Friday, March 29, 2013

Lilleigh's sibling is a...

We are just so excited to know what Lilleigh sibling is!

Will the baby be a boy or a girl? Watch the video to see for yourself!

Eeek! We are just smitten!

Here are some great sonogram photos of our Sweet Pea!

Sweet Pea is doing a summersault.

Some 3D sonogram photos of Sweet Pea. Why yes that is the placenta in baby's face. Just using it as a pillow.

Baby's head and arm

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lilleigh Lately

So much is still happening each month that I feel I owe you a Lilleigh update! So here are some things of note...

Lilleigh is a little parrot these days, repeating many things you say and then blurting them out randomly. Really awesome to hear her sharing a friend's birth story then later. Or the other night, I huffed/grunted at Brendon because he cut me off, and he jokingly turned to Lil and said "Did Mommy just poop her pants?" And guess what Lilleigh keeps talking about... yep, awesome. For the record, no, I didn't. I still have bladder control, thank goodness.

When it comes to getting dressed, she has an opinion on what she wants to wear, so she now gets choices. Also, we finally found a way to do her hair that is not a constant battle. For one, we switched to "Tita's brush," which has softer bristles. Another thing we started is doing her hair at the sink, in front of the mirror. So she sits on the counter, while I do her hair. She really loves this. And sometimes she gets a little (dark) chocolate too. Whatever it takes!

For the last several weeks, she has been saying very confidently that she has a sister. If you mention anything about the baby possibly being a boy, she will say, "No, Connor (her cousin) has a brother. I have a sister." Recently, we were given a double bike trailer from some sweet friends with older kiddos. Lilleigh has loved playing in it in the garage. She got in it yesterday, sat in one seat, and then patted the other seat and said that place was for her sister. Sooo yeah... she thinks she knows what this baby is! ...And we did find out today actually! But you'll have to wait just a little longer here on the blog to find out if Lilleigh's prediction was right or not!

Her new favorite toy is her tricycle she got recently. Mom found it on one of those handy Facebook swap sites. Lil still is working on how to ride it, but she loves sitting on it and talking about it.

She actually has her first responsibility and that is to feed Sammy each morning and evening. We help her, of course, but she's pretty good at it on her own! She takes this job very seriously.

She has loved learning about Easter and how Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Check out our Easter tomb.

Something else funny, Lilleigh loooves Dora and has recently decided she has an imaginary friend named "Swiper." (He's the sneaky fox on Dora.) At the moment, apparently Swiper is out of town, but I believe he comes back today! Ha. Funny girl!

She's also doing awesome potty training. (Feels weird to say that because I feel like she is potty trained, during the day at least. When do you stop saying the "-ing" part of that?) Clearly I need to do a better job of checking her after she goes though!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

19 Weeks Preggo with Baby #2!

One more week Two more days till we find out the gender of baby #2! (That's Thursday! There is a story to the date change but too complicated for the blog.) We did decide to find out, and I'm really glad about that. I think it will be great for Lilleigh to know a little more about her sibling. Just for the record, in the future, I'd love to have another surprise because I just think the suspense makes it so fun! But this time, finding out just seems right.

Here's a shadow of my tummy at 19 weeks. I love how sweet Lil is standing next to me in this photo and looking at her daddy. How sweet is she?

Movement: I have been feeling the baby move! With Lil, I felt her at 17 weeks. With this one, it was 18. Maybe this baby will be a little calmer? (Knock on wood.) Hard to imagine a calmer child though, really.  Not sure what this means... hmm.

Cravings: I have been drinking a little more milk than usual. Last pregnancy, I almost doubled my milk intake!

Changes: Well, I can still wear my same size jeans, in maternity of course, but I'm excited that my hips haven't spread yet! My belly button is almost flat... we're getting there. And of course, the tummy is growing. People aren't kidding when they say you get bigger faster with the second one! I'm continuing to exercise though, and that feels great!

Midwife appointments: Lil loves coming with me to these and hearing the baby's heartbeat. It helps that the midwives have toys in their office! At our last visit, we did get to see it's little arm moving around lots during a handheld sonogram my midwife did, which was very fun.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Releasing of the Balloons

Today is the big day. Three years since Austen's passed away. We released three balloons in his memory. It wasn't quite as emotional as I had thought it would be. Really, it just felt sweet and right. I am thankful to have a neat way to remember her with my family, especially since we are 4 hours away from the rest of my family. It's nice to have our own tradition to carry on.

The three balloons for Austen, plus one extra for Lil, so as to avoid any meltdown that may occur when the other three are released in the sky. Can you guess which balloon is hers?

The three balloons. I did write a few things on them - Bible verses, answered prayers, and snip-it's of God's goodness.

Explaining to Lilleigh how we were going to release the balloons on the count of three and that she would get to release one of them also.

She didn't quite understand the releasing of the balloons on the count of 3...

Watching the balloons float away. She seemed to get it and not be upset by this at all. I also reminded her that her pink balloon was inside waiting for her.

Bye, balloons!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Big Apple

Last week I joined my dad and Anabelle in New York City! My dad had his annual work conference there, and he invited the girls to join him. So Thursday, Grammy drove up to help Brendon out with Lil and get some quality time with those two, and I flew to NYC! As always, NYC was so fun! I was seriously missing the warm weather, but we did get to see some snow, do some shopping, eat great food, and see Once!

At dinner one night

Shopping is always fun with Anabelle!
As fun as NYC was, I was reminded of why I do not wish to live there! It's not really even the people, though my cab driver did pee in a cup while I was in the car... ugh. It's really the crowds, the smoking, and the smog. Yuck! But it's super fun to visit and has amazing food!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Celebrating God and Austen

The third anniversary of Austen's death is coming up on Monday. And his birthday on Wednesday. Part of me can't believe he has been gone that long, that he's still gone. And another part of me feels it's been so much longer.

This year I've been thinking about how to integrate my brother's memory into my family, specifically this time of year. I want my kids to know how important my brother was (and is) to me. I want them to know they had an uncle, who was constantly nagging me about when he would get the title "uncle" and who would have adored them. And really, especially this time of year, I need to do something. I need to know that even if my brother is gone and I now have my own family, in a way he isn't gone because he's still very much alive in my memories.

Of course, I talk about Austen year round. And I have his photo up in many places. But the anniversary, more so than his birthday, has been a day of sadness for me. I know it's important to let myself be sad and to grieve his loss, and I plan to. But I also want to celebrate the life he had and what God has done since then.

You see, after Austen died, I began praying that God wouldn't let Austen's death be in vain. I really didn't want to pray that at first. I cried the first many times I prayed it. How could God use something so terrible to do something great? I had no doubt He could, but truthfully I didn't want Him to. I kinda wanted to sit in a place of mourning for a long while. Nothing could ever justify my brother's death. And then God whispered to me, I feel your pain. He is my child. I don't want to justify Austen's death. I want to redeem it. Trust me to bring something good from this. So I trusted. I handed it over to the Lord and continued praying. And God has done great things.

To name a few of the things He has done...
  • First of all, before Austen died, the Lord used the book Epicenter and my sweet husband to bring my brother to Himself. He knew about Christ from growing up, but he was floundering. Though this clearly wasn't done through my brother's death, I am thankful that the Lord didn't take him before then. And every time I think about what God has done, I can't help but praise Him for this.
  • Secondly, He gave us Lilleigh. You can see why we chose her name here. But briefly, it means "new life." After many months of trying to get pregnant, God had his own perfect timing in giving us Lilleigh just a couple months after Austen passed away. Austen died around Easter, and being that the Easter lily represents the new life that I am so thankful Austen now has, it seemed only fitting to name our child after that.
  • Through going to Grief Share and counseling, the Lord gave me the tools to grieve my brother's death. And He has given me a great peace about it. He surrounded me by others who experienced loss and allowed us to comfort each other.
  • Additionally, I've begun walking the road of recovery, something I never would have done with Austen alive. There's a radio commercial that says, "When people ask, I never say my brother just got out of rehab. I say my family is finally on the road to recovery." Years ago I wouldn't have understood this. But in these last few years, I have realized that addiction doesn't just affect the addict. It affects the whole family system. I think that my revelation first came when I read this book. It made me realize that in a family, we all affect each other, and one person being free of an addiction doesn't make the whole family free. I've realized that I have hurts, hang-ups, and sin in my life that just aren't going to go away on their own. Sure they don't manifest themselves in an addiction - and I'm thankful for that - but they aren't something I can sweep under the bed either. I tried Al-Anon and felt out of place since "my addict" is dead.  So I switched to a Bible-based 12-step program, and I am currently going through what our church calls ReGeneration - aka Celebrate Recovery.
  • Lastly (well, for the moment!), the Lord allowed my uncle (might as well be a cousin... he's 30) go through a downward spiral after my brother passed, and recently he reached his lowest point, began AA, and has decided to reconnect with the Lord. Since he gave up on God years ago, even before Austen's death, this has been something I've prayed for for years. I am incredibly thankful to God for His answered prayers.
While I am still filled with grief this time of year, there is a lot to praise God for! So I've decided that on Monday I'm going to release balloons for my brother. I thought about doing 23, since that was his age at death, but 23 just sorta seems overwhelming. And then when I thought about God's goodness through all of this, I realized that I really want to celebrate not just Austen's life but also what God has done through His death. So I may release a balloon for each thing above, or I may release three balloons, since it's been three years. (Though once we get to 10, that's a lot... I'll need to figure out a new game plan... ha) I'm still deciding. But I wanted to share!

How do you remember the death of a loved one?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Making Jesus Famous

My sweet friend Randi was on CNN Headline News a couple weeks ago sharing about her Rock (Jesus!) and her experience as a young mom battling breast cancer. Just wanted to share in case you missed it! See her interview here.

It's so fun to see how God uses these things to bring Himself glory!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Photos Lately

Just some photos from life lately...

Our trip to the Dallas Zoo - Lil had just fed the giraffe lettuce

A tea party with Aunt Morgan and their American Girl dolls at the American Girl cafe in Dallas

Eating her first sundae!

Blowing bubbles with her Dora bubble gun

Sitting on Papa Larry's lap at Hunan

By the way, I may have mentioned this... but Blogger decided that I've uploaded too many photos. Sooo basically unless I have a photo uploaded to Facebook or Shutterfly or someplace else on the Internet, I can't post it. So no offense to you if your photo isn't on here. But uploading the photos elsewhere first isn't always a quick or easy thing to do... Which is another reason I haven't blogged a lot. It takes too long to upload photos one place and link to them... I just don't really have a great solution to this issue. If you know of a free solution, let me know!