Thursday, February 28, 2013

Four Years Since We Held You.

It's been four years since we held you, Mary Grace.  Four years since you were briefly with us, in the safety of my womb.  Four years since we held your fragile, tiny body in that delivery room.

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed. 

But it's amazing to think how God has provided for us in these four years.  He held us close the year you left us, and he led our hearts to love and peace, even through our deep grief. 

He gave us Ian.

He strengthened our marriage and our family life. 

He led us to a new home.

And in a few short weeks, we will welcome a new life into our family, God-willing. 

Today, it is much easier to trust in His plan for our family.  We know that He will carry us and provide for us, even when it seems to be a hopeless and unlikely situation.

There were many times in those first few months after we lost you, that I wished God would take me to be with you.  I felt like I needed to be there with you.  And four years later, I know that He has been able to take care of you there with Him much better than I ever could.  And I know that His plans for me are here, with my other little ones.  There are days when I long to hold you again, to know you, and to love you in more than just the interior way I can now.  Even in the darkest days, there is light around the corner, if we can just continue on, and place our full trust in Him.

Continue to rest in peace, little baby.  We love and miss you, and know we will see you again someday.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Consignment Sale Wins and Woes

Yesterday Isabel and I went to the Kid's Exchange Consignment Sale, which is the largest consignment sale in our area.  It was 1/2 price day...need I say more?  Well, I will.  I LOVE to get things for a bargain and it just makes good shopping sense!  I do not even attempt to go on the full price days, because as far as I'm concerned I can't want what I haven't seen...sort of an "out of sight, out of mind" type of concept for shopping.  The only problem with 1/2 price day is that the check-out line snakes around the building and you typically wait in that line for about an hour before you get to the part where they tally up your total and then move you on to the actual checkout to fork over your money. 

Yesterday, we stood in line for one hour and 45 minutes.  31 weeks pregnant, in my church shoes, waiting to check out in a line of people.  I just kept praying that I wouldn't faint...and luckily I didn't.  I always bring a stroller to these consignment sales so that I have something with which to lug around my pile of clothes.....and I had plenty of time to add up my purchases.  I counted over $100 just in clothing, and then I had 6 pairs of shoes and 3 push toy really need to buy enough to make it worth the effort of searching through the clothing and making sure there are no rips, stains or other major faults, and of course that it is worth the long line.  I walked out spending $118 before tax and ended up with a total of 38 items.  That's like $3.10 per item and that included my 6 pairs of kid's shoes!!!  LOVE these sales.  I have to say that for me, these sales are sooooo worth it, even pregnant and tired.

At home I go through all my purchases and just bask in how much I got for so little ;)  And of course last night I had the kids try on their shoes.  We all got a little surprise when Ian tried on a pair of shoes that I had already earmarked for "church".

Ha!  The joke was on me when he put these shoes on!  Can you imagine him squeaking into church???  (Or anywhere in public for that matter).  Luckily there is a little insert in the side of the sole that pops out, removing the "problem".  No wonder they were such a good deal!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New House, New Body....Now we wait for Baby!

Since last we saw each other, things have been a-changin'!  December 31st we closed on the new house and it is just wonderful.  People ask, "so how is the new place?"...and the other day I told someone that I felt like I was living in a multi-million dollar house....and they just looked blankly at me, because our house is nowhere near that sort of price....not. even. close.  BUT being here, out in the country in this older home that is just slightly bigger than our previous house FEELS like a million bucks to me.  This is Isabel showing how I feel about our new home (although that is not our new home):

Our land has expanded by 23 times....that is just insane to me, and it feels like freedom!  Freedom to move around, not be on top of my neighbors, grow whatever the heck I want to in my giant garden (our garden plot is about the size of our old backyard), get some farm animals....what?  You need a permit for that???  Not out here in the country ;) 

We are being thrilled by the most basic and tiniest of things.....well water, having to haul in wood to burn in our wood-burning fireplace, figuring out the easiest way to haul our loaded trash can the 600 feet down the gravel driveway to the street, finding fresh deer tracks in our backyard, listening to the rooster across the street doing his afternoon cockadoodledoo, driving the tractor! 

There is so much to do here on our mini-mini farm (I call it mini-mini because I read that to qualify as a true "minifarm" you have to have a minimum of 10 acres.)  But there is always something to do here, and I think there will always be some sort of project....whether it is updating the rooms (right now we have painted 2 rooms and stripped wall paper out of two others, but every room in this house needs a new coat of paint), tending to lawn work, garden work, the chickens...

Chickens, you ask?  Oh yes, our 8 baby chicks arrive the last week of fact, right now they are literally incubating!  We cannot wait to get them.  4 Speckled Sussex, 2 Rhode Island Reds and 2 Barred Rocks will be our first little flock.  Rob and Isabel have already been hard at work building the baby chick coop complete with heat lamp, heat shield and all things "baby chick".  I cannot wait to start organizing my lesson plans for school to tie in with the new chickens.  Our chicks are coming from Murray McMurray Hatchery . I ordered a book they recommended for kids:  Your Chickens:  A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing by Gail Damerow.  It came in the mail yesterday and I figured if it is easy enough for kids then I should be able to figure out how to care for these things too ;) 

There is so much more I could say about the house, but basically I feel this overwhelming sense of blessing, thankfulness and peace about being here.  It just didn't seem like all of this could really happen, but sure enough we sold our house and bought a house out in the country with a little bit of land, just like we were hoping...and I think it is just where God wants us.

Now for the "New Body" part..... I feel really terrible because I didn't really take a belly pic until ummm....last week.  And it wasn't really even a belly pic, per se....It was just a picture of me and the kids and my belly happened to be included.  Oh let's hope this little baby doesn't ask for the 40 weeks of belly shots when he or she grows up!  Anyway, it is a complete difference having only gained 22 pounds so far with this pregnancy compared to my totals of 70 (Isabel) and 52 (Ian)....I'm actually on track to gain around the target weight?!?!  It's crazy, but I guess chasing around 2 kids is doing me some good, and having all that morning sickness in the beginning really delayed my appetite long enough to stave off some of the weight I normally gain early on.   So compare Christmas (I barely look pregnant in this picture!)...

to last week:

Little baby is growing right on track, and everything is going perfectly well other than my hemoglobin tested low at 28 weeks, so I had to start taking my iron supplement again (I had slacked off)...I was glad to know that was what had been causing my extreme fatigue.  I just can't believe that I am 31 weeks and we are about to pop out another little baby in just 9 weeks!  Now that we are in the house and things are getting settled, I did bring out boy and girl newborn clothes to start washing and preparing a little for the new arrival.  It just still seems surreal I guess.  Or maybe I am just more relaxed about everything after going through this twice already....I mean I need to have clothes, diapers, set up the co-sleeper and get some nursing blankets out and we are good to go, right? 

I'm sure we will be ready when the time comes ;)  I haven't gotten to the "I'm so ready to get this baby out" phase yet....still enjoying all the kicks and squirms although it is getting more cramped for space in there.  Emotionally, I'm not sure how ready I will be because I'm a bit concerned about how this little tyke (see innocent pic below) is going to react to a new baby in the house.

Ian is proving to be one of the most strong-willed, determined, stubborn, 100% all-boy-all-the-time boys that I've ever met!  His antics definitely deserve a blog post all their own, but for now this picture will have to suffice.  God has blessed him with all kinds of sneaky little sweet and loving moves, probably so that after all his mischief, he survives another day ;)  We like to say God made him cute for a reason!  Anyway, this little guy keeps me super busy and I do fear wonder what life will be like when this new baby comes home.  God doesn't give you more than you and He can't handle together, right???