Dancing in the Minefields

Thursday, July 29, 2010 7 Comments A+ a-

Oh. my. heart!  BooMama mentioned this video in a recent list on her blog and while I couldn’t access the video when I first read her post, I vowed to go back and watch.  I am so happy I did.  This is a gorgeous song about marriage, the lyrics simple but true.  And as BooMama swore I would, I swooned.  Right before I vowed to take these words to heart in my own marriage.  Dancing in the Minefields, by Andrew Peterson.

Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago 

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise was for

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found 

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise was for
That’s what the promise is for
 

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true

So in the face of this chaos baby
I can dance with you 

So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise if for
That’s what the promise is for

Generational Legacy

Sunday, July 25, 2010 10 Comments A+ a-

Jon and I swung on our front porch tonight. He got my attention through the window screen and asked if I’d join him on the swing. I smiled, put the laptop aside, and joined my Love on the porch. I curled up next to him, as best I could with this growing belly, and let him set the swing in a rhythmic motion. Gracie alternated between running around the yard or laying at our feet, and I enjoyed a popsicle as we sat there. Good times. Simple times.

Jon, Reagan, and I visited his grandparents on Friday. We dropped the kids off for their last day of Vacation Bible School, and headed to their home. I love these two beautiful people, more than I can put into words. I wish I could say that it was an extension of Jon’s love for them, but truth be told, my love for his grandparents have nothing to do with Jon. I often wonder how I was so lucky to not only acquire a wonderful man, but his amazing grandparents as well. His grandparents have been our steady rock during times when life was in turmoil, they offered steadfast love and support during a time when life seemed anything but those things. Jon has such love and respect for this couple, and the feelings are very much reciprocated. We are blessed.

This particular visit was no different than any other. We gathered around the table while they continually tried to get us to eat more food, and offered more coffee, or tea, or water, because, darn it, to eat and drink means we love them. Grandpa and Grandma took turns holding Reagan on their laps while she ate a donut, and laughed when she was getting sassy. Never mind the fact that the same behavior would never have been allowed out of a child, or grandchild. We heard some of the same stories of Grandpa working 60+ hours during their first years of marriage, and of how Grandma had to fill the washing machine with water, before she could clean clothes. We talked about diapers on the wash line, and of rushing to bring everything inside before a storm.

The stories were the same, heard countless times before, Jon and I share secret smiles when the two of them start to bicker over the smaller details. I always know when Grandpa will interrupt Grandma with a correction, or vice versa, and the small smiles of pride as they share their earlier years. There’s a comfort in their stories, of knowing what’s coming next, and that this is proof that marriage works, that even in their 60+ years of marriage, they still love each other.

Reagan&GrandmaEventually we wandered outside, to check out the sheep that were currently housed in their pasture. We laughed at Reagan’s aversion to touching them, and giggled over her sheep imitation. I looked out at their pasture, then behind me at their abundant garden. I watched as Jon and Grandpa wrestled with a porch umbrella, enjoying their easy camaraderie, and unspoken communication. And when Reagan snuggled into her great-grandmother’s arms, my heart sighed.

This. This is what life is about… The circle of life. Relationships rooted in love, trust, and respect. In the belief of working and loving, in knowing and appreciating the simple things in life and the real things of value. For from two people who married over 60 years ago, they have built a life on hard work and loving hard, they have given us a beautiful legacy to uphold. And that is why when my husband asks me to join him on the porch swing, I’m going to stop and do it. I’m fairly certain there were many nights involving a porch swing for Grandpa and Grandma too.

Post In Pictures

Friday, July 23, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-

RiverDayCollage We had a wonderful afternoon today.  On our way home from the older Littles last day at VBS, Jon and I made an impromptu decision for a picnic/afternoon in the mountains.  It was the best decision we’ve ever made, and an afternoon we won’t soon forget.  The kids got absolutely soaked and were transfixed by the rafters as they floated by.  It was such a spur-of-the-moment decision that we were without extra diapers and the younger Littles had to ride home naked, using towels as makeshift diapers.  Hah!  Overall, a good, good day, and we’ve vowed to do it more often.

ReaganBlueEyes1My sister commented that she hadn’t realized the color of Hudson’s eyes before the picture I posted last night and I am in awe of the range of the Littles eye color.  Both Devyn and Hudson have hazel-colored eyes, with Devyn’s eyes leaning towards  green and Hudson’s leaning towards a browner shade.  Yet as you can see from this picture, Reagan’s eyes are as blue as blue can be, even I was surprised by the intensity of the color in this picture.  I wonder what color Ashlynn will have…

CDWinner And last, but certainly not least, we have a winner of the CD Giveaway I hosted.  Yay Dana!  When you get a chance, please send me your mailing address so I can let EMI know where to send it.

Him…

Thursday, July 22, 2010 5 Comments A+ a-

DSCN1192

Just a quick picture of the little man in my life.  Hudson has taken to stealing my camera lately and taking random pictures.  I laugh at some of the photos I’ve found on the memory card, but adore this one.  I’m guessing Big Sister took this one…  He is special, even more so knowing that Hudson is the only “he” of our children.  I’m soaking in the cuddles and “I like you, Mama’s” that I can get!  And the freckles!  They pretty faint in this picture but Hudson has a smattering of freckles popping up over his cheeks and the bridge of his nose, just like Big Sister and Mama.  His smile is contagious, his laughter infectious, and is such a boy with all the wrestling and spitting he can muster.  We’re working on the spitting, the wrestling, well, that just comes with “brother” territory and Devyn, Reagan, and Ashlynn will just have to learn to fight back, I guess.  I love him.

I’ll announce the winner of the Audrey Assad CD giveaway tomorrow.  And if you’re interested in a blog design makeover, I’ve giving away three different designs in celebration of Munchkin Land Designs 1-year birthday.  Head over and enter…

A 2nd Peek

Sunday, July 18, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-

If anyone can remember from our ultrasound with Hudson, you’ll remember that for the 1st part of that ultrasound, we were told that he was actually a SHE.  We had just gotten used to the idea of Devyn having a sister named Avery, when the technician gasped and pointed out that she’d actually made a mistake.  And the proof of our little boy was there for the world to see. 

So you can imagine our hesitancy to take the technician’s verdict at face value, especially when she never focused on that area at all.  After little discussion, Jon and I both agreed that we’d feel better if we got a 2nd look and an elective ultrasound was scheduled for Saturday night.

All three children accompanied us and I fear we may have scared off the young couple who came out of the exam room, we assume expecting their first.  There we were with three children, three very young children, and a mama who was pregnant again.  A sight to behold, I’m sure.  I still giggle when I think of what they must have thought.

As the technician waved the wand over  my belly, a second time in a week, he was quick to point out the very telling three lines indicating a little girl.  There it was, the proof we desired, that yes, Baby #4 is indeed, Ashlynn Rose.  And once we saw it once, we were able to quickly point it out again and again.

We got some great 3D pictures of our little girl, despite the fact that its usually too early for such pictures.  Most 3D pictures look better once the baby has more fat deposited under their skin, but I’m still amazed at what we were able to see.  Miss Ashlynn most definitely has the same nose as Hudson and Reagan, and may even (I think) have Hudson’s full lips.  I loved getting to watch her turn her head into the placenta and snuggle in against it.  We watched as she hugged herself around her shoulders, and Jon was even a little creeped out by the clarity in watching Ashlynn kick me.

But the best part of the ultrasound?  Hands down, watching Hudson’s expressions as he took in the sight of our baby on the big TV screen.  I was absolutely floored by the fact that it was Hudson, not Devyn nor Reagan, that got the biggest kick out of seeing our baby on the screen.  He sat on the table next to me while the “doctor” moved the wand around and kept asking questions about the baby. 

And now, its all he can talk about.  Whew!  I was a little worried that we were going to have a problem with jealousy, since every time we asked him about the baby, he burst into tears and said he didn’t want another baby.  Now when we pray at night, he’s the first to pray for “Baby Ash-e-lynn” (he pronounces it with three syllables, not two).  It makes my heart so happy!

And if you’re interested in seeing the newest pictures of Ashlynn, you can click onto The Family link and scroll down.  I know some don’t care for the 3D pictures and didn’t want to put anyone off.

Tonight, I’m just feeling so overwhelmingly blessed and full of joy.  I’ve spent a good hour reading through past blog entries and looking at pictures of Devyn and Hudson at Reagan’s age, and I’m just in awe of these gifts I’ve been given.  Each child is so special to me, to our family, each bringing their own uniqueness, their own gifts to complete us.  And I’m reminded, after looking through those pictures and stories, just how fast it flies.

My cup runneth over.

EMI Musical Giveaway

Thursday, July 15, 2010 13 Comments A+ a-

I am so very excited to be able to offer this incredible giveaway to you all! EMI Christian Music Inc. contacted me last week asking if I’d be interested in doing a giveaway for their artist, Audrey Assad.

Now in keeping with my own personal convictions of blogging with integrity, I couldn’t very well just say yes without doing some research of my own. And research I have done! I now have a new favorite artist and will be making a trip to buy Audrey’s newest CD, The House You’re Building, that was just released this past Tuesday. I love her style and the lyrics really spoke to my heart. And I was able to give EMI a resounding “Yes!” to their offer.

Audrey Assad writes most of her music and was even featured on Chris Tomlin’s Christmas CD on the song, Winter Snow. You may even recognize her song, For Love of You, and her newest release is amazing, The House You’re Building. You can click on any of those song titles and hear/watch the videos on YouTube. Seriously, this artist is amazing!

This giveaway includes her CD, The House You’re Building, as well as a booklet of her hand-written lyrics for the CD, featuring stories behind the songs, and a personalized bag. This is an amazing giveaway and I would love to keep it all for myself. =)

Simply leave me comment on this post to be entered into the giveaway. I’ll leave comments open until 11:59pm (MST) on Tuesday, July 20th. Good luck everyone! I really think you’re going to just love her!

Shocked Much?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 25 Comments A+ a-

Oh.my.word! This was, without a doubt, one of the most fun experiences in my life. And I am so thankful that we found out this way. Some of you may already know from either Facebook or Twitter what we're being blessed with. But for those that don't know, bear with me as I chronicle this special night. Or you can also skip down to the bottom if you're impatient... but not without checking out the 20-second video. Its a hoot!

As Jon and I discussed the pros and cons of waiting to find out with Baby #4, an idea came to mind that I'd previously given another girlfriend. And so I broached the idea of a BBQ with our immediate families, with a cake revealing the gender by the color of the cake filling. (I have no idea where I got this idea, nor can I take any credit for it either.) Jon instantly loved the idea and the date was set.

As we walked back to the exam room for the ultrasound, the technician kindly asked us, "So, if I can tell what the gender is, do you want me to tell you or not?" And with a sheepish grin, I explained our idea, wondering if she'd think we were crazy. She laughed out loud, said she loved the idea, and would be happy to help out.

During the ultrasound, I kept waiting for her to ask us to turn our heads any time she ventured down to "that" area, but she never did. And I swore I saw something, not just once, but twice. But since I'd already gotten several body parts wrong during the ultrasound, I wasn't entirely convinced. Regardless, the technician felt pretty certain that she saw what she needed to see, and asked for the card that I'd brought along. I laughed when she decided to duck out of the room to write down the result, and smiled even more when she handed me the sealed envelope.

Now, knowing my lack of self-control, Jon and I agreed that I must immediately take that sealed envelope to the bakery, or temptation would take over and I'd peek. I swear I didn't peek, though I was thoroughly tempted, more than once! Instead I approached the bakery counter and offered my second sheepish smile of the day.

As I explained our idea to the head baker, her smile grew wider and wider, and she asked for the card. I handed it over and was thoroughly unprepared when she opened it in front of me. As she read the contents of the card, I wondered if it was possible for her smile to get any wider. We talked about the cake, making it absolutely clear that NO colored icing be seen from the outside. And I gave her carte blanche on the outside. She did not disappoint!

I picked up the cake the next day, and my excitement increased ten-fold.

I could have easily been convinced to have dessert before dinner, but my mom and sisters were having none of that, forcing us (translation: me) to eat dinner before we brought out the cake. Imagine my horror when dinner wasn't started until an hour after I'd originally scheduled! But we made it through and at the first hint of everyone eating their fill, I demanded the cake. We all gathered around the table, and... Well, just take a look for yourself.

Towards the end of the video, you can distinctly hear my sister, Christine, say, "Its a girl!" I think I'm looking at Jon in both shock and as if to say, "Are you ok with this, Daddy of Three Girls?!" I was truly in shock as I really thought I saw a little turtle during the ultrasound, not once, but twice. But well, as you can see from the picture below, we're adding another girl to this household!


The pink-colored filling... Introducing our Little Miss Ashlynn Rose.

And the card the technician used to write it all down. I think that says it all.

So, as someone else said, Hudson gets to remain King of the Castle and heaven help the girlfriends he brings home someday. She will have to be one tough cookie to get the approval of three sisters. And yes, I'm already thinking and dreaming of this precious princess that will soon be joining our family.

God has blessed us indeed!!

Adding to Our Photo Album

Monday, July 12, 2010 11 Comments A+ a-

Some pictures to add to our growing family album...



Crazy, long fingers!


A small, little foot.


The requisite profile picture.


Now 34 of you (60%) said that Baby #4 is a boy, leaving the other 40% saying Baby was a girl. While we ARE finding out the gender, we don't know yet. I took the sealed envelope containing the answer straight to a bakery for safe-keeping. There's going to be a BBQ tomorrow (Tuesday) night with family and we're going to cut into a cake with either pink or blue filling to reveal the gender. We're very excited for tomorrow night and I'll be sure to share our news soon after.

But the most important thing is that Baby #4 seems to have all of his/her parts and everything looks really good. I'm measuring exactly 20 weeks along and Baby weighs a whopping 11ozs, almost the weight of a pop can. I have breathed a deep sigh of relief with the "all-clear" report card. Thanks for the prayers everyone!!

What I’ve Learned

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 2 Comments A+ a-

Things I've learned since becoming a mother.  I've learned that...

... its ok to not have all the answers right away.

... grace for myself is a lot harder to come by than grace for others.

... there is nothing sexier than watching Daddy pull his children in for a hug, a cuddle, or to ask about their day.

… I will never grow tired of watching Jon play cars, GI Joes, or trains with Hudson.

... not all mothers believe the same things or do things the same way, and its ok.

... finding another mother to confide all your fears, frustrations, and insecurities is an absolute must and necessary for any kind of sanity.

... we might make a parenting decision one day, and change our mind later on.

... not all our children are the same, and will need different parenting techniques, for different reasons.

... all mothers are making decisions that are best for their families, its not my place to judge.

... date nights are also an absolute "must have". Even if its as simple as window shopping and playing the "what if" game.

... when seasoned mothers approach with well-intentioned advice, I enjoy seeing their wistful smiles as they relive their mothering experiences. I can always choose to take their advice or not at a later time.

... I will probably, inevitably, make bad mothering decisions. I can choose to wallow or learn from my mistakes.

... at this stage in my life, its not about me, its about them. My time will come later, and even then, I'll probably miss this.

... there will always be Mommy Wars. I can only be responsible for myself and my actions/responses.

... I will always become instantly sleepy when a babe of mine crawls onto my chest and falls asleep there.

... kisses and "I love you's" and child accolades are the best rewards ever.

... being a stay-at-home mom isn't about feeling fulfilled, its about what's best for our family, at this time in our lives.

... I always want to remember how hard it was being a working mom, and how thankful I am to have this time, right now.

... it is hard work raising little people. I very often feel I'm in over my head.

... I am continually awed and without words to express how blessed I am by these little ones that call me "Mama".

... motherhood has been an incredible journey. I've learned more about myself in these five years than I thought possible.

I have no doubt I'll be adding to this list in the years and decades to come, for I have not even begun to “learn it all”. 

Pictures from July 4th

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-


Loving Devyn leaning into her siblings, its too bad Reagan wasn't looking at the camera.

Another good one, if Reagan wasn't trying to stick the paci in her mouth.

At the last minute Devyn and Hudson were asked to participate in our small town's 4th of July parade. They had a blast waving their flags and throwing candy to the kids.

Reagan decided to help herself to the festive cake sitting on the table, unguarded. She went in fist-first and helped herself. She was quite upset when she was discovered...

Take a Gander

Monday, July 05, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

<-------- Before I begin, you may have noticed the gender poll on the left-hand side of the screen. We have decided to find out what we’re having beforehand, and our big ultrasound is scheduled for next Monday! (I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy is flying!) Now, our ultrasound is on Monday, but we won’t know for a day or two after as Jon and I have decided to try something different and fun this time around. Don’t worry, we will be sharing, it just be a few days. So go ahead, take a guess, it’s all in fun.

I’m also posting my very first belly pic of this pregnancy. Here I am, 18 weeks, 6 days pregnant with #4. I’m finally at the point where people no longer wonder why I’m chubby and now notice that I have a definitive baby bump. I’m loving it.

Now on to a quick update on this pregnancy. Some women use this form as an update for each week of their pregnancy, but I’ll probably only be updating once every 3-4 weeks or so. I’m a little sad that I haven’t done this with previous pregnancies, I would have loved to go back and compare.

How Far Along:

19 weeks today!

Size of Baby:

Approximately 6 1/2 inches long, weighs 9-10 ounces.

Total Weight Gain/Loss:

Do I really want to answer this?! Ok, approximately 5lbs over my pre-baby weight. That’s not including the 5lbs I’d neglected to lose after having Reagan.

Maternity Clothes:

Oh, ladies, I’ve been in maternity clothes since I saw those two pink lines. I jest. Kind of. Thankfully I have some generous friends who have lent me some new clothes this time around.

Gender:

Don’t know yet, but getting so excited to see him/her again!

Movement:

I really have been feeling movement since 10 weeks, although many will choose not to believe that. However, movement has really picked up and this is my favorite part of pregnancy!

What I Miss:

A cool, long drink of beer on a summer night. Don’t judge, its true. I always seems to crave a good wheat beer more when I’m pregnant.

Sleep:

Sleep is going ok, I have good nights and bad nights. But overall, Baby and I are getting good rest.

Symptoms:

Thankfully, I’m starting to feel human again. My energy returned last week and my nausea is intermittent. I’m most happy about the returning energy level.

Best Moment This Week:

Funnily, Jon has yet to feel Baby move yet, and Reagan seems to have been the first. She and I were cuddling the other day when Baby gave a nice, resounding kick. Reagan lifted her head in surprise and kind-of bumped the baby back with her own tummy.

What I’m Looking Forward To:

Obviously I’m most excited about seeing Baby again. With all the internet stories so easily accessible nowadays, its hard not to let my fears overtake my imagination. I’m praying for a healthy little baby!

Whew! So there you have it, a not-so-quick update on Baby #4. Jon and I have had some major attitudes adjustments regarding this unexpected pregnancy, but I’ll save that for another day.