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Today kicks off Evan’s birthday week. Our kindhearted, Toy Story loving, superhero is turning 3!
It’s so hard to believe that it has been three years since that amazing day that he entered the world. I look back on that day and the year that followed as a time that I truly learned more about life and love and who I really was. Throughout my pregnancy, I knew that I was already a mom – I had a child – he was growing inside me, hearing my heart beat from within – he was part of me. But on that day – January 14, 2011 – I felt a shift in my identity. I was someone’s mommy. This child I was holding would grow, change, find joy, experience grief – but through it all, I would be his mom every single day for the rest of my life.
Alex and I were so excited to be parents, but I don’t think we had any idea how much joy Evan was going to bring to our lives. As an almost 3 year old, he succeeds in making us laugh hysterically multiple times each day. His imagination and creativity truly amaze me. His stubborn streak can be a mile long, but that just makes him fit in well with his parents.
As I was preparing for his birthday, I looked back at this video that Alex made for Evan’s first birthday – it could not be more perfect and I wanted to share it again this week. I also went back and I’m sharing a few of my favorite ‘Evan’ posts from his first year (I didn’t do a very good job blogging during year 2 – sorry ya’ll!). I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane at least half as much as I did. Read more
I am a huge fan of all things holiday. October to January make up my favorite months of the year because we celebrate non-stop. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and we are in full planning mode to get ready for multiple Thanksgiving dinners. I have been scouring Pinterest for decorating ideas and cute ways to make this year’s feast extra special. And then I found Julep – an incredible blog by Minted that has some amazing ideas for fall decor. Check out this Farmhouse Thanksgiving! The awesome mix of the metallics with the neutrals was exactly what I was looking for!
But it doesn’t just stop with inspiration and ideas. I also found DIY instructions for this amazing pumpkin centerpiece. These will not only be functional for our dinner, but Evan can help me make them as we keep learning about pumpkins. I’m so pumped about this!
I would love to hear about your favorite crafts and decorating ideas for Thanksgiving – we have just over a week to get everything lined up. I can’t believe it is happening so soon! Share share share and let’s help each other out.
After a very long break from blogging, I am back to share with you one of the best days of my life.
On April 4, our family welcomed our beautiful Elise Katherine into this world. After a few weeks of highly fluctuating blood pressures and a concerning ultrasound, I was induced at 37 weeks and 2 days. I was not induced with Evan (you can read his birth story here), so this was a very new experience. I was excited, but so very nervous. After the induction began, things actually progressed very similarly to my labor with Evan. The doctor broke my water at 7:30am and Ellie Kate arrived at 10:52am – she didn’t even wait for the doctor to make it in the room and was delivered by our incredible L&D nurse. All the concerns about the scary ultrasound we had disappeared as the doctors looked her over and told us everything looked great. We cuddled and she nursed – everything was progressing perfectly.
But the thing about perfection is that it doesn’t take much to rock that boat and for things to drastically change. The nursery took her for her bath and to check her vitals. They came to our room to let us know that she had an episode of respiratory distress, but they thought everything looked fine and she just needed another hour of observation. We settled into our postpartum room, chatted with our visitors and ate some lunch while we passed the time waiting for them to bring our sweet baby girl to our room. Within the next thirty minutes, everything in our perfect little bubble was called into question as our world was totally rocked from the inside. We had visits from nurses and doctors in incredibly quick succession and the news got more terrifying every time. Our baby had stopped breathing multiple times, they thought she had a seizure, something could be going on in her brain, she needed a breathing tube, she was going to have to be transported to a neonatal intensive care unit. Every time our door opened a piece of my heart broke away until the door closed after that final piece of news and I truly felt I had nothing left inside me.
I remember standing by the window in that terrible hospital gown as the door closed and the doctor walked out. My legs suddenly could not support my weight and I sunk to the ground weeping trying to force the pain and the fear out through tear ducts that felt entirely too small and inadequate to handle the force and volume of what was tormenting me inside. What. Just. Happened. I remember the door opened again and the little bit of my heart that was left dropped – what else could they possibly be here to tell us? We looked up and saw our pastor walking in – he had stopped to see us not knowing what was going on. Our tears poured out as he prayed for our sweet girl and we tried to wrap our fingers around the promises of God – at first they felt just out of our reach, but as we prayed we grabbed on and held tight believing that God truly held our baby girl in His hands – and His hands are so mighty, so faithful, and so trustworthy.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
The transfer team came and loaded our precious, hours old baby girl into a transport pod and drove away. I remember standing with Alex and our friends and family on the sidewalk in front of the hospital as the ambulance drove away taking my fragile heart with it – I can’t even begin to explain that feeling. After a tearful conversation with my OB, she agreed to discharge me from the hospital immediately which allowed us to leave only a few moments behind the ambulance and follow our baby to the NICU about an hour and a half away. We spent the next four days praying, believing and cuddling our little girl every chance we got.
Alex and I would sit together and he would hold me while I cried and confided in him about my fears and anxiety. We would pray together and remember the lessons that God had taught us during the difficult times in our life. When we faced our second miscarriage, God showed us that true faith requires us to believe that God is just as good and just as faithful on the dark days as He is on the good days. The anthem of our hearts during those days was God is Able – a song released by Hillsong Church that put into words what our hearts were crying out each day.
God is with us
God is on our side
He will make a way
Far above all we know
Far above all we hope
He has done great things
Lifted up, He defeated the grave
Raised to life, our God is able
In His name, we overcome
For the Lord, our God is able
God touched our sweet girl in ways we will never even know. After she left our local hospital, she never had another seizure or another episode where she stopped breathing. The brain scans that were done in the NICU showed no areas of concern and she was quickly weaned off of extra oxygen and placed on room air. Many members of the hospital staff struggled as they sought explanations for the quick, dramatic change in Ellie Kate’s health – the truth was, God healed our baby girl. We saw His provision over and over during the first few days of her life. We were very blessed and only had to stay in the NICU for 4 days – this is not the story for many of the other precious babies and parents that we met while we were there. After Evan’s birth I understood the joy that parents experience after their child arrives in the world, but our short stay in the NICU opened up my eyes to the pain and fear that other parents can face that inexplicably meshes with that joy. We walked out of the hospital on a bright, sunny April Sunday with our baby girl knowing that our lives would never be the same.
Life brings us those moments sometimes. Those defining, life altering experiences that change our perspective and bring definition to the lens that we use to see the world. Pain, joy, grief – these things cause us to feel – they don’t allow us to continue on with “life as normal” while precious moments slip through our fingers. But even more than just causing us to feel, they require us to act – to break through the numbness and show love and walk in mercy. I want to take these moments that life brings and allow them not only to alter me while I’m in the throes of emotion, but to bring lasting change to my heart.
Can I tell you that our Ellie Kate has been perfectly healthy since she arrived at home. She was four months old on Sunday, and we haven’t had one sick visit to the doctor, she hasn’t required one dose of medication outside of the hospital, and she is the sweetest, most loving baby girl I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I am so thankful to be her mom and to be able to raise her and teach her about love, and God, and friendship, and of course, the best nail polish colors and how to make the most out of a good sale. Becoming Evan’s mommy changed me in so many ways – but I have to say that I can feel myself still changing and evolving as I become the mom of a girl. It’s amazing how we are given exactly what we need at the time that we need it.
So – I’m happy to introduce the newest part of Our Life. Elise Katherine – welcome to being one of us.
This week I have been reminded continually through different people and different moments that the future is a scary thing. I am a planner – I want to know what’s coming – I want to anticipate it – I want to be ready. Unfortunately, the majority of the time the future doesn’t really work that way. When we look forward we can often see a blurry picture of what’s to come, but in no way can we fully see it. I am slowly, and painfully at times, learning the beauty in that. See, God designed it this way for a reason. He knows my limitations even better than I do – He created me. And He knows that in most cases I couldn’t, nor should I be able to, handle seeing the whole picture.
This year I am working my way through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It offers short daily devotions that are the perfect way to jump start the morning. Yesterday’s reading really made sense to me and I have been pondering it and meditating on it since then. She was discussing Deuteronomy 29:29 and she writes
Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine.
Seriously – I have never thought about the future in this context. She goes on to talk about our worry being an act of rebellion as we are refusing to trust God with these parts of our life. I know that I would never intentionally do that, but it’s exactly what I do when I spend my days worrying about the future instead of laying it down in His hands.
I think this that one of the reasons that this is hitting so close to home for me right now is that I am surrounded in uncertainty. Pregnancy is full of unknowns. When will the baby arrive? How will the baby arrive? Was that a contraction? Is everything okay? Is it normal to feel this way? … the list truly goes on and on. I try to make preparations at work and at home, but you can only do so much because you really don’t know when this child will choose to join the outside world. It’s daunting and unsettling and frustrating sometimes – and I find myself praying “God – just show me…just tell me…are you sure you’ve got this? Are you sure everything is going to be okay??” And it’s in those moments that doubt creeps in and my fears about the future and the unknowns have to be controlled – because He does know, and He does have it all worked out. This is His thing – His secret thing – and it will be revealed at the perfect time.
Now, don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a free pass to not plan for the future. I believe that we should be doing everything we can to make sure that we are financially, physically, and emotionally in a good place as we look forward. What I am talking about tonight is the fear of the future. The paralyzing feeling that keeps you from enjoying the beauty that surrounds you today because you are so fixated on what might happen tomorrow. Let it go – it’s not yours to worry about.
So, today, I choose to rest knowing that my precious son is sleeping in his bed, my little girl is growing and moving on the inside, and my incredible husband is sitting beside me. I choose to lay down knowing that God willing we will be waking up tomorrow and facing another day and we will know exactly what we need to know at the appointed time.
How do you deal with the unknowns of the future? Have you thought about the future as a secret thing that belongs to God?
For the past six weeks or so I have been itching to write again and looking for an outlet. When Alex and I started this blog, it was to document our pregnancy and birth experiences and truly share our life with our sweet friends and family. As the blog began to grow I got a little hung up on making sure that everything I shared was “monumental” and forgot to share the fun and quirky details that truly make up our day to day life. What I have discovered – I still want to share how Evan is growing and all the funny things he is doing. I still want to share some of our favorite products and recipes. I still want to share about the encouraging moments and the difficult days. Just as each day of our lives are filled with these things, so is this blog. You may never know what to expect, but you can know that it will be real, it will be genuine, and it will be “us.”
So, here we are – back again – and ready to share Our Life with you. But that’s not all – because our life is changing – QUICKLY!!
Yep – that’s right. Our sweet baby girl is scheduled to make her appearance in about 8 weeks!! We are so excited! My plan is to take some time to go back and share parts of this pregnancy journey here over the next 8 weeks. I have missed recording the milestones of this pregnancy and I want to make sure they are all here to remember as our family grows.
Evan is growing and growing…and then growing some more. He is still a little guy – not too high on the growth charts, but trust me – he is growing too fast!! He is changing so much every day – it’s unbelievable. He is running, climbing, and talking non stop. He is so silly and playful. He love love loves Toy Story and Finding Nemo. We have a collection of Toy Story characters that make their way back and forth between his room and the living room each day between morning and bedtime. He just likes to have them wherever he is. He has recently transitioned to a toddler bed so that the crib can be used for little sister. He loves his bed. Between the freedom that it gives him and the novelty of it, he just can’t get enough of it. Everyone that comes over has to go and see “MY BED!”
So, welcome back to Our Life. It is quickly changing, incredibly fun, and usually messy – but it’s ours – and we are excited to share it with you.
I have a problem. Somehow the universe has conspired to slip HALF A YEAR past me without my knowledge. Somehow I woke up last week to the beginning of JULY. This month not only splits the year down the middle, but also means half of the summer has past us by. How did this happen?!
It bothered me a little when I realized how quickly the year has past. There are still so many things that I want to do this year. Let’s revisit our summer to-do list.
Attend a baseball game
Visit the zoo
4. Go white water rafting
5. Visit an amusement park
7. Hike in the mountains
8. Go to an outdoor concert
9. Picnic and play at the park
Visit the aquarium
5 down, 5 to go!! I have some catch up to do to update you on all of the things we have already checked off our list. But in the meantime, here are a few summer photos of sweet Evan.
One of my favorite things about this blog is that in many ways it serves as a “virtual baby book” for our sweet Evan. It documents our family and is something that we can look back on throughout his life. The other purposes of the blog may shift a bit as time passes, but through it all I want this to tell our story – his story.
So, let me tell you about the sweetest words I have ever heard. Let’s get one thing straight up front – Evan loves his daddy. They have such a special relationship – the joy that I have when I watch them together is unrivaled. For many months Evan has rattled off the word “daddy.” Even before he fully understood what it meant, it was one of his very favorite sounds to make/things to say. It quickly became clear that he was not so fond of saying mommy. Our conversations would go something like this…
Us: “Evan, say ‘daddy’”
Us: “Yay! Okay, Evan, say ‘mommy’”
It was pretty hilarious – even I can admit that. I finally stopped asking him to say it. I knew that he would when he felt like it.
I wish I could remember the day, the moment, that I heard my new favorite word. The sweetest word.
Forget about that first letter – he doesn’t need it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. He walks around calling for “daddy” and “ommy” now. If you are questioning the cuteness – just stop – I mean, have you seen this precious being?
I get sad when I realize that one day he will stop saying it. It’s one of those ‘lasts’ – the things that slip away and happen for the last time unannounced. There is no fanfare, not even a realization – they just stop happening. So, I will take my sweet boy and his sweet words and make the most of each and every moment.
Because you know what? I love being his ommy.
This isn’t the typical Week in Review post, because it is going to take much more than that to sum up the past week. We went on VACATION! It was fabulous. So many incredible moments and precious memories made. June is a bit of a crazy month for our family and this is the only week that we will all be in town together. Next week Alex leaves for a trip to Haiti and then the following week I am gone to California for work. So, in an effort to have a week of normalcy before the rest of the month sets in I wanted to make sure our meal plan was in order!
Monday: BBQ Turkey Joes
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday!
Thursday: Grilled chicken and veggies
Friday: Family Night!! Homemade Pizza