Our Summer Staycation!

 

This July both due to lots of doctor bills (we had a baby this year after all) and unexpected home repairs we decided  to do a StayCation in lieu of a traditional vacation.

Here’s a glimpse into our week at home.

We played in our pool. Not big but the kids loved it. At one point we put the hose on the slide and the kids LOVED going down the ‘water slide’!

Pool time

We also tackled a DIY night stand project. Here’s Dom assisting by sorting the wood by size.Building project

Charlee helped too. Sorting the wood

Devin just looked cute and smiled a lot. baby

baby smiling

 

Of course you need the proper protection for these extensive DIY projects!

wear your goggles

 

Dom helped hold the wood in place as Marshall put the screws in.helping build the shelf

One of the night stands complete. Marshall built and stained two for our bedroom. They are gorgeous and getting a lot of good use!finished product

 

We went to a local pool. Never mind that we were in the pool 45 minutes and took 45 minutes to get everyone dressed and back to the car. We made it to the pool! Afterwards, we went to the park for a picnic lunch. picnic

Devin really enjoyed it.sleepy baby

 

Then we flew kites. Dom had an Ironman kite.kite flying

kite flying 2

kite flying 3

Charlee had a Hello Kitty Kite.hello kitty kite

During our staycation we had fun doing playdough, crafts and watching movies.playdough

playdough 2

Here’s our 4th of July Fireworks crafts in process. 4th of july crafts

july crafts

It was a wonderful blessing to be with family. little dev

little mozart dev

Hotels and amusement parks are great but getting rest and surrounding yourself with family…that’s what matters no matter the location. life is beautiful

 

The Nights Are Long but the Sleeps Are Short

My husband and I are not getting much rest these days. The reason is a five letter word: D-E-V-I-N.

Devin is our six month old little baby boy who, although he is our third child, is breaking the mold on everything we thought we knew about parenting.

From his choice of entry into the world to the way he sleeps or rather does not sleep through the night, this sweet precious baby boy keeps us on our toes and continually scratching our heads. Nothing we did with our first two works and we feel like brand new parents all over again.  All the tricks we thought we’d mastered, all the experience we thought we had gained, and all the baby whispering superpowers we thought we had acquired…nope. Nothing works.
Come to find out…
We just had a firstborn who thrives off routine and a middle child who likes her sleep. And now, we have a baby who wants to make sure he stays the baby. Don’t worry, kid, you’ve convinced us!

Parenting is just not what I ever expected. I mean that in a good way. And I also mean it in a “whoa! this wasn’t what I was expecting when I said I wanted to have kids” way.

But then my son says to me tonight: “Mommy one day when I’m big like you I can pray prayers like you”. Yes, son. You already do and God loves to hear you talk to Him. {Please never stop!}

And then my daughter climbs up into my lap and snuggles me as we watch “Fia!” (Sofia). {Lord, may we always be close!}

And when my sweet mold breaking baby boy who laughs when others laugh and cries when others cry, it reminds me to do the same for others. {may his heart always be so tender}

No. Parenting is not easy. It’s tiring. It’s thankless. It is a constant sowing of seeds that may or may not yield the crop for which we hope.

It is, however, a beautiful journey. Our greatest mission field. And perhaps one of God’s greatest manifestations of His unconditional love for His Bride.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…” 1 John 3:1

So although I’m not getting the sleep  I want, I’m thankful for the gift that is parenting and the three little blessings that call me “mommy”. This journey has taught me so much about the gentle beckoning of the Spirit, the persistent grace of the Father and the sacrificial love of the Savior for me.
And that is worth losing sleep over.

sleeping devin

Embrace the Mess

 

I have a problem that I think most moms have. I can’t seem to keep my house clean. No matter how many trips per month we make to The Goodwill to drop off our excess, the junk seems to multiply like my daughter’s favorite animals: bunnies!

And with my personality, it just drives me nuts.  I spend a lot of time putting things away, vacuuming floors and purging stuff.

And my poor kids. They just want to play and I just want to put every thing away.

But today.

Today, I looked at the house. I saw the mess and I decided that I would embrace it. And more importantly I would embrace life.

I pulled out the finger paints which is something I’d much rather display than use. Being honest here.

Here’s Charlee doing finger paint in a box (a trick I picked up from her brilliant teachers as it helps better contain the mess).
charlee fingerpainter

 

Or so I thought. Love this girl. Unlike my eldest, she is not afraid to get her hands, her face, her entire body dirty in order to have fun!

face paint finger painter Charlee

 

Here’s my youngest taking it all in.

Mommy what is on Charlee's face?

 

And while my eldest was at swim lessons and Charlee was having a blast with paints, I knocked out a few projects.

My mom made this cross stitch piece 7 years ago. It has been sitting in a box folded up for SEVEN years! All because I’ve wanted to get it professionally framed. It may not look as pretty in this frame but it is IN a frame!
precious moments wedding frame

And here’s some patriotic garland I hope to hang from the mantle.

patriotic garland

 

Here is my handsome guy after his first day of swim lessons. swim lesson Dom

So although my house may not be pristine right now, my heart is full. Perhaps I’ll embrace the mess more often!

DIY Craft Supply Caddy

With three kids 4 and under, the opportunities I have to do anything crafty is very rare. Even when I do, it takes much longer than it would have before kids.

This project, start to finish, took two months. It started with the purchase of this pretty neat caddy. I’m not sure what it’s original purpose was, but I found it at Goodwill for 99 cents, and it looked like a perfect Craft Supply Caddy to me! A few weeks of can collecting and I was ready to put it all together.

craft caddy

I took the labels off the can and then ran them through the dishwasher to get the extra yuck off of them.

nice and shiny

Because I wanted to make the Craft Supply Caddy for my kids, I solicited their help in the decorating process. They used this really cool Color Wonder paper and markers. Have you heard of this stuff? It’s amazing. Anyway, the kids decorated and I glued them onto the cans.

using color wonder markers to decorate

 

larry boy

Here’s the finished product. Love it. And the kids do too!

craft caddy

If Not For Grace {Where Will They Be?}

There’s a fear as a parent that kind of sneaks up on you. I really don’t think it is there when you say I do. It may cross your mind when you see the (+) sign on the pregnancy stick. It may creep up here or there as you contemplate your little one’s future but as a wise friend shared with me recently, it definitely doesn’t consume your thoughts as you rock your sweet baby to sleep.

But over time it does come. For me, the fear has begun to surface now at the tender parenting age of 4. I’ve been doing this mom thing for 4 years now. Wow. Seems longer in some ways and in others so brief. I sure do know less than I thought I did four years ago.

As my eldest begins to grow in his understanding of good choices and bad choices, as he experiments with using kind words and mean words, as his will becomes iron clad {read: extremely strong and stubborn}, and as his thoughts become more articulate and his memory more photographic, it is now that the fear can overtake me.

Not always, of course but it is there all the same. The fear that I will fail in raising my children in a way that leads to them living their lives fully surrendered to Christ. It’s funny…ironic. I’m not worried about them failing in other areas.

Fall off your bike? No big deal! Dust the knees off and let’s get back on!

Make a C in Algebra? No worries! Let’s tackle this Math giant together.

Didn’t make the basketball team? That’s okay. Let’s practice this summer together and give it another try next season.

Make a decision that contradicts everything that Mom and Dad have tried to teach you about living for Christ? Utter. Fear.

Make a bad choice. No. I mean a really really REALLY bad choice…and I’ve failed as a parent.

Question your faith? Well, that’s okay….I want you to truly own your faith. But please don’t do something so terribly bad that it alters your future.

Deep breath.

Dom is only 4. Charlotte is sassy but that comes with 2 right? And Devin…his greatest transgression is going through 5 diapers in less than a half hour.

In time, however, all three will fail. Make the wrong choice. It could be as seemingly insignificant as coloring on the walls with crayons or as drastic as a rebellious stint around town painting graffiti on walls {do people still do that?}

How will I respond when these and the in-between mistakes happen?

We teach our children to love one another. Be kind to one another. To share. To forgive. To ask others for forgiveness.

Am I doing the same? Am I extending grace?

Or am I that example that says in a pharisaical way that only certain sins are forgive-able? Do my actions illustrate the lie that there are levels of transgressions?

OR do I show that GRACE is GRACE is GRACE!

Sure. There are natural consequences to each choice we make. There are results we must live with because of those decisions. Good and bad.

In the midst of every decision, do my children know that I love them without conditions. That more importantly their heavenly Father loves them without prerequisite. Do my children understand that although my actions and responses to their choices may be flawed that the love of God is without blemish…that it is UNconditional….pouring out…OVERFLOWING in buckets of grace.

How do I teach my children to make the best choices? How do I give them permission to fail when I am honestly so terrified to see them fail? When I fear the height from which they may descend before they learn to soar?

And then the verses come:

“…And while we were still sinners Christ died for us”. {Romans 5:8}

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” { Ephesians 2:8}

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. {Hebrews 4:16}

In that moment, I am reminded that my husband and I have been blessed with three beautiful children who are on loan as the saying goes. We feed them, clothe them, sing and dance with them when they are young. We read with them, talk with them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The SAVIOR who died to pay the insurmountable debt of sin.

So..in this scary world of conflicting statments and questions like:

“What is truth?”

“Doesn’t matter what you believe. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. It’s all good.”

“What does the Bible really say about A,B, and C?”

“That’s okay for you but I’m making my own path.”

In the midst of all that, I can love like Jesus, teach my children to do the same, love his word, teach his word, extend grace, receive grace, pray, pray, PRAY and watch the Holy Spirit stir their hearts and lead them on their own journey with Christ.

Will there be scabbed knees, literally and spiritually, along the way? You betcha! But I have to trust that the God who pursued my heart, who continues to call to me and remind me of His unfailing love for me, is calling out to my children as well. I have to believe that his grace is deeper, wider, and of greater substance than anything I can muster up on my own. He loves me faults and all.

He loves me just like:

Judas who betrayed him

Peter who denied him

Paul who persecuted him

His grace never ran out on them…it hasn’t run out on me.  And it won’t run out on my children.

They have amazing futures ahead of them. They will make lots and lots of mistakes along the way.

But that is okay because….GRACE.

parker_nb-77 (1)

Tea for Two {Charlotte Leigh’s 2nd Birthday}

 

Last Saturday, we celebrated our daughter’s 2nd Birthday. Her birthday is in March, but the arrival of our 3rd child in January has us a little behind.

Here are few highlights of this sweet little party we had with a few of her little friends.

 

[caption id="attachment_2137" align="aligncenter" width="634"]tea for two Charlotte’s Invitation. I found a teacup template online and used scented drawer liner paper for the teacup.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2134" align="aligncenter" width="634"]scarves and hats and jewelry The dress up area. Hats, scarves and jewelry. I found those cute little suitcases in my favorite shopping destination: downtown McKinney![/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2133" align="aligncenter" width="634"]Charlee dressed up All dressed up![/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2131" align="aligncenter" width="634"]trying jewelry My sweet adorable niece picking out some jewelry.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2126" align="aligncenter" width="634"]putting together a teapot picture frame I found these cute teapot picture frames through oriental trading.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2125" align="aligncenter" width="634"]tea time! I found a super cute book about tea parties. I’m so sad I didn’t get a good picture of the tables. I found the hanging tulle through a friend raising funds for a ministry. Win-Win![/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2116" align="aligncenter" width="634"]food This is unfortunately the aftermath of the party but we had sweet tea (of course), lots of yummy fruit, teapot cookies and Strawberry Shortcake. Notice the bell on the table? We rang this to announce tea time! It has a beautiful butterfly on it. [/caption]

 

 

[caption id="attachment_2117" align="aligncenter" width="634"]mason jar silverware I found this metal caddy at a thrift store. {surprise, surprise} I bought the mason jars at the grocery store and the plastic ware at the dollar tree, napkins, plates and straws from Target. [/caption] [caption id="attachment_2124" align="aligncenter" width="634"]eating food I created the place mats with the same drawer line paper. I used chalkboard cardstock for the place cards.[/caption]

 

 

[caption id="attachment_2121" align="aligncenter" width="634"]sweet little friends Aren’t these the cutest tea party littles you ever saw?! In the trees I hung instagram photographs of Charlotte.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2129" align="aligncenter" width="634"]slide What’s a tea party without a little girl time on the slide?![/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2127" align="aligncenter" width="634"]friends Thankful for such great friends![/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2123" align="aligncenter" width="634"]everyone Swoon! The banner says “tea for two”[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2120" align="aligncenter" width="634"]charlee is two Sipping tea[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2136" align="aligncenter" width="634"]party favors :) Party favors: I got the cute little purses in the Target Dollar Spot. The contents were bubbles, tea party stickers and a teapot necklace kit.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2135" align="aligncenter" width="634"]thank yous I couldn’t resist the garden tools I found at a thrift shop![/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_2128" align="aligncenter" width="634"]charlotte leigh Happy 2nd Birthday Charlotte Leigh![/caption]

 

I am really proud of how Charlee’s party turned out. Perfectionist me could tell you a million things that I forgot or didn’t do the way I envisioned but those sweet important little people didn’t notice. And that is truly all that matters.

My Body My Choice {A Repost}

I wrote this shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte Leigh. Since then, my body has changed even more with the arrival of not only a second child but a third! I needed to *hear* this. Perhaps someone else does as well.

Eighteen glorious months ago I gave birth to a beautiful 8lb, 8 and half ounce baby boy. On January 20, 2011, Dominic Truth arrived on the scene and our lives have never been the same.

Neither has my body.

Perhaps I should rewind even further to the day I found out I was pregnant. Little did I know how much would change in the 42 weeks that followed. {yes, I said 42 weeks}

From that moment of conception my body began a rigorous marathon of growing life. And growing my body to hold this life. In the ten months that followed, my hips widened, my middle thickened and my face rounded. My brisk gait became a waddle.

[caption id="attachment_1084" align="aligncenter" width="300"] just found out I was pregnant! So little![/caption] [caption id="attachment_1085" align="aligncenter" width="225"] 41+ weeks![/caption]

After Dominic was born I began the long process of losing the weight that I had so happily {and easily I might add} gained in an effort to grow a baby. I lost a huge portion simply from walking, nursing my baby and returning to pre-pregnancy eating habits.

And I am proud to announce that although it took me over a year I have been maintaining my pre-pregnancy weight for a few months now.

But it’s just not the same. My clothes don’t fit the same way. And my shape is…different. It’s just not the body I had before I got pregnant.

And this could make me sad. Some days it does. But then I remember the wondrous miracle that took place in this body that now houses more skin than I’d care to admit.

Then I recall that my body before Dominic didn’t always make me happy either.

In those days, I could easily look at myself in the mirror and lament it’s shape and size. I could seamlessly criticize every extra pound and unwanted curve. I could scrutinize every gap in my teeth and lament over the acne scars that accent my face. I could tear myself down and ridicule my body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

Or I could remember who created me. I could thank God for the body he’s given me. I can proudly look in the mirror and proclaim, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” {Psalm 139:14}

I can pull my shoulders back, lift up my chin and broaden my smile because it’s my body. And it’s my choice to love it just as I am.

You may not have had a baby or perhaps you’ve had several. Your body is beautiful. Created by God in a shape and size that is exquisite. You may not have had a choice in what you  look like but you do have a choice to love you and your body as it is.

It’s your body. How will you choose to regard it?

 

This post was originally published on journeytobecomingone.wordpress.org on July 30th 2012. 

a boy and his elephant

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

Things I don’t want to forget:

That my little girl says ‘nom nom’ to say thank you. The more nom nom’s the more thankful she is

brown eyes

That my eldest son randomly cleans his room after we’ve put him to bed. He’s also been known to change his clothes a few times when he should be sleeping.

dom

That my baby boy has a smile that truly lights up a room and warms his momma’s heart.

smiley baby

That my eldest is a planner and must ask daily: “where are we going today?”

Dom dressed as buzz

That my daughter, at 2, is already a fashionista…wearing clothing in uncoventional ways like socks for gloves and pj’s as a hat.

foxy little lady

socks are the new gloves

 

That my precious newborn resembles Winston Churchill….a lot.

dev looks like winston churchill

pic of Winston

That my 4 year old creator loves to make his farm animal duplo creatures super heroes.

dom with color picture

That my daughter loves strawberries and affectionately calls them Baubles

Charlee outside

That my little 2 month old chuckles in his sleep.

devin on his playmat

That my oldest has always been our little song bird waking up with and sometimes before the sun with joy in his heart and music on his lips.

listening to a message

That my middle child sways her shoulders back and forth when given a compliment

snow day with our little lady

That my youngest can sleep anywhere as long as he is in our arms.

devin looks like WInston Churchill

That my oldest makes sure to tell his daddy to “be safe on the roads” every time he leaves for work.

dom for fairy tale day

That, according to my daughter, no matter the animal,the sound he makes is “moo”

sofia nightgown

That my children love books but adore the Bible above all others.

d and c coloring

That big brother and sister love their baby brother and can’t wait to run and play with him.

charlee and devin

That our 3rd child has and continues to break all the rules reminding us that we really don’t know what we are doing but thankfully have the best kids on the planet.

devin sleepong

swing time

 

Can’t forget that. So blessed.

Life. Is. Beautiful.

 

 

Dom's penguin

Craft-A-Day {book review}

craft a day book

A little over a year ago, I came across a nifty book called Craft A Day by Sarah Goldshadt.  As the title suggests, the author provides a craft tutorial for every day of the year. They are broken up into 52 weeks of themes such as fox week and snowman week. On fox week you might have options to make a stuffed felt fox, or a fox greeting card. On snowman week, you may make snowman garland or a snowman cupcake topper. 7 crafts for each  theme subject. The materials are common and the crafts are very easy because all the patterns needed to make said crafts are provided.

visual table of contens

I initially bought this book for me so I would make myself take 10 minutes a day for me. I made it to week 2. Oh well. Fast forward to this past Monday when I had an exceptional mommy day with all three kids. I pulled the book out and had my eldest look through the pictures to choose a craft to do that morning. He picked the penguin theme. All we needed was parchment paper and pencil to trace the pattern provided, and construction paper, scissors and glue to make the actual penguin.

Dom's penguin

At Dom’s age (4), I did most of the work but he really enjoyed gluing the penguin together and drawing his eyes! We had so much fun that later that afternoon we found a robot pattern and made a greeting card for one of his little friends. (We put it in the mail before I thought to get a picture!) So TWO crafts, on the fly, in one afternoon! That’s pretty amazing!

Today we got a little more complicated and made a turtle magnet. I have to say that it turned out really cute.

turtle magnet precut

turtle magnet complete

This craft required cardstock, mod podge and magnet paper but, again, these were all supplies I had on hand. “You just happened to have magnet paper lying around?” you ask. Why yes I did thanks to the introductory chapter of this book that provides a shopping list of all the supplies needed to make all the crafts listed in the book. And they are simple things like construction paper, felt, card stock and of course magnet paper.

I really like this book especially in light of my recent crafting experiences with Dominic. I would highly recommend it for someone, like me, who might be looking for an entry point into crafting and I definitely think it’s a great investment for those with children interested in arts and crafts.

And just so you know, I’m not getting compensated for this post. I just really like this book and think you will too. Here’s the amazon link

Don’t let the price take you off guard. Remember it is a year’s worth of crafts complete with patterns, and seriously EASY instructions that even I can follow! That means they are really easy! And I’d say the list of supplies needed to be successful at crafting is a pretty good perk alone to the purchase of this book.

So to sum things up, here are my three top reasons for loving this book:

1. The crafts are really simple!

2. I can do crafts on the fly with my energetic 4 year old.

3. The finished product actually looks good!

Let me know if you pick this book up. I’d love to know what you think!

 

Devin’s Birth Story {part three}

This is part three of my son Devin’s birth story. You can read part one here and part two here. 

I had been assured that I would only be separated from my little fella for a few minutes; long enough to sew up my incision. And true to what I’d been told, I was wheeled back to the recovery room and my sweet Devin was placed on my chest.

So many feelings and sensations swept through my body and heart. Here this beautiful creature lay near to my heart and yet I couldn’t feel my toes!

I tried to take in every inch of him. His beautiful dark hair, his long fingers and toes, his eyes… were closed! Oh how I wanted to see his eyes. But he wouldn’t open them! Were they blue like his brother or brown like his sister?

We began to try nursing but for one reason or another, he wouldn’t latch on. Hindsight I really believe he was just tired and not interested but fear swept over me as rumors and half truths of connections between c-sections and difficulties in breastfeeding I had heard and read about filled my mind. I had breastfed my first two. It was something that was very important to me.

In addition to his disinterest in nursing, his breathing was hurried and irregular. The nurse told us that it was probably nothing but they wanted to take him to the NICU just in case.

And just like that, he was gone. My heart was hollow.

I was stunned. Devin was born at 8:02 and before 9 he was no longer in my arms. Shortly after this departure I was moved to my permanent hospital room. As they rolled me down the hall, I wondered when I would see him again. I would swing between thoughts of he’ll be fine to what if something is really wrong? What if he doesn’t make it? When I made it to my room, I was greeted by numerous nurses who helped move me to my bed, started checking my vitals, and helped me settled in. Marshall left to go see how Devin was doing and we learned the results of the chest x-ray. There was fluid on his lungs.

The most difficult reality was that I could not physically go to my child.

My body was numb from my stomach to my toes. I felt so defeated. The tears were silently falling in steady heated streams down my face.

The next few hours were a blur of checking vitals and my incision and waiting. I felt so alone and helpless.

Then I met my next angel: Kim. She was the nurse tech. She was such an amiable person. We talked about Devin and what was going on. She shared that her daughter had experienced a similar plight and like music to my ears she said: “Would you like to go see him. We can wheel you down there?”

I didn’t know that was possible. I was overwhelmed and so excited. I was going to see my baby boy! There was a glimmer of hope.

It took some time, a lot of assistance and a wheelchair but we were off to the NICU to see my sweet little guy. We had to wash our hands in this special sink and our phones aka cameras had to be placed in ziplock bags (all this to prevent spreading germs). They rolled me to his space and there was my baby boy.

Deep breath.

There were wires and machines connected to different parts of his body. They were measuring heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure. A lot of measurements! When I look back at pictures it doesn’t seem that bad but in the moment….oh my…seeing your baby hooked up to machines and you can’t touch him or hold him…it’s a dreadful feeling*.

[caption id="attachment_2042" align="aligncenter" width="300"]In the NICU In the NICU[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2043" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Sweet baby boy! Sweet baby boy![/caption]

<3

We lingered for about an hour and then made our way back to my room. We were told he would need to stay in the NICU overnight and so we made our peace with the situation and made plans to start pumping to provide him what milk we could and work on recovery for me. Our first night of Devin’s life was spent every three hours pumping milk for Marshall to take down to our sweet boy to receive. Marshall was able to feed him my milk along with some formula in a bottle.

Marshall fed him first.

I felt guilty for being jealous. I shared this with a few friends and was thankful for the affirmation I received. My dear friend reminded me: I grew this baby inside of me for 39 weeks. I underwent major abdominal surgery to bring him into this world. And yet another one of the most important things in the world to me didn’t happen. I was not able to feed my son. My feelings were valid.

When morning came I was hopeful for good news that my son would be returned to me. A phone call confirmed that he had a very good night and was waiting to be seen by the dr in the NICU. This was exciting news for me. We made plans to visit him. Most of the measuring tools had been removed and he was swaddled up looking so beautiful. And then I was able to hold him for the first time since those early moments of his life. I cried, I swooned, I found healing. There he was so perfect. The hospital dr walked in and shared that he was doing well and pending approval from our pediatrician, Devin would be moved to our room. We were hopeful we would see our baby boy no later than noon. We made our trek back to my room and I started working on trying to get some exercise walking around as suggested by the drs and nurses.

Noon came and went and no baby. Phone calls, questions and still no answer as to why my son could not be brought to me. I did my best to keep busy pumping and moving my body but the stress and the recovery got the best of me. The colustrum (milk) I had been successful in pumping was dwindling. Each time I’d mention it to a nurse, she would assure me that it was normal to wane but in my mind I felt like they were lying to make me feel better. I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt the most horrendous bring-you-to-your-knees pain. I began crying and trembling uncontrollably. I wasn’t sure if it was the pain in my body or my heart but both felt broken. And my baby was not with me. Adjustments with my medicine helped with the physical pain and tears relinquished helped with my emotional pain.

We continued to wait and wonder. My dear friend and angel Leigh Taylor aka Devin’s baby nurse (if they would let him leave the NICU!!!) had written a verse on the whiteboard in our room:

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

cc

Oh how shaken I felt but those words brought comfort. In the midst of all this we had made arrangements for Dominic to come by. Surely by 3 he would be in our room! We FINALLY got word that he was coming this way. We waited and waited and just couldn’t wait any longer so we asked again where he was. We learned he was now in the nursery being examined. At this news I completely lost it. He had been under watchful surveillance for nearly 30 hours in the NICU and now they were examining him. Of course I know there’s procedure and protocol but in that moment all I could think about is all the moments and hours and time spent without him.

And then Leigh Taylor wheeled him in and I saw him and the tears came and all the thoughts and words and hurts and anxieties I had been feeling spilled out onto LT’s kind ears. “I know this is so small compared to what many face in childbirth but this is so hard!” And she listened without judgment speaking only to affirm that my feelings were valid. And when I continued to struggle to feed my child, my dear friend went in search of the head of lactation to help me figure out what was wrong. When this woman walked in the room, the presence of Christ came with her, and the stress and fear melted away. Within minutes of her arrival, my son was nursing like a champ.

In that moment as I held my son, truly held him, and saw his beautiful eyes, God began redeeming the time lost in the past 30 hours. He was mine, he was perfect.

We had a few more challenges before we left the hospital and even some major sickness that hit our house after coming home…all shook me…all tested my faith and trust in God. But God remained faithful. He redeemed every moment that I felt broke me. From an unwanted delivery route to an unexpected stay in the NICU to challenges with breastfeeding….God redeemed every moment and brought angelic creatures into our lives to remind us of our Heavenly Father’s unwavering love and faithfulness to his children.

[caption id="attachment_2046" align="aligncenter" width="300"]perfect little one perfect little one[/caption]

Devin is six weeks old today. He’s nursing like a champ, sleeping through the…well…we’re still working on that one. Our family is complete and whole and continuing to trust God in all things especially when they do not go as planned because as I believe with all my heart:

Life. Is. Beautiful.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

* My son was in the NICU for 30 hours. The most excruciating 30 hours of my life. I can’t imagine the difficulty others I know have faced in being separated from their child for much longer than this. I now understand and honor those strong parents who have braved the NICU with their baby for days, weeks, and months. You are my heroes!