Road Trip…with young children

Last week we headed out to our annual trip to the mountains. I will admit I was a little apprehensive about making this long trip with a 3 year old and almost 1 year old, but, as usual, the girls did way better than I predicted and all my worry was for nothing!

We did decide to buy a car DVD player and that thing was a complete lifesaver. As in, without it, and the trip would have been a disaster.

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Little Bug played with the toys in the box for the first 1.5 hours of the trip and then I knew it was time to pull out the TV.

It was great because the TV kept Big Sister quiet so Little Sister could sleep! This was the first trip we’ve taken since Sweet Pea became “aware of the world”. Last trip was in October when she was just 2 months old and still slept basically anywhere you put her. So I had no idea what kind of a car sleeper she would be…

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I turned on her little sound machine and gave her her blankie and she was asleep within half an hour and then she slept for 1.5 hours!! I couldn’t believe it since Little Bug was always a 45 minute to the dot car napper.

When Sweet Pea woke up, I put the toy box on the front seat and climbed in the back to feed her lunch. I pretty much had to be a gymnast to crawl back there.

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Sweet Pea was happy to see her Mommy and bottle.

It wasn’t long and Little Bug said she needed to potty. We took the next exit but there was no potty in sight any where close. So Dave pulled off on the side of the road and I got out with Little Bug so she could pee in the grass. She decided she didn’t want to do that, so I resorted to putting a diaper on her. I’m glad I did because not 10 minutes later, Little Bug said, “Mommy, I pee peed in my diaper.”

As soon as we pulled into Wendy’s for lunch Little Bug wanted panties on pronto! She did not like that wet diaper. I, however, was so glad I thought to stick a diaper in her bag for the car! It came in very handy when there were no potties in sight!

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While we ate I laid a blanket on the floor and Sweet Pea got some time to play. She kept wanting to go for those nasty chair legs. Of course.

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After lunch I got in the backseat with the girls again and we read lots of books. After about an hour, we stopped and took a potty break. The women’s bathroom was stopped up, so I went and asked if we could just use the men’s bathroom. We were in the men’s bathroom for about 1.5 seconds. One look at that toilet and I would have rathered Little Bug pee in her carseat than sit on that toilet. Those bathrooms were disgusting!!!

I told Little Bug it was naptime and that because it was naptime, I was going to put a diaper on her. Problem solved.

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It wasn’t long and Little Bug was asleep, but this time, Sweet Pea decided she didn’t want to sleep. She was quiet for almost two hours doing who knows what back there with just her blankie! She hardly made a peep, but I know she never slept. That baby is the most laid back baby I know.

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Little Bug took a 30 minute nap and then we let her watch TV again.

It wasn’t long and we arrived at the cabin to Grandma and Gramps who were standing out in the driveway anxiously awaiting our arrival!

All in all, the drive to the mountains was uneventful – much to my surprise!

Tomorrow I am going to publish several posts about our trip. I am posting them all in one day so you don’t have to keep reading about our trip every day if you don’t want too. Smile

Two days with Melissa

I never in a million years dreamed that infertility would bring me true, genuine, deep friendships with people that were once complete strangers to me.

But over the past almost five years, God has blessed my life with several new friendships. The common thread between us all?

Infertility and adoption.

God has even granted me the privilege of meeting in person many of these new friends.

Melissa started reading my blog years ago. When it was clear God was calling them to adopt, she emailed me, and our friendship has grown from there.

March 26th, I flew to Atlanta and got to spend two days with Melissa while she and her husband, Ryan, were there on business!!

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It is absolutely crazy to me how connected you can feel to someone you have never personally met but who has walked the same road as you: infertility and adoption.

We hung out for two days as if we had known each other for years.

We did get to site see in Atlanta, but one of the biggest highlights for me was being able to hear Melissa tell her story and how God has brought them to where they are today. I had read pieces of her story on her blog and through email, but being able to sit down in person and talk about what God has done in each of our lives concerning our infertility was just so very special to me.

I caught a red eye flight to Atlanta and arrived before 8am! Melissa was there to pick me up. As I got off the plane I sent Melissa a text that said: I’m the girl with the big, red purse (and red eyes)!

I was able to see the sunrise from the airplane. That was a beautiful sight. Creation really does proclaim a Creator. No way any of this “just happened”.

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We rode the shuttle from the airport to the hotel and spent the morning at the hotel restaurant eating breakfast and talking for about two hours straight!

We spent the rest of that day going to Underground Atlanta, lunch at Joe’s and lots more talking.

The next day we had some site seeing planned:

The Coke Factory and the Aquarium!!

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I had never been to either and enjoyed getting to see something new with Melissa. We had so much fun that day.

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We got to taste different Coke products from around the world which was very interesting. We both liked the Apple coke from China (where Melissa is adopting from!).

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The Aquarium was a lot of fun too. We were worried we wouldn’t get to see much of it because we had to get back to the hotel in time for me to get to the airport, but we ended up being able to see everything except the 3D show!

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We even crawled through this tunnel (for kids!) to get up close and personal with the penguins. This boy (probably about 10 years old) was in the tunnel with us and we asked him to take a picture of us. He said, “Uh, I don’t have my camera.” and then scampered off. We chuckled and then took this picture ourselves.

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There were so many beautiful sea animals.

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After the Aquarium we got back to the hotel in time for me to ride the shuttle back to the airport for my 6:30pm flight.

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I am so grateful for that time with Melissa. Crazy as it may seem (since we met over the internet….oooo!), Melissa is a friend for life. (Melissa and Ryan met over the internet too! Smile) She is such an encouragement to me and I wait with great expectation to see how God is going to unfold the next chapter of her story as she welcomes her daughter or son through the miracle of adoption.

Disney World!!

My cousin, Sarah, was marching in her band on Main Street at Disney and my parents decided they were going to go. I decided to go, too, and take Little Bug to Disney World for the very first time!! It just happened to fall on “D Week”!

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We had so much fun even though it was hot, crowded (because of Spring Break) and we are rookies who don’t know the ins and outs of the park and how to get the most for your money when you are only there a day. So to you Disney-pros, you would probably say that we wasted a lot of time!

But like I said, we were there to see my cousin march in band and to see Little Bug have a ball and both were certainly accomplished that day!

My parents and I went with the mind set that we didn’t want to feel stressed all day trying to cram things in. We wanted to enjoy the day. And we did.

Our first ride was…It’s a Small World!!!

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It was especially special for my mom to ride this because she can remember her Daddy on this ride with her. He passed away when I was only 5 years old. We all enjoyed the ride because “It’s a Small World” is our kind of ride. In other words, we don’t do roller coasters! Smile

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My mom and Little Bug were singing “It’s a Small World” while on the ride.

After that ride, we got a text saying Sarah’s band was about to play. So we went to Main Street and waited for her band to come by.

But first…a band from Rio de Janerio came by! Brazil is where my mom grew up because her parents were missionaries there.

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It wasn’t long and Sarah’s band came by!! Sarah is marching right behind the guy who is playing the horn on the row that is closest in the picture.

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There is Sarah! Closest on the end, smiling at the camera! Sarah is graduating high school this year and this was her very last performance. It was SO special to be there.

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We all took off after the band and followed them all the way through Disney until they went off on one road and were roped off. Below is my dad (blue shirt and pushing Little Bug in the stroller) and my Uncle David (green shorts and, yes, the one who had the brain aneurysm two years ago and has made a complete recovery). Little Bug LOVED watching the parade!

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After that we watched one of the Disney parades. Little Bug was so excited to see Mickey and Minnie!

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She kept asking me, “Are they real? Will they talk to me?”

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She also got to see some of the princesses: Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel. It’s a good thing because the line to meet the princesses was always an hour long wait every time we checked and we couldn’t use a fast pass.

Next we headed to the Winnie the Pooh ride. That ride has a cool playground for the kids to play on while you wait for the ride. Little Bug really enjoyed playing there.

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It did help the time to pass because waiting in lines is not Little Bug’s most favorite thing to do! We would be standing in line and all of a sudden she would just dart through the line and I would have to run after her!

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Now, my honest opinion about the Winnie the Pooh ride? Not worth the wait! We waited in line for about 45 minutes for a 5 minute (if that!) ride! And we even were stopped on the ride about 2-3 times because of malfunctions. BUT…Little Bug enjoyed seeing Pooh, so that made it worth it to me.

We went to the Swiss Family Robinson Tree. No wait there because everyone just walks through. We all enjoyed doing this. Little Bug liked being high up in the tree!

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Little Bug wanted these Minnie ears but they were $20!!! What?!?! So we just took a picture and put them back on the shelf!

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I bought her a stuffed Minnie Mouse that she now takes everywhere with her! That was $13 – a much more reasonable price for what you are getting!

We needed a break from walking and being in the sun so we rode the River Boat. That was very enjoyable because we got to SIT! Little Bug didn’t like the loud boat horn but she did think it was very cool that she got to ride a boat!

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We went to the Bear show which we all enjoyed because of the air conditioning!! Little Bug’s eyes were glued to the bears the entire time. She sat on my lap and didn’t hardly move or wiggle! She clapped along when the audience started clapping.

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It was so much fun watching my girl have so much fun! As the bears were singing their song, Little Bug was “singing along” but she was singing “Jesus Loves Me!”. She looked up at me and said, “Mommy, they are singing the wrong song!”

Later, when I asked her what her favorite part of Disney was, she said, “The bears! But they were singing the wrong song!”

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We had fast passes for the Jungle Cruise which was also enjoyable. Little Bug loves animals so this was a fun ride for her.

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My parents with Little Bug and my Uncle David and Aunt Mary.

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Near the end of our time at Disney, we checked to see how long the line was to see Mickey and it was only a TEN MINUTE wait, so we got in line and Little Bug got to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse!!!

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She LOVED that!!

Meeting Mickey and Minnie was a great way to end our time at Disney World. We did go eat at Casey’s (hotdogs) before leaving the park around 7:30pm.

We had some “sleep adventures” with Little Bug. I thought she was too big for the pack n play so my mom brought her an air mattress to sleep on in the hotel. BIG MISTAKE. I am really not sure WHAT I was thinking! Being in a new surrounding with the excitement of going to Disney the next day on top of having a “big girl bed” for the very first time proved to be way too much for Little Bug.

Around 10pm, after trying to get her to go to sleep in her big girl bed, I text my mom and asked her to ask the front desk if they had hotel cribs.

Thank goodness, they did!! I put her in the crib and she was out like a light. So, she finally went to sleep a little before 10:30pm that night and was up around 7am the next day. Then, we were at Disney and she didn’t get her nap and I wasn’t even counting on a power nap in the stroller. (She didn’t nap at all – too much to see!) And then that night she slept from 9:30pm to a little after 7am. So….she was certainly lacking in sleep, but overall, she did VERY well, for which I was very thankful. She, of course, had her moments of not using her “sweet words” and crying over things she normally wouldn’t cry over because of the lack of sleep, but overall, she was still very pleasant to be around. I know it is because she came to Disney with no “slept debt” because I have made sleep for my babies priority from birth, so she was able to better handle not getting enough sleep.

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There she is in the hotel crib! I put her in there to play while we packed up the car to come home.

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She told me she and Minnie were going back to Disney World that day! I guess they were mapping out their plan for the day! Smile

Sweet Pea stayed home with her Daddy, who had to work. He was able to work from home. His parents came over around noon to feed Sweet Pea her lunch and play with her before her next nap. I thought, for about two milliseconds, about taking Sweet Pea with me too and I am SO GLAD I did not. She would have been miserable in the heat and an 8 month old gets overtired waaaaay quicker than a 2 year old. I am just so thankful I had the option of leaving her with Dave and her grandparents. We look forward to a family trip to Disney when the girls are about 6 and 4 years old.

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And I am SO GLAD I now have these memories with my Little Bug at Disney World!

We were there days before the third anniversary of me walking into the adoption agency and being told we could have a baby girl in June if we wanted. Three years ago before that day in April, taking my daughter to Disney World truly was a distant dream that on certain days seemed like it would never become a reality.

And now, three years later, God has given me not one but TWO precious daughters to make memories with.

That day at Disney with Little Bug was a very special day where lasting memories were certainly made.

Blast from the Past

In honor of the day I met Dave – January 26th, 2006 – I thought I would bring these pictures to my blog as a blast from the past!

Six years.

It is crazy that Dave has only been apart of my life for 1/5 of my 30 years! (How do you like that math?!)

It is hard to even remember what life was like before January 26th, 2006!

Here are some pictures from those early years with Dave. Less than a month after our wedding, we went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for my cousin’s wedding!

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The Botanical Gardens

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These palm trees are absolutely gorgeous!

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Churrascaria…Heaven on Earth for Dave! Waiters come out with meat after meat and you can eat as much as you want.

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The Statue of Christ – from up there you can see the gorgeous city of Rio!

Those of you that don’t know me in real life probably don’t know this, but Dave and I really enjoy traveling.

Obviously it is not something we can do often at all now!

But in the two years before Little Bug came along, we did get to go to some pretty awesome places in this world!

Wedding

Saturday was my cousin Will’s wedding day! He married his long-time girlfriend, Bethany, who already felt like part of the family because she has been coming to family Thanksgivings for several years now.

I love Bethany. She is such a hoot and she loves my girls! Smile

She asked if Little Bug could be her flower girl and even though I knew she would only be 2 years old at the wedding, I said yes.

I had no clue how Little Bug would do as a flower girl! I knew my only hope was making sure she at least got a little nap before the wedding at 4pm. We got checked into the hotel and the family went out for lunch but I stayed behind with my girls so they could both nap.

We got to the church and headed in to get Little Bug dressed. I didn’t take any pictures of the actual wedding ceremony because I was too busy with the girls!

But I did get some great pictures at the reception.

But first…a description of Little Bug in her flower girl role.

She took two steps into the isle and proceeded to dump her entire basket of flowers into a heap on the floor.

She was walking with two boys. Little Bug started trying to pick up the flowers to put them back in her basket and the boys stopped to help her.

Once many of the flowers were back in her basket, they started walking down the isle but about half-way down Little Bug stopped again and started getting flowers one at a time and dropping them onto the floor. Only problem was she wasn’t continuing to walk down the isle! After the boys tried to get her to start walking again to no avail, the wedding director helped her finish her walk down the isle where her Uncle was waiting to scoop her up and carry her back to me.

Now for the pictures…

I asked her to give me a smile and it was the first time I got the “cheesy smile”.

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My Grandpa with two of his grandchildren (my brother and me) and his two great-granddaughters (my girls)!

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The Bride and Groom’s first dance

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Bethany gets her dance moves honestly. Both her mother and father can dance and both did a dance with her at her wedding, which was very special to watch!

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Little Bug found herself a dance partner, although I am not too sure her Daddy would have approved of this!

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So she danced with Uncle instead…

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It was such a beautiful, fun wedding! The girls did great staying up past their bedtime and everyone enjoyed the evening very much.

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The beautiful bride wanted a picture with my baby girl.

I am so happy for Will and Bethany and pray the Lord blesses their marriage tremendously as they seek to serve the Lord as a couple.

A Week in the Mountains

Uncle arrived on Monday!

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My sweet girls

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Little Bug is getting sooooo big!

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Here is a picture of her on this little bridge last year:

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The last time we were at the mountains was in May, just two days after we were officially matched with Melody. My mom and I prayed for the upcoming adoption back in May and now, five months later, we sat on that very same bench with Sweet Pea. My mom yelled, “Thank you, Lord!!!” It was a sweet reminder that God is so good to us.

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He walks us through the fires of life, teaching us along the way.

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And eventually, we find ourselves standing on the mountaintop with God. He is there. In the valleys and on the mountaintops.

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The mountains and beautiful fall colors just proclaim the majesty of our God. As we would drive from the cabin to the next town over, the mountains were overwhelmingly beautiful. To think God sculpted them with His hands. Our God is mighty and if we put our faith in Him, He moves the mountains of our lives and makes the impossible, possible.

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Little Bug asked Uncle to play the guitar for her before bedtime one night.

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Little Bug and Uncle carved a pumpkin!

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Sweet Pea wore her first pair of footed pajamas because even wrapped in the miracle blanket, it was cool enough for footed pj’s!

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Little Bug and Grandpa took their annual “walking stick” picture!

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Here is last year’s picture:

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On Friday, Rebecca, Micah and Levi drove to the cabin to spend the afternoon with us! We went to a nearby park where Little Bug and Micah had so much fun playing.

Little Bug said, “Micah, help me get up!!”

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Rebecca and me!

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After a fabulous week in the mountains, we left for my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. Little Bug was the flower girl.

That post will be coming next!

Our First Day of Vacation

Little Bug drove to the mountains with my parents.

Little Bug is very much into having picnics with her stuffed animals, so Grandma and Grandpa gave her an authentic picnic!!

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Grandma made her a heart-shaped peanut butter jelly sandwich.

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Eating her sandwich and stopping to look at her stickers.

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Meanwhile, I was flying to the mountains with Sweet Pea. Sweet Pea was an awesome little traveler. I arrived in the early afternoon and was picked up by Rebecca!!

We enjoyed spending the afternoon together while I waited on my family to come by and pick us up so we could make our way to the cabin for the week.

Rebecca fixed a delicious soup for dinner and Little Bug and Micah (Rebecca’s son) had a blast playing together. They played very well together.

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We attempted a picture of all four kids!

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I didn’t really get a good one. I included this one because notice how Little Bug is getting up. When she holds Sweet Pea that is what she does when she is all done holding her…she just gets up, with Sweet Pea still in her lap! Poor Levi was ready for a bottle and that is why he is upset. Micah looks like the typical boy apeasing the women by taking a picture when he would much rather be off playing with his toys!

But there you have it…our four miracles, one of which brought our families together forever!

Then we tried for a picture of just the babies and this is the best I got!

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We did not plan this at all but Levi was wearing his “Little Brother” outfit and Sweet Pea was wearing her “Little Sister” outfit!

I text a picture of the two of them to our lawyer and she enjoyed seeing the two babies together.

And that was our first day of vacation.

It was a great start to a wonderful week in the mountains!

We’re Home…and what I love (and don’t love) about this blog

We are back, safe and sound!

We had a wonderful trip, although several times I know I said that I was never going to travel with TWO little ones again! (I know I will.)

For the most part, everyone did very well. Flying with Sweet Pea was…fun! I love to fly and at this age, Sweet Pea was very easy to fly with. She never made a peep on any of the flights. The only real challenge was making it to our connecting flights. I only had 30 minutes to navigate a HUGE airport with baby and luggage in tow, but we made every flight with minutes to spare. Little Bug enjoyed her trip and all the attention she got from her Grandma and Grandpa and her Uncle. I’ll do a post or two soon about our trip.

It’s been twelve days since I have posted and I think that is the longest “blogging vacation” I have ever taken since starting this blog almost four years ago.

Honestly, I was using that time to decide if I was going to continue this blog or lay it to rest.

I love this blog. I really do. I love writing. I love that God has given me the ability to record my journey through infertility and beyond.

I never dreamed God would turn this blog into a ministry, but He has. I love that. I love hearing from readers through email who need encouragement.

While on vacation I received an email from a reader asking me to please call her because they are adopting a baby who is going through withdrawals and she would just love to talk to someone who has gone through this before.

I love that.

But as with everything in life, there is the good side and the bad.

The bad side of this blog is something you don’t see.

I don’t know how many of my readers believe in the attacks of Satan on the work of the Lord, but it is never-ending for me.

Satan’s attacks, that is.

I cannot tell you how many times I write something straight from my heart about the faithfulness and goodness of God and….BAM. Satan attacks me.

Satan hates this blog.

For twelve days this blog was quiet and for twelve days my life was quiet, too.

I know this all may seem crazy, but it has happened too many times for me to not recognize the correlation.

So, while on this trip I spent some time thinking about this blog and what I should do.

It was stressing me out just thinking about it, so I stopped trying to figure out what I should do.

I know that I want to lay this blog to rest. It would just be easier to stop writing so Satan will stop attacking.

But I know that he will just find other way to attack me. And I love to write. It’s my way of processing things. If I am not writing here, it will be in a notebook.

So, as the airplane was making it’s decent into my hometown yesterday afternoon, I realized I had yet to decide if I was going to continue writing, or not.

As the plane found the runway, I found my answer.

I will keep writing.

God has done so much and I just cannot keep quiet.

For now, this is the place He has given me to minister to people who are walking the road I walked many years ago.

It is crazy that I can say many years ago.

I want people who come across this blog to see that infertility is not forever.

Yes, our bodies will be broken forever, but the pain of infertility is just a season.

If we put our faith in the Lord, He will bring us through the fire … and what lies on the other side is better than your wildest dreams.

You just have to keep persevering in the face of pain, trusting in God who promises His plans for you are good and will not cause you harm and will bring you hope and a future.

If you don’t see anything else from my journey through infertility, I pray you see that.

It’s good to be back.

I can’t promise God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility will be around forever, but for now, it’s here and as long as God gives me this place as my ministry, I will be here, too.

Mountains

It’s that time of year again! Our fall annual trip to the mountains! We leave tomorrow!

Little Bug and my parents will drive there and I am flying to the mountains with Sweet Pea. My brother will get to be there too since it is reading week at his seminary. As usual during this time of year, Dave has to work.

We will spend the week together in the mountains and then on the following Saturday we will be leaving the mountains and going to my cousin’s wedding.

Little Bug is going to be the flower girl! Her dress is adorable. An older ring bearer will escort her in so hopefully she will walk down the isle.

After the wedding, I will be going to spend a couple days with Rebecca before flying home on the 25th!

I will be taking a vacation from blogging, so I will leave you with this until I return.

Here is a picture of Little Bug from our trip last fall to the mountains!

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I hope to get some beautiful pictures of my TWO girls this fall!!

While packing I came across a notebook where I wrote something last fall during our trip to the mountains. We were planning to begin the adoption process again in the summer. Little did I know that next month my second daughter would be conceived and the following trip to the mountains in the fall would be with my two daughters.

Here is what I wrote on the night of October 18, 2010:

As we near the time of starting to think about a second child I know I will find myself in a place once again where I will need to completely surrender to You and step back and watch You work your perfect beautiful plan. I am looking forward to this time!! Because now, more than ever in my life, I get it! I understand completely that you have a plan and it is better than my own. I can trust You and I won’t be disappointed.

I don’t know how you will bring our second child into our life…another adoption through [our agency]? another agency? a natural pregnancy? I don’t know, but I know You do and on this night I want to take my first step of faith towards this child by acknowledging that my desire is once again for God to receive glory as we take this journey to another baby. Use us. Use our infertility again to perform another miracle.

Regardless of how You give us another child, I am just excited to see what happens. I know another miracle awaits!

And here she is:

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For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Psalm 117:2

Ft Worth Zoo

Our local zoo has made many improvements over the years since I was a kid going to the zoo. I consider our zoo a pretty nice zoo.

The Ft. Worth Zoo was pretty amazing!!

The habitats for the animals were so BIG and natural. (But I guess that makes sense, since everything is bigger in Texas! Smile) This was the gorilla exhibit.

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Little Bug enjoyed her time at Mimi and Papaw’s zoo!

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There were beautiful scenic areas everywhere you looked.

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Amazing Aquariums

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Papaw and Little Bug got up close and personal with the penguins!

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And then we went to “TEXAS WILD”

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Little Bug fell in love with the longhorns. After we left, when asked, “What did you see at the zoo?”, she would say, “Longhorns!!” Mimi showed Little Bug the longhorns!

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Grandpa showed Little Bug the bats.

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Leaving the zoo after another fun day with Mimi and Papaw!

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We are so glad we got to visit the Ft. Worth Zoo!

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