Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Turning Two

Five days after Lyla's arrival, was Emerson's second birthday!  We already celebrated it before Lyla came, so we didn't really acknowledge it on the day of with Emerson.  

  The thing I love about you right now is that you are so full of life and joy all. the. time!  You are constantly galloping everywhere instead of walking.  Every day is exciting and fun and you are happy even if we just have a day at home.  You love being a big brother and I am so proud of you, because you have handled the transition wonderfully so far.  You love Lyla and ask to hold her several times a day.  You try to bring her blankets, stuffed animals, and her paci and sometimes, if she is really upset, you act pretty concerned about her.  You are so sweet with her.  I hope you two always have a special relationship. 

The night before your birthday I was feeling a little emotional about you turning two.  You got out of bed several times and we could hear you on the monitor get up and turn off the sound machine and turn on your lamp and say "i want mommy" repeatedly.  When I went in there I ended up rocking you to sleep (which rarely happens these days) and I laid next to you in your big boy bed and ended up shedding some tears because it was your last night ever to be one.  I can't believe the last two years have flown by so quickly.  I am glad you still have some baby tendencies, like crying for mommy.  I just always tend to get all sentimental on your birthdays. 

You are at a very fun stage right now and are talking enough to where I catch you saying some funny things sometimes.  I need to start writing them down right when they happen, so I can remember them.  A sweet one was that a few weeks ago, I was crying the day that Miss M was going to leave.  You noticed I was crying and said "mommy has tears"  and then you went and got Clifford and brought him over to me and said "big red dog" and sat in my lap.  I thought it was the sweetest thing.  You've also been noticing peoples feelings in books and often observe "he's happy" or "he feels like sad".  You say the words at the end of sentences in books, especially if they are rhyming books.  You are pretty good at your shapes and counting to 20 (mostly, a few numbers are skipped), but we are still working on your colors.  Your language continues to grow and you will often say 5-6 word sentences, but you often leave out the small words (a, the, etc.) that make a complete sentence.  The last few months you have done great with being dropped off at church or Bible study.  You walk right in without any tears.  Next fall I am going to start you in Mother's Day Out.  I think you'll have fun.  I guess that is all I can think of right now to share about you as a new 2 year old.  

I wish I could slow down time and just enjoy you as you are, but I am excited to see how God continues to grow you and shape you.  You are a very special boy and I know God has special plans in store for your life.  

I love you,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Little Lady

We are pleased to announce the arrival of...


Born March 19, 2013 at 1:18 am
8 lbs and 19.75 in long

This little lady has already been such a tremendous blessing and joy to us.  She seems to have a sweet temperament, though she can get pretty "spirited" if she gets too hungry!  In my opinion, she is a beautiful baby with such tiny features-- tiny nose, tiny fingers, tiny feet, tiny ears-- and her characteristics just seem feminine.  She has already captured our hearts and we love her, even big brother.  I have to admit, having a little girl is a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  She is so precious.
Lyla in my belly.  Obviously, I got an epidural this time or I wouldn't have that smile on my face!

Our happy, growing family

Emerson giving Lyla the present he picked out for her.

Bringing home Baby

Cousin Elise (3 wks) and Lyla (so happy!)

3 Cousins who will one day be besties, I'm sure :)

Ashley with Callie (5.5 mos), Ariel with Elise (3.5 wks), and me with Lyla (4 days)
We are praising God for the rich blessings he has poured on us.  He is so good!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Firetruck Birthday

As you might remember, Lyla's due date falls on Emerson's 2nd birthday.  So, we decided to have Emerson's birthday party two weeks before the due date.  This guy was super, duper excited.  He walked around singing "Happy Birthday, dear Emerson.  Happy Birthday to you!"  all morning.  And if you ask him how old he is (and he actually answers you), he says, "I be two!" and holds up two hands (not two fingers). 

We started Saturday off with breakfast as The Golden Kolache Bakery in Johnson.  If you have never tried this place, you must.  I know Fayetteville has a ton of great breakfast places, but you will be glad if you visit this one.  It's one of our faves. 

Later we headed to the fire station in downtown Fayetteville.  We got a wonderful tour and the firemen were so friendly and great with Emerson (who was completely serious the whole time, because he was so in awe). 

Then it was off to Firehouse Subs (see the theme?).

And we had a quick nap time before the party :)  All Emerson's biggest fans (family and a few friends) came to celebrate.  We started out with some present opening, which Emerson is an old pro at these days.  Let's just say Emerson is set for toys for a long, long while.

And then we had some hotdogs and some of this delicious firetruck cake that my mother-in-law made!  Aren't you impressed?  It had oreo wheels, licorice ladder and hoses, and gumdrop lights.  Emerson was a huge fan.  He didn't waste a crumb, except for everything that ended up on his face. 

I think Emerson enjoyed his birthday party and felt as loved as a little boy can.  I can't believe he's already (almost) two.  It seems like yesterday he was the one I was bringing home from the hospital!

I can't talk about it anymore or I'll cry.  Yes, I'm one of those moms who has to grieve every time her child has a birthday.  This boy has had my heart from day one. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

38 weeks

At 38 weeks, I am 2.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  Dr. Hinton (whom I just love) says Lyla dropped, so hopefully that means she'll come soon?  I measured 34 cm, instead of 38, so maybe that means she's pretty low?  I feel like I still look high, but what do I know... lol.

Now that Emerson's birthday party is over and I've tackled most things on my to-do list, I am "ready" for her to come.  It feels like waiting now :)  Last week it felt more like "Lyla, stay put until I can get this, this, and this done!"  Even though I told myself after Emerson's birth that I will not expect my next child to come before their due date, I am already doing it.  Ha.  If she decides to wait 2 more weeks, I will just try my best to enjoy this time with our family of 3.  Here are some belly shots comparing Lyla and Emerson:

38 wks with Lyla
38 wks with Emerson

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Very Difficult Decision

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted.  I'm sorry for that.  Blogging has been put on the back burner for several reasons.  Hopefully I will haves several posts this week as I have a lot to blog about now!

So.. I haven't really looked forward to this post.  As you could probably tell by my past posts about foster care, I have really been struggling through it.  The last month, Caleb and I have been praying about and discussing whether we should continue taking long-term foster care placements for now.  For some reason, when we began doing foster care, I began to experience anxiety and stress and feelings of being overwhelmed like I've never experienced before.  My sleep was a wreck and I felt on edge at all times.  My God-given roles as a wife and mother were suffering.  I was not at peace at all.  And the thought of having a newborn on top of it sent me into even greater fear and doubt and emotions. 

After much prayer and being back and forth, we finally decided it wasn't healthy for our family to take on such a huge task right now, especially while our children are still so young and at such demanding ages.  We felt a huge sense of peace about the decision. 

The difficult thing about the decision is that it doesn't affect just us.  Miss M's case was seeming to get longer and longer, so it would obviously affect her stay here.  We called the caseworker about 1.5 weeks ago and she was able to find a place for Miss M pretty quickly.  So after talking to Miss M about our decision and trying to make the last few days special for her, we packed her things and said "see you soon".  I have to be honest, it was an emotional few days, especially for Miss M and I.  Even though it was hard, we did grow to love her and it was evidenced by the sadness we felt for her when she left.  Please, please be praying for this girl.  I hate how broken our world is and how little innocent, vulnerable children are hurt by it. 

It was one of the hardest decisions we've made in awhile.  And I still daily struggle with thoughts of doubt and confusion and wonder about why this happened.  What was the point?  Did more damage come out of it than good?  Am I a failure?  Did I just not lean on God enough?  Did God not "make all grace abound to me so I could abound in every good work" like His word promises?  Do I not have enough faith?  Was it not God's will for us to take her in the first place?  Lots of questions and doubts on my mind and heart, to be honest.  So, if you think of it, please pray for me too. 

We do still feel like God has called us to this in some form or another.  In the more near future, it will probably look like respite care (short term placements).  And we do hope to eventually adopt through foster care.  But obviously, now we better understand the weight of that decision and we will try to seek God's will and complete clarity and discernment about what that is.   I'm sorry this post does not really end on a "happy note", but that's how I'm feeling about the whole situation anyway.  We do believe this decision is what God has led us to and we feel peace about it, but it is still a struggle, especially in understanding the answers to all the questions I mentioned above.  I want to thank you for your prayers along the way and the support from our amazing friends and church family.  In that way, we do feel very blessed.  Thanks, friends.