Sunday, December 9, 2018

It's Been A Long Time

A LOT has happened!!

I can hardly believe it's been so long since my last post.

Elijah is 5 1/2. He started Kindergarten in August, just two weeks after we moved away from the Chicago area to west central Illinois.

Caleb is 27 months, or just over 2 years. He's showing off his terrible 2's in grand fashion and keeping us on our toes more than Elijah ever did at this age! Not sure if it's the move, transitions and adjustments, or what but it's been rough.

I turned 40 and Tim turned 41 this year. We've officially passed over the "young" years and are starting to feel old with each new crack in our knees, lol!

I went through a season after Caleb was born where writing and having time to myself just were not happening and mostly I was okay with that. I've not kept up with writing in his baby book or his memory journal, haven't printed pictures, and I haven't finished any scrapbooks. That is so unlike me!

Part of me gets saddened at that thought, but the other part of me knows why it's been that way.

It's been a really, really, really big couple of years for us.

When Elijah was born over 5 (!!) years ago now, life was slower. Was it hard adjusting to life with a newborn? Absolutely. Was I stressed out beyond recognition? For sure. But I worked at home half of my hours and in the office the other half. That meant 3 days at home with Elijah, juggling work in whenever he napped, when daddy was home, when Elijah went to bed, on the weekends, etc.

When Elijah was 2, that all changed. And after 6 months, it changed again. And it was that way until July when I resigned that job and am now working for a different organization, fully from home and just part-time.

Resigning from that job of 17 years was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but for the very best reasons. I did it for my boys... for a better life for them and with them. I was so burnt out on so much time commuting and them spending so much time at daycare. We knew with Elijah starting Kindergarten that some big changes would have to happen so after a lot of prayer for well over a year, God opened the doors for us to move to be near my family and to slow down the pace of our lives.

As we adjust to our new lives in a smaller city, we're just immensely thankful for the ways God is teaching us so much through every decision and change, every new experience and adjustment. We are loving being near my family-- my mom & stepdad are just 3 minutes down the road, my dad and my brother & his family are just 10 minutes away, and everything we need is so close. Elijah is in a very small, private Christian school that fits him and his current needs perfectly (his class combines pre-K and there's a total of 7 kids in the combined class!), and Caleb splits his days away from me between my mom and my cousin. It's FANTASTIC!!!!!

I've literally had to "detox" from all of the stress with lots of extra sleep and rest after we moved and settled in. It's still ongoing as we continue the transition, but we are so grateful for this new chapter!! Please pray with us though as we continue to nail down certain things like doctors, chiropractors, etc. That's been a bit of a challenge.

We miss our Chicago family, my bestie and her family, dear friends, our church, and being surrounded by a variety of activities and resources. BUT there's so much more here. Including a lot more time with our boys... and though that's also had its immense difficulties, we wouldn't trade it.

I know not many people blog anymore or follow along here, but I wanted to post anyway and use this again as a bit of a journal.

Many blessings to you & yours this Christmas season! Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Newborn Pics

Our dear friend Sherah took some amazing newborn pics of Caleb when he was 7 days old and we were still in the hospital. We were super grateful for her visit on a hard, long day, and for her fantastic photography skills! She is such a blessing to us!!

It's strange to look at these now and just a mere 3 months later feel like he's huge (he's about double the size he was here!).

Here are just a few of our favorites :

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Welcome Baby

Welcome to the world!

{I'm only about 8 weeks late on this - whoops!}

Caleb Andrew

Born 9/13/16
at 6:35 p.m.

6 lbs 10.4 oz
19 inches
14.5 inch head circumference

Caleb was born via c-section, though we really tried our best to avoid that scenario. Obviously God had other plans and I just needed to relax and trust him!

We were SO thankful that our family could once again be there, and this time we were all able to hold baby since there was no NICU stay!! (Hallelujah! That was one of my biggest prayers!) My mom and stepdad, my mom, Tim's mom, and our dearest friend Monica were all there both last time with Elijah  and this time with Caleb. This time was different in that I was not induced and in the hospital for nearly 24 hours of induction and then 12 hours of labor. {My dad visited but refrained from holding baby while he had a cold. He was finally able to hold him several weeks later.} 

Our friends Andrew & Julie and their 4 kids have always given so graciously of their time and energy to babysit Elijah over the years. They are like second family to us. They were so kind and picked Elijah up at daycare that day and kept him overnight with them, which he LOVED. Their kids go bonkers for time with Elijah and they all have so much fun together. They're ages 7-14 and they even fight (lovingly) about who will play with/watch over Elijah. It's so great. We're so thankful they could spend that time with him while we were at the hospital with family. Then the next morning after they woke up, mom and Jerry left our house for the 5 minutes over to Julie's house, picked Elijah up, and a couple hours later came to visit us at the hospital (more about that when I get around to more posts about all of this).

It was a rough recovery at first, but thankfully not quite as rough as last time. Just different. We're so thankful for excellent medical care during some scary BP spikes days later that required a total 8-day hospital stay. We were beyond ready to go home, but learned a lot especially about just resting in God's plans for us. We bonded a lot during that time with Caleb while my mom bonded a lot at our house with Elijah. (My stepdad left on Saturday night because we all assumed the 3 of us were coming home Saturday afternoon. Whoops. We came home Wednesday night instead. Ugh ugh ugh. I felt so bad for my mom! But they did great together - she's really the best!!)

I missed Elijah SO badly and cried every day that I couldn't be with him. We FaceTimed most nights to say good night to him, and we saw him every day except one (Saturday - my worst day yet and I was honestly so scared that day about my health and did not want Elijah to see me the way I was).

But. Praise God we are all okay now. It was a huge relief to get home. To not have the stress and constant checking-in at the hospital. It was hard to know what to expect from Elijah upon arriving home, but he really did great. More on that to come. 

Thank you for your prayers as my pregnancy came to an end, and I'm sorry for this being so late! As you can imagine, life with two little ones while on maternity leave has meant little time for myself, much less time on my computer.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Final Pregnancy Update

It's been an incredible journey - 9 months of hard, bliss, extraordinary love, exhaustion, and joy. We wouldn't have it any other way.

We've grown a lot these 9 months, and I don't just mean my belly! Elijah has grown by leaps and bounds since that first picture we took in January announcing he was going to be a big brother. And now that the day is nearly here, we feel overwhelmed and so very thankful he's adapted so well and is ready to meet his baby brother (well, most of the time anyway...)!

I'm 39 weeks + 3 days today. My OB sent me to the hospital on Friday to be more closely evaluated for some concerns, but everything came back fine and I was released a few hours later. Today's appointment went well, but he continues to watch me very closely and we are back yet again tomorrow to discuss some lab results and figure out next steps.

My due date is this Friday. I can't believe it. We made it this far!! We're beyond thankful, but we also know he's not going to let me go much further. I'm praying he doesn't want to do a c-section tomorrow, but we are trusting the Lord and we trust our OB. Whatever he thinks is best for my health and the baby's, we'll need to follow. Depending on the test results, we may fight it some or push back the amount of days we can wait, but we might just be approaching an inevitable second c-section.

Our dream isn't that. But we know God's ways are higher than our ways, and if it's a concern about our chance of survival... we'd much rather be safe than sorry. This OB is different than our last one and I know I can trust his 30 years of experience. He does not push c-sections. But with a previous c-section, he also can't push for an induction or risk uterine rupture.

So now we just wait. And pray. And hope.

We are grateful for excellent medical care!

But perhaps pray along with us that we can avoid a c-section, that baby will come on his own (along with our 3x/week acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments!), and that our labor & delivery experience won't be as traumatic as last time. Either way though, ultimately, may God's will be done and his glory revealed!

Not much longer before we meet our 2nd baby boy!

Pictures taken by SherahG* Photography.
(c) 2016. Used by permission.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pregnancy Update - 37 Weeks

Wow, am I ever behind on here!! Yikes.

If it counts for anything, I have managed to start and save 9 drafts over the months... but have yet to publish any of them. Google Chrome has been really goofy for me lately and has locked me out of my blog, so I can only write on here when I open a different browser. It's just enough of a pain, I haven't felt like messing with it much. And then I delay long enough that the drafts don't really apply anymore.

Also, last night was the first time since MAY when I've plugged my phone into my computer and finally uploaded all of my pictures!!! Yowsa.

I think it's safe to say I'm pretty far behind on all of life, these days!

But this space is long overdue for a pregnancy update, for anyone still wondering. :)

I'm officially 38 weeks tomorrow (Friday 9/2). I've been doing well - am just super tired these days and struggling to stay awake practically every moment of the day and cannot sleep at night to save my life. Ughhhh!

I've been having random changes in cravings (my biggest ones lately are shredded chicken grilled burritos from Taco Bell, Hershey's chocolate pie from Burger King, Pad Thai, and all the bagels/bread in the world). I'm swollen and feeling huge, but love every single move that baby makes. Nasal congestion, indigestion, numbness/tingling in my hands, insomnia/exhaustion, Fibro pain and fatigue, and regular Braxton Hicks contractions are my biggest battles right now.

But I'm trying to soak it all in before it's over and yet I've been soooo ready to be done (!!!). If baby continues to hang in there, my last work day is next Thursday 9/8 and my due date is the following Friday 9/16. I can hardly believe it and am so grateful to have made it so far!!!

Below is a side-by-side pregnancy comparison, though 1 week apart (left: 1st pregnancy at 36 weeks, right: 2nd pregnancy at 37 weeks).

Last pregnancy, I was forced by my overly concerned, hyper-sensitive OB to get induced just after 38 weeks (due to going into pregnancy with high[ish] blood pressure and medication). I went to the hospital the evening of 38 + 1, and about 24 hours later at 38 + 2 it was determined that I hadn't progressed and needed a c-section.

This time I researched and found a highly-respected and trusted OB who would let me try for a VBAC, without any threat of induction unless in case of emergency or complications.

I've had no bad reports, all tests have come back good, no complications or concerns, and regularly have had good blood pressure. So at this point, there's still no reason to do anything but wait and pray, hope and see. If something changes into an emergency or complication, then obviously we'll have to do what we need to do. Otherwise, we're waiting until I hit 40 weeks. At that time, there might need to be more conversation and monitoring to see whether we just head straight into a c-section, due to a failed induction last time.

This time I'm on a better vitamin regimen, am regularly seeing a natural doc/chiropractor who will soon start natural induction methods, and that I've had enough BH contractions that many think my body will go into labor on its own regardless of what happened last time. But there's no guarantees and I'm trying not to get my hopes up while also hoping for the best at the same time!

Please pray with us that things go smoothly, baby comes on his own before 40 weeks, and for continued good health and safety for me and baby!

Obviously we want whatever God has for us, but I also really want to have a less traumatic experience than last time. But as one friend reminded me today, birth is always traumatic and in the end, we have a baby. (I mean, really... wow!) And that's the most amazing and grateful part. I really want to keep my head on straight and stay focused on what God has in store for us as we get a front-row seat to how he's going to be glorified in all of this!

But it's hard. In my selfish heart, I really want things to go so much better, with no surgery, no NICU for baby, and a happier experience overall.

So thank you for your prayers for us and for God to be honored, no matter what.

Let me leave you with an updated pic of our adorable 3-year-old at his birthday party back in June!

Can you believe we have a 3-year-old AND about to have another baby?!!? Still seems quite surreal to us! Praise God for his overwhelming kindness to us!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Baby # 2 Is Coming!

This September, we are adding to our family!

We are SO excited!!!!

What an incredible miracle and gift Elijah was to us. It took us by surprise (though we'd been trying and certainly hoped for another baby) and we are just blown away. Thankful we get to celebrate another little life and to give Elijah a sibling.

I have too many friends saddened by infertility, miscarriages, losses, lengthy adoption processes, and lack of being able to give their only child a sibling. I completely sympathize and wish so badly it was different for them, and am not sure why it's different for us. We embrace these babies and give them back over to the Lord, praying that He'd provide us the wisdom, strength, patience, and love to raise them up to love Jesus above all else, and to be wonderful little human beings.

As always, God's timing is perfect and we are grateful for his plan for our family! Elijah's been learning more and more what being a big brother really means (through lots of talks, books, praying over baby together, kisses for baby, learning about how he can help baby, etc) and seems to be pretty excited (though we're not so sure how much he comprehends, especially the part about mommy & daddy not being able to give him their full attention).

I'm 22 weeks along today and we had our big gender/health ultrasound a week ago.

This past weekend we traveled back to my hometown and spent time with my family. We also threw a gender reveal party. Something I said I wouldn't do again and that I'd keep it simple. Well, I did keep it simpler than last time, but it was still a party! I can't seem to help myself!! I just love any excuse to celebrate babies and to have fun with it all. And it was SO fun!!!

So without further ado... baby # 2 is:


Baby is healthy and growing strong, and I'm healthy too. A healthier pregnancy already than last time without nearly as much stress or concerns (much due to our natural/alternative doc/chiropractor and a much less stressful OB who doesn't see a need for a high-risk specialist unless we have complications). It also helps that my job has been less stressful these past 3 years. And even though life is crazier, fuller, and we're running around lots more with Elijah (also possibly keeping me in better shape!)... I'm not stressed for the most part. Hooray!

I realize I haven't written much here lately, and many of my followers have left... but for anyone still around and reading this, thanks for being here! And for sharing in our joy with us!! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In the Silence

My apologies for being so quiet around here.

The noise and the volume out there about so many things just feels deafening lately. Unnecessary, heated, angry, battling noise.

I haven't had a lot to add. Every time I have started a post, I haven't finished it. Not even kidding, I think I have 20-30 drafts in there from recent months.

Pictures just not quite all there, can't finish my thoughts, don't have time or don't want to add to the noise so I stop my thoughts with myself instead of hitting that somewhat scary "Publish" button.

One of my favorite quotes is:

Make time for the quiet moments
as God whispers and the world is loud.

Indeed. I want more of that. Quiet stillness. Listening and really hearing what God's telling me. 

In light of wanting more quiet, it's been since *September* since I officially updated my blog. Yikes! Longest I've ever gone!

So, it's high time I gave a bit of an update:

We've been really busy. July found me working 3 full days a week in the office and usually once a week or every other week we drive the 45 minutes to our chiropractor/alternative doc's office. So our weeks were pretty full, and often our weekends too. With a very busy boy, it's meant for little down-time.

2015 ended on a pretty low note for us. Some things I can't/won't discuss here about our private lives that just made life messy, hard to swallow, feelings raging, and sucking the energy out of us. Not even sure that sentence works, but it's all the feelings I'm feeling right now.

Just, meh.

But there's been a lot of good stuff too, and by God's grace we keep moving along. We are abundantly blessed by God's mercy and his love over our lives, even when we can't always see or feel it. We know he's there, loving us unconditionally in unfathomable ways.

Whenever I think about Christ's sacrifice lately, I'm truly just blown away. Having a now 2.5 year old son (WHA?!?!?!!!!), I'm bewildered at God's gift to us in his only son.

His. son.

Wow. So incredible. Such sacrifice.

I saw something the other day on Facebook. Yet another one of those "If you hit 'like', you'll receive an immediate blessing from God" type of things.

Oh, friends. 

Do not buy into such nonsense. It's just not true. We could never do anything ourselves to fully bring blessings and mercies into our lives. Only Christ did that. We can't earn our way to heaven or earn God's favor by anything we possess or attempt.

Seeing all of those things across social media is so sad.

I found another memory today from Facebook several years ago about me taking a social media break from Facebook, Twitter, and blogging for a week. At that time I was SO wrapped up in it all that I literally had withdrawal issues that week. Now, Instagram would definitely be a hard one, but otherwise these days, I wouldn't have as much trouble with it. There's been a lot of changes in social media even in the past 5 years. It's amazing to see how far we've come and also how quickly certain fads change.

Even though I haven't posted here lately, I do still read other blogs, but comment less often. My world is much more wrapped around my son and our very full, busy lives. I do miss the connecting, but I'm also grateful for being more connected within my own little world.

In just a few weeks, I will start working in the office 4 days a week, still full-time with benefits, but reduced hours. Elijah will adjust to 4 days a week at daycare, a hard thing to wrap my head around, but a necessity. It'll be a big change, but it's something we have to do, so we'll figure it out. We know God has a plan in all of this and we just pray that Elijah gets used to it and adjusts well. (And me too, because to be honest, I've had a really hard time with it and have been quite weepy about it!)

On the plus side, it means now when I'm home, I can be fully engaged at home instead of working during any down time. Which also means more time for blogging! ;) Maybe....

So in the silence here lately, there's been a lot behind-the-scenes. A lot of struggle to put the words together, to find a way through the fog and the noise to a place of peace and joy.

I'm still here. Things are pretty good. Thanks for still being around, in the silence. Appreciate each and every one of you!