Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Children are a BLESSING...

Today is March 26th, 2014.  On this day, 21 months ago, I was a ball of emotions as we headed to the hospital for Gabriel's birth.  I will never forget the moment he was born, and Gabriel's birthmom's sister sent me a text from the OR with his very first glimpse of this precious baby boy:
...and then the moment when his birthmom was wheeled back into the hospital room with a huge smile on her face, holding him close, but quickly looking at me and saying, "Congratulations" as she handed him over to me.  There was so much love in that room for this little boy, and there was so much strength in that room.  The strength in that room had absolutely nothing to do with Michael or me though; it was all displayed in Rachel's big, beautiful, and inviting smile...the same smile she had greeted us with just three weeks before then when we met her.  I will never forget the moment I got to meet my son for the first time as I looked into his precious rolly face, as I touched his beautiful, soft skin, and as I cried tears of pride and joy...and probably some filled with a bit of sadness, knowing that me getting to hold him and me possibly getting to take him home meant that Rachel would not.  I will never take for granted the sacrifice of love she made for her son that in turn gave me the opportunity to be Gabriel's mommy.

But what is so significant about 21 months that causes me to take this trip down memory lane?  Well, I realized today that it is during this 21st month of Gabriel's life that he will go from being the baby of our family, to being the big brother of our family.  I haven't blogged a whole lot about this, because it's actually been a hard topic for me.  But I've always been pretty transparent on this blog, so I want to be real with you today...  I've struggled so much with feeling guilty over this next step in our family's life...Guilty that Gabriel will not be the only baby in the family (he will ALWAYS be my baby boy--nothing could change that!:), and worried that maybe his birthmom would regret placing him with us now...and then I see Lucy and Gabriel together, and my heart melts.
I see this incredible bond they share as brother and sister.  I see this intense love and pride and admiration they have for one another.  You see, when Rachel placed Gabriel in my arms this day 21 months ago, she was not just allowing me the opportunity to be a mommy again, but she was also allowing Lucy the privilege of being a big sister, and this is a role that my daughter has truly thrived in.  Does she get frustrated when he tears down a project she's working on or messes with a game she's playing with?  Yes.  But does she love him and play with him and giggle with him and help him and tell everyone she knows special stories about him?  YES!  I know not all siblings share an extremely close bond, but there is just something about those two that just makes me sit back and say WOW...Not only do I know with all my heart that Gabriel was meant to be my son--he was the child I prayed and longed for for longer than anyone but DH and I really know--but I also know with all my heart that Gabriel was meant to
be Lucy's baby brother, and when I remember that, I know that Gabriel was also meant to be Baby Mustard Seed's BIG brother, too. No other baby boy will be able to fill that roll in this baby girl's life quite like Gabriel will be capable of.  No other little boy will be able to look over her and protect her and play with her and love her like her big brother Gabriel will be able to.  No other baby boy in the world could ever have filled this important role in our family that Gabriel does, because God has ordered his steps, and He has ordered the steps of our family...

The Lord knew we needed a miracle to have a family, so He gave us one in the form of Lucy, and through her, He brought "light" back into our family during such a dark time.

The Lord knew He would need to move mountains for us to have a son, so He placed Rachel in our lives who displayed such strength as she placed Gabriel in our arms and reminded us that Yes, God can move mountains and "HE is our might."

And then The Lord knew that only He could answer the faithful prayers of a little girl who wanted to see her family expand even more, so He surprised all of us (well, no surprise to Lucy, actually!) with this Baby Mustard Seed, who is a reminder to us of the power of prayer, and the favor and grace God so desires to place upon His children.
What I'm getting at, is that the LORD knew what our family needed.  We knew what we wanted, but HE knew what we really needed and when we really needed it.  So, as I anxiously await the birth of our daughter, as I worry about what being the momma to three will look like and how everyone will adjust, I'm reminded that while God cares deeply for all of these emotions flooding my mind, He also knows exactly what our family needs, and he has NEVER failed to provide for that or prepare us for that.  Why would I doubt Him?  So, today, I choose to trust Him--trust Him that my Lucy-bug will continue to thrive as the oldest child, and that she won't lose sight of her important role in this family; trust Him with Gabriel's transition, and that he won't lose sight of his amazing and special role in this family; trust Him with Rachel, and that she won't lose sight of our great love for her and the son she has blessed us with.  I trust Him...and oh, how I thank Him!  
I am so humbled by how lavishly The Lord has poured His blessings upon our family.  All of those years with empty arms and a broken heart have now found me with not just a baby in my arms, but a child in both arms and one filling my lap.  Yes, children are a blessing, and I am truly so very, very, VERY blessed!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A "Beary" Special Weekend...

We spent a LOT of time in prayer over where to send Lucy to school this school year.  I was homeschooled for most of my schooling, and I had always planned on homeschooling our children, but we just didn't have a peace that was what would be best for Lucy given her personality and how she seems to thrive in a group setting.  The home that we purchased when we moved this summer has an excellent elementary school, but our church also has a Christian school afiliated with it, and as we prayed about where to send Lucy, we really felt led to send her there.  And every day when I send her off to school and get her back home, the Lord affirms that calling.  I have such a peace each day when she heads out the door, and such a joy each afternoon when I check her folder.  I know without a doubt that God hand-picked her teacher for her this year,  As we sat on the couch tonight and Lucy READ one of her library books to me, I coulnd't help but smile and be so thankful at how she is learning.  This isn't to say she wouldn't have learned anything in a public school setting or that she wouldn't have thrived being home, BUT, I just have such an assurance and peace that where she currently is at is exactly where she needs to be, and I am so thankful she has the opportunity to be there. 

There are many things her teacher does to make each student feel special (each child gets to be the "star student of the week" and work on a special posterboard to share with the class; on their birthdays they get to pick a book as a gift from their teacher and they go around the room and each child shares what they think is special about the birthday boy or girl) one of them being getting to take "Beary" home for the weekend.  This was Lucy's weekend to bring Beary home, and boy, did I have an excited six year old on my hands when she came home!  Beary arrived in a totebag that says "I AM BEARY SPECIAL" that houses a cute little girl bear (there's a boy bear for the boys I think:)

and a notebook with photos of all of beary's past weekend adventures with other students.

Lucy studied the notebook intently several times throughout the weekend to see exactly how she wanted to present her special weekend with Beary

Here are the close-ups of the photos we took with Beary this past weekend and the wording Lucy used to explain their adeventures:

"Me and Beary got in the car after I got my haircut."

"Beary helped us put together the baby bed and decorate my room for my baby sissy to come."

"Beary helped me nail one of my pictures to the wall."  (Notice the hammer in Beary's paw;-)  Also, this particular painting is made up of Lucy's thumb prints.  The lady who decoated Gabiel's nursery worked on this project with Lucy a few summers ago.)

"Beary was at the baby shower" (more on that in an upcoming post, but isn't this diaper cake adorable?! My sister-in-law made it!)

"and met a new bear friend there."  (A very sweet friend MADE this bear for baby mustard seed!)

"Me and my Daddy played skylanders with Beary.  I had fun with Beary.  She was the best bear friend I could ever have!"  (Lucy's very favorite thing to do right now is play skylnders with her Daddy!  When we were at Target a few weeks ago, there was a display of alarm clocks--lots of pink ones, princess ones, and hello kitty ones.  But which one did my girly daughter ask for?  The SKYLANDERS one! LOL It's totally not my thing at all, but I love that it's something her and her Daddy share together, and I love that she has a Daddy who spends time doing fun things with her.)

So, Beary's weekend was full of adventures with Lucy.  Unfortunately, Beary didn't get to head back to school on Monday to share those adventures with Lucy's classmates because Lucy got sick with a tummy bug:(  BUT, Beary and Lucy are all better now and will head back to Kindergarten on Wednesday, and this Momma will have a smile on her face as she sends them both off to a place filled with learning and lots of love--not just from the teachers, but also from our Heavenly Father displayed through the love shown through these precious teachers pouring their lives into the students.