his birthday.

Today is a day for celebrating the man in my life.  The one who encourages me, supports me, thinks I’m funny, wants to spend his time with me, takes care of me, is an awesome dad, so smart, so fun, so handsome.  My favorite person to be with.

 

 

tommy10

 

 

 

sit

 

 

 

tommy6

 

 

tommy9-laughs

 

 

tommy7

 

 

tommy8

 

 

 

tommy

 

 

tommy2

 

 

tommy5

 

 

tommy3

 

 

 

tommy.wedding

 

 

Happy birthday, Tommy!!

Advertisements

community and blessings.

We were so excited to join a Bible study this winter full of wonderful people.  They have not only welcomed us in when we’re complete messes, but they have loved us so well during this hard time.  So much support, encouragement, love, and prayers have come from these dear people — it feels like we’ve known them much longer than we have.

 

A few weeks back they threw a shower for our baby Gabriel.  It was a sweet time of being together and celebrating the life of our baby, and it meant so much to us.  They set us up so we won’t have to worry about cooking after Gabriel’s born.  I look forward to that 🙂  And with sweet goodies for Jack, too.  He’ll have some new things to keep him busy when his life gets shaken up a bit.  We are so grateful that God put these people in our lives at the most amazing time.  We are very thankful for our dear friends.

 

Gabriel'sroom 011

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 012

 

 

 

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 014

 

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 015

 

 

we’re still here.

I’ve gotten some worried messages and calls this week because we’ve been so quiet around here.  Apparently, I was starting to give the impression that we were otherwise busy — you know, having a baby and what not.  But we’re still here.  Still hanging out.  Thank you for thinking about us and checking in on us.  Thank you so much for notes, messages, calls, emails, and gifts for our family.  We are so blessed and have been so encouraged, so lifted up by those around us.  And we greatly appreciate every prayer said on our behalf.  We know how powerful all those prayers are.  I don’t feel like I say  nearly as much as I should how thankful we are, so please know how much you bless us.  We are so grateful.

 

So on this rainy, rainy weekend here in Tennessee, we’ve spent a lot of time hanging out as a family.  Enjoying our moments together and also taking the opportunity to prepare for the days ahead.  We’ve packed our bags, I’m caught up on laundry [who am I??], and we’ve made our lists and plans for G day, as Tommy calls it.  Not sure when that will be but since we’re 36 weeks [!!!!!!] we know it could be soon.  We are so thankful for all of this time we’ve had with Gabriel and are constantly reminded of the blessing that it is and the gift we’ve been given.  We’re really just super excited to meet our baby boy, too!

 

I feel like “T18-life” has been heavy lately.  We are approaching our due date at rapid speed and really never even thought we’d get this far.  Thankfully though, we have, and we are not dreading what is to come, which is how I thought we’d be.  Instead we are so excited, filled with much anticipation for what is to happen.  Feeling peaceful.

 

So really, in our world T18 isn’t heavy, but in the lives of others we’ve connected with with T18, life is hard.  There’s a board that I follow that’s made up of T18 parents.  Most are parents who have lost their babies because of T18 and they are great encouragement and support to those of us walking the journey now.  There are a few of us currently pregnant with our babies and then there are a very, very few who have children living with T18.  The last week has been rough as there’s been a lot going on there. A family lost their baby yesterday at 31 weeks.  It weighs heavy on my heart, as we’ve known all along that was always a big possibility.  Also makes me so thankful for all our days with Gabriel.  My heart is heavy for their family.  A family who has a 2 month old baby girl with T18 is back in the hospital as the little girl has pneumonia, again.  And another family who has an almost-3 year old boy living with full T18 is back in the hospital and he has been in really rough shape.  The thing with these babies is that we all know every day is a gift, not a guarantee, so every success is so huge and every set-back so sobering.  It’s always a constant reminder of the blessing of life and the reality that it’s so short.

 

I’m trying to stay positive, hopeful, and expectant as we approach very important days or weeks ahead.  We don’t know what’s going to happen but we hope and pray for the best.  I am so thankful that we are peaceful and joyful as we approach the biggest day of our lives.  That is truly an answer to prayer.  So please keep praying for peace for us, for clarity in our decision making, and for God to do big things on G day.  We know no matter what happens that God is good.  We are praying that Gabriel will be born alive.  That we will get to spend time with him here while he is living.  We are hopeful for big things!

 

Thank you for walking this journey with us.  Thanks for being hopeful.  Happy Sunday!

gabriel’s room is ready.

Our favorite room in the house.

 

Gabriel'sroomD

 

 

It is filled with peace.  It is an incredibly pleasant room to be in, and we have found ourselves hanging out in there as a family a lot.  I love it!  I love that Jack loves to be in there.  I love that Jack wants to lay in the crib and play and pretend he’s a baby.  I love that we do puzzles on the floor with him.  He loves that he can watch the doggies from the windows in Gabriel’s room.  Tommy loves the bed in there.  And we all love our new chair my parents’ gave us and look forward to long nights in that chair.  We can’t wait to rock Gabriel in there.

 

 

Every detail in Gabriel’s room has meaning.  Every piece of furniture, every picture, every decoration, even every scratch on the freshly painted walls [thanks, Jack!] was intentionally chosen and has meaning that we’ll always remember.

 

Tommy actually finished painting the room more than 10 weeks ago, and then I started working on decorating it.  It’s been ready for awhile now, and it’s so nice to just be able to go in there and hang out.  It’s nice to have a place that is specifically for our sweet Gabriel and will be extra welcoming to him when we bring him home.

 

 

Here are a few pictures of Gabriel’s room:

 

Gabriel'sroomB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabriel'sroomA

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 026

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 025

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 024

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 027

 

 

Gabriel'sroom 028

 

 

 

Gabriel'sroomC

 

 

The details:

  • The crib was Jack’s, as was the crib bedding and the curtains.
  • The big bed has been our guest bed since we bought our first house.  It was my Mamaw’s and was the bed that my sister and I always slept in when we visited.  It was actually my Mamaw’s grandmother’s bed originally, so it’s quite antique.
  • The banner over the crib was made by a friend and hung at a Celebration for Gabriel.
  • The board over the big bed is covered in ultrasound pictures of Gabriel and cards that we’ve gotten from dear people in our lives.  We filled the board up pretty quickly, so I’m trying to figure out where else in there I can hang cards.  We love being able to see support, love, and prayers for our boy and want him to know about it all, too.
  • We put the gallery wall up using frames we already had.  We have family pictures, ultrasound pictures of Gabriel, some maternity pictures, and a big, encouraging print in the middle.
  • My parents’ gave us the ottoman after Jack was born, so I would have somewhere to put my feet up while rocking Jack.  We didn’t have room in our old house for the chair that goes with it, so they recently gave it to us as a gift for Gabriel.
  • The dresser is an antique that was all over our house in Maryland before landing it’s star role as changing table.  I love this dresser, and it just feels right in the nursery to me.
  • The beautiful “Gabriel” painting was a precious gift from a friend.  She gave it to us shortly after we found out the diagnosis, and I was desperate for a visual reminder of our baby.
  • I can’t wait for Jack and Gabriel to wear their matching shirts.  Jack is going to be a great big brother and Gabriel is going to be a precious little brother.
  • The beanie babies on the shelf just inside the room were given to us just days after finding out about Gabriel.  The kangaroo is for me, with the baby in the pouch, and the doggie is for Jack.  A dear friend and someone who is incredibly wise, came over to visit with me and pray for us.  She knows the road of losing a baby well, as she lost 2 babies, and she brought these stuffed animals for us to have something tangible to hold on to when we’re missing our sweet baby.

 

 

I love that when we’re in Gabriel’s room there is meaning in everything.  We can’t wait to bring him home and show him his room!

 

 

the video.

We were honored to get to share Gabriel’s story with our church family in a video recently.  One of the pastors asked us a couple of months ago if we would be up for sharing Gabriel’s story and our journey in the form of a video.  We knew immediately that we had to do it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant.  We didn’t feel like we had to do it because we felt pressured or because we really wanted to do a video, but rather, because we have been praying since the very beginning — since the day we found out — that God would use this for good and that He would be glorified in all of this.  He can certainly use it for good and be glorified without us doing a video, no question of that, but we felt like we had to be willing and open in this way.

 

So while it was nerve-wracking for me to think about so many people watching our video, once it was made and shown, I didn’t even think about it.  The people we got to work with were just the best and made it so easy for us.  Tommy and I talked a lot about how surprised we were that they asked us to share our story.  Obviously, what’s going on is a big thing, but I think since it is our lives, we have just gotten used to it and tend to get tunnel vision.  It was a very humbling experience for us to get to share with the body of Christ in this way.  It’s been incredibly humbling to hear back that the video has encouraged others who have walked similar paths, have terminal diagnoses, or are going through something else hard in life.  Wow, to think Gabriel’s life is having that kind of impact is certainly a huge blessing to these parents!

 

So here is our video that was shown during the church services on Sunday, April 14th.  [I think it will play on the blog here, but if not you can copy and paste the link into your browser to view the video.]

 

 

 

where i’m at.

This is going to be a sort of random thoughts post.  Lots of randomness running through my mind, wanting to get it out there.  It probably won’t all tie together.  Such is life.

 

 

Felt very refreshed, very challenged at church yesterday.  It’s always good to be in church on Sunday mornings with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  This morning was definitely that and left us thinking and talking.  Tommy and I got to speak briefly with the pastors before we left, and they were very encouraging to us as we continue to walk this journey.  Very thankful for words of encouragement that keep on coming.

 

Then we went to Target, and as I was bending over my necklace got caught on the buggie and broke.  This is the necklace that Tommy helped me pick out and order days after we found out about Gabriel’s health problems.  I have worn it EVERY SINGLE DAY since I got it.  It’s my “G” and “J” necklace.  I got a necklace with a “J” on it after Jack was born and wore it all the time.  So after we became so aware of the significance of Gabriel’s life already, Tommy recognized that I needed a necklace with his initial, too.  This one has 2 strands, with one of my boys’ initials on each strand.  The strand that completely broke today was the strand with the “G” on it.  The “J” strand was just fine.  And as soon as I felt it snap I was devastated and before even looking knew how it broke.  As I took it in, I realized how much that moment represented our lives.  I had Jack sitting right there in the shopping cart, healthy, happy, squirming, perfectly fine and right here in my hands.  I had Gabriel with me in my belly, always with me but unable to hold him.  I feel like that’s how my life will be with him.  I pray I do get to hold him for a little while.  We pray that we do get that time with him as our little baby.  But I know, longer term, he will always be with me, but not in my hands.

 

Tommy says we can get my necklace fixed.  He said any jeweler would be happy to help me get it fixed quickly when I explain our story to them.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to forget that happening, especially as it’s so close to the end of our pregnancy.

 

Speaking of the end, it is drawing near, and we are finding ourselves at peace with that.  I didn’t actually think we’d get to a place where we’d be “ready”.  And I don’t know that I would necessarily use that word, but Tommy and I are feeling peaceful and thankful for all of this time that we’ve had.  We really didn’t think we’d get this much time with Gabriel, and we’re so thankful for all of it!  And hopeful for more to come.  We’ve really been able to do everything that we wanted to.  His room has been ready for a little while now, Tommy’s finished his CD, I have clothes for him, we have precious sweet gifts from others to shower him with and help us celebrate him.  We’ve had adventures, we’ve spent lots of time together as a family, we’ve lived normal life with him — which I never thought we’d be able to do.  We are thrilled to be 35 weeks along!  We are so proud of him and know he is such a little fighter to be with us.  We are so thankful for him.  And now, we are just feeling excitement to get to meet our son.  We are anticipating his arrival and feeling so joyful of what is to come.

 

Thank you for all of your prayers, as we know we wouldn’t have the peace we have without them.  We are so touched by everyone’s love for our family and thank you for continuing to support us.

happy weekend.

Last night we took the dogs for a walk for the first time in awhile.  This was probably the first time we’ve taken the dogs for a walk where Jack walked along with us, rather than riding in the stroller.  He had a great time walking the dogs.

 

 

At one point, Tommy told the dogs to sit & Jack sat right along with them.  Cracked us up.  Our child may think he’s a dog??

sit

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you a happy weekend!

wisdom from a child.

My heart was deeply blessed by words spoken to me this week by a 3 year old [in all fairness to her, she will be 4 next month].  And after wiping away the tears, all I could think was “I wish every adult reacted like that”.

 

Our friends have these precious kids, and Jack adores their little girl – with good reason.  She is so sweet!  Once he fell and had a boo-boo on his face, and she prayed for his boo-boo to get better.  Repeatedly.  Sweet girl.  The other day, she came up to me and said “I’m sorry baby Gabriel has to go to heaven now.”  It was both the heaviest and the most freeing thing anyone has said to me.  It’s such a simple statement, so full of truth and so full of heart, and it touched me so deeply.  She may be young but she understands things that many adults have forgotten.  She knows heaven is a wonderful place and that Gabriel will be happy there, but she also knows and sees that we are sad he has to go so soon.  In her 10 word sentence she said everything and more that anyone ever needs to.  I felt loved, reassured,  comforted, uplifted, and okay to be sad all from her statement.

 

As I was sharing this with Tommy, we talked about how far we come as adults, losing that childlike touch.  There have been many comforting words spoken to us.  There have been many people trying to be comforting who say things that aren’t helpful.  There have been many people who try to find a reason, an explanation, or who try to make it better.  And I appreciate every well-wish.  I appreciate every kind thought, and we understand it’s hard to know what to say.  When this little girl told me this the other day, I knew right away that this was exactly all anyone ever needs to say.  I’m reminded that it’s so good to take time to learn from our little ones.  I think God has a lot to teach us from them, if only we will listen.

pictures.

My sweet friend who is a photographer here in Knoxville offered to take pictures of our family to help us always remember these days with Baby Gabriel before he arrives.  And not only did she take our pictures, but she did it on her due date!  Still blows my mind that she did that for us.  She had her baby a week later, and he is precious.

 

I’ve never been much of a maternity picture person.  I don’t want pictures of me in my larger-than-life form and would much rather have the baby pictures a few months later.  However, as I’ve said dozens of times already, everything is so different now.  I am so different now.  So I really wanted to have pictures of us as a family while Gabriel is definitely with us.  I’m excited to get to share these with you all.

 

 

17796_10151552350431357_1899374617_n

 

 

 

12529_10151552351151357_88063796_n

 

 

32634_10151552351721357_173074618_n

 

 

482715_10151552351706357_760391447_n

 

 

 

484066_10151552350686357_659640306_n

 

 

484084_10151552351461357_863556740_n

 

 

 

523446_10151552351666357_901996674_n

 

 

533875_10151552351066357_74936591_n

 

 

 

549038_10151552351481357_329574276_n

 

 

733931_10151552350536357_1014447250_n

 

 

 

734011_10151552351176357_814473100_n

 

 

 

 

Erin, thank you for these beautiful pictures.  I am so thankful to have them, and I know that we will always treasure them.

 

[for more of Erin’s work, check out her website here.]

the great outdoors.

I have not always been an outdoors person.  I like fresh air and I have liked being outside at certain times of the year in particular, but a day in and day out outdoor person, I have never really been.  Tommy is an outdoors guy — how could you not be being from Colorado?  After we started dating, I spent more time doing things outside with him than I ever had before and really liked it.  But Jack, Jack has changed me.   I now love to be outside with him.   He is crazy about the great outdoors.  He is obsessed with it and doesn’t want to come inside ever.  There is usually lots of screaming involved when we do have to go in.

 

Lately the weather has been perfectly spring.  It felt like we had to wait forever for spring to get here and now it feels like it was worth the wait because it is perfect.  It’s been in the 60s, 70s, and is now hitting 80 this week.  Sunshine for the past several days.  It’s perfect.  So we’ve been spending lots of time outdoors — going to the park, playing outside at our house and at the grandparents’ houses.  Our little family has been enjoying lots of good time outdoors.

 

 

outside11

 

 

outside

 

 

 

outside2

 

 

outside3

 

 

 

outside4

 

 

outside5

 

 

 

 

outside6

 

 

outside7

 

 

 

 

outside8

 

 

outside9

 

 

 

outside10

 

 

 

We hope you are enjoying this beautiful Spring wherever you are, too!