Parenthood Continues

Parenthood is the most rewarding and life-altering experience. There are many twist and turns along the way.

As a mom, I think you always want your family to be put together, rather than falling a part at the seams. You try to make your children look presentable, even though you know by the time you get to where you are going, juice will be all over their “trendy” clothes, they will look like they have bed-head, (even though you spent 10 minutes wrestling them to get their hair into a cute style), the snack, Motts gummies, (with no red dye, because other moms tell you to be cautious) will most likely be stuck to the crotch of their shorts. When go to pull your toddler out of the car, you find yourself wondering why you even bothered. Oh, I forgot to mention the song your child begged to listen to ten times before you reached your destination? (“Ring Of Fire,” “I’m Gonna Be Me,” “Anywhere With You,” and “Buy Me A Boat” to name a few). We see you, momma. You are not alone!

I am learning every moment, of every day, that to be a parent, and not lose your sanity, you must have a sense of humor.  If not, you are like an accountant without knowledge or understanding of math.  You will have a miserable existence and fail epically trying to reach your goal. Granted, with accounting, you could quit and find a new job…that is not how it should work with parenthood. 

Lately, I have been trying to make the most of our beautiful chaos at home. My three year old has had quite a change with his new baby brother entering the world. Uninterrupted time does not come as frequently as it once did, not with Baby J’s needs having to be met and nap times becoming shorter and less frequent. Big Z has been a champ with wanting to help out with his little brother, but I know the transition has not been the easiest.  My husband and I work hard to make sure both of our boys get plenty of our time and attention, but with Z still being a toddler, he tends to want momma a little more. {I am enjoying it while I can}. 

As a momma, struggling with wanting to be the perfect wife and mom, I tend to be spend time picking up after the kiddos, finding time to clean, doing laundry (separate load of course, because the boys clothes are washed in Dreft), figuring out ways to increase my BM supply, pumping, and washing endless amounts of bottles. That doesn’t include time with the hubs, the boys, “self” time (what is that, again?), working, or trying to make dinner.  However, all that said, time with my fellas comes first! 

For some time now, we have been teaching Z how to pick up his toys, sort laundry, and sometimes he tries to help us sweep the kitchen. For the past three weeks, he has been asking to help wash dishes. As most moms know, your time throughout the day is very valuable; lots to do with not enough hours in the day.  My thoughts exactly!

My sweet boy always wants to help… and I am, at times, reluctantly appreciative. Last night, I found myself getting frustrated, as my son sat on the edge of the counter, with his little feet dangling into the stainless steel sink in our kitchen. I was washing the dishes and he was rinsing the soap off each dish I handed him. As the dishes I had washed piled up on his side of the sink, he would pick up a bottle and ask, “Do you see any soap?” In my mind, I would think, Yes, I see soap! It is covered in soap. You haven’t even started rinsing it yet. Then I would calmly answer, “Yes, buddy! I see some soap.”  He would begin to fill the bottle with water, then dump it into the sink, which would splash up, and cover his little burgandy umbro shorts. I would remind him to be careful and not get water all over the place to which he would respond, “It’s okay? Sometimes, it just happens?” “Yes, son, sometimes it just happens.” I would reply to him as he was still rinsing.  Then he would hold up the bottle again and say, “Do you see any soap?” “No, buddy, I don’t! You did a great job!”


  
{All pictures were taken this morning}.


  
One thing about our son is he is independent and strong-willed. I was already done washing all the dishes and he was still taking his time rinsing the cumulating pile on his side. I found myself wanting to rush him, to say, “Hurry, Z! You have to go to bed soon,” or “Let me help you, buddy, so we can hurry up and get done.” Instead, of crushing my big helper’s spirit, I watched him rinse each bottle, nipple, top, and extras, soaking his new soccer shorts, and sometimes accidentally spilling water onto the floor, with encouraging words like “Man, that looks awesome,” “How did you get so good at rinsing?” “You are momma’s big helper,” and so on.


  

~ He was pleased with his work this morning and thanked me for letting him help. ~ Jasper watched us this morning. ~

  

  
My sons need me. My sons need me to be their biggest cheerleader, coach, encourager, teacher, and trainer. They need to know I am so proud of them. They need to know I value them, if and when no one else seems to. They need to know they are both loved unconditionally. They need to know that every thing else can wait when it comes to quality time with them.

As momma, I need to remember to always have a sense of humor. I need to remember how my momma waited on me for all kinds of nuances I brought to the table. I need to remember to encourage and support them. I need to remember to not take life too seriously. I really need to remember to slow down and enjoy every moment with my boys. I need to remember I am their inner voice. I need to remember they will gauge the type woman they marry based on me (what am I showing them). I need to show them Jesus’ unconditional love and how it is patient and perfect! I need to love the mess out of them, every day, in new ways!

I don’t get this right all the time… I am sure I never will, but hopefully, through God’s sufficient grace and love, my boys won’t be too screwed up. 🙂  I am praying for myself as well as other moms out there doing their best and striving for even better. Don’t give up, momma! You aren’t alone… (and I don’t mean because your kid is in the bathroom with you saying, “Momma! Momma!” as you read this). 😀

—thoughts from a new mom of two—

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Curve Balls Mean Adjusting

“Life is not about how many curve balls you encounter, but rather adjusting your perspective, to effectively handle each curve ball. – Laura D. Fields

Infertility is becoming a very common word in our society, especially in the last few years. More and more we are hearing of family and friends having unexplained miscarriages or just issues conceiving. My husband and I were all too familiar with infertility during our marriage. We tried for a few years to get pregnant; I was even talked into taking Clomid and Progesterone in hopes of increase my chances of fertility. The multiple doctors at multiple practices sat me down and explained why I would not be able to conceive… “You have P.C.O.S., which will make it nearly impossible for you to get pregnant, if you are ever able to get pregnant.” [So encouraging, right?!?] I left every time in tears and desperately seeking God for answers. Not to mention every Tom, Dick, and Harry around you seem to be announcing their pregnancies and sure you are happy for them, yet every announcement feels like someone cut open your oozing wound and pour salt all in it. I went through many of those moments; some of those moments with my best of friends. I later had to sit down and apologize to my best friend in the world. I wanted to celebrate with her… it was just so painful and I felt so selfish. ***Sorry for the side note.***

After three years of experimenting with fertility drugs and coming up short handed every time, as well, as only ovulating once in an entire year, we threw in the towel. We finally turned it all over to the Lord. [I do realize that not everyone reading this blog, believes in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but that is where my husband and I firmly stand…on the Rock]. Three months later, we were reading a random email from a friend asking us about adopting a child; a child that is now our son.

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holding my son for the first time
holding our son for the first time

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More about our adoption process here.

After we adopted our son, we were content with giving him all of our love. We took on a serious responsibility when we adopted someone’s child and took him to raise as our own. Our focus turned towards raising a man of character, integrity, and love. It is strange how quickly we forgot he was even adopted. There are days when I have to remind our friends and even remind my husband and myself. Due to our immense love for our son and our attention being solely on him, we quit worrying about fertility drugs, infertility, and pregnancy. Then it happened… and out of no where.

October 12 was a busy day with a giant surprise at the end. My husband’s band, Homegrown Band, had a video shoot that evening. Video for “I’m Gonna Be Me.” here. You can read more about that crazy day here. Constant queasiness, lots of fatigue, and hormone issues should have pointed me into the right direction, but after multiple negative pregnancy tests and “it will never happens” there was no way. But, there was a way… I was pregnant! The first positive test I had seen during our journey together. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… I was in shock. I slowly crept down the hallway, with a flushed face and sweaty hands. As I approached my son’s room, where my husband was changing his diaper and getting him ready for bed, I felt like I would pass out. An out of body experience to say the least. Sticking my head around the corner, my husband could easily look at my face and tell something was off. Doubt, excitement, fear, and wonderment were probably written all over my face. I smiled and reluctantly asked if he would come to our room (we had guest over for the Walking Dead). Showing him the faded pink line on an old store bought pregnancy test seemed ridiculous and scary, but there it was. Two pregnancy test later, because we were skeptical, it was our new reality.

We were pregnant.

I would love to tell you that it was the most blissful, joy-filled time in our lives, but it was one of the hardest times in our marriage. We were experiencing so much change and a lot of it unexpected. The pregnancy came at an amazing time for us financially, but in all other aspects change was happening all around us. However, God’s timing is never our timing. His timing is always best and He had proven it to us constantly. Even during the pregnancy.

Pregnancies can be very difficult on your body, emotions, health, and weight. At various times, God would remind me of His hand throughout my pregnancy. At my weigh-ins, I was losing and not gaining. I felt incredible the entire pregnancy and carried our son full-term (even a few days past my due date). Blah! 🙂

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~Jasper’s birth~

May 23rd, I went to the mall to shop with my dear friend and little sister, Megan, and my oldest son. [I was trying all sorts of things to get Jasper to come]. We arrived at the mall and unloaded the stroller to head inside. As we started walking through the mall I thought I felt contractions, but they weren’t consistent. I went about my shopping like I never felt a twinge of pain. As I was standing talking to some friends in the maternity store, I felt my water break. [Luckily, there was no gush of fluids]. Ha. I waited until they left to tell Megan that I thought my water had broken. Zeke was begging to ride the escalator, so I sent Megan with him to ride while I made a detour to the ladies’ room. Sure enough; my water had broken. Megan did her best not to freak out, but she did tear up from excitement.

As we left the mall, we tried calling Nick, as he was helping Austin (my intern and our children’s minister) install a new starter in her Jeep. [He was suppose to be going to the mall with us, but Austin needed help, so we sent Nick to save the day. Which he did]. He is a good hubby! (; When he called me back, I explained what was going on and he made a plan. We would meet at the house and then finish getting our stuff together and head to the hospital. We did just that. We weren’t in a big hurry to get there, since all of our classes suggested it would take a while.

After the loading up the car and giving Zeke lots of kisses, we headed towards the hospital. I cannot begin to tell you all the thoughts running through my head. I couldn’t believe after nine months this was really happening… he was coming! We would no longer just be parents to one handsome blue-eyed boy. We would no longer just be reading the bedtime stories and the Bible to one curious fella. We would no longer be giving our constantly attention and love to just one little miracle. We would be doing all of this for two precious miracle boys.

No matter the rushing whirlwind, I can recall every detail of that night, but I won’t bore you with the every intimate detail. When we arrived at the hospital, we were quickly admitted. The nurse could not find a prominent vein in my forearm, so she called in reinforcements. A nurse came in, she never introduced herself, but she walked in tied a rubber band around my arm, then jammed the IV needle in my arm. [I thought I was going to die; it was the worst part of my labor and delivery]. ***I know I am very fortunate.*** After they fully broke my water, they asked when I wanted my epidural. I explained I wanted to enjoy the labor and delivery, so I told them just to send them when they were ready. At this point it was about 10:30p. By 11:30p, the Anesthesiologist had come and gone, and I couldn’t feel my legs. From that point on, Nick and I slept off and on as my nurse would have random checks on Jasper’s progress. At 6am, I woke and called the nurses’ station and explained how I felt pressure and needed to push. As the nurse entered the room to give me one last check, she concurred it was time.

Nick walked over to the bed, as the nurse left the room to get prepared, grabbed my hand and prayed over Jasper, me, and the delivery. We already had so many miracles to be thankful for, but we were thanking Him yet again for this new little miracle, who was on his way to meet us. My labor and delivery was a miracle in and of itself. I could not believe how great I felt afterwards. My heart was overwhelmed with such an intense love as I watched my son be born into this world… a love for this tiny, precious life God had chosen to give my husband and me. An intense new love that was fierce, selfless, and tender all at the same time. I was overcome with a new love for my husband as well. He had been my best friend, comforter, and rock, but this was time it was more intense… unfathomable really. I was feeling three different types of love for him all at once; there was so much emotion flowing from my heart and I could hardly breathe. I could tell by my husband’s eyes that he felt it too. The exhaustion didn’t matter to either of us… we had a whole new surge of energy we’d never experienced before. My active labor lasted about 30 minutes. We started at 6:05am and by 6:25am, our son was here!

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He had more hair than we thought he would. We were not expecting that. We were both so incredibly smitten with him and could not wait to introduce him to his big brother.

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After he was born, they left him with me for skin to skin for about an hour, then took him back to get a bath and be checked out. After the epidural was removed, we got ready to move to our postpartum room. Nick and I were both so exhausted, but we were driven to stay awake due to all the excitement.

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Around noon everyone started making their way to the hospital. We wanted to experience our son’s birth without everyone there. It was such a surreal time for us. Once people started arriving we could not wait to show him off, but mostly to his big brother.

Here are some of the pictures from the day. A huge thank you to Mrs. Evanda Estes, one of our best friends, who happens to be a great photographer. She captured these precious memories for us and our family.

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Big brother, Zeke was extremely curious and excited to meet his new baby brother. He was so sweet with him; he even brought me flowers and Jasper a stuffed animal. He wanted to look at his hands and feet, because they were so tiny. He just kept saying, “He’s so cute!” It tugged on my heart-strings a little more each time he said it.

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Welcome to the world sweet Jasper Wyatt Ivey! You are an answer to so many prayers by many God-fearing people. We are so glad you are a part of our family. You are deeply cherished and loved. God has a great purpose for your life…never forget it! We will remind you daily. Daddy and I love you and Ezekiel more than we will ever be able to put into words. You are a beacon of hope, my sweet son!

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Both of you are answers to many gut-wrenching and heartbroken prayers. Each a reminder of God’s Sovereignty even when we wrestle with our own faithfulness to God’s plan and purpose.

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My prayer for you both is for you to come to walk in relationship with Jesus Christ and as his followers, you will be like the moon, but only so you can reflect the light of the Son. I love you, sweet boys! xoxo

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Photography by Aislinn Rain Photography.

Look I’m In A Nutshell

Disheartening to realize I have not updated my blog since our anniversary (a year ago). [So much has happened since then].

I guess I should try and give a brief update on our lives between July of 2014 and now.

August of 2014, we went on a much needed vacation with some sweet friends. We enjoyed lots of food, games, laughs, and sunny days.

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September was full of lots of fun adventures. We went to Dallas, TX with Homegrown Band.

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We started renovations on Nick’s memaw’s house, so we could eventually move in.  It was quite a load to tackle.

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I went with the staff and students from CCF. We went to Whitewater Express in North Carolina.  I basically battled illness all of September… sinus infections and constant nausea… even while we were gone on our retreat with the college students.

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October was full of craziness from officiating my cousin’s wedding to attending other weddings.

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Little man also got a new hair cut before all the wedding festivities began.  He is way too cute!  [Bias much].

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If you have been following my blog for a while you know that our son, Zeke, is adopted and we had been told we would NEVER be able to have children of our own.  In October we had talked about beginning the adoption process again starting in January and hopefully adopting from Haiti.  After all the sickness in September and through October, a friend suggested we take a pregnancy test, which we thought was ridiculous since we had taken hundreds in the past with many disappointing results.  Nick also mentioned taking one just to be sure before we made an appointment looking for answers to why I had been dealing with severe sickness with no answers.

After some major coaching and persuasion, October 12th, I found an old pregnancy test and decided to take it.  I was honestly in shock when the results showed we were expecting, so shocked in fact that I took two more test just to be sure.  We made a phone call the next day and made an appointment to confirm that this was actually happening.  Needless-to-say, God provided a wonderful miracle for our family, even though that was not our train of thought when we first found out.  We were nervous and scared, because we were so unprepared and planning our move from our larger house to a smaller house.

October 16th, our pregnancy was confirmed by the doctors and we shared the news with our parents that weekend.  There were many excited and joyful tears shed as we all celebrated the life of one that had been long-awaited and prayed for.

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God has been beyond faithful to our family and even though we were scared, we also saw where this precious gift was God’s perfect timing.  God had been faithful to us in working out the perfectly smooth adoption of our amazing son, Zeke, and now He was blessing us yet again with a life we never expected.

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October was an exciting time as well as a blur at times.  We were so busy with fall festivities, packing, and weddings… we had little time to process this little one that was about to forever change our lives.

November was hectic.  We moved to our new house, I participated in the ColorRun at Atlanta Motor Speedway with some ladies from my church, we celebrated Nick’s 28th birthday, I took Nick to see his childhood hero, Garth Brooks, and I went to see All Sons and Daughter and David Crowder at the Tabernacle with Katrina and Sarah.

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This was the night of the Garth Brooks’ concert.  He was so excited and I was thrilled that [I did good] getting him a great birthday present. 🙂

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All Sons and Daughters were incredible!!!  It is rare to hear a band that sounds just as flawless live as they do on their album.

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We also were able to find out that we were having right before we went home for Thanksgiving.

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Jasper Wyatt Ivey.  Our newest addition and BOY were we excited to find out we would be having another little fella.  [We were terrified at the thought of having a little girl].  Thanks to Baby Dimensions in Newnan, GA for their kindness and hard work.

December always brings adventure, business, and chaos with Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas family photos, traveling to visit family, and decorating for all the festivities.  We had an amazing time with our family over the holidays.  Children bring such a fun dynamic to the holiday season as you watch them open presents or they help you open yours.  We had an unforgettable holiday season and our last one with just one little peanut running around.

I took some shots of my sweet men while we were Christmas tree hunting at Redland Nursery in Temple, Ga.  It is our favorite place to go to pick out our Christmas tree.  Zeke wanted to help cut down every Christmas tree.  This was the first time I could really start to see just how much he idolized his daddy.

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These are a few shots from our Christmas shoot with Aislinn Rain Photography.  Aislinn is phenomenal at her job and we never leave worried that we won’t get what we paid for.  She makes our family feel so at ease and can even get Zeke to take pictures when he hasn’t had a nap.  Thankful she works such great magic.  Haha.

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We didn’t have as much room to work with this year as we played the role of Santa, but it was well worth the smile on Zeke’s face when he got the only gift he had asked for in the months prior to Christmas.  A John Deere tractor.
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December had some tough moments as well.  Whit Maxey, one of our dear friends, received an amazing job offer at a church in our area.  We knew that job would not be easy to turn down and so we said our sad goodbyes at the end of the semester.  It was a very difficult night for all of us as a staff, but we were thrilled for him and his family.

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January was not to hectic.  We celebrated my sweet daddy’s birthday.  Nick, Russell, Zeke, and I met my dad in Madison, GA, which is about half way between Augusta and Temple, to celebrate dad’s birthday.  My mom was ill and not able to join which was disappointing, but it was wonderful to spend time with dad.

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February and March were full of sickness within the family and Homegrown’s radio tour to Wisconsin.  We spent a lot of time trying to get well from allergies, bronchitis, sinus infections, and walking pneumonia.  All of us felt pretty miserable.

 

Homegrown’s radio tour was a huge success and help land them in the top 80 on the Country Music breakout charts.  We were all very proud of their efforts and the momentum they were gaining.  Zeke and I were happy when Nick returned home even though he was exhausted.

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My sweet momma also through me a very special baby shower in Augusta with all of my family and friends from Augusta.  It was such a special time with the people who had been praying for Nick and I for such a long time.  It was a great time celebrating all God had done in our lives.

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April was filled birthday celebrations, Zeke moving into his big boy bed, and nursery renovations.  He was really excited about his new bed and sharing his crib with his baby brother.  We were worried how the transition would go with him moving from a crib to a toddler bed, but it went smoother than we could have ever expected.  10426674_10153215704847095_1983319079558101314_n

Obviously, as you can see, he was quite comfortable in his new bed the first night.  We took him to IKEA and let him pick out what bed, mattress, and bedding he wanted.  We also let him pick out some stuffed animals to match his bedding.

Jasper’s room started coming together as well once we had our baby showers and figured out the decor for his nursery.

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We also closed out another year at CCF, which was extremely bittersweet.  The year had been full of changes and laughs, but the biggest transition was losing our three amazing interns; Austin, Elliot, and Paul.  Those three kept our heads up when the days where uncertain and rough.  They kept smiles on our faces through their infectious smiles, ridiculous jokes, and laughter.

At the end of the month we headed to North Atlanta to see one of our favorite boys, Wedds Alexis, play soccer for his school.  We were so excited to see him and spend time with him.  Zeke, especially!  It was his final soccer game, so we had to make sure we attended the game.  He had grown so much in the last year and had matured a great deal.

 

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Megan also graduated from the University of West Georgia with her undergrad.  We were so proud of her for her hard work and determination.

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May was busy!!!!  Homegrown had concerts almost every weekend.  We were getting last minute things together before Jasper made his appearance.  We spent as much quality time as we good with Zeke before he was no longer the only little guy.  We made the most of date nights as we could as well.

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Homegrown played at the AMP in Carrollton at Adamson Square for an event to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club.  It was a lot of fun with tons of people.  We had a great time, especially Zeke.  He loved watching his daddy playing lead guitar.  It made my heart melt.  🙂

The next weekend Homegrown Band had a private event for some of their backer who had invested in their newest album, “Summer Song.”

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The event was held at the Train Depot in Carrollton, GA.  It was such a great way for the band to say, “thank you” to those who have given for their efforts, money, and time to see them into this next chapter.  It was also great to see some very sweet friends.  Sherry Sullivan is truly one of a kind.  It was fun spending an evening unwinding with her.  Crazy to think I was nine months pregnant.

 

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Here is one of our many car rides during the last month of our pregnancy.  Zeke is getting so big and it makes me overwhelmed with emotions at times.  He is our stylish kiddo. 🙂

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Nick and I also enjoyed a date and took one last picture of us as a family of three.

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I am sorry for the extremely long post, but Evanda Estes and Sarah Steffes have been asking me to update my blog (this is for you two).  I will hopefully add another post soon about our newest addition and our growing family.  We are so thankful to our Heavenly Father for all He has done and is continuing to do in our lives.  We are very blessed!

-Mrs. I

Reassuring the blind-folded…

Nick and I are officially trying to get pregnant.  (Scary, I know).  We are looking forward to the experience and we know it is forever going to change our lives.  Nick has been ready for this for a while, but about a months ago we sat down and had the serious talk… “Are we really ready?”  We were both on the same page and feel like we are in a place where we are as ready as we can be for starting a family.

It has been really hard for me to prepare myself for this.  When I think about starting a family, I feel a plethora of emotions.  I can’t help, but think about Sarah and where she will eventually fit into this family we will have.  Wondering if she will even want to be involved in our family once she finds out that I am her biological mom.  I worry that she will resent me or her half brothers or sisters, because I kept them.  It is hard not to get excited about the positive things though if she is happy and understanding.  It’s exciting thinking about her being a big sister to our children and eventually getting to know her father’s children as well.  There is just so much to think about and sort through.

This pregnancy will be so different.  I won’t be hating myself for the mistake I made before marriage.  I will actually be having a child that I will be keeping and taking care of for the rest of my life.  I won’t have to feel the guilt for the consequences of my actions everyday.  I won’t have to grow attached to a “little one” growing inside me and know that I will soon have to part from that small little foot who stuck me in my ribs or played around in my belly while I was trying to sleep.  This time when I sing songs to them I won’t have to wonder if they will still hear those songs once they part from me.  This will be a whole new experience, but that scares me.  This will be a totally different  experience for me.    It still scares me because there are times when I feel consumed with guilt for even wanting a family… all because of Sarah.   I know that this is not how I should be feeling, but some times satan definitely gets the better of me.

God has definitely got a plan.  He has not failed us so far and I know He will have the best interest of my children at heart.  I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store, but sometimes it is a like walking down a road with a blind fold on with a guide who you can’t touch or feel.  You can only trust their voice and that they won’t lead you astray and knowing that the price at the end will definitely be worth everything we will go through.  Our guide is in control!

So here I am listening for that familiar voice that I love hearing… that is so sweet and reassuring.  Hopefully, it will be different this time and I will pull out my headphones and turn off my Ipod and just listen to His sweet words direct and reassure me.

Pray for us as we journey down this long winding road towards a wonderful gift that only God can give.

Serving together!