Saturday, April 23, 2016

*So Much More*

Today I found myself amongst piles of clothes trying to figure out what fit Beau and what didn't anymore.

It never gets easy putting the clothes away that he'll never wear again. I have memories tied to so many of the outfits that might be lost if I pack them away. We are lucky we have so many good memories that I can't keep them all in my mind. These years of just me and Beau have been amazing and FULL. I can't help but be thankful.

I was pleasantly surprised by the feeling of being proud of myself, too. I felt proud that I've made it to yet another size up for my son and all the work it took to get there. I feel like moms give themselves way too much grief....when I'm proud of myself, I can be a better mom. Riddling myself with guilt never makes me better. Each mom has her strengths and they deserve to be noticed inside themselves.

We were created to do this, our kids were given to us for a purpose and it was no mistake that God gave our kids to US. I truly believe this verse has so much to do with being a mom:

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 3:10

It's overwhelming to think about the much bigger picture this pregnancy means and being a mom to my boys day to day. The mundane days that seem like they may not matter add up to a much larger plan than we could ever imagine. It's days like today when I'm cleaning out a closet that it hits me.....all of these little things are adding up to something big.

I can't wait to see what the something big will be for both of my kids. I can't wait to start this next chapter of my life knowing TWO sons and pouring all I have to give into them. And even more than that, pouring all I have to give with the help of the Holy Spirit which is much more than I could do on my own.

Maybe that's why I can truly feel proud? I know it's not ME doing the good, but it's God. I know I'm not the one equipped with strength, but it's God who gives it to me. It's not all on me at all. And we are human, we CAN'T be perfect no matter how hard we try so why do we beat ourselves up when we aren't? Anything I do right is because of God and anything I do wrong is forgiven.

I can definitely breathe a sigh of relief and turn down the noise of today where everyone has the ONE RIGHT WAY to feed/birth/parent a baby and realize, my kids were given to me on purpose. It's okay if I don't do exactly what people think I should. I'm going to point my kids to God and because of that guilt has no place and the outside noise turns down. I can enjoy this first year knowing what a wonderful beginning to something big it'll be no matter how I choose to do it. Because God has a BIG plan and those tiny things don't matter nearly as much as we make them seem.

What truly matters is knowing God and making Him known. Seeking Him in those long nights and tired days because He is the source of life and truth and all I need.

And He is what my kids need most of all. He's SO much more than anything we can give them ourselves. He's part of the much much much bigger picture. Actually, He IS the bigger picture.
❤️










Saturday, January 16, 2016

Halfway There!

We are just a few days shy of being 20 weeks and things are definitely getting more exciting!!!

Here is a picture of me at 19.5 weeks:













Pregnancy photos are not my favorite to take but I do know now that it's fun to look back when pregnancy is a distant memory in life's rear view mirror. :)

We now know that our sweet baby is a BOY named Luke and he is kicking and moving like crazy! I started feeling him at 16 weeks which is much earlier than I did with Beau. He feels like a frog hopping and I love it!!

He now weighs a 1/2 lb which we got to find out at the gender reveal! He is SO cute!!! Here's some pictures of his head, little arm, and foot! My heart could explode:




































We also found out there's a complication with the placenta placement which was a bit of a bummer but it definitely didn't take away the excitement of the gender reveal! I'm not allowed to move much or lift anything including Beau so that's been interesting! I'm still very nauseas so we'll see if I'll be in the hall of fame for being nauseas until he's here. It's looking good for that award around here!

One great thing about having a boy is we already have everything we need!!! I probably won't even make a nursery or decorate before the baby comes which is totally the opposite of my first pregnancy. We only use the pack n play beside our bed for the first six months anyway and we need guest rooms for visitors that will want to get their hands on our Luke!

I'm a little more practical this time around I'd say but I did splurge on something for the hospital of course!!! :) Here it is:












Just seeing that cute little onesie gets me really excited for what's to come. I now know I'll be an all boy mom and I am definitely okay with that!!! I only played with boy dolls when I was little which is funny because I was always meant to be a boy mom even then.
I've always had a special place in my heart for little boys and men in general and I am honored to be surrounded by them!!!! It's such a privilege! I feel nothing but feelings of joy ever since I heard the wonderful words "It's a boy!"

I'm really excited!!! :)



Saturday, December 19, 2015

*15 week bump date attempt*

It takes two seconds on my Facebook page to realize that one of my biggest passions and joys in life is being a mother. The moment I met Beau, my life changed for the better in ways I couldn't have imagined. I felt a joy and fierce love I had never known and I knew that once I became I mother, I would never want to turn back. It is the greatest change in my life and when people talk about kids being a burden and wanting freedom for a while, I just can't understand. Mostly because I've never felt more free, happy, or myself than when I started taking care of my very special boy.

But getting there is not easy. The Mount Everest I like to call pregnancy and really the first few months with a newborn is the key to that happiness and for me it's not an easy climb!

So, since this will be the last
time I'm pregnant (go to last blog if there's any questions why, ha) I've decided to try to do things like bump dates to try and attempt to make pregnancy more exciting and enjoyable.

I see other cutesie little pictures and blogs and look at them in awe and jealously as I work hard to enjoy it even a tiny bit. But that jealousy is coupled with happiness for that person because I am grateful some women love it. What a gift to you! Blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make mine burn any brighter, great stories of pregnancy do my heart good.

I want to be that glowing mother that dreams of the baby and oogles over a growing human inside, but I just puke and watch my thighs grow more than my belly and wonder why it always feels like 107 degrees wherever I go. But finally meeting my baby outside of my body changes everything and life does become more beautiful and full of love than I ever imagined. So it's definitely worth it. I'm truly happy for moms who love pregnancy and I'm trusting in you to keep the population growing.

I'm really am beyond thankful for the opportunity to be pregnant even as much as I've suffered because it teaches me to truly love them and give myself up for them even before they are here. I would do anything for my babies and they are my greatest gifts along with Brian! The love of a mother is nothing you can explain, but it's incredible. I am honored to take the journey to the next phase of life and make our family complete!


So, here's my attempt at a bump date at 15 weeks along! Baby is the size of an orange:)










I'm feeling A LOT less nauseas but it's still hanging on during the day. I'm really happy many hours of the day and able to enjoy life again and play with my boy which I will never take for granted again! I've missed him so much. From about 4pm on, though...I still feel extremely sick and have to go to bed around 6:30 or 7! Ha! It'll be interesting to see when the nausea stops!

Baby has a heart rate of 165!! Faster than Beau who was 145 at this age. It is the best feeling to hear that sound!!! The upside to nausea is it's like I can always hear that heart in a way. It's a great reminder that baby is doing great. And now that it's more of a normal nausea situation, I can appreciate it! :)

We find out if it's a boy or girl January 7th!! It's crazy to think the mystery of what my family is going to look like will finally be solved. I've dreamt of this my whole life and couldn't wait to start knowing the people who would matter most to me in life. (Which is why I was married two months before I convinced Brian we should have our first baby! Ha!) We are both glad I was that crazy!! It was a great decision for us.

So, will I be an all boy mom or have a daughter? Not long until we know! Ahhhh! Talk about butterflies and nerves. I'm thankful I have the holidays to help me pass the time.

Okay, let's see...I'm craving chik fil a chicken sandwiches and they taste like a piece of Heaven! And oranges, I can't get enough.

15 weeks in and I've already made it over the hardest hump. That's something to be thankful for!! I am so excited to see what these next few months hold for us:)!






Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lessons I learned in the Darkness

What I'm about to write is not one of my favorite types of things to write about. It's heavy and really personal but I have this feeling that won't go away that I need to share what God taught me lately in some of the most difficult days of my life. The end is where my lesson comes in because I have to explain where I was at first, I just really hope that someone can get something good out of what I learned because I want my suffering to matter and mean something even if it's just to one person.

Out of all the things in life I've ever experienced, my first trimesters have been the worst. It's hard to explain the horror and suffering that surrounds it especially since most pregnant women do not have to go through what I go through. Anytime I see someone at 12 weeks announce they are having a baby and I've seen them many of the weeks leading up to it, I'm like what?! How?! Because my pregnancies leave me debilitated and suffering in physical and emotional ways I never knew possible. I have to tell people in the first trimester because 1.) I disappear for a while and 2.) I need to be encouraged through the dark days.

You know the feeling when you have major food poisoning and are about to heave it all up? The second before where you get sweaty and the worst feelings comes over you and dying doesn't sound too bad. That's what I feel like for six weeks strait day after day, night after night, minute after minute that ticks by slower than it ever has. One especially low night I remember just throwing up a little bit of water and blood and that was it.

I tried to comfort myself with happy thoughts about my new baby, but the problem is, I couldn't really THINK. I couldn't FEEL anything good. I couldn't feel happiness, I couldn't feel love, I couldn't feel hope, I couldn't feel any warm feelings I felt before I was sick. All I had left were survival instincts and how can I make it to the next hour? But sadness and hopelessness found it's way in easily. I KNOW that having a healthy pregnancy is a wonderful and great thing to be happy about, but in that condition you can't think like that. Your mind is so overtaken with misery that thinking strait is next to impossible and guilt for not being happy makes it worse. Being so sick you can't comfort yourself with the truth. I was just a shell of who I once was during these days and the only way I knew life was still going was by hearing a leaf blower outside the closed window every once in a while. And getting texts from my friends and family...which genuinely helped because I needed to feel remembered.

I prayed and prayed that God would spare me this pregnancy so many times. I woke up in a panic many nights just thinking that I might have to endure what I had to endure with Beau again. How could I do it? How could I survive that kind of torture a second time? The C section was a cake walk and RELIEF compared to what I went through the first 14 weeks. They say once the baby comes you forget, but I never forgot. It haunted me almost everyday and panicked me over and over again. Everyone would say "Next time will be different!" but I knew deep down it probably wouldn't be.

 I also prayed a more important prayer, that at least if I did have to suffer again, would God please bring something good spiritually from it? Because last time I did not grow, I only became bitter. I wanted my suffering to MEAN something. Help SOMEONE. And it hadn't.

So here I was, faced with my biggest fear yet again and it actually came worse this time. I cried out to God day after day just begging him to give me some relief, ANY relief. But the relief never came. It seemed like the toilet was mocking me, no, no no...you're still here. I tried not to cry because crying always made me throw up more.

I finally just got really honest with God and wrote down in my journal: "Dear God, I'm afraid to pray. I don't know how much more no I can handle. Please give me something, ANYTHING"....and here's where I learned something I'll never forget.

I opened my bible and it landed on this verse:

"While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could deliver him out of death. And God heard his prayers because of his reverence for God. So even though Jesus was God's son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way. God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him." Hebrews 5:7-9

I was in shock. It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Jesus himself spent many days and nights just like I did crying and pleading to God, yet he was allowed to suffer for something GREATER. The one who never sins learned for suffering. LEARNED from it. I felt God telling me through these verses that he HEARD me and that he wasn't treating me any differently than he did his own SON, Jesus Christ who was allowed to suffer as well. Jesus pleaded over things that were heard, but not always answered yes. Jesus HAD to suffer to save us all. It was a greater plan, a bigger picture.

I have had more times when God has said YES to my pleadings that I was expecting my prayers to always be answered yes, but that's not always what it's going to be. I have to trust that when he says no he has a good reasons for it. Maybe my body just needs to be severely sick to make healthy babies?  Maybe I was given this to have a deep compassion for women who need help in this time. I will GLADLY take anyone's babies for them that are sick and need help throughout my life. Even if a person is not as sick as I was, I have such compassion for it. I just can't handle thinking someone else might have to suffer like that as well. Or maybe I was allowed to suffer so I could learn this incredible lesson. God answers me no differently than he answered his own Son when I suffer. I don't understand the no's in my life, but I know one day I will.

There is a BIGGER picture and I know that God HEARS me...and sometimes that has to be enough.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"The One Who Never Sleeps"

I remember the first time I ever left Beau in his own room for the night.

It was well past the time when many other parents decide to do it for a few reasons. The "right" time was the day he turned 6 months old and I remember looking at his pack n play right beside me thinking no way hosay. I had gotten so used to him being there, my comfort had started to depend on it. And if anything were to happen (and I had thought of every outlandish thing that could) I would be there. By the time I thought I had mustered up enough courage to actually move him, we were in between houses and he didn't have his own room.

A year ago when we moved into this house, I was determined to finally move him. But when night fell, I was so used to him being with me that I set up his pack n play next to my bed like always because I just couldn't do it. What if he gets cold and I have no idea? What if the new place scares him? What if he gets right against the bumper pad? What if his socks are too tight on his cankles? What if, what if, what if? But then I heard a very gentle, familiar voice speak to my heart out of nowhere:

"I will be there to take care of him when you're not there. Do you trust me?"

I hadn't really had the chance to see if I trusted Him. I didn't want to have to know that answer. I hadn't left Beau for more than a few hours a handful of times and every time I thought of him the whole time.

In that very emotional and important moment, I told God that I did trust Him and put Beau in his bed across the house for the very first time.

Beau slept better and more peaceful that night than he ever had and we all made it out better for it. God took care of him just like He said He would and I realized I had not been trusting God like I should.

I was reminded of that special moment in my life tonight because I've been up with Beau who seems to be starting to have bad dreams. I went in and comforted him and prayed for him that God would comfort him when I was gone and help him not to be afraid. As much as I wanted to stay there for longer, I knew for all of our sakes, sanity, and sleep life, I needed to leave and close the door behind me. But I can confidently close that door behind me, it's not hard like it used to be.

There is always One who never sleeps who is with him. And He is the One who gives him even better peace than I can. I believe that with all my heart and nothing will ever shake that. My God is too real in my life to ever doubt. He's so loving and gentle and kind and forgiving and an ever present help. Even though Beau doesn't know God yet, I know he feels His peace and He's a huge part of his life comforting him and helping him already.

I watched Beau listen to his "Jesus Loves Me" bunny that sang to him when I got back to my room on the monitor. He cried a little but was quickly comforted by the song and once again I got to see that he is okay without me.

I know there will be many times I can't be there. He is independent by nature and daily takes his stuffed animals and cars to the door saying "bye bye" and waving to me like he's ready to go. He feels like he can make it without me already, but thankfully I still have some time. I do know that wherever the bye byes take him in his future, the One who loves Beau more than I ever could goes with him and I can always rest in that.








Wednesday, April 22, 2015

*The answer will always be YES*

My poppy asked me the other day when I was going to blog and I said very honestly: "I don't know, I've kinda had a mental block ever since Beau was born." My nana just laughed and clearly understood.

It's been 7 months since I've published, but there were some days I got a few words out and just erased it. In the weirdest way, I have a harder time writing about the times in life that are really good because I'm afraid that when I look back and read it, I'll miss it entirely too much. I LOVE this time of life. Being a wife to Brian and a mother to Beau FITS. I finally don't feel like the awkward what on earth am I doing in this thing called life and how am I the single twin graduating a year late and having so many awkward moments and why on earth am I mediocre at EVERYTHING?!

I actually LIKE being a mom and feel like I'm a good one. Even though I do so much in my parenting life that is not vogue, I confidently feel good about it. I don't need my mom style to fit some blog or book or organic google search. I am Abby and God thought Beau should be with me and so I better just be myself. Not all moms let their kid send their lunch plate down the slide in the middle of the living room and eat it at the bottom…and I feel good that I can do that. It's my way and I'm proud of it. I feel content and fulfilled being Brian's lady and Beau's mama. "Abby" as he calls me…we will have to figure out how to get that stopped when he's a little older and has more than five words.

When my blog was on fire, it was literally my THERAPY. I needed it. And looking back, I'm like "Good riddance to college and the hard years, buh BYE" Looking back, I don't mind that it's over. But if I write too much about my day to day life with now, I'm afraid I will just ache for it one day. I know that may be totally weird, but that's how I feel. Even right now I'm not exactly sure if I'm going to keep going with this or not, I feel like just pressing the close button right now. But I have gotten some great spiritual moments from God lately that are worth writing about. And that's something I for sure want to be able to go back and read.

God moments are ALWAYS worth writing about.

I have to admit, sometimes I use the bible like a magic 8 ball. If I've learned anything in my life so far, it's that God is better at making decisions for my life than I am so I really wish I could just open the bible and get very clear directions on what I should do. But the thing is…I think God doesn't always give me the clear answer because He's looking for something more than just directing me. His thoughts are different than mine. There is a much bigger picture than just getting ANSWERS.

My prayer life is a big indicator of where my mind is and I'm realizing that what I focus on are not the most important things to focus on. Like…I pray that I'll have the self control to resist wanting to eat chik fil a waffle fries all the time and that I'll please, please, PLEASE, PUH-LEASSSSE have a daughter next time because next time is the last shot! And when, oh when do we have the next baby? Timing? Can you just send a letter to my house and give me dates? Not really, but I do wish I just had an ANSWER.

When I opened my bible the other day, I got a major priority shift. I know He cares so much about even the tiniest things on my heart and I can pray about anything at all, even chik fil a fries, but I needed to hear some truth. In that moment, I needed to be reminded of what's more important than anything my eyes can see.

"Choose my teachings instead of silver. Choose knowledge rather than the finest gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies. Nothing you want is equal to it." Proverbs 8:10

There is nothing I want that is equal to wisdom. This verse makes that really clear. I spend SO much of my time praying about what I WANT and not praying for what is much more valuable than anything else. That I would choose His teachings above all else and for wisdom that is more valuable than we can fathom. God wants so much more in our relationship than Him just being my magic 8 ball, vending machine, used mainly when I have nowhere else to go. Praying for wisdom can help me in so many ways, especially getting my mind right on what matters most.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5

He cares about the details of my heart and what I want and I will continue to pray about whatever is on my heart, but I want to start with praying for wisdom. Because if I don't get anything else I ask for, I know that when I ask for wisdom and don't doubt, the answer will always be YES. And the bible says that nothing I want is equal to it and so I believe that with all my heart.

If I'm not seeking wisdom, if I'm not choosing God's teachings above all else, then I won't be focused on the right thing. What does it matter if I get everything I ask for, if I'm not focused on what truly matters anyway?








Wednesday, September 17, 2014

*We Made It!*

Growing a baby, bringing it into this world, and making it an entire year afterwards is a BIG deal.

It's so strange to me how when people get older and the newborn phase fades, they look back on this time in life with one or two sentences. "Oh, I had my first in 87! Labor was LONG." "I have three kids: Timmy, Billy and Marty! We have 8 grand kids now."

I mean...those sentences have more behind them than anyone hearing them can understand. Will this year for me really become one sentence one day? Will I just speak of my oldest Beau born in 2013? That is such an odd thought considering how much this year has been. How much this year has MEANT.

Nothing in life compares to the joy of being a mother. The deep heart change that happened for me the day Beau was born is unmatched. My priorities were completely changed and there's no way I'd ever go back. My heart is more alive than ever, I feel like it could burst sometimes. The want to do anything and everything for him came easily because my love was so strong. (Which is good because there is LOTS to do.)

Even in the times when I was so tired and at the end of my very worn rope, I'd drive down the street for some Starbucks after Brian got home, then want to drive right back because I missed him.

At the age of one, he's teetering between being very new and moving onto being a toddler. His legs still curl up to his chest like he's fresh from the womb, but he drives a school bus through a tunnel like a toddler would. He wants to be babied when he's tired, but when he's not he wants to be free. He's holding on to that baby time but I can tell it won't be long before it's gone. There's too many signs that it's leaving soon. It makes me sad, but I can't wait to know him more. He has to grow up for that.

I know the first birthday is emotional for lots of reasons like how they are growing older and how much has changed, but I'm surprised by the overwhelming feeling of "WE MADE IT!"

We made it through pregnancy and the first year with a baby which is pretty much the biggest feat that out shined four-(wait five) years of college by far. I feel like I need a fancy wall mounted glittering piece of accomplishment like I have for my degree. But rewards like that don't come for us mothers. Our rewards are different. They are intangible, precious, irreplaceable and make it all worth it.

I give total thanks to God for this year who was there by our side every step of the way encouraging us and giving us strength when we needed it. He enjoyed every special moment our family had together and I hope in Heaven one day we can play them over again. Anything right we have done has come from His help and any failures we had, He turned around for our good. He has kept every promise and been my faithful Helper along the way. He has rejoiced with us with every new thing Beau learned and I like to think he laughed at all the cute things Beau did along side us. God loves Beau even more than I do which is very hard to understand. How could there be a love even greater than mine for my baby? It's the best feeling knowing Beau is loved by the One who can love him perfectly. He's known Beau longer and deeper than I ever could. It's amazing to think about.

I'm so thankful that God has gotten us through this year and Parented beside us. He is the reason this year has been a success and for that I am so grateful.

Wow...it's been a year. A whole year.

I made it, we made it...and I'm truly rewarded far greater than I ever imagined.