in like a lion

 It has been a week. 
And a half.
Or something like that. What day is it? 
I just looked: tomorrow is not only Friday but APRIL. Not sure how that happened. I've been in a fog over here but I feel like we are slowly coming out of it. 

In some ways, I don't even really want to document this. But, I also created this space so I could write and process, but also document the happenings in our lives. And this was a happening. And I need to process it. 

Last week, March 23, our first baby girl turned four. I wrote her this letter, I reflected on her four little years of life and how sweet she is and what a joy she has been to our family. I know everyone says that about their children, "They are such a joy to our family." But I really mean it: deep in our bones, down in our souls, this girl gives us joy. 

Monday morning she woke up with a little temperature. Nothing big. Not too unusual. Kids run temperatures. She ate fine all day, but by the evening I noticed her fever was slowly going up. Bummer. We gave her a good dose of ibuprofen and put her to bed. She woke up off and on and we rotated some medicine to try to keep her comfortable. At 3:30 she woke up crying and had a little cough. Her temperature was 104. And I had never felt her so hot to the touch. 
We aren't ones to rush to the doctor, but a 104 temp while on medicine was not something we wanted to mess with. Plus, with a new baby possibly hours away from arrival, we wanted to get some answers and antibiotics if it was something like strep. So we called up my dad, who put on his flying panties and headed over to be with Becks[I'll share the flying panties story sometime...maybe]. And we were on our way. Blythe was pretty lethargic on the way, but Brent read to her and she rested some. 

She did great at the ER. She thanked the nurses. She smiled and answered questions the best she could. At one point two nurses had been helping and walked out and she looked at me with her tired, sick eyes and said, "They were really nice."  

Flu test. Negative.
Strep test. Negative. 
Chest x-ray. Nothing. 

They said it was something bronchial, manage her fever and push fluids, and sent us home. 
We got home and Blythe went right back to sleep at about 8 and slept until after 10. When she woke up she was coughing more and her temperature continued. We laid low the rest of the day, even though her cousins were visiting all the way from Nashville. 

The next day was her big birthday. Four years old! Brent slept with her that night to monitor her temperature and her coughing. By the morning her temperature was normal! She was a lot perkier than the day before [which wasn't saying much]. We still did a slow morning. She ate normally. Brent took the day off work because we thought we may bring her in to her pediatrician in the afternoon, but then because her fever wasn't as bad decided to hold off. 

At about three that afternoon, and talking with the family that would be coming, we decided to go ahead and do a little birthday. So I dug around in my cabinets and grabbed what I could for party supplies. I hadn't planned on doing much anyway because I was pretty uncomfortable-pregnant, but I had bought a cake mix and supplies to make ice cream cone cupcakes. Blythe absolutely loves helping me bake stuff, and I had promised she could help me make the cupcakes, so we scrubbed hands up to elbows and used the mask from our doctor kit just to be safe.

By the time family arrived, Blythe was tired, and I couldn't be on my feet anymore, but for an hour or two we celebrated. Blythe tried really hard. Her smiles weren't as frequent, and it was a lot for her. Had I known what the next day would bring, I would have never gone ahead with the party. But hindsight is always 20/20. 

 This was the first birthday party that she has had other kids to play with, as it has always just been family...and all her younger cousins live farther away. So that was fun for her. We wrapped up early and she crashed hard.


 And in the night her fever went back up again. Brent again slept with her. It got up to 103 that night. Something wasn't right. I would make an appointment with her doctor in the morning. 

She woke up, her fever was down a bit again but still lingering, and she wasn't as perky as the day before. And then she smashed her big toe and within moments it looked like this:

Poor thing was NOT having a good year 4. Her cough was worse, her temperature was hanging on, and her voice was raspy. I had an OB appointment at 1, and her doctor only does well-checks in the morning so he couldn't see her until 2:30. I didn't want to drag her along to my appointment, so Brent's mom agreed to meet me after my appointment and let Blythe nap until then.

On the way to my appointment I got a call from her doctor's office saying they wanted her to go to the hospital first and have another chest x-ray done, as well as some further blood work. While I was grateful they were really looking into it, that meant Joan had to put her in the car right then and I would meet them on the other side of the hospital immediately after my appointment.

I found out I was at a three, which completely terrified me because I couldn't deal with delivering a baby right then when Blythe was so sick. I waddled over to the other side of the hospital and met up with them. Blythe was so tired. And going downhill very rapidly.

Again, she blew my mind with how good she was for the x-ray tech and even when they drew 4 tubes of  blood she did so well. By the time we got to the pediatrician's office, I could tell her temperature was back up. Sure enough she was at 104 again. It didn't take long for the diagnosis. Pneumonia. And an immediate check in at the hospital.

After two hours of poking and prodding, I could barely stand to think of bringing her to the hospital. I was weary, she was so sick. And yet I knew that she needed to be there to get better. Joan was amazing and helped me get her in and out of the van and up to the pediatric wing. I don't know what I would have done without her. We also have a good friend that works in the hospital and Brent had let him know the situation. Unfortunately I missed his text when we were checking in, but he sent me one that said, "Want me to meet you in the front? I can carry a child or burdens, whichever you need." Here is where I must say that God created community and it is good, people.

We finally got in the room. They immediately did a breathing treatment and this is where I nearly broke. Blythe was flipping out and crying, "I don't want to do it! I don't want to do it!" and I had to hold her down. I remember trying to comfort her, all the while crying out to our God of comfort. Right after that ordeal, the door opened and Brent walked in. I wish I could adequately explain what his presence did for me in that moment. Like so many times before, his presence calmed me. It reassured me. And his steady hand took over and I sunk in the chair next to the bed.


The next hour was tough. An IV that didn't stick. A new IV. Finally getting some medicine to get her temperature down. And then waiting. Watching her temperature. Soothing her cough. Forcing her to drink. We didn't sleep much that night. By ten her temperature had skyrocketed to 105. It was scary. I was so thankful we were at the hospital.


Needless to say we didn't sleep much that night. They had to monitor her temperature every hour and did breathing treatments every four [which she still hated]. By the early morning she finally needed to go to the bathroom and the sweet little thing did so well with the IV attachment. 

Her doctor came, and seeing what her temperature had done in the night after her first dose of antibiotics decided we needed to stay one more night. 

The next day she was doing so much better. The light wasn't totally back in her eyes, but as the day went on she came around.

People were so good to us. I can't tell you how many offers we had for people to bring us food or snacks or coffee or just come sit with us. Blythe got balloons and coloring books and cards. We even had a friend who was out of town let us run over to their house and take turns getting in a nap. Brent's parents kept Becks and I never once worried about how she was because I knew they were loving her well.

I was having contractions off and on the entire time we were at the hospital. Nothing super intense to where I thought it was labor, but enough discomfort that I was glad to be close to labor and delivery ward. However, by Saturday morning I realized I hadn't been drinking very much water, and as soon as I started doing that it was much better.

After 24 hours there, she was getting back to herself. We discovered the toy room. She realized she could ask the nurse for ice cream whenever she wanted. There was an entire cabinet full of movies and shows for her to watch. Watching the light come dancing back into her eyes was so very good.

By the end of the day she got to be reunited with Becks and her cousins visited and played a game of Candy Land with her. [We maybe regretted all the sister kisses later].  That evening she was bouncing off the walls. I don't know that I've ever seen her quite like that. We were having a hard time keeping her from getting tangled in her IV and had an even harder time getting her calmed down for bed.

By the next morning we were ready to sign the discharge papers, at by 2 in the afternoon we got the all clear. Blythe even thought she needed to sign them. It was a pretty short stay. There were scary moments and not a lot of sleep for any of us, but man oh man are there a lot worse things in this life. AND, it was interesting because Brent and I have been doing a study and seeking God a lot about surrendering everything to God; getting rid of idols.

Even the idols of our children. 

Ouch. That's hard work, people. It's hard to hand these precious little lives over to God and say, "They are yours anyway. I know you've just given them to me on loan. I will try and steward this gift well, but You're really in control. You are first. You come before them. I love you more than I love them." 

That's soul work that I have to keep at. And pneumonia and two days in the pediatrics wing of a hospital are small potatoes. But in those wee morning hours with a temperature that's soaring in your first born? Those idols are still hard to hand over.


So Saturday we got home at about three or four. That morning Brent's parents had told us that Becks was running a little temperature, but we weren't too concerned because pneumonia isn't supposed to be contagious. 

We crawled in bed early that night, happy to be home. 

At eleven Becks started coughing. And her temperature was 102. Brent got in bed with her. At three a.m. her temp was 104.8. Unlike Blythe though, she was not lethargic. Girl was laughing and saying, "Nakey! Nakey!" when we took her clothes off. We decided we probably should take her in as well. My dad got a phone call again and rushed to the scene. We left with Becks.

Becks in the ER was kind of funny. Pretty soon her temperature came down and she stood up on the bed and told us, "I feel better!" We didn't really want to put her through a flu swab, because that was always the worst for Blythe, so we saved it for last. She barely flinched. She's a different child than our tender first-born, that's for sure. She wooed the nurses. It took a little time. They were busier-- it was the weekend, early Easter morning, to be exact. They did a urine test for a UTI [Becks just hopped on the potty and went like it was no big deal]. I know they thought we were crazy for bringing her in because she was acting like...well, like Becks!

But sure enough, there was a touch of pneumonia.  Luckily it wasn't super bad [yet!] and we could start her on antibiotics and hopefully kick it pretty quickly.

While I waddled back and forth to the ER bathroom a couple times, I kept thinking of the song, "Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. Through it all, through it all, it is well."  We grabbed some antibiotics for little Becksy [and who knew Dunkin Donuts had such awesome breakfast sandwiches?!] and headed home. And as the sun rose on our drive home I thought of the empty tomb, of a Jesus that resurrects dead things, and the hope that we have in Him.


 Her temperature never went back up so high, and really only ran for one more day. We were thankful she got to convalesce at home. 

Unfortunately, the next day I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a semi-truck. I never ran a temperature but had chest congestion and a cough and the gunk. I had to get on an antibiotic too. I had to ask for a lot of help with the girls [ I still am!] and rest. At my doctor appointment Tuesday I hadn't progressed any [thankfully! as I needed a few more good sleeps before I was ready to try to deliver a baby!], and my doctor told me it would be a little harder to get over just because I was pregnant. I'm feeling much better now, but I'm still pretty wiped. I can't be on my feet much without getting exhausted and sore. I think my body is finally kind of shutting down after running on adrenaline and just doing what it had to do the last week and a half. 

It's interesting because at the beginning of the year I wrote about how I really want to just show up for people this year. Help them. Be with them. 
And in an interesting turn of events, Jesus has been saying to me, "Kelsey. Humble yourself. Let's others show up for you." That's hard to do sometimes. But they have. They have showed up. [Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! ]

And through it all Christ has given us abundant peace. Abundant. I can honestly say that in the midst of all of this, I have had very few moments of anxiety. Sure, I finally broke down and cried that first night in the hospital as I waited for Blythe's temperature to go down. But there has been a peace in my soul as I have released it all the Him. When I start to feel it all again I whisper, "I trust you, Jesus." 

Four words.
I trust you, Jesus. 

I snapped the above picture the other night as all of this has finally started to calm down and the plague seems to be leaving our house. I haven't really had time to reflect on what is just around the corner. A new baby.  A new girl to spike fevers in the night. A new little life to surrender to God. We will meet her within a week. One week.

And I guarantee when they place her on my chest for the first time I will say, "I trust you, Jesus. And I entrust her TO you, Jesus."

And while we wait for that moment, we are taking our days slow her. Lots of pajamas. Lots of antibiotics mixed in chocolate pudding. Lots of movies. And lots of hugging on my big girls whose lives are about to change forever.

And through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all it is well. 


Baby Bump 3: 37 weeks

Dear Baby,

Well, sweet one, it's been A WEEK. But first, let's start with the good stuff.

We were thrown an absolutely wonderful shower at the beginning of the week. Mommy's friend from high school, and now co-worker at the church, Becca, hosted a fun afternoon for us with all my favorite treats and a lot of my favorite people. Your aunt Kali and aunt Beth also happened to be in town and were able to come, which was extra great. I know you will be reminded often that you are the third child. You'll have hand-me-downs [your older sisters only wore hand me downs too!], and you'll get less attention, and you'll be over all deprived, ya da ya da ya da ;), but this day you were the center of attention and you did not lack for love. We have some truly awesome people in our lives. 

At our appointment this week, doctor said you had definitely dropped, which I could definitely already tell. :) I am dilated to nearly a three and making progress. Which is kind of crazy! With your sisters I never progressed more than a one before their arrival, so the "ticking-time-bomb" feeling was set off in me for sure after hearing that news.

We celebrated Blythe's fourth birthday this week too. We didn't do anything big, partly because she was sick [more on that in a minute], but mainly because I hadn't really planned on doing anything anyway because being on my feet for more than a minute is tiresome. But we had some family over, your Nashville cousins included! This was the first birthday party they've been able to come to. Your poor sister was pretty puny, but hung in there. It made me think of all the birthday parties we'll be having with you in the future...and how all of your birthdays will be so close that you'll probably have to be okay with sharing one party so I don't lose my mind. :) I know that before we know it you'll be sitting in your high chair chowing down on a big cupcake for your first birthday.

Now, for the crazy stuff. Blythe got really sick this week. Really sick. First she went to the ER, then later she had to go to the hospital and stay two nights. She was fighting off pneumonia. Boo. We've never had to do anything like that before, and while we were caring for her we were also concerned that you may decide to make your arrival. While we were at the hospital I was having lots of contractions. I knew I was just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the OB unit, which was comforting, but I also knew that your dad and I wanted to be with Blythe during that scary, unknown for her. I think it was a combination of little sleep and not enough water, because once we were able to come home my contractions slowed down... Just in time for us to take Becks to the ER when she spiked a super scary high fever too. And guess what? She had a touch of pneumonia too! Crazy! But hers wasn't as far along as Blythe's so we got her on antibiotics right away and she seems to be doing better.

Now I've got it. But, baby girl, your sisters are pretty much healthy [if you decide to come they'll still get to come meet you at the hospital], and so enduring this is a lot easier knowing that. I'm going to start taking some medicine, which means you'll get to take some too, so we'll all hopefully be healthy in a few more days. Our induction date is in a week and a half, so if you wait until then we should be good to go. If you don't wait until then, we'll still get through it. I don't really want to think about laboring and delivering right at the moment since I can't breathe very well, but if you need to come you need to come and I'll do it! We'll do it! And when, in a year, you're sitting there eating your cupcake at your birthday party we'll laugh and say, "Man, that was a crazy week!"

Here's to starting week 38! Hopefully it will end healthier than this one. Either way, your birthday will be so soon. We're exhausted already, so you may as well join the party :). I can't wait to hold you and love you on the outside.  And please please please please please be a good sleeper from the get go ;).




To my dear, sweet Blythe Kathleen:

I'm getting a little emotional just thinking about you and reflecting on this year with you. Blythe, you are a very bright light in this family. Just last week I texted your dad about something you said and then I wrote, "I just find myself staring at her lately, completely in awe that she is ours." 

I was looking at your letter I wrote last year and laughed when I said that three seemed so big to me because four? Well four seems nearly impossible. And I know five will hit me even harder. And then you'll be sixteen... I realize we only have 14 more years with you in our house. And I know those years will go fast and I want to cherish them. I want to learn all I can from you, because Blythe, you're teaching me so much already. 

You love people well. You remember people and names and it's not just because you have a freakishly good recall, but it's because you talk with them. You don't talk to them, but with them. You ask questions. Some adults still haven't figured out how to ask questions and show interest in other people, but you do. You find joy in being with others, too. At church I had separate conversations with different teachers in your classroom, and they all asked when your birthday was because they don't want you to move up. You light people up, Blythe. 

You've continued to be a good big sister this year. Becks can do more with you now, and since that has begun I have noticed another first-child trait coming out in you: bossiness. You definitely have an imagination, but you want others to engage with your imagination in the right way. Becks doesn't always want to do this, and there have been some growing pains in that area. But overall? You cater to her. You give up the toy, the show, the thing you want to do to make her happy. You remind her that "Jesus is with you, Becksy", and you sing to her and teach her all sorts of things. You "read" her books and dance with her, and when you're playing outside with her and I'm not there and she falls, you race over to her and hug her and tell her it's okay. You're only two years apart, and that age gap will seem smaller over the years and I'm sure there will be fights and bickering about sharing clothes and car keys and boys. But I also know your heart, and it is good and kind and loves deeply. And I know you will fiercely love her and look out for her and be her best friend. 

You are sharing a room with Becks now too! You were so excited for her to make that move. It wasn't smooth sailing on her part, and it was a transition for you as well, but you helped her feel comfortable and even when she wasn't doing what she was supposed to be doing, you would usually be following the rules. I already hear giggles coming from under the door, and I know down the road you'll both love and hate sharing a room with her, but I also know there will be many great conversations under those covers that grow and bind your hearts to one another.

You are such a conversationalist. [Actually, most days it feels like you never. stop. talking.] You ask challenging questions already. And you talk and sing about Jesus all the time. About a month ago you asked to pray at our supper and then said, with such conviction and emotion, "Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful day that I can enjoy playing outside. Thank you for Daddy coming home from work. Thank you that Daddy doesn't stay at work all day and can play with me. And praise you that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Amen." Needless to say your dad and I did not exactly have dry eyes after that. You've been interested in the Easter story lately, and have asked questions about heaven, especially since we had to say good bye to one of our favorite people this year: Great Nini Pat.  One day I overheard you singing a song you made up: "Jesus is fast. Jesus is strong. Jesus is kind. Jesus is nice. He is so nice. He's he's he's so niiiiice. He can throw lions. Jesus is perfect. Jesus is is is for meeeee." 

I know right now, at four, the fact that "Jesus can throw lions" makes Him your Savior, your Hero. But we pray that as you continue to grow in your love for and understanding of Him, that He'll become your Hero and Savior because you realize you're not perfect; because you realize the deep, deep significance of the cross and His blood and your sins. We pray that you continue to talk about Him easily and often because you know Him deeply and well. And we pray that your heart always wants to know Him and that your heart would become more and more like His. 

I still can't believe our first year together was so hard. You were such a good baby. You were happy and you slept and you were teeny tiny and easy to love. But that transition to Mom was hard for me. And now, four years later, I can't believe that that is my truth because you have taken my hand and showed me how to grow into this role. I don't know if I could have come out of the funk of that first year if it hadn't have been you. When I find myself losing patience and I snap, it doesn't take me long to see disappointment and hurt in your big brown eyes and know that I need to ask your forgiveness. And every time you give it to me. 

Now, you aren't perfect. You're four. We have moments where we have to discipline you-- moments where you are crying and we [and you!] don't even know why. You're slowly giving up your nap too, which has added to figuring out new ways to find rest and helping you figure out your tired emotions. There are times I need a break from being around all the talking and emotions and needs that come with this life, but it doesn't take many moments of away before I want to be right back with you. 

Your hair has grown a lot this year [finally!], and you just think it is so long. You aren't really into getting dressed up or wearing jewelry or fixing your hair a certain way [the necklace in your pictures was from your dad when he went to Haiti and I helped convince you to wear it] . You actually prefer pants over skirts most days.  I wouldn't say you are a super girly-girl at this stage. We're trying to help you understand the importance of modesty even now, and when you have on particularly tight pants you'll ask, "Is this shirt long enough to cover my bottom?" And I want to strike up the band at how proud I am of you in that moment. I know the battle for your modesty will be a long one, but as one of the traits we pray for you we hope you hold on to these little things. 

You really love music. You can hear a part of a song one time on the radio and immediately recognize and sing with it the next time. You love your drums and harmonica and just singing in general. You also really love sweet stuff. A lot. But overall your appetite has gotten a lot better and you'll eat more of a variety. However, you don't like your food touching at all and I've noticed that you've even started wiping your fork off in between foods. That's weird. But I guess we can live with it. :). You've really started to stretch out and thin down over the last couple months too. Your face looks so thin and old to me now. And beautiful. You are just so beautiful to us, Blythe. 

I know this year is going to be another year of big changes for you. A new baby sister to love, for starters. I know, without a doubt, that you will grow into your role as big sister in new and beautiful ways, and you'll show us how to love our newest family member in ways we hadn't thought about until you taught us. I know you'll be a great example to Becks of what it looks like to be selfless sometimes. This is also our last year at home together, you and me and your sisters. I've decided not to send you to an official preschool. I don't think you really need it, and I just plan on working with you some here. I know you would love preschool, without a doubt. But I'm hoping that in ten or fifteen years you and I both look back on this last year at home with each other and are thankful for that time, for that season.

Just yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, we had to take you to the doctor. You had spiked a crazy high fever and developed a hacking cough. Your sparkling eyes were dull. And as we drove in the early morning light, I watched your dad hold your hand, and read to you, and give you sips of water. He sat with you in the hospital bed and, in a weak and raspy voice you were still so polite to the nurses and doctors, saying "Excuse me" before you interrupted them to ask them a question, or "thank you" when they listened to your breathing. When a couple of them left the room you looked at me and said, "They were really nice." When the x-ray tech came in she said she was going to take a picture of you and your dad and I had to step just out of the room into the doorway. We watched as she positioned the machine and then she said, "Okay. It's ready." And you tried to smile. Your dad and I wiped the tears from our eyes in that moment because it was just so you. We're thankful it wasn't anything major, and that you're such a champ, but seeing you sick always reminds us of how precious your life is and how much those sparkling eyes mean to us. 

You know this by now, without a doubt, but your dad and I are just figuring out this parenting thing day by day. We do things wrong. We will continue to do things wrong. But we hope you always feel loved. We hope you always understand the why behind our no-s. We hope you feel safe in the boundaries we set. We hope you feel freedom in the wide open places we leave for you. We hope you see God in our actions and words. We hope when you leave our little home for good and go out on your own that you'll look back on this simple little life we had together-- chaos and mistakes and messes and all-- and see that it was Grace that held us together; that you see that it was God's daily bread that provided it all. 

Oh sweet Blythe, you are something else. We love you intensely and deeply and more than we could have dreamed that day back in 2012 when they laid you on my chest. 

Happy birthday, Blythe Kathleen! There is nothing you can ever do that will make us stop loving you. 

* Read Blythe's Birth Story HERE
* Story behind her name HERE
* First birthday letter HERE
* Second birthday letter HERE
*Third birthday letter HERE


Baby bump 3: 36 weeks

Dear baby,

As I was thinking about this week, I always try and think of something "significant" that I can report or share with you so you can remember this journey. And then I thought, "You know what is significant? THIS! YOU! The fact that God is creating you and allowing you to grow inside of me." Not only is that significant, but it is something so incredible that when I stop to actually think about it I can't even fathom it all. I don't ever want to take it for granted that we were able to do this!

My sinuses have been bothering me this week some [you may even notice the balled up kleenex in my left hand in this week's picture]. Fortunately it's not too bad at night, but just kind of a nuisance during the day. And has led to some bloody noses, which really concerns your sisters when they occur.

I'm really really trying to not do too much. It's hard because I'll feel fine and then BAM-- I feel like I need to sit down two hours ago. Your dad [and so many others] have really been great, but it's just hard for me to not do stuff. Especially when I feel like there is so much to do in these last few weeks. But here is reality: your carseat is clean [and room has been made for it in the van], your clothes are in their drawers, your stuff for the hospital is ready, your crib has been vacated. The rest of the stuff on my "to-do-before-baby-gets-here-list" can wait. I know that.

Another way that I know it's time for another baby? New phones! I'm joking, mostly. But the month we had Blythe we upgraded our phones. Two years later, the month we had Becks, we upgraded our phones. And guess what? Two years later... here we are with new phones, the daffodils are blooming, and I only can assume that means it is almost time. :) It really wasn't intentional, but just happened that way, but it has been nice to have a totally empty phone for all the pictures we will want to take of you.

Starting this week I will go to the doctor every week until your arrival. They will check and see if we're making any progress towards that end. This time, if she thinks that I am making enough progress, she may just make me stay in town so you don't come too quickly. In the past though I have never shown any signs of being ready until the big day, so we will see how you do.

We love you so much. The weather is so nice and the grass is getting green. The buds are plumping up on the trees. Signs of spring. A spring that I have waited for with visions of you.


I Said Yes: Book Review

I was hesitant to get this book because I know it would mean I had to post a review which would mean I would have to share that I watch The Bachelor. I actually didn't watch Emily's season on the Bachelor, but I did watch her season of The Bachelorette, so I was intrigued by the fact that she published a Christian book and curious to hear her story.

First, let me say this: I am still wondering how Christian's balance their faith and the morals on this show, but then again I am watching it and I probably shouldn't be able to balance that either.

I read this book in about two days, but I always joke that if a book with a cover that is mainly pink takes me much longer than that than I am in trouble ;). But part of the reason I read it quickly was because it was an interesting story. If you don't know much about Emily, she grew up in an affluent family but moved around a lot. She met a guy young, was living with him/almost engaged to him when he was killed in a plane crash. She found out right after his funeral that she was pregnant. I do appreciate How she shares that she knows now she shouldn't have lived with him, that there is something sacred in waiting for marriage, but also how her daughter is absolutely not a mistake. After his death, her already shaky faith tries to find footing somewhere. She keeps searching, and searching. Like many women [and men] a part of her believes that that ache could be filled by someone else.

She very reluctantly goes on The Bachelor. She shares her journey there, as well as the faith questions she was wrestling with. Obviously, since she ended up as The Bachelorette, her relationship from The Bachelor went south pretty quickly. She shares about being The Bachelorette, and I enjoyed reading about some of the behind the scenes stuff. After her stint on television though, she begins to take her faith a lot more seriously. She picks up her Bible and starts reading what God has to say about her instead of the tabloids. And it is then, that she is allowing God's word to work in her that she truly becomes a follower of Christ.

It is in that moment that she realizes that this is the YES she should have been saying all along.

If you're looking for deep theological reading, this isn't it. But if you like real stories about people's lives, this is entertaining.


Baby Bump 3: Week 35

Dear Baby,

I seriously just wrote out "week 35" and then had to look at my calendar to make sure that was right?! 35!?! And yet...if I'm being completely honest... I feel that, even if it seems time as gone too quickly for that to actually be possible. But let me break down exactly what I mean by that:

The last stretch of pregnancy is always weird and hard in different ways. One, you realize there is nothing nine months about 40 weeks. You're at a point where you ache to hold the baby in your arms, as I do you, more than your back aches--which is a lot. Your body has been through soooo many changes in what feels like a short about of time: I mean, really, let's think about this with some perspective: I have a jar of mayonnaise in my fridge that's been there longer than it's taken you to develop in my womb. Woah. So my body is aching in ways I've never experienced before in a pregnancy. Which has been hard for me. It's been humbling for me. I am need of others help. And because my other two pregnancies were fairly easy, it's been hard to accept my limitations this time. But like I've said before, I also just emotionally feel more ready for you than I have in my other pregnancies, which does make the waiting harder.

At our appointment last week we had a lot of ground to cover with our doctor because it's the last appointment we'll have with her until the end of the month because she'll be on vacation. Your dad and I, after much much much talking and praying and seeking advice, decided to schedule an induction. This is exciting and terrifying to me because it is such an unknown. But we just felt like it was the best decision for you and me, knowing that we'll have the best help available when you make your arrival.

Speaking of your arrival, the other day your sisters and I were outside and Blythe and I were discussing robins and robin eggs. We talked about a robin egg we found last year that was cracked open, and she asked where the baby bird was. I explained that baby birds grow in eggs, like you grow in my belly.  Then I saw her looking at my belly--at you-- and I knew her wheels were turning. Her eyes got great big and she said, "Is your belly going to crack open?!"

I also started embroidering your name on a hoop for your room. Last night as I was making the stitches I thought about how God was still stitching you together in my womb and as I poked the needle in and out, in and out, I prayed over your traits again: Humility, Attentiveness, Generosity, and Faithfulness.

Oh, and last week I mentioned I had four more physical books I wanted to read before I relegate most of my reading to the Kindle while you nurse. Update: I am almost done with the third one, but I added one more to the stack. I think I can do it :). The weather is warming up [the best part of this week's picture is the flip flops!], and the buds are poking out on the trees. Spring is here. And spring means new life. And spring means it's almost time for your debut!

Love, Mom


Baby bump 3: week 34

Dear baby,

It's safe to say I'm officially "nesting."  It's weird, because with my gig as a stay at home mom I feel like I'm always kind of nesting, but there is just more of a sense of urgency at the present. The frustrating thing is, I have to really be careful not to overdo it these days. I want to be able to work on organizing clothes and hanging stuff on the wall for three hours, but after thirty minutes by body is saying, "Stop. It. Sit down." So it's slow progress.  I did manage to get all of Becks' clothes and "stuff" out of your room this week, and have all the newborn clothes and stuff in there...it's still in boxes sitting around the room, but it's there and if you surprise us early I can easily dig and grab so we're set! I also hung up a few new decorations around the room to try and make it slightly different from before so that it is distinctly yours.

I am so tired these days. The end of pregnancy always brings fatigue, but I am having a hard time sleeping because you can't seem to quite get comfortable so if I shift, you start to shift, then I inevitably have to go to the bathroom and then we start the process over when I lay back down. Not to mention, your sisters are still trying to get used to sharing a bed room. It is going so much better, but there are still a few hiccups from time to time in the night. I am wondering if, once you shift and move and are head down, you'll move around a little less? I feel like Becks never stopped moving, and then she was 5 pounds 12 ounces and it made sense: she still had a lot of room! I wonder if you'll fill out, be head down, and stop the movement? Or if you'll be another little peanut and keep grooving until your debut? Your dad is so great about letting me sleep in in the morning though. He leaves for work a little before 8, which means I get to sleep until then, which helps a lot.

We have another appointment on Friday, and I feel like this is a big one because it's the last time I'll see my doctor before she goes on vacation for three weeks. So we have a lot to discuss, and I'm about 95% sure we're going to set an induction date. I still don't want to, but I also feel like it is the wisest choice for us at this time.

One funny thing: I have about 4 books that I want to read before your arrival. No, none of them have anything to do with pregnancy, but they are all in book form. When you come, and we're nursing, I have to relegate most of my reading to my Kindle because I can operate that with one hand...a book is a little trickier. I doubt I'll get them all read, but we will see! I am looking forward to the quiet little chunks of time throughout my day that I get to sit down and read while you nurse. It's no secret that I am not a huge fan of nursing, but reading while nursing? Fan! [On that note: I've really been praying you'll be an efficient and easy nurser. Just so you're aware.]

I love you. Every rib-jab and 2 a.m. trip to the bathroom reminds me our time is getting closer. Your dad said he is so excited for those early days in the hospital with you where he just gets to breathe you in. Me too.