Thursday, November 6, 2014



The past three months have been growing months for me. Growing months, with growing pains. But at the same time, I’ve also had a calmness, hopefulness, and odd sort of peace through the whole process too. A ton has changed for my family in the last three months.


Obviously, the biggest change has been adding little brother to our family. Big sister took that change the hardest. I’ll be honest, the first two weeks weren’t pretty at my house. She struggled to accept the fact that momma just couldn’t play with her and focus on her all day…in fact, momma was stuck on the couch one out of every three hours trying to nurse baby brother. That’s not an easy thing for a two-year-old to adjust to! However, after two weeks or so, she started to understand the routine and began to return to her joyful self. Since then, we’ve certainly had our fair share of tough days, but I’m happy to say that we have more good days than bad. ;) {It’s tough being a toddler, isn’t it?!}

IMG_2152{The kids with Eugene while he covered a HS volleyball match. Big sister is playing with a mini volleyball she was given.}

It wasn’t just our family that changed. Eugene took a new job at a new school and is now an Athletic Director and teaches a couple classes, instead of a full time teacher who coaches two sports. We really miss his old school {just 5 min from our house} and his friends there, but he truly enjoys his job now. He said for the first time, he looks forward to doing his job. He loves students and the school atmosphere, but he just didn’t love teaching. Now, he can still be around students and teachers, but with a sports focus; it’s perfect for him.

It’s a huge blessing to see him happy with his work, but it hasn’t come without sacrifices too. He was hired and started his job just a week or so before baby brother was born. He had a ton of catch-up work to do since he was hired so late, and instead of his plan {prior to this new job} of taking off 2-3 full weeks to stay home with me after the delivery, he no longer was able to do that. He only stayed home a couple days rather than a few weeks. Thankfully, he had some flexibility in his hours, which helped, but it was a much different circumstance than when we had big sister {it was the summer so he was off for a full month with us.} In addition, the AD job requires many evening hours, especially for Fall season which started right when little brother was born. It’s been a personal challenge for me to be supportive and encouraging to him as he works such long days, when I’m equally exhausted from lack of sleep and just the wearing nature of being on my own all day and night with a toddler and a newborn and trying to nurse. I’ve really been feeling God working on my selfish nature and also on my interactions and words towards Eugene. I’m trying to think over my words instead of just spilling them everywhere, encouraging him in action and words, and really trying to see his true intentions before my fatigued self assumes the negative. I won’t pretend that I’ve done well at this, but I’m aware of my incredible ineptness, and I’m trying to improve each day. It’s been a personal refining process for sure, and I’m thankful that his job change has challenged me to be a better wife. I will say, Eugene has been so kind to get home after 17 hours of working and go straight to the sink to wash dishes or immediately do a load of laundry or do bath time so I can have a break. He has been working so hard in the office and then coming home and working just as hard. He’s clearly put our family as his first priority – supporting us with his job, and doing his best to make us his focus when he isn’t working. I appreciate how hard he’s working at being a husband and father, and I wouldn’t want to walk through all this change with anyone else.



Another huge change for us is that I am no longer a full-time Event Coordinator and Department Manager who splits time at the office and at home with a toddler. I recently walked through one of the hardest decisions in my life to actually to implement: I quit my job. Gah, even typing that stirs up some tears of sadness. We planned for me to become a stay-at-home mom when I was pregnant with big sister, well, actually way back when we first talked about getting married. We purposely bought a foreclosed {read: cheaper} house, focused hard on paying off debt, and made other decisions to set us up to be able to survive {barely} on one income. But once I told my employer I didn’t plan on coming back to work after having big sister, God led us a different direction with my job and the offer to work from home a few days a week. Two years later, with this pregnancy, we were pretty certain {unless God showed us a different way again} that I should leave my job once little brother was born. I know it’s what’s best for my family, but it didn’t make it any easier to actually do. I love my job and my employer. I would be happy doing that job until I retire, which I know is a rare thing. I love my coworkers. They’re my friends, and to leave them without a manager during the busy season just broke my heart. However, countering all those feelings was an even stronger feeling on certainty that for right now, in this phase of life, for my family, I need to be home with my children, 100% available to them, and focused on pouring into their lives. Now, just because I knew it was the right decision, didn’t mean it wasn’t a sacrifice to actually make it. It’s a scary thing to quit a job you love and one in which you’ve worked so hard. Selfishly, on the surface I wanted to keep working; however, I just knew deep down it was the best choice for me or my family right now for me to quit…even if it didn’t necessarily feel right every second along the way.

When I actually had my meeting to resign, God graciously confirmed my decision with very positive feedback and affirmation from my CEO and other coworkers. Despite others telling me it was a good choice, once the decision was final, I really struggled mentally with no longer working outside of being a mom. I’m a type A personality. I like having clear expectations, clear measurements for success, clear feedback, and comfortable finances. Also, {I don’t mean this to sound conceited}, but I like doing a job I’m good at. All of those things, they just don’t exist in the SAHM world. I don’t feel like I’m ever doing a good job as a mom. {I’m pretty sure most mom’s experience that feeling too.} I don’t have any clear measurements for success or feedback. My two-year-old can’t tell me I did a good job at the end of the day, and honestly, neither can my husband. I’m learning to try to find my affirmation from my relationship with Christ, but it’s a hard thing for me right now.

My friend gave me good advice of setting goals for the day, like to keep my cool and not lose my temper, prioritize my kids above my to-do list, teach them something new each day, etc. That has helped me stay motivated and focused. And honestly, I’m so busy and involved with two right now, I can’t even imagine working. I always said that I wanted to do my job well, and I would quit my job if I felt like I wasn’t doing my job in the office well or my job at home as a mom well. As humbling as it has been to experience this, I’m completely sure I cannot do both jobs well. Even doing one {being a mom} is a stretch! I’ve been both a working mom and a SAHM, and let me tell you, both are incredibly hard. I Right now, being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I’ve ever done. It’s also the most important job I’ve ever done, so perhaps that’s why it seems so hard to me…I put lots of pressure on myself with the immense responsibility I feel for my kiddos.

It’s been a big change, but with the loss of my job, I’ve also added in other very positive things that I wasn’t able to fit in while working. We go to playgrounds, we play with friends, we go to a weekly Bible Study {BSF}, we hike at the park, we have coffee dates with family, I do a small group with church friends, etc. We stay very busy, but it’s a quality, focused busy, not just preoccupied busy, answering calls and emails while trying to keep little sister distracted. This new kind of busy makes my heart much happier.


I miss work. I miss lots of things about work. But I’m truly happy with the change. I realize I’m so blessed to even have the opportunity to choose not to work. Financially, it’ll be tight, but I’d rather scrimp, live on little for a few years, and even dip into our savings if we have to. I’m okay with being poor. It’ll be a sacrifice for us, but one we’re happy to make. As cliché as it sounds, even if we’re poor financially, because we’re living how we want to and how we think God wants us to, in my eyes, that means we are pretty rich! I may take on a part-time job later on, but for now, this is where we are – Eugene working his tail off at a new school, and me working my tail off at home with the kids. I’m learning so much about myself and humbly seeing many areas in which I need to grow. We are adapting. We are maturing. We are showing each other grace through the sometimes painful process of change. And we are most certainly blessed.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Makeshift family pictures.

Okay, in case you were wondering, I’m still alive…despite my lack of presence on this blog. It’s a little time-consuming keeping up with a two-year-old and feeding an infant! I have a lot of pictures from the past two and a half months that I hope to post on here sometime soon. Maybe when my kids are 20 and 22 I’ll get around to posting them. ;)

Anyway, here’s some makeshift family pictures. As hard as it is to take a shower, squeeze into my too-small jeans, get the kids dressed/fed/groomed, and drive to a park before it’s time to feed little brother again – I pushed to get these pictures because I know I’ll want to see my little ones and our sweet family at this stage in life. Exhausting, but probably worth it.

I asked Eugene’s sister to take some pictures for me. Basically I posed us and told here where to put the focus dot, and then she’d snap it for us. It was more challenging than I expected to pose a picture that I’m supposed to be in –just kind of odd. I’m really appreciative to Rita {and Mark} for their willingness to tag along with us and help us out. Not surprisingly, I think I look gross in all these pictures, but I still think we got a few good ones of everyone else. {It’s really tough to adjust to the constantly changing body of pregnancy/post-pregnancy fluctuations. Not fun. I miss my volleyball days when my body was that of an athlete.} Okay, I’m off topic. Blame it on the lack of sleep. Enough rambling – here are the pictures.










Life as a family of four sure has been different. It’s been a growing season for me especially. I’ll try to share more on that later too. I look at these pictures and see two complete miracles. I’m so humbled to see the pictures of us. It’s still surreal to me. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to the idea that I’ve been gifted two sweet babies and a husband who loves us. Truly a gift.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Backyard photo session for little brother.

I captured a handful of photos of little brother in our backyard while he was napping. I’m pretty sure I’ll cherish these forever. I love this sweet little guy and his big sister too.









That last pic. Oh my, love.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Pictures from the hospital.

I have a feeling most of my posts are going to be pretty much all pictures for a while. It’s much quicker to skip the writing part – plus sleep deprivation doesn’t go well with attempting to write anything coherent! Below are some pictures we took while in the hospital after the birth of little brother. Big sister absolutely loved getting to hold her brother.











I love my little family of four. God is so good.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baby brother’s birth.

I’m two weeks late on this, but Eugene & I are overflowing with joy to announce the birth of our son!


His birth story is quite a bit different from his sister’s. Although, similar to his sister, he decided to come after I attended a Bible study. Guess the Spirit really moves my kiddos! ;)  I went to a Bible study at 7pm on Monday night. I was having some contractions, enough to where I decided to start timing them. During the Bible study they were anywhere from 10 to 20 min apart and starting to get more intense and regular. The whole day I was feeling a little weird. I told Eugene that I thought I felt off, and I even predicted that I’d have the baby on Tuesday because I worked a LONG and HOT outdoor event on Sunday. When I had big sister, she also came two days after a huge military event I coordinated.


Like I said, during my Bible Study from 7-9pm, I was having semi-regular contractions…enough that I started to time them. I didn’t really think much of them because I had tons of contractions the last month or so of my pregnancy. It was just normal to have them off and on throughout the day. When I got home from Bible Study, I talked to Eugene a little about our days, then got ready for bed. We laid down around 10:30pm, read a chapter from Psalms together, prayed together, then turned off the light. Eugene usually falls asleep way faster than I do, so try to use that quiet time to have some personal prayer myself. I kid you not – I was praying to God, “I trust your timing, Lord, but if it’s your will, please let the baby come in the next day or two.” During that exact prayer, I felt a pop/small burst, and I knew my water had broken. I told Eugene and he jumped out of bed and began packing. {He isn’t one to pack bags ahead of time…luckily, I had already packed my bag and big sister’s bag.} I told Eugene I didn’t want to leave right away and I wanted time to make sure it was my water breaking. Last time, my water broke around 4pm, and I didn’t have the baby until almost 7am. I didn’t see the need to rush to the hospital just to hang out walking the halls again.


Eugene’s mom came over to sleep at our house so we didn’t have to wake up big sister. {Thank you, Lori!} I got my stuff together, washed my hair, {yes, I wasn’t about to have greasy hair for 2 days in the hospital!}, and we headed in to the hospital about 30 minutes after my water initially broke.

When we got there, we checked in, and headed to triage. I answered 2,000 questions, and then they checked my progress. The nurses kept saying how difficult it was to tell because the baby was so incredibly low. Eventually they told me I was already at 6 cm and having regular contractions. This was going to be much quicker than the first time!

I asked for a nurse who was comfortable with a birth without pain medicine, and God gave me an absolutely amazing nurse. Complete blessing! Nicole, my nurse, got me on antibiotics {I tested positive for Group B Strep}, and then she kindly suggested a few tips to get the labor moving even quicker – rocking my hips on my birthing ball, moving to all fours on the bed, and relaxing my lower muscles with each contraction. She was helpful but not forceful or overbearing. I cannot praise her enough – she made my whole labor experience so much better than my first!


My sister and Eugene were there to help me through the painful contractions. My sister played with my hair, got me water {I was ridiculously thirsty the whole time}, and massaged/put pressure on my back during the contractions. Eugene stood in front of me while I would lean all my weight on him and bear hug him with each contraction. He would talk me through them and let me know when the contraction was almost over by watching the monitor. That was really helpful for me to know when each one was almost over. I just remember saying how sleepy and tired I was. I seriously wanted to fall asleep while sitting on the birthing ball. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and I could hardly hold myself up {which is why I wanted to lean on Eugene.} Without Nicole, Eugene, and my sister, I couldn't have made it through the labor and delivery without pain medication or without keeping my sanity! ;)


My water broke around 10:40pm, and little brother arrived a short 4 hours and 40 some minutes later. Waaay faster this time! It was intense. Very strong contractions, but thankfully I didn’t have back labor this time. That back labor and pitocin last time was AWFUL. I am so thankful that I didn’t experience either of those this time around.

This time around the doctor was already at the hospital, which is a good thing because I transition to being ready to push ridiculously fast. Once it was time to push, it only took 15 minutes or less to meet little brother. I think the labor was easier this time around, but delivery and after delivery was much more painful this time. Perhaps the epidural I got way too late last time actually kicked in ever so slightly to take the edge off of the after delivery part. This time, not so much…I’ll spare you details on that. ;)


As painful and unpleasant as this delivery was, I had a great labor and delivery. Little brother was surprisingly extremely active through the whole labor so I never had to worry if he was okay. I made it through it as I wanted to, without an epidural. I had an awesome nurse and support, enough time to get a full dose of antibiotics in, and it went much faster this time…without pitocin or back labor! Seriously, God was all over every aspect of baby brother’s birth. Thank you, Lord!


We are so in love with this little guy. What an absolute blessing he is.


Friday, July 25, 2014

A quick get-away.

We’ve been really busy. We’re always busy, but lately, it’s been even more-so than usual. Neither of us had time to plan a vacation, but we had ONE weekend in all of June/July/August that wasn’t already busy with some obligation for one of us. I knew I really wanted to go somewhere to reconnect with Eugene, and also to give the little one some special attention before she’s no longer an only child. My hormonal, indecisive self couldn’t function enough to plan a trip, but thankfully, Eugene saved the day {or my summer} by booking a hotel and buying zoo tickets on a Friday night, just in time for us to leave the next morning.

We woke up at normal time {read: early, thanks to a certain two-year-old}, ate breakfast, got our stuff together and headed 2.5 hours away to Toledo. The little one napped in the car, thankfully. So the trip there wasn’t too bad, other than construction. We stayed one night at a hotel that had an indoor pool so the little one could swim, and then we woke up and headed to the Toledo Zoo. {I didn’t know until Eugene told me, but the Toledo Zoo is ranked #1 in the Nation by USA Today.} We stayed as long as the little one could handle, which worked out to be perfect. She reached her max right around 2pm, and we had finished almost all of the exhibits in that 4 hours, so we headed home and she napped before we pulled out of the parking lot!


Our hotel room had a nice view of the river…


Not surprisingly, she loved swimming with Dada – mainly jumping in nonstop…


We walked across the river and enjoyed a nice dinner at a restaurant on the river. {Pardon the blurry phone pic.}

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She was so enthralled with the boats. It didn’t matter whether the boat was moving full speed or docked!

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She and her daddy got some really good time together on this trip. He’s been working some crazy hours lately, so it made my heart so happy to see them get such quality time.

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And here begins the zoo pictures. Quick family photo before we entered the zoo. {BIIG ole belly! Only 4 weeks to go!}


We got to see them feed the penguins first…


There was a nice playground right next to the penguin exhibit, so we couldn’t escape without a few rides down the slide “all by myself!” {She’s getting so independent!}


Since she loves Curious George, I figured she’d like the primate exhibits. She was so focused the whole time, not even smiling, but I could tell she was just taking it all in. Later on, she talked with excitement about how the monkeys were eating fruit and swinging.  

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I like the picture above to the right. Two sets of gorillas in love, ha!


I have had a longstanding fear of birds, but I faced that fear and willingly walked into the free-flying Parakeet exhibit. I can’t say I really enjoyed it, but I survived. ;)


She loved the elephant exhibit, kept wanting to go back to that one.


The picture above is her mimicking the horns. 


I think her favorite exhibit was the seals. It was really the only time she broke her intense focus with a laugh. The seal would zoom by her and she’d just smile and giggle.


Eugene & I both liked the polar bear exhibit. This guy was so playful and active, jumping off the ledge and diving after a bucket….


You can tell by her tightening grip around her daddy’s neck that she wasn’t as big of a fan as we were. I guess it is a little scary to see a huge bear flopping around right in front of you!


The zoo was great. It had an incredible interactive kids area that would have been perfect if the little one were even just a year older. The zoo was reasonably priced, was clean, contained well-communicated exhibits and paths, had lots of places to sit and enjoy a picnic lunch, had a fun playground area and ample restroom facilities {which is important with a potty trained toddler & a pregnant lady!}, and had interactive experiences to enjoy throughout the day. I’d recommend the Toledo Zoo for sure.


We had a great little get-away, and I’m so thankful that we got to experience it together. I love my family. {So much.}


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