Sunday, August 30, 2015

Eliza Scout & the craziest 42 minutes of my life

I'm pretty sure I felt like I was in a movie. You know, the crazy kind that are only made up in someone's imagination. Thursday night around 7, I looked over at Aaron and all we could muster was, "did that just happen?"

Let's backtrack. Baby girl had been teasing me for 10 days with false labor and talk of being 3 centimeters dilated. I went to the hospital once for high blood pressure and almost another time with contractions. My due date was quickly approaching and so was Everett's first day of kindergarten, so Thursday morning I was anxious to know if the doctor thought baby girl would be here soon. He wasn't sure, but offered to strip my membranes to see if it would kick start anything. He also let me know I was 4 centimeters. All day I was in pain, but no contractions. I was feeling pretty defeated. I was also feeling pretty restless with my body hurting and starting to wonder why I asked him to mess with anything. 

Both boys took a long nap and were slow to wake up. Everett got up and was still tired, so we relocated to the couch to read books. Aaron had gotten home and was messing with bills at the dining room table. We were sitting and looking through Where's Waldo when the chaos began. Out of nowhere, I felt a pop and then my water broke. I knew the feeling because my water broke with both boys and I took off racing out of the living room. We just had the floors refinished and for whatever reason it made sense to just go run out the open back door onto our patio. As I stood there, I immediately had a contraction that was 2 minutes long and felt like a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. I yelled to Aaron that he better call his mom right this instant and got on the phone to call my doctor.  I got the answering service and then an even worse contraction and then I promptly told him he better have one of his brothers meet us at the hospital. After another wave of crazy contractions, Aaron realized how serious the situation was. In a matter of about 5 minutes, Aaron got both boys dressed and loaded into the car and I climbed in too. 

Our new house is 8 minutes to the hospital. (PRAISE THE LORD!) I was screaming pretty much the whole way. My contractions were now coming 1-2 minutes apart. Aaron said he started thinking that we may actually have the baby in the car on the way, but was acting calm. Meanwhile, our poor kids were sitting in the back seat trying to figure out what in the world was going on. In between contractions I would look back and say something like - "Mommy is okay, baby sister is just coming!" I'm not sure they were convinced. I was positive everyone was driving slow on purpose. Didn't they know I was about to have a baby and in the car if they didn't hurry?! After what seemed like forever, we pulled into the hospital and my doctor called me back. I let her know I was in crazy pain and the contractions were a minute apart. We pulled up to the entrance and I stumbled out mid-contraction yelling to the valet guy to get me a wheelchair. I hobbled over and sat down while Aaron got the boys out of the car. He left it there running and we headed inside. At this point, I can only imagine how we looked. Me screaming in pain, Aaron pushing me in the wheelchair with 2 little boys running alongside us. Ridiculous. Also, sorry valet guy.

Whatever I said to the doctor must have made an impression, because she was standing there with a team of nurses waiting for me when we rolled into labor and delivery. Everything happened so fast that Aaron's family wasn't able to get to the hospital yet, so one of the nurses took Everett and Graham into a side room to watch a show and color. The next 20 minutes are a complete blur for me. If you ask Aaron he'll say, " I've never met that person before" referring to my behavior. I told them I wanted an epidural, which I and everyone else clearly knew was not going to happen. I am positive that my screaming was heard by everyone on the floor. (oops?) They were able to get an IV in me, get the contraction and baby monitors on and check me. I was 7/8 centimeters and yelling that I couldn't do this and trying to rip the monitors off because they were "too tight." Aaron was calm and just kept holding my hand and telling me to breathe.  Five minutes later (after being at the hospital for only 15 minutes), I knew I had to start pushing. 2 contractions and 3 pushes later and there was our baby girl on my chest. I could not believe it. WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! From my water breaking on the couch, to pushing Eliza out was 42 minutes. That's less time than it takes me to make dinner some nights. After laboring with both boys for 12 hours after my water broke, I am still in shock how everything happened. 

Ten minutes later, Everett and Graham came into the room to meet their baby sister and see that their Mommy was alive and well. A nurse let them know I was a superhero, which they thought it was awesome and I felt like one after all that craziness. The crazy, scary, painful, wild birth was all worth this insanely sweet face that came out. Eliza's clavicle broke in her quick entrance. We're thankful with all that could have gone wrong, that was the extent of the damage.

Eliza Scout --- you were worth every single one of those crazy 42 minutes. We are madly in love with you already.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

home sweet home.

A year ago, I wrote THIS post and in it I said,

"If we've learned anything though, it is to wait patiently on what God has for us. And waiting is hard to do." 

And it has been. I'm certain that no one, least of all me, thought that a year later we would be still adventuring in Aaron's parents' basement. We thought we would find that home early fall, but early fall came and went. We decided to hunker down for the winter and continue to save and search for that infamous home we'd been dreaming of. Our realtors started calling it our unicorn home. Aaron's mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in December. We could clearly see God's plan and purpose for her and us in living with them. Winter was hard, but we continued to believe in the Lord's timing and provision for us. All spring we searched for that home. We only found one home that met what we wanted and it didn't work out. The months began to run together. I started to become discouraged. And then, one Friday night at the end of May, we found it. It's a beautiful, old red brick built in 1850 with a barn and a few glorious acres. As I got out of the car, I could hear 'this is the place' ringing in my ears. It was in the perfect location, central to everything and exactly what we'd been looking for. There were reminders of my childhood home everywhere I turned with old radiator heat and the red brick and the honeysuckle growing in the backyard. It was like there was a little piece of Pittsburgh right there in the middle of Chester county for us to live in. And as we walked around, I knew. This was the place. Surprisingly, Aaron agreed.

In the past year, the waiting was hard and so was the uncertainty, but the Lord was good to us. He continued to provide abundantly for our needs. He knew that we would be there to encourage, help and distract Diane through surgery and (almost to the exact day) her hard 6 months of chemo. He knew that house wouldn't show up on the market until May 29th and didn't give us desire for anything less than what we'd been hoping, dreaming and praying for.

So, as of today, we are homeowners once more. We bought a house that will hopefully be ours for a long time. Our daughter will be born here. Our kids will start school here. We hope to grow old here together. We will have new memories, new adventures, and certainly more challenges. We are so grateful for this last year. We are so grateful for the Windles and their love and generosity in sharing their home with us. We are grateful for the way the last year stretched us and challenged us. And more than anything we are grateful that this year has shown us with complete certainty that home is found with each other and not in a place.

Friday, May 22, 2015

2.5 and totally his own


There's so much to say about this kid. His personality is SO big. He is so unique, so funny, and such a rascal. He is headstrong and independent. The phrase "marches to the beat of his own drum" was most certainly made for him. He plays just as happily alone as he does with Everett. Graham loves to accessorize. He is quite opinionated on what he wants to wear. His favorite color is "neen" (green) and he insists on wearing his choice of belt, hat, maybe a mask, and sunglasses daily. Case in point:

His shoes are always on the wrong feet, mainly because he insists on putting them on himself and he legitimately believes they belong there. There have been multiple occasions where I put his shoes on for him and I'll look an hour later and they are back on the wrong feet. He knows he is 2, but often says he is 5 just like Everett. He also thinks he plays soccer like Everett and shows up to his games in cleat and "ball shorts" as he calls them. Graham is a daddy's boy. Every morning he asks where Aaron is and then cries when I tell him work. He won't sit still to watch any kind of television, except Star Wars, which we found out he will sit for the entire 2 hour movie. Let's just say we've been watching a lot of that trilogy lately. Graham is a problem solver and insists on figuring things out on his own. He MUST put on his own pants and shorts and shoes. He isn't interested in help. He finds ways to get jobs done, whether pushing a chair across the room to rinse something off in the sink or climbing on the dining room table to get to the chandelier. Graham loves being outside. Most mornings he wants to go out as soon as he's awake and then we have to force him to come inside at night. I never knew such a little person could have so much personality. I love it.

Mr. Independent - we are so in love with you and all your antics. Life is exponentially more fun because you're in it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

and baby girl makes 5

Back on Easter, we announced that the Windles will soon be a party of 5 come September. Not only that, but we're evening out the numbers some and having a sweet baby girl!

From the very beginning, Aaron and I both thought we were having a little girl. I was so sick the first trimester, so much worse than with the boys. Add in a rough winter and by the time 12 weeks rolled around, I wasn't quite ready to announce the pregnancy. We decided to wait until we knew the gender to make an announcement. Thankfully, Aaron's cousin is an ultrasound technician and was sweet enough to let us know what we were having at 18.5 weeks, which was 2 weeks before my scheduled ultrasound. I wanted to announce it to my family in person over Easter. I started thinking that it'd be fun to send them on an easter egg hunt to find out. I bought a golden easter egg and hid it with the kids easter eggs for their easter egg hunt. I filled it with pink glitter and then let my family know it was hidden in the yard somewhere. It was fun watching their reactions. My parents have 4 grandsons (after having 3 daughters), so I think everyone was surprised and excited! As we were taking the pictures of the boys I asked them if they knew what the pink meant. They had no idea, which was hilarious. They're both excited about a baby sister and have had a lot of practice with their 2 baby girl cousins, Lyla and Adelyn. 

Baby girl - we can't wait to meet you and love you dearly already! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

a hand full (five years) of Everett.

I can't believe it. It's been 5 years since Everett made me a mama. I remember his birthday and the days after so vividly. I remember wondering how we were going to do this. The truth is, some days I still wonder that, but I also wonder how in the world I got so lucky to have this sweet boy as my own. He's a mama's boy through and through. He looks like me. He's wild and crazy like his daddy. He has grown into his role as big brother and loves Graham so well. There have been countless mornings that he wakes me up to watch the sun rise with him. He loves listening to worship music and playing with legos. He is so smart and loving. He has the best dimples. He expects everything to be easy for him, so we've started learning what perseverance is and how sometimes we have to keep trying until we get it. He is a great helper. He loves playing with his friends and cousins. He says the funniest things, often sounding like a 50 year old, not 5. He is still shy at first, but also loves to have everyone's attention. I'm so grateful that he's mine. I'm so grateful for the gift that he is to us. I'm so humbled by the responsibility to raise him in this world.

Everett man,
Never stop being the funny, wild, kind kid that you are. You are a gift to everyone that knows you, especially me. I'm praying that in this year full of transitions you will know how important, loved and precious you are to us and to the Lord.

I love you dearly,

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

lots of love - Aunt Barb

Last Wednesday, I got a call from my dad. My Aunt Barb passed away unexpectedly from a flu related heart attack. I was left reeling. It was shocking and hard to even fathom. My aunt had never married and, therefore, treated my sisters and cousins much like her own kids. We were the pictures on her desk at work and the stories she told her girlfriends. She was the aunt that, as a kid, always bought us the cool toys and took us cool places. As an adult, she and I bonded over our mutual love of history, Downton Abbey, well manicured nails, and my 2 little boys. As I walked around our little home, I found signs of Aunt Barb everywhere --- a christmas card from her still sitting on the windowsill, an album she made Everett of her visit to our house and numerous toys and gifts she gave the boys. As the week went on, I thought about all the things that my aunt meant to me and I realized I wanted everyone else to know those things too.

On Monday, we celebrated her for the incredibly important woman that she was to us and I had the privilege to speak about her. I prayed all week that I would be able to honor her in the way she deserved and hope that I did. There is a void that she leaves that can't be filled. It's so hard, but I'm so thankful that I've had someone in my life who loved me like she did.


"Over the years, I've realized that there were things that I could always count on my Aunt Barb for.

First, I could always count on Aunt Barb being late. We knew that if she said she would be there at noon, that meant she would actually be there around 3. It was "Barb time." My dad often tells me I've inherited the late gene from her.

Another thing I could always count on my Aunt Barb for was expanding my horizons. Whether it was introducing me to Estee Lauder make-up as a teenager or getting me some kind of unique and artsy gift, she always had a way of taking me outside of my norm. Aunt Barb was always showing up to family events with some kind of intricate Martha Stewart or Paula Deen recipe. So, while the rest of us were making lasagna or cold cuts, Aunt Barb was bringing an arugula salad with pine nuts and goat cheese. The funny thing is that as I got older, I started asking for the recipes.

But more than anything, I could count on Aunt Barb to love me in very intentional ways.  From attending countless soccer games and school events and graduations, she always showed up and supported me. As an adult, I knew that she loved me by the way she continued to pursue me --- she pursued me to spend time with her and came to visit us, even all the way in Philly (and you know how much she hated to drive). She sent letters and cards and little packages for the boys. When I'd talk about Aunt Barb Everett would say, "You mean Aunt Barb who always gets us fun things?"

When she first got a phone and could text me, she signed her texts like an email: LOL, Aunt Barb. Finally, after a few weeks, I had to ask her what was so funny. She let me know that when she wrote LOL she meant lots of love. I noticed after that she signed all her cards in that unmistakeable font with lots of love, Aunt Barb. And I think that phrase speaks a lot about her life. It reminds me of the verse in Ephesians that says, "Be imitators of God, therefore, and live a life of love."

Despite the heartbreak of losing her, I am grateful. I'm grateful for her influence in my life. I'm grateful for the 31 years I did have with her. And most of all, I'm grateful for God's intentional love for all of us and that because of Jesus, I get to see her again.

Love you lots Aunt Barb. We'll miss you terribly."

Monday, January 5, 2015

year of Immanuel

In a nutshell, 2014 could be summed up as uncertain. We went into the year uncertain of whether or not we'd be able to sell our house. We went through the process of selling the house and all the uncertainty that comes with that. Then we moved into my in-laws with an uncertainty of how long we would be there before a house would show up on the market that we loved and could afford. Looking to 2015, there is still so much uncertainty; however, I am confident and thankful for the evidence of God with us. 

This Christmas I kept hearing songs and seeing reminders that God is Immanuel, that God is with us. And so, I've been mulling over it, thinking about it, and thankful for it.  I've taken some time to look back on all that uncertainty of 2014 and seen so clearly that God was right there with us in those things. When we were uncertain about losing money to sell our house, God was with us. We found out later that our neighbors weren't able to sell their house and another house is just now selling for 40k less than we sold ours for. We were uncertain about moving in with Aaron's parents, but God was with us. My kids have had the joy of spending hours with their Grammie and Pop and their Great Grand pop. We have been able to save and recoup the costs of selling our house. We were here to walk through a cancer diagnosis with my mother in law and provide distraction, noise, joy and hopefully a little help too. 

Looking back I can see with clarity that in my uncertainty, God was with us. I'm so thankful for a God who walks so closely beside me. A God who is so personal and loving and kind in all things. This year I am keeping my focus on Immanuel. I am not going to focus on the things that I still don't know - like where we will live and how soon we will find it. I don't know and for now I'm at peace with that. I don't know what this year will bring in the face of cancer and my mother in law, but there one thing I do know --- He is with us. This year in the good and the bad, I will remember that. I will remember in the heartache and in the joy, that He will walk alongside me in it. I am so grateful.

via Hand Lettering Co