Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Past

 I thought it would be fun to look through our family photos from Christmas past and share them with you!  It's always fun to get a good laugh (2002 shows that short hair is not for me!!) and to see how the kids have grown.  There are no pics prior to 2001 because I didn't have a digital camera then and really I don't feel like messing with the scanner!  Ha  You're not missing much.  Ryan and I were married in 1999, and Isaiah was born in 2001, so we'll start with Isaiah's first Christmas.  Hope you enjoy; I know I did!!

2001 (Isaiah is almost 4 months old;our nephew is also in this pic)


2003 (Emma was SO tiny at only 20 days old)






2009 (Olivia was 1 month old)


2011  Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Girly Birthdays!!!

Both my baby girls have recently celebrated their birthdays.  Miss Olivia turned two on November 23rd, and Miss Emma will be eight tomorrow!!
We always stay busy this time of year with all of the Christmas stuff and birthdays.  In fact this year I totally dropped the ball on Olivia's birthday (see earlier post for reasons why).  Well, thanks to my mil, Olivia had a cake, balloons, and presents to open!!
I think her favorite part was a Minnie Mouse card that played music!!  She carried it around the house until it was broken!!

On Friday night Emma had a sleep-over with 6 of her girlfriends.  They had a great time and really were well-behaved, polite young ladies!!  We painted nails, played games, did karaoke, and put on make-up!

Now that the birthdays are over at our house for the year, we can focus on Christmas and celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scout is Here!!!!

Well Ryan and I made the 6.5 hour trip to eastern Tennessee late last night (never thought we'd be those people that drive far away to pick up a dog).  We got up this morning, met the breeder to get the dog, and drove 6.5 hours home.  When the breeder met us she told us that Scout had pooped and thrown up in the car on the way over.  I was not too happy about that.  The only thing I could think was that we have a very long trip home with a messy puppy. 
I was wrong!!  He sat on my lap and slept the entire way home with no messes.  Being home has been great.  The kids were of course excited, but Scout is very, very scared and shy.  He is just sitting with the kids and resting.  I'll just keep praying it stays this easy!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1st Haircut

I had my yearly physical this morning so while we were out I decided it was time to get Olivia's haircut for the first time!  The kids usually get their haircut on the west-side but since it was her first I thought we would go to the fun kids place on the east-side.  In the car when I asked her if she wanted  her haircut she shouted, "NO!!", so I wasn't so sure how it would go!  My worry was in vain....she sat perfectly still and watched the movie and played with a Barbie phone while the lady cut her hair.  The hairdresser even commented how well she was doing for her first time!  Olivia may be almost two, but she acts as though she is about four!!! She is generally well-behaved and totally understands when you explain something to her.  My girl is getting so big!!  Of course it didn't hurt that I promised her a sucker when she was all finished!!

All ready for her first haircut

Sitting like such a big girl
All done!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am officially in a state of denial.  One week from today my baby girl should be turning two!!  I say, should be, because I am not allowing it.  There has been no party planned, no presents bought, no cake prepared.  If you know me at all, you know that I am not typically sentimental or sad about my kids birthdays.  Usually they pass with a normal amount of fanfare and celebration, but this birthday is different.  You see I never thought that I would make it to Olivia's 2nd birthday without another little bundle in my arms; or at least one in my belly!  When Olivia was 6 months old I found out that I was pregnant again.  At first I was really scared and wondered, "How am I going to do this?"  I was I going to have a 14 month old and a newborn.  It wasn't long though until I was excited at the idea of having my kids so close together.  We were going to have a lot of crazy fun!!

Most of you that read this know how the story goes.  On September 9th, 2010 I delivered my son, Andrew, at 16weeks.  After much grieving I knew that I wanted another baby and was praying that I would be pregnant again before Andrew's due date which was in February 2011.  My prayer was answered when I had a positive pregnancy test on New Year's Day 2011.  We were anxious but excited that we would still have our kiddos close in age.  Again the story turns south when we found out our precious Abigail was gone at 16 weeks.  She was delivered on March 31, 2011. 

At first I said that I needed the rest of the year to process and give my body a break, but as time went on that hole that was left in my heart was starting to ache.  I wanted another baby!!  Abigail's due date and Andrew's birthday passed.  Still not pregnant!!  And now, here I am at Olivia's birthday.  She is turning two and I never in a million years thought I would make it to this point and not be pregnant again.  I was pregnant three times in the first 14 months of Olivia's life ( I had one early miscarriage before Andrew when Olivia was 4 months old).  How could I not get pregnant in the last 8 months??  It seemed to easy before!

Rest assured that I know God has a plan for my life; it just doesn't look the way I thought it would.  I pray every day to wait patiently on His timing; fully aware that means I may never carry another child in my womb.  No matter how much I want to deny the upcoming birthday of my precious toddler, I know she is still turning two and I know that whatever God has in store for our family it will be good!!  He is the giver of all good gifts! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mammoth Cave

Yesterday we took a field trip to Mammoth Cave.  I had never been to a cave so I was quite excited.  Truth be told, I was a little nervous.  The thought of being down underground where you cannot easily get out was not appealing to me at all.  However, I put my fear aside to go and enjoy God's creation and I am glad I did.  The cave was beautiful, magnificent even.  Huge open rooms, tiny passageways, long pits, and a small waterfalls.  God really has a great imagination!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bonfire and Hayrides

Last night a good friend and I went to a bonfire and hayride with our church.  The kids had so much fun roasting hotdogs and marshmallows, playing football, and going on a hayride!!  We love our church family!

Isaiah also had his last soccer game yesterday.  He has really done well.  His favorite position to play is goalie or defensive back.  We will have a few short weeks and then basketball season starts!! I guess there is never a dull moment.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Fall is definitely here!  The leaves, rain and temperatures are coming down.  That means today it was time for a trip to the pumpkin patch!!  All the kids picked their own pumpkin that we will eventually carve! They have so much fun going down the slide in the barn and playing with the various animals running around.  Today there were two little kittens!  Olivia loves cats which is unfortunate for them!!  She kept trying to carry them around but ended up choking them.  It makes me worry about the puppy that is about to come to our home!! Hopefully she won't strangle our puppy to death.

Poor kitty!

My little pumpkin

Monday, October 10, 2011

We're Expecting!!!

.....a puppy!! Ha gotcha!!  We have been talking about getting a dog for a while now.  After much research into allergy friendly dogs we decided on a Whoodle.  A Whoodle is a mix between a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and a Poodle.  They are supposed to be great dogs that don't shed much which is great for people with allergies.  We found the one we wanted from a breeder in Tennessee and the dog will be ready to come home sometime around Thanksgiving!!  Ryan wanted to surprise the kids but he can never keep a secret, so he told them tonight.  So far the kids are leaning toward naming him Scout.  We'll see if the name sticks!!  You can all start praying now for our adjustment to life with a puppy.  It has been over two years since we've had a dog!!
Isn't he cute!!!

Fall Festival and St. Louis

Well last week was the annual Westside Nutclub Fall Festival.  I took the kids down to ride rides and eat on two different occasions.  Usually we are down there everyday, but with school and other activities it just wasn't possible this year!  They had a great time on the rides.  Emma rode just about everything which is pretty rare for her!  They even won four fish!!
The kids playing a game at the Festival

Olivia, Emma, and my nephews riding the train

My kids eating with friends at the Fest

Proud of their four fish
On Saturday we headed to St. Louis with Ryan's whole family to celebrate my niece Rebekah's birthday!  The weather was perfect!! Everyone enjoyed the zoo.  We even got to see a baby lion!!  After the zoo we headed downtown to eat at the Spaghetti Factory.  YUM!!!
The whole fam (minus my mil) at the zoo

This chimp was so funny.  He kept picking his nose and then eating it!  Not much different from our kids!!

The cute baby lion

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Will Not Be Moved

I don't know if you're like me, but music moves my soul like nothing else in the world can.  It is not uncommon for me to drive across town unable to really see through the tears that stream down my face.  Sometimes they are tears of sadness or joy; more often they are tears of brokenness.  You know, that feeling like you can't believe that God loves you so much and is so awesome and worthy of our praise.  Well lately I have listened over and over to the Natalie Grant song, "I Will Not Be Moved" and have decided that this song is like a theme song for my life.  There have been other songs that describe certain periods of my life, but for this season, this is the one.  The lyrics are perfect for me and move me to tears every time!  Take time to really read the words. I pray they speak to you too!!

I have been a wayward child I have acted out I have questioned Sovereignty And had my share of doubts
And though sometimes my prayers feel like They're bouncing off the sky The hand I hold won't let me go And is the reason why

I will stumble, I will fall down But I will not be moved I will make mistakes I will face heartache But I will not be moved

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand All other ground is sinking sand I will not be moved, no, no

Bitterness has plagued my heart Many times before My life has been like broken glass And I have kept the score

Of all my shattered dreams And though it seemed That I was far too gone My brokenness helped me to seeIt's grace I'm standing on

I will stumble, I will fall down But I will not be moved I will make mistakes I will face heartache But I will not be moved

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand All other ground is sinking sand I will not be moved

And the chaos in my life Has been a badge I've worn And though I have been torn I will not

I will not be moved, no

I will make mistakes I will face heartache But I will not be moved

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand All other ground is sinking sand I will not be moved, no

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No more fun!!

Over the last week I have realized something:  I am not fun anymore!!  This realization came as the kids and I watched home videos.  We used to spend our days playing games, riding bikes, playing play dough, painting, dancing, and other crafty things.  Now I am the task master:  "clean your room, finish your math, practice your instrument, put your laundry away, pick your shoes up!"  We never seem to take the time to have fun anymore.  Even things that the kids enjoy, like baking, seem to be over taken by me because I'm in a hurry or don't want the mess.  It is time for me to relax and enjoy being with my kids.  Don't get me wrong, I love that we homeschool and I get to spend all day with my children. But I haven't be slowing down enough to take in the moments and really, really enjoy them!  Who cares if they make a mess? It will get cleaned up.  Who cares if we are half way through our curriculum by Christmas?  No one but me sets the schedule.  I know school must get done and instruments must be practiced, but I want them to look back and remember childhood fondly.  I don't want them to remember a harried and hurried mom that didn't take the time to just have fun!!  So, in honor of our new venture to have fun, we made pumpkin cookies last week and I actually let the kids help. I mean really help!!  Tomorrow we are making pumpkin cake pops and pumpkin pie scented play dough. 

On a side note:  Monday night there were six deer in the field next to our house.  It was so cool to be only a few yards away from the beautiful creatures!  Not long after the momma doe spotted us, she started hissing.  We decided it was best to head inside!!  I tried to get some pictures but they didn't turn out very well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Facials and Ladders

Fall is in full swing at our house.  This time of year feels so busy.  With violin, piano, soccer, Bible study, co-op, art class, and school work there is hardly time for necessary things such as cleaning, dishes, laundry or cooking dinner.  Still we have managed to find time for things that are fun!!  A few weeks ago when we were in Chicago Emma purchased a spa kit with her money.  She has had so much fun making soaps and scrubs.  On this particular day she had made a facial mask and Isaiah was trying to help her.  Emma could only stand having it on her face for about 2 minutes before she ran off to the shower to wash it off!!
I couldn't resist putting this picture on here.  Ryan will probably kill me!!  Apparently he didn't have a ladder long enough to get to the roof.  My baby is a redneck at heart!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sorrow and Love Flow Mingled Down

Just trying to start this post has my heart beating out of my chest.  Never before in my life have I had to reconcile two feelings that were so opposite from each other.  The next three days are full of such love and sorrow.  Let's start with the feeling of love!! Tomorrow my first born will be 10 years old.  I almost can't believe it.  It seems like yesterday he was just a baby.  When I look at him now I see a young man that is smart, kind (most of the time), and sensitive to the Lord.  He is inquisitive and loves to laugh; he has his dad's sense of humor!!  The joy that he has brought to me and so many others is boundless.  I praise the Lord everyday for the gift of Isaiah.
Our first family picture!!

 Now to the sorrow.  Tomorrow also is another anniversary of sorts.  One year ago tomorrow I found out that my second son (fourth child) was no longer alive.  I went in for my 16 week check-up and the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat.  She assured me that everything was fine but sent me to have an ultrasound just to make sure.  My worse fears were realized when the ultrasound tech put the wand on my swollen belly.  There was no movement; nothing!!  I was all by myself at the doctor that day; seeing that this was my fourth pregnancy and everything had always been fine before.  They lead me back to a storage room where I could call Ryan in private.  I still hadn't really cried up to that point, but it's kind of hard to call your husband and say, "the baby has no heartbeat."  I drove home in silence.  I was sort of dreading seeing anyone else; I wasn't really prepared to deal with other peoples reactions yet.  When I got home the whole family was there waiting.  We had a party planned that night for Isaiah's birthday, so we decided to go ahead with the plan.  We were also supposed to leave for a beach vacation on Friday and this was Wednesday. 
After the party we put Olivia to bed and headed to the hospital for an induction ( the baby was too big for a D&C).  Within an hour of arriving at the hospital my small group was there along with the worship leader at our church.  We spent the next several hours laughing so hard and loud that I thought the hospital might kick us out.  Laughter was just what we needed!!
The induction took longer than we expected and Andrew David was delivered on Thursday night, September 9, 2010.  I left the hospital at 10am on Friday morning, went home and packed up the whole family (with the help of my mom and mother in law) and we set off for Hilton Head.  I do believe that I cried the whole way there.  Listening to praise music helped to start the healing process. 
Fast forward a few months and joy comes again!! On January 1, 2011, I found out I was pregnant again!  I couldn't have been happier.  I would be due on September 10th, just two days after Isaiah's birthday and the day after Andrew had been born.  But it wasn't long until sorrow came again.  Again, at 16 weeks, on March 28, 2011, I head into the doctor for a regular check-up.  This time Ryan came with me because of what happened last time.  We were in shock when the ultrasound tech put the wand on my belly and just looked at me and said, "I'm sorry. I think it's a girl"  The nightmare was repeating!!  My doctor couldn't believe it.  The nurse came in and just held me, crying!!  I was sent immediately for an amnio and other tests to see why this was happening again.   Since we weren't leaving on vacation we had a little time to plan the induction of this baby.  I went in on the night of March 30th and Abigail Grace was delivered on March 31, 2011. 
I have to say, as sad as this all is, it is amazing to see how perfectly God forms us in such a short period of time!!  Daily I must tell Him that I trust His plan; that I know He has my best interest at heart.  That is not easy to do.  I really, really want to have more children, and waiting is the hardest part.  My heart aches for my babies that I never got to raise.  Still I am thankful for what He has given me; three beautiful children to love here on earth and two precious babies waiting for me in heaven!!  My prayer for today is to count my blessings and pray that I will rest content in the plan God has for me, even though I do pray that plan includes more children!!

(Just a side note:  The song "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" has been playing over and over again in my mind for the past several weeks as I contemplated this post.  We sang it at church this past Sunday and I felt so loved and noticed by God.  I love it when He does things like that!!)