Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Little Loves

These two teach, grow, and shape our hearts in the most amazing way.  I'm so thankful for them, for their daddy, and for the family moments we have together.  Today I'm loving the fact that they are each other's valentine's.  

When I told them we were going to make Valentine's for people we loved Henry decided all of his were going to be for Mallie Lynn.  My mama heart swooned and I inhaled the sweet sibling moment that I know will become constantly brought back out of the files when they are teenagers.  
Their love for each other is sweet, it's real, it involves screaming at each other in anger and crying because they didn't get to hug the other goodnight long enough.
Then there's the new furry love.  She's growing our hearts and patience and I can't wait to see the relationship these three will have through the years. 
Ya know we don't always like each other...but we always love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lessons from an angel.

There's a bit more of a purpose behind our new furry friend.  A reason I wanted an extra few pounds of joy in our home.  She's added chaos, and frustration and messes too but a lovable one that we are shaping into a new member of our family.

In May B and I had a conversation that would send us on a ride, we had always talked of adopting, and I felt the desire towards making it a reality becoming stronger.  Knowing there are lots of options and that the process can be slow we decided to begin praying about where God was leading us to grow our family.  I had loved every bit of my pregnancies and giving birth to our two wonderful children is something I count as one of my biggest privileges in this life.  I just felt ready to have my body to myself, I also didn't see me wanting to go through the newborn phase again and so we planned to adopt an older child.
As life would have it, God decided to let us know this wasn't his plan for us right now.  We found out that we were due with a baby of our own who would be born February 9th, 2017.
Being a surprise, it took a few days for it to settle in but the news quickly brought our hearts joy.  It's funny how quickly you begin to picture your life differently.  My thoughts jumped to the future and watching Mallie Lynn and Henry in their new roles, I knew it would bring out a side of them I hadn't known before and I couldn't wait to see it.  
For three weeks we dreamed, planned, and held in our excitement.  We told our parents the news and watched their surprised faces quickly turn to those of joy and anticipation too.  
But if you know me you know me at all you know you never watched my stomach grow or asked me how we were doing?  You haven't seen me post pictures of our nursery or heard me complain about how uncomfortable I've been lately.  At 8 weeks we were hit with that heart wrenching news that our baby wasn't alive and I would have to have a DNC.

The Lord protected me in the midst of it all with a peace that almost made me numb, and I trusted.  I sinfully compared my loss to others I had seen walk down this road and allowed thoughts "this isn't so bad compared to....." so I shoved emotions deep, but I trusted.
As we walked down the road of healing I confidently put my hand in Jesus' and I'm so unbelievably thankful that I did.  Because what I discovered about miscarriage is that it's awkward, it's messy, it's uncomfortable, and it's raw.  It's something I felt I needed to be quiet about like I was somehow ashamed.  I realized I never understood what my friends or sister had gone through before me and though I tried to comfort and share love there was really never a thing I could do to help them heal.  It's a rollercoaster of emotions that can take you plunging 5,000ft into sadness at the sight of something unexpected.  So I cried in the shower when kids wouldn't question and I held onto Jesus.  I smiled at the mom who's growing baby belly made me a bit sad, and I held onto Jesus.  I became more thankful for the two blessings I've been given who call me mama, make me crazy, and push me to love bigger, and I held onto Jesus.  

And I found something.  I found that trusting that his plan is bigger and better than ours can hurt, but it's true.  From the moment we discovered there would be no February birthday, I knew his plan was greater even though I really didn't like it.  I found a relationship with my heavenly Father that became so real I didn't need anything else.  I let him know I was so confused by Him, by what he let happen and I just couldn't understand.  I mean we were going to adopt a child, isn't that an amazing thing to do?  Wouldn't that bring our family joy and help change the life of one of your children?  Why would you throw me off that path the moment I felt certain?  
You don't have to understand "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)

I found self control; as the babies around me were born, or others popped up expecting I smiled on the outside and asked all the right questions but inside I grew jealous.  The Holy Spirit convicted me pretty quick, and let me know that my initial human self reaction was wrong but that he could help, and I changed.  So a jealous thought never turned into feelings of bitterness instead I began to think about how happy I was for them and could say a prayer that they understood what a blessing they were experiencing.  
Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  (Titus 1:8)

B and I prayed for discernment on what our next step was after our loss, what did it mean for our family.  My personal desires were feeling pulled and tugged in the weirdest way possible.  As time moved on and prayers persisted the dreams I had of adopting faded to a dim light and I felt a tug at my heart that we should get pregnant again.  In my head it sounded nuts, our life feels crazy as it is raising just two little ones...how on earth could we handle a baby, too?  On paper and the decibel level of my household it really doesn't make sense, but my heart keeps hearing God say, "you're not done."  So this road continues to go on a confusing trip as we have tried for 7 months without a pregnancy.  So  I   q u e s t i o n   and He tugs at my heart and I find God in the confusion and waiting.  
I found peace and I held it tight.  I even found a way to wear it proudly.  My sweet and talented friend  makes bangles I adore; Mallie Lynn and I both wear them everyday.  So when I shared with her I wanted a baby bump to wear she designed a bangle that I wear now with love, memory, and peace.  I look at it often and I smile. 
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

The little love I never held sure taught me a lot for never stepping foot on this earth.  God used an unborn baby, a life only ever lived inside of me to teach and stretch and grow his daughter.  I am more compassionate towards others who have experienced loss, who are walking the disheartening path of infertility.  He gave me strength to trust in His plan; a plan that looked like a dry desert in the beginning and has found it's way flooded with living water and new dreams.  I feel a peace in Him knowing I don't have to figure things out because "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)  

So whether our family remains a family of 4 or becomes something more I am thankful for the stretching.  The stretching I thought would grow in my physical body actually occurred in my heart, thank you angel baby of mine for teaching with your life.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My pajama gang

 We are people of pajamas.  We prefer slow mornings accompanied by cartoons, where transition to real clothes happens at lunch and play time is endless.  The end of our Christmas break was sad for all, and the hopes of a snow day have been shattered this January.....So our Monday mornings where we can pajama play all day is met with thankful hearts.  We love our weekends too, but Monday, Monday feels like a charge of energy for my heart.  It's our one week day where I don't have to get up and go, it's my true stay at home mama heart being fulfilled kinda day.  Yep Monday is our day little ones and I'm so thankful to have it with you!
Evidence of a perfect morning can be found in pancakes, and stuffed animals sure to be smelling sticky sweet the rest of the day. 
Oh yes our days at home are filled with tons of moments like this one......
yelling over someones foot being on their chair, which is met with more yelling maybe a shove and then a time out......
But ya know what those moments that get me stressed, try my patience, and challenge me are what makes this process real life.  
My days at home are met with zero down time (as in sometimes I have to make myself eat a meal).  I feel like we are on the brink of an age where they aren't saying my name on repeat but for now I'm in constant need.  Motherhood is a job I feel so exhaustingly privileged to hold.  Any conversation I've ever had with a parent of grown children is all too quick to remind me how these are the best days.  The days that go by in a blur, leave you pouring coffee in your eye balls, use every last nerve in your body, and grow your heart in a way that is unexplainable.  It's grown my faith too and a reliance on the Holy Spirit to come along side me to forgive when I mess up and steer me in the direction of doing better.  
These babies won't be little forever, and in fact I don't know how much longer I can say my babies without Henry looking at me sideways.  I'm grasping to hold onto our moments, the good and the growing pains.  Words can't express how much I love my Henry Boo and Malla Moo.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

A little dog and a big God.

Last week we welcomed a new family member into our home; little miss Ruby Sue.   She started out shy, timid and unsure of her new environment.   We of course smothered her with love and carefully introduced her around the house as we tried to assure her we were trustworthy.  
Both of the kids were interested in her and eager to pet and play with her the first few days.  They had been excited to get her, though nobody was more excited than I.  She seemed very mellow and calm until day three.  All of a sudden she trusted us, knew she was going to get nothing but love from us and began to show off how excited that made her.  
 This boy had reservations about dogs before getting her.  Over Thanksgiving he was bit on the leg and since then had become petrified of the creatures.  It had become a bit crippling when we would go on walks or over to friends houses who had inside dogs.  Our thought was that a puppy would be a good way for him to learn about dogs, love them, and conquer his fears.  Little sis has always been obsessed with dogs, really any animal at all, and so we knew she would adore having a dog in our home.
As Ruby began to open up and become playful Henry retreated into a state of fear.  Though she was only five pounds of fluff her puppy bites, nips and claws were too much for him to handle.  She loved Henry from day one so she of course only wanted to smother him in attention, turns out that sent him into panic mode.  For two days Henry would not leave the couch.  He wouldn't walk into a room where she was and screamed hysterically, demanding that we pick her up, crate her, or pick him up.  The situation left me unsure what to do.  I knew his fears were legitimate but I also knew if he could get over them they would be buddies for all of his childhood.  We prayed together at night, I prayed during the day, our neighbor and fellow dog lover talked with him about having the strength of David and we waited.  
 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9)
On day 5 of Ruby Sue in our home Henry walked downstairs from his quiet time and decided he wanted to look at her and play with her, from a distance.  We praised him for his courage and attitude and thanked God for helping him get there.  From there we have made two steps forward and one step back as he requests to pet her sometimes, runs from her screaming at other moments, and then wants to tell her goodnight.  At one week he chose to pick up one of her toys and play with her for about 5 minutes and told her she was a good dog.  There were times this week where I thought I was crazy for getting a puppy and disappointed that something I thought would fill our family with joy had instead brought fear and stress.  We waited and watched God move and are once again amazed at the ways he can teach us.  He is taking a family pet and showing our sweet Henry how to rely on him to take away his fears and to be courageous in Christ.  
 Mallie Lynn is overjoyed that she has something to play mother to in our house and loves nothing more than to get down on the floor and hug Ruby.  Of course she is helping us boss her around too when puppy teeth meet skin or toys where they don't belong.  She is quick to grab one of Ruby's toys and hold onto it for her while she chews.  
Oh Ruby Sue you're going to have so much love in this life you're not going to know what to do.