Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A special gift this Christmas!

Christmas is about celebrating Jesus, gift of God. As we celebrate the gift of Jesus this Christmas, we're also celebrating another special gift from the Lord...the gift of life!

We're expecting! 

We are overjoyed! Thrilled! Elated! So, so, so happy! I can't stop crying at random times, both for joy and sometimes from remembering our journey to this place. See, the joy of getting pregnant doesn't immediately wipe away the heartache that preceded it. But I can say that previous heartache is starting to retreat into a tender place in my heart for those in waiting. I could go on for hours about what I learned about waiting during this past season, but I'll save that for another time.

We had an early ultrasound at 5.5 weeks (due to the fertility drugs I was on and a previous miscarriage), and we saw TWO sacs on the screen. It was unclear if the smaller sac was a twin or not. We returned the following week and the ultrasound revealed only saw one sac, but that one sac had a strong little heartbeat flashing on the screen. Hooray! We will never know if the second sac was a twin or not (it could have been just a pool of fluid that showed up on the scan). We would have delighted in twins, but honestly we're a little relieved there is just one in there. :-)

I don't have any bump photos to share because I haven't felt up to it this time around yet; I am just starting to pull out of the all day long, Zofran's got nothing on this, don't even say the word "food" 1st trimester sickness. I've tried to "enjoy" every moment of that, because the sickness reminds me of what is happening inside of me! Once I hit the second trimester I hope to resume the weekly photos. Baby is due July 20th; I'm 10 weeks right now. Please join us in rejoicing for this long-awaited gift of life!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

While I'm Waiting

My girlfriend recently told me about a song called While I'm Waiting. I think we spend more time in waiting than we realize. Waiting to get a boyfriend. Waiting to get engaged. Waiting to get married. Waiting to start a family. Waiting to get pregnant. Waiting for the baby to come. Waiting for the kids to grow up. Waiting to move. Waiting to buy a house. Waiting to get a promotion. Waiting to be healed. There's got to be something on that list for everyone....Here are the song lyrics:

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord     
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Although this isn't really my type of music, I think the reason this song pierced me so hard is the Biblical accuracy of it. Scriptures kept coming to mind as I listened to the song, so one night I mapped them out to match up with the lyrics of the song. Here is what I came up with:

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord    
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25)
And I am hopeful
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Though it is painful
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper! (Psalm 30:10)
But patiently, I will wait
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Taking every step in obedience
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them! (Psalm 145:91)
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:19)
While I'm waiting
I will worship
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)
I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:20)
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)
Yes, I will wait
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

These scriptures barely scratch the surface; the Lord anticipated that His people would spend much time in waiting and has a lot to say about it. In doing this study, I began to realize that waiting doesn't have to be passive. It doesn't have to be the back-up plan. Waiting can be active, and it can joyfully become the anthem for the season of life you are in. We can exchange sad, powerless, and hopeless waiting for courageous, steadfast, and hopeful waiting. This has changed my outlook on this season in our lives, and I'm confident this is one of the many things the Lord has desired to teach me during this struggle of trying to get pregnant again. I'm very grateful, as I would not have been driven to study this topic otherwise...and based on how much waiting is involved in life, I'm thankful to understand this new way to look at it!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Maybe next year...

The little town of Edmonds puts on a BIG Halloween event every year. We decided to chance it with the rain and take Drew down to see all the action. I don't know if it was the costumes, or the rain, or what...but he was not a fan. Maybe next year?

Farmer and pumpkin
His first treat! 
The 4 main roads leading to the fountain are all shut down to cars. Good thing, as there are people everywhere!

All the business are handing out candy to the kids

And some even did mini haunted houses...
Not a happy pumpkin....
The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce had a speaker system set up by the fountain.
They were playing music and people of all ages were dancing!

Drew with Waldo (Auntie Brooke). It started to rain and any patience Drew had left at that point was gone...he cried until he was safely home inside his cozy warm house. Then Nanna Jo came over and he had a blast playing with her until bedtime. Hopefully, he's forgotten all about his rainy Edmonds Halloween!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drew: 15 months

Drew loves: books, cars, pushing his wagon up and down the driveway, slides, spinning in circles, somersaults, running, and doing stairs.

Drew hates: it changes day by day at this age, but today he hated lunch, his third diaper change, something in a book he was looking at, and 4-6pm (that last one is an everyday occurrence).

Milestones: He's doing great with walking, running, climbing, and stairs. He's saying a few words (momma, dadda, kitty, car, cool, ball, and uh-oh), and signing a few others (mostly "all done" and "please"). 

Drew is getting very toddler-y these days. Lots of exploring and intentional fiddling with things to see what they do. He's starting to get into the mimicking chores phase, so he wants to "help" load the dishwasher and he constantly pushes his mini-shopping cart around and puts stuff in the basket ( it too soon for vacuuming lessons?). Also, tantrums. Good glory, the tantrums.

Eating and sleeping is all pretty normal. He's seems pretty standard with his food: he doesn't eat much (or it doesn't seem like much), he eats a good variety of foods, and he likes to flip his plate when he's done eating (gotta be fast to catch that before it happens!). Sleeping is the same: 1 to 2 naps during the day, and 12-ish hours at night. For a while it seemed like once every two weeks or so he had a "bad night" where he had trouble getting to sleep. We decided he does better with his bedtime routine if just one parent puts him to bed (instead of both of us), so we made that change and haven't had any trouble since then (fingers crossed). Still so thankful we knew about Babywise/sleep training and were able to do that with him from a young age. It's really been great for the entire family, and I love not having to worry about how much sleep he is (or isn't) getting. I took a lot of heat for doing the "scheduled" method with him, but it's really worked out well and I fully plan to do that with the next child (if we could ever get pregnant again!).

He was recently cutting some molars which had catapulted him into a whiny season. I was mainly treating his pain with meds (and hugs), and then just generally attempting to ignore the whining. I need a lot of practice at this, as I am not a seasoned enough mom to be able to think clearly with a constant noise in the background. The ignoring the whiny is working to the extent that he knows that when he actually needs or wants something specific he will stop whining and point at the item and say "please" in sign language (which to him means clapping his hands...I plan to correct that some day but for now I'm just happy he understands that signing "please" is important).

He dropped his morning nap this past month (most days), so the mornings have gotten really long for both of us. Three days a week I take him to the gym where he can play with other kids in the Kids Care. I really like that he gets 3-4 hours a week of socialization with other kids where I am not involved. He really likes the gals in the Kids Care, and he reaches for them when I'm checking him in and then turns and waves bye-bye to me. See ya buddy! I recognize the amount of time we spend at the gym is a complete and total luxury, so we're just enjoying it for now until things change again at some point (because they always do!).

He's developing his fine motor skills at a quick pace, so I've added in table time in the morning after Kyle leaves for work. Previously we were doing table time in the afternoon, but I moved it to the morning as a way to "reset" Drew after dad leaves. This was my attempt to avoid Drew's MO of whining and basically hanging on my leg while I cleaned up breakfast. And it totally worked (praise the living Lord!). Table time started as 10 minutes, but now it's up to 30 minutes. During table time he plays with dixie cups, little pom poms, beans (sorts them in a muffin tin), or a reusable sticker book. After table time, he's much more inclined to play on his own with toys in the living room. Some afternoons we do an additional round of table time where I sit with him and show him how to use crayons (and not eat them). So for now, it's a win.

Now that the weather has turned, we've resumed Toddler Story Time at the library. It's a great outing, except he's the only kid who wont sit still during the story time! He's also the youngest, so I'm hoping he'll learn from the older kids that you are supposed to sit and listen during story time. Right now, he just walks up to the teacher and points at the doll she uses, says "please" (by clapping, of course), and then holds his hand out demanding the doll. So yes, I have "that kid" at story time. But at least he's having fun, right?

Our days are pretty predictable and routine, so I try to be intentional about doing one "special outing" each week, like swimming, an indoor play gym, pumpkin farm, petting zoo, etc. Drew is very brave (or naive?) and usually takes about 4 seconds to assess a play area before he leaps out of my arms and immediately immerses himself in playing. Other than at home, of course. At home, if I try to contain him in his room at home for independent play time, it's meltdown city and he's the mayor. We had success with that a while back, and then somewhere along the line it fell apart. So I've given that a break for a few weeks, and will try again soon. This past weekend we just did some upgrades on his bedroom to make it more toddler friendly. His room is now more of a nod to the Montessori approach (minus the whole bed mattress on the ground thing). His favorite part of his "new" room is the reading nook I created (complete with blankets + stuffed animals), which makes my heart happy!

When he finally slows down and stops moving, he loves sitting in laps and reading books/cuddling. He often falls asleep for his nap in my arms during his pre-nap song, and it takes everything in me to not just sit there for his entire nap staring at his sleeping face. Little boys are just darling, that's for sure!

Playing with the waves
We had a nice extended summer this year 
Picnic at the park with dad

I got him this backpack that has a leash on it, and he just loves romping around with it on

Drew and Nanna Jo playing in the waves (and my annoying finger in the way)

This kid is always moving!

Drew has cried every day of his life for one reason or another.
These particular tears are from me making him leave Trader Joe's.
Trader Joe's has a little tiny bench the kids can sit on, and
apparently 5 whole extra minutes of bench sitting just wasn't long enough for him!

Following me around the kitchen and crying - am I a bad mom for taking a picture of this?

That little pouty lip!

Can you just hear him saying "mom, I hate you!"

Bless the hearts of stay at home moms everywhere...this happens every day around 4pm.

Like I mentioned above, the table time really helps avoid the meltdowns. 

Organizing dixie cups
Playing quietly on the floor - by himself, without crying - after table time.

More playing by himself! This is in the living room (not his room), but it's still awesome.

Reading books with Aunt Sissy
More book reading with dad

And with mom!

Boys only club meeting (that's Kyle, Drew, and Scruffy the Bear

Husky Game fun

No one told me that my shorts were all "mom shortish" in this photo...but it's still a good family pic!

Drew was not so thrilled about the he and I went back to the camper

Pushing his buddy baby Keller (who I nanny for) in the stroller

Zipping around at the indoor play gym

Ball pit joy

Play area at the mall!

Went to the pumpkin farm last weekend. Drew loved the petting zoo!
I could tell that he recognized the animals from his books (more so
than the last time we were at a petting zoo) and just loved the whole thing.

His favorite part of the pumpkin farm was the tractor. We spent roughly 20-30 minutes
with him just sitting on the tractor and waving to people. Then, it started to rain so I tried
to take him toward the car. He threw such a fit that he leaped out of my arms,
hit the ground, and then started running toward the tractor. In the rain. So, I totally
caved and just let him get back on the tractor. He resumed waving at people, and was
pretty much the happiest he's been in a long time. So, tractor in the rain was a win!
He decided to explore the pumpkins for just a few seconds before we left.

This isn't a picture of Drew. It's a picture WITHOUT Drew,
because Kyle and I were in Leavenworth celebrating some friends
getting married...and we left Drew at home!
It was our first night totally away from him, and it was oh-so-glorious. 

This is our family picture for Children of the Nations,
an organization that we sponsor 2 children through.
They were doing a sponsorship drive over the summer, and were the 365th family
 to come forward  (they were asking families to take pictures and send them in).
This is an organization we really love!
This 2nd year of Drew's life, we've been praying for Drew to have joy (John 15:11). As he continues into Toddlerhood, his emotions are all over the place. He spends a lot of time frustrated, as he learns more about life (and how to control his emotions). We have a long road ahead; I'm sure I don't even know the half of it right now. So we've been praying for joy, and the Lord has been answering that prayer. In between bouts of tears, there has been so much laughter, giggling, and snuggles. When he is happy, he is truly a joyful little guy.

On Friday night, Kyle and I were doing our monthly fast and prayer night, and Kyle found this verse for me: He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 113:9). I felt like it is perfect verse for me right now, for two reasons. The first being that, as the "joyous mother" of a child I have the opportunity to show Drew joy on a daily basis...what better way for him to learn joy than from his mother? The second reason being that in this unexpected struggle to get pregnant again, I've had days or weeks where I have admittedly lost my joy. And the Lord has really been pressing on my heart what a blessing Drew is, and reminding me how happy I am to be a mother of one. I am learning how a mother's heart works: that I can be joyful in my whole heart to have and love Drew, and yet I can ache in a whole separate heart for our next child. The aching heart is the one that will (hopefully) go on to love another child as wholly as I love Drew. There is room for both, and they do not crowd each other out. Lastly, we took heart that in this verse the Lord talks about making the woman the mother of children (not singular child, but multiple children)...we're still praying that will happen for our family!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

False positives and real hope

In response to my miscarriage, many women with good intentions told me about women they knew who got pregnant the month following a miscarriage. While I didn't want those stories to give me hope, they did. Maybe I could be one of those women?! Maybe that could be our story?

And I thought that might finally be our story when I did get a positive pregnancy test this last month. Until that positive test turned out to be a false positive. That's when the test shows up pregnant, but it's an error and you're not actually pregnant. This happens frequently with cheap tests, tests with blue dye, and tests that use the "+" to indicate pregnancy (instead of the two vertical lines). I learned all this after the fact, of course. Because the next morning I tested using a normal, reliable test and it was super negative. Like not a hint-of-hope negative.

And then all of the sudden I was propelled back into that place I found myself after the miscarriage. I began scrambling to make sense of why this had to be part of my story. Why did the false positive need to happen? Why not just a simple round of negative tests? I was coming up empty: no answers.

So there I was, shaking my pathetic, sad little fist at God. In my anger, I told Kyle "I wish I could just 'tell on God' to people. I wish I could tell people what He's doing to me, and that those people could go to him and say 'ok, enough God - you're pushing her too hard. Throw her a bone already. The false positive episode was too soon, and totally unnecessary'."

But God's time is perfect, so it wasn't "too soon". And God is sovereign, so His plan is never "unnecessary". God has already thrown me the merciful bone of salvation, and His sanctification is never "too hard", because He knows the exact amount I can handle. Despite all this, I still so wish I could be the woman who got to skip this part of her sanctification. But it looks like God is showing me I get to be the woman whom He is going to teach much to through this season of waiting. And not just boring old waiting - but painful ups-and-downs waiting. Yet it's precisely the ups and downs that have revealed how unstable certain aspects of my faith can be. And He's going after those parts of my heart relentlessly, not ceasing until every lie I am tempted to believe about Him is replaced by a truth and a faith that cannot be shaken.

I did the math the other day, and we've now spent a cumulative year of our lives trying to get pregnant (first with Drew, and now with this second child). That's a year of my life that God has been walking with me, and us, in the waiting.

So where am I at now? I've been working my way through the New Testament in my reading time, and lately I've just been draggingggg my way through Hebrews. Just one paragraph at a time. I was wondering why (most people like Hebrews), but in hindsight I can see that God landed me exactly where I needed to be in scripture the morning we realized I had gotten a false positive pregnancy test. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". I looked this verse up in my ESV study Bible, and it says the word "assurance" also translates to "confidence. The confidence of things hoped for, but not seen.

So what is not seen? Certainly the pregnancy we've hoped for would be seen. Living in our own home would be seen. Finally getting to go on the mission trip I've always wanted to do would be seen. Us being able to afford adoption would be seen. Those are all desires that we have that would be seen, if fulfilled. And to be fair, those are not bad desires. But hope placed solely in those desires is not the product of faith, nor does it produce faith.

So what is not seen? The commentary further explains that faith is not a vague hope grounded in wishful thinking, but that faith is settled confidence that something that is not yet seen but promised by God and will come to pass because God will bring it about (paraphrasing the text).

So then what has been promised by God? God has not promised us another child. He hasn't promised us our own home. And he hasn't promised us infinite resources to travel the world ministering to orphans and adopting children.

But He has promised us our salvation, and our eternity in heaven (Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 2:25). He has promised us that He is all-powerful (Jeremiah 32:17, Revelation 1:8), that He is wise (Isaiah 40:28-29), and and that He is forever trustworthy (Deuteronomy 32:4). He has promised to never leave or forsake his own (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9). These are the promises that can't be seen.

God has been revealing to me that faith is unwavering hope that He will fulfill His promises. And through this waiting He has been refining that faith of mine, and removing any bits of my faith that are placed in things other than His promises. And I don't suspect that on this side of heaven He'll ever be completely done doing that in my life, but I know He's making progress. I also know His desire for my faith is that there will come a day when my ultimate hope cannot be shaken because it rests on His promises, and nothing else.

I wanted to end this post on a positive note, because we have much to rejoice in - and we are! God has been faithful to us - and especially to me, in the cataclysm of emotion that has been present these past few months in particular. I am sharing this story because God is the hero of it, and He'll always be the hero even if our story never includes us having another baby. We are celebrating that!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grandpa's 92nd Birthday

Last weekend we headed up to Warm Beach for the annual summer picnic, held in honor of my grandpa's birthday. He turned 92 this year. That's ninety-two years old, people!
My grandparents were part of the local Model A club for many years, so some years they still join us to celebrate my grandpa's birthday.
Headed up to Warm Beach, we found ourselves behind this little car also headed to my grandpa's house... 
Drew watching the Model A club arrive
Party guests watching my grandpa welcome the Model A club
Gang's all here!
Drew and I spent some time on the old swing out back
And the bars...

And then he wanted to check out the cars.

He took some exploring liberties...
Have a seat, buddy!
My cousin's husband with their two beautiful kiddos
Beach time!
So. much. open. space.
Drew really likes dogs!
Miss Avery, off exploring
Drew immediately found a stick and got to work dragging it around
Avery showing Drew how to pat the mud and make it splatter
Back up at the house, the men were gathered around chatting
Kyle and I found some time while Drew was napping to pick fresh blackberries!
The guests just enjoying the beautiful day!
Sweet little Cooper!
The kids did a lot of playing inside, out of the heat
(and that's me, in my happiest of happy places, surrounded by babies!)
After the Model A club left, the family hung around for a dinner and cake!
Look at these two!
Total lovebirds!
Gramps got a little help from Avery with the candles.
Hip hip hooray!
After dinner and cake, we gathered for a family game of Watson rummy
Not a bad view for card playing!
And this was the sunset as we packed up to head home - glorious!