Friday, November 1, 2013

4 Years Ago

Four years ago this morning our lives were drastically changed....for a time. Little Melanie Grace entered this world unexpectedly; 14 weeks early.  I was in total shock, along with our family and friends. Those first hours and days are still a blur to me.  Every once in awhile something will trigger a memory from those early days in the hospital.  For example; Red j-jello in a tiny cup (all I could eat while anxiously laying in bed praying the contractions would stop), a hospital room bathroom (where in shear terror I cried out to God that our baby would be okay and humbly realized that there was nothing I could do-EVERYTHING was in the hands of our Almighty God), a long-sloped hallway (the LONG ride to and from our baby girl in the NICU which left many minutes for prayer). An aluminum 9x9 dish (the many, many, many dishes of food our friends and family made for us to ease the necessities of our lives). The noise air makes as it blows bubbles into water brings me back to nursery 1 in the NICU; that is the noise the CPAP machine makes that allows for so many babies to breath when they cannot breath on their own. These are just a small few of the things that send me back to that trying time 4 years ago.

After re-reading some posts from that time in our lives I can truly say with all of my heart that our great and wonderful God carried us through, just like he is carrying us through every day no matter the trial or the joy.  That day 4 years ago is no different then today.  Our God gave us Melanie a bit early on that day. He also gave us a wonderful hospital with amazing doctors and nurses.  He gave me a courageous and godly husband that lead us through one of our most difficult times. He gave us the blessings of friends and family that would help, encourage, and most importantly pray for us. He gave us the physical and mental strength, although some days I felt I could have used a little more, to make it through each day. He sustained our baby girl and grew her into the beautiful, energetic, and funny little peanut she is today.

Just like I saw the presence of God during that time. I can see the presence of God here today, and in yesterday, and in Monday.  I think it is easier to lean on God during the hard times because we know he is the only one in control and the only one that can change things so I begged and pleaded for the will of God to match mine.  During the everyday hustle and bustle of life, I tend to think I can control things more. That is such wrong thinking.  Every day, every minute, every event is in the will of God and I need to remember that.  I need to be thankful for all of those events, minutes, and days; and not always looking to the future,but finding joy and peace in each and every moment I've been given.    

Reviewing the blog of our life 4 years ago was a really good eye-opener for me.  I need to depend on God today just like I did during those days.  Thankful for the good days AND thankful for the hard days; knowing that each day is a blessing from Him.        

Monday, July 30, 2012

A New Love...

A new love. . . horseback riding.  The girls had their first horse riding lesson Thursday.  They had a blast.  Which we figured they would for several reasons.  1. They open the van windows and scream "Hi, Faith" every time we pass the pasture.  2.  On the way home from ANYWHERE they will ask to drive past the pasture so they can say hi to Faith.  3. They scour the library for any and all books with a horse on the cover.  4.  They play horse at home.

Making friends with Faith with some apples.
Sooo focused

Taking care of Faith after lessons.

The girls had a BLAST. Miya understood quite quickly how to use the reins to turn her. Jayden did okay but could use a little more practice. 

Hmmm, I have a feeling we may need to contact Miss Mimh for some more lessons and see where this takes us. 


Monday, July 9, 2012

A HOT 4th of July

We had a very mild 4th of July here trying to stay cool and beat the 100+degree heat.  A group from church came over for supper.  We all tried to stay cool in the shade, not really sure that worked.  Thankfully the kids were pretty resilant and didn't complain too much.  Aside from the heat, it was nice visiting with everybody.  I know in February we will all be wishing we were sitting in the driveway in 100 degree weather complaining about where we have sweat dripping from.  We headed over to Lyle Broekhuis for ANOTHER wonderful firework show.  Instead of sparklers and lanterns (since it's so dry) they handed out lighting sticks to the kids.  The girls loved them.  Melanie is still playing with hers and cried when she couldn't take it to bed tonight.  The highlight of the night. . . we made it in time for a hayride. Every year prior we rush to the line and are informed that was the last ride.  This year we made it. Everyone got on AND the kids spotted a deer in the field.  Perfect.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Quick Supper

After learning Mom and Dad Westra were going to be on a motorcycle trip for a week I got a little excited thinking they may be making a surprise trip to Michigan.  I found out they were going to be sightseeing in Iowa.  After finding out they were on the eastern side of Iowa Jeff said it was okay for the girls and I to go meet them for a night (he was tied up with a seed meeting for work).  So the girls and I quickly packed for a night away, and more importantly a 6 hour road trip.  The girls did great riding in the van and we only had to make routine food/gas stops.

We met Mom and Dad in the Amana Colonies. I was fully expecting to see a smaller version of Shippsawana.  Not the case.  It is a very interesting little area that I would like to go back to vist when the girls are a bit older. 

Not too bad.  I think everyone's smiling AND looking at the camera.

 The largest walnut rocking chair in Iowa!

 The girls wearing sun bonnets just like Laura and Mary from Little House.

Fingers in a Chinese Finger Trap! Ha!

The girls (and myself)  had a great time visiting with Grandma and Grandpa and are very thankful that we were able to make some more memories with them, even though we would have loved to have visited longer. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tent Night~ALONE

Miya got a tent for her birthday this year. Dad set it up last night despite the rain clouds. After eating a late supper outside after a very BUSY day and busy week; meaning the girls are already behind on sleep, dad made their day by saying they could sleep in their tent. ALONE! ! Mom wasn't quite ready for that. I had kept earlier requests at bay, however tonight I lost the battle. After shrieking and jumping around like only little girls can do they ran upstairs to pack up their room; to move it to their tent of course! It was decided that they could each take 3 babies, 3 books, blankie/shaky, and the most important thing, a flashlight. After getting the tent 'situated', prayers said, and good nights to mom and dad, dad said they could go to sleep whenever they wanted. The mommy in me objected and said 9:30. Once it escaped my mouth I knew I made a mistake for a couple reasons. 1. Dad say they could stay up~I can not overrule dad in front of the girls. That required an apology. 2. I said 9:30 with hopes they would be sleeping by 10:30. At that point I realized I was teaching my children to disobey by not holding them accountable to my words. You see, I have allowed a bad bed-time habit to form. When tucking them in I say "no talking tonight, it's late and you need to go right to sleep", full well knowing they will talk for 30min at the least. By allowing them to talk when I said no talking, I am allowing them to think they don't have to obey mom with this little thing of going to sleep. Yes, it is little and I truly don't mind them talking for a bit. I actually LOVE listening to them chatter about the silliest things. So why do I say 'no talking'? I don't know. But I need to stop, because I am setting a terrible example. They have to obey, just as I'm expected to obey my heavenly father. If I allow a little slip with myself, I know how quickly that slip will lead to another 'little slip', and another, and another until I'm deep in my sin. It's a slow fade. So it's time for me to change my words at bedtime. You can talk for 15 min and then it's time for sleep may be a place to start don't you think? ? Back to the tent. Jeff and I checked on them a few times. Miya kept a close watch on the shadows outside of the tent and knew when Jeff was around. Once darkness fell the flashlights turned on which was a whole new thing for them to play. I think they fell asleep between 10:30 and 11:00 which is pretty normal for them lately. Jeff and I both figured the girls would be inside just after dark. NOPE they slept outside all night and didn't wake up till 8:00am. They had tons of fun and slept great. I asked how late they stayed up, "weally, weally late momma" was Jayden's response. Miya answered with "till the lightening bugs came out". Cashed Out! !

Monday, June 18, 2012

Miss Miya, You are now six. I cannot beleive six years have come and gone with you around. I look for ways to slow down time with you;I realize I can't and try to soak up the memories as much as I possibly can. This past year has passed by way too quickly. You have learned so much and grown up in so many ways. You are a reading machine now and are often found doing one of two things, playing barbies/babies with Jayden, or reading. I think those are your two most favorite things to do right now. You have an amazing memory. Over the past year you and Jayden have been able to learn and remember several bible passages and songs (Melanie tries). For some reason you struggle remembering things like picking up your toys or brushing your teeth :) I think that's probably selective listening. You are a pretty quick learner. The first time something new is introduced you get shy and/or frustrated; but by the next day you are learning it and mastering it. I love watching you learn so many new things. Now that you can read, we gave you your first Bible. Today, you picked up your bible after breakfast to read and then again later in the day. You even chose to bring just your bible for rest time today. It is such a blessing to see your love for God and how much you want to learn about Him. You often ask if we can keep reading bible stories after our story time is done. I pray that you will always be in God's word and will continue to be hungry to learn about him each and every day. Here are a few of your favorites (very random): You are our goofy kid. You are always joking around trying to be funny. I'm not sure where you get it; but you love to make people laugh. Your favorite color is blue. Your favorite breakfast is cereal if Dad can't make pancakes and bacon (you LOVE bacon and can smell it a mile away). For your birthday lunch you chose gogurt, cheese stick, juice box, and nuggets. For birthday dinner you wanted grilled cheese (I think you wanted to copy Jayden). Your favorite thing to watch is Wild Krats. You love playing memory with the family and usually win. Which brings up a very valid point. You my dear are soooooo competive. You want to be first for everything and want to win in all things. It's a good thing Jayden doesn't have a competitive bone in her body or we'd have much more fighting. You LOVE your sisters dearly and spend HOURs playing babies and house. You and Jayden try to lock Melanie out, but she usually finds a way in. You do not like to get groceries or to pick up toys. You also don't like to be second for anything....something we are working on. This past year we had some cows in the pasture. You would go out every morning in your pajamas to feed them....with out complaining. You LOVEd taking care of them and can't wait for the pasture to be full again. Recently you told me you are going to be a mom when you get bigger and your going to live in a cottage. You also said that you will hold the cottage next to yours for Jayden to live in. If anybody moves in you'll tell them they can't live there because that house is for Jayden. The two of you spend an hour (at least) each night talking before falling asleep. I pray you will always be this close to one another! We love you like crazy and pray the Lord will bless you with many more birthdays.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankfullness - Day 8

Today I am thankful for the smiles I could see and the giggles I could hear.