Wednesday, December 3, 2014

17 weeks.

Today I would have been 17 weeks and 1 day. We would have already found, or been close to finding out, if our baby was a boy or a girl (my gut leaned toward boy). I would have been anticipating Christmas with a round belly, long past showing because this was after all, my 6th pregnancy. Friends and family would have long been told, and we'd be discussing adorable names that are uncommon, but not a nightmare for people to spell (though they still get my daughter's name wrong). I surely would have had a cheesy smile plastered to my face everyday. 

But 7 weeks ago I felt the telltale signs of an impending miscarriage. I spotted for a couple days off and on, but so lightly that I could convince myself it was just activity or nothing. Yet at 10 weeks to the day {and almost to the minute}, I said goodbye to this gift that I had been over the moon to receive, and wasn't near ready to let go of. I labored for hours with a baby I knew was already gone. I cried in a bathtub alone in the middle of the night while my family slept. I called for my husband when I couldn't stand or even sit because I felt like I would pass out, and instead just laid on the bathroom floor. I felt relief when the worst of the pain was over, yet longed for it because it was all I had left. 

Our children hadn't known I was pregnant. In the beginning when we found out {at 5 weeks} I had been antsy to tell them and felt like if we didn't, it was demonstrating a lack of faith. But over time the dread of seeing their excitement turn to heartbreak won out. I had borrowed a fetal doppler from a friend and had imagined letting them listen to it as we told them what it meant. 

Instead, we held them and told them that I had been pregnant, but that we had lost the baby. Another brother or sister in Heaven. Another sibling my little girl could not hold.

She took it the hardest. My son was more concerned for my pain, but my daughter cried so many tears and was so heartbroken. Neither of us knew why this had to happen. I could only hold her and tell her very sorry I was. I know she would be such a wonderful big sister. And even though my son was a little more detached from it, I know he would be an amazing big brother. He already is to the little brothers and sisters of his friends, and to the kids he served with in the nursery at church before we moved. He adores little kids and is so great with them. Oh how I long to nurse another baby while our older children read nearby. As my older kids get to experience all of their favorites through new eyes of a younger sibling. I'm not ready to let go of those little kid days and yet the evade me. 

I am slowly healing. The physical reminders are mostly long gone, but the emotional ones are always there. Friends that are pregnant. Protruding mommy bellies passing me at the store. A calendar ticking by the days, bringing me farther, farther from those fleeting moments of joy and pain. 

I don't know what God has in store for our family. For this belly that fluctuates from barren and nearly fit, to pudgy and full of baby. I don't know if this chapter is closed for us. Everyday that passes brings me closer to an age where, short of a miracle, carrying babies is a no longer a possibility. I do know that this was never in my hands. And while I struggle with anger over things that I will never understand, I try to lay it down and trust in the One that does. It's hard. And there have been many tears and questions. I live under no delusion that I will understand this side of Heaven. But if there's one thing that's certain about times like these, it's that I can either run from God burying my face in my hands and engulfed in my pain, or I can run to Him and know that He loves me and, somehow, has a reason for letting me go through this. For letting me say goodbye to four babies that were so deeply loved and are missed everyday. And that's what I hold onto. 

Four days after losing my baby, we stood on the lawn at Cal State San Bernardino, letting our four white balloons fade into a cloudless sky amidst hundreds of other white balloons. 

Letting go. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A new life.

8 days ago we moved from our comfortable life in Southern CA to one that we've dreamed of for years in Arizona. Well actually that's not true. There was a brief period in August 2012 when Tom and I spent a few days in Scottsdale and decided that there was no way this hotter-than-the-sun area could ever be home to us. But apparently we have selective memories because it wasn't too long before we were once again longing to make our home out here. 

It all happened so quickly and it's amazing to see firsthand how God put all the pieces together. He had to- there was no other way we could have gotten my husband across that border otherwise. 

In March we took our first non-baseball family trip to Arizona and fell in love even more. We hiked, swam, went to church and visited friends that we had made last October through baseball. Having someone that we knew here and a church we liked was key in Tom feeling more passionate about moving- I think he needed to see that we truly could make a life here, and that we would be happy. We vowed that, God willing, we would do all we could to move to Arizona by the end of the year. Putting a time frame on it was scary and a little overwhelming. We were really going to do this.

Well, things have been hard financially for a while. I think people believe that when you own a business, you have endless supplies of money and that you're living the high life. That is SO far from the truth- at least for us, and for most small business owners we have ever seen. It has been very stressful and while I wouldn't change it for the world and I love seeing my husband live his dream of owning a business, there are times I would have loved to see a regular paycheck and a husband that is capable of leaving his work day where it belongs- at work. 

Anyway, for several months Tom has been feeling like he needed another job. He didn't feel led to give up his business, but he needed a way for his business to not have the expense of paying him, and of course the only way to do that was to bring in another income. There was a time when it looked like he was going to get a job down in San Diego and it hit me that this dream of Arizona may not be in God's will, at least for now. It was really hard for me. I felt like I had wanted this for so long and prayed and prayed, and that we were so close to it finally happening! And then this. Then Tom didn't get the job but things were still really tough so moving out of state was the last thing we could even think about. I stopped letting myself think about it and really believed that it would never happen.

We were at a crossroads and we didn't know what God wanted from us. We prayed a ton and seeked counsel from our pastor, who was an enormous help in supporting Tom, and helping him to see the realistic side of things. We knew that one way or the other, God was going to move. And He did. Tom's business had a great week (one of the best in a while, and specifically what Tom and our pastor had been praying for) and we hoped that things would really turn around. But as great as that week was, it wasn't enough to catch us up from the long time things had been bad, so we were back again at the crossroads. We started to wonder if maybe it wasn't time for a change.

So Tom found out that someone in Arizona was needing a new manager for his shop (Tom's shop is an auto repair, part of a huge chain) and connected with him. 

Sooooo. In an attempt to cut down this ridiculously long post and maybe wake you up a bit, God came through. Big time. In the span of just a few days during our annual October trip to Arizona, Tom got a new job and we signed a lease on a house.  As in, we would be returning home from our vacation on November 2nd and would be moving out on November 16th. {We ended up signing the lease for a house we had found before even leaving on vacation that had a huge yard and when we saw it in person, was so much more beautiful than the photos could convey. And the landlord is awesome.} So basically what that means is I would spend the remainder of our 2 week vacation stalking Pinterest for packing tips (we have moved a gazillion times but never more than 30 minutes away) and making list after list of the dozens of things I'd need to do once we stepped foot back in CA. And I'll tell you, nothing is more fun than planning a move from 350 miles and 10 days away.

So here we are. New residents of the state we have grown to love so very much, and feeling so incredibly lucky to call this beautiful place home. I spent the two weeks between vacation and moving packing like a madwoman, and had my kitchen (clearly the most difficult room) and most of our house packed within a week. We had a garage sale and I sold a lot of things that we didn't need (or didn't have room for in our 1,000 square foot smaller home) on Facebook, and it slowly sank in that this was really happening. At 6:09pm on November 16th, we pulled away from the home that had housed so many happy memories for 3 years and drove on to the unexpected. I won't lie. I cried. I had wanted this for so long and now that it was happening, I was scared. 

That night as we drove, I was separated from Tom for a good while. The moving truck we had rented leaked gas so I had to stop twice to clean my windshield while he drove on. Well the second time I lost him for a good 45 minutes. When I FINALLY caught up to him, it was at the exact moment that we crossed the Arizona border. It was so significant and I couldn't help but tear up and just knew at that moment that this was where God wanted us. And then we were separated again for the rest of the drive. God is so awesome. 

So I finally need to close this because while I want to document all the ways God has worked in this story, it is mighty long and probably more than a little boring to anyone not living it. I foresee more blog posts in my future now that I'm separated from every person we know. ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stuck somewhere between now and then.

You know what's fun? Looking at pictures of yourself from when your youngest (now 9 1/2 year old) child was less than a year old and realizing you were skinnier then than you are now (and of course I felt disgusting.) Not quite the before and after pictures I was hoping for.

Last night I spent close to 4 hours not cleaning my house looking at old photos and videos from of when my kids were babies. Oh I could do that for days. I am so thankful I have taken so many videos of them and can hear their cute little voices and lisps again. It seems like yesterday that they were that tiny, yet at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago. So many hilarious memories, and so many times I will treasure forever with my family.

I want more kids so badly. And while we're trusting God in that area (though I'm pretty sure my husband's trusting is in the form of "please God don't let her get pregnant"), it hasn't happened yet. But the thing is, part of the reason I've been wanting it so bad is because I feel like I didn't appreciate the baby and toddler years enough. Like I was so overwhelmed and crazyfied (okay I really was) to really savor the moments, and I guess I kinda felt like I needed a do-over. But after watching all these videos and looking at literally thousands of photos covering even just a year or two, I realize that's not the case. I see that I truly did appreciate those years and knew that they would be fleeting. I know I still at times wished away the years wanting my kids to be walking/potty-trained/talking/reading/self-sufficient and cursed the fact that my daughter needed me to fall asleep every hour of every night for a while (see: human pacifier), I know I loved every minute of it. I guess I kinda forgot that.

But I still want to do it all over again.

Monday, January 6, 2014


The other morning (okay, probably New Year's, because duh) I saw a pic on Kelly's Instagram that had her "annual" New Year's resolutions: lose 30 pounds {and yes, it was totally like she was in my head}, get organized, read the Bible in a year, and after those were crossed out, BE INTENTIONAL was written below.

Okay I know the word intentional is thrown around like crazy right now, but it just hit me. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. As in, I pretty much go on a FB break seemingly every month or two and slowly ease back into it, then am fully obsessed again after like 3 days. I just seem to be lacking that portion of self-control that tells most human beings they don't have to be on Facebook every hour, checking to make sure no one had a meal that I haven't heard about yet.

Okay not really, because that drives me nuts {even though I do it too}.

But really. WHY do I think anything is going to change so drastically in anyone's life over the course of a couple hours that I have to be on there so much??

So anyway, that morning. I'll have you know that I had no lofty goals that morning when I woke up, and certainly didn't feel like martyring out the teeny bit of social life I have left. But as I talked to God that morning and really prayed that He would help me cut out distractions in my life this year so I can really focus on Him and my family, He immediately spoke to me that Facebook had to go. Okay while I make it quite clear that I really don't like FB, can I just say I love it too? I don't have many friends I talk to on a regular basis, and I don't feel like I'm really that girl that anyone usually calls to hang out. And I feel lonely quite a bit, I'll be honest. So to completely wipe myself off from the face of the earth as far as social media goes, it's a little intimidating.But when you hear God's voice, it's usually always best to listen.
And here it is, January 6th (I started this Friday night though. I'm nothing if not on the ball), and my FB is still up and running and I'm more active than I have been in a while on there.My point? Cut the umbilical cord, woman. (This alone should speak loud and clear how much I need a little intentional in my life. Good gracious.)

I really didn't want this whole post to be about the F-word, but I fear that if I don't hit submit now {3 days after starting it} I will never finish and this will hang in Blogger land like most other posts I ever start.

I will just say this. 2014 being the year of intentional for me means holding every moment captive. Being able to look back on my days without regret over how I spent those minutes. Knowing I didn't waste away time with my kids while I sat with my face in my phone yet wondered why they look so much older today. Spending face to face time with my husband. Not looking back on my marriage and wondering when we grew apart. I want to live all in. I want to give it all. I want to walk away knowing I gave my family the best I had, not my leftovers. So maybe that's a better goal:


**edited to add: I will still be on Instagram because that is not nearly the time suck for me that fb is, and God willing I will finally figure out how to blog more than twice a year.**