Monday, September 26, 2016

Maddie Jane

You are my sensitive one. I know part of it is normal toddler emotions at your age but there's also a sweetness and compassion about you. You always cry when you listen to the Baa Baa Quartet from the Shaun the Sheep movie sing "Feels Like Summer" because you know it's the part where the baby sheep is sad and missing home. When it first happened, I could see you trying to hold it together so I scooped you in my arms and you just cried and kept saying "Baby... Sad... Crying..." I immediately teared up too -- obviously not for the sheep but because I could see compassion in your heart at such a young age.

It's not easy parenting #2. More often than not I lean on Allie because she's older and I require more patience and generosity from her. You are younger so in some ways, you get away with a lot. We're trying hard to curb this but also give you grace, just like we did with Allie.

But still... you get your way. Especially with Dad. One weepy look and he's handing over cookies for breakfast to you and your sister. I cringe to think how you'll use that as teenagers... :D

You look up to Allie in every. Single. Way. And more often than not, it's wanting whatever she has (which I'm sure frustrates her at times). If Allie is going to have pigtails, then that's how you want your hair. If Allie is playing with a play phone, then you want that phone and only that phone. If Allie is acting crazy and wild and bouncing off the walls, then you're right behind her.

Last night at dinner (which admittedly was at 8:30 p.m. so way past your normal dinner time. In fact, way past your bedtime...) you girls were sitting there giggling hysterically at each other. About nothing at all. I love that you're already bonding and building your sister relationship. Even if you drive each other crazy sometimes (like hearing Allie finally announce in frustration "Maddie! Stop following me!"). I gently reminded her that you love her so much (maybe even more than your parents?) and just want to be with her and play with her.

And of course we're in the "my do it" stage. You are such an independent little girl, it's funny/scary to me because I see so much of myself in you.

Things are so crazy in our lives right now. You will soon be removed from the position of youngest. We're moving to a new condo that's mid-renovation in 4 days. We are in the midst of packing our lives for the 4th time in our 6 years as a family and it's chaotic. I'm hoping that there will be a new normal soon. One where we aren't in the middle of a huge transition. With the new place, new baby, new(ish) hometown, new(ish) job for Brian, we've had such a whirlwind year.

And you, sweet girl. Your life is flashing before my eyes. I feel like I can barely remember you as a baby. You're growing so quickly it makes me sad. I just want to squeeze you and kiss you and keep you little forever. But since I can't, I'm going to write you these letters and capture these memories to look back on later. When you've grown so big, you no longer can nuzzle me as I carry you. When you're too old to want to climb up onto my lap just to make silly faces. When you have reached the stage of not needing me to be around, not missing me when I'm gone, not wanting me to be the only one to hold you. *Sigh... I don't look forward to those days so I'll do my best to soak up every moment with you now. <3 br="">

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Allie - 4 years old

I can't believe Allie is 4. I didn't cry the whole week. Not even when Facebook reminded me what I posted 4 years ago. She was so tiny and squishy. But I kept it together until Sunday rolled around. She moved up to the 4-5 yr old class and when she lined up without even looking back at me, it really hit me how grown up and independent she is. So of course I walked back into big church and immediately started crying into Brian's shoulder.

I remember there were moments where it felt so easy. She would sleep so much, at 5 days old we thought "This parenting thing is a piece of cake". And honestly, it was when she was that small. I still maintain that potty-training was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a parent. It's between that and disciplining her. Those newborn days were so simple. *Sigh...

Sometimes when I see her sin come out, I can't help but feel like a failure as a parent. It's easy to blame yourself but it's also silly. I didn't put the sin in her heart. Yes, it's my job to teach her to be fighting it but she is not going to be perfect, no matter how hard I try. The moments that keep me going and encourage my heart the most are when I see the grace in her life. When she says "Yes, mommy" with a good attitude. When she lovingly helps Maddie instead of aggravating her. When she cleans all her toys quickly and efficiently and then says "Mom! Look! It's all clean!" with such joy. She's not even bragging, she's genuinely looking for the smile on my face and the hug I sweep her up in to thank her.

Oh Allie. Someday you'll be a mother. I can't even fathom that. Someday you won't need me to direct you anymore. You won't need the correction and instruction. You won't need me to tell you what's right and wrong. What's rude and polite. What's kind and unkind. I pray that you will lean as heavily on God's Word as I have. I pray that you don't attempt perfection but that you constantly repent. I pray that your eyes will be open to your sins. That you will be humble in correction. That you will be kind in your words and actions. That you will be submissive yet unwavering.

When you're a mother, you'll see I did the best I could. You'll see how imperfect I was. You'll see the mistakes and flaws but I think you will appreciate that I honestly gave it my best shot and prayed that God's grace would cover the abundance of shortcomings. And I hope that you will always come to me with your burdens. Mothers... we bear the burdens of our children even if they don't want it. But I hope I can always offer comfort, wisdom, and if nothing else, bring your burdens before the Lord on your behalf.

I'm so thankful for the last 4 years that you have been in our lives. It feels like you've been around forever and yet not that long. It also feels like you've been 4 forever because I can hardly remember you as a baby. You are growing so quickly into a young lady, I'm sure I'll blink and you'll be driving. It's a sad thing to see these years flying by but it also brings so much joy to see the Lord at work in your heart. I love you so fiercely.

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to style your coffee table: Mom's of toddlers edition

I saw the headline of an email from Lulu & Georgia today. "How to style your coffee table" it said. I didn't bother opening it. I laughed out loud and then decided it was enough to be a blog post.


HOW TO STYLE YOUR COFFEE TABLE: 
Mom of Toddlers Edition

Mom Coffee Table


  1. Scribbles. Let's start with a good base. Your coffee table should already have some random crayon/color pencil/pen/marker scribbles on it. Please don't attempt this yourself - the true artist needs to shine here: your toddlers. It will be the start of layering items to break up the monotony.
  2. Snacks. Doesn't have to be goldfish crackers but that's the most basic snack that is easily spread around and solid orange will be a nice break from all the other colorful elements going on. 
  3. Obnoxiously colorful books. A favorite in our house for decorating the coffee table are Dr. Seuss books but you can also use any classic book, bonus points if it makes noises!
  4. Random clothing. This can be your clothing that your toddler was wearing moments ago or the outfit she had on earlier or the underwear she was wearing until her potty break and then ran away bottomless. If you have girls, you'll probably want to throw in some sort of princess attire to bring a feminine tone to the space. 
  5. Duplos. It doesn't have to be Duplos -- this is merely representative of any sort of colorful set of toys. Don't put the whole set here - you just need a few random pieces strewed haphazardly around. 
  6. Parts of a tea set. This is probably more geared towards moms of girl toddlers who often have tea parties -- I don't know, I've never had sons. Just make sure the set is missing one purple spoon that will drive you crazy every time you see it. We want a stressful item to bring sentimentality to the table. 
  7. Parts of other toys. This is usually kitchen items in our house but it can be whatever you want! This is where you get creative. Random pieces of a puzzle would be ideal as the final touch of chaos. 
  8. Stray art supplies. These should be leftover from letting your toddler decorate your table in step 1. You just need a few crayons (preferably broken with half the paper torn off) to add the finishing touch to your stylish coffee table. 
That's it! Once you have these items on your coffee table, it really sets the tone for the rest of the house and will show that your decor style is a really lived in, laid back style.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Life... a year ago?

I have had this post sitting in my drafts since last August. I suppose I could just change a few things and it would still be applicable today :D
  • We've had the songs (and corresponding motions) from VBS stuck in our heads all week. Allie was even pretending to be the Leader for lesson time. "Everyone feeling good today? Yeah? Okay! Let's talk about our verse for today!" It's a sweet reminder that her little head does retain all the lessons, verses, and stories that we tell her. Even if in the moment of sin, it doesn't seem like it. But aren't we all that way? Next item on the list: teach her the actual words to the songs so I'm not hearing "thenazing graaaace, the mazing loooooove" So close. 
  • Speaking of Allie, she'll be 4 in less than 2 weeks. I can't believe it. The only thing she keeps asking for is a birthday party and a trip to Disneyland. I'm sure we'll be able to work both of those out (especially before our passes expire). 
  • Brian has this Friday off and instead of getting started on the HUGE list of to-do at the new house, we're gonna take a half day and meet up with college friends in San Diego at the beach. Plus gearing up for a full day of work on Saturday! Those popcorn ceilings have got to GO.
  • Allie overcame her fear of the ocean. Great. The last time Brian took her out, I was basically holding my breath the whole time and I think my shoulders are still tense. She was wearing floaties but they went so far out. She loved it. I was dying. At least I still have one terrified of the water. Maybe I'll feel better when she knows how to swim. And I'm cursing myself for not enrolling her in swim lessons earlier. Being a mother is stressful in so many ways. Like if they're not already in danger of getting run over by a car or dying of pneumonia, let's add drowning to the list.

Our bedroom

I'm toying with the idea of painting one wall in our bedroom a deep grayish navy blue. Worst case scenario: if I hate it, I have to repaint one wall. Not too terrible. Most of the things in this moodboard are things we already own that I've been collecting slowly over the last few years. When I bought that storage bin at Target, I didn't know what I was going to use it for but I'm so glad I snatched it up anyway (on clearance too!).

We bought the Hemnes dresser when we moved to Oceanside (our previous dressers were Malm which had been moved 3 times in 5 years and would not have survived another move). I saw these brass Martha Stewart knobs but I don't know yet if I want to swap out the existing knobs. I'll have to test it out but for $30, it would be a subtle update that would tie into the brass lamps. I still haven't jumped on the rug but that's because Brian isn't a fan of rugs in the bedroom so I might just get a runner for my side of the bed. We'll have to see once the floor is in. I'm thinking Brian can probably take a cool picture of the ocean (since he sees it every day at work) and I can get a large print to hang above the bed.


Our bedroom

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Full bathroom

The strange thing about remodeling these places is that we haven't always done what we want. Sometimes we have to make decisions based on what's most cost effective or durable. The last house ended up being okay and everything was nice and new and pretty but there were a few areas where I would've definitely done things differently if it was our forever home.

We're kind of in the same boat with this place but that doesn't mean I can't still try to put our spin on things especially since we'll probably be here awhile. So while I won't pick the $9/sf hexagon tile that I really want, I'll still try to stick with neutral color themes that will translate well for the next owners. 

Last weekend was my nephew's birthday so we took advantage of my sister's close proximity to an Ikea and the Ikea Family sale to snag the cabinet for the bathroom. We're not 100% sure what will happen with the master bedroom sink nook yet. In the meantime, we still need to get the full bathroom up and working before we move in.

The bad news is that Brian didn't like the ridges on the light gray cabinet from Ikea. The good news was that we found a brand new (plastic still on) light gray cabinet in the AS IS section at Ikea for half the price. The other good news is that Brian okay'd my idea to build our own wooden drawer fronts. We'll do white paint in here because there are no windows so we need as much light in here as possible but I think the dark tile will contrast nicely and the wood accents will warm the space up.

Plus, you know, the girls' pink towels and multi-color bath toys always help bring color in too. 


Full bathroom

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Still indecisive

Well, we have a new home! We're not moving anytime soon because there's quite a bit of work that needs to be done first (like remove carpets and popcorn ceiling, paint, etc.). But I am in super planning mood and shopping like crazy! But not for super fun stuff, like clothes. :D For boring house stuff like flooring and paint colors.

Speaking of paint colors, I'm torn. I want to just do everything white because a) it'll save money b) it'll help the downstairs and bathrooms look light and bright since they don't get a ton of natural light, and c) it's easier than picking colors for each room. But then I saw all these pictures of rooms with dark navy accent walls or light blush pink half walls and started thinking it might be cool to do something like that? I'll save that for another post.

Anyway, while I was working on some moodboards, I saw a rug from Target that looked very similar to the one I blogged about from West Elm a long time ago but at like 1/8 the price! The muted colors were perfect for the girls room while still incorporating some pink which will make the girls super happy so win-win-win. I will be returning my previous purchase and this one is already on the way... (plus it's on sale with an additional 10% off!)

And an updated moodboard because it's really more for me than anything.


Girls room

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. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Life... a month ago.

Another post I wrote a month ago and never got around to publishing... but I still like to see where my thoughts were because things are so different now!

Transition.

We're slowly settling into our new home. It took us:
  • 1 day to go to the beach. We were obviously having withdrawals from the last 6 years. 
  • 3 days to acclimate to warmer weather. We stepped out the other night and I thought 60 degrees was freezing. I guess deep down I was always a So Cal girl. 
  • 1 week to not get lost going to Target. But I still don't know exactly where Sprouts is. 
  • 10 days to unpack 95% of our things. I have a feeling it'll take 4 months to get to those last 2 boxes.
Moving back into apartments has been interesting. It's not bad -- there's a lot I could complain about but I'm happy to have a roof over our heads. And it's forced me to get creative with storage which means a lot of $4 Swedish shelving solutions. I think more than ever, our living situation looks like it was sponsored by Ikea.

Tiny apartment means there's nowhere to go when the girls are screaming and running up and down the hallway. There's nowhere to go when they're napping and I'm trying to be quiet because oh my goodness, they need a good nap. My parents bought us a wagon that I think is supposed to be used for toting things to the beach but it has been a huge help in toting toddlers and groceries from the parking lot to our apartment. 

The perks? We met a few wonderful families at church. Our new church is different but it's the same God, the same Bible, the same call to worship and fellowship together. We love it in a different way. Brian's job has been sort of easing him in slowly (which I'm sure won't last long) but he already has some other possibilities on the horizon that would be really great. We'll see what God has in store for us!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Blast from the past

I wrote the following post the day that we moved to So Cal and haven't posted it until now. Life, am I right?


It's 1:30 in the morning. I've just spent 10 hours in a car with 2 toddlers and have survived to tell the tale. It wasn't AS bad as I thought it would be but there were still some moments that made me promise myself road trips would not happen again until the girls were out of car seats. All the movies on the iPad and junk food could not keep them from getting antsy and at 7:30 pm when we stopped at Taco Bell for a healthy dinner, they danced and jumped and spun circles all around the restaurant while I was doing all I could to revive myself.

So now that I'm finally laying in a bed, you'd think I would immediately pass out like Brian, Allie, and Maddie did, right? Guess not. It's not that I'm not tired, it's just that when the mood strikes to write, I write. 

Moving 500 miles is no small feat. The last 2 weeks have been an absolute blur and it still hasn't sunk in. The future is so unknown and it's terrifying. Exciting but scary. New home, new job, new church, new friends. I hope that things are just as good as Sacramento or better but I also miss people there and know those friendships can't be replaced. 

Packing your life up is exhausting. You start out all organized and label happy and then it turns into either tossing things into boxes or the trash. 

Loading a moving truck is exhausting and I'm pretty certain we would still be loading it if we hadn't had Brian's dad to help us.

But here we are. Finally. Phew...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Interviews with Allie: Storytime Edition

Allie is constantly asking us to read to her. And while I love that she's growing up to be a bookworm like her mother, sometimes we don't always have the time. So the other day while I was crocheting bonnets like a madwoman, I asked her to read to me instead.

This is the story of Baby Jesus.

"Then meanwhile there were shepherds. And they were going up and down and up and down and flying. And then Donald Duck came in. And he said "glory to God this is not the highest". Then there was meanwhile. Then they were not shepherds. The end."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Goodbyes, Part 1

Part of leaving means saying goodbye. One of the goodbyes that I didn't think would be as hard as it was, was my truck. I didn't realize I'd be so attached to a car but it's been with me for 9 years. That's longer than Brian has known me.

I drove it off the lot with 7 miles as a lease. Probably the worst financial decision of my life, but what did I know? I was young and impulsive and I had wanted that truck since I was a teenager. It's been through so much with me. The first time I met Brian, I let him drive it to pick up his friend at the airport and back. When we moved to Sacramento, it carried all of my belongings (basically clothes) all this way. It was there when we got married, when we moved into our first house, when we had Allie, then moved to our second house, had Maddie, and now it's gone.

I'm sure the next owner will enjoy it. It was a very good car and I like to think we sold it for a very good deal. But as I watched Brian drive it away to meet the new owner, I had this strong urge to cry. I could wax eloquently and say it was a symbol of my younger years and what I was really saying goodbye to was the days of my youth, but that wasn't it. I just plain missed my truck.

It's been replaced with a more family friendly vehicle. One that can fit groceries and strollers in the back without getting rained on. One that can seat up to 8 people. It will be a great family car and I do already love it.

But still.

I miss my truck.

Or maybe I'm just constantly on the verge of tears because this is only the beginning of a long list of hard goodbyes.

*Sigh...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Change is in the wind.

Oh, 2016. How much change you've already brought into our lives and we're barely 2 weeks in. Let's tackle this one thing at a time... shall we?

I accidentally started a business. While my mom was here taking care of the girls after my procedure, I had a lot of free time. She was cooking, cleaning, bathing and caring for the girls... so I was basically sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I crocheted a bunch of stuff, including some newborn bonnets. I posted a few on Instagram and suddenly I had orders for a dozen more. Maybe this can be a thing? I have no idea. Maybe it'll explode into a business and I'll crochet myself into early onset arthritis. But for now, I'm doing something I enjoy and someone is paying me for my work which incidentally, works out pretty nicely for me.

Brian quit his job. He had his last day of work last Friday and he's been home all week working on finishing the house remodel. We're trying to get that quickly finished because at the end of February...

We're moving to San Diego. There's a job opportunity for Brian and we're finally going to do what we've been talking about doing for 6 years. Last year around this time, I vaguely posted about some changes that might be happening and we have earnestly prayed and moved forward with these changes for the last twelve months.

How do I feel about it? Happy. Sort of. Mostly. Also, sad. Excited. Scared. We're leaving friends here that have become very dear to my heart. We're moving to a whole new place and while I do have some family in San Diego, we'll still start fresh with a new church and new friends. We'll be closer to my parents and sisters. Still 2 hours drive time but that's better than 8. We'll be moving into an apartment while we look for a house. We'll most likely be remodeling a house again. We have to fit our entire lives into a 26' moving truck. We have to drive that truck and 2 vehicles 500 miles. Packing. Unpacking. Cleaning. Organizing. Sorting.

Countless hours of prayer and discussions have gone into this decision. It has not been made lightly. We have no way of knowing what would be the best thing for us to do, so we have to make decisions with the knowledge we do have and the wisdom that God has given us. Could this be totally bad? Sure. It's possible. Could it be totally great and the best thing we've ever done? That's possible too. Ultimately we feel that our goal in this world is to glorify God which is something we could do in Sacramento, San Diego, or wherever we are.

When I moved to Sacramento 6 years ago, I had no idea what the Lord was going to do in my life. I had a heavy heart leaving my family and friends that I love so dearly, but I knew that coming here was the right choice. On February 1, 2010, I packed all of my belongings into my Tacoma and made the drive up here. Here we are almost exactly 6 years later. Our belongings will most definitely not fit into the Tacoma, in fact, the Tacoma is being sold and replaced with a more family friendly vehicle. I have gone through so much happiness and heartbreak in those 6 years. I don't think I ever would've guessed this is where I'd be. In fact, I know for a fact this is not the plan I had for my life.

But here we are. So much changing. Hopefully this will be a good change. San Diego is the vacation destination of choice for pretty much everyone we know here, so it's not like this will be the last time we'll ever see them. I hope and pray that we will find like-minded parents/friends wherever we end up. I'm very happy that the girls will be able to spend more time with their cousins. In fact, whenever I think about being nearer to my family, I get really excited. Whenever I think about living in Southern California again, I get really excited. Whenever I think about leaving our friends here, I get really sad. So obviously, to say this has been an emotional few weeks is a huge understatement.

So if you need me I'll be excitedly crying over a box of dishes.