Growing + Surrendering | What I Have Learned The Past Six Months

It has been a wild six months to say the least.  So many ups and downs and somehow I am seeing it all interconnect in beautiful but sometimes hard ways.

The last month and a half specifically have been spent with some pretty bad morning sickness.  Weeks of throwing up.  Constant nausea that I am still fighting (but it is getting better). 

My parents came to visit us in July for our son's second birthday.  They had a ten day trip planned and they ended up staying two and a half weeks.  Bless their hearts.  I spent almost their entire visit laying on the couch while they took care of our son, picked up groceries, painted walls in our house, and offered plenty of physical and emotional support.  They were a Godsend and the timing couldn't have worked out more perfectly.

During that time I dealt with a lot of ranging emotions.   But the reality of how helpless I felt continued to bring fears as I accepted how alone we continue to feel here.  While we have a handful of friends, it is our family and closest friends who came to our aid in the past.  And it has been really hard to feel that void. 

And yet through it, my husband has been so supportive.  Even our son - his sweet two year old hand patting me on the back while I threw up in the bathroom.  I was promised that this time away would draw us closer as a family.  Boy has it, but at a cost that I didn't realize would be so hard.

It is so crazy to even type this.  The four months or so leading up to getting pregnant was amazing.  We finally joined a gym.  I was being super productive and focused.  I was taking care of myself.  My son has been so fun and independent and we were getting out so much more.  I was eating healthy again and managed to finally lose ten pounds since our son was born. 

In the months we spent trying to get pregnant, I finally got to a place where I let it go.  I was enjoying our family time, I was taking care of myself, and oddly enough, simply going to the gym on a regular basis felt like I found a place to belong!  My people! 

And of course that is when I got pregnant! 

And then suddenly all momentum came to a sudden halt.  I was binge watching TV, spending too much time on my phone, and simply trying to get through another day.  Living for the day to pass is not a fun way to live.  But being sick, I was simply counting down the days until I could feel a small bit like myself again. 

As I scrolled through Facebook I was constantly reminded of my lack of relationship.  A tool that is supposed to help me feel connected to friends far away only made me feel further.  The fakeness of social media showed it's ugly face and I knew I needed to let it go.

So I signed out of my personal account long term and figured out how to run my blog's account under a friendless blank account.  It truly has been freeing.  I started personally reaching out to my friend's more - those back home and even one's here.  I decided I no longer wanted to take how social media made me feel so personally and realize it's not just about me.  People do care - but I needed to change the platform from where I allowed them to.

I started attending a new mom's group at the end of the spring.  They only had three meetings left before they stopped for the summer.  But through some bold faith I asked God - can this just be it?

And it was amazing.  Such kind and relatable women.  This is my third group I have tried but after a year and a half and still feeling like I hadn't truly made many friends, I needed to keep looking. 

We also tried another church last week.  Also our third church in a little over a year and a half.  We are committed people and it is hard to feel like we are just giving up on one.  But we have some very real spiritual and relational needs.  And we desperately needed that hole to be filled.  So full of overwhelming tears, I could barely hold myself together during the service.  What we needed in this moment, whether short term or long term, was right there. 

I needed to be brought to my knees before the Lord, and this is the first time I was able to in a church service since we moved.  Thank you Jesus.

My husband has been struggling with some ongoing health issues.  It got significantly worse in the fall and we haven't seem much improvement.  His doctor is ready to put him on long term medication and we are both very fearful of what that means.

So we are praying and researching like crazy.  We have learned a lot in such a short period of time.  I so wish we took this more seriously years ago.  Yet here we are desperate for a better solution.

And thankfully we have a few other options we can try before jumping into a long term medical commitment.  One area that I take more control in is our diet.  We are switching to a restrictive diet, including going gluten free.  For a girl that just started tolerating being able to cook anything in the kitchen again, I don't have a ton of energy but I am doing my best to take initiative for my husband's health to do what I can.  We are walking in faith, praying that we would be directed towards a path of healing. 

I just cried through typing this entire post.  I am so hormonal right now.  But we are constantly being refined and while our burden feels heavy, it is our faith that is giving us hope.  It is our family that is giving us joy.  And it is binding together that we are able to continue to learn during this time of living here.

My husband and I have been talking about rest, leisure, and work.  And how we no longer want to just let time pass as we mindlessly watch TV, look at our phones, and endure parenting.  We want to be present.  We want to nap when it is time to rest.  Take the sabbath more seriously.  Spend our leisure time enjoying our son, being outside, and being active. 

There are so many distractions to the good things in life.  We are awake.  We are listening.  We have so much more to offer each other and this world.  We are ready to be present.

Lord, have your way in me.  It is in the arms of Christ where we truly belong.

Big News - Baby #2

Friends, it is with great joy that I get to share some exciting news with you all today!  We are expecting baby number two!

If you have been reading the past few months, you will know that we have had to patiently wait for this little one's conception (much like we did with our first).  Oddly enough, just like the first time, we were able to get pregnant a month after I shared about it here on the blog - totaling eight months of trying to conceive (it is crazy how things work the way that they do).

The journey to today was a bit harder than before.  Going through each month of trying and waiting with the energy drain of a toddler has been taxing on me personally as well as our marriage.  My heart goes out to those women who continue to try for years on end.  Putting so much pressure on such an intimate part of a relationship can be so difficult. 

But I have learned so much in the last few months leading up to this pregnancy that I will forever be grateful for.  God truly has perfect timing and now that we are on the other side of things, I see that I needed that time of waiting.

Baby #2 is due February 8th and I am 13 weeks along.  The morning sickness has been excruciating this time around.  I think my greatest low was when we had to pull over on the side of the highway so that I could throw up!  Good times.  And seriously, being pregnant with a toddler is no joke.  Thank goodness for television.  I can already see my first time mom up-tightness slowing fading away! ;)

The night we found out, we woke up our son to take a photo.  He had already been asleep for a few hours and the poor guy was so confused.  Thankfully he is a good sleeper and went straight back to bed!

But my heart's desire is to be truly thankful for what I have and not always focused on what I don't have.  This journey has helped remind me to appreciate a wonderful husband and sweet healthy boy.  And that the three of us would most definitely be more than enough for me.  But seeing that positive pregnancy test did bring tears to eyes.  We get to give our son the gift of a sibling. 

Thank you for your friendship, encouragement, prayer, and support through this season.  Moving across the country with a baby has been a whirlwind to say the least.  While I can happily say I have started feeling like I am finding my place here, adding in a new pregnancy and new baby has brought along a lot of fears and homesickness for wanting to be back home in California.

When things are good, this self-motivated introvert has learned to self sustain.  But being sick and feeling alone has reminded me how quickly things can spiral downward.  It feels a bit like starting over again and I would be lying to not admit that I am genuinely sad and fearful to go through it all again.  I know that I am so much stronger and have created new habits here that will help me get up on my feet more quickly this time around.  But my renewed sense of self felt so short lived.  I just keep trying to remind myself that I can and will find that place again.

I have so much more I hope to share of what I have learned these past few months as well as what we have been up to around the house.  I am just starting to feel better enough that I can choose sitting at my desk over laying on the couch come nap time!  So I hope to have more posts up in the coming weeks.

Thank you for sharing in our joy today.  You truly are the best community a girl could ask for and it is with great excitement that I get to share this all with you today.  Thank you friends.

The Story Of You: First Year Baby Book Photobook

I recently completed our son's baby book photobook and I couldn't be more proud!  It is such a joy to look through these pages and remember each little milestone that has gotten us to our silly and sweet almost two year old.

Instead of breaking up each major event surrounded around the pregnancy, birth, and first year, I decided to compile it into one large book.  I am finding that I like the look and feel of a larger book so my hopes in future photobooks is to do the same.  Plus I imagine it will be fun when he is older to flip through and see all the big moments in one place.

As per usual, I used Blurb to make the book.

Finding out I was pregnant.

Photos we took at Apple Hill to announce our pregnancy.

Photos from Christmas where we announced the news to our family.

I included my weekly bump photos as well as what I shared each week (see weeks 5-22 and 23-40).

Our first trip to Virginia - trying to decide if we would move.  I threw up on the side of the road driving up with our real estate agent to see the Blue Ridge Mountains!

And lots of celebrations along the way.  My sister in law and I have little boys just four months apart!

Announcing it's a boy!  And our gender reveal party

Looking back at these posts I am so glad I forced myself to create these celebrations with our family in the midst of feeling sick and trying to decide if we were going to move.  It means so much to me knowing we got to celebrate these milestones with both of our families.

A beautiful baby shower thrown by my sister in law.

Our maternity photos (that we took ourselves!).

And the wonderful but extremely difficult weekend at women's retreat where we decided we were going to take the leap of faith and move to Virginia.

Announcing our son's name.  And 7-11 was his due date!

Second baby shower at my parent's house.


Babymoon day trip to Monterey.

Some photos from the nursery.

And some very pregnant photos!  Love these sweet memories of getting through that summer heat with my nephews at the river.

And then on his due date we headed to the hospital!  Two days later he was finally born!

And then we went home!

All those foggy but beautiful first days together.

Our newborn photos (that we also took ourselves!  I am a crazy woman!).

And then baby's first year.

I included all of his weekly photos and captions.

As well as monthly photos.

I was really grateful these were all posted on Instagram.  When it came to making the photobook I could just copy and paste all of the text (such a time saver!).  Though any emojis I used would mess up the text.  So note to self - less emojis!  :)

Our sweet boy turning one and some first birthday photos.

His backyard wilderness first birthday party!

And our nine months photo.

I hope our sweet boy treasures these photos and stories one day as much as we do (he better...or he can't have the book!).  But a truly special book that I can check off of my list.  So proud of this special chapter in our lives.

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