Saturday, October 25, 2014

One Last Getaway!

One thing Dan and I value incredibly and have since the beginning of our marriage, is taking time away together. It is something we plan for and always can't wait for. In planning to expand our family in 4-5 months, we decided that now would be a GREAT time to take a Babymoon. 

We were going to stay state-side, but as we added up the costs of what it would be to stay in a hotel, drive, and pay for every meal, we wondered how it would compare to a trip down to the Florida Keys. Sounds absolutely crazy because that type of a vacation seems way more expensive, but let us tell you, it is not! We found an amazing deal on a cheap condo, insanely cheap car rental, and decent flights. Then we can also cook our own meals, as cheap and easy as we want. It was by far a good choice, even though...IT RAINED 4 OUT OF THE 6 DAYS!

That was a bit of a bummer as we came down to Florida in hopes of soaking in the sun as we traveled to different state parks/beaches, but after our first day of rain, we decided that that was not why we came down to Florida. We came to work on our marriage, grow closer together, and just enjoy the area. We read a piece in the book Jesus Calling where it talked about finding joy in the "easy" and simple things in life, when they are right in front of you. Sometimes through the storms and overcast skies, you have to look harder for that joy (yes, the book used the terms overcast and storms). As cheesy and ridiculous as this may sound, we had to find different ways of finding joy in the simple, when the weather wasn't what we expected. We experienced the remnants of a hurricane that never turned into one, in Mexico. At one point it was a tropical depression, but again, it didn't turn into anything huge, just LOTS and LOTS of rain.

One of the crazy happenings was when we got the rental car place, they ran out of the car that we had paid for (an intermediate, like a Toyota Corolla). We told the guy when we walked out to the lot (b/c you could choose what you wanted in a certain row) that there weren't any, so the manager apparently told his worker to offer them a minivan or a Ford Mustang. The worker told the guy that it's just the 2 of them so they will choose the Ford Mustang, but that's all they had! So of course, we chose the 'Stang! Definitely a pleasant surprise as we had gotten a GREAT deal already on the car rental, but then to be upgraded to a Mustang? It was a blast!

Dan caught a little guy off the dock by our condo
The 2nd night, the weather was still great, and got a great sunset pic!
Heading out to dinner at the Islamorada Fishing Co.
View while eating there
Even though it was raining, we still went to one of our most favorite places in the world - Bahia Honda State Park

Dan trying to get a large crab to emerge from the rocks

I am so afraid of heights, like walking on this bridge - I was hanging on for dear life!

On Tuesday we went to another beach and decided to just sit in the rain - why not, right? Our view overlooked the ocean - one can never get sick of that!

Some of the crazy skies

Another favorite place - we frequented this place OFTEN!
It rained incredibly hard when this storm came through!
On Sunday (one of the nice days) we went kayaking out in the bay - the water was SO clear!
We caught a lizard fish - those things have NASTY teeth!

On Monday, even though it was very cloudy and rainy, we decided to go on a snorkeling trip anyways and we are so glad we did! We had such a great time, as we both LOVE snorkeling - we never get sick of it!

We saw AMAZING underwater life - fish we had never seen before, colors that pictures just don't do justice to. We saw a fish that was literally all the neon colors meshed into one fish - spectacular! What a creative God we serve!

You can't really see it, but the fish below my "M" is a yellow and blue!

Large barracuda under our boat

On yet another rainy day (our last full day), we decided to keep embracing the rain, so we decided to go kayaking. Didn't expect it to rain as hard as it did, as it got crazy windy and rainy, but we just laughed and laughed! It was SO much fun! You can see the little dimples in the water - those are hard raindrops.
 Ironically we even caught fish!
 Hard to tell, but it is absolutely POURING while we took this picture!
 It rained so hard that it flooded the path/street and the white boat behind the kayak Dan is pulling, is just floating away
One of our favorite things about the Keys is the KEY LIME PIE (the real stuff, of course!)
 One thing that has grown is our little BABY! Oh my goodness! Our baby is growing astronomically I feel - and we only went out to eat twice, so it's not because I ate more!
 Another rainy day event was going to the History of Diving Museum

 Because we love snorkeling so much, we decided on our last night to put on our gear and go in the condo's pool for awhile, since we were not able to go as often as we had hoped. Yup, we are 2 over 30 year olds, acting like children, but we had SO much fun! You may laugh, but you know you want to do it!
What a drive down the Overseas Highway looks like (there is one main road that goes through the Keys).
 Before the rain came, a beautiful sunset there was!
 Where we stayed
 View from our balcony - no it was not a hurricane, but it sure looked like one at times! No water view this time, but the price sure was right!
 Our last night there, even though it was raining, God gave us a GORGEOUS sunset! What a blessing!

We feel so blessed to have been able to take this trip. Such great conversations, such growth, and such anticipation for what God has for our future and this little one! Even though we experienced a rainstorm (that locals say never happens like this one), we did not let it put a damper on the fun we had TOGETHER.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

18 Week Update!

18 seems like a big number. A big week to hit. I am not sure if it's because I am past my 17 week appointment or the fact that I am 2 weeks away from being halfway! 

No matter what number I hit, I feel like it's a huge milestone. A milestone we never even thought possible. A milestone we have never imagined journeying towards. Each milestone is a gift from God - a representation of His grace in our lives. 

Dan has said at times, he forgets that I am pregnant as this is just so surreal. We will wake up, he sees my tummy, and we are reminded of the gift of life. We find ourselves rubbing my stomach, saying hi to our sweet little one, letting him/her know how much he/she is loved already. We have so much love for a child we never met! How is that possible? Well, those feelings of love were created when we were in the IVF process with our first 2. Those 2 actually were not physically created yet, but God had grown in our hearts, a love for those 2, that would soon become a part of our family. And honestly, now carrying this child, we still feel the love is the same. Of course the experience much greater, but the love for our children never weakens, whether here on earth or in heaven.

That is why our hearts go out to those who may not have children by what our world would call the "natural" way, but a heart that loves a child, is something that cannot be diminished or taken away. God led us down a very unique path to having children, but our love for them, is no different. Same for those who adopt. God has created places in our hearts for those children to fit right in - an empty space that God overflows with a child. It may not be the way we all grow up thinking it will be, but before time, God already knew what children would be in our lives. 

How humbling to think. That God knew He would care for our first 2 with His own very hands in heaven. And now Lord-willing, we pray that God would reach through our hands, to care for our first earthly child. What a blessing of stewardship! 

That is why I love eating raspberries. That is why I love eating cereal. All. The. Time. To think that our child is "eating" those things as well, makes me love eating healthy. But I unfortunately also love my salty potato chips at times and maybe sneak in a bowl of ice cream. I figure it's dairy, right? Our child lets me know when I eat too much of something as my stomach grows to astronomical proportions! Smaller and more often is better for this girl! 

I am still loving every part of wearing maternity clothes! The belly band, well, still an absolute wonder how that thing works so well, but it surely is creating more "space" in my pants! I just have to remember to cover up my undone zipper, as I am reminded of by my dear husband!

My body, well basically my stomach, is growing incredibly fast. Dan was gone for 2 days last week and he said it has grown. I would agree, as I am now in a part of the pregnancy where the baby starts to grow extremely fast. It has grown a 1/2 inch in one week, and is now the size of a bell pepper (for reference). I held one of those in the grocery store and couldn't believe that our little one is that big already! That if we HAD an ultrasound this week, we could probably tell what it is! Although, our gender-revealing appointment isn't until week 21 (in case you were wondering). 

Still not a fan of chicken - I had turkey not too long ago, and I am thinking it's more the consistency of it, that I maybe am not a huge fan of. Regardless, that is about the only food that I will pass on. Other things I just may not eat a lot of, but do not mind eating.

And our baby, well, he/she is a mover! I am starting to feel our child more and more - especially when I bend over or squat. I feel the baby is telling me "don't squish me mom!" I can't WAIT for Dan to start feeling the movement too. We are getting closer!

Dan and I are looking forward to our babymoon that is coming up in a short bit here! We decided to take one more getaway before this little one comes. We are ready for some sun, fun, and relaxation!

Did you go on a babymoon when you were pregnant? If so, where did you go? 

Thanks again for walking this journey with us :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

17 Week Checkup!

Mile marker 17!

I was looking very forward to my 17 week check up, since it has been since 3 weeks since my last. Not long in the grand scheme of a pregnancy, but plenty long when I know the further along I am, the closer we get to meeting our little one.

Apprehension set in the night before, as I went back to the journey God has taken us down. I knew I was feeling the baby move, but I just needed that confirmation through a heartbeat. I was thinking about how quickly God took those first two, but through that, we were okay, and God saw us through it all. I know deep down that no matter what happens in this pregnancy, we will be okay (as we talked a lot about with Brenda). We pray unceasingly that this child will make it into our arms, healthy and strong, but we have given this complete pregnancy to God. And that is why I think I have not been worried overall about this pregnancy. Maybe glimpses of God reminding me of who IS God, but this all happening so fast, I have not been nervous or worried, which is definitely good for the blood pressure!

All that to say, my appointment went VERY well! My blood pressure 112/70, got the good ole flu shot, and have a few other tests done, heard the heartbeat which was at 160, heard movement, uterus in perfect shape, and my weight gain is spot on. I couldn't be MORE thankful for all of those good results! I didn't think I was gaining an enormous amount of weight, but after all of the cereal I eat, I wondered! 

Now we look forward to my next appointment, which is in 1 month, where we will hopefully find out what we are having! Many have asked if I have an inkling, and I really don't. Dan had a dream that we had a girl, but I seriously have NO CLUE. If you told me I was having a boy, I wouldn't be surprised and if you told me I was having a girl, I would say "I can see that." I have no experience with what a boy or girl feels like, so we will take whatever they tell us :). We do have names picked out, but we are not telling. Though, we ARE going to be sharing what we are having! We are just as eager to find out and as you all know, we can't keep a secret (except for the baby's name). 

Then hopefully the registering can begin, which I was SO overwhelmed with before, but am feeling a bit more confident about. Have you recently walked through the aisles of a baby section? How in the WORLD is one to have all of that stuff in their home? This probably doesn't surprise you, but I want to keep it simple. We do not have a home that can fit a lot of items (not even sure we can even fit a high chair), so simple is what we are going for. Granted we don't want our child to be bored all of the time, but we know what we grew up with and I would have to say we turned out pretty normal (for the most part I suppose :)). 

Recommendations from people are DEFINITELY helpful, so if you have any recommendations of what you would suggest putting on a baby registry, let me know!

Dan and I also look forward to getting away on one last trip before the baby comes! We were thinking about not, but then numerous people told us that it is a good idea - to just step away for a little while. Plus, for Dan and I to truly get a break, we often have to flee our home. So we decided to shop around for great trip deals and found some! 

Thank you for walking this journey with us! We appreciate already, having a "village" raise and pray this child through!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Friendship Made In Heaven

A friendship designed in heaven. That is the only way I can describe the relationship we have with Brenda. 

 This past weekend, she made the trek out to the north and visited us for a few days! It was QUITE cold; in fact, a few hours before she came, it was SNOWING! The first "snow" of the year, even though it was just a few flurries. She wanted to see the life we lived, so we invited her to do docks with us! What a trooper she was (along with all of our kids who took their Saturday to raise funds for our youth group and for upcoming mission trips!)

And one of the biggest blessings was to have her meet our little baby! Words cannot even describe the bond we have, the love between all of us, and a friendship that is unexplainable. I wish I could put into words what this relationship means, but let these pictures say a few:

I never get sick of people touching our baby! It is because of the prayers of so many and God's gracious plan in our lives, that we have the privilege of building a family. And to have Brenda be a part of this journey with us (along with her husband and family), means so much.

 Family photo before church!

And one of the most precious moments of the weekend! When we were preparing for a life with our first 2, with Auntie Brenda and Uncle Tim, we talked about what her pregnancy would be like, and how our two would learn to recognize our voices. One of the ways we decided would be a great way to build that relationship, was to read stories together, to our children inside Brenda. Of course God had a different plan, but dear Brenda, remembered our dreams. She bought us 3 board books, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, God Gave us You, and Goodnight Moon. What fun we had and what memories were created, as we spent our first night, reading stories to our little one. 

A bond, never broken. SO many people asked us while we were going through the carrier process, that if the process did not work, how we could still have a friendship. To us, our friendship with Tim and Brenda was not circumstantial. It was rooted in something far beyond what any situation could effect. Were there tears and struggles? Yes, but they were all things that we were able to walk and talk about together. And we still do. We talk about where God has taken us often, how we are not the same people, and for that we are thankful. We are thankful for the journey and thankful for the journey God continues to lead us down. 

A deep friendship made in heaven - as the two little ones who are in heaven, that brought us even closer, are a promise to us, that God always knows best!