Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bathrooms

Instead of sitting here anxiously worrying about whether or not we get this house, I thought I'd plan the bathrooms because they'll be the first up for renovation and require the most work. Even if we don't get this place, odds are the place that we do get will need a bathroom remodel so I might as well put the footwork in now.

Upstairs is one full bath and right next to it, in the master bedroom, is a sink nook. Brian had the brilliant (albeit a little crazy) idea to take the sink nook out and wall it all up to make a second bathroom. If we do end up doing that (which he says would be easy and add to the resale value), I want the bathroom designs to be seamless in their design. They don't have to be exactly the same but the look I'm going for will be mostly white (no windows in either bathroom) and clean lines with a little bit of texture brought into each one. Both bathrooms have to be super budget friendly since we're basically trying to do 2 bathrooms on a 1 bathroom budget.


Bathrooms

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Help my unbelief

Having an unknown future can be so daunting. The temptation to doubt God's sovereignty and goodness is strong. I know what I have to tell myself. I know that He is good and loving and gives grace for every trial. I know that He has a perfect plan for our lives and nothing that happens is a surprise to Him. I know that He will always provide, no matter how dire the circumstances look.

But still I fail. I doubt. I worry. I get frustrated and angry. The future as I know it is unknown and it's not enough. It's not enough to know that He will provide, I want to know how. It's not enough to know that He will give grace through trials, I want to know when those trials will happen. Not enough, not enough, not enough.

I text'd my older sister my fears and concerns to ask for prayer and she reminded me of Mark 9. The father who's child was demon possessed who asked Jesus to cast out the unclean spirit. Jesus tells him that anything is possible for someone who believes and he replies "I believe! Help my unbelief."

Tears come to my eyes just thinking about that reminder again. How many trials has the Lord brought us through in the past? Every single one of them. Never did He leave us to wallow in our pain and despair. And yet here I am. Faced with another trial and unable to believe that He is capable of it again. Without God to sustain our faith, it would fail every time. So my cry this week has become, help my unbelief! I do believe! I know what you have done in the past and I need help to remind myself of that when present worries plague me.

Sometimes it strikes me as odd how vulnerable my blog posts can be. Strangers whom I've never met can be reading my innermost thoughts and struggles. But on the off chance that someone out there is struggling with this as well, I hope that it can serve as a reminder. We serve a loving, merciful God. We know He is sovereign and righteous. We deserve death and separation from Him and yet He calls us to be His children. With truths like that ringing in my ears, how can I doubt Him?

We find out later this week if everything will go through with the house. There are a lot of factors that could throw this whole thing down the drain so we have prayed for wisdom and discernment (and of course that it would all work out smoothly!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A non-girly girls room

We found out that baby #3 is a girl! We're all pretty excited (yes, even Brian) and I know she'll have a ton of clothes but I have to get her a few things that are just her own... Poor girl will be getting hand-me-downs her whole life probably. Or if they're lucky, all 3 girls will be the same size and get to share clothes :D At any rate, I'll compile a blog post of a few things I've gotten for her. Still no name but that's nothing new considering our track record!

Along with that, I've been planning the girls' room/nursery. There's a strong chance we're moving at the end of August and their future room will be tiny (like 10'x9') so we'll have to make some adjustments. Basically the only thing going in their room are beds, crib and dresser (we'll keep all the toys downstairs). Since we'll have guests often, we want to keep the third bedroom as an office/guest room.

We're going to upgrade Allie and Maddie to bunks (not real ones, Ikea Kura loft bed with a mattress on the bottom). I wanted their room to be slightly girly but not too girly. They love all things pink and purple but doesn't have to look like Pepto Bismol everywhere.

A few of these things we already have but I'll have to get their bedding. I want it to be simple and clean. I've learned that white sheets look dingy after awhile so I decided to do a neutral color with a white blanket. Which... honestly these girls sleep in underwear with no sheet/blanket/anything so it might just be for looks.

Those feather hooks I snagged for $6 last year on Black Friday and I've been waiting to hang them (we only did absolutely necessary holes in the walls at our apartment since we knew we probably wouldn't be here very long). The rug was a fluke find but I'm so glad I did because it's the perfect blend of girliness and ties everything in the room together.

I've spent the last few days shopping and brainstorming for the new place. There's still a chance it could fall through or something really bad could show up on the home inspection though. So we're praying and trusting the Lord to provide but if we do get it, I'll be sure to keep you guys posted! <3 span="">
Girls room


Rug
target.com


Chenille blanket
target.com


Neutral bedding
target.com



Stackable Wood Bin
target.com


IKEA Helg
ikea.com

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Persevere.

Some days are just harder than others. Some weeks are just harder than others. There are those times where it feels like you just have multiple bad days in a row and every morning you think things will go better but as the hours pass, you seem to be reliving the day before.

We've had our share of disappointments and difficulties in the last few weeks. House hunting is NOT for the faint of heart, especially in this market. So now we're re-evaluating our decisions. Rethinking our choices. Questioning the choices that we've made and why. Wondering how to use that information moving forward. So many unknowns.

Sometimes it feels like we're walking on a path in the dark. We choose our steps carefully because we don't know what's ahead but we have to walk if we want to get out of the darkness. Sometimes we misstep and that leads to a fall and then we sit there for a moment, wondering if we should just wait the darkness out. Why keep walking? Why risk falling?

It makes sense that Paul would use the analogy of running a race for the life of a Christian. Perseverance. It's the key to all of this.

We don't know where we're going to live. God says, I know. That's enough. Persevere. 

We don't know if Brian should stay at this job. God says, I have him here. That's enough. Persevere.

I don't know how to encourage my husband enough. Teach my children enough. Keep my home enough. God says, I have filled you with the Holy Spirit, who enables you. That's enough. Persevere. 

Every time the doubts creep in, I have these reminders in my head. Sometimes it feels like I'm screaming at myself. Why haven't I learned? Why do I still need the reminders?

We're going to be studying Deuteronomy in our women's group in the fall so I've started reading it. And right there in the first few chapters, Moses reminds the Israelites that they continually disobeyed God and questioned Him, even though He had continually taken care of them and guided them.

So when those doubts creep in about life, I remember the blessings.

God has given us a place to live, right now.

He has given a job to Brian that allows him to have time with the girls and I.

We have clothes. Food. Water. A wonderful church. New friends.

We have a healthy (almost 4) year old who is the sweetest little helper and a loving big sister (most of the time).

We have a healthy (almost 2) year old who is spunky, silly, loving, and looks up to and loves her big sister (most of the time).

And we have a healthy 20 week old baby girl #3 who is growing and kicking and reminding me what a precious gift children are.

So I meet those doubts with reminders of God's faithfulness, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, and then, I persevere.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letters to my daughters

There are things I want you to learn. Things I want you to remember about your relationship with each other and with your parents. So I'm writing these letters to you.

Allie
You're learning and growing so quickly. It's amazing to see your little mind at work. You're so smart and sometimes, you use those smarts to be manipulative. Not my favorite thing because I consider that to be one of my worst traits. You have such a unique relationship with your sister. You love her, you care for her, you drive her crazy taking her toys or yanking them back when she takes them from you. You hurt her sometimes but most of the time, you sweetly apologize and offer a hug and she smiles and agrees. You teach her so much -- good and bad.

You ask so many questions. I'm amazed at the things you remember. I would venture to guess that your favorite thing is wearing twirly dresses and singing and dancing around the living room. (I mean, you can actually see the disappointment in your face when you put a dress on and it doesn't twirl) You love when dad comes home and you're always the first to run up and give him a hug (usually because Maddie is still asleep or just doesn't run as fast). I can see how special it is that he has time to play with you and read stories to you (which are just as entertaining for me because your dad never reads the actual words but improvises).

After every bath, you lead your little sister in this weird song/dance in front of the mirror that I don't understand but it's the funniest thing. You're so innocent and honest in your thoughts. You struggled with staying in bed for awhile and after a few weeks of staying in bed, one night you crawled into ours without us knowing it. When I asked you about it the next morning, you said "Well, I stayed in bed and fell asleep and was asleep for TWO HOURS. And then I forgot that I was supposed to stay in bed."

I don't think you're saved yet, but I can see the Lord working in your heart. When you sweetly obey and rejoice over it, I feel my heart burst.

Maddie
You seem to be learning and growing twice as fast as Allie did at your age. Maybe because you have her as an example and boy, do you ever follow her example. If Allie is wearing a dress today, you'll want to wear a dress. If Allie has a blanket tied around her neck as a cape and is running up and down the halls, you'll be right behind her, cape and all. You're younger so you seem to get your way more. I don't know if you know that you're taking advantage of it. Whenever you share with your sister, you say "Thank you! You're welcome!"

You practice making silly faces and Allie is so entertained by it. You try so hard to recite verses with her and it makes me smile. You LOVE baths so much that if we have to give you guys a quick shower, it's pretty much a guaranteed meltdown from you. You practice scowling and looking surprised. I don't know why but it cracks us up. When you get disciplined, you're so quick to say "Sorry... hug!" I don't know if you understand repentance yet but I love that you always offer hugs.

Sometimes you'll climb up while I'm crocheting or folding laundry and just flounce on me and say "Hug! I wuuuffff yoooouu" and it's my favorite thing. But when it comes to the favorite parent, Dad is wrapped around your little finger. Maybe because I spend all day with you, but when you see him, you come running to give him hugs. And when you sweetly ask for a snack (that Mom doesn't usually give you because it's too close to dinner) Dad will almost always give in (probably because he wants to eat a snack too).


I want to remember how you guys sing a duet to "Let it go" at the top of your lungs. I want to remember how sweetly you'll play with each other. I want to remember how the soundtrack to the Disneyland railroad scares Maddie but Allie will come beside you and say "It's okay Maddie! It's just dinosaurs!" I can't believe you're going to be 2 and 4 but I am so thankful I get to be a part of your lives. I love you more than you will ever know. Maybe someday when you have your own daughters. I don't know what our relationship will be like in the future, but I pray and hope that you will always come to me with your problems and worries and blessings and joys so I can pray with you, rejoice with you, bear your burdens.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Baby #4

I know, no blogging for 2 months and then I just unload my entire life on you guys. But we went to my parents house last weekend and while the girls watched Frozen for what seems like the millionth time (but it's really only like the 4th) I blogged. Warning: Long post ahead...

So... baby. On December 7th, we found out that God had chosen to take our third child home to be with Him. That was the hardest thing I've ever dealt with but even looking back a few months later, I could see how much we grew through that experience and how our dependence on the Lord's grace is stronger than ever.

We decided to wait before we would consider the possibility of adding another baby to our lives. A few months went by and the pain started to lessen. I could share my story with new friends and not end up in tears. I could see how strong our faith had become through this loss and I was comforted knowing that God could bless us with more children, if He wanted to. But if not, I was okay with that too.

Pregnancy after loss

When I took the test, it was a faint positive but it was definitely there. I cried the whole day. I was happy for a new baby. I was sad for the one we lost. I felt guilty being excited for a new baby. It seemed like not enough time had passed (although at this point it had been 3 months). When I told Brian, he was so happy and excited and then minutes later was sad and grieving. It was such a weird feeling and not something that anyone talks about after experiencing loss.

As time went by, we slowly and extremely cautiously began talking about adding a new baby to our lives. I remember at about 8 weeks of being pregnant, Brian suggested a name and I was shocked. I felt like we had to make sure this child survived before we started picking names.

And there's the catch. We never do know if a child will survive, do we? Just because we've had Allie for 3.5 years and named her and loved her and taught her and disciplined her, doesn't mean we have any guarantee that we'll get to see her through the next 3.5 or 10.5 or 50.5 years. Same with Maddie. Same with this baby.

And it was this moment... this was when I truly held all of my children with an open hand. Losing a baby that we never even got to meet was hard, and we both knew that the lives of our children are never guaranteed. But it wasn't until this 4th baby that I truly trusted the Lord's sovereignty over our lives and our children's lives. It doesn't mean I don't sometimes fear losing them -- but my heart is turned to prayers that the Lord would just have mercy on them and save them before choosing to take them.

Fear

I can honestly say that I have not struggled with fear with this pregnancy until I was driving to my first doctor's appointment (which incidentally was the day before my due date). A sweet friend offered to watch the girls which was a huge relief. But I was a wreck the entire day. I cried and prayed the whole way to my appointment. I was fearful of going through a loss again and I poured my heart out to the Lord, begging Him for the strength to face whatever would happen.


My doctor asked me how I felt.
"Nervous."
"Tell me about your loss."
*Immediate tears as I tried to choke out what happened in December.*
Praise God I had the sweetest, most compassionate doctor and she really made things so much easier.

"Okay, ready for the ultrasound?"
*Nervous chuckle... I half expected to see nothing and half expected to hear nothing.

(Tells self: don't cry, don't cry, don't cry)
*look at the screen, see the baby moving and hear the heartbeat, and immediately start crying*

I can't explain the emotions that overwhelmed me but I was so thankful that God had mercy on me. The doctor said everything looked great but I didn't get much comfort from this knowing that everything had looked great with the last pregnancy until it wasn't. But I didn't need to draw comfort from that -- God gave me the peace I had so desperately been crying out for and for the first time, I felt truly excited about this new little one.

So. Now what? Physically, I feel great (a huge difference from the last time) just sleepy and hungry all the time. I've taken naps with the girls like 3 times in the last week and I love ALL. THE. FOOD.

Emotionally? I'll let you know. Some days I'm excited. Some days I'm still grieving. But every day the Lord continues to give me grace and peace. And I'm hopeful that we get to see this little one grow into someone who loves and serves God. But if not? I know God will still use their life, however long it might be, to strengthen and grow others as we trust in Him.

Lastly? My due date is 2 days after my birthday so, Lord willing, 32 will be a pretty memorable one. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Life... today.

So here we are. We've been living in Oceanside for 2 months now.
  • Our apartment is finally looking/feeling more like home. Just in time for us to start shopping for a house. 
  • Brian got a new job and has been at it for a week. The crazy thing? He's been getting home at 4:15 on the dot everyday. He gets every other Friday off. And he's working at Oceanside Harbor. Yeah, that means he gets to see the sun rising over the beach everyday. 
  • We love our church. The girls and I have made friends fast and a few of those women have already been such a huge blessing to me! I'm so SO thankful that God has placed us in a solid church where we've already been able to be involved (another perk to Brian's new job). We're excited to see how the Lord is going to use us. We've already been so blessed by the people here; it's made the transition so much easier. 
  • We've already had visitors from Sac and it was so fun! As exciting as new friends are, it's so good to just sit and talk with someone who knows you already, knows your history, your struggles, and just be encouraged. We can't wait to have more!
  • And the biggest news... I'm pregnant again. Trust me, another blog post is coming on that. :)