Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baby Talk - 14 Week Update

I still laugh out loud when I think about April 1, 2013.  What an epic day.  We found out we were pregnant with Baby #4.  Between a trip to Destin, baby appointments, Brooke graduating from preschool, and keeping up with three cuties, the last couple months have just flown by! 

I'm so glad I took this picture.  Don't mistake Landon's expression as anger - more like utter shock.  Kind of like when I called the Dr's office and asked if three pregnancy tests could be a false positive.  And checked the directions on each test to make sure I read the results right.  TOO.  FUNNY.

Here is a progression of our little baby.  It's amazing to see how much he/she grows every couple weeks.  I cry every time.  It's always a reminder of how amazing God is to create this life within me!  

Here are a few questions I get asked a lot...

"Was this planned???"
Well, it was not in OUR plan, but most definitely in God's plan.  There were many fears that still linger in my mind, but I have to trust that God is going to take care of our family and our sweet baby!

"How are you feeling???"
I'm also thankful for the encouragement and support system I have from family and friends.  My last two pregnancies were pretty hard.  For those who witnessed my pregnancy with twins were especially concerned when they found out I was pregnant.  I have to stay on top of taking my medication around the clock, and watch the foods that I eat. Thankfully, this pregnancy is better so far!

"So are you hoping for a boy???" 
We are hoping for a healthy baby.  I don't have a  strong"feeling" about the baby's gender, but I lean more towards a girl when people ask.  I know we will be equally excited when we find out (hopefully soon!) though!  So far, we have a girl name that we love, and I already have the nursery planned for a girl.  We can't agree on a boy name, and I just don't have any boy design ideas in mind.  lol.  

"Are the girls excited???"
They sure are!  The girls are always talking about the baby.  We have gotten just a few baby essentials, and wrapped them up for the baby.  We plan to let the girls open all the gifts when we get closer to time...they are so excited. They already have the seating arrangement perfected in the car, Lauren likes to kiss my belly and I just know all three of them will be the best big sisters.  

"When are you due???"
November 29th is my official due date.  My doctor will schedule the C-Section for 39 weeks, and we will be home to enjoy Thanksgiving as a family.  I'm so excited about having a fall/winter baby!  I know it will be extra special this year around Thanksgiving and Christmas as we enjoy our tiny blessing.  

I'm so thankful for all of your prayers for our family!  It is so much appreciated!  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tamara {the importance of prayer as a mother}

One of the fondest memories I have of my mother is her fervent prayer life.  I knew if I woke up, and she wasn't in the kitchen, she was in her prayer closet.  Praying for hours...many of those hours for me. I can't imagine where I would be without the prayer of my mother.  I know Landon can say the same about his mother.  I'm so thankful for the example both of our mothers have been in that area to us.  

The last couple months have been discouraging for me.  I have been very tired and out of my normal routine.  I find myself waking up late, feeling awful and laying in bed waiting for the girls to wake up.  Sure, I pray....but it's in the shower, in the car, and when I'm falling asleep at night.  I pray when something doesn't go my way, when I go through a trial, when I see a request on facebook, and that my kids will behave.  Basically I pray that everything will change to make MY life easier.  

This Sunday morning, we wanted to try the early service out at our "new" church.  I was having some physical issues, but for some reason I felt God prompting me to get everyone up and ready to get to the 9:00 service.  I almost threw in the towel, but we showed up just in time for the service.  There were  guest pastors speaking in each of the services.  Pastor Kevin Harper stood up to preach, and from the beginning of his message I KNEW there was a reason we came to the early service.  He spoke on prayer.  The importance of setting aside time each day to remember WHO you are praying to and for God to change ME.  So many times, we pray for God to change circumstances when that may not be in his will. We hold on to what we think is good for our lives, instead of letting it go and allowing Him to decide and work for His good.  By the end of the service, I was so convicted about my prayer life. The last couple months I have been begging God to change my kids, my circumstances and my trials.  I haven't asked Him to change ME make me more like Him.  I know that when I focus on praying for HIS will, not mine, He will give me such a peace.  This prayer will dramatically change my relationship with Landon, with my girls, and with others.  

I want to fervently pray for my children.  I cleaned out a corner of our closet, and have been challenged to make this a priority first thing in the morning, no matter how I feel or what we have going on.  To pray for them in every aspect of their become who God wants them to be, not who I think they should be.  

Here are a few sources on guiding you along as you pray for your husband and children!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Destin Vacation 2013

Here are some photos of our Destin Vacation.  We went with most of Landon's family...the one's that weren't able to go were missed.  The ocean is one of my favorite places to be.  We tried to soak in every minute, but of course the week flew by as all vacations do...

After 2 days of traveling, we unloaded the cars and headed down to the beach!  The twins were super insecure about the sand, but ended up doing 100% better than last year.  

Brooke is our little fish.  She was completely soaked, and even apologized for getting her clothes all dirty.  It was so fun watching her be so free, and enjoying the ocean like she had been there just yesterday.  

We took some family pictures by the beach Thursday night.  I'm still REALLY learning how to take  photos, but I love capturing special memories shared with loved ones.

Here are Poppy and GiGi with some of the grandkids.  There are three beautiful blondes missing!

Such a fun, relaxing week.  Looking forward to the next time we will get to visit...with one more kid in tow!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jennifer {In business, one must focus}

I'm so excited for Jennifer to share her story on the blog today.  Our friendship goes WAY back - we met almost 13 years ago the day we joined the same society at Bob Jones.  I'm so thankful for the way that God has led in both of our lives...He took us on different (sometimes very difficult) paths that led us both to the most amazing job we have ever had - being mothers.  I know that you will be encouraged by her sweet story to motherhood....

I absolutely love being a mom!  Anyone who knew me growing up or in college probably are in total shock that I am a mother and that I really love it.  I have always been known as the very independent, driven, outgoing, business-minded type, but NEVER as a “kid type.”  My mom owned a daycare for the majority of my life, and I grew up around babies and toddlers.  I always knew how to do basic baby care, but never had that ooey gooey feeling about babies and kids.  Let’s put it like this – I never once volunteered for the nursery!  I have learned that God has a funny way of changing our desires – who’s with me on that one?

In college, I studied International Business and French and had a very strong desire to go into business and work for a French multinational organization.  Well, that was not God’s desire.  I had the desire to travel all over Europe and Asia.  That also was not God’s desire.  Instead, God’s desire was to send me to teach French in a 3rd world Caribbean country to live on a $300 a month stipend.  Awesome.  Not.  I was pretty sure that I wasn’t cut out for the provincial life.  Little did I know that those couple of years would change my life and my mindset forever!  Even though we had lots of inconveniences – no hot water, sporadic electricity, crazy bugs and lizards, no cars, 2-3 month rainy seasons, burglars – I never really struggled with culture shock because I fell in love with the children from day one!  I don’t know why I all of a sudden developed a very strong affection for children, but I have to say that I loved them so much that I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them to come back to the United States.  So many long-term relationships developed through my time being there and I saw several of my students saved that year!  One of my students was even a bridesmaid in my wedding!  I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t imagine what it must feel like to love my own children because I loved my Dominican students so much!

After I moved back to the United States I started dating my husband and high school sweetheart, Jim.   I had a very successful life insurance agency and was working 40-60 hours a week.  My goal was to give it all I had and work very hard for several years to build up my residual income (small commissions received annually after you sell a policy and it continues to stay active) and become fully vested by the time I was 35.  Sounds like a marvelous plan, huh?  On paper.  There were many discouraging things in the cut-throat world of business to have to deal with.  I had to testify against sexual harassment, was expected to say and do whatever needed to be done to close a deal (even if it wasn’t true), and was expected to do other “below bar” things.  I realize that not all of Corporate America is like this, but as for me, I couldn’t sleep at night.  I really struggled with contentment, trust, and bitterness and I started to believe that I wasn’t meant to be successful or happy.  What I really realized was that I did not have to compromise anything to achieve and be successful.  Success rested in following God’s leading for my life, wherever that took me. 

Jim and I were married in June 2011 and in October of that year, I became pregnant.  I was so upset!  This was a very big “mistake” in my mind!  I was scared and selfish and a control freak!  We had even planned a trip to Paris for April of this year, but I was 6.5 months pregnant at that time and so it was cancelled.  I was so self-centered and thought that it was just the worst timing for us and for all of the plans that we had.  It took me about halfway through my pregnancy to become really excited.  My husband is a head football coach and had just taken a new job that required a 2 hour daily round trip, not to mention the very late nights during the football season, right when I would have a newborn.  Great.  When I was 20 weeks pregnant I finally felt the baby move for the first time and I instantly fell in love.  It wasn’t until after Beau was born that I held him in my arms while feeding him in the quiet of the night, and my tears fell on his face and I sobbed, “I’m so sorry that I didn’t want you!”  From that moment on I knew that I was created by the Creator to do this job of motherhood.  I know that this sounds utopian, but I really love motherhood! 

Where does this lead my business career?  Who knows?  I gave up my life insurance agency in January after many tearful conversations with my husband about what I should do.  I sought the advice of some very trusted friends, and decided that even though I have no idea what the future holds for me, God does, and He was leading me to dissolve my business.  So where did that leave me?  I have always wanted to pursue my Masters in Business Administration and had a couple of friends who encouraged me to just jump in and do it.  I thought, how crazy?  I am working (I substitute teach and still personally produce with life insurance sales), a wife, a mother, and now a graduate student?  I thought (and I’m sure I said it to God at some point in my quiet time) this is crazy!  What else?  Little did I know that God had one more thing for me to add to my plate.  I have just recently starting singing with my church’s choir and praise team.  So many people ask me how I do it all.  I really start thinking that I have too much going on and that it’s not possible, and then I read all of the wonderful stories of so many other moms who have more kids, more demanding jobs, more stressful situations than I do. 

The “mom experts” on tv shows say that life is all about finding a balance.  Yeah, sure.  Tell that to the mother of a disabled child.  Tell that to the mother of multiples.  Tell that to the mother who has to work 40 hours a week.  Tell that to the single mother who never gets a break.  Tell that to the missionary mother who does not have her mom around the corner or any other conveniences of home.  I know better.  I know that God is on His throne and that every one of my days are numbered and ordered and that there’s nothing beyond His scope of knowledge.  When I flip out (I feel like I do this a lot), I have to tell myself to take a step back and realize that I have it pretty good.  I consider all of the wonderful blessings that I have in my life and realize that this small window of “crunch time” with a small child, job, and school, is just that – a small window.  My life is worth so much more than the anxiety that I have.  My baby, my husband and my God deserve my devotion, not my stress. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Molly {a letter from a "mom to be"}

Meet Derek & Molly :: They are expecting their first little boy, Beaux in July!  Aren't they adorable?!?  I asked Molly to write a "Mom Series" post for me as an expecting mother.  These two....they LOVE kids and are so great with them.  My girls adore their Uncle D and Aunt MoMo.  The love that they have for their nieces and nephews is so amazing, I know that the love that they will have for their little boy will be far beyond measure.  Here's the letter that Molly wrote to her precious Beaux....

Dear Beaux,

Right now as I write this you are kicking me, which isn't saying much since this happens ALL the time with you.  Since I have been able to feel you kick on Valentines Day, you do it all day long.  Such a reassuring feeling that I will miss!!!

People are all about giving you advice when you are pregnant!  Which can be great and also tiring...

The greatest advice I have received is to cherish the moments that you are in.  I want to make sure to put this into action.  I do not want to wish away stages of your life.  As I sit here and look at my very round and growing belly, I'm reminded of this advice.  I've already found myself wishing away pregnancy so I can see you, but I need to enjoy the moments I have you all to myself while I can!  The last few months of this are not comfortable I will have to say...but I wouldn't trade it for anything!  The kicks and rolling make everything completely worth it.  I am so blessed that God decided to make me your mommy and I don't want to wish this part away!  The only time it's just me and you all the time.  :)

I honestly didn't think I could get pregnant, we weren't trying but God knew what was best for us, and knew this time was perfect.  We are going to have to grow up and raise a baby!  I can't say I am ready, because I'm definitely not!!!  But God said I am, and gave me one of the greatest gifts...YOU!  My whole life I dreamed about being pregnant and being a mommy, it's really what I've always wanted to do.  I love children, and I can't believe I finally will have one of my own that I will love even more than I can ever imagine.  I am so incredibly grateful for what God has given me and I don't want to take a single minute for granted!

I can't wait until you are out and I can see your precious face, but until then I'm going to take this time to appreciate your precious kicks, hiccups, hitting and rolling that you like to do so well!  I know that I'm going to miss being pregnant and feeling you inside of me, and I don't want to wish that away.  I can't wait until you can crawl, walk, talk to me, and until you play a sport I can take you to.  So many memories, I want to treasure each stage you are in and remember everything I can, which means I must pretty much write everything down!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Marcy {her story as a stepmom}


Take all I am, Lord, and all that I cling to
You are my Savior I owe everything to
Take all the treasures that lie in my storehouse
They cannot follow when I enter Your house

So I surrender all to You
I surrender all

Take all my cravings for vain recognition
Fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed

Take all my hunger for all that’s forbidden
Every desire and sin I keep hidden
Search me and know me I want to bring to You
A life that is holy and sanctified through You

Words and music by Rich Dalmas
© 2004 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Hi!  My name is Marcy Wright.  Tamara and I went to college together although we didn't know each other.  Somehow I stumbled across her blog through a mutual friend, and I have so enjoyed her Mom Series!  It was emotional and encouraging to have this opportunity to share my story of motherhood.

I had always dreamed of becoming a wife and mom.  God answered both of those prayers on March 27, 2010.  I married the love of my life and became a stepmom to two beautiful girls, K (age 6) and A (age 4).  

My husband and I had similar Christian upbringings in different parts of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, but after we each finished high school we went down two totally different paths.  I went to a Christian college to find a husband and a degree, and he went off to have fun.  The Lord did not allow me to meet my husband at college, and the Lord allowed my husband to become a father to two girls (from two different relationships).  I am so thankful that God is sovereign and only down what is best for us ---Even when we don't understand why He allows some things to happen.  I am blessed He chose to bring my husband to the church I attended, and we were introduced by mutual friends.  God had been doing a miraculous work in my husband to be  And I knew that we needed each other to sanctify each other and to glorify Himself more.  (that is a whole other story in itself!) :)  But God also wanted these two little girls to have me for a stepmom.

We have a lot of fun together!  The girls are so sweet and gifted in their own ways.  K is gifted musically like my husband, and A is gifted academically like my husband   We live life as normal as possible whether it be going to church or the library, making our own family traditions, and celebrating a multitude of holidays (whether it be on the actual day or a few days before or after).  I love having them with us when they are able (we have legal joint custody of one of the girls, but nothing is legally set up for the other).  But sharing is hard.  And sometimes I have wanted all or nothing!  Sharing your children that you love is VERY hard at times (on both sides) in may ways.  We've gone through times of not being able to see our girls because their moms have been unhappy with us.  We are only in control of things that go on in our home.  We have no control over what they are taught or what they see, or do, or hear when they are in their other home, and that can be concerning.  But God knows and is in control of all of that, and how much time we have with our girls.  We have had some good gospel opportunities with them, but neither understands their need of a Savior, yet.  I pray God opens their hearts and minds soon!

One of the biggest struggles I have faced is the jealousy I and the other moms have had.  Being a mom and being called "mom" is a very special gift.  The Lord is growing me, but I have struggled for a long time with what my role actually is.  The don't call me mom, except for very random times, or when they are writing me a note (which I love).  And their mothers have voiced jealousy over the place I have in their daughter's lives.  We all love these girls so much, and we want to be their special "mom".  I have cried and prayed, screamed and received counsel.  And I have come to realize that I am not their mom.  But God has me in their lives for a very special reason.  First and foremost to show them Christ and the Gospel.  And I am also in the lives of their moms for that same reason.  The Lord has really grown my relationships with their moms over the last several months.  It has been difficult and hurtful, but God is changing me and He's changing them (whether they realize He is or not).  I can honestly say that I love their moms, I want them saved, and I want to be used to bring them the gospel in word and deed.  That's only of God!  If you would have asked me last year at this time if I felt that way, I would have said "No, but I am praying for God to change my heart."  And He has!  It's amazing!

So when I am tempted to lose heart in this role as a stepmom, when I miss the girls because they are at their other homes, when I wish we could be involved in their overall development, when I wish they would just call me "mom",
I surrender.  And I pray...
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed.

If I could encourage any of you, please let me know. I would love to hear your stories. (

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

His Plans...

When I look at these photographs, tears come to my eyes.  Being a mom of three can be a struggle at times, but the blessings definitely outweigh those hard times.  I am also reminded of how great His plan is for each of us is.  When Landon and I got married, we "planned" to wait a couple years to start trying to get pregnant.  Well, God had something greater for us and her name was Brooke.  Even on birth control, I became pregnant with her soon after our wedding.  That day wasn't full of excitement for Landon and I.  We sat on our couch crying, wondering how we were going to be parents.  It took a few days for us, but we started to get excited about our little "bean".  We also weren't prepared for the horrible pregnancy I was about to encounter.  During my pregnancies I suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum.  I spent several times in the emergency room, and a couple overnight stays in the hospital getting fluids during this pregnancy.  God was so good to us and kept Brooke perfectly healthy.  She is such a blessing to us with her sweet spirit and loving heart.  

We knew we didn't want Brooke to be an only child, but our plan was to have only two children close together.  We tried for almost 8 months, which I know isn't that long compared to many of you, but it seemed like an eternity to us!  We were overjoyed when we found out we were expecting again.  Those next couple weeks were a trial for us as I was extremely sick, and was in the emergency room for a LOT of bleeding.  I went to Tulsa for HCG tests every other day, since there was no other way to tell if the pregnancy was still viable.  At 8 weeks, we waited in the ultrasound room just praying that the baby was alive.  Not only did we see one babies heartbeat, we saw TWO.  God had blessed us greatly, and again we saw that our plans are not always HIS plans.  Our family was about to go from three to five!  Countless emergency room visits, hospital stays, trips to the cancer treatment center for nutrients, many precious prayers and twenty weeks of bed rest later we met our beautiful twin girls Lily & Lauren.  They were born at 36 1/2 weeks and never saw the NICU.  Wow, His goodness, love and strength are so amazing.

Brooke is almost five, and the twins will be three in June!  I can't believe how fast the time has gone by.  I sometimes questioned if we would have another baby in the future.  Over the last six months, I had a peace in my heart that we would not be having any more children.  I was a little sad, but after potty training the girls and selling every baby item we had in our home I knew that I was ready to focus on the girls and our future together. 

 Did I mention that our plans are not always HIS plans???

Rewind to April Fools Day.  I have been having some problems physically (to spare the details) since the twins were born.  Even though I didn't think it was possible, I had an overwhelming feeling to take a pregnancy test.  I packed the kids up in the car and headed to wal-mart.  Yep.  You guessed it.  It was positive.  

Is my husband going to believe me, it's April Fools???

What are we going to do?

We just sold EVERYTHING baby!

What is everyone going to think about us???

Sigh.  Sadly, those were the first thoughts that came to mind.  I called Landon (i wish i had that conversation recorded) and he brought home more tests.  Yep, no false positives.   It took a few hours to get over the shock.  It was a comfort to know that God wouldn't give us anything we couldn't handle, and this was no surprise to Him!  Children are blessings, and I know He is going to give us everything we need to take care of this little one. We saw the doctor a few days later and our little baby was 6 weeks old!  He or she will be here right before Thanksgiving! Believe it or not, Landon is hoping for another girl!  We will be equally excited either way, although I would love to experience that mother/son relationship!

The girls are all of course, expecting a little sister and love talking about the baby!
Thanks to medication, I am feeling a lot better than my other pregnancies.  I have gotten to see our little baby 3 times already, and it never gets old.  Seeing his/her little heart beating is the most amazing miracle.  We have had amazing family and friends encourage us along the way.  I'm so thankful for His blessings, and that His plan that is greater than anything I could ever imagine.  

Our sweet baby at 10 weeks - may be a soccer player - look at that kick!
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a FUTURE and a HOPE."
-Jeremiah 29:11-