January 15, 2016

Another Stepp

As I revealed on social media, we are expecting another baby. Another baby!! I'm still in shock. It's funny the texts/calls/emails I've received. "How are you feeling?" "Did you want another baby?" Completely understandable questions. Before I dig into how I'm really feeling, I really want to be honest. Truthfully, brutally honest this time. Not because I want to remember hard times, but because I have gone back and read all my pregnancy posts with Crosbi and as I read through them, I think, "That's not how I really felt at all!" A lot of what I wrote during that season was exactly what was on my heart...but I also wrote what I expected people would want to hear. If this blog is going to be a tool for my kids later on, I want them to know my true heart...not my sugar coated thoughts.


So here we go.

Were we trying to have another baby? Not exactly. No permanent measures had been taken, so we always knew there was the possibility, but we were really happy with our family of three. Nothing felt missing, if that's the question.

How did I know I was pregnant? I was crying about everything. The day I took the test, I had been in a company wide meeting...a state of the union basically, and I couldn't stop crying about company updates. I sat there thinking this is ridiculous. What is wrong with me? I left work and went to Kroger and took the test in the Kroger bathroom. I was positive I was pregnant. No need to wait to take it at home.

How did I feel about being pregnant again? I had so many mixed emotions. I was really thankful/awestruck that there was another little life inside me, but my younger sister is pregnant and I didn't want to steal attention from her. I was terrified of what the next few weeks/months would bring knowing how sick I was with Crosbi. I researched everything and tried anything I could to avoid severe morning sickness. Nothing worked.

The hardest part was coming to terms with Crosbi not being my only baby. I've explained this to my friends, but I think it has been so hard because I never thought we would have another baby, so I had no issue investing my whole heart into hers. It was always just going to be her, and giving her my all was an easy choice. The moment I saw the two pink lines, it felt like she had been ripped away from me. That sounds dramatic, but I was heartbroken. I couldn't look at her without crying and I would break down multiple times a day when I thought about her having to share me.

How am I feeling now? Much better. It's hard to think rationally when you're extremely sick. With Crosbi, I had horrible sickness. It's been different this time, but just as awful. With her I would throw up 10-12 times a day until around 18 weeks. But as horrible as that was, I would have relief in between trips to the bathroom. This time I haven't thrown up nearly as much, but have felt constantly sick. Imagine having the stomach flu for 3 months, not knowing when it will end. It's hard. Exhausting, frustrating, scary, hard. It's also hard when others don't understand. I felt like this time around family members expected me to suck it up or that my medicine would magically make my symptoms disappear. If only. I was told that if I took Tums I would be better in no time (right, because that would be much stronger than the prescription medicine I was currently taking). Or if I was physically getting sick I would be asked, "Well did you take your medicine?" Yes. Yes, I did. But my medicine just helps take the edge off (some days). If it completely cured pregnancy sickness, I would have gotten pregnant a long time ago. I felt a lot more isolated in my "morning" sickness this time. I'm so, so thankful to be on the other side of it now.

Okay, enough venting! How am I really feeling now, as in today? I feel hopeful. My sickness is practically behind me with the help of my medicine. My energy is starting to return and I've come around to the idea of being a family of four. The irony is that Crosbi has helped me the most. She is so excited about being a big sister. Her excitement has rubbed off on me and I couldn't be more thankful. She can't wait to hold and kiss the baby. She wants to change diapers (but not the poopy ones!) and has asked if she can lay in the crib with the baby while it naps so the baby isn't lonely. She's constantly thinking of baby names and talks to my belly. I really can't wait to see her as a big sister. This baby is so lucky to have her.

Todd is really excited, and that makes me excited too.

It's going to be a journey, that's for sure, but my head isn't quite as cloudy and I'm not as hormonal and now I'm fully on board. This baby might have been a surprise to us, but God wasn't surprised and I know in the coming months/years I will look back and I won't be able to imagine a life before there were four of us. I have no doubt about that.

So, to my loved second child, should you read this some day, know this: While you gave me and your daddy quite the shock with your impending arrival, and you made me really sick, know that I wouldn't go through this for anyone else. You will be the puzzle piece of my life that I never saw coming, but always needed and my greatest surprise.  I'm in awe that God would give you to us. I just can't wait to meet you. Welcome to the family.

xoxo

October 12, 2015

Crosbi Says...

This girl of mine. She makes my heart hurt, I love her so. Today she asked to hear her current favorite song over and over...and over in the car today. I couldn't say no because inside I'm praying the words wash over her and that as she grows she really believes them.

I hear a voice and it calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is The One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

I love hearing her little voice sing these words. Especially because she thinks the words "he who" are so funny.


When she's not singing her heart out in the car, she's saying all kinds of things that make me smile.

On a walk, Crosbi found some hedge apples that had fallen and wanted to play with them.
Me: Those don't look so great. They're starting to rot.
Crosbi: Rot? Like rot and roll?

Referring to our house I said, "I'm so glad I get to share this home with you!"
Crosbi: You're welcome.

Me: What's that all over your arm?
Crosbi: Marker. I was making a tattoo. But I tried to wash it off because I talked to myself and I said, would mommy want me to make a tattoo?

Me: You need to pick up your toys and get ready for bed.
Crosbi: My heart says I want to keep playing.

Goodness, she's fun.

xoxo


September 18, 2015

Surrender

Because life can be completely random and God is hilarious, I was asked to speak to a large group of women at a conference in Orlando last week. I'm still laughing about it. When I got an email asking if I could help with a "Women In Radio" event, I literally thought they needed people to volunteer for cleanup. For real. So before I even knew what the request was, I said, "Sure! I can help with anything you need. Just send me the details."

Famous last words.

I was asked to speak for three minutes about my purpose as a woman and how that purpose translates into being in radio from a record label perspective.

Gulp.

I had two days to decide what I would talk about. I know three minutes isn't long, but I was sweating. Surprisingly though, the words for my talk came quickly. A huge part of my story involves my leaving the record label world (and my dream job) to step out in obedience to stay home with Crosbi. It was God asking me to surrender my goals and dreams for His plans and how that season of staying home, while incredibly challenging, was one of the sweetest seasons of my life. I also spoke about how my trust in God was honored and my dreams restored with my return to the music industry. Because God is good. Surrendering is good.

Except it's not easy. The irony in all of this is that my talk on surrender was more for me than anyone else. I find myself in another season of not knowing how things will work out. I don't know what the future holds, but I know my current setup isn't working for my family. I'm being faced with the decision to surrender again. And it's scary.

But God is so quick to remind us of His goodness. Just this morning He reminded me again that His plans are better than mine.

I haven't shared this story on my blog, mainly because I haven't found the time, but I want to remember this:

When Todd and I first started looking at land, we found a lot on a private lake and we were smitten. Then reality hit and we came to our senses. It was way over our budget. So we continued to look and found a little acreage in a neighborhood. The perfect compromise for the two of us: Todd wanting to be in the middle of nowhere, me wanting other humans around. We kept an eye on the "perfect" lot for a full year. We walked it over and over again. We took our parents to see it. We met the next door neighbor.

Because the lot had sat untouched for years, we took our time. We got our finances in order, we sketched floor plans, we daydreamed about life in the country. Then just days (literally days) before we made an offer on the land, our realtor called to tell us there was another offer on the table. We found ourselves in a bidding war that we knew we weren't going to win. We were devastated. Our former house was already under contract and now we didn't know where we were going to go.

There was another lot on a hill that we knew was for sale, but had never looked at, and sure enough, others were looking at that lot too. In desperation, Todd drove over to look at it by the light of a flashlight and on hope and a prayer, we made an offer on the land we now live on. Here's the funny thing. Before we broke ground, we brought our parents back out and they all said we had lucked out. That we actually got the better lot. Todd and I were having a hard time believing it. We felt like we had been left with less than our best. But we were wrong. The longer we live here, the more we know this is exactly where we were always supposed to be.

One of the first mornings in our house, I tip-toed upstairs early for some quiet time and I was greeted by this view:


And just today, when Todd walked out the front door for work, this view:


The same view from the other lot would have been the front of the neighbor's house across the street. We didn't get less than His best. Not even close.

Things feel really uncertain and I don't know how everything will ultimately play out, but I know God has this. I know I can trust Him. And I know the view is so much better when I do.

xoxo

August 19, 2015

The Times Are Changing And So Am I

I'm struggling to write this post. The words are there, but it could come across in ways I don't intend. Even so, I want to remember this season and I know I'll look back at this post in the years to come. I'll want to be reminded of what God was doing in my heart and how he used a three year old girl to teach me about true love. Warning - this is a bit lengthy.


I'm working quite a bit now. I have the luxury to work from home a majority of the time, but I'm working nearly full-time hours. There are two reasons I'm okay with this. One, I know this is just a season. I can't keep this pace up forever and by God's grace, at this point in our lives and finances, I know I won't have to. Second, working more means I have been able to put more money towards our new house than we originally planned and I've been able to contribute to furnishing it without adding any additional debt. All good things.

With more work means more child care required. It doesn't sit well with me to work away on my computer while Crosbi plays alone or to use the TV as a babysitter. Because of that, she's now enrolled in two part-time preschools. Both are just two half days a week, meaning she goes four days a week. One of the preschools she has gone to since she was just shy of two years old. It's a dream school. I love the staff, Crosbi has made incredible friendships, and I've even made some really great friendships with other moms. The preschool is in a church and the values being taught to my daughter are invaluable. She's not only learning about the love of Christ from the curriculum, but her teachers demonstrate God's love in ways that make me tear up just thinking about it. I'll be sad the day she begins Kindergarten and we say goodbye to her church school.

This summer I knew I had to add some additional care, and I knew another two-day school would be the best fit for our family. I had another church in mind, but I just couldn't get myself to pull the trigger. Then I remembered a school I had heard about when we first moved to Nashville that had only been described as "magical." Outdoor and imaginative play are the primary goals. I can get on board with that. But I also knew this school was pretty liberal. This is not a "Christian" school. This school is open to all children from all backgrounds. I went ahead and enrolled Crosbi and paid the enrollment fee to save her a spot so I could give it more thought.

A few weeks before school began, I panicked. I threw the registration papers away. The school is too liberal, I can't have her going there. But now I didn't have a plan. I would need to find a nanny. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.

In bed one night I tossed and turned, not able to sleep. Stressing about my childcare situation, I asked God to make His plan for Crosbi known. I picked up my phone to search preschools when I saw the email that the first month of tuition at the "magical" school had already posted. That was a pretty clear indicator that things were already in motion for Crosbi to attend.

At open house, I hesitantly walked in. As a mom, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was the J.Crew to a world of Urban Outfitters. A Chevy to a land of Subarus (literally!). In other words, I was the least "hippie" mom there and it was obvious. Shortly after entering the building we met other children and quickly met a little girl in Crosbi's class who had come with her two moms. As someone who prides herself on loving others and being the hands and feet of Jesus, I was surprised by my reaction. I smiled and engaged in conversation, but in my head, I was done. No way was Crosbi going to school here. I can't have her going to a school like this. She's three years old. We're not ready for these conversations.

Wow.

Where did that come from?

My heart. My ugly, fearful heart.

In church the week before, our pastor had said that if the last ten people we had called on our phone look like us, have the same skin color, are in the same tax bracket, etc,. then we're not doing it right. God didn't call us to love the people that are just like us.

Gulp.

After leaving the open house, I had to really humble myself and ask God for direction. He made it very clear that this school would stretch my family and that running away was not what He was asking me to do.

On the second day of school, the teachers told me that Crosbi was really drawn to the little girl with two moms. This little girl is a bit younger and smaller than Crosbi, and Cros has gone out of her way to love on her. The teacher told me that when the little girl was playing by herself or felt left out, Crosbi would come to her and hug her or hold her hand.

I wish I could say I jumped for joy, but my fear took hold. Of all the kids in this class, Crosbi would be drawn to this one? In the car I asked Crosbi what she liked about her new friend. Her response shook me to my core:

"I don't know, mom. I just really love her."

Crosbi is oblivious to the situation. She doesn't understand the family dynamic of this little girl. She just loves her. No stereotype, no fear. Just love.

God is wrecking me in the best way during this season in our lives. He's using my sweet girl to get me outside of my own head, my fears and judgment. He's reminding me that he made all of us in His image and that He never ran from those that were different. In fact, He was drawn to them.

My prayer these days sounds something like this:

Lord, help me to love with childlike love. Help me to follow my daughter's lead when she's more in tune with your Spirit than I am. Use this season to teach my family what the love of Christ truly looks like. Make us more like you.

I'm so thankful for a God who doesn't leave us in our mess. I'm especially thankful that he would use a spunky three year old, who I have the blessing of calling my daughter, to do His best work.

xoxo


August 2, 2015

Here + There



It's August. How is it August? Also, we move next week! In some ways it feels like we were never going to get here, and in other ways...well, I haven't packed a thing. I'll add packing to my never ending to-do list. This season has been a whirlwind. A new house, lots of new work for me, and life with a three year old has made my head spin, but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I can't wait to open our doors to friends and family. We took friends to see our home today (wanting so badly for them to be our future neighbors), and it felt really good to say, "Come on in! Make yourself at home." I didn't realize how much my heart aches for hospitality until I couldn't have friends in our home. Asking people to be quiet because the neighbors might hear doesn't quite scream hospitality.
#apartmentliving

One more week. We can't wait!

Until then, we'll say goodbye to July and the memories we made. A beach trip, night out with the girls, family in town, and lots of outdoor time made for a fun month. Well, minus the broken arm part (as seen in the photo above).

Yep, she broke it again. Just days after telling her I signed her up for soccer this fall, Crosbi decided to get a head start on practicing and took a tumble over the ball. My girl is giving me a run for my money.

So long, July. You were a good one. Except for the broken arm. That part wasn't so good.

xoxo