Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love Letter

As your Daddy and I wait to board the plane for our Dominican vacation, I find myself feeling conflicted. Excitement for a vacation with the love of my life and nervousness for leaving the other biggest blessing in my life. It has been so long since I have posted anything on my blog for you guys. Poor little Graham doesn’t have anything on here since he was a baby. It is obvious, as we left this morning, that you are my little baby still but also a little man with a big personality! I want you three to know what a blessing you are to your Daddy and I. I want you three to know how deeply we love you all. I want you three to know exactly what we love about you :)

My dearest Ellaina! Just writing that has left me smiling ear to ear thinking about your beautiful smile and the way your face lights up around everyone. You are such a shining star with the most beautiful heart. Your thoughtfulness and spunk are contagious. I love the way you love life and everyone around you. Always up for fun and try to help everyone around you do the same. You have a way of making people feel so loved. I am incredibly proud of you every day and am enjoying your journey…as a passenger. Let’s face it, you are in the driver’s seat of your life and Daddy and I are just tapping our break from time to time. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. You are such a blessing to us, your brothers and everyone around you. The amount of love you have for us and others is endless. Thank you for all the joy you bring to my life Ellaina. I love an adore you forever and for always!

My Sweet Braden! Your giggle makes my heart smile with joy. You have such a pureness about you that is ready to love everyone. It is so unique and probably my favorite thing about you. I say probably because there are so many things I love about you too. I love the way you are always kissing and hugging us. You are so sweet and loving. I am thankful everyday I get to spend with you and love counting your kisses. You are so much more wise and sensitive then your years. At times, I swear I can actually see you thinking about something before you even say it out loud. I adore the way you love with your entire heart and enjoy making others feel good. It is a rare quality and it comes so naturally to you. You are always so light hearted and fun loving. Secretly I am always laughing at your “bathroom” talk. Even though the Mommy in me has to stop you :-) I have never known a kid who thinks wiggling his butt is so funny.  I adore you so much Braden. I love you always and forever!

My Little Grahamers! Eighteen months already. I have a lot to write. I have been so busy taking in all the precious moments with you and the family, that I have forgotten to document some of my favorites. This time has gone by way too fast, especially now with your fun personality. You have a humor about you that is always making me laugh, and you love making people laugh. Anytime you have an audience, you beam and shine. I don’t know who you think is funnier, your sister and brother or yourself. You are always cracking yourself up.There are so many games you love to play, but your favorite seems to be being chased. Whether it is running around the main level with any of us saying“gonna getcha”, or you sneaking on the stairs waiting to catch our attention. It is so much fun. Your Daddy and I now pretend we don’t know your doing it, just to hear you giggle when we catch you. Your first word was “mama”, which made me so happy. Daddy and I were both trying to get it to be our names. Now you are putting so many sounds to words. Everything is called “this” to you. I guess I need to stop saying “Do you want this?” You have a mouth full of teeth and seem to have your sister’s appetite. Anytime you can get your hands on food, you are there trying. Except meats, you are not much of a meat eater. We have to have brown rice with almost every meal, so we can shred the meat and disguise it in the rice. Your favorite food is definitely Mac n’cheese, like your sister. I cannot feed you fast enough when there is Mac n’ cheese in front of you. When you get your hands on it first, it is quite humorous. Sometimes you even put the bowl up to your mouth like a puppy, especially if we giggle the first time. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have three cuddle bugs. You LOVE cuddling and being kissed on. Last night, I sat on the glider with you and just kept singing one song after another. You were just looking up at me smiling the entire time. Makes it hard to ever put you down. My lips seem to always have a magnetic pull to your chubby cheeks. Especially when I hit that tickle spot under your chin. Actually, you have a bunch of tickle spots. I love tickling the inside of your thighs when I change your diaper. Even now, your thighs are so big they jiggle while I am tickling them. Ellaina and Braden love to get their lips on your belly. You get a big belly laugh when they blow on your tummy. It’s probably why they do it every time you get out of the bath. I think one of your favorite things, is putting the kids to bed with us at night. You run from room to room playing and giggling. You like to try to climb into both Ellaina and Braden’s beds with them an relax. You are your happiest when you are surrounded by your siblings, Daddy and I. That’s when you really light up. Regardless of who you are by, you always make me light up. I love and adore you so much Graham. This will be the first of many more posts to catch up on the little boy you have become. Thank you for blessing my life everyday!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mommy’s Testimonial

A few weeks ago my MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group leader asked me if I would be willing to share my testimonial with the group at a steering committee meeting. A testimonial? It is something I have asked myself many times, but I have never sat down and really wrote mine. No one has ever asked me. In my belief, everything happens for a reason. The sheer fact that Michelle asked me to share mine, meant it is time for me to write mine. I have been very blessed to know God’s loves my entire life, what is a testimonial when that is the case? I sat down at my laptop to find out. What happened next was astounding. I just started typing. The words and sentences came with such ease. It was definitely a God thing. All of a sudden I was done. I read it with disbelief of what I wrote. It was so honest and something I had never thought about. I only corrected two words in the entire two pages. I want to share my testimonial with my kids. God willingly, they will always know of God’s love, and hopefully they will be blessed to find a partner who makes that love more visible every day.

“When Michelle asked me to give my testimony, I didn’t really know where to begin. I have had a very blessed life. Blessed with faith, blessed with incredible love, blessed with amazing people and blessed with heartbreak. Yes, blessed with heartbreak. It is through the trials in my life that I have learned to really trust in God and His plan.

As a child, we were surrounded with the knowledge of God and His love for us. We grew up as strong Catholics, went to church every Sunday, religion studies once a week and talked about God often. I sang in children’s choir and later youth choir. We had religious role models in our parents and both sets of Grandparents. My brother, sister and I grew up knowing we were loved. We didn’t always have a lot of money, but more love than you could dream for. My parents were and still are incredibly supportive. My mom always sat back and let me be me. She would only interject her concerns if a choice was becoming unhealthy or could lead to becoming unhealthy. Even then, she had a way of making it seem like it was your choice…magical. I went through all the sacraments with my family’s support. I even fought to be the first girl alter server in Minnesota. My parents stood with me and supported my endeavor. When I was a Freshman in high school, I was finally old enough to go on the church youth trip to the Boundary Waters. It is a remote national park reserve that boarders Minnesota and Canada. It is breathtaking and you can’t help but feel close to God there. That was the first time I had been truly surrounded by so many young believers. It was the most amazing time of my life. Until my first date with my husband.

I have heard of seeing God’s love in people, and I have many times in my life. But never like this. It wasn’t even something we spoke about, but when I am with to my husband I feel closer to God. The love we have and the path God used to bring us to each other was remarkable. It brought a new kind of faith to me, and completely changed the way I live my life.

Looking back on it, like most teenagers, there were many paths I took. I feel I tried to walk the path I thought God put out for me, but sometimes life happened and I’d come to a fork in the road. Some were growing experiences and one particular relationship left me quite broken mentally and once physically. I finally came out of it a strong more independent young women, but it impacted my trust in people particularly boys/men. When Brad came into my life, I wasn’t looking for someone. My senior year was wrapping up and I was getting excited for college. God had actually put Brad and I on the same path twice in our earlier years, but looking back I know it was his timing that brought us together this time. Brad had dealt with a lot more hardship in his life than most, or at least more than the people I had known. Looking at him and talking with him, you would never know. When God finally gave me the chance to get to know him, on that first date, there was an instant mutual love and respect. I feel those chance meetings we had were God’s way to let us see one another and be ready for what was to come. The greatest love He can bestow on two people. All our trials and journeys thus far were just God’s way of bringing us together. The first person I could pour my soul to and be the total honest me with no walls or masks…or humor. Knowing how important Brad’s mom was to him, I feel God was even great enough to let it happen early enough in our lives that I had an opportunity to meet and fall in love with Brad’s mom before her passing.

When I said earlier that Brad’s love changed the way I live my life, I truly mean it. Everything good and bad in my life is a blessing. It leads us to the path that God has planned for us. I don’t know if I would have realized that at such a young age, if not for the love God gave Brad and I. Had Brad’s mom not been too sick to care for Brad and he had not moved to live with his dad in Minnesota, our paths may never had crossed. Had I not given a piece of my heart to the wrong person once, I would not have known to hang on to it so tight and save it for true knee buckling love.

This way of thinking. The way God has presented it to me has since helped me through everything. The good times and even some heart break. Lose of babies, lose of loved ones, any kind of struggle. I know and trust prayer. I pray through it and get strength from God and knowing that somewhere down the road I will see what His plan is. I take great comfort in that, even when the sky’s are grey. I live my life like an open book. Always willing to share my trials and triumphs, knowing God gave them to me for a reason. Whether it is to be empathetic to someone’s situation or just a shoulder to cry on. It is the journey He has taken me on thus far and through it all He has been amazing!”