An answered prayer....


19 comments
Today, we sold our house!

We got an offer on it yesterday after a showing on Sunday. I didn't sleep at all last night! The offer we got was low and the buyer was also asking for closing costs, so I was anxious about losing the offer when we decided on a counter. Plus, I wasn't sure what we would have to counter at in order to at least break even because we certainly couldn't afford to lose money on the deal! THEN...I was worried that they wouldn't take our offer, which would put us back to waiting on more interest, which means more cleaning and tidying and carting pets around in the car during showings....oh, and not to mention the newborn who is in our very near future. Let's not even talk about the possibility of them accepting our counter, which meant we would have to be out by July 31 (oh, yeah, that was another of their stipulations....), 2-4 weeks away from my due date possibly with no stable place to live. Again...a very sleepless night.....one of those nights when you remember seeing every single hour.

Anyway, we met with our realtor this morning, set the counter offer, and they accepted within 2 hours of getting our counter! So, it looks like we've sold our house! I'm really hoping it all goes through smoothly and that they don't decide to back out. If they do, though, we'll be okay.

Now, we have to try to find something. We're not going to be in a huge hurry, but I'm not good at transitions....especially unstable transitions....like having to rent for a little while and then moving somewhere. If we have to do that, we will, but gosh....moving twice....with a newborn....and 3 pets....and a husband who just got his first head football coaching position so a lot of his time goes to that.....it's just A LOT.

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes for the selling of our house. It's a huge relief, but it's also very bittersweet. Almost all of our memories with Ayden are in this house, and they will remain in this house. I hate the thought of walking away from the house we brought him home to...gave him his first bath in....where we heard him laugh for the first time....so many sweet memories. I can look at spots in the house and so fondly recall our time with Ayden. While it's sad, it's also nice that our memories with Ayden are contained to this house. Memories with Ayden won't be confused with memories with Collen or future children. They will have a new house for new memories with them. Does that make sense? We will treasure every memory we have with all of our children (however many we have!), but with the situation being what it is, I'm glad Ayden's memories will be contained to a place that was solely his.

I had to make a hard decision and resign my position from the Writing Project I was going to do at ECU. I hated to have to do that because I was excited about it. I had already read the books and had gotten started on ideas for various projects and teaching demonstrations, but I knew that with such a strict timeline for closing, packing, Jeremy starting a new job - where his school year will start on August 4th - and attempting to find somewhere to live, AND being quite pregnant, it was one of the stressors out of the many that could be let go. I went back and forth on it trying to figure out how I could do it all, but I knew that although I would be at ECU until 4 every day, I would still have work to do/projects to work on when I got home. So, I had to let it go. :( I hate having to back out on something I had already committed myself to, especially when there were limited spots to begin with.

Well, please keep us in prayer about the next step of this journey - finding a house! Luckily, we've had time to look around and decide general areas we are interested in. Now, we just have to figure out what we can afford and get things in motion. Oh the joys....

God will lead us in the right direction - of that, I'm sure.


Photobucket

I just don't understand


10 comments
We were at church this morning, and a friend pulled Jeremy aside to tell him about his neighbors. They had reached 40 weeks of pregnancy, everything had been healthy, went in to deliver....no heart beat.

I just don't understand.

We went home...did the usual Sunday afternoon things...then I checked facebook to find out that I know the couple who lost the baby. I worked with the dad/husband for a few years at Ayden-Grifton. I was struck....just couldn't believe it! I had just seen Kevin at Target a few weeks ago. I had no idea that they were expecting until he mentioned it. He said they had 3 weeks left. I was so happy for them! How exciting. Since seeing him at Target, I had been checking in on facebook....waiting for the news. I never expected this news.

Please lift this family up in prayer. Their names are Kevin and Danielle, and their beautiful little boy's name is Kaden Adler. For reasons beyond all comprehension and understanding, Kaden was not meant to live life on this earth. While we have hope and comfort in knowing that our little ones, while not with us, are safe in the arms of God, the loss that we feel as parents is one that is heart wrenching and just so very painful. I wish I knew the answer to "Why?" I wish losing children was something none of us had any experience with because it's just so cruel and unfair. However, God has a purpose and plan much bigger than we could ever understand. And while that doesn't comfort me sometimes, I can accept it...and trust that because He is our creator and the one who is in control, He continues to work for the good....even when it doesn't seem so good.

Please keep this family in prayer. The next few days and weeks will be especially hard as they have to make arrangements and decisions that no parent wants to make. They will have to face an empty home....an empty baby's room....and the reality that this baby they were preparing for will not be coming home with them. It just isn't right....


Photobucket

Kick Counts and Nesting


5 comments
So, I'm supposed to be doing these kick counts....to be sure Collen is active enough.

The recommendation is to choose two times a day, times when he is at his most active, and monitor his movements for up to 2 hours. Ideally, I should be able to count 10 movements/kicks in 2 hours.

With Collen, I count 10 in 2 minutes.

Do you see now why I freak out when he DOESN'T move?

This is one active baby, and I hope and pray he stays that way! It's so comforting....

*********************

Nesting is beginning to set in. I had the overwhelming compulsion to scrub something today. It didn't matter what it was....I just needed to scrub.

I remember this feeling well. I knew I was experiencing a nesting moment while pregnant with Ayden when I would all of a sudden get a huge burst of energy and become an insane cleaning machine just 5 minutes after stating how ridiculously tired I was. The nesting energy bursts are emerging. Poor Jeremy.... He learned last time that these bursts of energy are also accompanied by crazy mood swings that often result in tears....for no reason at all. I can tell that he picked up on some things last time because now when he sees me in a cleaning frenzy, he usually stops what he's doing....or not doing....and asks what he can do to help or tells me to stop doing something because I don't need to be doing it to begin with. He knows that if he doesn't ask, I'm going to be wondering why he isn't asking if I need help.....and if he doesn't help me quickly enough, I'm going to do it anyway....without him....because he didn't do it when I needed it done. Yes, I do expect him to read my mind right now. Like I said, poor Jeremy. I don't know why I get this way. I just do. Don't judge....

Today, I HAD TO wipe down every surface in the kitchen. It HAD to be done, and I couldn't do it with just any old cleaning product. Oh no. It HAD to be PineSol. I NEEDED lemony freshness in my kitchen. So, at this moment, every surface in the kitchen has been wiped down and is exuding a lovely lemon scent. Aaaahhhhh......

That was a small nesting moment. The baseboards are screaming to be scrubbed, but I ignored them today. It took a lot of restraint, but other things had to come first. I have bigs plans for the baseboards, though. We have a cleaning date coming up soon..... After that, the carpets MUST be cleaned...along with windows...and who knows what else.

The whole month of July is going to be taken up by the writing project I'm taking part in at ECU. Therefore, my need to nest along with a very tight schedule is going to lead to near hyperventalation on my part when I feel the urge to clean and just don't have time. Then, once August rolls around, I'll have, at most, 4 weeks to get the house as clean as possible!

Don't mess with a pregnant lady with a cleaning mission.....


Photobucket

Terrified of the 2nd lightning strike


15 comments
You know that old saying, "Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice?"

What if it did?


Lately, I have become petrified with fear. Some nights, I get maybe 4-5 hours of sleep at night. One, because I do have to get up several times since my bladder is a little cramped these days. But, also because when I do get up, I get back in bed and wait for Collen to move. And when he doesn't, I become terrified. I lie there waiting, poking, prodding, and at times....nothing. This then leads to me being on the verge of a panic attack. Normally, I immediately get up again and grab the heart monitor to make sure he's okay. Other times, I fight the urge to check - one reason being: the fear of NOT hearing his heart beating - the 2nd being: I force myself to lie there in prayer, doing my best to let my trust in God win out over the fear. 9 times out of 10....I grab the monitor and pray at the same time.

My innocence is gone, and I realize that this is why I am so afraid.

I have lived "slim to none" and "the chances of that happening are 1 in 2500." I have lived every parents worst fear. I have lived my own, personal, worst fear, which has led to new worst fears that haunt me every day.

When I was pregnant with Ayden, I was blissfully unaware of all the bad that could happen. Sure, I had heard of some of the bad things that could happen, but that wasn't going to happen to me. I was healthy; I didn't smoke; I didn't drink; I took care of myself; I took my vitamins; etc. Nothing bad would happen to me.

When Ayden was born, fear did seep in, but I remained strong. My biggest fear was SIDS, but I reassured myself daily that we just had to make it to 4 months. Once he hit 4 months, the risk was substantially lower. I prayed over him daily, nightly, hourly....knowing that I was not in control and that God could take him at any moment....but secretly, and I guess arrogantly, confident that He wouldn't let that happen to us. I remember August 24th so clearly. It was the day Ayden rolled over for the first time on his own. I was terrified because I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep him from doing this at night while we were sleeping, and that meant that something bad could possibly happen. I also remember the 24th because I thought to myself, "Three more days until he's 4 months old. Three more days, and I can breathe a little easier." Three days later, we were holding a celebration of life and graveside service for our son because of SIDS. That moment of "false hope" continues to feel so cruel to me.

My biggest fear now, among other fears, is an umbilical cord accident. I don't know why. Maybe Satan knows that I fear what I can't control, so he placed this fear in my mind. With Ayden, it was SIDS....and we lost him to SIDS. Therefore, with past experience being what it is, my mind keeps trying to prepare me to possibly lose Collen to a cord accident because that fear has become so prevalent. I know this probably makes no sense to any of you. It doesn't make much sense to me either. But, the fear and anxiety becomes so overwhelming at times that I almost talk myself into believing that something bad is going to happen. Everything has gone so well. The pregnancy has been so uneventful. It has been too easy. Something bad is bound to happen....

I realize that I'm tainted. My view has changed completely. I'm not the person I once was. And I hate that so much. I fight it every single day. I fight this fear and anxiety with constant prayer, seeking God and His guidance, and trying so hard to put every ounce of trust in Him.

But it's hard.

It's hard to do that when every ounce of my trust was in Him 10 months ago, and my baby was taken from me without any explanation at all. I have had a really hard time trusting God 100% again. I'm trying so hard, and there are days when I am at peace and can honestly say that I am accepting of His will....whatever it may be. But then there are days, which are most days, when I am weak and I am terrified to trust again because the last time I told God I completely trusted Him, I had to face the worst possible thing I could ever have imagined.

It's easy for people to say, "Oh, but the chances of that are so slim." -or- "There's nothing you can do about it; it's not in your control." Well, as I said, I've lived "slim chances" and the fact that it isn't in my control is what terrifies me the most. Collen could be here today and gone tomorrow, and I'm left facing the nightmare all over again.

I realize that I could drive myself crazy thinking this way. Believe me, I'm not completely irrational. I'm just trying to balance all of this the best I can. Fear is natural and certainly understandable in this situation. I just want my life as a mom back, and part of me is so afraid that, for some reason, it won't be given back. I'm terrified that my life is going to be a series of the unexplainable...

I know that most of the time I write very hopeful, encouraging things. Please know that most of the time, that is the real me. If I didn't have hope, I'd be locked up in a padded cell somewhere by now. It's the only thing that keeps me going. I read the blogs of so many women who have lost children and gone on to have other children after their loss. They write of their fear as well, but many of them have also reached the point of accepting God's sovereignty, knowing that just because it happened once doesn't mean it won't happen again. I know this is true, but I'm trying to reach the point where I can say that I am 100% okay with it.

I have grown so deeply and completely in love with Collen. I am so grateful to feel this for him. And it's amazing to me that I can feel this love for him, and at the same time, feel my love for Ayden, too. Someone told me once that I would love them both intensely, and I would love them equally, but I would love them differently. That didn't make sense to me then, but I get it now. The love I have for both of them is so overwhelming; it almost takes my breath away, but somehow (I can't begin to explain it) I'm able to distinguish between the two. It's as if I love one with one part of me and one with the other, yet I love both of them as one whole person. That's the best way I can put it into words.

Anyway, I think the reason this fear has seeped in is because of this love that has been established for Collen. I have connected with him; I've seen his face; I'm learning more and more about his little personality every day; the reality of him joining us very soon hits me harder every day; I have let myself make plans for him....and hopes and dreams. What if lightning strikes and all of that is taken away in an instant....again?


All I can say is that I'm trying. Please pray about this with me, if you think about it. I don't want to be crippled by fear for the rest of my life, and I truly believe that I won't be. It's just going to take time. I realize that because of our experience, I will be more aware, more fearful, and more paranoid....what mother isn't all three of those things and many, many more? But, I also want to be able to "let go and let God".....knowing and accepting that I can only do so much, and the rest is up to Him.


Thank you all for continuing to lift us up....think of us....and encourage us. Through you, God provides us with strength in some of our weakest moments.
Photobucket

New, Old Pictures


14 comments

One of the saddest parts about dealing with Ayden's death has been accepting the fact that the pictures and videos we have are all we'll ever have. I look at pictures and videos and say, "That was taken 2 days before..." or "I remember everything about that day." I'll forever cherish the memories those pictures and videos hold, but I'll also continue to ask, "Why does this have to be all I have of him?"


These are pictures my mom had on her camera. She had been meaning to get them to me before now, but as you can imagine....it took a while for her, and me, to be able to look at them.


I opened them for the first time tonight, and these are old, but new (to me), pictures of Ayden. I had never seen them before tonight.


I look at that beautiful, sweet face and am left wondering why a baby so precious had to leave us so soon. It just doesn't make sense.



Ayden LOVED his Curious George doll. We bought it for him in CA. He loved to give George kisses. We made sure he and George were never separated.....even now...he still has George with him.








Our big boy....












He was probably "talking" here. He always made this face when he was cooing and jabbering away.








I love those big, blue eyes....



















We love and miss you so much Ayden.....
We can't wait to be with you again.
Soon, Lord....please...soon.....


Collen - 30 Weeks....a little peek


5 comments
We got a little sneak peek of Collen today.....





Thank you, God, for this beautiful boy.....

He looks so peaceful here right? Looks can be deceiving! He moved and jumped around the whole time we were doing the ultrasound. He definitely proved us right....he's an active boy!



BIG feet....2 1/2 inches to be exact....and he still has 8-10 weeks of growth left! Ayden had big feet too. They're definitely brothers!


His hands look just like his daddy's and his brother's.




I thought this was a neat shot. We caught him yawning, so we got a good look at his mouth, lips, and cute little nose.


video

4d of his face




video

More of his face



video

Side profile



I asked the ultrasound tech. to get some measurements of him because at this point in my pregnancy with Ayden, I noticed that he was measuring about a week ahead in development. So, she measured Collen's head, abdomen, and leg. According to his head measurements, he measured at 32 weeks 2 days. So, basic math = 2 weeks ahead. When we measured Ayden's head, he measured ahead as well, and the measurements gave an expected due date of April 26th (1 week earlier than his due date on May 4th). Ayden was born on April 27th. So, if Collen follows his brother's lead, he'll be 2 weeks early, since his head is measuring even bigger than Ayden's. In case you're wondering which of the two of us is responsible for the big noggins.....that would be Jeremy. :) Collen's abdomen and leg were measuring about a week or so ahead. His legs measured smallest, just like his brother. As far as weight goes, are you ready for this? He's coming in at a whopping 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Now, the ultrasound tech. said that the computer often overestimates, so her guess is 3 pounds 3 ounces. I like her guess much better than the computer's! Collen's heart rate clocked in at around 160....hence all the jumping around! We even caught a very rare glimpse of Collen peeing. That may sound kind of gross to you, but it's beautiful to me because it means his bladder and kidneys are working, and it also means he's "eating", which means everything is working as it should be. He is even practicing breathing, which was awesome to see...as well as comforting. He's got it all figured out....smart boy!


As far as similarities, there definitely are some. Ayden and Collen both appear to have similar feet and hands (which I just love because I LOVED Ayden's giant baby feet and hands), and their growth track is similar. In the face, they do look a little different. They both have the chubby cheeks (so great for Mommy kisses!), and their heads are shaped similarly. But, Collen has his own distinct characteristics as well, which I think is wonderful. :) I'm glad they share some traits, but I'm also glad that there are differences as well. Collen is going to be a rounder! He moves all the time, and I can't wait to be the one trying to keep up with him!

These are pictures of Ayden at our 4d scan with him. I was at 31 weeks here, so these are from around the same point in time as the pictures of Collen. Ayden was not as cooperative as Collen, but we still managed to get some pretty good pictures of him.

Sweet little face. I'll never, ever forget seeing these for the first time. I was so in love....

Cute boy


Not a great shot of his face, but I wanted you guys to see those hands!



Thank you, Lord, for both of these beautiful boys.


Photobucket

There is a reason this is so late....


4 comments
Ok....not really...I just haven't been very good at taking pictures off of my camera lately. I forget that I have it sometimes. However, this event was camera-worthy AND blog-worthy; it's just taken me THIS long to actually get to it.

If you're a fan of the tv show, LOST, you'll appreciate these.

The final season of LOST was greatly anticipated in the Jones household. We had HIGH expectations for all of the twists, turns, and mysteries that the final season would hold. In those respects, it didn't disappoint. So, every Tuesday night, we all gathered together at our neighbor's/friend's/former campus minister's house to watch every single new episode. We would all discuss our predictions and then share in the shocking moments during commerical breaks. We shared many gasps of excitement, looks of complete confusion, and moments of satisfaction when we had actually predicted something correctly! Every episode was leading up to the final, most anticipated finale. We knew we had to do something big. What better way than to celebrate with a LOST-themed party??

We had Dharma Initiative food and drinks, Mr. Cluck's chicken, an Oceanic Airplane cake, and Oceanic Boarding Passes. Do ya think we were a little excited?? Yeah....just a little. Our little gathering began at 7 so we could watch all of the pre-finale stuff. Once the finale began, everyone became so quiet....intent on taking it all in....relishing in the one episode that was going to bring it all together.

At this point, I must ask, did you watch the final episode? If so....I'd love to know what you thought. Because here is how it all ended for us.....

A whole bunch of confused faces and many of us saying, "What?!?! Really?? That's it????"

I left that night very disappointed. It wasn't at all the ending I expected or hoped for. It was actually too predictable.....it was what we had all been predicting from the beginning....in a way. They left it way to open-ended for a finale. I know they can't answer every question, but really...don't leave us with even MORE questions!!

Nevertheless, I still love the show. And, after watching the finale a few more times, I am even beginning to like the concept they chose to go with. And hey, all I really wanted was for Kate and Jack to end up together anyway, and I got my way on that one, so all is well in the land of LOST. I'm sad that it's over, though. What will ever top LOST?

Okay....here are the pictures of our LOST party. Even if the finale was a tad disappointing, the company and food certainly weren't. :)























Photobucket


















Father's Day


2 comments
Happy Father's Day to Jeremy....






Seeing you as a father has been such a blessing. I'm so proud that our sons can call you their dad. The title of father suits you well. I've never been more proud of you than now...witnessing you as a father who is head over heels in love with his kids.
Happy Father's Day!
We love you!
-Lindsay, Ayden, and Collen (who can't wait to meet you!!!)

Photobucket

5 years!


7 comments
Technically, Jeremy and I have been "together" for 10 years. We met at the young, young age of 17. I never imagined my husband being a guy I met in high school (we didn't go to the same hs though)....from the same town....who shared mutual friends with me. I had never been in a real, serious relationship. I thought I had, but I certainly had not....

I wasn't actively looking for Mr. Right, but he sure did come along at the perfect time. We met at a bowling alley and later had our first conversation/flirting session over ice cream at Sonic. The next night, we went on our first date. We've been inseperable ever since. I knew when I first met Jeremy that he wasn't like other guys. He was/is the ultimate gentleman, doesn't tell dirty jokes, thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world (Lord, bless him), holds strong to his morals and values, and does his best to be a positive role model in the lives of his students and his own children.

From the moment I met him, I knew he was the one. I know, that's so cliche to say, but it's true. And if I didn't "know" I was going to marry him, I at least knew he was the type of guy I hoped to end up with someday. Luckily, I didn't have to wonder too long if that guy would actually be him.

We made it through senior year, went to the same college (him because of a full tuition scholarship; me because it was close to home and had a great education program - and yes, we wanted to experience college together, too), got engaged at 20, and then got married on June 18, 2005 at the age of 22.

Fast forward to now - 5 years later.

We never, ever imagined that the past 5 years would hold so much for our marriage. We've had ups and downs, but definitely more ups than downs. We learned that marriage is not easy; it takes work; but when you work on it together, it can be everything you hoped it would be.
What I love most about us is that we are each other's #1 fan. I am extremely supportive of Jeremy and his ambitions, and the same goes for him and my goals and dreams. If you ask anyone how highly I think of Jeremy, they would tell you that I think he could fly if he tried hard enough. We also share the same central ambitions for us as a couple and as a family. Our first priority has always been to keep Christ first in our lives and in our household, and our hope is that that example will rub of on our kids as well.

When we decided we were ready to take on being parents, we knew it would be a huge step for us. It just felt right, though, and I'm so glad we went with our intuition. Ayden will forever be one of the brightest moments of our marriage. When we made the decision to become parents, we went into it after a lot of thought and prayer. Ayden was our gift that resulted from all of that thought and prayer, and what a blessing he was and has been. Through Ayden, God showed us the reward for obedience, faith, and prayer. He gave us a beautiful baby boy who made every single moment of our lives the happiest moments we could ever imagine. Through Ayden, we took a new step in our marriage - parenthood - and learned how amazingly wonderful it is to be parents. It's strange how quickly you change once you become a parent. It happens without you even realizing. Sure, you relied on each other before, but part of you still clung to the kid in you....the side of you that still needed to depend on your parents or another adult to help you make the tough decisions. When you become a parent (well, for us anyway) all that changes. It's bizzare. We had become the adults that Ayden looked to for guidance, love, and care. Our roles shifted, and we ran with it!

It's so neat to me to look back and see us at the different stages we've faced together. We've experienced selfish adolescence together (thank God we survived), the years of finding out who you really are while in college (that was harder than high school at times!), the newlywed phase, and now young parenthood. Out of all the stages, I have to say that our current one is my favorite so far. We are a great team. We may not agree all the time (we don't argue, we have "discussions"), but we always agree that the decisions we make should be made in the best interest of us, our family, and our relationship with God.

Jeremy is my best friend, and I really couldn't imagine facing all that has come our way with anyone other than him. Losing Ayden was a true test of our relationship, and we knew that. We knew from the moment we had to say goodbye that this could either tear us apart or bring us closer. We were determined that it would bring us closer together. We clung to each other, probably making our parents feel as if we didn't need them at all, but it was because we knew how important it was, and still is, that we lean on each other. And that hasn't always been easy, but it has been crucial for us to be able to journey through grief together and try to keep ourselves going.

I'm looking forward to the many other stages we will face together. One thing we do know is that we can face pretty much anything together and continue to keep love at the center. I pray that we never lose that. And we are looking forward, most of all, to our future in Heaven with our sweet Ayden, and we pray....Collen and our future children as well. We know we're assured that promise with Ayden; our task, now, is to raise Collen and his future sibling(s) to love and follow Christ as well.

Here are some pictures from our wedding day 5 years ago. Seems like forever ago....







Photobucket

Who needs a house?


7 comments
Are you moving to the Greenville, NC area?

Do you know someone who is?

Do you already live in the area and find yourself growing tired of paying rent month after month into something you don't even own?

Are you ready to own your own home with your own space and a great back yard?

Would you like to be in close proximity to town and the hospital, yet far enough removed that the hustle and bustle of traffic and people doesn't overwhelm you when you're trying to relax in your home?

I have the house for you!!!

Updated pictures of our house, which is for sale NOW!! Don't miss out!


Photobucket

Just random thoughts....


2 comments
18 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.19 I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

22 I truly delight in God’s commands,23 but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

Romans 7:18-19, 22-23


I read this portion of scripture the other day after reading another friend's blog. Someone had posted a comment that contained this scripture. Since then, it has been running through my mind. Obviously, I relate a lot of scripture to our current situation. I've found it difficult to read my Bible lately because I just don't know where to look for what I need. What do I need? No idea....so I just sit and wait. Not a very proactive approach, huh?

When I read this portion of scripture, though, I immediately thought of some of the things I've been dealing with personally....like my worry, fear, and reaction to others who mean well. I'm human, and it is human to worry, to be afraid, and to become angry as a result of simple questions. I don't claim these actions to be holy or justified, but I write about them because it helps me process it all. I hope you all don't mind my transparency. I'm not perfect, and just because I now have a "story" to share with others, it doesn't mean I'm going to feel like opening that wound at any given moment. So, when I'm faced with questions from strangers and I, inwardly, become frustrated and angry rather than responding positively by jumping at the chance to share our story....it's really just my sense of protecting myself from even more pain. I'm told all the time how "strong" I am. I don't feel that I'm strong at all, and any strength that I seemingly portray certainly doesn't come from me. There are times when I will willingly share Ayden's story and open myself up, but at other times, I just want to be left alone. I would hope that that is understandable.

This is all still very new. We haven't even reached the one year mark, yet. And the anticipation of that, in itself, is daunting. A year without Ayden....it just shouldn't be. So, yes, there are days when my sinful nature comes out and I worry....fear....and become angry that this is my life. As a Christian, I realize I should approach life without worry, without fear, and I should turn this around and see the purpose behind it. Believe me, 75% of the time, I'm able to face all of this with Faith and Hope and I can see that there is a purpose; although I may not KNOW it, I can see it. I find so much comfort in knowing that Ayden is okay. He is safe in the arms of God, and we will be with him again someday, SOON, never to be separated again. What an amazing promise! I'm so thankful that I have that hope to cling to because without it, I can guarantee you I would be an absolute mess.

BUT....while knowing all of this.....I still want Ayden in MY arms. And God is so amazing for dealing with me, and all of us, in our moments like this. When we focus so much on ourselves and our pain, yet we don't take the time to realize that He is there to comfort us and help us attempt to make sense of it all. Even then, when we do acknowledge Him and His plan, we still say, BUT.....

In my attempt to stay in the Word, I started reading 1 Peter the other night. No idea why....I just went there. I don't feel it was a coincidence. Here is a piece of the 1st chapter of 1 Peter:

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for,4 including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!5 God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.6 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.7 Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

I read this part over and over and over, and I was just awestruck that God had lead me to that in the exact moment I needed it. I had been waiting around....just expecting Him to shove something in my face. Then, I quickly realized, that's not how it works. I should seek Him, and on a whim, I went to this piece of scripture. Wow....

This is my reality. It's the life God had planned for me before I even existed. I may not like it, but I know that my purpose as a believer is to continue to live in faith, hope, and praise of the God who put this plan in place. Does that mean I'm going to run around telling everyone our story? Probably not. It's not that easy. I still lost my child. I will continue to live with a lot of pain as a result of this loss.....pain that I won't necessarily feel like facing all the time. However, in the times when it appears that the opportunity to share is one that will have an impact, I will share....without worry, fear, or frustration. God has shown us so much through this, and it has truly been humbling to see, or hear about, the lives who have been touched through Ayden's story. Although, at times, I sit back and say, "God, what are you doing?" (I asked Him this so many times after we lost Ayden) I know that in time, He will uncover His purpose. He already has through small moments and chance encounters.....

Hope you don't mind my random ramblings in this post, and I also hope you were able to make a little sense of it. Just some things I needed to transfer from my head to a more permanent place. :)


First day {voluntarily} unemployed


7 comments
My mind has been racing all day.

"Was this really the best decision?"

"Can we really afford for me not to work?"

"What about ___________ (insert bill here)???"

"How are we going to manage it all?"

I took many deep breaths today and just told God, "I know you'll take care of us and help us make the right decisions."

I'm a worrier. I try not to be. But I've been a worrier from day one. My dad used to wake up in the middle of the night with me because I would lie in bed crying. He would ask me what was wrong or what I was upset about. I couldn't tell him. All I knew was my mind was racing about the next day's events....and I was worried. I would worry over the littlest of things. Now that I'm older, the little things aren't what worry me anymore of course....the big, grown up things are what worry me. I don't do well when I'm out of control of a situation or when I can't anticipate the outcome, and our current situation is one where I'm unable to anticipate the outcome.

Right now, we are trying to do everything we possibly can to cut back. Cutting off the phone, satellite, internet....moving over to basic cable and internet.....eating at home MUCH, MUCH more....less driving (me not working will cut back on some $ there).....the choice to nurse and cloth diaper instead of formula and buying diapers.....etc.

Today, I had to look into insurance for myself. uuggh....all I see is the dollar signs multiplying and our funds not adding up to cover it all. Hence, the worrying.

When I get like this, I'm difficult to live with. I'm trying to be very patient, but I want all of this stuff taken care of NOW. Anything we can do to begin saving money now NEEDS to be done as soon as possible in order for my stress levels to go down. Unfortunately, the timing never seems to go my way.

I can't look into insurance for myself until August, when my current insurance runs out. We can't look into insurance for Collen until August when Jeremy starts back to work. We can't get the phone turned off until our new/upgraded alarm system is installed (I WILL NOT go a day without our alarm system.....no, no, no, not after being broken into once already). So, that means satellite and internet won't be switched over to cable until after the alarm system is installed. (Alarm system = extra cost....uuugghhh) Our cell phone bill just annoys me and I feel stuck in it since they are going to be our only mode of communication. And we don't even have cell phones with all the bells and whistles....just a basic plan with minutes and texting...and it's still outrageous to me. Car payment....another uugghh.....and now we're wondering if we should refinance (but anytime I think of refinancing a car, I hear Clark Howard in my head saying, "No, no, no.....not smart at all." But, then reason steps in and says, "If you need to save money, do you have a choice?") Add all of that to the fact that we are trying to sell our house, and selling your house means looking into another one....which leads to closing costs and other costs.......

See why my head is spinning???


It'll all work out. I know it will. Worrying won't fix anything or get anything in motion. We just have to make sacrifices and trust that we are doing what is best for us and Collen.

Speaking of Collen, when this kid is active, he is a mover! I've been lying here for about 2 hours now, and he hasn't stopped moving. I keep watching my belly shift from side to side. So cool to see! I think I was seeing his legs moving around. I'm assuming he's head down at the moment; I checked his heartbeat earlier and it was in my lower belly, and common sense tells me that means his upper half is in the head down position. I love that he is such an active baby. He definitely has a routine, and it is somewhat different than Ayden's routine.

Like Ayden, Collen is super active in the morning. I love that. I loved mornings with Ayden. It was when he was most alert and so, so happy. We shared some sweet moments in the mornings because that was Mommy and Ayden time. I'm typically not an early riser, but since Ayden, I love being up in the mornings. I'm so looking forward to that again.

UNLIKE Ayden, Collen remains active morning through afternoon. Ayden always needed a nap shortly after lunch time. Collen doesn't seem to nap much during the day. His "nap" time is after dinner. Usually from about 4:30 - 7:30, he slows down and rests a lot. I'll only feel little nudges around this time - no big kicks.

At around 8:00, Ayden would wind down for bed time. We always had to rush to get his bath and bottle in in time before he became pretty grumpy. He, like me, liked a routine and needed it to be consistent. Otherwise, like me, everyone around him was going to know that his routine had been changed! I think some people, mainly our family, thought I was being the typical new mother with him and his routine, but really, it was because he functioned so well with his routine, and when Ayden and Mommy were happy, everyone was happy!

8pm is, typically, when Collen seems to get his 2nd wind. He'll be pretty active from 8-9:30ish, rest for a while, and then at 11:30, AWAKE and MOVING! He's an interesting little guy. I'm learning so much about him, especially now that I'm able to feel him move so well and actually SEE those movements. This is my absolute favorite part of pregnancy. I love all of it....even the swollen ankles and stretching ligaments....but this part, beats it all because it's something only I can share with him. Jeremy loves to watch him move, and he enjoys poking around to get him to move. I so love sharing this with him. He has commented before that he wished he could be pregnant, just for a day, so he could feel everything I was feeling. God does some amazing work.....

About 9 - 10 weeks to go (I'm hopeful for a 38 week delivery....and I probably just jinxed it)



My goal for now: stop worrying about the things I can't control and trust God to help us making smart decisions about the things we can control.


Photobucket

Yesterday and Today


6 comments
Yesterday:

So, yesterday I went to Jeremy's softball game. Our church as two teams, and Jeremy and my sister play on the same team. I used to play, but obviously, I wouldn't be of much help these days. But oh, how I miss it!

I showed up to the game to find that my usual sitting spot was taken. A lot of people had come to the game, so I had to find another spot. So, my mom and I set up our seats next to an older lady who was there for the other team. 1st red flag - she's an old lady....I'm obviously pregnant....she's going to ask me questions. So, I geared myself up. In true old lady fashion, before I could even get myself in the seat I hear, "So, when are we having it?" *Deep breath* "I'm due around the end of August." Next comment (which I'm getting tired of hearing because, yes people, it is hot in the summer....I know this...), "Oooohh...and you have to get through July and August." Me: "Yeah, but I don't mind it. I'll take the heat." She lets me sit down for about a minute before she says, "Is this your first?"

***********Okay....let me just address something. Why, WHY, WHY do people ask this question when I am so very obviously not walking around carrying another child or anything other child related? WHY is this on "the list" of questions to ask when the woman is standing there with no other child in sight?!?!?*************************

*Another deep breath* - "No, this is my second."

Her - "Oh, what are you having?"

"A boy."

"What was your first?"

"A boy."

She leaves it at that. I'm left stewing. Why am I so mad? Because this woman, a perfect stranger has put me in an awkward position. She has drudged up emotions in me that I really didn't feel like having at the surface while I'm sitting at a softball game. I was just there...minding my business...and she feels the need to ask questions. I know she had no idea what my situation was. I realize that she had no idea who she was talking to and the pain she had just inflicted with her innocent questions.

Later on, one of the little boys from our church came over to where I was. She asked if he was my son. ugh....my mind was saying, "Lady, seriously, ask me ONE more question and I'm going to smack you." My heart was saying, "She doesn't know, Lindsay....."

At that point, my mind was winning over my heart, and I already had my answer ready for her next question. I was waiting for her to ask me where my son was....which one out of the MANY children running and and playing. I was going to put her in her place by saying, "He's not here. If you want to see my son, go to the memorial park where we laid him to rest (I don't want to name it here). That's the only place I can go to see him."

I was so angry. And I really don't know why, but I was just angry that this is my life. When a stranger wants to ask questions, innocent questions, questions that are perfectly normal to ask a pregnant woman, I can't answer them with simple answers. I will NEVER answer these questions simply. For the rest of my life I will face the pain of Ayden's absence. When teachers ask about Collen's siblings or mistakingly refer to him as our first child, I will have to correct them and tell them about Ayden. When family members blunder and forget to acknowledge Ayden and his place in our lives, I will have to face that pain and either hold my tongue or speak up (which I have had to do already and it was very awkward and hurtful).

I know that none of these people mean to cause harm. They have no way of knowing that what they may say or do could bring me pain. I just wish people wouldn't be so free with their questions. But, no one knows unless it's happened to them how painful these questions can be. Just like friends who have tried and tried for years to have kids with no success and they get the question, "So, when are you guys going to have kids?" Or, the single guy/girl who is waiting for Mr. or Miss Right....holding on to their standards until God places the right person in their lives....."When are you going to get married?"

Moral of the lesson: "Think before you ask." and be ready for an answer you weren't ready for.


******************
Today:
Today was my last day at work. I really don't know how I feel about it. My classroom is packed up. I managed to condense 5 years of teaching down to about 5 boxes. I had to....our house isn't big enough for all that stuff! Even as I was packing, it wasn't real to me that I wouldn't be coming back next year. It still isn't real. It won't be real until August when I'm not going back. Right now, it's summer vacation....and everyone's leaving for the summer....we're all saying our usual goodbyes. Except, I won't be returning and joining in on the new school year festivities.
I think another reason I am so indifferent about it all is because I'm okay with this change. I know what I'm looking forward to. I know that, right now, what is best for me is to be a mom to Collen in the way that I feel is right for our family. Sure, I'm terrified about living on one income. Teacher pay doesn't go a long way, so we are going to have to make some big sacrifices. But, it's completely worth it.
I know that I always have a home at Ayden-Grifton. I love my school and the people I work with. I love the community, and I love my job. I told my sister the other day that I wasn't looking forward to leaving because I'd much rather be working that sitting at home all day (how many times to hear that out of a teacher???). It's more my need to stay busy and not dwell on the fact that Ayden isn't here. Last summer was spent at home with Ayden. Every day was the best day ever. I loved every single second of being his mom. I found my purpose in him, and he made us so, so, so happy. I remember feeling so torn when I went back to work. Being a teacher no longer felt like the most important part of my life - it wasn't my sole purpose anymore. Ayden was my purpose. So, leaving work now isn't as hard because I know that being a mother to my children is what I want more than anything. Yes, I could be a mother and work at the same time, but that isn't for me. And in the end, I have to do what is best for me and what we feel is best for our family.
I plan to return to teaching in the near future - possibly after Collen is a year old. I don't know that I'll go back to the classroom, but that is definitely an option. I love teaching, and I love working with the kids I work with. However, I also have my Masters Degree is Library Science, and I want to use it! I didn't get it just to have it.....I want to work with that degree and grow a library/media center program. That possibility may become available next year, so we'll see. I'm leaving it all up to God and what He leads me to do.
It was tough to say goodbye to everyone today, but not nearly as hard as I imagined it would be. I know I will see them again. I will definitely be back to visit and to help out with school events. These people were there for me through the hardest of times. Their support and compassion was a huge source of comfort and encouragement. I know I can count on them in any situation. We truly are a family and AG, and that's what I love most. You can always go back and visit family....no matter how far the distance.




Photobucket

A pregnancy picture just for you!


13 comments
Okay, so this picture is about a week old, but it pretty much captures where I am as far as size these days. I feel like I look a lot bigger than I really am, but I certainly FEEL big. It is definitely the third trimester because it seems like overnight I went from being able to stay up until midnight to barely making it to 8pm.



Here is a picture of me and two of my wonderful students.

And just to compare....this is me at 27 weeks with Ayden:

Yeah, I see the difference now.....

I'll be 29 weeks this Saturday. So hard to believe how quickly the weeks are passing! I'm hoping the summer passes just as quickly. So ready to have Collen safely in my arms.



And while I'm adding pictures, I came across this one of Ayden and couldn't resist sharing it. Have I mentioned lately how happy and content he always was? Well, in case you have forgotten....Ayden could almost always be found with a big smile on his face, like this one:


Oh, how I love and miss that sweet little face and the joy it brought to our lives. How could life be any happier than one with a little boy like this one in it? I often mention how Ayden taught us so much about joy and happiness - it's obvious why.

Photobucket