Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5 Year Blogiversary

Today, July 30th officially marks 5 years of blogging for me! I can't believe how fast these past 5 years have gone!

When I started this blog, I chose to name it "living in his faithfulness" because when I look at my past, present and future I can see God's fingerprints all over my life. I know that he is faithful and even at times when I'm wondering why I cant sense his presence, I can look back and remind myself that he was always there guiding me and showing me piece by piece what his master plan is for my life. I can see how he has been faithful to us time and time again whether that meant providing for needs, answering prayers, making dreams come true, giving us unexplainable peace during the tougher times, and even joy beyond measure.

With my 5 year blogiversary I thought it would be fitting and fun to recap some of the highlights (and even a few low lights) from my life (our lives) over the past 5 years.

We saw some dreams come true!
-I went from being a part time front desk team leader at The Eye Center to a full time stay at home mom! This was truly a long time dream of mine that we thought couldn't happen financially and God made it happen.

-This past fall, after coaching for over 10 years, Caleb finally got to experience winning the State Volleyball Championship! That is a day I'll never forget. You know what is even sweeter than seeing your own dream come true? Seeing a dream come true for someone you love!



Family Life:
-I got pregnant 3 more times since starting this blog. Sadly, I lost one baby, but with complete joy we also welcomed Ethan James (now 3) and Emsley Jeannette (now 1) to the family!



-Life is 10x more crazy and busy now than when we had just our little Elliana Faith! It's also much more full and sweet.

It's so fun to see how much Ellie has grown and changed in the last 5 years, and how she slipped into the big sister role with ease. I can't believe our Ellie will be starting Kindergarten this fall!

Here's a collage of Ellie over the years. Each picture was taken during the summer of that year;


-I could show how each child has changed over the years, but that would that make this post very long, and I just wanted to show Ellie since she was the only child around when this blog started. :)

-The last 5 years have been full of sleepless nights, diaper changes, nursing, bottle feeding, baby food, pacifiers, sippy cups, crawling and toddling babes, potty training, etc. You get the idea. 

-I very much look forward to the next 5 years. We will no longer be growing our family (in numbers) but raising our school aged children. I look forward to learning who they are as little people and not just knowing them as babies and toddlers. It's going to be a great adventure!

-In our extended family, since starting this blog, we also gained 1 sister-in-law (Amanda, married to Caleb's brother Nate), 1 brother-in-law (Brian, married to my sister Alli) my nephew Josiah (born May 2010), my niece Ashlynn (born Dec. 2010), and my niece Kailey (born July 2013).




Travels:
-Over the past 5 years, we have been to the Caribbean on a 5 year Anniversary Cruise, Kansas City, Tulsa, Nashville, San Diego, San Francisco, Austin, Vegas and small short trips to Denver, Colorado Springs and Breckenridge! Whew, we sure do get to do a lot. I'm SO thankful! Here's just a few favorite photos from a few of those trips:
2010 Caribbean Cruise
Just me and Caleb




Jan 2012 Nashville
Just me and Caleb again





June 2012 San Diego
Extended Howard Family (Caleb's family)






March 2014 Vegas
Sanchez Ladies (me, my sisters, BIL Brian, and my mom)





New Interests and Hobbies:
-Over the past 5 years I have gained a few new interests/hobbies. I have become much more interested in health and exercise, and where I once loathed any kind of cardiovascular activity, I now really enjoy going to the gym to run, use the elliptical, or do my weekly Zumba class. :)



-Around this time 2 years ago I began baking, decorating and selling iced sugar cookies and cupcakes for special occasions. Even though I would say this was pretty successful, it required a lot of time. Once baby #3 arrived, AKA Emsley, I put this on hold and haven't returned to this little hobby/business yet.




-This past spring I made some DIY decorations for my MIL and FIL's retirement party. I had so much fun making the paper banners for this occasion that I've made a few more and *might* try selling them for special occasions. We'll see. In the meantime, I've really enjoyed working on them!


The Heartbreaks:
-Of course, the past 5 years haven't been all joy and no sorrow. The biggest and most unexpected heartbreak over the past 5 years was the loss of my beloved Grandma Nancy. I still miss her so to this day. Just today Ellie brought her up and said she was sad because she misses her. I look forward to the day when I see her again in heaven.

-Another heartbreak, although brief, was the scary news and journey of my dad's cancer. Thankfully this was a short-lived journey and he is now cancer free! Praise God!!

-One heartache that is very near to my heart, is the painful journey of infertility. I have loved ones that are still on this journey, and we don't know where their story ends. I have spent many hours in prayer for these loved ones, I still believe that God has a plan for them. Even though I don't know the specifics of his plans for them, I believe he will show himself faithful. My heart hurts when I see them hurt.

Other:
-One other major change over the last five years worth noting, was leaving the church both Caleb and I grew up in and finding a new one. This was not an easy process, but I am happy to say we have found a new church home that I can see our family staying at for many years to come. I look forward to the friendships that will grow from Mill City.

-Just this past spring Caleb and I both got smart phones! I also joined Instagram and am loving it!

Of course it's impossible to cover every important detail of our lives over the past 5 years, but I think I covered most of the highlights. I can honestly look back and say God was with us, faithfully carrying us through every joy and sorrow. 

I look forward to what the future holds for our little family. I love this crazy adventure we're on, and knowing God is with us through it all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Becoming "Mom"


Exactly 1 year ago, after two emotionally grueling weeks of trying to be "Mom" to my 2 year old Ethan and 4 year old Elliana, and at the same time be everything to our 2 week old preterm Emsley, we finally got the pass to bring Em home from the NICU and begin life as a family of five.



This summer has made me do a lot of reflecting on this past year and it's effects on me and our family as a whole.

This past year was my toughest in this journey of motherhood and it changed me for the better.

To begin with, any time you introduce a new child to the family it changes the dynamics and is a tough transition on everyone. Not to mention with each new child a mom learns who each little person is, and what makes them tick. As if that's not enough she has to learn what it's like to now juggle 2, 3 or however many children are in the family. I knew the transition from 2 to 3 would not be easy considering my transition from 1 to 2 was not an easy one.




But, on top of all of that, I was dealing with a preterm baby. One that had a rough beginning. I thought so many times that it would only get easier once we passed each challenge. Challenges such as Emsley being in the NICU, then bringing her home on oxygen, then trying to nurse while toting my oldest to preschool, waiting for her to reach each milestone of sitting, crawling, etc. I did not prepare myself for the challenge of how often she would get sick this year, or how every time she got sick we would need to give her breathing treatments via the nebulizer because her lungs were so weak and sick. Not to mention the cost of all of the Dr's visits and meds. Ugh, just putting this all on here is making me tired again. ;) As we overcame each hurdle it seemed that we stumbled upon a new one. Thank God Ellie and Ethan were so patient and forgiving of how much time I dedicated to little Emsley this past year.

My point in all of this though, is that this past year, with each challenge that it brought, is the year that I would say changed and defined me as "mom".

I've always been a little unsure, and even insecure in this role. I would immediately make a list of excuses or apologize around other moms for the decisions I was making or for the reasons my child(ren) was/were acting the way they were. Or apologetically explain why I couldn't nurse as much or as long as I wanted to, why I had to supplement with formula, why I discipline the way I do, or wince at the fact that I had 3 c-sections.

But this year changed all of that. For the first time in my 5 1/2 years of being a parent I leaned on the truth that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I would look at each day and each challenge and say to myself "I've got this. I can do this. There is no better mom for my children than me." It wasn't just a pep talk, I really believed it! While this did not make me a perfect mom, it made me a better one.

For the first time this year I could make decisions with more confidence and not care as much about what people around me thought. Instead I only cared about what the need at the time was and how each child needed me, the mom that I am.

When our baby needed more medication and I knew it was going to cost a small fortune, I researched as long as it took to find the cheapest way to get her what she needed. I knew when I needed to stay home for weeks on end to get my children healthy that they would be loooong weeks but well worth it.

At the beginning of this summer I decided Ethan was going to need some pushing to get him potty trained. I also am a firm believer in waiting for the child to show signs of potty training, but I could tell that he is the type of personality that needs a little (or big at times) nudge. It was a rough start, and I have many not so lovely stories to share about our rough road with potty training him, but I can now say we've turned a corner and he is doing SO well! It's so rewarding to know that we worked together and we did it!

I could go on, but you get the picture. It feels good to be this person now. I'm far from perfect and I make mistakes, often daily. But I love being confident in knowing that God had a plan in choosing them for me and me for them. I know how to read my children, I know what they need. I have a better feel for when I need to push them, when to discipline them and when to give them grace. I need to be their protector, their nurse, their provider, their biggest fan, their confidant, their guide and the one who shows them how to respect their father and ultimately point them to God.

I know my journey as a mom is far from over, it's actually just begun in a lot of ways. I know I still have many, many more challenges to face. I once heard that the older the child, the bigger the problems. I believe this is true. While I'm sure it will some day be nice to be free of diapers, bottles and nap schedules, I can't imagine what it will be like to face challenges like struggles at school, problems with friends, broken hearts, peer pressure with drugs, sex and alcohol.

I've heard before that motherhood is the most challenging and most rewarding thing a woman can do, and it is 100% true for me. The most challenging? yes, without a doubt! But definitely the most rewarding. The days are long and the years are fast and through it all God is carrying me while I carry them.



When I don't have answers, I'm so thankful for the fact that I can turn to God who is a perfect father and is perfect in love.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Miss Emsley at ONE YEAR!

Wow! I can't believe I let a whole month go by without blogging!

There's so much I could blog about now. We've had a fun-filled, busy summer (a little more busy than I'd like to be) with baseball games, birthday get-aways, a retirement party, swim lessons, etc. Not to mention that I've taken on the task to potty train Ethan by the end of the summer. It's been a one step forward, two steps back experience. :(

It's already been quite a different summer (for the better) than last year when we were dealing with a newborn Emsley in the NICU. We're so glad to have those days past us!

I'm hoping to find some time to blog about all of these things, but until then I really wanted to blog about Emsley at one year while it's all still fresh in my mind.

My baby girl is one year old. I can't believe it!



Emsley, this is what you are like at 12 months old;

This was another big month for you with lots of firsts!

-I'm guessing you weigh between 18 and 19 pounds and are around 28ish inches long! You continue to be our biggest baby. I'm looking forward to getting your exact stats at your one year check up.

-You are wearing size 3 diapers, only one size smaller than Ethan. I have a feeling you will get into the biggest size we've ever bought by the time you become potty trained.

-You are wearing size 12 months in clothes and most of the clothes you are wearing your sister was wearing at 18 months! I wonder if you will be our tallest child too.

-You eat mostly table food these days. I'll occasionally give you some baby food to make sure you're getting enough fruits and veggies, but for the most part, you eat what we eat. Sometimes you'll get angry if we don't give you what we're eating.

-You still take a bottle first thing in the morning, right before bed and between some meals. We have begun introducing cows milk, and by the end of the month you will be done with formula. We are also introducing the sippy cup and you seem to be taking to it pretty well.

-For the most part you're a great sleeper. Some days you'll take a short nap in the morning (about half the time) and then every day you take one long nap (2+ hours) in the early afternoon. 

-Just this past weekend we moved you from the pack n play in our room to a crib in Ellie's room. As long as we live in this house, you and Ellie will share a room. Ellie is ecstatic about sharing a room with you! You slept 12 hours straight in your crib the first night! Occasionally, you'll end up in our bed in the early hours of the morning. :) 



-You still have FOUR teeth! It looks like two more are on their way though.

-Your hair is long enough now that you always need something to keep it out of your face. I most often do a ponytail or a bow barrette.

-You still occasionally say "Mama" and "Dada", but you added a few more words this month. You can now say "Hi", "Uh-oh", "Aah-duh (All done)", and "Dah (dog)". We are enjoying watching you grow and learn to communicate!

-You crawl so well that you get around very quickly! You're using anything you can to pull yourself up and cruise (walking holding onto furniture and other objects). I can tell you can't wait to run around with Ellie and Ethan.


-For the first time this month you learned to stand up without any support, and crawl up and down stairs. I have a feeling walking is just around the corner for you.


-You still love baths and have learned how to steady yourself in the tub without the bumbo. You move around very well in the tub now.

-You are very social and happy (when you're well rested and fed). You remind us a lot of Ellie when she was a baby. You love to be with people and you're full of life, energy and smiles!





-You are very ambitious and you want to take on the world (another trait that reminds us of your older sister).

-You and Ellie have a mutual adoration for each other, and you and Ethan are learning to love each other. ;) You continue to have a love/hate relationship with him. Nobody can make you laugh like Ethan, and he can be so sweet to you at times, but at other times he is still a bully! We are working hard with him to make him stop bullying you. This month was definitely better than the last. It will be fun for us to see your sibling relationships grow and change over time.


-Nicknames- "Em" is still the most used nickname, but Ellie and Ethan still like to use "Emma" (only Ellie calls you this) and "Ems-a-baby".  Ethan hardly ever calls you by your "real" name.

On June Saturday June 14th, we had a wonderful First Birthday party for you. Both sets of grandparents, all of your cousins except for Nehemiah, and most of your Aunts and Uncles came. We hosted a BBQ and an ice cream sundae bar. Unfortunately a rainy day moved the party inside and our plans to eat outside did not work out. It was a bit chaotic in the house with that many people, but we all had a great time. Your cousins and siblings sang "Happy Birthday" so loud that it frightened you a bit, but you perked up quickly and dug right into your chocolate cupcake! 








The best part was when you picked up your dress and smeared it into your cupcake and frosting and then put your dress in your mouth. You are such a ham!





 Here you are being social and loved on. :)





Sweet Emsley, this first year was not easy considering how you started and the fact that you were sick so much. You have come so far! I wouldn't trade a minute of this past year though. I enjoyed all of it even more knowing that you are my last baby. We all adore you and love you to the moon and back! You've added so much joy and so many smiles to our family. I'm really excited to see what your future holds and what God's plans are for you. You are truly our "gift from God". 


About Me

My Photo
I am a daughter of the King. Saved by grace. Follower of Christ. I love my God and I believe that he is faithful and true to his word! I'm still figuring out and trying to follow his plan for my life. I am a wife to my best friend Caleb, a mother to my miracle babies (they are my greatest joy and challenge), a sister and best friend to 3 passionate women, and a daughter to 2 amazing parents that continue to teach me what it is to be real and faithful to God and his word. I am lucky to get to be a stay at home Mom (thanks to God's provision). I love music, singing, coffee, cooking, baking, traveling, our beautiful state of Colorado, and mostly being with the family and friends that I love!

Husband, Caleb

Husband, Caleb
Caleb is an amazing husband and father. He is always so good to me. He is my best friend. He is the romantic one. We love to laugh and spend time together. We've been married for 7 years and I just love that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Our 1st Miracle

Our 1st Miracle
Elliana Faith... God blessed us with our first miracle little girl in December 2008. She is sweet, smart, spunky, funny, strong willed, precocious, extremely outgoing, vocal and so full of life! She brings us so much joy.

Our 2nd Miracle

Our 2nd Miracle
Ethan James,.. God blessed us with our little boy in March 2011. Ethan was a bit of a surprise and an even bigger miraclle. Ethan is ALL BOY! He is very active, into sports and running around. He is also sweet, introverted, affectionate, and laid back. These days he often has us laughing, he's starting to show a little bit of "clown" in him. He makes our hearts happy too. :)

Our 3rd Miracle

Our 3rd Miracle
Emsley Jeannette... Our surprise baby girl was born on June 11th, 2013 and came into the world 4 weeks early. Her first 2 weeks of life were spent in the NICU, but due to God's hands and the prayers of many people, she grew quickly and came home to join our family! She is an easy, sweet baby and we are enjoying getting to know her personality.

Sisters

Sisters
We fight one day and then the next day we're fine. We're always loud and crazy when we get together. We're very passionate. We've been through it all together, lots of ups and downs. We're eachother's biggest supporters.

Followers

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