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    Hope Remains

    One of my best friends lost her five year-old this week. After almost two years of seizures, comas, hospitals and specialists, Walker is finally resting in the arms of Jesus. I keep thinking back to when all of this started. Trevor called me that morning and told me about the medical call they ran the night before. The call where his captain turned their firetruck into our friends’ neighborhood. Then onto their street. Then pulled up at their house. Each step of the way, Trevor said he kept thinking “Please don’t let this be their house.” Only it was. Karie, my dear friend, called me from the hospital and told me about the first seizures. They came out of nowhere and suddenly their vivacious, smart, talkative three year-old was having an MRI while we all prayed and wondered how to make sense of it all. Many months later, we still can’t make it make sense. Babies shouldn’t suffer and die. Parents shouldn’t have to beg for their children’s lives. These things shouldn’t happen.

    Everyone is so amazed they kept going. Not just that Andy and Karie carried on, but that they did so with immense faith and never failed to point out that God was in control. They had something bigger than their fear: they had hope. Here’s the funny thing about hope- it won’t let you give up. It’s more than just a feeling or an idea; it’s a bridge that carries you from a place that doesn’t make sense into one that does. To a place where details like autoimmunity and encephalitis don’t matter, but one piece of truth reigns over everything: that Jesus Christ is Lord. He suffered and died so that when our loved ones suffer and die, it isn’t the end. His kingship rules even over death, forcing it into submission to a mighty God that loves us recklessly and without condition. A God that fights for us even beyond death. He wants more than life for us: He wants eternity.

    Walker may be gone from his earthly body, now, but his short life was not without impact. More people heard the name of Jesus through Walker’s story than I could begin to count. He mattered. He still matters. He will always matter. His life has led people to surrender theirs to Christ, to trust in God’s goodness even amidst tragedy. His strength and his parents’ strength have made us stronger.

    Living in this sin-wrecked world has its perils; death is one of them. When the world has gone to pieces, we can’t expect things to make sense all the time. But. Even amidst all of the uncertainty, the fear, the all-too-human questioning, one thing stands out: love. The love of a God that made the ultimate sacrifice- his own son dying on a cross so that we, along with our own sons and daughters, can live together forever in paradise.

    His love gives us hope. The world is broken, but our God is unshaken. For that, we can all rejoice, knowing that He can do infinitely more than we could ever ask or imagine. He is holy. He is sovereign. He is alive. He is good. He is our hope.

    How I Became a Minivan Mom (aka the end of all things as we know it)

    So, life with three kids is pretty amazing. The biggest difference was our travel situation. We had finagled three car seats into the backseat of my Ford Edge (two Radians and a Chicco KeyFit 30). They fit, but man alive it was TIGHT. I didn’t love how snug things were back there, in terms of the seat installation, and let’s not even talk about how annoying it is to buckle in kids when you’re having to lean over one to reach another. We’d been talking about a new car for a while, but we were pretty (read: extremely) upside-down in my car and would have to make a humongous down payment. We wanted to wait a while to see if it was really something we wanted to do before forking over that much money.

    Well.

    I’ve never been more thrilled to give someone all of my money. Except maybe when I got an epidural. After a few weeks of three in a row (more power to those of you that make that set-up work for your families!), I had enough. So, we sucked it up and laid down some moo-lah and became the proud owners of this:

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    Y’all, never say never. I swore up and down that I would NEVER EVER EVER drive a minivan. Funny thing happens when you add a third kid to the mix, you guys. Just combine amazing safety ratings, tons of space and a billion amenities for a family and you get a brand-new appreciation for all things uncool and mommy-like. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it is. Like, I am obsessed with this minivan. I  went to the car dealership and was all “power doors, GET IN MY LIFE.” The convenience so far outweighs the cool factor, I can’t even. The children have room. There is no poking of one another or choruses of “he’s took my toy!” They can’t touch each other if they want to, which, thank you so much, Toyota. Knox sits in the way-back and can now buckle himself in and out of his car seat (life-changing, I tell you). Brody and Ford sit in the bucket seats in middle. I sit in the drivers seat and sing the praises of Japanese auto makers. I have Bluetooth. I can talk on the phone as if by magic without touching anything. I can stream music without plugging anything in. There are two glove boxes. There are air vents everywhere. Our floor mats are all-weather, which means you can hose them off if someone vomits or poops on them – there is even room to change a diaper on the floor without having to put your baby under the drivers seat. And don’t even get me started on the back-up camera. I can park correctly for the first time in my life.  It’s like a whole new world.

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    The moral of this story? Give in to the magic. Minivans are awesome. All the cool people think so.

    P.S. Here is an obligatory cute baby picture of my TWO MONTH OLD. How the heck did that happen in five minutes?!

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    Ford’s Nursery within the Master Bedroom

    When we found out we were expecting a third baby, thoughts soon turned to where he would sleep. We wisely just finished our forever home with only three bedrooms, not thinking another baby was in the near future. After talking it over, we decided that at first, Ford would sleep in our room.

    Our master bedroom is spacious enough that we were easily able to accommodate a crib and dresser, allowing Ford his own nursery space within our bedroom. I have to say, I am over the moon with how it turned out. Our first two boys  co-slept with us forever, so this may actually work better than him having his own room at first, anyway. I went with a calming neutral palette with rustic touches that would blend in with our room, but be appropriately “baby” enough for Ford.

    Here is the view right as you enter our bedroom:

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    And into Ford’s space…  I love this sweet crib. We were going to re-use Brody’s crib, but it was HUGE, so I decided we needed to get a new one. I’ve always wanted a white crib, and I love the classic look of the Jenny Lind. It fits so much better in this smaller space, and I’m so glad we got it!

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    The over-the-crib art was a source of a lot of brainstorming and re-brainstorming. My original idea was messed up when we moved the large armoire that stood in this space (that now lives in our closet) and re-discovered a huge outlet hole in the wall. I planned something more airy with the wooden bunting letters and a rustic ladder, but since we needed to now cover a big hole, it was back to the drawing board! Luckily, I found this Bible verse art at the ever-amazing Hobby Lobby (on clearance for $29!) and made it work. I like it even better than my original plan.

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    I love a good gallery wall. Maybe that’s why they’re all over my house! This one was a lot of fun to put together- I wanted something that would be able to transition easily back into an adult-only space when Ford moves in with a big brother down the road, and I think this fits the bill. There are lots of Bible verses in this space, which I love. This baby is a direct reminder to me of God’s amazing grace, generosity and provision. Some of these prints and pieces, I’ve collected over time and have no idea where they’re from, but the ones I do know I’ll add to a source list at the bottom of this post.

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    I love how this space came together, and I cannot wait to welcome Ford in just a couple weeks (more info on his early arrival coming soon)!

     

    Source List:

    Crib: Jenny Lind in white
    Sheets: Pottery Barn Kids Harper Clover Geo in Navy
    Crib skirt: Pottery Barn Kids Preston (no longer available)
    Dresser: DIY refinished
    Hamper with liner: TJ Maxx
    Over crib “Bless the Lord” art: Hobby Lobby
    Wooden name letter bunting: Hobby Lobby
    Frames: Ikea
    Wooden frame with bow: Kirkland’s
    Metal teal arrow: Hobby Lobby
    Arrow: Target craft section, “stained” with acrylic paint and water wash by me
    Burlap and metal “W”: Kirkland’s
    Wooden Star: Carolina Pottery (for $3!!)
    “Live a Quiet Life” print: Gracelaced
    Changing pad cover: Summer Infant Ultra Plush
    Changing area basket: Wal-mart (a few years back)grace
    Diaper bag: Pottery Barn Kids Black Harper Tote
    Curtains: Amazon Tahari Home
    Wall color: Revere Pewter by Sherwin Williams

    The Story of #3

    I took the test on a Sunday morning. There was this stubborn thought that wouldn’t quite leave: what if? The one straggler I had under the sink had been expired for six months. Three minutes later, there was something there. Or was there? My eyes were crossing and it was so faint, it barely existed. Evaporation line? Or the beginning of a real one? So all day, I thought: what if? I went through the day, thinking so much, and at the end of a long Sunday, I made a pit stop for some non-expired tests. Back home in the bathroom, two lines. Barely. But it was there. And I didn’t even have to squint. I’d re-test in the morning, just to be sure.

    At the crack of dawn, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I took a digital test and minutes later, a harsh “NO” was displayed on the screen. What?? Maybe the others were a fluke? I took another of the conventional variety. Two light lines (okay, so obviously I spent $40 at the drugstore). Shouldn’t this be a little darker than last night? How am I failing at pregnancy tests right now? Naturally, I was more confused than when I started. A yes and a no- I guess the digital wasn’t as sensitive? Or maybe it was accurate and the other was just wrong? I’d have to wait (obviously my forte) until later.

    I lived in my anxiety all day that Monday. Distraction was the theme of the day, and by 2 p.m., I couldn’t take it any longer. I went to the drug store again and bought the fanciest pack of digital tests ever created and took one in the bathroom at work.

    After the longest three minutes of my life, the answer was clear:

    I tucked that happy little test into my purse, trying to figure out how to tell Trevor that we brought home a little souvenir from our beach vacation. I didn’t just want to blurt it out, but I didn’t want it to be a spectacle, either. When I got home, we started to prep for dinner. The boys were in the other room, shrieking and playing happily. Trevor and I have started getting dinner ready together- he wants to learn more about cooking, and is a great sous chef. He keeps my knives sharpened and is always up for chopping vegetables. So as he sliced mushrooms and onions, I felt the butterflies return, and I knew how to do it. I kissed his cheek and slid the test out of my pocket and into his. He reached over his pocket and felt the addition. He had a confused look on his face when, suddenly: realization.

    “Are you serious?!!!”

    I smiled. His whole face lit up. He pulled me in close for a hug. We stayed there for a while like that. Then we laughed. Because this is crazy. We are crazy. And we are so happy.

    I never thought I’d experience a surprise like this one with our fertility history- we each have our own issues, and my PCOS demanded that I be medicated to conceive both times before. There were specialists, pills, charts, basal thermometers, time, tears and more tears. We worked hard to get those two boys!

    We didn’t think it would happen like this, but we weren’t opposed to it, either. We weren’t going to intentionally try for another, but if it happened, we’d welcome it. An unexpected blessing is a blessing just the same.

    This time, there was no stress. No calculating. No timing. No devastating moments crying over what hadn’t happened… .again. This time, there was only the best surprise of our lives.

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    8 week ultrasound (July 8, 2015)

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    12 week ultrasound (August 4, 2015)

    Welcome to our family, sweet baby. We love you already.