Friday, March 13, 2015

Toenail Polish

I'm a very reflective person by nature. I learned this when I was student teaching and in college. My supervisors and professors pointed this quality out to me. I guess then I didn't realize that it was a gift I possessed, I merely thought everyone did it, but I guess that isn't the case.

I often spend my quiet moments reflecting on the day or the week. What we've done or not done. Saying small prayer as I think of a person I talked with or a need someone expressed. I also reflect on what I've got coming up ahead and how it's all going to work- filling in my mental calendar. 

My favorite moments to reflect on are the one with girls and life with Matt. The sweet moments of love that glue our days together as a family. Looking at pictures throughout the house always bring me back to when...

I think of the mountains overcome and valleys of days past. I think of how God was there with us through it all, in our hearts and alongside us. 

So as I've gone through this third pregnancy I do the same. But not with a picture, with toenail polish.

This summer my Grandma Rose passed away. This happened at the end of July/beginning of August. After an already emotional spring and summer the girls and I traveled home to honor her life and memory with our family. While we were there Lauren asked me excitedly one day to paint our toenails. I took a mental look at our week and told her that one afternoon while Olivia slept her and I would paint our toenails.

We were both excited to look through Grammy P's stash- all new colors to us making the special moment all the more fun. I found this really pretty and deep lavender and Lauren picked out a pink and blue. Then I noticed a sparkly one I could use as a top coat. We enjoyed our moment in the quiet small apartment. Grammy and Aunt Shauna were gone, Olivia was sleeping, and cousin Finn and Papa were out in the pond fishing so we had the place to ourselves. I think this was the only quiet time we were able to have together all week.

I'm not sure what brand polish I used but that polish stayed on and looked great for a few months. Then as time went on and I became pregnant with the bundle of joy I'm carrying now, I was too sick/preoccupied to remove it. Summer turned to Fall and the once opened toed shoes turned into sneakers and flats as the days got cooler. So I saw even less of a reason to remove the polish. It worn off most of my toes or grew out but hung on strong to my big toenails.

I started noticing the polish in those few brief moments when my toes were uncovered and reflecting on the time I put it on. The tough emotional spot I was in then, filled with loss and sadness. Yet I also think about the sweet moments with Lauren when her and I put it on- the joy we shared together in those few short minutes of quality alone time and pray for us. I think of the baby we lost just a month earlier and then pray for him/her. I think of the baby, the life, I have in my body right now and pray for her. I think of all the love that filled our days since then and pray for it. 

Although at first I just didn't remove the polish out of pure laziness now I leave that last little strip on as a reminder- a reminder of my journey, the mountains and valleys. I think of my Grandma up in heaven.

When my mom called me and told me that they were with Grandma Rose and it wouldn't be much longer before she passed on I cried and thought of how joyful she was going to be in heaven and I asked my mom to tell her something. I ask her to tell Grandma Rose to "Hold my babies in heaven tight for me and give them lots of kisses." My mom later told me she whispered that into her ear as she lay there waiting to walk through heaven's gates. I know she is. I know God is too. With tears in my eyes I pray for them. 

What a journey this pregnancy has been and still is. So when the day comes to deliver her into this world I plan on having my itty bitty strip of nail polish on to remind me of the journey God took us on to get to from the ashes of last spring/summer and onto the life of this spring.

I know the day it finally is gone I'll be a bit sad but I know that it will be God tell me it's time to build some new moments worth reflecting on. Add a new color to garnish those open toed shoes that will come with me as the journey of life continues.

"He replied, 'The LORD, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success...'" Genesis 24:40a

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Girls Top Ten List - Winter 2015

2 Years Old

10. She is in love with the Frozen movie and soundtrack- dancing to the songs with her 'cape' on. She calls it "Go" from the song and her favorite is Olaf (O-E)
9. Her and Lauren officially share a bedroom - and most nights they even enjoy sleeping in the same bed. Matt and I find this most adorable!
8. When she hugs you, it is a big gripping hug and sweetness galore! 
7. She loves dancing around and just running all over the place, always moving
6. She recognizes a bunch of letters, thanks to watching big sister learn to write them. She knows: O, L, D, W, M, E
5. She still loves Ellie Night-Night and when she is out of sight she sadly calls for her until she has been located "ELLIE!!!! ELLIE!!!!" and will often sing to her "Rock a bye Baby" - it is beyond precious!
4. She sings "Rock A Baby" to Ellie and loves when you sing it with her too
3. Wearing big girl undies and using the potty all the time!
2. "NO ME!!"- She wants to do everything herself, we're working on "Me, please" She loves putting on her own coat, shoes, and clothes
1. New words- she says like 2-4 new words everyday, it's amazing to watch!

4 Years Old

10. She is very interested in the soundtracks to movies and has learned to use the Ipod and CD player. She enjoys watching Bug's Life with just the music on.
9. Her and Olivia officially share a bedroom - and most nights they even enjoy sleeping in the same bed. Matt and I find this most adorable!
8. She is becoming the best big sister in the world. She helps Olivia and has fewer moments of selfishness and more moments of inclusion and sharing
7. She is learning to write and can spell a few words on her own- WOLF is a favorite at the moment. She can write her full name with some help with spelling the middle and last name.
6. She loves dance class and no longer needs one last hug but heads in on her own.
5. She loves reading and will memorize her favorite books and 'read' them back to herself. It won't be long...
4. She can zip her own coat and button big buttons all by herself- all of which she taught herself to do
3. She takes showers and washes herself, still needs help with her hair
2. We see less and less toddler and more and more big girl behavior- she's often a big help to mommy and daddy
1. She still prefers being "where everyone else is" and loves that her little sister follows her everywhere (so do mommy and daddy, finally a break!). It takes her a bit to warm up to people but once she knows you, she LOVES you- ask all the ladies at church.

"I think I can, I think I can"

This afternoon I'm feeling like I identify with the little engine that could. I happily took on the large load of toys and chuffed my little engine up the tall, tall hill. But boy is my boiler out of water now and I'm just coasting down that hill- no steam left in this little (or big might be a better way to describe me these days) engine. 

So this past week we had the joy of having my mom and step-dad (Grammy and Papa) here for a visit. To be completely truthful I was not looking forward to the visit. But for reason. You see they are in the process of moving. Not just moving from one house to another, but moving one state to another. We are a good 'way point' on their trip so it made sense for them to stop here and they were absolutely invited to do so. However, moving is stressful- and there was no lack of stress to go around, so I was not looking forward to it entering my house...like things here aren't crazy enough!

Part of the stress was the sudden burst of winter we've been having. I guess the groundhog is the one laughing now (refer to this post if you didn't get my not so funny joke reference). They were hoping to be at our house last Tuesday the 17th, but they weren't quite as ready as they thought and the snow that pounded down on them didn't help. So they actually arrived a week later. Each night during that week we would talk and figure out when they might be here- the wait game is not one I enjoy but it was the nature of the beast that no one could change. Then I wasn't even sure until I called them Monday at 3 pm that they were on their way. They didn't arrive here until well past my bedtime, 10:45ish, Monday night.

Part of the stress, for me at least, was they were bringing their cats. I've said it on here before plenty of times that I do not have a spacious 3,000 square foot house nor do I want one- however this would have been very handy this past week. We put her two cats into our office so we had to move Annabelle's litter box into our bedroom- not my favorite choice but really there was not many other places to put it. My house always feels like it shrinks a little when people visit, as does every ones house I assume. But this added fun with the cats just made it even smaller. Plus, the clean up after they left was, hum how do I say this, oh yeah miserable. But it's over and now my office is the cleanest it's been in a long time (positive thinking).

So this was why I wasn't looking forward to their visit but I love them and just adore spending time with my family since I feel I see so little of them being so far away. And this week was such a blessing in that matter. And God added his sweet surprises in a way only He can. My mom calmed the longer and longer she was here. She helped out a bit with the girls and with things around the house, as did my step-dad. They were able to watch them while I went to my 32 week appointment. Wow, I still can't believe I'm now 32 weeks pregnant- it is all going so fast! We also enjoyed a date night. And it seemed once they settled in and put the stress of the move behind them and I put the stress of their move behind me it was a fabulous time. 

The girls really enjoyed playing with Papa, and Grammy had fun helping with school on Wednesday. My parents even stayed through Friday so that Matt and I could enjoy our first date night in a long, long time. We went to see the movie American Sniper. Wonderful movie and great alone time for Matt and I. Friday night started with a big family dinner out then the girls went home with Grammy and Papa and we headed to the movies. It was nice to come home to sleeping babies and just be able to snuggle into bed.

We kept remarking over and over on Friday how this week flew by and the stress of Monday seemed so far gone. I really do love them. I am getting a little nervous to think that the next time I will see my mom it will be because I've given birth to the baby girl inside my tummy right now- who is kicking, pushing, and tumbling around as I type.

Speaking of my wee little one- can I tell you ever since I hit 30 weeks on the calendar it seems that the third trimester has settled itself right in. My body feels big and continually stretched to it's limits. I swear sometimes she just pushes up against my poor abdomen and tries to make more room for herself. My lower half seems to have swollen with love times a gillion. The aches of pregnancy are settling in and the joy of second trimester is fading fast. I laughed this Thursday at the gym. I went to Zumba but the winter weather had all classes cancelled so I figured I'd hop onto the treadmill and walk my hour away to the hum of the gym noises. But as I walked I could tell my hips had 'repositioned' themselves in the tilted manner as they often do during pregnancy and to be honest it usually continues while I'm nursing too- so about a year and 10 months of this fun. I haven't been to the physical therapist in a while so I wasn't too surprised. But I could tell without a doubt that my legs were two different lengths- it's rather awkward feeling to say the least. I think I noticed it so much since my stride is longer when I walk on the treadmill, as opposed to walking around the house. But Monday morning I will be calling to make an appointment for sure!

Everyone in the house is napping and I'm enjoy the sounds of the washer and dryer as each load of blankets, sheets, and towels gets cleaned. Reflecting on the blessings of this week, a week I wasn't so sure about, has helped me to collect my thoughts and prepare for tomorrow...the first of March!

March holds big meaning to me this year- usually it just signifies the end of birthdays and holidays around here but this year is will be our last complete calendar month of pregnancy. Wow, I just can't believe it's already that time- crunch time as we prepare for baby. Just a few things left on my baby bucket list and we'll be ready! Matt and I were discussing over lunch that we're just five weeks away from when her big sisters came into the world but eight weeks away from her due date if she's more content to stay in there than they were. Oh and some wonderful new to share that Matt came home with on Thursday night- Matt has been at his job long enough that he can take paid paternity leave!! And get this he can take up to three weeks! Yes, you read that right. I don't think he's going to take it all but he said he was thinking about a week and a half would be good. That sounded good to me. He won't have to take any vacation time and it's paid time off!! My mom still plans on coming down right away to tend to the girls while we're in the hospital. It will also be helpful for my mom since she's got limitations due to her conditions. We're all excited all the way around! We love when daddy is home!

So here's to the little engine who keeps on chugging and praising God with each chuff along the way. 

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline" 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wet Cement and Love

I almost didn't write today because I'm not in the best of moods. I think I would have to say that being a stay-at-home mom has lots of perks and among my top 10 is not having to be around anyone when I'm in a bad mood. Now you might be thinking I'm a nut (which you would be right to think) because yes I am indeed around my kids 24/7 but they have this way about making me smile when I'm cranky, laugh when I'm sad, or just get over my issues and move on. For some reason other people do not have this effect on me- in fact it is usually the opposite. When I'm forced to be around people they make me more sad, more cranky, and want to scream at the world. So being home when I'm not at my best is the best.

Today was one of those days. I felt like I was moving through wet cement. I was getting stuff done but every time I turned around something else needed my attention. I couldn't get the morning routine done fast enough. It might have to do with the fact that I've been blessed for the past four day with Matt home helping me. I sure did miss his presence today. He had off Monday for President's Day and then yesterday we got a heap load of snow (to my northern friends we just a dusting). So Matt's boss sent an email suggesting they work from home. Matt can't really do that too well since he needs the hardware elements to test the software and we don't have any of that stuff at home. So he get a few hours of work done during nap time that he was able to do from home. But he was ours the rest of the day! So today I was just in slow motion without my partner in crime.

I finally got to starting school an hour later than usual and we got on a roll. We were doing well but we were later than usual since we started later. So it wasn't until I was about to start a new lesson/project that I noticed Olivia standing on the chair funny. Any mom who's ever potty trained knows that look and that stance. Sure enough she had an accident. I felt bad for her- she's been accident free for some time now but her and Lauren had an extra drink this morning and both girls had gulped it down fast. It was also right around an hour and a half since she had gone last so had I been paying attention better I might have helped her to avoid it. We cleaned up the mess and I put her on the potty incase she wasn't all done. With new clothes on I decided to save that lesson/project for later and get started on lunch since it was passed our normal lunch time as well. I put out some grapes and the girls were munching on them as I prepared the rest of lunch. Lauren and Olivia were playing some game too. After getting the plates almost ready I turned around to see Olivia standing there in her wet pants. Again. It had been less than a half hour from her first accident and she never once told me that she needed to used the bathroom. I was frustrated since we had just reviewed how to tell mommy if you have to go, a half hour earlier. But she hadn't so we went through the clean up process again. It has been a long time since she has had two accidents in one day but again I reminded myself about all the extra drink and just took some nice deep breaths. And like any good mom reminded her again to tell mommy if you have to go to the potty.

We finally sat down to eat. Lunch was good and the girls must have been hungry or my cooking is just that good (hehehe) because they ate it all up. I was getting little Olivia's face cleaned up and I said to her, let's go use the potty since we drank so much today. I picked her up only to find that she already had that idea and had yet another accident. Oh by this time I was no longer calm as a cucumber and my patience was out the window. I fussed at her about telling mommy and so on. I got her cleaned up again but this time a little more begrudgingly. Could this day be anymore of a stinker?!?! I was trying to get over the slow morning, the cut short school lessons, and the first two accidents, not to mention the lack of pep in my step and I wasn't catching a break. 

Still I forged ahead and after cleaning up Olivia for the third time, I cleaned up lunch. The whole time I cleaned up I was so grateful for my third baby being in my belly and not adding any more to the crazy. I was thankful each accident had happened in the kitchen allowing for very easy clean up. I was also thinking about how I really didn't want to put my little accident girl in snow clothes now. So as I plopped down in the living room chair, I told Lauren "I think mommy is too tired to go outside and play in the snow." But she looked crushed and said "You can do it mommy." I told you these girls have a way of making me have energy when I feel like there is none left to give and a smile too. So I rallied and we went outside to play in the snow. They played and ran around (okay Olivia just walks like a one year old unsure of how to navigate the snow but Lauren was running) and I shoveled around the cars. Matt had so nicely moved my car back before going to work in hopes that the sun would melt the last bit of snow but there was too much for that so I finished the job. Then we played in the backyard making snow angels and going around in the sleds. Then we decided to build a snowman. Before we knew it, it was time to head in and get ready for naptime.

We got in and undressed from all the snow gear only to find out Olivia had yet again peed in her pants. This time I was too upset for words. I don't mind that she peed per say, this is not what was upsetting me- what I was upset about was that again she didn't say a word to me. I feel like she is very capable to doing this. So I went about getting her cleaned up again. This time though she was the one upset. She cried and cried- not because of me fussing, no. I went back to being that calm cucumber because I was too upset to be upset (you ever get that way?) and I was just cleaning her up with not a word coming from my mouth. She on the other hands was a slobbery mess.

I was also happy the nap diaper was coming on. Always looking for that silver lining.  I already had an extra load of laundry, I didn't need to add sheets on top of that. We got ready for bed with special prayers for handling life's hardships and extra hugs and kisses.

But now I sit here in the quiet of the house. With Olivia sleeping like a sweet baby and Lauren playing trains and it all seems so insignificant. Isn't that funny how we get so caught up in the moment of crazy that surrounds us and when we're removed from it, it doesn't seem so bad. Instead, I am remembering the fun of each lesson we learned at school. Both girls drew a sweet family portrait that melted my heart. We had fun playing outside and building a silly snowman. I enjoyed the small moments where I got to be silly with them or snuggle for a few seconds in between the other stuff. Those are the moments I want to think about as I fall asleep. Those moments that God made just for me and them. These girls aren't going to be this little for long and yes I will remember the crazy but I want more than anything to remember the love. The moments where Lauren runs into the room with a smile from ear to ear to tell me her exciting news or when Olivia just runs to you out of nowhere to hug you and giggle. 

So if this day was slow and not much got accomplished, I pray that what did get accomplished was showing my girls just how much mommy loves them. Weather it is showing mercy, compassion, and forgiveness for a lesson still needing to be learned or by rallying extra energy to make sure they feel special and loved and worth every ounce of my being. I might not have been able to get through half of my school lessons today but I hope that the lesson learned is bigger than anything I can say to them across the table. May my actions, words, and life model to them what true love is - even on the days when I'm walking through wet cement.

 Olivia, Our Snowman, & Lauren

Their family portraits- both of them including their baby sister
without me saying anything- what more could a mama ask for?!

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12, 14 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Projects, Lists, and Some other stuff

We are on the upswing of BoogerFest #2,581 of this winter. I'm so very grateful that this one seems to be passing in a little over a week and not a month or more like some of the other happy illnesses that have entered through our doors this season. So today we've been home and open for fun projects since we don't feel like passing our 'winter love' onto others just yet. 

I finally got started on a project that has been brewing in my mind for about oh six months. You see I found these really cute "little sister, big sister, biggest sister" shirts on etsy.com and really wanted to get them. I however was not willing to pay $52 for three shirt that would be outgrown in a few months, never to be worn again (since they would be personalized with names and all). So my thrifty mind got to thinking and I decided I could make my own for WAY cheaper. I got on google and looked up how to make your own t-shirt and they simply said to use a sharpie marker. Easy. So I went to the craft store about a month ago and got a onesie and two shirts for the big girls on sale for $12 total. Then I found that sharpie has fabric markers- way cool! So I purchased three different colors for $6 and some change. Then I went onto Microsoft Word and printed out the words for each shirt in some cute font for free (ink and piece of paper are a nominal price in my book). I taped the shirts to the window and traced the words onto the shirt. Now I need to hit up the other craft store to get a few packs of flower iron-ons I had found but didn't get since I wasn't quite sure what I wanted yet (price TBD). Then I will have cute, personalized shirts for when baby arrives for ~$25 or less and if you don't like doing math in your head, that is less than half price!!! I'm very excited about that, can you tell! 

I have also gotten started, again, on Olivia's 10-12 month photo book. Hoping to finish it later. Shutterfly has a sale for Valentine's Day that has the books 50% off- nice. Don't laugh at me I do realize Olivia just turned 2  and I'm just now completing her 10-12 month book but hey it's been busy here. I think I was the same way with Lauren- neither of the girls have a 1-2 year book which I would love to make someday...maybe...okay maybe that will never happen. But I girl can dream right?! 

So now that it is done I can cross that off my "Baby Bucket List." You know the one I've sort of spoken of on here. Got the dresser- check. Got Lauren taking showers- check. Got Olivia using the potty and out of diapers- check. Got shirts almost made- 1/2 check. Got Olivia's last photobook made and ordered- check. Have baby clothes cleaned, organized, and in the dresser/closet- check. Still need to: organized closets upstairs, prepare nursery, clean up baby car seat, get and clean bassinet, reorganize diaper bag, pull out all the baby stuff from storage, pack that ever dreaded hospital bag...there might be more but that is all my brain is coming up with right now.

I had a moment earlier this week when I realized I am now 30 weeks and that Lauren and Olivia were just 7 weeks from being born at this point. I'm not holding my breath that this little one will do the same- but it just got me nervous for how fast this pregnancy is coming to an end.

I think it has to do with life being that much busier with two sweet ones already here but I tell you a week will pass sometimes in the blink of an eye. I feel like January was here and gone before I took a breath. I am also so much more aware of how selfish I am with this time- right now baby is mine, all mine (of course said maliciously) and I don't have to share her. Plus, she's so gosh darn portable- no fussing at her to put on her shoes or hurry up doing __[fill in the blank]___. It's almost like I know how life is going to get a little more crazy and so I'm embracing the 'less crazy' we have right now. Do I sound crazy right now for saying that? I wouldn't be surprised! 

A women in my Thursday Bible study just had her third little one and she is still so little she comes into small group and sleeps away or just chills in her mama's arms instead of going to the nursery. I looked at her sweetness today and thought to myself- I'm glad I have a little more time. I'm glad I'm not quite there. I want my baby out (eventually) and I do want to share her, really I do despite my goofy statement above, but I'm just not ready yet. This instinct is so polar opposite of how I felt with Lauren and with Olivia a little too I just felt so big at the end, I was so nervous that I was ready for the crazy. I think it also has to do with this might be our last. I would love four little ones but I think Matt is going to be content with three. So I don't want this part to end so soon since I know you forget it. You forget what being pregnant feels like, just the same as you forget the intense pain labor causes you until the moment your body is right there again. So I am savoring it, each moment, each kick, each shirt the accentuates my big old belly because Lord knows that once baby is born you want to do everything EXCEPT accentuate your belly. Sometime I'll have to write my feelings about having more babies but for now I'll leave it at that since it could be a long post in and of itself. 

Now I'll make my way into the kitchen and get dinner going so when the crazies wake up and get home from work I can provide a warm meal for them. I'm so grateful for all I have been given from our Lord. I'm grateful for things like sweet shirts and photo books full of wonderful memories. Oh there isn't a thing I'm not grateful for- even the crazy I've come to know and love! The crazy I call my home and my family.

"There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
at time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Say WHAT Mr. Groundhog?!?

This morning Lauren was eating breakfast and asked "Is it still winter?" I reply with "Why yes it is but it doesn't feel like it today." We had the girls pictures done by a great friend this morning (can you believe they're 4 and 2!!!) and when we got home we ate up some yummy lunch and headed back outside. Matt put up the trapeze bar Olivia got for her birthday and the girls just enjoyed swinging and running around. We're even more excited that tomorrows weather looks even nicer and we'll be out enjoying the fresh air again after church!

Here are some fun pictures of the girls to brighten up your day and add some sunshine to the blah of winter!

 Sweet Olivia Jean

 Crazy daisy Lauren Shea

 Always trying to be like her big sister!

 Check me out!!

 Me too! With some help from daddy of course.

 My heart never feels so full as it does when these
two girls play together and help each other out.

 Big sister & Little sister love

 See that proud big sister back there!

 Lauren Shea has just learned how to pump all
by herself!!! It is amazing what I couple of months
will do in a child's development. We were all smiles
as she pumped herself back and forth.

Taking it all in and watching her big sister so
soon enough she'll be right there with her.

"The Spirit of God has made me; 
the breath of the Almighty give me life." 
Job 33:4

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Tangible God

I have been really, really wanting to get on here and write what has been on my heart lately and here God is giving me that opportunity. Two sleeping girls, Wednesday nights Bible study planned and Thursday's Bible study homework up to date and Matt isn't due home for a bit, plus, it's leftover night so no dinner prep needed! Can you see me dancing with joy like a fool! 

Life has been busy, as it usually is. Olivia turned 2 last week!!! Just blows my mind that she is two already. Potty training is on the up swing. She has been so good and is gaining control over it all. Allowing us to enjoy life in longer increments than the ol' 45 minute routine we had just a week ago. I'm so proud of her- she truly is a big girl now. Lauren is just plugging away, throwing surprises our way at every turn. She is so freakin' smart sometimes, I am truly amazed that the things she says (quite literally on a daily basis) and does. I sometimes just take a step back and enjoy the fun that it brings to our house. She's such a young lady. Matt said to me the other day that he wished he could put a little recording device around her neck so we could document all the wonder, beauty, and down right silly that just escapes her mouth all day long. I told him I would agree as long as it was just her voice you could hear when it was played back, lol, this mama doesn't need to hear her own voice anymore than I already do!

Look who can even pour her own cereal...well sort of 

Lauren's skills are a little better- she'll teach Olivia I'm sure

Matt's wonderful parents where down visiting us this past weekend. Always a blessing and an unexpected one too. Which leads me right into what I really, really want to put down in this post. 

I think it was last week Wednesday when could feel God walking through my day with me. It has been one of those times in my life when I truly feel like His presence is so tangible that it gives me the goosebumps (or chill bumps for you goofy folk ;-). So here goes my days.

Wednesday was going to be a crazy day, and for the most part it still kind of was. I had a baby appointment with the good ol' OB GyN. I always get excited for those appointments- for a few reasons. One, I usually go alone or with Matt and I enjoy either my quiet time or my alone time with Matt. Two, when you're pregnant with baby number three it's hard to find time to just bask in the glory of your pregnant state and these appointments give me time to do just that. Three, I love hearing my baby's heartbeat, oh such a sweet symphony of tones that makes my heart dance. So I was a bit disappointed when I realized that my absent minded pregnant self had also made Olivia's 2 year appointment for the same day. Or it might have been the other way around- I made my baby appointment for the same day as Olivia's, but you get the point. I can't be two places at once.

I called Matt when I realized my grave mistake. I told him the predicament and was secretly hoping he would solve all of my problems and be my hero once again. But no indeed he too could not figure out how I could be at two places at once. I had a babysitter coming, originally for both girls, so I wouldn't have to worry at all about Lauren- Amen! So I asked Matt if he could take the morning off to take Olivia to her appointment and then I would go alone to mine. He said sure and all was right. Expect it wasn't. I really LOVE going to their doctor appointments- for a few reasons (sound familiar? - if not reread the last paragraph again- and yes I hope you're laugh right along with me on this). One, I love their doctor- she is great and I'd be friends with her in the outside world if I could be. Two, I love finding out all about how they've grown and how they are doing. Three, I like to ask questions- it's in my DNA to be a question asker (ask everyone of my teachers and professors they will agree hands down, or up :-). With Olivia I'm forever asking about her food issues and this time was no different. 

So I prayed and got over it. There was just one small, very small, extremely small chance I could do both. My appointment was at 9:20 and Olivia's was at 10:15. And God afforded me another chance besides the appointments be staggered a bit, there was also the fact that we were at the West End pediatrians office (not our usually office). The appointments were at offices only ten minutes apart. I knew going into the day that it was very slim chance that I could pull it off. After all the OB GyN is so very rarely on time so I just prayed and figured I'd have to hear about Olivia's appointment from Matt. 

Well Jesus was in the car when I got an awesome parking spot in, and when "For the first time in forever..." (yes I'm signing Frozen songs on my blog post) the doctors office was running on time. I got into the room with plenty of time. I'm telling you I've never had an appointment run so smoothly every!!!! I even had time to chat with my doctor, whom I love dearly too, about life and kids as I listened to sweet baby's heartbeat. Then I had to get that ever so wonderful Rhogam shot and since the doctor's nurse was super busy they had another nurse do it and she was ready as soon as I was and I was able to get in quickly to have my blood drown too! I got in the car and raced over to Olivia's appointment. I had been texting Matt my positive progress the whole time. When I got into the car I had a text from him back and I might just make it. So off I zoomed. I pulled into the parking lot, ran (okay, walked quickly) into the office and asked the receptionist where they were. I walked into the room to see Olivia being a sweet girl and the best was when she lit up like a little Christmas Tree when I came into the room. I hugged her and thanked God, whom I swear to you was in the room with us enjoying the moment too. Dr. T and I chatted about baby number three and names. I found out she was as crazy with her children's names as I have been. She also has three children and was very intent to make sure her children's name went together just so. Matt zoned out but I was so excited to not be the only crazy mama who agonized over simple things while naming her babies because it mattered-  to me. But we also talked about the food allergies, which Matt hadn't gotten to so I was also grateful I didn't miss that conversation. Olivia got a wonderful report of heath and didn't even need any shots- just a finger prick, which was with her doctors usually nurse -another wonderful lady! The morning couldn't have gone any better- such an answer to prayer plus more! What a great God we have!!

Then we traveled home to enjoy lunch as a family before Matt had to scoot back off to work. We all enjoy when daddy is here for lunch. I tell you I was walking on Jesus' soft cloud all day and I'm sure he was right there with me. It honestly was a blessing beyond measure.

Then I was praying and praying for Thursday too. You see we have Bible study on Thursdays and last week was rough with Olivia's potty training and I felt awful for both her and the nursery worker. I had a plan of action to turn that frown upside down this week. And there it was Thursday and there He was- Jesus yet again by my side seeing prayers on my heart be answered. She did so good. They had woken up early that morning- so Olivia was able to do her daily morning business at home leaving this mama so hopeful that she was good to go in that department (the week before not so much and she ended up doing it in her pants and I know she was beyond devastated that she wasn't quite comfortable enough to do it in the potty). Anyway- with her #2 out of the way I just had to worry about getting the pee in the pot- I could do this. So I went to the nursery to bring her into the potty every hour or so and help her feel more comfortable. I just left my study to tend to her in the nursery. I had to go there three times but the second two times she was successful and came home in the same pants that she showed up in. I was so proud of her and again so thankful for the tangible evidence that my God cares for even the grossest of our needs.

So then that leaves us with this wonderful weekend. But of course I must backtrack a bit- I wouldn't be Jennifer if there wasn't a back story to everything I say- oh bless my heart. Anyway, I've been prayerful for a new dresser. You see this time around all I needed to do to get the 'house' ready for baby was to officially move all of Olivia's stuff into the 'big girls room.' She has been sleeping in there since December but her clothes still were housed in the nursery. One reason being I had no dresser to put her clothes into and the other being I hadn't gotten around to rearranging all the closets yet (I still have more work in that area but I know I'll get to it). So I started stalking Craigslist for the city we live in and the city Matt's and my family live it. I was finding NOTHING here. On top of being a very small selection, what I was finding was way over priced. I had specifics that couldn't be changed. I needed it to be a chest of drawers since I needed it to fit in the room. It also needed to be 5 drawers high, not 4, in order to fit in all the clothes. And I really wanted a wood that wouldn't clash with the dresser that was already in there housing Lauren's clothes. I'm not to needy...ha! So I did find one and my MIL looked into it but someone else had found it first. I wasn't too discouraged, I mean I do have three months until baby comes into the world needing clothes and all. I trusted God had one picked out for us and in His timing we would find it. I didn't however think he was going to have such an awesome plan, in a way only he can!

Then one week ago- on a Sunday night I got an email from Matt's mom. She found a beauty. I saw it and told her to go for it. It was even better than I could have imagined!! It was a double chest. So there are two columns of drawers- 5 high in the same dresser!! Thus allowing me to put both girls clothes in one dresser!!! Who even knew that existed?? Not I. On top of this fantasticness, it was just one piece of a set. There was a coordinating desk, chair, mirror, nightstand, and bookshelf. Now- ALL of this was in mint condition and ALL of it was just $250. Now we had budgeted about $100 for a used wooden dresser. But we didn't need all of the stuff in the group, so things could be resold offsetting the cost. Plus, Matt's parents so generously helped financially too. So the girls now have a new bookshelf, something I hadn't even prayed for but they needed (there was literally no room left on the one they had and we have many more years of book collecting in front of us). They also have a new nightstand that coordinates with their new dresser and bookshelf. I was just hoping for something that wouldn't clash but God had bigger and better things in store for us. Isn't He GREAT!!!!

Here's the dresser all set up, clothes inside! It fit perfectly into
the space. Just an answer to prayer plus so much more!

Here is the bookshelf...see the room for growth. 
It however is NOT all set up- just books thrown back
on so the floor wouldn't be covered anymore. 
A work in progress...

If this wasn't enough my in-laws were planning a random- we miss our grandbabies visit. So they were able to pick it up and bring it down to us just a few days later. They also took the dresser and nightstand that we already owned and had no room for back to there house for storage until God blesses us with our next home that we're hoping might have some more rooms and we can take it back from them. I was able to move the bookshelf from their room into the office for some much needed storage of school stuff. The house that once felt so big and somewhat empty is now feeling a little snug and not empty at all- and what a blessing that is!

My in-laws presence this weekend allowed for Matt to do a few things around the house and me too. Lauren took a trip to their hotel room again and we got some wonderful alone time with our now 2 year old. I love when we're able to make our children feel special in their own way. We were able to visit with them and enjoy their wonderful company too. I was able to run some errands and get some reorganizing done with the dresser swap, closet rearranging, and new bookshelf arrangement. 

Man the length of this post is beyond my usual attention span or my allotted time. But here I am still able to write. I just can't explain in words how amazing God's love is. I think of the way I try and do special things to make my children feel loved and important and cherished and then I see Him doing it to me. I think that is why I've been so adamant in getting this post down. I want to... 

Shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and west
Jesus is Savior to all
He's Lord of heaven and earth

Rise up women of the truth
Stand and sing to broken hearts
Who can know the healing power
Of our awesome King of love

And Shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and west
Jesus is Savior to all
He's Lord of heaven and earth

We've been through fire, we've been through pain
We've been refined by the power of Your name
We've fallen deeper in love with You
You've been the truth on our lips

Shout to the north and the south

Sing to the east and west
Jesus is Savior to all
He's Lord of heaven and earth

Yes, He's Lord of heaven and earth
~Shout to the North~

"There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you." Deuteronomy 12:7

"Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice." 1 Chronicles 16:10

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, "The Lord is great!" Psalm 70:4 

"In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trust in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." Isaiah 25:9

There are so many more ways I can quote how I feel about God right now. I feel like rejoicing in Him who knit each of these days together so perfectly in a way only He who created the heavens and the earth can. I might not be a preacher who can tell many how tangible God can be but I can tell all who I know about how God is here with us. And He isn't just with us when things are working out but He's there with us when things are all jumbled up too, if you've ever read any of my other post- especially ones about this past summer- you know that I feel His almighty presence in the good times and the bad. I just prefer the good times...don't we all! So may your week be blessed. May you feel his love, power, and gentleness as you walk through your day. May you know His presence is so close that you feel it in your heart and see it in your daily life.

Well it's time for bath and shower and bed and I'm one tired mama- off to enjoy those blessings!