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Monday, December 26, 2011

The Joy of Christmas

Christmas was about a million times more exciting this year than it has been since maybe 1982 (for me, anyway). At first, Ben and Hugh seemed just as confused as they were excited, but once the reality of their new toys started to sink in it was just pure joy!

This was their first view upon coming out to the Christmas tree... the unwrapped fire trucks from Santa:

Look at that exchange of expressions... so magical!

Hugh figuring out how his truck works.

At about this point both boys were playing with their own trucks, but kept eying each other, almost as if they couldn't believe they each had their very own truck.

Ben opening another gift, but clinging tightly still to his truck!

That look says it all, doesn't it?!

It was a wonderful day! We enjoyed the company of my parents, who added their own surprises to this mix and making the day even more special. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast of bread pudding and my Mom's trademark tea ring. Opened lots of gifts and felt so full of gratitude. After the morning excitement, we headed to Church for a wonderful meeting. Just before rushing out the door, we got really lucky with snapping a quick photo with the help of the camera's timer. Not bad, right?!

I hope it was a very Merry Christmas for all of you!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Number Three

For the last (roughly) six weeks, I've been trying to recover from shock that I'm pregnant. Not too long ago I was complaining to a friend about people who ask me what has become the most dreaded question: "are you going to have more kids?" There are a few reasons the question bothers me.

One, it's such a personal question that doesn't have a simple answer and in most cases I don't want to give anything but a simple answer, which usually means my answer of "I really don't know" is probably not a very satisfying answer to most people.

Two, even though I've managed to get pregnant three times in the past nine years, my stats clearly aren't anything to brag about. Getting that question reminds me of the painful reality that I have no idea where I stand in my battle with infertility.

And, three, honestly I feel so blessed with these two boys (and our two on the other side), that to be blessed with any more would just feel greedy. In fact, a few months ago when a friend offered to let me hold her newborn, not only did I not feel baby hungry for a new baby of my own, I also had zero desire to hold her baby. Is that weird?

To be honest, we really thought we might be done. At the very least, we decided we wouldn't even consider adding to our family until the boys were at least three years old.

As that pink little line immediately appeared, the very first emotion to stink deep in my heart was the most overwhelming exhaustion. Not that I was suddenly tired, but the exhaustion that is sure to come... being pregnant while running after two nearly-two-year olds and then the exhaustion of having three kids under three. Ben will have just barely turned two-and-a-half and Hugh just barely two, when this baby is due to arrive.

Not to mention the overwhelming worry about my parenting qualities drastically dropping with an addition so soon. While getting pregnant right now was not the plan, in the last six weeks, between episodes of throwing up and spending endless hours curled up on the couch all while yelling at the boys to stop hitting each other or to get off the kitchen table (clearly, the drastic drop has already begun), I have started to feel the overwhelming exhaustion turn into the most overwhelming love.

Love for this new little miracle. Love for my two boys who seem to know something is a little off and show their concern with extra love and kisses. Love for Marc who I interrupt in the middle of his work day to change nearly all of the poopy diapers, which he does without a single complaint. Love for my parents who have made sure the boys get some real play time and I get a little rest time every single afternoon, along with the meals they've brought over. And, finally, love for the Giver of life and that for some reason He has blessed us again with a new life, a new little miracle.

So, some of the nitty-gritty details: I'm ten weeks along and due sometime around July 8th. Morning sickness is just as awful as with the last pregnancies. Even with the miracle drug, Zofran, I'm still throwing up about once a day... at least it has eliminated those days a few weeks ago when I was getting up to three times in per day. Not fun. I've lost eight pounds in the last month. If things continue like they did, then I can expect to be throwing up for another ten weeks.

One upside to having such terrible morning sickness is that I keep thinking that adding a newborn to the mix can't be too much harder than what the last month has been like. Or maybe I'm just delusional. That could be.

Three kids suddenly feels like a million. Maybe it's just the fact that both boys will still be so young. If people at church are enjoying the little show we put on every week right now, it's about to get a whole lot more entertaining!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011


Last Sunday I was sitting in a church meeting where the topic of "hope" was being discussed. Immediately I was taken back to October 2008. The very same teacher was teaching a similar lesson on the same topic, though from different lesson material. In fact, I just looked back in my archives and found that I shared some of my favorite parts of the particular talk that was used in that lesson. If you're interested, you can read it here.

I remember I was sitting on the front row that Sunday, all alone. It had been just a few months since we'd lost the twins and I was still really struggling. I remember feeling a little frustrated by the intangible, elusiveness of hope... wanting so much to understand what it meant to have hope and how to capture its light in a way to have my burden eased a bit.

It felt frustrating to hear examples of when hope for something consisted more of concentrated hard work than anything else. What about those more faith-trying examples when no amount of hard work will make your dreams come true? How do you have hope when the one thing you want more than anything, and you're willing to do anything to make it come true, still evades you?

Well, as you can probably imagine, sitting through the lesson on hope this last Sunday wasn't nearly as painful, but I could still remember the feelings from three years ago so poignantly. I was mostly amazed at how differently things have turned out than I ever would have imagined. Back then I was too afraid to hope for what I have now.

Instead I tried to focus my hope in having more trust in God, in his purposes for my life, and in the time and way those purposes would  come about. But, more than that I just couldn't do. It was far too painful to hope for a family of my own, and somehow I think God understood and still blessed me with more than I was able to hope for.

There is still a lot about hope that I don't fully grasp. And yet, I cannot deny that I have experienced the feeling of hope, been blessed by the benefits of hope, and the healing that comes from hope. And, I just find myself hoping that those out there who are struggling with hope's elusiveness will somehow find the strength to continue to hang on until their hope sees them through to a brighter chapter of life.