Wednesday, December 18, 2013

let's support the Bible and this Duck Dynasty star!

Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty was just suspended from TV for his comments on homosexuality. The GLAAD community has spoken up and made this comment: "Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe." I think that last part is a lie about ten to a hundred times more than what Phil Robertson said.

If you agree with me, let's not be silent about this! Christians who agree with me and love the show, email A&E TV at feedbackaetv@aenetworks.com. If you want, here is the email I sent, and you are welcome to use it as a starter for your email. It's not perfect, but it could help you!

Thanks! I'm tired of my beliefs being generalized incorrectly on a nationwide level, and I see this as an opportunity to stand up for what I believe in and support someone who believes as I do!





---


Hello,

I just found out about the suspension of Phil Robertson and I am very disappointed that you did not stand up for one of your stars and their beliefs. I thoroughly agree with and support Phil Robertson in what he said about homosexuality and I know many, many others within the church and Christian community who would agree with me. 

What stands out to me is that Wilson Cruz, the spokesperson for GLAAD, made a statement about Christians that is absolutely wrong, and I completely disagree with, yet no one has disagreed with him--and they should. I know many more people who agree with Phil Robertson's comments than who agree with Wilson Cruz's assumption about what Christians believe. 

I think it's rude that you did not stand behind your TV star and instead ran to the safe side of siding with the LBGT community. To me, it was done out of fear and peer pressure. 

Let Phil be back on Duck Dynasty. He stated his opinion. We do have a right to free speech in this country, and you should support that right. 

Thank you for your time. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

preterm labor, a praise report, and prayer request

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving! There's something special to me about the day where you just get to be together with family and enjoy a nice big meal. :-) And then be all stuffed together and lay around the house... lol!

Our Thanksgiving was nice. I received doctor's permission to travel a couple hours to see Erik's family, and it was great to see them. What wasn't so great was the night after. I woke up around 1 p.m. and had a lot more contractions than normal. I was trying to figure out what was going on and what to do about it for the next few hours. I was able to fall asleep for another hour before waking up again. At that point, I was concerned enough to contact the doctor and figure out what was causing these consistent contractions.

I called my doc and since I was out of town, she set it up for me to head into the nearest hospital where they had a maternity ward and could monitor me. Sure enough, I had contractions (probably 5 minutes or so apart? I don't even remember... it was too many!) and not necessarily a reason for them. I got some meds to calm them down and that helped. Then they measured my cervix to see if I was near delivery or far away, so they could know their next plan of action - and yes, part of that plan of action would be to transport me to the cities to deliver that day if needed! So glad that didn't happen, yikes!

Here's where the praise report is: it turns out that my cervix is long and strong and my cerclage (stitch) is holding as it needs to. In fact, a lot of women with normal pregnancies at this stage in the game would potentially have a shorter cervix than me just based on the natural progression of pregnancy!

I thought about it after the fact and realized that since my surgery I've been stating, "I have a strong cervix and a strong cerclage." And sure enough, it's true! Thank you, Lord. I still stand on that truth, even as I've had contractions throughout the day, as I want to have a healthy baby come in January or at the earliest, late December.

The tricky part is my pregnancy now no longer fits the "norm" so I need God's wisdom in knowing how to respond to what my body tells me (contractions, etc.) and knowing if or when it would be important to get doctor's help. So, yes, I will keep laying low over this next month, especially as I figure out what my body is doing.

Now, as if this wasn't enough to deal with, we have finally come to a crossing point with Erik's health issues. Some of you may know that he's been dealing with a lot of different things health-wise for the past 6-7 years. We've dealt with it in different ways - from the ablation/heart surgery that was successful in 2010 to specialist doctors to chiropractor visits to a visit at Mayo Clinic this past September. It's been exhausting and hard to know which path to follow; all we knew to do was keep praying and follow what seemed best at the time, trusting that the Lord was behind the directions and thoughts we were having.

All of that, though, still didn't seem to fully address the issue. Erik's symptoms continued and even worsened. A lot has happened in the past three months--including a few hospital visits and an irregular heartbeat, which Erik hasn't experienced for three years--and Erik has really faced his most difficult health situations. It's been no fun watching him go through this. :(

The good news is, we've found the answer that we are hoping and praying will be the final push to getting Erik healthy. A recommendation from a family member brought us to a doctor near Erik's home town that confidently diagnosed what he is dealing with as multiple types of Lyme's disease. The doctor has a plan to get Erik healthy again, which is amazing! (and I really think this is the first time we've had such a confident answer and plan - I'm very grateful!)

Right now, because of the condition his body is in, he has had to stop working.  (A huge shout out to his company for letting him go on medical leave! They have been a huge blessing to us through this.) The heart concerns, shortness of breath, and dizziness he has been experiencing was interfering with his ability to work. (He didn't even go hunting this year!) He has been on tonics from the doctor during this time period, and we are believing that they will address the bacterial issues he is facing and ultimately help address the heart issues and other symptoms he has experienced for years.

The doctor said that Erik should be feeling somewhat better by Christmas and within six months he'll be feeling better than he has in years. I'm hopeful that this is the end of this health journey so Erik can finally feel better again and be back to himself!

I know we have a journey between now and then. If you think of us, could you please say a prayer for grace and strength for each one of us physically, mentally, and spiritually, as we walk through this next month, in particular, and then beyond as Erik's health continues to strengthen? Thanks.

That would be amazing.

And you know what? You'll probably see us much more often around once we get through this final push to health victory! Praise God. He will get the glory through all this and the devil will pay!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

32 weeks and counting

Yay! 32 weeks and counting! So grateful to be this far in the pregnancy and to have had it go so much better than the previous ones. I'm definitely approaching it with less fear than last time solely because I have an image in my head of me making it through and delivering a healthy baby! I didn't have that last time, and I think I did a good job of doing the best I could to not worry through it, just having an image of good in my head helped tremendously! It says a lot about the importance of our imagination, that's for sure.

Here my 32 weeks pic...



One thing I remember looking at all the pics while pregnant with Brayden, I wished I had a front view of my belly too. It's perhaps not as flattering as the side view where you can measure how much you stick out, but it definitely shows Babycakes is in there!



To my dearest, littlest Babycakes, 
I am so excited to meet you! You have a fabulous family (at least I think so!), and we are excited to meet you and for Brayden to play with you, his little brother or sister. I'm thrilled about not knowing which you are. I love guessing until the last second. 

We have a couple months left to go until we get to meet you. I'm thinking you'll come in a month and a half... but just because I said that, I am also prepared for you to come in 2 months or more, lol! I've learned babies just do their own thing at times! 

Tomorrow is a special day: Thanksgiving. This year, I am thankful for your Daddy; your big brother, Brody; your other big brother, who you'll meet right away, Brayden; and you! I'm super excited to see your personality and how you blend into our family. Oh and I can't forget what will become your potentially favorite thing on earth: we have a puppy. His name is Tucker, and your brother, Brayden, adores him. You're going to have a blast with him and laugh at him probably more than you will ever laugh at me and Daddy. He's a giant - yet alive! - stuffed animal. 

Anyhoo, we're off to celebrate soon with family. 

All my love, 
Mommy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

celebrating brody

So tonight I wanted to do something special as we celebrated and remembered Brody. We didn't make it out to Brody's grave, but will soon. Instead we laid low at home.

Since it's his birthday, I wanted to at have a sweet treat to celebrate. I had been pondering it for a few days - something simple but kinda fun to be a birthday cake for him. We have Halloween candy from our party at church and a bunch of them are laffy taffy. Since those candies are so hard, I decided not to ruin my teeth eating them or let Brayden or Erik either. Instead, I wanted to do my own Chopped dessert and find a recipe where I could melt the candy. (On the chopped TV show, they melt candy often and use it in recipes. I felt the need to try that myself!)

So I found a recipe for laffy taffy frosting that I could put on the leftover whoopie pies we had in the freezer from Erik's birthday.

It started out well and grand.... I got my laffy taffys out and pulled out ten cherry ones.



I threw them in a pot with some butter and milk and found out that, yes, candy can really melt down into beautiful liquid:


I started blending it with my handheld mixer. Brayden was intrigued by the noise. I was making decent progress whipping up the butter until I heard a strange noise and suddenly found butter on my shirt... and on the wall, the microwave, the knives in the knife block, all over the powdered sugar bag... and even on Erik's jacket hanging on a chair in the next room. 

Seriously... what happened? I was baffled until I saw this: 


Notice the beautifully misplaced whisk thingy? Yeah, that wasn't super great! 

Here's a sideways glimpse of the frosting and a bit of the mess... 


Now I can't say it turned out exactly as I pictured. Well, it kinda did. The cherry frosting was decent, but then I realized that adding a little bit of almond extract would make it extra amazing, since we've always enjoyed almond buttercream and cherry almond is a good combination. 

So I went for it and went to the fridge, pulled out the small extract bottle, looked at the peppermint extract bottle and thought, that seems a little off, but mostly right, put a bunch in the frosting, and then it dawned on me. Nothing about the beautiful peppermint extract carried the flavor of the almond extract my head was planning on. Total pregnancy brain moment! It definitely over flavored the frosting to be minty... but it wasn't bad enough to not eat it. 

So I grabbed two thawed chocolate whoopie pies, dolloped a bunch of frosting on each (chocolate peppermint is great, right?), added some mini chocolate chips for good measure, and then brought it over to my boys. We sat down, sang happy birthday to Brody, and enjoyed our little treat. Happy moments and happy memories and dreams of being with our little one again. 

And yes, here's the proof it must have tasted decent enough.... :-) 






happiest third birthday to my firstborn!

Today, I'm thinking of my little mister, Brody Mark Wegener. He was born 11-20-10, weighed a little less than a pound, was a little less than a foot long, and lived for a little less than an hour. He was such a trooper because he stayed in my tummy with minimal amniotic fluid for over five days. He's a fighter!

We had a beautiful funeral for him about a month after he was born; it was long enough after so I had enough time to physically recover and our family could be together. It brought nice closure to a short life that had such an impact on me and my family and who knows who else.

Sometimes I forget how much it hurts to have lost a family member... and yes, I highly dislike that I lost two of them within a little over a year (my brother and my son). Each of their legacies live on in unique ways... and every once in a while, it's good to sit down and just have a good cry that they aren't there any more and that you just miss them and want them back.

I can't explain the odd feelings I have that Brayden, although he thinks he's the oldest kid and certainly acts like the only kid because he is the only kid we're taking care of, my heart knows he's my middle child. It's so strange because it's this intangible feeling that he's not my oldest. Brody is. Like I mentioned when I said we were pregnant with our third, I am reminding myself that Brayden has no understanding about him not really being the oldest or the only kid, so his behavior will be oldest/only kid. But he will most definitely grow up knowing about his big brother in heaven.

I'm really grateful for this odd feeling though... this constant, subconscious remembrance of Brody. My guess is a lot of parents, including my own, feel that same way if they lose a child. No one else may know or everyone might know that you've lost someone, but you know, and that knowing is something you hold dear to you. They are forever a part of your heart and life.

Thanks to his grandma, Brayden has a few different books (he loves books!) on becoming a big brother and I think he has a pretty good 22-month-old grasp on the subject. I really think he'll do great once the next little miss or mister comes along in January.

Erik and I have had occasional questions from people - and we've asked ourselves these questions as well - will this be our last kid? And that's a fabulous question. I really like the idea of three kids, but I'm not sure how that will look in the future. Going through another pregnancy with light activity is rather intimidating, but the reward is great... Then we have always talked about adoption. I have no idea what the future holds, but I really like the fact that it doesn't matter what the future holds, I already have three kids. One just happens to be extremely easy to take care of... although, Brody, just so you know, I wish I were the one planning your birthday party. I do know you're in good hands.

All my love, Daddy's love, Brayden's love, and baby's love... happy birthday, Brody Mark Wegener! We love you and miss you dearly and are super excited to be reunited in heaven with you soon!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

throwback thursday

Happy 29 weeks to me and baby #3... I really like that I'm just days away from the 30-week mark. I like being in that "3-" range of weeks. I also like the age Brayden is at... 22 months. He's such a doll and so fun to watch. As you can imagine, so many fun things and stories I could tell....

Instead, I'm going to do a #throwbackthursday post! Partially because I was going through my archived photos and found cute ones that I haven't done anything with, so why not post them in my "online journal"! :-)

happy birthday to mommy and daddy! August 2012... this is a favorite of mine!
at the Bachman flower show, April 2013 (Erik took the pic!)
flower show, part 2, me and my family!
a little blurry... but we were going down the slide at the children's museum, May 2013... I love his smile!

I love this one of my mom and Brayden... must have been August 2012 or so because he's in that same cute outfit from our birthday picture above
April 2013, me and Bray at a bookstore reading! 

June 2013, eating watermelon at a family picnic

Thursday, October 31, 2013

hallelujah harvest 2013


Hi there!

This year, Brayden got to be a part of our church's annual Hallelujah Harvest. He got a little roasty-toasty in his full lion costume, so the video you see at the party is him in a t-shirt and his costume pants. But the pictures that follow are in his full costume. He went trick or treating at our next door neighbors (just one house!).

He did like his costume. Super nice to have just pants and a zip up hoodie! When he showed his costume to people, he'd point to the lion on his head! So cute!









tuck is waiting for brayden to come back from trick-or-treating at the neighbors
coming in from the neighbors
super excited to eat the candy he picked out ... just waiting for mom to unwrap it!

yum!

this is really nummy...

yep, I bit off the paper and everything! 

so glad I found the candy bowl... 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

pregnancy update

Hi there!

As you can see, I wasn't joking. There is officially a baby in my tummy! Crazy! :-) S/he is kicking and rolling around and making his/her presence known... and yes, I am super excited we don't know what we are having! Something about not knowing until we meet the little kid makes me so happy. Yay!

25 weeks

This pregnancy is going the best out of all of them. I'm farther along than previously with no scares or concerns. This tells me two things: I have a better idea of what I can and can't do and I'm not as nervous this time around. I know in the back of my head that I did it before and I can do it again. I also have a much better picture of the end result. That propels me forward.

Don't get me wrong. This is still hard. It takes a crazy amount of guts and strength to do this again and both Erik and I have been like, Ahhhh, why are we putting ourselves through this again! Thankfully, though, this time, we remember and are still creating moments with Brayden that tucks the six months of limited activity and bedrest during his pregnancy in the far corners of our minds where they are almost unreachable. We know the same will eventually happen with number next.

During Bray's pregnancy, I had a week where I was doing limited amounts of things each day, but I did something out of the house every day. That created a minor scare that made me buckle down on bedrest so Brayden wouldn't come too early. This time, I am not repeating that. Although I have let myself go out of the house a couple times each week (with my doc's approval), I make sure I spend the next few days down doing nothing and when I'm out, I'm purposefully not walking long distances. And if my body tells me to rest or drink water or not stress or whatever, I try to comply. So the plan is that you will see me out and about to a limited degree until January when number next makes an appearance!

I have to give a shout out to all who have helped us and continue to help us! We have been extraordinarily blessed with family and friends who step up to the plate when we need help, and for that I am extremely grateful. And if you haven't yet helped but want to, you are probably on my list of people to call if I need anything--and trust me, having that list and knowing I can call you is a blessing I can't explain!

Bray and Erik have been troopers through all this. Erik is the lucky one because he gets to put Bray to bed every night and I think they have a male bonding thing going on now! I do my best to play with Bray on the floor or have him snuggle next to me and watch VeggieTales or have him crawl into his highchair and color with me. Creativity is key when your activity is limited!

One of his latest toys is the address label stickers that come from various companies in our junk mail. He loves sticking them on the sofa, on his shirt, on the chair, and then moving them some place else. I love watching his mind at work as he decided what he wants to do!

Well, that's about all for now. Thanks for your prayers. Number next will be here in 3-3.5 months! Yippee!



Saturday, October 5, 2013

four years.

Four years.

Every year that comes, I wonder how I will commemorate the day my big brother went home to be with Jesus. This year, when Oct. 1 came, I hadn't thought much about it, and then I started to write this blog... and then I cried.

Time's a tricky thing. I remember after Brian passed and I would hear about how time healed and watch people walk through the five and ten year anniversaries and not seem as emotional as in that first year or even first moments, which I didn't ever want to be like that... but I was wrong. I am learning that every year is just as emotional as the prior year, but it comes out in different ways. Every anniversary is a chance to remember and cry and reflect and wish it had never happened... and that's okay. It's okay to miss, it's okay to love, it's okay to wish they were still here. And I do.

The anniversary and his birthday and his wedding anniversary--those special days--are all days to remember and cry... and then most of the time, when I think of Brian, I smile or laugh or just remember and wish silently, but tears don't come because life has continued and time has healed. We've moved on in life, which seems callous to say, but it isn't and it is a good thing. Brian would never have wanted me or any of my family or his friends to get stuck in the past crying over him every thought of him. He'd want us to remember his smile, his laugh, and his love for the Lord.

Thanks for my best friend, I was reminded of this story yesterday. She dropped me a note to let me know she was thinking about my family this week and then told me her favorite Brian story... so here goes.

We were at a 50th anniversary party for my extended family. Brian and I and our family cousins were sitting at the end of a long table of people. You know, the long dinner tables that have like 20 people around them and bouquets at each end as centerpieces for the table....

Wait. I should preference this story by saying I was verrrrrrry gullible when I was younger. (I still have my moments!) Brian knew this and would take full advantage of it every once in a while.

... Okay, continuing on. Somehow the conversation at the table switched to what the food was in these cute bowl-like containers at the end of each table. They were circular globs of food and kinda whitish-yellow. There wasn't one at every seat, but I must have been at the end of the table and it was relatively close to my plate. I must have said something like... "What's that?"

My brother, as grand as he is, said, "Oh, that's ice cream."

"Ice cream? Really? That's strange."

"Yeah, it's vanilla ice cream. You should take a bite."

"Well, no one else has one, so it can't be ice cream."

"Well, it's special for the people at the end of the table."

Right about now, my cousins who were sitting with us chimed in. "Yeah, you're in the special seat at the table. You should take a bite."

I was pretty doubtful that they would have ice cream just for me and the other person at the end of the table, but they must have been making some pretty convincing arguments because they finally convinced me to take a very small bite. (Peer pressure, anyone?)

And yes.... it was butter.

I still remember the feeling of that pat of butter in my teeth. I didn't take a lot, but it was definitely gross and easy to tell it wasn't the beautiful scoop of ice cream I was hoping for....

Now, don't let that taint any nice guy images you have of Brian. He was a great big brother and didn't take advantage of my gullibility all too often. Just often enough to make memories and have a story to share twenty-some years down the road. :-)

So to my big brother... I can't believe I'm 32 and you passed at 30. I wish you had stayed ahead of me paving the way through life, so I'm grateful that God blessed me at the perfect time with Erik and his family in addition to my parents, Cristina and your girls and Andrew and baby #5, your nephews Brody and Brayden, and your future niece/nephew Baby #3. You are missed, loved, and remembered often. All my love.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

so you want me to believe like you do?

To all the people out there who would like to convince me that I'm believing wrong, 

Before I give you a few tips on how you can get me to change my beliefs, let me point out this. You won't change my beliefs. I have based my beliefs, as best as I know how, on the Word of God. The only person who can change that is... oh wait, they're not going to change. There is absolutely nothing you can do or say that will change what I believe because I believe I have my foundation in the right place (the Word). 

I have a feeling you probably feel the same way... you are settled in what you believe and your beliefs are not open for discussion. In fact, you are so passionate about what you believe, you are trying to convince me and others like me that I am wrong. 

The problem is, you're going about it the wrong way. Here's what I mean: 

1. Throwing out rude accusations and pointing fingers at why this and this and this in my belief system is wrong isn't going to make me suddenly go, "Oh my goodness, why didn't I think of that?"

2. Pushy behavior and antics are annoying. My beliefs have developed over a lifetime of learning and experience, and a Facebook or blog post about your beliefs or you contradicting my beliefs directly won't make me suddenly decide I'm wrong.

3. Have you ever tried to legitimately listen to my beliefs without preconceived ideas of what I think? Too many times, you come at me and say, "Here's my biblical proof! How dare you believe anything different because I am right!" Yes, I'm guilty of coming back at you with my biblical proof and my own preconceived ideas just to show you my proof, but I've learned that you're not going to listen to me just like I'm not going to listen to you because we're already set in our beliefs. 

4. Perhaps the best way you can win me to your point of view, if you really think I am desperately in need of a belief change, is by living a life that makes me want to become like you or wonder what made you that way... and then if I come across a situation where my belief system isn't working for some reason, I can come ask you questions and approach you personally. Then, and only then, would I be open to change. 

There you go. Don't waste your time by trying to verbally convince me or other people who believe differently than you to change our beliefs, unless we are specifically asking you for your opinion and reasons why you believe what you believe. Make people want to get to know what you believe by the way you live, not because of your smooth talking words. 

Sincerely, 
Someone who is tired of the arguing



Brayden update - 19.5 months

Wow. I thought I'd be blogging a lot more, like I did last time during my pregnancy, but this is a completely different season of life! This time I have a little munchkin around who would love to watch VeggieTales on my computer any time he sees me on it! That means my time on the computer is limited... and when I do have it open, I am working!

Yesterday was my birthday and it was filled with special memories including Brayden taking his nap next to me on the couch.


Awwwww! Love it! And I think that's graham cracker or peanut butter on his cheek...

Then I saw this pic on my phone from just a few months after he was born.


He's changed a lot, yet he still has his look... similar pics yet different, you know? You probably know that from your family and maybe even your own pictures how much looks changes... and yet still stay the same over time!

We also made fun birthday memories earlier this week at Red Robin. Erik and I share the same birthday month so we both get free burgers when we eat at Red Robin. It's one of my favorite meals that I walk out feeling extra full from... awesome burger, unlimited fries, onion rings, and freckled (strawberry) lemonade. Oh, and a birthday sundae, if you dare to leave room for that.

I asked for a Red Robin balloon for Brayden on the way out. Brayden was pretty intrigued by it until the RR employee put it on his wrist (so he wouldn't lose it). He started to cry! Very upset, although we couldn't figure out why. I held it until we got in the car. Once he was in his carseat, I passed it back to him, and then he realized the wonders of this thing called a balloon... you can bat it, shake it, play with it... he loved it then! Erik held onto it with Brayden while we walked indoors so we didn't have a lose-your-balloon-to-the-sky episode. Then Brayden walked around proudly with it inside. He was upset when it floated to the ceiling a few times, but Erik rescued it.

Brayden was pretty stumped in the morning though when the balloon was no longer in the air and would not float above him, but only dragged on the floor behind him. Once he got over the intrigue of the situation, he walked around with it proudly trailing behind him.

Love that boy. So much fun to watch him discover things!

He doesn't like when he doesn't get things he wants...


He also has a new squinty-eyed smile that is adorable...


All for now! Have a great Labor Day weekend!

P.s. I'm just a couple days away from halfway through this pregnancy. All is going well. Doc appointment this week to take a peek at baby, although we're going to keep the surprise of boy/girl until January. Excited!



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

living life... making memories

Ahhhh, Brayden. You are such a joy in our lives. You decided to give us a break and not walk by yourself until the week following your 18-month birthday. Since you've taken that turn for freedom, it seems like you've skyrocketed from a little baby to a little boy. Crazy!

You love puzzles... and have already put together many electronic puzzles and puzzle pieces. You watched mommy and daddy do it, and then figured out how to drag and drop the pieces into the puzzle. That puzzle piece recognition moved over into regular puzzles soon, and even though you easily get frustrated if you can't get the puzzle piece in, we encourage you to keep trying and you get it.

You love to eat... the only problem with that is you're not the best at knowing how big of a bite to take. Many a times we've not been able to give you the next bite you want (or we remove food from your plate) until you finish chewing the gob that is already in your mouth. We were at Davanni's with Grandma and Grandpa and we had all finished eating... and you slowly worked your way through at least a piece and a half of pizza, if not more. But, even though we were sure you had to be full, you saw the one lone piece of crust sitting on the table and could not leave it there. You begged for it "Eh... eh..." while pointing your finger, and mommy caved. Since you couldn't get it torn with your teeth, you shoved the whole thing in your mouth. Now... most of us adults couldn't keep from laughing, but we also had to remove it from your mouth, which made you very upset. We took that as a cue that our dinner was over and headed to the car.

You love sitting in the driver's seat of the truck and car and playing with all the buttons. You are slowly starting to form words, but you communicate pretty well what you want. Your "eh.... eh... eh" is adorable and I know that we'll miss it when you can talk. You say "Dada" and "Momma" ... a little bit of "uh oh" ... you're working on "hello" and "all done" and a few others.

Here's a couple recent moments that cracked me up.

video
I was waiting for Mackenzie to come and give you breakfast in your high chair... there was just a little cereal left in this box, so I was holding the box open for you until you decided to take it. After you took it, you couldn't figure out how to get the cereal again.....


video
Your use of utensils is getting better and better. I just love watching you. :-) 



You love the iPad, you love watching yourself on videos and looking at pictures of us. Any time you see a pic of our family you stop, point, and say "Eh!"

You looooooove Tucker and he's probably the one who still gets you to giggle and laugh the hardest, especially when he gets the zooms and runs like crazy around the house. You love it! And you try to give him hugs, which he sometimes accepts and sometimes casually walks away from. Last night while daddy was cleaning Tucker's ears, you went over and petted him and happily laid your head down on him.

You love having something in your hand... been that way since your first ultrasound, so it seems!... and you will walk around the house with random toys (and then leave them in random places). It's pretty cute. You also walk around with food in your hand that you eat slowly or you are just holding onto for a rainy day. Tucker then follows you around like crazy. Sometimes you hold onto food for 10+ minutes, and occasionally, Tucker gets lucky, like the time you tripped and fell with graham crackers in your hand. Tucker's patience was rewarded and I think you were too distracted with falling to realize he ate your snack.

You love graham crackers and recognize the box and what it inside. You already love Mackenzie, your nanny while we are waiting for baby #3. Your smile melts us all. You are very detailed and love books.

Well, that's all for now... more stories to come later. Love you dearly, little one.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

parenting, the speed of time, and Cheaper by the Dozen 2

Yes, I just teared up watching Cheaper by the Dozen 2... and yes, I decided I may keep it around on our DVR for the next six months just in case I need to be reminded of what's coming in January. (The oldest daughter has her baby boy at the end!)

It made me tear up for a lot of different reasons, probably mainly the pregnancy hormones... but I really like the picture of a family it presents. You can't over-parent or your kid will go bonkers, but you love and cherish every moment and let go as they grow older. And I know Brayden is only 1 1/2, but I know how quickly 1 1/2 came... and how time continues to tick by. I just want to enjoy the moments and love my family with everything I have.

I also love that two mom-and-dad homes are prominent in the movie, one of which the marriage has lasted probably 20-30 years and they are still in love with each other. The morals, although still "American," are so much better than what is presented in today's movies. It makes me think it's almost "classic." I know... a movie from ten years ago, classic? Definitely not in the sense of 1950's classic, but there's something about the family morals and values presented that I desperately wish was still presented in media today. A mom and dad... kids who are just kids... humor that isn't bathroom humor or crass... just good, old-fashioned entertainment.

Anyhoo, this wasn't meant to be a post all about media. I'm pondering this whole time-going-by and parenting thing as I watch Brayden get to know our nanny who is helping out while I can't lift him. He already loves her and has developed a relationship with her, and it's a little weird to watch. I can say (as many mommy t-shirts probably say), I will always be his first love. We share a bond that no one else can have... and he will develop different "bonds" with different people.

It makes me think back to the special place in my heart that all the kids I babysat I have... particular the neighborhood families I took care of. I still love those children like they were my own. It makes me realize it's okay to share Brayden.

Now, it might sound silly to write all this down, but as a blogger, I "tip my hand" a little just in case sharing what I feel helps someone else.

I get to share Brayden a lot during this time of bedrest... and some days that's hard, some days that isn't. Brayden has plenty of love and smiles to go around, so I always know I can have special time with him, even if I can't carry him upstairs or lift him into his crib or car seat. I will get to do all that again in six months. Yes, he will be older and it stinks that I'm missing out on putting him to bed for so long, but that has to be okay. I'm learning to enjoy this time with him in a different way.

I think I'm sitting back and watching him more.... He's grown so much in the past month... he's learning life like crazy. I just look at him and think, "He's not a baby any more. He's a little boy!"

I'm looking forward to the future. As I watched the movie tonight, I just thought, I love my family... all six of us... Erik, me, Brody, Brayden, Tucker, and baby number next.

This is exactly the place I want to be.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

accessing God's place of safety

So I'm a few days into my journey of patience until baby #3 and I'm already remembering the difficulties and finding new ones. I'm sure I'll expound on them soon, but overall, I'm doing well and taking it one day at a time.

I read this verse last night and have been pondering it.

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. (Pr. 29:25)

I looked up these words in blueletterbible.com and found out that word safety means to be high or in an inaccessible city. The root word is sometimes translated as exalted. To me, that means when you trust God, you are lifted above what you are facing to an inaccessible place of safety. You look down and watch God take care of the situations you see with your eyes. In such a high place, you don't actually deal with it; you let God deal with it.

It's interesting that comes right after fearing people. The Message Bible puts it this way: "The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that." 

I often find myself looking to man's opinion and making sure that they approve of what I do to help me know I'm on the right track, but that isn't always good. I think it has its place, but it cannot be the compass by which you dictate your life. Trusting in God takes you beyond needing man's approval. You're in that high city where God is ruler and you're trusting Him to help you make it through each day.

I like that. :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

number three is on the way!

It's crazy to believe I'm in the middle of my third pregnancy! Baby number three is coming January 20, 2014. Yippeee!!! We are absolutely thrilled.

For those of you who don't know, we only have one baby here on earth (Brayden), but we have one (our first) hanging out in heaven (Brody) So by the natural eye, it's baby number two, but really, it's baby number three. And when I still look at Brayden, he's not my oldest. He's my middle child. :-) I like feeling that because that means Brody hasn't left my heart, but will always be a part of the family. I do have to sometimes remember, though, that for all Brayden knows and acts like right now, he is an only child! We've told him about Brody and baby 3, but that doesn't change that he's used to all the attention!

It's kinda fun... Brayden was due on January 23 and Baby 3 is due January 20. That means they'll be pretty much exactly two years apart. Brayden came on January 11... we'll see when Baby 3 makes his/her appearance. Could be the exact same day! Wouldn't that be crazy! 

This time around, I think we are going to wait to find out if we're having a boy or girl. We desperately wanted a boy as our oldest, and we got doubly blessed with our two boys... but as to another boy or girl, I don't know that we have a preference, so why not wait for the surprise? Fun! 

Now, because of what happened with Brody (you can read that story here), the day after the 4th, I had the same procedure (cerclage) done I did with Brayden. Basically, baby got stitched in to help him/her stay put until January. That means I will be on "light activity/bedrest" through January. Why? The reason Brody came early was the pressure he put on my cervix and my cervix couldn't handle it. The stitch helps, but the less pressure I put on it with activity (and the growing baby) the better for keeping baby safe and snug inside. 

Last time we weren't one hundred percent sure I'd need the surgery, so it snuck up on us and we also had a lot of bad memories associated with pregnancy ending badly. This time, we were prepared in advance for knowing I'd be out of commission for doing much plus we have a picture of the reward we will have in our arms when this journey is through! We also hired a nanny who will help with Brayden throughout the week, and Erik and my family and friends will all be pitching in to help cover other times. (I can't lift Brayden at all... bummer!) I've also been able to mentally prepared with making the most of my pre-surgery time. All of this is verrrry good, even though a little intimidating to have six months of low activity staring you in the face! 

There's a good chance I'll be blogging more since I'll be hanging out on the sofa much, so you'll probably be hearing from me more often as I journey through this... and then once baby comes, I probably won't be on here as much! Funny how that works....

Now a side note... I've had a few questions (and have asked them myself) about if I would have to go through bedrest again... and I've thought, "Couldn't I pray and believe God for healing and a different path this time?" Yes, I certainly could, but a couple factors play into our decision to go ahead with the same path as last time. First, I would have to beg and plead and have an extremely good reason to decline surgery for my doctor to approve it... and I still don't think she would! She wants us to have a healthy baby too! The cerclage helps make that possible. Second, I know that prayers for healing need to have faith behind it... and not that I couldn't have faith, but as a hormonal, pregnant mom who has lost her first son through pregnancy just by being pregnant and living life... it's not a "faith battle" that I want to fight on a daily basis. I'd rather have the proactive safety of my doctor's help through surgery and laying low. And I'm okay with that!

So there's my story! Another chapter is being written, and we are excited for the future.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

will real "love" please stand up?

I've heard the word "love" misused a lot lately.

This is very frustrating to me because Christians and non-Christians alike seem to innately associate the word "love" with God, but then they supply their own definition of the word "love" and supply the same definition to God.

It doesn't work that way.

God is love. That is a true, biblical statement. For you to associate "love" with God is absolutely correct.

But when you assume that "love" equals "accepting" and you assume that what you choose to accept is what God must choose to accept because He is "love"... that's wrong.

God already has created His standards and shown what true love is. He is the first definition of love... and His definition of love is multi-faceted. It includes mercy, grace, and judgment. It includes correction and discipline of His children and a high standard against anything evil. That's the God I serve, and you see it all throughout the Bible.

Lately, though, although we use the word "love" to describe our "love" of peanut butter, ice cream, and our family and friends, the "love" we ascribe to God isn't a passionate love. America has seemed to replace the "love" of God with the "acceptance" of God. He accepts anyone all the time and in every way and he accept people in every situation... even if it's against His Word.

Now, here's the thing. God is accepting and accepts everyone who comes to Him for help and salvation, and as Christians, we should do the exact same thing. When someone comes to us for help, we receive them, and we accept them just the way they are.

Here's the other thing... if they aren't coming to us for help, we are called to love them, but we don't need to accept and approve (and dare I say, legalize) their sinful lifestyles. No matter your opinion, my God has not and will never "legalize," "accept," or "approve" a homosexual lifestyle because He is love. He will always accept people who come to Him, but He will never accept homosexuality. It is a sin.

You can argue with me to your heart's content, but there is a truth that no fact in America can change: marriage was meant for a man and a woman. Period. I will stand behind that fact and teach it to my family and others who will listen.

God's love is multi-faceted and manifests in many ways. It does not simply manifest itself through acceptance, but it is shown through discipline, holiness, standards, directions, and much more. Read through the Bible with an open mind and you'll find out more.

Friday, May 31, 2013

make crazy memories with your kids

One of my favorite birthdays I remember as a kid was when my great aunt from California, my mom, and I were at Byerly's (an upscale grocery store) and for lunch we each got one item from the pastry case. (I'm sure my great aunt greatly influenced that decision!) It was my most favorite birthday lunch ever... so good!



And yes, I had a relatively upset tummy a few hours later... and I still remember how I remedied it. I ate a cucumber! Not cutting it up or anything, just washed it and ate it like an apple!

Sometimes the best memories come when you throw aside the "rule" book and just treat yourself to something special! :-)

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

boundaries

Picture yourself at a beach on a lake. Orange cones and ropes surround a square area of the lake marked as the swimming area. You walk through the sand and head into the water. You decide to see if those orange cones have a purpose. You wade through the water out to the back boundary. Well, I think the land goes out farther than this boundary. I'll just move the cone a little farther out and it won't matter. You move the rope out past where it was. Your feet immediately fall off the edge and you swim back to safety.

Walk with me down another path.... Imagine you're on the beach of a beautiful ocean ready to go swimming. You walk into the ocean, swim for a few minutes before something jelly wraps around your leg. Stinging follows.

You've just been bit by jellyfish.

Ouch. Kinda wish I had told you that was a bad place to swim, huh?

When Brayden grows older, I will make sure he knows where he can and can't swim, not because I am a ruthless tyrant, but because I want him to stay safe. It's the same as if a steak knife drops on the floor. Brayden sees it and crawls as fast as he can to it. I beat him to it and he begins to bawl. All-out tears stream down his face. He is very frustrated that I didn't give him what he wanted. In that moment, he thinks I'm a ruthless tyrant who takes away everything he wants... but I promise, I really just want to keep him safe.

Humans need boundaries... and yes, that includes you and me as adults. We need to know what is safe and what is a successful path for our life. We don't like walking where we can't touch the ground. We don't like getting stung by jellyfish, and we don't like getting hurt by steak knifes. On the other hand, we want our way and think our way is the best... even if our way will get us hurt. That's because of our selfish nature. Babies, toddlers, and children are the best example of this. They represent humans at our truest form.

Adults hide this selfish nature under many different names; of late, the biggest name has been equality.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but the state I live in just made gay marriage legal. It makes me sick to my stomach to even admit it.

I am not biased. I am not judgmental. I don't want to wish bad financial situations on anyone or keep anyone from realizing their dreams, but I know that humans need boundaries. We cannot change moral code to fit our various whims. Marriage has been between a man and woman since the beginning of time (God made it that way... and yes, He is smarter than us). Who are we to think that we are so advanced that we should change something that had been this way forever?

Now, you may have perfectly good reasoning that you've strung together which has created your support for gay rights. But ponder this: we've removed that boundary... what is next? I've heard rumors of people campaigning that polygamy will be next because if it's all about love and those multiple people love that one people, it should be legal... even scarier than that, Erik has heard facts about East coast states removing gender lines between boys and girls... if a student has the body of a boy but feels like a girl, that student can use the girls' restroom, be on girls' sports teams, and act like a girl. Teachers must allow it and parents don't have to be told. The student can switch back to being a boy the next day.

I understand the "innocent" desire to help kids who are confused about their sexuality. But what confused them in the first place? Was it the fact that women and men now have blurred lines as to their role within the family? Culture has deemed "weird people" and "those who don't fit in" as ones who have to question their sexuality as opposed to going with the way their body was made, even if they have different instincts.

We can't live life by feelings; we have to have a standard of living.

If I lived my life solely by my feelings and by what I wanted, I would most likely only eat chocolate and sugary goodness and bake chocolate chip cookies every night. The reason I don't? I know that despite what I feel, I need to abide by certain boundaries of health that keep me safe.

I was thinking about those kids last night who are being taught to question their sexuality by allowing them to switch genders... what a difficult life they have ahead of them because they have been given no boundaries. They are stuck to figure out their sexuality on their own... so difficulty as a kid!

Yes, there are exceptions; yes, there are people who have tendencies toward x, y, z... but we cannot create a culture to indulge those feelings because we are then creating a boundary-less, unsafe place for us to grow.

By the way... what about those teenage guys who realize they can claim to be a girl, head into the girls' restroom because they are "questioning" their sexuality, and all they do is indulge in harming girls or "watching" porn in front of their eyes? No one is allowed to stop them because they have to follow their feelings. Makes me sick to my stomach. We've taken the boundaries away, and kids can get away with things that adults know is wrong, but we've pulled away the boundaries and adult help that would save those kids from a world of hurt. We're letting them swim with jellyfish.

You may think, "Well, that's just in the East coast...." "Polygamy legalized? That will never happen...." Come up with the excuse you want, but I guarantee that people 20-50 years ago would have never dreamed we would have legalized gay marriage.

Boundaries. Redefining marriage erases a boundary. You may consider that good for the sake of equality, but I promise you, it's not.


I want to say I'm sorry for my bluntness or come up with arguments to refute yours, but I'm not sorry and I won't go into them all here. Many conservatives agree with me, whether they have a platform to say it or not. This is an age where we can state our opinions via social media, and I have chosen to. You, whoever you are, are in my prayers.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

what impacted me the most from the Bible miniseries

In case you haven't heard, the Bible was recently brought to our TV sets thanks to a great miniseries by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. If you didn't get a chance to see it, I would recommend you purchase it on DVD. Don't get it to replace reading the Bible, but watch it to get a vivid picture of what might have happened back in Bible times. When we read the stories in the Bible, it's easy to forget that the people involved didn't know the end of the story like we did. They didn't know that everything would be okay... all they knew was the agony of waiting, the difficulty of trusting, the thrill of facing the road God had for them.

For me, the Bible TV series is a reminder not only of how awesome God is, but that the people in the Bible were human, just like us. They doubted, questioned, wondered... then marveled, worshiped, and stood in awe when God showed up.

Okay, not everyone marveled. The Pharisees and most of the Romans didn't think too much of Jesus, to name just one example. They, in fact, were part of what I learned most from the miniseries. Let me explain.

For the Pharisees at that time, Jesus was a frustration and a distraction from what they thought was the right thing to do. He wasn't following their law as they thought he should. Jesus was "breaking" rules and seeming to blaspheme God and doing the unthinkable, in their minds.

Jesus did miracles. Signs. Wonders. He caused chaos (even though it was potentially organized) wherever He went because crowds followed Him around. I'm sure they weren't quiet crowds! They were noisy, trying to get to Jesus, asking questions... who knows what all! The city was essentially in a constant state of "ruckus" for three years as Jesus walked the earth. For the Jewish leaders who were living under someone else's rule (the Romans), that was enough to make them go crazy!

But then... and here's what gets me excited and wowed... Jesus died and rose again... and then the Pharisees didn't have to deal with one anymore... but 12... 120... 5,000... the numbers of Jesus-followers grew and all of a sudden the world was in an "uproar" because Jesus "multiplied." The Pharisees... Romans... and God's enemy didn't just have one "zealot" to keep track of. They had tens... hundreds... thousands.

That gets me excited because Jesus' multiplication is what the church age is. He gave us His Spirit to empower us to carry on the "chaos" that rocked His world during those three years.

What a cool plan. Unfathomable.

I was in church today surrounded by thousands of Jesus' followers and I thought... so many churches are meeting today filled with people, followers of Jesus, creating their own ruckus in their world. The devil couldn't stop Jesus... and his biggest attempt at stopping Him (death) became a pathway for Jesus to multiply all over the world.

God is crazy cool and has a plan that is so beyond me and my thinking. I like that I'm following the Master Planner who constantly goes beyond what my mind can comprehend.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

well... I'm the exception

I had an interesting thought this morning. A few days ago I posted something on facebook that was a prayer and said something along the lines of "I'm sorry that I fail a lot!" A lot of people commented that God's grace is enough and we all fail. I sooo appreciated their comments and reminders that we all mess up.

But then this morning the situation came  to mind, followed by the thought, "But you don't know what I've done...." No one knows those secret inner thoughts that I feel guilty about. (Don't worry, I'm not secretly planning world domination....) Then I realized that's a negative thought because it doesn't matter what I've done. God knows what each of us have done and He knows our inner thoughts even better than we do (what?! crazy!).

You may have heard this perspective before, but think for a moment about the people in the Bible God used... Moses and Saul/Paul? Both murderers. Abraham and Peter? Both of them lied... Abraham's lies put his wife into someone else's arms, and Peter lied about knowing the Son of God. Noah got drunk. Rahab was a prostitute. David committed adultery and was a murderer... yet he was a "man after God's own heart." The list could go on.

Maybe my negative thoughts don't "look" too bad after all....

Seriously, though, my guess is we have all had that thought, "My sin is worse than you know. If only they knew...." And if you haven't, you might want to check yourself for the sin of pride.... :)

When we mess up, run back to Him, and ask for forgiveness, God forgives us all. End of story.

If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. (1 John 1:8-9, Message)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

loving my toddler

So mommyhood and working and housework and wifehood (not in that order) make blogging more difficult... but since I want to keep stories and memories alive, I thought I'd take a quick moment to post some favorites.

I love Brayden's noises. His babbling, his high voice, his jabber, his figuring out words... I even inwardly smile (at times) when he's "yelling" at me to get him more food! Erik has commented more than once that he loves the jabber when B's in the back seat of the car. Just random jabbering... although perhaps he's telling himself a story and the jabbering is not so random?

Pardon the potential TMI, but I love when Brayden goes poo in his diaper. His whole world stops for those few minutes, and his face turns red. I think it's adorable, plus I know I have a minute or two where I don't need to worry about him getting into trouble. Every minute counts!

I love diaper butt... both the big cloth diaper butt and the smaller disposable diaper butt.

What parent doesn't love their kid's smiles! Love when B laughs and smiles and plays shy and all his emotions. He's gone through so many face-making stages. Most recently, he has a squinty face he gives that is adorable... for both mad and glad. Love it.

I love watching Brayden throw the ball for Tucker and play with him. Tucker is one of the few things that Brayden laughs at... laughs and laughs and laughs. So many stories could be told and I love them all!

Although I don't love when he's picky about his food, I think it's hilarious to watch Brayden stick his fingers in his mouth to pull out something he doesn't like the taste of. It's also pretty funny when he looks over the edge of his high chair and deliberately drops food to Tucker. I feel like I shouldn't be laughing at that, because it's not the best practice for him to develop, but it is so funny to watch.

I love watching Brayden figure out things. He looooves buttons and is very deliberate in finding out how things work. Remotes and cell phones continue to be a favorite. His grandma gave him a jack-in-the-box and he doesn't wait for the crank to be turned. He figured out how to undo the latch and make the "jack" pop out on his own. He goes right up to it and does that.

He loves the dishwasher. As I type, he's hanging out there, figuring out how to pull open the top rack, touch all the dishes on the bottom rack, etc.

I could go on, but I'll end with this. We recently went on vacation with family and we found out that Brayden loooooves the sand. He would crawl and crawl and crawl (he can walk a few steps, but he doesn't want to give up crawling yet) through the sand and pick it up and let it drop through his fingers. I loved watching him.

Here's a pic... him crawling in the middle of God's biggest sandbox. We had a wonderful time!


P.S. He's fourteen and half months. I'll write again the future! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

becoming a team

Every once in a while, I get very frustrated with people in the body of Christ. Someone leaves me out or ignores me or forgets about me. Most likely, they aren't doing it on purpose. They are probably very busy and simply missed calling me or just plain forgot I existed--not out of malice, but out of busyness.

From my perspective, though, I don't know their intent, and thanks to our stupid enemy, the devil, I keep thinking they must not like me. I can literally feel the enemy working on my brain, giving me reasons to dislike that person or ignore them right back or never talk to them again.

**Disclaimer: if you think this post is about you, for some reason, it probably isn't!** :-)

Then my spirit man... or the sensible part of me... rises up to say, "Like you really think they did that to hurt you?" And I remember that the biggest poison I can bring into the body of Christ is division, dissension, strife, anger... whatever you want to call it. Getting mad at someone for something they may or may not have done is part of that poison.

God has called us to work together as Christians. He has called us to put aside differences and bring the world an example and information on how they can enter into a relationship with God.

Plus, when I walk this path of "they ignored me" or "they didn't do this" or "I shouldn't like them anymore"... I wonder, "Who is thinking that about me?"

I wish I didn't have to admit it, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who I have unknowingly snubbed or ignored or forgotten about because I was caught up in my own world. Am I too busy to remember my own friends and the people I meet?

So I'm challenged to not be so busy for a friend. I'm challenged to write myself notes to remember to call people back. I'm challenged to put myself out there as much as I can to be with other people and cultivate relationships.

When it comes down to it, Christians are on the same road. We're all doing our best to live for God despite the distractions and difficulties. We all run into trouble, and when we're united together and avoiding division, we can learn from each other.

So, if you have ever felt ignored or overlooked by me, I apologize. I want to do better and for those of you who I've felt ignored by... well, you probably don't even know I'm frustrated with you, so never mind. I'll work on my end of things and see you soon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

happy four years!!!

Four years ago, the love of my life and I and about thirty of my family and friends were here...


... oh you know, just on a beach, getting married. It actually looked more like this.


Within a few months, we added to our clan...


...within a year or two, he looked more like this...


And after that year or two passed, our clan grew...


Now, you won't see that little guy until heaven, but that made room for...


...pregnancy #2, which you know better as...


... or more recently...


It's been a wonderful four years with my growing family. I don't think words can convey how happy I am to have my hubby, sons, and puppy in my life. They just fit me and I love walking through life with them. I'm thankful to the Lord for my wonderful family and most of all for today, happy anniversary to my hubby! Love you so much! Here's to many more years celebrating the love God has given us. 



Friday, February 22, 2013

my recent writing projects!

I had the opportunity to write some things recently that I thought I'd share with you....

One was a devotional for my sister-in-law's ministry New Beginnings. You can read it here.

The other was an article for www.cfaith.com, a faith-based website where you can access tons of articles, videos, and audio messages on the Word for free. You just have to sign up. You can read it here

Have a great day!