Hell0, 2017!

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I have a love/hate relationship with midnight, New Year’s Eve. I appreciate the opportunity to turn a new leaf, but I am very nostalgic, so I always cry as we bid farewell to another year. One year, Andrew and I took a getaway over New Year’s with two couples. While the other five were drinking sparkling cider and watching fireworks from the balcony, I was sitting inside with tears streaming down my face. It’s become a big joke…my friend Brittney always texts me to ask how my annual cry was. ;)

This year, I missed the countdown. My hubby was in bed and I was in the dark living room feeding my baby. I felt contented and peaceful as I looked at the clock and realized it was midnight, 2017. I didn’t cry.

I’ve come a long way in the past year. When I reflect on where I was at as of January 1, 2016, I am thrilled to see tangible ways that God changed and grew me. If I had to pick one word to describe my 2016 “journey” it would have to be “trust”. I continued down the path of learning to give my mommy anxiety to God and let Him care for my little ones. I gave our future job/ministry plans to God as we waited for Him to open doors. I let go of stressing about when God would give us another baby. Over and over, God met our needs and gave us answers, sometimes to questions we hadn’t even thought to ask. He showed me repeatedly that trusting Him is always best, and He is always faithful. I am so grateful for the work He did in me, through pain and through joy, and I look forward to 2017 with great anticipation for what He will accomplish!

In some ways, with the excitement of a new baby and Andrew’s completion of seminary, the New Year caught me off guard. So I’m behind on goals and plans. But here are a few scattered ones I’ve been mulling over for awhile. These are mostly practical/tangible. There are also many other ways I am asking God to grow me in godliness and Christlikeness this year.

I am purposing NOT to push through the days and “just try to make it” to crib time or bed time or Daddy getting home. All the frustrations and accidents and challenges that happen on our way to those times of respite are what these little years are made of. How can I wish them away?? I want to be very present and to enjoy my children even when it is hard to see past the spilled juice and the meltdowns and the blowouts. These sweet little souls will only be little for so long and I will choose to embrace this season, each part of it!

I hope to grow in my prayer life, to sieze many small opportunities to commune with God throughout my day. I have grown in being faithful to actually pray for people when I say I will, and I desire to be even more consistent in this and remember to check in with those I am lifting up.

I will seek to grow in having a “helper mindset” toward Andrew. To be flexible and adaptable, eager to free him up for ministry to others. I was dependedent on him so much last year when I was in the throes of pregnancy sickness, and I am excited to use my good health and energy this year to better serve and help him fulfill his callings. I want to be a gracious and humble wife, with low expectations.

I desire to train our children with their salvation and love for the gospel in mind. To correct for the purpose of showing them their need for Christ and His perfect fulfillment of that need, rather than for the purpose of making my life easier, making me look good, etc. I want to train them unselfishly with true, biblical love, and to be consistent and not lazy in my correction.

I will take consistent preventative measures to build up our immune systems as best we can, while knowing that God alone oversees our health. I did some research over the past few months and with Andrew’s permission, picked a few realistic things to create our new daily supplements “regimen”. They are a good probiotic (I’ll be rotating which one we take every few weeks), vitamin C, and cod liver/fish oil. I also just bought elderberries to make elderberry syrup, and we have almost entirely cut refined sugar from Caleb’s diet. I am still taking my prenatal vitamins, magnesium, and a large dose of Vitamin D daily, per my midwife. I hope these efforts help us achieve a healthier year, but I know that God is in charge of whether or not we get sick.

I hope to read six books. I hope I read more, but I figured I’d start with a super realistic goal and go from there. ;)

These are a few of my random goals for 2017, what’s left of it now that we’re in February. :) What are you working toward?

{Mommy Journal} Fun Times in the Postpartum Ward

baby4-001There’s so much I want to blog so I don’t forget!

After Caleb was born, Andrew and I spent a few minutes adoring him and crying while I got some minimal tearing stitched up. I texted a photo of me and Caleb to my mom with the message “You can come in shortly! Will call you!” They took Caleb to get his weight and measurements and give him the Vitamin K shot.

A few minutes after delivery, Rachel brought my mom in from the waiting room. I cried and said something about how hard it had been and how sorry I was she had waited for so many hours . Of course, she was nothing but a puddle of happy tears and was so thrilled to meet Caleb.

Eventually my wonderful labor and delivery nurse got us baby2-001ready for postpartum. I rode in a wheelchair and held my baby proudly as we made our way through hallways and onto elevators, eventually reaching our cramped but private postpartum room.

In my opinion, hospitals have committed an enormous oversight when it comes to their postpartum procedures. If ever there was a patient who should be left alone to get rest during the night, it’s a woman who has just been in 19 hours of active, unmedicated labor and now has a new baby to feed every 2-3 hours.

My nurses were sweet, but the first problem was the plural: nurses. There were two, and neither knew what the other was doing. One would come in to give me a Motrin or take my blood pressure and the other would show up shortly after, just as I was finally settling again, to do the same thing. They always turned on the light and used loud voices despite the fact that Andrew was sleeping.

They announced that they would come and weigh Caleb at midnight. I asked if they could come at 11:00 and they agreed. But after one nurse did so, the second nurse popped in at 11:30 to weigh him. When I told her it had been done, she said, “Oh good. Get some rest!” Yeah. I was trying. 

The first time Caleb cried that evening, Andrew sat up and said, “Where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital,” I replied. “We had our baby!”

baby3-001Andrew stared at me. “Really?”

“Yep.”

“Oh,” he said, and laid back down with the blankets over his face. That’s when I realized how exhausted he was after being my physical and emotional rock during labor.

Around 11:30 PM, my mom, who had bedded down in the waiting room, walked in with her suitcase because she had been kicked out. (Keep in mind that she, too, had been up the whole previous night in the waiting room awaiting baby news.) She wasn’t allowed to stay in our room, so we considered finding her a hotel, but I didn’t know where our car was parked and it would have taken a bucket of ice water to bring Andrew to full consciousness. Fortunately, our nurse decided to turn a blind eye to my mom’s presence. After trying to explain the situation to Andrew, who was still in another world, I (literally) drug him off of his cot and into the hospital bed, which comfortably accommodated both of us, and my mom settled onto the cot.

baby1-001Of course, by this time it was midnight and Caleb was hungry again. I had gone through the hardest ordeal of my life and hadn’t slept for 40+ hours (except the tiny cat naps I took between some of my contractions), but I was so in love with my new baby, I almost didn’t notice the exhaustion! The nurse showed up again with a Motrin and said she’d be back at 4 AM.

“Could you come later?” I begged. “I’d really like to get some sleep.” She agreed to return at 6:00 AM. How gracious.

The next morning, we all had a good laugh about my poor mom’s predicament, as well as the fact that she’d been wheeling her suitcase everywhere and wearing the same clothes for three days. She jokingly called herself a refugee and described going for coffee with her suitcase in tow. I also pointed out the irony of the situation: I, the one who had given birth, was busy interfacing with the nurses and arranging accommodations for my mom and husband in between feeding the baby. It was all quite amusing.

Our Sunday in the hospital was filled with visits from all kinds of professionals, some of whom I had not agreed to see. Hearing tester, hospital photographer, lactation consultant, pediatrician, birth certificate official…it was an endless stream of strangers that made rest impossible. I was thrilled and relieved when Andrew informed me that he would be fully supportive of a birthing center delivery next time. I hope that will work out and am already looking forward to a quieter postpartum experience!

Bottom line: we made some humorous memories, our baby survived unscathed, and home never felt so wonderful. =)

{Seminary Journal} Our First Shepherds’ Conference

    1972323_10152333440573109_40077871_n Life has been bouncing along down here in LA. Last week was our first Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church. Thousands of pastors from around the world flocked to the campus for fellowship with one another and refreshment, encouragement, and exhortation from God’s Word. It was a tremendously joyous week for many of us involved in various capacities. I already can’t wait for next year!

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The conference kicked off with the seminary student body singing O For A Thousand Tongues and Lift High the Cross. I proudly watched my dashing hubby from the conference bookstore, where I enjoyed working most of Wednesday.

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The event’s highlight for us was having my parents fly down. My dad attended all three days of the conference with Andrew, which was a blast to observe, and my mom and I spent hours cooking, laughing, eating, and talking books, marriage, and ministry. Both my parents were able to meet most of our close seminary and church friends throughout the week. It is always a huge treat for me to introduce my family to my friends, and vice versa. I also had the privilege of taking in one of Al Mohler’s sessions online, and John MacArthur’s closing session in an overflow room. Andrew and my dad came home every day overflowing with all the excellent teaching they had taken in and spilled it over to my mom and me. It was a joy to see them so encouraged and built up in the Word.

Andrew and I came home with stacks of new books, many of which I’m excited to dive into and hopefully review here in future months. The biblical resources available to us were endless!

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There’s no way we could have planned the events of the week to work out better. It was a special gift from start to finish. My parents spoiled us rotten with a couple of delicious meals out, and my mom and I squeezed in an IKEA field trip as well. That store is a lot more fun with her than by myself! All-in-all, last week was one we’ll look back on with fondness for years to come. I miss my parents, but my heart is overflowing with the precious memories we shared.

A Christmas Puzzle (And Other Traditions)

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Christmas is only 44 days away and I can hardly wait. If you missed my advent book, family holiday movies, and children’s Christmas story recommendations, be sure to check them out. It’s never too early to start planning ahead for jolly family memories.

We have a few Christmas traditions coming up, many of which are adopted from things our families did when we were growing up. Some of my favorites:

1. We build this puzzle together and eat chocolate chip cookies. I usually contribute about ten pieces and Andrew does the other four hundred and ninety. Consider picking a Christmas puzzle to bring out every December!

2. We go to a U-cut farm and pick the perfect Christmas tree. We give him a name (past names are Stanley, Burton Guster, and Maurice) and drink hot cocoa while we decorate him.

3. We put on pajamas and drive around to look at Christmas lights.

4. We watch Elf and as many of the Christmas movies referenced above as possible.

There are others, but those are a few of my favorites. I’m so excited to be hand making several Christmas gifts this year, too. Nothing like getting crafty around the holidays! I may ban Andrew from my blog for a few weeks and post how his gift turns out. =)

44 days…

Turning 24 at Disneyland

A friend of ours gave us free tickets to Disneyland and California Adventure. I was ecstatic. I’ve wanted to visit the happiest place on earth with Andrew SO BAD but figured it wouldn’t happen anytime soon. We used the tickets to enjoy the parks on my birthday. Turning 24 while grinning in Mator’s Junkyard, screaming down the Tower of Terror, and laughing on our ride through Monster’s, Inc. was memorable and special. I’m spoiled rotten to have a hubby who would take the whole day off of homework to celebrate with me. He’s hard at work studying Hebrew around the corner now. =)

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Cubed 09/13/2013

Here’s a quick photographic glimpse into just a few pieces of the past month.

Our homemade bows for Bow Tie Sunday.

Our homemade bows for Bow Tie Sunday.

California driver's license came!

California driver’s license came!

Homework by the sea.

Homework by the sea.

The beautiful Grace Church courtyard.

The beautiful Grace Church courtyard.

A good book and iced coffee, poolside.

A good book and iced coffee, poolside.

Bringing lunch to my favorite student.

Bringing lunch to my favorite student.

In-N-Out shake date!

In-N-Out shake date!

My work spot in the TMS library.

My work spot in the TMS library.

Boogie boarding is our new favorite.

Boogie boarding is our new favorite.

Cooking meatloaf on a cooler day - 83 degrees!

Cooking meatloaf on a cooler day – 83 degrees!

Cubed 08/07/13

We are into our new apartment! I’ll be posting a photo tour of it sometime in the next week or two. We absolutely love it and are thankful beyond words that God provided something so perfect for us. It far exceeded our expectations or even hopes.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the last week-and-a-half, cubed. So much more happened, but I’m not very consistent about photographing it.

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Last softball game.

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Welcome treats from Andrew’s mom.

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Leading the campout Olympics again.

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Snuggles with Tilly.

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A coffee/dump/errand run with Jordan.

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Morning coffee at the campout.

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Saying goodbye to our place in Bellingham.

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Crepes date in Fairhaven with my Frog.

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Visiting Jordan at his work place.

Best friends saying goodbye.

Best friends saying goodbye.

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Cousins/best friends reunited.

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Driving by the church/seminary.

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Our awesome moving team.

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Arriving at the apartment for the first time.