Saturday, January 7, 2017

Joy comes in the Morning- 2016

I always love to do an end of the year post.  I usually spend about an hour re-reading each post of mine from the year, savoring each moment and special occasion that we have experienced throughout the year. This year I did the same, by the end of my reminiscing, I was had tears streaming down my face. What a year. What a hard year. What a year of worry, unknowns, fear, loss and devastation. But tucked deep beneath those tough times were times of growth, times of learning and even times of laughter. This is not a year that I will remember as one of our best, but I will definitely remember it as one of tremendous trials that produced tremendous testimonies. Testimonies that speak of God's goodness, His provision and most of all His grace. This year brought us to our knees time and time again.  So often I felt bruised and battered by the beatings that this year seemed to continue to bring our way, but never before have I had to cling to Him with such force.  Having walked through trials we never could have dreamed of, has forced us back to the foundation of what we believe and that being that no matter what...we will trust in God's ways. We may cry out to Him in pain, questioning His reasoning but we will not ever turn away. When we are weak...He alone is strong. We may have been knocked down repeatedly but we are far, far from out. We are not alone in a year of hardships. Our family and friends have also been battered but shown nothing but resilience and strength. I've seen unshakable strength from both my parents and my in-laws. I've witnessed first hand the devastation of losing everything, a lifetime of memories but not once losing hope. Our parents have both set the standard for what it looks like to walk through deep waters (pun intended) and come out on the other side with dignity and strength.

The beginning of last year started off really rough. I was about 15 weeks pregnant and had received news that two rounds of bloodwork came back abnormal. I also had noticed a large knot in my breast that was alarming. Both of these factors together caused us to panic.  Thankfully, things all turned out okay and some weekly shots helped to get my bloodwork back in order.

In February we had the blessing of learning that our sweet baby was a boy!  It was so fun having all of our family there to share in the announcement. Aubrey was a tiny bit disappointed, but I have no doubt she wouldn't even think twice about preferring Baylor over a sister now. Also my sweet Bre got to go on a daddy daughter date with Papa D, this was extremely special for my dad as well as for Bre. This night will be one that goes down in history as one of Papa D's favorite nights for sure. 

In March we celebrated Weston's 2nd birthday at Chuck E Cheese.  His birthday is actually the end of December but after Christmas festivities, it's always too much to try and squeeze a party in.  It was nice to wait a few months before celebrating his big day.  We also gave our sweet Lexie away in March and it was one of the best decisions we ever made!  We miss her dearly but know she is in a much better family who can give her lots of attention!

In April we took our annual "Moots only" beach trip.  This trip is always one of my favorites because it is so nice to not have any agenda or itinerary but to just relax and enjoy our family. This year we had to go a little early, so it was colder than we would have preferred, but overall we had a great time. 

In May we learned that our precious Bay Bay was not growing properly in my belly and I was told he had IUGR.  We began seeing Maternal Fetal Medicine on a weekly basis and really monitoring Baylor's weight and progress. We learned at those visits that my umbilical cord was abnormal and not functioning at the 100%.  This was very alarming for us and I was very fearful for Baylor.  I kept being told to just monitor his movement, but I could never actually feel him move. Those weeks were extremely unsettling for me.  

In June Aubrey had her 2nd dance recital and she totally rocked that stage!  She is such a performer and it was so fun to watch her light up with such confidence and beauty.

Just three days after Bre's recital, I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital because Baylor was deteriorating.  At 34 weeks, I was rushed back for an emergency C-section.  Our sweet angel was born at just 4 pounds and very sick.  Baylor spent 21 days in the NICU and those days were by far the hardest of our lives. Having a sick child was not something we had ever experienced, and I was so torn between wanting to be at the hospital with him, but needing to be home with my other two as well.  It was such a heartbreaking time for me and I remember feeling so robbed of Baylor's birth and first days of his life. I sobbed the first time I learned that they had given him a bath and I wasn't even there to be a part of it.  All those little "firsts" you take for granted were taken from me.  However, God has totally given me back those lost moments because I've gotten to have a newborn for literally 6 months. Baylor is so tiny and snuggley and just precious.  He has no desire to crawl or move around, but rather is just content to lay in my arms. I feel like God has given ten times more time and special bonding moments with Baylor.  

July is somewhat of a blur just because we spent so much time in the hospital and then bringing Baylor home. Settling into a routine with three was an adjustment but also very exciting for our family. Baylor has brought such a peace to me as a mommy and we are all so blessed by him each in individual ways. The NICU seemed like such a tragedy, but really as I look back on those weeks, I see such great memories. We had so many moments of getting to visit, one on one with family members and friends, that it actually brought us closer to many loved ones. Such sweet, intimate moments were spent in that tiny room, great conversations, prayers and even laughter came out of many special visits. It's in those valleys that others are able to lift you up, carry you through and bless you in mighty ways. We will forever be thankful for the lessons learned throughout those NICU days. Most of all we are in awe of the miracle that is our Baylor. He is a complete medical marvel and his survival and success are nothing but an absolute miracle. 

Just when we thought things were looking up and turning around, August decided to rear its ugly head. The rains began to pour that Thursday and by Sunday almost our entire city was completely underwater. Homes ruined, lifetime of memories destroyed and lives completely turned upside down. I remember packing my 4, 2 and 7 week old in my dad's truck and just hoping that we could make it to safety.  Driving that drive to my parent's house...I just knew things would never be the same. But just like the days we spent with Baylor in the hospital, there was beauty to be found from the wreckage.  The pain and suffering would lend way to restoration and hope.  There would be many great things to come from the troubled waters...most of all the recognition that nothing really matters in this world but relationships.  All things will ultimately be lost but love will remain.  My parents and in laws have walked a very hard road in losing everything, but they have been amazing and such an inspiration.  We have such respect and admiration for their strength and joy that they have shown throughout this tragedy. 

September brought about first days of school and some were more excited than others!  My sweet Weston started school for the first time and he was such a trooper.  He struggled at first but he has done great in getting adjusted.  

In October we celebrated Bre turning 5 years old!  How on earth is my baby a whole hand now? Makes me sad, yet I absolutely love her being a little older and more mature.  She is a huge help to me and I just love having a little girl to do girly things with.

In November and December we enjoyed Thankgiving and Christmas with our families and even wrapped up the year by celebrating our sweet Weston's 3rd birthday.  Our kids are growing so fast that it is vital we stop and party it up with these little cuties. Christian was out of school for the entire month of December and it was amazing to have him home and able to just spend time together as a family.  He has ONE YEAR...11 months to be exact left of Nurse Practitioner school and we are just elated that it is almost over. Walking through these tough months, while in school full time, has not been easy and honestly we have almost thrown the towel in twice...but ultimately C hung in there and the end is in sight!!!  

As this year comes to a close, even though the difficult times were present at times, the year was over and abundantly filled with wonderful moments. Moments that have taken our breaths away and will forever be etched in our memory.  Moments that brought us to our knees, but also brought us to a place of healing, peace and ultimately joy.  I'm reminded of the verse, and I think it so beautifully fits this year's theme...For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may endure for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. I am so thankful for His favor...He alone is the reason we can stand and proclaim the goodness of this year.  He has brought us through it all and made us much stronger in the process. I said it earlier but its truth is profound, 2016 had many trials but those trials gave way to many amazing testimonies...testimonies that will shape our future and be stepping stones for great things that lie ahead. 2017 will be a year of rebuilding and growth...I can't wait to see the beauty that comes in the days ahead.  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Baylor Jace-6 months

My sweet, precious, tiny little man is 6 months old. Baylor Jace you are an absolute angel.  You melt this momma's heart and I can't even begin to express just how much joy you add to our family. You are just the happiest little guy ever...unless you are hungry or tired, you are constantly smiling. Your entire face just lights up when you smile and your little laugh can brighten anyone's day.

You are still an itty bitty little thing, barely 10 pounds. You eat every 3.5 hours and are taking about 5 ounces at each feeding. I am still pumping and giving bottles which is taking a toll on this mama...I am so tired of my pump. The whole feeding routine is just exhausting.  I don't think I will make it as long as I did with my others...I will take it month by month, but the pump is kicking my butt. I know deep down breast milk is best, but I also know I have to keep my sanity and still be available to my other little ones as well.

 I think you are totally ready for solids, but the doctor wants you to grow a little more and master sitting up before we introduce you to real foods.

We just recently transitioned you into your own room (bye bye bathroom) and into the crib. You spent about 5 months in the rock and play (swaddled) so you were ready for your bed. You sleep on your belly with a pacifier.  You are by no means sleeping through the night. You wake up pretty much every three hours to eat.  I am thankful that you are nursing well at night, so I don't have to pump and do bottles in the middle of the night.

You are in a size 2 diaper and can wear anything from newborn to 6 months. I have yet to put a pair of shoes on you, so I don't even know your foot size!  You are not sitting up yet, and that is a milestone I am hoping you achieve soon.  You love to sit in your bouncy, your sit-me-up lion and your swing. I don't wear you as much as I use to because my back can't handle it.  You do love to be on my hip though.  Honestly, I hold you a ton and we spend a lot of the day snuggling!  You are still just so tiny that I can easily cradle hold you and you are just content to be held.

You take two, sometimes three naps a day.  Usually from about 9:30-11:30 and then again from 2-4 and sometimes you will cat nap from about 6-6:30.  You do a bottle around 8:30 and are down for bed following that feeding.

You love your brother and sister and they can entertain the heck out of you.  Aubrey can get huge smiles from you and you even do some belly laughing when we tickle you.  I know without a doubt that you are adored by your siblings and they are genuinely head over heals for you.

You are such a laid back baby and so sweet. I can take you anywhere and you will just chill.  I love that you are so easy and content...makes things so much easier for this busy mama.

You are just our sunshine, Baylor Jace.  We are so in love with you and are so thankful for how far you have come.  I know it sounds strange, but I feel less stressed as a mama of three than I did with just two.  Something about Baylor makes me just relax and savor these crazy moments. Baylor, you have given our family such joy and's almost indescribable what you have done to our family...just enhanced our love and happiness so much.   We love you Bay are such a blessing sent straight from above.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Weston Hayes- my angel boy

I remember that August day like it was yesterday.  Christian and Aubrey picked me up from Victory (I was teaching at the time) and we rode together to Angel Prints. It was such a huge day for us...finding out what our new baby's gender would be.  I was convinced I was having another girl...already excited for Aubrey to have a sister. As I lay on the table, just our little family in the room, the sonographer says, "hey there little buddy" and I immediately felt my stomach drop.  No way I was having a boy.  I just couldn't wrap my head around the thought of having a little boy.  I shamelessly admit that I wept...just cried because I had so badly wanted another girl.  I will admit that I ruined the entire celebration for Christian and Aubrey and I selfishly pouted for days. I don't know why I was so scared to have a boy...probably just the unknown, but I spent most of my pregnancy disappointed and upset.  However, the minute that baby boy was laid in my arms...all those worries, fears and disappointments instantly disappeared.  Replaced with a new, unimaginable love for that little guy...  my Weston Hayes was perfect in every way.  I see now that God knew exactly what our family needed. He knew we needed an easy going, smart, sensitive, lovable little boy to join our family.  I can't imagine having another girl...I just simply adore my boys.

Weston is the smartest  little guy you will ever meet. When you talk to him, you may as well be talking to a 10 year old.  His wisdom and vocabulary far exceeds his age. Weston is the most laid back, easy going little guy ever. He goes with the flow and flies under the radar for the most part. I have to make extra efforts to pull him aside and love on him because he is so good about just being content and sometimes he can get lost in the chaos of our family.  I love that Weston isn't crazy active or rough...he is the perfect mixture of boy but oh so sweet.  He has such a compassionate heart and he loves and adores his mama like crazy. He always tells me I'm beautiful and that he loves me the most.

Weston goes to bed easier than pie...I literally have always just laid him in his bed and he will not budge...just goes right to sleep.  It is such a breeze when it comes to naps and bedtime with him.

Weston started mother's day out this year and is doing great in his class.  It really helps a lot that he has Aubrey at the same school with him that security that he needs.  Weston loves movies and could watch TV all day if you would let him.  Nothing makes him happier than snuggling up and watching the IPad for hours.  He loves PJ Masks, Beat Bugs, Spiderman, Batman, Ninja Turtles and anything boyish.  Again, I love that he is all boy, but also the most tenderhearted and gentle little guy ever.

Weston are such a delight to me and no one can make me laugh like you do. My love for you is so deep that I can't even put into words how much you mean to me.   I know God Himself formed you into the most perfect combination of strength and sweetness. You have taught me more in your little life than anyone else. I've learned through you that God knows exactly what He is doing and the gifts God gives us are far greater than anything we can picture for ourselves. I said I didn't want a boy.  I said I didn't want a red oh my was I mistaken.  You are everything and so much more than I could ever have wanted. You are exactly what I needed and exactly what I just took holding you in my arms to know what perfection was.  Having a little boy is one of the greatest journeys I've gotten to experience and I am loving every single moment with my little guys.  You make me so proud Weston...I can't wait to see what you accomplish and the amazing things you will do.  Your potential is endless and I know you will surpass every expectation I could possibly dream up for you.

Happy 3rd birthday to my angel boy.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gobble til you Wobble 2016

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. The kids had a feast at school and it was so fun getting to watch them interact with their teachers and friends. This is Weston's first year at school so it was extra special for me with him.  I also loved seeing him with his friends...he is the runt of the class for sure.  He maybe tiny but he is gonna do mighty things! Nana got to come to the feast as well and Bay Bay was sure glad to be cuddled.

This is Aubrey's best friend, Jackson, they are inseparable. 

Love my turkeys!

Things have settled down since the flood and both are parents are slowly getting back to normal. It was wonderful to be able to get together with both sides of the family and just visit, eat and play games. Both sides of my family absolutely love this game you play on the PlayStation or Apple TV, it is called Jackbox and each player can play on their phones and answer individually.  It is a hoot to play and one of our favorite things to do when we get together.

We are so blessed...I just love my family.

My most favorite turkey of all.  

Weston was not happy. Can't remember why but I'm sure it was because we had to leave good company. 

And just a few random cuteness from our days. Things are so busy but oh so fun.

Can't believe it's almost Christmas time!  Santa will be here before we know it.