THAT DEEP AND LOVELY DARK

Filed under: bardenisms,my family,my town,newsworthy,project,word of God — admin at 12:55 am on Wednesday, April 10, 2019

That’s an AMAZING transformation!!

I’ve been listening to LOOK UP CHILD by LAUREN DAIGLE on REPEAT.

There is usually an album that speaks to me during the hard seasons of life – and this one is speaking volumes recently.

I sing the songs – I know most of the words – but I don’t always REALIZE what I’m saying. This afternoon while I was singing – I spoke these words -

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know

You know that I’ve been hurting recently. It was a really low low.

I had said that the last time I cried like I did – our marriage was in a pile on the floor. It’s strange to compare your house falling apart to your marriage falling apart – but …

I AM MORE THAN THE SUM OF EVERY HIGH AND EVERY LOW. (and so are you) 

Jared and I were talking the other day – about this house and my attitude – and we talked about TRUST – which I blogged about last time – and the time before that …

And I told him – I feel like I’m grieving the life I thought we would have right now.

We’ve made smart financial decisions. We’ve never had “bad” debt. We paid off our student loans. We now have a small loan on the JEEP we just bought to replace our other jeep. We have a mortgage and then a loan to do the things this house has needed over the almost 15 years we’ve been here.

We will be celebrating FIFTEEN years of marriage in June and we were going on a trip – it didn’t matter where as long as there was a crystal clear beach and a hammock or two.

I saved last year to go on that trip – but now – we’re getting a new foundation instead.

IT’S NOT FAIR!!

In Labyrinth – Sarah says to the goblin king Jareth – IT’S NOT FAIR! He responds with – you say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is.

BUT – that’s what I want to do. STOMP MY FEET and SCREAM that it’s not fair.

Jared encouraged – challenged me – cus let’s me honest – for a glass half-empty girl – it’s a challenge – to find the good amidst the bad.

You might not know this – but you probably do – I have a tattoo on my arm that says – THAT DEEP AND LOVELY DARK WE’D NEVER SEE THE STARS WITHOUT IT.

I literally have it permanently inked onto my skin as a reminder. Because I really do believe that life is mostly about the hard stuff – but there are pinpricks of light.

Last week I backed into someone in my driveway – I didn’t see him – because I NEVER look behind me in my own driveway in the middle of the day.

The light – we are both under the same insurance – so the deductible is waived. AND our insurance won’t go up.

We had no idea the foundation on the house was an issue – until it was ripped apart. Repairing the foundation – building a deck – siding the entirety of the house – two new windows – a new door – and a new dining room added to the existing kitchen. Typing all that gives me serious anxiety. When I think about ALL the things that NEED to be done. Not anything that we were WANTING – all the things we would like to have are now being replaced with the bare minimum of what we NEED to have. And we have – HAD – a strict budget – with no options on taking out MORE loans.

The light – I happen to be friends with and work for our contractor. He’s got leftover things in his shop that we can use. He’s doing all that he can to make this work for us.

And it’s really hard for me to find that. And really see it. While I see that there are shining lights in the deep and lovely dark – WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE!?

I’ve told you that I’m a control freak right!? I WANT THE CONTROL. I want to see the unseen. I would like to tell you that I absolutely trust God – but I want Him to tell me HOW IT IS ALL GOING TO WORK OUT. And not just work out – but work out for good.

Do you remember when I wrote about happiness vs. holiness?

The whole it’s not fair thing – really – in comparison to what?! To who?!

God cares far more about our holiness than He does our happiness.

And that’s a PAINFUL realization.

This is the current view of our backyard from my living room. I can really say that I can’t wait to show you the FINAL view.

However – gaining control over your thoughts and outlook – it’s NOT easy – at least not for me!!

But – every day I am trying to find the shining light through the dark.

And because I know that I am not alone in the valley right now – WHAT IS YOUR SHINING LIGHT IN YOUR SEASON OF DARK RIGHT NOW?!

 

 

REVELATIONS

Filed under: bardenisms,family,my family,my town,newsworthy,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 12:19 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2019

BEFORE – DURING – DURING – there will be lots of these during pictures I’m sure.

That jutty out part on the left – WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT THING!?

So – it had to come out – which revealed so much. Too much.

Revelations. Peeling back the UGLY layers to reveal … more ugly. Brokenness.

There is only one answer to this problem.

TRUST GOD.

And I know that it’s ALWAYS the answer. I feel like in so many situations – you CAN do something.

There has to be an answer. But – there is not a tangible one.  One I can see and touch. One I can feel.

A friend commented on my last blog about this house -

“Especially after this part. “The glass isn’t only half empty but the water has also run out.”

The desert. Harsh and unforgiving.The desert has always signified trial. 40 years in the desert for God’s people, certainly one long and arduous trial.

This house may be your desert. The place where you come to the end of yourself. Where you run out of Danielle reserves. Let it.

“Because the thing that makes the desert so beautiful is that somewhere, there hides a well”.

And we have hope in that living water.

And once you are out of your own way, Jesus can fill that part with cool, clear, life giving water. Brutal, heart wrenching honesty leads to immeasurable growth. Keep going.”

I’m sure that this house IS my desert. And the thought of that …

And yet another friend -

“I love the story of Hagar in the desert. She’s taken her baby son to a dry and desolate place to die alone, but God… He calls to her, tells her His plan for her survival, and prophecies the great destiny that awaits her once she-and this is the hard part-returns to her place in the house of an unsympathetic and harsh master. For the first time in her life she feels seen. Really seen, and known, and loved! And it all came when she was at her lowest point. Amazing!!!”

I don’t know how to be hopeful right now. I don’t know how to live moment to moment. I don’t know how to trust.

I’m here. In the desert. For a long time.

MAKING THIS HOUSE

Filed under: bardenisms,family,just because,my family,my town,newsworthy,project,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 5:14 pm on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog about this house. This process. This pain.

And I wrote and wrote and re-read and cried and SOBBED and hysterically SOBBED. And what I read was mean. Not nice in any way.

In all the things we’ve gone through – miscarriages and infertility – relationships gone wrong and pornography – a manic breakdown and the depression that came after – I’ve been able to write.

I’ve been able to say hard things – admit fears and doubts. Be raw and honest.

And as I list those things we’ve been through – HARD things – IMPOSSIBLE things – this was ridiculous. It’s a house. I can make it through ALL those things and not THIS “little” thing?!

I knew that those words would be whiny. I knew that those words would be really hard for some people to read. And that night – I exploded. And I erased everything I wrote.

Because it was mean and angry and hateful and … I was not in a good place. A really really bad place.

I went upstairs and told Jared through sobs that I was going to bed. He sat up straight and said – what’s wrong? (I was acting like someone had died) I said – ALL OF THIS. ALWAYS. THIS!!!

I laid in bed and sobbed. I think the last time I cried like that was nearly 6 years ago when Jared told me the depths of his addiction. He sat on the bed and said – do you want to be alone?

And that guy – that amazing husband of mine that loves me so very well – he was stuck either way. I was having one of those “don’t touch me – hug me” moments. Have you ever heard of them? Experienced them? Just me – okay. I’ll try to explain. There are times when I am so angry and out of sorts that the last thing I want is a hug – but don’t you dare walk away from me. Hug me – don’t touch me. Love me – leave me. WHY DON’T YOU DO WHAT I WANT!! (but – I don’t know what I want) So what is a guy to do with a crazy wife – remember when Jared was diagnosed bipolar and the people in my life were like WHAT!? JARED!? I mean – you – yes. Makes complete sense – but Jared – no way. It was one of those moments. Are we sure that it’s really him and not me that’s bipolar?!

So he stayed with me – not touching me – until I reached out for him. Because really – I was mad at him. And I’d like to tell you that I am really good at accepting blame for the things I do. And I am. But THIS – I didn’t do this. He did this to me. I didn’t want to live here. He made this decision without me. Which isn’t totally true. I did tell him that I didn’t want to live here. However – two people needed to sign papers and he didn’t forge my signature. And please don’t think that I’ve been living the last 14 years punishing him day in and day out for this decision. I haven’t. But – when I’m living in skunk – when the ceiling falls down – when the pipes freeze over and over – when there are men working on my house – especially rooms I don’t even walk in – I blame him. It’s not pretty. I don’t love admitting it. But I tell myself that I’m justified in my actions. I am miserable. He should be too. And since he’s not – I can make him. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Please tell me that you’ve thought this way too. Or am I alone in this!? Like – the hug me – don’t touch me moment!? It’s awful. It’s shameful. It’s not grace. It’s not love.

It’s anger. And what is anger based on!?

I mentioned on FACEBOOK after our people showed up to work on our house with us that I LOVE my people. My Aunt Lori is one of my people – she didn’t show up yesterday – but she texted me after the word vomit I did end up putting on the interwebs. After a few questions and answers she asked me this – anger is usually based in fear – so what are you afraid of?!

Listen – just let me be mad okay. Let me be angry and be a jerk and be justified in my actions and my words. I’m hurting and I want EVERYONE to know that it’s NOT MY FAULT and it’s an injustice. And you should hurt too.

And then my people swoop in and ask hard questions and show up and let me cry and be mean.

I’m afraid of two things – 1. That I will live in this house that I hate forever – this house I never wanted to be in and be stuck. 2. That we will have no wiggle room in our finances and be stuck.

She said – that’s when I ask myself – what is the worst that could happen? THAT is the thing that I somehow have to turn over to God. THAT fear!!

Jared has been dealing with some anxiety lately – and I always ask him – what’s the worst that could happen? Nothing close to those things have happened. So – what’s the problem?

Our anxieties manifest in different ways.

In general – Jared’s cause him to curl up on himself and not do much and think.

My anxiety comes out in a controlling rage. Mine cause me to explode and do ALL the things – ANYTHING except sit and think. Let me FIX something. ANYTHING. ALL THE THINGS. I’ve been organizing and getting rid of STUFF. And don’t get me wrong – I LOVE doing this. But it’s also a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I’ve been helping my people get rid of STUFF. Because I can’t sit still. Maybe I do operate in a sort of mania?!

Yesterday we tore off the back porch to get ready for the siding on the back of the house – the last step – in that process. When Sierra asked what we needed – Jared said we had a few things but not much. I said – we have 3 hammers. Cus – let’s be clear – we’ve got NOTHING and NO IDEA. The only idea I have is that I hate this and it’s huge and swallowing me up and it’s awful and horrible.

So Sierra & Jose came with their tools at 9. Cody came with his tools. That’s it. That’s all that said – we will be there. So this is it – take it away guys – cus we don’t know where to start. But – Dan and his family showed up. Jason and his son came. Scott – a friend I haven’t seen in over ten years – showed up. Mark showed up. Johna came. We had lots of kiddos in and out – running around. We had lots of hands filling the dumpster. We had lots of guys climbing on the roof and ripping it apart. By noon – the dumpster was full – pizza was served and the unsightly porch was gone – the only evidence being a few shingles here and there and the discoloration on the house from the old and the now exposed.

Jose and I were talking about the potential this house has (which is really hard for me to see – mostly because I don’t even want to) and I told him that my REAL fear is that someday I might like this house.

I typed that in a whisper. Because I don’t want to tell you. I don’t want to admit that. I don’t want to be … wrong.

PRIDE is a crazy thing. We would rather stay in anger and despair and be MISERABLE than admit that we might have been wrong. We might not have been justified in our actions and jerkiness.

I was telling Johna and Sierra this later – and Johna said – but we love you. The people that love you and are cheering for you aren’t going to say – I told you so.

Johna said something else that made me think – (everyone seems to love our house and see the potential and she’s no exception) but she said – you Danielle – are so unique – I can’t imagine you in new construction. This house is so … you. And I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. We walked through the house – into the attic – where Jose said – oh yeah. We can do this. And this – and this. We can do this!

I didn’t cry yesterday – but I’m crying now. Because in less than 3 hours yesterday – our people swooped in and fought for us. For me. When I have been MISERABLE and mean.

And like I said – my people swoop in and ask hard questions and show up and let me cry and be mean. BUT THEY DON’T LET ME STAY THERE.

THAT IS GRACE.

I recently had a conversation with my sister about the things we’re doing that hurt each other. Jealousies and assumptions and anger and blame and … you know – really fun stuff. But it was the first time that we’ve had that conversation (cus we’ve had it a bit) and actually figured some stuff out.

Missy texted me the lyrics of a song that she thought of when she was praying for me.

My friends – my family – my people – they strengthen me. They help me. They get it – but they also know that you can’t stay in it.

I love you guys. SO MUCH. I can’t thank you enough for speaking truth and life and love and hope …

I’m a realist who tends to fall on the pessimist end of things. That deep and lovely dark – we’d never see the stars without it. I believe that life is mostly about the hard things.

Hope is a hard one for me. The glass isn’t only half empty but the water has also run out.

Life IS mostly about the hard things. But it’s also about the people that swoop in during the hard things and point you to hope.

I still don’t love this house – dare I say it … yet. Maybe I never will.

I’m still really afraid of how much this all costs and how we’re going to do it and still live. Not survive – but thrive. Really LIVE!

But while the water seems to have run out – God hasn’t. God doesn’t. He gives us hope in Jesus. And His water never runs out.

TEN YEARS

Filed under: bardenisms,just because,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 12:46 am on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ten years ago I was leaving my secretary job to start photography FULL TIME!!

I needed 24 weddings a year to make what I was making at my secretarial job – and I had 24 weddings that year!!

Sometimes when I look back on those photos – I think – WHAT WAS I THINKING! Isn’t it crazy how styles change – shooting & editing!

I can’t believe it’s been TEN years already yet only – how can that be!?

I have met so many AMAZING people because of that decision! This camera and the eye God gave me. The chances that you took on me.

I’ve watched you graduate and get engaged and get married and have babies. I’ve been in the room when your child takes her first breath. I’ve witnessed you pledge your lives to each other. I’ve photographed you when you knew that your time together was coming to an end – the last photos of you as a family. I’ve cried with you. I’ve smiled with you. I’ve loved with you. I’ve lost with you.

I’ve met families who continue to ask me back into their lives time and time again. THIS is the greatest honor.

Because of this blog – I met my best friend. Because of this blog I’ve come to know over a hundred women who are wanting to be mothers. Waiting for a baby. I’ve prayed with them and cried with them. I’ve celebrated with them and mourned with them. I’ve been able to see into your lives – to give you moments captured in time.

When I first started this whole photography journey – there weren’t many on the scene – and now … there’s quite a few. I’m not nearly as busy as I once was – and it’s kind of a hard place to be in. I long for the business. I want to photograph ALL the people – okay – maybe not ALL … BUT – I also want to enjoy these growing kiddos. I want to spend time as a family – making memories for our own walls.

I’m not quite sure where even this year will take me – trusting – REALLY trusting the God knows best. Exactly the people I need to meet. Exactly the places I need to be. It’s really overwhelming when you think of it – all the minute details of your life that matter – really really matter. Turning left instead of right. The insanely different path your life would take from such a small choice.

THANK YOU for making the past ten years AMAZING! THANK YOU for asking me to still your moments. THANK YOU for welcoming me into your hearts and homes.

SCHOOL DAYS

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,my family,my town — admin at 11:05 am on Friday, September 7, 2018

Another summer – gone.

Thankfully – while it was happening it wasn’t quickly. We had a full & lovely summer!

But – like all great things – it must come to an end.

Enoch went to preschool ONE day a week starting in March – and he LOVED it! But NOW – it’s official!

He goes three days a week and spends two with me.

SIDE NOTE – those feelings he had toward me. Pretty much gone. He grew out of all his shoes almost overnight and ate EVERY THING IN THE HOUSE.

He’s still having a hard time with getting what he wants when he wants it – but – aren’t we all? He still thinks I’m a mean mom sometimes. He still gets angry. He still argues. But he’s not SEETHING MAD every time he looks at me. So – that’s a win.

He wasn’t in the mood to fill out a survey – which is why his favorite movie is DOG MOVIE and he wants to be whatever his brother wants to be AND a farmer.

Fitzy was a little nervous about second grade – but is REALLY LOVING it so far!

They wanted to pick out their own clothes. AND E wanted to GO. LET’S GO MOM!

And while I couldn’t get them in the same spot as last year – you can see the CRAZY difference just ONE year made – especially for that Enoch guy!

The first day of school – and into the second week – it’s all been GREAT!

And for the first time in SEVEN YEARS – I can edit & work & answer emails & blog for HOURS at a time – two days a week!

It’s GLORIOUS!

And on that second day of school – Enoch and I went up to the house that Matt is building – for some updated pictures – and mountain climbing!

How is the first week of school going for YOUR family?!

A NEW START

Filed under: family,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,my family,my town,newsworthy,word of God — admin at 11:18 am on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

If you read THE baby announcement – you know a little bit of Missy & Cody’s journey.

Cody recently encountered Jesus and it’s been AMAZING to watch his transformation!

He made the beautiful decision to be baptized!

So – I’ve known Sierra for a while now – since she and I were pregnant with Asa & Enoch – but only in the terms of yeah – I know WHO she is.

But – we’ve grown closer over the years. Her husband and Cody have gotten pretty close – starting with their shared love of ALL things car-related!

Missy & Sierra have gotten close while their husbands were growing their friendship.

Jared & Cody & Jose all get along really well. Sierra & Missy & I all get along really well. AND our kids LOVE hanging out with each other. WIN WIN WIN!!

Jose and our pastor Mark were in the water with Cody!

Everything was going smoothly – Cody got a little choked up giving his testimony – but nothing too weepy for the crowd – until …

Jose started to pray – then Cody was crying – I was crying – Missy was crying – and I’m guessing a few other people were crying!

Cody didn’t really care whether Sierra wanted a wet hug or not!

The ONLY blue-eyed kiddo IN THE BUNCH!

That guy – so much going on in that head of his. And Asa JUST turned FIVE! Enoch will be FIVE in November!

The ONLY GIRL in the bunch! FOR NOW!

CODY – I am so thankful to walk this journey with you and your family! I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU!!

STROHECKER VISION CARE

Filed under: just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my town,promotional photography — admin at 2:55 pm on Monday, August 27, 2018

Missy works for Strohecker Vision Care AND we go to church with Bob Strohecker AND swim at his pool ALL SUMMER LONG!

Friday – August 17th – they held a KID’S DAY! AND I brought my camera!!

Dr. Strohecker was feeling brave! He took all THREE of those boys to the bank!

Strohecker Vision Care – for ALL your vision care needs!!

DOOR PRIZES!! FACE PAINTING!! FREE SAFETY GLASSES!! POPCORN!! BURGERS & FRIES!!

Remember that blog post about giving the kid a lollipop? Do you see the TWO lollipops in Enoch’s mouth!!

Fitzy didn’t WANT to bring a stuffed animal in for a vision check – that’s just silly! BUT – he had a TON of fun after finding a stuffed animal at the clinic!

FREE vision screenings for ALL your favorite stuffed animals! Even James – the random bear hanging around the clinic!

I LOVE THAT SHOT!!

Enoch was VERY concerned about Mr. Grinch’s eyes – but Bob was more concerned about his HEART! It’s too small!

I LOVE THAT FACE!!

Mr. Grinch had his pupils dilated – so he needed special glasses for a little while!

THAT BEAUTIFUL CHILD!!

THANK YOU STROHECKER VISION CARE for the AWESOME afternoon!

FITZY’S SWEETZ

Filed under: bardenisms,chef fitzgerald,family,FITZY'S SWEETZ,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 11:41 am on Friday, August 24, 2018

Fitzy has been working on a business plan throughout the summer!

He decided to name his company – FITZY’S SWEETZ!

I made him some business cards!

He is specializing in dairy-free brownies & desserts!

A fellow MOPS mom – Rachel – started a Young Entrepreneur Group in Wellsboro this summer and Fitzy was so excited to join!

We waited until the WEEK of the fair to make brownies! You gotta have FRESH brownies for the fair!

MINT & REGULAR! He priced the mint a little higher than the regular since we used essential oil for the mint brownies!

STAR WARS BROWNIES!!

I don’t eat chocolate – but let me tell you – they SMELL SO AMAZING!!

He didn’t count how many he started with – but it was a FULL table!

He was SUPER EXCITED ABOUT HIS FIRST SALE!

This guy – it was hard for him to understand that he couldn’t do ALL the things that he wanted ALL the times that he wanted to do them.

It was a good thing his bike was in the car!

CARICATURES!!

I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THAT RENDITION OF HIM!

Beaded jewelry – slime – cookies – brownies – rock pets – charms – seashell jewelry – old bottles – painted tattoos – caricatures – SO MANY AWESOME little businesses!

AND the kids got to be a part of the Wellsboro HOMEPAGE broadcast!

RACHEL – thank you SO MUCH for putting on this fair! We cannot WAIT to come again next year!

WE ARE FAMILY

Filed under: baby barden,baby caamano,bardenisms,family,farmlife,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,samantha — admin at 11:39 am on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The boys LOVE G & Pa – and they REALLY love it when Jack can be there too!

That last week in JULY was heavenly for them!

That picture on top – PURE JOY!

LOOK AT THAT BIG GUY! These babies – they need to SLOW IT DOWN!

G was NOT home when she said she would be – so we had to call her. And I love that my sister has our mom in her phone as MY MOM!

BABY KITTENS!!

DO YOU SEE HIS FACE!! He wants a kitty or a puppy SO VERY BAD!

I mean – LOOK AT THAT FACE!

SO SAD!

Enoch was WORKING OUT HARD!!

WE’RE HAVING A …

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,bardenisms,expecting,friends,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my town,newsworthy — admin at 10:56 am on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I say WE because I feel like it’s “my” baby a little bit too! Actually – I know a few others that might say WE too!

I’m sure you’ve read about my best friend Missy! I met her because of this little page RIGHT HERE! She saw a blog I posted from someone on FACEBOOK and realized we both had great dane puppies!

We got together for a few puppy dates and grew closer through our shared struggle – infertility.

I took their family photos and we talked about how hard it was to be happy for other people that were expecting. Other people that got to hold their babies.

How SO VERY HARD it was to hope.

She would read my blog and call me and SOB! WHY DO I ALWAYS SOB WHEN I READ THIS!

That’s how we became friends. Because I was open and honest and raw and vulnerable.

Missy & Cody needed to use the amazing technical miracle of IVF to conceive. The day after Fitzy was born – Missy stopped in to see me on her way back from the fertility clinic. They were pregnant!

They had several embryos fertilized in the early months of 2011 – and while more than one was implanted – only Aiden stayed. I was ending my miracle pregnancy and she was starting hers!

About 4 years ago they had more embryos implanted – but those babies didn’t stay here on this earth.

Missy & Cody have BEEN THROUGH IT. Not just with infertility and multiple losses but the “normal” stuff life throws at you and even some of the “not-so-normal” stuff.

Missy prayed. I prayed. We prayed. So many people prayed. For their family – for their marriage – for their journey.

Did you know that Jesus is RIGHT THERE? WITH YOU RIGHT NOW? You only have to reach out your hand and your heart and say – YES! PLEASE! HELP ME!

Cody discovered that truth recently – and it TRANSFORMED HIS ENTIRE LIFE!!

I have very rarely been able to WATCH someone be completely transformed because of asking Jesus into their life – AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!

Grace. Upon grace. UPON SO MUCH GRACE.

Missy & Cody had their last set of embryos in storage and they prayed. Was the time was right – do you stop freezing them? While they are only TINY TEENY little embryos – they are indeed very alive.

So – no. They didn’t stop. They had three implanted earlier this spring.

Missy traveled to Syracuse several times over the course of a few months – and she asked me to come along on one of those trips!

SEVEN WEEKS PREGNANT – and you CAN SEE A HEARTBEAT! YOU CAN HEAR A HEARTBEAT!!

Grabbing a snack via IV! IVF is no walk in the park! Shots. Hormones. SO MANY SHOTS!! Hopes. Disappointment. More shots. Hormones. Exhaustion. Tears. Miles.

Three little babies were implanted and ONE stayed.

This time – Missy has been SO VERY SICK!

And she went and got herself a full-time job and we don’t get to spend nearly as much time together as we used to – but being involved in the details of this baby – MEANS SO MUCH TO ME!

SO VERY VERY SICK – ending up in the ER for fluids. A little bit of a scare in losing this baby. It’s been a dramatic few months!

YESTERDAY “we” found out whether this AMAZING little soul was a boy or a girl!

I went with them to the ultrasound yesterday morning to take some photos!

It’s hard to make out – but that is a profile! 20 weeks old – not even a pound yet. And you can see the 4 chambers of the heart. You can see the arms. The fingers. The legs. The eyes. The little mouth yawning. ALL THE THINGS!

Aiden got his very own picture of his new baby! AND had to keep a secret – ALL DAY!!

LOOK AT THAT FACE! THAT SMILE!

THEY KNOW!! WE KNOW!!

CAN YOU TELL? DO YOU KNOW?

We stopped for brunch on the way home and Aiden helped me in a cute little picture of what his new baby will be!

BUT – the four of us were sworn to secrecy until last night – WHEN EVERYONE WOULD FIND OUT!

SHHHHH!! AIDEN – you can’t tell anyone!! YOU ARE ALMOST DONE KEEPING YOUR SECRET!

IT’S A GIRL!!!

They MIGHT be a little excited!

Missy’s mom might be a little excited!

We ALL might be a little excited!

And we all know that this sweet little girl NEEDS a girl-friend in this group of boys!

SUCH A CELEBRATION OF LIFE & LOVE & SO MUCH GRACE!!

Find your tribe. Keep them close.

Jared snapped that one of Jose – SURPRISED MUCH!?

MISSY – I LOVE YOU SO VERY VERY MUCH! Thank you for asking me to come along on this journey with you! EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

GRACE UPON GRACE. SO MUCH GRACE UPON GRACE!

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