Monday, August 22, 2011

22 weeks tomorrow

How does my life fly by so quickly without me even realizing where the days have gone? Having a blog makes me more aware that weeks have passed and I have failed to be intentional with those precious minutes. Everything I want to get done I seem to put off until tomorrow. However, we have been quite busy especially this last weekend trying to get ready for T and F to come and visit. That's right...they are coming to meet my family.

I tend to freak out and go over the top a little when people who have never been to my house are coming for a visit. And so, my list of "honey dos" keeps getting longer. Travis has been so great about working diligently to accomplish my outlandish requests. We are cleaning carpets and couches, washing windows and blinds. Replacing light switches and face plates (that I have wanted to do forever). Painting the garage and trim to match our newly stuccoed house. T and F probably would not have even noticed if they weren't reading my blog but these are things that bug me and even more so with nesting hormones raging through me. I can't let people know I live in a house with dirty carpets. So I talked my parents into purchasing a Rug Doctor and we got to work. And even with my extremely high expectations I think they look good. Now on to planning something for them to do. If anyone has any suggestions of something to do in Fresno on a Sunday afternoon/evening I would appreciate the advice. I am really excited though that they are getting to come to an ultrasound on Monday to see their little girl. I can't wait to see the little one again. It's been a long time.

I did want to show a picture of the new stucco that we are so happy about.

The old

The New

On to the pregnancy. I can't believe twenty two weeks have come and gone. Since making it out of the first trimester this pregnancy has gone so quickly. I feel the baby move more and more everyday and can even see the belly move when she kicks. I realize with this pregnancy there are many things I took for granted when I was pregnant with my boys. Just the mere fact of getting pregnant so easily quickly passed through my mind as an everyday occurrence. I remember a few times feeling so grateful at how blessed we were to be able to conceive our children but not to the extent as I understand it now. Having become a surrogate I have come across so many families who are struggling or who have struggled to become pregnant and it is just heart wrenching to see their pain. It is so unfortunate that some of the most deserving parents cannot have biological children but I guess that is why God has offered other blessings such a surrogacy, adoption and fostering.

I also took for granted feeling my boys move inside my body. I enjoyed the feeling but I never thought about the women who can't. I love feeling this little girl move in a completely different way than I loved feeling my boys. I love the responses I get from T and F when I joke with them and tell them she is going to be a dancer with her long legs that keep kicking me. I love feeling her and knowing she is there and growing stronger everyday.

I took for granted being able to talk to my boys and read to them at night before bed so they would know my voice when they were born. T and F live 4-1/2 hours away and don't have the same opportunity to talk to their little girl. I praise God for technology during this time. I was able to get some Belly Buds that are speakers that attach to the belly. The parents have read stories and recorded songs so their daughter can recognize their voices and favorite soothing songs when she is born. I love playing their stories for her, she wakes up and starts moving around. It is so sweet and I am just so, so grateful for the opportunities to allow them to experience this pregnancy along with me.

I better be going so I can get some more cleaning done but first I would like to post some pictures and introduce....

The Daddy

Mommy and daddy- aren't the gorgeous?? I can't wait to see what their daughter is going to look like.

T and F with their niece. This picture was on their profile and I immediately fell in love with them.

The belly

16 weeks 5 days

17 weeks

18 weeks 3 days

20 weeks

21 weeks

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy 6th Anniversary!

Today I celebrate 6 years of marriage to the man of my dreams. I don't know how I have been so blessed to have the family I have, the kids I have, the husband I have and the life I have. It is all truly a gift which I am grateful for everyday.

When I first met Travis there was something different about him. He didn't blend in with everyone else. He didn't just go along with what everyone else was doing. He did what he wanted to do. God has taken that incredible gift in Travis and fine tuned it into a man who stands up for his beliefs, his family and his friends. He is a strong leader and provider for our family. He is committed and works hard for the priorities in his life. He is an amazing father to our children and his patience is beyond measure. His humor and smile still melt my heart and I am blessed to live my life with him.

God has changed me too in the course of our 6 years and isn't done yet. He has changed and shaped me into the wife that he has called me to be for Travis. He has calmed my temper and my need for control (still working on both of those). He is still teaching me what it means to be a partner and not just an individual. He is showing me what it means to be loved and to love unconditionally. And for these changes, I am grateful.

I look back over these 6 years and it has been an incredible journey filled with laughter and tears and one I wouldn't change for anything. We are lucky enough to have a house that we have made into our home, 2 beautiful children and another baby that we are blessed to be helping into this world for another family.

In honor of our anniversary I posted our video montage that we made for our wedding. As I watched it again I was reminded of all the people who have encouraged us, supported us and were examples to us. And since we've been married there have been many more rallying behind us and walking through life with us. We are the people we are today because of all of you in our lives. Thank you for coming behind us and being there through the tough times and the joyous times. What an amazing 6 years it has been.

(Just a warning...all together the video is 22 minutes long. Also, scroll down to the bottom and pause the music player so you can hear the songs that go with the montage.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Home

Tonight I laid with Sawyer and we read his devotional of our second home. We read of the time when Jesus will come and take His children home. It seems as though every time we talk about heaven Sawyer becomes afraid and tells me he doesn't want to go to heaven. He wants to stay here with his family and friends.

I started thinking if I portray heaven the way I should. I tell him how wonderful it will be and that it will be filled with all of the people who know and love Jesus. But to be honest, I am afraid too. Not of how great heaven will be or if I will be there but of who might or might not be standing next to me. My precious children are still a little too young to really grasp who Christ is and why it is that we believe. But as they go through life, will they believe? This isn't a choice we can make for them. We can only share, encourage and pray for our children not just for their salvation but to come to know the wonder of our Savior.

Then I begin thinking of family and friends whom I love so much and I wish, just as Sawyer does, to stay right here. Desperate to hang on to my childrens' innocence, to aging family members and to my current sense of contentment. I don't want waves. I don't want to step out of my comfort zone and say or do something that might get funny looks or even live in a way that some people won't understand. However, we are talking about eternity here. So may I have the strength to read my Bible more, pray more, speak only when necessary and live a life that reflects the hope I have in Christ.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Holy fund raising Batman!

This past month and a half has been a whirlwind of planning events, fund raising and two kids with two different illnesses. I look back and wonder where July went but then I look forward at all that is ahead.

When I found out that Madyn was diagnosed with leukemia my brain went into hyper drive. What can I do, how can I help, how can I fix this? Because my nature tells me that I need to fix all problems that come my way. I need to give advice, wanted or unwanted and I need to fix it. Clearly, this wasn't something I could fix. As much as my heart broke from the news; the heart and smile of a 20 month old brought me back. It is ironic that the ones that are sick are usually the ones who heal the hearts of the grieving when it really should be the other way around.

Once I realized this wasn't something I could fix I knew something I could do was raise money for their family, hoping to take some stress off finances and focus their attention completely on the health of their children. So of course, I went overboard a little. I set up a Gold Canyon fundraiser so anyone who wanted to participate could help collect candle orders. I got together with my sister-in-laws and we decided to do a poker night. Well, that 1 poker night turned into 2 on 2 consecutive nights. Along with that I thought "hey, people would donate money to see me shave my head" so I set a goal of $1500 and if I reached that I would shave my head. I had a lot of people respond that they did not want to give money towards me shaving my head so I changed the rules a bit and allowed everyone who donated to vote if I should shave my head or let it grow and donate it to Locks of Love.

My Strength

I received one donation in the first two weeks and I might not even be able to raise money for them. As the month went on more donations trickled in. I was able to see the names of the people who donated and I was blown away by the people who donated and the amount they generously gave. Most of the people did not even know Madyn or her family and yet they still gave. It was such a blessing and so humbling to see God work in the hearts of the community. It is still hard to believe which is why I am stumbling through this post. I just am left speechless by so much generosity.


I do need to plug my business for just a minute not because of the business itself but because of the heart behind Gold Canyon. They do have a wonderful fundraising program that we were able to raise $350 for the Frazier family just by selling candles but that is not the most important part. When the founders of Gold Canyon, Curt and Karen Waisath started the company they said that if it was successful they were going to give back in some way. They started in 2000 an organization called The Prayer Child Foundation. In each catalog there are three or four specific Candles for Kids candles where 100% of the profits go to the Prayer Child Foundation as well as a percentage of all Gold Canyon's annual sales. Since they started the foundation they have given over $2.4 million to help children in need. When I heard about Madyn, I immediately sent in a grant request to the Prayer Child Foundation. During the second week in July I received a check in the mail made payable to Madyn in the amount of $500.00 from the Prayer Child Foundation. I just feel so honored to be part of a company with such a huge heart. I want to share this mostly to thank anyone who has ever purchased Gold Canyon products. You are a part of something bigger.

Well all of a sudden it was the week before our 2 poker nights and I realized I hadn't really planned anything. Sawyer had come down with walking pneumonia and I wasn't prepared. Luckily I have the best family in the whole world. My sister-in-laws had already planned and gotten everything ready for both nights. I basically showed up and enjoyed the festivities. We had about 20 people show up to each night to play poker and support the Frazier family including my amazing brothers and their wives. I just cannot say enough about how much my family stepped up and supported my vision helping every step of the way. I haven't really mentioned Travis in this but it is only because we were one in this. Together we dreamed of how we could help and together we worked to make that dream a reality.

My brother Jason and his wife Jill

My brother Jim and his wife Janelle along with a long time family friend J-Mac.

My brother Jeff and his wife Kara.

The weekend of the poker tournaments Hudson came down with a fever and it turned out to be an ear infection so needless to say, we were exhausted. We spent the next week recouping and getting ready for the "main event." The night I would shave my head if there were enough votes, but mainly to present the family with the money that had been raised over the past month and a half. My sister-in-law, Kara and her parents decided they wanted to do a yard sale that Saturday the 30th and they were going to donate whatever they made to Madyn. So, we threw it all together and made it happen. Let me just was hot but well worth it.

Finally, it was the donation night. The morning started off with rain and thunder which lead to a very humid day. People came and sweated outside for a few hours but never complained. As I started my speech I became emotional thinking back over the last month and a half and everything we had accomplished. I made a list of all who donated, sold candles and/or participated in the poker nights to give to the Frazier family and was overwhelmed with the amount of people who came together. Their family has said thank you to Travis and I but really it wasn't us. We offered the opportunity for people to get involved and they did. It was clearly a work of God moving in his children to help this family.

I was proud to present to them a total of $4,535.00 and the donations keep coming in. I just received yesterday a package from my sweet friend Annie who lives down south over $300 in donations. Another dear friend, Helen, hosted an online auction that also raised over $300. This is what living is about. Not living for ourselves or our personal gain but taking on the burdens of others and coming alongside them. Thank you does not seem like enough but it is the only thing I can really say. Thank you to all who helped to make this so successful. You will be blessed by our God for the blessings you have given to another. And...I get to keep my hair.