Birthday Snapshots

I really didn't take too many pictures with my camera last weekend, but snapped a few photos on my phone to document some of our birthday fun.

We started the celebration Friday night with a dessert run to the Homemade Pie and Ice Cream kitchen. They have the best caramel apple pie!

On Saturday morning we took Selah to Kevin's parents so we could go to brunch and a movie.  And because I'm pregnant, (and we were celebrating my birthday after all ;), we stopped at a random donut place called "Donut Sky" we just happened to notice near his parents.  And the donuts were surprisingly amazing!  Good choice for sure. 

The good thing about having a birthday so close to Christmas is the chance of having a gift card to use...which we did to one of our most favorite places - Wild Eggs.  So good.  And it was nice for Kevin and I to have a date!  We love places like this...'First Watch' in Cincinnati, and 'Another Broken Egg' in the south.  We have enjoyed several fun dates throughout our marriage at all three.

Then we went and saw this...because everyone was talking about it, so I thought it was a sure thing.  I totally respected the acting and the production, but the first half was way too dark and gritty for me.  (I didn't know the story at all before I saw it)  And you have to know, I'm a super mild and conservative movie watcher.  I did really enjoy all the Hugh Jackman scenes and mostly the entire second half.  It was just fun to sit in a movie for a couple hours, eating candy and sitting with my husband. :)

Kevin and Selah brought this to me while singing Happy Birthday while I was getting ready for church Sunday morning.  She wrote me quite a sweet message. :)

Kevin also brought home pink roses for me...I love getting flowers!

We also took a family trip to Barnes and Noble just for the fun of it.  Selah was loving some play time at the train table.  It's fun to watch her play so intensely.

He also got me my most favorite meal for my birthday dinner....corn cakes and lettuce wraps from the Cheesecake factory...yum!  (We shared it ;)  I was stuffed but enjoyed every bite!

Other than that, we enjoyed a quiet peaceful Sunday, which was my actual birthday.  I so appreciated the sweet comments through facebook and texts, as well as phone calls that day.  After church we went to our favorite local cafe for coffee and tea, then during Selah's nap Kevin joined me for a mini marathon of Downton Abbey before the season premiere that night!  And I'm happy to say he was hooked and looking forward to watching it with me.  A sweet birthday present to end my day.


Our Christmas 2012 Reality

Christmas day has such a big build up to it, (for good reason of course ;)...the decorations, the traditions, the music, the focus on the true meaning of Jesus' birthday, the only coming once a year....I mean, once it comes, you really want that day to live up to all its potential, right?  Well, this year I had to embrace that Christmas is much more than one day.  The weekend before Christmas we undoubtedly enjoyed every opportunity to worship our Savior and celebrate with our church family.  Our church had several services, and while Kevin (who is on staff) was at each of them, Selah and I joined him for 3.  One service we worshipped with Kevin's side of the family, and the other two I came to be with Kevin and visit with different people so we could wish them Merry Christmas.  It was nice to see so many people we love doing life with over the weekend and on Christmas Eve.  Selah was in the nursery for two of those services....and you might guess where this is leading.  Christmas Eve night, after we got home from a party at Kevin's aunt's house, I had a million things left to do including straightening up the house and wrapping some presents before Christmas day.  I was also working on the gender reveal cake for his parents' house the next day.  (I made a blue and pink layer, not sure which I'd use! :)  Obviously, I'm a procrastinator - especially when pregnant!

Needless to say, I learned that night that once your family starts growing you should not put things off to the last minute. Because you just never know when your daughter will randomly wake up an hour after you put her in  bed and throw up all over her crib.  Then, after she's clean yet too upset to sleep your husband might just show you that he meant what he said for the last few hours about not feeling well.  And the result of that is much, much worse.  So there we were, me exhausted out of my mind, our house a disaster, my baby girl unable to sleep so she watches God Made Christmas and Praise Baby on repeat until 2am, while my extremely sick husband lays groaning on the couch and randomly dashes to the bathroom.  All. night. long. Seriously.  How crazy is all that.  (Trust me, in the moment it seemed so awful.)  I even tried to get Selah to fall asleep in her pack in play in our bedroom while Praise Baby was on...because I was just so incredibly tired.  I actually fell asleep through all her fussing at me to get her out.  Finally I got her to sleep in her room and went to sleep myself.  And as you might guess, Christmas morning didn't exactly arrive with bells ringing and joyful caroling going on.  Kevin couldn't even really get up, Selah got up late and ate a little something, then went right back down...and they both napped for 3 or 4 hours.  Which, can I tell you - allowed me some seriously peaceful hours in my own home that are very rare.

I actually put on the Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas station on Pandora, and sat down at my sewing machine, being reflective, enjoying the peaceful day, and praying over and over for a dear friend who had just been diagnosed with cancer.  I also couldn't stop thinking about and praying for several dear families at our church dealing with the pain of losing loved ones last year.  Humbling and emotional.   It was kind of special knowing the whole city was mostly at home, the streets were quiet, and I was able to enjoy some stillness of my own.  I ended up being very thankful.

Poor Kevin, though - it was a rough day.  He managed to take a shower and give me about an hour around 2 or 3 to watch Selah open her presents, and for our gender reveal.  Which was awesome, and I'm SO thankful we saved the special finding out for that day.  He then went back to bed, and I got Selah dressed to take her over to my in-laws for about an hour of Kevin's side's Christmas.  She opened her presents, I revealed the gender, then we had to leave.  I kept telling everyone not to get too close to Selah, and I didn't want to be there one second too long, for fear of getting anyone sick.

So she and I went home and she had fun playing with some new Christmas things, while I put together her new wooden baby doll stroller.  Kevin remained on the couch.  Wednesday was quiet and uneventful, as Kevin slowly started to not feel awful and everyone was still tired.  We were planning to go out of town to my parents' on Friday for my side of the family's Christmas on Saturday.  I was thankful we'd have a second chance to celebrate. :) 

Kevin's always teaching Selah how to be gentle...and she was so anxious for him to be able to play again, while he was so worried about getting her sick.  It was sweet.

This is what happens when you leave your husband to babysit while you're sick all day. ;)

Then on Thursday afternoon Selah woke up from her nap extremely hot and very sweet and clingy.  She didn't eat much dinner and I took her temperature...which was 104.  By this time my nose started getting a bit runny, as did hers.  By Friday morning we were both much more stuffed up and kept sneezing, and we had been keeping track of her fever, giving her tylenol, but not that excited about it staying over 100 for awhile.  She also wasn't eating much more than graham crackers and milk.  So we decided to take her to the doctor before leaving town, just to make sure she didn't have anything that would be bad for being around my family and the little ones there.  She tested negative for strep...but positive for the flu.  Boo.  She had even had the shot, and thankfully so had I.  We made the very tough decision not to go to my parents' on Friday, and to miss Christmas dinner Saturday, which felt sad and a big bummer...especially since I've never missed Christmas at home.

Then by Friday night I was much worse myself, feeling feverish and my head was so stuffed, I couldn't stop sneezing, and I was wiped out.  I haven't been sick like that for 2 years.  It was a day of hot tea and chicken noodle soup.  Kevin thought it was the flu, but I thought it was a super severe cold.  And I had the flu when I was pregnant with Selah and there was definitely no denying it.  But Saturday I was wiped out and in bed all day, and would randomly be sweating then cold.  Thankfully Kevin was able to take care of Selah, (and Lysol the whole house), and she of course seemed to be fine other than a runny nose after her flu diagnosis.  Who knew that all the while I was making our exciting announcement about Baby girl #2 I was sick and miserable in bed?!  That's why I always tell my non-blogger friends that even if the gross and gritty isn't always shared, it's always there at some point.  Someone even told me that day they wished I had my energy...ha.  If only they knew!

All that to say by Sunday afternoon we were in a better place and decided to head up to my parents' in Indiana, especially since the other kiddos wouldn't be there anymore so we wouldn't infect them.  I still didn't feel great the couple days we were there, but I was getting better, and we had a fun time celebrating Christmas and spending time with my parents.

My mom and I finished a 1,000 pc. puzzle that my brother had brought on Christmas day and started with her and my dad.  This was no small feat.  But we did it!

So Christmas 2012 was quite the reality check of realizing the beauty in an imperfectly perfect day.  There were no stockings hung by the chimney with care...because I admit, there ended up being no homemade stockings. ;)  Our week was crazy and exhausting...but a great reminder of what really matters.  And proof that your house can be a mess, your presents not yet wrapped, and no special breakfast on a beautiful table served...while remembering the Lord and loving life with your family nonetheless.  Lessons learned:  think hard before putting your littles in the nursery the weekend before Christmas, and get your flu shots!!! (which Selah and I did or else I think things might have been much worse!)  Hope you all have some fun and merry stories to share from this past Christmas as well.


Recipes I've Made Lately

I have made 3 (new to me) recipes recently that we have loved, so I thought I should share!  Click on the links to see all the recipes.

1. The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls -
This is an iphone photo of one pan of the ones I made.

These were as yummy as she says.  (and they make a ton to share!) Apparently my domestic skills have been lacking since I've been married, (or my motivation at least ;), because Kevin just couldn't get over that I could make something like this.  Well, he kept saying he couldn't believe I had been holding out on him.  Ha ha.  He just never knew there was something so much better than Pillsbury out there.  While these were gooey and good, I think next time I'll try the glaze recipe without the maple and coffee, and with vanilla extract instead.  Just because I think we'd prefer a lighter, sweeter taste.  This icing was so good, but had a whole lot of depth for sure.

2.  Chinese "fried" Rice -

This recipe is from Rachel Schultz's blog, and we LOVED it!  I made it shortly after I saw it on Pinterest, which I was pretty proud of. ;) It was super easy, and I think next time we'll take her suggestion and make the teriyaki chicken to go in it.  (This time I baked the chicken in the oven first.)  I bought Boil-in-bag white rice because it was cheap and I didn't want to mess it up, and this worked great.  I even used lite soy sauce, which worked as well.  Definitely on our dinner menu list!

3. "Amazing White Cake"

Pinned Image

I can't even tell you how excited I am to have actually found a white cake, 'from scratch' recipe that truly is amazing!!  This is from the blog, Around My Famly Table.  I used this recipe for our gender reveal cake and it was delicious!  Moist and sweet, and I can't wait to make it again.  Good cake recipes from scratch are hard to come by, so I'm so glad to have this.  The almond flavoring, (which I always use in frosting), made this cake have a wonderful flavor. (for the gender reveal I ended up making two white cakes, 4 rounds total, and one cake from a box mix....which is the one I dyed one half blue and one half pink before we knew!)


Reflections on a 32nd Birthday

I'm always so reflective on my birthdays, and today is no exception.  It always kind of feels more like a "new year's" day than the actual one.  An opportunity to take into account all that the last year has taught me, while looking ahead to all this next year might hold.  My mom always put so much intention and thought into our birthdays, and that makes this day all the more special each time it comes around.  Even more special is that this year more than any other I finally understand why my mom has always loved celebrating her children's birthdays...because I was able to experience the delight of celebrating my own child's this past year.  Kevin, Selah, and I have had a sweet weekend making some fun memories and eating some yummy food to celebrate this day.  I am thankful for my little growing family...and even today I mentioned how I look forward to celebrating our birthdays in the years to come with our sweet girls.  Such an entirely new joy when the little ones are involved.

Today (Sunday), I am officially 32 yrs. old....seems like it should sound crazy to me, but the honest truth is I feel totally at home at this age.  My twenties held all kinds of mountains and valleys, depth and emotion, yet it was a time that feels further and further away.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to grow in wisdom and peace with who God made me to be.  I feel like with each new year I get to live, I grow closer to the quiet spirit I so long and pray for.  Less concern with what others think of me, and more concern over my intimacy with Christ.  And with an increasing awareness of how short this life truly is, I feel grateful for another new year to celebrate.  It's a gift to turn over another year, and I am truly thankful. 

I am also overwhelmed today with thoughts of so many people who have invested in my life and encouraged me in some way.  So many have been so generous, kind, and encouraging to Kevin, Selah, and I this past year and I feel truly undeserving.  Now I am looking ahead to this year and how I can be more generous and kind to those God has placed in my life.  Thoughtfulness is always an area I desperately pray to grow in.  I am hoping I get better and better at this with age as well.

Another emotion I experienced today was the realization that with age comes an increasing heaviness at times, if that makes sense.  Meaning that is the experience of loss and sickness and trial among the relationships in our lives grows as we age.  Sounds obvious as I write it, but the experience of it is still shocking.  I guess that's why they call it "the innocence of youth."  Yet I know in all these things we are only to be assured that this is a momentary stop in the midst of eternity.  Our journey here is nothing compared to the eternal glory we are headed for.  I am reminded with each year that lightness and real joy can only come by truly learning the discipline of truly believing and surrendering to the Word when it says to "cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you." (Psalm 55:22)  In the midst of these things I am continually learning to grow in my ability and desire to battle for others through prayer....while longing after a continually deeper relationship with Christ through it all.

I love what I read in 'My Utmost for His Highest" today..."It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him.  Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ." John 15:1-4

This coming year I pray that God continues to allow my heart to beat and to give me each new breath...and that my life will bear more fruit than ever.  As a woman, as a wife, as a mother, a daughter, and a sister...I truly will be seeking to take the time to step more intimately with Jesus.  Thank you Lord for pursuing me for the 32 years that you have...I am thankful for our relationship in the year to come.


Cloth Diapers - an Update!

(Disclaimer:  cloth diapers are totally a personal preference thing, and different for everyone and every baby.  So these are just my opinions based on my experiences with Selah!  Someone else might suggest something totally different.)

It's been over a year since my first cloth diaper post, when we were only a couple months in.  I will say I am totally looking forward to cloth diapering a newborn again...it's so ridiculously easy compared to when they get older and into solids.  I'm going to try to keep this as simple as possible for those who don't want every last detail of my opinions and experiences.  I've had a couple friends ask me to write down recommendations and I think finally, after more than a year of using them, I have a pretty simple explanation of what works best for me and would be most cost effective.  So I'll recommend first, then explain, then give some details (and what I don't like) of others we have and use.  I have a variety (1 or 2 of several different diapers) because I was way too scared to invest in a whole bunch of one diaper without having tried them.  I was determined to spend only what I needed to.  And I'm really glad I went very slow with the whole process because what I've ended up liking best has surprised me at times.  Though I currently do use them all, I'm thinking of selling what I don't love in order to get what I need for the new baby.

**If you are saying, "I just want to cloth diaper for the absolute least expensive way possible to start ($60), and I don't care about any of this information or comparisons," then I would definitely just look at the Econobum Kit by Bum Genius, or the Imagine covers/prefolds ($9.00/cover, $15.00/dozen prefolds) by Nicki's Diapers. Both brands are reliable.**

Here's the list of what I'd recommend to someone just starting, based on my favorite things:
(and I usually order from Amazon, Nicki's Diapers, or Mom's Milk Boutique)

Best Bottom One-Size Diaper Shell - Hook & Loop

Best Bottom covers - 6-9 total to start (The velcro for the little ones, maybe snaps for older.  The velcro on these is still great and sticky after more than a year of use.  I LOVE the velcro ones of these and that's saying a lot because most velcro diapers that's not the case. Yet the snap ones do have a bit more stretch around the belly.  But I did not like the snap fit on a newborn.  And I still prefer my velcro now.  But for that "just sitting up, big belly stage," the snap/stretch works well.)  This is also a cute, trim diaper.  The insert snaps in, which is great, is contoured so not so bulky, and these never, ever leak.

10-12 prefolds - infant size (and maybe 6 tiny/preemie size, which I did have and used when she was a newborn - the big ones are way too huge to start.  I would say have a handfull of these because they're inexpensive, super absorbant, and efficient.  (These also are a great and inexpensive alternative for stuffing pocket diapers!)  If you don't want your baby to feel wetness (or if their skin is more sensitive), go with the Osocozy stay dry prefolds - which are new but I haven't tried)

3-6 of each size Best Bottom stay dry insert (which snap into the BB covers)  - I don't have this many at all of either, but if it were my only diaper I would.  You could just get small and large, and probably skip the medium size if you really wanted.

Pack of 6 small g diaper inserts - these are perfect for the itty bitties for a long time, then work great as extra inserts for nighttimes.  I'm getting ready to use a babies r us gift card to buy the large size for Selah because I love these inserts, and then I'll have the small ones for the new baby.

Rockin' Green Hard Rock detergent.  This is the best, and safest for cloth in my opinion.  I'm not going to risk ruining them, and I did try Eco Nuts soap because I'd thought it would be a little cheaper alternative, but I don't think it gets the diapers nearly as clean.
Extra Large Planet Wise wetbag- works great, holds a lot of diapers, holds up well...I wash it with the diapers every time.  This always, always contains the smell, no matter how many or how stinky the diapers!

Grandma El's or CJ's Butter stick - I have used both of these and really love them, especially for when she gets any redness on her bottom, or an excema breakout is response to eating something.  The stick is nice for the diaper bag when others might use it, and also for daddy.  Grandma El's was the first thing I ever bought and it is really emollient, which I love.  Both of these are great even for babies who aren't cloth diapered because they're so gentle and soothing!  And they last for a really long time.  I would use these two for treatment, and I've also had the Grovia Magic Stick, which is good for any diaper change to protect the bum between changes.

(Purchasing all of these things I've mentioned would be between $250-$300, and would last a very long time - the diapers, inserts, and wetbag through multiple babies!!!)
My overall favorite diaper hands down is the Best Bottom diaper.  (I have 4 of these) When Selah was a newborn I really did not like the snap version of this diaper, because I just couldn't make it fit right.  But I loved the velcro version.  The velcro I have has surprisingly stayed very strong and sticky.  These diapers NEVER LEAK.  Over the past year I've had different times in her growth that I've like them better than other times.  But they've always been reliable.  Even if you're a pocket diaper lover but can't find a solution for nightime/naptime, get a couple of these and a few prefolds and you will be amazed!  I'm a huge fan of diaper covers with inserts or prefolds, and these covers are my favorite. If the baby is just wet you can wipe out the cover and reuse it, which means you don't need as many diapers.  (And husbands think this makes sense. :) Covers and inserts also allows you to use as little or as much absorbancy as your baby needs.  Which brings me to my next recommendation. 

While I do really like the Best Bottom inserts for daytime, on the go, and at night, (and for poo spraying because they're snapped in and you don't have to hold onto them!), I have to say the other most reliable inserts I have and love are my Indian prefolds. Which are super duper inexpensive.  I will tri-/fold one of those in a cover and put a small g diaper insert on top to make it stay-dry (feel dry) and extra absorbant for bedtime.  Love this combo.  While I don't love the g diaper system because of all the parts, (though they're cute!), I really love the inserts, because they are thin, very absorbant, dry feeling against baby's bottom, and easy to add in during a sleep time for no leaks!  You could even put the hemp back to back on two of these and have a really great, yet still thin insert for longer periods or sleeping.  The other wonderful thing about prefolds:  they are so amazingly absorbant, they don't acquire any stink over time like microfiber, they are so inexpensive that if someone accidentally uses a lotion that messes up the absorbancy, they are much easier to replace, and they'll go in any cover.  The only other inserts I would be curious to try are Thirsties inserts.  They have hemp on one side which seems to be extremely absorbant, and micfrofleece on the other which I love, based on my experience with the g diaper ones. (But they are ridiculously expensive, in my opinion).

After seeing lots of other diapers in stores and feeling the velcro as well as reading reviews, I really don't think many others would hold up like the Best Bottom velcro.  (which is important to me)  I will say the one other diaper cover that I think I think would work well are any of the ones Bummis makes,  Their velcro is awesome, they wash wonderfully, and they just make great fitting diapers.  (Based on my experience with the Tots Bots)  But the covers are sized, rather than one size, meaning it would cost a bit more with having to buy different sizes.  I also wonder if these would fit even better and be trimmer due to being sized. (note added: I just got two for Christmas in Selah's size, so I'm excited to try them!)

I'm not going to lie.  Having to spray solids with older babies...(especially while pregnant!), is gross.  I mean, all poo is gross regardless of the diaper if you ask me, but I could not have managed at the beginning of my pregnancy if Kevin wasn't so on board and such a trooper.  He's always been a willing participant, and I'm so thankful, because it truly has worked for us and saved a lot of money.  When we travel now we will use Seventh Generation disposables. I love them and they've never ever leaked. We get a pack off of Amazon and it will last us between 2 and 3 months (depending on travel).  I now also put her in a disposable at church or if she has a babysitter, because I don't want anyone else to have to deal with big girl poo.  She does look awfully cute and petite with the disposables on. :)  Speaking of poo, we have the Bum Genius diaper sprayer because it seemed to be the most recommended.  Though the spray is so incredibly strong that it can be tough to keep it all in the toilet if you aren't careful.  Since then I think another brand has come out with a sprayer with different strength levels, which sounds great!  (You start spraying poo when the baby starts eating solids).  Either way it takes a bit of strategy - (fold the diaper back, hold it down low, etc.) - but works well.

Using cloth is not complicated.  Of course there are annoying days here and there, just like with any diapering situation.  You can end up washing them every other day no matter how many you have, (well we often do), because it just seems too gross to leave them in the wet bag any longer.  Though plenty of times I've gone a few days.  After more than a year, all of our diapers have held up really well. And I always dry in the dryer on extra low.  I also strongly stand by Rockin' Green detergent.  I'm not willing to use any standard detergents, because I can't afford to take a chance on ruining them.  And I did try to save a little money by using "Soap Nuts."  Which I'm annoyed with after a month or two, because I have to fish them out before my extra rinse cycle, and it's tough to tell when I need to replace them.  I'm also not convinced the diapers are as thoroughly cleaned.

So that is a most basic update I think.  (So stop reading here if you are already overwhelmed and think that was more than basic. ;) Now I'll give a list of other diapers I have and why they're not first on my list:

Grovia - I really like features about this diaper and inserts...but I've only gotten it as a gift, and I think they're just too expensive to recommend.
Bum Genius 4.0's - lots of people love these, and they are cute.  But I don't really love pocket diapers and stuffing. It's really no big deal I guess, but not my favorite.  And if you have to grab a diaper from the dryer it's not ideal.  Also, microfiber does start to stink, which bothers me.  It also can be drying to your hands to have to touch it.  (I'm sure they need "stripped," but I haven't ventured into that yet.)  Finally, these leak at night, or at naptime, even if I double stuff.  Selah's belly and legs always seem to get wet.  I will probably sell these as soon as the new baby comes and I know just what I'll need.

Flip covers and inserts - The covers actually work well, and I don't think they've leaked for me. (Maybe once?)  I do sometimes use these at night double stuffed.  But they are wide, flimsy, and whenever someone else puts one on her they aren't quite put on correctly.  Her belly often seems to get wet as well.  And sometimes they seem a bit droopy?  Also, I really don't like the flip stay dry inserts.  They are bulky and the folding down in the back thing is annoying.  But I think a lot of people like these.

Fuzzibunz - these actually have a super cute, trim fit, and I can't remember ever having a leak with these either.  (Though I don't use them at night.)  I will say they're a bit trickier to stuff because of their trimness, and the stickiness of the PUL on the inside, and the one size seems to fit pretty snug on older children.  (Selah has outgrown it)  But I've always thought this is an overall good diaper.  (and the minky inserts don't seem to stink like microfiber).  I also only have one, which makes it hard to judge.  But I've always though Selah looks cute in it, and it's a good choice for under jeans or something.

Rumparooz - cute, colorful, (I only have one of these too), and soft inside.  But they have a microfiber insert and in my experience, they leak if worn too long.

Tots Bots - Oh how I loved this diaper at first.  I still think it's the cutest, trimmest, smartest design and best velcro.  (and I will use it for the new baby b/c I know it will be absorbant enough and fit well!) Kevin always reaches for these first.  But unfortunately I won't put it on Selah for wearing out and about or if I think she'll be in it for longer lengths of time because the sides leak.  This started between 3-4 months.  Not sure why, but they just don't seem absorbant enough.  And the bamboo is not stay-dry, (wicks away moisture), which is important to me as Selah has sensitive skin and really needs to not have wet on her skin for very long.

Bum Genius Elementals - I loved this one too, but I don't like the leg casings at all - definitely causes leaks, and the inside is not stay-dry, which bothers me for the same reason as the Tots Bots.  But it's also cute and trim - the pink one is a good diaper for photos. :)

Little Bee Co. diapers (Christian company) - I love everything about this company.  But I don't like the diaper at all.  It has never fit well, and I just don't understand why the elastic is so tight everywhere.  The inside also wore out on this one.  Also has a microfiber insert.  It's also pretty wide and bulky.  (But really doesn't leak, so that's good!)

I hope that helps someone in some way!  I'll wait another 6 months to a year or so before I put this much thought into the whole thing again. ;)  Happy cloth diapering!


To My Littlest Baby Girl

(written on 12-27-12)

Dear Baby Lovebug,
       Wow, wow, wow.  That is how I feel right now and ever since we found out on Christmas that you are a sweet, precious GIRL!!!  We are beyond thrilled to have another daughter, and that you and Selah will have each other as sisters.  I am shocked and amazed and delighted more than you could ever know!  I feel so blessed that God would allow me to birth two baby girls.  How special.  Your daddy and I are the first ones to have two girls in a row among our families, so that is neat too!  Now we just have 15 or so weeks until we get to meet your sweet face, and hold you close.  I already love to feel you move in there, and I love knowing that you're my little girl. 

We were nervous and excited to open our special gift on Christmas, and couldn't believe it when we read, "We're having a GIRL!"  I cried, Daddy prayed, and Selah didn't really know what to think, but instantly started praying that day that the two of you would be best friends.  I will continue this prayer all my life, as I so desire for my two girls to love each other and have a special, close relationship.  What a gift you have both been given.

I am also praying for God's protection over your body and mine, as you grow and he continues to knit you together in my growing belly.  I am praying that the fruit of the Spirit would already be growing inside of you, and that your heart would beat passionately and boldly for Jesus.  You already seem like such a sweet little girl to me, as much as I can tell. ;)  We've told your daddy's family that you are a girl, and we'll tell my family in just a couple days when we're there for Christmas #2!  Then we'll let the whole world know.  This truly feels like a dream come true sweet girl.  You and Selah are both so, so loved.  I look forward to many adventures ahead with my girls.  I also know in my heart how very much I will learn from the two of you in the years ahead, and I pray I will welcome those lessons and gracefully allow the Lord to refine me through them.  I will do my very best to honor him as the mommy that he so generously is allowing me to be.

I can't wait to write more to you my littlest lady.  I especially just can't wait to know you.  We love you so very much!

Mommy and Daddy


Happy "He's making all things New" Year

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21:5

 I feel like this year, maybe more than any other, I and so many I know need to be reminded that God alone is in fact making all things new.  I love the sacred celebration of Christ's birth each year, as well as the amazing feeling of new beginnings that comes right after.  I am experiencing that especially now as this new life kicks and wiggles in my belly. 

It's always wonderfully overwhelming to me to experience a new baby or witness a new life being raised from the water after surrendering his or her life to Christ.  This year I am looking forward to new life, in so many ways.  I trust that we'll see God heal the sick, comfort and heal the hearts of the hurting, answer the cries and desires of the lonely, and continually remind us as the changing seasons come and go that He alone makes all things new. I believe we are learning to be people who know they're desperate for God and are falling to our knees in prayer to him.  And I know he hears and will respond. This year I will be spending an intense amount of time battling in prayer for miracles and healing for Kristen Sauder, a dear friend and mentor of mine and many others.
Steven Curtis Chapman's music has been encouraging my soul and ministering to my heart since long ago.  I love how he puts God's truth into beautiful melodies.  I believe, as SCC sings in this lovely song, that "a story's being told, and the best is yet to come." We have hope...and I am thankful.  Thank you Lord for coming so that we may have life, and have it to the full.  May this year we fully experience the depth and beauty of that truth. 
Happy New Year.

"As another chapter ends, and another one begins, slowly now we turn the page...The God who made everything, is remaking everything; the God who made everything, He says I'm making all things new." Steven Curtis Chapman