Saturday, December 25

*Christmas Gifts* (the best little ones ever)

I truly didn't need even one gift under the tree.
*even though Dan surprised me a new Anthropologie purse! Yay!*
But seriously,
I really don't need anything.
I have been given more than I could ever have dreamed of.

God answered our prayers for a baby
by giving us two.

And that makes this the merriest Christmas of all Christmases...
knowing there are two sweet little lives growing inside of me.

Last Christmas, we were in our fifth month of praying for a baby.
But God's plan for us didn't yet include a baby.
We did trust His plan
but wondered why it was the way it was.

And now we can see.

And it's beautiful.

And we are so thankful.

God is such an amazing author.
He wrote our little Stephens' family story
in a way that was better
than we could ever have thought up ourselves.

And I am so thankful for the precious little gifts
that God has given us.
I can't wait for them to be born
so I can tell them about our amazing God
who sent His Son to die for us.

who loves us. 
who answers prayer.

Thursday, December 23

Sick with Worry

I've been thinking a lot lately about worrying.

Partially, because I've been swept up in the actual act of worrying....

and because I've been feeling guilty about worrying...

and also because I really have been struggling with where the balance lies
between being a careful, informed person and being a worrier.

So whether I've been worrying or thinking about worrying,
there has been a lot of the "w' word in my house.
poor Dan.

These are the questions I've been struggling with:
Where is the balance?
When do I take something that I'm thinking about
and do something about it, read about it, get informed about it,
and when do I take that thought
and completely surrender it to God?

And can I do both?

I wanted to bring up something today at my doctor's appointment
that had been (and still is) bothering me since Monday.
Pain in my right calf.
The worrier/hypochondriac/compulsive googler in me said
that I probably had a blood clot.

The calm and rational part of me
(which had seemed to be dwindling the past few days)
said it was probably calf pain.
No dvt. No hospitalization needed. Just some rest and a heating pad.

And so the thinking started..
Those two parts of me were duking it out
and the worrier seemed to be throwing the best punches.

The funny thing is,
the past day or so,
I hadn't even been too worried about the actual pain.
but more worried about what to do about it.

Could I surrender it completely to the Lord
and still go to the doctor with my little notepad of worries
whipping it out and telling him my possible horrible news
and asking what he thinks?

but only if done appropriately and rationally.
(which is hard for me).

But still, even if appropriateness was achieved,
I couldn't help but feel guilty as I contemplated what to do.
I knew everything was probably fine.
And I knew it was the crazed googler monster
whose first love is webmd
that lives in the shadows of my heart
that even allowed me to google "calf pain"
and discover the world of blood clots.

And my mind then wandered. Which was true?
A. Did I find out all about this in sin because I knew it would only make me worry?
B. Or did God allow me to read this on webmd to save my life?

It was probably A.
I knew that.

But these questions
about thinking/proactivity/being informed versus worrying
brought on
a lot of thinking and reading and praying this week.

It's truly hard to know where the balance lies.
When does being proactive in my life...
wanting to be informed...
and take care of myself stop

and worrying begin?

I decided that because I had been having pain,
it was okay to talk to the doctor about it.
I felt like I could still honor the Lord if I asked about it the right way.
Not in a "panicked, high pitch, fast talking, begging for every test under the sun" manner.
but in a calm and rational, trusting the doctor, sort of way.
So that is what I attempted to do.

In the end,
what happened at the doctors could possibly
make a worrier's matters possibly worse...
The doctor that I saw today
may not have been my favorite doctor ever
and didn't really say anything about my leg pain except
"Oh well you know, the leg bone is connected to the knee bone and well, however that song goes. It's probably just pain. I'm not worried."

Well, thank you Doctor Sing-A-Long. 

But still,
because of the time I had committed to prayer about this,
I decided to leave it in the Lord's hands.
I knew it was the right thing to do and I feel peace about it.
He knew the doctor I was going to see
and He knew what the doctor was going to say.
And so, I will trust Him.

And that's my episode with worry this week.

And let me tell you, worry is certainly a constant battle for me,
especially being pregnant.
And when I let myself start,
it becomes a giant creature that eats me.
Scary stuff.

I can think of times in my life
when I surrendered what was going on at that time to the Lord
and I felt so free. so at peace.
and that's where I want to consistently get back to.

It doesn't mean I don't call the doctor when I have a 103.9 fever.
But it does mean I don't call the doctor
because I thought about the flu for too long.

So I think the thing the Doctor prescribes
when I am sick with worry
is to take my stock out of webmd
and put it into God's word and His promises.
And prayerfully ask God to help me get back
into a 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 lifestyle.

It's definitely the healthiest place to be.

Friday, December 17

Happily Ever After

Dan and I celebrate five years of marriage today.

Five years ago,
at 2pm on December 17, 2005,
I walked down the aisle
kissed my dad as he gave me away
and married my best friend.

When I got married,
I was well aware that life isn't always a fairy tale....
though I firmly believed (and still do)
that since I was marrying my best friend,
even the hard times spent together
would be better
than any amount of good times without each other.

And they are.

Because when I go to bed at night,
I know I have a husband who loves me.
cares for me.
loves Jesus more than me.

God did not have to give me
such a wonderful man.

But He did.

And now, five years later,
Dan and I are 16 weeks pregnant
with two sweet babies.

I'm not saying that every day feels like a fairy tale
or that I'm living in a dream world...

I'm just saying...
that when I lay my head down at night
and see my husband laying next to me,
and look at my little belly bump that is holding our two sweet little ones,
and think about how we have a God who loves us
who promises to carry our little family
through life's ups and downs,
I can't help but be overwhelmed with thankfulness
and feel like I'm living in a real live fairy tale.

Sunday, December 5

Baby A and Baby B and Dan and big happy family.

We saw our babies on Wednesday!
They were so cute with their little arms and legs and baby brains and hearts.

I'm not sure how much personality information
you can honestly get from an ultrasound,
especially a 13 week ultrasound,
but we have already come up with
what we think were some characteristics of our babies
based on our 45 minute time watching them.
(yes, 45 minutes. Thank you, Baby A!).

Baby B:
A big mover.
That baby was moving and grooving all over.
Hands all over the place.
Body bouncing everywhere.
Just like my sweet husband has been since birth...
and possibly before.

Let me give you some wonderful examples
of my husband's busy personality...
you know...
just to explain better...
and because I never really get to talk about Dan's qualities on my blog
and this is the perfect opportunity!

Dan used to get in trouble when he was little
because he would be found taking apart
oscillating fans, clocks, remote controls, stereos,
or building a pulley system for his bunk bed.
all true stories.

I hold Dan's hand in must-sit-still settings
(sometimes both hands)
partially because I love him
and partially because he could be found
taking apart things, tapping on the seat, or doing a dance.
ok. mayyybe not a dance.
but not sure what all the moving is about sometimes!!

Dan can't sleep.
When he is trying to sleep,
he moves and moves and moves
and I get to be a part of feeling like I am on a trampoline
instead of my bed.
Sometimes I yell about this.

Not to sound like I am spilling out frustrations or anything.... honest!
His can't-stop-must-always-be-playing-with-something part of him
is not something I love him in spite of,
but it's something that I honestly love him because of.
I really love that about him!
He is a very diligent and hard worker
because of his moving and grooving drive.

*example- I slept for two hours this afternoon.
I woke up and he told me he had cleaned the entire upstairs.
and he really had. and better than I could have*

Baby A:
Would. not. move.
While the ultrasound tech would poke and prod
for 45 minutes,
that baby just arched it's back.
The tech kept calling Baby A stubborn.
as Baby B would try to get his/her little hands in the picture
as the tech would try to get Baby A to move just 10 degrees.

My mom cracked up when I told her about Baby A
because she said it sounded like me.
Me? Stubborn?
I think not.
I'm pretty easy going.
I like change.
I'm chill.
Baby A takes after me because we both like chilling.
Not because we possibly might both be stubborn.

Even after relieving half of my bladder,
(yes. I was instructed to relieve half.
Have you ever done that? It's kind of fancy.)
Baby A didn't really move,
but instead flipped completely over
making it just as tricky to see...
but our wonderful tech did her best and finally got a good shot
by shoving the probe deep underneath my pelvic bone
with no help at all to Baby A.

Which I really loved
because Baby A cracks me up
and I totally get being stubborn.
I confess.

I'm not saying that what we saw today
defines our baby's personalities
but I believe in a mixture of nuture and nature
so I think these sweet babies already have character traits
that maybe even an ultrasound could show.

Ok. Ready for pictures?

We are so in love. 
I can't even express it.

Wednesday, December 1

It's going to be a Shutterfly Christmas!

Dan and I have never given out Christmas cards before.
There really was no rhyme or reason
but I decided a couple years ago that
we would start sending them out
when we started having children
to plaster the front of the card with.

since there are two babies in my belly
I am doing Christmas cards this year
with our sweet little babies on them!
It's a surprise as to how exactly they will be done...
you'll just have to wait and see.
But I'll let you know...
they involve their ultrasound pictures
because I still haven't invented that little window into my belly
to take my own pictures of them yet.

This year, I am totally using Shutterfly photo cards for my Christmas cards.
They have so many options
and I've been having a hard time picking which I want to use!
Here are some of the ones I am really loving on:


Totally cute, right??

They are giving out 50 free photo cards this year
for bloggers!
If you are a blogger and want to take part of this promotion,
here is where you can get started!
This came at the perfect time
since it is the very first year our family is sending out cards!
Our family of *four*!
(Screaming with happiness!!)

I think I will come up with a way to frame our Christmas card 
and frame every year after
hanging them underneath the year before 
and using them as a Christmas decoration.
It will be super fun to see how our children have grown
when we pull out all the framed Christmas cards from years past
out of the Christmas decoration box.

I think a really fun tradition to start
would be to take a picture from each month
and create a Shutterfly photo calendar
to start the year with.
That will be totally exciting to plan next year!
I love photo calendars because every month
you get to look at fun pictures of familiar family faces.

I also love Shutterfly holiday cards.
They are beautiful!
This one is my absolute favorite.
Hands down.

So have fun with shutterfly this year
in making your holiday cards. 
I know I will! 
Super excited!
It will be super fun. 
Super shutterfly fun.