12-31-17 Another Year Over

For three years I have met you here every evening. 

Three years. 

You were here soon after Baby E was born. You were with us when we moved into our townhouse and you were here when we sold it. You walked with us through a miscarriage, a myriad of illnesses, and our share of adventures. So thank you! Thank you for being a listening ear, a place to seek advice, and a patient friend. I have valued your support more than you can imagine. As we close out this year, and break open the next I pray your home is blessed and you get more time with the ones you love. So goodnight dear friends, for tomorrow starts another year and the God’s mercies are new each day. 

12-31-17 Sand

For Christmas I got a handful of books that I had asked for, one of which was Sand by Hugh Howey. I had read his Wool series a couple of years ago and enjoyed them immensely. Wool was a post apocolypic series that took place in the vast expanses of underground silos. The world above had been destroyed leaving the only survivors living in tall structures buried beneath an unihabitable wasteland. 

Sand takes place in a completely different timeline and environment. While it was not as detailed and epic as the Wool series, it was highly enjoyable. Instead of being trapped underground, the protagonists live above a destroyed and sand ravaged landscape. They spend their time sand diving in hopes of discovering the lost cities of the gods from long ago, the ones who lived before the Earth was consumed by the unrelenting sand and wind. 

As for many authors in the genre you need to be prepared for some language, but other than that Hugh Howey’s writing style is superb. If you enjoy thrillers or science fixtion, I highly recommend this author. (But start with Wool.) Trust me, you’ll be hooked! (I finished Sand in just a few days.) ☺️

12-30-17 A Good Day

I woke up in the middle of the night last night with my stomach in knots and my heart racing in my chest- a sure fire sign of an impending panic attack. I laid in bed staring at the wall, willing the panic to go away, but that’s not the way it works, it just has to run its course. Tim always tells me I can wake him up, but he was getting his first good night’s sleep all week so I let him be.

The thought of what we had done earlier in the day, with purchasing the house, made me start to doubt we had made the right decision, but even those thoughts were lies. This is my experience with every large life decision and I know from experience I just have to ride it out. I’ll be anxious for a few weeks, but then it will settle down. 

To be honest, I’m incredibly excited. This house is absolutely beautiful and something Tim and I could never dream to do on our own. (Ever) we drove up to it this morning and the yard and house we covered in a thin coating of snow. The moving truck was outside and the movers were already bring in my parents’ furniture. We spent the day helping with the unpacking and keeping the kids out from underfoot. Tonight Tim, me, and the kids will spend the night. Tomorrow we will do a little more arranging before heading home. 

We didn’t get to celebrate Tim’s birthday today, but from what I can tell his day was pretty amazing. The kids are sleeping now and I’ll be going to bed soon too. Going to bed here… in my house. 

Today was a good day. A very good day indeed. 

12-29-17 A Very Big Day

Many of you have journeyed the past year with us, joining us for our victories and praying us through our challenges. Just over a year ago, we lost our pregnancy and our lives went into a mini tailspin. Even before the loss of Hazel, we had felt the ground shifting beneath our feet, but we weren’t quite sure what it meant. We prayed. We sought council. We started on a path we felt made the most sense for our family. And while our plans have been intentionally vague here, the gears have been in motion behind the scenes. Today, one of the largest pieces fell into place.

We bought a house.

Months ago we decided that pulling our resources with my family made sense, so we decided to go in on a house together. The house would put us significantly closer to Tim’s work, and cut down his drive more than an hour each way.

This afternoon we spent hours at a title company filling out all the necessary paperwork before being handed the keys. The kids did amazing sitting in the corner playing on iPads while the adults did all of the boring stuff.

In the short term/foreseeable future, the buying of the house doesn’t change our lives very much. We will still be living in Tim’s parents’ basement until AT LEAST the end of the school year, but we will be playing it by ear after that. In the meantime, we will be spending a lot of weekends at the new place getting it ready, and Tim will have someplace to stay during the week when his schedule requires it.

After signing, we went to the house and let the kids run around for a bit. They enjoyed investigating every corner and closet and insisted on playing a few rounds of hide and seek. It was so much fun to watch them run around.

I’m the only one awake now and I am definitely wading through a myriad of emotions. I’m excited- so excited. The house is beautiful and it has a yard the kids can play in. But I’m also terrified- because I hate change with a passion and resist it at every turn. But today I leapt in headfirst because chances like this don’t come every day, and in my life I’ve let too many slip away. I don’t know what the future holds- I can guess, I can plan, but I can’t control it. In the end I am trusting God for His provision in every aspect of my life and the lives of my family as we confidently move forward in the months and years to come.

So today I am overwhelmingly grateful for a tangible answer to prayer. I am in awe of the way God has let all the pieces fall into place and I am so thankful for my family to share it with. πŸ™‚

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12-28-17 The Creepy

We spent our day running errands with my mother. Tim was working, so it was me, the kids, and my sister. My mom made a stop at a bank and we noticed that we were close to a local thrift store, so we decided to check it out. The kids asked if they could get something and I told them I would think about it, because the last thing we need in our house is more junk. We looked at the books, saw some bicycles, and made our way to the toy aisle. I checked the prices on the basic toys (ie- cars, dolls, etc) and nothing was over about $3 so I told them they could each get oneΒ small toy.

Big E stared at the shelves of toys in wonder, his eyes darting from toy to toy. In the end, he chose a bright orange machine gun that made silly shooting noises. C narrowed it down to a Bop-It game and a princess wand, but in the end she opted for the game (smart girl.) Baby E had the hardest time choosing, because naturally he wanted everything. He tried out the princess wand, a microphone, a mini drum set, a piano, and… a troll doll. Yup, an ugly, old, yellow haired troll doll. “That creepy troll?!?” I asked him. “Yes, I want the creepy troll!!” he responded with excitement. He held it up high in the air and watched the troll’s hair dance in the slight breeze. It was like he was looking at a precious treasure. And so he clutched his creepy troll and we made our way to the front of the store to purchase their finds.

And since that moment, he and the creepy troll have been inseparable. He says it looks like Moana (it does not look like Moana.) He says it looks like Aunt Julie (it really, really doesn’t look like Aunt Julie) but it is his new prized possession. It looks like it used to talk at one point in time, but we were at least spared that torture as the battery must have died long ago. He also laughs that you can see its booty.

Anyway, at some point during the day, Baby E resorted to calling this troll “The Creepy,” and now that is the official name. This evening he even asked to sleep with The Creepy, so at this very moment he is curled up in the other room with it- just Baby E and The Creepy.

So join me in welcoming our new addition, “The Creepy.” May his reign be swift and quickly forgotten! Ha!

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12-27-17 Vacation

The highlight of my time off is definitely spending my days with my sweet savages. 😍😍 We will be staying a few more days with my family before heading back home to our routines. Today was pretty laid back to give the kids a chance to rest. Hopefully everyone feels better in the morning. ☺️

12-26-17 Here it comes…

If you were here last winter you know it was rough in the illness department, and I know December and January tend to be our sicker months. Big E has been sporting a runny nose for a few days, but C started last night with a sore throat and runny nose. The throat is fine today, but I can see she’s off. She’s had a headache and a runny nose, but thankfully she fell asleep quickly this evening.

We have decided to visit my family for a couple of days since I don’t have to be back at work until next Tuesday. I’m looking forward to the quiet time with my little family. 😍😍

We celebrated Christmas with my parents and sister this evening. I got a stack of books that I’m itching to go through!! In fact, I’m cutting this short to get a headstart on that!

12-25-17 Merry Christmas!

Today was as close to perfect as you can get this side of heaven. The children woke us up early, and the excitement in their voices outweighed any annoyance at a 6:30 wake up. After breakfast we sat in the living room as Tim read the Christmas story. The children acted out the parts with the nativity scene, which helped to bring the story to life. After that, we let them open their presents. This year they each got three presents from mommy and daddy, and one from each sibling, for a total of 5 gifts each. The big hit for Big E was the box of Bionacles that I had gotten off of Craigslist, and C’s favorite gift was the smart watch we got her. (Unbeknownst to her, the games on the smartwatch actually require a lot of exercise, so she was pretty active today. Baby E was disappointed in his present- I had gotten him a Maui outfit from Moana, but he was upset that I didn’t get him a Moana dress. Go figure. At least he enjoyed having Maui’s hook. I’m pretty sure his favorite gift from the day was the balance bike he got from his grandparents. He is going to enjoy that!

The rest of the day was pretty quiet until the evening when the rest of the family showed up. Then the decibels went through the roof as all the cousins ran around and played. Marrying into a large family makes evenings like these so fun and interesting. There is no lack of conversation or good interaction. We are very blessed with such a huge and loving family.

The only hard part today was when I was struck with the realization that this would have been Hazel’s first Christmas. I found a quiet spot in a dark room to just take a moment and acknowledge that even though I never got to hold her, I still miss her. I always will. But God has brought me a long way in the past year, and while I ache for her, her loss does not consume me. We will meet again.

The highlight of the day came this evening after everyone left and the house once again fell into silence. I was holding C as I sat by the fire. She curled up in my arms, her head tucked under my chin and we sat there as she drifted off to sleep. Eventually we moved to the couch, and finally Tim put her to bed. The kids were happy and exhausted- the results of a wonderful day. πŸ™‚

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Baby E keeps calling Naomi, Romeo. Ha ha!

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After Baby E woke up this morning he came into our room and crawled into bed next to me. As I cuddled him close, he suddenly sneezed directly onto my face. With my face covered in Baby E spit, he smiles and says, “I blessed you, Mommy!”

12-24-17 Christmas Eve

In the morning, I know I am going to regret staying up so late, but I just can’t help myself on Christmas Eve. I get enamored with the quiet house and lights on the tree and I find myself lost in a silence I all to often ignore. But in the stillness and the quiet, I am reminded that the beauty of this season is in contrast to the utter brutality that was manifested on the cross. The juxtaposition of the newborn babe with the agony of a crown of thorns and a blood-soaked brow. I am unworthy of such sacrifice. I am unworthy of such love. In the face of my own frailty and weakness, I will gladly cling to my Savior, and honor the day we celebrate his birth. May I always remember that my redemptive king didn’t come in a thunderous appearance, the earth did not tremble with his arrival, but in the stillness and quiet of a night long ago, my savior was born in a manger.

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This evening I got to share a candlelight service with my sweet daughter. As I watched the light of the flame flicker across her face, my heart ached for a better world- an easier life to guide her through. But instead, I must trust that her Father above will journey alongside her, and may my daughter (and my sons) long to pursue Him as well.

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12-23-17 Grandparents

Growing up, our closest grandparents were a six hour drive away, and while we travelled often to see them, we were never very close. They came from a generation where children were seen and not heard, so it was understood early on we shouldn’t expect a lot of affection from them. I never resented it, it’s just how it was.

Maybe because it was lacking in my early life, I strive very hard to create opportunities for my children to enjoy both sets of grandparents. Even if they see them every day, I try to make sure they understand how special that is. And now that we are living with Tim’s parents we still greet them with the same excitement and joy as when we didn’t see them all that often. The kids make sure to run upstairs each evening and say goodnight before bed and they ask for them from the moment they wake up.

This afternoon we took the grandparents to see the trains and the kids enjoyed showing their grandparents what all the buttons did, they pointed out their favorite trains, and showed them all the best things to see. I loved watching all the interaction. The grandparents did great engaging the kids with questions and pointing out things they hadn’t seen. They all really seemed to enjoy each other! These are the memories I want them to have! πŸ™‚

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