From the monthly archives: "December 2012"

This year for Christmas Brian and I didn’t exchange gifts. Really we don’t need anything, and the things we want can’t really be wrapped and put under the tree. Brian and I have had a great year between getting some time away together and individually. So this year we didn’t get each other anything but time.

He might not remember, but they will always cherish their time with him

Thursday afternoon Brian took Grayson to my parents. He did some running around, and ended up painting Gray’s new big boy room and then we settled in for a date night at home. Originally we were going to go and have sushi for lunch and then go see the Hobbit or another movie, but that’s not really an option anymore, so instead we opted for takeout sushi and a movie at home.

I was so looking forward to this time, and I am so thankful that we took the time to do this. We did something similar last year, and I think it will become a tradition. The kids can have a day at Grandma and Grandpa’s – one set of them at least. And Brian and I can have a date night and a day to just be together again.

Brian reminded me of what Kevin O’Leary said when we went to see him speak a year or so ago – I don’t pursue money, I pursue time, just that money helps you buy time. Although I don’t really pursue either, I agree that time is one of the best things we can give people. It’s our family priority, and always has been. We had date nights every week from the time we were dating until Grayson arrive. And even after that we did things like played volleyball together to get some time out of the house just us. We’re super blessed with 3 sets of parents and an aunt and great neighbors that love to spend time with Gray so we’re able to get out and have some us time more often than if we had to pay a baby sitter. Before Grayson was around we would have Jac and Brian weekends. We would tackle some of the things around the house we wanted, or just watch an entire season of our favorite show in a weekend. But we turned our phones off and didn’t make any plans with anyone else, and we stayed home (usually). Now we have Jac and Brian and Grayson weekends. We leave the outside world alone, we go for bike rides to the park and spend a whole weekend just us. We really covet our time with each other. Once Rory arrives we’ll have another person to add to the mix, and I have a feeling we’ll be doing some serious family only time for a bit to just enjoy being a family of 4.

I think recently there has been a big push towards physical things as gifts rather than time or memories. If you asked me to choose between and ipad or a weekend with my boys no restrictions (ie bedrest) I would take the weekend with my boys. I know my dad would rather get a coupon book full of fun dates with Grayson and Rory than a new table saw or treadmill. And there are some people that I miss a lot, especially during this time, and if I could spend one more day with them, if I could introduce them to my children, I would rather that then all the riches in the world.

time with my boys

Spending time with my boys.

This year I’m committing to myself and my family that time will be my priority. That our phones will be put away one weekend a month, and we’ll spend a whole weekend just us. That taking Gray out on a date is more important than getting him a new toy, and teaching him how important time is will take priority. To create memories with our family and loved ones is important and a great gift that we have been given.

This year I want to introduce Gray and Rory to some of the things that we love, and that our parents love. I want Grayson to go to a baseball game with Brian and Geppa R. To have that memory of an Ernst boys day enjoy a game that Brian’s Grandfather loved so much. I want my mom to teach Gray to say Go Jays Go every time he sees the Jay’s on TV. I want to introduce Rory to the place she was named for. And I want to teach her from the day she is born to be as strong and loving a woman as her great grandmother was, and her other great grandmother still is. But to do those things takes time.

This year we were given the best gift of time we could have ever received. My dad was given years of life back. This amazing gift has taught me that time is not something we can put to waste. That physical things can never take the place of memories and time with our families. This year I got my Dad back, the man I grew up with, the man who would run around with us in the snow and who made sure every day was special by his attitude and actions.

The man who made sure

For 2013 my priority is time. My focus will be time. Right now it’s making every moment in bed count and growing Rory as much as I can. If she comes early it means that I’ll be spending my time making sure she grows strong in the NICU. And once she’s home, it’s time with my family.

Grayson skiing for the first time with Brian and Geppa R. Soon he’ll be racing me down those hills.

Our last week has been a bit crazy, but in the midst of it I am so thankful that I was able to spend time with my family.

Last year Brian and I made the choice to just be us on Christmas day; to have it just the 3 of us from Christmas Eve until the end of Christmas Day. It was the best decision we ever made in regards to family time and I’m so thankful we are keeping it up. Christmas Eve we got home around 8:00pm and my mom had Grayson in bed, and so off to bed I went and Brian joined me as soon as he was done wrapping Gray’s few gifts. We woke up and took Grayson downstairs and just enjoyed a morning of unwrapping gifts with him and breakfast. It took about 2 hours to unwrap the 3 gifts under the tree because he was so excited to play with each one. The rest of the day was just mellow. I was still recovering from not sleeping much during our adventure, and needing to make sure I was doing as little as possible to keep Rory happy and safe on the inside for a bit longer. It was a pretty normal day, just staying in our pj’s most of the day, Brian took Grayson to the park to play for an hour and he loved it! And once Gray was in bed, Brian and I snuggled into bed and ate our Christmas Eve tradition of appetizers for dinner a night late, but still just as nice to spend some time with him.

About 11 years ago my family decided to start celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day. We were all getting older, my sister was married and had events with her husband’s family. And we knew eventually that would be the case with all of us. So rather than running around on Christmas day and missing each other we decided that we could wait an extra day and celebrate the next day. I mean really it’s not about the date on the calendar it’s about the reason we celebrate and being together. So Brian and Grayson and I headed to my sister’s on Boxing day for family time and an amazing dinner. I always used to tease my sister for being undomestic, but I was proven very very wrong.

As we sat at the dining room table, making a toast to the year we had had, and the year ahead, my dad stood a second time, and raised his glass in thanks for the family that gave us the opportunity to celebrate once again. A family who through their grief and pain choose to give life, and save his. This was the first year in many years that my dad has said grace before our meal without having to stop and take a breath every few words.

Christmas isn’t about the gifts under the tree or the wish lists, it’s about the amazing gifts that we’ve already received. This year we received a gift that I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for. This year I got my daddy back, and my children will get to see my dad the way I did as a child. Grayson will never remember my dad’s oxygen hose, or the buttons and lights he was so fond of on my dad’s liquid oxygen tank, but I know he will remember going to baseball games, and playing in the park and going skiing with him. He’ll remember camping in the backyard and marshmallows on the BBQ.

I don’t have many pictures of Christmas, we usually don’t. And especially this year we just wanted to enjoy our time together. Maybe next year we’ll bring out the camera, but this year it was nice to be just us.

Christmas isn’t over for this year just yet, we have another day to celebrate all the amazing gifts we’ve been given. Our tree will stay up a bit longer, our decorations will stay up on until March (we have winter decorations not just Christmas ones). And Brian and I get to give each other our gifts too. We’re having a date night, and a day just us to spend time together. There’s nothing in the world that I need other than some time with the man I love to just be. I’m excited for some time just us. It’s definitely needed.

 

for those wondering about our adventure – I’ll post more about it later – just know that Rory and I are doing okay and will hopefully make it through another month or two of cooking before Rory arrives

One King

 

So he came with starlight and love in his eyes. No regal welcome for his infant cries.

There have been many babies to become a king, but only one king became a baby.

 

I don’t think I ever thought of Christmas and the gift of Christ in this way before. Jesus sat on the right hand of God, and on Christmas morning was born as a baby. A baby that could change our world. A baby that came to save us, and show us that we don’t have to live life separate from God anymore.

 

God so loved the world that he sent his only son Jesus to save us. He sent his son to us in the form of a baby. A baby that would grow before our eyes into a perfect blameless man who lived his life as a servant doing the works of his Father. God loved us so much that he send his son to a humble carpenter and his wife. He sent our saviour to us in a way that we would understand. He sent his son to be the example for all of us to reach for God in our lives, to be able to live a life with God, not separated from him.

 

Only one King became a baby, and he did it for us.

 

one king became a baby

 

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOQRtYYERGo?rel=0] breath of heaven

Its hard for me to tell you what this song means to me.

This song was the first worship song I ever saw performed as a dance. I was maybe 5, my big sister sang this song for Christmas, and our associate pastor’s wife, Jennifer, danced. Just the thought of it brings tears to my eyes, because even as a 5 year old I could see and feel Jennifer putting her heart into the dance; the words, the song and the meaning behind them.

And now as I sit here pregnant, unsure of what the future holds, I am constantly asking for God’s peace to come over me. I often wonder if I’m the right person for the journey he has me on.

I can see Mary on the journey to Bethlehem, in those moments when the enemy was trying to get into her thoughts, I can see her taking a deep breath and praying this song. I can see her asking these questions; questioning if she was the one that should be on this journey, but offering all that she is for the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Light up my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me

I sit here a bit scared and unsure, wondering what God’s plan is. I’m so thankful to have him, and know that his hand is over my life, and Rory’s. But another part keeps wondering what his plan is and wondering how we’ll manage through these latest hiccups. Earlier this week I was back to our ultrasound clinic for another in depth ultrasound. After our 20 week ultrasound they wanted us back to get some clearer pictures of Rory a bit bigger so they could determine if there was an issue, or if they just had some bad/incorrect photos from the earlier one. The great news is that nothing is wrong with her heart, the not so great news is that she’s having some issues with her one kidney. Her left kidney is 1.6x larger than her right, and although they can’t tell for sure right now because she’s too tiny, there could be other issues with it. At this moment the largeness of her kidney isn’t impeding function at all, but it does mean we could have a long road ahead of us after she’s born. Even with ultrasound technology as great as it is, Rory is still a tiny little babe, no much bigger than an ear of corn, and until her system is under life conditions outside her little water world, we won’t know if there is any issues with kidney function or damage. This could take us on a journey of daily antibiotics, or could take us through surgeries and ongoing treatment. We won’t know until she’s born. The other big concern is if she decides to come early. If she decides she doesn’t want to wait until April, the stress of being premature could cause even more harm to her kidney.

There are so many thoughts going through my mind right now; so many what ifs. When we were pregnant with Gray all the issues were mine. We had a few weeks where we were investigating some abnormalities on an ultrasound but they disappeared and everything was going great. But this time it’s not just me.

There have been moments these past few days where I just sit in bed and ask for peace, just for a moment. For peace to come over me and let the wheels in the back of my brain stop turning for just a moment. And I’m working on letting go of the fear and uncertainty in my heart and resting in the knowledge that God has it all under control. And resting in the knowledge that God had a destiny planned out for Rory before she was created in my womb; that he had a plan and a purpose for her life before we knew she existed.

I can only imagine the aloneness that Mary felt some moments, the fear and uncertainty. But I do know that the peace of God had amazing power to wash over us and calm our human hearts and minds.

 

This isn’t the original post I had for today. But the last few days I’ve listened to this song, usually with tears streaming down my cheeks, asking for peace and guidance. I pray that we all remember Mary’s journey, and the journey so many of us are on, and have grace for them as they find rest in God’s amazing peace.

 

Josephs song

We all know the story of Mary, the virgin who carried baby Jesus and became his mother. We as moms can all imagine the thoughts going through her head. But how often do we focus on Joseph, and his thoughts.

My godfather, Uncle Ralph, sent me this song for my advent after hearing what I was planning. To him this song embodies Joseph’s thoughts upon meeting his son, and probably some of them from the moment the angel appeared to him.

The one line that seems to resonate with me the most is

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours

 

Joseph had already accepted the journey that God put him on, but he wanted to know where he fit, what was the bigger picture. I think all of us have moments like this. I know I do.

I’ve often asked God where I fit. Where do I fit in his ministry, where do I fit as a wife, as a mom? How do I fit into the destiny that he created for Grayson and Rory, and to help me be where he needs to be. There are times when I know asking for the big picture is futile. I know that I’m probably not ready to see the big picture, or even the next step.

 

For all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter. How can I raise a King?

 

How many times did Joseph ask this? How many times in the last 2 years have I asked how I’m fit to raise Gray? I know in times of doubt I wonder why God chose me to be a mom, why he chose for me raise Gray, and now Rory. I think, at least I hope, every parent has moments like this. I just can’t imagine the weight Joseph must have felt raising the Son of God, the child who would grow to save the world.

Listening to this song reminds me of the great heart Joseph must have had for God. Reminds me of the journey he took, and the amazing things he did for us by raising such an amazing son.

Today is a hard day. Today is the first day that no matter what I choose I’m not allowed out of bed. We knew this day might come, would probably come, but I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be. I guess the hardest part is that I know what it’s like when you don’t make it to term. I know what it’s like to have a preemie. The last 12 weeks I’ve been hopeful and optimistic. I could see full term, I could see us making it past 32 weeks. Having a big full term babE, never having to ask if we were allowed to hold her, or wondering how she was doing because she would be sleeping just a room away instead of miles away from us.

But this morning reality hit me. As much as I pray we make it full term; that Rory has her birthday on April 9th; that might not be what really happens. And the reality is that I’ve been here before, and I know the battle I have ahead of me. I know what long days feel like. I know the hurt of not being able to join in on things, watching things pass you by. I know how it feels to be forgotten because you’re not a physical presence in someone’s life.

I know every day I spend in bed has a purpose and is worth it. I do – every moment that I can grow Rory on the inside is worth it and I will give her every moment that I can. But that doesn’t stop it from being hard. I completely understand why solitary confinement is punishment in prisons. There’s only so much blogging and knitting and watching tv that you can handle at one time before you start missing things like snow and the smell of snow on the horizon.

Can't wait for snow

Can’t wait for snow to be on the peaks of the roves across the street.

my current view

My current view – Thank goodness for Twitter friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I work hard on choosing a good attitude and not letting my surroundings affect it, and I’ll be working on that these next 16 weeks. But I’m a hormonal pregnant woman, there are going to be days when the emotions win for a few moments.

I’m thankful that starting Friday I have my boys home with me for a few weeks. Some great distractions and I’ll probably spend my days on the couch on the main floor. We’ve adjusted our plan and there won’t be a big turkey dinner this year, maybe just grilled cheese and tomato soup instead. We’ll get Gray’s big boy room ready for him so we can work on getting Rory’s room all girlie before she comes. We didn’t get Gray’s room painted until he was in the NICU despite starting it when we were 5 weeks pregnant. I would prefer to get it switched from boy to girl in the next bit.

I’m also thankful that I can keep doing design work while I’m in bed. I was able to get a hospital table to work from and stay in bed. It’s such a huge help. I am accepting blog design clients for January – I’ll be posting more details on the design site later today or tomorrow. But look for an awesome deal!

Thanks for listening! We knew what might happen when we opened ourselves up to adding to our family, it’s just hard to prepare mentally and emotionally for this. Thank goodness I have such a great community supporting me. I am thankful for each one of you and your prayers for us.

I’ll hopefully get all my advent posts up in the next day or two. I’m excited especially for the next few days. Some songs that I couldn’t imagine Christmas without, and some that remind us of what we are really celebrating.

 

God is With Us

 

 

In light of the tragedies this past week my heart has been heavy. It’s been hard to focus on work. Hard to focus on anything and everything. Things on my to do list have seemed so trivial when families are mourning.

 

I sat down at my desk this afternoon while Grayson was napping and Brian was catching up on work, and looked at my calendar for advent. I had paused the post I had for today, I wrote it a few weeks ago and so much has changed since them. So much has changed in the last 24 hours. But the song for today seems fitting.

 

Love is raining down on the world tonight, there’s a presence here I can tell.

God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel

 

I feel compelled to tell all who will listen, that peace on earth is not so out of reach. If we can find grace and mercy and forgiveness, he’s has come to save, he is all of these.

 

I don’t have any words to follow this. Just a request that you really listen to the lyrics and reflect. Let’s not let the enemy take this season away from us. Let’s not let Christmas pass us by, but let’s truly celebrate the hope that we have because of Jesus’ birth.

 

The Christmas Hope
Two years ago just before Christmas we entered the last 100 days of our pregnancy (well if we went to term and we all know how that turned out). Since I had started bedrest I had been counting down, it gave me a goal. Every day we got through was one more day that Gray was growing big and strong, another day on the inside for him. That winter one of the last Harry Potter movies came out, and I really wanted to go see it. We had checked with the doctor and she said that going to the movie wouldn’t be too much of an adventure for us. But at the last minute I decided to trade my afternoon at the movies and instead go to the Christmas Eve service at church. As much as I was missing being home, like all the snow and a lot of the other events, I really wanted and needed to get into the spirit.

So we trekked out to church, and as usual the service was amazing. This song was sung by an amazing girl at church. In those moments she was signing I realize that I had lost my hope.

I think this year I’m in the same position. This pregnancy has been a lot easier, I’m not on full bedrest and we’re (our medical team as well as ourselves) are so happy with how things are going. One of the big issues I had with Gray isn’t as big of an issue this time, and although we have no control over other things we’re doing our best to keep things low key and less stressful. But it’s a longer road this time. I was put on bedrest at 21 weeks with Grayson, this time I’ve been on restricted activity for pretty much my whole pregnancy. Gray’s been in daycare almost full time for the last 6+ weeks, and we have 16 and a half more weeks until Rory is set to arrive. With Gray I was looking at 19 weeks of bedrest, and at that time I didn’t have a little man that I spent every day with and was missing like crazy. This time it is longer and harder. 29 weeks of my pregnancy will be restricted, 22 with Grayson away all day. We knew this was a possibility, and we knew that this was probably going to happen at some point, we just didn’t anticipate it being so early on. And to be honest you can’t prepare yourself for the mental battle that bedrest can be. I’m not on bedrest, but I am restricted. I can sit at my desk for 4 or 5 hours at a time and blog and design and get some work done, but I do have to rest in the afternoon. Sitting for too long can put all the hard work we have done to waste.

And it’s lonely. I watch my boys walk out the door every morning and try and hold the tears back until they’re in the car and out the driveway. I’m so used to having Gray home, and going on play dates with our friends Dara and Ivan, and getting some mom time with Rachel. And going grocery shopping or running errands, and now I can’t really do much of that. I hate to admit this but I was jealous of my dad going Christmas shopping yesterday. I’m so so thankful that he’s able to go shopping and no have to carry his oxygen, and that it’s the first year in a decade that he’s been able to go to the mall without a huge plan in place. But I haven’t set foot in a mall in weeks, my usual indoor walk place on crummy days hasn’t been visited in a while.

This past week has been the hardest. Hard to write, hard to feel productive in a day, hard to just even get out of bed. Christmas events are coming up, and most I’m not attending because it’s just too much, or I would prefer not have the looks from ‘family’ that I’m not parenting my child and running after him, because they don’t understand that I’m not really allowed to. Realizing that my little man is growing up without me right now. He comes home from daycare with a new word or two every day. He’s giving Rory kisses and calling her by name (well my belly) and using his manners better than some adults I know.

I’ve let my hope slip away this past week; I let the loneliness take over. But hope is a candle, it might flicker but it doesn’t go out, and it shows us the way home. It shows us the way back to the true meaning for the season. This season is about the birth of Christ, and right now this season in my life is about growing a big healthy babE girl. I have hope that Rory’s birthday will be April 9th as planned, that she won’t arrive early.

Today I’m deciding to focus on the bright side. To focus on the fact that this is just a season in my life. In 16ish weeks my little girl will be in my arms healthy and whole and every moment leading up to her birth will be worth it. I’m on a journey and I’m going to allow God to move in me during this time.

 

Do you Hear What I Hear

The child sleeping in the night will bring us goodness and light. A message that started with the Wind talking to a lamb and a shepard boy.

 

I love the story told through this song. A lamb talking to his shepard, who then goes to the king to tell the people.

 

But it’s more than the story in this song, it’s the lesson. Are we looking for God, are we listening for God? Are we sharing the message we’ve been told?

 

The message of Christmas is a powerful one, but what if the wisemen weren’t looking at the sky? Weren’t in search of that star? What if the shepards in the fields didn’t listen to the angels and go to find Jesus? As much as this song is about the Star and the voice and a child sleeping in the night, it’s also about the lesson to always be looking and listening for God. At least for me it is.

 

Elmo eating snack

Gray making sure Elmo gets snack too.

Now I know you’re wondering why Elmo and Rosie are singing this song when there are a million versions out there. Well first of all you have to know that Grayson LOVES Elmo. He had never seen him on TV, but we had a little Elmo and Gray would feed him lunch and carry him through the house. So of course Elmo had to go in with Christmas for Grayson. But there is more behind why I chose this version. Pop over to Natalie’s blog Take the Cannoli to read about it. And I’m pretty sure there’s a giveaway going on over there too.

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