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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sometimes We Have to Divide to Conquer

It was a crazy weekend for Team Dietrich.

Sierra had a cross country meet in Beulah, ND.  Jamison had one in Wilmar, MN.  It was also Sierra's last weekend to deer hunt with her youth tag. Sooooo, in order to do it all, Chad and I had to divide and conquer!  Chad stayed with Sierra.  He watched her race and took her hunting.  The rest of the kids and I drove to Wilmar to watch Jamison run.

 Sierra raced at 10:30 am.  The kids and I were eating breakfast at Perkins in Alexandria, MN while she raced.  Chad totally understands how much I hate being away from one of the kids, so he showered me with videos and photos during the race.  Plus, his mom went with him, so I was able to steal the above photos off of her FB.  I am a spoiled (and thankful) momma!

Though it was her best finish of the season (at 18th), she says it was her worst race.  She has been nursing a sore hamstring since mid-summer.  She overstretched it, and it has been tender ever since.  Until this week, it was not bothering her when she ran, it was just really tight and inflexible when she worked on cheer kicks.  This week, after a fast and hilly practice, it was giving her fits.  She iced it and babied it along -but racing on a hilly course was WAY painful.  She was in tears by the end of the race.  (Wimpy momma that I am, i was sniffling reading her texts as we neared her big brother's race.  Being there would have done NO good - but sometimes hugging my girl makes me feel better!  I do not handle my children's physical pain well at all!)

Today she is feeling better - but running is not an option.  It is way too sore.
So - tomorrow I will call Charity, our favorite PT, and see what she has to say.  There are only three races left this season, so I am praying Sierra can keep running.  She will be so sad if she can not.

The rest of Team Dietrich was with me.  Krissy changed her work schedule at the last minute so she could help me drive.  I am SO thankful!  It was wonderful to have a second driver!  Plus time stuck in the car gabbing with my oldest was wonderful.  I LOVE time with my daughter!

Brenna and Joshua did not want to come with me - so I bribed them with a hotel pool!

 We drove 600 miles to watch this weekend's race (300 miles each way), but to my little water bugs, the hotel pool AND Krissy's IPad and Laptop made it all worthwhile!
 The drive was lovely, thanks to all the fall foliage, and the golf course they held the race at was beautiful.

It was the first out of state race our kids have been involved in, and it was a really fun adventure!
 Rather than bringing the whole team, CHS brought 12 girls and 12 boys.

The girls all raced varsity.
The boys coach chose to split his team and run 8 boys varsity and 5 JV.

The CHS girls have a fantastic team.
It was exciting to watch them run toward another team victory yesterday!
 The top 7 CHS boys ran next.
CHS has a very young and highly talented team.  They have NO seniors, but the juniors and sophomores are working their butts off and improving each week.  It is a BLAST to watch them improve meet to meet!

It was especially fun to watch them run with a whole new set of competitors.  
I had no idea how they would stack up, and I was totally proud of their showing!
 It was a brutally hilly course.

It was also a well designed course for spectators!  We were able to see the racers at MANY points in the race.  I love it when that happens!

Jamison and a teammate ran side by side the entire race.
Because of a HUGE hill, I could not see the finish - but in the end Jay was a few strides ahead of his buddy, I am told.

The CHS boys had a wonderful meet!
The varsity boys places second, missing out on 1st by only three points, and all 8 boys placed in the top 25!
Their JV boys took the first 5 placings in the JV race!  It was really exciting to watch the CHS pack run together for a united victory!  While CHS lacks a "bullet" (a super fast, race winning contender), the team has incredible depth.  It is hard to win meets without a bullet, but thanks to their great depth, they are making a name for themselves all the same.

Jay, personally, had a good meet.  It was not his best meet of the season - but he ran well.  He tackled a challenging course and new surroundings with courage.  

600 miles in a day and a half is A LOT of driving - but I am SO glad we were able to be there!
While I do not want to be a hover-mother, I do want my kids to know I will cancel any meeting, give up a bit of sleep, and tolerate some sibling whining to be front and center of as many activities as I possibly can.  As I always remind the kids, in our family, we stick together.  We cheer loud and support each other in every way that we can. . . always!  

Even when we have to divide to conquer!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pregnancy. . . Family Style

Expecting baby number six, nearly 18 years after having baby number one, is a pregnancy experience like none other.  This baby is being raised "family style" from the very beginning.

For example:

  • When we were expecting Krissy, our first baby, the first thing I purchased was a crib.  Next came a swing.  I wanted to make sure she had many snugly places to rest.  For baby number six, my first priorities include the perfect baby carrier, a car seat, and a stroller that can go anywhere!  This baby is going need to be a mover from the very beginning!
  • While waiting for our first babies, I read every book and magazine about pregnancy I could find. Now, there is an AP for that!  I actually have an AP on my iPhone that gives me info about pregnancy and the baby's development each day.  Once a week I get a text.  This week's said, "Congratulations! Your baby is now 15 weeks old.  He now measures roughly 4 inches, crown to rump, and weighs approximately 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple).  He or she is busy moving amniotic fluid through the nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in the lungs begin to develop. Your baby's legs are growing longer than his or her arms now, and he or she can move all those tiny joints and limbs.  Although your baby's eyelids are still fused shut, he or she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, your baby is likely to move away from the beam. There is not much for your baby to taste at this point, but taste buds are forming."
  • I was incredibly impatient to meet our first baby.  I just knew she would be born at 37 weeks, because there was NO way I could wait another minute to meet her, hold her, and begin being a mommy.  Now, while I am very excited to have an infant again - I am totallt looking forward to breastfeeding, especially 2 am feedings, one last time - I am also wise enough to savor the pregnancy.  This is in many ways the easiest phase of parenting.  My little one gets to be with me always, yet never interrupts anything or slows anything down!  The mystery of pregnancy is something I am basking in rather than rushing through, and it feels great!
  • Naming our first babies was a highly confidential affair.  Chad and I chose the names carefully and shared them with NO ONE until the baby arrived.  Fast forward 17 years and you now find a list of baby names posted on the refrigerator.  As we think of names we like we each write them on the girl or boy list - but they more than likely will not stay up for long.  If anyone else objects to the name, it will soon be crossed off the list.  So far there are NO baby girl names we all agree on.  Or if we all like the same name, we disagree on the spelling!  Last night we decided this baby may be named "Six!" Our hope is that there are several names that all the kids approve of before I go into labor!  Then Chad and I can choose from those names and have a bit of a surprise for the kids at the end.  But time will tell. . .
  • In past pregnancies, I decided whether or not we learned the baby's gender before it was born.  Chad has always been neutral on that one, so it was all up to me.  We have done it both ways.  This time I really DO NOT want to know!  I am tired of everyone knowing everything.  I just want to relax, savor this pregnancy, and receive a beautiful surprise at the end. Perfectly decorated nurseries can wait and Chad and the kids are more than capable of choosing outfits for baby while I am in the hospital, right?  WRONG, or so I am told by my girls!  They are totally convinced that we HAVE to know.  "No baby girl can come home to a navy blue nursery (the current color of the room that will become baby's) - even if she will be sleeping in mom and dad's room for months" - the sisters argue. "They have plans to make!  They are too excited!  They have a right to know!" our girls say.  I suspect the discussion will continue for the next 7 weeks since my doctor wants to wait until I am 22 weeks for the ultrasound, but in the end I am quite sure it is an argument I have lost! (For all of you that love to predict gender - baby's heartbeat was 159 this week.  I have not gained any weight yet, but my belly is certainly apparent and I would say I am carrying lower rather than higher.  The Chinese chart predicts boy.  Isn't that enough to go on for now?)
In the end, I am loving all of this crazy.  Some may claim we let our older kids have more say than they deserve - but I think when we listen to our kids they tend to listen to us as well.  I truly value their thoughts and opinions. . . most of the time, anyway! Also, I want them to be included and involved.  At the ages they are at being included in some of the bigger decisions only makes sense.

One thing that has not changed is the delight I feel in each stage of pregnancy.  I am absolutely loving this time.  Baby flutters, extra sleep, watching my feet begin to disappear - it is all good!  Carrying a child under my heart has always been so totally, perfectly amazing to me.  Having a chance to do it one more time is a really special blessing.

And witnessing Joshua bond to this baby is absolutely beyond precious.  He is so amazed with my growing belly.  He hugs it and strokes it so very carefully.  He kisses it good night almost every day.  This week he found out that the baby can hear him talking.  He was so excited to realize that when he or she is born the baby will know his voice and feel safer with him than all the other kids in his class. Today when I dropped him off at school, he gave me a big good-bye kiss.  He then gave my middle the most careful of hugs and told the baby, "I love you baby. Have a great day with mommy!"

While I absolutely long for the day when God-willing we bring home a brown-skinned brother close to Joshua's age, I am beyond thankful that, just this one time, Joshua will experience first hand the joy of welcoming a baby into a family from the very moment of conception.  It is a gift that none of us take for granted.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last Week - A Pictorial Review

 When Chad and I were dating, he brought me a single red rose on the 29th day of every month. I loved it.

That tradition faded after we were married. . . until last winter.  Starting last February, Chad has had a bouquet of flowers delivered to my office every month.  For the most part, I have trimmed all the "frivolous" from our budget - but this is one frivolous expense that I adore.

Last  week, a friend of Chad's asked him how he keeps me so happy. He confessed to telling him, "Well, I send her flowers once a month.  She loves it.  I have to warn you though.  It might be risky.  Pregnancy is a possible side effect."  (If you know Chad and his goofy sense of humor, you will think that is as hilarious as I did!  Oh my, he makes me laugh!)
 Getting Joshua out of the house each morning is not an easy task.  He is POKEY!  

However, last week we discovered a trick.  When invited to ride in Dad's "zuzu" he can get ready in a matter of minutes.  Unlike his slightly snobby momma, our little man LOVES his Daddy's little Isuzu pup.  His favorite feature?  No airbags, so he can ride in the front seat!!

 One of the most fun things I did last week was meet Joshua and his class at the Pumpkin Patch for an hour.

 In keeping my promise, I allowed Brenna to take photos of Baby Dietrich on Sept 20.

Sierra says this baby has her personality.  He/she is "out there" making sure everyone knows he/she is around.  I always call Sierra irrepressible, according to her, the baby is too.

I will confess that I was not expecting to be this big this soon.  However, other than that, I feel awesome!  I can even skip a nap most days and stay awake from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm!  That is still WAY more sleep than I got pre-pregnancy, but I am totally enjoying the extra rest.  

 Friday nights are pasta nights this fall.

For Jay, only spaghetti will do pre-race.

His father is looking forward to a more diverse menu post season.

 Yesterday, we drove to Valley City for a XC meet.

Joshua and Brenna liked running and rolling up and down a hill as much as watching their siblings run.

**The Brenna Dietrich news of the week is that she was elected into student counsel.  She is super excited, and we are super proud!**
 Grandma Donna surprised us at the meet.

I love this photo of her and the little ones.
 I am not sure Sierra will like this photo, but I think it captures the stain of racing well.

It was a stressful day for her.  She HATES to be late.  It is one of the things that causes her anxiety.  Yesterday the bus that was driving her team to the meet left an hour late.  So if you add pre-race anxiety with lateness anxiety, you have a stressed out Sierra!  She took me advice to "let it fuel you rather than defeat you" to heart.  
 She raced brave and blind!  Since they did not get to walk the course with her coach, she had no idea when it ended!  She thought the race may never end!  Ha!  Poor girl!

I love her.  I adore the enthusiastic, brave, and encouraging way she lives her life.  She always has something nice to say to everyone - and that is such a gift.

**In other Berra-girl news, she made Husky Singers, her Middle School Swing Choir last week.  I am a former Husky Singer, so that makes it extra fun!  I am excited to watch them perform!**
 Waiting for the next race. . .
You know you are the momma when you can pick your kid out of this photo at first glance - ha!

Jamison was in the last race of the day, yesterday.
It was a tough one for him.  For the first time this year, he did not run as well as he had hoped.  Though having an off race is not what any of us wish for him, it is a fact of life.  It happens to everyone, it is just a first for him! 

This afternoon, Chad took Sierra hunting for the first time.  The were still hunting, for her first deer.  Still hunting means silence.  Sierra and silence are not friends.  Sierra and competitive are friends though, so when they saw a nice buck out of range, she was inspired to stay.  Unfortunately, he did not come into range - but she is hoping he will later this week when they try again.  I have to confess, the thought of Sierra sitting silently makes me giggle.  I can. not. imagine it!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Carry Them With Me

Almost 3 years ago, Chad and I decided to start working towards a second adoption.  We met with our social worker, prepared a home study, and very nearly brought home C & L.  Though I am hopeful that C & L remaining with their birthmom was the best decision, I carry them in my heart.  I pray for them and their mom all the time.

After C & L, we looked at the profiles of many children in the US foster system.  One, GZ, we got very close to adopting.  But then our home sold, and we knew that with GZ's special needs, camper living would be impossible.  So we backed away.  I continue to pray that God placed GZ in just the family He had in mind, that he has received the medical treatment he needed, and has gone on to a completely normal, happy, and healthy childhood.

As we survived the home building process, I continued to pray for the children God may have for our family.  As soon as I was rested and "sane" enough to consider an addition to our family, we renewed our homestudy and started searching again.

Over this past summer, I went through the waiting children lists from each and every state.  I read every profile. For each child that I thought our family may be a possibility, I sent a request to our social worker to inquire about him/her/them.  I printed every child's profile, and though it is unlikely any of these children will become a Dietrich, I continue to carry them all in my computer bag.  These beautiful children have been tossed around so much that it hurts my heart to consider throwing their profiles into the trash, so instead I keep them tucked in my computer bag and pray for them.

This fall, there was M.  M would be Joshua's dream brother.  Demographically, he is exactly who Joshua has been praying for.  We spoke with M's mom, and I fell in love with her.  I do not know the end of M's story. I do know that M will be added to the list of kids I carry in my heart and prayers, always.

Even when I learned I was pregnant, I felt completely comfortable moving forward in adoption.  I still do - if God opens the doors.  However, that is unlikely, at this point.  Few workers would (or should) place a child in a home with an expecting momma OR a newborn sibling.  I understand and respect that.  I am totally aware of how careful I need to be in calming a terrified, tantrumming child right now.  I also clearly remember just how much energy a newborn requires!  I have no desire to be foolish.

And yet, when Joshua sits down next to me and says with a huge sigh, "Mom.  Do you know the only bad part about the baby?  He is going to have white skin, just like all of the rest of you!  Everybody in this family has white skin but me!  Even the DOG, mom!  I know. . . because I checked!"  my heart breaks.

The desire of his little heart so clearly mirrors the desire of Chad's heart and my heart, and yet - we wait.

Sometimes, this crazy adoption journey has frustrated me.  There are so many children in need of families. We are willing - but God has not connected the dots yet.  It does not really add up

I am sometimes overwhelmed wondering how many more I will be called to carry?

How many children more does my heart have room to love and pray for from afar?

How many more homestudies will we complete and not "use?"

God has been whispering one answer to this incredibly complex question.  It is this, "Faith is being sure of what you hope for and confident in what you can not see,"  Sierra's favorite verse. . . Hebrews 11:1.

I can not see God's plan in all of this.  I do not know what the outcome will be.  Yet, I DO know that He has a plan.  He has a plan to prosper each of the children I carry in my heart and every child that is left longing.  He has a plan to prosper them, not to harm them.  His plan for each them includes HOPE and a beautiful future.  He has that very same plan for me and my family. While His specific plan for each of us will work itself out in very different ways, the plan is the same.

I am SURE of what I hope, and He has proven time and again that I can be CONFIDENT in what I can not see.  I trust that He is holding and watching and protecting each of the precious ones I carry in my heart.  I hope someday to know the rest of their story, but even if I never do, I am thankful that He introduced me to them.  I am thankful to be their prayer warrior.  I will continue to battle for each of them in prayer as I carry them with me day by day.  And if God adds more children to my list, I will be honored to carry them close as well.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Racin' in the Rain

No pictures from this week's XC Meet.  It was WAY too wet to risk taking the camera out.  Thankfully it was warm rain, because we were soaked to the skin by the time we left!  Our kids are very blessed with supportive fans!  Rain or no rain, Chad and I were there.  Chad is even starting to enjoy running around the course to watch!  Last year, he thought I was nuts!  This year, he says, "Let's go!" My dad and his brother, Bob, came to watch AND Jeremy, one of Jamison's church youth leaders, braved the rain to cheer for our tall son as well.  The kids truly appreciate it!  So do we.  Having other adults care for and mentor our kids is something we value a whole bunch!

The Varsity Boys were scheduled to race first, which was LUCKY!  It had rained all morning, so the course was really wet - but compared to the shape the course was in 6 races later when Sierra ran, it was excellent conditions! They raced in Mandan, which is a spectators dream course.  It is flat and small, so the kids loop a lot, making it easy to see them multiple times during the race.

Despite the wet, slippery and rainy conditions JD (as he is called by the team) raced well.  His finish time was 17.31, which means he set yet another personal record!  He continues to come in 4th for his team and top 25 overall. He is really, really happy with the season thus far! 

Sierra ran the second to last race.  Because it continued to rain throughout the entire meet, it was even wetter than when Jamison ran.  Additionally, many races had gone through the course.  There was water up the the kids' ankles in a couple of spots!  By the end of the race, the girls had water and mud all the way up their backs!  They did their best to reroute the course a bit, making it a tiny bit safer and less slippery, but it was a MESS!

The reroute made the course a different length that they ran last week, so comparing times is not really accurate.  But at the one mile mark, Sierra was only one second slower than she had been last week, so I would call that speedy given the conditions!  She finished in the top 25 runners, just like her brother.

I know I am a crazy XC mom, but I had a blast on Saturday.  The rain just added to the adventure!  (Now if/when the rain turns to sleet or snow, I will not feel quite so adventurous!  But I WILL still be there chasing my kids around the golf course!)

Next week we road trip to Valley City!  I can not wait!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Conversations Worth Keeping

 Once in a while Chad and I have a conversation that melts my heart forever.

We have had several conversations that have changed my perspective completely over the years.  Usually what sticks in my mind and heart forever is one simple phrase.  This happened again very recently.

Chad joyfully parents with me.  He is thankful for each of our children.  Yet, in all reality he may have been "done" at two or three if I had been.  I am a BIG family momma.  Chad has always known that.  One of the things I have recorded in our engagement journal is that we would have as many children as we could afford.  That was our agreement.  No number, just the goal of being able to provide for them.  Well. . . that and he said they ALL needed to be boys.  LOL!

When we discovered I was expecting #6 he did ask me (only partially joking), "Alicia, how many more do you think there will be? I mean give me a number. . . 10. . . 12?  I may need to prepare mentally!"

We laughed and laughed.

And then he said it.

He looked into my eyes and said this phrase that is forever seared into my heart, because it is so wise and so true.

"Just know, babe, that we will never regret having another child. Never."


I am so thankful for a man who shares my heart and passion and life so beautifully.
His daddy may melt my heart, but this little boy makes me laugh.

This week I noticed that Joshua always refers to the baby as a boy.  I told him, "The baby might be a girl, you know."  He quickly responded, "Yeah BUT it might be a BOY and I really hope it is! We have a lotta girls already!"  (Surprisingly Brenna agrees!  She hopes the baby is a boy, too.) 

A day or so later he wanted to know if after this baby was born I could please have two or three more babies.  I explained that this would probably be my last baby since I was getting close to 40.  (I will be 39 when baby arrives.) He did not respond.

Fast forward another day and he snuggled up to me and said, "Mom, I know you are kinda old.  But do you think we could still find a brother who looks like me someday?"

I said, "What do you mean?  Do you mean a brother with brown skin?"

He said, "Yeah!  Please?!?"

I assured him that there is not a day that goes by that mom does not pray that God would send us a brown skinned brother or brothers or maybe even a sister (gasp) if it is His will! I reminded him that his daddy and I have been trying to adopt again for a long time, but so far God has not allowed it to happen.

He responded with complete relief!  "Oh GOOD!" he said.  "You can 'dopt when you are old!  I'm happy now!"

(For the record, my doctor was not NEARLY as concerned about my age as my children and my father seem to be.  She laughed when I worried telling me she sees many women my age every day!)

Even in my "old age," I continue to feel great.  Food is tasting good again! I don't have any huge cravings, but I do like fruit flavored candy way more than usual.  I am not usually a candy girl with the exception of dark chocolate on a rare occasion, so when I pulled skittles from my purse last week, Chad was shocked!

I am completely exhausted by 3:45 when Joshua and I get home each day.  I am so thankful that most days I can take a nap.

The kids have a list of approved baby names posted on the refrigerator.  The "agreement" is that they will come up with a list of names that would be "acceptable."  Then when baby is born we can tell them which one we have picked.  They crack me up! 

 I have officially outgrown almost everything I own; last weekend I finally ordered some maternity clothes.  For the record (Dardi) maternity clothes are much cuter when you are not the one wearing them!  

While I may not love the prego belly look - I very much prefer looking pregnant to looking chubby!  And with the belly comes baby kicks, which I adore!  I actually started feeling the tiniest of flutters last week!  It is really early to feel movement and it is not frequent and very subtle - but I am sure it is the baby.  I am also so very thankful!  I think it is God's answer to my prayers for peace and reassurance.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Double Dietrich PRs Today

We had the extreme privilege of watching BOTH Jamison and Sierra race today!  Two Dietrichs running XC is double the fun for me.  To add to that, they both set personal records once again today!

 Jamison ran first.
It was his first official start as a Varsity XC runner.  He has been in many races in which JV and Varsity are combined.  He was also part of the State team last year, which made him a varsity runner - but he went as an alternate.  So, today was kind of significant. The kids and I decorated his room yesterday to celebrate and wish him luck!

 He ran really, really well again this week.  He finished, once again, fourth for CHS.  Overall, he finished 24th.  It was a big meet, with all of the western schools present, so that is a very respectable finish for sure.  He also broke 18 min for the first time, running 17.47 which is 13 seconds faster than a week ago on a much more difficult course. Add to those stats the fact that this course is about 10 seconds longer than last weeks and you have a stellar race for JD!
 Because Sierra had a throat infection last weekend, this was her first start of the season.

I was SO excited to watch her run.  Last year she totally struggled with injuries.  She had grown so quickly that her body was just NOT cooperating!  She had plantar fascistic then tendinitis.  We spent a lot of time at PT.  She kept working and going to practice, riding bike rather than running.  She was determined - and she WAS able to run the final race of the year.  But her season was far from complete.

This summer she was able to run with the CHS girls team twice a week.  They were so kind and encouraging.  She totally enjoyed it.  She also was successful!  She ran all summer without any injuries!  She has continued to be injury free with daily workouts!  I am so thankful because she really wants to run cross and with much determination she is finally seeing some success!
 Sierra is an 8th grader.  She runs for HMS.
 She looked great today - stronger the farther she got into the race!

 I love the look of determination she has as she spots the chute for the first time!
 This is not her favorite picture, but I had to post it!
Check out her leg muscles!  A year ago she had total chicken legs, all bone and NO muscle.  She has worked hard both running and lifting to develop some strength!

Sierra finished 21st today!  5th for her team!  This is one of the biggest middle school meets of the year and her first race, so that is QUITE a finish!  I am SO excited to watch her season develop.

The top 5 HMS girls are all blonde, blonde, blonde like just like Sierra.  They have deemed themselves the "Blonde Squad!"  And together they are proving that blondes can be a powerful force to be reckoned with!

(This is the varsity boys race results.)

(OK this post is filled with some major momma braggin' - but I am proud!  I also want them to know this stuff some day when they are 30, and this is my scrapbook!)

**For the record, Joshua may be Ethiopian, but he does not share the XC love!  When asked by the boy's coach today if he was going to be a runner like Jay, he said "NO WAY! It makes my legs tired!"  He is hoping I buy a double stroller for the baby so I can push them BOTH around the golf course next year.  He was not impressed when I told him that next year I would probably run the courses with baby in a carrier of some sort!

He also made us all laugh today when he challenged his Grandpa to a race.  Grandpa beat him to the tree and back!  When they got back to the finish line he says, "I need to find someone slower to race!  MOM!  Will you race me?"

Next week the Dietrich duo race in Mandan.

I, for one, can not wait! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Trust Overcomes Fear

Last week, the most incredible thing happened.  One of my best friends became a grandma.  I am so incredibly happy for her.  I am also SO incredible happy for me, because when she sent me an absolutely stunning picture of her holding her tiny, newborn grandson a feeling of peaceful certainty filled me heart and soul. (God does the coolest things at the weirdest moments.)

Last week was hard.

For one thing, since discovering I was pregnant I have fought fear in a way I have never fought fear before.  I am thrilled to be pregnant; yet after the last couple of very bumpy years, I fear hopefulness.  So many things have not gone smoothly or as I have expected, that I am terrified something will happen to this baby.  Having an uneventful pregnancy, like I have in the past, seems too much to hope for.

I did not want to tell the kids when we did.  But since Sierra figured it out, my hand was forced.  I didn't want to tell other people either, but once again my hand was forced as I did not want to burden the kids with secrecy.  I allowed the news to be leaked, but I was terrified that I would lose the baby and then have to explain it over and over and over again.

Then we went to the doctor and heard his/her heartbeat.  Usually that makes my heart rest.  This time it has made the baby feel that much more real AND the possible loss that much more real as well.  I do not know how to explain how conflicted I feel.  I SO want to be over-the-moon with excitement, yet fear keeps holding me back.

Finally, I blogged about baby.  Chad suggested it.  It is time to celebrate, time to process, time to prepare. Since the way I do those things is through blogging, blogging seemed the obvious place to begin.

In the end it only opened up another "can of worms."  Though I have heard a genuine congratulations from many people, I have heard:

  • are you kidding?
  • are you crazy?
  • do you realize how many years you will be parenting?
  • better you than me!
  • you actually planned this?
  • how old are you anyway?
  • you have to be done someday!
  • how many kids do you plan to have?
  • etc, etc, etc. . . over and over and over again.
By the end of the week, I was completely emotionally exhausted.  Maybe we are crazy?  Maybe I am too old? Maybe. . . I felt a deep need to protect this baby and our decision to have him/her ALONG with this crazy fear of loving him/her.  It was not where I wanted to be.  I kept reminding myself that I was not created with a spirit of fear - fear is not from God.  I reminded myself that this baby, along with the rest of my children belong to the Lord.  No matter how small their beating heart's may be, they are His creation.  As a mom, my job is to trust His will for each of my children from the beginning to the end.  I fought valiantly, but fear continued to creep into my heart.

And then I got the photo of my dear friend cradling her grandson and my heart sighed.  I am not sure I can express it correctly, but in that moment I was certain that despite the craziness this pregnancy is to so many other people, it is right.  My heart is still set on motherhood.  Seeing that itty bitty baby made my arms ache, and I knew that being Grandma was NOT the role I am being called toward.  I get to be a mommy again. Seriously, how incredible is that?  It is just SUCH a perfect, wonderful gift.

In all honesty, my fear continues.  I am a work in progress, and I am constantly giving this tiny little baby back to the Lord, promising to trust Him with this little one always.  But my heart is also fully content.  I know I will continue to hear comments that make me cringe, people are people.  Those comments no longer break my heart or cause me to feel defensive.  THIS is right.  It is good.  It is precious.  And I am blessed.

Beyond scared, I feel great.  I was never truly sick, but I was an extremely picky eater for a while.  Meat, which I normally love, was disgusting to me.  Sleep is surely my friend.  AND unlike in my last couple of pregnancies, when I am tired, I sleep.  I am still walking or jogging with the dog most days.  I have not gained a pound, but the only pants that fit have drawstrings.  I will be honest and say that I miss drinking tons of coffee each morning, decaf is just not the same.  I also miss a glass of wine after a long day a whole bunch!

One of the best parts of this pregnancy is that Chad has been completely amazing.  He has a much more flexible schedule than he has in the past.  Our business is still fairly high maintenance, but much easier than it was years ago.  Our kids are old enough that they are pretty self-sufficient. We also have a bit more flexibility with our finances.  So, now when I text him that I feel crummy, he responds "Take a nap.  I will pick up pizza for supper."  He thinks my expanding belly is kind of cute, which makes it easier for me to watch it grow.  He waits up for the teenagers and tucks me into bed.  He makes me breakfast every morning and laughs when I cringe at weird things like melted cheese.  He is more indulgent than I have ever experienced in 19 years of marriage, and I am totally appreciating feeling spoiled and treasured.

39 and Holding!

Over the delightfully long and lazy weekend, we celebrated Chad's 39th Birthday.

Above he is pictured with his birthday gift. . . which he chose for himself.  Since he has taken a vested interest in lawn care, a new faster lawn mower was his birthday list.  He chose a Dixie Chopper - the world's fastest lawn mower.  All I can say is "only Chad."  And it was WAY cheaper when I was a solo gardener, YET I am thrilled that he has chosen to make this yard lovely.

These last couple of years have been full of changes and surprises.  It has been a bumpy road.  I am so thankful that it is a road we have traveled together.  I am so thankful that we have chosen to support each other daily.  Some days it has been easy and joyful, other days it has been a hard-fought choice - that is just the reality of marriage.  The knowledge that you ALWAYS have my back, no matter how prickly it may be, makes ALL the difference in my life, Chad.  Thank you for being an amazing husband, friend, and father.  We often stretch each other like crazy, and I would not have it any other way.  I LOVE this crazy, unexpected life we live.