How Do We Be Good Parents and Good Spouses?

It’s been a joy having Ashlynne here. We all have adjusted surprisingly well to the transition. God’s the only one that can take the credit for that! He has blessed us with abundant grace during what could have been a very difficult time for all of us.

Ashlynne’s been busy with sleepovers, but we’ve tried to enjoy some games and fun as a family too. The trip to Arizona to visit Casey’s family really helped with that. It was fun to experience her first flight with her. We didn’t get to sit together, but we were close enough for me to keep an eye on her. She was quite the trooper!

better-parents-than-spouses

I know she has a blast spending time with her aunts, uncles, and cousins. We all did, and the warm weather was a nice touch. Most of the time was spent just lying in the grass or relaxing by the pool and hot tub. We even got some basketball in while we were there. Although getting away at the last-minute like that left me more stressed at home, it was totally worth it!

The only real adjustment issue we’ve had with Ashlynne moving in has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me and Casey. We don’t know how to be good parents AND good spouses yet. What was our daily connection time has now been replaced with tuck Ashlynne in time. The intimate conversations or heated repairs we used to have on a regular basis are few and far between as we seldom have any privacy.

I’m thankful that we are at least aware of it though. We are talking about it when we can and want to come up with an intentional plan and schedule for emotional connection time. Hopefully these next two weekends will help because Ashlynne will be at camp and then visiting her mom. So Casey and I should have plenty of time to connect and come with a 2.0 game plan for connecting in our marriage.

If you’re a parent of a pre-teen or teen, I’d love to know how you stay connected with your spouse. Leave your advice in the comments!

Baby B at 30 Weeks – Hello Big Belly!

If you haven’t noticed, my posts on here are often delayed. I write constantly and only post a couple times per week so I often post things later and then note the original date at that bottom. Well that means you all have no clue how pregnant I really am and how much Baby B has grown. And oh my has this baby grown lately! I feel like this belly came out of no where!!

Anyways, just want to share with you Baby B’s progress and give you a peek at what I look like today at 30 weeks. If you feel the need to comment, make sure you’ve read this post about pregnancy permission first :)

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Rising from the Chaos, Plus Ashlynne Moves In

It’s been almost a month since I put my heart on the page. Some down time was to be expected with the chaos of the holidays, but this was not my intention. Not writing wears heavy on my soul. Writing is often my time to decompress, process, and hear from God. It stills and refreshes me. Without it, I function, but not in fullness. I function, but I don’t thrive and have very little to offer others. I can’t let this time slip away from me like this again.

I think being sick had something to do with it. It was the night of Tuesday, December 16 after a baby doc appointment that I noticed I wasn’t feeling 100%. I’m sure it didn’t help that the next day I had an all day meeting in Knoxville (3 hours away). I came home feeling awful after the drive and long meeting. I could tell I had a cold coming on, but was determined to be okay because I had planned for our missional community to serve lunch at the elementary school that next day, and I wasn’t going to miss it! Casey and I definitely disagreed on that subject, but decided we’d wait until the morning to make our decision. When he was cleaning my puke off the bathroom floor at 3am, I lost the argument and spent Wednesday at home in bed.

The next two weeks were spent in unmedicated misery as I spent most of the night struggling to sleep and most of the day hacking up colors I can’t even describe. It was during this time that Baby B gave me my first good kick! Whoa! There’s something in there! I’ve been feeling small movements ever since 15 weeks or so, but this was no small movement. Baby doesn’t like it when momma’s sick.

I wish I could say I spent those miserable two weeks at home, but it wasn’t possible. We had Casey’s Christmas Party. Then time with our neighbors. Then my mom came in town. The day after she left we had friends over for Christmas Dinner. Then mom came back into town the next day. Then the pretty much my whole family arrived the next day for Christmas Dinner #2.

That was also the day that Ashlynne, our niece, officially moved in. It was a difficult time for all involved, and all I could do was pray for God’s comfort to overwhelm us. Ashlynne’s little sister, Tailynn, spent the weekend with us which consisted of more family coming over, lots of cooking in the kitchen with Tailynn, a wedding, church, eating out, movie nights, and anything else we could fit into the schedule. When my sister came to pick up Tailynn up, the goodbye was just a little bit easier for her and Ashlynne. Progress. That’s a good sign.

Ashlynne’s transition into our home was definitely not a calm one. Our schedule was jam packed with little room for down time. That next night we had dinner with friends from church, then a New Year’s Eve party, then our first family date to see Catching Fire. Then there was a worship service at church that night. And out of no where, it was time for Casey to head to school to get ready for students again. Ashlynne went to help which was a surprise, but she was super helpful!  The next day Ashlynne and I spent all afternoon at the health department, and then she she spent the weekend with one of her friends.

Whew! Finally time to breathe. Casey and I took advantage of the night off and went on a date night to PF Chang’s. So good and much needed. Then the next night, we were so exhausted from the craziness of the past month that we just hung out and played Mario on Nintendo. (We inherited an original Nintendo from Ashlynne. #bonus).  Then we picked Ashes up after church that Sunday and headed straight to the grocery. You know, grocery shopping goes even faster with 3 people instead of 2. Huge advantage! Then the snow came. Well, not really, but it was super freezing outside. So no teacher work day on Monday. Then no school Tuesday.  Today (Wednesday) was Ashlynne’s first day. I took her in like any good mom would and spent the morning there until she was settled and off on her own along with a pile of other new students.

Now I sit here, alone in this house, and completely lost as to what I’m supposed to do with the silence. So I’m writing again. Finally! And trying to prepare for our new normal… at least until Baby B gets here.

Originally written January 8, 2013

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014.

As I look back on 2013 I can’t help, but laugh. If you would have told me this time last year that I would spend 3 weeks on mission in Europe, come home to have a device implanted in my chest, and then end the year almost 5 months pregnant with a 13-year-old under my roof, I would have thought you were crazy. Now matter how unexpected this year has been, it’s clear that God knew what was ahead all along. When I look back at my blog entries I can see just how God prepared me for this new challenges.

The Proof is in the Posts

Before Europe

After Europe

The Weekend that Rocked Our Marriage

The One Where I Wasn’t Ready for Kids

The Weekend All About Parenting for Two Non-Parents 

The End of Marriage Counseling (for now)

The One Where God Changed My Mind About a Baby

Then I Find Out I’m Pregnant

When My Niece Decides to Move In

Now if that isn’t a clear picture of how God has laid the foundation before each moment in our lives, then I don’t know what is!

So what’s in store for 2014?

I have absolutely no idea! The one thing I do know is that I’m starting a new series on the blog called The Wednesday Wife. I’ve been collecting amazing marriage stories from women of all walks of life and can’t wait to share them with you so you can be encouraged by their unique journey.

If you’re interest in being a Wednesday Wife, let me know in the comments and I’ll be in touch.

Cheers to a New Year!

God Changes My Mind About a Baby

Some of you have been asking how I went from the girl that didn’t want a baby to pregnant. Well, it didn’t quite happen in the right order, but God did change my heart. Here’s how. This is a journal entry from September 15, the day before I found out I was pregnant. 

This morning, for the second morning in a row, I had slight stomach cramps. They feel kind of like period cramps, but much less severe. It’s probably just a digestion issue, but a part of me couldn’t help but wonder if I’m pregnant. According to science and my calendar, pregnancy really isn’t a possibility right now. We got the go ahead from the doctor less than 4 weeks ago.

I couldn’t be pregnant, right?

When I think I might be, I tell myself “Don’t get too excited. It could be a number of things.” I haven’t told Casey about any of this. A part of me wants to really surprise him if I am pregnant, and the other part of me just doesn’t want to let him down if I’m not. On the way to church this morning he said “So do you think you’re pregnant?” I of course said, “no.”
“I don’t think you are either. Bummer.”
“Why don’t you think so?”
” Well you’re not having any symptoms. You’re not sick.”
I explained to him that those symptoms usually come much later.

I wonder if he knows the battle that’s going on inside me right now. My heart wants a baby, wants more than anything for me to be pregnant. My mind can’t imagine it and isn’t yet on board. So depending on which one is more dominant in my life at the moment, my feelings about the whole thing can shift dramatically, but in some ways they are both always present, battling in my mind whenever the word pregnant or any hint of it comes my way.

I often feel guilty about my mind and its lack of enthusiasm for having a baby. I should want this. I’m a woman. I’m made for this. Children are a blessing. God wants us to be fruitful and multiply. There are so many others that desire this and it has been withheld. You love kids. You’re not getting any younger. I have thought every self-shaming thought in the book.

But if God wants me to have a family, why hasn’t he put that desire in my heart? Wait.

He already has.

My heart has an overwhelming desire for a baby. It’s my mind that won’t budge, and that’s my flesh. I pray that God, in His great might, takes over my mind and readies me for being a mom, and grows that desire from my heart to my mind. May my desires and thoughts be in unison and this battle stop waging on within me.

I think I need to start praying for a baby. I believe it’s that prayer that is going to change my mind, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if my mind wants a baby that God may not bless us in that way and that leaves me vulnerable to heartache and anger with God. I’m sure that’s why I’ve been avoiding that prayer, so I can be okay when I am unable to conceive, but that vulnerability is already in my heart. And nothing will be able to heal my heart, should that be the case, other than the one that is withholding — God. My mind could try and patch my heart, attempting to convince it that we didn’t really want this anyways, but my heart knows better and will remain wounded until the great comforter heals it. So the truth is that whether my mind is on board or not, my soul is already vulnerable to heartache and disappointment. So what good does fighting it do?

So I should be able to test accurately later this week. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that I am praying for a positive result, even though the odds are against me. That’s right. I said it. I pray that I am pregnant.