Monday, September 22, 2014

So much has happened

since the last time I've blogged.  Zoe is growing by leaps and bounds and learning so much.  We moved cottages (a quick move across the street).  We also went on a wonderful family vacation to Kentucky with Grammie Wood and Uncle James.  We visited the Creation Museum, the Cincinnati Zoo, and did a tour of some of the horse farms.

I will post more about it in a future post but here are some pictures of things we did.

African Penguin at Cincinnati Zoo

Alpaca at Zoo

Daddy and Zoe on a camel ride at the Creation Museum.

Fish at the Zoo

Adam naming the animals in the Creation Museum

Zoe got to feed a giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo.  Too COOL!

Silly goat in the petting zoo

Botanical gardens at the Creation Museum

Petting Zoo at the Creation Museum.  Zoe is fascinated by animals.

Swoon. love those eyes.

Dinosaur Den at the Creation Museum.  Zoe was delighted that there were little dinosaurs which she affectionately referred to as "baby dinosaurs." (above and below)

Waterfall at the Creation Museum botanical gardens.

Zoe enjoying the playground in the zoo.

Zoe made a best friend at our ranch named "Meow, Meow."  She came to visit us everyday.  It was just darling.  Plus an awesome incentive to get Zoe to do what I wanted her to do ;).

Zoe got to feed this Zonkey named. . . wait for it. . . ZOE! LOL

Zoe's favorite game is "Me Hiding" only she tells you where she's hiding and hides in the same place nearly every time.  It is so much fun to hear her squeal with delight though when we find her. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happy (bittersweet) Mothers Day

I never imagined that Mother's Day would be so hard for me.  I know that I should be so grateful for my beautiful daughter Zoe, but my heart just breaks knowing that I should be holding a beautiful 5 month old daughter as well.  Mother's Day should have been joyous, instead it was marked by many tears.

It all started the day prior when we were at a friend's wedding.  She started her father daughter dance to Butterfly Kisses and I had to leave the room. My hopes of seeing Aaron do that with both of our girls shattered to the ground.  That was a psalm 13 moment of prayer for me. When Aaron and Zoe came to find me Zoe asked, "why you sad mama?" I explained to her that I missed Jubilee. She said, "Jubee home, me hold Jubee too." It was the most preciously heartbreaking moments ever. My girl is so sweet.

Almost everything in church that day made me cry.  I LOVE my church family and am so thankful for their support on Sunday. I had a few very special ladies ask how I was doing before we started church. I held myself together off and on but during Be Still My Soul, I lost it.  We had that playing before Jubilee's memorial.  It is a song that has always been dear to me.

Verses 3 and 4

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last

It is true that through trials we come to know Christ better and yet that pain is still so real!  Thankfully, our God understands our passion and comforts our broken hearts.  I'm so thankful that in His Word, the psalms are included.  Because of them, I realize it is ok to cry out, "why Lord?" And "Where are You in this pain?" Now I know those are mostly rhetorical questions but they are real questions.

I feel as though my thoughts are rambling. Sorry for that.

On Sunday we also went on a hike in the Gorge where we scattered Jubilee's ashes. It was so very bittersweet. We love the gorge, but it's also a reminder of Jubilee.  At times I could just see Aaron's face from that cold day.  I could hear his sobs as we said our final goodbyes to put precious one.  It was very sweet though watching Zoe enjoy playing at a place we've enjoyed so many times in the past.

Holding Zoe tightly only made me miss Jubilee all the more.  

And every time I see my cycle begin again I have a tough day or 2. I wish this were not the case. My heart longs so much for another child that my emotions go a little haywire.  Thankfully, the other day when reading to Zoe, I had an encouraging word. Our boy name has always been Nehemiah. It means according to Zoe's little Bible, God will wipe away our tears.  I find hope that someday God will give us our Nehemiah. I just wish His timing more closely matched mine.

In parting, I hope to write a more joyful post tomorrow. One with lots of pictures of Zoe. StumbleUpon

Saturday, May 3, 2014

4 Years or Happy Belated Anniversary

Dear World,

I am married to an amazing man.  I can't believe that it's been 4 years already.  We've been through some rather tight financial strains over the years but have always had a roof over our head and had a home full of love.  My poor husband, he has had to put up with so many of my struggles and has done so rather gracefully.
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Photos courtesy of Kat Ritenour Photography

Photos courtesy of Kat Ritenour Photography

We've given birth to two beautiful girls (even if we have to wait to be reunited with Jubilee). We've moved 3 times in 1 year of marriage.  Our oldest daughter turned 2.  Seriously when did that happen?  We've enjoyed many hours of family snuggle time (one of our favorite past times).

In these four years, I've become a much better cook.  (Praise God for my husband's patience in this matter).  I still enjoy baking, much to Aaron's chagrin. We've discovered that we really enjoy camping, and can't wait to start up again this summer.

And who would have thought 4 years ago that we'd actually be parents to 8 teenage boys.  Certainly not I!  I always said I couldn't do high school kids, that's why I majored in Elementary Ed.  God sure does have a mysterious way of working (like having us lead a high school youth group before starting this job).

Aaron, you are my shoulder to cry on, the twinkle in my smile, the arms that hold me when I'm broken, you are the man our daughter loves and kisses up, my personal heating pad (why I don't generate my own body heat I'll never understand). I love you more than words could ever express.

I look forward to many more years of growing old and wrinkly with you!  I love you!

Both pictures courtesy of our 2 year old. :) 


Happy Easter (only a few weeks late)!

We had a wonderful Easter spent mostly outside.  It was very enjoyable for all involved.  I sent out a family email describing the day in more detail.  Here are some of the highlights:

We really missed worshiping with our church Easter Sunday but God is so good to us.  We also REALLY enjoy working the holidays with the boys because it's actually a time when we can build relationships with them and show them that we care.  For example, we made a roast chicken for them since GJR provided ham and most of our boys are Muslim.  We also let them play basketball most of the day.  Then we played the Wii with them in the evening.  It's always funny to show them our competitive sides (even though we both fail miserably compared to their talent).  

On a slightly different note, Easter has taken on a new meaning for me.  The hope of the Resurrection has become so much more precious to me this year.  After losing our dear Jubilee, the promise of eternal life has become even more sweet.  Christ's work on the cross has become even more amazing.  And that He would bear our sin and our shame so that we can be called God's Children??? WOW!

The other day I was reading in Psalm 139 and it says, in verses 15 and 16 

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

​Jubilee's life was planned out by God in advance, even His knowing that He would call her home so soon.  It's still very much a mystery to me how that works, yet I know my God has seen me through so many tough times before, I know that He will do it again.  He is AMAZING!  The struggle is still there although most of the time I am doing oh so much better.  

And now for a picture recap:

Zoe "pulling" daddy

Zoe's turn for a ride

I found the eggs you hid mama!

Making some lunch.

Too tired to really enjoy the egg hunt at this point. 

And yup, I got her to sleep on the couch, eventually she moved into this position and slept like this for about 30-45 min until she fell on her bottom.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Run, Run, Run, Woosh, or . . . how we take walks.

I talked a little about how Zoe and I enjoy walking back from taking the boys to school in the afternoons.  I've invented a little game with her that she just adores called, "run, run, run, woosh."  I will run about 20 feet or so ahead of her and she will come running after me and I lift her up into the air (WOOSH) and then hug her, put her down and repeat.  Here are some pictures of that.  Our camera is starting to go and every once in a while, just shakes violently, not sure why or how to fix it.  So some of these pictures reflect that but I just had to share her adorable face during this special time.

before we started playing the game. . . about 1/3 of the way through our walk.

also before the game she found these huge sticks (about halfway through our walk.)

No thanks darling, I'd rather not poke my eyes out. 

This was when I tried to get her to pose on the tree by standing with her back against the tree and her foot on the tree (the inverse of what she is doing).  She thought it was hilarious.


(although blurry, I love it because you can see the motion)


and WOOSH!!!

Unfortunately I was not coordinated enough to get woosh photos.
Hope you enjoyed our walk back home. (well 3/4 of the way home)


Monday, March 17, 2014

Enjoying Walks & a Zoe update

For the last couple of days when it has been nice outside, I get Zoe ready before I walk the boys back to school at lunch time.  She rides in the stroller on the way there, everyone says their hellos, she does lots of "flirting" and then we go back home after checking the mail.

I insist she stays in the stroller until we get across the roads.  Once we get about 2/3 of the way back, I allow her to escape her "cell"  er stroller, and walk the rest of the way back.  The first time I did this, she enjoyed it so much that I did a mini scavenger hunt for her.  We found leaves, sticks and acorns.  She brought them back to show daddy her treasures.  Her face beamed with pride.  She has done this again every day since.  It's been so wonderful to take an extra 10-15 minutes to get home just to allow her some time to explore outdoors.

I really like winter, but I'm so thankful spring is on its way.  If only summer weren't so hot, I would enjoy the outdoors so much more.  I wish I had pictures I could share.  My goal is to take my camera next time.  I've taken pictures on my phone.  She has enjoyed these walks so very much.  Yesterday we played run run run run WHOOSH.  Which means, mom would run ahead, Zoe would run to catch up, and I'd pretend to do the Dirty Dancing lift with her above my head.  We did that about 6 times before she decided running was too tiring and she'd rather go play on the ice.  I let her do that for a little while but also knew I needed to be getting back.

Words can't begin to describe what a blessing she is.  She has a new found love for Curious George and asks to watch him somewhat often.  She still ADORES puppies.  She is often heard saying "watch puppies, mama (or dada)."  She attempts to use sentences almost all the time.  I still can't always understand those sentences but they are becoming clearer.  She really enjoys tickle time, she often times at bedtime she will say, "more tickle da da."  She also LOVES roaring at us and making us "scared."  Oh the joys she brings.

I will write more later. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

He Loved Her enough. . .

This morning as I was taking a shower, I had a thought (why is it most good thoughts come while you're in the bathroom?).   I was thinking on how Jesus willingly gave up His life and came to this earth so that we may have life in Him.  I was also thinking about how much it must have pained both Jesus and the Father to have to send Him here just for Him to lay down His life.  God knew all the pain that His Son would face.  And He knew that in the end He (the Father) would have to turn His face away from His Son.  They would be separated for the first time ever.  I already know that God loves us more than we could possibly imagine.
Through this pain with Jubilee, I've never really blamed God.  I've struggled with why He didn't let us keep her here on this earth and being hurt and missing her, but I've never blamed Him.  I'm so thankful that even as we were driving to the hospital that terrible Wednesday, He filled me with His Peace which truly does surpass all understanding.  What I hadn't thought about was my revelation this morning:

God loved her enough to send her into this life, albeit for a short while, so that she could spend eternity with Him. 

Mind blown!  He loved her that much!!! I know that He will love her better than I ever could (and I love her a whole lot).  He chose me to be her mama.  The one to help her to know what a heartbeat sounds like, the one to sing to her and read to her.  He chose Zoe to be her sister to give her kisses and hug her and snuggle her.  And He chose Aaron to be her loving father who would talk to her in his silly voice, ask her if she's baking up right and spend time knocking on the door to her room (aka my belly).  

There is still so much pain that comes with having this experience (and I've been feeling it this week).  But I wouldn't trade it in the world because through this, Jubilee gets to spend eternity with Jesus.  WHAT A THOUGHT!  

However, if you'd pray for me I'd appreciate it.  I'm very much still struggling with not being pregnant yet and missing my precious girl. Some days are better than others but when my wonderful friend FLO comes around she makes things so much harder for me.  

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