I’m Feelin 22

1383999_10152366145430550_1562158978_n 1390530_10153497954235425_208546760_n IMG_0166IMG_0373IMG_0387Happiest 22nd birthday, Emmy Kate! You make life so much sweeter. When I think of you, I think of a beautiful smile that lights up a room and the happiest, most bubbly personality. I also think of ice cream and all things Kate Spade, which speaks volumes. :) I can’t imagine life without any of my sisters. I remember Mom telling us to be nice to each other when we were young because someday we’d be more than sisters- we’d be best friends. That couldn’t be more true! Emmy, you are such an amazing sister and friend. It’s been a joy to watch you grow into the strong and loving woman you are. Snuggle those babies in the NICU today and be ready to party tonight!

My Daughter is a Mother

Ellieinked by Holly

My daughter became a mother four weeks ago.  I still wake up some mornings and slowly remember that I’m a grandmother!  Well, actually, I’m a Gigi.  Most people have nine months to prepare, have baby showers, and set up a nursery.  But not everyone–some do it a little differently. I like to think some do it even more wonderfully!

You see, for our family, it was more like a two month long pregnancy test.  We were hopeful but we weren’t positive it would be happening until they put that teeny tiny beautiful bundle of blessing into their car and brought her home.  And at that point, there was squealing and crying… not from the teeny tiny bundle but from the Gigi, Pops and all the excited aunties!  When we got the call that Chris and Lindsay were on their way home from the hospital, the first order of business included a trip to Target.  Formula, diapers and wipes needed to be purchased ASAP!  Oh and a bassinette! Gigi might have thrown in a few more baby items for good measure.  Auntie Alissa rushed to Carters for some teeny tiny sleepers for our teeny tiny blessing (have I mentioned she was teeny tiny?!).

We went to their house and anxiously awaited their arrival so we could meet our teeny tiny blessing for the first time!  Oh, she was amazing!.Perfection, really.  As they took her out of that seemingly giant car seat, there were more tears and hugs!

Next, I watched my daughter become a mother.  And just as my mother and mother-in-law taught me, I had the wonderful privilege of teaching my daughter.  I found myself saying things like “Always put her in tshirt.”  Why? Because my mother insisted a tshirt be on my babies.  It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer, make sure you put her in a tshirt.  And I said things like “My mother helped give all my babies their first bath, would you like me to help bathe her?”  And then I showed my son how to burp her.  And again, it was how my mother taught me to burp my babies.   I’ve also recalled all the ways Steve’s mother helped and the things I learned from her.  I vividly recall her standing in our apartment, showing my how to pat and sway and soothe our very fussy firstborn.  She had a magic touch with the fussy ones. Steve’s mother always told me that she didn’t allow her children to scream because screaming is for emergencies.  And so I taught my children that we do not scream unless blood is flowing or stranger danger or some other sort of impending doom.

There was plenty of advice given by the mothers.  Sometimes I chose to smile, say thank you and then ignore.  I’m sure the cycle will continue as I give advice and she smiles, thanks me and then chooses to do it a better way.  And that’s ok because my daughter has become a very good mother.1497700_10153740456020425_2099941909_n 1557510_10153740456180425_1720454061_n 1531913_10153740456430425_1402601763_nPhotos courtesy of Sara Corona

An Adoption Story

inked by Lindsay

It’d be a little narcissistic to think that anyone missed our blogging, so I’m not going to apologize for the hiatus, but I will explain why we haven’t posted in a few months. It’s a good reason, I promise. :)

Two months ago, Chris and I were contacted out of the blue about an opportunity to adopt a baby girl. We were initially shocked, but we knew this was orchestrated by God and we wanted to at least explore the opportunity. Long story short, we worked with an agency to start and finish our home study in a little over two weeks, and then we waited for the birth. When we got the call, we went to the hospital and met our precious baby and waited a little more. We brought her home on a Thursday afternoon and became her parents on the following Friday afternoon. We are completely and totally in love with her!

We laugh when we think about how little we knew and understood about adoption two months ago as compared to our understanding today. We had NO idea what we were getting into and the emotional rollercoaster that the following months would bring. I won’t go into many details about our sweet girl’s birth or time at the hospital, but I will say that it was the most exhilarating and life-changing week of my life. We never could have fully prepared for it, and we are still recovering from it.

Even though I didn’t give birth to our sweet baby, I feel like I gave birth, just without the physical ramifications. Our social worker said this is normal, and referred to it as an “emotional labor.” I really can’t describe it any better than that. The tirade of emotions we felt at the hospital and bringing our baby home have subsided, and now we’re processing the joy (and sleeplessness) of being new parents.

And let me tell you, this is what we were made for. As I rock our bright-eyed newborn in the wee hours of the morning, I am so overwhelmed with love and contentment. She is the absolute love of our lives.

I’ll back up a little further and tell you about how the adoption came about. Chris and I have dealt with infertility for the last year and a half. We started fertility treatments last summer, and after a failed attempt we were emotionally drained and frustrated. Our official diagnosis is unexplained infertility. I was downright angry. Angry at God, angry at my body, angry at every pregnant woman I saw, angry at the world. I felt overlooked and completely abandoned by God.

But oh my goodness, friends, our God is good. Only He could take the ugliness and deep pain of infertility and transform it into the most beautiful, redemptive story. Only He could took my angry, bitter heart and fill it with love, contentment, and joy.

In September, you might recall that we took a family trip to the beach. On our last day there, Chris and I took a long walk and talked about our hopes and dreams for family and if they’d ever be realized. We cried together about our frustration towards the failed fertility treatments and decided to start praying about adopting. We had always been interested in adopting since we first starting dating, but never imagined pursuing adoption so soon in our marriage.

Chris didn’t know this at the time, but as we prayed for guidance in whether or not to pursue adoption, I prayed specifically that God would open a completely unexpected door to adopt. After trying to get pregnant, I wasn’t sure that I had the emotional stamina to wait years to adopt, and I was praying for a miracle.

And God provided. Just one month later we received the call about our sweet girl. Two months later we had her in our arms. Simply miraculous– I’ve never witnessed such a blatant answer to prayer.

Last year was the hardest of my life. Each month was another reminder of our failed attempts to conceive. Another reminder of a God who overlooked me.

But God had other plans. He blessed us with the most perfect gift, and through the adoption of our precious daughter, my faith has been completely transformed. Our adoption journey has taught me so much about my adoption in Christ. God views me as an heir to His kingdom– He loves me as much as His son. I never comprehended this– in fact, I doubted His love for me. Our daughter has opened my eyes to God’s love for me and best of all, His love for our daughter. We have been redeemed.

Although the holidays have come and gone, I know the celebrations and weeks to follow are a painful time for so many, and friends, I completely relate to those who dread the family gatherings and can only dread another year of loss. I pray that you will experience God’s redemption and His unending love for His children. Even in our frustration, pain, and unfulfilled expectations, His love and His promises are true. Praise God– He is the Father to the fatherless!

Please join us in welcoming our new bundle of joy to the family– our best gift ever. :)IMG_1454