Guess What??!!

Our special present this year....

We've been waiting for a month to open this envelope!!

We're having a...

We are thrilled!!!  Our little Baby Love-bug is another sweet and special girl!!!

Mommy and her two girls...yay for sister love!!!  Thank you God for these precious gifts! 

(No, my voice is not this high...I was just so excited!! :)


Merry Christmas!

"But the angel said, 'Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord..."

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:10-11;13-14


Christmas Things

Who can believe Christmas is less than a week away?!  No one, I'm guessing.  But that is just the reason I like to get that tree up and start listening to Christmas music early. ;)  Today I thought I'd post a few "scenes of Christmas" around our home.

Our growing post of Christmas cards.  Love this...and that I ordered ours in just the nick of time this year!

Christmas cookies.  Yum.  I used this recipe, and a basic frosting recipe with butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, almond, and milk.

We got this as a gift awhile back, and I love that it's pretty much just made of sugar and cocoa powder, and you add it to milk.  Yum.  Almost a daily treat for me these days. 

My very basic, though happy Christmas mantle.  (One nativity is from Africa, the other from Israel.) I saw so many cute ideas on Pinterest of course, then made myself just use what we already had.  And yes, I do still plan on sewing our stockings this weekend. ;)

I love that my brother and sister in law used photos I took of them at Thanksgiving this year for their Christmas card!!  That was definitely sweet.  The background and weather weren't as cooperative as we would have liked, but I loved the practice and that we got some really cute shots!  Such a beautiful family!

And of course, sweet Baby Love #2 at 24 weeks!!  That belly is sure growing, and this little one is moving in much more noticeable ways, which I love.  I can usually identify the body part that's kicking or punching me.  Love this stage of pregnancy...and that we will know the gender and can name this sweet one in just 6 days!!!  Merry Christmas for sure.

Finally, a super sweet video that the super creative and sweet photographer of Wildflowers Photography recently posted on her Facebook page.  I love looking at her amazing sessions and seeing her family through her perspective.  I also love her bold love for the Lord!  This video brought me to tears, partly because I'm prego, partly because of last week, and partly because Christmas is just special...and I love it through the eyes of children.  Enjoy!


Prayer for the Brokenhearted

Needless to say, what a tough, tragic day Friday was in this country.  Oh my goodness, too much to even comprehend or take in.  I am beyond grieved for the families and the loss of those precious lives...and the unimaginable pain that now has to be endured.  The whole thing is just so senseless that it's been tough to know what to think or at times how to pray.  But over and over I am continually asking God to "draw them near, please draw each person hurt and touched by this tragedy so near and close to you.  Bring so many to know you, to see you, to trust you and believe."  I pray they know comfort beyond reason and peace that passes understanding.  And that Jesus would be coming for us all soon.

Every other Sunday I teach the large group preschool time at church.  This past Sunday I just couldn't stop staring into all their little faces, and almost got choked up even while I was leading the upbeat worship time.  Their joy is so innocent and pure and wonderful.  Children are the best.  Even Jesus taught us this.  I have hated the reality of last week's events over and over.  And I just keep thinking the past couple days that it's enough.  The death and sickness and blatant disregard for the sovereignty of God has gone too far.  I pray with all my heart that it's over soon and we are welcomed into the most beautiful eternity in the presence of Jesus.  Yet it would seem there's more work to be done.

For Christians, I pray over and over for courage and boldness.  I pray often for the strength and wisdom to be able to raise my own kids with a courage that far surpasses my generation.  I don't know which generation will be the one to usher in the return of Christ, but I do know this - we are in a battle, and the enemy is on the prowl.  Yet he is fearful of us and especially of the one we follow.  He is powerless and we are already victorious through Christ.  As believers and followers of Christ we must recognize this and pray boldly for our families and our world in the name of Jesus so that the cowardly enemy is cast out and can claim no more souls for his destructive plans.  As much as I hate conflict and ruffling feathers, I loathe so much more apathy and silence in myself and others when there is an opportunity to speak and take a stand.  It's sad to see so many Christians unwilling to speak absolute truth in love, and to be so afraid to look crazy or different by speaking up unashamedly for Jesus and sharing the fullness of the life offered to all.  So many people are aching to be told the life giving truth.  And we must tell them, while becoming more faithful than ever in prayer.  We need some serious healing in this world.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

This morning I saw a well known pastor doing an interview concerning this tragic event in CT...and found it heartbreaking how he responded when asked if we should now, more than ever, focus on the true meaning of Christmas rather than the commercialized version.  He and his wife talked about loving each other...but never even mentioned the name of Jesus, or the sovereignty of our Creator God, before whom we desperately need to humble ourselves and fervently pray.  What a missed opportunity to share the gospel with the whole country, and the amazing love story that our Creator wrote for us...and in which we have a role.  Please let us not be in company with this particular pastor...as the opportunities around us rise to connect with strangers, coworkers, or friends over the grief we all share for such a tragedy that has occurred, let's be sure to lovingly yet boldly share the wonderful story of a Savior who humbled himself to rescue us from life threatening darkness.  Jesus, when speaking to his disciples before leaving them and after explaining what was about to happen to him said, "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  You will have suffering in this world.  Be courageous!  I have conquered the world."  (John 16:33)

One verse that has reoccurred so much in my heart and mind this past year is John 10:10.  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Oh how I long to share the message that Jesus came so that we may have life to the full!  As it says in the Psalms, and I've alluded to before, we are like grasshoppers down here, while God "sits enthroned upon the circle of the earth."  What an undeserved and loving gift to be offered true, full, beautiful eternal life.  And what a message we have to share.  Our Savior is the light in the midst of all this darkness.

I love what Jesus later goes on to say:

 "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand." John 10:27-29

I trust in our loving heavenly Father who had each of us in mind before he ever began knitting us in our mother's wombs.  I long to know him, to listen to his voice, and follow where he leads.  We must start falling to our knees in realization of our desperate need for him.  I pray now and in the days ahead that those spirits most crushed by the loss of the ones they so dearly loved, would know and believe and feel the abundant life God intended as opposed to the death and darkness that seeks to overwhelm in this broken world.  Draw them near Father.  Please, please heal their hearts and draw them so near to yours.  Draw us all to you and give us the courage to do your will...so that your return for us will be soon.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

(Bob Russell wrote a particularly powerful blog post this past weekend concerning what happened in Newtown.)


22 Weeks with Baby #2

(As of Thursday I'm 23 weeks, so this will have to count for both for now. :)

Well, posting 4 posts at once - yikes!  Definitely a blogging "faux pas" I'm sure, but I have been writing and never posting so here's where we are. :)

(I used the self-timer for these photos and got the best faces out of Selah...she loved my running to be in the picture!  Ha. :)

I am now 22 weeks pregnant - wow!  Over half way there, which is amazing.  I love when my sweet one wiggles inside there, and I love that he or she is getting bigger and stronger.  Here are some stats:

How big: A papaya; a.k.a 1.2 lbs

Gender:  Don't know yet, but I am SO incredibly excited to find out.  Seriously I don't know how I did it last time.  We have our "Baby Love #2" envelope on the tree, and it won't be long now.  I will be like a kid on Christmas morning!  As far as inklings or ideas about the gender, I have days where I feel something totally different than the day before.  But I have envisioned snuggles and sweet moments with either, so I'm just thrilled to find out, and I think we'll be really surprised no matter what!

Names:  We have them, (as mentioned and explained in the other 3 posts;), and I still have a peace and excitement about them.  Certainly not unique like the first time, but the meanings are what drive us.  Very important to me.  It will be interesting to see if God lays anything dramatically different on Kevin's heart.

Sister love:  I am just so enjoying our little Selah girl, even the process of learning how to discipline and disciple her ever growing personality.  I was over at a friend's house the other day and she has 8 mo. old twins.  I was feeding her little girl a bottle and it was sweet to see Selah watching me and listening as I told her to be gentle.  She seems to really like babies, so I'm hopeful that rings true for her own little sibling as well!  Selah's words are becoming more clear, and her responses to things we ask her to do show so much that she's understanding and can communicate now.  We are constantly amazed by this tiny person that we love so very much!

How I'm feeling:  I'm doing great, other than some pretty major fatigue.  I might start taking iron pretty soon, which helped last time.  I will also say this sweet baby definitely dances on my bladder...so you can imagine the results of that. Oh, and hot flashes. Having a lot of those, maybe more noticeable this time because it's not 90 degrees out like the summer before I had Selah!

I really start to love this point in pregnancy, especially as I inch closer to the third trimester.  Last time I loved that last stretch, and I hope that is the case this time as well!  I love resting my hands on my belly, feeling those movements, just getting big and pregnant.  So fascinating and it continues to amaze and humble me.  I do have to say I don't love dressing for pregnancy much this time of year, partly because I just won't spend money on many new clothes, especially when we're home so much and I'm just not afraid to repeat all the time. :)  But I so love the growing belly.  It's almost comical, but I feel a lot the same as last time - much more comfortable in my pregnant body than my regular one.  I guess I like being particularly functional. I'm not quite sure I can say the same for my growing hips this time however.  I have not been exercising, but am starting to get quite motivated to not save all that work for after the baby comes! 

Cravings:  Well, I really am trying to stay conscious and careful, but I did particularly enjoy the seasonal gingerbread donut from Krispy Kreme the other day - yum!!  And I am able, (and willing!) to eat a whole dessert instead of a couple bites...which isn't normal for me.  Okay...and I generally enjoy at least a piece of Dove chocolate a day.  This time of year definitely has some frosted cream cheese sugar cookies calling me to make them too!!  Basically my sweet tooth is acting all kinds of crazy with this little one.  Just writing all this makes me want to run out and buy some spinach!! ;)

Things I'm thinking about:  That prayer is my primary occupation.  I really want to write a post on this, but as a mom who often feels frazzled, like I'm just not getting it all done, and that I should be doing more, I am thankful for the reminder that as a follower of Christ my number one calling will always be faithfulness in prayer.  And it truly excites me at the power that can ingnite through the work of the Holy Spirit when I intervene for my family and for others.

Fun moment this last week:  (last) Friday one of my sisters in law had her 3rd little boy!  We didn't know the gender so it was really exciting to be there when her other boys announced it.  We are thrilled that God has blessed them with another child after a long road they've been on of asking and waiting.  The new baby's name is Judah and he is just precious.  It will be so fun to see the 3 boys bond and grow together!  We are thrilled for them and for the family!

I really, really love this time of year, and this Christmas has already been my favorite one yet in our marriage.  We even had our tree up and mostly decorated the week before Thanksgiving, and I have so enjoyed it.  I've also been listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate every day, taking it all in.  I'm even more excited for next year when we can do some more directed traditions with Selah (and the new baby).  Memory making and celebrating Jesus is the best.  So thankful.


20 Weeks with our little Love Bug

Okay, so oddly enough I've written 3 posts and am only now publishing them - oops!  It's always a picture thing with me.  I'm horrible at taking the time to take the photos and go through the process of getting them from camera to here.  Okay, who am I kidding.  It seems like every time I think of taking a photo or Kevin is home to take one, I'm in yoga pants...or pajamas.  Ha.  And one of these days I'll swallow enough pride that I'll just post pictures of that!

But thankfully this post is not about me.  It's about our sweet second baby....the one we saw YESTERDAY!  (Tuesday)  Yay, so much fun.  I was so nervous and excited, and Selah just loved it!  She sat on her daddy's lap the whole time with her thumb in her mouth, just staring at the screen.  As I predicted, this little one is straight up and down, head down.  (Sounds like a great position to stay in!;)  I think it's so neat that what I thought I was feeling was correct.  And this one has felt low with the punches!  At first he or she was facing my back, but then flipped over.  So we got several face shots, which was amazing!  Selah was sleepy and curled towards my back when she was in my belly for that ultrasound, so we really didn't see her face that well.  Also, last time I had an anterior placenta, but this time it's in the back.  Which hopefully means I'll see those body parts more distinctively towards the end.

Our technician was very sweet, which I was thankful for because I always ask a million questions and am so excited.  She was a good sport with our gender revealing plan, which was having her check the box next to BOY or GIRL, inside a card that has "We're having a..." written on the outside.  I made it out of cardstock before we left the house, and we took an envelope that we couldn't see through that she sealed it in!  I am so excited to find out...but really excited that it will be a Christmas present.  The funny thing is our little one would not even uncross his or her legs for anything.  So we almost thought the tech wasn't going to even be able to see at all.  Which would have been hilarious.  Modest little one I guess. :)  Of course I tried to read into every little thing the lady said, even about her own kids, trying to listen for any clues.  So we'll see!  Yesterday I thought for sure it was a boy, but today I'm back to being undecided.  The two things different with this pregnancy are, 1) My regular craving for donuts or cinnamon rolls or frosted sugar cookies (sweet carbs) - so weird.  (But JUST like Daddy!)  And 2) The way the baby is laying.  Other than that, I feel like my belly shape is pretty similar, and my hips are once again seeming to make their way even further outward.  (Hello, carb problem maybe?? ;)  My sickness also eased up more around 18 weeks rather than 20+ like last time.

Either way, seeing that little one, while feeling him or her move in my belly never gets old.  I have been so tired and of course busy with Selah that I make myself stop and take time to truly savor this pregnancy.  Because it really does feel like it's flying by, and I really do love having a little one growing in my womb.  It's always incredible and the most humbling experience I've ever known.

So, other fun facts:

How far along: 20 weeks (Okay, actually 21 weeks now!)

Size of baby: Banana

Gender:  Finding out on Christmas!!!

Name:  We've had the same names chosen for quite awhile, we continue pray over them...

Sickness:  Pretty much gone - yay!  Though I still strongly dislike the lingering smell at night after cooking dinner.

Other symptoms:  Back pain, fatigue, emotional; also, sleeping wasn't great at all in the beginning, but I've had some very good nights...probably since I brought out the infamous and huge pregnancy pillow!

Fun things this week:  Ultrasound of course; also having the Christmas tree up and decorated, listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's Holiday channel on Pandora each day, and playing with the nativity with Selah, as well as seeing her fascinated by all the other Christmas things!  Though so far she's respecting our tree boundaries, and knows she can play with the little one that is her own. :)

I'm feeling so thankful and reflective.  I am also missing the beautiful weather though. In the last few years Winter has not been my favorite.  But I still love this time of year and I do hope it snows!

That's about all for now...it's taken me two days to write this, and Selah is fighting her nap...I'm guessing those two teeth she's waiting for on the bottom are trying to pop through.  As evidenced by her chewing on her fingers the last few days!


19 weeks with Baby #2

Okay, so technically I'll be 20 weeks (yay!) on Thursday, but oh well.  I'm finally writing!  Let's talk about this little one.  I am so happy to say I'm pretty sure I'm past the nauseousness and sickness.  I mean, something really gross might throw me over the edge, but I am thrilled nonetheless to eat (somewhat) normally.  It kind of happened gradually, where just in the last few days I've realized I'm not so sick.  So thankful.  Now, I'm exhausted.  Like, can't shake the fatigue no matter how much rest I get tired.  But it's all good.  I'm over the moon thankful to have this little one growing inside me, so much that at times I want to burst into tears.  I just love this little one like I've already held and snuggled him or her.  And it's so awesome that he or she is starting move more.  I love those wiggles!!!  This one feels a little more up and down than Selah did, so I'll be so curious to see this baby on the ultrasound - which is a week from today!!  Okay, here's the stats:

How far along: 19 (and 1/2) weeks

Size of the baby:  A mango!  I love mangos! ;)

Gender:  Our ultrasound is next week, BUT we are going to have the technician circle it on a piece of paper and put it in a box that I will wrap up and put under our tree for Christmas!  I know, we are super duper crazy - and I hope we will last.  But I kind of want to feel like a kid at Christmas time.  It's not always easy to create that feeling as an adult.  I am so seriously curious and anxious to know though.  I feel like I will be shocked either way, as weird as that may sound.  My pregnancies have been so similar so far that I'll be shocked if it's a boy.  That shock would mostly be because I don't have one of those yet! Ha!  I feel like I'll be equally shocked if it's a girl because I would be thrilled for Selah to have a sister - something I don't have.  I have had days of getting super excited for either though, and I just can't make a good guess.  I can imagine and desire both, so too bad I'm not having twins.  Ha - joking.  Though I obviously wouldn't oppose it, I am trusting God knows exactly what I can handle well at this time!! :)

Cravings/Aversions:  I still can eat anything sweet at anytime.  It's weird.  Last time I remember thinking how thankful I was to not feel like overeating or eating a lot of one thing.  I try to be pretty picky about being healthy, especially when I'm pregnant.  This time I'm a little weirded out that I am so into sweets and dessert type things...I'm not even like that much when I'm not pregnant!  As of the last appt. I hadn't gained much weight...we'll see how we're doing next week!  I am also a huge fan of any and all fruit at any time.  And lately I've loved a good salad (which is generally true, but usually I can't keep it down during the first half of pregnancy)....so maybe that evens things out.

Baby movement:  Happening right now, most often in the afternoon, (when I rest), and at night, (when I rest).

How I feel:  Well, even though I weigh less than I did now than at this point in my pregnancy with Selah, I feel somewhat huge and frumpy.  Not sure if it's a winter thing or what, but I can only imagine what I'll feel like when little love is full grown in there!!  Oh my.  Last time I lived in sundresses, skirts, and tanktops...and had a tan, so I don't know.  Maternity jeans and sweaters feel a whole lot different.  But seriously who cares.  I love my ever expanding belly and I am not one to stand in front of a mirror analyzing myself.  That's the beauty of being almost 32.  No thank you to self criticism and comparisons.  I'm thankful for this body and even for what these most precious little children add to it.  Wouldn't give it up for anything.  (and I'm sure my What to Expect emails will not delay in sending me workout tips after I have this one...that took me by surprise last time...especially after months of telling me to remember to feed my baby! ;)

What's going on with us:  Selah is funny with as much personality and energy as ever.  Wow.  We keep quite busy at home, but take great naps! :)  We put up our Christmas tree and have been listening daily to the Steven Curtis Chapman holiday channel on Pandora since Sunday.  For some reason this year more than any other I have been aching to get this Christmas spirit started.  Maybe it's because Selah is old enough to notice and start some traditions.  I'm not a big Halloween fan, and I do love Thanksgiving, but I don't go by any set of holiday rules.  I say decorate when you want and enjoy as long as possible!  (and I'm a super duper procrastinator...last year during new baby times, I'm not sure the tree ever got fully decorated.  So I've been pretty determined not to miss out this year.)  At the end of the day...I'm sure it's nesting. :)

Can't wait for:  Our appointment Tuesday and seeing our sweet one's face!!  I think the reality of having two totally different kids will possibly start to hit me then.  And I think it's such a turning point/bonding experience to have that ultrasound.  Can't wait for details!  Though I also pray heavily through my nerves.

One more thing: Have I mentioned that I'm kind of a looney tune, crazy person when pregnant?  Well, it's officially true.  I try to tell my husband this when he thinks I'm acting weird, but it seriously sometimes feels like I'm so different.  Sometimes I think my emotions have a mind of their own.  (That might also be why I sound different if I do!)  I try to keep it together in public though, so don't get your hopes up for any good entertainment if you see me. ;)

What God is teaching me:  That in this big crazy world there are so many ideas, philosophies, and much advice to be had out there...but I must first and foremost pray for my parenting of the two uniquely created little ones he's given to us.  God has convicted me of this lately.  I am learning to have confidence that he can uniquely and individually inspire and teach me with just exactly what I'll need as a parent, which might look different than someone else and their family.  And of course I can always learn by others being inspired and taught by him as well!  At the end of the day, as a parent it's always time to talk to him!


18 weeks with Baby #2

Well, I have to admit I feel kind of bad after writing that post title....because this is the first real pregnancy update I've written for our second little love!  Oh my...time to get writing and photographing this belly.  Speaking of belly, it slowly crept up on me and it was so funny at 16 weeks when I was changing my clothes and looked down and was like, whoa, there's my belly!  And the bigger it gets the tighter it gets too...ha ha.  Second baby bellies definitely aren't quite so taut and tight as those first baby bellies, but I'm definitely over that.  I just love being pregnant, partly because my stomach is supposed to stick out and I don't have to try and suck it in anymore.  Ha.

I will say I feel like so far I'm carrying much the same.  The whole pregnancy has been a lot the same, so I'm super eager to find out what we're having.  Speaking of which, our big ultrasound appointment is at the end of November, but we're going to have the technician put it on a piece of paper in a box, I'm going to wrap it up and we're going to open it on Christmas morning!  I love that we'll get to experience such anticipation this year.  I have been aching to decorate for Christmas, more than ever....which is so crazy because I really don't spend that much time or energy decorating on a normal basis at all.  (Not that I don't want to...I'm just not great at it.)  But I guess having Selah, being pregnant, and feeling very nostalgic about it all definitely increases my desire to get the season started. 

Okay, this post is going to be random and get off track if I don't do one of those list things...so here goes -

How far along: 18 weeks

Size of baby: An orange!

Gender: Don't know yet, but we are finding out at Christmas.  Some days I have strong feelings about what we're having, other days I would be shocked with either.  All I know is, I'm just excited to have a tiny, squishy sweet baby in my near future!! (But I can't wait to find out)

Name:  We constantly pray about this during our pregnancies, wanting God to truly make the call.  We've always had our boy name since before our first pregnancy, and that's the same.  (There's a second boy name we love too, if we ever had two little guys.)  We had our second favorite girl name when we were pregnant with Selah, and that has stayed the same as well.  There really aren't any others I even like enough right now to consider.  I love them both, a lot because the meaning is so important to us.  We really are surrendering them and praying over them for affirmation though.  And I'm way more tempted to share this time around, though as of right now we plan on keeping them secret.

How I feel:  Well, much like with Selah, it's been rough.  The fatigue has been way worse, I'm sure because my energy goes a lot more to taking care of a toddler now.  But I will say the nauseousness really took a break between weeks 16 and 17, then kind of came back in a bad way this past week.  It does seem that not getting enough sleep, (due to time changes, elections, and staying up too late), has a negative effect on this.  And during that week I felt good I was almost overly productive...I sewed a new bag, made all kinds of decorating and crafting plans, wanted to start a business, came up with all kinds of new dreams for my life, etc.  You can see why I might have crashed this week.  I think when nesting hits me, it hits me hard!  Mostly because I am just not quite that productive of a person on a regular basis.  All that to say, this whole pregnancy I've been keeping my eyes on weeks 20-25, because if it's much like with Selah, the sickness will be totally over by then.  So I'm almost there and that is great!  And I'm already throwing up and dry heaving much less...which let's be honest - that's the biggest relief of all.

Cravings:  Considering nothing usually sounds good, I have had sudden moments of really wanting something sweet.  Like, say, a pumpkin pie blizzard!  Or donuts, oreos, cinnamon rolls.  I know, sounds so healthy.  But that's the good part about being so nauseous...I haven't really gained more than a pound yet probably because it's been so hard for me to eat much...so I know I need the calories and I'll take them however I can keep them down!  I also once again love fruit this pregnancy, (peaches instead of pears this time) and do not have much use for meat.  (I finally officially banned the cooking of any more bacon indoors until the end of this pregnancy.  That smell is the absolute worst for me right now!)  Unfortunately mexican food doesn't usually sit well with me either, which is super abnormal for me on a regular basis.

Movement:  Actually, I felt some funny stuff way early on in this pregnancy, then haven't felt much more really.  But yesterday this little one made his or her presence known with a big movement one time, and today I started feeling some wiggling going on in there.  I'm definitely ready to be feeling this baby more full time.  I just love it when that starts.

Favorite family moments:  Kevin definitely likes when my belly starts getting bigger and he can "see" the baby growing.  And he starts talking to him/her more.  We like to ask Selah where the baby is, and yesterday she pointed to herself!  But she likes poking on my belly button and smiling real big.  I never know whether to teach her to say "belly" or "baby"....I mean, I don't want to confuse her anatomy knowledge or anything! ;)

I am truly in awe of how quickly this pregnancy is going...as evidenced by the fact that I keep missing my weekly pictures.  (I know, that sounds crazy...but if you're a procrastinator and it's your second pregnancy...this can be a problem!)  Everytime I turn over a new week I think, okay, I need to take a photo.  Then it will be Tuesday, then it's already Thursday and another new week has begun!  Oh my goodness.  I've got to get some routine with this whole thing.  I actually made this super cute banner at the very beginning and started taking weekly photos, even with a clever velcroed number changing system...then lost my gumption when it was kind of too hard to get it all in a photo...and the number making required a little more planning.  I'm so crazy.

I'm also definitely praying over this little one so much.  It's tough not to struggle with anxiety during a pregnancy...so much trust involved.  And in some ways I think my nerves have been a little bad this time around because life is so crazy that I don't have nearly the same kind of time to just sit and savor.  But I keep praying my heart out and doing my best to care for our much loved baby #2. It feels like it's wearing me out in a whole new way this time, but I do really love being pregnant.  I actually almost burst into tears the other day when I was out somewhere and suddenly realized I was practically half way through my pregnancy!  When it goes by so fast sometimes it feels like your missing it a little.  We've gotten to hear the heartbeat 3 times now, and I just love that sound.  At our 12 week appt. the little one was wiggling around and the dr. had to catch him/her.  I thought that was funny.

One more thing...cloth diapers.  We still do it full time except for the occasional eczema flare up (that requires using a certain lotion), and we still (mostly) love it.  Toddler cloth diapering during pregnancy = potentially challenging.  If Kevin wasn't such a trooper, I couldn't do the dirty ones during these nauseous days.  But for the most part, I've made it through and we're doing fine.  I have a whole new cloth diaper post in the works, so that's all I'll say for now.

That's my current update for Baby Love #2!  My head is in a complete fog, but my heart is full.


Life with a One Yr. Old

Well, I struggled through timely monthly updates of our Selah girl, but have yet to round out her first year with a one-yr-old update. Today she is 14 months, (which is just crazy), but we have truly embraced life with our little toddler. I'm going to do my very best to recap how she's grown and changed over the last, um, 3 or so months;), before my pregnant memory loses it all completely!

Back in August, a couple weeks before her first birthday, Selah started amazing us with her new ability to stand on her own, which quickly grew into her taking 4 or 5 steps then falling down. It was so cute, as it seemed she wanted to run rather than walk, so could never quite keep her balance. And oh my goodness we just went crazy the first time she even walked with one of those little push toys. We were kind of hilarious and ridiculous with our excitement. As other moms know, it's just so crazy amazing to see these milestones reached and these little ones work their little hearts out to accomlish them. I have mentioned it before, but I've never been one to be overly eager for her to reach certain milestones by certain moments. If anything, I've tried to hold onto every little baby stage she's gone through, for as long as she wants to stay there! She army crawled for the longest time, I think maybe even until she was 10 months old or so. Now I wish I could see that little crawl just one more time. :) That said, I've grown in my ability to joyfully move forward with her, and now I just know each new phase and stage will bring with it something delightful of its own. By her first birthday she was still taking just a handful of steps on her own, unless somewhat assisted. Then, about 3 weeks ago, we stayed with some high schoolers while their parents were out of town, and they had wood floors. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it, but when we came home she just started walking. And that was it. The actual date was October 14th. Then we just started staring in amazement and laughing when she would just "toddle" to wherever she wanted to go, walking into a room like she knew just why she was there.

Since then we feel like she has gone from a baby to a little girl for sure. Such personality and spunk, our little one has. Especially in the last couple weeks it seems. She moves like she is on a mission, and she seems to view each toy and new discovery the same way. She is always babbling and "talking" while playing, and has quite the neat sounding foreign language. :) She can be very focused, and will study something and work at it very intently before moving on. Sometimes we think she can be quite serious, but she quickly reminds us of her silly side. She is so extremely ticklish and will absolutely laugh her head off. Now it's especially cute because October was apparently "get all the rest of my teeth" month. Seriously, she seems to have nearly an entire mouthful, with just a few missing. This might be embarrassing to admit, but I have never once picked up anything like "What to Expect the First Year," or any other books like that, probably mostly because I got a little burnt out during my pregnancy with the first What to Expect book....not because I didn't really love the information, but sometimes it would cause me unnecessary anxiety or cause me to get a bit to fixated on some things. I also probably enjoy getting a lot of info. and ideas from other mom blogs of women I really respect. And I have heard from enough people to know that babies are all so very different in their development, and it can be tough enough not to compare sometimes. So anyway, this teeth thing has thrown me for a loop, because I certainly wasn't expecting her to have so many by now! She had 6 teeth (4 on top and 2 on bottom) for the longest time, then we went to my mom's at the beginning of October and she didn't sleep great. The day we got home I was changing her and noticed some big back teeth coming in. The it was fast and furious from there. But I am definitey thankful to be able to worry a whole lot less about the choking thing. That kind of freaks me out sometimes. I will say, sticking with the teeth theme, we have been brushing her teeth for a long time and thankfully she loves this part of her routine! I feel like "teeth" is one of the first words we could tell she understood. Well, that and "bathtime!"
Speaking of bathtime, also around when she turned one or a little before we would say, "It's bathtime," and I would sing my little song, then she would start making her way into the bathroom in our bedroom and we would follow. She definitely always looks forward to this nightly routine, and I am thankful. It probably has something to do with Daddy's puppet shows, as he often takes care of this part of our day. We often read a bible story and a couple of our favorite books during this time, probably because when she was itty bitty it was really the only time I felt like she would be attentive to reading and I wanted to take advantage of it! We love "The Goodnight Bible," "Bedtime Blessings for Little Girls," "I Love You This Much," "Bedtime Bunny," and "Mama (or Daddy) Hugs" for reading during this time. Awhile back we got a $10 set of 4 animal puppets at Costco that Kevin has given hilarious voices and personalities to. Sometimes they do the Bible story, and as long as I'm not in there, Selah is super focused on his shows. So funny.

One thing I want to remember forever and ever is Selah's super sweet thumb sucking and hair holding comfort technique. She used to take the wubbanub pacifier in the car or in her crib until about 9 months. She's never been one to really want it at times other than that. Then all the sudden she started sucking her thumb full time (which she occasionally did since she was born), and with the other hand she would hold her earlobe. So ridiculously precious. I think in the month before her first birthday she started holding my ponytail with the hand that wasn't in mouth, whenever I would hold her. She continues this, whenever I'm rocking her, taking her to go to sleep, or just in general when she gets tired or upset. I will treasure it forever, no matter when she stops. When she's going to sleep she now sucks her thumb and holds her own rapidly growing hair, instead of her ear. I just love Selah's details and feel like each day I'm desperate to memorize a new one!
Now onto the subject of eating. Talk about something else that has quite the interesting progression! As I've been so sick and fatigued from pregnancy, my baby food making took quite the nosedive. Making it more difficult to get those veggies in her. She seems to do fine with them from a spoon, but still isn't readily accepting them in chunks. She's such a texture girl. Now she will eat any and all fruit at any time, so I'm thankful for that. But I really need to up my creativity with those veggies and her meals in general. (Ideas anyone?) I know she can essentially eat whatever we eat, but at times that's easier said than done. Her mainstays are Ezekial bread, (cheese - oh my does this girl love cheese!), yogurt, turkey, fruit, scrambled eggs, cereal, veggies, (when offered the right way;), pasta, milk, pumpkin pancakes, (a new one), and of course, the oh so loved graham cracker. Oh my goodness does that girl love those graham crackers. She will walk over to the pantry, sit on the floor, and point up to them, desperately doing the please sign and hoping it will be one of those times when mommy or daddy says yes. So hilarious. Oh, that's another wonderful thing she started doing, almost the same day she started walking...she finally started signing the word please - yay!! I am a manner loving mama, (passed down from my own mom), so this makes my heart happy. I think she also tries to say thank you rather than sign it, but it comes out more like "tank." The funny thing is, she now says please with all desperation for everything...quite often. So hard to resist. :)

Other words she is saying often are "Mama," "Dada," "Hi," "Okay," and my favorite, "Whoa!" Not until she started saying it so often did I realize that I say a sort of 2 syllable, "Whoa-o," whenever she falls or something like that. So now it's her reaction to basically anything that surprises or amazes her. She also says something that means, "Chai," though I don't know if I could technically call it a word. When prompted she says "uh" for Up, and "muh" for more. And she loves to say "ball," and point to anything that remotely resembles one. She loves, loves any and all balls, and Kevin has already taught her to have quite the throw. She will carry them around everywhere. She's also started carrying a basket or a bucket on her arm and collecting things in them. Oh my goodness so cute. She looks like a little farm girl collecting eggs or flowers or something. And she loves to carry around little purses or wallets. Or she'll work forever at picking up my camera bag, even though it's really too big for her to handle. Though she has gotten it up and over that arm a time or two. She certainly delights in taking everything out of the diaper bag, or when I let her take the cards out of my wallet. She really seems to play with all kinds of things right now, willing to try everything at least once, and excited when something comes out that she hasn't seen in awhile.

Selah also loves, loves herself some music, especially praise and worship, probably because we play that a lot at home. Daddy taught her a long time ago to raise her hands to worship, and now she'll do it if we either start to sing about God, or say, "Praise Jesus!" (Or if she hears country music in the craft store. Ha ha. Not quite fool proof.) Of course we definitely get a kick out of this little habit of hers. And are always reminded to pray she truly grows into a young lady with a heart for worship!
As far as other things Selah really loves and pours her little playtime energy into are books and babies. She loves to take all the books out of the baskets and study them, and recently really started talking to them. So sweet. She doesn't always sit for the reading of a whole story, but I've started trying to read a book while she plays every once in while. I do think it will be fun when she snuggles in and asks us to read stories to her. And she loves her baby doll. I will say, "Love your baby," and she snuggles her close. She also has started putting her and other little stuffed toys into a basket with a blanket. She does also like her shape sorter toys, things that make noise, and her little game where the balls pop out. Oh, and the Elmo airplane car my sister in law passed down to us. It's basically fun to see her enjoy playing with so many things.

A couple other things she has started doing, even in the last couple days...throwing minor fits, (especially when she's in need of sleep and has to be told no about something - not my favorite), and running to greet her daddy when he gets home, (definitely his favorite!!) We are definitely in that place of working on first time obedience, and praying for wisdom while exploring some resources on the best way to do that while she is at the stage she is in. It can definitely be tough to know the just right thing to do that will be effective. I just realized how often I'm reminding myself to be calm and consistent. And to be graceful with ourselves as we imperfectly work at raising a respectful, God honoring little lady. We are definitely enjoying her and soaking in our life as a family. We realize how undeserving yet so blessed that we are.

A few other things she does...when she wakes up and I go to get her from her crib, she immediately gets excited and starts pointing at whatever wonderful thing on her dresser she's been looking at and wants to hold. When I put her down for naps or bedtimes, she'll often play peek-a-boo with me, by pulling the blanket up and waiting until I say, "Where's Selah?" It was so awesome a month or two ago when she did this for the first time. Totally cracked me up. She also likes to "help" let Chai out, and she's started wanting to see her picture on the camera after I take one of her. She started being able to turn herself around and get down off the couch or chair, and she scrunches up her face/furrows her brow in the funniest way when she doesn't like what you're saying or doing. And she all the sudden completely dislikes having to stop her playing when she needs her diaper changed. She also gets more afraid of loud noises outside than she used to, and will throw herself at me and wrap her arms around my neck. Oh, and when she started walking she also started blowing kisses. It's kind of like she all of a sudden started copying us and doing specific things we would teach her. It feels like so much changed when she began to really communicate with us more.
Well, that feels like a good summary of our little one and how she's growing. I did just write a whole paragraph and sleeping and nursing, but then erased it because I just don't feel like getting into it right now. Might deserve its own blog post after our experiences this year. :) I realized I could easily sum it up by saying she's sleeping through the night, taking 2 naps, and I'm still nursing 2 or 3 times a day. I kind of keep waiting for an automatic drying up, like the Dr. has said would happen during my pregnancy, so that's part of why I haven't decided to work any harder at weaning. Selah really isn't dependent or desperate about it, but likes the comfort and closeness particularly in the morning and before bedtime. (or if she's stalling at naptime I think - ha) But she can and has gone without as well. I just prefer slow transitions so it seems like that's what I'm trying to do. I think we're getting close though. I still totally relish that sweet and still time with her, while she looks at me and holds onto my hair. Especially now that she's more busy than ever.

I'm so thankful to be Selah's mom. And just like everyone says, it truly flies by. We were in Target today and I saw a new mom with her tiny little baby...and the past year just flashed before my eyes. Wow are there some trials and tough days...but oh how the sweet moments overshadow it all. Thankfully those first days and weeks stay so vivid in our memories, because though they pass quickly, they are just too special and amazing to forget. As are all the other weeks, months, and new beginnings I'm realizing. And talk about flying by...life has gone almost faster than I can photograph little baby #2! He or she definitely deserves some serious blog time. I guess that's what will be coming up next! :)


Best "Baby Ray" Crockpot Barbecue

Okay, I seriously cannot believe I'm going to post about food right now, in light of my tumultuous tummy.  But I'll try to keep it short and sweet and the pics to a minimum. Ha.  Selah's birthday party was right around lunchtime, so we wanted to serve something that would be generally liked by all, and was fairly easy/inexpensive to make.  We love Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce, so I just googled for a crockpot recipe for chicken that I could shred and use for sandwiches.  So the following is what I found.  And we LOVED how it turned out!!! (This is the link to the recipe I used.)

(This pic is from "The Comfort of Cooking," whose recipe also sounds good!)

4-6 chicken breasts (I used 6 per batch, and made two batches for a group of about 25)

1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce (We used original)

1/4 cup vinegar (I used Apple Cider vinegar and didn't quite use the full 1/4 cup, only since I knew we'd be doubling it and I was afraid of it potentially being too strong!)

1 tsp. red pepper flakes (I probably used about 1/2 tsp. for each batch, same reason as above)

1/4 c. brown sugar (definitely used all of this!) :)

1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients except chicken.  Place chicken in the crockpot, and pour the sauce on top.  Cook on low 4-6 hrs. (We did about 6 hrs.)

This is where the website stops, but after the chicken and sauce cooled we shredded it in a large foil pan.  Then we poured the remaining sauce in the crockpot on top of it, covered it with saran wrap, and let it sit in the fridge all night.  It was SUPER moist, and made awesome sandwiches on those little Hawaiian rolls or Hawaiian buns.  We definitely added it to our dinner rotation and entertaining ideas lists!  To round out the party meal we served watermelon, (pink!:), chips, and puppy chow.  Yum.  Hope this adds another easy meal to your list! :)

P.S. (In searching for a picture I stumbled upon the Pioneer Woman's recipe, which I'm quite sure is good too!)


Fully Human

A couple nights ago I said to Kevin, "I don't think we can be used by God to the fullest extent until we realize how truly human we are." For the past couple years, Kevin has been pretty intensely studying the life and ministry of Jesus, especially focusing on His humanity. Recently we've been studying the life of Jesus at church as well. I don't know about you, but I think in all the years of learning about Jesus in my life, I've always simply thought of him as God. That's who he is, of course, but that's not how he accomplished his miracles, demonstrated his power and loved so perfectly while walking on this earth. If you look closely into scripture, over and over again you see how Jesus relied on his Father in order to accomplish the work he was sent here to do; yet he did not tap into his deity in order to do it. It takes way more than r paragraph to get into all the intricacies of this, and my husband could certainly do a better job of explaining it and pointing to scripture for support along the way. But for me, this reality does something so powerful in my life.

It shows me that we as humans, God's creation, have access to the very same things Jesus used to accomplish his purpose on earth and glorify his Father in heaven. Everything he did pointed to his Father, and the point of it all was to demonstrate absolute obedience to Him, resulting in the greatest gift ever, salvation and eternal life. And what's our purpose here on earth? I believe it's to have a loving relationship with our Creator and to follow Jesus' example of obedience to our heavenly Father, which will in turn bear much fruit and bring in a great harvest for the kingdom. Essentially, we will enjoy who God is, and our lives will bring glory to Him, while drawing others to salvation in Christ. In the end, he will receive us into an eternal paradise and be pleased with what we've done. Sign me up for that!

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" Phil. 2:5-8

Recently Kevin gave me an article to read called, "The Man Christ Jesus," by professor Bruce Ware from Southern Theological Seminary. One particularly powerfully stated part has played over and over in my mind.
"Jesus did not sin, not because he relied on the supernatural power of his own divine nature or because his divine nature overpowered his human nature keeping him from sinning, but it rather is because he utilized all of the resources given to him in his humanity. He loved and meditated on God's word, he prayed to his Father, he trusted in the wisdom and rightness of his Father's will and word, and very significantly, he relied on the supernatural power of the Spirit upon him, to strengthen him to do all that he was called upon to do."

Seems like a simple truth, yet so powerful in what this means for us. How incredibly gracious is God for giving us the very same access and inviting us to do the same as his very own son? Jesus' power, ministry, fruit, and faithfulness came from his diligent prayer life and alone time with his father, from his serious study and meditation of the scriptures, and his absolute reliance on the Holy Spirit. These are the things that matter to Him.

Often when I think of Jesus as using his deity and being God here on earth, it's hard to really believe I can "walk like he did."  ("Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6) It doesn't seem attainable, and if you're like me, anything that doesn't seem attainable is often not even desirable.  Yet when I hear and realize I can know the same kind of intimacy with the Father that Jesus did, my heart certainly beats a little faster.  I shudder to think of how easy and tempting it is in this life to just get through the days, fill up my time and be working towards nothing of eternal value.  Instead, I sincerely want to know the kind of fruit Jesus knew; I want to know the Father like he did; I want my life to point others to so much more than myself.  Something that lasts.  Well really, the only thing that lasts.  It pains me to no end to see how hopeless our world is right now.  How people are willing to live for nothing and believe they were created for nothing.  The striving and the meaninglessness is scary and exhausting.  And people are hurting because of it.  I am desperate for so much more.

When I made that comment the other night to Kevin about realizing how fully human we are, it was in reference to how often we feel like we're failing, not living up to our potential, or just can't figure out God's "will for our lives."  Yet his will is pointed out so clearly by the way his one and only son lived.  It is from following in those footsteps that the fruit we so desire to be displayed in our lives will be produced.  I think we often feel confused, discouraged, and like we're failing because we're relying on ourselves.  And seriously, we as human beings, "are like grasshoppers," in comparison to God, "who sits enthroned upon the circle of the earth."  If we really give ourselves so much credit, we will always, always be disappointed. 

"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers." Isaiah 40:22

We are desperate for a Savior and for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.  And God has done some mighty works through people who have acknowledged their humanity and depended fully on him.  I'm saddened by the chance that I've missed out on anything God might have had for me these past almost 32 years, when I haven't run in desperation to be alone with him, to talk to him, to know his Word better than I know anything else; or to call on the Holy Spirit's help before I call on anyone else or try to figure it out myself.  Without him, I am merely flesh and bones, limited to my own humanity.  But through obedience to him in all these things, my life can be so very much more. How else can I ever really know the full fruit I was created for than by doing these things, just like Jesus did. 

I have finally surrendered to the fact that I cannot be patient and intentional with my children, or kind and loving to my husband, or fill my mind with the right thoughts or not judge or criticize or compare myself to others or serve selflessly; I cannot make wise choices with my time and energy, or accomplish anything good in my life, or choose gentleness over anger, or forgive those who hurt me, or love and offer hope to ANYONE on my own.  I can't do any of this without praying diligently to my Father, learning and loving his word, and relying on the Holy Spirit to do the crucial, though sometimes painful work in me.  The Accuser was thrown out of heaven because he thought himself too special and wanted all the glory.  And I just certainly don't want to end up like him. 

My encouragement to you, and to myself today?  "Let us not become weary in doing good," because it's not up to us to be the good...it completely depends on our reliance and dependence on the Father.  Let's admit together how desperate we are individually...and remember how very human and desperate everyone else is as well, for the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work in all our lives.  I'm thinking this would help eliminate the crazy judging and hating going on....which bears no good fruit at all.  We are human, we are desperate, and our eternity is dependent on our receiving the amazing grace available to us all, and submitting our lives to the gracious one who offers it.  I am so thankful that we truly can "live as Jesus lived;" I'm thankful he was fully human while he was here...because it gives me so much hope. So how about we celebrate some serious freedom from the burdens we've been bearing.  Freedom from failing at meeting the crazy expectations we have for ourselves and each other as mere humans, and instead invite the Holy Spirit to have his way, getting excited for and believing in what he's about to do.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, bu tthe Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26-27

"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him, how I've proved him o'er and o'er.  Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust him more."


I Get To Be The One

We are so excited to officially announce the sweet new baby growing in my belly!!  We are 14 weeks today, and we're due April 11.  Kevin and I love being parents, and are thrilled and thankful that our family is growing.  We've prayed for many months for the perfect timing of this sweet one, and I just can't wait to meet this uniquely created baby, perfectly planned by our loving heavenly Father.

Having "two kids" has already proved to add some crazy to my life.  Much like pregnancy number one, I have been seriously sick...actually worse in some ways this time around.  And I'm super duper tired.  Of course, I hate to focus on the crummies, as we are beyond thrilled and grateful, and don't for a moment want to take this sweet one for granted.  (Though I've had my fair share of days where I've struggled to stay positive)  And I know by Thanksgiving I should (hopefully) be feeling awesome!

A few weeks before Selah's birthday, before we had revealed the news to anyone, my brother and his sweet girlfriend introduced me to a JJ Heller song that fits my feelings perfectly.  I can already hardly wait to hold and snuggle this new sweet one.  It truly brings me to tears to think that I get to be the one to love on these incredible children.  Thank you God for this amazing gift!

"How does someone so small hold my heart so tightly;  I don't even know you, but I love you completely."

He Said Yes!

(I wrote this post on September 3, about a month after we found out!)

After praying, waiting, and asking God since earlier this year, I am overjoyed to say He has said yes and is graciously knitting together our second baby!  It's so crazy to even type that...I can say with honesty that we were shocked when we found out, and probably still are to some extent.  Probably mostly because after reading 'NO' on some tests, it was especially sweet to finally read YES.  And it always seems overwhelmingly generous and amazing that God would allow us to add another precious one to our family.

We found out on August 5th, Sunday afternoon right before we were heading up near Cincinnati to hear my brother preach.  So it was especially difficult not to tell him!  I had taken the test kind of in a hurry, as we were all getting dressed and ready to leave, then left it on my bathroom counter and went to get Selah ready.  Kevin was ironing a shirt in the laundry room.  I hadn't told him I was taking it, because the times before we had gotten excited and looked at it together, and if it wasn't a yes this time, I didn't want to get his hopes built up again.  I had peace in my heart because although I get super nervous and excited every time I take a test, it's never easy to get a no, and I told God I was surrendered to His plan and trusted He knew the perfect timing for the growth of our family.  So I took Selah into the bathroom, my heart pounding, and I just peeked at the test....and saw that it said YES!  Wow.  My mouth dropped open, I grabbed it and nervously said, "Kevin, where are you?"  He commented on how he thought I sounded sweet in asking, (ha:), and then said, "I'm in here."  So I walked in, and laid the test right down on his shirt on the ironing board.  His eyes got big, and he said, "Is that real?  Is it true?"  Then we both just stood there with our mouths hanging open in shock, and Selah looking back and forth between us...it was hilarious.  Then he hugged me and said, "Page!"  Then he said a quick prayer and thanked God so much for this gift and for granting our request.  I didn't even have the frame of mind to capture the moment very well, simply because I was so wrapped up in it!

This is the day we found out...my brother took this after our visit.
Needless to say, the drive to Cincinnati was a funny one...we were kind of speechless and in awe.  I love that the service we went to at my brother's church was the one for the older crowd, as we sang several classic hymns, which I (not so secretly) love.   We sang, "Count your Blessings, " and I love the lyrics..."Count your blessings name them one by one.  Count your blessings see what God has done."  I love that with both babies we have found out on a Sunday and I have been able to go to church afterwards and worship.  It always feels so emotional and so appropriate.  I'm just so, so thankful to be a mom. 

Several months ago, as I was carrying Selah on my hip and changing the laundry from the washer to the dryer, I remember thinking how peaceful and quiet our days were, how simple life seemed at home with one baby.  (That day at least!) I also was thinking about how I imagined my life with a house full of children...and wondering how that would all play out.  Now I am learning...it happens one by one.  (Well, theoretically. :)We cannot plan or know the exact timing, but God's writing promises to be perfect.  And I know most of my friends with multiple children will be at the ready to tell me to get prepared for this to rock my world....and while I'm sure it will, I look towards it with joy and faith in the Father to lead and carry me through.  He has definitely done that this past year, which has been filled with plenty of difficult moments.  No matter how crazy it gets or how many tears it sometimes takes to get through, these are the days and the years I will look back on and treasure for the rest of my life.  I'm sure I'll stand amazed at how the Lord walked us through.  Being a parent is certainly no small responsibility.  But it is most definitely one that I choose to treasure...and I seek to honor with my whole heart.  I know Kevin feels the same.

So tomorrow we go to our first Dr.'s appt. for this second precious child of ours...one whom I love so dearly already.  We are REALLY excited about the appt., as it definitely makes it all feel more real.  Well, that and the 24hr. a day nauseousness that has plagued me since 5 weeks.  Whew.  It's funny how I'm already saying, "I don't remember it being this bad."  That and the fatigue have definitely hit me with some serious strength!  We are 9 weeks along, and according to my calculations I'm due around April 5th, though I realize when we go to the doctor they might change that up a little bit because of some of our details in trying.  (The doctor did change this to April 11...making us 8 weeks when I wrote this) I'm so looking forward to having a Spring baby, while I'm also planning to treasure these next several months when it remains just Kevin, Selah, and me.  She is absolutely lighting up our world more and more each day.  So crazy how that can happen...as she's had me in 'overwhelmed with joy' tears since her first breath.  Even that day I said to Kevin, "I can't wait to do this again!"  Now we are prayerfully going to get that experience!

So that is the start of the story of Baby Love #2.  One other fun detail with this sweet one is that we are going to find out what we're having...yay!  We did love the surprise with Selah, but we want to experience knowing with this one.  I'll finish by quoting another song I'm pretty sure we sang that night at my brother's church..."Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice.  Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son, and give him the glory great things he hath done."

We are so very thankful and we give God all the glory.  And we would appreciate and be grateful for any prayers you might offer for the health and safety of our little one as he or she grows.  We're having a baby!!!


A "Baby Love" First Birthday

I decided around Valentine's Day of this year, as super cute heart decor was popping up everywhere, that I wanted to do a "Baby Love" themed birthday for my sweet girl.  This seemed like an obvious choice as that had become my instant nickname for our little one, pretty much right after we found out we were pregnant.  I got a little overwhelmed with all the inspiration out there, but in the end we loved Selah's first special day, and had so much fun celebrating our firstborn.

The week of Selah's birthday my mom, Kevin and I managed to pull off what I felt was a sweet and simple party on what turned out to be a beautiful day in September.  Here are some of my favorite pics from our Selah girl's first birthday. (As I was posting these I realize I have way too many...I'll have to do a separate one for cute pics of the cousins and grandparents!)

I made a special banner for Selah - but we had to move locations at the last minute due to rain...so we lost our trees to hang it on. This photo is staged...our brothers are holding it up! :)

She wasn't too entirely interested in blowing out the candle...probably because she was fascinated by the crowd staring at her and cheering her on!

I made Selah a cake from the wholesomebabyfood.com website.  It
definitely tasted healthy.  Ha.


(This is Selah's cousin Braelyn...they share the same birthday!  Crazy and sweet:)

Special thanks to Kevin for being an awesome husband and daddy...
and for being patient with me during last minute party prep!

(My mom entertained the kids with balloon animals...she's the best!)

My grandma with Selah's cousins, Kaydance, Chase, and new baby Harper

Cousins Jallen and Jaxon watching Selah open presents

Selah was blessed with so many sweet gifts from family...and one from mommy and daddy...

Daddy handed us the "special pink box" we had wrapped...

This was a gift everyone especially liked...

We are so excited to announce Baby Love #2! (Due April 2013)

My family...

and Kevin's family.

We had a special blessing and prayer time for our birthday girl.

 Selah was happy and proud to stand and practice her walking for the crowd!

My mom bought this super cute seersucker dress for Selah in Franklin, TN during
our girls' week back in May.  I cut out and stitched the heart on it for the party.

Being silly with Papa Paul.

I could not have gotten everything done without my mom...
ESPECIALLY in light of my current condition. :)

So glad my grandma could make it!

Later that day Selah practiced for her new role...I think she'll do quite well. :)

 We love you Selah girl!  It has been our joy and honor to be your parents this very first year of your life...God has changed us forever through you, and we are so, so grateful.  We look forward to many more celebrations and memories made with you as we enjoy the adventure of our growing family!  You, my precious daughter are a treasure, and I'm thankful beyond words that I get to be your mommy.