Adoption Q + A

I regularly get questions about adoption and what the process was like for us, so in celebration of Campbell's adoption being finalized, I wanted to take a chance to answer a few questions! As you read, remember that this is our experience.  This is our story, this is how the Lord has woven adoption into our lives.  Adoption can look a variety of different ways to different families.  I hope that this gives you a glance into what the process looked like for us, educates you on about adoption, and ultimately encourages you to pray about your role in adoption!

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Our experience

What resources did you use to learn about the process? Did you research others' experiences before deciding to adopt?

I'll be really honest.  We really didn't research much before we started the process.  I knew some general things about adoption as I know several families who have adopted and several families who were active foster care families. Adoption wasn't foreign to us and it was something we had already discussed previously.  I actually learned about FAC (the consulting group we used) through a facebook ad.  After reading a little about them on their website and looking through their hashtag on instagram to find other families, we emailed them the day we decided to pursue adoption.  I had read adoption stories before, but I didn't rely on anyone's story when it came to praying through our decision to adopt.  I ultimately believe that the Lord has called us as believers to participate in adoption in some way, shape, or form.  For me, it didn't really matter what other people had experienced.  All that mattered was that we felt the Lord calling us to step into obedience.

Why did you use FAC?

We adopted through Faithful Adoption Consultants, also known as FAC.  FAC is not an agency, they are consultants.  Simply put, we worked with a consultant (We love you, Courtney!!) who was in contact with agencies all over the country.  These agencies would then contact FAC with any cases they had, looking for matches that meet their birth mom's desires.  Courtney would then email us about these cases and we would say yes or no to presenting our profile book (a book that tells about us, shows photos of our live, etc) to that particular birth mom.  A huge pro to working with a consultant is you're able to "get in front of" more birth moms than just those who work with one particular agency.  I think we ended up seeing somewhere between 20-30 cases during the weeks we were active. 

We loved FAC because from our first phone conversation we felt like they really cared for their families and walked with them every step of the way.  We love the assurance that we would always have someone in our corner, someone encouraging us to pray over every birth mom and baby we learned about, and someone who would guide us in wisdom through the process.  We truly cannot say enough good things about FAC!

What was important to you in an agency?  

I think when you are looking for an agency it's important to feel like you're working with people who have a heart for others.  You want to know that these people value the lives of birth moms, first families, babies, children, and the adoptive families they work with.  We ultimately wanted to feel educated and and lead wisely by who we chose to work with.  Working with FAC is a little different because we worked with a consultant before being matched with our agency.  But, we worked with FAC through our entire process and for us they were they constants and who we looked to the most. 

Do you have an open adoption?

Our adoption is semi-open.  Right now, we do not have contact with Campbell's first mama but I pray that one day we'll have the opportunity to have contact with her and love on her!  She is such a special person in our lives and we will always, always honor her with our words and our prayers. 

Do you think you'll adopt again?

Yes!  We both desire to adopt again.  I have no idea what that will look like for us, whether we'll use FAC again, journey through foster care, or even go international.  But I do believe we'll adopt again! 

How did you deal with stress or worry during the process?

The adoption process brings out all kinds of emotions and new struggles.  From the very get-go, the paperwork process can really do a number on your heart as you lay out your entire life on a table for someone to evaluate.  From your finances, your childhood, your marriage... nothing is off limits.  While that process was hard for me, it brought about really good conversations in our marriage as we were forced to discuss our own childhoods and upbringings and ultimately our desires for how we want to parent our children.  And then you move into feeling overwhelmed with the financial burden... and then worrying that you won't match... and then worrying that your match will fail... Just like pregnancy, there's always that fear of the worst that can creep in.  I had to actively seek scripture and talk to the Lord about my fear and stress and frustration.  We had to take our brokenness to his feet more than a few times trusting that He is sovereign and He is good.  Every single moment we were sustained by the Lord!

Do you have any scripture that helped you during the process?

I continually clung to Psalm 51:12, Psalm 94:19, and Hebrews 10:23

Did it take one person longer to be on board with adoption?

Watch our adoption video and it'll give you a little glimpse into our story!  Adoption was something the Lord was working in both of our lives and over the course of 4 months or so, the Lord made it evident that saying yes to adoption "now" was what He wanted from us. 

 

Do you have any books you would recommend on adoption?

I've honestly only read one book on adoption and it is SO GOOD.  Adopted for Life by Russell Moore.  Even if you aren't in the adoption process, it's a must read!

General adoption questions

What are the home study requirements?

This varies state to state! The home study was really intimidating to me and I think it is for a lot of families at the beginning of the adoption process.  I felt like our social worker was going to walk through our house, examining almost every single part of our home.  But she really just did a walk through and looked for anything alarming, asking us questions about where our baby stuff would go, and making sure we had things like a fire extinguisher! The physical home aspect of the home study wasn't near as terrible as I worked it up to be.  Common sense goes a long a long way here!

Why does it take so long to finalize?  Did he have your last name the whole time?  What changes after finalization?

In our state, Campbell had to be in our guardianship for 6 months before we could finalize.  He was in our guardianship, but he couldn't be a Cole until after the six month window!  It just took us a good bit longer to get the paperwork all finished so we could go before the judge in our county and legally adopt him.  Once we have his new birth certificate he will officially be a Cole!

Would you recommend a private adoption agency or a public adoption agency?

There are pros and cons to each and I think it's a totally personal decision!  We have several friends who are foster parents and it's really opened our eyes to the needs that are in our area.  We might one day foster and adopt from the foster system, but for now we are just taking it a day at a time with the two babes we have and we'll prayerfully walk the road of expanding our family in the coming years! 

Financials

How does the financial part work?  Is the money due all at once, by a certain date, or do you make payments over time?

I know this is a huge question and the financial aspect is something I feel like scares a lot of families away from adoption.  Adoption is costly.  Financially and emotionally.  But, MY adoption as a child of God was costly.  It cost Jesus His life.  I love that even in this aspect, the Lord understands us.  He gets even this aspect of our struggle in a real way. Don't be afraid to take this aspect of adoption to His feet and talk with Him about it! 

Every agency is different, but there's usually different milestones in the process when money is due.  Agencies will walk through this with you at the beginning so you should never be surprised with a payment!  

How much does it cost?

Again, this varies greatly.  It's wise to contact a few agencies and get info on how they work and what the process looks like in order to have an idea of how much your adoption could cost! 

Is fundraising helpful?

Fundraising is incredibly helpful!  We had really great success with our t shirt fundraiser and I know there are SO many different fundraising options out there!  

Conversations about adoption

When did you decide what to share with family when you were adopting? 

In a general sense, we were pretty open with the fact that we were adopting.  We announced soon after signing our paperwork to begin the process and we were open about our walk through the adoption process.  We announced our first match (which failed a year ago tomorrow), but after walking through a failed match we decided to share our second match (who turned out to be Campbell!) only with very close friends and our parents and siblings.  And we have shared Campbell's story with only a couple of very close friends.  Campbell's adoption story is his story.  I never want the world to know it before he has a chance to process it himself and I want him to have the choice to share what he wants to share with others when he is old enough to know his story.  His adoption is special and his place in our family is special.  But his story is his alone to tell and I am so glad that we've kept the majority of his story private from even our families.  

What kind of things should you say or not say to adoptive families?  

I really could go on and on and on for this one.  There are so many things I wish people wouldn't say.  SO MANY THINGS!  Ha!  Instead of going through a list of things not to say, let's just talk about a couple of great things you can say.  I think it's always appreciated to just hear that you have a sweet/beautiful/special family.  Instead of asking a ton of questions about how a family is made up, its encouraging to feel like someone notices that your family is different but chooses to respect the privacy of your family's story.  Encouraging words instead of intrusive questions are always, always appreciated!  

How can I support adoptive families? 

I loved this sweet question!  So many people aren't in a place in their life where they can bring a child into their home, but there is ALWAYS something we can do to support adoption! You can support adoption fundraisers, encourage with a listening ear during the hard adoption process, you can talk to your adopting friends to learn about the kinds of comments that are encouraging and which are hurtful, you can send a note to a foster family, take a meal to a family who just received a placement... truly there are so many things you can do to support adoptive families! From financial support to emotional support to spiritual support, there are many ways you can bless adoptive families no matter your season of life! 

I'm so thankful for adoption and for how the Lord has used in my life, in our marriage, and in our family.  Grateful to have shared this journey with you! 

Adoption Rocks | our adoption day!

On Monday we celebrated a sweet day in the life of our family.  Our sweet boy became our forever son!  We went to our county courthouse and a judge declared he is a Cole forever and it was truly the sweetest day.  My photographer friend Lindsay came to photograph the day for us and I'm so grateful for these images!  Tyler's sister, Megan, was our lawyer and it was incredibly special for her to be the one making it official with us.  It was an emotional day to say the least.  So many different feeling for our family, for Campbell, and for his birth mom.  While it was a sweet day, it was also a day I was reminded of the great loss Campbell and his birth mom both suffered.  I pray that for both of them this story the Lord has written for their lives will be one that leads them to redemption and ultimately deep love and comfort in the Father.  So grateful that the Lord made me Campbell's mama who gets to take care of him everyday.  And so grateful for the mama who grew him for 9 months.  I can't wait to show Campbell photos from this day and I pray he always knows how deeply loved he is!

Monday night we had our families over to celebrate this day with hotdogs and smores with a Sandlot theme since Campbell is now a Cole "FOR.EV.ER"!  It was a sweet night of enjoying family and food and just having a fun night of fellowship!  So grateful for all our people and how we've been loved so well throughout this process.  It takes a village and we have the best one. 

Adoption Rocks | our adoption timeline

It's adoption week here on the blog!  I'm so excited to be diving into a topic near and dear to my heart and to my family.  Adoption has radically changed our lives, flipped them upside down, and totally rocked us in the best ways.  I pray that this week you'll learn a few things about adoption and walk away with a deeper understanding of the process and some encouragement on what you can do to be active in the adoption community, no matter if you're in a place to bring a baby into your home right now or not.  

Today I want to jump in by sharing the timeline of our own adoption process and what it's looked like for us!  Ideally I would have kept up with every tiny thing and recorded as I went, but that didn't happen.  I've filled in the gaps as best I could and I think it'll give you a overview of what the process has looked like for us!

2/25/16 - initial phone consultation with FAC

3/7/16 - FAC application submitted

3/8/16- announcement!

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3/9/16- first fundraiser launched (sold t-shirts!)

3/18/16- We received the email that we were accepted with FAC!

3/23/16- first fundraiser finished

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3/28/16- Sent our signed contract and first payment

 4/4/16- First contact with agency for homestudy

4/9/16- Adoption Auction on Instagram

4/19/16-  Homestudy application approved

4/28/16- Profile book ordered

5/11/16- we had our first homestudy visit 

5/18/16- we found out... we're also pregnant!!!!

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*sometime in the month of June we had our second and final homestudy visit... we were approved!

7/23/16- we sent in ALL our FAC paperwork so that we could become an active/waiting family

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8/16/16 - we were presented our first case 

9/2/16- WE WERE MATCHED!!

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9/6/16- We found out the baby we were matched with is a... BOY!  Crosby Ellis Cole. 

9/18/16- BABY BOY WAS BORN!  We made travel arrangements to fly to Florida the next morning

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9/19/16- My birthday and the day our match failed, our birth mom decided to parent her son.

9/20/16- We drove the 16 hours home from Florida

9/27/16 - we were matched again!  This time, we were incredibly scared and hesitant.  We told only our immediate family and very close friends. 

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10/18/16- We found out the baby we were matched with is a... BOY!  At this point, we were undecided on a name.

10/23/16 - OUR BABY BOY WAS BORN! We made plans to drive to Texas early the next morning. 

10/24/16- We met our son for the very first time. Campbell Elias Cole.

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10/26/16- Around midnight I got the text that Campbell's first mama had signed the paperwork and he was officially in our guardianship.  We were released from the hospital this afternoon!

10/31/16- We drove a few hours north to spend the rest of our ICPC (this is the time where you wait on all the paperwork to be filed between states so we can cross state lines and go home to MS and be his legal guardians) with our friends the Straders!  

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10/2/16- we got the all clear to HEAD HOME!

10/3/16- we drove home with our son and we were greeted by our family and friends!

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11/11/16- Our amazing adoption worker, Jody, came for his first post placement visit

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1/5/17- Campbell's sister was born!  Sweet Crawford Elaine Cole joined our family

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4/23/17- Campbell was 6 months old- we could officially adopt him! All our post placement visits had been done and now it was a matter of getting the paperwork filed so we could go to court and have it finalized. 

8/28/17- the long awaited day... THE DAY WE ADOPT CAMPBELL ELIAS COLE!

 

Today is the day. In just a few hours we will go before a judge and Campbell will be our son, legally.  This is a big day for our family and one we're excited to celebrate!  Looking back on our "timeline" and all that's happened... I'm blown away by what the Lord has done.  He is good, He is sovereign.  

If reading through this sparked any questions, drop them in the comment section below!  I'll have a big Q + A on Friday and I'd love to answer any questions you have! 

 

 

Weekly Top 10 | vol. 3

1.  Remember last week when I professed my love for Walmart grocery pick-up and said that unfortunately it wasn't a sponsored post and I wasn't getting paid to share my love?  While this still isn't a sponsored post, I realized I really could get paid to share my love! Ha! If you've never used Walmart's grocery pickup service you can click this link HERE and you'll get $10 off your first order (remember the service is free... so this is $10 in free groceries!) and I'll get $10 too!  Win!

2.  I listened to a podcast interview this week with Allie Casazza on the Creative Empire Podcast (LOVE this one lately!) and it was so great and made me love her and want to listen to her podcast, The Purposeful Home, even more. 

 

3. Last week I shared about how I was able to snag some of the sweetest pajamas for the babies on a major sale.  A few days ago I went to check my email to see if they had shipped and somehow my order wasn't placed and now they are out of stock!  Sad mama.  So I entered a giveaway in hopes of winning some! Ha!

4. For the past several months I've been part of a huge project with a friend of mine.  Andrea is a personal chef and recipe writer and she's AMAZING.  Her recipes are incredible and her spirit is just so fun and sweet.  Being around her makes you love life and want to eat allllllll the good food! She's been working around the clock to make her cookbook come to life and I'm so thrilled to say that it's in the making and I'm going to be doing all of her food photography! We've already shot a good chunk of her recipes and it's been a blast. I am thrilled to be part of a project with someone who is so passionate about what she's creating and that fits in so perfectly with some shifts happening in my own life and business.  This cookbook is going to be unlike ANY cookbook you've ever had and it's truly going to be a legacy item that you're going to want in your family.  I can't wait to share more about this in the coming months!

 

5.  I'm trying to get better about planning out menus that make the most of the ingredients so that I'm spending less at the grocery store (I hope to be successful at this and if I am I'll share any lessons learned with you!) and this is something a few friends encouraged me to make soon!  If you've never had Mississippi Roast, you're reallllyyyyyy missing out.  It's definitely the best roast I've ever had!  We went to a playdate at the beginning of the week and a few of the mamas told me that we need to make roast sliders to have as a second meal from this roast and I'm excited to try it out next week!  

6.  My friend Gretchen just totally rebranded her business and ministry as they changed from Life Lived Beautifully to Well Watered Women!  If you don't know Gretchen or follow her on social media, you need to immediately!  She is constantly pointing me to Christ and challenging me to really dig into scripture and become a woman of the Word who seeks Jesus with her life.  I promise you'll be so encouraged by her ministry! 

 

7.  I've been working on a comprehensive baby product post and it's going to be a jam packed post full of all the baby products we love.  I had planned on posting it at the beginning of this week, but it's taken me way longer to compile all our favorites.  I'm excited to share this with you next week!  Do you have any questions about what we use or baby questions in general?  I'll try to address these in the post if possible!

8.  The new academic simplified planner started this month and I was so excited to crack open a beautiful new planner!  This one is definitely my favorite, so if you'll be on the lookout for a new planner for the beginning of 2018, their yearly editions will come out in September!

 

9.  I've been singing this song for several days and I can't get it out of my head.  So much rich truth here!

 

10.  You can still sign up for our Galatians study!  It's not too late.  Head on over to this post to sign up.  There's also a link there that will take you to all the info you need to get started!

 

Weekly Top 10 | vol. 2

1. On Monday night was my 5th Annual Christmas in July party!  This started out as just a party with Tyler and I, and over the past 3 years it’s multiplied by a million! Ha! I think I should do a post about this, but here’s a sweet photo of my babes in Christmas jams  until then!

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2.  Let me tell you about my favorite thing that makes my life a million times more simple:  GROCERY PICKUP.  I’ve been doing this since we came home with Campbell and I truly don’t even know what I would do if I had to take both of them to the store to get a week’s worth of groceries! Ha! I use Walmart because the service is free and I feel like I can get better prices on things at Walmart than at Kroger.  (I used to shop at Aldi for 90% of our groceries and I LOVE ALDI but right now grocery pickup is most convenient to my life) Not only is pickup free, but I feel like I save money and do better with our grocery budget because I’m able to see exactly what I’m spending as I add things to my cart.  I’m really terrible at knowing how much a recipe will cost me so I’ve totally ditched a meal idea as I’m adding things to my cart because it’s gotten too expensive.  If you’re tight on a grocery budget and you have a walmart pickup near you I really think you should try it!  Unfortunately this isn’t a sponsored post and I’m not getting paid in groceries to say this (HA) but I just really do love this service! GO WALMART!

3.  I mentioned this in last week’s top 10 post but I’m not really a southern mama when it comes to how I like to dress my kids.  I’m more simple and don’t really love frilly things and I LOVE for Campbell to dress like a tiny little man boy, so “sweet” things for boys really aren’t my style.  But pajamas are a TOTALLY different game. Give me all the sweet jams, please!!! My favorite, dream pajamas are The Beaufort Bonnet Company Night Nights because they looks SO SWEET with the little booty flap and footies.  They aren’t in our budget at all, but I saw that they were having a really big sale so I scooped up a pair for both babies for their birthdays! (Use the code PINKPRICEPARTY) for 50% off of sale!)  For a little under $25 I couldn’t pass it up and it’ll be a great to already have a gift bought and saved for their birthdays!  

 

4.  One of our favorite shows is on this summer and it makes me laugh because NO ONE we know watches it.  WE LOVE MASTER CHEF!  Food shows are so much fun for us to watch together and this one is our top favorite.  Gordon Ramsey is really fun to watch and we love seeing all the yummy dishes that they make each week!

5.  I’ve gotten really into podcasts lately and I usually listen to one a day at least.  This week I’ve listened to several Creative Empire podcasts and I loved the episode with Emily Ley!  Emily has become one of my favorite people to follow and keep up with over the past several years and her interview was so encouraging to me!

6.  I’ve been thinking about photos lately and how I want to keep up with photos of Campbell and Crawford and Chatbooks is a great option!  We have several books I’ve created for Tyler and I, but I haven’t printed any since the babies have been born.  Right now they are 20% off until the 31st and I really need to get serious about ordering some this weekend! 

7.  Campbell’s adoption day is coming up soon and we are truly so, so excited to celebrate this day as a family.  Tyler is going to take off work that day and after we go to the courthouse we’ll spend some time together as a family of four before our families come over for dinner that night. I didn’t want to go crazy with an adoption party because his birthday will be coming up soon (NOT READY), but I still wanted to do something fun, sweet, and simple to celebrate.  I wanted to do something a little different so I kept thinking about something off the wall that would be fun and the sandlot quote “FOR.EV.ER” popped in my mind and I KNEW that would be perfect!  It’s the most fun summer movie and we’ll have so much fun cooking out and having smores that night with our families as we celebrate Campbell being our son FOR.EV.ER! 

8.  10,000 Fathers is one of my favs to listen to and I’ve been listening to this song a lot over the past several weeks!

 

9. Last Friday my mom, sister, and I took Crawford down to the Delta in Marigold, Mississippi to visit the McCarty Pottery studio for the first time!  If you’re not from Mississippi, McCarty Pottery is a really popular potter who has created beautiful pieces of pottery for years that’s really popular in our area.  Right down the road from his shop is a little restaurant and they serve everything on McCarty and it’s the SWEETEST THING EVER.  It’s so southern and fun and we loved having a girl’s day!  Crawford got her first piece, a little blue bird! 

 

10. You can still sign up to get bible study details!  I’ll be sending out the first email at 12PM today, so sign up before then to get all the info on how we will get started as well as a few printable resources that will help you!  Go visit this post to sign up! 

life with two kids | getting out and about

Sometimes it still blows my mind that we have two kids.  WE HAVE TWO KIDS.  The past nine months have been the craziest of my entire life.  I’ve been stretched personally, our marriage has been stretched, and we’ve been thrown into life with two small babies all at once.  Over the past month or so I feel like I’m really starting to find my groove in this season of being their mom, a wife, taking care of a home, and working a little bit on our business.  Things are finally starting to click for me and I’ve been creating routines and systems that help me to have smoother, more fun day with my babes.  I’ve deemed this my “year of slow” and while jumping deep into this idea is a post for another day, all I’ll say is that I knew this would be a year of staying home... a lot.  I knew this would be a year when getting ready is slower, getting out takes longer, and we overall just have to do things at a slower pace.  As they’ve gotten a little bit bigger it’s gotten a little easier to get them out and about because we’re on the same feeding schedule, nap times, etc.  We upgraded to a van a couple of months ago and as soon as we did we moved them into convertible car seats and we started using our new minno twin stroller by Evenflo. This is my go-to stroller now for when we get out to hang out with friends or run quick errands!  It’s been so easy to unfold it quickly, pop them in their seats, and be on our way.  Because it’s a million degrees here in the summer, I love that I can quickly get them in and out of the stroller so that I’m not worried about them burning up during the transitions! We’ve been hanging out with the babies Honey (my mom!) a lot this summer while she’s on summer break and we went to play early one morning at the park and it was the perfect opportunity to show you our new stroller!

One of my favorite features of the minno twin is that the seat lays back!  Crawford is the sleepiest girl and seems to always want to nap on the go, so I love that I have the option to lay her seat back if she falls asleep!  (I will say when I lay the seat back the straps are kind of in her face because she’s still on the smaller side, but it doesn’t seem to really bother her and I don’t worry about her safety) I also love that while the baskets on the bottom aren’t huge, they are perfect for throwing a few things in for the babies or tossing in a few items when I’m shopping so I don’t need an extra basket.  

Evenflo has a single option, so if you don’t have two littles ones they have a similar stroller that might be a good fit for you! But if you have two, I think that this really is such a great option.  I probably wouldn’t use it until at least 6 months old just because of the strap placement, but I think it would be perfect for an older infant and a toddler!  It’s crazy how seemingly little changes have made such a difference for us like switching to convertible car seats and using our minno twin stroller!

I’m no mama pro, but here are a few things that have worked for me when it comes to making getting out easier with two infants:

-for us, we can skip that first nap if we need to.  If we are going to be really busy and the babies are going to be occupied (think the zoo or church) we can skip that 9am nap.  They usually sleep on the way to wherever we are going, but they hardly ever fuss during that nap time if they are occupied!  I would much rather miss the morning nap and get home to nap in the afternoon as usual to get back on our schedule.

-always keep the necessities in the diaper bag.  That means replenish diapers, wipes, formula, etc when you use it so that when it’s time to walk out the door you know that your diaper bag is packed!  

-have a plan for how you get in/out of the car and stroller.  Maybe this makes me sound like an insane mom, but with all the crazy people out there these days you can’t be too careful.  I always try to be really aware of my surroundings when I go in and out of stores and as I put both babies in the car.  I have a system I use to get them in quickly and safely and I love that even if they are screaming and unhappy I know exactly how I’m going to get in the car quickly and I’m not frazzled!  Find a way that makes sense to you, makes you feel comfortable, and is quick!  This has helped me so much in not feeling like getting in and out is a hassle (The ease of the minno twin has helped me SO much with this too!!)

Obviously there will be hard, new challenges as they get older and bigger, but I’m thankful that we’re finally in a season where getting out with them on my own is a little bit more simple thanks to a quick, easy stroller option.  We’ll continue to use this stroller for quick trips to the store, at church, and other outings with friends as they get bigger!  Ultimately I feel like this will be a great “on the go” stroller when we have another baby one day.  Tyler can put C+C in the minno twin and I’ll have new baby in the carrier!  This stroller is the perfect option for us to get out and about quickly and we’ve enjoyed it so much! If baby gear posts are fun for you, on Monday I’m going to have a huge post about all things baby, so come back Monday for a comprehensive list of EVERY PRODUCT we’ve loved using so far!  

We are so grateful to Evenflo for sponsoring this post and these opinions are 100% honest and completely my own!

Study With Me | A Walk Through Galatians

I've often been asked, especially since becoming a mama, how I spend time in scripture and what that actually looks like for me.  I don’t think there’s any special formula, I don’t think that there’s a checklist of things you have to do in order to say that you did your quiet time “right”, and I don’t think that the Lord wants us to live in fear of getting it wrong!  A few weeks ago during a sermon John Allen, our pastor, was talking about Rahab’s faith (Read some of Joshua for Rahab’s story) and how she didn’t know much about God, but she acted on what she knew and God saved her.  He then went on to talk about how in our current culture, with resources everywhere you look, we can still fail to act on what we know about God.  The simple tasks we KNOW God has called us to through His word.  Consistently reading scripture, prayer, meeting together with a body of believers, giving.  My desire through this study isn’t to overwhelm you with a giant list of things that you have to do in order to do things “right”, my desire is for you to see that we can open scripture and learn what it says by the discernment of the Spirit.  We can open scripture and trust that the Spirit will open our eyes to what it says. 

 

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There are some methods to study that have helped me tremendously in the past and it’s how we actually walk through books of the bible as a body of believers at our church on Sunday mornings.  This “inductive bible study method” will help you to be able to open up scripture and really begin to understand it for yourself without needing an extra bible study or someone else’s words to go along with it.  Yes, there are some amazing resources out there to help us study scripture, but I think it’s important for us to be able to open scripture and really understand it for ourselves, trusting that the Spirit is able to open our eyes to what it says.  

My desire for you is to walk through this book of Galatians for a few weeks and gain a deeper understanding of God and to be consistent in spending time in the Word.  This is how the Lord molds and changes us, through spending time with Him in His word.  I pray that you’ll put aside the striving to make it “perfect” or to feel like you have all the right answers.  I invite you to just come. Open your bible.  Pray for a heart that desires to learn.  And show up.  No matter if you get interrupted by a crying baby, no matter if you have to stop a toddler fight in the middle of reading, no matter if you have to stop and pick it back up later because of things you didn’t foresee.  

We’ll start this study next Monday, July 31st.  Over the next few days I’ll be sending out an email with the breakdown of how we will study scripture, some resources that will help you study, and some encouragement on how to be consistent.  I promise I won’t spam you with random things, but I think an email is going to be the best way to get this info out to you and for you to be able to save and reference it without feeling like you have to keep checking here!  Before Monday I’ll post all the information right here on my blog as well, but signing up for the email list will be the quickest way to get information, updates, and encouragement as we study these next few weeks.

I’m really excited to see what the Lord teaches us these next few weeks as we #walkthroughgalatians (this will be our hashtag!) and I hope that you’ll join me! 
 

Sign up below to get all future emails and click here to get the full details of the study so you can start TODAY!

Weekly Top 10 | vol. 1

Hey, friends! (I do still have friends here, right??) I feel like it's been years since I've really used this space well, if I'm being honest. The past few weeks I took a little social media break and the Lord has really been moving in my heart and giving me direction over a lot of things. He's giving me little glimpses of what He wants to do with me in this space and I'm really excited to jump back in with you here!  

 

Over the past year I've really come to love Emily Ley's blog and one of my favorite features of hers is the "weekly top 10" post she does, well, weekly! Ha! I feel like there are always random things I'm loving throughout the week whether it's a podcast, sermon, song, recipe, article, etc. I think this is a perfect format to share some fun, random things with you each week! 

 

1. I was surprised with how much I loved this pesto chicken pasta recipe this week! It was a crockpot recipe that totally hit it out of the park for me. The chicken had a really good flavor and you could make it a little bit healthier by eating it without the pasta and cheese and strictly serving the chicken with a couple of veggies.  It would still be super yummy! 

2. My friend Gretchen is one of the wisest, most godly friends I have. She's always a huge encouragement to me, even hours away, and I'm always grateful for what the Lord teaches me through her. While I was taking a break from social media she had a post about why she will never quit social media and it was such a challenging read! It helped to give me perspective on this platform the Lord has given me and really challenged me to use my social media wisely.  

3. I'm going to do a big post of music I love soon, but right now I can't get enough of this song. We've been singing it at church lately and it's just SO GOOD. 

 

4. I knew that I wanted really sweet Christmas pajamas for the babies this year so I've been eyeing all the websites waiting for the sweetest pair that wouldn't break the bank. I'm not huge on appliqué and smocked things, but I'll go full on southern monogram mama for some Christmas jams!! These are the ones I went with for Campbell and Crawford's are similar with a few girly ruffles! I cannot wait to see them in these in just a few months!  

5. I listened to a podcast interview with Sazan Hendrix this week that my friend Jamie recommended and it was SO GOOD. I had no idea who she was prior to this interview, but her story of coming to know the Lord was amazing and super encouraging to me!

6.  Lately I've been working to get rid of excess in our home a little bit at a time and this podcast about a capsule wardrobe was really helpful as I think about narrowing down my closet a little more. They had a few comments about kids closets that I found really helpful too! 

7.  The past couple of months I've longed to feel a little more put together. Not in a "showy" way, but just in a way that I don't want to feel like a hot mess in my own home all the time. Ha! I desperately needed new pajamas and I've hit up the Target clearance section the past couple of weeks and I've scored two button up top + short sets and one pair of pants for half off. Super comfy, super light (helloooooo it's hot), and I feel a little more like a "real" person. And maybe a little more attractive to my husband! I can’t find the exact ones I have online, but these are really cute and I love these pants, too!

8. Last week I finished going through the LLB Colossians study and the Lord did so much work in my heart as I dug into His word. I've really been studying Colossians for 6 months because right before I started the study our church wrapped up a 4-5 month series on the book as well. Go here to listen to sermons from our series at church and go here for the LLB study!  

9. Over the winter right after Crawford was born I started watching old episodes of OutDaughtered and I fell in love with the Busby fam! They are so fun and I love watching the relationship between Danielle and Adam. The new season just started 2 weeks ago on TLC.  Go catch up here!  

10. Beginning on August 1st I'm going to facilitate an online study through the book of Galatians! I consistently get questions about how I study scripture and how I make a quiet time work with littles so I would love to really just jump into this with you. I'm doing some prep at the beginning, but for the most part I'll really be studying right along side you. Come back here Monday for some more info on how to join in with me! 

Campbell | 8 months

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Adventures in your eighth month:

-You went swimming for the first time

-you went to your first softball game (in the rain!)

-we went to the zoo

-You played with friends

-Jamie + Shep came to visit

-You spent the night with Honey + Bear

My big boy, this was such s fun month for you! This month was the start of summer with Aunt Anna and Honey having a break from school and we've already had so much fun! You spent your first night away from us and stayed with Honey and Bear! You had the best time and you slept great too! You celebrated your first Memorial Day and had your first swim. We've learned that you LOVE the water! We can put you in your float and you're the happiest baby. I hope you feel the same way next summer! Our friends Mrs. Jamie and Shep came to stay with us and we had such a fun time! We went swimming, shopping, and spent a lot of time playing at home. I can't wait until you're bigger and you can really play with Shep and Bennett when we see them a few times a year! You can sit up for longer periods of time now and you just seem so much bigger. I'm starting to give you some puffs and a few little snacks to get our feet wet with table food. You don't pick anything up yet, but you're really starting to figure it out! Our friend Henry and his Mama and Daddy came over for dinner this month and you two sat in the pool with popsicles living the life!! Henry is about a week older than you and I cannot wait to watch you become sweet friends. We had lots of fun days this month of going swimming, going to the zoo, hanging out with lots of friends, and celebrating Father's Day! Crawford had been a little sick so we didn't get to go to church with daddy that morning, but we gave him some little gifts, a homemade card, and then we had fun at Bear and Honey's house that afternoon! You started wearing some two piece pajama sets this month and it hurts my heart in the best way. Little boy, you are too big! Watching you grow is one of my favorite things and I'm so thankful that you are ours. 

 

I love you so.

 

Mama

Campbell | 7 months

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Adventures in your seventh month:

-you were dedicated at church

-you can sit up for short periods of time

-you helped your mama celebrate her first Mother's Day

-We had lots of summer fun!

Campbell, you are 7 months! The months keep flying by and I have such a hard time accepting that time really is fleeting. Watching you learn things and get older is so much fun, but I also miss that tiny newborn. You get more and more fun everyday as your big personality explodes out of that tiny body! You laugh all the time, you love to happy scream, and you talk constantly. You've been working on sitting up and you're still pretty wobbly, but you're getting the hang of it! I can prop you up with a few toys in front of you And you love to play! You still really love baby food and we haven't tried much table food yet. You love all fruits and most veggies. Except peas and green beans! I think the texture is funny after I blend and freeze it so I don't blame you on that one. We celebrated Mother's Day for the first time and it was the sweetest day. You and your sister and your daddy loved on me so well! You were dedicated at church this month too, so it was an extra special day. You're still a little on the small side and we just moved up to six month pajamas the middle of this month. Please stay tiny forever! So grateful you're our boy! 

 

I love you so. 

Mama

Crawford | four months

Adventures in your fourth month:

-We had a picnic with your daddy downtown

-You went to your first Easter egg hunt

-You celebrated your first Easter!

-You started holding your head up well when we hold you

-You started sitting in your high chair

-You went to Ikea for the first time with Mama, Campbell, and Honey!

-You "painted" your first picture

-You took a tiny taste of oatmeal!

My sweet Crawford girl, 

This month your personality really started to shine and we are all just so in love with you.  You smile constantly and you have this tiny dimple under your left eye that I see everytime you smile big.  You smile with your whole face and it makes my heart so happy!  You don't talk a whole lot but when you do you're almost always talking to your daddy.  I think he's the clear favorite in our house and that's fine by me.  You especially love chatting with us at night right before you go to bed.  We love that you're our happy girl!  We'll go to the doctor today and I'm excited to see how big you are.  You still seem so tiny to me and I think you'll be petite like your mama.  You wear 0-3 month and 3 month clothes and dressing you is one of my favorite hobbies of all time.  Last week we even tried on a swimsuit for fun! This month you celebrated your first Easter and we had such a fun weekend with family and friends!  I can't wait to see you and your brother running after Easter eggs next year!  You're a great eater and this week you've had a little taste of oatmeal.  You've been practicing sitting in your high chair when Campbell eats and you've been such a big girl sitting up!  We will definitely be trying baby food in the next couple of weeks.  You love to watch your brother eat!  You're still a great sleeper for us, but you've been getting up a few times a night for a paci the last two weeks.  As soon as I give you a paci you're right back to sleep and I'm so grateful for that!  Getting you up in the morning in one of my favorite things.  As soon as you see us come in your room you grin SO big and start talking.  It's one of my favorite times of day!  You're still our snuggle girl and you always need to be holding something.  You're starting to love some of your books and it's so fun to see you explore new things.  Crawford, you're such a sweet, easy going baby and it's my greatest joy to be your mama.  I love watching you grow.  You're my favorite girl. 

Love you big, 

Mama

Campbell | six months

Adventures in your sixth month:

-We visited the Dixon for photos

-You started eating lots of baby food!

-You roll over

-You can sit up with help

-You've napped without your dockatot 

-We visited Daddy downtown for food trucks in the park 

-You celebrated your first Easter!

-We went to IKEA with Honey

My sweet boy, 

You are six months old today.  Half of a whole year!  These months have flown by and everyday gets more fun with you.  This has probably been my most favorite month so far.  Your personality is really starting to shine and it's hilarious and sweet getting a taste of the little boy you are becoming.  You have such a loud, vibrant personality.  You have this happy scream that I hear the majority of the day.  You laugh and smile constantly and you're generally the happiest boy!  You don't love being tired and that's usually when you cry.  And when you cry... there are not levels.  There's just full on MELTDOWN.  You feel things deeply, both happy and sad.  Your emotions are big and I cannot wait to see how that makes you into the sweetest boy as you live life fully.  You're still on the smaller side as you fit into 0-3 month and 3 month pants.  Your pajamas are still mostly 3 month, but you're in 3-6 month too.  I need to get you a few more 6 month pair so we can start to wear those!  You've definitely put on some weight since you've started eating more and you LOVE to eat!  So far you've tried squash, pears, sweet potatoes, apples, avocado, banana, peas, and green beans.  You don't love peas and you're still a little iffy on green beans but we'll keep trying!  You've started reaching for the spoon and love trying to feed yourself.  On the eve of your six month birthday we started trying some baby led weaning and you had some sweet potato chunks.  You picked them up, squished them in your hands, and even brought them to your mouth a few times!  I think you'll love it when you realize exactly what it is.  :)  Overall you're still a great sleeper for us.  You've been waking up early for some reason but you just talk in your bed so sweetly and usually end up going back to sleep for a little while before our day starts at 7.  Mama is adamant that we aren't starting our day before 7 so you figure out this waking up early thing, bud!! You've started to notice your sister a little more and it's so fun when you look at each other and talk.  I can't wait for you two to be friends! Your laugh is my favorite and I love it when you crinkle your nose when you really get tickled.  If we're in a bind and you're fussy I can always turn on Frozen and you immediately stop crying.  I think you're going to LOVE musicals as you get older!  Music always seems to make you happy... especially when we sing the wheels on the bus!  For a few months you wouldn't nap on us and only wanted your bed.  But this month you've been so much more snuggly and you've even taken a few naps on us!  The best ever.  I can't believe that you've been here six whole months.  You've changed me, sweet boy, and I'll never be the same.  I'm forever your mama and you're forever my Campy boy. 

I love you so,

Mama 

Crawford | three months

Adventures in your third month:

-had your two month check-up

-Honey stayed with you so Mama and Daddy could celebrate their anniversary

-Celebrated Honey's 50th Birthday 

-Had several fun days with friends!

-Took photos at the Dixon

-Starting sitting in your sit me up floor seat

Crawford girl, 

You are getting so big and so sweet!  I just love learning more about you every single day.  I love having Mama + Crawford time and I know it'll only get more precious.  We started out this month at the doctor for your two month check-up and shots.  You weighed about 10 pounds and did so good for shots.  You only cried for just a second!  A few days later your Honey came and stayed with you and your brother so your Daddy and I could go on an overnight date.  It was our first night away from each other but you did great!  You started sleeping through the night this month and you really are a great sleeper.  We swaddle you up and you're straight to sleep!  You still love your paci and you ALWAYS want to be snuggling something.  Your lovie is your favorite thing and you love having a blanket over your face when you're sleepy.  If you're fussy I can throw a swaddle over you and you immediately calm down.  I love that you're such a snuggly girl!  You're smiling more and more and I love seeing that sweet spirit of yours come out.  You're still so tiny and wearing mostly newborn clothes but moving up to 0-3 month sleepers.  Dressing you is so, so much fun!  We are just having the sweetest time learning about you, sweet girl, and I can't wait to keep watching you grow.  You're my favorite girl.  

Love you big, 

Mama 

Campbell | five months

Adventures in your fifth month: 

-our sweet adoption worker came for her second and final visit! 

-we went to church for the first time as a family of 4

-we celebrated our Honey turning 50

-Honey spent the night with you while mama and daddy had a night away

-you had your 4 month shots  

-we had a picnic with friends  

-we had a play date with lots of little friends!  

-you stopped sleeping swaddled

-you started eating food!  

My Campbell boy,  

you are five months old! This month it seems like you grew in so many ways. You're now eating baby food and sleeping without a swaddle! Our big, sweet boy. So many milestones! We went to the Dixon Gardens with your aunt Meg and Teddie to take some photos and you're one photogenic boy!  I rarely take photos with my "big camera" but I sure am glad that it's so easy to snap photos of you constantly with my iphone.  You won't lack photos, sweet boy! Ha! This was a big month for you!  At the beginning of March you had your four month check-up and sister had her two month check-up.  You both got shots and you sympathy cried for Crawford.  You're such a sweet brother!  You were around 13 pounds and I know you've grown so much since them!  A few days after your shots your Honey came and stayed with you and your sister so Mama and Daddy could have a night away to celebrate 4 years of marriage.  You always have the best time with your Honey and this was no exception. :) This month you started eating baby food and it's been our most fun adventure.  You've had squash, pears, and sweet potatoes!  Mama has been making all of your food and it's been so much fun.  Yes, it takes a little bit of time and planning but it's so fun that I get to do this for you!  Plus it's easy on our budget so that's always a plus, too. You've done so well learning how to eat off the spoon and so far you've loved everything you've tasted!  You're still sleeping great and this month we stopped swaddling you.  Mama was so nervous that you wouldn't sleep that first night but you didn't make a peep all night long!  Your personality continues to come out and you get more and more fun each month. This month you did your first "art project" and "painted" an abstract picture during tummy time!  We might have a little artist on our hands.  You're in a size 2 diaper and still in a lot of 0-3 month or 3 month pants.  Your 3 month pajamas still fit great and your 3-6 month jams are a little roomy.  You might be getting bigger, but you're still Mama's tiny boy. :)  We love you so much and watching you grow is the very best thing.  
 

I love you so, 

Mama

Crawford | two months

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Adventures in your second month:

-You went to the zoo for the first time

-We went to church for the first time as a family of four

-You celebrated your first Valentine's Day with a date to Chick-fil-a

-You went to your friend Cooper's birthday party

-You started smiling on purpose!

-You started "talking" to us a little bit 

Crawford girl, 

I can't believe you are two months old!  This month you've changed so much and your little personality is coming out more and more and I just can't get enough of you.  I'm guessing you're right around 10 pounds, but we'll go to the doctor tomorrow to find out at your two month (and brother's four month!) checkup.  You've moved up to size 1 diapers even though they are a little bit roomy!  Your newborn sleepers are starting to get a little tight but you're still too small to fit into your 0-3 month sleepers.  It looks like we'll be wearing some loose clothes for a few weeks! You are eating four ounces every 3 hours and you aren't as slow of an eater as you used to be.  You're staying awake in feedings and drinking every drop!  You're giving your mama and daddy some rest at night by sleeping from 8:15-4ish and it's been heavenly!  I think you'll be sleeping until 6-7 soon and that's mama's ultimate goal!  You sleep swaddled at night but you're not loving that for naps during the day.  You usually take a nap in your bed, but a lot of times you like to nap in your mamaroo or in your dockatot right next to me.  One thing is for sure... you like to be close to your mama!  We've learned that you are the cuddle queen.  You LOVE to hold your lovie all day long and you want to have a blanket right next to your face when you sleep.  I let you get all cozy when you nap next to me and I love to watch you snuggle!  You are such a gentle, sweet little girl and I love seeing your feminine qualities come out.  You wreck my heart, Crawford girl.  You still really enjoy taking a warm bath with your mama but you're not a fan of getting out of the bath and being cold!  You have the biggest pout when you're crying and, I'm sorry sweet girl, but it makes me laugh almost every time!  I promise I don't laugh when you're really hurting... only when you're being dramatic.  :)  I think my most favorite time of day with you is right after we put your brother down for the night we get a few more minutes of cuddles with you.  That's when you really start talking to your daddy and you give us some sweet smiles.  You smile more and more everyday and I love it when you get happy and excited!  It is so much fun to watch you learn and grow.  You've done some fun things this month like visit the zoo and attend church for the first time and you've done great with every single outing!  The fact that you LOVE your paci helps... I can pop it right in anytime you get upset!  You are such a sweet, dainty girl and I love being your mama.  CG, you're the sweetest addition to our family and I can't imagine life without you!

Love you big, 

Mama

A Day in the Life | vol.1

I've been a mama for all of four months and I already feel like I'm forgetting things.  Forgetting what tiny four pound Campbell felt like in my arms.  Forgetting how many times he got up at night.  Forgetting what it felt like to be huge and pregnant holding a baby on top.  Forgetting what it was like those last moments Crawford was in my belly.  Forgetting what those first snuggles with my girl felt like.  There are so many tiny moments that sometimes seem unimportant.  In the moment it's hard to even fathom forgetting what some things are like... because sometimes it feels like it'll never end.  These mundane days can sometimes seem like they aren't important and everyday can feel the same.  But every single day is different.  Every single day these babies grow up.  Every single day they learn something new, notice something for the first time.  Every single day these babies are growing up right in front of my face and sometimes... sometimes I can forget.  I can forget that these days are all I have.  I can't go back.  I can't go back to tiny Campbell in his hospital room, holding my first baby for the first time.  I can't go back and hear Crawford cry for the first time.  There's no going back, only going forward.  And life is too short for me to miss it.  Life is too short for me to worry about how clean my house is or how different my postpartum body is. Life is too short for me to waste these days thinking that there will always be more.  I have this one day.  This one day when these babes are the exact age that they are.  ONE DAY.  Maybe this seems like I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself, but really... this is freeing.  I have today.  Right now.  Tomorrow, I'll worry about tomorrow.  Today... I can live life loving my babies.  Doing what I can with the time I have.  And I have 24 hours.  And then tomorrow... we start again.  Life is too short for me to not live fully in each 24 hour period the Lord gives me.  

I want to remember these days.  I want to be able to look back and see my messy hair and pajama clad postpartum body.  I want to look back and see how tiny my babies are in my unmade bed.  I want to see our real, grainy, messy, honest life.  Because these are 24 hours that I'll just never get back again. 

brief outline of our day at the bottom at this post.

3:58 Crawford wakes up, I feed her and put her back to bed

5:55 My alarm goes off, but I end up laying in bed until 6:15.  I get up, fix coffee, and sit down for my quiet time

6:30 I hear Campbell wake up, but I leave him talking in his bed while I read

7:00 Get Camp up, he sees Ty before he leaves for work, and gets his first bottle

7:30 We snuggle after he eats and watch the end of a fixer upper episode I fell asleep in the night before

8:00 Crawford gets up, she eats, Campbell plays on the floor while we listen to a podcast

8:15 Campbell gets fussy and we cuddle before he goes down for a nap.  

8:30 I take Campbell to his room for a nap. He falls asleep while I hold him before putting him down in his crib.  This never happens!

8:30-9:00 Crawford plays on the floor, I fix breakfast

9:00 Crawford and I snuggle in bed while I have breakfast and we watch The Bachelor

9:45 Crawford lays down in her dockatot and I jump in the shower

10:00 Camp wakes up but I make him stay in bed until I finish drying my hair.

10:30 Camp eats and we sit next to a fussy Crawford in bed and listen to All Sons and Daughters

11:00 Campbell plays on the bed while Crawford eats

11:30 Campbell starts to get restless, we read a few books

11:45 Campbell is fussy, we play and sing and hold out on nap as long as possible

12:00 Campbell goes down for a nap, I get Crawford in her dockatot in bed for a nap so I can get a little bit of work done for House of Hope

1:00 Crawford is restless in bed (she doesn't sleep well for naps) so I bring her out in her dockatot to sleep next to me while I have lunch

2:00 They both wake up and eat and then they play on the floor while I do a little laundry

3:30 Campbell goes back down for another nap and I wash bottles and straighten the house

5:00 Campbell and Crawford are both up to eat

5:30 Tyler gets home, we play, eat leftovers around 6:15 and keep the babies occupied until we prep for bath at 7:15

7:15 we start bath routine.  Campbell gets in the bath with me, then Crawford, then they eat

8:15-8:30 both babes go to bed and mama and daddy get some time to themselves! 

 

 

 

 

Campbell | four months

Adventures in your fourth month:

-You stayed with two friends while Mama and sister went to a few doctor's appointments

-you really found your voice and learned how to scream just for fun!

-you started to get a lot more confident in tummy time and you can lay on your tummy for a long time without your head bobbing everywhere!

-You stayed in the church nursery for the first time 

-You really started to love a favorite toy and want to hold your lovie all the time

-the Magic School Bus theme song makes you smile and laugh!

-You celebrated your first Valentine's Day!

-you went to your first birthday party- your friend Cooper turned one!

-You went to the zoo for the first time with friends!

My sweet Campbell,

You grow bigger every single day!  I can't believe all the new things you do and discover every day.  It is so much fun to see you growing and learning new things, but it also feels like my tiny baby slips away with each new milestone and I just want to keep you my itty bitty boy for the rest of time.  We haven't been to the doctor yet, but I'm thinking you're somewhere between 13-15 pounds.  We moved up to size 2 diapers this month and you're still in a lot of 0-3 month clothes which makes my heart happy.  :)  Your 3 month sleepers are starting to fit a lot better and aren't as roomy in the feet, but I think you'll be in your 0-3 month pants for a while!  This month I put you in your first t-shirt and my mama heart melted.  You looked like such a big, sweet boy! You smile and laugh all the time now and it's so fun to watch you get excited.  I especially love when your daddy comes home at the end of the day!  You love when he talks and plays with you.  You really love your bedtime feeding with him because he's always silly and making you giggle. :) This month you went to church for the first time since Crawford was born!  Your daddy took you and you stayed in the nursery.  Your Aunt Meg kept you for your first day in the nursery! Our other big adventure for the month was going to the zoo!  You did such a great job and loved looking around at everything.  You're definitely my observant boy! You've gotten so good at tummy time and I think you'll be rolling over soon!  You always have your colorful "winkle" toy with you and you grab onto your puppy lovie whenever you're awake.  It is so sweet seeing you start to have preferences!  You still LOVE to take baths with your mama, you drink every drop of each bottle, and you love your sleep.  You've started talking to yourself before you go to sleep and you wake up happy and talking most mornings!  You are the sweetest boy and everyday with you is a joy.  I'm so thankful to be your mama.  

I love you so, 

Mama 

Crawford | one month

Adventures in your first month:

-it snowed when you were one day old!  

-you visited the pediatrician for the first time at 2 weeks old

-you went to the hospital for some tests (all is well!) 

-you went on your first walk! 

-Katie Norrid took your photos and you were adorable!  

 

Crawford Elaine, you are one month old! In a lot of ways it seems like you've been here so much longer. I can't really fathom the fact that you used to be in my belly. We really love having you on "this side", sweet girl. You are probably around 8-9 pounds and fitting in little newborn onesies so sweetly. Your sleepers are still a little roomy but you get bigger everyday! You have light hair on top and dark hair in back and I can't wait to see how it grows! You still have the prettiest blue eyes and you have eyelashes that are to die for! We've joked since the day you were born that you're our "delicate" girl. You like some things a certain way and you'll let us know anytime you're not happy. You poke that bottom lip out when you cry and I know your daddy is going to be in trouble one day. :) You are our snuggly girl and there's no where you would rather be than laying on my chest. You took a bath with me for the first time this month and we were nervous to see what you would do but you absolutely loved it! The second you hit the warm water you always instantly calm down. You even slept through an entire bath once! You have given us tiny grins the past couple of days and it makes my heart so happy thinking about the day you start smiling all the time! Your brother started to notice you and it'll be so sweet to see you become friends. He "kisses" you goodnight every night and I know you'll just love him so much! We all love you, Crawford girl. You make our lives so much sweeter... and just a little bit more dramatic. :) 

I love you big,

Mama

Crawford | birth story

One month ago today our Crawford girl was born and I've spent a month trying to wrap my mind around all that happened. Her birth happened in a blur and was 100% different than the experience I desired. For years I've desired a natural, drug-free birth. There's just something about experiencing every bit of that pain that was important to me. I've been reading and researching for YEARS about how to prepare and plan for this kind of birth. Once we found out we were pregnant with Crawford I was so excited that I would actually get to have this experience! I quickly ordered a few books from amazon to help prepare. But now I have a scar on my belly to always remind me of the emergency C-section that brought our sweet girl into the world. I don't have professional photos or even a photo of the first time I saw her... or held her.  I hardly have any photos of friends or family meeting her for the first time.  She came in a blur and there's so much I wish that I could do over.  But this is her story.  Her perfect story the Lord has written for the first moments of her life and no matter the circumstances surrounding her birth... we are so so glad she's here.  We love our Crawford girl so!

My last 10 weeks of pregnancy were hard. About the time we got Campbell I started to swell. At first it was just a tight feeling in my feet but within a few weeks you could really see it in my feet and by December 1st I was swollen literally everywhere. There wasn't a part of my body not holding fluid. By the second week of December I had almost no mobility in my legs. I was miserable and I hated it. I hated that I was wishing the days away and not able to fully enjoy my last few weeks with Campbell. By the end of December I was really concerned about my swelling and felt like it wasn't normal. My blood pressure had been on the high side of normal, but it wasn't anything that really concerned my doctor yet, so he just told me to keep an eye on my swelling and blood pressure. On January 3rd I had my 38 week appointment. Campbell and I got to see Crawford on the ultrasound which was extra sweet since we hadn't seen her since 20 weeks. Again, my doctor just said to keep an eye on my swelling and blood pressure and sent us on our way. About 5pm that evening I started to feel really bad. My back was hurting, I had a terrible headache, and overall just felt like something wasn't right. After calling a nurse friend of my mom's we decided to go ahead and go to the hospital just to be safe. Tyler gave Campbell a bath and put him to bed and my mom came over to stay. Once we arrived at the hospital they quickly hooked me up to monitors and started running some labs. My blood pressure was high, but it continued to fluctuate so they ultimately decided to send me home and they planned a follow up appointment with my doctor for Thursday. We left the hospital around midnight and I tried to rest as much as possible. 

 

Campbell and I had a lazy morning and I missed a call from my doctor while we were napping. He wanted to know how my symptoms were, so I called his nurse back and told her I still felt the same as I did the night before. His nurse called later that afternoon and said that he was concerned and wanted me to go ahead and come back in. I snuggled Campbell so tight because I just knew I probably wouldn't come back home until after she was born. It felt so bittersweet to say goodbye to our time with him as our only babe. I'm so glad I snapped a photo of us. I always remember that moment! I dropped Campbell off at Megan's house and drove myself to the hospital. 

 

By the time I got to the hospital I could tell my blood pressure was really high because of the way I was feeling. They quickly got me back and as soon as my doctor saw my blood pressure they put me in a wheelchair to take me from the physicians building to labor and delivery to be monitored before they started induction the next morning.  With the way I was swelling and with my blood pressure always being borderline, I wasn't surprised that I had preeclampsia in the end, but I am SO grateful that I was at 38 weeks and not before.  I am so thankful our girl was just about done growing and that we were both healthy!

Tyler arrived at the hospital from work about that time and we ultimately made the decision for him to go spend a few hours at home with Campbell.  So as I was getting all set up in my room he went home to spend some time with Campbell and do a few things around the house.  I'm so glad that he was able to spend that time with Campbell and put him to bed one last time before we brought a sister home for him!

 

I spent several hours alone at the hospital and looking back it was a sweet time I'm really grateful for.  I turned on some worship music and listened to her heartbeat and just enjoyed some quiet.  My mom and sister came to sit with me for a little bit and I was so thankful to spend some time with them too!  Tyler arrived later that night and the nurse got me started on some meds that were supposed to help get me ready to be induced. (That's all I'll say because thinking about the medical terms being on my blog make me cringe! Ha!) They made me contract all night long (unfortunately I still didn't make any progress) and poor Tyler had a long night with me.  I was basically immobile because of the swelling in my legs so anytime I had to move the slightest or get out of bed he would physically have to move me.  It was a really sweet night of relying on him and being encouraged by him. 

 

Crawford's heart rate kept dropping so they would constantly have to change my position in order to get her heart rate back up.  This happened for several hours and ultimately pushed back my induction because her heart rate wouldn't stay up.  My doctor arrived later that morning and made the ultimate decision to go ahead and get my epidural, break my water, and see if I would progress any without pitocin.  My blood was so diluted from all the extra fluid that my platelets were low so there was a question of if I could even get the epidural.  In the end we made the decision to go ahead with it and I am so grateful that we did knowing the end result.  Since I ended up in an emergency c-section situation I was able to be awake since I had the epidural instead of being totally put under.  I can look back and see so many little moments the Lord completely took care of us and I'm so thankful for His provision.

Almost immediately after getting the epidural my doctor came in to break my water and within minutes I could hear her heart rate almost come to a stop on the monitor.  I remember telling Tyler that it didn't sound good and within seconds several nurses were in our room and the doctor came in to say we were heading to the operating room.  Within a few seconds our room was filled with several nurses prepping me and the anesthesiologist trying to explain to Tyler and I what was about to happen.  They quickly got me into the operating room and Tyler stood on one side and the anesthesiologist on the other.  She was truly such an encouragement from the Lord because Tyler was upset at this point and I was a little out of it, but nervous about what was happening.  As they both stood on either side, I heard her tell me that there was about to be a lot of pressure and a few seconds later on Thursday January 5, 2017 at 10:32 AM (fun fact- Campbell was born at 10:32 PM!) we heard her cry for the very first time.  Tyler and I just sobbed as we listened to her and soon, saw her from around the curtain.  They took her to be cleaned up and Tyler was able to hold her as they wrapped up my surgery.  I shook terribly for probably about an hour afterwards and I didn't hold her for the longest.  Those first hours of her life are a blur for me, but I'm so grateful Tyler had some time with her.  My doctor wanted to keep me in L&D for a while to monitor me so it wasn't until much later that night when we finally made it to a room.  Our families had already arrived (It was so sweet for me to see photos of Campbell hanging out while we waited for Crawford to arrive! I have more photos of him than I do of her! Ha!) so we let them come back in small groups to see her.  Since I hadn't really spent any time with her yet we didn't let anyone hold her and Tyler just propped her up in my arms for people to see as they came in.  Of course we were so so ready to see our sweet Campbell so he was the first one back to meet his sister!

 

It was sweet to share our girl for the first time and to finally be a family of four.  I'll never forget those first moments!  I started to finally come around a little bit and they took us up to our room. My mom and sister left shortly so Campbell could get to bed and we had our first night with our girl.  I'm so thankful for all the sweet staff that took such amazing care of us! Tyler was the real MVP when it came to taking care of his girls.  I still couldn't move without help thanks to my swelling and incision And Tyler changed every diaper and did many feedings so that i could just snuggle our girl when I held her.  He was constantly encouraging me and telling me what a great job I was doing.  He held my hand as we walked the halls and I built up my strength and I am just so grateful for him and our marriage.  My love grew for him in those few days!

 

We randomly got a "big" snow for our area of the county and no one could visit us the next day!  Ha!  We had a really chill day of just snuggling with our girl and watching it snow.  We even got some photos and videos of Campbell experiencing the snow for the first time! It was really hard to be away from him for three nights but one thing is for sure... he was loved on by so many people! Later that night a couple of friends ventured out to come see us and it was sweet to share our girl. 

Saturday we got the all clear to go home so Campbell came to see us as we were getting discharged and they had their first photo together!  Getting to come home with our girl seemed like such a dream come true.  We were finally a family of four and I could not have been more grateful.

Crawford's birth story is something to Lord is using in my life to sancitfy me and teach me more about surrender. The story of her birth is 100% different than what I expected or what I desired. But the Lord is using the circumstances surrounding her birth to remind me that my life should be lived in surrender to Him. My desires, my dreams, my plans... I need to hold those with open palms. I can't live my life with a death grip on my plans because as I've learned... His plans are always, always better. Even if "better" just means sanctification and an opportunity to lean into Him through my disappointment. In the midst of the disappointment and hurt I have been incredibly grateful and humbled. The Lord so graciously allowed me to grow our girl and that is something I'll never stop praising Him for. It was a gift He never had to give, but He chose to in His sovereignty. As my friend Katie says, He is only ever good. Thank you Jesus for the gift of our Crawford girl! Whether you're a Mama or not, whether you've experienced birth or not, I hope that you can be encouraged to seek Jesus in your disappointment and to keep your palms open as you take your plans and dreams before Him. We can trust Him with every single desire and dream of our heart knowing that every single thing He does is for our good and sanctification. As my friend Katie says, He is only ever good. 

Campbell | three months

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Adventures in month three: 

-you celebrated your first Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year!  

-Jamie, Adam, and Shep came to visit you! 

-you started smiling and "talking" up a storm  

-you started to sleep through the night  

-you can hold your head up for a long time in tummy time!  

-you discovered your fist and hold your left hand in the air all day

-your Mama and Daddy spent 3 nights away from you when sister was born and your Honey stayed with you!  

-you became a big brother! 

 

My Campbell boy, 

This has been my favorite month so far (I have a feeling I'll probably say this every month!) and you are just a JOY. Some days I miss your tiny little 4 pound self but most days I just love the routine we've created. I love that we both know your schedule and what makes you happy. I feel like we're finally starting to figure you out... and I know soon there will be even more things to learn. :) Being your parents keeps us on our toes, little boy! We celebrated your first Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and it was so so fun. You got so many sweet gifts and it was so special to have you be there for all our family traditions. Christmas morning we opened a few gifts and then we celebrated at church with our faith family!! You'll come to love these people so dearly. They will be just like family to you and I love that! We celebrated the new year and just a few days later celebrated you becoming a big brother! Crawford was born and joined in on all our fun. You did an amazing job staying with your Honey for a few days and you were such an easy baby when you came to visit us at the hospital! You've kept with your routine since Crawford has been born and you've helped make this transition so much easier than anticipated. Your mama still cries sometimes because it's hard learning how to love and care for two babies at once, but your sweet smile and constant baby talk brings such joy to our days! You still love to take a bath with your mama and you talk up a storm when your daddy comes home from work each night! You discovered your fist recently and you hold it high in the air 90% of the day. You look like a tiny fighter! Ha! You have the most expressive eyebrows and "talk" to us ALL day long!  Your smile and conversations sure do make my days extra sweet! You weigh about 10-11 pounds and REALLY grew this month. You are in mostly 0-3 month clothes and 3 month outfits are just a tiny bit loose! This month you had your two month shots (a little late!) and you were SUCH a sad boy after and it broke our hearts. We don't like to see you feeling crummy! Your little personality has grown so much this month and it makes me think of your First Mama often. Are you like her? Did she talk like crazy when she was a baby? We sure do love your First Mama and we are so grateful she gave us the most amazing gift... you. We pray each night that you would come to know Jesus as a little boy and I pray that the Lord would use your unique story to always remind you of His great love. We sure do love you, Campy! 

I love you so, 

Mama