One year later...

Last new years day we packed up house and moved into our rental. Even in that post, I mentioned that moving back to Kansas was on our radar- explaining one reason we didn't buy.
I never openly posted my 2010 new years resolution- for fear of failure, perhaps? However, I can look back now and say I think I've attained my two-word goal for the year:
Get Healthy.

I know that's broad and vague and generally not easily measured, but I knew what I wanted. Financial, spiritual, physical health. We are well on our way.
First, moving back to Kansas (and in with my parents for longer than was expected) was a financial blessing. Imagine- the generosity of parents providing a roof for you! With that amazing turn, we have paid off debts and even grown our savings account. It's a great feeling after the black-mold-disaster of 2009.
Spiritually I've grown too- I can't say I know all God has planned for me, and still feel like there are huge decisions weighing on my heart. However, I know that the "decisions" I feel like I'm struggling with are already settled in God's view of them. I'm working towards this: accepting that I don't have the answer, nor do I need it.
Maybe the easiest measurable success this year is my physical health...
Not that it's a great picture-comparison, but it's visual proof. I'm now over 20 pounds lighter than I was one year ago today. I'm still not "at goal" but I'm getting there- and can't believe how far I've come. I've been working out and joined weight watchers; I set my 2011 goal at not only "lifetime" status but to get a WW meeting started in my hometown. I also plan on running a 5k this spring. Woot woot! :)
So here we are- one year older, wiser, and "healthier".
What could 2011 have planned for me?
I'm not quite sure, but I say Bring it on!


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, from our house to yours!


IHF: Silhouette

Everyone knows by now that I love me some i heart faces photography! So this weeks theme, silhouette, of course piqued my interest!

I love how a great silhouette shot makes you want to see more of the picture...

If you want to see some fabulous shots, click on over to i heart faces!


Basement Dwellers...

I feel like this is my first chance to sit down, clear my head and work through my thoughts on "paper". Virtual paper, anyway...
Moving back to Kansas and changing jobs has been a true blessing for us, but still a strain none the less. I realized after reading my last post, I didn't even mention something: we are living in my parent's basement! It wasn't an intentional omission. Choosing to live in a small town, we also limited our available housing pool. We have also been doing a bunch of number crunching to decide if we want to buy or rent (decided on renting for a while) and then also finding a rental that will allow us to have our dogs (non-negotiable members of our family). Lets just say the number of houses that allow dogs but also meet my standards for safety and cleanliness are few and far between. Thankfully, my parents have been more than gracious about allowing us to inhabit their space, take up their free DVR space with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and give them all the grand-daughter time they want. We have saved quite a bit of money already by doing this, but we do hope to have our own place in the next month or two. Honestly, I can see why some cultures have multigenerational housing arrangements! It's four sets of adult eyes to watch the kids, and extra companionship for the adults in the evenings. Besides that, when we have a two year old screaming, crying melt down, there's an extra reserve of experience and patience in the house. I try to cook most evenings when I get home from work and it's been nice to have a real family-style meal with Madigan on most weeknights. I can actually say I'm enjoying living with my parents and I think Brett can say the same. (Would my parents agree? Hmm...) That still doesn't negate the fact that we plan on moving out when the right place opens up. :)
Besides that, I'm loving my new job. I know I'm still in the "honeymoon" phase, but I think it's a great fit for me. I haven't regretted the job-change once yet! I got to meet "my" surgeon- the doctor that I'll be solely dedicated to working for- and I definitely got good vibes from her. I know that the 30 mile commute will get more tedious in the winter months, but for now it's been great time to clear my head and "process"! Brett's also loving his new job as well, and feels like he's in a job he could retire from in 40 years.
We are excited for the next few months to work themselves out and get us more settled. 2010 has been a year full of big changes- and I have a feeling that the wild ride of the "unexpected" is just beginning for us....


Where do I begin?

Sheesh, it seems like I haven't blogged about "real" stuff in a long time- where to begin?
Maybe with our move across state borders...
A few months ago, I applied (on a whim) for a job in a cardio-thoracic surgeon's office. I had 2 interviews to follow, and was offered the job! We relocated to Kansas, where Brett was also hired as a loan officer. Madigan started daycare full time this week, Brett & I are both working and getting into the swing of things. This move back "home", our new jobs- it's all seems to be working out with some new, exciting plans that we have for our family... ;)
My brother is being deployed to Kuwait. This is his second tour in the middle east, and we are praying every day for his safe return! I captured this picture of Madigan kissing him at his deployment ceremony, and it just fills my heart every time I see it :

I love her squished up nose and her fist-full-of-face. I entered it into the pixel perfect blog's annual photo contest. If it even makes it to the point where you can vote for it, I'll post a link.

I also found out that several of my "in real life" friends actually read this blog! Hello, Friends! Feel free to comment... :)


IHF: Orchards

Week 42 at i heart faces theme is "In the Orchard" and boy are we sure lucky!
That trip to the apple orchard paid off in photography and in apples.
Madigan was SO excited when we visited- she has been to several "farms" and so it seemed natural for her little brain to call this place an "Apple Farm"!
She walked so slowly up and down the rows of trees, and finally picked a big apple off a bottom limb and bit right in!
I love this picture because you can see the little smile on her face, the full cheeks, and the juice running down her chin. As soon as she could speak, she said "It's so... juicy!"
I know at age two, she's still too young to be able to remember this day herself, but it will be one of my "forever memories" of her childhood.

Click on over to i heart faces to check out the other entries this week!


PP Before/After Hop

I (obviously) love photography blogs, I love learning everyone's techniques and getting ideas from other photographers to use in my own practice. One blog I always read, Pixel Perfect, hosts a before/after blog hop that I love to look at but rarely (if ever?) have participated. The concept is to post your straight out of the camera shot, then your edited shot with an explanation of how you got the finished product. The one I'm posting today is a six-month old and his parents. It was one of the first "Fall" days and I felt like I could either "edit out" the tiniest bit of sun flare in the upper left corner, or work it to make it "feel like fall". Here's the "before":

I used PSE 6 and a Pioneer Woman action called "Sunshine" (you can download it FREE from her, by the way!) to get this result:
I feel like it warms up the shot and gives it that Autumn feeling that I remember from that day's photo shoot!


Picture Post

"If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm."


Johnny Appleseed

The Lord is good to me.
And so I thank the Lord.
For giving me the things I need,
The sun, the rain, and the appleseed.
The Lord is good to me.

Oh, and every seed I sow,
will grow into a tree.
And someday there'll be apples there.
For everyone in the world to share.
The Lord is good to me.
Oh, here I am 'neath the blue, blue sky
Doing as I please.
Singing with my feathered friends
Humming with the bees.

I wake up every day,
As happy as can be,
Because I know that with His care
My apple trees, they will still be there.
The Lord's been good to me.



IHF: Chalk!

It's another week at i heart faces!
The theme this week is "Chalk" and there's already some fantastic entries. I had to enter, since this weekend we spent the majority of the beautiful fall weather outside and with dirty hands. This was the best I could get of my fast-moving 2 year old, who was obsessed with trying to color my camera.
Can't you just see the naughty in her eyes?
Head on over to i heart faces to check out all the entries!


A Common Love...

“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.”

A Common Love is a creation.
Read about it, check it out. Donate if you can.

I found the blog because I admired her photography, but I continue to read it because I admire her story and her heart.


IHF: Vroom Vroom

I recently shot a sunflower yellow & orange themed wedding. Every detail was perfect- down to the old yellow Ford the couple "escaped" in. I just love this image, I can feel the hope & love and excitement when I look at it!

Head over to I Heart Faces to look at all the entries!


Queen Sized Crib?

Brett & I were cleaning Madigan's room the other day, when I asked him casually how easily her crib converts to a toddler bed. He took the rail off to show me, and Madigan jumped right into her bed and acted excited about how "big girl" it was. We debated a bit, but decided to try it out that night. We rocked and sang, said our prayer and I laid her down in her new "big girl" crib-turned-toddler bed.
She panicked.
Sobbing ensued.
We did try to leave her in there, but neither of us ever had the "Ferber" willpower and we caved about 5 minutes into the episode. I walked in to find her huddled in the corner of the bed, bunny gripped tightly and in between the sobs she muttered, "Side On! Side ON!"
Brett had already grabbed the necessary equipment and was gladly obliging.
She calmed down and watched him attach it, and said in the tiniest voice, "thank you, daddy."
I rocked her a bit more, and as I was tucking her into her four sided crib she said "night night, mama." and went right to sleep.
When I came out of her room, Brett looked at me and said, "If she's in no hurry to grow up, I'm in no hurry to help her. She can stay in that crib as long as she wants to." That's really why I love this man- I felt the exact same way but wasn't going to say it!
In 17 years when she leaves for college I won't have the liberty of knowing where she is every night at 8:30 pm.
Besides, I've already looked into adult size cribs, and I think this will fit nicely into her dorm room:


Miss Toddler America

So I've been pretty busy chasing a high-heeled toddler around, among many other things, and have been a bad blogger.
Please forgive me.
Among the many things, in no particular order:
Brett & I have finished our "summer workout program" that we started earlier and have moved on to other endeavors. We did the Insanity workout series from Beach Bodies. It was hard core, for sure. Luckily I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and by the time we had started I knew I couldn't just be a quitter- so we gutted it out. If you have bad joints, don't even think about starting this. TONS of jumping and plyometrics! But we both did alright- I think my total weight loss for the 2 month program was around 12 pounds. It was definitely a great plateau-kicker for us. (We started following weight watchers in March and by June had hit a plateau with weight loss and motivation.) We have since moved on to running and hope to enter some 5k's this fall. There is a half marathon in our state capitol in May- I'm not committing publicly to this mind you- but we are going to see if we think we could endure it! I definitely prefer the running over the Insanity- for one Madigan loves to ride with us! She asks me daily "Run, mommy? Go running?" so it helps for motivation. I'd love to have suggestions from my running reader(s) as to shoes, ipod playlists, or any training tips for 5ks! We just barely have our toe in the water, and I realize it's a whole new world of people who call themselves "runners"!
Besides our healthier summer, I have also been booked solid with my photography business. Weddings, babies, children, families- summer is the busy season for me! I love it but sometimes I admit that the housework gets neglected when I have photos to edit and deliver to clients! I'm lucky to have a husband who doesn't complain much- but I know he's ready for me to slow down a bit too.
My brother & his wife welcomed their much-awaited baby to this world on 8-9-10! (What a cool birthday, huh!?) We had to make a flying-trip down to visit and the 5 hour (one way) trip was definitely worth it. Madigan thinks the world of her baby cousin. She has talked about her every day since we got home.
I've also been working on my 101 in 1001- I am dangerously close to the end and have a TON of things left looming! Eek.
Anyway, I really hope the video loads. If not, here's a couple pictures of Ms. Madigan and her shenanigans:


I heart faces entry

The theme for this week at i heart faces is "Gotta Wear Shades"!
I couldn't resist this picture from a wedding that I shot this weekend:

There's nothing quite like the future that is laid out in front of you on your wedding day, is there?

If you'd like to see all the entries to the i heart faces contest for the week, click on over to their site (linked above).


I have entered a new phase of motherhood.
I'm not sure what it's called, since this is my first go-round with motherhood, but I think the long name is "The Phase Where You Are Simultaneously Impressed With What Your Child Can Say & Embarrassed By It". (It might also be referred to as "Toddlerhood")
Before church today, Madigan kept repeating the same word over and over, and I had no idea what she was saying. Finally she stood on the pew, pointed to the band area, and proclaimed "Bio-LIN!" Indeed-she was pointing to a cello and declaring that the man was playing a giant violin. We were as impressed as everyone around us, and then quietly asked each other "How did she know that? We don't ever see violins!" Sadly, we realized how she knew what a "bio-lin" even was: Elmo's World. What a true proud parent/embarrassed parent moment.
After church I was speaking with an Indian woman, who was the mother of a little boy who had just been baptized. Madigan and this boy, Valentino, are almost the same age and seem to be as good of "friends" as kids this age can be. As I was speaking with her, Madigan points and says "Tino's Mama!" and we both acknowledged that she is 'Tino's Mama. Then she proclaims, "Tino's Mama is BROWN!" I just kept chatting but Madigan grabbed my face, turned it so we were looking eye-to-eye, and said again, "Tino's mama IS BROWN!" I didn't really know what I was supposed to say to that, except that I obviously had to acknowledge it or she would just keep repeating herself. "Yes, honey. She is." was all I could manage to say. I have never been so proud that my daughter knew her colors and embarrassed by it at the same time.
I have a feeling it's only the beginning for us... This is one observant kid!


Ramblings on Faith

Two years ago, I delivered a girl, and was delivered into the world of motherhood.

"If You just let me get pregnant and carry a baby to term, I will never ask for anything again."

This was a phrase I desperately (and often) repeated to God during our attempts at starting our family. I am fully aware that bargaining with Him doesn't work: by defining what I was willing to do, that only assumes that there was a limit to what He is capable of. He doesn't need me to outline what's in 'the deal'. He's the one in the driver's seat! It was futile, but that seemed to be my middle name. Besides that, He already knew that was a big, fat lie on my part from the get-go.
God would (and did) fulfill my requests, not because I asked but because He had planned it that way all along. And you better believe that I didn't keep my end of the bargain: I asked for a healthy baby, for a safe delivery, and for several other things since then. Some of those things happened too; not because I asked, but because He had it planned that way all along.
So is prayerfully asking Him for these things in vain? I believe not. He knows our hearts, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to hear what is weighing on them.
Being a parent has affected me many ways, but my faith has maybe changed the most. I know I only have a small sliver of the parenting-know-how that God has. I can only imagine that the frustrations I sometimes feel with a 2 year old, He feels with all of His children on a daily basis. My child knows right from wrong, but sometimes chooses to disobey. I know what she wants before she even asks for it, but I make her ask me anyway. Sometimes she asks for things and promises to share and be gentle, and she isn't. Sometimes she shuns me in frustration, refuses to hug and kiss me, or screams at me angrily. It is in those moments when I feel deeply frustrated that I always think about my own actions as a Child of God, and realize that she comes by those actions very, very naturally. In turn, God has planted in me a small seed of Himself: in spite of those actions and behaviors, I love her anyway. Unconditionally.
It is through grace that God gives us what we need but do not deserve. God's grace has been abundant in my life, most notably in the last two years. It is His grace that I try to model my own parenting after. I strive to do for my child what God has done for me: patience, security, unconditional love, guidance, and grace.
Very soon, we will be asking him for another child. (Proof that I am incapable of keeping up my end of that 'never asking for anything again' bargain.) I will ask, and He will answer in His way, in His time.
Not because I am asking, but because He has a plan for us all along.

God's grace.
We are undeserving, but so deeply grateful.


Calling all Prayer Warriors!

This post is just a bits-n-pieces one:

  • A friend of mine from high school, Janae, has recently been dealing with some health issues with her daughter AJ. Click on over to her blog to read up on it, or just feel free to pray for her family as you see fit. It's hard when you hurt for your children. Send her some love!
  • I had to do the Heimlich on Madigan last week. I'm a nurse, I'm not an 'over-react'-er. This was the obstructed airway, no noise from her blue little face back-blows. She was eating a chip and coughed. Then just didn't cough and made no noises- before I could do anything (actually I think I said "Holy $h!t") I had her out of her booster seat and was doing the back blows. Five solid hits later she was crying and pushing me away. Apparently choking is scary enough, but then having your mom rip you from your seat and beat you is equally as traumatic. Brett had to reassure her that "mommy hit you because she wanted to help you." In the spirit of full disclosure, she actually wanted to finish dinner, and ate quite a bit more. I didn't eat much after that... I felt too icky.
  • I really need to write down all the things that Madigan says incorrectly. Because they're funny and soon enough she'll be talking correctly. Here's a start: Bug = "bung"; alpaca = "al-ca-pack-a"; Big Bird = "Bing Bud"; elephant = "ele-phip". And recently we had to have this conversation: (M) "What's that?" (Me): "It's a nipple." (M) "Nee-pull" (Me) "yes." (M) "Daddy- shirt please."
  • Brett & I have started a 60-day workout program that I'm fairly certain was designed by satan and has the ultimate goal of causing cardiac arrest. I could be wrong about that, but I'm pretty sure I'm spot-on. We took "before" pictures (which you will not be seeing, thankyouverymuch) and also did measurements. We started it about 2 weeks ago and re-measuring hasn't been necessary since my clothes are literally falling off of me. Even though I'm "2 weeks successful" I still can't go "public" with it (on facebook, naturally) because I still want the option to quit and not be accountable to anyone. There, I admitted it and hopefully someone who reads this will now keep me accountable.... Anyone? Anyone??
  • I'm thinking I need to dye my hair blonde again. Because Madigan is such a cute blonde, and everyone says "Who is the blonde in the family?!" (Brett & I were BOTH super blonde, so that answer to that is "both of us") but since we've both gotten darker in our 20's (his naturally and mine has been helped along...) nobody believes that she gets that from us. I'm thinking of going lighter... opinions?
That covers the basics of what's happening here. Again, please keep my friend Janae in your prayers, and leave her some love/support on her blog if you'd like. It's a rough time, and it's always nice to know people care.....


Summer Time!

I love the summer. I love to swim, I love to play outside, and I love that Madigan loves it too.
One of the first times we went to the pool, we started in the baby pool. Shallow, safe, slow. That is SO not Madigan's style, and she didn't last long. Here's a pic of her in her monkey-suit and her "occu-puss".

The second time we went to the pool, we did get right in the "big kid" side. It was fun, and she enjoyed splashing around with her mama for a bit. We even practiced making faces for the camera:
Then, she saw it.
The water slide: her new favorite thing. It has water, it is a slide: it must be from heaven. No worries for her- she let us schlep her up the three story stairs and sat on our laps to ride down. Please note the expressions in the next picture: Brett is nervous. Not a strong swimmer, my husband. Nervous about holding a not-even-2-year-old in his lap. Her expression? Well... if her chubby little head smiled any more it would split in two.

We joke around that this daughter of ours doesn't do "slow" or "careful". She's animated, excited about life, and has no fears about anything. Other people may call her "busy", but I know that neither of us would have it any other way.


i heart faces: babies

Want to hear a story? When I was in the 1st grade, I moved to a new, strange town. I was so scared that first day of school, I had no idea what to do. At recess, a girl came and introduced herself to me. We played, and she introduced me to the rest of our class. This girl and I, we were friends through grade school, dance classes, girl scouts, and high school. We lived together through college. She met a boy, he swept her off her feet. They wed, I was a bridesmaid. They had a baby boy, and named him Colton. I took my camera when I went to introduce myself to him. It was as if all the genetic "awesome" that both parents carried was passed on to him. This little guy might be here because "boy ♥ girl", but I am honored to know him because a hometown girl was nice to a new girl.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the photography website i heart faces. I'm also a fan of babies; new, wrinkly, squishy little newborns especially! So when I saw the theme for this week (All About Babies) I knew exactly the picture I wanted to enter: Colton with his daddy. I can't wait to tell this little guy about how amazing his parents are!




If you feel like dancin'...

Physically, Madigan is a perfect mix of Brett & I. She has his eyes, my nose, his mouth, and my cheeks. Both of us were blonde, short, stalky and "thick" as toddlers. As a parent, our ties to our children first focus on the outward and the physical. As they grow, you see that besides the physical resemblance, they grow their own little attitude. Her personality isn't "mine" or "his" but it's totally Madigan.

I'm a social person. When I'm thrown into a new situation, I can simultaneously read the people around me, while talking and getting comfortable fairly quickly. I was raised to believe that you should never talk to strangers, luckily I've never met one! (I get that from my father!) The majority of people have great stories, and love to hear them. Once I'm comfortable, there's nothing that is off limits; you'll often find me socializing with "new friends" and never see me shy away from the dance floor or the spotlight. I was the kid that jumped right into the deep end of the pool, and hoped for the best; it's this same attitude as an adult that sometimes drives my more reserved husband crazy.

Brett is a bit more reserved in social situations, sometimes to the point where people wrongfully label him as stuck-up or stand off-ish. He's self confident, but not boisterous or even outgoing with "strangers". So while he keeps to himself and usually surveys the crowd around him (and usually accurately sizing up the folks in the room), he doesn't appear nervous or anxious, which is most likely how he can be wrongfully tagged. Once he's comfortable with his surroundings, he will get a bit more loose and talkative, but he's rarely chatting up total strangers or attempting to get into the spotlight. He was the toe-dipping kid at the pool, and lowered himself in one chilly inch at a time; as an adult his thoughtful approach sometimes seems too reserved to me.

I love to watch Madigan in new situations, and see how she's like me, but also how she's different. At home she's physical, talkative, and confident. She knows what she wants, and will ask 20 times until you see it her way. That is so me. But once you add in anyone new, she becomes internal. She watches, she doesn't speak much but isn't nervous either. It's like she doesn't want to be the action, but rather be able to react. That is so Brett.

This weekend, we were at a wedding reception. As Brett & I sat, Madigan sat too. She watched the crowd of children dancing. You could see in her eyes she wanted to dance too. She was never nervous, shy or wanting reassurance from us. As we continued to talk, she decided it was "ok" to proceed. She slid off Brett's lap, and without ever looking back she walked right into the center of the group of children, held out both hands and made two new friends. She danced like it mattered to her; and not to anyone else. She never once looked around for approval from her new friends. It felt right; she was in the moment. Brett & I watched her for a bit, then decided to join her. As we reached her side, she seemed genuinely happy to see us.
And we all danced, together.


The first weekend in May, every May, is the Gatherin'.

Caber-tossing, Scotch drinking, sword holding good times, I tell you.
Madigan went on Friday night, and ate a lot of corn. A LOT of corn. Enough to make her go cross eyed. She stayed with her grandma on Saturday, which is for the best, considering all the Scotch drinking and swords and what have you.

Crosses were lit on fire and ran like a relay. Weights were thrown for height and distance. Sheafs of hay were pitch-forked over a plank of wood. I'm not really sure why we do it, except that we're Scottish and that's apparently what Scottish folk do.

Many pictures were taken, and some were heavily edited for effect.

I was introduced to s'mOreos. It was a camping on the ground good time. And just in case you don't believe me that Madigan ate enough corn to go cross eyed.....
Exhibit A:


A Hero's Welcome

On a recent, cloudy & rainy Friday, we lined the streets with other small-town folk to welcome home our town's 1195th Transportation Company. While our family didn't personally know any of the soldiers that had been deployed this last year, small towns like ours are all affected when a large group of soldiers leaves- it's the "ripple effect". Families line the streets, yellow ribbons are tied on poles, signs are made, and then we wait with anticipation and excitement for the "parade" up our main road to the high school gymnasium for the welcome home ceremony.

While waiting, Madigan entertained herself with a small flag. Just as the local police blocked intersections, we heard a rumble on the horizon. Instead of thunder as we suspected, the clouds literally parted as the Freedom Riders & Patriot Guard rumbled in on their Harley's ahead of the busses hauling the soldiers. (The soldiers are "escorted" in by law enforcement and the Freedom Riders as a courtesy- because, yes- we actually have people who come protest the soldiers return. Sick.)
Firetrucks, motorcycles and police cars all proceeded by, followed by the busses, hauling soldiers who had family waiting for them at the school. Here was the day from our perspective.

We say, "Thank You"


About Babies...

With spring in full bloom and signs of life everywhere, it's nearly impossible to not think about the prospect of ... * gulp * ... another baby.

I know that if you've read my blog (or talked to me in real life) for any amount of time, you know that my husband and I struggled with conceiving our daughter. I jokingly call my journey "Infertility Light" since I have found so many friends along the way who have literally been to hell and back; however the difficulty that we faced was ours, and it definitely shaped our views on adding to the family again.
If we were to completely set aside the emotions of what that entails and look at the facts, we know the following things:
  • I have been told by two separate OB/GYN's that conceiving a second child is going to be an uphill battle. To quote one of the specialists: "Feel free to try on your own all you want. Come on back when you're ready to get serious about it." (Side note: because of previous treatment/outcomes, this would be starting with injectable medications.)
  • Because I have taken a new job since conceiving my daughter, my insurance no longer pays for any of the said treatments. One month, or "cycle", of treatment is going to be thousands of dollars.
  • I really, really want to be a stay-at-home mom if/when we have a second child, and that would mean that my now stay-at-home-husband would need to find a job that supports our lifestyle as it is now. (Not that it's remotely lavish! But we've basically cut all the corners we can and it's a priority for us to have a parent at home with our daughter or children.)
Ok, ok, that last one is more of an emotional "fact" than a concrete one. The truth is that our daughter has gone to daycare, I would have no reservation in sending her again if we had to. But the fact is, we don't have to. We have downsized our house, our cars are paid for and we are working hard to pay back what money we owe to be totally debt free. With all that, we have so far afforded for my husband to stay at home with her for the last year, and it's been fantastic for her. (Him too, I might add! However I never pass up the opportunity to let him know that I appreciate him sacrificing his degree and career to do it.) Luckily, we have the same long term goal of switching roles and having me home.
The almost bottom line is that we do want more children. Honestly, we want to have more biological children and we also have done heavy research into international adoption. The part that is depressing and frustrating is that either route is going to cost us thousands of out-of-pocket dollars. Not that it's not worth it- because it absolutely is. It's just saddening and upsetting that the fun-loving, free-spirited attitude of family planning has been taken from us. We don't get to have the "if we try in the fall we can have a summer baby" talks. We are on the same page: we want more children. The part that hurts the worst is that it's not that we're emotionally on different pages or worried about the timing of it: it's solely making sure that we can up-front finance it.
So what is the bottom, bottom line? Madigan. Here's what I want her to know, regardless of how we choose to pursue growing our family:
Madigan is enough for us. For me. For Brett. She is more than we deserve, she is everything we asked for and more. In the end, if no other children find their way into our lives and into our family, I want her to know that she has fulfilled my purpose in this world. Madigan is more than enough and our greedy pursuit of a larger family has nothing to do with her. I do not want our wants and needs to affect the kind of parent I am for her.
So there you have it. Spring, and babies, and emotions all in one big rambling post.
And that's enough.



Happy Easter! These are some pictures from the Egg Hunt. Yes, she managed to eat a Cadbury Mini-creme egg (some aluminum foil as well) before we could stop her. It got everywhere...

She was pretty good at finding eggs, once she realized that there were tiny pieces of candy in them then she was even MORE excited!
I realized that we took absolutely NO pictures of her in her dress & sweater before church. That's basically par for the course with us! But here's one more "play in the yard" picture from after the egg hunt: