Friday, September 24, 2010

Reflections on God's Grace

Saturday morning I ran the Tipp City Mum Festival 5k. One year ago, I did the same thing. I decided to run it this year for the pure symbolism of what God did in one year in our lives. Going back to running the 5k last year...I finished in 32:33 and some change. I then walked over to where the Tipp City Community Bible Church parade float was located for judging and walked the parade route with my church family. That entire day passed without ever so much as a thought that I could possibly be pregnant. The next day I stopped on my way home from work and picked up a pregnancy test(and some ice cream, of course). I didn't actually think I was pregnant, I was taking it more as a formality. I decided not to wait until morning and as I was about to throw it in the trash(because I assumed it was negative), I noticed 2 lines! So I pulled the directions out(yes, no matter how many times you read those things, you never remember whether it is supposed to be one line or two or a plus sign or a dollar sign:P!). I remember when it hit baby isn't even ONE yet! How did this happen?(No, I don't need anyone to explain that!) I had to wait about an hour until Joel got home from work before I could tell anyone. To say that I had a million thoughts would be an understatement! I thought about everything from how in the world am I gonna manage 2 kids under 2 plus another kid to how fun it would be to have a summer baby(I have always wanted to have my kids in different seasons...the "planning" is going quite well!) I was still processing the whole idea when I told Joel and he reacted so great that it allayed all my fears! If my husband thought having another baby was nothing to get worked up about then why was I so worried!!
Excitement replaced the fear pretty quickly and we were well on our way to being a family of 5! As time went on in the pregnancy, I found myself WANTING a girl...this was hard for me because I despise the idea of not being happy with whichever God gives....they are all precious in His eyes and if He cares enough to entrust them in our care, we should be overjoyed with whatever He gives! I, of course, realize now that this was God's way of preparing my heart for what was to come as I had never felt the NEED for a girl and truly believed I would be a "boy mom"! As it always does, the 20 week u/s held great anticipation! Joel likes to know what we are having and though he obliged me with Noah and let me choose not to find out the gender, he is more at ease knowing. I don't think he could even explain it, perhaps it helps him bond and makes it more real, but I loved how much more at ease he was with Benjamin since he knew so I had no doubt that we would find out this time as well. However, this 20 week u/s did not go quite the way we anticipated, and by the time we left the office, the fact that it WAS a girl did not seem quite as important. Finding out that she had a 2 vessel cord, left us uneasy, worried, and apprehensive for another u/s in just a few days. The next few days were filled with tears, guilt, worry, prayers, and focusing on the bits of truth that we had from the first u/s--we had seen 4 chamber heart, 2 kidneys, and no obvious defects. The night before the diagnostic u/s was spent in prayer and tears, but there was no doubt that God was with us. I vividly remember the prayer of my heart being "PLEASE God let my baby be ok, but if that is not your plan, give us the grace we need!" As I had recently read, you cannot say, "Praise the Lord!" when all is well, then turn your back and curse Him as soon as trouble comes your way! We were determined that day going into the u/s that no matter the outcome we were saying, "God is good ALL the time!" God had His hand on us throughout this trial, but was never more evident than in the 2nd u/s. The tech, her name was Ashley(yes, I believe even that minor detail was God's work), was AMAZING! She began the u/s and was more thorough than I have ever experienced, waiting for Grace to open her fists so that we could count her fingers on BOTH hands as well as the toes on both feet! She showed us the heart and even all the vessels around the heart, explaining everything in detail(well, after I told her I was a NICU nurse she became more detailed in her explanations). Kidneys, stomach, lips, palate...she showed us everything! Confirmed that we were in fact having a girl! Now I think God was showing off in this part, but the tech had a student that day and for the 20 minutes that we waited for the Perinatologist to come in, the student scanned Grace, taking her own measurements of things and just allowing us to see our baby for that much longer! The perinatologist came in and confirmed that our baby was fine, that a 2 vessel cord all by itself is not alarming and the only thing that we needed to monitor was weight.
Seeing God's hand throughout that trial guided us right into another decision that was not easy to make. At times I have made "deals" with God putting limits on Him with the "if the light is red, I'll know you want me to turn right, but if it's green and there aren't any cars coming, I'll know you want me to turn left." God doesn't have human limits like we try to assign Him. He does, however, guide us in our everyday life, putting forth what He knows we need to make decisions. Thus, we opted for an operative birth, and our sweet sweet Baby Girl arrived via C-section! It is amazing to reflect back and see how God pieced everything together so perfectly...after Noah, I don't think I uttered the words "want another baby" until he was 2!! With Benjamin, it was a mere 4 months before I uttered those same words...God at work preparing my heart, no doubt! Throw in there though that it had been less than 2 years since my last delivery and there was no way I was doing that again! C-section it was!
There are times when God's hand is more evident in your life than others...but it doesn't mean it isn't there in the not so obvious times! God's hand has been evident throughout Grace's life from the moment he decided to bless us with her which gives her name a whole new meaning...His grace IS enough, every single day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bye Bye Binky!! Hello Hat!!

Benjamin gave up his binky a few weeks ago. It was NOT my choice at all...I had a goal in mind and was not ready to embark on such an undertaking at this point. For quite some time, the binkies have had to remain in his bed for nap use and bedtime use. We had transitioned quite well to a point where he was putting them on his pillow as soon as we went to get him up. He would sometimes throw them out of his bed at bedtime, some of it was because it was ammo aimed directly at his brother, sometimes it was no doubt a ploy to get mommy to come back and potentially rescue him from his bed. Well, this particular Thursday had been a difficult day and when I put him to bed he began kicking the binkies out of his bed. I picked them up and put them back in his bed, he made his mad face and kicked them out again. I picked them up again and this time put them on his pillow and told him if he kept kicking them out, I would not keep coming back and getting them for him(mean, I know). He again began kicking at them, I sternly told him again that I would not come back and that if he didn't want them he could throw them in the trash, to which he replied, "Trash". I was very skeptical, but I obtained a "clean" trash can anyway, and he proceeded to throw every one of them into it. I left the room and stood a bit astonished, yet completely skeptical outside the room for a moment. He went to sleep and slept all night that night. I still did not accept that this was it. We had a few nights of him waking up through the night, but he never asked for his binky. I even offered it back to him about a week later when he was sick and whiny, but he refused! I had heard of kids doing this, but never imagined that it really could be this easy! WOW! Well, in the weeks since he gave up his binky, he has taken on a new attachment--his hat! Any baseball hat his size will do, but do not give him a fishing hat, camping hat, snow hat, or even one of my baseball hats or Joel's either. Oh well, at least he can take a baseball hat to college without any repercussions!!

From Super Duper Binky boy...

to hat obsessed boy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Months

Our sweet baby girl turned 3 months old on September 3rd. She weighed in at 14 lbs. 13 oz. and 24 inches long. Grace is the sweetest baby girl ever!! She is so full of smiles! The only baby I have ever met that smiled more is my friend Michele's sweet Anna! Grace's brothers were both very serious babies...they smiled, but you had to work for it and they didn't really smile at just anyone most of the time. Grace is in contrast super social and super smiley! I never could have imagined a sweeter baby! It makes me so sad when she cries because it is so rare. She adores her brothers!! All they have to do is walk by and she starts smiling, it's just so sweet to see. They also love to make her sing songs and do patty cakes which even gets some giggles out! For a while now we have noticed that she smiled every time Benjamin cried, lately, we have noticed that she is starting to slyly smirk when her brothers are getting into trouble!!

Grace is also our little thumb hard as I tried to keep any of my kids from being a thumb sucker(Daddy sucked his until he was 8!), she was determined...even to the point of gagging on the pacifiers! She will occasionally take a pacifier, but will mostly just go straight for the thumb! She is a pro with it, and while I didn't want her to have it, there is no denying the cuteness factor!(And if you hold me at gun point, I might admit to it being nice since there aren't any middle of the night binky runs! ;)

"Don't look now, Mom, I'm sucking my thumb!" I think we will be seeing this face a LOT in the next few years!! Ha!

See how she is holding on to her dress...she ALWAYS has to hold on to something! She has lovey blankets and a blanket that her Aunt Cindy made her that are her favorite "blankies"!

She has found out that her hands are attached to her! This is one of my favorite baby fascinations! I love watching them go cross-eyed and wave their little hands all around trying to figure it all out!

BIG eyes!

I can't even imagine our lives without this amazing "SURPRISE" from God! He really knows what we need and when we need it even more than we do for ourselves!