Saturday, May 30, 2015

Giving And Life; God is good!

Friday was a big day!  Shaun and I have wanted to do something to help other hurting families since we lost Avalyn.  A few weeks ago I was at my friend Amy's house and she just happened to see a post for a fundraiser for a CuddleCot.  Neither of us had heard about it and so we searched it out.

When a family losses a baby they only have a short amount of time that they are able to hold and love them until they need to be given over.  A CuddleCot machine in designed to keep the baby cold, thereby allowing the family to have more time to love on their baby.  In our hospital in Dickinson the only thing they had were ice packs.  We I feel we're blessed to have a good amount of time with Avalyn but not every family is.  To give the gift of time for baby loss families is a huge deal.  Shaun and I both felt this was a great opportunity to bless others in a horrible time.

I also wanted to give a few other things that would help in the grieving process.  I have a group of friends that are AMAZING!  I told them my thoughts and what I wanted and they help me in so many ways to make it happen!!  God is so good in His timing and worked out the details of another friend becoming a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer for Dickinson area as well.  Which was a need.  It is so cool to watch God orchestrate things and pull it all together for His glory!

So, we delivered to CuddleCot and Bibles, bears, blankets, hats and more to the hospital.  I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to spread the word about the CuddleCot and see more machines in North Dakota ( this is the first one in ND) and beyond!  I know that the nurses were so thankful to receive it.  I pray it would never have to be used but know that it will be a blessing if it does.

Can I also say the main reason for all of this was not just about doing something "good".  I included a note and Shaun made a bookmark that goes to the heart of how we have been able to make it through.  Only through the grace and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I have said it before and say it a hundred more times, it is all about Him!  I long for everyone I know to know Jesus in a personal way.  He is not just some guy in the sky!  Without Him we are doomed to hell.  We are all sinners. We need a perfect Savior to go to heaven and to get through life.

My prayer is that the CuddleCot will show the love of Christ in a big way and that it will be used to glorify Him! 

I don't have pictures from yesterday yet but I will post them when I get them.  But this is the machine and a link to the Stories of Babies Born Still website so you can donate or start a fundraiser to buy a CuddleCot for your community!

And I can't go without sharing that today is Ian's 8th birthday. He has been a huge blessing from the Lord!  I love the character that he is gaining as he grows up.  He started mustang baseball this year and loves it!  He is a good and loyal friend and big brother.  He has a sensitive heart to those hurting around him.  God is good and I pray He continues to mold and shape Ian's heart to serve the Lord.

Every year when his birthday comes around it always makes me thankful to be here on earth to be his mom.  This year I still feel that way but obviously things have changed this year and it makes me so thankful that God has allowed Ian and Eli to be here and that we get the honor and privilege to be their parents and watch them grow!  And having our second little girl growing inside me moving around as I type these words reminding me of her presence I pray we get the same privilege with her as well. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Peace when you can't understand

I want to share today where my heart is right now and some of the things God is teaching me.  This journey is long and hard and I can not imagine trying to go through it all without my relationship with the Lord.  I am so thankful for His patients with me as I struggle to learn the lessons that He has to teach me and is gracious in my sinfulness.

We went to Florida for a week and a half last week and had a wonderful time bonding as a family and learning how to do the fun family things while me miss a huge part of all our hearts.  It was a relaxing time but also very emotional.  The whole family is very thankful for the trip and we appreciate everyone who helped send us.

All that was great but at the end of our trip I received news of several different things that had happened that really sent me into a funk as I got back home and tried to get back into the swing of daily life.  Suicide, cancer, jail all things that truly make no sense to me!  My mind can not find understanding in any of these things.  Nor, if I dwell on it the death of my daughter.  

I understand that there is sin in this world and that is a big "cause" of these things but I have been daily trying to understand why and it has made me confused, angry, and extremely sad.  There is a verse that I pretty much say on a daily basis:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

I was in the shower today saying this verse and really thinking about what it means to trust in the Lord.  What does that really look like.  Then it says lean not on your own understanding.  How do you not lean on your own understanding.  In this passage it says, in all MY ways Acknowledge Him.  If I am truly going to trust in the God that I say I give my life to, I have to acknowledge Him in every moment of every day.

He will be my strength because I have none.  He will be my wisdom because I have none.  He will be everything because He is everything.  I just have to surrender to Him and follow Him.  I am learning that as a Christian "my" faith really has nothing to do with me!  It has everything to do with Him, my Savior.  The almighty God deserves all worship, glory and honor!  The fact that I get to be a part of that is an honor but it really is still all about Him.

So as I had just been thinking through all of these things one of my friends sent me a link to this blog.  (I know that God has perfect timing but seriously it was within minutes that she sent this!)

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

The part where she says her friend told her, "You can’t have the peace that surpasses understanding until you stop trying to understand.”  That is exactly what I have been battling and trying to relate through the proverbs verse.  I have felt the peace of God that transcends all understanding through the process of grieving for Avalyn but on those days when I try to understand and figure it out I lack that peace.   When I give it all over to the Lord and know in my heart He has a better plan than I could ever think or image that is when I have peace that really makes no sense on a human level.

If you look back a few verses it says:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

We are called to rejoice and be thankful to our Savior.  In every situation no matter what, God is there and we can turn to Him even when we don't understand, because in our little minds we will never understand, it will just make us crazy trying.  He can give peace and joy that will never be understood by those who do not believe in Jesus.  Jesus came and died for our sins so that those who turn to Him and acknowledge we are all sinners and repent and give our lives to Him will go to heaven with Him!

I know I serve a sovereign God and He has a great plan!  I know I can trust Him even when I don't understand the things that happen in this world.  I can rejoice because He is good and deserves all praise.  

I pray that if you are reading this and you don't know who I am talking about that you would seek Him and find Him!  If you have questions I am here or turn to the Bible.  My heart aches so much for those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Big Thank You!

I haven't quite finished telling Avalyn's story.  I will at some point but today I wanted to write about how thankful we are for everyone that has been there for us in this difficult journey.  We have had such a huge out pouring of love from so many people and I could never truly do justice to how much we appreciate it! 

I think it is a true testimony of how Gods people can come together and be there for each other in really hard times.  From the very moment we found out we had lost Avalyn we knew we could call on our friends and they were there for us!  This is something that I have learned from hearing other baby loss mama stories is not always the case. 

So here is a list of all the things I am thankful for from the last few months:

Tim and Delrea, Ron, Becky, Sarah and Jess for coming and physically being at the hospital during the worst time of my life.  

The Youngs for watching my boys.

Jess who cleaned my house while I was in the hospital.

Bri who set up the rest of my guest room for my parents to stay in. 

Kelly for coming and being there for us!

The nurses that took care of us and tried to make sure we had everything that we possibly could to make the situation less miserable.  

Jane for having knowledge of what we would need and being on top of helping us to get pictures, hand and foot prints and molds, the box to hold all her things, making sure we got to spend time with her.

Family for coming.

Lindsey you will never ever know how thankful I am for the pictures that you took!  I look at my baby girl every day because you dropped what you were doing to come!  You did a beautiful job!

Travis for all that he did for Avalyn's funeral.

The praise team for doing the worship service I will never forget for the funeral.

Naomi for making the trip out here to be with me.  Seriously sister I love you and am so thankful you came!

All the meals that were given to us.

Jess for filliing her freezer with all that food because we didn't have enough space for it!

Friends that send me text messages with verses to help me stay focused on The Lord and encourage me to keep going!!!

The flowers that were sent.

All the cards with words to help us make it through!

And little gifts given to remeber our sweet baby girl.

The random card or stop by that always seems to come when I most need them still!

And friends who send us gift cards for food and whatever from far away.

A few days ago I booked a trip for our family to go to Florida!  This is something that was paid for by lots of people some that I don't even know!  If you only knew how special this trip is to us!  We never take trips! Ever!  Unless it is to a grandparents house that is about it.  We are so thankful for everyone who gave money so we could go! Ian and Eli have been talking about going to Florida for months and can not wait to go to the beach and legoland!  I am so excited that they will get to experience this trip! As well as getting out of the frozen tundra of North Dakota and soaking up some sun and warmth. 

Well, I am sure I left out someone and I am sorry if I did but know that we would never make it through this without all of you and your support.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hope That Stands The Test Of Time and other news!

Happy New Year that is what you say... right... It's a new year so everything can start over and everyone can be happy.  Well this year that phrase has had a different impact on me.  I find myself really not wanting to say it.  I am not "happy" right now.  I am sad and it is hard but I have to say I have joy and that is something completly different.  I have a joy from The Lord that will always reside in my heart.  

I posted on facebook the other day a passage from

1 Peter 1:3-5New International Version (NIV)

Praise to God for a Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritancethat can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

I am working my way through the book of 1 Peter right now.  I love these verses! I love that I have been choosen by God to be His child.  I am so thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made for me to be able to spend eternity with Him!  At the end of verse 2 it says Praise God for a Living Hope.  Thank you, God, that I can go through the worst year of my life and come out on the other side Praising You for giving me a Living Hope!  My baby girl is in heaven and I get to look forward to the day that I get to meet Jesus and my baby face to face!  I am excited for that day!  That gives me Joy!  That is a hope that no matter how much time passes I will always have!

So this year I am clinging to my Saviour more than I have ever done in my life and praying that I can be used by Him in ways that will promote His name and give Him glory!  I know He has big things going already for this year and I would like to share some of those things with you now.

First of all, we want to let everyone know we are expecting our fourth child!  We both new that we wanted to have another child but like before we just left it up to God as to when that was going to happen and here we are.  We are excited but I am also scared.  I am learning yet again that I need to trust in The Lord and know that whatever happens I can praise His name. We told our family on Christmas morning and everyone was very happy and surprised!

Last year I had kind of given an update on Shaun's job and what we "thought" was the plan.  Well, this last year also had big changes in that department as well.  He worked for Sackman Electric as an electrical apprentice.  Although he liked his job there, he heard about a different position that would benifit our family financially and his "career" better.  So he applied. 

In May, he took a job at Lufkin Automation as an automation technichian.  He really liked his job there and it was definatly a step up for him.  It was really neat to watch as God gave him abilities to learn very quickly.  I have had conversations with some of his coworkers and they can not believe that he had only been working in the oil feild for that short amount of time that he has.  I know that God has had His hand on us in moving us out here and in the jobs that Shaun has taken but it is really cool to see in big ways like that!  

So after only a short time at Lufkin he was approached about a position to work at Conoco Phillips as an Electrical and Instrumentation Supervisor.  They saw his potential as well and wanted to use it.  In November he moved over to Conoco and that is where he will be until The Lord moves him.  He again is loving his job and is challenged on a daily basis in good ways.  We love it because he still comes home at decent hours and gets every other Friday off!! 

At the beginning of last year, I had also talked about our remodel projects.  Well things changed from what we thought was going to happen.  We didn't end up doing the bedroom in the basement.  When I found out I was pregnant with Avalyn we chose to finish the bedrooms upstairs instead.  But before we started on those rooms, the ceiling in our bedroom collapsed on us in the middle of the night and put the remodeling of our bedroom at the front of the line.  

We finished our room and then quickly got started on the guest bedroom and Avalyn's room.  Those rooms have been completed and now progress is still going on the boys room (we are sooooo close to being done with their room!)  This year I am sure that we will have more projects.  We have been thinking the kitchen but I really don't want to say it will really happen until we actually start it, so we will see :)

This year I see us serving where God leads us.  I can already see Him leading us to ministry with others who have lost babies.  It is so hard to see how many people do lose babies and there is so much pain that doesn't get noticed!  

I also plan to help in whatever ways I can with the new crisis pregnancy center that is getting started in Dickinson!  God placed abortion on my heart from the time I was a little girl.  I have always desired to help in giving women the truth and I long to see abortion stopped.  It was a passion of mine to see a care center open here so that women would have a safe place to turn for help and I am so excited to see it actually coming together.  There are some great people getting it going!  What a blessing!

I pray we all have a Joy Filled 2015!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Avalyn... Strength greater than my own

The next part of Avalyn's story is so hard to write about.  It is hard to know what details to tell and what to leave out.  It is hard to tell because as hard as it was to tell about hearing that Avalyn was no longer with us, I still had to go through the process of delivering her.  How do you go through a delivery when you know you are not going to get to see her living.  When you know that it is going to be silence in the room instead of the little cry of new life.  

After we cried for a bit we knew we needed to make the dreaded phone calls.   We needed to let our parents know and find support from those who were around to help us.  We called.  I tried to tell my mom but couldn't speak when it came time to actually say it and Shaun had to take over the phone call.  Then he made all the other calls.

He called our pastor Ron.  We later found out that Ron normally doesn't have his phone on at that time of night and that it was by God's grace that he even answered his phone.  Then Shaun called  my friend Becky.  Within 20 mins we had both pastor Ron and pastor Tim and Delrae.  As well as my friends Becky, Sarah and Jess.  You have no idea how much support it was to have them there.  

We cried together.  They prayed for us.  We had a bonding fellowship that can only come through going through the tough hard life situations together.  I am so thankful that they were there to call on and to drop everything to come support us!  I have this group of friends that I have had for pretty much the whole three years I have lived here in North Dakota.  We always say that God put our group together for a reason.   This is not the first tough life situation that we have been in together and probably will not be our last but God has done some great things through this group and I am happy to have them doing life beside me!

What can I say about the rest of the evening the doctor didn't want me to leave she wanted me to stay until I delivered Avalyn.  So they started a slow process to get my labor going and to get me to dialate quicker.  My friends took shifts staying with me and Shaun so that we had someone to support us at all times.  There was no way that I could sleep!  I sat and talked and talked through the night and at points tried to let Shaun sleep but the silence was so defening!! I tried to walk in the hall to get things progressing but the sounds of babies and pictures of happy families was too much for me to handle so I barricaded myself in my room.

I stayed awake the whole night and really didn't progress much.  In the morning my friends switched shifts and we continued to wait.  I can't say that the whole time was bad.  To be honest there were times of great laughter and light heartedness.  I look at it as God giving me strength through other belivers.  I hadn't come down to fully understanding because I had not seen her yet but if I would have melted down the whole time I was waiting to deliver I would not have had the physical or emotional strength to get through it. 

People have said through this that I am so strong.  I really don't agree with that, I am so weak and if this were fully on me I would not have made it.  I know that God has been the strong one through it all. He is the one who has lifted me when I trruely didn't think I could go on.  He is the one who gave me exactly what I needed through everything and allowed a peace that passes all my understanding to get through it.  I can remember through the whole night and next day I would just say over and over in my head and some times out loud, "The Lord is my stregth".  

I would like to stop at this point and tell you the frame of mind that I was in when I went into the hospital to deliver Avalyn.  I had a horrible delivery with Ian.  I was induced with pit and had them give me stadol and an epidural.  When they gave me the stadol I couldn't move and was hallucinating.  I was seeing pink elephants and every contraction I thought logs were hitting me in the stomach.  The epidural didn't work they had to poke into my spine up to the full legal limit.  Then he ended up poking through to far and giving me a spinal headache afterward. Then I went through a whole other ordeal of getting an infection a few days later and almost died. (that would be a whole other blog post)

Because of  all went through with that delivery I had come to some pretty strong opinions about giving birth naturally.  I did not want to go through any of that ever agian.  When Eli was born it was all natural and it was perfect.  No complications and my healing went so much faster.  I knew that was how I wanted to do this delivery as well.  Being that it had been 5 years since I last went through a delivery I was nervous that I would cave into having drugs.  For several weeks before that night I had been mentally trying to pump myself up that I could do it again and praying God would give me the strength.  When I went in that night I was prepared to push through the pain and come out on the other side with a drug free delivery.

So that brings us to the early afternoon on Tuesday September 23rd.  They put me on pit to get the delivery going faster.  That was a hard pill for me to swallow because I had said before that I would not be induced ever again.  But that is also a lesson that The Lord was teaching me through it all and continues to teach me.  My plans do not always go with His plans and I need to trust in Him and His plan.  

I will never forget one of the light hearted moments, it was lunch time and they were not allowing me to eat anything.  I will never understand why they know that you have to have strength and energy to get through pushing in labor but make you go hours and hours and not allow you to eat anything.  But anyway as I said it was lunch time and our friend Matt went and bought lunch and brought it to the hospital for everyone to eat.  To be nice to me they were eating outside of the room so I would not go crazy.  They went in shifts the guys ate first and the girls stayed in the room with me.

Then it was the girls time to go eat.  I had Shaun and Matt in the room to entertain me.  They were keeping it light and telling jokes and repeating lines from comidians.  At one point I was in the middle of a STRONG contraction and could not stop laughing.  Never in my life did I ever think that I could be going through that much pain and laughing at the same time.  

This was the point that my labor really started to get going strong.  The doctor came in a little bit later and was trying to push me to have drugs to ease the pain.  It was so HARD to process at that time!  I seriously have strong convictions on the subject and went in with a strong mind set I would not take any drugs!  

How do I go against my convictions but how do you have the strength to do it on your own when you are already so emotionally drained?  I didn't take the drugs.  I stayed to my convitions but I regret it now.  Maybe I would have regretted the descision if I had gone with the drugs as well, I will never know.  I suppose it was just a hard situation no matter what and it is what it is.  But I think if I would have taken the drugs it would have maybe taken the edge off the brutalness of the situation.

Because I was on the pit and they increased the doseage I went into labor very quick.  I went to the bath to try to help me relax and that is when I lost all control.  I was in this tiny little bathroom that barely one person can fit it.  I had Shaun next to me trying to help me control my breathing.  My friend Becky at the door shouting to help me keep control.  I am so thankful she did that for me!  The nurse was in and out and I started pushing. 

I delivered my sweet Avalyn in what felt like a gross old bathroom tub that I could barely fit in.  Shaun almost caught her because there was really not room for the nurse to get in there.  I remember looking down and seeing as they were unwrapping the cord from her neck.  They placed her on my chest and  I just cried and cried.  It was really true, she was not living.  It was true, I wasn't going to get to bring my little gril home.

It all was real at that moment and all the emotion came at that point.  Shaun and I were heartbroken.  But even though we were heartbroken Shaun said pretty much right after she was born we need to be thankful for all that God has given us.  We are thankful we know that the first time she opened her eyes she was in the safe and loving arms of God.  And we went from that moment saying we are going to be thankful.  That doesn't mean we are not mourning not having her.  

But when we can look to God and say, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die for us and saving us from our depravity!  This gives me a greater understanding into what God must have felt to willingly giving of His Son to die a tortuous death on a cross.  How much He loves us to be willing to do that for us.  In a million years I can't imagine giving my child willingly and for other peoples sin.  How greatful I am for the salvation He gives me.  I am so thankful for a real relationship with him and that He gave us His word to guide us along the way. Never on this earth will I fully understand the price that He paid. But I am thankful.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Avalyn... When it all comes crashing down.

Sunday, September 21st was the mark of my 38th week of pregnancy.  I can remember being very happy that day knowing that the end of my pregnancy was coming soon.  I had been having contrations for weeks at that point and that day was no different.   We went to church that morning.  At the beginning of the service the little kids always go up front to gather and then go out for their classes.  I remember one little girl passing me on her way down to the front, she had the cutest little pony tales.  I sat there thinking about how fun it would be when Avalyn was older to get to fix her hair in pony tales.

Monday, I was having contractions through out the day again.  I can remember talking to Shaun on the phone saying today might be the day.  I had a doctor appointment scheduled for the next day but thought maybe I wont have to go.  It was a fairly normal day.  I spent the morning with Eli.  Then he went to school and I had laundry to get done.  We had planned to eat out that night.  I was waiting for Shuan to get home from work and stepped out side on the front step to watch for him.

As I stepped out the door Avalyn had the hiccups and I remember feeling my belly and smiling as I felt her bump up and down.  Shaun arrived a few minutes later and we went off to dinner.  As we sat and ate my contractions continued.  I didn't think they were consistent enough at that point to go to the hospital but we started timing them.  We went home and put the boys to bed.  

The evening went on and my contractions were coming on at every 3-5 min but were not strong.  I have always been one that doesn't want to get sent home from the hospital so I wasn't sure if we should go.  But because they were coming on so frequent we choose to go.  

While we were driving to the hospital I was excited and nervous and happy and scared and all the emotions that one feels when they are about to have a baby.  So when we arrived at the hospital, around 9:00, Shaun suggested that we pray before we went in.  He prayed that God would give us the strength to get through whatever we were going to go through.  At the time we were thinking we needed help getting us through having a baby or getting sent home.

We went into the hospital and were ready to have our baby girl.  We went up to labor and delivery and got settled in our room.  The nurse got me set up and ready to put on the monitors.  As she placed the heart monitor on my belly there was silence.  She moved it around my belly for what seemed like an eternity.  I can remember I was still smiling at this point.  

"Is that normal?", I asked
No response... (I started to become cautious)  
"What does that mean?"  
No response.....  
"I am going to go get a different monitor", she finally said.

She left the room.  I started to freak out in my mind.  I know I said something to Shaun but can't remember what.  She came back in and began to search my belly again.  She started to push Avalyn trying to get her to move around. She would pick up a heartbeat but it was always mine.  I had tears streaming down my face at that point. She asked when the last time I felt her move and my mind was racing.  I thought she had been moving the whole evening but now I was realizing that the movement that I thought was her was the contractions moving her.  Then I remembered the hiccups at 5:00.  

My mind was not comprehending what reality was telling me.  At this point the nurse said she was going to call the doctor to come do an ultra sound to see what was going on.  They said it would be 10 minutes until they doctor would be there.  I am pretty sure that it was more than that but it didn't matter we were both panicking and just wanted everything to be ok. 

My doctor was out of town, so I was seeing a new face for the first time.  She came in and conveniently placed the screen out of my eye sight. But Shaun was standing and could see it.  As she searched the screen I searched her face and then Shaun's face.  He looked at me and shook his head.  Then the words that will haunt me till the day I die, "I'm sorry there is no heartbeat, she is gone". 

Screams, that is what came out of me at that point.!!!!!  Why? Why? Why?  At that point the nurses and doctor just left the room.  There we were in a cold old hospital room by ourselves coming to terms with the fact that our baby was no longer living.  What had happened?  I know I felt her just at 5:00 that day and thought that I had been feeling her throughout the evening.  Now all of our hopes and dreams had come to a crashing hault!  We both just wept and hugged each other.   

The rest will come in another blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Avalyn... the pregnancy

So that brings us to just about a year ago.  I gave up the control I thought I had and gave it over to God.  We went for several months not trying to get pregnant but not not trying.  I found out I was pregnant in January.  I was nervouse but excited.  I had also wrestled with the idea of having another boy.  I wanted to have a girl but knew the chances were small.  But I gave it over to God as well and trusted His way.

When I went to my first doctors appointment I went through the usually paper work and blood tests and then went to see the doctor.  She went to check for a heart beat and could not find one.  She was in a hurry to go deliver a baby but had the nurse set up an ultra sound for that day so we could see if everything was all right.  I remember bursting into tears as she had search with the doppler to find her heart beat.  I immedately called Shaun and was so worried.  When I went in for the ultra sound there she was as fine as could be with a great heart beat.  I am so glad that I had that ultra sound because I will get to cherish the picture of her even when she was so tiny.

When we had our next ultra sound at 21weeks we were so thrilled to find out if she was to be a girl or a boy.  We didn't have the technichian tell us at the appointment instead we had her write it down and had a friend ready to make a pink or blue cake at a reveal party for us.  Our friends all gathered together and we celebrated as we found out it was a girl! 

Shaun and I would frequently talk about how ecxited we were to be having a girl.  On shopping trips we would go to the baby section and finally get to look at all the cute clothes.  And Shaun would say you should just get it when I would find something I really liked :)  or even would pick things out himself to buy which is something he would never do with the boys.  We joked that she was going to be so spoiled.  

There was one person in the family that was not so excited to have a sister. :) Eli was rooting for a boy. He would say he didn't want to have pink toys in the house.  But as time went on he was the one that got really excited to have a sister.  He loved her and wanted to protect her even if he wouldn't tell other people that.  He would come to my belly every day and talk to Avalyn.  He would tell her he loved her and give a hug to her before bed.  She also would respond to him when he would touch my belly and when he would talk to her by moving around toward him. 

Ian was wanting a sister from the very beginning.  He was a little more timid to touch my belly or talk to her but he was anticipating the day when he could help out with her and love on her.  He would joke that he and Eli would help in the night when she was going to cry.  He would say Eli you have to feed her and I will change her diaper.  He was ready to be a big brother again!

When I had the boys we lived off of nothing so a fully decorated nursery was never a reality for them.  But for Avalyn I was finally able to put together a real nursery.  I had a plan in my head and went out to garage sales and found deals online and put together the room that I had envisioned in my head.  My friend Jess helped me sew a blanket, bumper pad and curtains to go in her room.  

One week Shaun took Ian on a special 5 day fishing trip.  Eli and I stayed home.  During that time Eli was a big helper.  We put together the crib and shelves for Avalyn's nursery.  During that time we also talked about how things would be when Avalyn came.  One of the things we talked about was swaddling.  I had bought these swaddle blankets and Eli was curious about them.  So we grabbed a stuffed animal and I taught him how to swaddle.  I told him that he could help me swaddle his sister when she came.

More to come later...