"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, December 29, 2014

5 years later

5 years later and I'm finally sharing pictures of Levi with you. I've thought about it so many times but it never felt right…until now. Just have to warn you since they're not your typical newborn pictures!

I remember it like it was yesterday…August 26, 2009. It was a Wednesday. Logan and I had been married for just over 2 months. The priest who officiated our wedding was coming over for dinner and to celebrate mass (yes! our own special mass! in our dining room!). The past week or so, I had been having weird symptoms, like waking up to pee in the middle of the night and being unusually tired. I had even taken a pregnancy test a few days prior, but it was negative. So when Logan got home from work, we decided to take another one. It was 5:15…Father was coming for 6:00.

Only one line showed up again. So, Logan left the bathroom while I finished up. I looked at the test again and noticed a very faint second line! I ran to get Logan. We both were paranoid - is that a second line?! Should we take another test?

Logan decided to run to the store and get a much nicer test (we had just used the dollar store brand). By the time he got home, it was 5:50.
Two lines! We couldn't believe it. I had gone our entire engagement without even ovulating (which I knew because I was charting for NFP) and on my first cycle in our marriage, I got pregnant. On day 41. How is that even possible?!

We didn't even have time to call any family or friends to tell them the news before Father showed up for his visit. So he was the first to hear the big news, and how special it was to celebrate mass that evening in our little rental house. With our first baby in my belly!

The next four months was a good time for us. Not only had we unexpectedly been blessed with a baby in utero, I also started a new job and was loving it. Morning sickness wasn't fun, of course, but that passed just in time for the holidays. In fact, I felt the baby move for the first time on Thanksgiving! My pregnancy was moving along perfectly.

Logan and I decided to book a last-minute cruise (super cheap in December!) as our "babymoon", so we spent 4 days just relaxing and looking forward to finding out the baby's gender when we got back.
On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we found out we were having a boy! It was so neat to start calling our baby by name...Levi Anthony. Levi had been my favorite boy name for awhile now and Anthony is also Logan's middle name.  My belly was growing pretty fast by this point, and Levi was kicking away all the time. I really was enjoying being pregnant.

Christmas came and it was wonderful. Logan's parents and brother came over for Christmas Eve, we had Christmas lunch at his grandma's house, and the rest of the day was just us two at home - watching a movie in bed, taking a nap, and playing Scrabble. Bliss.

Four days later, the unthinkable happened. After a seemingly perfect 22 weeks of pregnancy, we lost our little Levi. (Click here if you haven't read that story). It's not something you expect to deal with less than 7 months into your marriage.
God must have given Logan some extra graces to smile, because  I tried and just couldn't...
It's crazy that it was 5 years ago. Sometimes it feels like forever ago, since so much has happened since then - a year and half of infertility, becoming foster parents, having two more babies.

But I remember everything like it was yesterday. Being numb with grief. Holding the body of my baby that I'd never get to see smile or crawl or walk.
I remember crying every time I tried to pray after that. I remember being so incredibly sad all the time and not knowing if the pain would ever end. Losing a baby is like losing part of yourself - and I honestly thought I would never recover.

Throughout everything, I knew God was working through it and that He ultimately had a bigger plan for me than I had planned for myself. I had always said that everything happens for a reason. Even though I knew that, it was really hard believing it most days. Because I thought I would be much better off having Levi with me instead of him being in Heaven (selfish, I know, but it's the truth).

That's why I'm writing this. For anyone who can't see past the pain they're in now. For those that think life will never be the same (it won't be, but that's okay!). For those who don't understand what God could possibly be thinking by putting you through so much suffering.

Let me tell you…the pain will never go away, but it will fade. It will fade enough for you to see what God is doing through all of it, and it will fade enough for you to see that you still are blessed. You may have lost, but you will gain so much more because of it.

It took until Landon was born (2.5 years after Levi) to really have any sense of peace about everything. And I can't even begin to explain how much growth happened during that time, even though I couldn't see it then. It isn't until years later that I can see just why God allowed us to go through that trying time.
But really, losing Levi was just the beginning. We've been through more trials since then, and I truly believe that our experience with Levi prepared us for many of them. Not to mention that this little boy is praying for us all the time. I'm so thankful, because we certainly need it! And I'm sure more trials will come, as they always do. 
"God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done." -Ecclesiastes 3:11
Levi, please pray for us! We miss you so much.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our week in pictures: Christmas edition

Chase reallllly wanted Landon's toy

Noanie and Paw Paw gave Chase this giraffe for Christmas and seriously, it's a lifesaver sometimes
The weather was not too good on our way to my parents' house
Silly boys!
My bubs sat up by himself on Christmas Eve!
Too much excitement for Chase
Also too much excitement for Landon
Lindsey thought we actually looked alike for once... #twins #mustbetheglasses

Playing with his cousins all day is exhausting
Landon may have been obsessed with Dominic's new bike (despite being too short to pedal)
Love me some new baby pajamas
Baby pow wow #cousins
Last-minute fun before we made the trip back home
And now my boys are sick again. But we had so much fun this week!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas fun

It's not often that my parents have allllll their grandbabies together (move back, sis!!), so I took plenty of pictures the last few days. Here are some of my favorites!
 These two (6 weeks apart in age) hadn't seen each other in over a year, but they were off playing within 5 minutes!
 My sister gave everyone marshmallow guns, so you can imagine the fun we had with that ;)
 Cool dude right here.
 It's slightly crazy getting all 7 kiddos to cooperate, but well worth it. Chase was snoozing away, of course!

 Soooo our pajama picture on Christmas Eve didn't turn out as well as we hoped…but man, it sure is an accurate representation of how things were much of the time. :)
Silly, silly elves!
Our boys! How they love each other.
Merry Christmas, everyone! (Remember Christmas has only just begun!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas is heeeeeere!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means “God is with us.” -Matthew 1:23

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our week in pictures: Chase edition

Somehow I took way more pictures of Chase this week. I still love you, Landon. 
He put his ninja turtle stuffed animal in Chase's superseat and then piled on the trains. 
Making cookies!
You'd never think this boy woke up sick!
Love love love 

Sleepover! #cousinfun
More cousin fun 
I don't think he's ever fallen asleep while lying down like this...so funny. 
Landon was so excited when Chase woke up! :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Family Fun Day - part 2 {Celebration in the Oaks}

Continuing our family fun day….

After the aquarium, we met Tyler (Logan's brother) and his girlfriend for dinner. From there, we all went to City Park to visit Celebration in the Oaks - a fun lights display. There's also some rides (which we opted out of) and Storyland (which we definitely went to!), a fun playground-type area that's all about the fairytales we know and love.

I have a lot of good childhood memories from Celebration in the Oaks and Storyland as kid, so it's fun to bring our kids there now! And as I was looking at the pictures we took, I realized I didn't actually get any of the lights…oops…people are more important though. :)
 Everyone takes a picture in front of the poinsettias! Let's just flash back a few years ago...
I'm not sure if this was our high school or college days, but man, it's fun to see where we are now!

 Landon was ready to see the lights! With his new otter friend, of course.
 Behind us is a big ol' mini train city, which Landon loved!
 Pointing at all the trains

 That train derailed as it rounded the corner, just as I was taking the picture!
 In the whale's mouth (think Pinocchio). I used to love this as a kid for some reason, and now it's surrounded by water, which makes it even cooler.
 Captain Hook's ship!
 Our little astronauts
 We ended the night with hot chocolate and beignets at Morning Call. Yummmm.

Tyler and Aubrey swinging Landon as we walked back to the car. 

It seems like a long day, but we didn't leave our house until after we ate lunch. Landon doesn't nap most days (but always falls asleep in the car) and Chase isn't really on a schedule yet, so it worked out well. And one of the (few) good things about Logan working weekends is that we get to do fun stuff during the week when there aren't many people. :) #brightside


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