Maggie Grace at Three Years Old

My beautiful firstborn daughter turned 3 years old. 3. That’s a preschooler. That’s how old the kids were that I used to teach. It’s amazing how slowly and quickly time goes.

I should be filled with dread and sadness at the fact that my baby is growing up, but instead God has granted me hope. It’s no secret that Maggie has challenged us greatly at two years old. But just as we thought we would never get through to her, that nothing was ever going to work for her, we started to notice small changes. She began to verbalize feelings (“Ooh, I’m so FRUSTRATED!”) and started to understand right from wrong. These small but monumental changes have given us hope that 3 will be much better than 2. She is still a spitfire and very energetic, but we’re been able to mostly funnel it into productive activities. She now loves to sit and read or do crafts or play games. Maggie has some dear friends, who she loves and talks about constantly. Her best friend is her cousin Kailee, a sweet fact she shares with everyone. She loves going to gymnastics open house, she loves swimming, airplanes, and motorcycles. Her favorite books right now are Pete the Cat books. She knows all her letters, counts to 20 and backwards from 10, she can spell her name, and she knows the colors of the rainbow. She has a fantastic memory and I know it is going to bite me in the butt someday soon.

Sweet Maggie has a giving heart and loves easily. She is adventurous and excitable, but also kind and thoughtful. She is growing up into a beautifully wonderful little girl and we thank God for her every day.

We love you, Maggie girl, more and more each day. DSC_5744DSC_5762DSC_5763DSC_5769DSC_5779DSC_5784DSC_5786DSC_5789DSC_5793DSC_5805

Margaret Grace at Two Years

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T w o.

Two whole years I have known you. 24 months of being a mom to you. I catch myself staring at you lately, wondering how I could have been so blessed to know you.

You are beautiful. You have the sweetest curls and gorgeous eyelashes. You are solid and athletic – proof of your physical abilities. You have long limbs and fingers…and feet! (in size 8 shoes already!)

You say the cutest things since you can’t talk well yet. “mina” = banana, “sasa” = applesauce, “seesah” = sister, “waya” = Leia. You sing along with me to your goodnight song and “Jesus Loves Me”, and every song from Moana and Trolls. Oh, your favorite movie is Moana. By far. But you love Daniel Tiger now and I’m grateful for the switch from Baby Einstein finally.

You know the alphabet song and can count to 10 (you try to hold up your fingers like I do). You know the colors red, blue, and purple; every other color is blue. You are getting picky with your foods and only want to eat fruit and cheese. Your favorite food is pizza.

You have your father’s mechanical mind and adventure-seeking spirit. You have my love of music and desire to have people close by. You are the most outgoing, loving, wildest toddler I know.

I couldn’t love you more…

Happy birthday, my Maggie Grace.

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Our Juliet Hope

The probability of giving birth on your due date is just under 4%. Of the current moms my age at my church, I know of three births in the last two years that landed on due dates. My last child is one of those punctual children.

I never announce the name I picked for my child until they arrive in the world. Partly to make sure they are the right gender (we didn’t find out for my first) and partly to make sure they fit their name.

My husband actually chose our newest daughter’s first name…Juliet, or Jules. Even in the womb, she seemed to be feminine and dainty compared to Maggie. The name just fit her, even before I officially met her. I even decorated her room with pinks and flowers, basically the opposite of what I did with Maggie’s nursery.

Hope. We (I) knew we wanted to continue with the theme we had set with Maggie’s middle name of Grace – reminding us of God’s grace. I struggled a lot with choosing the right middle name. But as we drew closer to meeting her, I got a peace about the word “hope”. Especially in the time in our world where there’s so much suffering and fear, we could use the reminder of the hope of Jesus’ return and completion of His beautiful kingdom.

Now, her birth story…

Her birth day arrived with much anticipation. Funnily enough, the day before she came, I was exhausted from trying whatever I could to start labor the whole week. I fell asleep around 10:30 Saturday night without even thinking about my due date the next day.

At 1:30 am,  I woke up to my water breaking and jumping out of bed because I had forgotten that I had put on a waterproof mattress cover. I woke Bear up and told him my water had broken. We sprang into action and I took a shower to clean up before heading  to the hospital. We chatted excitedly about finally meeting our new baby girl.

I woke my mom to tell her the news and fought the urge to snuggle with Maggie for one last time before her new sister arrived. I didn’t dare wake her up when we were trying to get out of the house quickly.

We got to the hospital around 2:30 and got checked in pretty soon afterwards. Apparently the week prior had been very popular for having babies because there  were no recovery rooms available until late Sunday afternoon! We arrived just in time to get the largest room with a jacuzzi tub in it. An answer to prayer since I chose to not use pitocin this time around. The doctors and nurses I had were awesome and were great advocates for my rights and desires in my delivery.

Since my water broke, I had more of a deadline than a normal delivery. I was granted six hours to progress from 4.5 cm. I was desperate to not need pitocin, so I did everything I could to get labor moving quickly. I walked the halls, bounced on the birthing ball, and relaxed in the tub for hours. Thankfully, my contractions began to come stronger and more consistent. By 7:30 (the end of my 6 hours), I had gotten to a six! My body was doing exactly what God designed it to do.

The next couple hours were filled with intense contractions and not even the tub would help. I honestly felt like giving up. I only labored for roughly 7 hours, but once they came, my contractions progressed quickly. At 9:15, I must have been getting really loud in an effort to manage the pain because all of a sudden, two nurses and two doctors were in the room asking to check my dilation.

I fully expected to only be at an 8. I was ready to ask for an epidural if that was the case. I was losing focus and having a hard time mentally staying on top of my contractions. Of course, I was having such a hard time because I was fully dilated and ready to push.

The doctor told me to hold on while he gets everything ready “just in case”. It was a good thing he did, because two pushes later, our Juliet came into the world with a healthy set of lungs.

We loved her before we knew her, but knowing her is so much sweeter. She has blessed our family and we never knew how much she would add to our dynamic. It’s difficult to remember life before her and we can’t get over how our love has been multiplied.

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Juliet Hope

Born on Sunday, August 27th 2017 at 9:29 am

7.8 lbs and 20.5 inches long