To My Two Sweet Baby Girls (before your brother comes :)

5-30-15 (started about a week ago ;)

(Taken this morning, a walk to the downtown coffee shop, 41 weeks with brother
Good job with the group selfie Selah!)

My dear sweet Selah and Zoe,

You, beautiful girls, literally bring delight to my soul.  I have never seen such beauty, held such sweet, pure love, or experienced such grace and life giving moments before I was given the joy of you two.  We are in the sweetest stage right now...and I honestly thought that last summer too.  But now we're actually all sleeping, (for a moment ;), and you two are the best of friends.  You love each other and you love your family.  Both of you have delighted in each of our dr.'s appts. to hear the baby's heart "beep."  By now you are pros and Selah packs a great bag herself, as well as reminds me to bring the snacks.  You've started taking your babies everywhere and this past week you checked them when I was done.  Surely it seems to you two that we have been waiting for a very long time, (and it's seeming that way to us too ;), but we have made such sweet memories in the meantime.  I am picking up this blog post at a point where we are exactly a week overdue, and we are praying so hard little brother comes on his own this weekend before the dr.'s help him out.

Selah, some of our sweet times have been at bedtime when I lay down and he moves around like crazy, or we snuggle and you feel him kicking.  I have loved when you've talked to him like Daddy, saying, "Hi brother, we can't wait to meet you!"  One day you couldn't sleep at nap time and sat on my lap when the baby happened to be his most active.  You giggled like crazy every time you felt him jump or move.  That's one of those memories I do wish I had on video.  Though I need those nap time breaks, it's always special when we have a break in routine like that and get some unexpected one on one time.  You love to snuggle and share those sweet, tired moments together.  You have the best questions about being the biggest sister, what it will be like when we go to the hospital, how things will work with our newest addition.  You have loved moving to the back row of the van as the biggest sister now, though Zoe cried her eyes out when you went back there.  Thankfully she is now excited that Baby brother is coming and is going to sit right there next to her!  You are already such an amazing helper to me, and such a great encourager.  Your heart is so beautiful sweet girl, and I love your love for God and for your family.  I love how much compassion and gentleness you have, with others and especially with your sister.  You are often happy to help her or teach her or let her do whatever you're doing with you, and that is so kind and loving.  I pray that is the Spirit in you!

Zoe, you love to put your hand on my belly, get really excited, and say, "Baby kicking!!"  And you love to kiss my belly - and kiss everything.  You now walk around saying, "Baby brother coming!"  And you are going to be over the moon delighted when he actually does.  You love doctor's appts., and have recently started asking every day if we're going to another one.  You have learned well from your very best friend, and you are going to be such a wonderful big sister.  You have such a caring, nurturing heart.  Thursday we went to a friend's house and you wanted to "hold" their new baby over and over.  This past month there were a couple times when you weren't feeling well or just wanted to, "Hold you," and you took your nap with me in the La-Z-boy.  Even though you had to maneuver around my big belly I just took you in as my baby for the last little while, and loved those sweet moments with you.  You've loved that spot best literally since the moment you were born...and it is special to share those times snuggling you.  I won't take it for granted or give up the unexpected times like that...because you are growing all too quickly like your sister!  Even since turning two you have tossed the babyhood aside and are now wanting to be a big girl in every way.  And saying everything to prove it.  You are so unbelievably cute and adorable - it's such a joy to watch you experience life and experience it with you!

I think we have had more fun with you two girls these last two weeks, thinking he's coming, making memory after memory as family of four, as we ever have.  Yesterday we picked strawberries at Spencer Farms, and it was hot and very sunny, but so much fun.  Last night we made milkshakes, this morning strawberry shortcakes, and tonight strawberry muffins.  This morning I took you two on a walk downtown to the coffee shop and it was once again so sweet for me just to enjoy you.  And to think that we will have many more girl times together when the boys do their thing.  I love, love, love having daughters and love that you have each other as sisters, more than you could ever know.  I am thanking the Lord constantly.  Tonight we had a ballerina dance party in the living room to, "We Dance," by Steffany Frizzle...and it was the sweetest time - oh how I will treasure that precious memory with you two, trying to dance this brother out, worshiping Jesus, and dancing together.  These are my dreams come to life.

Our family is about to look and feel different, as Daddy and I are about to be outnumbered. Just tonight when each of us were laying with one of you I was thinking about how our little guy will soon be on our minds and need us too at that time.  But let me tell you - these siblings the Lord is blessing you with are the greatest gift.  You will be each other's best friends, biggest cheerleaders, and strongest support as you go through life.  This is how we will raise you and what we will pray for.  While I still get so sentimental getting ready to go through this intense transition, I now know what it's like to watch my children love each other so fully, and enjoy each other so well...and I am just thrilled to be adding to that.  So very thankful.

Daddy and I are always learning, growing, sometimes succeeding, often failing, but constantly desperate and fully dependent on God.  I pray you continue to grow in trusting us and trusting the Lord with your whole hearts.  I am so thankful for your joy and love of life.  I know God will give us the strength we need for the little sleep, transitional days ahead.

I am so proud of you girls.  It is my joy and my honor to be your mama.  It is the calling of my soul to be in that role and I do everything I can to treasure it daily, even when my patience wears thin and my efforts are less than the intentional mom I hope to be.  We are praying for you in every way, we can't wait to see you welcome and love on your little brother.  What a great adventure.  You are both precious, unique pearls that God created for his glory.  Don't ever forget that.

I love you so very much. You will always be my two sweet baby girls.



There Is a Little Boy

...who currently lives in my belly. :)  What's crazy is, he was due yesterday and this is the first blog post I might finish about him!  What a difference the 3rd baby makes.  It's obviously tough to know where to start, considering I never even began telling his story here, so I think I'll include some highlights and my thoughts now, as we are excitedly awaiting his pending arrival.  I will first say this time around has gone so amazingly quick that about a month ago I thought I would be in complete shock when an actual baby was placed in my arms.  Now I'm so huge it's a little easier to believe. ;)

(Just took these pics tonight on our walk...thus the only ones that made the post for now. ;)

We found out we were pregnant on September 30th.  I actually was with my mom, making a quick stop at Target on our way to my then future sister-in-law's bridal shower in Kentucky.  I had decided to let my body tell me this time if I was pregnant, because I had some negative tests the months prior and I just didn't want to get back on that emotional roller coaster when I could just wait.  But I was getting a little curious because I was at least a week late I think.  So I grabbed a test at Target, took it in the bathroom, threw it in my purse...and peeked down at it while Selah and I were almost to the car.  Needless to say, I was excitedly shocked, not expecting that moment to be the one I found out about my 3rd baby. :)  And I really wanted to Kevin to be the first to know, so I actually made it the whole day and trip without telling my mom, which was certainly tough!

That night when I got home I told Kevin I got him something that day and gave him a bag with the test in it.  It was sweet and we felt overwhelmingly thankful!  I was 5 weeks at that point.  And oddly enough, I was doing that Whole 30 thing and still had a week left - which I endured, but it wasn't my favorite.  For the rest of my pregnancy I have loathed the thought of Paleo things, even just reading about it. Ha.  Must be something about being nauseous with what you're eating a lot of at the time.

Our first super fun moment of the pregnancy was telling Selah (and Zoe).  We had been praying with both of them for awhile that God would provide a brother or sister, so Selah was anxious for this prayer request to be answered.  We sat them down and asked what we had been praying for, and Selah said, "A baby."  Then we showed her the ultrasound and said look what God put in mommy's belly!  Of course she wanted to know if it was a girl or boy and proceeded to say in the cutest way for the next several weeks, "We don't know yet," in her sing-song way.  I have loved, loved, loved feeling the baby kick and experiencing it with the girls.  They just giggle and smile and think it's the neatest thing when they actually get to feel it or see him move.  We actually face timed our family's on halloween, to show the girls' costumes and tell everyone what our "treat" was.  They loved it.

The most shocking thing about this pregnancy...I have not thrown up one time!!!  Isn't that crazy??  If you have read my other pregnancy journeys you would certainly know that it is.  Physically this time has actually been so smooth in a way I'm not used to but have loved.  I started out way more fit than I have in the past, and I have no idea if that has contributed or not.  My fatigue in the first two trimesters was absolutely crazy though...and I don't think the winter helped much.  My emotions also took a huge toll during this pregnancy - I got pretty low in those dark winter months.  It felt much more like 'time of the month' nonstop hormones than it has in the past.  As much as I've documented and journaled for many years, it's been interesting to me to see how hard of a time I've had putting my thoughts and feelings on paper when I've had moments of struggling.  Thankfully with the beauty of the Spring and the fun end of this sweet pregnancy, I am just enjoying this little one I have grown to fiercely love and know to some extent, as well as his amazingly sweet two older sisters.  Oh my goodness I just cannot wait to see them with him.  They are in the cutest stage right now, the best of friends and blooming personalities.  We sincerely adore our two beauties and are delighting over them daily.  Such an amazing way to connect to the Father's heart, but knowing and enjoying them.

One of the first significant times I felt this sweet one move/kick was during the reception of my brother's wedding, which was 18 weeks.  I was sitting at the table eating the delicious dinner they had and I felt it - it was neat because that was an amazing day...I have absolutely love seeing my brother and sweet sister-in-law Emilee experience the purest, most intentional kind of love.  I am so, so thankful for how the Lord answered many years of prayer with their relationship and union.

We did find out on January 6th, my 34th birthday, that we are having a sweet baby BOY!  We honestly were excited about any possibility, knowing the moment we met our sweet baby he/she would be the perfect one for our family.  I had a strong feeling towards boy simply because of my crazy lack of sickness.  But we were truly shocked when we opened the envelope/present we had wrapped it in...mostly because we have been in deep with girls and pink around here.  But Selah was so cute and started saying right after we found out, "I knew it was a boy." Ha.  So funny.  It's also been so sweet to see Zoe grow through this experience and become more and more aware.  She loves, "Baby brother," she always wants to pray for him, and she knows he's why mama's lap has lost so much room for her.  While she is so good at being my baby girl, and love and needs her mama, she also has such a nurturing heart and will be a great big sister.  It is just going to be so much fun to see, even with the transitions we'll inevitably have to walk through with her.  Selah is such a flexible gal, so good at adapting to new things, with an adventurous and trusting spirit.  I think one of the toughest transitions for me might be how big Selah will inevitably and automatically seem with her baby brother here.  And she will rise to the occasion of the responsible and helpful biggest sister, which will be awesome but such a reality check of how fast she is growing up.  I cannot believe she has left the toddlerhood and will be four in September.  Wow.  Wasn't I just writing about her being in my belly?  The sweet days just fly by and I desperately treasure as much as I can.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord for these answered prayers.  May my whole life be an expression of gratitude for these precious people and the purposes you've created them for.

Our little guy has been such a mover, with the funniest kicks and rolls, the kind that sometimes make me self-conscious that someone might notice me and think, "Whoa, what's going on in there?" ;)  That part definitely reminds me of Zoe.  But he reminds me of Selah in that he pretty much found his favorite spot and has kind of stuck to it, especially this last trimester.  It seems like he's been curled in a sweet little ball, he'll stick his bottom out and firmly kick my right side.  I've come to expect it so much that now I'll just say, "Hi there little buddy."  I know that I don't know that this little guy is going to sincerely rock my world and melt my heart.  Getting to have him all to myself for a bit is always such a sacred, special time of bonding for me and my babies.  I don't rush the end and am super sentimental because I know soon I'll have to share and eventually experience separation.  Probably sounds a little silly, but until they come out and remind me it's much better in my arms, it's a real "end of the pregnancy" feeling.  I also consider myself an "under-productive procrastinator," so having bonus nesting time at the end always turns out super fruitful!  Like I finally finished his quilt, my most complicated yet.  Some people like to get the baseboards clean; I feel the need to finish the quilt! :)

And truth be told, especially with the physical ease of this one, I just love being pregnant.  But even with the girls, I've never felt more right in my own body, and I'm kept in a constant place of gratitude and worship, that this can actually take place.  I don't normally get stretch marks until the last two weeks, then I receive my special little souvenirs to carry with me always that will remind me of this sweet and amazing privilege and blessing.  I do not take it for granted, and I am humbled and in awe of the whole thing.  I cannot believe my third time around is almost over - I don't know how the Lord might choose us to bless us in the future, but it's hard not to feel shock that I am already almost finished with my first three times to have this amazing experience.  I am doing everything I can to treasure it, and I will do the same when this sweet boy makes his arrival!

I am definitely excited to see Kevin experience the arrival of his son too.  I think t's already harder for husbands to really grasp all that's going on during pregnancy, and they don't get the neat experience of bonding through the carrying and getting to know all the little details and movements of the little ones.  He is always overwhelmed when he meets our new babies for the first time, completely in awe of what has just happened.  But I think the reality of a son, that we have neither one experienced yet is going to be special in a new way too.

When it comes to our little guy's name, we are not officially sharing until he's born.  But it was surprisingly not as easy to land on this time around.  I had been praying a specific prayer about this baby before we ever conceive, largely based on the purpose I feel God has laid on my heart in light of  some of our experiences and what He's taught us over the past few years.  We have always had one boy bible name for a son, and weren't expecting to not just go with that.  But one day I googled bible names for a specific meaning, and what popped up took me by surprise, while also beginning to engrave itself on my heart.  Kevin wasn't totally sold and we prayed many prayers and had quite a few discussions.  We went back and forth with a few arrangements and ideas, but finally have excitement and peace over this little guy's name.  It might be a bit different in some sense, but filled with meaning and was completely inspired, which is truly us, and the same as it's been for our other two sweet ones.  We are both really excited.  Now I just want to put a name with a face and snuggle this sweet guy.  Nothing compares to that overwhelming first moment meeting a new life...truly, nothing.  Such a sacred experience, that brings greater meaning and understanding of the power of new life in the Lord as well.  I just can't believe I'm about to be surrounded by more than my arms can hold...but thankfully not my heart.

I have started getting a lot of, "You have your hands full" comments, especially with this big belly on my short body that has been measuring a week ahead.  I always say, "In the best way possible."  Though I have my fair share of parenting tears and fatigue, being overwhelmed can be a beautiful experience.  We have been really intentional about having sweet family time with the girls this week and I have just treasured soaking them in during this time.  We went to Barnes and Noble a couple cooler mornings this past week and sat on the floor reading until accidental going past lunch time both days.  I love that.  We also had a fun morning at Conner Prairie, took walks with Daddy to the playground at night, went to our favorite donut place, got pedicures, (Selah and I), went to the Farmer's Market and the library.  Today we took our weekly trip to Trader Joe's and walked on this beautiful night downtown.  The girls just come to life with so much time as a family, as Selah would say.  I feel like things are brewing in there with all this activity, but my sweet ones come just when they're ready.  I'm thankful for all these memory making moments as the four of us...and can't wait to see us all five together.  It is truly so, so surreal still.


I think I'll end this post by linking to a song our family loves to belt in worship together when we're in the car and it comes on.  Thank you Lord for overwhelming us in this way, for drawing us to yourself through our little ones.  Thank you for knitting this baby boy together for your glory, for forming him and loving him, and carrying us all to this time and place.  We ask for your powerful protection and provision in delivering him and bringing him into this world and our arms.  In Jesus' name.

(**Please note, this is an obviously fast and brief overview of a lot of life lived over the last 9-10 months.  There is so much not mentioned about life and friends and family; hurts and hardships/joys and sorrows we've walked through with others during this baby growing time. Just wanted to say that. :) )