Friday, December 16, 2011

From Here to Maternity...

It's finally here. Well tomorrow at least, the day when our sweet baby girls' will be born. As I'm sitting her writing this from what has been my home for the last month, it's hard to believe that in less than 24 hours; Tyler and I will be the parents of 4 children. Last night we were talking after he had put the kids to bed and going over all that has transpired in the almost 7 years we have been married. I asked him, "Did you ever think that when we met in the 4th grade, that one day we would be sitting here on the phone, getting ready to meet our twin girls?" He just laughed and said, "Never!"

There are moments when it feels we just got the news at 8 weeks pregnant that we were expecting identical twins. Then there are other days, as my mom says, "It feels like you have been pregnant forever!" The past 4 weeks have felt that way. I had to find strength, endurance, and patience I never knew I had. As you know I've never wanted sympathy, our situation is/was temporary and we knew going in, that no matter what happened we would come out on the other side. I have hated being away from home. Being away from Tyler, Keller and Presley for this long is something I pray I never have to go through again. So many late nights were spent crying in this hospital room as I longed to be with them. Missing dinners together, doing homework, reading stories and giving baths soon become a thing of the past and Tyler had to step up even more. As I sit here writing this, tears fill my eyes as I think of all Tyler has done in these past months. He is the most unselfish, giving and compassionate man I have ever known. There is absolutely no way I would have gotten through any of this without him. Even these words don't do him justice. God blessed me abundantly with a man who showed me more than ever what "through sickness and health" really means.

As much as Tyler did, he didn't go at it alone. Words will never be able to express how much all the calls, texts, emails and visits have meant to us. Your encouragement kept us going. For those that fed my family, multiple times when I wasn't able too, or just took the kids away for a few hours so Tyler could have a break. For Kristen Groves who took such great care of my little buddy everyday after school, helping him with his homework and bringing him home. People like you all, make situations like this more bearable. We are forever grateful for all the everyone has done for our family. Tyler and I say frequently that we can't wait to pay it forward.

To group mine and Tyler's parents in with everyone else wouldn't seem right to me. I have no idea how families can't live close to each other. I know for some it is by choice, but not for Tyler and I. Having our parent's close,and ready and willing to help has been the biggest blessing ever. I think of my mom and all that she's done. I can think of maybe one doctor's appointment she missed. She was the first one I called one something just "didn't feel right" and the first one to say, "I'll pick you up in 10 minutes" for one of our many trips to the doctor. She has slept on uncomfortable hospital beds and taken tedious notes on all the things the doctors' were saying. She sit there when we learned the news that Berkley was behind and may not make it and was the one that said, "We will get through this, you know I'm always here." She made sure that our Thanksgiving in the hospital was special by bringing in food and pretty tablecloths. She was my mom. And tomorrow she gets to witness the birth of her granddaughters. I can't think of a better way to say, "thank you." More than anything, my dad, and my mother & father in law loved on my kids when I wasn't able too. They let them stay the night, watched them after school and made their little lives more stable in an unstable time. God is so gracious for giving us parents like that.

It's so quiet on the floor today, well my room is quiet at least. I hear call buttons going on and off and the sound of a baby's heartbeat beating loudly on the monitor next door. But my room is calm. I know that come 7:00 tonight, the calmness will quickly fade away as I get to see Keller and Presley one last time before surgery. One last time to kiss their faces before Keller becomes a big brother for the 2nd and 3rd time and Presley a big sister for the 1st time. My sisters, Kelsey and Kaylee and my mom's sister will get here this evening, just in time for the birth of their nieces. As many of you know, Kelsey is my very best friend and I am more than thrilled her schedule allowed her to come down. Kelsey is the person you want around when you are not feeling well. She is a caretaker through and through. When I was first put on bed rest I got a huge basket from her full of magazines, books, puzzles and nail polish. When I was admitted into the hospital she was the one who went out and bought me XL shirts and pants so I wouldn't have to wear the awful hospital gowns. She made being here more comfortable. She is the best.

Tyler and I will spend our last night together this evening as mom and dad of two. Tomorrow that will all change. The morning will come faster than we think and soon the hustle and bustle will begin in preparation for the c-section. I'm so excited that my other best friend, also a Kelsee will be here to document all the excitement. She took our family pictures and my maternity pictures. She is super talented and I'm so happy she gets to be apart of our big day.

I'm a little anxious, but not worried. We have complete trust in Dr. Fanous and know he's going to take great care of me. The girls' are going to be born early at 34 weeks and 3 days. This may sound too early, but for us, this is a day we didn't know if we would see. Remember when our main goal was at least getting to 24 weeks? And here we are at 34. We are in a great place. We are anticipating NICU time and know the girls' will be little, but the fact that they made it this far has truly been a miracle. We have been through a lot to get to this point. Weekly appointments at numerous doctor's, labor and delivery visits, getting injections every week... the list goes on. It was all worth it. Every bit of it. More than anything I'm going to miss feeling them move and flip inside me. For the past 8 1/2 months I have been their primary caregiver. Keeping them safely tucked away inside. Not having this huge belly in front will be something I will truly miss. What a miracle it was to carry not one, but two precious babies'.

I'm sure sleep won't be easy to come by tonight as I think about what Berkley and Harper will look like, how much they will weigh etc. More than anything I pray they both let out a wail that rings through the hospital walls. I want them to announce their presence with gusto" "I'm here world! Here I am!" Now I'm sure we will change our tune soon enough, like when they are both crying in the middle of the night- but for now, we want to hear those lungs fill with air and their cries to echo off the walls. We pray that as they grow that God will fill their little hearts to overflowing. We long to hear them crying out in joy to their Lord and Savior. We know that God is the only one who can ultimately meet their every need and desire. We want to show them from an early age that God will never fail them and that He is the one source of true joy. We thank God for these precious children.

Please pray for us tomorrow as we go into surgery at 11:00. Pray for guidance over Dr. Fanous and his team. Pray that Berkley and Harper will have minimal issues and enter into the world peacefully. Pray for Keller and Presley as they aren't with us. We will keep you guys updated as soon as we are able. Thank you again for sharing this journey with us.

Much love, Kara

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world." John 16:21

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do you have the time?

You know I do. Sitting in a hospital room for 24 hours a day leaves you with a lot of time on your hands. And while I've caught up on thank you notes, shopped online and addressed our Christmas cards, I've also had a lot of time to think. It's amazing the things you think about when you are alone most of the day without the distractions of kids, work and life in general. At first I found it tedious. Boring even. But then I started to look at it from a different perspective. I would NEVER in my life have this time again. In 14 short days my days of watching movies on Netflix and doing crossword puzzles uninterrupted will be long gone. In there place will be loads of poopy diapers, dance classes and t-ball games. Life is going to be chaotic, to say the least. I will have no more me time. But guess what? I can't wait.

The hardest part of my hospital stay most definetely has been not seeing my kids as much as I would like. They try to come up daily, but some days they just can't. I miss them terribly. Miss hearing about their day at school, doing Keller's homework with him, giving Presley a bath. All those things I took for granted now that I'm the one that can't do them. So I started thinking about time. Specifically the time we spend with our kids.

What distracts us from time with our children? In every family this looks different, but it’s important to take an honest look at our own schedules and to adjust so that we can come alongside our children as they walk through this tricky thing called life.

I would be willing to bet that when you ask your kids when they are older when they felt most loved they would say it was in the unplanned moments sitting around a table and telling stories, or laughing at something silly until milk comes out of their nose, or when mom or dad sits beside their bed at night and asks them about their day–and really listens. Time equals love to a child, even if they don’t tell us in those words.

I’ve got two (almost four) amazing kids. I really do. They are wildly funny, imaginative, moody, opinionated, strong, weak, happy, sad, good and sometimes not so good. In other words they’re pretty normal. And while I’ve done everything in my power to raise them to turn out amazingly awesome – and they very well might turn out amazingly awesome – there aren’t any guarantees.

Sometimes bad parents raise terrific kids.

And sometimes terrific parents raise kids that chase bad things their whole life.

So, what’s a mama to do?

Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves. We get to love our kids like crazy. Pray for them faithfully. Talk to them regularly. Listen to them tenderly. Model honesty and integrity. And point them to Jesus at every turn.We get to do all that.And tucked within these privileges is the reward. As long as I look for the reward within the process, I won’t misplace my expectations. I have to rest in the assurance that God sees everything I invest in these kids.And He will use every step of this process for good. The process will be good for me. And this process will good for my kids. It will be good. But this process won’t always make me feel good or look good.If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I am setting us all up for failure. My kids were never meant to carry the weight of a mama’s need for validation. I can’t let their failures send me to bed. And I can’t wear their successes like mommy medals of honor.

Motherhood is tough you know?

It really is.

However, it’s also our only opportunity, our only time to reach into the generations to come and make a difference. So, an imperfect but wonderful difference I will make. Won't you join me?

Dear Lord, time passes so fast and I feel pressured by so many things. Please take inventory of my life and show me the places where I need to adjust. Look at every area and help me to know how to find balance, and to connect with my beautiful child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

32 Weeks...

What a huge milestone! 32 weeks down and only two short weeks to go. I remember when 24 was our goal and then 28, then 30 and here we are at 32 weeks. For some reason this was the number I was waiting for, the number where I could breathe a little easier. Like I do every Wednesday, I read the 10 different books and 5 different apps I have on my phone regarding what's happening with the girls' this week.

According to most they should be anywhere from 3.75 to 4 pounds and about 16 inches long. 32 inches of baby in me?! Wow. We won't have our next growth ultrasound for a week, but we are very anxious and curious to see how much they weigh. We are hoping they have at least hit the 4 lb mark, that would be great progress. They are also shedding the lanugo that has been on their little bodies and they are growing eyelashes, eyebrows and hair!

I was hoping when I got pregnant for the first time that I wouldn't be one of those women that "waddle." Well, that didn't happen. I didn't get too big with Keller but I still had a slight waddle. With Presley I was a little bigger and the waddle returned. But here we are at 32 weeks with a uterus measuring 45 weeks plus so the waddle is not only there, but would make anyone close to me scared for their life. As many woman know pregnancy hormones relax your joints and make you move differently. Your center of gravity is dramatically different. My family often wonders how I don't tip over when I stand up!

So with my muscles stretching and becoming more flexible, I thought it was appropriate that I learned that this week the girls' muscles are going through a growth spurt. And most of the weight they are putting on is largely due to an increase in muscle tissue. I'm glad my girls are putting on muscle and gaining strength because I feel like I have none! Getting out of bed takes all the energy I have. Thankfully I don't have to walk much (I'm not allowed to anyway) So since I don't have a lot of strength right now, what a perfect time it is to rely on God. This week and the weeks to come I will praying for a generous outpouring of His strength, because if these baby girls are going to come into the world, I'm going to need a lot of it! This morning I started looking up verses regarding strength. Praise God the bible is full of verses that speak of God's strength being sufficient when we find ourselves weak.

I am so thankful our sweet girls' are getting stronger with each passing day. We want our children to be strong- not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We pray that God will give them strength to always stand up for what is right. I think especially of their teenage years when negative peer pressure will be a real and fighting force. God, help them to stand firm in You! Give them the strength to resist any temptation that goes against your Word. Help them to stand strong in the face of adversity. Give them the confidence that they can do anything that you ask them to do. Help Tyler and I to build a foundation of truth into their lives at a young age, so they will have the tools they need to be strong.

"The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace." Psalm 29:11

Monday, November 28, 2011

Girls, Girls, Girls...

At times I get really bothered by facebook. It's really my own fault. I don't have to click on the "accept friend request" button but about 95% of the time I do. Unlike Tyler who likes to "make them wait it out." But lately I'm bothered at certain posts. Ones I can't ignore. Ones I should comment on but I don't. I get that facebook is a social networking site and you are pretty much free to put on there whatever you desire. But the status updates that get me are the ones from girls ranging in age from 16-19. Some are shocking, some are disgusting and some are downright cruel. Just the other day Tyler and I were saying how fortunate we were that facebook didn't exist when we were in high school. I think facebook makes going to junior/high school ten times harder. All it takes is one post and some one's life can be turned upside down. I can't stand cattiness. I can't stand when girls' can't be happy for other girls. I can't stand when a high school girl posts about a girl who is the very same class as her. Just who do you think you are? Can you tell I'm irritated? Why is so hard for us as young women to accept other young women. It really baffles me. Why can't we cheer on our fellow woman and rejoice with her when she triumphs and encourage her when she fails. What do we gain by being so ugly? In my experience girls that talk this way about others girls are unhappy with themselves. They are so sad and so lost that the only cure for the sickness is to make others feel as bad as they do. It breaks my heart for them. Other posts that make me look twice and the ones that involve their boyfriends. At times my mouth is literally left hanging open at the things I read. When you are 19 years old and your boyfriend is bringing you breakfast in bed, something is wrong people! IT'S WRONG.

In no way, shape or form do I think I'm perfect. I've made plenty of mistakes. Anyone that knows 3 things about me would know that I was pregnant with Keller when Tyler and I get married. We didn't do things in the right order and that's something we aren't proud of. Would we change the outcome, absolutely not, Keller was the greatest thing to ever happen to us. But would we have saved the heartache that came with having a baby before marriage. Absolutely. We were not honoring God with our choices back then, which makes it all the more important that our children do. It has really hit home with us lately now that we will have three daughters. It terrifies us to think about the world that they will grow up in. That's why we have to constantly be in prayer for our children, even before they are born. We don't want them to see sex as something casual and fleeting, but as an amazing gift that God has given them to cultivate with their husband and wife. Our prayer is that our daughters and our son will grow up to be completely confident in his or her sexual identity. We pray that Keller embraces his masculinity and seeks to become a strong, yet gentle man who brings honor and glory to his Savior. We pray our girls rejoice in their womanhood and see it not as a burden or weakness, but as a blessing and a joy. Most importantly we pray that we will never stereotype them or put them in a
box, but lovingly encourage them to be exactly who God wants them to be.

Today, I'm going to pray for these girls I have noticed on facebook. Some are friends of friends while others are much closer. I wish I could tell them they are so much more beautiful than the ugly things that come out of their mouths. I wish they could know about the complete peace that comes in having an identity in Jesus rather than things of this world. I wish they could see how precious they are and that God has an incredible plan for their lives if they would just trust Him. So, why can't I tell them these things? Perhaps that's where my insecurities come in. It's much easier to "hide" behind a computer and say these things rather than call someone out online. So for now I will pray for these girls whom I sure have really sweet hearts and good intentions but just need a little guidance. I urge you to encourage and love on someone today who might really need it. You don't have to come across as judgy or "be all up in there face" about it. Speak kindly and let them know you love them. Be on their side. Because after all, us girls have to stick together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fighting a harder battle

It's no surprise that my pregnancy has been pretty eventful to say the least. In fact, as I sit here from a hospital bed, I look back on how far we have come. Call me crazy but I am so grateful to be in this very place. Because being here means I'm still carrying my girls and they are still growing and doing all the things they should. You will never know how much all the cards, calls, texts, and emails have meant to my family during this time. But I don't want to focus on me and my situation any more. Don't get me wrong, please continue to pray for my girls', Tyler, Keller, Presley and those that unselfishly take care of them in my absence. This post is more about bringing awarenss to others and their situations. I love that I can enoucrage others, and I so appreciate when others tell me how positive my outlook is. Everyday when we wake up we have to choose to be joyful or not. Don't make excuses of why your day is going to be horrible, just choose to be joyful. So, am I always joyful and positive? Absolutely not, I just have to choose to be those things.

In all reality my situation is pretty great considering. Yes, it really stinks to be in a hosital room 24 hours a day, but the greatest thing about it is that we get something amazing at the end. My condition is not terminal, I am not dying. I get to leave her and have two more precious babies, God willing. For others, the outcome will be drastically different.

Someone whom I adore called me ealier today and asked if I would pray for a woman who was going through some major stuff. And while it is not my place to share her story, trust me when I say, it's heavy. But here's what got me, this woman who was going through all these horriffic things asked about me. Me. Despite this dark place she was in, she thought about me and my girls and wanted me to know that she thought about us everyday. I was humbled. It goes to show you that someone is always fighting a harder battle. Always. We complain about how crowded the grocery store is, how our kids are driving us crazy, how the drive thru was too slow etc. I want to challenge you to stop and think before you complain. If the grocery store is too crowded think about those who would love to be able to go the store and buy groceries but aren't able to. For everytime you say your kids are driving you crazy think about a woman who longs for a baby of her own. Someone is always fighting a harder battle. So for today and everday, have an attitude of gratitude and choose joy.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Your Daughters"

I apologize for my absence in the blogging world. It hasn't been for lack of time, since I've been on bed rest I've had plenty of time on my hands. I guess I tend to use facebook as a quicker way to keep everyone updated, but tonight I thought I would go into more detail about what's been going on...

Today, we had an appointment with a specialist. To be specific, the Professor of Cardiology at the Children's Hospital in Plano. His job is all about fetal hearts. There was no checking measurements, or fluid levels, but instead he checked every single part of their little hearts. The ultrasound took a good hour, he wanted to make sure he got everything he needed. He was very kind, and reassuring the whole time, but something he said stuck with me all day. It was simple enough. He said,
"Alright, let's have a look at your daughters." No one had ever called them that before. It was always so technical. Baby A or Baby B. But he called them "our daughters." I loved it. We are going to have not one, but three daughters. What an amazing gift and incredible responsibility.

The rest of the appointment went really well. Though he said that Berkley's heart was in fact a little smaller, there was no need for concern. She was right where she needed to be. My sweet little Berkley and her sweet little heart, doing exactly what God had intended it to do. Harper's heart also looked great and was in working order. In fact the doctor said, "I can't help but take a lot of pictures, your girls photograph beautifully." That made this mamma smile.

While I know the heart isn't where our emotions live, it is the symbolism we use in our culture. I so want my girls, all our kids to be tender hearted. Never calloused or uncaring. I want them to empathize with the plight of others. I want their hearts to be pliable- easily squeezed with joy, and even easily constricted with pain. I hate to think of their precious hearts' getting broken, but a hard heart lacks the capacity to know true love. My prayer for my children is that the Lord will give them a soft heart and protect it as well. I pray they have a heart for the things God loves most.

Carrying two babies around is definitely taking its toll. Even though I am 6 months pregnant, I am measuring almost 9 months! Both babies are head down and this can be super uncomfortable. If you have ever experienced this, you know what I mean. I'll spare the details but lets just say when I sneeze I hope they don't fall out. Since 14 weeks I have gone in weekly for progesterone shots. The first few weeks weren't so bad, but now my back side is getting pretty tender. Sleeping is a whole other issue. It's almost non existent what with the 10 nightly trips to the bathroom...I'm not kidding. I guess my body is getting me ready for all the late nights to come. But despite all these things, I am so grateful, and I truly mean that. Grateful that I have all of these "ailments" because it means I am still carrying my girls. I know too many people who would gladly take my place if it meant a child of their own. Even though it is trying, I am honored to take on this task and challenge and would gladly do it all over again. I love this verse from James 1: 3-4

" Consider it all joy, friends when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith is forced out into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way."

So, for today and everyday... I consider it all joy.

Much love my friends.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting to Exhale

It's been 7 days since we last saw our perinatal specialist and weren't given the best news. We had an appointment today. I woke up and I was at peace. My heart wasn't pounding like it had been, and my thoughts weren't going a mile a minute. My heart was calm. That was until around 1:30, when the appointment was looming closer. All day long I was in constant prayer. I went to my Word and poured over promises from God. I went over them again and again. My heart was now in my throat and I felt like I couldn't breathe. Each time I tried to breathe in I couldn't. Anxiety had set in.

When we arrived at the doctor the mood was stoic and the room was freezing. Keep in mind most women that come here do not have healthy pregnancies. It seemed like forever before they called my name. When they did, I made the journey down the long hallway into the ultrasound room. When the tech started, my heart was still pounding and it was still hard to breathe. She looked at their stomachs first and I was surprised. The difference in them didn't look nearly as great as it had a week before. She made the comment that yes, you could tell there was a difference but it wasn't big. It was getting a little easier to breathe. She continued on and we were able to get some beautiful shots of our precious girls. They were face to face, and Harper's little hand was draped "over" her sister, as if to say, "It's OK, I'm here." She measured their amniotic fluids are both were exactly the same. OK, now I could definitely breathe better.

Then it was time for the Doppler reading. Last week we got an abnormal reading followed by a normal one so we weren't sure what to expect. It too her FOREVER to get a good read. Now it was harder to breathe. Finally she was able too and just like that it was over. As you know, the tech isn't really supposed to tell you anything, and I knew better than to ask, so as she finished up her paperwork we waited patiently for the doctor to come in. She did within a few minutes and the first thing she said was, "Good, normal Doppler reading." I think for the first time in 30 minutes I exhaled. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. She went on to say once again she saw no indication of twin to twin transfusion syndrome and it simply looked to be a case of twin discordance. She wants to see us back in two weeks and continue to keep an eye on things. But she was much more encouraging than the last time.

She told me to, of course continue the bed rest and I said I would and that this was my big day out, she laughed and said, "That's just sad!" As soon as she walked out all I could say was, "Thank you God!" And I did. Many times. We go back to Dr. Fanous tomorrow for a regular check up, if you consider any appointment I have "regular." Today brought encouraging news, and today we are grateful. We know that we still have a long journey ahead of us, but we continue to trust in Jesus, our Great Deliverer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Almost Been a Week...

Since I went on strict bed rest. If you have notions that bed rest might be the best thing ever, you are so wrong. I feel so disconnected from everything. Seriously, what did people do before facebook, babycenter and Tyler was sweet enough to get me Netflix on the Wii (I know, we are the last people ever to have it) so I find myself watching an exorborant amount of series, documentaries and movies. Note to self: When you are on bed rest for a high risk multiple pregnacy, do not watch documentaries invloving anything related to childbirth. It will be tempting, but it will also scare the you know what out of you. It started simply enough with The Business of Being Born. Good movie, not to scary. But the thing with Netflix is that when you watch something they recommend other shows/ movies that are similar. This is where you can get into trouble. But I digress. For now, I'll just stick with Mad Men.

When you are on bed rest you also get excited about little things. For example, today I ordered Steak Express for lunch. I wasn't excited about the lunch part (ok, maybe a little) but I was more excited that for 45 seconds I would be able to get up and answer the door (yes, I am allowed to do that) The delivery guy must have thought I was out of my mind when I tried to carry on a conversation with him. He was more like, "Give me your money lady, so I can get out of here." My mother in law is bringing by dinner tonight, so that will be two visitors in one day! Woo hoo!

I can't brag enough about Tyler. If I thought I loved him before, I love him even more now. He has steped into the role of "Mommy" effortlessly. The kids come home, he gets them a snack, homework is checked, dinner is served, baths are given, teeth are brushed and they are tucked away in bed. He makes it look so easy. And here's the best part, he does it because he loves me and he doesn't complain. He even picks there clothes out (even though last night I noticed he layed out a 9 month outfit for P.J) The mornings have been no exception. He's got these kids functioning like a well oiled machine. I still wake up with them and even though I can't help, I just like to marvel at how smoothly things are going. He does it better than, dare I say...I do! I am able to sit in bed and fix Presley's hair, because let's face it, thats one thing I'll always be better at. We have many more weeks to go, and I'm sure there will be frustrations along the way, we for now he makes me so proud. He is still able to play guitar in the praise band,and I'm so happy he still gets to do something for himself. His brother is throwing him a diaper shower this weekend and I know he's looking forward to getting away for a few hours.He is amazing and I wouldn't want to go through this with anyone else. It' such a priveledge to carry his little girls.

With all that being said, it's time once again to ask for your help. We go back to the Perinatal specialist tomorrow to check the bloodflow from the placenta to the girls'. Last week we got an abnormal reading, following by a normal one. So that's what we are praying for. Normal. We won't be able to tell if sweet little Berkley has caught up to chunky monkey Harper just yet. To say I'm not anxious about tomorrow would be a lie, so would you also pray for me as well? I know the girls can feel stress, and the last thing I want is that stress coming from me. One more thing, to those who have called, brought meals, sent encouraging cards and texts. You will never know how much you are loved and appreciated. Tyler and I cannot wait to be able to return the love. I want to leave you with a verse I came across this morning. It was so spot on for what we are facing in our life right now that I read it over and over and it officially came my bed rest verse. I couldn't choose between which version I liked better, so I'm writing both. (NIV and The Message)

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine. According to His Power that is at work within us."

Ephesians 3:20, NIV

" God can do anything,you know. Far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. He does it not by pushing us around, but by working within us."

Ephesians 3:20, The Message

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I will carry you

Written by me, with love for my precious girls, Berkley Beth & Harper Kate

An unexpected blessing, two brand new little lives.
A rush of emotions. Fear, delight and surprise.
All the nights spent worrying, restful nights were few.
Those little things don't matter.
I will carry you.

Not knowing what will come next or how we will make it through.
But we trust in our Creator.
I will carry you.

It doesn't matter how you get here or what tests and procedures they will do.
You are so very worth it.
I will carry you.

Here alone with my thoughts of how your days might be,
what will be your favorite color, will your eyes be brown or blue?
Until we know those things,
I will carry you.

I love being your temporary home, despite how tough things can seem
Seeing you move and feeling you kick can always make me beam.
Why did God pick me, to protect not one but two?
I consider it the greatest honor.
I will carry you.

Fashioned in God's imagine, perfect from the start.
even though so tiny, you already have our hearts.
I dream about holding you, breathing you in so delicate and new.
I know these things will come, but until then,
I will carry you.

As each hour passes I think about you more.
Too many thoughts cloud my head of what might be in store.
The fog is gently lifted and the words I hear are few.
I am here. You are not alone.
I will carry you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Berkley & Harper Continued

Sorry for the continuation. Getting back to what I was saying. Many people have asked how they could help. I like to be specific.

Prayer is powerful. Pray for us. Pray specifically that:
* Berkley would "catch up" to her sister in terms of size
* Both amounts of fluid surrounding the girls remain stable
* No matter the outcome of our situation that God would be glorified
* Our doctors will be blessed by God & His guidance
* Those who will be helping us will be blessed as well
* Keller & Presley will be cooperative and understanding.

Encourage Tyler.
Now more than ever, we are putting the saying "in sickness & in health" to work. Tyler will take on the role of Mr. Mom and up to this point he has been incredible. If you see him,let him know what a great job he's doing,send him and e-mail or a text. He may not be carrying these babies, but he is definitely carrying a heavy

I just got off the phone with my doctor. Most of you are familiar with Dr. Fanous and know what a great man of faith he is. He told me something that really encouraged me. He said, " I know most doctors see things in terms of black & white, but I see things in gray. There are a lot of things that science can't explain, so you have this big gap, and that big gap is where my God comes in. I will be praying for you and your girls."

I was speechless. The tears came. How many doctors tell you they will pray for you? I have not doubted since day one, that I was in the right place. I want to leave you with a song that has become my cry to my Savior. Please take a few minutes to listen to this song. No matter what you are going through, Jesus really is all we need. He is my Healer, My Sovereign God. I trust in Him. Nothing is impossible for my God. He holds my world and my sweet girls in His hands.

Update on Berkley & Harper

To say the last two days have been rough, would be a huge understatement. My eyes are still puffy and buring, and my head is throbbing. My emotions are frayed, but my heart is calm. For the sake of explaining everything for the 30th time(literally) I thought I would let you all what exactly is going on. Let's start at the beginnning.

Yesterday we went in for a routine ultrasound and found some differences between the girls. It seemed that Baby A (Berkley)was measuring 11 days behind her sister, Harper. Harper was right where she was supposed to be, 20 weeks. While 11 days doesn't seem like much, it falls in the range of 30% which is what we don't really want. Both girls had beautiful heartbeats and were moving like crazy. So, those are positive things. So, why is the size difference a concern? When twins are identical they are at risk for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Simply put, one twin takes from the other and gets much bigger, while the other fails to thrive. It is very serious,and the outcome is not always great. So, when the doctor noticed this diffence, that is where we thought we were headed. I had an appointment with a perinatal specialist already schedueled for the next day, so we decided to see if his measurments matched up to the specialists. That brings us to today.

We saw the perinatal specialist this morning and she too confirmed what my OB/GYN had found. Berkley was in fact smaller than her sister. The ultrasound was extremely detailed and we were able to find out a lot more than what we learned yesterday. Both babies were anatomically perfect. Four chambers in their hearts, kidneys, bladders, and brains. All there and in working order. However, it was discovered that Berkley (the smaller one) has a single umbilical artery. "Normal" pregnancies will have two. While this isn't super common among singleton pregnancies, it is much more common in mutilple pregnancies. This very finding alone could be the cause of her smaller size. The outcome for babies with this condition is very encouraging. They are usually born a little earlier and have a smaller birth weight, but we were already expecting these things. Thisis however, no "cure" for this condition. Since they are identical, they also share a placenta. One baby may have attached to the placenta in a way that she has "more" where the other may have a smaller portion. This could also be the cause. We were also told that it could be a chromosonal issue, but since Harper is looking great, we are pretty certain it is not that. If one baby had a chromosonal issue, the other would also. Another cause could be a virus. If this is the cause, there are a few differnt therapies we could try.

Here is where is gets trciky though. At this point, the girls are not viable. Meaning they could not survive outside the womb. I'm not going to lie, hearing that there is really nothing they could do at this point is like a punch in the stomach and dagger to the heart. But as far as we are concerned our girls don't have an expiration date. Not one time did the doctor say this was the end. What is does mean is they will have to monitored extra close. We were already being monitored extra close, so now it's extra, extra close. Many people have already asked us what they could do to help us out. I believe in asking for help when you need it and this time is no exception. Now, more than ever we will need all the help we can get, espcially since my bed rest and restrictions haven't been lifted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Empty Tomb Cookies

I mentioned in my post yesterday how my mom would make Empty Tomb cookies the night before Easter. I got a hold of the recipe and thought some of you might like to try it with your kids. I'm excited to do it with Keller & Presley :) Enjoy!


1 cup whole pecans, in a plastic baggie
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 cup sugar

1.)Preheat oven to 300 degrees--you MUST do it now. Also, gather a cooking mallet, kitchen mixer, masking tape and Bible.

2.)Read John 19:1-3 ~ Jesus was beaten for our sins; beat the nuts with a cooking mallet; set aside.

3.)Read John 19:28-30 - Jesus drank something like vinegar (gall), sniff the fragrance, dip finger in and taste, too; place the vinegar in a mixing bowl.

4.)Read John 10:10-11 - Egg whites symbolize Jesus' holy, innocent life; add whites to the bowl with the vinegar.

5.)Read Luke 23:27 - the bitter tears of the women; taste a few grains, remember your own sins; add the salt to the bowl.

6.)Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16 - Sweet salvation! Taste and see; add to the bowl.

7.)Crank up the mixer and let it go while you read from Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3; let the mixer go for about 12-15 MINUTES; this needs to be VERY stiff!

8.)Read Matthew 27:57-60 - Fold the nuts into the egg-sugar mixture; this symbolizes the rocks in the garden.

9.)Using a scoop or knife & spoon, drop by spoon into mounds (to resemble a rocky tomb); put into the oven and turn it OFF!

10.)Read Matthew 27:65-66 - The tomb is sealed; use two pieces of tape (5-6 inches long) to "seal" the door edges (symbolically).

11.)Read John 16:20 & 22 - Consider these passages, then go to bed!

12.)NEXT MORNING: Read Matthew 28:1-9 - Jesus is risen! Behold--the empty tomb! Unseal the oven door, take out the cookies, break or bite one in half -- it should be hollow inside---empty---just like the Tomb!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Monday, April 18, 2011

"It just kinda sneaks up on you"

The other day I was in Dollar Tree getting little things to fill up goody bags for an event I'm doing. I was going from aisle to aisle trying to find something that didn't have the Easter bunny plastered all over it. I know it was probably a stretch but couldn't they just have one thing with at least a cross on it? That's when I saw this woman in the aisle putting all sorts of Easter "crap" in her basket. Peeps, that annoying green grass that gets everywhere, plastic eggs, etc. She must have thought I was up to the same thing and she struck up a conversation with me.

"You must have forgot that Easter was next week, too."

I must have looked a little puzzled

"It's the only holiday that I always forget about it. But I have to have something for kids from the Easter Bunny. It's one that always sneaks up on you."

Now I wasn't puzzled, but my heart hurt.

Not because I was sad that she waited until the week before to get her kids baskets filled up, but because she "forgot" about the true meaning of Easter and it's incredible story. I would like to tell you that I told her what Easter was all about and as Christians the beautiful hope we have because of it. I wanted to tell her that because of what Christ did for us on that cross, we were free to come to places like Dollar Tree and buy useless junk. I wanted to say that because of what my Savior endured we would have life in Heaven with him forever.

But I didn't.

I politely smiled and continued walking.

Not one of my proudest moments, but then again it did make me think.

I grew up in a Christian home and Easter was always a big deal. Sure we got new dresses and my mom curled our hair in those spongy pink rollers but it wasn't a big deal because of these things . My mom would have some sort of pre Easter activity planned. I don't remember all of them but one in particular was when we made empty tomb cookies. We got to put all the ingredients in and then put them in the oven. We then sealed the oven, our "tomb" with tape to represent the tomb being sealed shut. The next morning, we got to remove the tape. The cookies were empty inside, just like the tomb was empty on the third day. It was awesome! I have all sort of memories like that throughout my childhood because I had a mom that took opportunities to teach us the most important lessons.

My point of this post was that I don't want to miss another opportunity like I did with that woman. I don't want Easter to "sneak" up on you. I don't want you to make it all about bunnies and peeps and dyed eggs. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I love doing fun stuff like that for my kids. But I can also guarantee you Keller knows what Easter is about. So here is my invitation to you. Join me for Easter this Sunday at Antioch Christian Church. Just come, don't makes excuses. Come and hear for yourself what really happened. Make this Sunday a priority.

Easter @ Antioch
4040 Maple (across the street from Walters Restaurant)
Pancake breakfast at 8:00 a.m. FREE
Service starts at 10:00 a.m.
Nursery is provided for 0-2 years

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"But, I'll get kidnapped!"

I wanted to share a funny (well to you, but not to me) story that happened last week.
Last Friday we decided to take the kids to the drive-in movie. The movie doesn't start until after dark, so Tyler decided to play the "back 9" at the course, meanning they only play 9 holes as opposed to the full 18. Why anyone would want to play 9, let alone 18 holes of golf is beyond me, but I digress...

So Tyler leaves and I decide I'll go ahead and get into something more comfortable for the movies. Afterall, you can wear your jammies because it's completely dark and you sit in your car. Well, I couldn't find the right combo of pants and top so I threw on a short robe and decided I'd just hang out in that for bit. The kids were in the backyard playing and I kept hearing Keller yelling at Axel to calm down. I figured he must be hungry (the dog) so I proceeded to go outside. He was really hyper when I got out there. So hyper that he jumped on the glass door and was able to shut it. No big deal,right? Umm, wrong. The stupid door locked. Now this door isn't a normal door. In fact, anyone who has ever come in contact with it ends up never wanting to go out of it again.

It's old and needs to be replaced. But we have kept it because it was hard for the kids to open it. We liked this "feature" because we didn't want them going in the backyard by themselves, especially since we got a pool. Anyways, so the door locks.
I'm in my robe, with nothing on underneath (sorry if that's tmi). My cell is on the table. The front door is locked. AND... because my sweet, dear husband likes to protect his family, both gates were also locked. Did I mention Tyler had already left for the course? Knowing it will be a good two hours before he gets home, I start devising a plan. At first I think I'll break the door with a brick. Bad idea. This sends Presley into a tizzy and she starts screaming. Ok, Plan B. I'll see if a can nudge a window open. Again, Mr. Security aka, Tyler has installed these little things on the windows that keep them from going up too far. No good. So here I am trying to break the back door, pry open a window and console my child, all while trying to keep my robe from coming open and exposing the goods. Then, I had one last idea...

I went to the fence and looked over. Thinking maybe someone would be out there. Note to self, times like these are when you should really know your neighbors. That way they can help you out of jams like this. Well, no one was around. Enter Keller. My fun, fearless, five year old. He tells me, "I'll just jump over the fence and get some help!" Great idea! I tell him I want him to climb over, run across the street and ask the neighbor if we could use her cell phone. I would like to tell you he hopped right over and saved the day. But no. He cracked. He comepetely crumbled under the pressure. He immideately burst into tears and and started crying,"But I can't do it! I'll get kidnapped!" "Someone will steal me when I run across the street!" "I can't do it mamma, I can't! Let's just pray about it!" So that's what we did. It was short and sweet. And because I know God listens to short, sweet little prayers from short, sweet little boys I wasn't surprised when I popped my head over the fence and saw our faithful neighborhood walking woman! I'm sure I must have looked so strange trying to hold onto the fence and and keep my robe closed as I asked to borrow her cell. She was happy to let me, and thankfully Tyler answered and quickly came home to "rescue" us. So lessons learned here: 1) Make sure your take your cell phone everywhere 2)Put on something decent before going outside, EVEN if it's your backyard and 3)Prayer works... especially ones from little boys.

We did end up making it to the drive-in, and I think they had a pretty good time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let's Hear It For The Boy

What is it about babies that are so incredible? They have this ability to make you feel so warm and fuzzy and they can't even do anything! Today, I had the honor of meeting the newest member of the Carter family, Ethan William. I can't really explain what this did for my heart. I saw this brand new, precious little creature and was immediately moved to tears. My most favorite part about new babies is seeing the mama being handed this new little life for the first time. Today was no exception. You could see the sheer joy all over Kristin's face and it was beautiful. I felt so blessed to stand there and watch these two parents hold and love on their little boy for the first time. In the line of work I'm in I'm around kids a lot. But today, I remembered why I do what I do. Sitting there holding him I was enamoured by how good and faithful our God really is. Think about it. The God of all creation, knew that on this day this baby would be born. As I held him, I prayed over him. I prayed that God would bless this little boy, that He would protect him, put obstacles in his path that would make him stronger and most of all that he would have an unwavering passion for Christ.

Lately I've been in a funk, and this baby boy was exactly what I needed. He reminded me of everything good. He was full of promise. Full of innocence. Holding a baby, smelling them, touching their sweet little face, stirs up something in this mamma's heart! It's been so long since I've held someone that little. And I'd be lying if I said that I was done having babies. My thoughts on that are that God's knows the deepest desires of my heart and if He sees fit for Tyler and I to parent again, then that's exactly what He will do. Babies are good for the soul, and they are most definitely the best way to start people.

Ethan William Carter

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart."

Jeremiah 1:5

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's In A Name

I have come to the conclusion that my daughter doesn't know her real name. If you have kids you know how easy/cute it is to start calling them something special when they are born. I don't think we intentionally try to do this, it just sort of happens. When Presley was born she was this tiny, petite little thing. Everyone said how much she looked like me, her mama.Thus, calling her "mama" was born. Then I started to notice that others called their little girl "mamma" too. No problem right? Well, not really. Turns out, "mama" is a term of endearment used in the Hispanic culture. Last time I checked, both Tyler and I are white and I didn't want to offend anyone by calling her that. So eventually "mama" died off...

Enter Kelsey. My sister. My best friend.Complete moron. I say this with lots of love. Kelsey likes to rename things. There have been many instances where Kelsey takes it upon herself to rename things for people. She either doesn't like what you've named your child, pet,car etc or she knows she can come up with something more clever. For example, we found a sweet little mut on the street. She was rough around the edges and looked like she had "lived a little." I thought Roxy would be the perfect name. Kelsey took one look at her and said she looked like a Reba. Don't get me wrong, I love Reba McIntyre, but I didn't want to name my dog after her. Long story short. The dog is still named Roxy. Kelsey still calls her Reba. My child was no exception. Presley's middle name is Jo. Just like me and my mom. Well, Jo wasn't good enough for Aunt Kels, so she lengthened it to Josephine. So now we have Presley Josephine, not just Jo. Tyler hates this. Mainly due to the fact that she actually answers to it! And not Presley Josephine, but just Josephine! I can't remember the last time Kelsey even called her Presley. Very comical to me, not so much for Tyler.

Then of course there are the other names that come into play. P.J. , Princess and Sassy. Lately we are loving anything to do with princesses. In fact, she rarely wants to wear pants or shorts,becasue you cannot do a proper princess spin in pants or shorts! She loves when you call her a princess and I am happy to oblige. The name Sassy came about pretty recently. That is the best word to describe what this little fireball is! She thinks she is the boss of everything and everyone. Including herself. I've caught her a few times giving herself a "good talking to" while looking in the mirror.

So, our daughter has a few names. What's the harm in that? It really doesn't matter what we call her. Presley, Josephine,P.J.,Princess or Sassy. What matters is she knows that she is loved. And,oh, how we love our little girl...even if we can't decide on a name for her.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You are for me

I have a good life. I am very blessed. My life has been full of amazing moments. But life is also dotted with things that bump into my happy. Up and down, up and you ever feel this way? This morning I woke up with pounding headache, a throat on fire and a body that ached all over. Still I was determined to have a cheerful attitude. Then I received a phone call and my (somewhat) cheerful disposition went down the drain. This phone call came down on me like a crashing wave. I didn't see it coming. I went under. My heart got snagged. My emotions well up. My attitude was...awful. I bet you can understand. So after I got off the phone, I whispered a prayer to Jesus through tears. It was honest.It was simple.

"What is the deal Jesus? Why do I always seem to have little pieces of brokenness in my life. It's so frustrating.It's not fair! You know the desires of my heart. We deserve this. It's so frustrating. I need your perspective on the disappointment or a need a break from it."

There was no answer.

No instant verse.



Until I was putting my sweet Presley's clothes away in her room and a song came on. I love to put my iPhone in our iHome and let the music rattle the walls of our home. I usually choose a specific play list I choose from. But today I chose shuffle. Good thing I did, because God was the DJ this afternoon. A song from Kari Jobe started to play. I can't explain it to you, so take a whole 4 minutes out of your life and listen to it here:

In that very moment of brokenness and let down, God was letting me know. I am for you, Kara. I know what is best for you and your family. Please leave the details to me. Because I love you.

We all are disappointed at some time in our lives.

Marriages fail.

Bills don't get paid.

Women's' wombs stay empty when they long for a baby.

People say mean things.

But I have to hold on to the promise that God is for me. And He is for you too. So bring him your ugliness, bring him your joy. He uses all these things to remind us of who He is. Here are the lyrics. Let this be your prayer.

So faithful. So constant. So loving and so true.

So powerful in all you do.

You fill me. You see me. You know my every move.You love for me to sing to You.

I know that You are for me. I know that You are for me. knowthat you will neverforsake me in my weakness. And I know that You have come down, even if to ride upon my heart. To remind me of who You are.

So patient. So gracious. So merciful and true. So Wonderful in all You do.

You fill me. You see me. You know my every move. And you love for me to sing to You


Spring Cleaning

I was so tired of the way my old blog looked. I needed somthing new and fresh. I want to use this blog as a way to share our life and our faith with others. More than anything I want to be able to have something to "look back on." Our kids say and do so many great things and what better way to record them than online?! Anyways, I would love for you to come along with us on journey through parenthood. My Spring resolution is to post more often. Some blogs I follow post nearly everyday! While I more than likely won't have time for that I do hope to post more frequently. More than anything, I want this blog to encourage you, make you laugh and quite possible convict you. Check back soon for more. You are loved.