Superhero cape shirts are done! I've been putting them off for too long, so last night I sat down and cranked them out. The cousins had a blast running around together today, capes flapping in the wind.
Okay, so we've been both crazy busy AND sans internet lately, trying to get back to some sort of normal...We're winding down our time here in this apartment and looking at a move within the next 5 weeks, and we still don't know where. I'm trying to keep my cool, but I'll admit it's a little stressful. Owen is working hard--both on dissertation and on finding a job, any job, to get us through this next year. We're looking nationwide, and it's really astounding how impossible it is to find a job when you're willing to do almost anything for almost any pay and go pretty much anywhere. It's almost like someone is out there physically shutting doors in our faces.
We continue to see God work on behalf of others around us, working
miracles and meeting their needs, and we just sit and wait and wonder
when it will be our turn. (And might I venture to say, though I know this sounds biased and unsympathetic, that our needs seem dramatically more desperate than these needs of others that are being met.) Yesterday, I was stopped in a traffic jam where a police officer was directing traffic, and he waved each of the three other lanes of traffic through, then when it should've been our turn, he skipped us and went through the whole cycle again. That's kind of how I'm feeling in life right now--everyone else is getting one, two, three "turns" while we sit and wait and get none.
I will admit that my faith is being challenged...but we're still holding
on to the promise that God has prosperous plans for us and He is
willing and able to take care of our needs. We're hoping and praying that all these closed doors and discouragements are leading us to something unbelievably grand...hoping...praying...
In other news, I am currently 9 weeks in the pregnancy, and doing well if you don't count the extreme nausea and exhaustion. We met our new midwife and really love her, so we're excited about that. We all are healthy and well, and generally happy!
Here's hoping to have some exciting news to share soon!
A week or two ago, Jack learned in Sunday School that "God is powerful," and he's been repeating it to me at least once daily since then. And it's pretty great, because sometimes I need that constant reminding, in the random corners of life, when the day seems to be falling apart...to hear a sweet voice say, "Mommy, God is powerful."
There are so many incredible ways God has shown Himself faithful and powerful to us over the course of these last weeks and months, and has provided for our deepest needs, and I just want to brag on Him a little here!
As we know, God's power is made perfect in our weakness, so let's start with our weakness...
It's been no secret that our life situation right now is a fair bit challenging. No one chooses to have no job, no means of sustaining life, no home, no ability to provide for your own family, and to have to uproot pretty much annually...And that seems like it's just the tip of the iceberg, but I'll resist being dramatic! Anyway, I held on to faith for as long as I could, but by the end of July, my faith was faltering so badly, I think it was hanging on by only a very thin thread.
Lately, we've had several rather significant needs weigh on us all at once:
Housing--we need a new place to live, that fits in our budget and is flexible with our "we-have-no-idea-what-the-future-holds" situation right now...hard to find.
Vehicle--now it makes sense why we needed that minivan so suddenly, eh? Without a bigger vehicle, we simply would've been house-bound.
Prenatal care for the baby--good doctors abound, but our hearts were set on a midwife and a home birth; it's just that important to me, that if we couldn't have had one here, we would have moved.
Job--all of the above needs require money! Without a job, we just wouldn't be able to support our 5 lives. Numerous applications out returned no calls back, on anything! Very disheartening, to say the least.
So I just wanted to tell how God is beginning to meet our needs and encourage my faith. We still are in need of items 1 and 4 (housing and job), but out of seeming impossibility, God has recently brought about 2 of our big needs: a larger vehicle/minivan, and a great midwife. Considering our jobless situation, we thought there would be no possible way for us to meet the vehicle need, but God went powerfully before us and opened all the right doors, and the process went so smoothly and painlessly, with lots of encouragement along the way. As for the midwife, they are hard to come by in northern Michigan, and the few that exist are a minimum of an hour and a half away from our location. But God put a friend in our path who recommended a midwife who will actually travel to Petoskey, and we feel comfortable with her and couldn't be happier.
I know it doesn't look well on me to share my Doubting Thomas story, but I'm encouraged by God's grace to strengthen our faith in the ways we need it. Recently, I needed to see to believe, and He answered, and renewed my faith in His provision for our other upcoming needs.
As it turns out, it's time to start growing this belly again!
4 weeks, more or less
Yes, Sirs and Ma'ams--we're having our Baby Number Three! And we couldn't be more excited!
We figured it was time to just make the announcement official, since word's been spreading already, and since it's getting hard to hide this belly anymore! I'm somewhere around 6 weeks along right now.
Again, at about 4 weeks...told you it was hard to hide!
I know the questions you're all thinking (based on the questions I've been receiving), so I'll try to knock out some answers as best I can!
Q: When are you due?
A: Unofficially, around the last week of March, 2013. I'll update if anything changes!
Q: How many babies are in there?!
A: Who knows! But as far as we know, just one. I just happen to be efficient at growing babies! I would love twins, someday...Jack told me he thought we should have 5 babies in my belly...I guess we'll see :). Q: Are you hoping for a boy or girl?
A: Equally either. Both would be equally fun for different reasons, so we're happy that the decision isn't ours! Jack, on the other hand, has his heart set on a baby girl and calls her by the name we've chosen. He will not even hear of the option that this baby could be a boy. When asked why, he's communicated that girls are cute and sweet, and he wants another sister just like the one he has, because he loves her so much. Isn't that precious?
Q: Are you planning to find out the baby's gender?
A: We're not sure yet...Having one of each reduces the practical need to prepare by stockpiling appropriate clothes...and it would be fun to have a surprise!...BUT, with the first two we also really enjoyed being able to bond with them while still in the womb, to call them by name and get to know them before we saw them. So, we don't know yet.
Q: Are the kids excited?
A: They couldn't be more! Both of them had been asking and asking for another baby in our family for some months, especially with the arrival of cousin Baby Ava. They both have tender, sweet, nurturing spirits, and they love each other to death, so to them the idea of another baby is just the greatest thing on earth! Jack's reaction when I told him the news was pricessless: pure joy! He tells everyone we see, with great pride, that mommy has a baby in her belly (it's hard to keep a secret!). They both love to gently stroke my belly or "tickle" the baby, or talk to him/her. And they practice baby care with their little dolls.
Q: Are you planning to have another home birth?
A: If we can help it--Absolutely. Having a home birth was the most incredible experience, and so peaceful for all of us, that I wouldn't give it up for the world! It's hard finding midwives in Northern Michigan, and it didn't look promising for a while--so that we even seriously considered commuting to Indiana to see our last midwife, or even moving!--but God worked it all out and we found a fabulous midwife here that we really like!
Q: Are you sharing name ideas?
A: Hmmm...this is a tricky one. If we share, will you all promise not to steal our ideas??? Haha. As I mentioned, the girl name has been picked out for a while, but the boy name is still being deliberated over. We'll see how we feel about sharing when they're both chosen.
Q: Was this a planned pregnancy?
A: A very intimate question--how shocking that you asked! Well, we've been longing for another baby for some time, but were waiting for certain challenging life situations to clear up. I'll just say this: It was neither planned nor unplanned, but God surprised us with His perfect timing!
Q: How are you feeling?
A: So far, I'm doing okay! I am experiencing the typical exhaustion and occasional forgetfulness, and of course increased appetite! This past week and a half the nausea has hit, unfortunately, but so far it's manageable. I'm trying to still keep up with running, so I think that's helping overall. So, predictions, anyone?? With Jack, I had no sickness. With Safita, I was really sick. Anyone want to wager???
Anyone have any questions I didn't address? Shoot away!
Anyone in need of an amazing new vacuum??? Sorry, I'm not selling, just raving about my amazing new purchase!
Okay, this is by no means an official product review, but I am simply in love with my new vacuum. The vacuum we received as a wedding gift 5 years ago had stopped working properly some time ago, and just a couple weeks ago finally died for good, with no explanation or warning. So, I did some research, and made an educated buy...and it has been amazing!!
We got the Shark Navigator Professional--which in the store display looks a little chintzy, or perhaps like it won't hold up well, but after using it I am convinced that such is not the case.
This vacuum is slim and lightweight, but has powerful suction. It has the cool swivel-ball turning action that makes it so easy to maneuver (much like the way more expensive Dysons), and a myriad of extremely useful attachments. One of my favorite features is a very convenient switch for changing between carpet and bare floor (it basically turns on or off the roller), so that it sucks dirt off the bare floor without spitting it out behind the vacuum--genius!
It has a large dirt bucket that is easy to clean (and easy to retrieve lost toys or jewelery from), and--more importantly--airtight, so that it doesn't let any dust or dirt back out into the air.
And...probably my favorite feature of the entire vacuum: You can detach the canister/suction hose for cleaning stairs or hard-to-reach places without having to lug the entire vacuum around!
As far as how it cleans dirt: impressive. Maybe it's just because our last vacuum had stopped working and didn't pick up much of anything...but I'm really impressed with this one.
So, if you need a new vacuum for an affordable price--check out the Shark Navigator Professional (it's the white one)!