Posted in Dads

GRATITUDE!

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After several years of praying and trying To have another child, the sweet (and surreal) moment finally came when our second boy joined our family of three, now making us “the four best friends that anybody can have!”

It was not the easiest delivery, but also not the hardest (in my wife’s words.) Our new son came into the world without any real issues during the delivery (again, in my wife’s words.)

Very much like the moment I met my first son, I was overwhelmed with emotion when our new little baby finally made his way out . . . and I lost it . . . with ugly face tears!

It’s strange because I thought I would cry. . . I was fully expecting to cry. . . But when I did cry, it Took me by surprise! . . . Just like I was taken by surprise with my first son’s birth. . . . . . But their was a very clear distinction between these two crying experiences.

For my first son I was overwhelmed with a sense of AWE!

AWE that there really was a life if my wife’s belly that whole time. AWE in the beautifully messy miracle of childbirth. AWE in my wife for what she had just done. And AWE for the reality that I was all of a sudden a dad . . . Just like that . . . And that this little life was counting on me for his survival.

For my second boy I was overwhelmed with a sense of GRATITUDE!

GRATITUDE that he had come out safely. GRATITUDE that my wife was also safe. And GRATITUDE that after all that we had been through during the previous three years, (infertility, tears, anger, miscarriages, heartache, peace, joy) God had given us another child and grown our family.

We we’re now a family of four. And are filled to the brim with GRATTITUDE for it.😌🙏🏻❤

 

Posted in Dads

Optimistic

Here are some more thoughts I wrote back in August about the pregnancy. . . Much love!!!❤️

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August 2016

In my last entry I shared about my struggle with being hopeful but not necessarily optimistic (or pessimistic) about the development and life expectancy of our new baby.

So it’s well past 3 months now and we have both finally been able to really get excited about the baby. . . We know that it is a boy. . .We have shared the great news with our four year old son Holden, who is soooo dang excited to be a big brother and have a little brother! (But we’ll see how he feels after little brother actually arrives.😉) We’ve shared the happy news with our family and friends. . . We’ve picked out a few names we love. . . We’ve started to get the nursery ready. . . We’ve even bought him his first outfit.

We’ve always been really hopeful that everything is ultimately going to be ok but our hopefulness is now about the dreams that we have for this little life as we prepare to welcome him into the world. . . as well as the impact that he is going to have on our first son.

We’re very excited…very hopeful…and very optimistic of what’s to come.🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️

Posted in Dads

Hopeful

My wife is several months pregnant with our second child (a boy!) and we are obviously so dang grateful and excited!!!🙏🏻❤️

The following was something that I wrote several months ago but could not share at that time for obvious reasons. As always, I hope it can be an encouragement, or support to anyone that reads it.

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May 2016

Recently Kate and I found out that she’s pregnant again and we’re both super excited! . . . But I’m also pretty tempered in my excitement.

We’ve been excited before only to be sad and devastated days later at the news of the baby not surviving.

I’m definitely happy that there is new life forming and living in my wife’s belly. . . But it’s honestly hard to be optimistic that this life will continue to grow and flourish. . . It’s not that I’m hopeless – because I am very hopeful – but there has been so much unknown. . . so much that we’ve realized we can’t control . . . so much we’ve learned about just how much of a miracle a pregnancy really is . . . and the reality that we’ve lost two babies in the last two pregnancies . . . I’m not gonna be pessimistic and expect the “worst”. . . but it’s also so difficult to do the complete opposite and expect the “best” to happen.

But instead I’m hopeful

Hopeful that no matter what happens, it’s going to be ok. . . and that God will be in the middle of it all. . . and that it will all be used for good. So many “good” things have come from the painful experiences that we’ve gone through these last few years and I believe that even more good will continue for years to come.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desperately hoping that this baby lives a long and full life. . . But I’m also honest with myself when I say that I’m not quite ready to start dreaming of baby names and what color to paint the nursery yet.
. . . We’ll wait and see.😌🙏🏻

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Posted in Parenting

Discovery

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine that was telling me about a study she had read (because she's really smart and savy like that!) that suggested that kids need to have more unplanned play in their lives in order to develop their ability to problem solve and think creatively. And it reminded me to make sure that I'm being more intentional to do that with my son. I feel like I'm a pretty engaged dad but I'm sure there's such a thing as being too engaged. The hovering parent. The parent that books their kids' lives full with activities. The parent that shows their kids how to play. . . .which are not all bad things . . . but are we causing our kids to miss out on an essential element of learning and developing? . . . Discovery.

I can remember when I was younger my mom would cut me lose with my bike and my neighborhood friends and the only instructions she gave me were to be home by a certain time for dinner. She didn't have to come with us. We didn't have a cell phone to check in with. She just told us to make sure we were back home by a certain time. (or in the summer by sunset) Obviously there are some safety issues that jump out to most parents when they hear that but it was a different world back when I was younger and I was always with other friends and my older brother and his friend were usually there too.

We recently took our son to Sea World in San Diego for the first time and we were both excited for all of the awesome things he would get to see! They have so many great shows and attractions but what he loved more than anything was the Elmo-themed kid zone. . . Which makes sense since he's four. It had cargo nets he could climb, bridges high up in the sky that he could run on, slides, rides for younger children, and a spray park to cool off in. He was so excited about the spay park that we just stripped him down to his underwear and let him go! (Good thing it was a really hot day!)

My wife and I are always wanting to give our son great experiences and expose him to all of the opportunities that are out there! . . . But I'm continuing to realize that he doesn't always need us to help him. To plan everything for him. To show him how to play. To make him have the experiences that I think are important. . . . . Sometimes we need to just let him run free and see what he discovers on his own . . . because he'll figure it out on his own! . . . And instead of being told or shown . . . he'll Discover!

 

Posted in Parenting

Whispering Truths

I love the time my wife Kate and I get to spend with our son every night. . . We have a routine that we religiously run through to wind him down and get him off to sleep. The bath usually starts the night off. . . Once he’s in the tub, Kate and/or I will hang out on the floor or the toilet (with the seat down😉) and listen to his imagination run wild with story after crazy creative story.

 We play made up games with ridiculous rules that we have to follow, like “guessing” the foam numbers or letters that he puts up on the tile wall – ones that we can plainly see. . . we have to look away and give our best guess until we usually get it right around the third or fourth try.

 Eventually, after more stories and games it’s time to wash him and scoop him out… Then we brush his teeth with his special Ninja Turtle toothbrush & toothpaste while telling him stories of how Michelangelo and the rest of the heroes-in-a-half-shell defeated the evil Shredder who was wreaking havoc on his teeth.

 Next up it’s on to the bedroom where the wrestling begins to get his clothes on because all he wants to do is dance, climb on our backs, and run to the toy room to get one more toy to bring to bed with him. . . We’ll read a few books together and, like all kids, he’s always wanting just one more. Now comes the time for him to lie down.

 The lights go off. . . and Kate and I each bust out our freestyle story telling skills, making up stories about anything from dancing Hippos trying to find their favorite ice cream to Rocky the Crocodile who just wants to learn how to surf. . . we pray together. .. .we sing a few songs to him . . . And then we get to my favorite part. And not just my favorite part of the night. . . but my favorite part of my whole day! . . .when I get to just lie down next to my son and whisper truths into his ears. .

 To say things to him like “you are strong” , ” you are gentle” , ” you are my son” , “your mommy and daddy love you” and “I really like you”. In a world where children, and really, most people are told so many negative and untrue messages about themselves, it’s a sweet opportunity to whisper truth into his ears to replace all of the lies of the day.

 I love knowing that the last things he hears as he falls asleep – the things that he will think and dream about – will be the things that I whisper to him.. . The truths of who he is and who he can become. . .and a reminder that he is valued and loved!

Posted in Dads

the Foster /Adopt Journey begins

In the years leading up to our marriage, my wife and I have always envisioned that we would have more than one child, if not even more . . . so as we’ve tried really hard for the last few years for baby number two – with little success –  God has began to open our eyes and show us both very clearly to begin steps in the foster-to-adopt process . . . and simply see what could happen.

I’ve always been very open to and excited about the idea of adoption . . .  Even in my single years, that lasted well into my thirties, I always believed that if I never ended up married – a notion that I was pretty fine with – I would most likely try to adopt children and raise them as a single parent. I figured that having one caring father would be far better than having no parents at all, right?

So as we we’ve been unsuccessful these past few years the idea of adopting was very present in my mind . . . But it wasn’t really the same thinking for my wife. . . And I don’t blame her.

As I said earlier , she has always felt like she would have several children naturally . . .  and because of that, she really wanted to continue to focus her hope and energy on trying for another child naturally. . .

It was like considering the adoption path would make our inability to have another child naturally . . . more final. . . It wouldn’t be like we were giving up on trying . . . but rather that we were accepting the reality that it just might not be in God’s plan for us.

But after time, a switch flipped in my my wife’s thinking almost immediately . . . That’s her story to share . . . but I will just say that one day she was not really ready to go there yet . . . And the next day she was giving me all the information that she called and searched for about the foster/adopt process.

So we were now on this exciting new journey, filling out the proper paperwork, talking to close friends about their foster/adopt experiences, and we’ve just completed our 29 hours of training . . . The only thing we have left to do is our home inspections and personal interviews!

We don’t know exactly what’s in store for us, but we’re both very excited and prayerful to see how we might be used to shower a child/children with love for a short time while their parents are trying to get healthy . . .  or possibly, . . .  How we might eventually welcome one of them into our family for good .

We’ll see! 🙏🏻

Posted in Family

Three Best Friends!

I love the scene in the movie The Hangover where three of the main characters Stu, Alan, and Phil are driving out to the middle of the desert after they won enough money, playing blackjack, to pay off their friend Doug’s ransom and get him back. Alan is so happy that he is finally truly part of the group (the wolf pack), he belts out singing “we’re the three best friends that anyone can have” and finishes it off  with a somewhat stalkerish ” and we’ll never ever ever ever ever be apart” . . .

That song has actually been one of our favorite ones to sing together as a family when we’re driving in the car, playing on our trampeline, or just hanging out together and having fun as a family!

Recently my wife Kate made some wall art to put up in a collage in our living room and we decided to make a frame with that chorus “We’re the three best friends that anyone could have!” written on it to add to the wall.

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We get some pretty funny responses from people when they come over and see it . . . Some people don’t even notice it because they assume it’s a lovely bible verse or some famous saying . . . But every now and then someone will give us a confused look and ask, “um, . . . So why do you have a quote from the hangover on your wall?” And I love it because I love sharing why it’s so important to us. . .

This last year has been a pretty rough one for us because we’ve been trying really hard to get pregnant and add a fourth member to our family of three. . . But we just haven’t been able to.

At first we were really excited and felt like it was finally time to add more more life to our fun chaotic world! To have a second child and little brother or sister for our son Holden, who was just over two years old at the time. . .When we had Holden, it was as simple as getting pregnant sounds like it should be. We decided to try. . . We tried. . . She was pregnant! . . . This time down the baby-making path has been a much different story.

We started trying that summer!

Summer came and went . . . no pregnancy.

Fall came and went. . . no pregnancy.

Winter came and went. . . . no pregnancy.

At this point we decided to seek out some medical help to see if either of us had any infertility issues, which we did. . . Disappointment came but so did Relief. . . The road seemed so long to try and solve these issues but at least we finally had a reason why we weren’t able to get pregnant . . . and we also had new Hope for a solution to our problem. So we walked down that road together disillusioned of our old dreams of a “perfect” family with three to four children, yet hoping that it still might happen the way that we had dreamed it would.

We kept trying!

Spring came and went. . . we began the medical process. . . No pregnancy.

Summer came. . . we continued the medical process . . . Kate was finally pregnant!

. . . and had a miscarriage.

We were obviously both heartbroken but with the support of friends and family, and the notion that we were actually able to conceive, our pain was also met with gratitude and hope for the future.

We kept trying again.

Near the end of summer . . . Kate was pregnant again!

. . . and had another miscarriage.

This was devastating. . .

Since then God has worked a miracle in both of our hearts. Our dream of what we had always thought our family would look like is gone. And there is actually a lot of freedom in that. Because we have looked around and “noticed” so many good things in our lives. Instead of hoping desperately for things that may never come (for whatever reason) and grieving for the loss of a life that doesn’t even exist yet (and may never exist) we have chosen to be super grateful for what we already have. And one of the things that we are most grateful for – and had begun to miss out on because we were so fixated on our dream of more children – is our beautiful son Holden!

Another special thing we now have, through all of this, is the ability to walk through the pain of similar experiences with others and offer love and support. . . Through the pain and sadness, our capacity for empathy and gratitude has grown.

We definitely still want our family to grow – and we’re gonna keep trying to have a second child –  but the difference is that we are grateful and content with our family! . . . It’s our new dream family! . . .The three of us. . . And we truly love it and mean it when we sing out together that “we’re the three best friends that anyone can have!”
This is our song. And we’re gonna keep singing it together! And if our family grows in number, that’ll be dope and we’ll sing a different song. But for now, this is our song. And we love it!