Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Eve Ramblings...

Saying 'goodbye' to the old and 'hello' to the new!

As we close out the year of 2017 I can't help but marvel at all The Lord has done in my life and the lives of my boys. He has given us more than we deserve and I am eternally grateful for the amazing year of 2017. For some reason I feel like highlighting the most memorable events that happened in this year. So here I go! :) 

Let's start off with our fearless leader and provider, Justin.

The year started off with Justin thinking and praying about a career change. He felt the call to move from being a Carpenter at Wagenbach Builders Inc. where he worked for 7 years! Into IT at Samaritan Ministries Inc. where he has now been for 9 months. When he first brought up the idea I have to admit I wasn't super thrilled. I felt like everyone we knew worked there and I wasn't super excited for him to lose his individuality with being the only carpenter I knew. But as the Lord continued to lay it on Justin's heart I started to see all the amazing benefits we would be blessed with if Justin took this path in his career. Needless to say he has been there since March and neither one of us has regretted the choice! What a blessing SMI has been to us. :) Not to mention the fact that Justin has been kicking butt at his job and I am so proud of all he has learned and accomplished to put forth his best effort to that ministry. Of course Justin isn't perfect. duh. But he tries his best for this family and I'd say he did an amazing job of taking care of all our needs in 2017. Whether it was superficial, like things we wanted or practical, like things we needed to survive, he worked hard to make it all happen for us and I am eternally grateful to him. 

Next is my main man, Jaxon.

This kid. Sheesh. What a year it has been with him. First February of 2017 is when Jaxon finally started to sleep through the night! That is my favorite thing he has ever learned to do. ;D Second, finding out he was going to be a big brother then watching him grow up and fill his role perfectly as the protector and helpful oldest child was such a joyous thing to watch. Plus he turned the big 2 YEARS OLD this year! Crazy how fast time has flown with him. This year was the first time Jaxon has ever been to the OBX in NC! Now that was an awesome trip for all of us. The beach, family, and relaxation made for a wonderful vacation. :D I gotta say it has been pretty amazing to see my first born change and grow in ways I didn't even expect this year. He is such a good kid and is constantly melting my heart into puddles. Jaxon's vocabulary has utterly exploded this year! Which totally surprises me because I feel like he was so slow to start talking. He now speaks in 4+ word sentences and surprises us constantly with words and descriptions of his every day life that we had no idea he knew! He is quick to say "I love you, Mama/Daddy" and has excellent manners when it comes to saying please, thank you, and you're welcome. He knows the first two questions of the children's catechism, can count to 3, and is working on the names of colors and shapes. He is still the most introverted child I know and gets pretty overwhelmed in large groups of people. He is super shy, which is something we are working on. But at least you know he likes you if he will say your name and actually smile at you. Haha! ;) I am proud of this kid and all his accomplishments this year. :) 

Baby of the family, Zan the man! 

Finding out that Zander, or Naner as Jaxon calls him, was coming this year was the biggest change our family has gone through. But boy has it been the BEST one! Zander's pregnancy was fairly easy for me even though he gave us a little scare with being in the wrong position up until 36 weeks. But once he turned I can honestly say besides some hip and lower back pain throughout the 9 months, it was an absolute breeze. He gave me a pretty great gift by only take 3ish hours to be born and from there he has only kept on giving with being one of the sweetest, most chill, and cuddly little guys ever! He is now smiling, cooing, and *almost* laughing for us! He gets excited whenever Jaxon starts to play with him or do goofy things for him to see and that makes my heart melt into puddles. I can't wait to watch these two grow up together! Here I was so worried that I could never love another kid the way I do Jaxon, then along comes Zander. <3 Both my boys have filled my heart with so much love I can't believe it's even possible! Zander's life in 2017 has been short with only being born on November 5th but he has rocked our world's and made us all so so happy by his presence in our family of four. <3

Last but not least, me. :) 

Basically I feel like I've put myself and the year I have had into each of the boy's paragraphs above. My year has not been easy but it has been absolutely wonderful and I am thankful for how 2017 turned out. The Lord has been teaching me to lean on Him more and to put Him as the center of my life. Part of me would say my whole world revolves around my 3 guys. But really it revolves around the Lord and that has been something I have needed to be reminded of. To take delight in the things and people He has put in my life but to know that they are gifts from Him and not to put them above Him in my life. The Lord is and will always be my everything. <3

Soooo.... tomorrow is January 1st 2018!! I cannot wait to see what the Lord does in all of our lives this next year! Like I said up there^^ I have no idea why I felt like writing this blog post. But I'm glad I did! I pray that on December 31st of 2018 I have even more amazing and wonderful things about all the Lord has done in our lives to write about on here. 

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Zander Riley's Birth Story

For those interested here is the amazing birth story of my second born son, Zander. All of this happened in the comfort of my own home and I couldn't be more thankful. <3

November 5, 2017

1:25am. I was rolling over in bed when I felt my water break. Being 42 weeks pregnant I was VERY excited thinking labor was going to start any minute! I tried to go back to sleep as best I could and got maybe a couple more hours here and there. I would wake up only to pray that labor would start soon so I wouldn't have to go to the hospital to have this baby. Around 6:30am Jaxon woke up so Justin went into his room to tell him to go back to sleep. When Justin got back in bed with me I was so excited I said, "How would you like to have a baby today?" He looked at me confused. "My water broke at 1:25 this morning!" I said. That made Justin become wide awake and get super excited which made me also get even more excited than I already was! After that we both knew we wouldn't be going back to sleep. I started bouncing on my birthing ball trying to get labor started while Justin took a shower. We both tried to relax knowing it could be awhile. But as the day went on and nothing was happening I started to get really worried. I was envisioning having to go to the hospital and be put on drugs to get labor started and I really didn't want that. :-/ We went on a long walk after breakfast, I went up and down the basement stairs so many times throughout the day, I bounced on my birthing ball, and we both just kept praying. Around lunch time my sister-in-law brought us castor oil and a electric breast pump hoping maybe those things would help get labor going. It kinda did... But as soon as I was stop pumping the contractions would stop. It was so frustrating. 
The day seemed to drag on until around 6-7:00pm when Brande and Malory (my brith team/midwife) came over to see if they could get things going for me. They made me drink tinctures, do more exercises, walk the stairs over and over again, take a long hot shower, and sit on my birthing ball. Finally with all of those things combined my contractions started! But even then I didn't think they were very intense. I definitely had to breathe through them after awhile but I didn't feel like I was in "the zone" yet. You know, the zone where you don't wanna talk, smile, or laugh in between contractions because you're so focused on what you're body is doing. ;) Brande checked me to see how dilated I was and we were both shocked to find out I was 4-5 centimeters already! Halfway there and I didn't even feel like my body was trying very hard. That was super exciting. :D 
After awhile my contractions finally started to pick up in intensity! I was so excited and told everyone with Jaxon's birth I dreading another contraction coming. But with Zander I was so excited and welcomed every contraction hoping they'd become more intense and praying they wouldn't stop! Even so, I was still able to talk in between contractions and didn't feel like I was close to delivery at all. I remember telling Justin sadly this could still be awhile. I kept trying to remind myself that pushing didn't have to take 2 hours (like with Jaxon's birth) so I could be closer than I thought even though I had no urge to push yet. After feeling pretty nauseous all the sudden and going to the bathroom Justin asked if I wanted to get in the birthing pool. I told him I really didn't want to cause we had worked so hard to get labor started and I was scared it would slow down my contractions and drag this whole birth out longer. I also didn't want to have to get in and out a bunch of times before the baby came. I seriously thought I still had hours ahead of me. At this point in the story I literally had maybe 10 more minutes before Zander was going to be in my arms. But there I was terrified that these contractions were not strong enough and I probably had all night to go still. Haha! Crazy! 
I got into the pool and had one normal contraction. Then all the sudden I had the most intense, strong, painfully crazy urge to push. Like my body was going to explode unless I pushed with all my might! I couldn't have stopped it even if I wanted to and believe me I wanted it to stop and give me a second to catch my breath. It hurt so bad. This was the toughest part for Justin to watch and he started to silently cry while he held my hand and kept telling me I could do this. He was, is, and will always be my rock! He gives me strength to get through with his encouraging words and his positive attitude. Continually telling me to relax, saying "you've got this", "you're doing great!", and many other awesome little things that kept me going. Makes me cry just thinking about the love that man has for me. I couldn't have gone through this birth without his encouragement and his support. I have been blessed beyond belief to have that man as my own. He makes the worlds best doula/birth partner any girl could ever ask for. Don't even get me started on how amazing he is as a father to our boys! It would take way too long to write out! <3

Anyways back to the birth. ;) Brande told me to reach down and see if I could feel the baby's head. Oh boy, I could feel it alright! His head was almost out with just the first push! When the next push came his head was out and I accidentally poked my little guy in the eye as I tried to get a good grip. One more push and Zander was out!! I caught him myself and brought him to my chest. In the commotion I didn't realize the cord was around his neck but thank goodness Brande fixed it as fast as lightening and Zander made his first sounds in this world. He had a full head of dark hair just like his big brother and he looked absolutely perfect. Justin put his hand on Zander's head and lifted up a silent prayer for him. The most special moment between father and son that I didn't know was even happening at the time but will never forget now. <3 Zander's face was pretty bruised by my body pushing his out so quickly. Poor baby... :( It cleared up within two days though and he is and always has been absolutely precious. 

Everything about this birth was different from my first experience. But I wouldn't change a thing about either story. The Lord orchestrated it all beautifully and He gave me two of the most precious boys I could ever ask for. I am so thankful He saw fit to make me Jaxon and Zander's Mama! <3

Just in case you were wondering, Jaxon absolutely adores his little brother! He is very gentle with Zander and is very affectionate with hugs, kisses, patting his back, and rubbing his head. When Jaxon met Zander for the first time he was all smiles and wanted to hold and kiss *his* baby. The sweetest moment for us as a family of four. <3 There has never been any jealousy or acting out towards the baby from Jaxon and for that we are so grateful to our little man. These two already have a special bond and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for them together.

Well, that's all! I mostly write this for myself to never forget this crazy amazing experience of bringing my son into the world. But I hope you enjoyed it as well. :) 

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A year ago today- Finding out I was pregnant!

Here is the story of how I found out I was pregnant. I cannot believe it has been a whole year since this day! I still remember it like it was yesterday and yet it is getting slightly fuzzy. 
 So I am writing this for your reading pleasure but mostly so I never forget as the years pass. 

November 10, 2015

I just felt like something was different. 

I don't know how to explain it. I just had this feeling like something was different with me. I had been doing the Basal Body Temp method of tracking my cycles. So I knew my tempature was staying high longer than normal but I still hadn't "missed" my cycle yet. I had an old unused pregnancy test that I was saving, because after 3 years of constantly thinking "maybe this is the month" I had gotten sick on getting my hopes up only to have the test come out negative. So I just stuck the last test I had in the bathroom cabinet thinking I would stop hurting myself and only take it if I was 100% sure it would be positive. 

It was positive. 

But I didn't believe it! I hadn't taken it till Justin had left for work because I didn't want to get his hopes up, yet again, if it wasn't positive. Even after seeing the faint lines I still didn't believe it! I thought it had to be because the test is old or something. So I went out to Walmart to buy another test never once telling Justin anything about what I was doing. Looking back that was really dumb of me... But anyway, the whole way to the store I was praying to the Lord that this wasn't some sort of joke He was letting me go through just so I could yet again lean on Him when my heart broke. I remember having WCIC on the radio and they were talking about babies and announcing pregnancies. Crazy, right?! I walked through the store in a daze thinking, "Should I take the test here or wait till I get home?" I figured it'd be weird to find out in a public bathroom stall so I waited. lol 

After taking 2 of the 3 tests throughout the day and both showing up positive I STILL didn't 100% let myself believe it was true so I waited yet another day before telling Justin! (I was so dumb, y'all... but I just couldn't wrap my mind around it) 

So on November 11, 2015 I took the last test in the box I had gotten the day before and stuck the positive test behind the tissue box in the bathroom. I wanted to wait to say anything so I could do something more special for telling Justin. Because after taking 4 tests in 2 days I was FINALLY letting myself believe that this was really happening! Justin texted me on his lunch break asking if my cycle had started yet because (he told me later) he was having a weird feeling that I was pregnant but didn't want to get MY hopes up. *laughs* Funny how the Lord works separately and yet exactly the same in our individual lives. I told Justin that I hadn't started yet (the truth)
 but changed the subject cause I didn't want him finding out he was going to be a Daddy over text. 

I had seen loads of cute ways to announce one's pregnancy but for some reason I wanted to go simple and sweet instead of over the top. Which is really weird considering my personality and how long I waited. lol But I decided I wanted to capture Justin's reaction so I put a sign on the front door and then waited with a camera to video him walking in. 

Cute and simple.

He texts me that he is on his way home which means I had 5 minutes of torture waiting for him. After what seemed like hours I finally hear him pull in the driveway and then his boots are walking up our front porch. I waited, holding my breath and pressed record on my phone. I hear him pause while reading this note and then swing the door open as fast as he can with a wide eyed look of excitement and disbelief (see I wasn't the only one who didn't believe it at first! ;)) on his face he asks, "ARE YOU SERIOUS!!? Are you really serious?!" Of course I start crying and nodding like a blubbering little girl, "Yes! I'm totally serious!" NOW it is all truly starting to sink in. We're going to have a baby!! He grabs me in a bear hug and keeps asking me over and over again if I'm truly serious (he was in shock y'all). We kiss and hug our emotions out and then he immediately starts praying and thanking the Lord for this answer to our prayers and for the safety of our baby. 

After I show him the positive tests and we talk more about our little one we realize we have to go to a family dinner with my parents and married siblings! We decide then and there that we want to keep this precious baby to our selves for a few weeks. So we went to the dinner with huge smiles on our faces and kept the whole thing under wraps as best we could. Of course after we told our families 2 weeks later on Thanksgiving Day all my siblings say they totally knew something was up that night but they didn't want to hurt our feelings by asking yet again if we were pregnant. Who knows what we would have said if they had asked. ;) 

Once we got home we took this picture together to always remember that day. (Like we needed any help. lol) 

Happiness and a look of relief of a long infertility burden lifted, written all over our faces. 

That is the end of our amazing story. 

Like I said this is mostly for us to never forget the finer details but I hope y'all enjoyed reading this too. I know I enjoyed reliving it while writing. 

Until next time! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jaxon's Labor, Birth, and Afterbirth Story

Hello Everyone! 

This is the story of labor, birth, and after birth of my son. Read at your own risk of TMI. ;)

My Birth Story

I was 41 weeks pregnant and starting to wonder if my son would ever come! But of course I also knew that was impossible for him to NOT come and he was going to in God’s perfect timing. Sure enough on the early morning of August 1st 2015 I started having some bad cramps around 12:00am. At first I didn’t think anything of them and went to the bathroom for the 3rd time that night and found some blood in my underwear which made me wonder if tonight was the night... Still I didn’t think it was time for labor yet cause my water was supposed to break first, right? lol ;) After getting back into bed I couldn’t fall asleep. Finally around 12:30ish I started timing the cramps to see if there was a pattern or if they were just random. As I timed them I realized they were coming close to 2 minutes apart and lasting for almost 50 seconds. I woke Justin up at 1:00am saying I was having bad cramps and they weren’t going away. He was so cute and thought it was morning and he had over slept and I was waking him up. lol When he realized what was going on he told me I should get in warm water so he ran me bath. We were both still pretty tired and still were not sure if we should start calling the midwife, doula, or our Mom’s so we decided to wait a little while longer. Around 2:00am we ended up calling the midwife (Brande) who told us to time the contractions and when they were lasting more than a minute to let her back up midwife know because Brande was going on vacation that day. Around that time we came to realize this was the real deal and Justin started to fill up the birth pool since warm water was the only thing keeping the contractions from coming too close together.  At 2:30am we called the backup midwife, Bernice and Doula, Malory telling them the contractions were becoming longer and staying about 4-5 minutes apart. They started to make their way to us. Around 3:30 we texted our Mom’s and told them today was the day and that they could come on over. Once people started arriving at the house both Justin and I relaxed and were able to just focus on keeping me comfortable. I tried different positions to labor in even though all I really wanted was to sit in my warm water... Justin and Malory made me move around. Looking back I’m so glad they did because it helped get Jaxon in the right position for birth much faster than if I had stayed on my bum like I wanted to. lol ;) Around 7:00ish I started to have the gentle urge to push. I just went with it and pushed when I felt like it. At 8:00ish I went to lay down in bed and my water broke! After that the urge to push came with each contraction and in a weird way it felt good to have something to do while the contractions came and went. I got back in the water and was pretty thirsty most of the time. In between each contraction I was able to close my eyes and almost fall asleep. My Mom’s told me later I would fall asleep and then jerk awake cause my head kept bobbing up and down. 

(Justin holds me while I'm standing during a contraction)

Let me just take a minute to try to put into words how absolutely and utterly amazing my husband was throughout this whole entire process. He was absolutely wonderful and never left my side! (except for bathroom breaks) Always holding my hand while being calm and confident while telling me I was doing so so great and to relax. One of the phrases he said throughout was, "you got this, babe! You can do it. Just relax."  He probably said this about 100 times and yet each time it helped me so much more than he'll ever know. <3 I seriously could not have done any of this without him. Pregnancy, labor, or birth! He was my rock throughout the entire process. I was able to lean on him and squeeze his hands when a particularly bad contraction came. Having his arms around me was so comforting and exactly what I needed. 

I don’t know what time it was exactly when I started to feel Jaxon’s head crowning. But when I did I told everyone that it was burning down there and the whole room moved into action knowing that the baby was coming really soon now. Malory was an angel and helped me through each burning push while I sat in between Justin’s legs, he supported me from behind with his arms around me. Malory was positioned to catch Jaxon as he came out. We were all getting super excited at this time and even though it hurt like crazy I felt like I got a second wind and I was just calmly saying “I just want him to come out already!” To which everyone kept saying, "He's almost here!!" When Jaxon’s head came out Justin started crying behind me and I kept wondering if he was okay. Finally after two more whole contractions, one for his shoulders and one for his hips, he was out and in my arms!!! I remember seeing that full head of dark hair and thinking, “Is this really my child?” lol Justin and I just kept saying “hello” to him and telling him we loved him and it was okay to cry to get his lungs clear. I’ll never forget that moment. We sat there, me in Justin’s arms and Jaxon in mine, for the first time a true little family of 3. All the years of waiting for a child, crying out to the Lord, and having the dark cloud of infertility over us seemed to disappear because we had our first born son in our arms. The Lord has truly been gracious to us. 

After a couple minutes of just soaking up our son, I will also never forget the urge I had to stand up. It’s all I could think about! Once I did, blood just started to pour out of me. At first I didn’t think anything of it... but then I noticed how worried everyone looked around me. I birthed the placenta and Bernice (my wonderful midwife) started to push on my uterus getting it to clamp. Justin was really scared for me and didn’t even want to cut Jaxon’s cord because he couldn’t stand the sight of all the blood that I was loosing. But I told him to just do it cause he would always regret it if he didn't. So he did. After this I went to the bathroom and then got in bed. I was worn out from labor and from the loss of blood. Bernice gave me a shot of pitocin in my thigh which helped my uterus contract even faster. Bernice and Malory continued to take my blood pressure and thank the Lord it started to rise after a little while. I was also starving and thirsty for juice so I think that really helped my situation out. 

After that scare was dissipating Justin, Jaxon, and I laid in our bed and just snuggled. Justin and I kept saying to each other that we have a baby now. It was amazing. 

Labor was nothing like what I expected and yet it was everything I anticipated. I don’t know if that makes any sense or not but it’s how I feel. I’ve read tons of books, have heard lots of birth stories, and was even blessed to attend 2 births before my own son’s birth. But everyone is different and handles pain differently so I wasn’t completely sure how I would react. I thank the Lord that I never felt like I couldn’t do it. In fact it never even crossed my mind until the very last few minutes when he was just a few moments from being in my arms. That was the only time I really felt like I had nothing left in me. But the Lord gave me the strength to do it!! And now that it’s been a month I could totally do it all over again! Especially if it means I will get half as cute, sweet, and cuddly a baby as Jaxon is. :) Now the not sleeping part that follows is something I’m more hesitant about doing again with a newborn. ;D 

Thanks for reading my very first labor story! I hope it all made sense. If you have any questions for me feel free to ask! I’ll answer as soon as I can with a 1 month old in the house. :)

Until next time, 
~A proud new mommy <3

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our 2nd Anniversary!!

Two years ago we said, "I do". Two years ago we stood in front of the people whom we care most about and vowed to love each other until death do us part. Two years ago we had our first kiss. Two years ago we started a beautiful life together filled with love and happiness. Our God knows my every need and He knew that I needed you to be alongside me in this crazy and yet magical life. Neither one of us is perfect but we are perfect for each other. I love you, my sweet husband and I pray the Lord gives us MANY more years together! Happy 2nd Anniversary!!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mi Familia

I love how my family is ever growing. I remember talking with my brothers and laughing about how weird it would be when we are all married. What we thought our spouses would be like and how many kids we would all have. Adoptions, marriages, a few more adoptions, and babies being born in young households, keeps our beautiful family large and growing. 

All the couples in love together. Looking back, I think we should have had Mom and Dad kissing as well in this. But it's okay. It's still a wonderful picture filled with love.

 Oooh my darling... I love you so much I cannot even begin to describe. 

"Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth {and adoption} and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger."

Until next time, 

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July 2013

Life is good. *happy sigh*

Yesterday was our Independence Day Celebration!! Most everyone from our church gathered at my parents house for an afternoon/evening of recreation, good food, fellowship, and a time of remembering the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I didn't take too many pictures because I was too busy talking with the amazing church family my Lord has blessed me with. While I was busy talking, Justin was busy beating the Dad's for the first time in their annual Father-Son volleyball match. Let's just say the guys were pretty happy to have won! 
The Lord finally blessed us with the perfect weather for our celebration. It was upper 70's to 80 with a lovely breeze and no humidity!! *cheers* It was fabulous! Some people even wore light jackets/sweaters. Like I said, perfect.

Anyway, enough writing and more pictures...

My darling love and I getting a picture together before everyone started coming...

I have said this before and I will say it again, cuteness runs in my family! Hattie is the perfect testament to that! Isn't she adorable in her little hat and dress? And those chubby cheeks? Goodness, I love her.

My cute siblings and outlaw brother William having fun playing in the sandbox. I'm pretty sure right before I took this picture they were singing "happy birthday" about to enjoy the little sand cake they had made together. 

This is only some of the people who were there. I love it when we have a full crowd of friends and family just relaxing with each other. 

Olivia being absolutely adorable as always. She seriously cannot get any cuter!

The little brother-in-love, Jadon figuring out the beanbag toss. Yes, his shirt is right, he is Captain Adorable! 

It's always a blast when Garr and Mel are there! These two are so sweet to watch together. 

Want to see some men turn into little boys? Just hand them some dangerous fireworks and watch the transformation take place before your very own eyes... With that said, they did a good job setting them off without hurting anyone.  

Jelly Bean!!!! In this picture she is telling me that her name isn't "Jelly Bean" by saying. "No jelly bean, no!" *laughs* Cutie pie! 

Justus is laughing pretty hard at me as I try to take his picture. He kept hiding from me so when I actually got it I was pretty proud of myself. Just look at that huge smile!

I end this post with these two beauties! Sara and Geneva are the best of friends and can always be found playing together. Their friendship is the sweetest thing to see. 

I hope each and every one of y'all had a fabulous celebration yesterday!! 

Until next time,