swimming

for Caleb’s birthday this year we knew we wouldn’t be throwing a big party so I wanted to do something fun each day leading up to his day.

Monday – Swimming!
Tuesday – Birthday Cupcake and Balloon
Wednesday – Movie with Dad
Thursday – Train Ride to see Dad
Friday – Plane Ride to Oregon

All of these things weren’t planned way in advance but i knew he’d love them if we set aside time to really enjoy it.  we ended up swimming both Monday and Tuesday because it was warm.  i had to duct tape some holes in the pool and even still the water only lasted about an hour.  he’s also grown quite a bit since last year.  needless to say, we’ll be looking into getting another pool for this summer.

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my kid isn’t sleeping…

which is really, really rare.  we did sleep in late this morning and we are both feeling a little under the weather.

so while he’s not sleeping and i’m waiting for him to come find me again i thought i’d try to design a little print for our guest room/nursery.  still leaning towards girl and found some beautiful prints on Etsy (of course) but are just too expensive for us right now.  i’m not claiming to be a designer, by any means!, but as a small print i think it comes across and sweet and simple…pretty much my style in everything. feel free to Right Click then Save and print as 4×6 or 5×7 (you might want to print from a photo place to save some ink) and place in a white, matted frame for a bedside table or as a filler on the wall.

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trip to west texas

last weekend, caleb and i flew to lubbock to visit my dad for the weekend.  i took some photos for my little brother’s graduation announcements.

i also had a personal challenge…to take more vertical photos.  so here they are!  caleb even posed for me a bit in between takes of my brother.

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he adores my dad.  he’s really blessed with really active grandparents (and great grandparents!!).  my dad doesn’t just ‘watch’ him.  he takes him on lawn mower rides, to see the tractors, to the park, plays baseball, and patiently waits on him while they take long walking excursions.  he was like that with us when we were kids and i’m glad caleb gets to experience the fun, too!

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caleb wanted to sit on my dad’s shoulders. as he put him up there i immediately said, “awkward family photo” and they just went with it, trying to make it as awkward as possible.  proof that it doesn’t really matter how people are posed…if you love the subjects, you’ll love the photo. 🙂  i love this one.

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it’s west texas so the wind was crazy!  about 20 takes of my little guy and me and FINALLY one where my hair wasn’t covering my face.

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at the tennis courts (throwing a baseball, lol) after we finished shooting.  loved the harsh light.

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there’s ralph.  if you saw my Instagram, then you know who this is.  we left Ralph at dad’s.  i talked to him last night and he said he’s still sitting in his own rocking chair in the living room.  this thing is huge and holds a special place in caleb’s heart.  it was love at first sight.  they were inseparable the entire trip.

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that’s it.  still not entirely proud of the lack of photos but a great start for the month.  we’re off to oregon this weekend for a wedding and we’ll be celebrating caleb’s 3rd birthday!

scripture print for birth

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i stated last time that we’re planning a home birth.  i am so excited about the idea of bringing our son or daughter into the world in a safe and comfortable place.

i have no idea how i will labor.  or where.  but the birthing tub and supplies will be set up in our living room.  and so i’m designing and printing scripture to be placed in there, too.

my ‘theme’ for birth is that it is ALL God’s.  think about it.

1. it’s the most natural, beautiful thing ever…creating new life.  He is the creator.  All praise and glory are His.

2. yet, it can also be terrifying…death…we really must have faith that His will be done!

3. it’s the one (ok, there are probably others but this is the most common to us) thing that man, scientists, doctors, etc have not figured out.  the what, when, where, how varies from baby to baby. from life to life!  because He created us the same, but also uniquely. what day will i go into labor? will my water break? how long will it last?  will it be difficult or easy?  only God knows.  more trust and faith He has favor over us and our birth!

4. the detailed way He made a woman’s body and heart to birth. how is it that a blueberry-sized fetus turned into a watermelon?  and to live off a bulging bag of blood and nutrients…flipping and turning and developing organs.  and then, the grand finale, to know when to travel down the birth canal.  it’s AMAZING.  there is no way man could have invented it.

5.  then, of course, comes mothering and fathering.  if you’ve ever been one then you know what i’m talking about.  the total surrendering of your children daily, hourly to the Lord.  we are all just foster parents to His precious ones.

so, when I think of Scripture to meditate on for our baby and birth this is what I have in mind.  do you have other great verses?  I would love to meditate on passages but would like to print shorter verses so that I may be able to have them read to me or even read them myself during the birth.

more home birth preparations to come since this is my first go at it.  so consider yourself warned! 🙂

our alien baby

ahhh!  look at those alien eyes! 
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 so, we had an unexpected sonogram wednesday.  i had gone in to see my midwife, cheryl, and she said i needed to call our backup dr to make an appt to get a our 18-20 week growth sonogram.  this is not required but we wanted to do this and we also would like to know the sex of the baby.  we only ever planned to have one sonogram so we were OK with waiting a few more weeks. when the nurse said she could get me in that day, i was a little nervous but i agreed.  so, 4 hours later, i was looking inside my own uterus at my half developed child.

lemme just sidestep for a second. i feel like something needs to be clarified.

God made this child.

God made Caleb.

and God made T.

that’s pretty obvious truth to those of you reading.

but, for some strange reason, now that T has moved from us everyone tries to fill his spot with this new baby.

i’ll have you know, this is a completely foreign thought to me.  like, when the first person (oh, yes, there’s been many) mentioned how we must be reeeeeeeeeeally excited about this new baby i felt nonplussed.  we would be excited either way.  they are all completely separate little babes to me.  if the Lord were to take Caleb today, there would be a forever hole in our family.  until heaven.

each of my babies are different.  each of them were uniquely designed by the Lord.  and each of them have a separate place in this family.

and T has a forever hole.  and he deserves to have his space reserved and remembered.

parents (well, people in general!) who have lost someone want, more than anything, for others to remember them.  it’s the best and most thoughtful gift.  yes, it hurts sometimes.  i still have tears when i talk about T.  not everyone knows how to deal with that, i get it.  so i speak for myself here.

please remember him. do not replace him.

let my babies be who God designed them to be.

wow, that sounded defensive, didn’t it?  i actually am rarely offended by any comments in regards to fostering. and this was definitely not a case where we were hurt or offended.  we understand that others are trying to grieve as well.  there’s nothing you can say that will hurt my feelings.  this, the letting go of your child, is what everyone fears.  we made it. and we’re telling you how can make it through, too.

ok, so back to my baby #3.

i picked a song for her.

ugh. the sono tech totally messed me up.  she thinks it’s a boy but could not get a great angle to tell.  i would loooove a boy.  i have everything for a boy (except a name) and i know what to expect the first three years. comfortable.  and then my baby went all Henson on us and got comfortable right where he/she was.  couldn’t tell what was going on with that nub between its legs.  whatever.  i still say girl.

so, i picked a song for her.  it’s Psalm 46 by Jenny & Tyler.

The LORD is my refuge and strength

Therefore I will not be afraid

Though the mountains give way

And fall into the sea

He will come and rescue me

 

The LORD comes to me at break of day

He reaches down to guide me in His ways

Though the oceans roar

In this dark and stormy sea

He will come and rescue me

 

Halleluyah, He is with me

Halleluyah, we cannot be moved

Halleluyah, He is with me

Halleluyah, I rest secure

 

 

that looks pretty bland just sitting there in text.  youtube it or visit their site if you haven’t heard it.

dane and i started learning it together.  when i sing it, all of my emotions from the last 4 months start to surface.

the joy, the sickness, the despair, the laughs, the intimacy, the hate, the tears, the saying goodbye.

and saying hello, again.

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is there anything more beautiful than new life?  this tiny thing shows much greatness in our King.

the final verse of the song is my favorite and main prayer in my heart right now:

Be still and know that He is God

He will be exalted over all

Come and behold His strength and majesty

Yet He will come and rescue me

this prayer covers our fostering experience and now this pregnancy and future labor and delivery (uh, Lord, please rescue me).

i am so excited to see how the Lord uses it, in my heart, over this child.

our random trip to california and our crazy year thus far

EDIT: this was written and supposed to be published two days ago!
bullet points are always nice when a million things happen in just a few short months. oh, who am i kidding, even with bullet points this is going to be long. and rough.

  • on december 27th, 2012 we found out we are pregnant!  it was from the Lord but it was also…um…anticipated?  i’m not sure how to explain it any other way.  i felt a clear yearning to have a biological child from the Holy Spirit (before adopting a third…and fourth….and fifth child) and before we could disagree, bam, knocked up.  if you’re counting, which you wouldn’t be, we’re batting .1000 for making that happen.  anyway, baby is due September 4th.  we are planning a home birth.  we will most likely find out the sex of the baby when we have a sonogram (around 20-22 weeks, i’m 18 weeks tomorrow).  we think it’s a girl (chinese calendar, intuition, different pregnancy) and we could possibly name her Lucy.  other than my thyroid issues, everything seems to still be in the ‘low risk’ zone.  this means i should have no problems staying with a midwife and planning to birth at home.  (it does not necessarily mean something won’t happen during labor, duh). i’ll see an endocrinologist in a few weeks to see what they think.
  • as you already know, january was the hardest month of my life.  partly because T was in the hospital so much and partly because i was deathly sick as well, which i couldn’t say yet because we decided to announce the pregnancy to the interwebs at a later date.  i had morning sickness with caleb but oh, man, this was terrible.  everyday at 5pm i would finally start to feel better.  i most definitely threw up everyday, sometimes twice or three times and it lasted until about 14 weeks.  pretty awful stuff.  my poor kiddos.  they started making vomiting noises each time i went to the bathroom.  then, caleb would do it at random times throughout the day and between T throwing up and my sickness i almost couldn’t handle the stress.  but we got through it. barely.
  • february was slower for us.  T only threw up once or twice a week and i was only sick about half the day.  we didn’t go anywhere or do much, though.  we were pretty much tethered to the house.  we made it through since i knew it was just a season.  we found out things were moving along with T’s case and they would have a hearing on March 20th.  they would decide when he would go home.  we just waited and lived on until that day.
  • march brought more health and good weather.  dane and i were able to get away and actually have some fun.  T only threw up about once a week.  we knew he would definitely be going home in the next few weeks/month so we just tried to soak up every moment we had with him.  on march 20th, the judge ruled for T to be placed with a family member, effective immediately.  our case manager requested it be the next day so that we could have time to say goodbye.  i had 24 hours with him after hearing the ruling.  we really did have a great last evening together.  dane decided to call in to work on the 20th.  he played with caleb and i took T to a dr. appt.  then we heard the news and just spent the rest of the day hanging out and packing up his clothes.  the next morning was another dr appt.  dane went to work and i am thankful i had my mom with me.  it was extremely difficult for me to keep it together (remember, i’m pregnant with extra hormones) knowing we would sit at a very long appointment just to go home and hand him to CPS.  there was one good/weird thing about when he left.  i had to wake him up.  he hadn’t been taking a morning nap but when we have a visit or dr appt he does.  he fell asleep on the way home and i had to put him in his crib while i loaded things for CPS.  we chatted for awhile and i handed over meds and his schedule then went to wake him for hugs and kisses.  he was so completely out of sorts.  it was sad to see but it was also a blessing.  with us having so many different people to see in just a few days you can imagine how clingy he became.  he would scream if anyone tried to hold him.  he didn’t really react to mine and caleb’s loving and didn’t scream when our case manager took him.  i mean, i was a total mess but it would have been much worse to see him so upset.
  • in the meantime, we are receiving prayers, calls, texts, love from family and friends which was really great for us.  my mom had been there all week with me (praise God, seriously!) and left around 5:30pm the day T left.  I think he left our house around 1:30pm and then we spent the rest of the afternoon packing up his room while caleb slept so we wouldn’t have to deal with it later.  That night we were sad and numb.  We went out to eat and on our way there Dane and I tried to make a plan for us to get away for the weekend.  our original plan was to go camping but it would freeze at night.  our brother-in-law, joel, had been pestering (yes! very persistent.  i’m so thankful for him!) to use his buddy passes through Southwest Airlines.  we had nowhere we thought we needed to go. even though the flights were free we’d have to pay for hotel, car, food, etc. then i mentioned california.  this was around 7:30pm thursday night after talking with dane’s mom (who had mentioned caleb and i come out the next week to get away).  dane loved the idea of us just picking up and going so i texted joel and he called his dad and at 10pm that night, we had open seats on a 6am flight waiting for us the next morning!  dane was able to take off friday and monday to spend the weekend with his parents.  caleb and i stayed until thursday (march 28th).  flying with buddy passes (standby) is pretty tough with a 2 year old but we could not be more thankful to joel and, mostly, God for working it all out.
  • you’ll see in the photos that we went the beach on saturday.  i mean, it’s awesome.  who doesn’t love the beach?  the waves, the wind, the sun, the sand.  you don’t see anything but God there.  i dare you to look out into the ocean and not be overcome with your smallness and God’s greatness. humbling.  so i know the majority of our friends and family were relieved to see us there.  what a great distraction!  and it truly was.  but, for me, the Lord did not leave me to let my mind wander.  the pain of losing T was still very raw.  throughout the weekend i felt that everyone had forgotten T except me.  everyone had their ‘tasks’ except me.  i felt very….alone.  even when trying to explain it to dane, asking for comfort, he was confused.  as he should be.  no one understood what i was going through and they weren’t meant to.  i felt the Lord let me get to that place of ‘aloneness’, not leaving me, and let me make the choice of how to deal.  after being together with my wonderful man 8 years i’ve learned quickly that he is not my savior.  i immediately apologized for expecting him to comfort me when he was doing the best he could.  i started to seek comfort from the Lord.  i wasn’t sure how to do it because i had never lost someone this close to me.  it is much like a death when looking at our day-to-day but i’m thankful he’s out there somewhere blessing his family!  i began to search Scripture and looked forward to attending barry and lisa’s church service and bible study.  i wanted to be surrounded by His word, His majesty, His people, His love.  when you have a special needs kid, that’s all you think about.  when they’re gone, you can’t just turn that off.  it was still there.  i heard him crying every night.  i would not allow myself to make plans without thinking of what he needed first.  and each time that happened and i realized he wasn’t there, my heart broke.  over and over and over i would pray that the Lord stay patient with me and not leave me.  that He would fully comfort me and heal my pain.  it is still my prayer today.  it is much easier, even being back home and seeing his stuff here and there, because of the tiny stitches in my heart in California.  so, yeah, grandparents are amazing.  the beach is amazing.  fresh seafood is amazing.  but the Lord is greater than all of those things and He has proven that to me in a very real way.
  • you’re probably wondering about caleb.  he’s wonderful.  all those weekly visits with T and his parents really paid off!  i don’t think he fully understands everything but he’s not at all sad.  he knows that T is being taken care of.  something he’s been teaching me.
  • so, yeah, we’re doing well.  the Lord is gracious.

i took photos when we went to the beach and then a random day when caleb was helping wash dishes.  i don’t know.  i wish i would have taken more but these will do. 🙂

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