Dear Nora Kate,
Today is the day you are set to enter this world! We can not wait to meet you! We are all so curious about you. What will you look like? Your sister says you will have pink and purple hair and pink and purple eyes. We are hoping she isn't right! What will your personality be like? Having to be induced makes us wonder if you will be laid back and do things on your own time! So many unknowns that will be answered in a matter of hours. I wrant you to know that despite all of the unknowns, one thing we know for sure is that we already love you so much we can't stand it! We have been waiting for you for 40 weeks! We pray that God will bring you into this world uneventfully and for the bright future he has for you! We are already blessed to know you are coming and can't wait to see your precious face!
Today your life will be forever changed. I have to admit I have felt somewhat sad for you that the life you have known for the last 3.5 years will no longer exist. I know it will only get better, but I'm a little nervous for you. You have talked so much about how much you love Nora Kate and you hug and kiss my belly and I know you will feel the same way when she is here! You are going to be such a good example of kindness, compassion and energy! I can't wait to see you take on this new role of big sister! We are so proud of you! Love, Mommy and Daddy
I had taken maternity pictures when I was pregnant with Olive, but hadn't given much thought to it this time. My friends started guilting encouraging me to have them done again this time. Well, of course I had waited until the last minute and went into a panic. Stephen saved the day by calling my sweet friend Shannon to see if she would take some for us. I am so thankful she agreed! She had a huge job on her hands between the three year old who never looks at the camera, the dog, the out of control wind and the two parents who make goofy faces a lot in pictures! She was able to capture some really great pictures and I am so thankful to have them! Here are a few of my favorites!
Thank you Shannon for taking time out of your day to help us preserve this moment in time!
As we are getting closer and closer to Nora Kate's arrival, I am having such mixed emotions. I am beyond thankful that Olive got to know her Dano for almost 2 full years. I know that she has memories of him that will be with her forever. She talks about him and knows that he is in heaven with Jesus. But I hate that Nora Kate will never know him on this earth. It stinks. Dano thought the world of Olive and I know he will be looking down over Nora Kate too. And one day they will meet in heaven, but for now we will just have to tell her lots of stories about him! The day that Olive was born, we went into the hospital in the middle of the night. After getting all checked in and settled in our room, I called my parents to let them know. I remember Dad's sleepy voice answering the phone. I said "today is going to be Olive's birthday!" And him responding, "but it isn't even light yet!" Ha! But they were there about an hour later, anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild! He had such a gentleness about him when he was with her and you could see how much he loved her by the way he looked at her. Such precious memories that make my heart smile.
We are so blessed to go to church with some of the most thoughtful and amazing people! They have truly seen us through some of the worst of times and they were ready to celebrate during the best of times! On Sunday, they hosted a shower for Nora Kate. I was hesitant to have a shower because of it being the second baby, but they insisted that they wanted to "love on her too". We are so thankful for the out pouring of love for this sweet girl already!
The amazing hostesses: Shannon, me, Carma, Mitzi and Lindsay
We had a fun time and received lots of diapers and wipes that will be put to great use! :) Along with some to die for outfits, blankets and accessories. Honey came down for the fun too!
Thank you sweet friends for loving us and Nora Kate!
Opening day of baseball season was last week which is a HUGE day in the life of a Cub's fan! Daddy has been looking forward to this day since about half way through last season because it is starting fresh and a new optimism is in the air. Even for a tried and true Cubs fan who has had their heart broken year after year. Opening day is a day to say "maybe this year!" Olive and I decided we wanted to make this a fun night for Daddy, so we recorded the game so we could all watch it together when he got home and then went to work creating our own little "Wrigley field" feeling in the dining room. We had the table all set with the baseball essentials: popcorn, peanuts, cracker jacks and sunflower seeds! For supper we served brats and hot dogs, stadium cuisine at it's finest. And we did a little decorating. Daddy appreciated our cheesiness and we had a great time cheering on the Cubbies!
Olive and Stephen have started a new game in the car that they call "pinky purple tree bingo". They look for red bud trees (olive calls them pinky purple trees because they are not red, they are pinky purple) and they call out when they see one. Olive usually adds "I'm winning!" To the end of her senetence about seeing one. She even plays when he isn't in the car with us and wants to call and tell him how many she saw. She thinks this is the greatest game ever! It has definetly caused me to be more observant of all of the "pinky purple trees" blooming around us. Today I saw one and I was really struck with the thought that we are in the "pinky purple tree" stage of our lives and I could not be more grateful for that! We are at a place of new beginnings! With Nora Kate joining our family any day now, we are starting fresh. With our new perspective to "just be", We are blooming! Stephen and I's New Years focus this year was to try to have a more positive perspective. I will tell you that going jnto this year, I was terrified. I cried at midnight on New Year's Eve because I was so so scared of entering into an odd numbered year. They haven't been very good to us in the past. A few days into the new year, I had a long talk with God and I was reassured of his goodness. I wasn't reassured that nothing else bad would happen, but I was reassured that we could handle it. That day Stephen and I decided to focus on a more positive perspective. This seemed so crazy to me, because I have lived my life as an optimist, but fear had taken hold and finding the positive had been very hard for me. This is something I continue to struggle with daily, but now as I see the pinky purple trees popping up all over town I am reminded of this new season! I am looking forward to tomorrow and our future as our little family starts to bloom and grow into what God intended it to be!
Today's Throwback Thursday is about facial hair! With Duck Dynasty all over the place right now (no I have never watched it, but everyone seems to love it and I don't live under a rock so I know who they are!) beards are getting a lot of attention. My Dad always had a full beard and mustache. Always, for as far back as I can remember. Once when I was about 6, he shaved it off. Mica and I were terrified of him! He started growing it back out immediately because neither one of us would even talk to him! He should have counted this as a blessing! Ha! His beard gave him the opportunity to do different things. He would be Santa Claus at the Children's Center drive through lights and not have to wear a fake. He was Moses several times for the Halloween "living bible" at church. The most memorable "impersonation" that he was asked to do had such a huge impact on me. A friend of our family was the pastor at a church in Yukon and asked Dad to be a part of a little experiment. Dad's job was to appear to be homeless. We went to church that night seperately and when we pulled into the parking lot, Dad was sitting on the grass dirty as dirty could be, his hair and beard a mess with old worn out tennis shoes. We went on into service and a few minutes before it started, Dad in all his dirtiness, walked in and went straight to the front pew. You could see people staring and could tell that it made some uncomfortable, while others barely noticed. During singing, Dad stayed seated the whole time. During prayer, he stayed seated as well. Before the pastor walked to the podium, he stepped down off of stage and went to "talk" to Dad. No one could hear him, but you could tell from the body language, he was asking him to leave. About that time, Dad yelled "you're just like the rest of them!" And took off running out of the sanctuary. I remember tears filling my eyes as I was so convicted about judging others on their appearance. You could see the entire congregation tense and not know what to do. Before Dad even made it to the front doors though, he was stopped by several men. And after seeing him up close, they recognized him and knew something was going on. This was such a profound illustration and I am glad that Dad was given the opportunity to provide this lesson to so many just by having a beard.
Easter morning was super exciting at our house because Olive got Monsters Inc. in her bucket. They watched part of the movie at school a few weeks ago and she hasn't stopped talking about it. She even had it as one of the things she wanted to earn with her chore chart, so I knew it needed to be in her Easter bucket! She got a few other things too, but it was the most important. She squealed when she saw it and immediately wanted to watch it!
Waiting for it to come on...
Amazingly we were able to pull her away to get dressed and ready for church. She looked so sweet in her "pretty princess pink" Easter dress.
After a great church service, we headed to Eddie and Carol''s house. My side of the family has been doing this same thing for Easter for over 25 years. I have the best memories of Easter because of all the fun times we had growing up with Wesley and Jeffrey! Since we didn't have cousins here, they were like our cousins and so many of my childhood memories involve them and their wonderful parents! This was the second Easter without Dad and Wesley here, but I am sure they were getting themselves into trouble by launching water balloons in heaven. Olive was the only girl under the age of 12, but she didn't let that stop her from joining in on the fun. Sweet Gavin picked her up for a ride on the 4 wheeler. She LOVED it!
When it was her turn to drive, the boys had already moved on to something else and no one would ride with her. She was pretty disappointed, but drove it by herself for a few minutes.
The boys were all playing with fishing poles, so Eddie got one out special just for her. He even tied a Hello Kitty to the end. Stephen decided after watching this display of insanity, that he will wait a few more years before attempting to take her fishing with a hook!
After several cookie breaks, it was time to hunt eggs! This lady was ready to go!
She had so much fun finding eggs and made quite a haul!
Checking out her loot.
Family pic! This new hands on the face thing is going to wear me slick, but I love the ornery little expression on her face. Truly Dano inspired.
We hope you had a wonderful Easter with your loved ones!
Saturday was the Third Annual Hippity Hoppity Egg Hunt. Because Easter came so early this year, we moved the hunt to the afternoon in case it was a little chilly. The first year we did the hunt it was down right cold and we didn't want that to happen again! Well, Mother Nature certainly didn't disappoint, she came through with an 80 degree day! And I don't want to be the one to complain about warm weather, but it was hot!
These three little ladies were ready to hunt!
Daddy working hard to get the starting line ready. Our group has grown so much that our old starting line just isn't long enough anymore, so Daddy saved the day!
Travis was kind enough to help Stephen make sure to get it straight. Not exactly sure what or how this worked, but it did!
These girls were a little confused about their technique...
but it worked!
All the hunters ready to race! It would appear that we had a Sooner on our hands, but there was actually a bug in her basket and she needed it taken care of! Who can blame her?!
And they are off...
Olive would only pick up pink or purple eggs! Ha!
After the hunt was over, we attempted a group pic and this is the best I got. At least there were no tears!
We were thankful Auntie Mica came down for the festivities!
And Honey too!
And Pop and Gipper!
Our little family of 3! Not much longer until we are 4!
Thank you to all of our sweet friends who came to help make this such a fun day!
Stephen and I were married in December of 2004. We met through a very persistent friend who insisted that if we met, we would get married. Sure enough, he was right and 7 months later we said I do! In the years since, we have suffered great loss but are learning daily to rely on God and each other, knowing that we can rise to use tragedy for good! We welcomed Olive Kay into the world in August of 2009 and our lives haven't been the same since! She is a firecracker and makes every day worth waking up for! On her 3rd birthday, we found out we were going to be blessed with another little one. Nora Kate joined our family in April of 2013 and has brought even more joy into our lives! We can't wait for the adventures we will have with the two of them.