" I am the Lord. I change not." Malachi 3:6

Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's been awhile!

After having Harper I had every intention of blogging at a minimum of three times a week and wanted to capture everything and can't tell you how many blogs posts I written in my head....that being said my sweet girl will be eight months old in a week...and oh how God has moved.

These past eight months have been life hanging in SO many ways....I desperately want to capture all of the changes here but know I will fall short...but I am going to try (again..)..)while on maternity things didn't go as I planned. I laugh as I type these words because I know God had other plans. Going into leave my wonderful friend Mich and I had our leave planned...down to Starbucks and mall walking...and I remember moments leaving up to our daughters births like camera clicking...and then the world came tumbling down...Mich's daughter was born and needed a heart and Harper was born healthy and we came home and Mich did not...and the feelings were vast and a nightmare...we were supposed to enjoy our new daughters together and yet they came to our home to meet h and weren't able to bring their little lady with. And over the past eight months God has moved....there have been many tears and many moments of silence, screams, tears of joy, crushing hugs, and moments with our families that will forever been engrained in the footprints of our lives.

Little h has changed my life in so many ways...I cherished every minute home with her...every and met some amazing women a a mom's group at our church...women who I had no intention of meeting but even for a season...that season....they touched my heart and changed me...and God moved..and then I returned to corporate America and cried my eyes out for weeks....because leaving my daughter was painful....but God moved and placed someone in our lives to love on her during the day and a new normal was created. People have asked since I returned to work "has it gotten easier"...and my answer is No...it hasn't...but I know with a peace that only God provides that I am where he wants me in this moment and I cherish every moment at home with her and the boys.

I have faced some intense life events these past few months and during them have been blessed by a friendship whose authenticity has humbled me time and time again. I've lived my life with walls and barriers up higher than mountains and slowly they have crumbled as friendships have grown to something only God creates. Without them I not know where I'd be today..I really don't...

The next few months will bring more changes but we know that God is covering our family and are waiting on Him and doing our part...and letting Him move..

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seasons of change, growth, and peace

I'm full of so many updates...my last few weeks at home with Harper, wine night with Mich, returning to work, balancing, and Gods peace. I hope to spend time sharing the many memories and blessings of the end of my season at home and all that has happened since returning to work. In the meantime here are a few pics.:)

Monday, March 4, 2013

So Many Blessings!

The past week has been full of so many blessings and wonderful memories! Last Sunday (022413) we took the kids out to Chad's grandparents home. They live about 40 minutes from us and had yet to see Harper. They are so precious to Chad and I. We had called them to ask them if we could take them out to lunch and that turned into them saying they wanted us over for lunch. Did I mention Chad's grandparents are 96 and 90? His grandma always makes enough food to feed an army and we really didn't want them to do anything but enjoy an afternoon out. After pleading with them Chad gave in but asked if we could at least bring lunch to them and grandma said no. She was willing to let me bring a dessert. :) On the drive there Chad told me grandma said she wasn't going to do much which I knew for grandma meant a seven course meal. And when we got there she had a beautiful turkey dinner ready to go. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. They have been married for over 60 years and still joke with each other as if they just started dating. The boys love them and I'm grateful that they will have memories of spending time with them.

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa with the kids

Harper cuddling

Playing go fish

Afte lunch we played Ucher with his grandparents while the boys built a fort with dominos. Afterwards Noah really wanted to play go fish so he used his Mario Memory cards and they had a serious game of go fish. What was so cute if that grandma and grandpa haven't heard of any of the characters so I was a little concerned with them being able to make matches etc but everyone hada great time and lots of laughs!

Monday Harper and I met my girlfriend Sandi for coffee at my favorite coffee shop! We spent over two hours talking and enjoying our time together. I love love the coffee shop that is down the street from us. They have a fireplace and make it feel so comfy.  Monday night I met my girlfriend Nat at Starbucks for impromptu chat as she was in need of some girl time. I opted for chai tea and enjoyed seeing her. 

Tuesday was low key and Harper and I stayed in pjs all day and relaxed! I'm enjoying those days! Wednesday the boys had a snow day so we had fun playing board games and being home.  They spent a good hour in the am outside making forts and have a snowball fight. I was happy to stay inside and watch from the window where it was safe. :)

Thursday was a day that I will never forget! I haven't shared many details since L was born. She is the daughter of my dear friend Mich. She was born four days before Harper and has been in the hospital ever since waiting for a new heart. Thursday they got the call that a heart was available. Mich called me in the afternoon and we were able to talk for almost an hour while she was headed to the hospital. Her husband was already there so it was nice to be able to help keep her mind busy and provide laughs where I could. We prayed fervently for little L and the doctors and everyone involved, especially the family whose precious child died.  Friday morning she was taken back for surgery and is now recovering. She is expected to remain in the hospital for a minimum of three weeks but God has answered a huge prayer and we couldn't be more excited for her. 

The boys had school off on Friday and I planned on having a day of small surprises for them. :) They love surprises and couldn't wait for the first one. Chad brought home donuts for them to enjoy which is always a welcomed treat for them. I made my steel oats and enjoyed listening to them chat it up. After breakfast we all got ready and headed out to pick up our "mystery guest". They were having a blast trying to figure out who it was. We picked up my sister Jess who was also off from school and headed to the bowling alley to bowl a few games. They were thrilled!

the boys with Jessi

Noah was all business in the beginning

He loved sliding after his turn

Ky was quick to follow suit

After we bowled we went out to lunch and stopped for a cold treat on the way home. We finished the day off watching a moving at home with popcorn.

Our weekend was busy but fun. Noah had tennis lessons Saturday morning and then we met up with a friend of his from school and her mom for a play date at McDonald's. I will be the first to say that I'm not a fan of McDonald's at all and their play lands make me crazy but the boys love running around in them and its a great way for them to burn some energy. They had blast with Em and her mom and I got to catch up a bit. Chad was on call this weekend so we weren't able to go to church which I was bummed about but I wasn't brave enough yet to take all there by myself. Sunday I promised Ky that we would made homemade granola. I got the recipe from Chad's sister and was pleased to find out that the recipe was a "clean" recipe! We had a wonderful time in the kitchen together and the end result was quite tasty! I'm excited to try a few other kinds and give these to the kids for snacks in lieu of processed granola bars.

ready to make homemade granola

Ky measured everything

ready to bake

It's hard to believe that I have one month left at home with Harper before I return to work. My heart is sad but I'm trying to enjoy each day as it comes and not look to far ahead. I've been reading the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and have been so blessed by it! God is using it to speak to my heart during this season with H and I'm soaking it all up. I can't believe she will be two month old this week.

Ready for our coffee date:)

Bundled up to go bowling!

Napping :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Day at Home

This morning started off a little rough. Harper was up from 1-3am and then slept until 7.  Normally I sleep like a rock in between feedings but for whatever reason I just had a hard time getting settled after her first feeding.  So when she woke up at 7 I felt like I was walking around the house with one eye open lol. Thankfully once she went back down around 8 I crashed and took a nap while she slept which was WONDERFUL! I woke up refreshed and enjoyed just cuddling with her the rest of the morning.

After lunch I cleaned up the kitchen and cleaned out my fridge which I know sounds boring but was very needed! Since I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow or Sat am I needed to make sure I had everything organized and cleaned up so I know what to put on my list. Speaking of lists I've spent more time today reading my eating clean book and looking at recipes trying to determine what to make the next two weeks.  I'm so pumped and encouraged this week as I continue on my journey to be healthy, get in shape, and set an example for my children.  My trainer, Oscar, had recommend protein powder (http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Double-Chocolate/dp/B000QSNYGI)  to use as I add weights to my workout and just for overall wellness. I am excited to order it and add it to my daily menu. The only problem I'm having is determining what flavor to try first..lol. Chad's on board with adding it to his daily menu as well so we shall see how we like it. :) 

After the boys came from school Ky and I played a board game and had a wonderful time together laughing and making a memory.  As I sat across the table from him I looked at him and my heart just melted because while he is only six I felt my heart tense up for a moment as I thought about him growing up SO fast and praying that time will slow down a bit.  As we cleaned up the game and I headed to go get Harper from her bassinet I knocked my water bottle all over the floor.  Bless Kylan's heart he jumped up and said "Mom I got it don't worry" and proceeded to get the paper towels done and cleaned it up for me. I wanted to grab him and just squeeze him in that moment.  I know God is doing great things in his little heart. I only pray as he continues to grow that he will seek God's will for his life and grow to be a man of great faith and love for our Lord.

For dinner tonight I made a clean version of chicken fried rice and tweaked the recipe that I found from Iowa Girl Eats (http://iowagirleats.com/2012/08/23/take-out-fake-out-easy-chicken-fried-rice/) I LOVE IT! And I love having a healthy go to option for chicken fried rice! After dinner I relaxed with Harper for a bit and then headed downstairs to get my workout on. Forty-five minutes later I was exhausted but happy at the same time with my workout. I worked a hard hill and my legs were shaking just a bit as I got off the elliptical but I was happy to get that workout out of the way and call it done!!! :) #gametime!

And now I'm watching American Idol back on DVR and cracking up and Nicki Minaj. I am enjoying listening to Keith Urban's critique and am already picking out my favorites for the season. Tonight we are supposed to get hit with a snow storm and I really hope the snow fall is less than what is being predicted. That being said I know the boys would love to have a snow day tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Taking time to smell the roses

Today has been a wonderful day!! Harper and I got up at 6:45...she had her bath, got her dressed for mom's group and started to feed her when our doorbell rang. Luckily Chad was up getting the boys ready for school and answered it. A water main broke down the street and the water guy was telling us our water was being shut off of the next two hours while they fixed it. Let me tell you this mama jumped out of bed and asked Chad to hold Harper while I took a quick shower so I didn't look like a hot mess at mom's group. Luckily Harper was content and was patient with me while I got cleaned up. :)

Harper all ready to go to moms group :)

We left our home a little after nine and headed to church for mom's group. I have been excited all week to meet with the group of ladies I met last week.  I'm so glad I went! First, I LOVE the book we are discussing, Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst (http://www.christianbook.com/unglued-making-wise-choices-midst-emotions/lysa-terkeurst/9780310332794/pd/332794?kw=unglued&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=CKvxn--6xrUCFQjNnAod2ioAmQ), and enjoyed having open/honest conversation with the ladies.  It was so refreshing to listen to each woman share how they were doing this week and I really appreciated their honest and vulnerability.  One of the ladies that I met last week (and hit it off with) was back this week and sat next to me. We enjoyed getting to know each other more and I'm excited to do lunch or have a play date with her in the near future.  We are going to start reading the book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, next week and I am excited to re read the book and dive into discussions.

After mom's group Harper and I made a run to the hospital so I could get my blood work done while she was sleeping. We then ran home and I made lunch and fed her.  After she fell asleep I changed into my workout clothes and enjoyed a 60 minute workout. I'm feeling great getting back into my workout regiment and adding Zumba back in.  In addition to my workout I've dusted off my eating clean book, http://www.eatcleandiet.com/ , and am really focusing on what I'm putting in my body.  I've become really disciplined over the past two weeks and am working on removing the last few items that have been stragglers this week. It's amazing how my body is reacting and just how much better I feel cutting out all of the "crap" from my daily meals/snacks.  I have a list of new recipes that I'm excited to try over the next couple of weeks and am looking forward to making better choices for my body.

Tomorrow we are supposed to get another snow storm so we'll see how the day goes. I was looking forward to going to Zumba again but will be the first to stay in and get a good workout in at home and avoid the messy roads and snow!! Fingers crossed the snow doesn't come until after Zumba's over.  :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentines Day, Zumba, Fellowship

I apologize in advance as this post is going to be all over the place covering different topics from my world the last few weeks to get me caught up a bit. :)

Weeks 3-5 at home with Harper were wonderful!! We got into a good routine as far as waking up in the morning giving her a bath and dressing her in something cute for the day.. :)  Since the flu season was rampid around here I did my best not to take her out unless we really needed to go somewhere and if we did I have three, yes three, mini bottles of hand sanitizer in her diaper bag. :) 

She definately hit a growth spurt during week three. I was exhausted from feeding more often than not but was greatful in the same breath that she was growing and gaining weight. Most of that week consisted of me napping when she did and enjoying my time with family as they came over to hold her and chat.  I tried working out week three but it was too soon and my body let me know....SO I waited and let it continue to heal. I did get my eating clean books out and got serious about what I'm eating.  I can already feel a huge difference in the way I feel throughout the day by cutting out so many of the processed foods and refined sugars I was eating while pregnant. 

By the end of week four I tried working out again and was successful. Yeah!!! I was so excited to get back into a routine and start working at losing this baby weight. I know that it took nine months to put one and am giving myself ample time to get it off but can't wait to be back in my clothes that I love and just feel comfortable with my body. 

Our church has an amazing mom's group that meets every Wednesday and I've never been able to participate because I work full time during the day. One of my goals while on maternity leave was to attend and meet some moms and hopefully make a few new friends. I packed up Harper and we went last Wednesday and loved it!! God knew that I really needed to be with ladies that day and fellowship.  I haven't provided and update since first posted about L, but the short version is that precious L needs a heart transplant and won't be leaving the hospital until she gets one. Her parents have been living in a nightmare the past 7 weeks and it's been painful watching them go through everything that has come their way since L was born.  You see Mich my dear friend and I had planned our maternity leave before we had the girls...not crazy detailed but you know things like week two we'd grab Starbucks and relax at each other's homes with the girls and just relax...week 6 we might attempt mall walking or a spinning class. And in short just really be there with each other during this wonderful time enjoying our daughters and the things that come with being home.  Well with all that's happeneded since L was born things changes quickly and while we support them 100% percent and are trying to be there for them and their family any way we can it's been a bit sad not doing what we planned. I'm not sure I'm expressing my thoughts well.  But needless to say it was refreshing to go to church last Wednesday and meet moms and talk with them and pray for Mich and L and their family, the doctors, and all that is going on in their world. It was also nice just to talk to an adult during the day.  I have truly enjoyed every moment with Harper at home and tear up over the thought of returning to work, but when you are used to engaging with people all day long and then it's quiet after the initial rush of visitors it's taken me a bit of getting used to. For example I don't watch daytime television and now I find myself telling my girlfriends about what happened today on Kelly and Michael or who Ellen had on her show. :)

Valentines Day 2013
 Chad decided to take Thursday off of work to spend with Harper and I and we took her to her first movie, Identity Theft. Hilarious movie! She did really good the whole movie. I wore my Moby, which I LOVE, and she slept almost the whole time. We wanted to go to one of our favorite resteraunts in town but didn't have time to do both. We did enjoy loving on H all day though. That evening my sister, Ashely, and I went to Zumba and it kicked my butt!! I haven't been to Zumba since I was first pregnant and I really enjoyed it.  We went to a place that has it at a church in town and it was AWESOME!! I can't wait to go again tomorrow. I'm not coordinated at all but I love working out to the music and how fast the hour goes by. I weighed in on Sunday and am down another two pounds which I am excited about. That brings my total weight loss to 33 pounds!! I've now lost all of my pregnancy weight plus three pounds. And I have quite a ways to go to my goal weight but am extremly motivated and excited to see results and get back into my jeans. :)

Today has been a lazy day at home with Harper cuddling all day long. I am nervous that I have strep and am going in for a culture tomorrow. My glands are swollen and I appear to have white spots on the back of my mouth. I'm hoping they get the results quickly so I can get meds and call Harper's pediatrician to see what I should do to ensure she doesn't get whatever I have. So depending on how all of that goes will determine what we do this week. I'm hoping to go to Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday after Chad gets home from work and mom's group on Wednesday but we will see.

She smiles a lot... Love her!

He is a proud big brother who is now helping all the time!

Noah was nervous to get so close to her but now enjoys helping also

She loves her baths!

She was not having it! But still managed to look cute

I can't stop staring at her even when she is sleeping

Mom I'm done with the pictures! :)
 Well Harper is waking up so I must run but I will leave you with a few picture from weeks 3-5. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The first couple of weeks home

     Being home with Harper has been nothing short of amazing and a blessing that I'm not taking for granted! After we brought Harper home we spent the first two weeks enjoying Carmen's company and my dad and his wife flew out the Friday after she was born. Carmen and I had a wonderful time with Harper and each other! We spent hours sitting on the couch lounging and taking turns holding her and staring at her all day long and we loved it. I had a list of dinners I wanted to make while Carmen was here so we jumped right into our menu for the remaining days she was here and enjoyed some of my favorite new recipes that she hadn't tried yet.  We also caught up on several chick flicks that we both have been wanting to see. My favorite was Pitch Perfect!! I loved it and we watched it twice..i'm pretty sure I could watch that movie at least once a month. Before Carm had kids she was a professional photographer. While I don't have props etc Carm brought her fancy camera and took a few (ok 100 plus) pictures of Harper and we had a blast going through them and picking out my favorites. Here are a few of them.

     Chad took the first couple of days off of work which was wonderful...after that he worked from his  office at home for the next two weeks. It was a huge blessing especially after Carmen left. Just knowing he was here in case I needed help was wonderful. I'm not one to take naps often but the first month I relished in them and just enjoyed relaxing and everything that words means. While I have a list of things I hope to accomplish while on maternity leave my number one priority is bonding with Harper and enjoying every moment which I've taken full advantage off.  It's also been a wonderful time for my family. My sisters stop over throughout the week to say hi to Harper....that's right Harper and then us.. :) I remember shortly after Harper came home one of my sisters texting me asking if Harper was going to Ky's basketball game. I love that they love her and take the time to stop over and spend with her. What's been neat is watching my sister Ash and her husband Kris. He works 30 minutes from our home but has driven up almost once a week if not more to meet Ash and spend time at our home. I've seen more of my family in the past 30 days then I have in months. Don't get me wrong we are a close family and see each other at least once a week if not more but to have them come over and actually stay for an extended period of time and chat has been welcomed.

     Well I'm steeping tea and getting ready to move into our room for the evening with little miss, but plan on posting more tomorrow about my last two weeks at home with H. I also have many more pictures to post. :)Blessings!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Harper :)

It is with great joy that I get to share that Harper is here! She was born on January 8th at 2:40 pm. She weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and 20 inches long.

A long awaited kiss!

We prayed for her and she is healthy!

Getting ready to meet her brothers and extended family!

Proud daddy!

Harper and her godmother Carmen!

Getting ready to go home!

     I have so much catching up to do but will start with the day before her birth.  That Monday I ended up running into work for two hours to wrap up a couple of things and get one more adjustment from the chiropractor. Then it was off to lunch with Carmen at one of my favorite restaurants! We ordered flatbread pizzas that were amazing! I ordered a shrimp with smoked Gouda and spinach pizza and Carm ordered a portebello balsamic mushroom pizza. We ended up trying each others and had plenty of left overs but they hit the spot! After lunch we made one last Target run before Harper arrived and then met up with my dad and his wife at their hotel around 2:00. My dad's wife had a few gifts for Harper so we opened them and then headed to pick up the boys from school. They took turns showing my dad and Patty their classrooms, lockers, and introducing them to their teachers. It was was precious. After that we headed home and I made my sub sandwiches before we all packed up and headed to Ky's basketball practice. Afterwards my dad and Patty left and I finished packing and we made a batch of chex mix and my brownies to take with us to the hospital the next morning. I'm not sure how but I was finally able to fall asleep and got a few good hours of sleep before waking up before my alarm at 3:30am.

     I woke up at 3:30 took a shower and got ready. Carm and Chad followed shortly after I did and we were out the door by 4:30.  I asked Chad to pick up a 5lb bag of ice cubes to take with us to the hospital because I knew that was all I could have during the day and don't like the ice cubes the hospital has. Call me crazy but they are AWFUL and I figured since that was all I could have I better buy some that I know will taste ok. So we had two mini coolers with gallon bags full of ice cubes in tow with us. Chad shook his head laughing the whole way but hey if I want ice cubes I'm getting ice cubes while in labor.. :) We checked in to the hospital at 5:01 and headed up to Labor and Delivery. The nurse started my IV and by 6:30 the potecin was running. My OB was running behind but got to the hospital and broke my water at 7:56am. I was at a 2 and had been for the past few weeks.  And as the day progressed I stayed at a two. I told the nurses at the very beginning that when I tell you I'm ready to push I mean I'm ready to push and we don't have time to wait. By 9:30 I asked for Staydol and fell asleep....only after providing a lot of comedy for Chad, Carm, and the two nurses...I've asked Chad and Carm to type up all of the things I said so I can put it in Harper's baby book to remember. I asked for the epidural at 11:30 and fell asleep again. I was still at a two which frustrated me....but when they checked me at 2:19 I had progressed to an 8/9 and was almost ready to go...the nurses were getting ready to leave and at 2:22 I told them to call my OB and that I was ready to push NOW. Poor Chad tried to console me and told me to breathe and just don't push...which of course I had a few things to day in reply..lol.  At 2:28 my OB came flying in and asked if she had time to change into scrubs...I assured her she did not....Four contractions later Harper was born at 2:40.

     It was a joyous moment and I couldn't stop touching her little fingers and kissing her and just making sure she was breathing. My heart melted and our prayers of her arriving safely and healthy were answered.  We did skin on skin for two hours after they did her vitals and checked everything and then at 4:30 they took her back for her bath and a few other things. Chad and Carm went with and took a ton of pictures. I moved over to post pardum and waited for Chad, Carm and Harper to be brought back to our room. I was so happy to take a shower and my sister and her husband brought us awesome salads from a local restaurant that totally hit the spot. Both of our families came that night around 7:00 but before any family came Chad brought the boys in to meet her and we had family time together. All in all it was an amazing day...one I won't forget.  I have so much more to post about the past three weeks! (Yes she was three weeks this Tuesday) but will wrap this post up as I've been working on it for a couple of days in between nursing and loving on Harper. Thank you all for your prayers! You have no idea how much they mean.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Precious L, Carm, and Family

The past few days have been busy! Friday was my last full day working and I was bombarded all day by people who needed to check with me on "one last thing". And then I left my out of office audix on my phone and email and shut everything down. WOW!!! My co worker and I went to lunch and we both teared up because I felt like I was saying goodbye...even thought I know I will see her this week when I have Harper and am sure we will text and talk while I'm out.  In that moment it just felt like I was saying good bye to my career. I'm sure I sound crazy but oh well. :)  As I walked away from our lunch and headed home to finish my work day I couldn't stop smiling. Knowing that I had finally made it to this milestone and now I get to relax and enjoy all that is to come over the course of the next few days. 

That afternoon The Colonel (my dad) and his wife flew in from Florida and Chad picked them up at the airport and dropped them off at their hotel so they could get settled and take a nap.  Friday evening they came over along with three of my sisters for family dinner and we enjoyed many laughs and conversation. It's hard to believe that it's been nine years since The Colonel has been here and to add to that he's never been to our home or really anything that is part of our lives here. The boys were ecstatic to have him and showed them their room and play room and got their Nerf guns out. It was great! I made my spaghetti and homemade meatballs with a salad and garlic bread and everyone had a nice time getting acclimated to having them here.

Friday morning my dear friend Mich and her husband Craig welcomed their daughter L into the world.  And she is precious! I was stalking my phone all morning waiting for pictures and updates. I am so excited that she is here and looking forward to spending the next few months with Mich loving on our daughters.  The excitement of her birth turned to worry and concern as we received word Sat am that she was moved to the NICU due to low oxygen levels. By mid afternoon we received an update that they had moved her to the Children's hospital and there were problems with her heart.  Chad and I spent allot of time in prayer together and separately yesterday praying for the doctors, little L, Mich and Craig. Because Mich had a C-section she is still at the hospital that L was born at and is hoping to be discharged today so she can go be with L.  Craig continued to keep us updated as time allowed and he and Chad talked for an hour last night. As more details became available we are thankful that the doctors have identified the problem with her heart and are in prayer that they will know which of the three options will be needed for L to recover.  Because she is so small it will take time to determine next steps and right now the doctors are waiting to see how her body responds to the meds she is on.  My heart breaks for Mich and Craig as I can't imagine all of the feelings that are experiencing right now. Mich is heartbroken she can't be with L right this moment and I know she is trying to "keep it together" and be "strong" but I know it will hit her soon and it's so hard not being able to be right there for her.  We know that God has L's life in His hands and find comfort in that and wait as each hour goes by to see what will happen next.

Today Carm flies in to be here for Harper's birth and spend the next nine days with our family.  Carm is my "person". If you've ever watched the Grey's Anatomy episode where Christina and Meredith are talking and have the "your my person" conversation...it is the epitome of my relationship with Carm.  She is one of the only people who I've known for more than half of my life. She has been there with me through all of life's major events since I was 15 and is that person that I call almost every morning at 8:30 just to say hi for five minutes and chat.  As we've gotten older, married, and had children, our families have grown close and we spend time together every year.  Her husband and Chad get a long great and our children are starting to cultivate friendships which we are excited to watch as they get older.  Her children are my god babies and we've asked her and her husband Sean to be Harper's godparents. I can't imagine having anyone else here with Chad and I for her birth and can't wait to get her at the airport in a matter of hours! We plan on watching the movie pitch perfect tonight while enjoying some Lindt chocolate and hot chocolate. Chad is working tomorrow so Carm and I will enjoy coffee in the am followed by a Target run I'm sure, then we will meet up with The Colonel and Patty to pick the boys up at school and enjoy Kylan's basketball practice.  And the morning after that I have Harper!!! :) Yep it's happening in just a matter of days. And with that being said I will leave you with a picture my sister took of me on Friday, because she said I didn't have enough of my pregnant. I'm not a huge fan of it but it does mark the almost end of my pregnancy so I thought I'd share. :) You can tell that I haven't had much sleep..lol 

Well apparently there is something wrong with the link I use to upload pictures so I will have to come back and try again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflecting on 2012

I sat in front of my laptop last night and attempted to write a post titled 2012 in review...and I started it a couple of times and kept deleting it.  So I decided to take a break and come back to it today.  As I sit on my favorite couch with my cup of coffee in hand I continue to reflect on 2012 and the year that it was.  2012 was a year full of many things; amazing memories, new friendships, redemption, tears, trials, joy, life, and stillness.  Our family started 2012 in Florida visiting my dad and his wife and taking the boys to their(and mine) first trip to Disney World.  We invited my dad and his wife to join us and it was an amazing time together as a family. A trip that two years ago I would have told you would never happen in a million years. During 2011 God worked in the both the heart of my dad and I and we were able to start healing and reestablishing our relationship. By extension my children learned that I had a dad and were able to meet him and his wife and spend a considerable amount of time with them throughout 2012.  Having him back in my life has been bittersweet on many levels but I face each day with joy knowing that he has an opportunity to create a meaningful relationship with his grandchildren and they get to know him.

In February I fell and broke my foot in four places and was home bound for nine long weeks.  The irony of it all was that I had literally just purchased a pair of flats to wear to my sister's 21st birthday dinner and while walking out the door slipped on our garage stair went flying, heard a snap and fell. Come to find out there was a sticker on the bottom of one of shoes unbeknownst to me that had caused me to slip on the stair.  In lieu of going to the hospital right away I had my husband grab my boot and crutches that were stored neatly downstairs from my previous break on the same foot less than a year prior...put them on, took some ibuprofen and headed to her birthday dinner.  The next day the podiatrist confirmed that I had indeed broken my foot in four places and I was put on mandatory bed rest for nine weeks...Talk about rough and emotional! I am not one to be still often ie I love to run a thousand miles a minute and have a busy calendar and do lots of things with friends and family. Being home laid up for nine weeks was not on my agenda...however God knew that in order to get my attention I needed to be still....LITERALLY. :)  It was during these nine weeks that he did great things in my life and that of my husband.  We had some amazing conversations during my time at home, not that we don't on a day to day basis, but being home day in and day out gave us the extra time to really talk at length about a lot.  It was during these talks that we prayed and made the decision that we wanted to expand our family.  You see up until this point we had spent the better part of three years going back and forth on if we wanted to try and have another baby....until that moment we weren't sure if our marriage could handle another loss, if Chad was ready to take the risk of me being pregnant and something happening...if I was ready to take that leap of faith and try again.  We were both afraid but at the core we both wanted another child.  And it was during my time at home with a broken foot that God poured peace over our hearts and with anticipation, joy, and I'll be honest some fear we made the decision to try and expand our family.  And it was in May before mother's day that we found out we were pregnant.  This pregnancy has been full of challenges and trials but also one of pure joy! Being able to see our precious daughter on a 3D/4D ultrasound was priceless, hearing her heartbeat, and feeling her kick daily have been blessings.  Now as we enter 2013 and anticipate her arrival I am excited for her to join our family and see what God has in store for us.

In addition to the many blessings that 2012 brought there were also many tears and trials.  Relationships were tested and addiction showed its ugly face yet again impacting extended family members to the point of near death.  It was trying at best and there were times when the tears did not stop for days.  There were many unknowns and the domino effect it had on our family and my siblings was profound.  It was during these trials that God reminded me how fragile relationships are even those that you thought were the strongest.  He reminded me of the importance in putting my complete trust and faith in Him alone.  It was a season of learning and heartache and entering 2013 those relationships are still strained but I know that God is using this challenge to stretch me and mold me.... I squirm at the discomfort, unfamiliarity, and walls that go flying up, but know that in my weakness HE is showing me His strength.  It is my prayer that in my vulnerability God will bring healing and peace.

During 2012 God moved mountains in my career.  Having spent the last three years commuting three hours a day, four times a week, God provided a way for my office to be moved back home and the need for me to be in Chicago changed.  This change blessed our family in so many ways.  The extra time at home in the evenings was profound and the stress that I often carried with rushing here and there and not being home enough went away. I was able to invest time in friendships that had changed over the past three years since my time home wasn't frequent. And the list of blessings continued. God brought two new friendships into my life that melt my heart for many reasons.  It's been exciting to see all that HE has done and provided for our family and looking back in hindsight He was just waiting for the right time to teach me another lesson on patience.

As I enter 2013 I have many goals and aspirations for 2013.  I'm not one to make new year's resolutions because I am one to reflect on what I would like to accomplish and set reasonable goals that are attainable.  This year I am excited to be home with my daughter for three months and during that time make memories with all of our children and just love on them. I'm excited to get my body back so to speak and embrace clean eating once again and make fitness a priority.  I also want to get plugged in to a Bible study this year and or a small group of women.  I didn't take the opportunity to do so in 2012 and have greatly missed the fellowship that comes with doing so.  Lastly, it is my prayer that I will continue to Choose Joy in all circumstances and that every day I will choose to share the joy of Christ and be encouraging and positive and not let the devil steal it.

While looking over my prayer journal from the year I scanned many of the verses that God used to speak to me and thought I would leave you with a few of them.. :

  • Whatever happens conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Chris. Then whether I come and see you or only hear about in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27
  • "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world" John 16:33
  • Find rest, O my soul, in God alone. My hope comes from Him. Psalm 62:5
  • If you have any encouragement from being united with Chris, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2
  • O Lord you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. you discern my going out and my lying down. you are familiar with all my way.  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely O Lord. Psalm 139: 1-4
It is my prayer that 2013 will be a year of great joy and that you will be still and let God work in your life! Blessings!