"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's XC Time!

The BEST part of Fall (in my opinion anyway) is Cross Country Season.  I love to watch my kids run.  And after putting in 268 miles of summer training, and logging 3 weeks of regular season training - it was FINALLY race time for Jay today.
 2013 CHS team
 Race Face
 First start of the season
 The Finish!
 Let me tell you - those 268 miles of summer training paid off.

Last season at this time, Jamison was running 16th for his team.  Today, he was the 4th CHS boy in the chute.  (They only graduated 4 guys.)

I am so proud of the dedication, determination, and guts my son has.

It is going to be one fun season!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Joshua's Pregnancy Thoughts

It will come as no surprise that Joshua has a lot to say (and think about) these days.  He totally cracks me up!

  • After we told the kids about the baby, Joshua said nothing.  He later heard one of the kids comment that I was pregnant.  He looked at me and said, "What?  You are pregnant?!  Why didn't you tell me?"  I reminded him that we just had, and he replied, "Well yeah - but I figured you were joking.  You don't look pregnant to me!"
  • That same day he asked me if it hurt when the doctor put the baby in my tummy. I explained that I did not need the doctor to put the baby in my tummy - but she would help us get the baby out.  He got really puzzled.  Then he asked, "So how DOES the baby get in there?"  I explained that the daddy helps.  Then he turned to his daddy, who was very uncomfortable with this line of questioning and said, "Daddy, how many babies did you put in mommy's tummy?"  Always the rescuer, I said, "Well we are not totally sure, but it is probably just one baby."  That made NO sense to Joshua.  He said, "Why don't you know Daddy?  Did you close your eyes or something?  You really should have looked!"
  • The youngest kids had really, really been hoping for twins.  There is a huge family history of twins AND I am showing much sooner than I ever have before, so they were quite hopeful.  Unfortunately for them all indications point to one baby and one momma with absolutely NO abdominal muscles left after 4 previous pregnancies.  Anyway, the first time Joshua noticed my tummy poking out he said, "Mom I gotta tell you, your tummy looks like butt cheeks."  I nearly laughed until I cried about that one.
  • The other morning I was wearing a dress.  I thought it hid my growing belly quite nicely.  I guess I was wrong, because when Joshua walked into my bathroom to give me a good morning hug he said, "Mom! That baby got even huger while you slept!"  I replied, "Do you really think so?  I was thinking this dress hid the baby pretty well."  He was quick to set me straight!  He said, "Are you kidding me?  That baby is poking out like crazy!  I can see him right here!" and he poked me in the belly to prove his point!
I am so thankful for the laughter Joshua Gubs brings to this family.  He can ALWAYS make me laugh out loud!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm Having His Baby. . . Again!

I heard a sound today that I did not ever expect to hear again.

It was the sound of a tiny baby heartbeat fluttering in my womb.

Yep - it is official.  The Dietrich party of 7 will turn to party of 8 in March.  I'm having his baby. . . again.

This announcement has caught many people off guard.  We have had more gasps and slightly rude questions about this baby than all our others put together - but it has not surprised us.

Ever since Joshua entered our family the idea of another baby has been bounced around.  We have joked about it, tried to ignore the thought, and finally considered that it may be God.  Really, could it be God?  Another baby after a 10 year "break?"  Another baby when adoption has become so incredibly important to us?  Another baby when our oldest is a senior in high school?  That is pure crazy. . . right?

Finally it came up enough times that we decided to invite the possibility.  Rather than doing everything in our power to prevent another baby, we decided to trust it to God.  I was quite sure that He would not send us another baby, but I was totally open to His will.

Seven weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant.  I was totally overwhelmed.  He chose to send us another tiny little miracle.  He chose me to carry another one of His children right under my heart.  It was almost too holy to share.  In fact, it took me a couple of days to even tell Chad.  I just needed a moment to treasure it all quietly in my heart.

Finally one night after supper while I was washing dishes in a kitchen filled with kids, Chad whispered in my ear, "So are you pregnant or what?"  And I responded, "I sure am!"  Then we died laughing at the unexpected blessing of it all while the kids watched us like we were crazy.  We spend enough time laughing at our own secret jokes that they did not even ask what was so funny.

About three weeks later, Sierra started being suspicious.  She noticed me picking at my food one night at supper.  Then another night I told her to dump out old tuna in the fridge because I did not want to smell it.  Then she heard me tell Chad not to put cheese on the eggs he was planning in the morning - and she finally said, "Mom!  Are you pregnant or something?"  Jamison was out of town, so I did not want to reveal our news for a few more days.  I also did not want to lie, so I responded - "Time will tell Sierra.  Time will tell!" She played along, and I thought she was convinced I was teasing; however she later confessed to texting her book of evidence to her BFF stating that she just knew her mom was pregnant.  (Her BFF thought she was nuts, of course!)

The next day, she confided in Brenna.  Brenna added to the evidence, stating that I had stopped drinking wine weeks ago. . .  so then they both came and asked for an explanation.  Since Jamison was not going to be home until the following day, we told the kids that we refused to discuss their questions until he was home.  Those two giggled themselves silly in anticipation.  Then they drug their poor bleary eyed brother out of bed REALLY early the following morning for a family meeting that they arranged.

I will be honest and say I was worried about telling Krissy and Jay.  One of the only things they have ever asked us not to do was to have another biological baby.  The thought of their mom pregnant just grossed them out.  Another infant was fine with them - but adoption was THE ONLY way to go.  We value the thoughts and opinions of our kids a lot, so we were concerned about how they would feel since we broke their "rule."

When we told them, Sierra and Brenna were thrilled.  Though Sierra did ask if it is safe for someone as old as me to have a baby. Ugh!  Jamison looked at us and said, "Congratulations."

I don't know why, but that congrats makes weep as I type it.  I am so proud and thankful that he was able to see beyond himself and sincerely be happy for us.

Krissy just shook her head.  She later said, "I'm mad - but really not THAT mad."  And last weekend she went to the mall and bought me a maternity shirt - my first in 10 years.

So the kids are all somewhere between OK and thrilled.  They have a list of demands - like they MUST know if it is a boy or a girl, and they MUST approve of the name.  We are all aware that this baby will be closer in age (more than likely) to some of its nieces and nephews than it will be to its oldest siblings.  We are all aware that "normal" families do not look like this.

We are also totally aware that we are not a "normal" family.  Chad and I love having our home full of kids. We LOVE and respect our teenagers.  We are not trying to relive their younger years.  We are not scared of being empty-nesters.  We are excited to see Krissy move on to college.  We do not want to hold any of our kids back in any way shape or form.  We are also not done parenting yet.  Being a mom is my very favorite thing in all of life, and I feel overjoyed and honored that God is allowing us to experience every age and stage one more time.

We are also totally hoping to adopt again.  We are homestudy ready, and we would love to add another child to our family anytime God sees fit.  Waiting, researching, and wondering His plan in this hard for me sometimes.  I remind myself often that His timing and His plan is perfect.  Though it is often a different plan than I ever would have guessed, it is the ONLY plan I want to follow.

Tiny baby -   Always know my child that you were absolutely planned.  You are a child of the one true King.  He has known of you and planned for you always.  Your daddy and I are honored and overjoyed to be allowed to be a part of His and your plan.  You are a gift.  One we will adore and treasure with every beat of  your growing heart.  I am so very thankful that God chose me to be your mom.

Brenna has decided she will be the pregnancy photographer.  Her plan is to take a photo on the 20th of each month until he/she arrives.  We shall see how long I am a willing model, but here is baby on August 20.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Falling in Love with Our HOME

This post is for you, my love.  For you who have taken the brunt of my frustration this last year.  For you who listened to my list of "I hates" and "I never wanteds."  For you who worked so hard to make difficult moments easier.  For you who loves me, even though I am so very difficult sometimes.

What the rest of you all may not know, is that I have had a really hard time loving our new home.  I can come up with all sorts of really good reasons why, but in the end I choose today to celebrate falling in love with it.  I celebrate realizing that it is TRULY our home - Chad's and mine.  It is a beautiful combination of each of our tastes and interests.  And I am (finally) so thankful for it.

I have spent far too much time being ungrateful.  That fact hit me anew yesterday as I cleaned our home.  I love cleaning, and as I cleaned yesterday I felt so HOME.  As I looked at each space, it was through eyes of love and that felt so good.  I snapped photos, trying to capture some of the spaces that I have come to adore.  Please do not see this post as a brag fest.  Many things about the beauty of this home are the very things that have broken my heart and caused me to grieve it.  Please see the celebration of my heart learning to love, accept, and enjoy what Chad and I and our amazing children have created.  

Having and not being thankful is one of the worst mistakes I have chosen this last year.

I am working on fixing that.

 I love the detail of this china cabinet.
I love the class and the light.
I love that it holds my precious wedding china so perfectly.
I love that our cabinet maker turned an odd, leftover space into something needed and spectacular.
 I love this "secret" garden I have created just outside my huge living room windows.
 I love the light in this home.
I love the trees, the grass, the geese in the winter.
I love the calm and beauty of this space.
 I love the details in the girls' bathroom.
I love the countertop Chad so carefully poured.
I love the sink and faucet he allowed me to order.
I love the light that comes through the high window.
I love that we have plenty of bathroom space, there is rarely a reason to fight in the morning even with three daughters!
 I love Krissy's messy bedroom.
Next year at this time it will more than likely be clean. . . and empty.
I plan to love every moment of her clutter this year.
 I love my hallway of photos.
I love the memories of days gone by and the space yet to be filled.
I can't wait to bring my great-grandkids up these stairs to tell them the stories these photos contain.
 I love my sunny, cozy living room.
I love the red leather chairs and the original Ethiopian art.
I love the lack of TV in this space!
 I love my kitchen backsplash and counter tops.
I love my cabinets.
The whole kitchen is warm and cozy.
I love that Chad loves cooking in it just as much as I do!
 I adore my laundry room.
Even on my grumpiest days, it is a space I love to be in.
Silly, I know. 
 Chad has often been bugged that the laundry room is my favorite space - but it is!  It is small, yet perfectly arranged to fit the needs of our family.
I also love our wide back entry hall
 and our wide open mud room.
Even when we are all coming and going at the same time, we have enough space.
I love the simple details of the shoe shelves and huge coat rack.
This space works perfectly for our crew, and I am thankful for it daily.
 I love the spaces that are waiting to be filled.
In our other home, I felt rushed to have all the walls "done."
In this house, I feel no rush.
We are home for good.  When the time is right, I will find the perfect thing for this wall
 and for this one.
I feel no rush - just contentment as I settle in.
 I love the glimpses of Ethiopia you can see thoughout this home.
Scarves as table runners, some art, photos, furniture, etc. . . make my heart smile even as I am always longing to fly back to that beautiful country.
 I love the traces of friendship that are seen throughout my home.
A pillow here, a wall painted by a friend in another room, a picture frame in another,my favorite coffee cup etc. . .
 I love the time Chad took with details.
The tile work he lost sleep over and the faucet he special ordered because he wanted our bathroom to be just right now make my heart sigh.  He is so patient, so thorough, so wise.
 This space is almost ALL Chad.
He insisted on this African Mahogany door.  He fell in love with the light fixture, and we together found the painting while in the Dominican last winter.
I love that this is OUR home.  I love the pieces of Chad in it.  I love the compromise.
I also love his taste.
 I love the time Chad spent helping me make our yard beautiful this summer.
He has never done that before.
I love that he made my dreams a reality - the huge, patio where I can feed a small army. . . or just our family, and the firepit I so wanted -  are complete.
I love that he chose to make my priorities his.
I even love the surround sound in the family room, babe.
Thank you for working so hard to hide it as much as possible.
I have no appreciation for TV - but I have an incredible amount of appreciation for you working to make both of our visions a reality in out family room.

I'm incredibly thankful today to be home.
To be settled.
To be content.
To be thankful.
To be unified.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Praying God's blessing on our treasures, their teachers, and friends as they begin another year of school.

 Sierra Faith, 13 years, Grade 8
 Jamison Chad, 15 years, Grade 10
 Krissy Jean, 17 years, 12th Grade 
Joshua Gebeyehu Chad, 5 years, Kindergarten at Montessori (starts tomorrow)
Brenna Joy, 10 years, Grade 5

It was a great (and hot 100*) first day!  Expecting and trusting that each of our kids will grow in all sorts of ways this school year.  I am so thankful that I will have the privilege of cheering them on!

Monday, August 19, 2013

July and August 2013 . . . the Very Short Version

Between my computer needing to spend some time in the shop being de-kid-ified, summer being crazy, and me being more tired than usual AND allowing myself to rest - I have not blogged in almost a month.

So - I give you the short version of July and August 2013!
Our grass grew!
Chad finished pouring concrete for our patio.

I love the outdoor dining space.

 Joshua, Brenna and I - along with my mom, sister in law Emily, and my nieces Alexa and Adrianna spent a day at the State Fair.  Joshua tried his first rides - which he LOVED.
 I also took my littlest monkeys to the zoo.
 Their favorite part of the zoo was climbing 
a big old tree!

(Sorry for the terrible photo quality. . . it was a cell phone snapshot kind of month!)

My favorite event of the summer was the weekend we spent at my Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Every one of their children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren came "home" to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  It was SO wonderful to spend time with everyone in happy, relaxing, summer vacation mode!

One of the thing that always happens at Grandma's house is lots and lots of photos.  Growing up we had to earn out Christmas gifts by smiling for the camera in all the different groupings that Grandma required.  It seemed to take hours and hours to an excited little one!  But although we have all smiled for the camera many times at Grandma's farm, we have never had professional family photos taken. So, this summer my mom found a photographer who came to the farm to take some.  Now my kids share my memories of having to smile for WAY too MANY photos on the farm!  Joshua did not enjoy all the photos - but I am really excited to see them.

Sierra, on the other hand, LOVES photos.  When we got done with the professional ones, she begged for a photo shoot of her own.  So I snapped these.

Brenna and Adrianna thought shooting pictures was fun too.  They spent a lot of time that weekend with my camera practicing their own photography shills.

My grandma has beautiful flower gardens.  Brenna had great fun snapping pictures of the beautiful blooms.

She also talked her cousin, Adrianna, into posing for many shots!

One of the girls shot this photo of Joshua and Alexa.

I adore it.

And Joshua adores Alexa!  He would follow her anywhere!
One of my kids' favorite things to do at the farm is climb the "tickle tree."  They spend hours and hours climbing and imagining in this huge weeping willow.  In fact they have created so many memories in and around this tree that I am planning to plant one in my front lawn so that my grandkids can have the same experience some day.  It makes my heart happy to think about it!

Hopefully I can get one to grow.  I am not quite as good at growing things as my grandma is!

Those photos are by Adrianna.
She hopes to be a photographer when she is grown.
Sierra and Grandpa Scott played beanbags against each other.  They are both very competitive - so they had a fun-loving grudge match going.

(Which Sierra lost.)
Love him.

And the indulgent grin he gives me.
My Grandma and I.

Doesn't she look amazing?  She is in the middle of chemo, and proof that God answers even the silliest of prayers.  I had SO wanted her to have hair for this weekend.  She had waited 60 years to have professional photos taken and when this shindig was planned we did not know she would be receiving cancer treatments during the party.  I know that wigs are nice and that many worse things can happen than losing one's hair.  Trust me I prayed all those harder prayers too!  And not only did God honor the harder requests, He allowed her to keep her hair!  She is 78, mom of 5, grandmother of 8, great-grandmother of 7 (and counting), one of the most amazing cooks you will ever encounter, gardener and canner extraordinaire, stylish, sharp, the most hard-working woman I know, tougher than you can imaging AND she has neigh a grey hair.  Saying I love this woman and am so proud of her and thankful for her barely scratches the surface.

I adore my Grandma.
Beautiful Berra-girl insisted on a photo with Grandma too!
She also wanted one with our cousin Caitlin. 

After the party at the farm, Krissy and I headed off to Fargo to go shopping and tour colleges.  Spending 3 days alone with JUST Krissy was so fun!  I am going to LOVE having adult children.  Then again - is there a stage of parenting I do not enjoy?  Nope.  I love it all.  Being a mom makes my heart happy!

A couple of weeks later, we took a long weekend to go camping.

I will be honest, I was NOT excited.  Since spending so much time in the camper last summer, I have only wanted to be home.  It feels so good to have a home again.  I know we were never truly homeless, but feeling homeless was really hard on me - now that I am settled in this house, I just want to stay put!  However, Chad and I usually camp for our anniversary.  Chad and the kids were more than ready for a couple days away - so I caved!

And I am glad I did.
We spent a very quiet and relaxing 4 days at Lake Ashtabula.

While I spent much of my time at the lake reading, dozing, and taking long walks and short runs - I also snapped a few photos.

 OK - so I know some day I will totally hear it for only taking photos of Jay on the water.  I am sorry kiddos! I really DO love you all the same, and yet totally differently. . . I just got too busy laughing at you while you tubed to snap more pics.  Well, that and I took a nap.  

If I was not so secure in my children's love, I would not post these!

However, they know I love them!  And Jay's reflection in the crystal clear lake is too cool to ignore!

 My favorite parrt about camping is that Chad does almost all of the cooking!

And that is our last month in a very small nutshell!

Tomorrow - school begins.  Ugh!  I am never ready for school to begin. I love having my kids home.

However, I am thankful tonight that our life is so much more stable this August than last August!  I am more thankful than I can even express.  We are HOME!  We have 2 teens that will drive themselves to school, work and practices.  There is a bus that will drive Sierra and Brenna to and from school.  Joshua is so comfortable at his school, I have NO worries about his year for the FIRST TIME EVER!  Brenna and Jay will start at new schools, but Jay is totally pumped.  Brenna is more concerned, but I feel really good about the change.  I am praying and trusting that she will too!