Boy, girl, boy…?! (a gender reveal)

You’ve asked and here it FINALLY is… our gender reveal photoshoot!

finals_FB-2Sneak peek … (also, one of my faves of the day)
finals_FBGIRL!!!finals_FB-7finals_FB-4finals_FB-5finals_FB-6finals_FB-8finals_FB-9 finals_FB-10 finals_FB-11finals_FB-12finals_FB-14 finals_FB-15 finals_FB-16finals_FB-18finals_FB-19I’m beyond thrilled. finals_FB-21 finals_FB-22 finals_FB-23 Such a Chaseyboy face hahafinals_FB-26 finals_FB-27 finals_FB-28 finals_FB-30 Baby sister E.S.D (you know me, the name is gunna stay a secret til she’s here) is coming March 1, 2014!!finals_FB-31

Our pregnancy with Chase – having him be a surprise until birth was such a treasure for me, and I guess a sort of “bucket list” check off for me. Our pregnancy with Eisley is when I decided if we’re gunna learn the gender, I wanted to do it in a super fun way. We had the Pink or Blue party where we cut into a cake and learned she was a girl! With Shailo I accidently learned during an ultrasound – but we shared with close family and friends at our Mustache or Bows party. This time around, I wanted to do things a little differently, I learned around 12.5 weeks which was super hard for me for a few reasons. We learned “It’s a girl” and then within 5 minutes we learned that she had her organs growing outside of her body. At 16 weeks, we went back in and our specialist said that her organs were back inside! I felt like I could breath a little easier after that – although, honestly it’s still very hard for me to be pregnant. And to learn it’s a girl, I feel even more vulnerable somehow. I’ll blog more about that soon.

Thanks for popping by! Hope you’re excited as we are ;)

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Pregnancy after loss: Where my feet may fail and fear surrounds me.

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Above: Little Baby Davis #4, making his/her first appearance on the blog :)

I thought it would be a little easier this time around. Being pregnant after loss and after having had another healthy pregnancy. I think at first, I felt it was easier. Maybe it was because even though we had tried for this baby, we didn’t really have much time to sit and process being pregnant again. If that makes sense. Our summer was a whirlwind. It flew by and here we are entering out second week of September already.

The truth is, it’s not easier this time around. And walking through another pregnancy after loss, I’ve come to realize and accept that it will never be easier. Our pregnancies will never feel safe again. I was reflecting on my first pregnancy with Chase and how unafraid I felt. I truly loved being pregnant. I miss that so very much. I am so thankful that at least one of our pregnancies was blissful. We hadn’t yet lost our innocence to what could happen.

The thing about fear for me, is that it’s paralyzing, debilitating. I struggle with major insomnia this pregnancy, and I feel it’s due to this fear. I also struggle with wanting to connect with this little one, even thought naturally I do. I want to, I just throw my guard up as if it would be easier if something were to happen. Which I know that it wouldn’t be any easier. My heart, though afraid of the risk, loves this little one so much already.

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Last month Ted introduced me to this song called Oceans by Hillsong. It’s been on repeat every day since. I just absolutely love it. The bridge is so perfect, I resonates in me.

 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,

Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,

and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Saviour.

When we lost Eisley, though the pain was beyond anything I have ever experienced, I feel my faith was made stronger. I remember when we lost her I felt like everything around me had shattered and there I stood, broken and confused …but there He stood with me. The picture I get it me standing in a room of darkness and broken glass and Him beside me. I felt for the first time, that I trust Him. Even though my daughter was taken from me, I trusted Him with everything in me. I knew He knew what was best for her even if it was painful for us.

I still feel this way and please, do not mistaken my fear in this pregnancy with lack of faith. I think it breaks my heart further when people speak words over me about my faith, etc. I have the faith and I also have this fear. I have trust in Him, but I also know that trust in Him doesn’t make me immune to suffering and pain. I accept this, I know this and I love Him. He is FOREVER good, even in my fear, even in my pain and in my weakness.

I guess I just wanted to get on my blog again (I miss blogging) and declare that even though – like this song states – my feet may fail me and fear surrounds me, I trust You, Father.

 

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I trust you with this little one, even if it means heartache in the end.

I feel He gave me this word this morning, the first word I’ve felt in a while:

“Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This is the right road. Walk down this road.” You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, “Good riddance!”

God will provide rain for the seeds you sow. The grain that grows will be abundant. Your cattle will range far and wide. Oblivious to war and earthquake, the oxen and donkeys you use for hauling and plowing will be fed well near running brooks that flow freely from mountains and hills. Better yet, on the Day God heals his people of the wounds and bruises from the time of punishment, moonlight will flare into sunlight, and sunlight, like a whole week of sunshine at once, will flood the land.” Isaiah 30:20-26

 

The 3rd year anniversaries of our Eisley-girl’s death and birth are coming up next weekend. While I can’t  believe it’s been 3 years, I also feel like it’s been a lifetime since we met her and said our goodbyes which breaks my heart. “But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home and it’s all you’ll ever know…”

triggered trauma + declarations

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The past few weeks have been pretty trying for our family. “When it rains, it pours” describes it best, I think.

So many things that were out of my control. Chase and Shailo somehow caught Whooping cough (Pertussis) … like an actual documented case. This was after learning Shailo had Pneumonia two days before (a result of the whooping cough). I had a sinus infection – not a big deal, just tiresome and annoying on top of everything else. Ted just had sinus surgery yesterday, which thankfully he’s recovery wonderfully.

Just a lot at once. And all of it, totally out of my control.

Since we’ve lost Eisley, I’ve really struggled with things being out of my control. Sometimes even more than one should. I used to take pride in being adaptable and adventurous and after September 14, 2010 – I felt as though those parts of me vanished.

My adventurous spirit is slowly rising up again, I can feel it. (Even my dad recently commented on seeing a bit of it again) I remember the exact day that I felt I dreamt again. I was at a little coffee shop with my friend Chey, late February. We were talking of future plans and I just felt excited, for the first time since Eisley’s passing, about a particular piece of our dreams that I thought I’d lost. Since then, I have felt even more adventure and courage rise up in me. I am moved to tears even now, with gratefulness.

But it’s also a struggle when things like the past few weeks come flooding in like they sometimes do.

I’ve struggle a lot in the past year. June of 2012 I started on anti-depressants. I’ve since had an on again, off again relationship with my meds. I hate that I need to take them to keep on moving, but I do. When I don’t, it’s really, really rough and dark. For me and for my entire family. I don’t like putting them through hell every time I’m not well, so I’m back on them.

And, yes, here I am sharing publicly… well, within the “privacy” of my blog and those who want to read it.

Monday, I sat in front of my counselor with this incredible weight on my chest. Tears wanted to burst through but again, I felt I needed to keep it together, be strong.

He said the words, affirmed what I feel deep down, but rarely affirmed. What we went through was horrific and traumatic and it’s okay that I (still) feel the way I do inside.

I told him I often feel crazy. I know deep inside that what we went through with the loss of Eisley was awful. I know this, if I let myself, I feel this. I’ve struggled feeling like I am crazy, because it’s not spoken of, most often it’s been ignored or I have been ignored. I get it, it’s very awkward, but I feel like it’s so much more than that.

I’m not crazy. I’m hurting. I’m still broken in many ways.

Trauma is triggered in moments like the past few weeks, when things are so difficult and out of my control. Obviously on a scale of 1-10 the things recently barely registered compared to the things we’ve walked through with Eisley. But my brain doesn’t know any different. It just triggers my trauma and I flip out, or shut down.

Friday May 31st, I sat in Shailo’s ER room, my hand on his little sleeping body and my head on the bed, tears pouring out my face. I knew he wasn’t in a life or death situation, but it all felt so scary. And to make matters worse, we were in the same hospital I lost Eisley in. Normally, I fet a little bit of time to prepare my mind for walking back in that hospital, but this evening there wasn’t time to “prepare” my mind and heart. A few different moments, it all felt too overwhelming. I just wanted to leave, but if you’ve ever been to the ER you know, it’s not a quick in and out experience.

I sought His peace but also felt so hurt and somewhat betrayed. I know He never leaves us or forsakes us, but there is still struggle and heartache.

That morning, before I realized how sick Shai was, I woke around 4am cramping and bleeding. The worst part was that we had just learned – 5 days before – that we were pregnant again. They were faint lines, but lines nonetheless. It all felt to odd, because if I’m being honest, initially I cried. But then wanted to be strong because the reality is that we didn’t really even have a confirmed ultrasound pregnancy – so it wasn’t a big deal, right? I had convinced my mind that it wasn’t a big deal, but my heart was so burdened and sad. Just days before we were talking about having our first February Baby and then here we were.

A friend helped guide me to truth and validation; we had a chemical pregnancy – which basically means I only knew via tests that we were pregnant. I guess it’s pretty common but most of the time woman think it’s their period starting late. I almost wish I hadn’t known I was pregnant, but then another part of me is glad I did know.

Talking with my counselor about it, I found myself choking up, tears filling my eyes, ” I’m so sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying.”

“Of course you would cry. Why wouldn’t you? You lost a baby. I would be worried if this didn’t affect you.”

Hearing that, the walls broke and so did I. Validation.

It’s not even been 3 years since we’ve lost Eisley and I just cannot keep living, denying my feelings and grief and the trauma anymore. The trauma is too much to bury and if I do, I wouldn’t be myself. I’ve seen it. If I continue to face this grief and trauma (in counseling like I have), perhaps I will continue to find peace and healing – and maybe even the pieces of me that I felt I’d lost will come back slowly. I know that I am forever changed by the loss of our Eisley-girl but I am not crazy. I am a broken, hurting, traumatized, emotional momma. But I am not crazy.

Declaring it. Standing firm in it. Choosing to walk in truth and face what needs to be faced.

Declaring that I will trust Him.

I wasn’t going to share about our little “Glory Baby”  – but within the “safety” of my blog – I know the people are read are ones whom I know what to hear what I have to say. Thank you so much for stopping by and listening to my ramblings.

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When my broken world caves in
And the darkness covers over
With a love, love, love that heals

You come, You make us one
So, Jesus, stay with my heart, stay beside me
You are hope for my soul, You complete me
You make us one
You make us one
When Your tenderness surrounds
And Your gentle whisper finds me
With a love, love, love that fills
You come, You make us one
When the beautiful unfolds
And my longing touches heaven
With a love, love, love that fills
You come, You make us one
You are love, You are grace
You are kindness and compassion
You are love, You are grace
You are God

-Stay Beside Me by Future of Forestry

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I will bring praise, I will bring praise!
No weapon formed against me shall remain!

I will rejoice, I will declare; God is my victory and He is here!

All of my life, in every season, You are still God. I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship!

-Desert Song

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And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
What could stand against?

-Our God by Chris Tomlin

simply put: i struggle too.

Recently I hung out with a rockin’ momma to two boys. Our crazy boys ran wild and we talked. I felt at ease around her and like I didn’t have to worry if she saw just how crazy my life with my boys can get. What I loved is how very real she is: authentic and genuine. She shared her heart and struggles and thoughts. I appreciated it oh so much. We were talking and I realized I hadn’t seen her for months. Life gets super busy and while I know that was a part of it, I also realized something else this morning. I’ve tried to connect with other momma’s in the area, to be turned down, often. (This isn’t a pity party post, I promise :))

I have come to realize, that a lot of the struggle is me. Unless people really take the time to get to know me, they feel I am not relatable. Why? I’ve recently figured this out.

And oh.my.word. it breaks my heart.

I share a lot on social media, photos-wise. I share beautiful moments from our lives – down to the daily life that I find cute, or a meal, or I share creative things, places we’ve visited, things I’ve made, silly moments, etc. Over time and a handful of conversations later I’ve come to realize, people are intimidated. I guess from the outside looking in, mostly via my sharing photos, my life might seem like I have a lot of things “together” or “going for me”. I definitely know the reality of my life is far from these things, but maybe a struggling momma would see this differently when she sees a photo I post?

Today, I am here to say, I am not. I am sooooo far from having it all together. And I am so sorry if that is how you feel I’ve portrayed my life. It breaks my heart that in sharing, people might believe this to be true. After hearing little remarks/comments such as me being referred to as a “pinterest mom” or “super mom” or “that mom who makes all others look bad”, etc I know the importance of wanting to clearly share and portray my heart to you. I feel sick knowing that I’ve caused others to feel intiminated or downcast or like I am not able to relate.

My entire hope is to:

a) document our lives

b) encourage and uplift and inspire others in things I post: whether about life or in creativity

c) focus on the more positive because of where we’ve walked in life. I {have} to focus more on those moments or I sink deep into my depression.

I am weary of others either feeling I am unable to relate to struggle or that what I post is a facade. I’m here to say, I STRUGGLE and this is not a facade.

I know what the “world” says in successful and it’s truly a facade. It’s so difficult because we feel we need to put on these facades, to show the world that we’ve got it all together. When the reality could be, we are struggling, we are lonely, we need community. We need a safe place to share honestly and feel no judgement whatsoever. That is exactly why I recently started a momma’s group.

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(found this via pinterest and loved it!)

If we allow it, there is an intimidation that we sometimes feel when it comes to others and how we mother or even how we live our lives. Desiring their giftings or perhaps, when it comes to the lives we see online or what we think we see face to face.

 I struggle because I want to share the more positive because that truly is an honest outlook on our life. Some of this is wired in me and some of this has really become a part of me since we’ve lost Eisley. I feel more aware and thankful for things I once took for granted.

But sometimes I struggle. I mean really struggle.

Sometimes Ted gets home from work at night and I have yet to shower, I’m in boogy and food covered yoga pants, dinner is only just getting started (if that), laundry might be done but folded – no way. Sometimes I am in tears or just bone weary.

I struggle because I know that I can’t have the house clean all of the time – that is unless I go mad-crazy and decide to clean all day long. I struggle because I don’t like to cook – I’m a stay at home momma who actually, dare I say, HATES to cook. I have no creativity or passion when it comes to this area. Zilch. I struggle because I have never been good at a strict nap schedule – or really, any kind of schedule – for my boys. You wouldn’t believe how often I feel guilty that it isn’t my strong area. My boys more often than not, stay up way too late and get up way too early.

I struggle because some days I yell at my kiddos or cry way more than I “should” in front of them.

I struggle lately because my sweet Chaseyboy has become mouthy, rude and keen to tantrum throwing when he doesn’t get his way.

I struggle when my boys seem to they fight more than love on each other.

I struggle taking passive aggressive things people post online (that have nothing to do with me) personally.

I struggle when others think I have my life together when I feel so often it’s messy and I’m often lonely and living as a broken and depressed and (still) grieving momma.

I have been struggling lately as I hear the comments that continue to flood in. I’m a sensitive soul and a people pleaser and I try to be as authentic as possible.

I actually feel so dumb saying it, but I’m truly trying to share the more difficult moments as well. I share here on my blog a lot about my struggles with depression, or about the loss of Eisley or even about Ted and I and about Chase and our struggles with him. I haven’t shared those sort of things on facebook and other social media sites as much because to be honest, after we lost Eisley I realized it made people uncomfortable or people didn’t want to hear it. People didn’t want to know what was going on. And also, passive agressive comments fly around on facebook so often about people who use facebook as a diary – and at times, reading and hearing videos of things people shared regarding this – it broke my heart. Here I felt lonely and shared online because of this (is this right? probably not, however when you aren’t a part of a community of people who want to hear what’s going on, it’s hard not to want to reach out – which is lame, but for me at a time, that meant through my blog and through my facebook. Asking for prayer and hope and encouragement. To know we weren’t alone.)

Something that has helped me a lot recently is a book called Abba’s Child by Brendan Manning. I feel like I am accepting my broken nature and learning who I truly am in Him.

I was sharing with a friend my struggles with these comments and how I’ve begun to realize how people perscieve me. It breaks my heart. If you know me or have followed me here, you know I love to document our lives. A part of who I am is that when I feel inspired, I pick up my camera. I don’t often feel inspired when I’m battling through a tantrum with my almost 4-year-old or when my boys are pummeling each other out of anger or when my husband and I are arguing. Or when my house is a wreck. Or when I’m up for 4 hours straight with my 1 1/2 year-old due to weaning. Or when I’m popping in my anti-depression medication right before bed each night.

Photos and posts about this, it is actually harder for me. Not because I don’t want to share those moments in fear of judgement – no, in fact I’ve come to realize people judge less when I share such photos. And when I share positive, I feel even more judged at times. It is mostly harder for me because I truly want to focus on the positive. I want to capture the beautiful moments – and now, I am working on capturing the more difficult ones as well. I have realized that people feel I am more relatable when I share these moments as well.

There are comments and things I have to brush off as someone’s judgement of me, but as I’ve heard from people I respect and admire myself, I realize, even those who aren’t judging me tend to believe this true of me. It breaks my heart and I hope today I was able to share a bit more to help put things into perspective and explain my heart.

I struggle too. Every day.

It’s just that for me, I {HAVE} to create and I {HAVE} to focus more on the positive. This is for me personally.

If I wasn’t such a people pleaser and an empathy-person, this post wouldn’t be happening ;) However, any time that even ONE person has a struggle with me, I’m torn. So this post may be more for me than for you, but I hope I’ve clearly portrayed what I have hoped all along.

Authenticity, possitivity and inspiration.

Love, Jami

Moments – on living intentionally.

My darling, always-on-the-go Shai has calmed and now sleeps peacefully beside me. His little chest rising and falling softly. His chubby belly peeking out from his shirt. Sleeping in his diaper with no pants, but of course. ;)

20130320-214028.jpgHe is now 16-months-old… I truly feel as though I blinked and here we are. Once again, I’m left stunned at how fast time seems to be flying by!

Which is kind of fitting with what I’ve decided tonight to share tonight. Something that has been on my heart for some time now: time. Even before I became a mother, I have found prioritizing my time difficult. Now…definitely so. I’ve also struggled feeling guilty for doing things that I love and that recharge me, especially with the seemingly endless ‘to do” lists. In reading Organized Simplicity, I’ve found that a lot of these struggles, even my insecurities when it came to do things I that recharge me; like creating, were written out and the author, Tsh, was speaking to my heart;

“Well, here’s the thing – everyone has been allotted the same amount of time. We’re all given twenty-four hours per day. The only difference in time between one person and another is how each person chooses to spend those same hours. Everybody is given the same chance, time-wise, to pursue different things. We each choose to spend those hours in a variety of different ways. And because this means we’ve got finite time to do finite activities, it should be a given that we use that time wisely and intentionally.” – Tsh Oxenreider, Organized Simplicity

Wisely and intentionally.

Each moment of each and every day is valuable. Over the years and on nights like tonight, where I sit stunned that my baby is 16-months-old, I’ve come to realize this more and more.

Every moment is a gift and what we do with this gift is so important.

I have wasted many moments, hours and days even. To even think of what those wasted moments amount to makes my heart sad.

We all have the gift of these moments. We have the choice to use the moments we’ve been given to either give us life and reenergize us or to allow our moments to slip away from us, doing things that may seem like the “right” or appealing thing but in reality they wear us thin, they drain us and over time we realize they are robbing our lives.

How often do we choose to seek after things that aren’t life-giving? How often we let even the mundane steal from us?

They’re robbing us of the precious moments we’ve been given.

Obviously there are things to be done: dishes to wash, clothes to clean, floors to be swept… On top of minds to me nurtured, little knees or hearts to be mended, bodies to be nourished, arguments to be worked through, appointments to go to, jobs to work and bills to be paid…

These moments are our every day. They need to be taken care of, yes.

But what I’m speaking of the moments we’ve been given outside of what needs to be taken care of. You might be thinking, What moments? Who has those? Pause with me for a moment. I know that there are seasons/weeks/days that are overwhelmingly busy and out of our control in some ways. But I think it’s safe to say that each of us has some sort of “down time” or maybe we’ve unknowingly allowed our lives to be so busy when we don’t need them to be.

I have begun to see how powerful it is to say “no” to the things that aren’t truly bringing life to my family and “yes” to the things that are. (Please hear my heart. It is to challenge our way of thinking and to ultimately ENCOURAGE us, you. Please read on, friends.)

“There should be some sort of criteria through which every potential event should pass, and it should only be added to the family calendar when it passes with flying colours.” Tsh Oxenreider, Organized Simplicity

Of course this makes sense. It is just a matter of doing so!

And what about time to be recharged/refreshed/reenergized?

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to find time to do the things the reenergize us. I have to be intentional. And when I am, I rarely regret it (and I only say ‘rarely’ because I get caught up in feeling guilty sometimes.)

For me personally, when I have a “free” moment, I usually chose to create something. It’s just the way I am wired. Just as my momma is wired to organize. She does it effortlessly and often. She maintains a clean home and an organized life. I look at her and wish I had that gene! But also, wonder how she does it because that isn’t my strength, it isn’t my gifting.

We’re each created uniquely – even down to what bring us life and reenergizes us. Organizing does {not} refresh me, usually. Creating, yes!

I often get comments to me, people wondering and asking how do I have time for this sort of thing, you know: creating, decorating, blogging, party planning, DIYs on the blog, ETSY, etc. I think for me personally, this is just a part of who I am. I have to be creating. It’s therapeutic for me, really. It helps bring me life and refreshes me.

Often when I hit publish on a crafty blog or photo post, I always hope that people will be inspired, or understand my heart in sharing. That I won’t be misunderstood. I know that isn’t reality, because the truth is, we all view the things we see and hear through our own filters. Even sometimes through our own insecurities. I’ve come to realize that maybe the comments I’ve heard in regards to ‘how I have time to create or to do the things the refresh me’, maybe it is because we’ve come to a place where we feel that it’s a luxury. A luxury to do the things we love, creating or reading or exercising or whatever refreshes YOU. And that too makes my heart so sad because I know that you can do it. I believe you, too, could do the things you love and that bring you life.

Make it a priority. Set time aside. Plan ahead.

“There’s a big difference between intentional downtime and spacing out, and in a contest, intentional downtime wins hands down. We should recharge our batteries, relax, and get refreshed doing those things we love best.”

I get to make a lot of choices in a day. Choices with what to do with each moment. It’s like what Tsh talks about: intentional downtime or spacing out. The choice is ours to make time and the choice is ours how we spend that time.

I could choose to create, or to write, or to read, or exercise or I could veg out and kill time watching a show or surfing social media sites (I do both, unfortunately more of the social media than I’d like to admit!)

I hope you have “heard my heart” tonight. I hope you know I am by NO MEANS saying, How dare you sit on your bum on the couch and watch a show? Or surf facebook. Or pin on pinterest (um, hello, it’s me talking here). No, no, no.

I just know for myself personally, Setting aside time to do the things you love and that refresh you.

It is LIFE GIVING.

What if we paused and reevaluated our lives and what kinds of things are using up our moments? What are we allowing to fill our days? Are they things that need to be done or perhaps we have things that are robbing precious moments for us? Even the “christiany” things we might do out of habit, take a moment and ask God! Perhaps a quiet time painting or art journaling (okay, that’s totally right up MY alley, but maybe for you that looks different!)

What if we reevaluated in a way that we have allowed time to do the things that bring us life and refresh us? That bring healing to our hearts and minds? I wonder what kinds of things we could accomplish feeling reenergize and refreshed. Feeling healed instead of broken and weary and like we’ve blinked and time is flying by but we can’t exactly say where it’s gone.

Brothers.

When I learned we were having another boy I was oh so excited. Chase would have a little brother! But one thing that somewhat worried me was the age gap. I wanted to have our kiddos close together (that dream has shifted due to what we’ve walked through…I hope to blog about that soon). I wondered what boys, 28 months apart, would be like. Would they be close or would the age gap be awkward and difficult?

(poor quality on some, all photos taken with my phone)

Early, early on in Shailo’s life I realized, the age gap is fine. I think that the age really doesn’t matter actually because I’ve come to realize, brotherhood is brotherhood and boy, it’s the coolest, most heartwarming (and sometimes a physically painful ;)) thing to watch unfold.
Watching Chaseyboy’s immediate love Shailo helped ease my fears too.
His natural desire to protect and comfort him made my heart soar.They also get into a lot of mischief together which either makes me laugh or drives me crazy cray ;)

They both love to cuddle on my lap or next to me in bed. This is something I know, that I know, that I KNOW I will miss greatly when they are older. I’m gunna be ‘that’ momma who wants to hold her teenage sons hand or wants him to sit in her lap or tell her EVERYTHING. bahaha… my poor boys…Chase likes to help me “teach” Shailo things too. He helped me teach Shailo baby sign language and even still when Shailo won’t do it he will say, “Brother/Shailo, say ‘more please’.” while signing. I think it’s too stinkin’ cute.
I adore Shailo’s fascination with Chase. He learned early on how to make the “vroom, vroom”  and train sounds. As soon as he could, he crawled and then walked in Chaseyboy’s footprints. Yesterday was a great example;

When Shailo brought a pair of Chase’s underwear to me. I set them aside and he picked them back up and then lifted his foot as though he wanted me to put them ON him. So I did, over his diaper. He was beyond excited and turned to proudly show his brother! I couldn’t believe it. Super cute and funny!When Chase and Shailo have to go to childcare or be babysat, etc. he always wants to be sure Shailo is going to be with him too and he sticks by his side. Melts mah heart. :)

Each morning, even 11 months later, when Shailo wakes up Chase is so excited to see him. He says “Good morning, Shailo!” or “Good morning, Brother!” Or some mornings, like the one pictured above, if Chase is already awake when Shailo gets up, Shai will look around for brother until he spots him, push his way off my lap or out of my arms and take off to play with brother.

OH, my heart!

I’ve also found something quite interesting and that is Chase is becoming more and more brave. I believe it is a collaboration of becoming a big brother and also, watching his fearless little brother.

It isn’t perfect. There are moments, many times a day, where I am already separating the two or telling them to share, etc. There are moments I feel totally in over my head with two boys, that is true. (Their teenage years Shailo’s going to eat us out of house and home and Chase’s OCD-ness is probably going to drive me INSANE ;)) However, my heart is truly full as I watch this beautiful brotherhood unfold with each new day, new season. I am so very thankful for my two precious boys. I am enjoying their unique personalities and differences and what they draw out of one another in each day and each new season.

Our sweet boys. Brothers.

They continually make my heart overflow…

the birth of seth tyrus maxwell, part two.

Be sure to read the first part of this incredible birth story, here.
Where was I? Oh yes, this incredible, and surprisingly big, baby boy was born.8lbs 14oz 21 14/in … and with a set of healthy lungs!Precious moments with his momma. It was so amazing to watch him just watching her face.Daddy stood by as they did a newborn screening and footprints. 

Big brother Anthem meeting him for the first time. <3
I’m pretty sure he loved him. :)

Such an honour to know such a beautiful family. What a memorable day, the birthday of Seth Tyrus Maxwell.

the birth of seth tyrus maxwell, part one.

October of 2011, I was incredibly honoured when I was asked to photograph my dear friend, Brittany’s birth of her second born son (due this past spring.) Here is my side of one of the most beautiful things I was a part of this year. I am so very excited to share some of the photos I captured from the incredible birth of Seth Tyrus. (My friend had hoped for a home birth but was unable to work insurance issues out. Thankfully she was still able to have a natural birth with a midwife – like she’d hoped!)I received the call at 6:30am Saturday, April 28. The anticipation was over, the day had come for Brittany and Taylor to meet their second son. Her water had broke and they were on their way to the hospital. As things began to progress, Brittany and Taylor updated their family of the news. He was coming! Today was the day!  And what a beautiful day it was; Blue skies and Colorado sunshine to welcome in their sweet baby boy. They walked the halls to help (and at this time, I felt I should let them have their time to talk and process.)When they returned, her midwife arrived and they began to check her progress. Things were speeding up. Having had a quick first labor with their son Anthem Tate, the midwife felt she would most likely have another quick labor. I could see fear and anxiety flicker across my sweet friend’s expression every once and a while. What would this labor be like for her? I prayed quietly as I documented their story.
As quickly as things were progressing, the labor and delivery nurse began preparing for the little one’s birth.The contractions became stronger and her pain became more and more evident.
Her hubby, Taylor stuck by her side and comforted her as she needed it. I could see many emotions in his eyes throughout the birth process but mostly that of pride: pride watching his bride, so strong, sweet and beautiful, as she selflessly birthed their second born.
Her doula, Bethany, documenting the stages of her labor (she is also a friend of mine, I just recently photographed the birth story of her baby girl.)

About 4/4.5 hours in she went into the jacuzzi tub for comfort. This is the part where I prayed my heart out while she labored away. I could sense her fear rising up again.She was so strong, she just needed to believe that for herself too. Taylor stood by her side, affirming her. Bethany and her midwife Julie, also did the same. Her midwife stood, swaying back and forth with her, helping her fight through the contractions. Things began to speed up rather quickly from this moment on out. Her contractions falling closer and closer behind. The time was near. Everyone could feel it. Especially this sweet momma. (If you look at the clock in the photo – to get an idea of just how fast things progressed, she had him about 30 mins later.)There is such an incredible helplessness you feel as you watch a loved one in labor, in such pain. At this point Taylor just simple held her as the waves of labor swept over her. It moved me to tears.
As the time to push drew nearer, Britt closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Taylor never left her side. Bethany touched a cool rag to her forehead for comfort. I prayed and captured these incredibly emotional moments before her son was born.
Perhaps my favourite photo. What an incredible strength. In both of them.I thought it was so beautiful, that in her pain, she reached up and literally clung to her husband, her rock. She clung to him with each push until finally, Seth was born. I don’t even had words. Just tears. Such a beautiful moment and moments to follow. My sweet, strong friend Brittany was incredible.Seth Tyrus Maxwell

April 28, 2012 1:26 pm

8lbs 14oz 21 1/4in

You are an incredibly lucky little boy to have such an incredible, selfless momma and a strong, loving daddy! (Part two to follow…)

Thank you to Brittany and Taylor for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful, miraculous day!

a {different} beautiful dream.

It’s a moment I will never forget, probably because it was one that would either scar a person for life, or move them to tears. It was the very first time I witnessed a birth, at the young age of 13. I was watching the kiddos of my mom’s friend while she labored away in their home. My mom was there and as the time of their daughter’s birth neared, they asked me if I would like to be in the room. I decided I did and I have never regretted that decision since. It was beautiful and I knew at the moment, that was what I hoped for some day. I always knew I wanted a family (being the eldest, I always did), but now I knew how I wanted to birth my children. In the peace of our home.

Years later, I was 24 weeks pregnant, I had a wonderful midwife and a beautiful birth story all planned out.  But they were telling me that I was Group B Strep positive and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have the home birth I had always dreamt of (I later learned, you actually can be GBS + and still have a home birth, but thankfully He knew what we needed at the time). I was crushed. I mean, devesated. I balled and balled. Ted, who was never fully at peace with the idea of a home birth, finally felt peace and knew this was the best decision for us. Then, at almost 42 weeks they told me the likelihood of me having to have a c-section was great. Many factors that weren’t adding up. I felt like the biggest failure, frustrated with my body for being unable to have my baby naturally.

I won’t go into detail Chase’s birth story, if you’re really curious – just click here as I have written his birth story online once before. To sum it up, 42 hours of labor, 3.5 hours of pushing, making it all the way to 10cm only to have him get stuck and unable to fit and come out. I had him by c-section, totally exhausted and drugged up and unable to remember anything or hold him until a day later.

My perspective has greatly changed since we’ve lost Eisley. I have since realized, through our own life experience, that any birth story that is able to bring the baby to your arms, alive, is the really best birth story there is.

Words can’t express how incredibly thankful I am that I was able to have Eisley naturally (vaginally) 73 hours of labor later I met our sweet girl face to face. It wasn’t what I had dreamt when I thought of having a baby but I am so very thankful that I was able to hold my daughter, to see her precious face before we said goodbye, and because of that, I wouldn’t trade any of those 73 hours in for anything. (we just recently had the 2nd anniversaries or her death -september 14th and her birthday – september 17th. Blog post about those precious anniversaries, soon.)

I decided to schedule a c-section with Shailo. There was really no question in my mind. I knew I couldn’t go through another long labor that would potentially result in a c-section, again. And also, I felt a natural birth was too traumatic from going through what we had with Eisley just shy of 14 months before. So, in regards to a c-section, even though it was a dream lost – I was able to have two beautiful boys due to them. So very thankful we live in a day and age that it is possible.

I kind of digress, but I wanted to share a bit of my heart behind what I’m about what I am really blogging about. When I was pregnant with Chase, Eisley and Shailo I enjoyed looking through photographs of birth stories – home births, c-section births, hospital births… I was constantly moved to tears by them. In my pregnancy with Shailo I really felt that God gave me an incredible dream. I wanted to be a birth photographer. I wanted to capture “that moment” for another. You know, that one moment when the mother first meets their baby face to face. The moment when they birth their baby and he/she is placed on their chest. The incredible emotion, the overwhelming love… that moment. That specific moment was one that I was unable to have but I wanted to capture that for someone else.

And, the story beforehand and those precious moments afterwards. But especially the moment the momma (and daddy) first sees their little one.

The question, “How could you photograph…”that moment”… something you’ve never experienced yourself?” started to plague my mind. And while that makes total sense in a way, I had to battle that. I honestly think there will always be this yearning in my heart. Wondering what “that” moment would be like. And even without the experience of a home birth or a completely natural, un-medicated birth, I feel that yearning so strong that I am able to truly capture the moments I would believe to be beautiful – as if it were my birth story. What would I want captured?

Another thing that began to draw out insecurity from within me was knowing that I wasn’t a professional photographer, so how could I just jump right in. My wonderful hubby jumped on board with my dream and wanted to help me in any way possible. So he has been teaching me. :) I have a lot to learn but I can already see a change in the work that I do. And also, I don’t want to be a professional photographer, maybe not ever, right now I just know I want to understand the camera and how to best captures those moments for someone else.

So how do I begin?

I knew that I wanted to start with friends, but even with close friends… how do you ask something like that? “Hi, I’d like to photograph your birth story, what do ya think?” The first thought of many is most likely – “I don’t want …down there… photographed!” haha. Thankfully, I was spared that awkward conversation and just 3 weeks after I shared this dream with Ted (October 2011), a friend of mine called me. She asked if I would consider photographing the birth of their son, Seth. I literally got goosebumps and tears filled my eyes. I was honoured to shoot my first birth in April.

During the birth of my friend Brittany’s son, I was asked to shoot my second birth by another dear friend, Bethany. She was Brittany’s doula and a long time friend and inspiration of mine. The amazing thing is that when I had shared with Ted about my dream, I had told Ted that I wanted to ask Bethany when they got pregnant with their next baby. And not too long later, they shared they were pregnant with baby #7! On September 15th, just a few weeks ago, I shot my second birth – the beautiful birth of their 4th daughter; Lilyana Elaine.

I hope to share both birth stories here soon. Today I will be posting the birth story of Seth Tyrus Maxwell (with permission.)

I am hoping for more wonderful opportunities like the two I’ve had this year. So very thankful for this dream I believe He’s given me and can’t wait to see how He will use this and bless others with it! Possible overseas someday? We shall see!

I just wanted to share a little bit about the story behind this dream that I believe God’s birthed in me (pun intended ;)) Thanks for stopping by!

on the mend. whatever that looks like, that is.

i struggle with what i believe most momma’s struggle with and that is, doing things for ourselves. myself. me. i remember before i had Chase i wanted to be sure that i really focused on yes, being a momma, but also still being who i am too. what makes me, me. doing the things i love all while being his mother.

over the years – and through everything we’ve walked through in his “short” (almost) 3 years – i’ve really began to push that aside. it has {really} hit me recently though. it’s taking it’s toll on me. it’s another reason i decided to keep blogging. i’m a verbal processor, just in case you haven’t figured that out yet ;) and i need the time to process. like really process everything. and i do mean EVERY thing. i’m just wired that way. i often wish i wasn’t.

we recently moved  back to a city where we lived just 2 years ago. {So much} has happened and changed within our family and within us since we’ve moved. i kind of expected a lot out of this move and instead i found that my high expectations were crumbling as i watched the reality kind of set in. and oh so quickly. we are so different than we were when we lived down here. our lives were too. we’re in a completely and totally different place in almost every way than before. i didn’t expect to feel what i feel now.

when we left (YWAM) we still felt young, carefree and adventurous. we left feeling hopeful for a new season and where we felt God was leading us. it was a hard and difficult step to take leaving the (structured) ministry of YWAM and jumping into the (not so structured) ministry of being out here and pursuing our dreams, away from what we had known since graduating High School. we stepped out, rather naive to what we’d be facing. the reality hit us full force. ( i feel like it {still is}). we found out soon after leaving YWAM that we were pregnant with Eisley…

it’s hard to say that “everything went downhill from there” because even though that is true, we wouldn’t trade one minute of {any} of it. we had our beautiful baby girl and for that we could never be more thankful and never regret a moment. yet the reality is, everything did go “downhill” from there. after we lost her, i’ll never forget, around a month after losing her – we were living with my grandparents, broke as could be. we sifted through our things in storage and sold the items that we were using that could bring us in a little money to help with groceries and to pay for diapers. all while grieving and feeling confused (and at the time, still an incredible amount of shock). i remember sitting outside in the sunshine of autumn (thanks, Colorado for being so sunny year-round) and pulling Chase into my arms and just crying my heart out. it felt like it couldn’t possibly get any worse, but to be honest, it hasn’t felt much better (besides the awesome addition to our family! he blesses our hearts so very much!)

i really thought, 2 years from the time we left YWAM, that we’d be in a different place (in so many ways) than where we are now. like i said, we don’t regret anything, but it’s freaking hard out here. and then add to the mix… just everything… we sometimes joke (but are kind of looking at each other like, are you serious, yeah..confused haha) that we need to go back on staff so we can live off with support again. it’s not a bad thing, (please, please, please don’t assume that’s what i’m saying here) we just remember what life was like before and sometimes miss it.

i turned 25 in march. (i have completely avoided my 25 by 25 list, because it’s really too painful, more reminders) i hit my first official identity crisis. no, i am not exaggeratting. i thought many a times wondering, “who am i anymore?!” should i be admitting this to the “world”, maybe not, but i guess my way of thinking is that if you stop in to read my blog, you might care just a tiny bit about us/me.

i was sharing with a dear friend of mine – who has walked beside me literally every step of the way since 2005- about all of this (much more drama and tears while sharing face-to-face ;)). she encouraged me and had a thought and perspective that hadn’t had. during our time away, even though just 2 years, it seems like so much longer and now as we come back, it makes sense why there is this struggle within us. we have changed so much (which i know) while some of the surroundings and even people, have stayed the same. but also, more than that, during our time away, it was a constant fight for our daughter’s life, and our life and survival. now we are here and God has seriously provided us with a beautiful (temporary) home (sunshine galore here, thank you, Jesus!) Ted has a new job that is more uplifting (for the most part and obviously not his dream job) and now we are busy with things in life that are productive for us and our dreams, rather than just busy with survival mode.

and now that we are here, in this place where burdens that once were, seem a little lighter. it hits us. the reality of what we’ve gone through. the shock far gone, and the survival mode no longer on full speed. it hits us. and it’s hard and dark and icky and sucky and frankly, the overwhelming thoughts are hell. hell. hell. how do you even process certain things? … how?!

i know that, really, there is just so much to process and so little time to sit down and actually do that. it’s a matter of being intentional and setting aside time to do so. also, just learning to do this as we keep up with the busyness of life. we’ve realized lately the importance of taking care of ourselves, saying no to this or that so we can actually maybe even process some things. and sometimes maybe it’s just the opposite that we need, saying yes to this or that to get ourselves out of this funk. we’re trying to take this all step-by-step, little by little. in hopes to find a way and time for our hearts to begin mending.

here i am – yet again – admitting i’m (we’re) struggling, broken and confused but this time seeking peace for our family. peace for our broken hearts. peace all the way around. peace amidst this chaotic life.

thanks for listening. :)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

{Psalms 121}