Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hayden is FIVE!

Over the weekend our very own Hayden turned FIVE.  It's hard to believe that he entered our lives in a whirlwind five years ago.

He opted to celebrate Star Wars style-- he actually wanted to copy everything from Leeland's birthday last year.  He named out the exact cupcakes we made and the food served and the people who were present.  Copy it all to the "t."  Funny how they compare to each other that way.  I talked him into something a little bit different and we celebrated his birthday with family at the pool.

His invite purchased here on Etsy was a hoot!  (Address blurred out for obvious reasons.)

Also, in party tradition we ordered him a new birthday shirt.  But alas, I have no photo of it before he decided to use it as a napkin for his honey mustard hands at Bojangles.  So you'll just have to head over here to Etsy to see what his BB8 shirt looks like.  It also says around the edge of BB8 in black letters "That's how I roll."

Cupcakes made by yours truly.  And what kiddo doesn't love BB8?  Especially in sugar cookie form. 

And as always, treats for our guests.  Usually the treats made are sugar cookies, but since those were cupcake toppers this time, we made a muddy buddy mix with colored Sixlets and M&Ms for a BB8 effect. 

The party was at our local aquatic center.  Not all of the adults swam, but the kiddos seemed to have a blast!  And at least the adults who opted out of the pool had some yummy eats and decent company.    It was quite possibly one of the easiest parties I've ever thrown!  

We've had some unique warm weather recently which is odd for February, so I think it just got my boys excited for Summer.  Finding fun places for a February birthday is hard.  It was only just a couple years ago that we feared we would have to cancel one of his parties because of snow.  You just never know what the weather might do!  

Our Hayden is funny, full of energy, smart, generous and loving. He and Leeland are practically inseparable, and he entertains, loves and makes Joel laugh all the time.  We are so thankful for each day we get to spend with him and honored that God chose us to be his parents.  I look forward to watching him grow and seeing what the future holds for him.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Crawlspace

In our few short years of home ownership, if there's one thing that I have learned, it's that there is always a project to be done.  It just never fails that as the house is lived in, things fall apart, get worn out, or need repainting.  Such is life, and when you consider your home is most likely the biggest asset a person owns, you want to take care of it.  It just never occurred to me over the years how much these projects would teach me, stretch me, and grow me.

In an effort to keep the details short and get the post to the point, we've had some issues with our crawlspace over the years.  In fact, the home inspection probably should have rang a bell or thrown a red flag, but alas this is our first home and we're more than naive so we just had no idea.  The biggest issue-- moisture!

When we first discovered the problems a couple years after we bought the house, I was actually embarrassed about it.  I somehow felt like there was something we had done wrong or didn't do, or maybe we just bought a "bad apple."  Little did I know, after conversations with others, that moisture under the house is  something that many deal with.  And other than catching it and handling it a lot sooner than we have, there's really not much we could have done to avoid it.

Anyway, I guess it was about 2 years into home ownership that it was originally brought to our attention as an actual problem by our pest control company.  At the time, we had some DIY theories we thought we might try, we were short on funds, and if we're really honest, I don't think we had any comprehension of how big of an issue it actually was.  Not sure if that was just us being naive, OR if it was us sticking our heads in the dirt and just choosing to ignore it purposefully because we didn't need "one more thing" at the time.   Probably a combination of both!

Fast forward a couple years further, and our denial, and choosing to "deal with it later" got us nowhere and in fact made the problem worse.  What could have been just installing a pump and laying a barrier had now become a burden and a worrisome problem for the structural integrity of our house and had also brought about the dreaded four letter curse word.... MOLD.  Which brings me to my first lesson learned-- ignoring that a problem exists doesn't make it better.

A few days after our initial assessment with the company doing our repairs, our pastor said at church "We never end up at Jesus' feet by accident.  We must be intentional."  I can deny that I have a problem in my walk, in my heart or with my faith.  OR I could choose the "I'll deal with it later" path and claim that missing a week or a month of church is no big deal, and I can read my Bible tonight or read my Bible tomorrow.  But none of these address my issues.  And in fact, if I'm not filling my heart with good.... I'm still filling it with something whether that be something bad or just plain complacency.  (Which one could argue is just as bad, if not worse.)  Not addressing a problem, never fixes a problem and it almost always makes the problem worse.

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." -Jeremiah 33:3

Fast forward a few weeks and work begins on the house.  I'm reluctant, stressed about the money, and anxious about the inconvenience of people invading my space for upwards of a week.  But, it has to be done.  And God has decided that he's not done teaching me lessons through this project. 

So at this point, I'll just mention that it's super awkward having folks working on your crawlspace.  For one, there's the vulnerability of how terrible it looks under there and wondering in the back of my mind if they're judging us for not addressing issues sooner or letting it get so bad.  But beyond that, there are people literally under your feet all day long!  You can hear them through the vents and the floorboards.  Every conversation they have and every groan as they squeeze through the narrow space attempting to do work.  AND of course they can hear you!  It's weird.  Plain and simple.  And whereas most people have work and school and whatever else during the day, we're mostly just home.  (Me and the boys.)  

So the first day of work was when I realized how much I literally nag the kiddos.  Granted I will say that sometimes nagging is justified!  But in the day to day trying to get through our schoolwork, and get through our chores and whatever else I have planned for the day-- I'm talking attitude and nagging, and dragging them through my schedule as opposed to giving them respect for theirs.  I first realized it as we sat down to do our school work that first day that folks were working on our crawlspace.  It was a constant, "chop, chop, snap snap.... we have to get this done and this done and this... and we need to do it right now and right away."  I will confess that math is our biggest struggle and that a certain child doesn't always want to do his math work and often needs a push.  But he doesn't need an attitude, or the nagging, or a push off of a cliff.  

Anyway, it was a couple hours into our work that I realized my tone and how much I had bulldozed our school time with my demands.  While one of the perks of homeschooling is that the kids get more freedom and play time because we can efficiently get through our subjects.... the point of us homeschooling is not for me to rule the day with an iron fist and neglect their hearts and the blessing that is our time together.  

I sat there and wondered what the men under the house thought about all of my nagging.  Surely I wasn't being a great example of a homeschooling mother.  And definitely not an example of nurturing and fun, and thankfulness for this calling on my life.  

And again it points back to my heart.  Motherhood is no easy task-- whether you are a working mom, homebound mom, work at home mom, homeschooling mom, the mom of 1, or the mom of 10.... we all have our seasons.  And again the issue comes back to my heart and what I'm filling it with.  I might believe that my issues are my own.  But the reality is that my issues effect everyone around me.  I'm pregnant, I'm tired, the toddler continues to throw things in the toilet and run from me in public places, but none of those things give me an excuse!  Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."  
-Luke 6:45

Alas, this post has gotten far more lengthy than I ever intended, but who would imagine that expensive home repairs could show me the problems of my heart and point me back to my need for God.  I'm a mess and a constant work in progress, but I'm SO incredibly thankful for his abundant love and grace upon grace!  And thankful that He continues to stretch me, speak to me, and correct me when I'm in the wrong. 

"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." -John 1:16

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The 1st Tri

On the 3rd of January-- our 8 year wedding anniversary we announced to "the world" that we are expecting baby number 4.

The caption says.... 

"Today marks 8 years of marriage! I ran across the gem of the top photo from our wedding reception last night and couldn't help but wonder what we were thinking when it was snapped. And then it's even funnier to pair that photo with this outtake from our pregnancy announcements we gave our families at Christmas! Haha!! I have no doubt those 2 kids never imagined 8 years ago that they would have 4 children in 8 years. They were probably on some sort of 5 year plan or something..... But God's plans are greater than ours and, in our case, have certainly been way more fun!!  Here's to 8 wonderful years, 3 awesome boys, and 1 kiddo on the way.... And here's to many more years of love, laughter, and wondering what we were thinking.

And now here we are wrapping up our first trimester and praising God for hearing the sweet sound of a precious little heartbeat Monday, and getting to see some images of our little one via ultra sound this past Tuesday.

So far, this pregnancy has been a little different from the last three!  With each of my last pregnancies, sickness and symptoms have gotten worse and worse AND WORSE.  Meaning the 3rd pregnancy was the hardest of all as far as symptoms go.  Of course when I mean sickness, I'm mostly referring to the dreaded "all day" sickness that I experience.  With each pregnancy, it has been so bad that I have had to head to the hospital for fluids and also have had to take prescription medication.  

This go round, as soon as I saw the positive test, I dreaded and feared what might be "worse" this time.   And to my surprise, it hasn't been that bad this time!  Don't get it twisted, sickness  and nausea have still been a struggle, but I'm actually gaining weight and I have yet to go for fluids so that's definitely a good sign!  (In full disclosure, I did break down and ask for meds at the end of last week, but this is still the longest I've ever made it in pregnancy without them and I'm still not even taking a full dose like I normally would.  Mostly I just felt the need because while I am having good days amongst the bad, we were still missing a lot of school work at home and I was having a really hard time "keeping up" on the bad days. Hopefully it will only be a few weeks that I have to take them.)  This pregnancy being very different also brings about a lot of anxiety and worrying that something might be wrong.  Prayers are greatly appreciated in that aspect!

Naturally, the first response when I say that this pregnancy has been different is, "OH! Maybe it's a girl this time!" ..... Maybe it is.  But I'm not totally sold, I'm not buying anything pink, and we're still coming up with a boy name idea too.  I mean, let's get real-- we've had 3 boys, and I'm fully expecting a 4th boy!

We'll definitely be finding out the gender though!  I tried SOO hard to not find out last time, and it just wasn't worth the stress for me, nor the ugly crying.  HAHA! (We should know the end of March and have some fun plans for the reveal!)

With all of that said, our little peanut is the size of a peach this week, our due date is August 7th and all is looking good.  Praise be to God!  I would love your continued prayers that sickness may ease soon, at least enough so that I can resume cooking for my family, that baby continues to grow healthy and strong, anxiety subsides and that my thyroid levels (a chronic problem) don't get too out of control.   

Love from our growing family, until next time!