A letter to the baby we lost, while we are expecting again…

A letter to the baby we lost…

We are just a few weeks out from meeting your baby sister. And while it can feel at times that we are replacing you – we want you to know that you will never be replaced. Once your sister arrives, we will be in a new world of change and adjustment. Things will be busy and chaotic at times, but that does not mean you will be forgotten.

As we get ready to welcome her, we are being as intentional as we can about remembering you. This time last year, you were in my belly. I was talking to you, singing to you and telling your sisters all about you. On November 8th, we found out we had lost you. And the three months that followed were excruciating. It was hard enough losing you. To add to the emotional pain, there was physical pain, confusion, complications and more.

Although your memory may be filled with heartache and pain, we are committed to sharing your story to those it may help. Because at the end of the day, we realized that you went from perfection to perfection. You never had an ounce of pain and will never know any type of heartache. And while we will always miss you here, we have hope in knowing that you are with our Jesus and we will meet you one day.

When your sisters can understand, they will get to hear all about you. They’ll know your story, and we will celebrate you and look forward to meeting you. We will share with them the joy that we have in our hearts for you.

The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. Romans 8:18

Just like labor pains always end up being worth it, the pain of losing you will be worth it as well. Every tear, every complication, every sleepless night wishing we still had you – it was all worth it. YOU were worth it. You mattered from the day we saw that positive pregnancy test, and you will always matter to us.

We are 36 weeks pregnant with your sister. We may seem distracted planning for her arrival. While we are so excited to meet her, please know that she’s not a replacement, but another addition to our family. You’ll forever live in our hearts.

I’ll never run away from the pain of missing you – but rather embrace it. While this life on earth can be hard and we’ll never know why we lost you – we don’t have to know. We know you’re with Jesus, and that’s what we chose to focus on. We remind ourselves that the first time you opened your eyes – you saw Jesus. What comfort that brings us!

Read more: Pregnancy After Miscarriage

You have given us all a new outlook on true joy. We have learned to be joyful in the midst of grief and for that we are so grateful. What I want you to know most is that we miss you. We are grateful for the 12 weeks we had you, and cannot wait to see you dancing with Jesus one day. Your sisters will all dance right along with you.

Thank you for being a part of our story.

xoxo,

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Pregnancy after miscarriage – what a blessing, and a beautiful story of hope. But there are so many emotions and feelings that come along with it. I want to talk about those in a very vulnerable way. I was unaware of what I would experience during this time, and if sharing my story can help just one person, then it will be worth it. Whether you are in a season of grief or joy (or both), I hope this post finds you well and encourages you, even in the slightest bit.

We are currently 16 weeks pregnant. Now that my energy is coming back, I’ve had some time to gather my thoughts and process what is actually happening. We experienced a miscarriage seven months ago (you can read about it here).

While the past seven months have been filled with many dark moments, Christ has given me little glimpses of hope. Seven months ago, I had a hard time getting out of bed. I remember waking up many times just wishing it was all a bad dream. I even told my husband I didn’t know if I ever wanted to try for another baby because I never wanted to experience that again. There was so much hurt in my heart, followed by confusion. But I knew God was still good, and I knew He would get us through that season.

Related Article: To the Mom Who is Scared

I realized that the foundation I had as a believer prepared me for that moment when my world came crashing down. Every sermon, book, podcast or conversation about hardships came back to me. I knew this wasn’t the end of our story, but the beginning.

I’m more than happy to share our story. Not because we are pregnant, but because of the One who brought us through one of the most difficult times in our life. Being a Christian doesn’t mean hardships do not exist, but the peace that took over our home and our hearts can only be accredited to Christ. Grief or joy – He gets all the glory.

Eight things I didn’t know about pregnancy after miscarriage

  1. Unexpected emotions – I was expecting to be fearful and somewhat anxious when we found out we were pregnant again. What I didn’t realize is that I would feel guilty at times. As excited as we are to welcome another baby into our family, I’m experiencing moments of guilt for being excited. I am still mourning the loss (and think I always will have moments of sadness because of it), but I’m also excited about this baby boy inside of me. At times it feels like my excitement takes away from the grief that baby deserves. In those moments I have to remind myself of the One who is writing our story. This baby in my belly, and the one He’s holding in Heaven are both a part of our story. Grief and joy can coexist, and I’m very thankful for the strength Christ gives us to do both.
  2. Holy hormones – Guys, it was bad. Like my husband was starting to worry. I had very little patience and could go from happy to “Woah… what just happened” within seconds. Maybe it’s because this is my first boy, but I also think after a miscarriage your hormones can still be so out of whack. Either way – it’s gotten a lot better the past few weeks. But man, hormones be crazy.
  3. Unexplainable peace – The peace that passes all understanding. It can’t be explained, but it can be felt and experienced. From losing our baby at home to reading a positive pregnancy test again – I could feel His presence through it all. I was a hot mess, and still am at times – but I always knew He was there with me. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8
  4. Thankful for symptoms – Extreme fatigue got me good. As hard as that was, I welcomed it. I knew that symptoms were a good thing. So throughout my crazy hormonal days and movie days stuck in bed (we have two toddlers so don’t romanticize that – #toystorymarathon), there was a touch of joy throughout it all because it gave me hope that things were ok.
  5. Hellloooo fetal doppler – With the baby we lost, I obsessed over that doppler. I checked every day just hoping we would find a heartbeat until we had our ultrasound that would confirm we miscarried. I told myself I wouldn’t do it much this pregnancy, but I do give myself once a week to hear that heartbeat in between appointments. It does help, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it much in the first trimester because it can be so tough to find sometimes.
  6. One day at a time – I’ve had a lot of people ask if I’m nervous/scared/anxious during this pregnancy. And my answer is “sometimes.” Whether we miscarried or not, I would have those feelings. I think any mom will tell you that until that baby is in her arms, there will be moments of worry and fear. Honestly I don’t experience the fear nearly as much as I thought I would. I remind myself again that God writes our story. I’ll do my best to nurture this baby inside of me, but the rest is out of my hands.
  7. Ultrasounds will forever be emotional – Seeing your little nugget with a beating heart will bring a world of emotions. I’m pretty good at holding it together, but once they turned the screen so I could see, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I saw his heart fluttering and his little legs just kicking away – I’ll never forget that moment or the joy that came along with it.
  8. Allow yourself to celebrate – It’s still surreal to talk about this pregnancy. The fear that something could go wrong definitely creeps up every now and then. I’m trying my best to celebrate this life inside of me, and to allow myself and those around me to be excited. And as you can see, there’s two little girls who are celebrating too…

I only have a small glimpse into what many families have gone through or are currently going through. My heart hurts deeply for those affected by loss and infertility. I found myself hesitant to share our news when I know that so many women are struggling. We want to be there for those that are going through or have gone through similar circumstances. Thank you so much for being a part of our story. No matter what season you are in, we want to encourage you in any way we can.

xoxo,

Dream BIG Dreams

About a year and a half ago, my husband came home from work and had this disappointed look on his face as he was looking down at our youngest daughter. He said, “When did that happen?” I looked down and realized she was sitting up. She had been doing this for about a week and I really thought he knew that. But he didn’t. He had just worked four night shifts in a row and had no idea what was happening at home. We communicated as best as we could, but he was sleeping when I was awake and it made communication very difficult.  I watched my husband’s heart break in that moment as he realized he missed yet another milestone in our daughter’s life. A baby sitting up may seem like such a small thing. But it made me go from being so grateful for his financially safe and stable job, to wishing we could figure something else out so we could have him home more. I wanted him to be included in these moments, not just tell him about them.

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It brings me to tears to think about that moment, because his heart was so broken. He was working these long hours for us, losing sleep for us, and missing moments for us. While I appreciated him for his perseverance in taking care of us, I knew something had to change. I didn’t want this for our family. He was working long hours that switched back and forth from day shift to night shift. He was doing all of this to support us, so that I could stay home and be happy with our girls. I just wasn’t ok with him being unhappy so that we could be happy. That’s when we started looking for something else.

We were able to find him a job that he could do from home. It would be a major change for our family. But through prayer and wise counsel, we decided to take the leap. We are thankful for the people that were put in our path to open those doors for us. We couldn’t have done it without the community we are in.

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This job change happened 5 months ago, and we are still in the transition period. It has been challenging, stressful and tiring at times. But by far, the most rewarding decision we have ever made. My husband has gotten so much closer to our girls, because now he has the time to spend with them. I feel so much less overwhelmed because he is there. He may be out in the office working the majority of the day, but he is there. My girls know he’s there. My three year will often ask if she can “go show Daddy” something she made. We try not to interrupt too much, but what a joy it is to tell her, “Yes, he’s in the office. Let’s go show him.” We don’t have to catch each other up on what the kids are doing because he is now doing life alongside us.

We found out we were pregnant the day after my husband put his two weeks notice in. While that added some stress to the situation, we knew that God was leading us down this path and we knew He would take care of us. After two completely healthy and normal pregnancies, the unthinkable happened, and we had a miscarriage (you can read more about that here). It was the hardest thing we have ever been through, and he was there for all of it. Every appointment, every complication that followed, my husband was right there. His job change couldn’t have happened at a better time. We didn’t have to worry about calling in or trying to get off work, then being penalized for it. He was there without question. And I can’t imagine going through that without him.

While he is in the building phase of his business, I am working more than I normally would. I am more than happy to do it, because it is a means to better end. The goal is more family time. We want to have more experiences together. We want less stuff so we can make room for the things that matter. Instead of getting a new car, we got rid of one. Instead of getting a bigger house, we are downsizing. That picture I had growing up, the one about the big house and white picket fence… I have no desire for that anymore. I just want my family. Big house or small house. We want time together. We want experiences. We want to serve together and make kingdom differences in the lives of others. We want to give of ourselves and our time freely. Our biggest goal this year is to be financially free. Completely out of debt. We are working hard to get rid of all of it. We started working on this when we got married, and I cannot wait to finally be done. I can’t wait to see the doors that will open once we are debt free.

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We are planning to sell our home and travel in an RV for at least a year. Now before you write me off as crazy because I have two toddlers, hear me out 🙂 This is something my husband and I have always talked about but never thought it could be a reality. As we are working on getting both of our businesses to be completely mobile, it’s becoming a reality! Once our businesses are able to sustain us completely online, we are getting ourselves on the road!

I want to hear about your dreams. What would you do if you weren’t held down by debt? What are your dreams that seem so far out of reach? What if you decided to go for it? What would that look like?

Love + Donuts,

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Being a Stay at Home Mom while Pursuing Your Dreams

It’s ok to be a stay at home mom and pursue your dreams!

Can we have an honest moment? I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I literally take care of my kids 24/7. No working outside of the home. Playdates a couple days a week, max. When I had my first child, I assumed that meant everything else was on hold. I’ll raise babies, then pursue my passions when they’re older. At that time I had only been a nurse for about two years and wasn’t ready to give that up completely. I found an amazing sitter for my daughter and worked one day a week until I had my second child, then worked two-three times a month after that. Initially I felt bad about that choice, but slowly realized I wasn’t making a mistake. I also had a photography business on the side, but didn’t fully dive in until about a year into my motherhood journey. There were always so many dreams and passions inside of me, I just didn’t know how to merge them with my biggest dream, which was being a mom.

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I’m only three and a half years into this motherhood thing, but God has been showing me some things that I never thought were possible. I’m realizing that when I leave my kids with someone I trust to go do something I want to do – it makes me better. I love being a nurse. Leaving my daughter once a week to go pursue something I love did not make me a bad mom, but a better mom. 

When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I knew I wanted to stay home with my kids if at all possible. My husband is a big supporter of that and works hard to make sure that can happen. But when these dreams came up in me I had a hard time understanding what to do with them. I loved photography and am now falling more in love with blogging each and every post, but is that ok? Will my kids be disappointed that Mom may be gone a little more than I was before?

We’ve made some major adjustments in our family. My husband went from working swing shift (12 hour shifts including days and nights) to working from home. That’s another post for another day, but the story of how we got here is definitely something I want to share. Having that kind of flexibility has opened so many doors for our family.

Here’s what happens when I spend time doing something I love:

  • I am refreshed
  • I am more kind
  • I am more patient
  • I am more understanding
  • I am more thankful
  • I feel accomplished
  • I am the best version of myself

I cannot even being to tell you the amount of joy I get from raising these two little girls. I love being able to stay home with them, love on them, clean up after and with them, take care of them. I genuinely do love fostering their gifts and holding their hands through the trying times. What I’ve realized is that along with being a mom, I have other dreams and passions I didn’t even know existed. Figuring out how to merge all of these things together has been difficult, but one thing rings true: I am a better mom when I do something for myself. And it is not selfish, by any means. Our children deserve the best version of ourselves we can give them, and if that means you start a blog, a business or another endeavor – go for it. I’m thankful we live in a world where we can pursue our passions and still stay home with our babies. Thank you, internet. I do my best to make the most of nap time and wake up before my kids so I can be present with them throughout the day. Spoiler alert – I am far from perfect at that. I’m currently nursing my youngest back to sleep so I can finish this post. You just do what you gotta do!

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Meg Meeker said, “The most powerful way to teach a daughter how to enjoy life is for her to see her mother doing the same.” I want my children to see me living a life that is full and focused on running this race for Christ at my highest potential. As I get a clearer perspective on this, I feel more and more at peace with the decisions I’m making for my family.


 “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 (VOICE)


If you are in the same boat, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What are my hopes and dreams?
  • Are they in line with what God wants and what the Word teaches?
  • How will pursuing them make my family better?
  • How will they make me better?
  • What will it teach my children?

To sum it up – taking time away from my kids makes me a better mom. And friends, that is ok. Let go of the guilt, let go of the pressure. You are doing a great job, and you are making eternal differences in the lives of your littles. Keep pursuing your goals, dreams and passions. There are so many ways to merge them into Motherhood. You were created this way for a reason, dreams are put in our heart for a reason. Motherhood is not a hindrance, but an open door to see what else God has for us.

To the Mom Who is Scared

As a mom of a one year old and three year old, fear has never been stronger. We need to talk about it. The enemy is attacking my heart and scaring me to raise these babies in a world like this. In a world full of so much tragedy, and so much pain.

Someone told me when I was pregnant with my first, “I don’t know why anyone would bring a child into the world we live in.” They didn’t know I was pregnant at the time, but I truly felt taken aback that someone would even think that fear would stop them from starting a family.

Now I am scared every day. The “what if’s” happen every time I leave my kids with someone else, every time we are out in a crowd somewhere, and every time I put them to bed. Fear is trying to take over my parenting.

All I can do is pray. I pray for peace. I pray for wisdom. I pray for protection. I pray for for the strength to tell fear that it is not welcome here. I will not live in fear. I will not be robbed of the joys that motherhood brings. I do not know what my children will go through in this life, but I know that if I live in fear, I will miss out on so much.

As a mom of two toddlers, I make a choice daily to focus on raising them well. Raising them kind. And raising them to know Jesus and His extraordinary love for us. There are things in this world I can’t control, but I am in control of how I raise my children and how I can love them well. I choose to focus on that. Let’s encourage each other to not live in fear. It can be tough raising babies, toddlers, teenagers. It can be scary. Let’s do our best to raise them well, raise them kind, and to tell fear it is not welcome here.


“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34


This calling of motherhood is not an easy one. But we need to remember that as we are doing dishes, picking up clothes, wiping noses and making sure everyone is fed, we are doing kingdom work. We are fulfilling the call placed on our lives to take care of our family. And what an honor. What a joy it is to be a parent. What a joy it is to have clothes to fold! And noses to wipe! Mamas, we are called to this. We can’t let fear take over our motherhood.

I will still worry, because I’m a mom and that’s what we do. But I will not let it take over my motherhood. I will do my best to focus on what I can control, rather than the things I can’t. We can’t control what is happening in our world, but we can love our families well. Let’s start there.

 

 

What I Wish I knew as a First Time Mom

What I Wish I Knew as a First Time Mom

First time Mom probs. I had a lot of them. It was so hard to see when I was in the thick of it, but I was having a tough time adjusting to motherhood. I loved being a mom, I loved (almost) every aspect of taking care of my baby. But just like many first time moms – I struggled.

I struggled with control.

I struggled with worrying.

I forgot about my husband.

I isolated myself.

When I was pregnant with my first, I received so much advice on how to do this mom thing well. Good advice, bad advice, advice that made me go… “say what?” All kinds of advice. But it didn’t matter what I heard or read, nothing could prepare me for what motherhood would be like. No one knows what they will be like as a mom, until they are a mom. So regardless of the advice you hear, remember that your journey is just that, it’s yours. Take the advice you like and leave the rest. And if you need to adjust or seek different advice once you are a mom, you do that!

I was so caught up in preparing to be a mom. Like most of us, I dreamed about what motherhood would be like. Since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mom. Needless to say, I put A LOT of pressure on myself. I just wanted to do this mom thing right. But man, when you put those kind of expectations on yourself, you’re bound to fail.

Here are some things I wish I knew as a first time mom:

  1. Things will not go as planned. From the time that baby is out of you, things will probably not be the way you pictured it. When I first became a mom, I found myself feeling so disappointed with the smallest things. I was striving for perfection, and it is not even close to attainable. Grace on grace on grace. There’s beauty in the unpredictable moments. Rather than letting those moments stress me out, I wish I would’ve seen them as opportunities to lean on God even more.
  2. Take a minute, or thirty-seven for yourself. I was so fearful of something going wrong if I left her with someone. She was used to me and how I did things, what if the person watching her didn’t know those things? It’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to benefit everyone. I needed time for myself that I didn’t think I needed. The baby needed time away from me. Grandma got some one on one time in. It was hard, but it got easier each time.
  3. Include your significant other. I read all the books. All the blog posts. All the articles. I was ready to tackle whatever this baby would bring. My husband couldn’t possibly know what to do because he didn’t read the books. Turns out, he did know what to do! He’s Daddy. He knew how to love that child and bond with her. At times me and my internet knowledge got in the way of that.
  4. Grandparents want and need to help. My biggest regret from early parenthood is that I pushed them away rather than welcomed them in. I was so over-protective that they felt like they were walking on egg shells. That was their grand baby and I was just sitting there keeping her to myself! Goodness, I wish I could go back to those early days and share her with the people that love her so much.
  5. You will fail… daily. I wish I could tattoo grace on my forehead. Maybe I’ll run that idea by my husband and see how he feels about it. I failed daily and I still do. I used to beat myself up over it and feel like such a failure if things didn’t go as planned. I’ve learned to give myself grace in those moments. All I can do is all I can do. And as long as I’m doing my best, that’s all that matters.
  6. FIND MOM FRIENDS. I can’t emphasize this enough. As my daughter got older, I made this a priority. But I didn’t realize how important it was until I developed those friendships. We are all in this together. Put yourself out there. Go to MOPS. Go to Chick-fil-A where dreams come true. Invite another mom over for a play date. We need adult conversation and our kids need to interact with other kids. Get out there, mama!
  7. You will sleep again. I remember being in zombie mode for months. I was trying to enjoy the early days, but I was just so dang tired. The whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” didn’t make sense to me because there was always so much to be done. But looking back, I should’ve just slept.
  8. Do what is best for YOUR family. Oh the opinions that come in. It never stops. We are all doing what’s best for our family. Mom shaming is real, don’t let yourself go there. Don’t compare what you’re doing to what other moms are doing. Do what is best for your family and know that they are doing what’s best for their family.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “No. We are ok. Thank you though.” My classic response as a first time mom. “It takes a village” is a real thing. When someone offers help, take them up on it. You deserve a break and if you don’t want to leave your baby, have someone come over so you can take a nap while they watch them.
  10. Try really hard to cherish the moments you want to remember. I was so worried about every little thing that I forgot to stop and really enjoy those sweet, subtle moments. Was I doing the right thing with the schedule and nursing and diaper changes? Who knows. I just know I was doing my best, and I’ve learned to recognize those sweet moments, and stop to really cherish them.

11. It’s not about the pictures. I’m a photographer, so I am all about the pictures. But I also think there’s a time for it. Sometimes it can really take away from those moments. You don’t have to take a picture of every little thing. My fondest memories aren’t on my iPhone, they’re in my heart because I was really present for it.

12. Nap time is your time. Tired? Sleep. Want to read a good book? Do it. Call up a friend? Go for it. Whatever you do, do not let yourself feel bad about it. Nap time is an opportunity to take care of you. Without self care we can’t be the best version of ourselves. So take the bubble bath!

What a gift it is to be a mom. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Be the best mom you can be and call it a day. Don’t let yourself overthink every little thing from that day. Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies. And if all else fails, get yourself a DONUT.

5 Reasons We Had a Home Birth

Woahhhh. I had no idea the responses I would get when we started telling people we were having a home birth. I was confident in my decision, but sometimes people wondered if we were on the crazy train. We had a hospital birth with my first, and overall things went well. I was induced (10 days overdue) and was able to have a natural birth which I was thankful for. But there was something about the idea of having your baby at home that seemed so comforting to me. We decided to use a local birth center. Originally we were going to have the baby at their facility. We currently had an 18 month old that had not spent a night away. I hated the thought of her first night away being when her sister entered the world. After talking with the birth center, we found out they offer home births as well and decided to deliver at home.

The story goes a little something like this. My husband had been up for almost 24 hours. He was working swing shift at the time and had just come off night shift. He was up the whole following day. We were getting ready to go to bed around 11:00pm, and I started feeling something. I looked at my husband and said, “I think it’s happening.” He said, “Are you sure? Can it wait until morning?” I tried not to laugh but I know I did. I told him I don’t think it works like that and we should probably call the midwife. Poor guy was so tired. But I was also getting ready to birth a baby so I could only give so much grace in that moment.

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We had a friend come stay with our toddler. She was in and out of sleep all night. So it was wonderful having our friend there to help keep her company. She also came in to say “hi” to Mommy and Daddy before things really got going. Those were some special moments.

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I loved doing the “slow dance” motion during my contractions with my first birth, and I followed suit with the second as well. I just wanted to stand and sway. Things really got going around 3:00am. Intense contractions with small breaks in-between. Which I never got when I was induced. What a relief to have a break! Even if for just a few minutes. My water broke around 4:50am and I was ready to push right after that. Olivia was born at 5:05am. She was twelve days late, only to be born on Leap Day!

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  1. I didn’t have to go anywhere. Being in the comfort of my home was incredible. I didn’t have to ask if I could do anything. My midwife was calm and gave me confidence that I was doing a great job. Also, not packing a hospital bag was the cherry on top.
  2. My toddler didn’t have to go anywhere. I remember finding out we were pregnant and immediately thinking about how she would adjust to this new addition. She was able to meet her little sister at home. Shortly after Olivia was born she came into our room and got to hug and kiss her for the first time. It was one of the sweetest moments I can remember. It’s a moment that will forever melt my heart.
  3. Comfort in knowing that if something were to go wrong, my midwife would be on top of it. The biggest question we received was, “What if something goes wrong?” Midwives are very well trained and are definitely aware of what to do if something does go wrong. They are not shy about that. We were well aware that if they think anything may be wrong in any way, they wouldn’t hesitate to get us where we need to be. Not once did I question if we were in good hands. My husband did just admit to me the other day that he was “freaking out” the whole time. But I was fine. Must’ve been his sleep deprivation.
  4. Sleep in my own bed. Y’all. After everything was said and done, we took the longest family nap ever. It was so needed. No one was waking us up. We just slept. I felt so much more rested this time around, and I credit it to the fact that we could sleep when we wanted to. Aside from the feedings every 2-3 hours of course.
  5. I could do whatever I wanted to do. I remember looking at my friend, who had also had a home birth, and asking her, “Is it ok to eat a banana?” She assured me I could do whatever I wanted to do. That was a good feeling. And that was one good banana.

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I am thankful for the opportunity to have a baby at home. It was a beautiful experience and we hope to have all our future children at home as well.

Do you have any questions about home birth? Have you had a home birth yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t Wish Moments Away…

Don’t wish moments away… but what about the hard moments? I really want to wish those away. I want to skip through those and get to the good ones. The reality is that there will be hard moments throughout our motherhood journey. There most definitely, without a doubt, be hard moments. I’m only 3.5 years into this thing and the hard moments are much more present than I would prefer. I find myself thinking: “This will be easier when she’s 4, or 5, or 12.” What I’ve realized is that each age is going to be challenging. Each age will have wonderful moments and hard moments. The beauty is that those moments are just that – moments. Moments that will pass. Moments that will probably get harder before it gets better.

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I have to stop wishing these moments away. What an opportunity we are given when these hard moments come. An opportunity to lean on God and seek his face when we feel like we have nothing left. It’s such an honor to raise these little people, but it can also be a daunting task at times. I have cried out to God so many times because of these moments. He reminds me that this will pass. He surrounds me with the peace that passes all understanding. And turns out I can never understand it. How does He do that? He just wraps us up and this overwhelming peace just takes over.

Instead of wishing those moments away, I’m trying to see them as opportunities. Opportunities to hear from the Lord. To feel His presence even when things are hard. He’s teaching me that these hard moments are an opportunity to get closer to Him. I’m learning more about myself (especially my weaknesses), and in the midst of disciplining toddlers and trying to stay sane – I’m learning how to be a better person. How to be more patient and understanding. While I definitely do not enjoy this hard part of parenting, I can see what God’s doing there.  We’re disciplining our children, while God is giving us chances to grow. Now trust me, I fail at this daily. More like hourly. But when I can do it well, I can look back and thank God for giving me that opportunity to teach my children, as well as grow as a Mom.

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I’ve learned that it’s ok to not like the hard moments. That phrase, “Enjoy it, it goes by so fast” is most definitely true. But I have had some really long days, some really hard moments. And during those times I am not enjoying it. That’s ok. I remind myself often that it’s ok to not enjoy the moments that are frustrating and confusing. I remind myself that these children are just longing to be heard and understood. They want us to hear them so badly. Am I? Am I really listening to their heart? Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp talks deeply about this. The root of the problem is in their heart. So many times when I want to react to a behavior, I try to stop myself to figure out what’s really going on. Number one, are they hungry? Number two, are they tired? If we rule these out then we can really start searching.

In those hard moments when I really don’t want to search their heart, I’ve realized that’s when I’m missing it. I’m missing an opportunity to learn more about my child and their heart. My oldest is three and she able to let me know what’s going on. I may have to translate it for someone else, but I totally get her. I try to take that opportunity to hear her, really hear her and figure out what the root of the problem is. Because their behaviors are just that – moment by moment changing emotions that take over and come out through their behavior. But what about what’s underneath that behavior? Sinful nature, yes. But what else? I’m diving deep into this, and I pray that you will come along with me. Share what you’re learning about this things called motherhood. Let me know how we can better search our child’s heart instead of just the surface of their behavior.

Thank you so much for being here and hearing my heart. Comment below and let me know your thoughts on this topic. We Mama’s have to help each other out!

photography by Love + Covenant

How Motherhood is Sanctifying Me

I knew my marriage would sanctify me, but motherhood? That was a curve ball. I didn’t realize motherhood would bring out sides of me I never knew were there. It has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done – and I once ate an entire pizza in one sitting. But seriously, it made me really check myself.

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Here are some ways it’s sanctified me so far:

1. It’s made me more patient

Lord, has it. Patience was my thing, I really thought I had it down. Then the toddler years hit. I think most of us think we would handle things much better than we actually do. I try to give myself grace, but sometimes I find myself thinking – “Who are you? Why are you so impatient?” Grace, grace and more grace please. I’ve learned so much about God’s grace in these times. I’ve asked my kids to forgive me many times. If I’m teaching them to do that – I need to do the same.

2. I am more understanding

So much more understanding. You know when you’re checking out at the grocery store and your toddler sees all the goodness right at eye level tempting them? And they aren’t quite to the point yet where they understand that if Mommy says no the world will not end? And then the college student behind you gives you the stank eye? I was that person. I was the one thinking: “Get it together lady.” Well, now I get it. Now when that happens to someone else I give the look of: “It’s ok mama, it happens to all of us.” It’s made me realize that we are all doing our best at this thing called motherhood. Let’s build each other up, let’s lighten each other’s loads.

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3. It’s made me seek after God more than ever

Because what else can we do? There have been times when I have sought after the Lord more than others. But nothing has brought me to my knees more than being a mom. I desire to do this job well. To raise these little people to be disciples for the Lord. I can only do that if I am being a good example for them. What I teach them – I try my best to do myself. I am so thankful for a Father that welcomes us with open arms, even when we are on the hot mess express.

4. It’s made me respect my husband more

I can usually handle a lot on my plate. Or I thought I could. But in the times where I have felt helpless with my girls, or when we are going through a really challenging time – my husband has stepped up. It has brought out a side of him I didn’t know was there. He takes the reigns and picks up the pieces. He wipes my tears and tells me we are going to be alright. There are a lot of reasons I respect him, but this one tops them all.

5. Because I know they are watching me, I think twice

I used to teach a 3rd-5th grade Sunday School class. I would go home after class and think about the lesson. I would ask myself, “Am I doing that in my own life?” The lessons were basic Biblical principles, but it really makes you think when you are teaching someone else. It’s the same with my girls. We preach kindness, patience and love. Am I exemplifying those things? Am I practicing what I preach?

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6. It’s challenged me to simply be better

In all areas of my life. In my marriage – I desire for my marriage to be a good example for our girls. To know what it means to respect each other and put each other first. It’s challenged me in my friendships. I have become less judgmental and more supportive. It’s made me a better person all around. Here’s to you, motherhood!

 

Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear how is motherhood sanctifying you. Drop a comment below! 

Miscarriage: 7 Things I Learned

Miscarriage: 7 Things I Learned

Miscarriage… this is a tough one. But I think it’s something we should be talking about. I currently have a one year old and a three year old. Very easy pregnancies, very normal births. At this point I never thought we would experience this kind of loss. We found out we were pregnant with our third and were ecstatic. I am one of those people that loves being pregnant. People generally tell me I’m crazy because of that. But there’s just something about it. Maternity clothes are my jam. Who doesn’t want to live in stretchy pants?

We had a dating ultrasound and found out that the baby measured at 6 weeks and 1 day. It took a while, but the ultrasound tech was able to find the heartbeat. It’s a feeling of relief that just can’t be explained. All signs pointed to a healthy pregnancy. Throughout the pregnancy I did have a feeling that something was wrong, but there were no physical signs of miscarriage. I tried to tell myself that I was just being paranoid. When we were 12 weeks, they were unable to find a heartbeat with a fetal doppler. Ultrasound showed that the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. To sum up how I felt in that moment – my world fell apart. I won’t get into the details of what happened next, but I do want to share what I’ve learned along this journey. Just for a point of reference, it has been a little over a month since we lost our sweet baby.

*This is based on my experience alone. I realize that this is a totally different experience for those that do not have children. My heart aches for you.

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1. It’s painful

Emotionally more than anything. I am usually not a very emotional person. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with three brothers, played sports or if it’s just how I’m wired. I can usually get a pretty good grip on my emotions. Not this time. And it was painful for more than just me. My husband, our parents, brothers and sisters. Everyone was hurting with us and for us.

2. It’s eye opening

I always knew our girls were gifts from above, but this loss reminded me that they truly are miracles. I found myself just wanting to hold them and appreciate them so much more.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

3. I learned how to grieve

I used to think something was wrong with me because it took so much for me to actually get emotional about something. Everyone around me would be in tears, and I’d be the one comforting them because I was the only one that wasn’t emotional. Again, not sure where that comes from, but this miscarriage really did teach me how to grieve in a healthy way. I had some very close friends walk me through that. We are so thankful for the support we had and still have during this time. It’s made such a difference in our grieving process.

4. It’s ok to be a mess.

Along with grieving, I learned it’s ok to be a mess. Like a hot mess, not just a normal mess. Being as I usually held myself together, this was tough for me. I didn’t like not being in control of my emotions. I would be driving and out of the blue: BAM! Here come the tears. And when I would usually suck it up, I let them flow. And I still do. If I feel those feelings of disappointment coming up, I embrace it, rather than run from it. I loved that child and still do, and it’s ok for me to miss him/her and to think about what could’ve been.

5. This is not from the Lord

I know that this is not from the Lord. Without a doubt. Until we reach perfection when we go to be with the Lord, these things will happen. I am thankful for the trust I have in Him, and over the years I have learned that He ONLY wants good things for us. No part of this process is easy. Knowing that God wants to take my burdens has helped me remember that this is not for me to carry.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

I don’t know why this happened, or why bad things happen at all. Sometimes we will never get answers this side of Heaven. All I can do is take this experience to encourage others and give glory to God for the good things He has given us.

6. Grief and Joy can coexist

I never knew this until I experienced it myself. With all the pain that miscarriage brings, we can choose joy while grieving. Not the “I’m going to put a smile on my face even though I’m a mess” kind of joy. But the kind that says, “This hurts, this is hard, but I can choose joy because I know I will see that baby again.” It’s been this rollercoaster of joyful and tearful moments, that have all run together.

I have two toddlers, two beautiful gifts from God. My heart was broken for our whole family, and I knew one day I would have to explain this to them. We plan to tell them that there is another brother or sister in Heaven that can’t wait to meet them. I hope to make it a special moment for them and to use it as a teaching opportunity as much as we can.

7. There’s hope

When I was in the thick of this, it was very hard to be hopeful. It is a process and I’ve learned to give myself grace in getting through it. I was even at the point where I didn’t want to get pregnant again because of the fear that it would happen again. I don’t know what we would do or how we would get through this without Jesus. It stretched me and challenged me to lean on Him even more.

What helped me most was knowing that my baby was with Jesus. I pictured Jesus seeing that baby for the first time and gently saying, “Welcome home.” From perfection to perfection. That baby never had to experience any kind of pain or disappointment, he went straight to the One who created him. I still yearn for that child, and I’ll forever miss him. And that’s ok, because he deserves to be missed.

I would love to hear how you’re finding hope and joy. What helped you get through your miscarriage? Comment below!  

Tackling Your Goals: 2018

It’s that time of year again. We are ready for a fresh start. Another chance to tackle our goals. I found myself writing down my goals for this year and thinking, “are these really going to happen?” I felt hopeful, but unsure.

The only person that can complete my goals is me. Captain obvious wanted to send a quick reminder. We are in control of this. We may be knee deep in laundry, diapers, and legos. But we are still in control of tackling our goals. And it is possible!

Every year I pray that God will send me a word. Just one word that I need to focus on for 2018. I kept coming back to the word “Simplify.” That’s what my goals will center around this year. Simplifying my home, my schedule, and my life. As moms, I feel as if we live in this overwhelmed state. The “I can’t catch up because I don’t even know where to start” mentality. I’ve made a few changes in our routine and gotten rid of SO MUCH STUFF in the past few months. Why are we holding onto all this stuff? I kid you not – at least 20 trash bags have gone out of my house and into the homes of others that were in need. And guess what – I don’t miss it. I don’t regret it. Emily Ley, author of A Simplified Life recommends that you only hold onto the best, the favorite and the necessary. That made my decluttering process so much easier. To learn more about simplifying, I highly recommend reading A Simplified Life. Game changer for sure.

Another goal we have for this year is to spend more quality time together. My husband started working from home a few months ago. It has been wonderful having him around more, but not without its challenges. We had to really buckle down on our schedules to give each other work hours as well as some quality time together. We deemed Friday night as family night. I don’t cook (can I get an amen?) and we either order take out or go treat ourselves somewhere. Whatever we do – we stay off our phones and devote our time to each other. And before you start romanticizing that idea, remember that we have two toddlers. It’s quality, yet chaotic time together. But we make the most of it.

We also decided on twice a month date nights. Unfortunately, my parents and my husband’s parents live out of state. Between paying a babysitter and what we spend on the date – we decided to limit it to two a month. Another way my husband and I try to spend time together is in the car. Once the girls are buckled in and (hopefully) happy, it’s a great chance for us to catch up.

What are your goals for 2018? Comment  below so we can encourage each other to make and complete our goals this year!! Can’t wait to hear from you.