composure.  Yes, at around 6 o'clock this evening my son was yelling and crying from time-out on the couch and I too was crying.  Not in the privacy of my room or in a corner where he could not see, but right there in front of him I cried big tears from my broken heart.  Broken not because I expect him to be perfect, but because I want so badly to show him my love and he understand that it's not about getting everything he wants.  Sometimes it is shown through a firm hand.... or the word "no."  And when he cries from those big blue eyes it's as if they're as deep as the ocean and so is his sorrow.

While my tears were falling, I prayed for God to please help me.  Not help me be patient.  Not help with my words.  Not help me with discipline.  Just, "Help Me!"  It was a cry of desperation to make this better.  Somehow, someway, we could not end our day in this way.
And a still, small voice said, "Read him My word.  Read him the Bible."
So I prayed again.  "What do I read?" And He showed me-  "[Jesus,] The Friend of Little Children."
(From Matthew 18, 19, Mark 10, Luke 18)  We read it out of The Jesus Storybook Bible.  Here are Sally Lloyd-Jones's beautiful words:

"Jesus' friends were arguing.  Who was the most important helper in God's kingdom?  They wanted to know.
"I am!" James said.
"No, you're not!" said Peter. "I am!"
"Nonsense," Matthew said.  "I'm the cleverest!"
"No, you're not!"
"Yes, I am!"
"Yes!" "No!" "Am too!"
This silliness went on and on like that for some time.  You see, Jesus' friends had started thinking they had to do something to make themselves special to Jesus - that if they were the cleverest or the nicest or something, Jesus would like them the best.
But they had forgotten something.  Something God had been teaching his people all through the years: that no matter how clever you are, or how good you are, or how rich you are, or how nice you are, or how important you are - none of it makes any difference.  Because God's love is a gift and, as anyone will tell you, the whole thing about a gift is, it's free.  All you have to do is reach out your hands and take it.
So while Jesus' friends were arguing, some people who knew all about getting gifts - in fact, you might say they were gift-experts - had come to see Jesus.  Who were they?  They were little children.
Jesus' helpers tried to send them away.  "Jesus doesn't have time for you!" they said.  "He's too tired."
But they were wrong.  Jesus always had time for children.
"Don't ever send them away!" Jesus said.  "Bring the little ones to me."
Now, if you had been there, what do you think - would you have had to line up quietly to see Jesus?  Do you think Jesus would have asked you how good you'd been before he'd give you a hug?  Would you have had to be on your best behavior?  And get dressed up?  And not speak until spoken to?
Or ... would you have done just what these children did - run straight up to Jesus and let him pick you up in his arms and swing you and kiss you and hug you and then sit you on his lap and listen to your stories and your chats?
You see, children loved Jesus, and they knew they didn't need to do anything special for Jesus to love them.  All they needed to do was to run into his arms.  And so that's just what they did.
Well, after all the laughing and games, Jesus turned to his helpers and said, "No matter how big you grow, never grow up so much that you lose your child's heart: full of trust in God.  Be like these children.  They are the most important in my kingdom."

Ring around the rosey... can't you see him?  Loving them in their love language? Playing with them? Beautiful. 

Isn't that beautifully written?  It's such a sweet echo of God's word.  Now, Andy and I talked all the way through the story... the teacher in me, I suppose.  We talk about some of the words... vocabulary can still be hard.  And we talk about the illustrations... what do the people's faces say and such.  We talked about the title - "The friend of little children."  I asked Andy who little children were and he had to inform me that he was not a little children he was a BIG BOY... so we changed the title:  "The friend of Big Boys."  And we talked about presents and acted out taking a gift from someone... we reached out our hands and took them back to our chests.  And I of course asked him if he knew that Jesus loved him... and he argumentatively stated that "Jesus not love him."  (You see this is a game he plays with the people that tell him they love him most often.  I'll say, "Andy, do you know I love you?" and he'll reply, "You not love me.  Daddy love me." or "Papa love me." etc.)  Anyway, my point is, I tried.  I really tried.  I have no idea if that story in scripture made any impact on his little heart at all...  We talked about how you don't have to be good or have a lot of money or be strong or be anything special to have God's love.... or momma's love.  I told him that it makes me sad when he's not nice or he decides to hit or scream, but I still love him... no. matter. what.  (This is a whole other soap box to stand on... one of the 5,477 things I mentioned... but it hurts my heart when I see Christian families put conditions on the love for their children without saying that's what they're doing... disowning for lifestyle choices or addictions or whatever... what scars must be left.)

After we read, I prayed for God's word to penetrate the heart of my little boy.  And no matter if he remembers any of it tomorrow or if tomorrow is better than today, I'll still love him and I'll fight to share God's truth instead of the enemy's lies in our home.  While there are probably things in that story he will not understand for many years to come, I know I won one battle today.  I listened to my God and He instilled peace in my hurting momma heart.  He whispered in my ear that it was okay and He saw my efforts, though not perfect.  He assured me that the war has already been won. Victory is mine because I rest in Him and he in me.  I am so thankful for His all consuming grace.

Now I'll leave you with a version of Psalm 91 spoken to me by a dear friend and respected co-momma...

"My family dwells in the shelter of the Most High and we will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  My family will say of the Lord, 'He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust.'  Surely he will save us from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover my family with his feathers, and under his wings we will find refuge; his faithfulness will be our shield and rampart.  My family will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at our side, ten thousand may fall at our right hand, but it will not come near us.  We will only observe with our eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If my family makes the Most High our dwelling - even the Lord, who is our refuge - then no harm will befall us, no disaster will come near our home.  For he will command his angels concerning us to guard us in all of our ways; they will lift my family up in their hands, so that we will not strike our feet against a stone.  We will tread upon the lion and the cobra; we will trample the great lion and the serpent.
'Because they love me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue them; I will protect them, for they acknowledge my name.  They will call upon me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will deliver them and honor them.  With long life I will satisfy them and show them my salvation.'"

Mommas and daddies, this is kingdom work... holy work... and victory is already ours.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Welcome, Lillian!

So, I've pretty much fallen off of the blogging train, there's nothing like kids to make you quit doing all sorts of useful things (dishes, cleaning house, showering, blogging, etc...).  I haven't written anything since we found out we were expecting and now she's here and three months old!  It's strange how time passes so quickly when you have children.  You blink and another month has passed.  I feel as if we were just here with little man and now here we are with baby girl.  Somehow I turned thirty and had two kids over night.  It's been quite the adventure since around August....  seems so long ago.

In August, Andy's health started to scare us a bit.  He kept getting these nasty colds and every single time they'd go straight to his chest and cause some serious breathing issues.  After three colds, three rounds of steroids, and lots of breathing treatments, we went for Andy's "well" visit which was not so well and he was loosely diagnosed with asthma.  So, we started a preventative breathing treatment twice daily to help his fight off the yuck.  Not long after, maybe a week later, Andy ended up in the hospital with low oxygen and very labored breathing.... this wasn't the greatest timing.  You see, that was September 26th... a Friday.  On September 29th, I was scheduled to be induced with Miss Lillian.  I couldn't believe this could be happening... not to mention it was my 30th birthday weekend... (seeing your baby hooked up to oxygen and tied in a hospital bed for three days might be the worst birthday present ever).

Andy was having a hard time keeping food down at first, so he was eating popsicles.  On our second day he had to have a shot and I asked if he could have a popsicle afterwards... when asked if he wanted red or purple he said, "Red AND purple!" So, here he is with both.  

So, we waited for Andy to get better... spent three nights in the hospital... and had chocolate birthday cake in the hospital.  I tried to share with all the nurses and technicians, but not one person ate my Julia's Birthday cake.  It made me rather sad.  It was okay though... more for me.  I had gestational diabetes this go around and that chocolate cake may have been the best thing I'd ever put into my mouth!  Anyway, Saturday, after we found out that Andy may be there for a while, I called my doctor and she moved my induction to Tuesday.  Well, then I started getting sick.... induction moved again to Thursday.  Andy was discharged Monday and we spent the night in our own beds.  It was glorious. After sleeping on a hospital couch or recliner for three nights, my very pregnant body was so happy to be on my soft mattress.  Tuesday, we started our day as normal.  Took it easy around the house. Around lunch time we were all still in our pjs and getting ready for lunch.  Andy and James were already eating and I went into the kitchen to fix something for myself... water broke.  WATER BROKE!  I was not in labor, but I told James... "I think my water just broke."  He sort of had a panic moment (got to go right now!) but after I got him calmed down I decided to take a shower. We slowly got ourselves ready to go to the hospital.  We were going to have a baby.  

One last picture before heading to the hospital.

We made it to the hospital late that afternoon and I started walking the halls trying to get the contractions to start.  Some progress was made, but not enough. Several laps, a couple of popsicles, and a movie later, they started the pitocin.  A small dose at first and the contractions started... but still not enough progress.  My LD Nurse, Quita upped the dosage about every hour until things started moving along.  Finally, I was pretty uncomfortable and I could tell the contractions were getting more intense and I asked for an epidural... sadly, I transitioned to a 9 while getting the epidural.  It was a completely different experience than when I had Andy.  I was terribly shocked at how slow they were with the epidural this time.  It seemed like it took forever!  Maybe I was just in a lot of pain and that took forever.  I did better managing my breathing and staying relaxed this time around.  Quita and James were the best coaches.  Couldn't have done it without them.  We waited for the doctor for a few minutes and then it was time to push! 

Me and my popsicle.  
For those of you that know me well, and have for a while you are probably shocked that I could get through any of this without fainting.... but I watched myself give birth... It was so amazing.  One good push and here she was.  :)  AMAZING!

My beautiful baby girl was born September 30th at 11:39pm weighing in at 7lbs 13oz and 20 inches long.

That's one proud daddy right there.

There's my itty bitty girl.

After delivery, Lillian's blood sugar was very low so they whisked her away for a few minutes to give her some formula and monitor her.  Evidently, that is common with gestational diabetes.  During that hour away from me, I ate a cheeseburger.  Yep, at about 1:00 am I was eating a cheeseburger and fries.  It never tasted better.  My girl came back and we headed to our regular room.  

A full couple of days ahead of us, I was thankful for a little rest.  We had lots of visitors at the hospital and all of the usual newborn screening tests with a couple of extra ones.  Finally, a couple of days in we were able to go home.  We were greeted by the sweetest Big Brother and my parents.  

Uncle Thomas
Aunt Coco
Cousin Hannah, Aunt T, and Cousin Emily
Uncle Chad
Big brother Andy seeing his baby sister in the nursery for the first time.

Holding baby sister for the first time.
Andy playing with his big brother gift.
An excited Nita, Papa Willie, and Anderson welcoming baby Lillian home.
Greetings, little one! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Adventures of Super Andy

Well, I've once again been hanging on to a secret.... one that has given me joy and excitement mixed with much worry and anxiety....

That's right, friends.... you can have ALL of those emotions at once.  (Just ask my husband about the roller coaster he lives with.)

On January 31st, we welcomed with great joy the news of a new baby!  Our sweet boy has never been "an only child" in my heart, but now if things go as planned, one month after he turns two years old, somewhere around the October 5th mark, our little hero will be getting a sidekick.

I'm twelve weeks along today and boy can I tell you that it is true what they say!  Every pregnancy is different.  I must have been terribly spoiled by my Anderson.  He was such a nice little thing not making his momma so sick.  This time around has been a totally different ball game.  I am pretty sure I've already endured every known pregnancy symptom- nothing like a little reassurance that things are going well.

Anyway, if I didn't let the cat out of the bag, my growing tummy would soon spill the beans.  I've been wearing maternity pants for a few weeks out of pure comfort... buttons and such don't feel so good.  But soon, it will be out of pure necessity.

Please, join us in praying for peanut number two and all of the transitions to come.  Though he doesn't understand it now, Anderson will soon be sharing mommy and daddy's attention with someone new...


And just because I know some of you will ask, the dreaded baby bump picture...

(Don't mind my sleepy eyes... it was nap time at the Lee house.)