Friday, July 12, 2019

Big G's Big Day

Well the saying "better late than never" is really ringing true here. Graham has been out of the womb for over 2 years, yes years, and I'm finally getting around to writing (more like posting, it's been 85% done for over a year but I'm just finishing it and then posting it) his birth story. It makes me a bit sad, really sad if I think to long on it. Just that I'm sure some parts of this story have already been lost to time. My brain isn't what it use to be either. Heck, I've never had a good memory and now motherhood has stripped me of any trace which my brain might have had prior. Thank God for Lauren- she and her sisters are wonderful at remembering things- so these days I just use them like one might use a piece of paper. I can never seem to find a paper and pen and then remember where I put said paper and pen when I actually need it anyway. They work way better anyway, the cutest stationary around!

Anyway, let me finish dusting the cobwebs and focus for more than 3.2 seconds.

So just like all the others at 37 weeks I had a false start. But Matt's mom was in town so she held down the fort. My mom got there a week after and we were on wait an watch mode. My doctor again asked if I was interested in an elective induction. At first I dismissed it. But then she said that we could always cancel at the last minute if I decided against it but I couldn't however ask for it at the last minute. So we decided to schedule it and just see where God lead us. I mean we did the same with Audrey and she was born the day before and all was well. 

He was due on April 28th and we set the induction for the 26th. Hind sight makes me so happy she persuaded us to do this. But we'll get to that in a minute or two. So my mom was in town and I was so grateful but I remember also feeling ready. I was huge! I mean I was pregnant so what does one expect. But all who have been there know. When you're that big you're uncomfortable and you can't sleep for more than a hot minute at a time. Between comfort and the need to use the bathroom every two seconds, sleep is not very restful. Having my mom there was wonderful though. Especially since we had Easter and Audrey's 2nd birthday in there. I don't know how we would have done it had not God provided us with these Grandmas. Here are a few pictures of Easter and Audrey's birthday. Such sweet memories.

Our last picture as a family of 5- on Easter Sunday.
Mom, Audrey and Me
Big girl turns 2!!! Only 1 week before she officially became a BIG sister!
So there was plenty to keep us busy and going but still my mom was again determined to walk this baby out. She pushed me each night to take a walk. 
I'm laughing thinking about it now. The Sunday before he was born she pushed my big butt out the door to walk the neighborhood. It was a rainy/windy evening and I didn't want to do anything but sit on my big butt. It wasn't currently raining but it had been and still looked like it was about to. But I relented and we went. On our way home the wind was really picking up and the black clouds were looking like they might open up and rain furry on us. I realized that it was Sunday and America's Funniest Videos was on. So I picked up that pace. My mom's short little legs couldn't keep up with me and on top of that she has arthritis in her feet. She asked me to slow up. I said back to her "It's Sunday! America's Funniest is on. My family lives for this!" Just after I said it, we both busted out laughing. I mean hormones and exhaustion can really contort ones sense of reality. 

Another goofy story from that last week that my brain just remembered was a day mom and I went out shopping. We were getting my last minute errands done and we were hungry. So off to Taco Bell we went. It was fast, cheep and we were hungry. So this particular Taco Bell had the type of seats that are stationary, cemented to the ground. Oh I sat down and we both couldn't help but laugh. I just barely fit into the seat. I had to squeeze into the table. Back.To.Belly I was snug as a bug in a rug. I did take a picture of that- it was too much!

Back to belly, I just barely fit!
The night before Graham was born- so big!
Each night I would lay down and wonder when he was coming. I would pray for peace about it but that last week I really remember thinking only about getting this little man out! Thankfully my doctor had us set an induction date because we knew he would be coming by then. This helped once again for my mom as well. She knew when he was coming and could arrange a return flight and not be here endlessly (I think her total stay was 17 days- I'm sure my step-dad missed her at that point and she missed the calm and quiet of her home too). The night before I was excited and we had all the girls setup in Audrey's room. They had a fun sleepover together. 

All the girls having a night before sleepover.
So Wednesday, April 26th at 6:30 a.m. Matt and I showed up at the hospital, him walking sleepily and me waddling. Such a stark contrast to the last time I entered a hospital to give birth. Audrey was fast and furious- coming in 3 hours and we arrived at the hospital with me ready to roll!

All checked in they walked me to the new L&D unit. We were excited because in the two years between children they had renovated the woman's wing. They weren't completely done but pretty close. The room we were in was nice, new and all fancy with mood lighting and such. My nurse had just gotten on duty and would be with me the whole time- which was nice. She settled me in and got me hooked up (not my favorite part). I was GBS positive again so they had to get two doses of antibiotics in me. Just a quick aside here- this hurt. She had to do two bags of penicillin and each time it burned. Like fire in my hand and arm as the medicine entered. I felt so whiny but it hurt bad. Oh the little things. So they started the meds. Soon my doctor was there and she checked me. I was the same as the last time she had checked me. (These are the memories that have gotten fuzzy overtime). I'm pretty sure I was still 3 cm and maybe 70% at this point. 

So all hooked up and checked out we started settling in. And that is when it started. The amazingly annoying construction noises. Yes, hammer, hammer, hammer, saw, saw, saw on repeat- I was like "WHAT!" It wasn't too bad but when you're about to be put into labor it was rather annoying. It didn't start until the "workday" started at around 8:30-9. The nurse came back in a little while later and I asked about it. Then we were the really annoying- about to give birth- people and asked if it couldn't be stopped was there a room we could be moved to that wouldn't be so loud. So our request to be moved was granted, but we were moved to the furthest room away, like the big annoying people, we were put in the naughty room. But at that point I didn't care because it was the quiet room so I was happy being put in the naughty room. 

Now resettled we began the big wait. The wait for my body to start doing its thing. We watched some TV and texted. The only memory I have other than just waiting around is the anesthesiologist coming in to see if I was going to want an epidural. Which I said no thank you too. He didn't seem to like my refusal and hung around a bit just being triple sure I didn't want one. Like I was some kind of freak or something for saying no. I have a few pictures of this time frame.

All settled in for the big day
This is the room- very nice without the construction noises
We were moving along steadily as the morning continued. My contractions had increased in intensity but worn't too bad. By 10:30 they had gotten more regular as well. The nurse had just checked me and said I was the same as when I came in that morning. I was floored. I mean my contractions weren't breathtaking yet but something had be happening. Then my doctor came in, she checked me and said that yes, I was indeed the same but my cervix was very different and it wouldn't be much longer. I think I let out a visible sigh when I heard this. However, my doctor was about to go in to preform a C-Section on another patient. She was afraid that if she left me going as I was she might not be there to deliver the baby. She proposed that they stop the Pitocin and allow me to plateau and then when the nurse hears that my doctor is closing up the surgery that she can then resume the medicine. 

I was like, "What did she just say." Was she pushing the pause button on this?!? I mean I completely understood it all and was fine with it, but I was laughing just the same. Matt took this time to get some lunch and refuel since we had such an early rise and shine time that day. I believe it was around 11:45ish when they resumed my Pitocin and we were once again on the road to having this baby. You have to laugh at this because come on now!

Image result for labor birth peanut ballIt was at this point that she also began the second dose of Penicillin. Oh how I hate that stuff, ouch. Anyway, my doctor also instructed the nurse to put me in this crazy position and use a peanut birthing ball. Here is the picture I got off Google in case you're like me and had no idea these things existed. I had no idea until that moment. I'll do my best to describe what they did to me. 

So they inverted the bed. My head was lower than my feet. Not by too much but it seemed counter intuitive to have gravity not working for me but what do I know. On top of me being heals over head, they put this peanut ball between my legs which was to help open my hips up allowing baby to have more wiggle room I think. She put me in this position and left. At first I didn't notice too much but it truly took no time at all for this position to work its magic. My contractions started become more intense and more frequent. But I also started losing blood in my arm. The arm that just moments earlier was burning with pain from the medication was now tingling and really hurting even more, pretty unbearable. At this point the nurse didn't come even though we had called for her (must have been busy with other people who didn't need to be put in the naughty room), I'm not sure what was going on but my needy self was on her own. Matt helped me get into a position that allowed blood flow to my arm and yet didn't compromise the birthing position they had me in. Amen for my amazing hubby and birthing partner!

It was about an hour more of this and I was ready to roll. If my timeline isn't wrong it was about 12:15 when the nurse left us on our own and it was like 1:00 or sooner when I went into active labor. And then boom just like my body has done many times before it went so fast from active labor to transition phase. In just one more hour, about 2:00, I was ready to push. I was ready to get this baby out of there. But again, PAUSE!! Yes, I was told I couldn't push. That the doctor wasn't there and I'd have to wait. I did ask that the stinky peanut ball be removed because it was driving me nuts at this point. I remember specifically asking to "get into the birthing position" and being told no. It was, what felt like forever, but was more like 20 minutes or so from when I told the nurse I was ready to roll and they were ready for me to roll. I really don't think the nurse believed me when my doctor and I told her I labor fast and furious once my body gets going but she sure got on board fast!

So I had to breath through a 'few' (20+ minutes) contractions resisting the urge to push, so not fun. My doctor finally ran in the room and suited up and they let me get into position and got the bed all ready for me. I think it was just four pushes and little man was out. Graham Michael was born at 2:49 pm. He was 20 3/4 inches- almost 2 inches longer than his sisters and 7.6 pounds- the heaviest of my babies as well. Now I see why I was ready for him to be out!

That might not seem like a big baby to some. I know of smaller woman giving birth to bigger babies- but he was my biggest baby. He was also in utero the longest. He was born 2 days prior to his due date and that was my longest pregnancy. But I completely understand if you've had bigger and dealt with it longer and so feel free to roll your eyes at this.

Anyway, I was overjoyed enough to tell Matt that I didn't want to do this again. I was deep breathing and taking this little man in and the "joys" of labor and I looked at Matt with my most sincere eyes telling him thanks but no more please. I was praying and singing God's praise don't get me wrong but I was so tired, just so tired. I understand that minutes after giving birth might not be the best time to make such decisions but it seemed like a great time to broach the subject if you asked me and my poor body.

Here are some sweet pictures of our little man:

Snuggles after a busy morning for mommy
and baby
So precious and such a sweet boy.
Love at first sight!
It was well into the 3 o'clock hour before the doctors and nurses were done with me and him. He was healthy and my body had done another great job of birthing a child- what an answer to prayer! 

We called my mom and the girls and told them the great news. We called my dad and step-mom, along with Matt's parents. We just sat and enjoyed him.

My mom came with the girls after they had eaten dinner. So it was about 6 when they got there. Here are some pictures of him and his very excited big sisters!

A had been so excited about "her" baby! She was so
excited for her newest buddy. She wanted to do
everything for him. True love for sure.
L and her newest little sibling.
O was the one who knew it was a boy.
She was praying for a brother of her own.

I had cute shirts made for the girls. They said "sister squad" and their name. They were so excited. My mom had looked like the day had been a full one with all the girls. She was enjoying the time to sit for a minute and hold her newest grandson. I think O had given her a run for her money and climbed into the play area at the local fast food restaurant but cried and wouldn't come out (because she had gotten scared, not disobedient) and my mom had to climb in and rescue her. Then she had gone to the wrong hospital and one of the girls had fallen and hurt her knee once they arrived at the correct hospital. Needless to say she had had a full day with the girls.

Here is our first picture as a "Party of Six!"

I'm recording the rest of this story because to me I see it as part of his story. And part of the way I feel God was growing me through adding this little man to our lives. And I may forget these memories one day and I want to have it all down. But if you're just interested in the actual birth of my sweet son, you can probably stop here and call it a day/night.

So my nurse was ending her shift at 6. Before she ended her shift I had called the nursing station and asked for help going to the bathroom. No one came. Twenty minutes later I called again and again no one. Matt had to help me to the bathroom. They had been pumping me full of fluids all day and my body could only hold but some much. I had to have Matt look in all the drawers to get the supplies I needed to do this undertaking. If you've done this birthing thing before you understand what goes into this seemingly simple task. I was a bit annoyed but then again I was in the timeout room, so I guess this is what I get. Anyway, I got that done- with Matt's help. Then I started to get hungry as the 5:30-6 o'clock hour approach. I mean I hadn't eaten since the night before. So I asked my nurse when she came in before her shift ended, but I guess she hadn't relayed the message to the new nurse. So I tried again to get someone in the room to help a girl out but I was again left on my own. This was the third incident that day where I called and no one showed. I'm not a nasty person so I tried to take it in strides but it had been a long day- heck a long 9 months. My mom and the girls arrived so I was busy with them and distracted. I would have had my mom get something had I known. Finally I think at 7 the new nurse finally got around to coming in and checking on me. 

By this time I had so many needs- like how to get food and when was I going to be moved to the post-delivery room. Where I could settle in and maybe, not be left to my own devices. But all the information I was given was to call in my food order and to have them deliver it to the room I was in. And she dropped hints that there was some big fiasco going on and that's why I had been ignored. So I took a deep breath and tried not to think of how hungry and tired I was as I waited patiently for things to work out. 

I look back now and it was one of the many times over the next year or so where I was slowly learning that lesson. You know the age ol' lesson of God's timing and not ours. And to take a deep breath, sit back, pray and let God work things out instead of being so stubborn and bull headed. Of how it's not always about us and how I need to set my sin-nature/self-contentedness aside. I wasn't moved to my postpartum room until 9:30 that evening (just reminding you that I gave birth at 2:49 that afternoon- with no complication or medication that would required me to stay there that long). And no my food was not delivered to my delivery room. And I had to be the one to call the kitchen and get it all worked out. It was like 9:15 and a lady showed up with a wheel chair out of the blue. She did not have the best bedside manor either. I had hit a brick wall. But I continued to just shut my mouth and go with the flow.

But when I finally arrived upstairs things settled and I was checked on every few hours whether I need it or not. I was spoiled as they tended to me. My nurses there were very sweet and made me want to stay a few moments longer. We tried our best to enjoy this precious time with just him. Enjoying the quiet and having just one baby (and a host of nurses to help with him). When it's your 4th you appreciate things a bit differently. 

Proud Papa

But by Friday I was ready to be home. I missed my girls and I was ready to be back at my own home. I was overjoyed and get this show on the road! 

Here are some pictures of that day:

So tiny!
Mama and G ready to head home.

We headed home and the rest of that year was a whirlwind. With three older ones and a house full of chores/demands- every day was busy and flew by. I tried to soak it in the best I could. But LIFE.IS.FAST! Days can feel like they go at snails pace and yet weeks, months and years fly by without warning. I look back now 2 years later and I know that's me in those pictures and that's my little man but I can really hardly remember it without the aid of pictures and home movies. 

We were just up north visiting family and I had the joy of meeting two of our newest nephews (2+ months, and 5 weeks old). They were as tiny as G in these pictures. And I held them and tried with all my might to remember my children being that little. But it's so hard. I see them now, all of their personality and the amazing things they do and say. I see how God knew all the way back before I could have imagined my life now but I could only really see what was in front of me. Lauren, 8.5 years old and smart and sensitive, thoughtful and spunky. Olivia, 6.5 years old and full of music, dance, imagination, generosity and love. Audrey, 4 years old and full of passion, laughs, desires of her own, and snuggles. And Graham, 2 years old and full of new words, sweet kisses, jumping, running, exploring and enjoying having a memory (every time we pass things he remembers he lets the world know). 

Matt and I recently had a conversation about how we've been together for 18 years. We began dating/courting back in June of 2001. Could we have written our story with such purpose and love as God did? How being parents for the past 8.5 years has blown our minds as we navigated thought and around every corner. And then I said to him after we reminisced, "Can you imagine what the next 5, 10 or 15 years will be like?" Our minds cannot even begin to fathom what it will look like then. How different they'll be- heck we'll be. Makes me think of the verse in 2 Corinthians, chapter 4 verse 18 that says "So fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

I'm so thankful for a God who has it all under control. Who knows it all and sees how it will perfectly fold itself together to make the pages of our book. A book of love, loss, struggle, joy, gentleness, forgiveness, triumph, and one where we pray that each moment and each memory points to a God who loves his people and sacrificed in a way I don't want to imagine but do. I don't know when I'll post on here again. But what I do know is that I'm blessed and I hope to pass that blessing on to my family, friends and neighbors. To those I know and don't know along the way. And above all- that God's love and my love for His Son, Jesus, is my legacy to these sweet children God has given us.

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

Deuteronomy 10:20-21
Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.

Isaiah 12:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he as become my salvation.

Psalm 145:9
The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Did I Brush My Teeth Today?!?

I'm pretty sure I've just grossed everyone out but I don't care.There are just some days of my life where I get to bed time and realized, I haven't even brushed my teeth today. It's not necessarily from lack of time or desire, believe me I enjoy clean, cavity free teeth. It's just one of those days where the day sweeps you away and before you know it, it's bedtime and you haven't brushed your teeth.

These have been my days lately. As we wait patiently (or not) for our little baby boy to arrive. I've been blessed beyond measure by Matt's mom and my mom being in town to help lighten the load. I'm sure my ability to nap and be more relaxed has caused him to say a little longer in hotel mama. But my days seem aimless and yet busy and a little out of sorts because the routine is looser, there are extra helping hands and everyday we wake up wondering if today will be the day.

The past 21 days have been a roller coaster of wondering. As April rolled in and the due "month" was here I've been on pins and needles ready to get him out. I thought for sure after my appointment at 37 weeks revealed me to be 2 cm and 50% that his arrival was going to be sooner than later but that hasn't been the case. I felt so restless and anxious, and even a bit of pressure (all self inflicted) that he was coming. But as everyday came and went without a baby my days have been a bit off. My mind feels off beat with life. These feelings and thoughts are so hard to put into words but I need to get this out. I need to record it and reflect on this time so I can move on- on to what I'm not so sure. 

After no progress at my 38 week appointment and a day full of contractions and a trip to the doctors only to find out the contractions weren't the real deal I was overwhelmed with frustration and anxiety. And it wasn't until Easter Sunday when my heart, spirit and mind were flipped from their selfish thoughts to thoughts of God that I begin to feel content with him still residing inside of me.

I mean what's the rush?! Was I in a rush?! I don't really think so, I just feel like the unknown of it all was getting the better of me. And some days it still is. The more waiting time the more time to think about this or that or whatever. 

I'm used to a busy, scheduled life. Not too busy and not over scheduled but as things have slowed to preparing for his arrival and as help has arrived I've felt a bit of extra time to think/worry/wonder. I really should be using the time to do stuff I've wanted or needed to do but I'm not. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I've been feeling coped up and the days I get out I've been exhausted, crabby, and cranky from the adventures. It feels like a lose/lose deal.

On top of it all, what do I really have to complain about? Um...nothing. And to make things worse I've been short and crabby with the kids and Matt. I'm just done. I'm really for the next step. Or am I?

I mean I've done this all before- you know having a baby. And I know. The baby is way easier when it's in the womb than when it's outside demanding more of your time and energy - not to mention that the time and energy the sweet ones that are already here demand. I keep telling myself this- over and over in my head but it somehow is not sinking it. I guess part of me thinking once he's out the 'wait' is over and my days will be full and busy again. It's almost like I'm wishing my 'vacation' away. I know it all seems a bit backwards- but it's just how my crazy self has been handling it all. Today I was blaming the hormones. I'm ready to be myself again!- whatever that might mean. I'm sure you're thinking I should see someone for a psychiatric evaluation. But as these days roll on I feel like I'm going a bit crazy myself! But I think this comes with the territory. I mean this is kid number four right? But if I have any words of wisdom to give in this whole post of blah, blah is that each and every pregnancy/baby/life season always brings in more new/unknown territory to life's journey. 

So we continue to wait and wonder. I continue to try and remove the selfish thoughts with each contraction (occurring daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes regularly and yet other times erratically) which prepares my body for the moment when God is ready for him to meet us. I need reminders to do less worrying and more praying. Less anxiousness and more thankfulness. Less crabby mama and more grace filled mama. Less of waiting for the next moment and more of enjoying this moment. Less of me and more of HIM!

Prayers welcome!

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever, Amen." ~ 1 Peter 5:6-11 ~

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Growing Again!

Here I am 29 weeks and I'm finally getting around to writing a post about expecting our 4th bundle of joy! I laugh because yesterday I had my 28 week appointment and the sweet nurse who was administering my rhogam shot (such a fun experience, since it has to go in your hip/butt area- I know TMI), anyway she was chatting with me about life and I told her how we had just moved to a new house this summer and she commented "oh moving while expecting..." and I said no, this baby is a product of being in the new house. We both laughed. But here I go, yet again, trying to fit 30 weeks of memories into one post...

So we moved into our amazing new house this past July. We love our house, it is a blessing times a million. We were in our house a little over a month when I got the positive pregnancy test. I was so shocked. I didn't expect it but I was super excited for it. I wanted to wait a bit to think of some fun way to tell Matt but that didn't happen because I live a real life over here. You see I had a feeling I was expecting even before the test results proved my intuition to be correct. I had been having infection symptoms and need to see a doctor to get medications. Due to all of this, the surprise was dismissed and I told Matt- who was as taken back as I with the speediness of it all. Anyway, we had planned a fun trip to a water park that day, something we had never done with the girls before but we had passes and wanted to take advantage of them, but that morning I had to call the doctors. So in I went got my medications and we set off to the water park. Here's a few pictures of that day.

The girls had a blast and have spoken of going back ever since. But that was our last hurrah before normal mommy became zombie mommy. 

Almost as soon as September set in so did my ever wonderful day sickness. I'm not sure who coined the term "morning sickness" but I consider them to be lucky because with every single pregnancy my sickness lasts all day long. This time on top of that I've had chronic infections (they just keep coming back- so annoying) and I had migraines through most of my 1st trimester. I had never had a migraine before so it was almost 4 of 5 weeks before I figured out what was going on. They were almost always stressed induced. Because I was stressed and pushed beyond my own capabilities through September and the beginning of October.

You see this pregnancy was more of a "if it happens, it happens" type of adventure. We wanted another sweet one for sure, don't get me wrong, every child is a blessing beyond measure! So the whole month of September was a bit busy to say the least. First, we were beginning our official adventures in homeschooling. Lauren entered Kindergarten and now I had to fill out forms and at the end of the year we have to provide evidence of achievement- a bit more official then the preschooling I had done the years previous. Then on top of that I had two to three days each week where I was watching Brooke and Norah for Sarah. Brooke was 4 and Norah was 9 months at the time. So adding two more to an already crazy full house, enough said. Then you top that off with the fact that we had just moved and things were by no means settled around here. We still had boxes of stuff in the garage, blank walls, unorganized stuff just laying around- aka things sitting there reminding me that I had stuff to do and no time/energy to do it. And then we also had lots of visiting grandparents (this was more of a blessing than anything but just something else added to the crazy). So if you're a math person like me, you can add all that up:

day sickness + 1st year homeschooling + extra kids + unfinished moving + life in general = one stressed, tired, cranky, headachy woman!

Once I discovered they were stressed triggered migraines I was able to take some Tylenol and better prepare myself for them but that wasn't until I was a good 4 weeks into this migraine thing. Basically I would wake up somewhat okay. Then as the morning wore on I would just feel overwhelmed with anything sensory. Lights were too bright, noises were too loud, smells were too smelly, I didn't want to be touched- I remember talking to my sister on the phone and describing this and feeling like I was on the spectrum. It was an overload to the extreme. On top of all that there was never ending pain in my head and neck. Because this fun migraine adventure I struggled with watching Norah. She herself was going through I bit of a rough time, since she was having chronic ear infections, which I was unaware of, and she would spend her days crying and crying. Needing to be held all the time. A huge stresser for me. And I had four other children to attend to! Please feel free to reread the description above about how the migraines made me feel and I swear to you there were some days I wanted to cry right along with her and might have had it not hurt more to do so. It was awful. My mom and step-dad visited at the end of September for a week and it was then, when see took over my roll as mommy and I got to lay all day that I realized they were headaches/migraines. So I was able to find a bit of relief in Tylenol but that just took the edge off, I still had many not so fun days with and without Norah.

One other big reason I struggle so much with the 1st trimester is because of my previous experience with miscarriages during this time. God now holds four sweet little ones of ours in his hands in heaven. All of my girls are rainbow babies and so I so struggle with getting through that time so I can stop holding my breath for the 'bad' to happen. This is the first time I've gotten pregnant and stayed pregnant without having a miscarriage first. Let me tell you I much prefer it this way. But because of the past cycle- get pregnant, miscarry, get pregnant, stay pregnant- it was very hard for my head and heart to get on the same page. During the worst of it all, the month of September, I kept telling God if he needed to take this baby (for whatever reason) this was it. I. Was. Done! Having three running around and trying to keep all of life moving was exhausting enough but I couldn't/wouldn't do this to myself again. You know some people say that feeling like crap during the first trimester is a good sign- well I've felt like crap a total of eight times now- yes all eight, no matter the outcome. I was just dead tired. We had just gone through a roller coaster of emotional and physical exhaustion with the house selling and buy process I was throwing in the towel if something happened with this one. I told Matt that if this baby went home to heaven then that was God's sign to me that we were meant to have three. I talked very bluntly to God in my prayers during that month- I was too tired to do anything but. And God answered right back at me and this baby is an answer to those dark time prayers. I'm not sure that I've expressed this the right way here or that it will make sense to anyone outside of my own self, but sometimes there are things for God and me to share and comprehend that no one else will quiet grasp because they're not me and that's okay with me. But I write on here for me, so I'm putting it all down.

Let's just say I was glad when September ended and as October moved forward. Things seemed to settle a bit more. By the end of October I was doing much, much better. I was watching Brooke and Norah way less since their grandparents had returned from their trip. When Matt's parents came at this time so we could enjoy a day trip to celebrate 11 years of marriage, I have a vivid memory of getting up at the crack butt of dawn and accomplishing a project around the house (putting up a shelf above the washer and dryer). It was the first time I had energy and the drive to do anything related to the house since the end of August. Plus, having them here meant I had help with the kids during the day so I could expend more energy in the morning and since I'd get a break in the middle of the day. 

By November I was feeling much better and we had the joy of having Matt's brother and girlfriend down with Matt's parents for a visit. Then we geared up for having my mom and step-dad back for 10 days at Thanksgiving, as well as my sister's family in for 5 days too (coinciding with my mom being here and the Thanksgiving holiday). It was a busy season for visits this fall. Everyone was excited about the house and we sure needed the help around here so they were all welcomed visits for sure. It is such a blessing to have a guest bed again! 

Anyway back to the baby. One of the biggest difference this time has been baby's big sisters. Lauren is so much older (6 now!) and she knew before we told her. She looked at me one day prior to us officially telling them I'm pregnant and said "You look like you have a baby in your belly!" Speaking of my already growing belly. I was taken back by her, as I often am, intuition. This time we decided to bring the two big girls to the 12 week ultrasound in mid October to announce to them/show them the baby in mommy's belly. They had no idea until they saw the picture on the flat screen hanging on the wall. They were both in disbelief at first. Lauren was much more aware of what it all meant and kept saying "there's a baby in mommy's belly!" and "I can't believe there is a baby in mommy's belly!" with such joy and excitement. That was so neat to watch. It's the first time my little ones are interested in me being pregnant. She's frequently asked the size of the baby and what the baby can do. It's been fun. I've only cracked open the What to Expect When You're Expecting book when she's asked me questions. The other day at High School Bible study one of the girls asked if the baby could hear- we had to look it up. I mean I was pretty sure it could at this stage but wasn't 100%. Things are different with number 4.

For instance, one thing I think any mom of more than one will tell you and that is that life slips through your fingers. Days go by so fast, though some seem to drag on like a bad dream, for the most part days fly by. Before you know it the week is gone and then the month and then the year. I mean really, how on earth is Lauren Shea 6?!?! I tell you each new baby makes time fly at a exponentially faster rate. It defies physics if you ask me. So this pregnancy is just flying by. I can't believe I'm in the third trimester all ready. Once November hit and I was feeling more 'me' and less 'zombie' it picked up the pace like we were sprinting for the finish already. But the second trimester always goes quick for me because it's my favorite. Your body looks less 'fat' and more 'pregnant.' You start to feel movement. You're not a hot mess with sickness. You are still small enough that you can move about with some ease. I always say I could be pregnant forever during this phase. My mind is not stressed about the babies health anymore. My spirits are up. People know and are excited to share with us. And if you choose, you can find out what you're having!

We again took the big girls with us to the 20 week ultrasound to find out the gender. It was so different this time. With Lauren I wasn't sure until I saw her face in a 4D ultrasound and then I knew she was a she. Then with both Olivia and Audrey, Lauren had them both pegged as sisters. In fact, she was so sure I just expected them to be girls. This time however, she had no intuition. That should have been my first clue. I've never had any intuition about my babies before the ultrasound tech showed us. When asked, Olivia wanted a brother and Audrey said "sisah" but I'm convinced she doesn't even have a concept of the word "brother" so of course she would say sister. But as you've probably already figured out, this time God decided to spice life up and he blessed us with our first baby boy! I guess the ultrasound tech wanted us to have no questions about that fact since she gave us four different pictures showing us that indeed he was a he! Matt was a bit taken back and when the tech left to get the doctor he asked to look at the pictures to be sure. Well I was sure. In fact, I called it out before she said anything. I had seen enough girls to know this wasn't one!

This time I already had a girl name selected. I was so ready to name her Rachel, but alas that name will not be used on my sweet little boy! This time around has been so tough since I feel like boy names aren't as fun as girl names. We had names selected for all three girls by this point in the pregnancy but not this time. I struggle so much because I don't like names that can be shortened. I think growing up Jennifer and everyone under the sun wanting to call me Jenny, which I don't like, drove me nutty. So that might explain why I like names that are what they are, end of story. Matt prefers more traditional names, as do I. So there are not many boy names that can't be shortened and have to be six letters...okay don't laugh or roll your eyes like Matt does but all three girls have 6 letters in their first name and 4 letters in their middle name. Also, the first names are special names to them- no one in the extended family shares that name- but their middle names are all family names. So now that I started that trend it's hard to just change it up, for me at least. So the search is on...still. I have a name I really like but Matt isn't 100% for. But hey, it took a bit for him to get on my side with Olivia so maybe he'll come around! Optimism is good for the soul. But I'm not going to write it here, yet. You'll have to wait until baby boy is born to see what we select. 

Food cravings have been somewhat different for all of my pregnancies. The only thing that remained the same with all of them is meat. I crave me beef, pork and chicken- all of it. I love me some Chick-fil-a chicken sandwiches and a good burger loaded with lots of yummy stuff. Hot dogs, ham, and deli sandwiches loaded with meat. Oh I must need the protein. Maybe that's why I've had such hairy babies! But with Lauren I had an aversion to yogurt- a staple food for me. But other than that I don't remember anything specific. Olivia I wanted anything and everything sweet- but especially ice cream with peanut butter on top. Then Audrey I don't remember anything specific (similar to Lauren) that I wanted I just wanted it all. Now this one I'm enjoying salty things and pickles. I've eaten a half a jar of pickles in a sitting and have purchased more jars during this pregnancy than the past 6 years previous to it. Just writing this makes me want to get some out and eat them!

Okay, I'm back from my pickle binge. Oh another comparison between the pregnancies is how I've carried them. Lauren and Audrey I carried very low. My hips were a hot mess (heck they still are to some degree), more so with Audrey since she was #3. Olivia I carried higher, so high that she gave me chronic heartburn through the whole pregnancy- sending me to the ER in 1st trimester because it was so bad I was having chest pains! Oh that was a fun day...err not. This little guy is more like Olivia and my hips have been much better this time around. Well that is until this week. I know I've entered the 3rd trimester since I can't sleep because I can't get comfortable and I toss and turn all night. If I sleep on my left side my right hip hurts and if I sleep on my right side limbs fall asleep- thus making me flop around like a fish, a very wide fish, a very slow fish. I've also had some trouble with heartburn so who knows. All I know is there is nothing "special" to this pregnancy that makes me feel like I'm carrying a boy and not a girl. All those old wives tails are just that. Well I take that back, his heart rate might have been an indicator since he followed the "boy" trend. He has been in the 140's pretty much the whole time (since 10 weeks when we heard it for the first time). Where the girls started higher, in the 150's, and then slowed over time to settle in the 140's. 

The last thing I'm going to ramble on about is the prep for a baby boy. With Lauren I decorated the nursery in green and purple with kind of a garden/flower theme. I didn't change that for either of the other girls. I just washed what I had and slapped it right back on the crib. Instead of focusing on the crib/nursery when baby girl #2 and #3 came along, I focused on the prep for the older child. Getting a big bed and the accessories for that. It was nice, I saved a lot of money that way. This time however, we're focused on both- a big girl bed for Audrey and boy decor for the crib and other things. I was very good at purchasing a 'gender neutral' stroller/ car seat, bouncy seat, swing etc. But I wanted the nursery to be girly. Now I want to make sure that this boy is not mistaken for anything but a boy! Following three girls is going to be hard enough already. Also, Audrey and baby boy are going to share a room. So thinking of a gender neural theme and color that are very "girl" and very "boy" that coordinate has been fun. Let's just say I've been on Pinterest a LOT these days. 

I've decided on stars. I'm still not sure how but I want to do a homemade star wall decoration with a bible verse. I've got three I'm thinking about - Psalm 148:3, Daniel 12:3 and Philippians 2:14b-16 (see below and vote if you think one is better than the others). I want to make a lamp shade with silver stars painted on it. I've gotten purple sheets for Audrey's bed and I've gone with navy blue for baby boy's crib. I'm still waiting on the crib bumper I ordered off ebay but I've got a plan navy crib sheet and a crib sheet with navy stars. The crib skirt and bumper are just white with navy strips. I've gotten a navy changing pad cover. The next big tasks is to go to Joann's and pick out fabrics for the quilts Ester and her mom are going to make for them. Her mom made the quilts on the big girls beds and it is so special. I felt very blessed that they were willing to do two more! But I need to go there when I can look around and really take my time. Plus, I still need to finish my measurements so I know how much to purchase. Just so much to be done, but just like the other rooms in the house these days...it'll be a work in progress for a while. I figure in about ten years I'll have each room as it should be, lol! Or not. 

All I know is that we feel blessed beyond measure with so much these days. A new house, a new baby, and a whole lot more- all blessings from our wonderful Heavenly Father. Oh I pray so often that as my little ones grow up that they see the evidence of God working in their lives, in our lives as a family. He is ever present and always loving. I pray their hearts see that so they can grab hold of his promises. Because when I look at our lives I see his finger prints on each and every moment.

Here I am with my sweet and crazy girls. As you can
tell it's Olivia's birthday. 

Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:3

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. ~Daniel 12:3

Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure...Then you will shine among them like STARS in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. ~Philippians 12:14b-16

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Finding Home - Part Two

Finding A Home - Part 2

James 3:17-18

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Part 2 - Buying a new house

Wisdom is what we've needed throughout this process and God provided it. The house buying process has been just as crazy of a roller coaster ride as selling our current home. You know I remember it being more fun the first time.

When we purchased our first home we had no other home to sell. We had no children. We had no rush or timeline. We were way more naive. We found it fairly quickly and had no competition in the purchase. We were in such a different frame of mind.

Well a lot has changed since then and it has effected the process tremendously.

When we went into this whole process we had a location of our future home in mind as well as a price and size. There was also our short list of must haves: a garage, formal dinning room, 4 bedrooms, a master bath, small front yard and a more moderately sized back yard, no hills, and no corner lot. Our 'most have' list is much longer this second time around. I think the first time around our most have list was "must be a house," lol. 

Now after owning a home we see houses differently the second time around too. First, I see them with children in mind. When we purchased our first house I didn't ever think of have two of our bedrooms on the first floor as an issue until children came into the picture. In fact, it worked out nicely since the two rooms downstairs were a guest room and an office. However, once sweet Olivia came around my view changed. Also, the fact that the living room wasn't in view from the kitchen space didn't bother me until children. And then lastly the 'traffic' flow that the floor plan created didn't really bother me until kids were in tow. 

But there are things we loved about our first home as it is concerned with children. Like the fenced in backyard- ideal with children. The computer being on the same floor as the living space makes monitoring them much easier during computer time. So all of these lessons learned and future growth of both our current family members and of our family as a whole, play such a big roll this second time around. Just so many more factors to consider. 

Location, location, location. This second time I'm not budging on location. When we first moved here (states away from our 'home' state) we lived in apartments that were part of a bigger housing development. I loved that location. I loved how we could walk to things and it's proximity to our church. This was important not just for convenience sake when it came to commute time, but because we are so far from our 'blood' family that being close to our God given family holds that much more importance to us. But when we bought our first home, at the top of the market mind you, we couldn't afford this area and God didn't lead us to it either. I wish he had but His plans are not our plans (Isaiah 55:8) so we landed just ten minutes to the west. Which in all honesty wasn't far back then. But it seems more so now. I think that we're in a different school system effects us more since our children wouldn't go to school with their church friends, if God ever leads us to have them in public schools. But also it would be nice to have neighbors who we know from church or neighbors we could invited to church! Also, we're more involved in church now than we were before. I would say it is the one place I travel to the most besides the grocery store. It is a home away from home to us so to be closer makes more sense. 

So with all this in mind we began looking for homes on the internet last fall. We started seriously watching the local market and the neighborhoods we were interested in January. And we began going to see houses in person once we received a contract on our house (the story of selling our house can be found here).

The first house we looked at, looked great in pictures but then once we got into it, not so much. It's amazing to me how pictures and the act of physically going to see a house can be so different (more about that when I tell you about the house we purchased!) That first house was so small and boxy. It met the criteria on our list but it wasn't right. So we went to two more a week or so later.

Again, they seemed small. Just like I said above, the floor plan can play such a huge role in the flow of a house. So a house with the same square feet can seem to not feel like it does when you're actually in it. We saw a few houses that didn't seem to click and that is when we found out that they lady who was trying to buy our house didn't have the money and the contract fell through.  

So our house quest was temperately on hold. It's funny how God often uses music in my life to inspire me, get me through or to speak His word into my heart. Well this time it was the song "Keep Moving" by TobyMac. This song resonated in my heart through this time. I have a such a vivid memory of making the girls beds when I was yet again preparing the house for a showing and this song playing on the radio.

But before we knew it two contracts came in and we accepted one and we were back to going to see houses again.

I think the fact that we felt rushed lead us down this next road. Mike got wind of a house, in one of our desired neighborhoods, had gone up for sale at a wonderful price. It was being sold "as is" so the current owners wouldn't do any work to the house but the low price made the house look much more desirable. We were the first to see the house and put an offer in that day. This house was at the top of our square footage which was nice, more room but not the top of our budget! Just walking through it you could see it needed some much needed love. I guess it was currently owned by a married couple who didn't live together and they couldn't get along so their realtor was trying to make the process easy for them- if they sold the house "as is" they didn't have to bicker about what they could/would fix when it came time for the inspection. And we thought with the low price we'd have money to fix it up. So we forged ahead. 

The day of the inspection came and the guy we hired to inspect the house was wonderful and very detailed as he described the needs of the house. He found a lot more than met the eye. Let's just say "water, water everywhere!" We left the house still optimistic but I think we both felt like it might be more than we could handle/afford. We sent our dad's the report once we received a digital copy of it. I also sent it to a trusted friend and contractor who we would need the assistance of. 

That evening after dinner my dad was the first to call us. He began the conversation with "I think you know what I'm about to tell you..." I got off the phone with a sunken heart. I know I agreed with him that there was too much work and too much unknown about potential water damage to the structure but this house fit OUR timeline. We would be able to close on our house and this house and not need to find another temporary place to live. I looked at Matt and said "how about we call your dad and see what he thinks?" So that we did, only to hear him say with such sincerity that this house was not the house for us and he had been sick to his stomach all day thinking that we might not heed his and my dad's warning against purchasing the house (I guess they had called each other and spoke before calling us).

We were ill with the burden we were carrying. How on earth we could go against both of our fathers was unthinkable. They're both so knowledgeable about this stuff and they truly wanted the best house for us and both of them knew in they're hearts this wasn't the one. We had laid there in bed that night with no words. No words to pray but just tears as to what this all meant for our future. 

To find out what we did you'll have to go to this post and see how God provided and saw us through the process of finding temporary housing and moving forward after such a set back. But after we got out of that contract, we were off again to more showings and more houses that might fit our needs/wants and houses we were hoping would be a bit more dry! 

The night we found our "forever home" was a bit frantic. It was a Wednesday night so I had High School Bible study to get to (although it was a fun night where we went to see one of the girls play lacrosse in the playoff tournament and enjoyed ice cream.) So between Matt getting off work (5:30) and the game (6:45) we had scheduled to see two houses. The first one I wasn't too fond of. The pictures didn't wow me and the second one was at the top of our price range and the lot was on a bit of a sideways hill- not something we really liked. But now the time was ticking, we needed to find a house! So I wanted to leave no stone unturned. Plus, from past experience pictures could be misleading and I didn't want to rule anything out. 

The first house we only had a half hour to look around. I was kind of unaware of this and just figured it was our time constraint that caused the shorten time. But with three kids in tow we zoomed through the house in the blink of an eye. Overall I liked it. I wasn't sure it was quiet as "big" as we were looking for but I really liked the upstairs and the layout was nice and had a good flow. The second house however both Matt and I agreed was not the house for us. The house it self wasn't at all right for us and the slopped lot was a big yuck.

So off to the lacrosse game I went. But I couldn't get the first house out of my mind. And I couldn't get how much this process was sucking out of my mind either! Good thing I was so excited for ice cream and great fellowship, so I put the bad thoughts out of my mind. 

The whole game though I was watching, chatting and thinking about that first house. Was it really too small or was I just rushed through it? The upstairs was perfect and I liked the way the floor plan was laid out both upstairs and downstairs. The yard was a good size too and on level ground. The small front yard was nice, with mature trees and the backyard, although a bit smaller than we had hoped for would work okay and it was fenced. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. So on the way home I called my mom and dumped my ever crazy thoughts on her. She suggested we go take a second look at the house. Maybe without the kids. Such a simple idea and it never occurred to me- but yes we should. 

So I got home and once Matt and I finally got a chance to discuss the houses (aka when the kids were in sleepy land) we were both on the same page. The second house was a no go but the first house had something about it and we wanted to go see it again. So we called Mike. He said he'd call them and set up a second showing but not to hold our breaths since houses weren't staying on the market very long. Now I should have prefaced this with the fact that I was going out of town on Friday morning for my sister-in-laws baby shower and I won't return until Sunday afternoon. Now remember this was Wednesday night. So it wouldn't be until Sunday evening that we would be able to see the house again. So more waiting was in store for us since for whatever reason Thursday didn't work.

So the whole weekend I thought and prayed and prayed. I was staying at my in-laws house and I was so excited to be there and celebrate our first niece coming in just a month and her wonderful mother but I couldn't get the house out of my head. I prayed that if this was the house that God would make it known to us. That not only would the house still be on the market Sunday but that the act of putting a contract on the house wouldn't be drama filled, but simple. I just kept saying I wanted God's house for us and I would know it was HIS house if He just took us down a simple path, not a path filled with crazy. I prayed over and over- every time my mind thought of the house or got filled with worry. 

Before we knew it Sunday was there and we dropped the kids off with some friends from church who lived down the road (just three blocks away). We had a full hour to look at the house. Mike was running late and as Matt and I waited for him I told Matt what I was thinking. I wanted a closing date in mid July, X amount of money back at closing so we could get new carpet right away (a regret that still lingered from our other house- where we never changed the yucky carpet) and lastly that I think we should pay X amount for the house. Matt was completely on board with all of it. So we spent each and every moment we had looking at everything, discussing it with each other and Mike. 

As it turns out the family room and kitchen were the exact same size as our old house but the layout was a LOT more open and other aspects made them feel more spacious. Plus we had a formal dinning room and living room added onto them in this house. There were four bedrooms- again the same as our old house- but they were all upstairs. There were two moderately sized rooms, a master and a spacious bedroom over the garage. The garage was a good size and would fit both cars (although a bit snug since we own a minivan and SUV, both of which are big/wide cars). The yard needed a bit of love since there wasn't much grass (mostly weeds) but it was a good enough size. The fireplace had already been converted with a gas insert- something we only saw in one other house and a nice added bonus. The backyard had a brick patio and not a deck- a bonus to me since maintenance is much easier. The furnace, AC unit and water heater were new within the last five years. The house had vinyl siding and new windows, something that was a big selling point to us since we wouldn't need replace and which we would have had to do with many of the other houses we looked at. The only thing needing attention in next few years was the roof, that was original to the house (so 25 years old) and nearing the end of it's life. So some grass seed/tlc for the lawn and a roof were the only big money items that we could see. And the more we walked around the more we could just feel like this was the house. 

So that night we put in an offer. We got home ~5:30-6 and by 9:30 the sellers and us had settled on a contract. No drama, no bumps, nothing. And each item I had talked about with Matt in the car while we waited for Mike was exactly what the contract said. Mid July closing, X dollars back at closing and X amount purchase price for the house. It was everything I had been praying for. Everything, down to the last detail. I went to bed that night with no question that God had lead us to our home.

More wonderful blessings came as the house buying process continued. Matt's parents were in town for the inspection of the house, which happened to fall on the day we closed on our old house. So they were here to help us move to the rental too. But Matt's dad loved the house and could find no reason why we shouldn't buy it it. We used the same guy for the inspection and he seemed more pleased after going through this house. After the inspection we asked for some more money back at closing to fix the things he had found. This money totaled to the amount needed to pay for the new carpet. So we used very little savings to pay for closing and then put that money into new carpet. Our friend owns a flooring store and she was wonderful and so where the men who installed it. The instillation took place the two day following our closing and before we moved all of our furniture in- nice and easy. My dad came down to help us move from the rental to the new house and was able to fix a few of the 'big' projects- like a new man door to the garage and he rebuilt the steps from the garage into the house. Matt's parents came down a little later in the summer and then again in the fall and helped with a few other things, like fixing the fence doors so they opened and cleaning out the dryer vent that was all blocked causing the dryer to not work too well. These and other small jobs have gotten done with their help. All of these things were manageable. Just little stuff, normal house maintenance. Nothing like the work needed on the house we passed up.

Now I look at this house, six months into living here, and it feels like I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. The things I was worried about, the size of the family room and kitchen, are not even an issue. When I tell people that they're the same size as they old house they always have a look a surprise on their face. I love my kitchen. It has the perfect amount of cupboards and a nice pantry. It fit all of my things nicely. Has more counter space than the old house and just an overall better layout. I love how it overlooks the family room so I can have my eye on the girls when they're playing in there and when we entertain it is a nice flow for those relaxing and those helping in the kitchen. The dinning room makes us able to entertain beyond our own family of five. At Thanksgiving we had six adults and four kids here and the kids table was in the kitchen and the adult table was in the dinning room. It was very nice. And the storage in this house is out of this world. Our master bedroom closest square footage alone is the size of the old houses closets all put together. There is attic storage, garage storage, knee wall storage, and ample closet space in each bedroom too. I love how the big girls room just holds their beds, lovies, a small book shelf, and their clothes (dresser and closet). Same with the nursery. 95% of the toys are in the playroom/guestroom, the over sized room above the garage, that is a neutral zone for all to play in. I love that we have a place for grandparents to stay when they come. The playroom is great when the girls have friends over and I love that all the mess is upstairs and out of sight- causing this mama to not feel like I'm forcing the kids to constantly clean up a big mess. Instead I just have them gather what migrated downstairs for the day and put it where it belongs. Then we do a big clean up when necessary. I could go on and on when I sit back and think about the blessings that each room/area of the house lends our family.

What we love, love, love just as much as the house structure is the neighborhood. It's got sidewalks (which any northern friend might laugh about, but in our area they are not common). There are two pools in the neighborhood, one only 1.5 blocks from our house! There are three playgrounds, one only 2.5 blocks from our house! In fact, this is the neighborhood that is connect to the apartments we lived in when we first moved here. We've come full circle. Where I always dreamed of living. Our neighbors are so nice. There are three of us (mind you there are over 900 houses in this development) right next to each other who moved in within months of each other. We all have young kids- theirs are all boys but potential future friends all the same. I just talked with one of them a week or so ago and we talked about doing a little get together between the three of our homes to get to know each other a bit better. I know I'm a dork but I love that my kids will grow up with neighborhood friends. I had that growing up and I loved it. We have multiple church friends/family that live in the neighborhood which is wonderful. You can walk to a grocery store, a CVS, and much more. I loved being able to go to the corner store with my friends growing up. Mom would give us a few dollars as long as we picked her up some Boston Baked Beans too! Countless blessings again.

I have to say that it was an adventure I'm not soon to forget and one that I see God's hands all over. I love that when I look back on the tough times, I see His miraculous work in my life. I praise Him for it all. The first thing I did when Matt and I pulled up with the keys from closing was to sit on the steps and dedicate this house back to Him who provided it. May all who enter these doors see my God and his blessings in our family on in our home.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 
1 Timothy 6:17