Thursday, December 27, 2012

Faces of Alice

I really wanted some bokeh Christmas pictures of Alice.
I had to bring out the big guns for compliance.
Gumdrops!








Total cost= 3 gumdrops.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas!

Our fun morning...

She got a can of olives in her stocking.
I had to open it for her right away. :)

I love that she wanted to wear her angel wings.

Alice got Ben a package of Vanilla Wafers.
She was so cute when he opened it. 
Pure joy!

Thanking the little one for a gift. :)

Ooo!

Trying out my new tripod!

I gave Alice the remote and we had sudden photo-taking compliance!
A Christmas miracle!


She's a reindeer!

A Jack photo bomb-

Blurry, but I still love it...

Monday, December 17, 2012

An update on our lives...

I was just looking through pictures 
and realized there's been so much going on 
that I haven't written about here.

So, here's a little update on how we're doing.
(with Instagram pictures)

In short, this has been the hardest season Ben and I have walked through together.
Within 2 weeks, we miscarried and had a very stressful situation with our little foster baby.
(I'm not going to go into that here.)
All is well now.
Life is beginning to feel typical again.
We are all healthy and happy.

Ben:
Man, I love that man.
He really is amazing.
Whenever I feel like I'm about to lose my mind,
Ben is always there to hold me, pray for me, and remind me that God is in control.
He loves his job and is really good at it.
He enjoys playing bass with the worship team at church,
playing ultimate frisbee with his work friends,
and playing video games after the girls are in bed.
And, he makes us laugh...all the time.




Me:
I'm good!
It's been an incredibly busy/stressful couple of weeks, 
and I've felt behind in pretty much every aspect of my life.
I feel like I can't get caught up.
But that's okay.
I feel that way because I'm blessed with an active preschooler, 
a sweet little baby, a wonderful part-time job, and home we love that has an endless to-do list.
I'm also blessed with the most amazing family and friends I could ever imagine.
I could write a book about the love and kindness we've been shown these past few weeks.
In lighter news, I've been enjoying lots of coffee, wine, and chocolate,
my trifecta of happiness.


Alice:
Our little rascal has changed so much in the past couple months.
She seems so much older these days.
She worked on one coloring page for 3 days.
She spent the night at Ben's parents house and loved every second of it.
She listed the opposites for at least 10 words...until I couldn't think of others.
She still loves sign language and enjoys learning new signs.

Her solution to how loud the indoor splash park is:

Chillin' in the table hammock:

Face painting:

Concentrating:

We recently had our first big snow of the season.
She couldn't wait to go outside.
This was taken at 7:30am:

Cookie decorating with her buddy, Iris:

Being a little weird:
(this is day 1 of coloring that page)

Tonight we took her to see the lights, again.
She is making Christmas a million times more fun than I ever could've imagined.
She thinks all Christmas lights are spectacular.
"I see the Christmas!!!"

She's also been a really great helper with our little baby.
At the first peep, she says, "Hurry, Mom! Let's go get her!"
It's also cute to hear her gently say, "It's okay. It's okay, sweet baby."


The Littlest One:
She recently turned 3 months old and now weighs over 12 pounds.
She's super smiley and generally a happy baby.
She eats like a champ and sleeps like a baby...waking 2-3 times a night.
Our little one has completely stolen our hearts.

Alice has been here:

Checking out the lights:


Jack:
He's fine.
I like him...until people come to the door and he freaks out like we're all about to die.
Makes me crazy.
But other than that, he's a really good dog.
I think it's funny how he uses anything he can as a pillow:

Chickens:
Not much to report about them, other than the fact that we've kept them alive for 10 months now.
And, they're earning their keep:


Alright, that's the update!
The end.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

0/3 with Santa

...or 3/3, if you're like me and think pictures of kids crying with Santa are funny.
Disclaimer: This year we talked a lot about Santa coming to our house.
She was fully aware that the guy in the costume is our friend, James.
He even took off the beard to show her.
She was just being a pistol. 

Breakfast with Santa

We had our "small" group friends over yesterday morning for brunch.
Santa showed up, which is always fun...for the parents.
Our friend, James, is such a good sport to hold our screaming children.

Some photos from the morning:
(our little foster baby is hiding behind the heart)

I love these "action" shots:




Coloring with James/Santa:

Family photo with Santa:
(Is a little button over her face less creepy than the heart?)

We love our little community!
23 people, yummy food, coffee, crafts, gift exchange, Santa, mimosas, and lots of laughter.
So, so, so much fun!

In less than 2 weeks the Klenkes will be back with us!!
It'll be so good to have the whole group together again.
I cannot wait.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's uncanny.

My mom has been scanning old photos and emailing them to me.
It's so fun!

Here's another "it's creepy just how much my daughter looks like me at her age" photo:


And to really freak my mom out...


The best thing about her looking like me=
Middle school awkwardness.
Keeps the boys away!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Something I need to share.

This is my journal.
This is my scrapbook.
This is where I document memories...both good and bad.
So, I need to write about this.
Writing this down feels healing.

In short, we lost our tiny baby last week.

---------------------------

On October 16th we found out we were pregnant.
Expected to arrive around June 20th.
We were thrilled!

A month passed and everything seemed normal.
We were busy caring for our foster baby and parenting a feisty toddler.

On Friday, November 16th we went to our first midwife appointment.
I was 9 weeks pregnant.
We were planning to tell Ben's family that night at dinner.
During the ultrasound, my midwife seemed quiet.
She asked if I could've been wrong on my dates.
The baby measured at 6 weeks.
Though there was a heartbeat, our baby wasn't growing.

We brain stormed for a few minutes on dates...
how it could be possible to be 3 weeks off.
It was all a stretch. 

We made an appointment for the following Friday,
hoping we'd see growth.

I came home and grieved.
I cried in a way I haven't experienced before.
My heart hurt.
I knew what was happening.
The next day was a little better.
The next, a little better.

We prayed.
People close to us prayed.
I desperately wanted to see a miracle.

On Monday, I started spotting.
Things progressed and I miscarried last Wednesday,
the night before Thanksgiving.

---------------------------

We're okay.
We are feeling at peace about all of this.
We trust in God's plan for our family.
I don't know why He didn't save our baby,
but I do know our little one is in Heaven and we will see him/her one day.

---------------------------

Our friends and family are amazing.

A good friend brought me flowers, treats, and coffee.
She has been my support system, telling me what to expect, and answering all of my questions.
I would have been a total disaster without her.

Another sweet friend brought me a piece of cheesecake, which I did not share,
pizza for dinner, coffee, and chocolate.
She knows how to bring comfort, that's for sure!

My sister-in-law was the perfect distraction when I desperately needed one.
She also brought beautiful flowers.

Someone left a gift certificate on our front door.
If that was you, thank you!!
You have no idea how that lifted my spirits.
Thank you.

Another dear friend brought me a flower on Thanksgiving.
She gave it to me with tears in her eyes.
How sweet it is to have friends who share in joys...and in sorrow.

I only answered one phone call that Friday we found out.
She's my person.
I knew I could answer the phone sobbing and it'd be okay.
She cried with me.


Texts and voicemails from friends and family.
We felt so loved and so covered in prayer.
Thank you.

We didn't tell Alice much.
We knew it was WAY too early to tell her.
She once asked me if the noise inside my belly was a baby.
(That caught me off guard!)
The night I was miscarrying, I was in a LOT of pain.
I went in to kiss her goodnight and she said,
"Mama? You're not feeling good? Your belly hurts?"
When I answered yes, she took her hands, kissed them, rubbed them together,
and put her "kiss lotion" on my belly to help me feel better.
She has a very sweet, intuitive little spirit.

I have close friends and family members hearing about this for the first time.
It's not a fun story to write...and even harder one to tell over the phone.
I hope you understand why I didn't mention it sooner.

---------------------------

I know miscarriages are common.
They aren't the end of the world,
though it feels like it when it's you going through it.
I hate that it happened to us.
I really hate that it's happened to people I love.
I hate that I didn't know how to care for and support those people.
(Now I know.)

But, we believe in a God who redeems crappy situations;
a God who turns ashes into beauty,
mourning into joy,
and despair into praise.
(Isaiah 61:3)
We move forward confident in that.

---------------------------

There's more I want to share about this.
Maybe I will at another time.

This is really long.
Did anyone actually reach the end? :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Naps with Daddy

I took this picture yesterday of Ben napping with the baby girl:

I knew it looked familiar and then I found it!


Is it creepy to take pictures of people sleeping?
Probably so.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another mini-me photo

I love when someone comments on an old picture on Facebook and it resurfaces.

That happened last week with this one,
posted in April 2008...a couple months before Ben and I were married:

That's me with my grandparents' old dog, Red.

I showed Alice and she seemed confused.
I asked who it looked like and she said, "Me!"
When I told her it was her mama, she giggled and said, "That's cute."

This afternoon I offered her a mini marshmallow to try to recreate the picture with Jack. :)
Here's the best I got:



So crazy.

Another with us in the same dress.
And another.

I don't think Alice looks a lot like me now,
but my baby pictures are uncanny!
I know it freaks my mom out a little. :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankfulness, part 3

-I'm thankful for my little work-from-home part-time job.
It's perfect for me and I have the best boss in the world!
(Ben's dad.)
It also funds the following:


-I'm thankful for VillaSport where I get to workout and shower while my kids are well taken care of.
Sometimes I even sit and drink a cup of coffee.
Sometimes I sit in the hot tub.
Sometimes I take classes that kick my behind,
other times I walk on the treadmill and catch up with friends.


-Baby girl slept 8 hours last night!
The NICU nurses all told me she's a great eater,
but doesn't sleep and is fussy most of the day.
I'm thankful she was a different baby once we got her home. 


-My family is awesome.
I could write forever about this one, but I'll try to keep it reasonable.
I was born into a loving and supportive family.
Then, I married into a loving and supportive family.
Double the fun!
3 moms, 3 dads, 6 sisters, 4 brothers, grandparents, great-grandparents...
I am blessed!


-I'm thankful for dark chocolate, red wine, and espresso.
The trifecta of happiness. 


-My little Alice has a huge heart.
She adores these little ones we take care of...
and seems to understand when they return home.
She loves her friends.
Loves Jack.
She's kind and compassionate.
I'm so thankful God gave her to us!


-Our chickens have been total slackers lately.
We used to get 2-3 eggs per day.
We're down to 1 every 1-2 days.
(Only one chicken was laying.)
Then yesterday we got 2!
#3 started laying, again!
I'm thankful I haven't had to buy eggs since February!


-This week had some foster care challenges.
Drama that I won't go into right now.
Regardless, I'm thankful for the calling God placed on our lives to care for these children.
We are forever changed.


-I'm thankful for Hulu,
video monitors,
iPhones,
computers,
digital cameras,
blogs,
and technology in general.
Makes my life easier and keeps my husband employed. :)


-I'm thankful for Fridays and weekends!
Hallelujah!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Thankfulness Post

Hello, again!

Here's the latest installment of Thankfulness:

-The baby girl is doing SO good!
She fits right in to our little family.
She's sleeping and eating like a champ.
8 weeks old now.
I wish I could share more about her little life;
how she is truly a miracle.
Maybe someday.
I'm thankful for each day we get to spend with her!


-Alice is doing awesome, too.
She recently learned how to operate doorknobs,
which is unfortunate.
She makes up songs.
She always has a baby in her arms.
She adores the baby girl and is incredibly sweet to her.
I'm so thankful for the one who made me a mother!


-This past weekend I went on a getaway with some of my favorite people.
It was the perfect trip for me.
No real agenda.
Lots of time in sweats and PJs.
Yummy food.
Tons of laughing.
It did my heart good.


When Ben and I got married and I moved to the Springs,
I was SO lonely.
I had/have the most amazing girlfriends in Boulder
and I missed/miss them like crazy.
God gave me these 7 friends and for that, I am forever thankful!


-I'm thankful for my amazing husband.
There is no one in the world I'd rather be living life with.
He works hard for us.
He prays for us.
He loves us...even when we're cranky.
He scratches my back as I fall asleep.
This past weekend, he held down the fort while I sat on my hiney in the mountains.
(Baby girl was spoiled by an amazing foster family for the weekend.)
He took Alice to Chick-fil-A to eat and play,
to a friend's house for breakfast,
to the park to play followed by hot chocolate,
and out to dinner for pancakes.
Children in our home are blessed to have him as a father.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me Ben!


-I stopped by my friend, Sarah's, house this afternoon.
We met in our Bradley class when we were pregnant with our little girls.
She loaned me warm baby clothes and made me a cup of coffee.
Best cup of coffee I've had in a really long time!
I'm so thankful for her friendship!


-As I write this, my house is messy.
Laundry is piling.
Floors need to be cleaned.
Toys need to be put away.
Our house is very, very lived it.
I say, "I love this house." every single day.
I do. I love it.
It still needs a lot of work, but we love it.
We love making memories here.
I'm incredibly thankful for this home!


I'll stop there for tonight. 
My list is long.
To be continued...